Reportage

Oct. 12th, 2008 10:12 am
arguchik: (arguchik)
I just want to make note of 3 cool things from yesterday.

First, I made some kick ass yakisoba noodles for dinner last night. They're cheap and easy, and really good. Ingredients (you can use any stir fry-able veggies, and/or real meat, but this is what I used): 1 bunch broccollini (which is like regular broccoli only greener and not so tense); 8-10 crimini mushrooms; 1 shallot; 1 pkg. tempeh; 2 pkg. yakisoba noodles (I got the fresh ones from the produce cooler--the kind that come as a kit with a flavoring packet, which I discarded); garlic to taste (I used powder because we didn't have any fresh); olive or vegetable oil for stir frying; sesame oil and soy sauce to taste. So I chopped and steamed the broccollini in the microwave, sliced the mushrooms, chopped the shallot, and cut the tempeh into chunks. Then I put the noodles into boiling water just until they softened up and separated from each other, drained them, and rinsed them with cold water so they wouldn't get mushy. Next, I heated the pan, put some oil into it (I read somewhere that it's better to put the oil into a hot pan rather than a cold one), and stir fried the tempeh, shallot, and mushrooms until the tempeh started to brown and the mushrooms were cooked (next time I do this, I will probably add the shallot after stir frying the other stuff for a couple of minutes). Then I added the broccolini, sprinkled some garlic powder into the pan, put in some soy sauce, and cooked for a minute or two before adding the noodles. I stir fried everything together for another couple of minutes, doused with some more soy sauce, and added maybe a tablespoon of sesame oil for flavor. That's it! It serves around 4 people, I'd say, though I was really hungry and ate an extra helping. It was soooo good!

Second, I went through the painful (long!) process of upgrading my OS to OSX.5.5 (Leopard). I also installed Office 2008 and Endnote X-2. (In case you're wondering how I afforded this...academic pricing, baby!) So far I really like the "new" OS. It's new to me, anyway, even though it's been out for what, a year now? I see that they're upgrading it again in about a year, too, to "Snow Leopard." I guess it'll be stone cold? Or something... I haven't explored the Office programs too much yet, but I will later today because I plan to do some writing. I have had Word open, and I have to say the interface is pretty slick and seems nicely intuitive, though...I'm so used to the old layout that it will take some getting used to. Interestingly, Word 2008 for Mac looks almost nothing like Word 2007 for PC, which is what's on my office computer at UWB. I think they're fully compatible, though.

Third...I watched 2 (count 'em!) DVD's last night. The first one was The Savages, which I have been meaning to watch for awhile, but have avoided because I knew the story line would hit pretty close to home. I was right, it did. It's about these two 40-ish people, a brother and sister (Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney), who suddenly have to deal with their estranged father's dementia when his girlfriend dies. I found the film to be pretty realistic, although the father's dementia storyline seems quite truncated to me. The sense of weird detachment and emotional uncertainty that marks how the kids act and feel is both strange and realistic. It's strange, because usually end-of-life movies are so sentimentalized and filled with poignant moment after poignant moment; but realistic because...yeah, the progression of dementia illnesses, and the accessory narratives associated with them (shopping for long-term care, trying to decide whether or how to decorate your loved-one's living space, the stark reality of moving them out of their own home, dealing with the aftermath, etc.)...it seems like these will be momentous things, but they're actually frighteningly mundane. You just do it, and suddenly everything is different, but it all just feels so normal. Unremarkable.

Anyway, the other DVD I watched was Uncounted: The New Math of American Elections, which is a sobering and somewhat depressing look at the massive irregularities of the 2000, 2004, and 2006 elections. I knew that electronic voting machines had problems, but I didn't realize how widespread the irregularities are, how easy the machines are to hack, and how hard it is to audit election results reported from them (impossible, actually, unless they print paper ballots that can be hand verified by the voter and, if necessary, by election officials). Crazy shit, man. The film is somewhat alarmist, but on balance it presents a convincing case that the use of these electronic voting machines has to be more tightly regulated. We can expect many, many polling shenanigans during this years presidential election, because the problems this film reports have not yet been solved.
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(no subject)

Jul. 9th, 2008 04:52 pm
arguchik: (Default)
Note to self: don't do that again.

I let myself get way too hungry today. I was busy prepping for class, engrossed in what I was doing, and thereby forgot to eat lunch. Normally that would be OK--not great, but fine. Very survivable. Unfortunately, today I'm coming off 2 days' worth of intestinal yuckiness, which means that I was a little low on calories to begin with, both because I've been...erm...shall we say "rapidly expending" them, and because I haven't been eating nearly as much food as usual. Probably less than half of my normal daily caloric intake.

So class went fine...I taught, it went well, no mishaps. Then I decided to take the #44 bus home, and halfway home I decided to transfer to the #5 and go up to Red Mill on Greenwood to get a burger. I had such a craving...seriously, it was knee-buckling. Well, when I got off the bus my knees actually did almost give out on me. I wobbled and tripped my way up the road to Red Mill, placed my order, and basically collapsed onto a chair. Wow.

I am familiar with the feeling. I have done some extended backpacking (by which I mean more than a few days--unfortunately not as much as a month or anything) in mountainous terrain, and it is really easy--and really dangerous--to get calorie-depleted under those circumstances because you have to consume WAY more calories than you'd think. Hiking with a heavy pack, you really burn through the food, and if you don't replace that energy you'll quickly find yourself in trouble. It makes you more susceptible to hypothermia, heat exhaustion, and just debilitating fatigue, not to mention fatigue-related injuries. The warning signs, for me, are wobbly knees and clumsy feet, along with confusion and an uncharacteristic lack of coordination (i.e. more than my usual clumsiness). It's really quite astonishing how quickly that state can creep up--sometimes before I even know I'm hungry. [For someone my size, any pack loaded for an overnight trip is pretty fucking heavy, in terms of percentage of body weight--something most of the men I've backpacked with have a really difficult time comprehending, incidentally. All that "women's specific" sizing can only shave so many ounces off the weight of a sleeping bag, for example; and things like a tent, a water filtration device, or a stove weigh the same no matter how big you are, obviously.]

Forgive the tangent. My point: must not get so hungry again. However...having said the thing I'm supposed to say, I'm also going to add this: it's kind of an interesting experience, every now and then, to get so hungry that you actually feel the need for food in your muscles and bones. I can't remember the last time a burger tasted quite that good. In fact, I can't remember the last time I appreciated food of any kind quite that much, which in turn is an important reminder of how fucking lucky I am, that I can get such cheap, easy, tasty food with so little trouble.

And now here I am, already thinking about dinner...which is my way of reassuring you, gentle Reader, that I am not going to start starving myself for the thrill of it. That's not what I was talking about...I hope that's clear.
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food review

Aug. 28th, 2007 10:48 pm
arguchik: (mmmmcake)
today i ate brunch in portland with my friend tim, at a place called bijou cafe, located at 132 SW 3rd st. i've eaten there before, and it's just a terrific place. the food is simple, very nicely prepared, and delicious. last time i was there, i got a slice of this stuff they serve called "gibassier." it's an orange/anise bread very much like a brioche, which they toast slightly on a grill before serving it. they get it from the pearl bakery. so anyway, i knew about it...and today i got a slice to go so that i could enjoy it on the train. it was even more yummy than i remembered. i am now gathering recipes for it so that i can try making it myself.

when i was married, my ex-husband and i used to do that a lot. whenever we really liked something, we would find and test recipes for it so that we could make it for ourselves, at home. i kinda miss doing that. since we broke up, i haven't really had the time, the inclination, or the clientele (people to eat at least some of whatever i make, because most recipes make way more food than one person can eat before it spoils). i have more foodie friends now, so maybe it's time to take up the hobby again. if they don't want to eat it, maybe stuff like this will keep OK in the freezer.

yeah, so i'm home, in case anyone wondered. riding the train was fun--it cost about $15 more for a round-trip ticket than greyhound ($62 and ~$45, respectively), and it was totally worth it. more leg room, bathrooms, plus it has a snack car. while in portland i saw many plastic bodies, mostly human but with a couple of camels thrown in for good measure (the purpose of my trip was to go check out the bodyworlds exhibit at the oregon museum of science and industry, so i can include an analysis of it in one of my dissertation chapters). my friend tim and i went to see sicko last night, too--it was interesting. i'll post a fuller review of that sometime soon, perhaps tomorrow if i have time. i have some questions about its portrayal of the health systems in canada, england, and france, and i want to research those questions before i write out my thoughts about the film. anyway, it was also cool just to hang out with tim and catch up--i hadn't seen him for about a year (i think it was around the time of my appendectomy, because i remember showing him my incision scar over hash browns up at beth's cafe up on aurora). tim is one of my three 6th grade friends (along with roger and kelli)...it's weird to think about it, but he and i have known each other since we were squirrelly prepubescents. LOL--sometimes we channel those earlier selves when we hang out together, especially when it's just us (i.e. when there aren't any SO's around to get annoyed with us).
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i'm hungry...

Aug. 22nd, 2007 01:04 pm
arguchik: (mmmmcake)
have i mentioned that our fridge broke over the weekend, and that we have a mini-fridge loaner until the full-sized replacement arrives? have i mentioned that the loaner fridge, while adorable, is barely large enough to hold all of our condiments, much less any actual food that might satisfy my present desire for lunch? have i mentioned that i live right around the corner from paseo?

must......not...........succumb..............

:::whine::: but it's so much closer than the grocery store, and their sandwiches are so much yummier than anything i could get at the store, and they're not very expensive, really....

fuck. i think i just talked myself into it.
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grass farming

Jun. 14th, 2007 03:04 pm
arguchik: (meat chica)
here's an interesting website for and about meat, eggs, and dairy from grass fed animals. i've been really curious about this topic since finishing michael pollan's new book, the omnivore's dilemma: a natural history of four meals, and i've been wondering what kinds of farms, buying clubs, etc. are available in this area. this website seems like a good clearinghouse for information (they even sell books--including pollan's).

pollan's book has challenged my thinking about meat and other animal-derived food. much more behind cut )
i just want to rave about my new favorite kind of grilled cheese sandwich, and to give instructions in case anyone is interested in trying this at home. (i know, i know...it's a fucking grilled cheese sandwich. everyone knows how to make that.) i have been loving the grilled cheese and soup (tomato basil) combo at cafe solstice lately--and am pretty much blown away by how yummy the sandwich tastes. it's like the perfect grilled cheese, IMO. so i asked them...what kind of cheese do they use? the answer: they use 3 cheeses--cheddar, swiss, and provolone.

i tried it at home--with one slice of each kind of cheese--and it is soooooooo yummy. at solstice they grill their sandwiches in a panini iron, but i did it using a cast iron griddle on the stove. i also used a nice, crusty, toothsome bread (it would be good with any kind of peasant bread, sourdough, pain au levain, etc. i don't think spongy supermarket bread would hold up to the cheese, though, nor to the heat needed to melt the cheese. just my opinion, take or leave.) then you just grill it--except...normally i would butter the bread before grilling, but this time i tried buttering the griddle, and it worked great. i have this idea that the bread absorbs slightly less butter when you do it that way. not like this will ever be a "healthy" sandwich or anything, but i see no need to make it greasier than necessary. "necessary" exists, of course, in the eye of the beholder.
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decadence

Dec. 21st, 2006 09:37 am
arguchik: (tipsy)
i also wanted to post about portland--[livejournal.com profile] glaucon and i went on saturday, stayed overnight, and came back sunday afternoon/evening-ish.

we went on priceline to get a rental car to drive down there, and a hotel room. ended up staying at the holiday inn by the convention center (the hotel is on 2nd ave NE, if you know portland). we spent much of saturday walking around looking for a restaurant, and finally settled on this place called pazzo. i had a salad of winter greens, pear, and white balsamic viniagrette; a mushroom risotto dish with a black truffle cheese shaved on top; and panna cotta with a glass of amazing port for dessert. WOW! it was fabulous! very expensive but...so lovely. i wouldn't want to eat like that all the time, but every now and then it's just the thing.

we also played some pinball and bought books at powell's. we tried to hook up with my friend tim, but he was busy, so it was just us. and that was exactly right. a perfect weekend.

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