Sunday, January 21, 2007

Living on Crackers

My dad fixed my van last Saturday night. It turned out that it was possible to access the adventurous bolt while the lift was folded up and then he put the joint back together. He took it to Triad Mobility on Monday where they did some routine maintenance to check everything out. They also replaced the bolt, which was somewhat stripped.

That night, my parents and I went to the Flying Fish and I tried a duck quesadilla special. It was pretty good, but very cheesy. That's what one expects of a quesadilla, but I didn't really notice until I tried to eat it cold, for breakfast, the next morning.

Last Sunday, DS and I went to Target, which was loads of fun. I've liked Target more each time I've gone there. Of course, I think I've spent less and less money each time, too. After a visit with HS, we had dinner at Kemp's. They had excellent oysters, as always. DS made the suggestion that I should get a combination platter that combined oysters with something that warms up better. In my opinion, oysters are pretty awful the second time around. Well, I got flounder and only ate the oysters. I ended up having three additional portions out of that one dinner.

Here you can see 'February Gold' daffodils that have been blooming in my yard. As I recall, it is fairly normal for that variety to bloom in January here.

Monday night, my parents and I went to ACME Food & Beverage Co. I believe that I had forgotten just how spicy the calamari with Asian slaw is, because I ordered it. It is very good, but it's just a little too hot for me. For dessert, we shared an enormous piece of ginger cheesecake with pear-ginger-caramel sauce. It was one of the best desserts that I've ever had at ACME, or anywhere, actually. I'm not a huge fan cheesecake, although I do enjoy it on occasion. This was absolutely wonderful. If you live in the Triangle and you like ginger, you need to go before they change the menu.

Tuesday, I had dinner with Annette at Chai's, which was a nice way to unwind after a super-busy day at the office. I had the udon noodle soup, with tofu.

Wednesday, my mom made fried chicken and I got to visit with FIFO again. My mom's fried chicken is delicious. Hopefully I'll learn to make it someday, if I'm brave enough to try again.

Thursday, we were supposed to have some sleet and freezing rain. We had snow instead. It was very pretty and I got to work at home, which I appreciated. Early in the morning, I got to see a pileated woodpecker on one of the trees in my yard. That was exciting. Of course, my faithful red-bellied woodpecker, provided me with a cacophony of crashes and bangs outside all the windows of the house.

Friday night, after guitar practice, we went to Vin Rouge. I had a watercress salad special with duck liver and proschiuto stuffed figs . It's was interesting, but not something I would ever order again. In fact, I may avoid duck liver in the future. I also ordered a side order of fries, which were very good. We shared some little neck clams and oysters gratin as appetizers and they were the best part of the meal.

Last night I went to a party at the G's and had long conversations with several people. As always, the food was great. I think I've been finding their vertical-windy-terrifying driveway easier to negotiate every time.

We've been having sleeting and freezing rain all day. Everything around here is lightly coated in ice, but it should warm up and melt during the night. I got to play Desktop Support this afternoon. My mom's laptop spontaneously decided to display everything rotated 90 degrees and she brought it over to my house for me to take a look. After looking and various settings (not the useful ones), I used the Google to determine which setting to change. It made sense that it would be the configuration for the graphics card, but it behaved differently depending on which user was logged in. While it's fine now, I think the machine probably needs to be re-imaged, because it doesn't even want to reboot half the time and the screen randomly goes blank. (Thanks to CF for her background image.)

So how have my New Year's resolutions been going? Well, I've had mixed results. I haven't kept up with practicing the guitar and lifting weights. I have, however, taken my vitamins every single day since the beginning of the year. That's actually exceeding my goal. I don't believe that I've "broken" the other two resolutions, because I an opportunity to start the habits anytime. In the meantime, I'm happy to have some default nutrients, so I can live exclusively on Jacob's crackers and peanut butter.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Caffiene Free Post

Yesterday morning, my van lift died. More specifically, the lift would not close. I guess this is slightly better than other situations I've had to deal with, because I could actually get out of the van easily. It's hard to drive around with the doors open, though. When the lift folds itself up (normally a nice feature), it jams. My dad thinks that there is a loose bolt in the gear box. Unfortunately, the gear box is welded shut, so even though he can see it, there's not much he can do about it. I think he's going to work on taking what he can apart this evening. I scheduled an appointment for the van to visit Triad Mobility on Monday morning, regardless.

It's frustrating, particularly since this is a three day weekend. I hadn't envisioned sticking around the house very much. I did get to spend some quality time with FIFO last night, which was nice.

This morning, I was looking forward to drinking a nice cup of real coffee. Unfortunately, I appear to have left coffee in the pot since last weekend. Both the pot and the filter are molded. Since I want to scrub that thoroughly, I guess I'll be drinking tea instead.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Why We Fight

I saw Why We Fight tonight, and I highly recommend it. It focuses on the history of the military-industrial complex and, in my opinion, is far more effective than Fahrenheit 9/11, in part because it doesn't try to be funny. While I think Fahrenheit 9/11 is an excellent movie, Why We Fight comes across as more objective and educational.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Shoes and Socks

I received my order from last week! That was every bit as exciting as I'd hoped. It's so hard to find shoes that fit me properly that getting seven new pairs was really amazing. Finally I have Bostons that I can wear in the rain. So far, the screaming bright red ones have received the most attention.

Duke's campus Subway has quit selling the chicken parmesan sub. I don't know why, since they make both fried chicken and meatball subs. It's annoying.

It was incredibly hot at work last week, because of what I believe was routine maintenance. Everything was back to normal yesterday. We've been extremely busy at work with the start of the semester, too.

On Friday, a bunch of folks at the office went to Cosmic Cantina for lunch. HC brought me back a vegetarian burrito. I hadn't had one of those in years and it was just as wonderful as I'd remembered.

At guitar practice that night, we worked primarily on Puff the Magic Dragon. It's such a fun song to play. The highlight of the evening was when Darwin the Beagle decided to climb on top of me while I was playing. My fingering accuracy deteriorates somewhat in such situations.
We went to Baba Ghannouj, at Erwin Square, for dinner. It's hard to beat a healthy falafel sandwich for dinner, which was under $6.

Saturday night, AE, JH, DS and HS came over. We played Khet and Pentago. HS seemed to have a great time and it was such fun having him over. He's so much better behaved than FIFO.
We all met LA at the Flying Fish for dinner. It was really crowded, too. LA and I tried what was supposed to be pomegranate sorbet, but it seemed to be gelato. The flavor wasn't readily identifiable. This is a good thing. I shouldn't eat dessert after a eating a large plate of oysters anyway. Overall, I had a truly excellent time that evening.

On Sunday, after an afternoon of trying to catch up on some work, my parents and I drove in the pouring rain to ACME Food & Beverage Co. They have lobster pot pie on the menu again. That's one of my favorite dishes there and they haven't had it in several years. I need to remember at a convenient time that I have leftovers in the fridge. For dessert we shared two pieces of coconut cream pie with lime curd whipped cream. That was very unusual, because the pie wasn't sweetened. That meant that the strongest flavor was the lime cream. It was quite good, but definitely surprising.

Yesterday, I had lunch with NP at the Refectory. It was nice to have Refectory food again, because I was really starting to miss it. I enjoyed a large bowl of dal. We had a lively conversation about toe socks and iPod random song algorithms.

Today I had lunch with LA at Twinnie's. We primarily discussed dog behavior and bats. This evening, my dad and I went to the Durham FM Association meeting at the Mayflower. The program, by Woody Woodard, KA3VSA, was about publicity and ham radio.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Tres Leches New Year

Last Saturday, my parents and I went to the Monet in Normandy exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of Art. It was extremely crowded and the exhibit hall was very cramped. I thought it was a very nice collection of his work, but it was a shame to not be able to see some of the paintings at a distance. I guess I've been jaded by seeing some of the extensive collections in Boston and Philadelphia, where you can take your time and see works from almost any distance. I'm also just not crazy about being in crowds. That said, I thought it was very cool and I recommend that local readers go, if you haven't already, by January 14th.

I've been enjoying my new Philips HS820 Compact Foldable Neckband Headphones, which I got for Christmas, from my Amazon wish list. My main criteria when picking them out was that it would be more obvious that I was wearing headphones so people at work would understand why I was not answering them. I also wanted a behind the neck band and for the headphones to sound at least quasi-decent. I'm not entirely sure yet how long I can wear them and have them stay comfortable, but I'm pleased so far. I think they do sound better than earbuds and the walkman salvaged headphones that I had been using.

One cool thing that I was introduced to this Christmas by E&ES was wrapsacks. They are reusable cloth giftbags, which are made out of pretty batik fabrics. They also have serial numbers so recipients can register and track the bags as they are reused. So overall, they are pretty, fun and less wasteful than dumping a lot of barely used paper into the landfill. The only downside is they are comparatively expensive.

On New Year's Eve, I went to JJ and JA's house for a party. It was fun talking to people and eating lots of good food. I had hoped that JA would make his Tres leches cake again and he did! I actually had two fairly large pieces. I am not a big cake fan, in general, but it is so unbelievably good.

On New Year's Day, I spent most of the day cleaning. JJ and JA came over and I made shrimp and bacon pasta for them and my parents. After dinner JJ and I played guitar and then we lit the tree for the second time this year.

That reminds me. Happy New Year everyone!