23 July 2007

Harry Potter and the Craziness

So, just got Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - which I accidentally had delivered to the office on Saturday. Doh.
But actually it worked out fine; this way I got to have a leisurely re-read of books 5 and 6 over the weekend.

I don't have any elaborate theories worked out, but here are my best guesses for some of the revelations in store with Book 7:

1. Snape will be revealed to be a super duper double bubble agent and will be working for the Good Side. Dumbledore's pleading in Book 6 was for death - kind of a cop suicide thing.
2. None of the big three - Harry, Ron or Hermione - will die. Therefore, Voldemort will die. Although I'd expect her to leave some kind of back door open for other books set in that world.
3. Ron and Hermione will get together by the end of book 7, and Ginny and Harry are already together - well, I suppose they broke up for barfy noble reasons at the end of 6 but that won't last long, given Ginny's increasing prominence in 5 and 6. I'm not saying there won't be fights, but by the end of the book it'll be happy families.
4. The person or persons who are cannon fodder will be marked as such by 100 (or so) pages in - either a previously little-known character who gets sudden new prominence (Cedric), or a more familiar character who starts acting completely out of character (Sirius, Dumbledore
5. There's a throwaway line in Book 5 from Dumbledore about his brother, which made me wonder if Dumbeldore's brother will be making an appearance in book 7 (perhaps the RAB of the horcrux? But no - presumably Dumbledore's brother is also a Dumbledore.
6. She will have needed an editor just as badly as she did in books 4, 5 and 6, and won't have gotten one. I'm interested to see which of the red herrings are going to be red herrings (SPEW) and which will be important (the locket).

20 July 2007

TimeWaster Friday

Advertising silliness:

Hilarious parody of the iPhone on a napkin. Hehehehe. Also, pretty graphics.
(via adrants)

more satirical goodness for you: puppet agency, an ad agency. I don't know if this is funny to me because I'm in marketing or because all account coordinators (and I've been one) are kind of douches. Or because the camera work on the puppets is just fucking genius. I'm going with the camera work.
(again, via adrants.)

a complete gallery of simpsons movie promo stuff. Cuh-razy. My favorite (even more than the Haarper's Bazaar spread) is the make-your-own simpsons avatar.

Here's mine:
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(I had to use Otto's hair because his is the only one that's long and curly. I don't wear headphones as often as Otto does, though.)

You can also upload a photo and they'll do it for you, and you can then adjust. Here's mine:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
(I liked the doctor's outfit best, okay?)

Caveat: the flash-heavy Simpsons sites are SLOW. But this is a timewaster post for Friday, so I suppose it doesn't matter.

Pet Moustache is sponsored by Burger King but doesn't make me want a Whopper (or a mustache) in the slightest. It is fun, though. My results:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

(I was drunk and riding on a carousel for this picture. Does it show?)

Games (some of which include silly advertising ideas)

Awesome Blossom from CandyStand.
Ostensibly selling Lifesavers (same idea as the Burger King pet moustache thing) doesn't make me want a lifesaver but is mesmerizing and soothing. Remember Dr. Mario on the gameboy? It's like that. (The whole candystand idea is seems inane to me and unlikely to work, but what do I know?) I wish you could turn the sound off, that's my only caveat.

More logic puzzle games:

Blocky - oddly addictive although I can't make it past green.

Circlo My boss walked by while I was playing this and wanted me to send him the URL. heh.

Bloxorz. I am not very good at this - rotating objects in space is not my specialty.

They're all good games for work, since a game lasts 5 - 15 minutes, which is a perfect break.

Dirt Nap Merch

I also found this site for death-themed stuff you can buy. Oh man! skull cupcake molds, ribcage tshirts, guadalupe de los muertos ... bring it on, motherfucker! via popgadget.

13 July 2007

Magically Delicious

So last night I was on my tod and was therefore free to make pasta (or anything else) for dinner without fear of complaint or criticism. (Although there wasn’t much else besides pasta in the house.)

By Thursday in our house, the perishables are sometimes getting a little low, and the few survivors are usually getting soft and starting to develop age spots. It was kind of hot and I’d walked the few miles home from work (Dave had the car) and I was tired and would have liked something crisp and fresh-tasting, preferably not made by me, but sometimes you need to suck it up and go with your available resources, which in my case was pasta and some kind of improvised sauce. (Plus yesterday was the end of a pay cycle, so there would be no takeout for me. Tonight, though, is another matter.)

Anyway. The pasta sauce? Turned out kind of amazing. (Maybe the amazingness was mostly because it was based on what I had around.) I had a teeny weeny onion and a can of petite cut diced tomatoes and garlic, which is usually a good starting point for a tomato-based pasta sauce. I also had a wrinkly bell pepper, some jalapenos, a nectarine, some heavy cream from about a month ago, a happy basil plant and butter. Oh, and some red wine. Heh.

While waiting for the water to boil, I chopped all of the above ingredients and sautéed them in their proper order (which really depends on what results you are looking for.) I wanted the onions and garlic to meld seamlessly into the sauce rather than striking individual notes of their own, I thought the sweetness of the bell pepper would complement the nectarine – not really a traditional ingredient – so I put the pepper in early on. And a good glug of wine followed the peppers. (In a different kind of sauce, with fresh tomatoes and firm, crisp peppers, I would probably have added the pepper close to the end, so it retained its crunch, and barely cooked the tomatoes at all, just let the heat of the cooked pasta warm them through. Or I might have cooked the garlic at a slightly higher heat, so it turned medium-brown and nutty-tasting.)

With the onions, garlic and pepper all taken care off, I added the other stuff: the jalapeno, the nectarine (I didn’t bother to skin it), and the canned chopped tomatoes. Then I put the pasta in and let that cook while the sauce reduced a bit. Once the pasta was done (I should have stopped it just before doneness so it could continue cooking and absorb some sauce, but I was drinking the red wine as well as cooking it, so I didn’t think of it and just cooked the pasta to al dente).

Anyway, when the pasta was done I drained it, turned the heat off the sauce, and added some heavy cream and a good handful of chiffoned basil o the sauce and stirred that up.
Mixed everything together in the pot the pasta had cooked in and oh my goodness. Sometimes musicians talk about sound being “fat”, having extra depth and oomph and complexity. The nectarine added sweetness and fragrance to the sauce without really being noticeably present on its own, or being cloyingly sweet, a little like the way adding some good aged balsamic vinegar to your tomato sauce works. The cream smoothed everything out, the jalapeno provided welcome bite and the basil was like a counterpoint melody, harmonizing with the rest but definitely going off and doing its own thing. The other best part? 40 minutes from start to plate, not that you'd know it from my excessive verbiage.

I’d planned to make enough for me, enough for Dave when he got in PLUS leftovers for our lunches today, but I was greedy and there ended up only being enough for a gluttonous solo dinner and lunches. (My jeans are a little tight, today.)

I will definitely be playing around with fruit in pasta sauces more in future. Seeing as I make pasta with some variant of tomato sauce all the time, it’s nice to have found another dimension to play around in. Quantities and suggestions below.

1 lb pasta (I used ziti with lines; anything not too small would do.)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 can (12 z) tomatoes
1 small onion (although you could use more), diced
2 fat cloves garlic, minced
½ c. heavy cream (doesn’t have to be heavy, or even present.)
½ c. red wine (I think … maybe ¾ c.)
1 jalapeno (adjust this according to your preference for heat and the hotness of your peppers. You could use ½ tsp. of flakes, too.)
1 tbl. butter (olive oil would be fine)
1 small overripe nectarine (you could use peach or apricot, too. Maybe even pitted cherries.)
1 large handful of basil, sliced fine.
1 sweet bell pepper, chopped

No photos because this is not a very special-looking dish.

07 July 2007

Kitchen Hygiene Tip of the Day

Don't cut a chunk out of your motherfucking finger.

04 July 2007

July, July!

Today I celebrate independence by not wearing a bra all day. Let freedom ring!

(or reign, as bushlet would say.)

I also plan celebrating independence by liberating myself from such things as showers, deodorant and toothpaste for much of the day. I'll probably take pity on Dave and make some ablutions before he gets home from work. Hopefully. Maybe we should cross our fingers on that one. I am totally taking pity on you guys by not posting pictures. Trust me, you don't want to see this.

It is gorgeous out - low eighties, dry and sunny. Perfect for spending much of the day alternating between getting-things-done-around-the-house and long stretches of reading time on the back porch in the new-to-us papasan chair with a cat.

I'm re-reading Robertson Davies's Deptford Trilogy. Some years ago I wrote a dissertation on him, and as a result earned the right to call myself a Master of English Literature. (Not that you'd know it from reading this; typos and sloppy writing abound! Since it's the 4th of July, let's just call that tendency my declaration of independence from grammatical rules, and not just bone-laziness.)

Anyway. Davies is an author whom every time I come to him again it's like I'm a new me, reading a new book. I'm still not very thrilled about my Master's thesis - mostly because it didn't do Davies's writing justice, also it was boring and added nothing to the scholarship in the field of Davis or Canadian identity or even identity politics in general. But re-reading The Deptford Trilogy (it's my marked-up copy that I worked with on the thesis) reminds me of what I was trying to do and say and why his work inspired me, and that's not a bad thing. I spent a year of my life with this man, and it's nice to know I wasn't wasting my time. It's charming and witty and clever and I am marveling anew at the creation of voice for the narrator's opinions. All his narrators sound a little similar but it's such a nice voice to listen to, dammit! Plus there's all that heady love for learning and cerebrality, I'm totally swooning.