Dec 30, 2011

What should my resolution be?

     MYSTERY OF THE PHANTOM TEA KETTLE

     There is a whistling noise in the house, only at night.  It sounds like my old red tea kettle did that didn't really whisper but did make a noise.  I think to myself have I been making tea and do I need to check the stove top?  Living in a different house every year or so for the last 8 or so years has me more forgiving on odd quirks (I still don't know how safe radiators are) and different designs.  Like making the bathroom door only fully open from inside when you wedge yourself into a corner between the toilet and the shower.  Or why everyone uses shower water at the exact same time you took your off-time shower.  Every oven I cook in has its own quirks and for sure the current gas stove and oven has the most to get used to.  In return my kitchen is never cold because the upstairs hot-water pipe is right in the middle of my kitchen and will burn you when on.

     Kindle update!  I have yet to do anything more with it.  I'm terrified to bring it out without a case or something, I'm really thinking about a sock, to cover the fancy screen.  Unfortunately (what, no! Never!!) I'm still going through my physical books.  Two came in from the library today!  Psycho, oh, maybe you saw the Hitchcock film?  Yea, that one.  And FINALLY The Fantasy Worlds of Peter Beagle who is most well known for his story The Last Unicorn.  This book was ordered nearly two months ago and it hadn't been returned until this week.  I feel like it wasn't that long ago I was unicorn obsessed.  Maybe like 15 years?! ohGODnoway.  Yea, wow, my (so long ago!) childhood fascination with unicorns and their magical powers and even more amazing was that they were fantasy and if they could be real (yea, I dare you to explain medieval theology to a seven year-old) then anything could be real.  And Hobbits!  And umm, I dunno, what did I believe in as a child?  Umm.. Santa Claus?  Sure.  Let's go there.

     Tomorrow is New Years Eve.  As is tradition since everyone was a kid I should name a resolution or two.  I want to simplify my life but most of the sites I've been looking at for ideas give vague useful suggestions with nothing that I can put into practice.  Own one car per family.  Done.  Eat mostly at home.  Done and double done.  Make meals ahead of time.  Err, my freezer barely fits a bag of milk buns and some frozen blackberries.  And I share it with, not including Tad, three others right now.  Wake up an hour earlier and exercise.  I wake up around 4:30 AM four days a week.  Yea, I don't think so.  One thing I really want to get back into is growing my own herbs or veggies.  I don't know when I can start here in the North.  The light lasts much less time than I thought.  Yea, what's up with Winter.  Sucks. 

     Back on track.  Veggie garden.  I would like to grow at least 3 herbs and two veggies.  Sound ambitious?  I hope not.  I miss being able to harvest ingredients watch as I neglect them.  Just something green.  Or a cat.  a green cat?  Sure.  Green cat for my resolution.

     Or maybe I'll make my resolution an easier one.  I will not start new tasks (not new books though!) before finishing any older, similar tasks.  I picked up some baby alpaca yarn to knit but I still have an unfinished pillowcase to embroider.  Bad pillowcase.  Finish yourself!  I haven't been really inspired to work on that at all.  I need more thread to finish the interior stitching I'm doing and I need a central design for the main piece.  There's the real reason I haven't worked on it.  I need a design.  I'll have to start looking.  But not today... Not today.  Good night everyone and enjoy the New Years with friends and loved ones.  jaa.

Dec 27, 2011

Muppets movie madness?

    Err, not really madness.  Great movie though.  It received a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes and even better the theatre by us had a 6 movie pass for $25.  Considering that a single ticket is $9 per person (with no discounts) that makes it cheaper than three movies.  So next on the list will be the Tintin movie.  What? Don't remember Tintin?  I kept calling the dog Tintin but he's Snowy, as Tad loves to remind me.  A few good friends of mine from Orlando are up in NYC with their little one and we're hopefully going to see them tomorrow evening.  Ohh! Maybe we'll go to the Doctor Who bar and play the trivia game!  Nah, maybe we'll go get some good Indian food.  Who knows!  We'll spend some good time together and I'll be happy and kinda cold-ish really.  Weather hasn't turned for the worst yet but I don't trust winter.  It'll snow here soon and then I'll die from frostbite and that'll show.. well... nobody.

     No new recipes, sadly but here's the coolest house in Dyker Heights.  It was recommended in multiple places to see the lights between 83rd and 86st St and 11th to 13th Ave over here in Brooklyn. 


     OK... well... I would show you that picture but I can't get the computer to read the card it's on.  Hmm.. I might update later if I get it working again.  ::poutyface::

Dec 26, 2011

Day after Christmas is lame

     I had not only an amazing Christmas (I did not close Christmas eve for once) but made amazing food!







     In ode to Tad's new worry about his cholesterol levels this is a no cholesterol (ok, very little in the whip cream) chocolate olive-oil cake.  And let me tell you it is DELICIOUS!!!  I cooled it out of the pan then sliced neatly in half and filled with sliced strawberries and whip cream.  A little powdered sugar on top and voila!  New delicious foods. 

------ ------ ------ ------- -------

Chocolate Olive-oil cake

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3 Tbsp cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/8 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp white vinegar
1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup cold water

Oven preheated to 350 degrees F.  Mix all dry ingredients (flour to salt) then add wet ingredients until well combined and smooth.  Pour into a oiled and floured cake tin or 9x9 baking dish and bake for 30 mins or until baked dry in the middle.  Remove and cool in pan for 10 mins then on a cooling rack before decorating.

------- -------- -------- -------- --------

     I got a new Kindle Touch from Santa for Christmas!  So far I have almost thrown it at a wall when it wouldn't connect to the computer than have read free books on it in between the two other books I'm reading.  I do love to use the touch dictionary when I'm uncertain of a word.  I wonder if I can get the Oxford English dictionary as my standard?  I'm sure that one will cost much more than this free American Heritage version.  I'm more than halfway complete reading The Island of Doctor Moreau on my KTouch.  KT?  Touch is an iPod product... hmm.. I need a term for it.  But yes I'm finishing off my sci-fi novels on my sci-fi device!  Nothing finished yet.  May go see a movie tonight, we'll see.  Jaa.

Dec 22, 2011

Holidays are here

     Happy holidays.  Still working retail and still losing all holiday sleep over it.  I moved up to the Cosmetics Specialist and no, I don't wear make up.  That's kind of the best part.  So what have I been doing the last 6 months or so?  I don't know, reading, cooking and exploring NYC mostly.  Volunteered at a Target library makeover event months upon months ago.  Didn't get to meet Oprah which sucks because we were hoping to get apartments or something when she did a show.  Oh well.

     I did, on the other hand get through quite a few novels.  I'm currently reading The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco.  Instead of a deep insightful commentary on my last list of books I will for now give names and authors.  Want me to comment, anyone who exists on the internet?  Leave me a comment and BAM, I'll write some insightful commentary.

     Since June I have read:

*Who Goes There by John W. Campbell
*Planet of the Apes by Pierre Boulle
Farenheit 451 by ray Bradbury
*City by Clifford D. Simak
*Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
*Kim by Rudyard Kipling
*Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson
How to Make Friends and Oppress People by Vic Darkwood
Auschwitz Report by Primo Levi
*Time Traders by Andre Norton
Flow My Tears by Philip K Dick
The Penultimate Truth by Philip K Dick
Vulcan's Hammer by Philip K Dick
*A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Basho
*More Than Human byTheodore Sturgeon
*The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester
*Periodic Table by Primo Levi
Night and Horses and the Desert edited by Robert Irwin
*Sophie's Choice by William Styron
Noctournes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall by Kazuo Ishiguro
*The Trial of Socrates by I. F. Stone
*84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee by Robert van Gulik
Group Theory in the Bedroom and Other Mathematical Diversions by Brian Hayes
*The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann von Goethe
*A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis
The Drowned and the Saved by Primo Levi
*If On a Winter's Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino

Plus a few I think I'm missing....  The starred items are on the 501 list. 

     So yeah, I don't only read 501 books but sometimes I really enjoy them.  Also, this list is not in order.  I tried a few other novels, Kazuo Ishiguro's most recent novel Never Let Me Go and an international 'best seller' The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordiano but both were so insipid I was ready to burst.  Prime Numbers made me pretty much go like this: ARRRGGG!!!  It's all angsty lameness.  Oh well.

     It is Xmas time now.  Here is our current Christmas decoration status.
     We sent around 40 Christmas cards and still have a few more to go out.  Updating addresses is pretty time consuming but we're about done.  We have a few in return here from family members and a postcard from Hawai'i.  The coup de gras (our false star) is a friend's graduation announcement!  Hooray for that!!!!  Now that I am writing this list out I really want to complain and comment about some of these books.  Maybe I will.

     Happy holidays.  Kai out.

501 books count: 91 (Will I make 100 by Jan 1st?!)

Jun 28, 2011

Internet=Life

     I finally got internet again.  The modem was delivered not two hours ago.  As used to no internet as I was I did miss it.  I missed being able to look anything up at anytime.  I also missed silly videos.  Silly kitten videos as well.  They deserve their own category.  Hah, pun.  I'm just writing a bit today but I will update soon.  Also, a picture.

May 24, 2011

Tad Graduated

     I'll come right out and say it. BAM! Tad has his M.S. in non-profit management.  We spent all weekend going to graduations and a few parties with more to come this week.  Here he is in his regalia.
  Great job Tad!  The hood is 'gold-yellow' according to the official descriptor and is four feet long.  The ceremony for once did not in fact run over, it was only an hour and forty-five minutes for a graduating class of over 1,000 students (I gave up counting after six hundred).  We went out to a locovore restaurant (as encouraged by the student speaker Chandler Griffith) Angelica's Kitchen over on the east side.  The restaurant was great with tons of interesting vegetarian choices.  Very eco and social justice friendly.  No coffee though they have an equivalent made of chicory, barley and other roasted grains.  Pricey but that's what you get for eating locavore.  Wait, what's locavore?  It's eating local food and buying from the local economy.  They get a lot of their stuff at the Union Square Farmer's Market which is a few streets up. I have been adding books under my belt here and there but I'm cutting this short (how sad) because my internet is horrible right now and I'm almost out of battery from emailing people Tad's graduation photos.   Hmmm...

     I would like to thank and congratulate everyone out there this month who have/will be soon graduated and hope all their annoying ceremony speeches were worth it.  After years of Sisyphean effort to finish papers, read publications and who knows what else there will soon be a piece of paper mailed to your house and maybe even put in a plaque.  Great job getting a piece of paper.  You deserve a rest.  You know, for like a week.
((I'll fix formatting tomorrow to match the others))
Angelica's Kitchen
300 East 12th Street (between 2nd Ave and 1st Ave)
Manhattan, NY 10003
(212) 228-2909

Result: Great but not everyday meals.  A bit pricey. (Eatable and justicy)

May 9, 2011

Syllogism is a word

     I have done something besides work and read in the last week.  I volunteered in a garden with Target.  We only worked for about an hour, weeding and watering, but it was more than I had done in a long time.  It felt refreshing and I was able to ask some of the other volunteers what organizations were in the area.  New York Cares is one mentioned for its ease of access and range of opportunities.  This summer I plan on joining the group hopefully with Tad.  In fact, BAM, while writing this blog I already signed up for it.  Much easier than working with the Food Bank.

     Tad and I haven't been able to go on walks very often.  Why?  He is work work working his way through his PDQ which as far as I am concerned is his master's thesis.  I'm trying not to frustrate him much but I do feel a bit lonely.  It'd due tonight I think or tomorrow at class so he is right now working on the homestretch.  I will make this a quick blog because I have only promised myself an hour on the internet.  I wondered and worried a few years ago if I was addicted to the sweet glory that is immediate access to anything and everything but I since I am on maybe three times a week for a few hours at a time I know that any addiction I had is long gone.  I need to give a gift to a few of Tad's friends for graduation but I don't want to spend a lot.  I'm thinking books (do my preferences show?) and I have an idea for one of the two friends but not the other. 

     I claimed I would have pictures of family get togethers but I never took any myself.  Tad's graduation is this month, though, and my in-laws are coming up to see it.  I'm so proud of Tad and both Bryan and Diego, the friends previously mentioned.  They are all finishing their Masters in different but still equally hard areas.  Bryan is a non-profit like Tad and is part of Toastmasters, which is how I met him.  I feel so bad.  My good friend Melissa graduated just this past weekend I did not even notice!  Oh, woe to those who do not do well for their friends!  Now I have to remember to send her a card (and find a gift for her).  Which I want to!  Melissa, what should I give you!  Congrats on your diploma and hard work!!! Arrgg!

     So, what has taken up the majority of my day?  My book reading of course.  I need more books soon because I only have six left and I can finish most of them in a single day.  What should I get?  I think I might start on the mysteries.  No, maybe modern novels, I have to read quite a few of them.  I also have started a side list of other books to look into for when, you know, I have downtime and all.  ::sigh::  Books books books.  What have I read?  The Ornament of the World which is about Islamic and post-Islamic Spain.   I read The Wind in the Willows which I am fairly sure I watched cartoons about as a child.  I also finished Shikasta which is a great sci-fi book.  I'll talk about it later because for now I have to head home.  Must get some food in this ravenous belly of mine.  I'll be back on tomorrow.

     For those who are interested syllogism is deductive reasoning, versus inductive reasoning.  You know, like logic.

     501 books count: 71

Apr 28, 2011

Spring weather sprung itself finally

     I had a wonderful weekend without work.  I visited the family and got to see Anna's campus up in Vermont.  Train rides are so much less hassle than airplanes.  Just get there on time and have a ticket.  We had plenty of space to store our luggage (the infamous Mickey Mouse bag), time for me to read and take a nap on Tad and no security to go through.  Security is so stupid at airports anyways, since if they are determined enough I'm sure they will get through.  We drove through the mountains to get up to Bennington and it increased my desire to go hiking this summer.  I've actually started to dig up information now so I know what I'm looking into.

     I picked up a book that I recognized from when I was looking up information about through-hiking the Appalachian Trail (no I don't think Tad or I will ever do this) called A Walk in the Woods.  While it had some interesting stuff it wasn't that great and I finished up in about three hours.  Very quick. 

     Spring has finally hit us.  I can wear a short sleeved shirt without shivering and the trees have burst delightfully into bloom!  Tad and I are planning to go to a hanami festival this weekend and I want to take pictures there.  I'll take some, I swear.  Really.

     Humm, what else has happened?  OH!  I did in fact finish Walden but I didn't bring it on the train up to Albany.  While that was probably a better environment for the novel I only had twenty-something pages left to read.  I have less that 200 pages remaining between two other books.  I will have gotten through my longest book (597 pages) to date by tomorrow I believe.  What should I say about Walden?  I can see many of Thoreau's points and agree sometimes with his disgust with society.  The many problems he saw then have only gotten worse and more convoluted since.  I also find a resounding appeal to his absolute love of nature.  He really comes through as very superior and arrogant though especially when touting his peculiarities.  Ever listen to some artist or musician who is 'avant garde'?  They become so into their own ways since they can't reconcile themselves with society at large that they actually begin to demean the very audience they are trying to garner.  I'm sure everyone had that friend who was so sure of themselves that, well, everyone is obviously wrong.  Such a childish viewpoint.  The love for his land was admirable if not a bit silly.  It was moving and I think a base to encourage outdoor exploring that should be nature to everyone in this country.

     Supposedly we are getting the internet in the apartment tomorrow.  Good, I don't mind having all this time to read and relax but there are times when I want to listen to something or check a fact or just check my emails.  Annoying. 

     Ah, one last thing.  A new vocab word: tocsin- a warning bell or alarm.

Apr 20, 2011

Happy Spring Religious Week Everyone

     This weekend Tad and I head to Albany to visit extended in-laws.  I'm impatient for the break because I will be working eight-hour days all week before this.  I get off next Monday though and I believe I close Tuesday.  I've been reading more and more this past week finishing another two books (ok just children books but still) and have made significant progress through one of the densest books I've started so far.  A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous Fourteenth Century is just under 600 pages long and filled with tiny print and details galore.  I have finally, after about a month and a half of on-and-off reading have reached the halfway point.  Usually a thicker book like this makes me give up but I am bearing through it gamely.  I've gotten through the three hundred pages of background story to the actual main area, the life of Enguerrard IV de Coucy.  I can't guarantee I spelled his name correctly since I don't have the book in front of me.  It's a good read filled with lots of significant details of the life and events of the 1300s.  It has been fun to read even if at times, to double check what I'm reading I only get through fifteen pages in an hour.

     I am sad that all my books end.  As silly as it sounds I really enjoy being led through the author's eyes and following their stories.  I also get distracted by a new story far, far too easily.  I'm mostly through Thoreau's Walden but it has a time and a place to be read.  How incongruous to read about forsaking culture and embracing nature on a bus in NYC! 

     This post is really very helter-skelter.  I miss studying mathematics.  I want a book on group theory (sorry Britt, I do want to learn it) and a text on either partial-differentials past what I learned in class or a good book on vector groups and tensors.  I feel limited by my surroundings and my lack of academic connections.  When Tad graduates this semester I will look into going back even just for night courses to finish up and all.  I miss stretching my mind.  I want to join in on volunteering activities and work with people on new and more expanding ground than I have now.  I feel my lack of movement forward.  I am under a blanket and cannot get out quite yet.  I also want a pet, a little kitty meowing and needing my attention.  Ahh, to know my limits and break them, that is what I want to start looking into now.  It may be the wrong holiday to start focusing on resolutions but I am anyways. 

     My next post will be a bit more organized and hopefully full of fun photos of the family together and hanging out.  Maybe I'll have finished Walden by then as well.  We'll see.

Apr 12, 2011

THIS IS NOT WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE IN NYC

     As I was saying, this is not what Brooklyn looks like.  The trees have yet to blossom.  Tad took this on his trip to Washington DC two weeks ago.  I have been driving myself crazy without much respite recently.  Work work work, read read read.  Not that I don't enjoy it but it is doubtless an insular activity!  I need more social life than what Thoreau and my coworkers give me.  Next week Tad and I will journey up to Albany and spend a few days with his family for Easter on the train.  I want to make us food since I remember my hell of a train trip from Rochester to Penn Station.  I refuse to think about how pent up and hungry I was.  No, not thinking about it. 

     I have finished off another two books since updating.  I devoured Rudyard Kipling's Just-So Stories with annotations and everything.  It seems he was an aficionado for all types of mythos and his traveling led him to flavor them all together into a new and more amazing stories.  The neolithic stories about the alphabet and everything weren't very good and were a chore to slog through.  I had read 'How the Elephant Got His Trunk' before in sixth grade I think but many were new and rather adorable.  I could see the repetitious phrases mimicking Homer and the sing-song that children learn to repeat back.  I ordered from the library his masterpiece Kim so I will compare his children book with this.  I remember when I was maybe in middle school reading The Jungle Book and I think some of the grandeur of these stories were lost on myself.  I remember I read it after watching some movie that Tad assures me was the live-action version of the Jungle Book.  Let me check if my timing is right then.  Nope, that movie was released Christmas 1994 making it probably the summer of either 1995 or 1996 that I read it.  Geez, didn't feel that long ago.

     The other book I finished was On The Narrow Road which is a travelogue set in 1989 about following the road Basho took in his famous book The Narrow Road to the Deep North.  Fun bit of trivia: the title of Basho's book has the more accurate title of The Narrow Road to the Boonies.  Hah, poetry makes it sound much better.  I kept remembering the vivid and expansive landscapes of Princess Mononoke and the evocative music.  Lesley Downer wanders fruitlessly it seems over much of the more modernized Japan in search of the idealistic simple life Basho wrote about and the beautiful moments that are more cliche in Japanese poetry than the use of the work anon instead of soon in English.  She does find the poor rice villages deep in the mountains and even her yamabushi, mountain hermit priests.  Turns out that now for some money you can get a week of training on the Holy Mountains and become a yamabushi yourself.  I think Tad and I found Tim's wedding present.

     Today is Free Cone Day at Ben adn Jerry's and since I have work late tonight I am headed straight there after this.  I am currently reading Walden by Thoreau (yea, why else would I throw that reference in?) and A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous Fourteenth Century which I am still not quite half-way through.  It's a good read but very dense, like the best brownie ever that they forgot to put leavening into.  Oh, and I'm hungry and it's wet out so I might argue Tad into grabbing a milk tea at my bakery.  Maybe...

     I'm only looking forward right now a few days and keeping my head down until my vacation.  I'm hoping up there it doesn't look half-bad so we might explore Albany as well, or just rest and spend a few days around family.  I will take either one at this point.  Also, I saw this car for sale the other day:





     Sweet ride.

501 books count: 65 (I worked it out, I think I had too many highlighting systems, so I condensed them down.  Now I have read the yellow, started but had to stop due to library returns or lost books in green and blue numbers for books I have setting up in queue)

     Goal is now to read 100 by the end of summer.  BAM, no problem I have tons of time now that I don't do anything interesting :p

Apr 8, 2011

     To show you what I've been doing recently all I have to say is that I finished another book.  ::sigh:: I am currently working through three books? ::thinking:: yea, three, that I am rotating between.  I devoured Poul Anderson's Brainwave from 1954.  Ohh, it was so good.  The book was about the theory that there has been an inhibitor wave that has slowed down electromagnetic impulses around the earth for the past few million years.  We have finally come out of the pulse and our brains speed up.  Everyone becomes more intelligent, both man and the animals.  Normally intelligent humans become superhuman and adapt the best they can by searching for new goals and end up building a spaceship capable of faster-than-light travel.  Many people can't take the change and either suicide or go insane.  Cults rise and fall quickly and the best is how animals gain near-human intelligence.  They can fear death, they can understand what is happening around them but are still sheep or dogs or monkeys.  It's a short read of about 150ish pages but definitely worth the effort of trying to find it.  I checked six library systems and ten used book shops before hoarding all my effort on the Brooklyn library system.

     Tad and I are going to stay in our apartment for probably six months.  We're gonna try and live here in NYC but it can be hard.  I really love the tiny Chinese bakery on the corner since I get, for 80 cents, a cup of sweet milk tea for work or just to wake you up.  I need to start looking into volunteering opportunities.  I've been thinking of needing to do something constructive with my time here.  I'm looking into foodbanks and I guess the girl scouts as always.  I do love them.

501 books count: 63 hm... I seem to be miscounting somewhere, I'll check it out for next time...

Apr 4, 2011

Quickie

     Well, we did get a place and at that exact moment it was a freaking Rube Goldberg project getting everything together.  We had to run all over town after getting money orders since we couldn't cash them.  It has been hassle after hassle.  Tad had to head into DC last weekend for class again and I had to move.  But, I had work in the evening so I was moving and cleaning up at 3AM.  I got to the new place with the final load of stuff and into bed at 4:28AM.  Waah, made me want to cry.  I was completely sleep deprived for the last two days.  I've had more caffeine than I usually do in a week I think.

     We're right on the beginning of the Chinese area here in Dyker Heights (I don't know if that's where we are but sure, it's pretty close).  Across the street is a Great Wall supermarket that has a hundred and ten different types of veggies and even a traditional Chinese medicine counter.  Down at the corner is a tiny Chinese bakery where tea with milk is 80 cents and so are most of the sweet buns.  I cannot resist.  So sweet and fluffy!

     I'll take some pics of the new place but right now I'm running around getting the extra things we need for this place.  A trashcan for sure.  Definitely need that.  Biggest problem is that we don't have internet access.  I'm across the street at the library (really, one of the things I do is look at my proximity to the local libraries) using the free wifi available.  I need to update my podcasts so badly.  What am I listening to?

     Well, I always get Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me the NPR news quiz.  I also get BBC 4's In Our Time which is an hour about a specific topic (last week was The Bhagavad Gita) with experts from Britain.  I stated recently listening to The Naked Scientist which talks about the latest journal articles and then random science topics from the ocean, to earthquakes to why teeth wiggle and don't fall out immediately.  I also listen to free buddhist audio which is lectures from retreats of some Buddhist center in England I think.  I also have the San Francisco Buddhist center podcast but I haven't yet listened to one.  I know there are more I should be hearing but I don't know what it would be.  If you have any suggestions of awesome podcasts (audio, no video ones) please leave a comment and I'll try them out.  Oh! I also listen to Warwick University has short lectures on different subjects, such as symmetry in modern science or medieval Islamic medicine.  Just fun little things.

     I will try and update with everything that's happened last week, and man has it been fun! But I have to go get my laundry and then off to work again.  I hope everyone is having a good day and I'm thinking constantly about everyone I left behind in Orlando.  Don't forget me!!!

Mar 30, 2011

...Make that four books

     Work work work.  It's been killing me.  The best part about work (besides the fact that I make money and can pay bills) is that it takes an average of 40-50 minutes to get to or from work.  I get to read a lot and listen to podcasts.  In the the last two weeks I have started four? books ::quick counting:: yea, four.  I finished two, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and Seven Years in Tibet, both of which are borrowed from the library.

     The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was great and not entirely what I expected.  A lot of people love to chat about whether Frank Baum was really writing a political essay about the Populist movement but I don't know.  I didn't see anything except about how small children look good in green dresses and such.  Until I look into this I will say that it sounds like a hoax.

     Seven Years in Tibet was wonderful.  I don't read a lot of travelogues or biographies.  This is actually one of the reasons I'm reading all 501 books if I can because I like the books I like and have bad luck choosing new genres at times.  It is the story of an independent Tibet from an outsider's view.  Heinrich Harrer's obvious love for both the Dalai Lama and Tibet itself comes through and really pulls you.  He makes his way over a period of months through the Himalayas to Tibet from an internment camp in India and meets all levels of life out on the Tibetan Plateau.  Starting with the nomads in the north to the nobles in Lhasa we are introduced to life before the Chinese invaded and learn not only their indigenous culture but their religious life.  That he was there until the first exodus of the Dalai Lama means that we get to see the full circle of life, from him fleeing into Tibet to him leaving before the Red Army.  I really want to see the movie now and the beautiful country it once was.

     Last week Tad and I went out to a stand-up routine.  I had the day off and we were both restless.  The weather was turning bad but we still decided to head into the city down to the Lowe East Side.  We stopped off at Pomme Frites, a place that serves Belgian fries with many, many types of flavored mayos.  What is Belgian fries, I hear you cry?  Potato wedges double deep-fried, it seems.  Nothing amazing but still really good.  We picked roasted eggplant mayo and got a large, meant for one hungry person.  It really fed both of us and stuffed us up.






     Remember, this is only meant for one hungry person.  It's huge!!!  The mayo was great but definitely salty after a while.  By the end of the dish we were pacing ourselves to make it through.  Very cute place, though, and even better than all of this it was hailing outside.  just tiny snow pellets frozen solid in chucks no bigger than a pencil's eraser.  This is the devastation outside following this horrific hailstorm.



     One last thing.  We have maybe found a place to live semi-permanently as we put down a deposit and we'll see tomorrow.  I'll get the chance to update everyone afterwards.  We'll see.  Cross your fingers.

     End result: 74.5/100  Huge servings, amazing varieties but a bit heavy on the grease after a while.

Pomme Frites (Fries)
123 2nd Ave (Between 7th Ave and St. Marks Place)
NY, NY 10003

501 books count: 61

Mar 19, 2011

Hm, actually I read two books

     I finished The Green Child fairly quickly, you know, with only ten pages left.  The last ten pages summed up the entire book.  Looking back at the story it seems a progression of scenes that are more and more Utopian.  The first is rural England in a small town village.  Remember that idyllic England was exactly those small, isolated areas filled with good people and calm serenity.  In fact it is not since people are lazy and stupid there as elsewhere.  The second scene is closer to perfect, a small independent country in South America.  The people are portrayed as inherently idle and simplistic.  Agrarian living is seen as a perfect society and a benevolent dictatorship (the protagonist) rules them towards a better living.  The final setting is in 'the green child's' homeland underground.  It is an isolated group of humans who seem to be more, well, more verdant.  I railed about the green child a bit in my last blog but it holds a bit more context now, having seen the society she originated in.

     The ideal society has no fear of death, no hardship and no variations.  There is one race and a strict caste system and all are complacent with it.  Even Olivero, our hero, enjoys it after rejecting his knowledge of the outside world.  There a five tiers to the caste which act more as levels of maturity which can be breached as wished.  The lowest is the level of youth and pleasure where casual sex and idleness are encouraged.  Above that is unskilled and skilled laborers who harvest their dull food supply and craft crystals which is the closest they have to art.  As with all Utopian novels the deeper influences of the author are pressed into the reader through the emphasis or neglect of all the variables of life.  It's not really fun to list but read a few Utopian novels and you can easily pick out what I'm talking about.

     While I was waiting to finish The Green Child I went back to the library and grabbed a few more books.  Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and Asimov's I, Robot among others.  I have been trying to read I, Robot for years.  UCF lost their copy about eight times and the Orlando system didn't ever have it in stock.  I could have paid for it but I already own too many books (haha, I don't think so really) and try not to buy anything I cannot pick up elsewhere.  Actually, it was in the search of I, Robot that lead me to reading The Foundation Trilogy also by Asimov.  I, Robot lived up to the airs surrounding it.  While a series of short stories it brought up ingenious scenarios and consequences that I think has been the fuel and fodder of animatronics and the imagination ever since.  Someday I will work my way through the rest of the Robot Chronicles as homage to one of the foundations (hah) of the science fiction universe as we know it.

     Also, I didn't post on St. Patrick's Day since I was pretty sleep deprived and I would have just written a post like this: co uyfe]]\h efwh uen nwefjb ewfi  eufeb ef ef  grr re jyhgfx  we3544g.... et cetera.  If you celebrated it then horay! If not well it was a Thursday.  I work til next Wed I think so I might not update until then although I have a speech contest to talk about.  I didn't compete, mind you, just observed.

501 books count:  59

Mar 16, 2011

     Japan was trashed by a both a severe earthquake and a tsunami on its Northern coast.  I haven't been writing about it since it seemed like bad luck since until yesterday or so one of Tad's friends was missing.  To write about the tragedy without knowledge of her status seemed to just beg for the worst ending.  She has been found and if you watch the Today Show she actually was on it, Canon Purdy.  I had been worried about how she was even though I don't know her well.  The catastrophe was bad enough without adding personal tragedy to it.  I am thankful that she was ok as she was in Minamisanriku which was one of the small coastal towns that was flattened.

     As for the housing search, we may only need a place now for the next month while family is in town for a wedding.  We could move and stay here for however long we wish.  It's not an ideal house because it has a twin bed and some of the appliances aren't great but it's a safe neighborhood, I know I can get to work and Tad to school.  We're still looking and considering but until Tad has some sort of job it is very hard to be anything but cautious. 

     I have finally gotten a library card and have already consumed a few books.  I added to my collection Mary Poppins and am working through a 1930s scifi called The Green Child by Herbert Read.  It has been a dull book so far and I'm two out of three sections complete.  Read loves utopias and there is a definitely a slant against American Indians as lazy and stupid.  The books is also written in a drawn out, dull style from the 1800s. I'll talk more tomorrow or the next day when I have finished this book.

     For now this is everything, there's a lot going on and spring is just around the corner.  Soon I'll have pics and we'll do crazy things.  Also, tomorrow is St Patrick's Day, so enjoy your beer.

501 books count: 57

Mar 8, 2011

I'm cheating today, here's a formula one

     I follow the footsteps of  Stephanie again over at House for Two and do my own Alphabet Blog post.  Mostly it means I don't have to do a real one today.  I can do that sometimes ::defensive::

A is for Age: 26 and getting older all the time
B is for Beer of choice: Newcastle or Guiness
C is for Career: Target, for now...
D is for favourite Drink: Tea
E is for Essential item you use everyday: Hair tie
F is for Favourite song at the moment: The Picard Song by Dark Materia ((shut up))
G is for favourite Game: Hangman
H is for Home town: Palm Harbor, FL
I is for Instruments you play: A bit of piano
J is for favourite Juice: 100% pomegranate anything mix
K is for Kids: None
L is for Last kiss: ...Your mom, last night...
M is for marriage: Three and a half years
N is for full Name: Kaitlyn
O is for Overnight hospital stays: Zero.
P is for phobias: Nothing pathological but I hate roaches
Q is for quote: "I have eaten/the plums/that were in/the icebox/and which/you were probably/saving for breakfast/Forgive me/they were delicious/so sweet/and so cold"-William Carlos Williams
R is for biggest Regret: I still regret in 6th grade I went to LutherRock and dropped the pick for some guys guitar into the sound hole ::cringe:: Sorry!
S is for sports: I agree with Stephanie, Devil Rays for ever!
T is for Time you wake up: 7-8 AM, unless I am very tired
U is for colour of underwear: Underwear colored
V is for Vegetable you love: Umm... all of them?
W is for Worst Habit: Talking too much.  Being too happy?  Being able to do other people's jobs better than they do?
X is for X-rays you've had: Teeth multiple times, left ankle, abdomen, lower back, umm... that should be all
Y is for Yummy food you make: I make an amazing traditional Irish dinner for St. Patrick's Day, which I am not making this year.  I am actually very very sad about this fact.
Z is for zodiac sign: Libra ((I always assume it's because I like books and libri isn't a sign))

Mar 7, 2011

Stranger in a Big City

     I need something to fill my time up when not at work or exploring with Tad.  I don't really know anybody here in the city and I feel pretty lost sometimes when it's a long evening.  I want to talk to people, chat.  I don't drink a lot so there goes the whole club/bar scene that is the mainstay of most 20somethings here in the city.  I might join a bookclub, book circle, reading circle, whatever you call it.  I'm looking around right now sniffing out the scenes.  Most of these still involve liquor but I suppose I don't have to drink if I don't want to.  I'm looking for a novel book one or something that has a lot of interesting reads.  Dunno.  I'll tell you what I come up with.

     Tad and I walked just under seven miles yesterday in the rain.  I tracked it just to know how freaking long we walked.  We went from Bed-Stuy down to Downtown Brooklyn through to Carrol Gardens and over to the edge of Park Slope.  Leave me a comment if the link doesn't work, that's from my map my ride account and I can't tell if it works for everyone.  Ok, I could but I'm lazy.  What did we see on this soaked adventure?  A bizarre looking hospital.




     Tad and I agree it looks like it should be in space.  Floating in space with those weird column things on the corners and the black blocky things on the top.  Straight out of a sci-fi.  We also walked passed a place (then stepped inside and had a snack) I saw listed on the NY Times Doughnut Tour of NYC.  The first place there, Dough, is the one we went to.  We had a blood orange glazed donut with candied orange peel.  Cheap, running about two dollars for every donut and $1.75 for a large French-press coffee.  There isn't a lot of seating as you can tell from the first picture but Tad and I were just glad to be out of the rain at the time.  I really wanted the chocolate with Earl Grey but they weren't making anymore by the time we stopped in.  Some of their other flavors were chocolate and chipotle, cheesecake with graham cracker crumble and cafe au lait.  I would definitely say stop by if you are in the area, it's on Lafayette Ave umm, somewhere South of Myrtle.  I'll put the address at the bottom in anyone else is interested.

     So after sevenish sopping miles and puddling our way through the subway system back home we had to do laundry.  If I ever do a thesis in meteorology it will be on the frequency of rain based off of the timing of a random population needing to leave their house for just a minute.  I can probably gather enough data within hours.  Everytime I had to stop out, to put the clothes in the dryer, to go and pick them up, even to just walk back it was raining.  Just to make me wet, I swear.  I had at least 10 items hanging last night that would not dry due to the humid (hah! no compared to FL for sure) atmosphere.  My shoes were still wet as of this morning although finding Tad's fan and putting it on everything the whole day finally completed the job.

     End Result: ***1/2 Dough is great for a try and a good deal for a snack or fun breakfast. Small variety and little space.

Dough: Specialty Store (Donuts)
305 Franklin Ave (Lafayette Ave)
Bed-Stuy Brooklyn, NY 11238

Mar 5, 2011

I saw death rising from the earth

     This quote is from a Phillip K. Dick novelette, A Scanner Darkly.  You might remember the Keanu Reeves' movie that was done in rotoscope.  I watched the movie with Tad this week and this line from the ending of the film has been echoing through my head for days.  This chilling story is about a drug pandemic sweeping the world and no way to combat it.  It follows an undercover narc through his time undercover and ends on a progressive down note.  It has a few unexpected twists and I recommend you watch/read it.  I want to read more Phillip K. Dick stories ::sad::

     I went to a crazy concert thing on Thursday night called Cathedral Scan.  They take the blueprint from a cathedral and scan it through some digital program thing and well.. check the link out and watch the video.  It made for a cool concert.  The first two acts were not as good though, in fact they went on so long and were so painful at points that I almost left a few times.  One of them was just someone holding a camera up to random objects and making random electronic noises based on how they thing it should go.  There was no musical theory, no artistic endeavoring, nothing really worth my interest.  I took a picture myself at the concert to show you a bit.




     After the show Tad and I went right around the corner to a rice pudding food shop called Rice to Riches.  We tried the epic size for $8.50 (a bit pricier that we had been looking for) and got two flavors, hit and run custard (lemony) and Panna cotta (creamy).  Between us we finished it pretty quickly but didn't really go looking for more.  Like all rice pudding it is thick and filling and the lemon custard was vivacious and tangy in your mouth.  The best part is that you can take home the bowl and spoon and reuse it yourself.  Right now mine is currently holding my tofu.

     You can see the lemon custard divide on the left there.  Yea, not a great deal for the price but it was filling and delicious.  I need to work on my pictures a bit more... Hmm..

     Anything else interesting?  Well, we're still looking for housing, nothing good so far but we've got the rest of the month before we get thrown out.  Went to the fancy cheese shop and got three and a half pounds of different cheeses for $6.99.  Sweet deal for sure.  Oh, the snow has melted away and the trees are looking weird.  Let me show you.  Tad claims it's the buds are first sign of spring.  I think they have tumors.

     End result: Rice to Riches gets a 3.5/5 for value.  It is unique but it also is way too pricey.

Rice to Riches: Dessert store
37 Spring St  (between Mott St & Mulberry St)
New York, NY 10012

Mar 1, 2011

Ow, I have a headache

     What do you do when you feel burned out/exhausted/ready to drop?  What things make you revive when you have that headache that won't go away?  I do not lie when I say that my comfort in these cases is tea.  Actually, that's pretty expected of me if you know me fairly well.  I blame Hannah-chan.  Many people I'm good friends with have never even met Hannah but she's still, in my head at least, one of my closest friends and will remain that way until we deliberately stop talking to each other.  I remember first year of college and we didn't have anything in the dorm but a crappy coffee maker that we made super super strong jasmine tea in.  We had jasmine because when I went to Canada with Tad the summer (or maybe two) before I picked up my first of many tins of loose leaf tea.  I drank that swill even though in recollection I remember sometimes burning it or making it so strong I actually grimaced even pouring it into my second hand tea cup and saucer. 

     Ok, where was I going with this?  Oh right, headaches and personal remedies.  I never feel like I'm going to get better if I don't have a cup of tea.  I take meds and they never immediately work.  I try sleeping but even after waking up I still feel out of sorts.  I love my tea and almost any kind, any time of the day makes me happy.  Happier?  Either way, the day definitely lifts itself out of the dregs as I scald my tongue on some silly flavor from some plant leaves grown in an exotic country.

     Tad and I walked the length of Central Park Sunday after once again trying to decide which museum or random thing we wanted to do.  I really enjoy the Park.  I really don't feel like I'm in a city or that everything around me is just concrete and debris and the progress of a society that needs to get something done today.  Most of the snow has melted away by this point and the grass is coming back green.  I still can't believe that grass up here is green even under actual snow.  It seems so out of place like finding a candy while paying off your credit card.

     Hum de dum, anything else I should mention?  I guess just that it's pretty quiet right now.

Feb 25, 2011

Blank

     In the last four days I have started writing a post three times.  The other day I was so tired I just napped.  I started working full time at the store and this week I am opening for five days straight.  Remember though that now I have to use public transportation everyday so in order to be at work at 8 AM I have to take one of two buses, the 7:09 AM or the 7:25 AM bus.  In order to take the bus I have to be awake, dressed and at the bus stop minutes before it is supposed to arrive.  Thus my waking at 6:30 AM now.  Most people will rise up and complain about how they have been doing this sort of routine (or earlier) for much longer.  I understand and sympathize.  I, on the other hand, had work before this week at 2:30 PM at the earliest, which was Sunday.  My classes for the last few years never started before 11:30 and both Tad and I can be a bit of a night owl. 

     This is just an excuse though.  The real reason I haven't written in a few days is I feel there is nothing to write about.  Tad and I have been staying in as I adjust to my ever-changing schedule (which is going to give me lots of moolah hopefully) and all I've done is catch up on world news everyday and watch a movie from the library here and there. 

     Today we went to Toastmasters.  This is a national club that helps people overcome their problems with public speaking.  It uses informal environment, a mixture of impromptu/practiced speeches and guidance from more experienced members.  I will probably be joining it as a member although I will have to give ten speeches to complete the competency communication series.  Everyone was very nice to talk to, though, and I do need other things to do up here.  I can't always sit around and hang out with Tad.

     Last I am giving a shout out to my sister, Gara, who is moving from Rochester, NY to Oakridge, TN this weekend with my parents.  I hope everything goes better than my housing move did.  You know, having actual housing and all.  Jaa for now.

Feb 20, 2011

A Slow Day

     Since I have nothing else to do today I am watching Julie and Julia.  Ok, who cares if it is about blogging and cooking and maybe even what I originally wanted to do with this blog.  What?  No, not the cooking and Julia Child's BFF on the interwebs and all.  Just something cool like that.  Lobster killer.  Only, if you've seen the movie or read the book (I have yet to) they were in Queens and I in Brooklyn.  Also, they have actually jobs.  Oh, and I'm not obsessed with my blog, I just do it in my free time.

     I finished the book Three Men in a Boat and it was just as good the last page as the first.  I once again suggest you read it.  Hum de dum.  My mind is all over the place today.  Worst part is, of course, that I really have nothing better to do but looking for a nicer job or apartment.  I have done some of these very, very essential tasks this morning already.  Well, looking into it.  Started, really.

     What I should do today is clean the apartment now that my sister-in-law and her friend have left for school.  I also picked up the tiniest apples in existence.  They were called Lady Apples.
The large apple is a normal Gala apple and the small ones are obviously the adorable Lady Apples.  I need some amazing cheese to go with amazing tiny apples.

     I should review this brunch place everyone went to yesterday here in Brooklyn.  The Farm On Adderley is a bus and about five blocks walking from us here and we went out for a last bang before Anna and her friend went back for school.  Brunch was amazing and everyone had different dish.  I had the Farmer's Breakfast which was scrambled eggs on top of steamed swiss chard on top of home fries.  Anna had poached eggs over fried trout with salad greens and hollandaise sauce.  Each meal was delicious and a good mixture of breakfast foods.  It was so packed with people that it must be worthwhile, although we got there just before the real rush behind us.  I will be going there again when I have another occasion, perhaps for dinner.  Want a rating? I would say A.  9? Three thumbs up?  Hmm, I will have to think of a rating system if I keep going out to eat.


501 books count: 56

Feb 18, 2011

Three Men in a Boat

     These men are not the butcher, baker and candlestick-maker.  Three Men in a Boat (to Say Nothing of the Dog) is a short novel from 1889 written by Jerome K. Jerome about the adventures of three young Victorians boating down the Thames.  It is filled with hilarious anecdotes, picturesque scenes from the British countryside and bumbling about.  It actually has a scene that no matter the context is one of the most hilarious things I can imagine: trying to open a tin can without a can opener.  I have seen this in real life so I know how truly amazing this gets.  First you try a small knife if available.  It breaks.  Then a stone to smash it about and crack it open.  This dents the can until it is a misshapen horror but does not break it open.  So then you get frustrated and irrational.  A log?  Throwing it against the side of your car?  Driving over it in your car? All these and more can occur and every time it will end poorly.  Log smashes someone in the head.  Scratch and dent your car.  Blow a tire.  And still the can does not open.

     I haven't finished the novel yet despite only being 135 pages it is rather wordy and I am really only reading it on the trip in and out of the city.  When I finish it I will glorify it some more.  If you like silly British incompetence I suggest reading this.  Either way, I suggest reading this book.  It really will make you snicker.

     What have I seen in NYC recently?  It is fashion week you know.  I saw this dress in a window on Grand St. down near Chinatown.  I swear it came directly out of my childhood.

     Hmm.. what else has happened?  I met up with one of our groomsmen (and Tad's dear college friend) Mike yesterday for Japanese.  It was a nice place near his work up in Midtown called Ise that had fairly cheap items for a Japanese restaurant.  They did a hot pot filled with veggies and tofu but a real Japanese place is not somewhere to go for a vegetarian.  I thought there was daikon radish in the dish and it was fishcake.  Ick.  My stomach was pretty upset last night even if I didn't swallow any of it.  Psychosomatic or not I was still feeling pretty queasy.

     OH!  People have been asking to see what our current living space is like.  I took a couple of pictures.  Remember we're only living here until we find some real housing.


     That's right, say hi Tad!  Not much but it's fine for a month or two, very spacious of just two people.

Feb 15, 2011

Oscar Wilde wrote a children's book

     So you may be thinking to yourself I wonder what Kai did for Valentine's Day.  You know, being in the Big Apple and all... but the truth is much less glamorous than you are imagining.  We made dinner from left overs although we did indulge a bit and eat some delightful nibbles (chocolate cigars) as already mentioned this weekend.  This is going to be the slow week while we finally get everything together.  Tad's schooling is picking up and we have a few events planned in the next few days but we'll see.

     The bathroom in the apartment we're staying in is an absolute horror.  There's mold growing all through the grout around the tub and it looked like no one had scrubbed it in months.  I've taken the task though of scrubbing in really well once a day now.  I've done it three days running now and it looks loads better.  I used scrubbing bubbles, white vinegar and some Formula 401 with bleach to get rid of the nasty ring inside the tub, bleach out the grout a bit and clean the tiles up.  It isn't a bad place to rent for a month or so but there is no way I could keep showering in that cesspool. 

     I also washed the delicates by hand and they are currently hanging (or laying flat in the sweater's case) on the empty bunk bed in the room.  It works fairly well as a drying rack although I think it is mostly the dry air leeching the water out.  I have done a whole load of laundry now, both at home and at the laundromat.  It was a nice place with an old Jewish lady complaining.  So in reality, just like Florida. :p

     I did realize it had been a good while since I had added my count to the 501 books list so I have amended this by reading The Happy Prince and Other Tales by Oscar Wilde.  This is a series of moral stories by the famous writer/playwright for children.  Good read and a bit different than what I was expecting.  They have a sort of double quality to them I really enjoyed.  Not too much to say really but I would recommend you to read them just to say you have.

     501 books count: 55

Feb 14, 2011

Lolcats V-Day

Happy Valentine's Day

     Here is a good article on modern perceptions of love.  Read it when you have the time.

Feb 13, 2011

Essay Topic: What I Did This Weekend

     I forgot to talk about Friday in my last post.  Tad had an early meeting at school so I went and wandered around Union Square Park area.  I went to Pan-ya, a small Japanese bakery over on 3rd Ave and 9th St. that makes real Japanese convenience foods, like melon-pan and individually wrapped onigiri.  Melon-pan is just bread with cookie dough cooked on top and thatched to look like the outside of a melon like a honeydew.  I love this bread and you can finish it usually in just over five big bites but it is a costly habit to pick up.  I've had it maybe five? times in my life and have determined that I can't eat it as often as I would like (everyday).

     After buying a melon-pan for snackies I wandered up to the farmer's market at the actual Union Square Park.  After gaping at the expensive local honeys, ostrich meat and mushrooms I ended up with some obscure apple breed that claimed to be both sweet and tangy.  I regret so much that I can't remember what it was, maybe starting with an a?  Or maybe not.  Apples in hand/bag, I found myself around 6th Ave and 20th St. where an old church was recommissioned as a set of boutique shops just recently opened.  I remember when I visited Tad in Sept 2009 I had seen it under construction.
     That's right, this is actually a set of shops, ranging from a deli in the back right to a salon on the second floor and a restaurant in the top.  Awesome.

     Urg, this post is getting long even without mentioning going to MoMA today or finishing with Ethiopian food (very vegetarian friendly) and a kosher bakery on 115 2nd Ave, Moishe's Bake Shop.  For reference, GO TO MOISHE'S!  The gentleman running the shop was wonderful and charming and the chocolate cigar was amazing.  Is amazing.  Whatever, all I can tell you is this place makes great baked treats.  I don't even know what it is and I want another one.  As does Anna, my sister-in-law and her friend.  In fact, they are headed back tomorrow to get another one.  Yes, it was that good.

Feb 12, 2011

It Snowed Today

     This is the first time that I can remember where snow has fallen.  Except vague impressions of the brownouts/blackouts of 1989, when in snowed flurries in St. Petersburg, FL.  Even though the snow didn't fall hard nor did it fall in abundance I enjoyed it immensely.  We went over to near Battery Park to the American Indian museum (admission: free) and saw the exhibits there about the Horse Nations and a general showing of paraphernalia of various South, Central and North American Indian tribes.  It was an interesting viewing and had some beautiful artifacts.  Also enjoyed just hanging around the old Customs House but I'll see if I can go back and get pictures of the four 'Continent' statues and their racist stereotyping.  Just to gape at them I suppose.

     After finding out that the train we needed to get to the Cloisters is currently not running for about three to five stops we attempted to try another train, which also doesn't run uptown this weekend.  Great.  We ended up going to the New Amsterdam Market on Front St which has small vendors and will be open til Valentine's Day and then weekly beginning May.  We tried some naturally and home brewed cream soda, some strawberry sorbet and expensive cashews.  I thought it was going to be a lot bigger than the small room it was in but it has some really nice shops to meander through.  Despite the delightful food we didn't buy anything big and just nibbled a bit.  Actually, our cost for all of today is nine dollars.  We bought week unlimited passes to the subway, bought a melon-pan from a store in the Financial District, spent five dollars at the Market and then after wasting all this time headed to midtown to check out the Guggenheim museum for two dollars admission.  Saturday from 5:45 til 7:45 PM they have "pay-what-you-wish" admission price which to me meant a quarter but Tad guilted me into a dollar each.  We took most of the free audio tour and saw Picassos and this and that and I cannot see the cyclist in this.  Tad sees a 5 at the top from his back but I thought it was his face until he pointed out that it's a sideways five.  That means too abstract for me. 

     Once again I've let the day slip away from me and cannot review half of what I've seen and done in the city in the last two days.  I will try to write another post catching up in the morning, 

Feb 10, 2011

Local food, local color

     If nothing else I wanted to show this link from the New York Times: Feng Shui Cube

     So I had my first night at work yesterday and it was definitely a bit hectic.  The Target I work for is two stories of merchandise and a floor with parking and such.  I probably put away five carts of go backs, reshops, whatever you want to call them.  The people weren't rude to me at least.  Well, so far.  Everyone wails about the people of New York and how they have themselves on a pedestal and all but most people were very courteous and didn't even mind when I admitted once or twice it was my first night working and I haven't a clue where the shoe section is (it's on the second floor, just so you guys know). 

      I am starting to get why people buy from local food vendors around here.  As great as a Target or Walmart would be you don't need it for bread.  I can get fresh loaves from the Italian bakery right down the street.  Or the fruits and veggies stand where I only need to grab two apples to feel happy.  Also, I can shop deals or by whims much easier.  What I can't do is get a good snack for a trip without going to the nearest grocery store seven or eight blocks away.  How sad.  What is an interesting view, though, is that I am currently living near the Hasidic Jewish area so I see them running up and down, on the bus, wherever with me.  I don't live by the kosher bakeries or anything, they are a few streets away, but I could stop by there some times.  I wonder what sort of other foods they eat that I don't know.

     Ok, I should review the restaurant I went to with Tad and sister-in-law Tuesday.  It's a small shop by St. Marks Place on 1st Ave and 14th St. called Curlie's Lunch.  This place is completely vegetarian and it was great.  I had a cheddar and bacon burger while Tad had the burger blueplate special of a disco burger.  A disco burger is a burger topped with fries, cheese and gravy.  The fries were a bit dry for me but still amazing.  The burgers were delightful and I never has so much fun eating a food that would normally go against my whole diet.  Curlie's burgers are a mix of soy proteins, seeds, beans, veggies, garlic and onion, the whole works all on a ciabatta roll.  I squeezed on ketchup and mustard and ate a full and completely satisfying meal.  They even serve vegan cake which we didn't try but my sister-in-law says blows your mind.  Maybe another time.  How is the prices? An average burger runs about 9 bucks but it comes with a side of fries or a salad.  A full entree is more like 13 or so, it seems the prices on their menu online are cheaper than the ones in the store by about 50 cents or so.  Hmm. 

     Really that's it for now.  I am hoping to just out of here in a little bit and head to the Met to go look at all the pretty things.  Maybe the Museum of Natural History.  We'll see where we end up.

Feb 8, 2011

Chinese New Years

     I mapped my walking trips for the last two days and just from wandering around Manhattan Tad and I walked over 10 miles.  Good for us although tonight it started getting really cold and my fingers did not agree with that.  I swear I tried to write yesterday but my Windows system decided it was no longer able to read my SD card damn you.  After about six different restarts I can now load my pictures to facebook or whatever.

     Chinese New Years Parade.  I didn't actually get to see the parade.  I, silly little me, thought that I could use a NYC events site to find out the time and vague location of the parade.  According to the Chinese society website I was using the parade started at 11:30 AM and went through the main streets of Chinatown.  So my sister-in-law, Tad and I headed down and hit Canal St. at about 11:45 finding a place near the start of the parade route on Mott St.  An hour passes, filled with jostling people and an old Chinese lady pushing her way past me and about four other people.  Maybe she couldn't understand us, maybe she could but she pushed through everyone to get a spot up with the kids right at the front.  About 1PM suddenly everything gets to me.  It could have been the crowd pressing harder and more fiercely, it could have been dehydration and overheating from the sun on me, it could have been I locked my knees and I was close to fainting.  All I know is just after 1 I start feeling nauseated.  My head started swimming and the headache I'd had all morning was overwhelming.  I stagger out of the crowd and take a moment to breathe.  In a crowd of who knows how many that's a little harder to do than you think.  I'm wedged in a store door corner trembling and doubled over trying not to vomit across the sidewalk.  Not fun.

     To make a long story short I got some juice and we wandered around and ended up at the corner of Mott St. and Worth St. right at Confucius Square.  I couldn't see a thing but we boosted my sister-in-law up on a trashcan rim at the streetlight and she took my great pictures.  Here are some now:
     
      In case you didn't know, it's the year of the Rabbit.  This is the first float and I think they were dual language.
      There you go, there are seven cameras visible in this shot.
      These signs are the different provinces of China.  Kinda cool if you can recognize them.
     Lion dance or something.  I dunno, it doesn't really look like a dragon.  Well, that's a brief summation of the Parade.  All I saw was the top of the dragons here and there.  Also a red head who complained very, very loudly just so the lady in front of her would move.

     Oh, also had amazing dumplings from Happy Dumplings on Mulberry St. across from Columbus Park.  $3 for eight veggie boiled dumplings.  Otherwise, $1.25 for five fried pork and chives.  Both were delightful. The place was overflowing after the parade so you know it has to be good.  Nom nom nom.  That's it for today.  I'll mention a few places I've been tomorrow.

Feb 6, 2011

Sleep is for the weak, aka me

     I have been back for a while today but I have only just now gotten my photos uploaded to the computer and onto facebook.  I will take time tomorrow (I swear!) to talk about the parade and what else I've found in New York.  One thing I will say is that the information about the parade was useless.  The site, which hosted the parade, claimed it was at 11:30 AM.  The parade did not even start until 1 or 1:15 PM.  Until tomorrow.

Feb 5, 2011

In the Winter, In the City

     Flew into NYC today.  There was a toddler behind me on the flight but he was adorable.  He grabbed my shirt while I was reading and then we played Peak-a-boo.  Luckily he fell asleep right before we descended so he didn't ruin his good impression with lots of screaming from aching ears.  I am only wearing three layers outside, I'm rather proud of myself: a long sleeve shirt, a short one atop of that and a trench coat.  My toes were numbing by the time we stopped in at a restaurant for lunner (lunch/dinner) so I think I need a second pair of socks for now.  Me and my wimpy extremities.

     Tomorrow is the Chinatown Chinese New Year parade so Tad and I are going to head over that ways tomorrow morning. I was going to say more but really, I will talk about it tomorrow.

     On a random note the only books I brought with me to NYC are Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson and a book of poems on NYC that my mother gave me.  The Mars trilogy is an award-winning trio of books mapping Mars from its start as a scientific colony to its own political and social force.  I'm about a hundred pages in and I really have enjoyed it.  I admit it isn't on my list of 501 books but sometimes you can't get everything.  This was recommended to me by a guest at Target one day a good year or two ago after we got talking about science fiction and Asimov and who knows what else.

Feb 4, 2011

Migration Patterns of Annoying Birds

     Here I am at my parents enjoying my last day in Florida in the only good weather in the country (71 degrees) and what do I wake up to? Drunk birds.  What? Never heard of a drunken bird?  Every year on their way up to the North the cedar waxwings stop on by and eat the fermented berries from the cherry laurels.  They come in droves and are deafening.  Absolutely deafening.  Well, after eating enough berries they start staggering.  I won't lie, I remember watching my cat as a child just sit on the porch, anticipating them falling onto the ground.  Unfortunately she was in a screened-off porch and when the birds fell they just bounced off and laid dazed and drunk out of their little birdie minds.  It definitely feels like that today. 

     It is also overcast and I get the great joy of flying into the Big Apple during 'intermittent snow.'  I hope that doesn't mean my flight will be intermittently canceled.  I can't wait to see Tad though.  He promised to meet me right off the AirTrain so that will be nice.  Yay for cold weather I guess.  It is supposed to get down to 14 degrees Tuesday night so I won't be missing out on all this freezing weather.  Oh darn.

     Packing some clothes is all I'm really up for today.  I have to return a game which decided to riddle my hard drive with errors.  All I wanted was a cheap, silly ten dollar game.  That will teach me.  Oh well, that's all for today.  I don't know what I'll be doing in NYC quite yet but we'll see.  I'll try and keep this up.

Feb 3, 2011

Egypt is Hot HOT HOT!!

     Yea, so now Egypt is burning and it is crazy over there.  Pro- and Anti-Mubarak protests are getting even more violent and now the army is joining in.  At least the violence has settled down since dawn has broken.  With the Army beginning to side with the protesters and their intervention last night who knows what will happen in the next couple of days (reference).  I wonder though, which side should we back.  I have my own opinions but I ask, should we side the pro-American dictator of 30 years or the democratic but religious-based protesters?  As America we should want democracy everywhere but we also want a stable and nonthreatening Middle East.  Hm.. Who knows?

     Spinning around the world Australia has been hit by a Category 4 hurricane.  They have been very unlucky with the weather but if you have some spare change please donate to a major (and not specific) relief organization to help all these unfortunate people.  I will post a few links at the bottom.

     On a lighter note, here issomething I bet you didn't know about Australia.  An Unknown Australian Danger: The Drop Bear

Doctors Without Borders
Queensland Government Disaster Relief
Red Cross

***One last thing.  I am tagging Stephanie Sanderson from House for Two. just for being so wonderful!***

Jan 30, 2011

I'm leaving... In a Moving Truck

It doesn't harmonize quite as well as on a jet plane but there you have it.  I'm headed out of the state of Florida to the big city.  I mean, the really big city, New York New York.  Why? Why would I choose to go there?  Husband.  Also I got a transfer at work there so at least I will have something to do.  Plus it will help pay for everything.   Moving in three days.  I packed everything up but it looks like I have to parse it all down.  I have used the word parse every time I talk about this.  Parse it down, parse parse parse.  Worst of it is I've only said it once to each person I've talked to but I know I have been overusing it.  Ho ho, hum de dumm... Let's see, what have I been up to.  Oh right! Aprons.

 

     This first one was for a friend.  It's based off of Harley Quinn from the Batman comics and series.  Honestly I was bored one Tuesday and spent a good four to six hours just cutting and stitching and debating.  She loves it though and her sister, a very close friend of mine as well, has declared that it is in fact hers.  I was going to make a matching Joker one but I don't have the green to really make a good one.  I don't know how I would do it either but a matching set would have been awesome.  I'll put up an awful sketch of what I would probably do for the Joker one.  Just don't laugh too hard.  Ok, just don't leave me lame comments mostly.
     This one on the other hand, is a kitty apron.  Meow.  This one is for one of my closest friends and she loves cats.  A lot.  I made it mostly yesterday and stayed up til about 2 AM just to finish it.  Aww, I just realized I never put whiskers on the cat faces!  And now my sewing supplies are packed away.  Hmm.... maybe I will just do it anyways, I have nothing to do for the moment.So the fabric is the breeds of cats with paw prints and the cats are made to resemble some of B.'s kitties.  They are that strippey mottled cat look, hmm, which one is that.  Not really calico or tortoise. I haven't presented it to her yet so this is the first announcement, well, this and facebook.  But really, what am I supposed to do when people ask me to post up cute pictures of my craftings?  That's right, bend to their every whim.  Booya.