Friday, June 20, 2008

321.92 -- Were they just unpopular in high school?

Is it just me, or does it seem like China's control issues mask deeper feelings of insecurity? Or maybe they're just very, very Type A.

I mean, yes you're Communist, we get it. But some of the Olympics Games-centered regulations border on the ridiculous. Most bizarre is the government-sanctioned cheer routine, which they hope all Olympic Games attendees will adhere to, foreign and domestic. (There's even going to be a training session so no one screws it up.)

And once you can control unruly spectators wishing to shout the occasional "woo hoo," it's a very small step to China's most outlandish guarantee that they will also control the weather. Most useless? The government issued pamphlet listing government-sanctioned English language translations for local menu items. Wouldn't want to get too authentic when visiting a foreign country.

On the serious side, the Chinese government is also insisting that foreign journalists hire government-sanctioned translators. Oh, and those with mental or communicable illnesses (like AIDS? a cold?) will not be let in, whether they're holding a ticket to the Games or not.

I've asked around for public opinion, but most people just shrug it off. It will be interesting to see what transpires.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

551.5 -- The heat is on

Actually, the heat is not on... it's just that the air conditioning is off. Or more precisely, it is broken.

Last week, it was a stifling 90 degrees -- with a heat index of 95 degrees, humidity at 60%, and only the slightest of breezes. And inside the library, it was a little cooler, with less breeze. And in my car, it was much warmer with almost no breeze at all.

After last week, I have newfound appreciation for the behemoth that the nice heating and cooling guys installed at our home several weeks ago. (Is this not the hugest air handler you have ever seen?)

Thank you residential HVAC guys! It's working like a dream! (A pox on the commercial HVAC team that will not be installing the library's new air conditioner for several more weeks.)

This week is shaping up to be much nicer. Not only is it a comfortable range of mid-70-degree weather, but there are ample fans in the library, and my car air conditioner will be fixed by tomorrow! Woo hoo!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

641.5 -- Home-made deliciousness

I offer this most excellent dish to you exactly the way it was passed to me from a coworker. My notes are in blue. It really is yummy! One 14-inch skillet recipe serves about 4 people.

Please feel free to experiment with this pizza. In place of or in addition to the spinach, on that layer, feel free to add anything that you wish--broccoli and canadian bacon, pepperoni and red onion, sausage and olives, the sky is the limit.

Oven temperature: 375 degrees

  • 3 t. sugar
  • 2 pkg. yeast
  • 1 1/4 c. water
  • 3 1/4 c. bread flour
  • 3 t. salt
  • 4 T. vegetable oil

  • 1/4 lb. fresh spinach, chopped
  • 8 oz. grated mozzarella cheese

  • 2 28 oz. cans whole tomatoes I used two 14.5-oz cans of diced tomatoes pre-seasoned with oregano, garlic and basil.
  • 2 T. oil
  • 1 t. oregano
  • 1 t. bail
  • 1 t. salt (optional)
  • 1 t. garlic powder
  • 1/4 c. parmesan cheese, grated

Proof yeast in warm water and sugar. Mix dry ingredients in mixing bowl. Add
oil to proofed yeast and mix into dry items. Blend and put in covered mixing
bowl until dough is doubled in size. (About 1 1/2 hours)

Prepare and mix, set aside. I put the layer of cheese down first, then a solid layer of turkey pepperoni. Turned out great! Next time, I may use more cheese ;)

Drain tomatoes in colander and mash; add other ingredients. Because I used the pre-seasoned tomatoes that were already cut and nicely textured, I just drained them and they were good to go.

Divide dough. Roll half of dough and place in cast iron skillet that has been prepared. Add stuffing. Roll rest of dough and place over stuffing. Wet edge of first layer of dough and press crusts together. Cutting slit in center of dough to vent. Spoon on sauce. Bake on bottom rack of oven 10 minutes. Move to higher rack and bake 30 minutes more or until golden brown.

Side notes from the voice of experience.
  1. Salt is necessary in the dough to make the dough rise. If you want less salt, don't add it to the sauce.
  2. Frozen spinach that has been thawed and drained works just as well as cutting fresh spinach. Just remove the spinach from the freezer when you begin to proof the yeast.
  3. Bread flour is not necessary. Regular flour works just as well and isn't as expensive.


Saturday, June 7, 2008

747 -- The Reveal, part II

The Master Bedroom
and Master Bathroom Before

The Master Bedroom and
Master Bathroom After*

* Our walls are depressingly bare... still working on that!

Want to see more pics of the after master bedroom and master bathroom? Click here!

747 -- The Reveal, part I

The Living Room Before

The Living Room After*

*Not quite done. We still have to find a small table for the receiver and record player.

Want to see more pics of the after living room? Click here!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

303.4834 -- Information

So yesterday, we had a little bit of a technical snafu. Our computer wasn't working. To be specific would take to long, but there was a problem between our hard drive and the monitor, though both seemed to be working fine independently.

I thought, "It's a brand new computer. I'll just call tech support." And I trotted off to the computer to look up the number...

That's right. My reliance on the Internet is complete. Even when it isn't working, I still depend on it.

A little short of breath and starting to overreact, I though, "No problem. We can fix this. I am a problem solver." And I found my cell phone, because 411 is a great thing. I asked to be connected to a toll free number for Hewlett Packard tech support, and they connected me to some 800 number for free!

Except that it was the wrong number AND it had been disconnected from whatever company it had been connected to in the first place. So I called back. They tried again. This time, the call went to an independent tech support call center that charges $3.50 an hour for their service.

As I was thinking, "Wow, some psychics make more money than these poor geeks" I dialed 411 again. Because now it was becoming a thing with me that they should get this right. They gave me three more numbers. All of them had been disconnected.

More than a little peeved, I did what I should have done all along. I dialed another information number, and got to talk to a real human being who was able to give me the correct number in less than a minute. And for free.

So the next time you need directory assistance... call the library.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

796.357 -- Instant replay

Today, we got an impromptu invitation to see a Reds' game. So the two of us, along with two of Matt's friends and their significant others met up and drove down to Great American Ballpark to see the home team SWEEP THE BRAVES!

Now, I don't want to jinx anything here, but it seems like the Reds may have a not-sucking year! Which makes it all the more fun to be a fan :) The seats were good, the game was great, and the weather was perfect. What more could you ask for?

Plus, we jumped on a chance to run the bases after the game. Got the certificate to prove it. How cool is that?