Archive for March, 2008

Friday Coffee Shop Tally

Who I’ve seen walk past while I’ve sat and “worked”:

1) The student with the highest grade in my class. First she stopped for a smoke break, and then later she walked by.

2) The girl who is always in the Teaching Tech Support office when I go to rent a laptop.

3) Fellow Latin Americanist and socio-cultural cohortmate. I tapped on the window but she didn’t see me. I think she was heading to class.

4) Her roommate with another ling-anth (both cohortmates). Headed in the wrong direction to see me. Otherwise I would have made faces at them, and they would have looked at me like I was crazy. Which is nothing new.

5) Socio-cultural cohortmate with his anthro-history girlfriend/partner. They walked down the block, and then back again on the other side of the street.

6) English PhD guy that I see at all the GEO meetings/ rallies. He’s cute. He also knew that it was Sisyphus doomed to push the boulder up the hill for all eternity (my friend and I asked him this for some reason that I can’t remember now).

7) Bike teammate. He’s a roadie, but for some reason he was on a mountain bike. Without a helmet. Boo. He rode back in the other direction carrying a bag of groceries.

8 ) SNREd girl who did her undergrad here… friend of a friend, but I don’t think she knows my name.

9) Documentary seminar-mate. The one who can be counted on to carry the discussion during a lull.

10) A ling-anth (writing up) who’s name I can never remember! I always see her, though… coffee shops, around the building… I wish I were better at remembering names.

11) Another documentary seminar-mate. The one who does research on Japanese pornos. He came in and said ‘hi.’ 🙂


Macs and the Mall

I had a 9:15 appointment with the Mac Geniuses this morning. I love the Apple Store. Love them.

This is the third time this year that I’ve had something go horribly wrong with my Mac. Maybe that doesn’t sound like such a nice endorsement, but considering that I’d have something go horribly wrong with my old Dell at least once a month, that’s saying something. Something good. About Macs.
Plus, consider that with my Dell, I’d call customer service, sit on the phone listening to crappy music for a half hour, get a machine, get another machine, talk to a person, get transfered to another ‘person’ but really get a machine, and then finally talk to someone who would tell me that my warranty had run out and there was nothing they could do. So then I’d take the computer apart myself and poke at things until it stopped making weird noises.

With my Mac, I hand it over to the real-live Genius (and yes, I’m going to use their cute little title, I like them that much) make a sad face and say something to the effect of “Umm, the thingie that’s supposed to do that other thing doesn’t seem to be working, and I think it’s missing another thingie that I might have broken.” And then they fix it. For free.

Last time, the one downfall was that I ended up spending way too much QT at the mall. 12 hours. Like, totally, oh my gosh. ::hair toss:: But Macytosh was looping Gray-Screen-O-Doom on startup, so I waited. Patiently. With Starbucks and Mrs. Field’s for support.

This time, I was an idiot and dropped my charger on my keyboard, and broke the “f” key. Considering my last name starts with “f”, and every username I have for every account ever therefore has “f” in it, I was bummed. When I handed Macy over to the Genius, he took one look at the keyboard (cracked in one spot, with cat fur stuck between the keys and smudges from my filthy hands all over the wrist-rests) and said “Er… we’re going to go ahead and replace this whole top part here, at no cost to you.”

An hour later, and I am headed back to the bus with a bright-and-shiny new keyboard on my faithful laptop. I love Apple. Mostly I love the Geniuses.

Strike Over Early

No elimination of the ten-term rule?

I’m still striking, dammit.

No, just kidding. Yay contract.  (Let’s see if my students show up today!)

Ann Arbor Film Festival, Take One

I went for the chocolate, I stayed for the coffee. Or something like that.

Actually, I went for the films, I swear. Tonight was the opening night of the 46th annual Ann Arbor Film Festival. This is the first year (in the five years that I’ve lived here) that I’ve gone, and I went all-out and bought a week-long pass. After adding up the cost of all the screenings I wanted to see, plus the cost of the “Opening Gala”, I decided that the pass was worth it. Plus, since we’re on strike today and tomorrow, and I only have one class to attend (the lecture I teach for) on Thursday, I’ll be able to peruse the film screenings that didn’t immediately catch my eye, too!

I was supposed to meet a friend there, but didn’t see him (later got a voicemessage apologizing for not being able to make it– the earlier lecture he went to ran long. No worries, there are four more days of films!). I did see several classmates, but did not socialize.  The “Gala” was a bit of a madhouse, what with the free food and free alcohol. Unfortunately, I was feeling a little nauseous and claustrophobic in the crowd, and mostly sat and people-watched off to the side for two hours after I ate my mini-plate of food (tasty though it was). I heard a rumor that there were chocolates (and chocolate fondue!) somewhere in the party, but I did not see them. Sadness. I did, however, find the free coffee.

The proprietor of RoosRoast was standing by the table when I went back for seconds, and I said “You’ve got some good coffee here.” He said, “Oh really? What do you like about it?” So of course I blurted out the first thing that popped into my head: “It’s not burned.”

Seriously, though. It wasn’t burned. This seems to be a novelty in this town. The coffee at ERC is indeed only a dollar when you bring your own mug, but you get what you pay for. Wow, do you get what you pay for.

Mental note-to-self: bring $$ for a “donation” to RoosRoast tomorrow. They will provide me with a free bag of coffee beans and a t-shirt. His reply to my “it’s not burned” comment? “Diggit.”

Oh yeah, the films!

There were some really cool films– all of the openers were shorts, between 2 and 13 minutes long. Four stick in my head:

1) “Doxology“- A film starring the filmmaker as protagonist! And he was cute! Weird as all hell, but awesome. Can’t really be described… kind of an introspective piece on God? Bouncing tennis balls, God sitting in a swimsuit and sipping a piña colada in the middle of a snow storm, protagonist tangos with a car.

2) “Yours Truly“- I want to know how they did this. It was like a montage, but moving. Bits and pieces of old films spliced together with animation and live film footage…. really cool.

3) “Safari“- Bug’s eye view of… bugs. Really amazing shots… up-close and personal with insects. Kinda creepy, but really cool. The filmmaker was present, too!

4) “Portrait #2: Trojan“- Destruction of the Trojan nuclear power plant in the PNW. Beautiful photographic composition. Bravo.

Come to think of it, “Frog Jesus” and “My Olympic Summer” were also really cool. “Frog Jesus” was so short (2 min) but hilarious in its brevity. Kid decides that the frogs he captures need their ‘own’ Jesus. So he gathers them around and crucifies one of them. The end.

Yeah, I’m going to Hell for laughing at that one.

I still really want chocolate, though.

Easter Sunday: A Photo Essay

Easter Sunday

Lots of work to be done at the kitchen table.

Sunday Morning
Lots of work. 75 exams to grade. 15 short essay questions each.
A lot of work
After the finishing the first page of each exam in the first section, I decided to take a break and make a quiche.
First, to make the crust.
Whole wheat pastry flour, a stick of butter, a pinch of salt. Very basic.
You must weight it down with dried beans so it doesn’t bubble during pre-baking.
Beans in the Crust
While the crust baked, I sautéed some leftover red chard for the filling.
Chopped Chard
Chard Sautée
Meanwhile, Kyle played with Speckle the Cat.
I think Speckle was too smart for that ping-pong ball, though.
Smart Kitty
Once pre-baked, the crust was filled with chard, roasted potatoes/ garlic/ sweet onion/ rosemary, and egg custard.
Quiche Filling
Egg and Cream
Egg Custard
Work dwindled while the quiche baked.
… Perhaps “dwindled” is too strong a word…
Slightly Less Work
The final product spurred us to [take another break to] go outside.
Final Product
Living with Kyle is a lot like living with my brother… always “amusing.”
Funny Kyle
A short hike in the nearby woods…
Tree and Plough 1 Tree and Plough 2
… And back home to finish work!
almost done!
The End

Game Time

Here’s a fun game to play!

These are the ingredients I purchased today, or already had on hand and plan to use shortly. What am I going to make?


a couple of cloves of garlic

a lot of fresh basil leaves

a small amount of marscapone cheese

2 cups smooshed-up chickpeas

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup chickpea flour

liberal amounts of olive oil

liberal amounts of Parmesan cheese

some chopped-up chives

2 eggs

a pinch of nutmeg

a pinch of salt

one sweet onion (sliced)


yeah, okay, it could be [almost] anything. as a hint, here are the tools i’m going to use:

rolling pin

food processor

water boiling in a large pot

my fingers

a large, sharp knife

A Storm’s A-Brewin’

I love how one inch of snow (predicted to fall overnight) warrants a winter storm warning.

Come ON people, we are living at a latitude where this sort of weather should not be surprising!

(Even in March.)

Edit: Okay. This looks like more than one inch. It kind of makes me want to curl up inside with a mug of tea and a book.  Hmm, excellent idea.