Tuesday, April 29, 2008

help!

... so much for winter being gone. It's in its death throes, certainly, but not gone. The weather turned crappy yesterday, lots of rain with a chance of snow mixed-in, blah! And today, it's only 37F. At least it's sunny.


as if that wasn't bad enough, the *^#@^&%#(&&^ apartment we live in, the administration is so crap.... so they send out a notice to everyone about impending maintenance work that will involve lots of jackhammering and noise, starting tomorrow.

Which is NICE, you say?

But they say NOTHING about work that's going on in the APARTMENT ABOVE ME, today, starting from 8:30am! Sounds like some sort of heavy-duty drilling going on.

Non-stop.


If nothing else at least Kosh happened to call & wake/drag me out of bed already before it started, otherwise I'd have been even MORE pissed off to be woken up by this din.

I've put up with it for an hour, but not for very much longer can I stand it.

Y'know, if the weather were normal outside, I wouldn't hesitate to grab a blanket and a book, and just go outside and read for an hour or three.

But like I said, it's friggin cold out.

So what to do???

Helllpppp!!!!

(going to shower, take some advil, and by that time perhaps I'll have an idea of where to go / what to do to escape!)

(note - took me another hour to play around with inserting the photos [don't ask!], and the noises seem to have stopped a minute ago - phew!)

(note #2 - it's 12:30 n ... and while the major drilling has stopped, they are now hammering like there's no tomorrow. aarrrggghhhhh! I escaped for an hour by going to the gym, btw. But I'm going to go nuts really soon...)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

random saturday snippets

1. So for fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer who are also into Tarot cards, there's something new that's just for you! A Buffy-themed Tarot deck. Heh.

2. Elephant painters

I got this vid in the mail recently, and was amazed that an elephant would paint itself, a self-portrait, if you will. Of course, when watching it on the YouTube website itself, very quickly killed that amazement, because you know how they have a list of related vids in the sidebar? Yeah, there were loads of similar vids: obviously this was a show put on for tourists, so these painting sessions probably happen daily, perhaps even a few times in a day.

So I started wondering if the elephants were truly being creative, or if they'd been trained (read: forced) to make such paintings. Would the same elephant churn out the same painting every day, every time, or do they have a little bit of artistic leeway every time they are placed in front of the canvas?

And even better - how much do they sell these painting for, because I'm sure many people would like to display "the masterpiece I saw being created while in Chiang Mai". Just how profitable is this venture?

All questions I will just leave hanging ... but here's another vid of (the same? different? I certainly wouldn't know how to tell...) an elephant, obviously a different time/day as the first vid, what with different colored paper and all.. and guess what? It's essentially the same image being drawn. So that flower held aloft by the trunk kinda loses its charm the second time around, knowing it's not a spontaneous thing.

And leaves me with a sour taste in the mouth.

Oh wait, have I brushed my teeth yet today?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

more pix

I decided to document my pottery products.

Here's what I did in Oct - Dec 2007 (still missing one or 2 pix, will add in when I get a hold of 'em).

Parts 2 & 3 coming soon.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

ego boost



"That is an excellent piece. Congratulations."
- my ceramics instructor




"Ooooh girrrl, that so pretty!"
"Hey Lynne, I really like your bowl!"
"Wow, that's beautiful!"
- various potterymates



[The Cat lording over my latest piece of pottery]


That's quite an ego boost I got today, so I just *had* to share :-)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day

Here's how Earth Day started today.

it's 5.30-ish in the morning, and I'm pulled out of my sleep by the glorious sounds of a puking cat. As I get more awake, I hear her jump down, and so closeby too: it takes just a moment for it to register, then Kosh mumbles "I think she just puked on the bed!"

Yup.

If nothing else, she chose the edge of the bed, on *his* side, LoL!

So Kosh cleans it up as best he can in his zombir [sic] state, then stubbornly climbs back into bed to steal as much shuteye as he still can before getting up for real (due in the hospital at 6.30am).

Oh, and during the cleanup, he checks the alarm clock, and it seems it had already been snoozed once - to his surprise. Heh. If nothing else I suppose the cat helped make sure he didn't over-snooze this time?

So I've been awake since 5.30 or so this morning. Darned cat!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

books galore?

Question: what's the problem with being orally fixated and totally absorbed in a book?

Answer: biting my nails. seriously, they are painfully ragged right now. all because I've found a few good books recently and have therefore done nothing except curl up and read... but I still need to keep my hands/mouth busy, hence the nail biting.

ouch :-(

aaaaaaanyways.... onwards with another book-related post.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, Kim was wondering about those who display books like trophies. That totally resonated with me, and rather than hijack her comment section, I figured I'd ramble on about it here. Of course, that was many many many moons ago. But my rambling is as equally valid now, LoL :-)

Books have always been an important part of my life, and escape from the horrid reality of daily life, to worlds of dragons, of good versus evil, of independence, of discovering and nurturing a magical ability, etc etc etc.

Growing up, in Malaysia, the whole "borrowing from the library" was something we did very rarely, because getting to the library was a huge hassle! I remember doing that only a few times in my childhood, although we did patronise the British Council's library quite a bit for a while too... overall, though, we bought most of our books. As a result, we accumulated LOADS of books. We actually had a small room in our house designated as "the library", and I was the self-appointed librarian who arranged the books in categories like "parents (i.e. boring!)", "children's (which signified ownership by my brother and me, and not necessarily "young adult" or "childrens" books!), and I'd actually put a little label on each spine "F BLY" for an Enid Blyton book in the Fiction category. If we'd had computers then, I'd have made a spreadsheet to catalog the collection! (I only did that 2 years ago, LoL!)

Moving out the big ol' house into a dinky little apartment, all of us had had the threat of downsizing our book collections a bit, but one of the dinky rooms was quickly dubbed the library, and shelves were built-in as high as they could go to store all the books (and National Geographics, and gawd knows how many years' worth of Reader's Digests!), so we could comfortably fit our books *and* have room to spare for future purchases!

And now with my parents moving into the newer apartment, which really is way too large, but hey, with even *more* shelf space, the books collection seems to be really out of control.

Especially when you sit back and consider that *my* books are mostly packed away in a whole bunch of boxes... If I were to have them unpacked and displayed on shelves in Malaysia, well, let's just say the entire upstairs would be mine :-)

But I wouldn't do that, because if nothing else, those books are going to end up getting shipped here to the U.S., to become part of the collective Naranek household of books. Kosh too keeps tons of books, so whenever we do settle down semi-permanently into a house of sorts, one room will already have to be set aside just for books. And I'll have a field day categorizing them, and arranging them, and omg sometimes I can actually revel in tasks that others might find mindnumbingly boring and unnecessary, LoL :-)

But Why? you ask, Why bother keeping all these books? You've read them so give them away already! Noooooooooooo!! Because books are not just to be read once! And while I know of some people who think it's a great waste of time to reread books, I think it's a waste to NOT reread them! There are quite a few books that I have lovingly reread, over and over again (with a suitable gap between reading lah, of course)! Why? For the beauty of the story! For the emotions it whips up within me! For the inspiration, motivation,,, escape! My immediate example will always be The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. I've read it at least 3 times, maybe 4, in the span of 15 years, and every time I'm enthralled all over again by the tale of "pagan" vs Christian Britain told through the voices of the females surrounding King Arthur. I'm planning on rereading Stephen King's Dark Tower series, and refreshing my memory of the Harry Dresden books I have. I've read Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum numerous times now, each time feelng slightly less stupid and getting a better grasp on the tale which includes the Knights Templar, Rosicrucians, and conspiracies so complex that The DaVinci Code reads like a children's primer.

Sure, I have others that perhaps were not as outstanding a read, but are still worthy of being kept, of being reread in the far future. After all, among the "boring" "adult" books available to me as I was growing up, there were some I enjoyed, and I'd like to think that my kids, if ever Kosh and I have any, might also get bit early by the reading bug, and get to escape into other worlds familiar to their parents :-)

So... why bother to display them like trophies? Well, I did notice that Kosh does do that - when I first moved in with him in Urbana, his books were stuffed in boxes of shelves in the bedroom but Frank Herbert's Dune series, and Stephen King's Dark Tower series were on display in the living room. He can correct me later, but I think they were there to subtly inform inform visitors where his interests lie, perhaps to spark conversation that might otherwise have gone unspoken?

For me, however, I don't tend to single out books/authors for display. I'd rather have them *all* on display, neatly, in a library of my own. I'm proud of them all :-)

At this point in my life, however, I really can't bring myself to buy (m)any more books. Hence the practical use of the library. It's fulfilled the reading need in me, and that's most important.

I'm sure I'll start accumulating more books soon enough!

Friday, April 18, 2008

earthquake?

So I'm in the laundry room and the tv is on, and they are talking about an earthquake that rocked Chicago? wtf? So I looked it up online - yeaaah, well an aftershock rattled some skyscrapers here, at like 4am - I was fast asleep, LoL!

The main event was in Central Illinois.

Some pix here.

A news article here.

Okay, gotta go transfer clothes from washers to dryers... ciao!

Monday, April 14, 2008

(untitled)

I have another book-related post... but since I've been rambling and blathering about books recently, I'll give that a skip and do this meme/survey I saw over at Eilen's instead. Yeah, so I need this to prompt content.. so sue me, LoL!

1. Cell phone: it was a permanent fixture for the longest time, I even had two lines at one point, but now? Now I check my phone once a week, usually find it dead and needing a recharge, and use it just for some text messaging.

2. Relationship: married.

3. My hair: unexciting past shoulder length dark brown wavy fine hair

4. Work: nope. I'm taking on the label of "wanna be writer" but haven't made much headway recently

5. My sibling: I have just the one, who much to my amusement jumped on the family fast-track! Married last July, and expecting their first kid next month.

6. My favourite thing: reading, and exploring new (fantasy) worlds through it.

7. My dream last night: don't remember. But this morning I woke up to find Kosh getting out of bed, and I was like "What's wrong? What's up?" and he looks at me weirdly - "Ummm, I need to get up to get ready and go to work?" "Really?" "Yeah, I've been hitting the snooze button for the past 24 minutes." "*Really*??" Yeah, that was weird considering I'm the one who usualy wakes up to his alarms.

8. Favourite drink: Coca Cola Zero

9. Dream car: don't have one. This aspect of materialism so does NOT appeal to me. So long the car is safe, reliable, and... would be nice if I didn't have to slide the seat ALL the way forward in order to get to the pedals, that would be nice, LoL!

10. The room I’m in: i suppose this would be the dining alcove, an area connecting the kitchen to the living room, where my computer is located.

12. My fears: I might have some flashes of fear/anxiety once in a while, but in general, fear has no place in my life :-) Try it, it's very liberating :-)

13. What do I want to be in 10 years: An established writer of strong fantasy tales with motivational & spiritual underpinnings that blend into an outstanding and unique voice.

14. Who did I hang out with this weekend: Just Kosh, as usual. We are both not that socially adept.

15. What I am not good at: Keeping to a routine/schedule even tho I know it's good for me.

16. Muffin: eh? Not a fan, not a form of carbs that I like.

17. One of my wish list items: apart from world peace? Loads of books, I suppose.

18. Where I grew up: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

19. Last thing I did: left a comment on Eilen's blog, condolences on the passing of her granda.

20. Wearing: sweatpants, wifebeater and flannel shirt. Need to shower and dress up in dirty clothes for a pot(-tery) session soon tho.

21. Not wearing: socks. Need them, it's still friggin cold :p

22. My pet: first and foremost Kosh's - the psycho kitty I've mentioned a few times (see "Cat Tales")

23. My computer: finally got my own last September, and proceeded to use it for Sim City playing, LoL!

24. My life: life is good.

25. My mood: a little hungry, and getting a bit antsy about starting the day already.

26. Missing: hmmm... nothing at the moment, am happy with the present

27. What I am thinking about right now: finishing this survey - getting bored, so how bored are *readers* going to be??

28. My car: was a delightful green Nissan Sentra, sold in 2004 when I quit Malaysia

29. My kitchen: is in a bit of a mess, thank goodness for dishwashers :-)

30. My weather: it's been a cold weekend, hopefully it warms up more today. They are expecting highs of almost 70F in a few days' time, whoohooo!

31. Favourite colour: black. and green. a nice dark green, no longer the neon/radioactive green I chose for shock effect when younger :-)

32. Last time I laughed: reading a sex scene in this book - I was laughing so hard I had to take a few hours' break before continuing with the story.

33. Last time I cried: I really do not recall... and that's a good thing, eh? :-) like I said, life is good.

34. School: I miss it. well, university, anyway. Would be nice to get out of limbo so I can figure out of I'm heading back, and if so, in what subject. Soon, hopefully...

35. Love: comes in many forms and guises.

......... and that's it! Go wipe the drool off of your chin and keyboard, and get on with your blogsurfing! :-)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

2 am

I usually end up doing a pseudo all-nighter when Kosh is away on overnight call. I suppose today hasn't been much different. I did *nothing* today. Woke up achy and wasted, so all I did was snack (and snack, and snack...) and read. Finished that book I mentioned, and while it was a good read, I suspected it wasn't the book I thought it was, since it had nothing at all similar to Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere - turns out I got the wrong book, LoL!

No biggie, it was still a great read and was such a funny yet sad and bittersweet account of life in Moscow behind the Iron Curtain.

I'll keep an eye out for the "correct" book at the library tomorrow - if I remember the correct title this time :-)

In the meantime - debating what book to read next. I have a "romantic fantasy" by Lois Macmaster Bujold ready to be picked up at the library, which I expect to consume over the weekend. Then what? I'm thinking of rereading Stephen King's Dark Tower series (last read in June 2005! see my post here) to refresh my memory, during which time, probably after Book 4, I'd pick up the comic book graphic novel I got for Kosh but have yet to read - I figured the tale was so rusty in my head, especially the "time zone" addressed, I'd be better off rereading first.

Of course, I was agonizing over the new Isobelle Carmody book too: the sooner I reread, the sooner I can/need to/have the excuse to get going on the ordering online vs waiting for it to hit the shores of the USA or even Malaysia!

And of course, I have like 60+ books on my very incomplete "to read" list over at GoodReads.com...

Decisions, decisions!

Friday, April 11, 2008

biorhythm gone kablooey

I really need to stop passing out after dinner.

I don't know if it's a food coma I'm experiencing, or habit/influence of Kosh, or tiredness stemming from the 4xweek evening exercise activities, but maaaan, the past few evenings have seen me out of commission for an hour or two immediately after dinner. Today was the best - woke up at 1145pm, wide awake after a really deep sound sleep. So I packed Kosh off to bed (he'd of course lain down beside me on the couch and passed out too), but was too awake to sleep.

Now it's 1.40am, and despite having scrambled my brains for over an hour, I'm not sure if I'll be able to sleep yet. But I'll try anyway. Tomorrow/today Kosh is on overnight call, so once he leave for work in the morning I won't see him till Saturday morning :-(

Maybe I'll be able to get further into my current read: " Metro: A novel of the Moscow Underground" by Alexander Kaletski. It's supposed to be something like Neil Gaiman's "Neverwhere", but set in Moscow (i got the wrong book, LoL! still a good read tho!). The first two pages had me chuckling already, I hope it keeps up. By the way, this will be my 3rd translated-into-english book in a row. Coincidence?

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

beware bubble gum!

... so this "Spring 2008" session, I signed up for the following classes to keep me occupied:

1. Continuing with Spanish
2. Continuing with Pottery
3. New: water aerobics
4. New: cardio kickboxing aerobics

For the new items - am taking advantage of the programs provided by the Chicago Park District. Kinda funny tho, I might seem to be too young to be taking these programs - almost everyone else in those two classes seem to be in their 40's, at least! Then again, I'm only four years away from that mark myself... of course I *look* about 10 years younger, LoL! Always been the case.

And here's a slightly-related photo: why one should NOT swallow their chewing/bubble gum!


Update on the movie meme: I'm rather surprised that the two remaining unguessed movies are essentially my two very favorite movies that I've mentioned a few times in this blog before... hmmm, maybe I haven't gushed about them recently? Anyways, if you want a really big hint, the answers lie somewhere in here. As usual, please submit your guesses at the original post.

Cheers!

Monday, April 07, 2008

baked eggs & meatballs

I got the recipe for "Baked Eggs & Sausage" from a can of diced tomatoes recently... and tried it out today:

Ingredients:
1 lb Italian sausage *
4 cups frozen hash browns, thawed
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup frozen cut leaf spinach, thawed & drained **
1 can Red Gold diced tomatoes w/ roasted garlic & onion, drained
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
4 eggs ***
0.75 cup milk
Salt & pepper to taste
2 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese ****

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 375F.
* Skipped the cooking sausage bit, seeing as I substituted it for some fancy already-cooked meatballs; I just cut the meatballs into smaller chunks.
Grease a 13x9 inch baking dish.
In a mixing bowl, combine the hash browns and cheddar cheese.
Use HALF of the potatoes & cheese to cover the bottom of the baking dish.
Layer in the following: diced tomatoes, meatballs, spinach, remaining potato mixture, and mozzarella cheese.
In a medium bowl, beat eggs, add milk, salt and pepper. Pour evenly over potatoes.
Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour.
Uncover, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and bake an additional 15 minutes or until knife insterted in center comes out clean.
Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Comments:
* as stated above, I substituted the sausage with a pack (12oz) of aidells chicken & turkey meatballs w/ sundried tomato with parmesan & romano cheese. They are pork free (unlike their sausages which come in pork casings, found out the hard way!) and fully-cooked; whoohooo! I think it came out good.

** this was really a "token" vegetable addition.. next time I'd probably try 1.5 or even 2 cups of spinach, or look to add in other types of veggies. 'shrooms would probably fit too.

*** considering the large surface area of a 13x9 in pan, the eggs seemed too little, especially compared to the potatoes! Maybe next time up the # eggs, reduce potatoes (get rid of the upper layer, perhaps?), or both.

**** yeah right. I just sprinkled liberally from a container of parmesan, that was probably a quarter cup, LoL!

Conclusion:
This dish was more cheesy potato-y than it was ever eggy. Repeatable, but with some amendments, definitely! And next time maybe I'll remember to snap some pix before I cut into it / pack it up, LoL! It certainly felt we were eating out, without the coffee, biscuits, pancakes, or waitress :-)

... and on a slightly related note: Last night we watched "The Family Stone" (ugh!), and coincidentally, the "strata" dish Sarah Jessica Parker's character prepares certainly seems similar to what Kosh and I had for breakfast today.

Yawwwn - happy Monday everyone!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Just Discovered: Savage Chicken!

so I'm neither Trekkie nor Trekker, but I'm geeky enough to appreciate not only this quiz (I got 0/3 - phew!), but also the comments following :-)(thanx, Wil!)

... then ,,, THIS one totally captures Kosh and my interaction during way too many movies. Heck, sometimes it's so bad I have to just pause the show and get on the 'net, to IMDB, just so I can figure out where I know that particular person from. I've *only* blogged about it here, here, here, here, here, ...

... ... ... and on another note ... Kosh thinks he picked up some sort of gut bug (c. diff) from work that's causing him to have lots of stinky #2's, that's kinda knocked him out for the past two days. Of course, this is his week of vakay, time is precious, and he's not well. Fun. Oh, and even better? I might have gotten it from him, some symptoms manifested this evening. Double fun.

REMINDER: still three movies unidentified,... here are some hints...
#11: only one of my most fave movies evah! It's a send-up to a culture/phenomenon mentioned in this post, actually :-)
#13: it's only here because I rewatched the movie recently, and was tickled pink by this quote, what with my fave EtOH form being the Long Island Iced Tea and all... it's a rather twisted tale of rich step-siblings and lots of sex.
#15: Heh, again, I've mentioned this movie in this blog a few times... imagine the words being said in a very nigh pitched yet nasal voice...
Now go and guess here.

Cheers!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

"there's no place like 127.0.0.1"?

Ensign Crusher, a.k.a. Wil Wheaton blogs, and I've been lurking over at his site for a long long time now,,, have yet to delurk, but earlier this year I visited after a long time, and was intrigued by a bit of geekiness that I figured out from the context, but still I had to look up to confirm and understand.



I am amused :-)
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