Monday, March 31, 2008

Dinner in Athens, anyone?

I promised T'Other Liz a picture of tonight's dinner, which is not to be confused with the tofu bake from the other night. This is a Greek couscous salad, with a side of spinach salad, and then I quartered a lemon and also a lime to add a little bit of tang to the salad. I also had a small tablespoon of hummus on the side, just for a little bit of texture and protein.


The couscous veggies included green scallions, tomatoes, olives, and cucumbers. Other ingredients included plain feta cheese and instead of using plain olive oil, I used about 20 ml of lemon olive oil for seasoning. As always, I skipped the salt and pepper.

The spinach salad is pretty self-explanatory. Just a few spinach leaves, some diced tomatoes, and a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese. So, who wants to come to my house for dinner?

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Before

Today, I prepped a lemon herb tofu bake with veggies. Right now, I'm at the 50 percent complete mark. It will spend the rest of today and most of Monday in the fridge, before heading into the oven for Tuesday evening dinner. Jemima suggested I post a "before" picture, so you all can see how my food looks BEFORE it explodes.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

LotD

Can you survive on $21 worth of food per week per person? The governor of Oregon decided to give it a go.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Today

It's been a Dateline kind of day. Film available offline.

In other news, a combination of super saturated SHOUT, bleach, Woolite, and Ajax dish soap can mostly get red wine spatter out of a white sweater.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Experiment

So I have to eat my words from yesterday as I decided to try traffic wave experiment aka "traffic jam reduction". I was convinced it wouldn't work in Sweat Sock City because honestly, whether it's a car or real estate, every free space in this city must be occupied; no two molecules of oxygen may flit and float without hindrance. I intentionally left about 15 seconds between my car and the car in front of me; my driver's ed teachers would be so proud. So I drove the speed limit, all the while maintaining the space. The space never really disappeared. It got smaller sometimes as I got closer to the traffic, but it never was less than 6 to 7 seconds in size. For the first time in months, I didn't need to apply my brakes at all on my commute home.

What fascinated me most was the fact this space was rarely taken advantage of by other drivers on the road. Even an 18-wheeler in the lane next to me didn't seem interested even though he could have easily fit. On the 25 miles to downtown, I saw maybe 5-6 cars take advantage of the open space and for the most part, they came from the lane on the right. It's as if the wide open space scared the other drivers; we're so used to being a culture where we try to jam as much as possible into a tight space that this concept of a 15-second space was foreign.

Of course this is all unscientific, based on one trial, and traffic for these past two weeks in Sweat Sock City has been light. I will continue to experiment and monitor. If this is indeed a true phenomena, then... WOW. Never (well, almost never) get stuck in traffic again.

LotD: Here's the article on the guy who got something like 150 miles to the gallon. King of the Hypermilers.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

More for less

I'm intrigued by this concept of hypermiling -- getting the most possible out of a gallon of gasoline. I read a story over the weekend where one guy got something like 150 miles per gallon, which completely blows my 32 miles per gallon right out of the water. Of course, he probably takes 80 million hours to get to work, and some of the techniques are not safe on a 70 mph (ha!) interstate, but I've been attempting some when it seems feasible, such as cruising to a red light or letting my foot off the gas on a "potential" slope. Since I drive about 50 miles RT a day, even a 10 percent reduction would be of benefit to me. I haven't tried reducing traffic jams yet, but boy if that works...*

* It's a fact that here in Sweat Sock City any open space, regardless of its size, will be immediately filled with a vehicle. If the vehicle is larger than the space, then tough cookies to the vehicle just to its rear. Passing on the right is also acceptable when a space immediately opens up, especially if it means crossing across four lanes of traffic at 80 mph.

Monday, March 24, 2008

DT redux

I'm fast (and scarily) becoming a Discount Tire groupie. I ended up having to go there after work because my car was vibrating and shaking so violently on the interstate that I was genuninely concerned about safety. It had been vibrating at over 60-65 mph on my way home yesterday and then this morning, the threshold dropped to the 55 to 60 mph. I called Discount Tire to see if they could get me in at lunch time but their wait time was about 90 minutes. I figured I'd put it off until tomorrow or the weekend.

Well, on the way home, the shimmy and vibration grew fierce enough that I became concerned. I was confused too because Discount Tire had told me that they had rebalanced my tires on Saturday but the last time this had happened, it was a balancing issue. I was really hoping it wasn't anything more severe. There was a Discount Tire on my way home, so I got there around 5:15 pm and they were able to get my car in and out in just over an hour. Apparently, the tires were out of balance. Weird. Anyway, once I got back on the highway, I floored it to 70 mph, a speed I rarely hit in my decade-old Corolla, and there was just the very slightest vibration. So problem (mostly) fixed, and again, at no charge.

But yeah, I've been to Discount Tire three times in four weeks. They're probably going to start flagging me as a problem customer. Shessh.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Nostalgia

I was reading old comments from previous ASC Awards and the trip down memory lane was fun. So many stories, so many great writers, so much enthusiasm, interest and *fun*. I miss that. What was scary though was I don't remember half the stories I wrote and that appeared in the Awards. I saw some comments for one of my stories and I was like, "Huh? I wrote that?" Reading the comments though made me more motivated to actually write something. We'll see. Maybe I'll go back and find some of those old stories I read comments about; after all this time, it'll be new (probably scary) to me!
Customer service

I don't think I can adequately express in this blog just how much, just HOW MUCH, I heart Discount Tire. Seriously, the service is awesome, quality is great, and you can trust these guys to make a problem right -- even when it's not THEIR problem. I've had two recent experiences with Discount Tire that pretty much sealed the deal for me. The first was when I needed to get my tires balanced. Three of my Frankestein tires are from Discount and the other is from Firestone. So I fully expected that Discount would give me the three tires I'd bought from them for free and I'd have to pay the rebalancing on the fourth. They gave me all four tires for free. Awesome and unexpected.

The second story came today. My car -- 10 years old! -- failed the state safety inspection (but hey, it passed the emissions tests no problem, so... yeah?) and so I needed to get a brake job in order to pass. So I took the car in, got the brake job done, and then the techs there told me there was something wrong with the lug nuts and then the studs and the threads and all those scary things techs tell you and you think, "OH MY GOD, I AM GOING TO DIE WHEN I GET ON THE HIGHWAY." So I went back to Discount Tire because they were the last ones to deal with my tires. I told them nicely (I've learned my lesson re yelling at mechanics; more on that in another bloggity) that I trusted their opinion, the brake job people scared me, could they check out my lug nuts, studs and threads? Anyway, when I called them back later, they told me not only were they replacing my lug nuts, they were ordering them from another store (hooray?). I got my car well before the 2 pm time they told me and not only that, they didn't charge me for the new lug nuts, even though I have no idea where the problem (if any) originated. Also, they rebalanced my tires and put air in them. For free.

The best part was when I offered to pay for the lug nuts and they said no. I said, are you sure? And the response? "Yes, just come back and see us again."

I heart Discount Tire.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

3 am

So no two clocks in my life have the same time. The variation is as little as 5 minutes and as much as 40 minutes. Currently, the clock in my car is correct because my dad changed it and it's throwing me off my game a little bit. I look at the time and it's actually the right time and I lack the comfort of the 23 minute "buffer" that used to be there. Any day now, I'm going to change the time on my VCR so I don't have to subtract 3 minutes from the beginning time of a show and add 3 minutes to the end. You'd think it'd be easier to just have the right time. I've completely given up on my microwave clock and I don't set it anymore. I have two wrist watches and one of them has the right time and the other doesn't. I don't know which is which. I'm not usually late though.

My alarm clock is the biggest problem child. I have no idea how many minutes fast it is. I think it's somewhere in the neighborhood of 45 minutes. I set it fast when I changed jobs last summer because my commute, time wise, is now 3 times longer and to get there on time, I'd have to leave my apartment at the same time I used to wake up to get to my previous job. But I have this thing -- I don't believe in waking up before 7 am, an irony you realize when I tell you the second alarm on my clock is set for 3:30 am, the time I wake up to go to the airport. But anyway, my normal alarm goes off now at "6:30 am" and then I proceed to hit snooze until the clock reaches "7:00 am". That's when I roll out of bed, and start to get ready for work. Yesterday, I looked down at one of my two wrist watches and realized it was only 6:40 am and I'd already been up for 30 minutes. Some fictions only go so far.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Out of this world

I was reading my favorite vegan blog today -- Vegan Yum Yum -- mostly because I love looking at the pictures -- food Pr0n at its best -- and I stumbled on this recipe which I know the Trek-minded of you will be greatly amused by. In all seriousness though, this version of hasperat looks amazing and I can't wait to try it out. Now I'm curious as to how a vegan site will deal with gagh!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Say what?

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: North Central
 

"North Central" is what professional linguists call the Minnesota accent. If you saw "Fargo" you probably didn't think the characters sounded very out of the ordinary. Outsiders probably mistake you for a Canadian a lot.

The West
 
Boston
 
The Midland
 
Philadelphia
 
The Inland North
 
The South
 
The Northeast
 
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz
Back 2 Good

I saw Matchbox Twenty in concert not too long ago and I was thrilled to hear my favorite song live (g). And of course, I must share it with all of you :-).



One of these days, I'll get back to real blogging. It's just so hard these days after spending so much time on the computer at work to want to come home and log on. I solemnly swear to try and do better.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Gas prices

The US government has one of the best websites out there on energy issues and prices. Check out this link to learn what the price of a gallon of gas is composed of. It's pretty easy to read and understand. The bottom line is, if we see $70/barrel any time soon, I'll be surprised. It wasn't too long ago that I thought $50/barrel as the ceiling was crazy. Now I'm anticipating $110/barrel in the not-so-distance future. My concern is demand destruction if we see $105-$115 range for more than 6 months and the effect on the world economy. My suggestion? When you get your tax rebate, bank it or pay down debt. Don't spend it on things you don't need. The two things might not seem related to you, but the higher those prices go, the more likely it is our economy is going to slow down even more than it already has.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Listen up, Texas

Here's the deal -- it feels *damn* good to be relevant for the first time since LBJ. It feels so awesome to know that on March 4, the primary matters, the voters matter, and Democrats can come out of hiding. It feels so good to see all the Hillary signs, and even the Obama ones. It means it's a good time to be a Democrat. That's the first part, the awesome part of the deal -- being relevant in Texas again.

The second part, that's not the so awesome part. That's the part where some of you are choosing Obama. Obama with his minuscule experience, his health care plan that doesn't cover everyone, and his inane idea to bomb Pakistan to get bin Laden. We've already suffered through amateur hour in the White House for the last 7 years; Texas, do we really want to go through that again?

There's not much daylight between the two. You cut through the rhetoric and you see two candidates who are remarkably the same -- talented, accomplished, passionate. It's great that we have such a choice. But don't vote for Obama because he's not Clinton. Don't vote for Obama because you find yourself drifting away on his words (because God knows, I do find him memorizing). Don't vote for Obama because you think the idea of hope is the only thing that can get America through. Don't vote for Obama because he was right about Iraq at a time when he didn't have the obligation to make a decision about Iraq. These are all words and promises. You have a better choice, Texas, so choose it.

Choose someone who has 35 years of experience, who knows world leaders by name and has visited parts of the world currently in trouble. Pick someone who has made health care a personal crusade and who is going to promote what is core liberal value -- universal health care for everyone. Pick someone who is more pragmatic, who has been (surprisingly) able to work with some of the most conservative members of congress and get legislation passed. Pick someone who isn't new, shiny, and isn't the world's great orator. Pick someone who is going to roll up her sleeves and get to work for us on day one.

Think hard about who you're voting for on Tuesday. Think about the difference between words and actions. Think about what means to have less than four years of experience at the national level and compare that to 35 years. Experience means something. We've already gone seven years with a "change candidate" and a "uniter not a divider" candidate. Let's not do that again.

So on Tuesday, Texas, make the right choice and vote and caucus for Hillary Clinton.