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Showing posts from 2010

This isn't technically a book blog, and yet...

... be prepared for Life After Work to feature a lot more book reviews next year. After all, you *do* know books/reading are an important part of my life, in addition to the food and random navel-gazing that also gets featured here, right? LoL!

You may remember that I recently signed up for the 2011 Stephen King Challenge; while I had the time, I dropped by to visit the other participants, sometimes leaving a comment, often just lurking :)

During one of those visits, I stumbled across another reading challenge that I figured I might as well sign up for: Midnight Book Girl's 2011 Read Me, Baby, 1 More Time Challenge!


If you were paying attention, you'd know that the main reason I signed up for the Stephen King Challenge was because I was going to be rereading the Dark tower series anyway. Key word being REreading. Which is the focus of Midnight Book Girl's challenge. And having the same book cater to other challenges is fine, so wheee! :)

In 2011, I anticipate reading at leas…

Merry Christmas!

Did you know?
According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, while both male and female reindeer grow antlers in the summer each year, male reindeer drop their antlers at the beginning of winter, usually late November to mid-December.

Female reindeer retain their antlers till after they give birth in the spring.

Therefore, according to EVERY historical rendition depicting Santa's reindeer, EVERY single one of them, from Rudolph to Blitzen, had to be a girl.

...shoulda known... ONLY women would be able to drag a fat-ass man in a red velvet suit all around the world in one night and not get lost.
And on that note: for those who celebrate, MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Image credit: Happy Christmas Santa by Kurhan

2010 Book Round-up & The Stephen King Challenge 2011

I will be participating in The Stephen King Challenge 2011!! More about that at the end of this post. First, here's a round-up of books read in 2010:

Unfortunately, this year has NOT been much of a reading year for me. According to my entries on GoodReads, I have only read 28 books this year. Only. Last year I logged 35 (also a bad year); contrast that to 2006 where I consumed 80. I have a good reason though... starting that Massage Therapy certification program really sucked A LOT of my time and energy away from books (and no, I'm not going to log my text books here, although I guess that would add at least two more: Trail Guide to the Body Book and A Massage Therapist's Guide to Pathology)(but it doesn't explain the dry spell in the first half of the year either, shhhh!)

So here's my tally for 2010:

Many of this year's were re-reads:
American Gods - Neil GaimanGrave Peril - Jim Butcher (I was going to reread the entire Harry Dresden series, but kinda got bored he…

Please pardon my language, but...

So you know how back in December 2008 I started a malaysian abroad (and later another blog too) at today.com for the promise of getting some moolah for the blogging I was doing anyway? They paid well enough, then changed their terms and didn't pay well anymore and alienated many members in the process, but I stuck with them, cutting them lots of slack... then out of the blue they moved domains to blogdog.com -- how ugly a domain name is that?? -- and I decided not to join them there. We parted ways amicably. I specifically asked that my email addy be removed from all administration emails (i.e. so that comment moderation requests wouldn't continue to be sent to me in the faint chance that someone would do so); they said it was done. That was back in June 2010.

Fast forward five months. I wanted to look up an old post of mine, and whaddaya know, NOTHING is available online anymore... the blogdog domain doesn't even look taken... wtf??

Fast forward another month... All of a …

Foody Friday: the butternut squash edition!

Last month I noticed bags of fresh cranberries on sale, and impulsively grabbed one. Then weeks passed, and I still had no idea what to do with it. So I went a-huntin' for cranberry ideas, and found this Butternut Squash Apple Cranberry Bake recipe that seemed simple enough for me. Once I prepared that, however, I ended up with quite a bit of leftover butternut squash, which I decided to make into "fries". I also decided to process the seeds. All in not just one day, but in one friggin' morning.

Procrastination *is* a wonderful thing, isn't it?

(butternut squash & seeds)

Here are the details:

1. Butternut Squash Apple Cranberry Bake
Pretty much followed the instructions, except, since I had so much of 'em, I used a whole cupful of cranberries LoL! It could probably do with a sprinkling of nuts; another improvement would be to dice the squash into much tinier pieces: the 1" chunks were a little too large and overpowering, and I tired of the taste really …

Gobble gobble, foil and (apple) crumble...

... turkey turn and casserole bubble?



Here's wishing everyone in -- or of -- the USA a HAPPY THANKSGIVING!


(with apologies to William Shakespeare, LoL!)

Foody Friday Sunday: recycled meatloaf! (Part Two)

Last week I blogged about how I recycled some of my leftover meatloaf by wrapping biscuit dough around strips of the stuff. Today I'll share my other recycle strategy: QUICHE!

As always, a good place to start for getting proportions right is 1 Blog & 2 Sides' Quiche recipe that I discovered almost two years ago.

Here's what I did:

Warm up and unroll 1 deep dish unbaked pie shell. Place it in your pie dish. I have a nice glass one now, whee! Preheat the oven to 450F. Generously prick the bottom and sides of the crust with a fork. Place in heated oven for 6-8mins, to get the crust slightly cooked. Remove immediately, and let cool.

Reset oven to 350F.

Sprinkle bottom of the pie with some cheese.

Add a layer of well-drained diced tomatoes.

Sprinkle chopped fresh basil.

Add another thin layer of cheese.

Crumble leftover meatloaf into the pie.


In a separate bowl whisk together 6 eggs and 1 cup of half-and-half, and pour carefully over the pie contents (the portions this time were perf…

Foody Friday: recycled meatloaf! (Part One)

So last week I shared my latest meatloaf experiment. That was a lot of meatloaf, and I grew tired of it really fast, despite it being really pretty good! So by the time Wednesday rolled around, I knew we had to run through the rest of the leftovers quick!

Notice the thick vein of cheese in the meatloaf? Yummmmmmm!



Recycle #1: Meatloaf biscuits

1 can Pillsbury simply buttermilk biscuits (10 biscuits)
2 thick slices of leftover meatloaf, each cut into 5 strips

One at a time, flatten a biscuit to about a 6 inch diameter
Place the strip of meatloaf in the middle

Fold it up

Place seam down on an ungreased cookie tray (I always line with foil because I hate cleaning up burned stuff!), and cook as per the biscuit instructions (I think it was 350F for 20mins)

Verdict? Here I quote my hubby who finally tried some last night: "Oh my god babe these are GOOD!" :)

Part Two will feature Recycle #2: Spicy meatloaf & tomato quiche. I'm about to get cracking on that now. Will update either tom…

Foody Friday: another meatloaf variation

Hey hey hey, this is my first Foody Friday installment in a long long time! And what do I feature but that old versatile favorite, MEATLOAF! The one you pop in the oven and eat, not the one you (well, *i*) listen to, LoL!

About a year ago I talked about my turkey/soy flaxseed meatloaf experiment, which ended up a little oily/slimy. I'm sure I've revisited it since then yet I have no recollection of doing so. Anyhoo, yesterday I decided to whip up some meatloaf, à la lynne, of course.

Here's what I used:
1 packet Jewel Onion Soup mix
½ cup milled flaxseed
½ cup instant oatmeal
2 raw eggs
¼ cup hot bbq sauce from Lil Porgy's
¼ cup sweet vidalia onion relish
¼ cup diced celery
1 can petite diced tomatoes with green chiles, undrained

1 packet Morningstar Farms fake ground beef
1.25 lb ground turkey

1 cup shredded cheese (I used mexican fiesta blend)

Instructions:

Mix the first 3 ingredients well in a (very) large bowl, then add the subsequent 5 ingredients. Mix well.

Add the meat & f…

It's been almost 2 months!

My oh my, can you believe it's been over 2 months since my last *real* post here? (the Hey Soul Sister and F--k Me Ray Bradbury ones were mostly filler). Poor poor poor neglected Life after Work!

Although... I might be needing to rebrand this blog since in theory I'll no longer be a jobless bum starting next summer... in case you're not following me on Twitter or friends with me on Facebook, let me share with you the biggest change in my life right now: I am training to be a Massage Therapist!!



Classes started in late August, and right now it's midterm exam season, which has me freaked out not because of the exams per se but because that means we're already halfway thru the first of two semesters... that means I'm already 25% through the program! A little scary :p

There are only 5 of us in the class: it's smaller than the organizers hoped, but it's great for us since we benefit from the much more personalised interaction, whether student/student or student…

My latest ear- (and eye-) worm!

[warning: the video and song are NSFW!]

For the longest time, I've loved fantasy books, but hated fantasy movies, because the special effects were so cheesy. Then LOTR came and changed everything. Now fantasy movies are a dime a dozen, and all too many are low of story and high on special effects (*cough*StarWarsEpI-IIi*cough*). At the same time, I enjoyed what could be considered sci-fi movies, but never really did get into the books. ... but I *do* know the name Ray Bradbury.

And after listening to and watching this video over and over and over and over again...



... I might want to pick up a book or three from this list :) I *have* listened to an unfortunately abridged audiobook of Fahrenheit 451: does that count for anything? :p

In the meantime, I have yet to hit the hay (it's now 11:30am... I stumbled upon this song over 2 hours ago, when I made the mistake of checking twitter before turning in for the day... it's all Neil Gaiman's fault!!) because I keep listening t…

Music Monday: Hey Soul Sister

There is something just *so* infectious about this song: hit play, and tell me if you can stop at just one listen :)



The song is Hey Soul Sister by the group Train.

Every time the "Hey hey, hey hey hey hey" and the plinking of the (banjo?) come on the radio I just *have* to turn it up and (try to) sing along (I am rather ashamed to admit I've yet to wrap my head around all the lyrics... getting old lah...)

Speaking of lyrics, you can find them here.



Enjoy!


Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. Rules are simple. Leave ONLY the actual post link here and grab the code below and place it at your blog entry. You can grab this code at LadyJava's Lounge Please note these links are STRICTLY for Music Monday participants only. All others will be deleted without prejudice.

Musical Interlude: The Rasmus

I know I know, I've not continued with my Cat Tales ... I will, I will... but in the meantime I thought I'd share something that's got me kinda irritated at myself ... You see, back during a difficult time in my life, I was vacationing in Switzerland and happened to be in a place (NOT my grandmother's obviously, LoL!) that had not just a tv, but cable, and I had MTV on ... There were four songs songs/videos that were played over and over and over...

Clocks by Coldplay - never liked it, much to Kosh's dismay, LoL!
Some dance number by some european rapper or dj - I really liked it, surprising myself b/c that music's not really my style (obviously I didn't like it enough to remember it tho, despite having the CD b/c my brother actually went out of his way to hunt it down, LoL!)Heyya by OutKast - somehow the song didn't click with me then, but I remember the "shake it like a polaroid picture" part of the vid! Love the song now, can't help but s…

Cat Tweets: the recent cat saga (Part One)

About a month ago, followers on twitter and friends on facebook were treated to rants, whines and frustration surrounding the naranek cat...

For example:

... that's right: the cat was having major pee issues again ... before I left for my 3-week trip to Malaysia/Singapore, she had already been having issues, but due to the small volume of pee per 'accident' we figured it was a UTI... brought her to the vet who took our word for it because they couldn't extract anything from her bladder to test! We had trouble getting her to consume the liver-flavored antibiotic pills, so we decided to halve her dry food and see if she would then eat the 'spiked' canned food.

Combine the food deprivation with the upside-down schedule due to Dr Kosh's vampiric hours and resulting lack of attention given to the cat, and the medical condition transformed into a behavioral one. By the time I got back, she was peeing in the bathroom (but not in her box) on a regular basis. Like, da…

looking for four-leaf clovers by Archimedes' twin circles

Thanks to karl for some blog fodder during my dry spell! This time around it's the Album Cover Meme! Here's mine:


(good thing I don't do art / design album covers for a living, eh?)

I've seen this meme before and had tried it, but couldn't in good conscience use an image that was all rights reserved... and this time around it was the same but I SO wanted to do this, so I fudged rule #3 and kept hitting refresh until the third photo on the page was something I could use. Pity, because the first image was SO appropriate... oh well!!

Wanna play along? Here are the rules:
1 – Go to “wikipedia.” Hit “random”
or click en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random
The first random wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.
[Mine = Archimedes' twin circles]

2 – Go to “Random quotations”
or click http://www.randomquotes.org/
The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.
[Mine = looking for four-leaf clovers]

3 – Go to flickr and…

What's this Phrase?

I saw this on Patricia's Subjective Soup blog and decided not just to take a crack at it, but to publish my effort too :)

1. 26 L. of the A.
2. 88 P. K.
3. 18 H. on a G. C.
4. 4 Q. in a G.
5. 13 S. on the A. F.
6. 7 W. of the W.
7. 24 H. in a D.
8. 9 D. in a S. S. N.

9. 99 R. B.

I have easily identified 6 out of 8 so far, while the first two still have me stumped for the moment (will provide answers in the comments below)... and in case you were keeping track, #9 is one I added on myself. Kinda lame, I know :p

If you are also playing along, drop by the comments with a link to your post, k?

Have a great weekend!

this just in:

Remember the content thief?

I just got an email from the folks at Live Journal:
Thank you for your report. Upon investigation, we have permanently suspended this account for violations of the Terms of Service.

Cool!

Thank you, Live Journal!

hair's to you, Mrs Naranek!

Among the many suspected aggravators of my itchies and scratchies is my hair, because so many times I end up with my upper back/shoulders weltified, pretty much the area that my hair would have access to. It being summer and all, I decided to test my theory. I have been threatening to shave it all off, but figured that would make my round face even rounder! So I went for a "long angled bob with some layers".

Here are before and after shots of...

front

... did you know that if you're a friend of mine on FB, you can see the "front" pix w/o the smiley? :D And if you vaguely remember my doing a before/after post already, you're right! See: My head feels lighter... ... moving on...

side


back



Overall, it's not exactly what I wanted (that's not layered, is it?), but is definitely good enough for now; when it's time to refresh it in say 2 months' time, I'll see if I can get something like this instead (but with a drastic/pronounced angled-to-the-f…

should I be flattered? can those who've faced this pls weigh in?

It's finally happened to me.

I just found that one of my posts from Life After Work has been reproduced on someone else's blog! See MY POST, then see THE IMITATOR! Apart from a few words that have been changed/substituted (and very poorly), it's all mine!!

I intended to leave a comment calling the author out on this, and asking for an immediate takedown of the post. But I would need to get an OpenID or LiveJournal account first. Ugh.

I started to lodge a complaint with LiveJournal, but felt the default language/steps I am guided through to report intellectual property / copyright violation rather drastic so I canceled the process... and yet... this IS a case of copyright violation, isn't it?

What should I do, and how?
I remember reading of things like this happening to other bloggers, but am not up for perusing the 'net for solutions right now... so if you're among those who have had this happen to you, please weigh in.. your input is appreciated!

miserable

Sorry for the blog(s) silence... I'm battling my what seems to be kinda seasonal attack of the hives... We have yet to find ourselves an internist / main doc let alone an allergist, so I'm just using what worked in the past, but doesn't seem to be doing much right now, hence this post's title.

This was me about 2 weeks ago: just call me Lynne Dax??!*

* that's a ST:DS9 reference, in case you didn't get it

I have attacks on different parts of the body, depending on the phase of the moon or something. Occasionally I wake up with one finger or the other swollen such that I can't quite make a closed fist without discomfort. Or over the course of the day my belly, or back, or inner thighs, get covered in welts that of course get angry as I scratch at them...

.. I thought I had found a temporary solution: we all know that calamine lotion is the go-to anti-itch lotion, but I really didn't want to deal with the chalky flakiness. Then my sil introduced me to this …

no more BP for me!

Remember the Brent Spar debacle? I didn't land firmly on either side of the battle, but it did put the environment vs oil&gas companies in a back burner in my mind.

A few years later, Shell (in Malaysia, anyway) came up with a new formulation for their petrol ('gas' to you Americans!) and started a really off-putting Vrooom Power campaign. How off-putting? So off-putting (the way they said "Vroom pah-wah" grated on my nerves so much just thinking about it now still raises my blood pressure!) that I stopped using Shell petrol altogether and started going with the local Petronas petrol instead.

Then my life journey brought me to the U.S., and I eased up on the "no Shell" stance... until late 2008 when we ran into a bad product and atrocious customer service for a product that fell under the Shell group of companies. Kosh was so incensed by it all that he called for a household boycott of all things Royal Dutch Shell.

I was amused at how these things hap…

squeee!

Thanks to blog buddy Kim I found out about Tarma Designs back in mid-February, and totally fell in want with their Om drop pendant...



... guess what was waiting for me in the mailbox when I got back from #bloodymarymafia today???

sometimes Kosh totally surprises me with stuff like this ... thanks hun!!

squeeeee!!!!

... and on that note: have a great weekend, everybody!

What I did on my (summer) vacation

Surely I'm not the only one who immediately thinks of this when someone mentions summer vacation? (and don't call me Shirley!)
On the first day of my summer vacation, I woke up.
Then I went downtown. to. look. for a job.
Then I hung out in front of the drugstore.

On the second day of my summer vacation, I woke up.
Then I went downtown. to. look. for a job.
Then I hung out in front of the drugstore.

On the third day of my summer vacation, I woke up.
Then I went downtown. to. look. for a job.
Then I got a job keeping people from hanging out in front of the drugstore.

On the fourth day of my summer vacation ...
If you're not sure what I'm referring to, check out Cheech & Chong's Sister Mary Elephant skit. I swear you'll never say "thank you" the same way ever again! :)

But back to *my* vacation... here's a quick of list of all the activities I crammed into three weekends in Malaysia and 2.5 days in Singapore:
Fri 23rd: arrived; ran some personal errandsSat…

BOH Seri Songket flavored teas

For many a year, boxes of BOH's Seri Songket flavored tea have served as handy buah tangans for relatives and friends in Switzerland and the USA, providing exotic teas in an exquisite bit of packaging. I'd not tasted any of these teas for myself, though, so this time around on my trip to Malaysia I made it a point to get me a few boxes of my own.

I picked three: Earl Grey with Tangerine; Passion Fruit; and Lime & Ginger; and have tasted two out of the three so far. According to Moomykin, the unlikely Lychee Rose combination is surprisingly good, so I'll grab that next time. Other flavors available in theory are Cinnamon; Clove & Cardamom; Mango; and Vanilla.

Review of the Seri Songket Passion Fruit flavored tea:
I've had this twice so far.

When you open the sachet, the smell/flavor is rather overpowering. But it all disappears when the teabag is steeped in hot water.

The first time, I used one bag to make 4 cups of tea. It seemed a touch watery, and tasted j…

To the woman in 5D

To the woman who was sitting in 5D on last night's much-delayed flight from Chicago O'Hare to Springfield IL:

I remember when no cell phone / electronic device use was allowed at all while on the airplane, whether in the air or on the tarmac.

Now, it seems as if the airlines bend over backwards to accommodate customers who insist on being connected at all times, who can't survive without their own music, who can't stand the thought of having quiet time to themselves, etc.

BUT there are specific times when use of such devices are utterly prohibited. Not just to show you who's boss, but for our own safety. Sure, the legendary 1995 incident of a laptop suspected of interfering with a 747's auto-pilot couldn't be replicated, but still... all electronic devices emit radio waves that potentially can interfere with the navigation equipment on board a plane... I'd rather be safe than sorry on this one: wouldn't you?

So when it's time to switch off your e…