yrmencyn: (food)
Watching Bridget Jones' Diary with [livejournal.com profile] talyr.

Bridget: ...my most successful relationship will be with a bottle of wine.
Mike and Tal:  *clink glasses*

Mike, eating a tasty goat gouda and drinking aforementioned wine: I'm afraid I'm going to eat this whole half-pound of cheese.
Tal: *shrugs agreement*
Mike: More cheese?
Tal: Yes, please!
yrmencyn: (Default)
So... here we are, watching Last of the Mohicans.  Cause, you know, it's a comedic holiday movie.  Except, you see, with us it kind of was, because Elisa's slap happy.  Some great moments, really.

"Wait.  So... Wait.  I forgot that part of 5th grade.  Who's fighting?"
"It's like faster hobbits!" (the opening deer hunt scene)
"We should have just watched The Patriot." "It's only 20 years later."
"Coon meat!"  (it's a long story)

ETA:I forgot one of my favorites:
Dad's been commenting on each of the actor names as they flash up in the opening credits, based on whether their character's a good guy or a bad guy.
WES STUDI: "That guy's an asshole." "Yeah, he always plays the bad Indian." "In all movies with American Indians?" "Yep." "So... Dances with Wolves had a number of Bad Indians... did he play the one with a hand on his face?" "Actually? Yes."
This is funny because it's true. I'm sure he's very nice in real life, but if Wes Studi's in a movie, he's probably playing the Bad Indian.

---------------------

And somehow I've ended up spending the last fifteen or twenty minutes reading about St.-Pierre-et-Miquelon.  I think I should visit (after I visit Delaware, of course).  I'm sure I'll get Kevin to go along with that no problem.
yrmencyn: (food)
I feel as if I've only been posting about the bad/annoying stuff in my life lately, which is just not an accurate depiction of my life at the moment.  So let's see... well, Saturday morning I went to the farmer's market along with [livejournal.com profile] koala_motchi, where we met up with [livejournal.com profile] whisperwheel, [livejournal.com profile] merodi_no_yami, [livejournal.com profile] knightvln, and [livejournal.com profile] flohchica, who was in town visiting (yay!).  I bought a ridiculous amount of food, I really did.  Fingerling potatoes, heirloom tomatoes, bacon, bread, zucchini, yellow squash, bell peppers, cantaloupe, basil, yellow cherry tomatoes, and peaches.  So much tasty!  So we did what any reasonable people would do, and had a brunch.  Very very tasty, with all kinds of tasty things from all involved.

Sometime this week -- I think it might have been Monday? -- Mollie and I went to see Stardust.  It was a really good ride, I must say.  A little predictable at the end, I suppose, but you'll get that when you're dealing with children's fairy stories, even if they *are* based off Neil Gaiman stories.  This is actually becoming a little maddening to me.  I mean, I know that there are standard endings that have strong traditions in the reference literature, but can we not do something new?  Something where technically a spoiler, no matter how predictable )?  Is that really the only ending possible?  It's emotionally satisfying, but also a little bit of a letdown since you see it coming.  Nevertheless, Stardust was well put together, and had some good acting and fantastic styling.

With my fantastical produce, I've been making some good foods.  I'm especially happy with a couple of things: a honey-basil cantaloupe sorbet, and this tasty pesto chickpea thing I just made (squash, bell pepper, tomato, onion, and garlic all sauteed together with chickpeas, dressed with homemade pesto and served over rice).  Ah, it's nice to be cooking again.  I was just really out of practice after being at camp and at the wedding and all that.  Of course, I still have like 3/4 of a cantaloupe cut up in my fridge and I'm going out of town tomorrow, but, well, melons freeze pretty well.  And then I can make cantaloupe smoothies!  Hahahaha!  Wow, I'm cracked.

Also, just FYI: there are two totally different ghost shows on TV right now.  SciFi's Ghost Hunters is like the happy-go-lucky ghost show.  It tries to be more scientific, but it's also really tame.  Discovery Channel's A Haunting, though, is like a little hour-long horror movie every time.  It's fucked up.  I'm enjoying it, but I won't watch it at night.  I just won't.  Gives me the willies.
yrmencyn: (armadillo)
Hey there peoples.  Well.  The quarter has begun: we're going into week 2 or 3, depending on whether you count the first, 3-day week; I think we are.  Let me tell you, it's going to be something of a doozy.  I've got my eighteen hours of classes (see previous post), and I'm sorta-kinda auditing another 5 hours, in the guise of Dr. Heller's Old Occitan class, over in the French Dept.  I did take the equivalent class in Louisiana my last semester there, but the emphasis in Heller's class will be different.  Whereas Dr. Stone focused on linguistics only as much as was absolutely needed to make some sense of the texts in order to talk literature and culture, Heller focuses much more on the language qua language, only dropping into lit and culture as examples and background.  So between the two, I think I'll be pretty well grounded in OOc come early March.  And yes, I know that it doesn't seem that important that I be grounded, considering I'm no longer in a French program, but the cansos (and other verse forms as well, though mostly the cansos) speak pretty strongly to my poetic sensibility; they're really fascinating.

And now a brief sidebar to rant about the university's course restrictions.  I'm sorta-kinda auditing because when I went to turn in my form for a formal audit, I was informed that this would not be possible, since I would then be carrying 23 hours.  The only way it could happen would be with a letter from my advisor to the grad school, who would then have to approve the overage.  I was also asked when I walked up to the counter whether I had talked to my advisor.  This... this is ridiculous.  I'm more annoyed now on a logistical level, but at the time I was pretty steamed.  It all centers around responsibility.  I understand the utility of hour limitations, especially for undergrads, who may not know yet what their capabilities are.  But once you're in grad school, take the damn gloves off.  Is it possible that I could really fuck myself over doing this?  Yes, indubitably (though: I won't). The thing is, though, I don't consider it any of their damn business.  Treat adults like adults.  Treat the students who are, ideally, junior colleagues as peers, not as fools who need to be shown how to wipe their asses.  If I screw myself over, that's my own fault, and I'll deal with the consequences; your job is merely to, at most, issue a recommendation on credit-load.  And the advisor thing?  That's just insulting.  I like Andrew well enough, and I'm sure he could give me some sort of advice if I asked him for it, but I haven't really consulted with an academic advisor since... well, never.  I regularly marched into the counselors' office in HS and told them what I needed signed to make things work outside the usual system.  My honors advisor in undergrad got angry at me 4 months before graduation when I came in to see her for the first time since she taught my survey class my first quarter.  I didn't even really have an advisor at LSU, and when I asked John (the Dir. Grad. Stud.) about classes and requirements, he basically told me to figure it out for myself.  So "Did you talk to your advisor about this?" pretty much equates with "Did you ask your mommy?" in my mind, and I'll not have it.  So instead I bypassed the system entirely, and I'm just sitting in informally, added manually as a guest in Carmen (the online course site system, for non-OSU students).  Fuck you, university admin.  Let someone else play your games.

In other news, Kevin and I went to see Volver last night.  It's the newest film from Pedro Almodóvar, and it's fabulous.  Does it rehash a lot of the same material as, oh, everything else he's every done?  Yes.  But it's still wonderful.  The shots are superb, and the dialogue (as much as I could glean through the subs and my rudimentary Spanish) is spot-on.  The music, in particular, kept making me laugh (with the movie, not at it).  Penelope Cruz et al. were a lovely ensemble cast, who I really think did a fine job.  Also, Volver did break some new generic ground for Almodóvar, I think: there's this thread of the supernatural running all the way through that isn't so present in, say, Todo sobre mi madre or Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios.  I may be an Almodóvar groupie, but if I am the critics are, too: it's been quite well-received.

In other news, my laptop has finally deteriorated to a point where I feel the intense need to replace it.  The breaking point (HA.) was when I noted that the left lid hinge has come apart.  Now the screen occasionally decides to just straight up fall backwards, but conversely when you try to move the screen you have to clamp down on the lid's edge very tight, so as to keep the pieces of the mechanism together and not break the plastic casing around the screen.  This, on top of: an appallingly balky optical drive, a sporadically malfunctioning built-in webcam (it likes to pop up a balloon telling me it's unplugged), a keyboard with various idiosyncrasies, a completely fucking dead battery, some possibly-related power supply issues, and some of the worst customer service I've dealt with from a computer supplier.  The customer service, particularly, is about to drive me over the edge: they promise to do things, and then nothing ever happens.  I have to call them on Tuesday and harass them about my replacement battery, which really should have been here at least a week ago.  They were actually supposed to have replaced my entire system at one point soon after I got it (dead pixel issues), and that... well, it never happened, despite repeated calls and assurances.  So, the gist: don't buy a computer from Widow PC.  Their site is very convincing, as are some of the deals, especially on the low-end products, but in the end you're going to get a crap computer that will not last nearly so long as a competitor's equivalent product.  They claim to make the computers from high-quality products, but from the casing on in, I've really not seen evidence of this.  Maybe in their high-end products (their main focus) there's good stuff, but every last bit of my notebook is cheap knock-off shit, held together with Bond-o and baling wire (as we say where I'm from).

So what am I doing?  I'm getting another Dell.  My geek cred will hardly skyrocket, but you know what?  I've never had a problem with them.  The Dell boxes I've had have always been of high quality, their support is generally friendly and efficient, and the purchasing and delivery process is smooth and easy.  Sure, you have to do a little bit of work to get rid of their pre-installed madness (I really don't need a Dell Update Manager, thank you), but I'll much more happily take a computer whose main error is over-protectiveness than one that just makes me angry.  Plus Kevin found a coupon on the Dell site knocking off 20% from any Inspiron notebook (which is what I'd be getting), so that sweetens the pot.  I'm still not 100% sure -- I won't be until I've actually bought the damn thing -- but I'll probably be getting a new laptop soon.  I mean, I've even applied and been accepted for Dell financing (though, sadly, not at the zero interest for 6 mo. option), which says to me that I'm pretty sure of it.  Anybody want an old laptop?  She's not pretty, but she'll get you through the day-- as long as you hold her lid together.  Cheap.

Anyway, off to go read more.  I've completed my 30 lines of blank verse (not the worst thing I've ever written, though far from the best), but I've still got four poets' work to read in our anthology for workshop, and the second half of a facsimile of the Dialogus of Salomon and Marcolphus for Medieval Lit on Tuesday.  Cheers!
yrmencyn: (armadillo)
See, I'm in hate with Cleanth Brooks right now.  Being "in hate" is analogous being "in love": it is a passionate, though ultimately transitory period of high wrathful dudgeon, destined eventually to subside to an abiding simmer of loathing.  My present wroth is caused by Brooks' essay "Irony as a Principle of Structure," which I just finished reading at Cup O' Joe, in preparation for class tomorrow.  It starts out (seemingly) straight-forward enough: Brooks basically asks why poetry uses metaphor so much (uh, basically because if you just said "X", that'd hardly be poetry [which... whatever, I have my reservations/objections, but it's not my essay]).  He then wanders off toward irony, which he sees as a contextual function.  I can vaguely connect this to metaphor, although honestly it's a stretch (which he himself doesn't make).  THEN, he [sort of] reveals that he's interested mostly in why critics of his age are so apt to cry "irony!"  Thus as a completely logical extension he begins to speak of the merits of a Jarrell poem.  And comes to a 'conclusion'.

I'm sorry, but, while he's got some good material in the essay (and in case anyone whose specialty this is reads the above: yes, I know I'm grossly simplifying his essay, in part for dramatic purpose), his structure is just not good.  I'm not requesting a five-paragraph form, certainly; that particular form is boring and excessively limiting.  But I wouldn't mind him actually sticking to an argument, or providing pertinent support, or maybe returning to a point to tie it together.  Right now he's got a through-composed piece, where what he really needs is a verse-refrain sort of gig.  It's maddening, it's like he decided "I'm a beeg eemportant theorist, I don't need to hew to standard rhetorical principles, reader be damned!"  Yes, we teach people how to write an argumentative paper for the express purpose of having them be able, eventually, to rise high enough in the academic echelons to eschew such forms entirely.

So anyway, you can thank Mr. Brooks for this actual update, since I just have to take a break before tackling the next bloody essay; hopefully it'll be more parseable so I can actually write a damn Statement of Understanding that doesn't have to include the phrase "irredeemably confused."

I've had a very good weekend.  Kevin and I got together Friday evening to go out, which is a sort of novel idea :)  We've tended to cook at home, or just hang out, or go to a gathering, or whatnot, so actual 'dates' have been less present.  After looking at some menus online, we decided to go park in downtown Grandview and wander about looking at places before deciding.  We did so, and eventually decided to go to Spagio.  The food was delicious (he had the potato gnocchi with veggies, and I had the fresh mushroom pizza), the waitstaff was attentive, friendly, and competent, and the atmosphere was trendy while still feeling cozy.  I may also feel somewhat biased toward them because of the bright and sparkly caipirinha I had to start off the evening while we waited at the bar (a caipirinha is similar to a mojito, but has no mint and is made with the Brazilian sugar-cane liquor cachaça).  Dinner was followed by a trip to Jeni's ice cream next door, where you really can't go wrong.  Cantaloupe sorbet, Backyard Mint, and Buttermilk Strawberry.  Mmm.  Hold onto the flavors of summer while you can!

We went and met [livejournal.com profile] nogoodnick and [livejournal.com profile] piobaireachd at the Arena Grand to see The Black Dahlia (stopping en route at Caffé Apropos to see some of Kevin's friends who were there for the weekly wine-tasting.  Of the movie... well, less said is more.  There were some moments that were good, but by and large it was a big disappointment.  I think it was trying to evoke film noirs of a bygone era, and occasionally the diction was perfect, but usually the effect was humorous, since... well, swing and a miss.  The styling, however, was very well-done in my opinion; it's a pity the rest of the movie didn't hold itself up to the same standard.  Oh, as a last note: while the movie was mostly a wash, the [unintentionally?] hilarious performance of Fiona Shaw as Ramona Linscott was worth the price of admission.  Almost.  Anyway, then we went back to his place and went to bed, it being late and all.

Saturday.  Oh, Saturday, what did I ever do to you?  You were supposed to be a productive day :)  Instead we ended up going to Penzey's (after a long saga involving the recalcitrance of Kevin's car to, uh, work), because that's what you do.  Oh, spices.  So inexpensive if purchased in small quantities.  We love you.  And then, of course, what does one do with new-bought spices but cook with them?  I'd had this idea for a roasted allium pasta sauce, and decided to try it out, so we headed to my place.  Although the recipe diverged from my mental plan at some point, the end result, with roasted garlic/onion/bell pepper and fresh garlic, plus veg stock, wine, and spices and just a touch of cream, ended up being quite delicate and very good with tagliatelle (although if I make it again I'll chop the vegetables finer to make a more homogeneous sauce).  Also a sort of mango wine cooler/bellini appeared at one point, with Covey Run's off-dry Riesling and some mango nectar.  Mmm.

Next, since it was stormy out anyway, I decided to try this intriguing recipe I'd seen for pfeffernusse cookies.  It was intriguing because the method was rather unusual... almost more like a candy recipe than a cookie recipe.  The results?  Wretched.  I mean, really, really unpleasant.  The cookies looked benign enough, but upon mastication they transformed into a substance midway between taffy and caramel.  Oh, and they had a sort of... crust?... that went crunch when you bit it.  The mouthfeel was horrifying.  I link the recipe here only so you can look at the method and go "huh?" So glad I halved that.  Do not make this cookie.  I compensated for the horrible failure by breaking out my mixer and making my old standby: chocolateless chocolate chip cookies (basic Nestle Tollhouse recipe, omit chocolate chips, add in whatever you like, in this case walnuts and chopped dates).  They are, as expected, perfect.  We ended up the night by watching the first few episodes of West Wing Season One, since Kevin had never before watched WW (SIN.).  Discovered that night on the Anime channel (who knew there was such a thing?): Bento Beat Box, an all J-Pop music video program.  Addictive.

Today we had brunch at Whole World, up at High and Como, and it was great.  Their vegetarian sausages were startlingly good recreations of their meaty brethren, and I really can't figure out how.  The texture was almost perfect, and I want to know how the hell they managed it.  Kevin suggested TVP, which seems like a possibility.  Mind-boggling.

And then we come back 'round to the beginning of the entry.  Ain't that a deal?

Other than Cleanth Brooks, the weekend has been wonderful.  I've tried to keep my cute down to an absolute minimum, but... *smile*  Like I told my sister a few days back: I'm really very happy.
yrmencyn: (Default)
And thus I have an idea.  Tonight a little after midnight, Liz and I were walking down Indianola (we wanted to walk down Walhalla, which is really nice at night), and we passed Studio 35.  I see that they are showing A Scanner Darkly at 9:15 Friday night, so I was wondering if anybody might want to see it with me?  Cheap movie, local business, beers on tap at said movie, rotoscoped Keanu Reeves... sounds like a plan, right?  Anyway, shoot me a comment, an email, an IM, something.  I'm open to other possibilities, too.
yrmencyn: (qc - drunk)
Oh, dear sweet Jesus.  Last time my mom's side of the family got together, we had a brisket, done Texas oven-brisket style.  Basically you trim a brisket, slather it with bbq sauce (or, you know, whatever), wrap it tightly in foil, and leave it to braise in the oven for a long time at low heat.  So, since we're having this big combo back to school/bon voyage (to me) party tomorrow (Saturday) in New Roads, I thought that this would be a GREAT time to pull this one out of my ass.  Well... ok, this is the first time I've done this level of butchery, so I don't really have anything to compare to (Beth Lynn made the brisket over Christmas, and I didn't pay a whole lot of attention), but even given that cows are fatty and brisket isn't the leanest cut... I think I just trimmed the fattiest brisket ever in the history of mankind.  Twelve pound brisket, as packaged?  I swear I ended up with... 6 pounds, maybe 8 after it was trimmed.  And trimming beef fat?  Not simple.  I have sharp knives, y'all.  They're good knives.  It took me the better part of an hour, beginning a little after 2am.  And sure, part of this is that I'm totally inexperienced, but still.  Good thing I'm not looking for a job as a butcher.

Still, I'm really excited.  Mandi and Erin brought me back some Vidalia onion bbq sauce from their jaunt in Tennessee, and after one little taste, I knew it was the sauce to use.  So good!  I can't believe a Tennessee-local product has the right characteristics of a Texas sauce: very smoky, dark, a barely hidden spiciness, a good vinegar tang, and just the barest hint of sweetness (yay Vidalias!).  Add a little liquid smoke to simulate a pit bbq and some Worcestershire sauce just because I like it, and I can't wait for tomorrow morning.  And hey, so what if I had to disinfect an entire counter, since it was, uh, covered in cow juice.

In other news, I am now completely free of all academic and work-related entanglements in Baton Rouge!  Wednesday was my last day at LCA, which makes me happy.  I will miss some of the people (those ladies are crazy), but I will in no way miss the damned charts, especially since, uh, they're out of room.  I seriously have no idea where they will put new charts, because there is zero shelf space left.  Good timing on my part.  The ladies of Med Rec were very sweet: they got me a cake (delicious turtle cake from Ambrosia), a card, and a couple of gifts (throw blanket and a tin of cookies).  Hee.  They tried so hard to be sneaky, and they had the worst luck ever!  I kept running into people carrying random things.  A bunch of people also said they sincerely appreciated the work I did and would miss me, which feels good... more than I expected from a job to earn a little money over the summer.

In terms of academic entanglements, I had my last meeting ever with Sylvie today, regarding the Louisiana French Tourism project.  I worked hard yesterday and today to finish up everything, and presented her with a well-documented CD of all my files, a hard copy of the text documents, and the textbook and accompanying CD.  She didn't seem outwardly displeased, and that's about all I can ask for at this point, really.  Plus when I was there I found an envelope full of money in my mailbox (reimbursement from petty cash that I'd totally forgotten about), so that was a nice surprise -- good thing I happened to glance over at the mailboxes and see that there were things in mine!

So tonight, to celebrate -- well, I was celebrating... I think the others were just having a non-specified good time -- the girls and I had a Spanish-themed night.  Erin and I, with Mandi's help (Katie's a slacker) made four dishes: spicy fried potatoes, lemon-parsley shrimp, eggplant dip, and pisto (like a fast version of ratatouille).  All of them came out of my Spanish cookbook, which I haven't used nearly so much as I should.  It's so gratifying to look through, too, since it's basically food porn.  With our meal, we had three Spanish[-by-heritage] wines (in order of my ascending preference): a Trempanillo from Spain, a Malbec from Argentina, and a Carmenere from Chile.  All three were extraordinarily cheap, since they were (a) Origens brand and (b) marked down at Albertson's to $5.99 a bottle.  Score!  To round it out, we watched Almodóvar's Todo sobre mi madre (All About My Mother), which is one of my favorite movies, but also one which I haven't seen since... I think the summer of 2000.  I had forgotten a lot of the plot details, so it was almost like seeing it for the first time again.  Plus I appreciated a lot more of the subtext this time around, since I've now read/seen A Streetcar Named Desire (Streetcar plays a big background role).  We closed out the night with coffee/hot chocolate and beignets at Coffee Call, and then I proceeded home to re-slaughter my cow.  Which brings us back to where we started!

I'm quite tired, so... to bed.

PS: Am I going to hell for my subject?  Or at least to the limbo for culturally insensitive bastards?
yrmencyn: (food)
This weekend is one of the first in a long time that I've been home, instead of gallivanting around the country or recovering from camp (or preparing for camp) or whatever.  As such, I've really been having a good time just relaxing.  Today, I went to Highland Coffees for the first time in a long time, the better to sit around, read, and drink coffee and tea.  I was most excited, since I'd received Middlesex  on Friday (and thus it begins!), and I was looking forward to a nice long session of caffeinated reading, sitting in the warm Louisiana summer air under Highland's bower.  Mmmm.  Anyway, getting to the subject, today I was wearing a shirt that was given to me by Dr. Ancelet.  It has text on it in French.  While I was getting a refill of dark-roast coffee (mmmm), the barista asked me what my shirt said.  I responded "Speak French on purpose!"  It was only as I was walking away that I realized I had answered the pragmatic question, not the actual one (that is to say, I had responded as above, telling her what the shirt meant in our lingua franca, rather than saying "Parle français par exprès!", which is what the shirt literally says).  The amusing fact is that I was, in a way, actually acting directly counter to the instructions of my shirt.  No real point, just recounting.

Middlesex, by the way, is wonderful so far (about a third of the way through).  I should expect no less, of course, since it's been recommended to me not only by national reviewers (and the awarders of the Pulitzer Prize) but also by [livejournal.com profile] rnbowpixy; personal recommendations carry a lot of weight.  It is absolutely nothing like I expected, but in a very good way.  Rather than being a stridently political book about an intersexed person (which I foolishly expected), it's a broad-reaching symphonic study of sexuality, love, immigration, and a myriad other topics that all combine to make up human nature.  Beautiful.

Last night Shane, Rebecca, and I went out to eat at J. Alexander with two of Rebecca's fellow TFAers.  I'd noticed the restaurant over by the Mall of Louisiana earlier, but hadn't really given it a second thought.  225 Magazine, however, recently ranked it as having the second-best salads in the city, and thus was Rebecca's curiosity piqued: as an Orthodox Jew, she eats a lot of salads when she dines out, since they're one of the few safe things.  J. Alexander's turns out to be a somewhat upscale steakhouse/Americana place that I found to be very pleasant.  It's got a very fancy feel without being overly stuffy or pricey, which I appreciate.  The cheeseburger I had was one of the best I've had in a long, long time, juicy and savory and full of beef flavor.  The wine also made me happy; I got a quite reasonably priced Côtes du Rhone, which was quite tasty.  Course, the tastiness was only enhanced by the fact that they serve all their wines in -- wait for it -- Reidel!  I mean, Christ, what restaurant in the 15$ non-steak-entree price-range uses that level of glassware?!  Very fun.  Even if the waiter was a little flaky, but I'm over it :)

My parents had been in earlier in the day to steal away my bed.  See, I had no plans of taking it to Ohio, and my brother's moving to a house off-campus in Austin this year, so he's getting it.  Mom and Dad drove from Nac, took me to lunch, helped me transport a dresser I bought home, packed up the bed, and drove back, because my whole family is crazy; we don't think that much of driving 10 hours in a day.  Did I mention lunch?  Yes.  I hadn't been to Parrain's in a while, and I was very happy to go there.  I hope they enjoyed it like I did -- I had the barbecued drum like last time I went there, because it's so. damn. good.  Our waiter... this is weird.  I got friended by this guy on Facebook a couple weeks ago, but I declined it (because I don't know him) and thought nothing more of it.  So yesterday, our server is greeting us and I'm thinking "he looks really familiar!  why?"  The bill comes with his name and... ah, it's him.  There we go.  So odd.

Also, did I mention a dresser?  Why yes I did.  The parents also took my dresser, which is a primary colored wooden thing that's been in my room since my childhood.  In its place, I now have a faux-pine chest of drawers, straight from your friendly neighborhood Wal-Mart.  About ninety bucks and three hours of assembly later (it took forever because my Phillips head screwdrivers seem to have run away, leaving me with only a multi-tool to work with), I now have a nice looking dresser that doesn't make me feel like a juvenile.  There was also a lot of cleaning involved, as you can see from the pictures below.

Pictures )

Friday night was also a night of fun and food (that seems to have gone on a lot this weekend, wow).  Erin, Katie, Mandi, and I started out by going to Waka House, a new sushi place out at Sherwood Forest & Coursey (give or take).  The sushi was quite good, and the value was wonderful: we ate until we were nearing stomach rupture, but we only spent 15$ plus tip apiece.  That's... shocking.  I mean, really.  Yay!  We continued by going to Hole Experience, where Katie and Mandi intended to get piercings.  Unfortunately, there were some issues, and it didn't end up happening, but still it was good times.  We had planned on going to see Clerks II, but it appears that it's no longer showing in Baton Rouge :(  I do note that it's still showing in New Orleans, but apparently only until Thursday?  So I guess I'll have to wait for it to come out on DVD.  Instead, we wet to see Pulse.  It was't a bad little flick, as dystopian cyber-horror goes.  I do have to say it was the most bizarre depiction of Columbus, OH I've ever seen.  I realize they were probably trying for a representative city of average Middle America, but... well, Columbus just isn't that urban of an urban space.  Sure, it's definitely a city, but that whole tenement-y buildings everywhere, full of urban angst and disquiet shtick?  Not so much.  Very amusing to those of us that know the city.

And now, finally, I think I've come to my conclusion.  Huzzah!
yrmencyn: (Default)
I swear, I didn't disappear.  I just went to Texas for a bit, is all.  See, my license expires on August 3, 2006 (kind of weird to think of it expiring, since I've had it since I turned 18 in 2000; Texas has long renewal periods), and the online system was telling me my SSN didn't match my record (or something), so I had to go in person to a DPS office.  Hence I didn't go to work on Friday, and now I have a lovely slip of paper that will extend my current card until the end of September while I wait 2-3 weeks for the new card to be printed in Austin and get sent to Nacogdoches.  Add that to the registration sticker that I found waiting at my parents', and both I and my car are now properly accredited, just in time to drive to Kentucky on Friday (Fridays and Sundays are my travel days, apparently).

When I got to Nac on Friday afternoon, the parents were still out of town (they went on a big trip throughout Colorado and New Mexico, hitting a lot Silverton (I think?), Durango (?), Mesa Verde, and Santa Fe, among others), but both my siblings were in town, as was Elisa's boyfriend, so we went out to eat at Union Cafe to celebrate Elisa's birthday that passed earlier in the week.  First time I've eaten at Union Cafe, and the Yins have done it again.  It's crazy, it's like they can't make a bad restaurant.  They started out with Szechuan (Chinese) back in the early 90s, then opened La Carreta (Mexican) in the late 90s, and now Union Cafe (Italian) just this past year, and they're all quite good restaurants.  Although I do have to say, Union's grill guy needs to learn what a rare tuna steak is.  Still, medium well tuna is tasty, too, and the rest of the food was largely excellent.  Later that night Elisa named Kevin "Pie Boy".  She thus needs a suitable nickname of her own in return/response/retaliation.  Suggestions?

Celebrated Dad's birthday with a weird deconstructed lasagna I made (eh... needs some work, honestly, although I still think the idea's good) and the traditional World War I Spice Cake.  While Mom and I were waiting for the pictures from the trip to be developed, we went out into the Kimbrook neighborhood over by the high school so I could practice starting my car uphill.  See, it's scary to start a standard uphill, because it rolls backward until you catch it by applying the gas.  Apply too much gas and you'll peel out, but too little will just have you stalling out, and consequently rolling backwards into the car behind you.  Unfortunately, there's not much possibility to practice the skill in Baton Rouge, situated as it is on a coastal plain, but it's still a pertinent skill, since the exit from my neighborhood, inexplicably, is on a quite steep incline.  The only one like it around.  So I've been, since I got the Jetta, pretty much praying that I won't get stuck in the middle of a line of cars at that intersection, so I can just wait on the flat ground at the top. And on the occasions when I do get stuck, I've pretty much been making a spectacle of myself and peeling out.  The problem is that panic mode sets in when I feel myself rolling backwards, and so I overreact.  In a controlled situation in Kimbrook, I caught it fine, no rollback, no peeling, so I'm hoping that I can perform the skill in real-world conditions now that my conscious brain knows for a fact that I can.

Which is quite a lot of words to say, basically, "Look, it's like I'm 16!  Again!  Because I remember doing this with Dad in his truck back then!  Mein Gott!"

The drive back today was uneventful, dominated by two major mind-wanderings: contemplating the shrimp brochette at the Nacogdoches restaurant Clear Springs, which is far better than it has any right to be (Nac really does have some good restaurants, now that I think of it), and insistent sex daydreams that, while not unenjoyable, posed the maddening problem of a raging hard-on on the interstate, with little to do about it except listen to NPR and hope that would chase it off (it did).  This moment of TMI brought to you by my subconscious and a certain lack of internet discretion.

Erin-the-roommate quote, upon her seeing me in a purple Tshirt (Pétanque Louisianaise) and a pair of red nylon gym shorts while I did laundry: "Red and purple, quite daring!  Bold splash of color!  If I were gay I'd be excited."  Which is pretty much unparseable as to intent, really.

Watched Gattaca tonight, only 9 years after it came out. Good film, echoes a lot of my mistrust of natal genetic modification. Plus, immolation. Better, in my opinion, than Kinsey, which I borrowed from Rebecca et al. at the same time and watched Thursday night (?).
yrmencyn: (Default)
Yar.  Sunday was actually not at all a bad day.  I did some light reading (by which I mean I read 225 magazine mostly), and then... then it was time to meet the new roommate, and her dog.  Yes, that's right folks, there's a new Kregg!  Erin (this will become confusing) is a 29-yr-old woman who's been doing computer work with Rite-Aid for a while now, and who now wishes to get her Pharm.D.  More power to her.  Frankly, I was most concerned about the dog, since I'm hardly a dog person.  Sammy is an American Eskimo Dog, and I have to say... I kinda fell in love with her.  She's rather agèd (15 years), so she's not too manic, but she's very loving.  Phoebe wasn't pleased about the intrusion, obviously, but she handles dogs somewhat better than cats.  She mostly lay in the doorway to the hall and flicked the tip of her tail.

Erin seems nice, although... this meeting lasted 2.5 hours.  Two and one-half hours, people.  That is a Long Damn Time for what Shane, Rebecca, and I all thought was going to be maybe a 20 minute thing.  Unfortunately, we're all too nice to bluntly say "well, I guess it's time for you to be going," so it just... endured.  I started baking in the middle of it, just for want of something to do. (Financiers again.  Passable.  Made them a bit too thick, so they came out somewhat less fluffy than I'd like -- I think next time, in addition to using less batter per mold, I'll probably whip the egg whites until at least foamy, maybe soft-peak.  Anyway.)  Eventually she and Sammy went on their way, though, in time for Rebecca and I to meet up with some of her TFA folk and see The Breakup.

You see, I love a good romantic comedy.  And I don't necessarily mean a well-scripted, non-generic, masterpiece of the genre, although those are appreciated; Love Actually comes to mind.  All I mean is a solid romantic comedy that doesn't stretch, doesn't make me guffaw, and in the end let's me go "Aww.  That's nice."  It's cheap, escapist entertainment at its finest, and despite my intellectual leanings, I'm a sucker for it.  I pretty much always tear up when s/he gets hir (wo)man [anthro, eat your heart out].  So I went into this with fairly low expectations.  I mean, Jennifer Aniston?  Vince Vaughn?  I'm not expecting Truffaut here.  I was pleasantly surprised -- it's certainly no cinematic tour de force, but they hit a lot of notes right on key, and the script didn't end like I would have expected it to, in true Hollywood conformance. 

Sunday night I spent a lot of time online, chatting.  It was rather nice.

Work today... Bah.  I really didn't have enough food in my system at any point, so I was often hungry and less than on my game.  Mandi was in the same boat, so it got weird at times.  The constant contact with her is starting to worry me... Mandi, lass, you're a very good friend, and I don't want us working so closely to fuck that up.  Boo to that.  So, ah, yes.  Not much to say there, really.  Let's not kill each other.  We may have to continue to relax at Erin's by watching Buffy so as not to kill... quel dommage.

Shane and Rebecca leave on Wednesday for Italy.  Erin-the-roommate won't move in until late June, probably, so do you know what that means?  House to myself for weeks.  And what does *that* mean?  Nakee time!  Nothing really planned for that time of nudity, just a lot of walking around unclothed.  Is that so wrong?
yrmencyn: (qc - drunk)
So, last Friday I was pretty stressed.  And now I'm doing better, and thought I'd just give an update.

The poor sad car
This morning the other guy's insurance finally got a real contact with him (they've been playing phone tag), so I was able to start the repair process.  Estimate went very smoothly at Adams Collision, who I'm already feeling very good about.  $2711 of damage, but I don't have to pay one red cent.  My advice: if you must get rear-ended, let it be by an insured driver.  There was some very frustrating miscommunication on rental cars, but it needn't really be recounted.  Suffice it to say I had my engine diagnosed, and the engine trouble isn't related to the wreck, but is rather an odd coincidence -- the engine trouble is from my spark plugs marinating in ditch water for over a week after I forded the street in my Corolla in Lafayette a couple weekends ago.  So I have to pay for it, but at least it's just plugs and wires, not transmission or something truly wallet-breaking like that.  And once they drained the spark plug sockets of water, it runs SO much better, enough that I wasn't afraid to drive it around on errands today.  I'll get the plugs/wires replaced tomorrow, and then after Adams gets the parts in, I'll get a rental for the 8 days it'll take to fix my poor sad car.  Good as new!

The job situation
But before I can get my car fixed, I have to go to an orientation tomorrow at Louisiana Cardiology Associates.  Barring something completely crazy and unforeseeable, I'll start as a file clerk the Monday after graduation.  Will it be soul-crushing, suicide-inducing work?  Possibly.  But it pays, and they don't mind me disappearing for three weeks to go work at a heart camp (as well they shouldn't, CARDIOLOGY people!).  In addition, I have a strange enjoyment of clerical work.  I actually really like sorting things.  I like putting things in other things (stuffing folders, gift cups, whatever).  I can just put my brain on idle and use most of my brain for other things.  The trick is not to fall so far into the Zone that it turns into a fugue state.

Schoolwork
I've still not even started writing my paper for Dr. Stone.  However, I used a lot of my time today productively, reading and annotating articles instead of just reading TIME or a pleasure book.  As soon as I can sharpen my thesis statement (it's still a bit nebulous at the moment, I'm looking for the little bit of thought that suddenly snaps it into sharp focus), it should pretty much write itself, well in time for me to finish it by Friday (my deadline, in advance of the actual Monday deadline).  Still haven't met with Sylvie about the research assistantship stuff, but I think I'll try to do that next week.  I'm slowly working around to a 'fuck it' position.  I still fully plan to fulfill my obligations and complete a great pair of syllabi long before I leave , but it just ain't gonna happen by graduation, so I'm not really worried about it.  Fire me.

Yesterday was moderately unproductive in schoolwork terms, but I don't regret it at all, and I did get some annotation done.  More importantly, I saw Thank you for Smoking with Mandi.  I'm feeling that this entry is currently too long already, so let me just saw: hilarious.  I haven't laughed so hard in a long time -- it skewered everybody, without regard to politics or stances.  There were. no. heroes.  It also provoked thought, but without detracting from the pure enjoyment factor, which I think is important.  Following that, we went to pétanque.  Being forty minutes late, we didn't play, but I did take a great picture of this butterfly that was flying around alighting on anyone that would stand still more than two seconds.
Papillon de pétanque!

Post-pétanque beers at Chimes, congratulatory dinner for Tanja at Chelsea's (yay ABD!), Gilmore Girls and Scrubs at Erin's.  A good day.
yrmencyn: (armadillo)
... just because I should be sleeping right now.

The night of cinema was absolutely fantastic, and a success beyond anyone's imagination.  We were expecting at most 100 people, and instead we sold out the Manship Theatre (near to 350 seats).  The audience seemed to enjoy it very much, which is great.  And the film Les Diaboliques was redeemed for my by seeing it on the big screen from a good print (first I saw it was in a 3 or 4 hundred level French class, in a chair-desk thing, in the hot and stuffy basement of Lord Hall, on a VHS tape that had been copied umpteen million times).

That film was an interesting experience, too, because of my seating neighbor.  I always forget who powerful a sense smell is.  About halfway through the film, my nose miraculously cleared up (this happens but occasionally, and haphazardly), and I could smell the guy sitting next to me.  Not that he stank, or that he was wearing any scents, but just him, himself.  I breathed in and smelled fabric, laundry soap, a slight salt tang of dried sweat, and underneath it all the low pedal note of man.  It was incredibly heady and sexual (I originally wrote 'sexy', but let us call a cigar a cigar), and I felt a bit invasive, perverse even, sitting there enjoying it without his knowledge (not to mention he's the student of a friend, and that's a little ooky anyway).  That's not to say, of course, that I didn't purposefully avoid breathing through my nose so the scent could clear from olfactory memory and I could let it wash over me again.  Repeatedly. 

Ma malaise

Mar. 18th, 2006 01:19 am
yrmencyn: (qc - drunk)
I've been in a pretty bad funk the past week or so.  I've had some up moments, like going and eating out with French folk on Wednesday night, but overall I've just felt... off.  There have been other emotions on top, of course -- it's not like I've been sitting in a padded room bemoaning my sorry fate -- but there's been this constant, underlying malaise that keeps poking its head up.  I finally identified it tonight while I was talking with Mandi: I'm nostalgic/homesick (two sides of the same coin, really).  I miss my friends in Ohio, terribly.  Luckily for me, I'm headed up soon, so until then I've just got to deal.  This has all sorts of potential ramifications running through my head... part of me wants to say "see, this is what your heart is telling you to do."  Another part of me notes that this is really symptomatic of "I wish I could go back to college" syndrome, and that I'll find that nothing is as I remember it.  I have to find some sort of balance between the halves of my schizo brain, because as it is now I'm just trading in raw emotion, and that's not only unsettling, it's profoundly irresponsible.  In retrospect, I probably should have gone up over winter break and damn the finances... I really could have used that little 'fix'.  Above all this hovers Indiana, Damocletian.  As I told Shane this evening, I almost don't even care anymore if I get in or not, I just want it to stop flapping around above my head like a manic bat, adding to my general dis-ease.  This whole situation needs to be resolved and quickly, because it's ruining my carefully crafted façade of self-deprecation and wise jocularity.

On related notes: I'm trying to figure out where to stay.  Some of this depends on the madness that is COTA - do they still just do a quick visual check of your student ID, or have they set up some fancy swipy thing?  Because, in all laziness, talyr and squish's places are closer to a bus line (I think), but if I can't use the bus the rennie house is closer to the campus area (big plus even for my scary calves), plus I get the impression it functions as a common gathering point?  Give me some input here.  (And thank you, everyone, for your offers of housing; I appreciate it.)

Rosepurr, could you get me some sort of contact info for lit_girl?  I just found her comments, but she's less simple to web-stalk than most.

--------------

I went with Erin and Hans to see V for Vendetta today.  Hans had been describing it in very action movie terms, all Matrix etc, and I didn't care less.  Until, that is, I read Lev Grossman's write-up in TIME and saw Natalie Portman's Daily Show appearance a couple nights ago, and realized that Hans' impressions weren't really the most accurate.  Likely consequently, while Hans hated it, Erin and I loved it.  The film is profoundly disturbing.  It plays with our basic moral judgments about order, conformity, security, and freedom, all while referencing (sometimes a tad anviliciously, I'll admit) the visual and verbal propagandist touchstones of the past century (look at some production stills: the High Chancellor's addresses look palpably Hitleresque without really directly referencing Nazis at all).  What's most shocking is the true catalyst of the art.  The comic on which the movie is based (Shane owns the entire bound edition; I'll be reading it, although I strongly dislike the art style) is reacting not to the preset Bush administration, but to Britain's Thatcher administration, contemporaneous to our own Reagan presidency.  Yet, the film glosses quite well in the current political climate, both because of judicious alteration on the part of the Wachowski brothers, I'm sure, and because it's applicable already.  Different people, I'm sure, will take different lessons from the film.  I took it as a call to arms, and resolution never to be silent, never to be unheard, and for all its flaws (all movies have flaws) I found it quite moving.  All this not to mention a generally tight script (including some virtuosic alliteration) and some truly gorgeous visuals. 

Just go see the movie, really.  Even if you tend to shy away from comic-book movies (as I do), go.  It's not a superhero movie, occasional excessive set piece fights aside.
yrmencyn: (food)
Hello.  Yes, I realize it's been a few days.

First off, the trip down to Metairie was quite successful.  It ended up being just me, Shane, Rebecca, and Vanessa.  We had dinner at the amazing Casablanca, a kosher North African/Middle Eastern restaurant.  Is it an hour away?  Yes.  Was it worth it?  Double yes.  Everything was absolutely amazing.  I stepped way the hell out of my comfort zone and ordered the fish tagine.  I'm not generally a fish eater, so ordering a fish stew... that's weird for me.  I was not disappointed, as it was delicious.  Tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, and some sort of whitefish, in a delicately spiced red broth, mmm.  The appetizer platter we started off with was also wonderful, with the first tabouli I've ever had that I didn't dislike, a smoky hummus that I still haven't figured out, and some sort of almost barbeque-y brown stuff that I adored (plus other good stuff like regular hummus, falafel, and spanakopita).  And then came dessert.  First, I had some delicious fresh mint tea, which pleased me.  But I also had what they called "sweet cigars."  Think baklava, but instead of layered phylo it's rolled into a tube, and then deep-fried.  And topped with honey.  SO.  GOOD.

Thanks to Ben, I got my Request for Master's Examination signed, and it's now turned in.  Whew.  Now I just have to, you know, write the rest of the thesis, heh.

Tonight Mandi got me to leave my house and go see a movie.  We ended up seeing Mrs. Henderson Presents, which is both funny and deeply affecting.  Topnotch; you should see this movie.  Coffee Call afterward was in no way a bad thing, either.  So there you go, caught up ish.

Oh, BTW: I've had multiple people tell me in the past few days that I am, in one domain or another, somewhat intimidating.  Er... ok?  I guess I can see it, maybe, but seriously: no need to be intimidated.  I'm all smoke and mirrors.  Presentation, presentation, presentation.
yrmencyn: (Default)
As it turns out I'm no longer twenty years old.  This is the lesson my body gave me this morning when I awoke, hungover.  To my mind 2 gin and tonics, a couple of whiskeys, and a Beck's over the course of an evening shouldn't mess with me, but I am apparently wrong.  Last night I went and played a little pool with French Department people, then we retired to Heather and Rich's apartment for some Cranium and Scrabble.  It was quite enjoyable, even if I did end up croaking out of bed this morning searching for water.

The better part of the day was spent in slothful argness, as I tried to come to some equilibrium; the Paneer Makhina I'd picked up at Whole Foods helped a lot in that.  By this evening, I was in fine enough shape to make some deliciousness: I made bean cakes from my Indian cookbook, and they were delicious.  Think corn pones or johnnycakes, but with green onion and beans (in this case green lentils) added in.  Fried up in bacon fat, they are scrumptious.  I think tomorrow mornfternoon I'll reduce some cherry juice into a delicious sauce for them; I'm excited already!

Right as I was finishing up my cakes, Mandi called me to inform that she was having one of her [frequent] sushi cravings, and I should accompany her and Erin to sushi.  I acquiesced.  Tonight I had the wonderful new experience of sashimi.  Now, when one says sashimi, I generally think of slabs of fish (etc) on a bed of rice.  I'm aware that this is properly called nigiri, not sashimi, but no restaurant I've been to actually makes that distinction.  Well, tonight at Kamado's I had selected a number of different sashimis, since I was more in that mood.  The waiter then proceeds to ask me whether I prefer those as sushi or sashimi.  Now... I actually intended for them to be on beds of rice (i.e. sushi), but I said 'sashimi,' since... that's what my mind thinks of them as.  I realized later that I'd made an error, but decided to run with it.  Excellent idea.

The plate came out, just little slices of raw fish (well, excepting the barbequed unagi) artfully arranged with some daikon and cucumber to garnish.  I adored it.  I loved it so, so very much.  I regularly eat a pretty decent amount of smoked salmon, and it's tasty, but I don't think I've ever had sushi-grade smoked salmon all on its own, no rice/seaweed/other things to interfere.  It was amazing, just amazing.  Silky and buttery, absolute heaven.  It was one of those experiences that stay with you.  I could have eaten a pound or two of it without hesitation.  I still love rolls, of course, and nigiri... but that was an experience that I just cannot wait to re-experience.  I also want to try some tuna; I had albacore tonight, which was good, but I want to try that delightful purply-red iridescent fish all by itself; it must be fabulous.

And then, to top off a great night there was a good ep of Grey's Anatomy at Erin's (missed WW, due to sushi; I'll d/l it later), followed by me, at home, watching Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, which I had never seen.  Now I can't wait to get my hands on the book, and on John Berendt's other similar work on Venice, City of Falling Angels.  It's intermittently stormy tonight, which excites me to no end; means I'll sleep deeply, especially if I manage to slip off in the midst of one of the big thunderstorms.  Good night, everybody.

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December 2009

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