Saturday, November 28, 2009

On top of cavatelli, all covered with sauteed garlic...

I'm at the parent's house until tomorrow morning, so I offered to cook dinner tonight. They mentioned they haven't had cavetelli with broccoli in a while, so I made that - my mom has a bad back, so it's hard for her to lift the pot of water. It came out OK.

I was hoping my mom would sit down and relax while I was cooking, but no. While I was peeling and chopping garlic, she had gotten a bunch of other stuff ready, and while I was cooking she was setting the table, down to making sure that the picture on the plate was facing the same way.

Friday, November 27, 2009

It's begining to look a lot like Christmas, still...

Given that today was Black Friday, the "official" start of shopping for the Holiday/Christmas season, it seems appropriate to post these pictures. They are actually from a week ago from the college I work at - they took a section of the quad and set up an ice-skating rink, complete with an inflatable santa and a santa on ice skates.

I have to admit that the first thing I thought upon seeing this was "Bah humbug". Maybe it's because I feel like Christmas has gotten too commercialized, to the point where I'm sick of it long before it comes - despite the fact that, as someone who is always looking for a way to make money, I'm generally in favor of commercializing pretty much everything. Maybe it's the "Christmas creep", the fact that stores are putting Christmas decorations out with the back-to-school stuff. Or maybe it's because I was in the process of delivering a laptop to a faculty member, instead of being a carefree college student watching Santa skate around the quad.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Turkey Day!

Spent Thanksgiving in NJ with the family - parents, brother, and my mom's two brothers. Here's the turkey, before I attacked it with an electric carving knife, sending a shower of turkey particles through the dining room, and below is my plate before I attacked it...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

That will buff right out...

I passed this squished Chevy Monza driving up to NJ today to spend the Thanksgiving weekend with the parents, about 15 miles north of the Mason-Dixon line on I-83. It was being towed by an early-90's Ford pickup. I'm really trying to figure out the story behind it - why would you crush a car, then transport it on a car carrier by itself? I'm also thinking that, unless they had a forklift, getting it on there would probably be a challenge - it's not like you can put it in neutral and steer while your buddy pushes.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What madanthony will NOT be having for Thanksgiving dinner...

Spotted this last weekend at Trader Joe's, in the Tofu section, while stocking up on baked terriyaki -flavored tofu.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Oh, hai, were you going to sit here?

Yesterday, Nibbler decided to steal my normal spot on the living room sofa. She looks pretty comfortable, probably thanks to being in a sunbeam.... and to being in my carefully worn ass groove.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The pit of despair has a lovely restroom...

The college I work for has a couple of houses that it owns in the neighborhood near the college. They are basic pre-ww2 craftsman bungalows. They are actually nice houses (and remind me of my first apartment, but the one I've been setting up equipment in recently has a bit of an odor, and several people - myself included - have felt kind of sick after spending an hour or two inside. One of my coworkers has gone as far as to call it the "pit of despair".

I do like the bathroom, though - but I have a weakness for subway title.

In a semi-related note, soon after taking this picture I was removing an old copier from the building, which is basically on the top of a hill with a giant staircase. After declining help from a coworker, I slowly started carrying it down the stairs - only to have the box that I had it in break, and the copier go tumbling out, breaking into a bunch of pieces at the bottom. It was spectacular.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

What a difference 3 inches makes...

A few months back, I bought a netbook - a 7" Asus eePC. It was a refurb that was $120 from an online retailer, with a celeron processor, 512mb RAM, and an 8 gig flash drive, running XP home. Once I upped it to a gig, it ran well, but it was just too small to use - the screen was tiny, and the keyboard was tinier - trying to do any serious typing on it was near impossible.

So not to long ago the same retailer had a blue 10" Asus for $250. Way better specs - 160 gig drive, gig of RAM (I'll eventually up it to 2), Atom processor. So I bought it. It's nice - it's actually usable, unlike the 7". The 7" will be going up for sale, either to a coworker or at the next hamfest I go to.

I haven't used it much - I have a 17" macbook pro from work that I generally use for laptop stuff, including typing this post - but I figure the netbook will be good for places where I don't want something as big or as nice as the Mac.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Bling Bling pig...

Spotted this blinged-out piggy bank while standing in line at Old Navy this past weekend - I was nearby and had a coupon. ON always seems to have stupidly long lines, and their way of dealing with it is to put racks of random crap near the checkout to give you something to look at while you wait.

Monday, November 16, 2009

I love you for your yellow Cadillac...

Spotted this super-clean early-70's Eldorado ragtop on the not-so-mean streets of Baltimore's Hampden neighborhood while grabbing dinner with a friend who lives nearby. I think my favorite feature is the matching yellow-centered hubcaps.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

It's a bit chili in here...

I made a giant crockpot of chili tonight - I used this recipe, with a number of changes - ground turkey instead of beef, left out the carrots and celery, left out the sugar, and eyeballed the spices. It came out pretty good - spicy, but flavorful. I probably have enough for another 8 or 9 meals - I'll leave it in the fridge for a few days, then freeze whatever is left.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The plot was awful, and the special effects unimpressive...

I spent this afternoon in a movie theater - the White Marsh AMC 16 - but I wasn't watching a movie. Microsoft was holding one of their The New Efficiency launch events there, and I was able to go. After a lengthy wait to check in and after sitting in a theater eating free trail mix and watching the same silly promos over and over again, I we got to watch 4 presentations by Microsoft "evangelists" about the features of Windows 7. I actually picked up some useful stuff - I now have a head full of acronyms like DISM and PSR that might actually be useful. I also got a free Microsoft T-shirt and a not-for-resale copy of Windows 7 Ultimate.

Interestingly, the Microsoft T was an XL. The free T-shirt I got from Apple a while back when they launched Leopard 10.5 was a Medium. I wonder if that means something.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

How to not sell computers...

I was in Staples this morning, using up a Rewards certificate to stock up on toner and packing tape, and came upon the computer above. Now, I'm not one of those marketing geniuses, but if you are trying to get people to buy a $1300 high-tech computer, and you are also promoting your "Easy Tech" business, trying to get people to have you fix their PC's, it's probably not a wise idea to have a computer on display that's giving a boot error.

I know, it could be anything from a misconfigured boot order in the BIOS to a dead hard drive. Still, they should figure it out and either fix it or get it off display.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Kitteh in jail...

Had to take Nibbler to the vet today for her yearly checkup and battery of vaccines. Getting her into the carrier wasn't fun, but I was able to get her in there after a few failed attempts and chasing her around the house a few times. She wasn't happy about going, and let me know with lots of very loud, very sad meows. She checked out healthy, though, so hopefully that's over for a year.

I know the picture is pretty bad, but I didn't want to spend a bunch of time taking perfect pics of an angry cat.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Stand back, I know Tofu!

I've been looking for healthy dinner ideas, and tried just stir-fried veggies with rice, but it wasn't terribly satisfying, plus I figured I should be getting more protein in my diet. So the last time I was at Trader Joe's I picked up baked terriyaki-flavored tofu. I made it tonight, stir-fried with a bag of frozen stir-fry veggies, some Schezwan seasoning, and some soy sauce.

How was it? Eh. It wasn't bad, but tofu, even marinated, is pretty much somewhere between sponge and ricotta cheese in flavor. It's the kind of thing you eat because it's good for you, or because you have to, but nobody ever would pick it for their last meal. I'd probably make it again, though.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Is our society not Violet enough?

A few months ago, I tried Mountain Dew's new "limited edition" Diet Ultra Violet flavor, and liked it - not as good as regular or code red, but a nice change of pace. I had picked some up at the Target in Westminster when I was up there for a hamfest in August... and haven't found it anywhere else since.

Until last week, when I was once again in Westminster, and once again stopped by Target - and found 3 cases of it, and it was on sale too. So of course I bought it all. I've killed off most of a case so far, and will save the other two for a little later.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Mirrorless Monday? I'm waiting for Trouserless Thursday...

One of the things about working on a college campus is that you are frequently assaulted with the kind of warm, fuzzy, muddle-headed liberal thinking that seems to inflict most of the inhabitants of said campus. I encountered one of the odder examples of this as I walked into a basement bathroom mid-afternoon to expel some of the three cups or so of coffee that it takes to get me through working at said college and discovered that in an effort to boost the self-esteem of those seeking to relieve themselves, someone had instituted "Mirrorless Monday" and covered up the mirrors with paper adorned with self-esteem boosting proclamations.

Of course, the papered-over mirrors don't change the fact that people will still judge you if you have a booger hanging from your nose or a piece of lettuce in your teeth - they just remove the opportunity for you to know about it and correct it. In the real world, people do judge on appearance, and in the real world appearance does send certain signals - the way you choose to dress, the effort you put into diet and exercise, ect - are reflected in your physical appearance, and they send very useful signals to other people about you.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

I wouldn't show my pussy here...

Last week, a couple coworkers and I went to MICA, the Maryland Institute College of Art, for a seminar sponsored by Apple and aimed at educators, about using Macs on Windows Active Directory. One interesting thing that we noticed was a number of signs - in the cafeteria, in the auditorium, ect - informing us that pets were not allowed. Which seemed odd - I would have no expectation that I could bring my cat to a college campus. But I guess art school people are different.