Monday, July 23, 2007

one step forward, skip a step back....

why do all CFL lightbulbs come in plastic packaging? they really aren't any more fragile than traditional lightbulbs, which come in recyclable cardboard. it seems like some kind of silly tradeoff - get the eco-responsible bulbs, leave a heap o' plastic on the planet. manufacturers, change this!

Friday, July 20, 2007

mashup time!

"Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony. "

here's where the story ends...

hee hee hee hee. (thanks, dorota!)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

luxury is the pursuit

a couple of observations:

the other day i stopped by uwajimaya, a japanese grocery-and-then-some store in beaverton. unlike the 'global foods' in northern virginia, this is a place to find very high quality produce and other foodstuffs. there is an entire row of imported cookies and candies, tons of spices (not just japanese - i bought some indian chili powder, which is just made of chilis. american chili powder has salt, cumin and some other things in it.), kitchenwares, gift items, bath products, noodles, frozen foods. this place also has a japanese-language book store, and a shiseido boutique. i had a brief food list - yakisoba noodles and some other things - but i stepped into the shiseido boutique.

it's a small white room, where the products are arranged. there are testers. a woman popped out and offered advice, demonstrated a product on my face, gathered what i was shopping for, and included some samples in my bag. shiseido's products have nicely stylized packaging.

it occurred to me that this was much like being in the apple store - simple clean store, demonstrations, salespeople who know the products well, products that are physically attractive as well as highly functional. apple stores need to work well because they are selling higher priced products that have functions that can be found at lower price ranges. much like shiseido and other higher-end cosmetics need to be marketed through the specialized counters with exclusive staff - there's a world of experiential difference between buying that level of product versus picking up face goo from the drugstore. apple needs their buying experience to be a much more satifying one than that found in the lairs of best buy and circuit city.

i'm sure if i read some marketing magazines or books, the analogy's probably been made already. it's likely that apple studied this kind of consumer interaction when designing the stores.

the other thing that's been tempting my time away lately is reading perfume blogs. now smell this and basenotes have addictive amounts of information on them, and i find myself tracking down obscure scents that i hadn't heard of before, but somehow must smell. not that i don't already have a bunch of bottles - it's the tracking down of something new, and wanting to see if the written descriptions match the nose's experience. luckily for me, a number of online perfume stores will sell samples. i tried a couple of the variations on paco rabanne's 'ultraviolet', but didn't like them. a couple of other scents that sounded good online were not pleasant on my wrist. i'm trying a few more from luckyscent - mostly ones i've never heard of before reading these blogs.

the impression i get when reading the blogs and especially the comments on them is that for scenties (just a spin on 'foodies for the perfume fanatics), there is some ultimate perfume out there somewhere, and lots and lots to try out during the pursuit.

i am thoroughly aware that reading about perfume is like dancing about architecture. and that there are a lot more important things to spend time and money on. sigh.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

yes, both of these in one shift at work

patron a: i must have books by (duder) t. (duder). he's a genius. he's an economist, and i hear him on the radio, and he's the only one telling the truth.

me: ma'am, we have books by several duder duders, but none that look like the right person. let me do some more searching.

patron a: i tell you, if the politicians actually paid attention to him, this country would finally be running the right way.

me: ma'am, could it be (duder) _e_ (duder)? he's a professor in the economics department of (blank) university?

patron a: that's him! you mean you don't have his books? it's criminal that you don't have his books.

me: well, his list of publications shows that he last published a book in 1999, and his books are published by small presses and are more likely to be purchased by academic libraries. i can look at multnomah county library's catalog and see if they own any of his works; as a resident of this county you are also eligible for one of their library cards. we don't exchange books with them, but <

patron a: (in disgust) oh no, i won't step foot in that city.

me: your other option is interlibrary loan (followed by explanation of how ILL works). so, you'd like "big huge libertarian book of why governments shouldn't provide any services", correct?

patron a leaves, somehow escaping without becoming engulfed in flames of irony.

patron b: can you help me get online? i need to look something up on the internet.

me: sure, i can get you started. do you have a library card?

patron b: yes.

i get him logged in. the screen shows the internet use policy.

me: this is the internet use policy, it basically states that you can use the computers for one hour per day, the printing will cost ten cents a page, and that there's no online gameplaying or naughty stuff.

patron b: really? you have a policy on that?

me: yes....

patron b: because i always vote against the library levy, because in the news they show people getting playboy on the library computers.

me: perhaps you might want to actually check out what goes on in the library before the next levy comes up, sir.

seriously, i just wonder how these patrons couldn't see the glaring disconnects between what they were purporting to be true, and the fact that they were using a service that they supposedly disagree with on principal.

Friday, July 13, 2007

quality time with another neighbor today

boo was invited to play with our across-the-street neighbor today, and they had a great time sharing time on a swing, making mudpuddles and playing in damp sand. i held bea and got to chat with the mom. it was very nice and relaxing.

between this, last night's wine tasting, and the network of spiritual progressives meeting yesterday evening, i am starting to feel a little more connected. it's been five months-ish since we moved to this house, and 14 months since we moved to portland. for some reason i'd been feeling a little down lately: unconnected, not feeling certain about spilling my guts to anyone, and wondering if i;d become too guarded to spill my guts anyway. or too guarded to *have* guts, and just living a fairly surface-level life.

for someone who is kinda loud, i'm fairly introverted, and i sometimes fear being tolerated versus being truly liked. actually, i feel like much of my awkward childhood/adolescent was in the state of being bemusedly tolerated instead of liked, and when i get a little down i feel like i'm right back there.

having a couple of just nice interactions really helped lift that cloud. now i wonder if that cloud is fairly normal.

drunk. courtesy of the neighbors!

our neighbors landed at our house with 4 bottles of red wine.

this was a planned thing, supposedly to help them choose which wine would be served at their wedding reception.

man am i drunk. and i'm suprised that i liked the cab most of all.

they got to try my ice cream: greg is lactose intolerant, so he had blueberry sorbet, while martina, boodad and i had my newest concoction: rasmalai ice cream!

3 cups heavy cream
2/3 c sugar
12 cardamom pods
pinch saffron
2 tblsp rosewater

heat cream, cardamom pods and saffron until bubbles form around edges of saucepan. stir in sugar until dissolved. cool down, add rosewater, store mix in fridge for at least 4 hours. spoon out pods before putting in ice cream maker. top with chopped pistachios if desired.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

oh noes! my million dollar idea, gone!

when i was in grad school, i had a horribly petty boss at my assistantship. this inspired a great idea, that i never actually brought to fruition:

effigy pinatas.

you contact me and give me a picture of whoever it is who's bugging you, and you get back a customized pinata. great for exes, bosses, politicians, annoying celebs, etc. get your aggressions out, and get candy!

dammit dammit. i should at least grab the domain name if it's available.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

hunt and peck

i'm posting this from our new toy, a nokia internet tablet with a touchscreen. there's a little stylus, and a 'keyboard' automagically pops up when you're in an entry field. it even tries to give you options to complete your words! the keyboard is mostly qwerty with some punctuation marks added in. there's an email client and a media player, and the device runs on linux. no phone, but you could add a webcam with a mini usb connection.

i have been avoiding iphonamania, although i will say i was disappointed to read that the rumored 4th quarter iphone nano is most likely just an analyst's wishful conjecture. i just want my cell phone to sync with mac's ical! and i don't want to pay 500 or 600 for that function. this device, though, is a relatively measly 120, and at that price i can use google's calendar. woohoo!

two hours and two onions later...

i just made dhal and a mushroom/pea/paneer curry for my sarangi teacher's music teacher, Ustad Mashkoor Ali Khan.. I'll be running over to deliver the food tomorrow.

He was in the house during our lessons today, and he held Bea for a little while and was cooing and singing to her. Lucky baby!

Monday, July 09, 2007

i blinked...

and now my baby is six months old.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

smoreestas (tm)

chocolate graham crackers
peanut butter
dark chocolate chips

toast marshmallows on grill.

schmeer peanut butter on graham cracker, sprinkle with dark chocolate chips.
sandwich toasty marhmallows between schmeered and plain graham crackers. heat of marshmallows will melt chips and peant butter.

you're welcome.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

if you give a kid a flag....

my son was given a small american flag last night. the fabric is about 5 inches by 4 inches, and it's stapled onto a wooden dowel.

he spent a lot of time today aggressively waving it in my face, and trying to swat me on the bum with it. is this kind of behavior just endemic in the fabric, or what?

Sunday, July 01, 2007

in portland....

dennis kucinich is a rock star!