Tuesday, May 30, 2006

one of us

"...one of us, one of us..." I'm not explaining the quote. If you get it, you get it. I spent the first part of this long beautiful weekend at Balticon 40 at the Hunt Valley Inn. It was wunnerful. A chance to be truly, completely my self in a grand old geek fest. Wear whatever. Say whatever. Have people get my jokes. Understand the words I use. Use the words I want, instead of the dumbed down vocabulary of every day. Feel thin and beautiful, be treated like I'm thin and beautiful. Feel smart. Be treated like I'm smart. Worship at the feet of the masters. God, to sit and listen to Neil Gaiman, Peter Beagle and Gene Wolfe is a privilege. Its also nice to remember that there are people I admire out there in the world.

It's is an amazing thing to feel like you belong. I spend too much time feeling like a misfit, feeling like I have to hide parts of myself in order to get along.

Friday, May 26, 2006

true geek

I am such a geek! The rest of the US is scandalized by the VA losing 26.5 million veteran's records from a stolen laptop. While I am outraged at yet another screw up by our government, I have a more overwhelming concern. I WANT THAT LAPTOP!!! What was it running that it could hold 26.5 million records and do analysis on the records? WOW!!!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

quirks of human nature

I am worried about the fate of an injured horse. He's not my horse. I've never even met the beast, and yet I pore over news reports of his health. Maybe I am so fascinated because I saw Barbaro misstep in the Preakness, and so am "involved" in his story. But I got equally involved in the story of the dog that got drop-kicked by a local jogger, and I was nowhere near that event.

Humans respond to stories about animals. We as Americans raise serious money to protect baby seals. My guess is we raise more money for seals than we do for battered women's shelters. Organizations like PETA fight for the "rights" of animals, but ignore what's happening in Darfur.

Kick your dog, and your neighbor will call the SPCA. Smack your spouse, and chances are they will ignore it completely, not wanting to interfere.

Is this biologically hard-wired? Some mis-directed wiring that causes us to protect our animal food source, but views other people as competition? Is it cultural -- the protecting of the weak, the innocent, a higher priority than protecting those that can fend for themselves?

I see it as a hopeful sign that we can care so much for the plight of an animal. It doesn't seem such a huge leap from there to caring for a person.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

oven set to pre-heat

According to new federal guidelines - I am pre-pregnant. My oven is apparently set to pre-heat, and I could pop a bun in there without warning. I had NO idea. Here I am, running around blissfully ignorant of my condition.

So, for my protection and that of any future, possible, unborn children, I am to be treated by my physician exactly the same as a woman trying to conceive. The same physician, mind you, who prescribes my birth control pills, and knows damn well I have NO intention of having more children, and am taking responsible measures to ensure this doesn't happen.

Now, I do understand that it is embarassing on a national level to have such a high infant mortality rate. And no one in their right mind wants more birth defects to occur. But perhaps, perhaps the solution should be education. Perhaps if everyone had the facts of birth control and conception from an early age, we could reduce the unplanned pregnancies that lead to the high rates of infant mortality. Educate people about pregnancy and what happens when you smoke, drink, take drugs. Help people battle addictions.

Treat women as thinking, adult people, and not like brood mares for the next generation. Our bodies are our business.

Monday, May 15, 2006


Mirrormask is not the most usual selection for a family movie night, especially on Mother's Day. In my house, though, Neil Gaiman is like unto a god. He wrote the script, so, we used Comcast Direct to order the movie. We watched about 5 minutes of it, and the sound disappeared. We stopped the movie, and started it up again. Same problem.

It is awful to start to get involved in a movie and then have to stop watching it. So we hopped in the car and drove to Blockbuster, and rented it. Raced home and advanced to our previous stopping point. And were really glad we did.

What an amazing, odd and wonderful movie. I was absolutely mesmerized. I highly, strongly, emphatically recommend the film. But don't watch it if you are too tired, or under the influence of any mind altering substances, as it is rather hallucinogenic all on its own.

Friday, May 12, 2006

food for thought

Food for thought has less calories.

The seven deadly sins:

  • Wealth without work
  • Pleasure without conscience
  • Knowledge without character
  • Commerce without morality
  • Science without humanity
  • Religion without sacrifice
  • Politics without principle

--Mahatma Gandhi

Thursday, May 11, 2006


Big Brother is watching. Really. Today's news announced that the NSA is building a database of all phone calls made in and from the United States. Who called who, when, for how long, every single phone call. They say its okay because they aren't eavesdropping on the conversations. Bullshit!!!! It is NOT OKAY.

It is none of the government's business who I talk with on my phone, in my own home. If you think I am doing something wrong, get a f***g subpoena and wiretap me. Until then, I have the expectation of privacy in my home. You can't monitor my mail, my email, take notes of who comes and goes into my house, and damn it, you can't monitor my life.

Bravo to Qwest, which is the only phone company to balk at turning over their records, citing privacy concerns. All the other phone companies have complied with the government's request.

I am an AMERICAN. I have rights, don't I?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

really good food

We eat pretty well at my house. I love to cook and try new recipes, and my family is willing to go along for the ride. We have several grocery stores nearby, including that food-mecca, Wegman's. On the weekends, we take advantage of the local farmers markets to get fresh produce and home-made items.

Still and all, there is a real difference between what I churn out in my kitchen, and what I call "really good food". Sunday night we took our parents out to celebrate my dad's birthday and my mother-in-law's birthday. We went to a local restaurant, Petit Louis. It's french food, but as my son says, its not "snooty french".

It was "really good food". No, it was really food porn. I started out with a lovely tart: caramelized onion, morels, grilled asparagus, with slivers of roast duck. The tart was surrounded by a tarragon cream sauce. Unbelievably good. My son had a brochette of shrimp, with red pepper dice and a light lemon sauce. Also wonderful, judging by the 10 seconds it took him to inhale almost a dozen shrimp. He ate a small loaf of bread mopping up the sauce.

For our main dishes, we ordered several and shared tastes. Steak au poivre with a wine and mushroom sauce was meltingly tender and poppingly spicy. I had rabbit with peas, onion and lardons. Lardons are small cubes of salt pork (bacon) that are cooked until crispy and used as a flavoring agent. The rabbit was meltingly tender and the accompanying sauce was so good I almost repeated my son's feat with another loaf of bread. My husband had roast duck with beets and walnuts. Very good -- even the beets. My son had another brochette (keeping to a theme of food on a stick!), this time chicken breast, peppers and onions, with a vegetable saute. This also disappeared, though he had to have some help with the sauteed vegetables.

Of course, we also made room for dessert. Dark chocolate pot de creme for me [think a big dish of truffle], profiterols with vanilla ice cream and chocolate ganache, a flight of 3 homemade ice creams, fresh berries with mint and fresh whipped cream.

"really good food" is food you actually remember eating, whose tastes you can recall days or weeks or months later.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

moving in the grown-up lane

The last week has been odd at my house. My husband and I have been called upon to play grown-ups in some public venues. On Monday, we went to the local improvement association meeting. Lots of very sincere people discussing issues with roads, and signage, improving neighborliness, handling graffiti, etc. Earnest and adult conversation. I still wore my skull and crossbones sneakers, but I did leave on the rest of my work duds, so I looked mature and responsible. Sort of.

On Tuesday, we went to a charity benefit for Baltimore Lab School. In "cocktail attire". It is a measure of my current lifestyle that I had to google it to find out what that meant. So it turns out this means a dark suit and tie for gentlemen, and a cocktail dress for me. I had to buy pantyhose, since I wasn't sure I actually had any. I bought some cute heels too. And wore makeup.

When we got there, we even chit-chatted with other guests for a few minutes before making a bee-line for the open bar. See, I can be civilized. Then we admired the spectacular view from the Center Club Harbor Room [you could see all of the Inner Harbor's waterfront], chit-chatted some more. A man in a tux actually hit a portable gong to call us into dinner -- very very bizarre. We found our table, and managed to make small talk with our tablemates, eat dinner, listen politely to speeches, and not make ANY faux pas. Astounding.

Still both events felt a little like playacting to me. I enjoyed both in different ways, but I felt -- constrained. I can't say what pops into my head, and I can't joke the way I would normally, and I can't wear what makes me comfortable. So I can enjoy myself, but with limits.

Monday, May 01, 2006

new addictions

New addictions: CocoVia blueberry almond dark chocolate bars, smoked chicken, gouda and granny smith apple sandwiches at Neopol, baked Lays potato chips, tonic water and pomegranate juice with a squeeze of lime, watching the foxes in the back yard, blogging, reading really bad vampire novels, shuffle play on my iPod, and Comcast on Demand.

I really didn't need a whole list of new bad habits, since I already had a slew of old bad habits. I keep hoping I'll get addicted to: saving money, working overtime, exercise, sprouts, skim milk, 4 hours of sleep a night. But it never happens.