Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Things to Remember.

First off, when the cookie recipe says "mix dry ingredients," sugar is NOT a dry ingredient. Oh sure, it looks dry, and it feels dry, but if you read just ahead in the recipe you'll see that the sugar is to be creamed with the butter and the eggses in step #2. If you've already gone and mixed it with the other so-called "dry" ingredients at that point, it's just too darn bad. Your blender will threaten to catch fire, and you'll end up having to mix the dry stuff in with your hands, a la bread dough, while watching a repeat of "Cops" from 1987 because your hands are too sticky to operate the remote.

Second, if you live in a humid environment, and you have old varnished wood furniture whose surface gets slightly tacky when moist, don't leave the one "Call of Cthulhu" gaming book you own which is actually worth something (in a collectable sense) sitting on the buffet for a month. You'll be sorry, I guarantee it.

Third, don't do either of the above things when you're having a monthly-hormone-related mood crash. Things that would ordinarily make you irritated instead make you blindingly furious, and things that would make you unhappy instead trigger mad bursts of tears and longing for the sweet release of death. Well, ok, maybe not quite that last bit... But jeez. Could I possibly feel any worse?

Well, of course I could! Andy called me late last night to say that he and Karen were back from Vienna, but their luggage (including car/house keys) was not. Arriving from a day of travel in a pouring rainstorm to find that one's keys are idling somewhere in the Chicago airport, awaiting approval from "homeland security" to continue their journey.... That's worse than ripping the back cover off my copy of Green and Pleasant Land any day. I think. Maybe. Ok, so I'm not really thinking clearly at the moment; but I should be back to normal within 24 hours, in plenty of time for xmas cheer. Happy holidays, y'all.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

The Return of the Blog

Every nerd and his aunt is posting about ROTK this week, I feel certain, and I hate to be trendy. But I do love the sound of my own typing, and it's hard to contain my enthusiasm. Third time pays for all, as Sam would say. Much of my disappointment in The Two Towers has faded, between viewing the extended edition and watching the third movie. Battle scenes were GLORIOUS! Minas Tirith was amazing, that whole sequence where Gandalf is riding Shadowfax up...and up....and up.... Too very cool. Two thumbs up to nearly everything. My only complaints were the obvious ones--no Gandalf-Saruman confrontation? What the hell? It was filmed for TT, they cut it, and then didn't bother putting it in this one either?? What kind of crack is that? Leave out some of Arwen's mooning in Rivendell, if you're worried about run time. I know it'll be in the extended edition; in fact, this rather smacks of intentional "let's make sure we leave out something key so we can put it on the DVD," and that's just ugly. My consternation with their version of Gollum continues, as the scene with dropping the bread over the cliff made little sense to me. (Nerdy aside, for anyone who gives a crap about nitpicky details: in the book, the scene that this dialogue is taken from involves Gollum rethinking his plan to hand the hobbits over to the spider. He's feeling guilty, in fact I think this same episode is where most of the "two personalities" dialogue in movie #2 came from. He's reaching out to pat sleeping Frodo on the head, tentatively affectionate, and then Sam wakes up and says "get your hands off him, what are you doing sneaking around?" or some such. And that ruins it. Bad Gollum takes over, because Sam's a suspicious dickhead. It's one of the great scenes in the book, because you're just like "No no no Sam, you jackass!" but it's too late. In the movie, Gollum's just being evil in this scene, and it has no purpose other than to set up separating Frodo and Sam for some reason. Oh well. Can't have it all.)

Alex made a good Gollum comment--how come he doesn't just burst into flames when he hits the lava? I would, if I fell into a volcano. Perhaps molten rock affects CGI's differently.

The armies of the dead.....soooooo cooooool.....

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Lord. Lord, lord, lord.

It's 4 am. I'd tell you what I thought of the film in great detail, but I have the a massive sinus headache. (Not caused by the film, but somewhat exacerbated by my obligatory crying at the sentimental bits at the end. I feel like the bones in my face are imploding.) So I'll just say, thumbs up. More later. I'm going to go make some toast, and then go to bed.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003


I was worried that the half-dozen or so people reading this are getting tired of weird animal stories... but Sarah assures me this is not the case. I got suckered by an octopus last week. His name is Omar, and he's the Indy Zoo's giant Pacific octopus. The keeper of the invert. department invited me to watch him feed. "You can pet him," he said. "He likes that." So I did. And Omar petted me back, with approximately 4000 suckers. I swear to god, this was one of the weirdest tactile experiences of my life....

In other news, I saw the extended version of Two Towers this weekend in Chicago with Sarah and Alex. Thumbs up, yo! More Merry, more Pippin, more huorns. More cookies. Oh wait--that wasn't the movie, that was Sarah. Mmmm. Kibble. Biscotti. And I myself just entered the world of holiday candy production this evening with chocolate-covered pretzel sticks rolled in toffee bits. We'll see if it's possible to have well-tempered chocolate without the use of a double boiler OR a candy thermometer.

Monday, December 08, 2003

Mo' Better Bats

Tonight I'm on the final leg of the semester, crossing the finish line, breaking the tape, and doing a victory lap around the classroom. The place: Exhibit Development and Design class. The medium: a team presentation using (ugh) Powerpoint. The topic: bats.

God, I love bats. They're such amazing little creatures... Didja know their brain structure has more in common with that of primates like us than with rodents (which is what they're usually mistaken for)? I'm a member of Bat Conservation International, and when I proposed doing this project I figured no one else would sign on my team and I'd get stuck on the team doing an exhibit on Dress Codes and Clothing... But Team Bat ended up with 4 members, all of whom actually did what they were supposed to do which I think may set some kind of record in the history of group projects. So we designed a zoo exhibit, featuring the Rodriguez Fruit Bat (Pteropus rodricensus) and the endangered Indiana Bat (Myotis sodalis) (The real reason I put those Latin names in is because it drives up the hits on my site. Seriously! When I wrote that post about tropical fish a couple months ago my hits jumped up from people searching for Osphrenimus gourami and Colisa fasciata. Of course, I also got hits last week from someone searching for "Terre Haute Gay Sex" and "Brighthouse Cable Sucks." Google isn't very discriminating. Anyway, what were we talking about? Oh, yeah, bats.) So I'm whiling away my afternoon writing Bat labels and stealing Bat pictures off the internet for use in the Powerpoint. And struggling with MS Word, which keeps f-ing around with my margins--"Oh, you want an indent here? Then you must want ALL your lines indented!" Stupid sonofabitch program. I know there are ways to turn off autocorrection--but I shouldn't HAVE to go looking for them! The people who want them should bloody well have to go turn them ON.

And I had a job interview this morning. Went fine. Don't expect I'll get the job, but should know in a week either way. And it doesn't involve using MS Word, thank god. (I don't think....)

Friday, December 05, 2003

Yeah, yeah, yeah....

No posts in a week, so sad. But it's finals time, which means projects not actual exams in my case. It's been a whirlwind of projection around here; a design project on Pirates in the Caribbean, a project on the exhibition of human beings as artifacts in World's Fair settings, and a project on Bats: Our Nocturnal Pals. The latter two of these involved my learning to use MS Powerpoint. Like all MS products, it has many "features" which I find irritating or counter-intuitive; but I must say, it's a fairly effective visual tool. I gave a 20 minute presentation on Humans on Display tonight, and used powerpoint just as a way of getting some cool pictures up on the screen while I was talking. Naturally, the first question I got after I finished presenting was about my slide of The Camel Girl. Not about my insightful commentary on the ethics and implications of live human display at fairs and museums.... No, it was "What was the deal with that girl on slide #4???" I love it. When I get a chance I'll upload the jpg of her, and then you too can ask me, who IS the Camel Girl?.... All right, it's back to projectville. I'm done on Monday. Woo hoo!