Tuesday, July 27, 2004

I finally have cable!

After a long and valiant two month struggle, I now have cable. I have digital cable and a DVR with my grandmother's twelve inch television. That might seem like overkill, because it is. I'm still planning on getting something larger as soon as I can. For now, it's still pretty wild having television after not having one for almost two months. Now I'm really going to have to get wireless working so I can use the computer while viewing the television instead of from the guest room. I do, however, think that the guest room is a fantastic place to work. I worked from home today, since I knew that the cable guys would be here between 1pm and 5pm. They arrived about 4pm, after they experienced great difficulties finding my house. Not long after their arrival, we had a strong thunderstorm with lots of lightning. Apparently, they only abort a mission during a thundertstorm if they have to climb a pole. One of the poor guys had only been working for Time Warner for two weeks. It took them about an hour and it rained almost the entire time.

One interesting thing about the DVR is that they didn't have a manual for it. I'm going to have to look for one on the web, although I'm sure I can figure most of it out just by playing with it. It's made by Scientific Atlanta and the model is Explorer 8000, so I can find more about it there. So, this DVR, which also operates as my cable box, won't work with HD. Once I get an HD television, I have to call them and get them to switch it. I wonder how long that will take. At least it doesn't cost anything extra.

Yesterday, EB and MP came over to see the house. It was fun finally getting to show it to them. Afterwards, my parents and I went to Casa Ibara. Once I got back, I did some work while listening to the Democratic National Convention. Last night, my dad brought over the twelve inch television with rabbit ears and I've had the convention on quite a bit since, with the exception of the work day, today. I thought Bill Clinton's speach was quite good last night. My mom has Carter's and Gore's speaches TiVoed for me. Now I can record my own! It's time for Dean. It's time to go watch.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Yellow Squash Bread

Today, I made two loaves of yellow squash bread, using a recipe that I found with google.  I looked for yellow squash recipes after EB gave me all the squash a couple weeks ago.  It tastes pretty good and it was pretty easy to make.  It certainly turned out better than when I tried to fry it, at least.  My parents came over this afternoon, sampled the bread and had some tea.

I went out to dinner at Pao Lim's with JJ, JA, EB and MP.  We had some vegetable dumplings and some pork dumplings, too.  The veggie dumplings were actually green and while they were good, I think I actually like Big Bowl's better.   Pao Lim's pork dumplings are excellent, though.  For my entree, I had honey walnut shrimp, which was great, as as always.  I'll be looking forward to my leftovers.  For dessert, I had coconut ice cream again.  It was served with pineapple and that tasted extremely sour in contrast to the ice cream.  Fortunately, going into the dessert, JA agreed to come to my rescue and eat half of my dessert, in addition to his own.  That made it a lot more pleasant.  The best thing was that EB's fortune cookie told her that she believes in the goodness of mankind.  We're going to have to remind her of this at regular intervals.  Afterwards, I was able to give squash bread to everyone!

I've been listening to an on-line compilation of war protest songs, that's supposed to be released as an album later this year.   Some are pretty good.  So far, I've particularly liked "Consquences", by Amy Martin.

Several Days of Fun

I've been having so much fun adding pictures to early posts in my blog that I've barely left any time for actually writing about something new.  So far I've added pictures to the first month or so of my blog.  It takes a bit of time to pick out what I want to add and then change the date, etc.

Let's see...  Wednesday night, I went to a Durham Bulls game, with approximately my entire organization at work.   We were all allowed to bring one guest, so it was fun meeting people's spouses after hearing so much about them.  I took my dad along, who seemed to enjoy watching the game.  It was entertaining in that there were a bunch of home runs, but not exciting in the sense that the final score was 11 to 1.  It was very hot, but fortunately the sun went down behind the stadium fairly quickly.  Generally, I got the impression that most people had a good time.  The only glitch in the whole thing was that the reserved picnic areas was down about 13 steps.  Oops.  Fortunately MS and JL were respectively available for the hand truck maneuver.

Thursday night, I went over to LK's house.  We ate pizza, talked and watched the Tour de France on tv.  It was fun seeing all the changes he'd made to his house and catching up, in general.  It was absolutely pouring when I got there and we had to wait a while before I went inside.  

Today I went out to lunch with JJ.  We went to Dale's Indian Cuisine on 9th street.  The food is consistently good.  I decided to eat chicken and lamb.  It was good.  Actually, I still probably liked the spinach and eggplant dishes the best.  Afterwards, we went to a coffee shop near the corner of Broad Street and Club,  Ooh-La-Latte.  I'd never been there before.  It's actually quite strange.  They have a very unusual decor with lots of old furniture, barbie dolls, velvet Elvises and other stuff.  Somehow it reminded me of a Bizarro cartoon in pink and black.   They are right next to their store, the Untidy Museum.   While I only peeked in the door as I was leaving, it looks as if they sell things that would fit right into their decorations.   All in all, I'd say that it's a pretty wild place that's worth seeing for yourself.


Tuesday, July 20, 2004


I'm finally playing with Hello. Posted by Hello

Last night I decided to download Hello and after playing with it a few seconds, I decided I should install Picasa, too.  They are definitely very cool programs.  Hello makes it easy to add pictures to blogger and Picasa makes it easier to organize one's photos.  That's what I really need.  I apologize for the boring photo, but I realized that I don't seem to have any recent photos of my house on my laptop.  I need to find my compact flash drive.  I wonder what I did with it?  All I can say is that Google has a very good sense of which companies to acquire.  I'll have to consider adding some photos in between earlier posts.

Half-way on my way to work this morning,  I noticed that I was almost out of gas.  I decided this was an excellent opportunity to go eat at Kemp's Seafood House , which is quite close to my office.  My mom and I had huge plates of fried oysters and my dad had a big plate of fried shrimp.  Actually, all the plates were the same size, but somehow my plate seemed larger than all the others.  They do a great job on their oysters, but their servings are way too big.  Kemp's is immensely popular, so I would be wary of trying to go there on a weekend.  It looks as if they are putting on an addition that will almost double their already giant size.

Monday, July 19, 2004


Tonight I made spaghetti with Yves soy ground round.   We were going to pick up takeout from Eastern Lights, but we discovered that they are now closed on Mondays.  I'm not sure when that happened.  When you've been going to various incarnations of the same restaurant for over twenty years, it's disconcerting when they change their hours.
At any rate, the spaghetti turned out pretty well.  It's fun cooking for my parents (and other people).I have two nice portions to take to work for lunch, too.
I was just looking at the Yves website and they have a lot of good looking recipes.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

C is for Cookie

One of the things that startles me about blogging more frequently is that I try to think about what I did a few days ago and realize that I don't remember whole days of my life.  On the other hand, perhaps it is better to reflect upon the more memorable highlights of each week than relate the banalities of laundry lint.
Friday night, I went to Southpoint to meet GM and several of his friends.  We ate at Rockfish, ate at the Marble Slab Creamery and saw Shrek 2.  Rockfish was good.  We started out with fried calamari, which was into extremely thin ringlets and served with three dipping sauces.  I ordered fried oysters, which were battered in cornmeal.  I generally prefer that they not use cornmeal batter, but I gobbled them up very quickly.   At the Marble Slab, they have a new flavor, cinnamon, which I combined with shredded coconut and sliced almonds.
Shrek 2 was very funny and the graphics were cool.
If you want a good laugh, take a look at this well done political music video.
CL and JL came over for lunch on Saturday.  I made chocolate chip cookies and tuna salad.  The tuna salad contained tuna, mayonnaise, parsley, red grapes and celery.   I had a great time showing off what had changed since they saw the pre-paint version of my house.   We sat around talking about lots of stuff.  Afterwards, we drove over to my parents' house so they could pick up my old thirty gallon aquarium.  I've been planning to give it to them for ages, because I don't think I'll ever have the time or inclination to set up that big an aquarium anytime in the near or distant future.  It's just too much work and fish die.   I hung out there a while, admiring all the work that my parents have done or had done to the house.  Everything is painted now except for the screened-in porch, which is in the process of being rescreened.  After I got back home, I made another salad.  I intended to make another tuna salad, because there weren't enough leftovers to feed my parents and me, but I ended up leaving the tuna out.  Instead I put in lots of grapes, LOTS of parsley, celery, walnuts and the juice of two limes.  It was....sour!  I actually thought it was quite good, but I like eating whole limes as a main course.  My dad keeps telling me that I need to taste my salads before I serve them.  I wonder why? 
Today I made the cookies from the rest of the cookie dough, which I had refrigerated.  I got the recipe from the wife of a amateur radio operator, who makes nice soft cookies.  They are definitely yummy, but very rich.  I used 24 ounces of chocolate chips and the recipe only called for 18, so they are very chocolately.  They are large cookies and I can only eat two at a time.  Otherwise, I washed a lot of dishes and did three loads of laundry.  Tonight we went to Nantucket for dinner and I had an excellent serving of cod.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Scrubbing Burned Stuff is not Effortless

I'll have to make this quick, because I need to get my clothes out of the dryer before I go to bed.

On Sunday my parents and I had dinner at ACME. I had a crab, cheese and bacon ravioli appetizer. I neglected to pay attention that it, a special, was an appetizer. Fortunately, this allowed me to ask for a third plate of their wonderful rolls. For dessert, we shared blueberry shortcake with lemon cream. It was good.

Last night I made some black bean soup. Amy's Kitchen brand organic soups are really good. I got home from work pretty late, so there wasn't much more to the evening than that.

Tonight, my mom came over and brought sushi. Afterwards I attempted to use steel wool to clean the frying pan from frying the squash on Friday. Of course, I'd never tried anything of the sort before and it was much more difficult than I had imagined. The pan is now clean.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Frying is Not Ready for Prime Time

I don't really remember what happened on Wednesday.

Thursday night, I met GM for dinner at Big Bowl and then we met several of his friends to see Spiderman 2. I actually thought it was quite entertaining, much more so than the first one. Afterwards, we went to the Marble Slab Creamery for some ice cream. I ordered a vanilla milkshake, which was good, but expensive. At Big Bowl, I strayed from my usual crispy orange shrimp and got the Thai Herbed Calamari appetizer for my meal. They were interesting and were spiced very differently from most calamari I've had, although the pieces were not chopped as finely as is generally optimal.

After work on Friday, I drove by EB's house and she gave me a HUGE batch of cucumbers and yellow summer squash. I was seriously worried as to whether it would all fit in my refrigerator or not. It did. My dad showed me how to use the vegetable peeler to peel the cucumbers. No, I hadn't even done that either. Then I sliced them all up and sliced the squashed. I then attempted to fry the squash. I put all my squash in a ziplock bag with about a half cup of cornmeal and made sure it all had a nice coating. Once the pan was hot, I made the mistake of kind of tossing in a piece, since I was hesitant about putting my hand too close to it. Well, it splattered some in a dramatic fashion. I discovered that putting the squash on the spatula first was a little safer. The whole process seemed to take forever and I didn't eat until about 10:30 or so. Fortunately, my dad talked to me on the phone through most of the ordeal, to talk me through what I was doing. I wouldn't say that my final product tasted that great, by any means. I think I will have to have verbal guidance, in person, for my second attempt. I have enough squash for about 147 more attempts, so I better get the next one right.

Tonight's meal was much more of a success. GM came over and I showed him around the house. I made the parmesan and chive biscuits from the recipe that we tried when RR and MDLP were visiting. I baked salmon filets with honey and dijon mustard sauce. I also made a salad with salad greens, EB's cucumbers, grape tomatoes (sliced in half), blueberries, and three different kinds of mint leaves. I also made a vinaigrette dressing for it, using olive oil, balsamic vinegar, pepper and a little sugar. It all turned out perfectly!

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

PIzza Pizza

Today was a good day.. I got a bit of a late start this morning, because I really didn't feel like getting up today. Once I finally did, everything almost went smoothly.

After work, I went over to JJ and JJ's and ate pizza. We had three different vegetarian pizzas from NY Pizza on 9th Street. All were very good. Their dogs were also in fine form, providing a high level of entertainment.

Monday, July 05, 2004

Unpack Books. Rinse. Repeat.

I'm completely boofed again. I think I unpacked six boxes of books today. I know I unpacked them, but I'm slightly unsure how many there were. Only slightly. I also washed dishes and did a load of laundry.

JJ and JA came over this morning for brunch. We made blueberry pancakes using the leftover frozen blueberries from the blueberry "grunt" that we made while RR and MDLP were here. I mostly made the pancake batter before they got there, which was pretty easy and JJ cooked them on a griddle on top of the cooktop.
Unfortunately, I misinterpreted my dad's instructions and thought that the burner should be set to "high", which resulted in four blackened pancakes. Oops. Fortunately, the rest, cooked at a lower temperature, were excellent.
JJ and JA finally got to see some of my original paintings in person, which was cool.

I made some banana bread last night, which we ate after the pancakes. This time I used a recipe from my new Baking Illustrated cookbook that my mom got me. It was written by the same people who publish the Cook's Illustrated magazine. This recipe differs from most I've seen in that it calls for 1/4 cup of plain yogurt. It makes it nice and moist or at least something in it does. Maybe it just helps to preheat the oven like you're supposed to.

Yesterday, I also unpacked books, washed dishes, did laundry and was exhausted afterwards. This theme will, of course, be halted by tomorrow's return to work.

Some confusion has resulted from the dates/timestamps on some of my posts. This is due to the fact that twice I have posted after midnight but still referred to the previous logical day as "yesterday". I also once used the draft option to form an outline and then posted a few days later and it used the date of the draft. I fixed the date for that one. I apologize for the confusion resulting all of this anachronism.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Lots and Lots of Books, All about...

OK, I'm finally exhausted again. I unpacked quite a few boxes today, which mostly contained books. Books usually are very heavy and dusty. I really enjoy looking through all my old stuff. It's amusing looking at old annuals, in particular.

My parents and I went to Nantucket Cafe & Grill for dinner. This time I had shrimp stuffed with crabmeat.

I keep seeing this ads for this on-line dating service that screens out married people and convicted felons. There's something disturbing about that. If nothing else, it seems awfully pessimistic. You may not find someone you like there, but at least whoever you find won't have killed anyone...yet.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Lots o' Stuff

I think I've finally exhausted myself for the day, so perhaps I can begin to describe some of my more exciting experiences from the last few weeks.

A couple of weeks ago, my friend RR and her new husband, MDLP visited. They were my very first houseguests! They arrived Thursday evening and left on Monday morning. We had a blast by going out to eat, cooking, shopping and, of course, talking. We went to ACME, Margaret's Cantina and Big Bowl. We cooked amberjack burritos (with cilantro chipotle sauce), parmesan and chive biscuits, roasted tomato soup, goat cheese dip and a blueberry "grunt". It was quite a feast. We invited my parents over to join us, so it was a lot of fun. We bought all the ingredients that I didn't already have at the Wellspring (Whole Foods) in Chapel Hill, which was fun in itself.

That Sunday, we went to Southpoint and saw Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. We were wandering around in the open area afterwards and I heard a loud shout of "Lenore!" from a fair distance away. It was GM! He had been playing in a band just outside the theatre.

Last weekend I went over to JJ and JA's new old house to see how it had turned out. It's really quite charming and cool. It's amazing how much it's changed in such a short amount of time. JA cooked yet another fantastic meal.

That weekend I also saw Fahrenheit 9/11, which, again, I recommend highly. It was extremely well done. It's very moving in that it will make you angry, sad and laugh hysterically all within a matter of minutes. Another cool thing about seeing Fahrenheit 9/11 at the Carolina Theatre was that a guy I knew from highschool, MP, helped us to our seats. He looked quite a bit older. Imagine that. It was great to see him again, since he was quite a character in school.

That weekend was also the annual ham radio Field Day. I didn't participate much, because of everything else I did, but I did make it there for breakfast on Sunday.

A few days ago I helped JJ and JA haul a window unit air conditioner. They fed me peach sorbetto afterwards while we looked at photographs of the house, which made it a fun evening.

Otherwise I've been doing a lot of laundry, washing dishes and unpacking. I even worked from home one evening, when I had a lot to do. It's nice working here because it's nice and quiet and a lot more pleasant than the office.

I still don't have cable. I need to call the guy from the construction department again. It was supposed to be installed at the house about a week ago.

I made banana bread about a week and a half ago. It turned out quite well despite the fact that I tried to ruin it by putting it in a cold oven and then setting the temp. I'm interested to see what it's like when you follow the recipe. Of course, I'm also interested in trying out other recipes.

I cancelled my Gevalia membership.

Today we were encouraged to leave work early, because of the holiday weekend. I left around three and spend the afternoon unpacking, doing laundry and washing dishes. Yes, that it what I've been doing for the past several weeks, but I did a lot more of that this afternoon. My dad came by this evening and we hung the rest of my framed pictures. I had to branch out into ones I didn't paint myself, but that's ok. There are still a lot more that need to be framed and then I have to decide where they are going to go. There is a lot of wall space left!