Sunday, September 30, 2007

TV premiere week!

I think my DVR is my favorite piece of technology (this week). I couldn't help traveling during premiere week, so I set the machine to record my faves, as well as a few new ones that seemed interesting. (although I realized on Friday night that I forgot to record the season premiere of Numb3rs! Drat!)

Here's my take so far: (spoilers! fair warning!)
CSI season opener - Wow. They found Sara right at the end of the hour. There are still rumors about Jorja Fox leaving the show, but in the meantime, they showed how the crazy chick kidnapped her, and how Sara got out from under the car and wandered in the desert. And Nick was the one who found her, which I thought fitting.
Journeyman - We (Dani and I) were sort of hoping that it would be like Quantum Leap (oh that Scott Bakula...), but it was *a lot* more confusing, and there were multiple jumps back and forth from current time to the 80's (and the 90's). They made it the 80's by showing a guy in a red leather jacket carrying a boom box, and some other funny "clues." I may watch one more time, just to see if it gets any better. Kevin McKidd is no Scott Bakula, but he's not bad (Marcia said he was really good in 'Rome').
Dirty Sexy Money - I love Peter Krause, from Sports Night and Six Feet Under, so I figured it might be worth it to try the show. He, of course, was great... but the rest of the show just annoyed me. Whiny rich people. Ugh. Ok, Donald Sutherland was interesting as the smarmy patriarch. But again, one more episode might be enough for me.
CSI:Miami - Pretty typical Miami-ness. Except that one of the suspects was Horatio's son, and Calleigh is dating the Christian-Slater-lookalike cop, who generally annoys me. And why are we keeping Ryan around, running the gun range and talking about all of the evaluations he has to do before he gets reinstated?
Cane - Yet another show where I like the main actor (Jimmy Smits) so I thought I'd see how it was. I only caught about half of it, but it looks interesting. Ken Howard made the most of his bad guy role.
Private Practice - Better than I expected. I knew all the characters from the intro show last season, and they pretty much lived up to the way they were supposed to be. Kate Walsh and Tim Daly... we'll see. He's another one that I've liked for a long time.
Grey's Anatomy - Let's see. A missing arm, a separated skeleton, new interns, and Izzie's operating on a deer in the parking lot. It's a little disjointed, but I did miss this crew. Still not sure how I feel about Lexie Gray being around, so we'll see.
Criminal Minds - haven't watched it yet, but I'm interested to see how they phase out Mandy Patinkin (waaah!) and phase in Joe Mantegna.
Big Shots - bunch of funny guys, being funny - Michael Vartan, Joshua Malina, and Dylan McDermott! Yay! Haven't watched that one yet either.

Oy. and Men in Trees is coming back next week... and Numb3rs... and Bill Maher and What Not To Wear and Mythbusters and House... I have too many shows!

Biggest complaint about my DVR: I lose the last 30 seconds of EVERYTHING! It's a good thing I had taped Big Shots, which starts right after Grey's Anatomy, or I never would have known that George was at the door! UGH. I wish I could figure out how to fix this.

Santa Fe and spicy hummus and sports

It was a looong week. I spent Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in Santa Fe, NM, for work. I gave a quick presentation, and managed to get an invitation to Singapore out of it! (Have to figure out how to fund that one...) Caught up with my former boss, learned a lot about the energy industry and where we need to go, and played hooky for about an hour (part of our lunch hour) to go shopping. :) I could have bought kokopelli EVERYTHING, but I was very well behaved -- I only bought a kokopelli necklace (sort of like this) for myself, and some pistachios to bring back to the office.

Came home to a busy Friday at work, got killed by my trainer at the gym, and had dinner and drinks with the girls, which was fun. Saturday was spent making Mediterranean munchies for supper club. I made regular hummus (with extra garlic), roasted red pepper-chipotle hummus, and falafel. (chick peas galore!) I used the box of falafel mix - I'm never sure what that special spice is that makes falafel taste exactly right, so I go with the mix. It works. They ended up looking like little hockey pucks, but they were yummy!

The Skins were doing well for a week or two (that Monday night game was awesome!) but then they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, as is their custom. USC keeps winning, but it hasn't been as easy as expected. Last week, the powers that be at ABC/ESPN took it upon themselves to switch games just as we were going into the 4th quarter, because the Iowa-Wisconsin game was more interesting (final score was USC 47 - Wash State 14). I wrote them a NASTY email. This week, the game was a lot closer, but that's probably because we had 16 penalties for 161 yards against Washington. WHAT?! Hello?! They're gonna have some tough practices this week, 4-0 record notwithstanding. And lo and behold, LSU jumped ahead of us to #1 in the polls. Next weekend Stanford's coming to the Coliseum. I won't jinx it by talking about the way the game *should* go.

Speaking of the Trojans, I found out today that one of my spinning instructors at the gym knows Pete Carroll! I suggested that she wish him a belated happy birthday. Apparently she and her husband have known Pete since he was coaching the Pats in the NFL. I'll have to think of some way to parlay that into tickets or a signed something-or-other... ;) (I love Pete, he's awesome.)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

There are good bugs,

like the caterpillar I made for Kelly's baby shower:

I crocheted this one, but it's based on Kimberly Chapman's incredible knitted pattern.) I made up the pattern as I went along, trying to get it to look like hers. Turns out I chose the same numbers of stitches for each round (without reading hers first), so it's probably about the same size as the original, although I didn't have any bright orange, so it's one segment short! I wish I had noticed that her pattern called for a squeaky bit in the head and some bells in the tail, though. Oh well. I'm sure the baby will love it. I think the antennae and the smiley face are what make it so cute.

... and then there are the BAD bugs, like this little baby scorpion that appeared in my kitchen the other night, just as I was getting ready for bed. ACK! To be fair, he was only about 2" long, though this pic makes him look HUGE. Let me tell you, with my adrenaline kicking, it didn't matter how big he was! I stopped to snap a pic of him, and then I went and got the (floral-scented) RAID. He didn't like the RAID very much, but just for good measure, I went and got a big shoe (thanks again for those Merrills, Aunt Robin!) and smashed him a couple of times. But then I had to figure out how to pick up the dead body. I feel bad for wasting a whole wad of paper towels -- Robin said I should have used my kitchen tongs -- but I got him in the trash, and got the trash out ASAP.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Monkeying Around

Jill Greenberg presents a series of fantastic images at the new New Republic. The images are great, but the captions make them hilarious.

On the left, "Grrr" and below, "oy vey"

I don't know how people could say that man didn't descend from apes when they look at this set of pictures! The animals are SO expressive and human-like, it's uncanny.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Fight On, Trojans!

Yay! It's college football season again! And the Trojans are #1 again! The game two weeks ago against Idaho (at the Coliseum) was sort of lame, although USC won 38-10. The talk was that the team was holding back to keep Nebraska from seeing what they were capable of. And apparently even the fans in the stands were so bored with the blowout that they started leaving in the 3rd quarter.

Then we had a week off. That was really weird, a week 2 bye? I didn't know what to do last Saturday night. [ok, that's just sad.]

Yesterday, the Trojans traveled to Nebraska. I have to say, I'm thankful that our team doesn't have the kind of mascot where we (the fans) feel the need to wear goofy things like corn cobs on our heads (or cheese wedges, or any of those other midwestern oddities). ;) I kept thinking I saw cardinal and gold in the stands, when it was actually those giant corn cob hats. Funny.

Booty's passing wasn't getting us anywhere (one receiver dropped three passes!) but the running game was a different story. I swear, you could have driven a Mack truck through the holes in their defensive line! And Stafon Johnson did just that -- to the tune of 313 yards! (144 of those yards were his.)

We have a former songleader in our Alumni group, too. Ordinarily, I'd say that's a good thing, but not in this case. She got up (in front of the tv, which was annoying) and tried to do the cheers (she must be in her mid-40's or more) but she didn't know the songs! and she was rather intoxicated, so it was more disturbing than entertaining. I don't remember her watching the games with us last year, but then I didn't find the group until about midway through the season. Tim (the president of the group) said she stood on the table with her pom-poms last year. Yikes. Glad I missed that.

Next weekend, Washington State @ the Coliseum. Fight On!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Blog line of the day

I don't know if it's because I'm tired, or if I see a little of my (possibly future) self -- or my friends -- in this line, but it made me laugh out loud:
"When Elijah got home from kindergarten yesterday, Regina made him a snack tray and served it to the boy while he, exhausted and numb-eyed from a hard day at school, watched a couple of episodes of The Tick, which I rented for him on Netflix. Counting the number of pretentious Gen-X parenting references in that previous sentence would be like trying to guess the number of jellybeans in a jar. "

From the blog.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Let your laptop save the world!

I don't know why it took me so long to post this, but we had a speaker at the Austin Forum last month who told us about the World Community Grid -- and we all promptly went and signed up! Remember searching for extra-terrestrials with SETI@Home? (Did anybody ever find the aliens?) I was running United Devices Cancer research bot for a while on my laptop, but that project ended, so we've now moved on to WCG.

It's easy! Download the BOINC client from the website, sign up (you can even join the TACC team, if you like) and start using your computer's background cycles for medical research. You even get to accumulate points, so you can "compete" with your friends. (The points aren't really worth anything, but they're fun to track nonetheless.) The newest project is "Discovering Dengue Drugs - Together," and it is based out of the UT Medical Branch in Galveston, TX. (This blue, red and turquoise blob is what the Dengue virus looks like.) -->

I'd have more points, but my home laptop is three years old (ancient!) and apparently couldn't handle the load. I have WCG running at work now, and seems to be doing fine. [Competitive? moi?] :)

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Quote of the Day:

"That man [Daniel Craig] should be wet as often as possible."

-- Dani, after watching Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Yes, we're Skyrocket groupies

Last night Skyrocket played again, this time up at Hanover's in Pflugerville. (and yes, I say Puh-flugerville every time I say it, just because it's funny.) :)

The bar was smoky, which was a shock - I haven't been in a place full of smokers since... 2006, I think - but at least it was indoors, so we didn't sweat to death unless we were actually dancing. The dance floor was small, but we didn't care! We took over the spot in front of the band, which also meant that Rebeka caught the eye of the lead singer, whether she liked it or not. They played a good run of 70's classics, and some great 80's tunes - everything from KISS' "Rock n Roll All Night" to Tom Jones' "She's a Lady" to Carly Simon's "You're So Vain" to the Clash's "Rock the Casbah." And we stayed for all three sets, so by the time we got out of there, it was 1am.

Apparently it was also "Miller Chill" night... These two girls (I swear, barely old enough to drink) showed up in matching lime green dresses, and proceeded to bring little taster cups of Miller Chill (the beer with lime and salt in it) around to the crowd. BLECH. I was not impressed. Although it was nice to learn that I didn't like it with a free taster, rather than having to pay for a bottle of it and then discover how icky it is. ;) [It's like Diet Coke with lime - if I want the lime squeezed into it, I'll put it in; please don't do it for me. Pre-"flavoring" is a tricky proposition. And DC with lime is awful! But I digress. ]

Only took a few photos, which can be seen here.

We ended our evening at Whataburger. All that dancing burns a lot of calories -- and that's not counting all of the ones I burned with the trainer beforehand! I hadn't been to Whataburger yet, and I have to say, I wasn't missing much. The burger was ok, but the fries were awful. Fortunately, the company made it all worthwhile. :)

Looks like Skyrocket is at Cedar Street again at the end of the month! Woo hoo!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Rain, Round Rock, and Random foods

Catching up...

Friday night was the end-of-year party for my office, so we all went to Round Rock to see the Express play. I went last year, too, but I'd only been here a few weeks, and didn't know anybody - and very few people came. This year we had lots of people, little kiddies, and... RAIN! It was hot and muggy, and we saw the dark clouds, but we kept hoping the rain wouldn't bother us. We were mistaken. [At least the girls got a chance to make some chalk flowers before the rain started!]

Right around the time that the game was supposed to start (7:05), it started to drizzle. We thought we'd be ok under the tent, but it turns out a shade tent doesn't stop the water coming through.... particularly when the water is coming down in sheets! :( Rebeka and I used her quilt (a lovely American flag quilt that she made herself, btw) as a tent to cover ourselves and Giana and Nic. Lesson learned: four year old girls shriek a lot when they're getting wet! Eventually, the Dell Diamond staff came and invited us to move indoors. Fortunately, my knitting bag (you think I'd go to a baseball game without a sock to knit?) is waterproof, so when we went inside I had a dry towel.

The rain finally let up around 8:30-ish, but by then we were so wiped out, all I had the energy for was a quick trip to the souvenir shop. I got a beer coozie shaped like a RRE shirt. Made it home in time to watch some good tennis from Flushing Meadows. Yay US Open! One of these days I'll get back to NYC.

Another pic I took and forgot to post... Last week was the Summer Supercomputing Institute. One of the students came from our partner institution in Mexico, and brought me a gift. He tried very hard to get something that couldn't be found in the States - and he succeeded! As you can see, it's "Queso de Tuna." This threw me for a loop, until I went on the Internet and looked it up! Turns out, it's a sweet - sort of jam/paste like - made out of prickly pear or cactus fruit.... which you could sort of guess if you looked at the picture on the package. (If you're paying attention, Spanish speakers, it's certainly not tuna fish, as the word for tuna is atun.) I tasted it, it was ... interesting. Sort of like apple butter, in a more solid form. Anyway, it was a lovely and original gift.

And finally, last weekend was Supper Club. Our theme was "foods that remind us of home" - or some variation thereof. I remember eating artichokes every summer, with Durkees dipping sauce, and teaching other people how to get the yummy artichoke meat off the edge of the leaves with your teeth. But individual artichokes for each person was going to be a) expensive, b) time consuming to eat, and c) messy at the dinner table. So instead I made Rachael Ray's baked artichoke hearts, which are easy and very tasty. I also made mint chocolate chip ice cream - green, with Nestle chips - because that was my favorite thing at Baskin Robbins. (well, other than the pink bubblegum ice cream with the multicolored pieces of gum in it, that we always kept in our hand until we were done with the ice cream so we could chew the gum.... but I digress.) It was a very random buffet - potato salad (w/o mayo -very yummy), crabmeat dip, blackened catfish pieces, vegetarian lasagna, eastern carolina vinegar pulled pork, rosemary corn bread, cinnamon apples, and key lime pie and my ice cream for dessert. YUM.

So that's it, I think I'm caught up. For now. :) Happy Labor Day Weekend!