what’s capers, precious?

boil'em-mash'em-stickeminastew

What’s capers… eh?

Given that I finally made a dish with capers for the first time ever yesterday, Nerd 2 and I got to speculating about what exactly they were — besides “mad delicious”.

We both hoped they were some kind of plant material, as opposed to:

  • Gecko gall bladders
  • Avian appendices
  • Snail heads (given their “gourmet” nature we suspected that they might be French)
  • The new Eye of Bat-ness
  • Jellyfish amygdalas
  • or Poop, of some sort

Turns out that they are flowerbuds.  Which is good to know.

it’s been a while

It’s been a month.

Well, more than a month, but June this has been a pretty eventful June, so how about a roundup?

Since June 1st, 2010 I’ve:

  • Turned 32. Not an age that cares many portents to it (it’s 33 that I intend to both beware of, and stay forever), but another year living nonetheless.
  • Took a week off of work for the pure purpose of chillaxation.
  • Gone on my first real grown-up business trip — one that reminded me why I love software development, and caused me pause in my decision to stop doing it.
  • Laid tile.
  • Co-opted Nerd 2’s PS3
  • Played too much of the same video game.
  • Booked a trip to take Nerd 2 home to meet the ‘rents.
  • Made a budget that has me: maxing out my retirement contributions, funding emergency & vacation funds, and paying cash for a fast convertible the day I get my JD, all while not living like a pauper (the secret? buy less yarn).
  • Read a book that while not depressing per se, made me fairly unhappy — though I’d totally recommend it, especially if you are a fan of The Police.
  • Considered joining in on this 101 in 1001 meme that’s been going around.  The idea of forcing myself to set SMART goals is intriguing, but I hate to-do lists almost as much as Jenni loves them — and you know how good I am at finishing projects that I start on the Internet.  So we’ll see. Right now I have 15 things… and the list would make a lot more sense if I was aiming for mid 2014, as opposed to Q1 2013.
  • Watched Star Wars episodes IV-VI back to back.
  • Felt vaguely guilty about not posting enough on this blog.
  • Considered whether it was reasonable in any shape or form to have the nervous breakdown before starting law school.
  • Decided it wasn’t.
  • Drank a lot of beers at a beer fest.
  • Participated in an awesome 3-Day Fundraiser, bringing in over $1200.
  • Graduated myself into Level 2 belly dance classes.
  • Made this long introspective list, intending to pass it off as valid and interesting web content.

So it’s not like I’ve been completely slacking. Just ignoring you… see?

the software is not a lie

It’s a good week for the poor cheap frugal geeks among us who are too terrified of the beautiful weather we finally have to go outside.

First, the Humble Indie Bundle got extended.  Five indie games (including the unbelievably awesome/addictive World of Goo) are on sale (and open source, if you care about such things) for however much you want to pay.  The proceeds are split between the developers and two worthwhile charities – The Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Child’s Play.

So, if you like to play PC games at all,  or you care about your digital rights at all, or you think that it would be nice for sick kids in hospitals to be able to play a game or two at all, you should head over the the site and pony up however much you think is appropriate.  But you should probably do it today, because there are less than 24 hours left in the event.  You can gift the download codes too…

Secondly, Valve has finally ported Steam to MacOS, and are celebrating by giving away the outstanding Portal (for both PC and Mac) for nothing at all.  This means that those of you out there who are obsessed with Companion Cubes, but don’t even really know what Companion Cubes are no longer have any excuse except to find out.

Also, I’d like some cake, plz.

for lack of a better place

This list of breweries in MN (via MNBeer) is interesting to me for a few different reasons:

  • The huge gulf between macro (Summit @ 82k) and micro (Surly @ 4k) breweries
  • The fact that Surly is the highest producing microbrewery in MN right now.
  • The fact that Crispin is apparently not brewed here.

Last weekend, Nerd 2 and I ventured to the Minneapolis Farmer’s Market.  I mainly wanted to see what I could find for fresh veggies, but Nerd 2 was determined to jump the gun and buy tomato and pepper plants, which he insisted on planting ASAP, of course.

Tonight, they are forecasting up to three inches of snow for our section of Hedoburbia.

It’s a good thing that the epic Friends School Plant Sale is this weekend, so the long, slow, road to recovery can begin.

a droid named darryl

Not to be confused with D.A.R.Y.L.

As a girl who went through 3 generations of Apple Newtons (including the limited edition clear MessagePad 110), I’ve been pretty skeptical of smartphones for the past few years. As a student, I loved having a PDA. It made keeping track of classes easier, and the MP2000 with the keyboard accessory was actually pretty good for taking notes.

I wasn’t purely an Apple fangirl either, I dabbled with Palms (the m500 was so very sleek), and even made the jump to Windows Mobile (WinCE, at the time) with my beloved Cassiopeia (colour! compact flash! it was like the future). But by the time I started working full time, I realized that having a separation between work-life and actual life was very important to me, and having my office synced up to a device that I had with me 24/7 was not good for that separation.  In addition, most of the devices and the available apps for them were very business/calendar focused, and I didn’t need something so complicated to manage my personal life.

Fast-forward to the release of the iPhone. It was pretty, no doubt. And Apple was definitely targeting it more for “home” use, having ceded the business end of that market to RIM and Microsoft for a while.  I’ll admit, as I heard about the apps available for it, I considered taking the plunge — my phone service was already with AT&T, though I was sans-data plan.  But the way that Apple chose to lock down developer freedoms with the App Store gave me pause.  The fact that the iPhone wasn’t open probably wouldn’t really affect my use of it at all, but it just rubbed me the wrong way. And I couldn’t shake the feeling that the Personal Digital Assistant paradigm was still fundamentally flawed.

But why all this talk about dead platforms and obsolete devices? I’ve had Darryl the Droid (blame Nerd 2 for the name) for a couple of days now (Costco has a deal on, if you’re interested), and of all the devices and all the phones I’ve had over the years, this is the first one I’ve used that has felt like what the Newton Messagepad wanted to be (but couldn’t, because this was the nineties, people). I wonder if Steve Jobs will ever be humble enough to call up John Sculley and admit: “Hey… you were right.” The PDA is back, baby.

perhaps a good sign?

HedoCorp got hit hard by the #McAfail (is that trending yet?) today.  I was in a meeting at 9 when the announcement came over the PA system to please unplug our computers from the network.

By the time the meeting ended at 10, my machine was already in an endless loop of rebooting. So I cleaned my cube. Then went to lunch. Then had another meeting about stuff that it would be great to add to a slide deck if only we could use our computers.  Then came home.  That was the first issue.

Once home, I decided to take care of some business at the local Driver and Vehicle Services office.  Some of you may be aware that the state of Minnesota believes that somehow it can better secure its assets (the Mall of America?) from the terrorists by putting information about legal immigrants current status on their driver’s licenses — it’s called a “Status Check” date.  I wouldn’t be totally against it, if they would get this information from the feds themselves, but no, the best way to implement this is obviously to inconvenience the license holder.  Which for me, given my current slot in the queue, means going in about once a year.

These trips annoy me, so today I tried to game things a little by presenting the document that pretty much gives me the right to hang out here indefinitely, instead of my passport as they expected, hoping that I could save myself future visits.  Big mistake.  Apparently giving low-level bureaucrats forms that they don’t recognize means that you may (or may not) get your license reissued at all. Even if you also give them your passport and promise to just come back next year.

I tried to take the nonconforming form back from her and she nearly took my hand off: “NOW THAT YOU’VE SHOWN IT TO ME I HAVE TO SEND IT IN!”.  So we’ll see how that goes… that was the second issue.

The third issue was also DVS related, though less involved.  Some bastard already has 101010 as their vanity plate in the state of MN.  I hope they use it wisely — Beauty and I are back to the drawing board W.R.T. her tramp-stamp.

Lastly — it turns out that paper drop cloths, Rust-o-leum Dry Erase Paint, and stained pine kegerator collars don’t mix well at all.  The “fiddly cosmetic issues”that I had to fix with The Beer Machine are now fairly major: involving bits of paper stuck to the fridge lid, and white paint spots on my pretty mahogony collar.  I’m hoping that Nerd 2 will come home and suggest something magic having to do with sand paper or mineral spirits that will make it all better, but I’m pretty sure that another coat of stain is in my future.

I might hate stain almost as much as I do paint.

The one thing that did go well today? Well, since I came home so early, I decided to put in the final push of effort required to get my application to school finish.  So it’s done and sent out (though I need to mail them one photocopy tomorrow.   I try not to believe in omens, but with everything else against me today… maybe the admissions gods will smile down upon me in the next week or so?

i wish the answer was yes

When I was shopping around for the domicile that would eventually become Chez Hedo way back in 2004, one of the features on the “nice to have” list that I ended up forgoing was a backyard deck.

Sure, it’s got a patio, and the Great Window Adventure of Aught-Six provided me with a door that leads directly to the backyard.  But to be honest, that patio is small and too shaded.  And the door is 3 feet off the ground.

Fast forward to now(ish): Nerd 2 is back, I have one more summer of relative freedom before I (hopefully) sell my soul and my sanity for a few more letters to put after my name, and it’s time to build that deck, dammit.

I’ve read lots of books. We’re taking a Deck Building 101 course this week.  I’m hoping to have plans ready to submit for a permit by May 1st.  So it’s time to call Gopher One Call (or, at least hit their website) so that my plans don’t involve digging a 4″ footing through a gas line or something.

The website is pretty easy to use (even if it’s _very_ obvious that it’s a contractor built front-end around a circa 1983 mainframe system — I swear I can smell the COBOL), but the best part of the application was the question where it asks whether or not your excavation would be performed using explosives.

This deck would be far more awesome if it was.

maybe i am getting the hang of thursdays

We were just wrapping up our 1pm meeting when I realized the true extent to which I didn’t want to be at work anymore yesterday.  So I took the rest of the afternoon off.

It’s not like the morning had been overly productive.  I’d spent most of it thinking about what I’d do when I got home since Thursday was really my first unscheduled evening in quite a while. I’d like to think I used my truancy well:

  • I brewed a cream ale with yeast that had been patiently waiting in the fridge for the past couple of week’s
  • I did some light gardening (how are there already weeds)?
  • I continued to marvel at the wonder that is having your own beer, on tap, in your own house.
  • Knitting happened, in preparation for the Yarnover conference this weekend.  I’m taking a class from Meg Swansen, who is Kind of A Big Deal, in the right circles.

So yeah, not regretting that decision at all.

miss me yet?

In honour of Don’t Believe Anything you Read on the Internet Day, I figured I’d see what I can do about reviving this old rag.

Yesterday, I checked out the 1st Annual Minnesota Beard-Off because my buddy Willis was competing.  There would be pictures, but Sauce was too packed (fire marshall anyone?) for me to even consider reaching into my purse for my camera.  Sadly, Willis did not emerge victorious, but I’d say the actual winner probably deserved it, no?

In new restaurant news, in the past 48 hours I’ve tried a new (to me) brew pub, “gastro-pub”, and $6 Indian Buffet.  I’ll definitely be going back to Barley John’s for the patio and the Belgian Tripel this summer, and India House is worth the drive to Fridley from TPHCorp.  The Lyndale Taphouse was pretty nice, and I did enjoy the food, but there is so much else going on in that area that I feel like I need to test out the other options before heading back.

Why the fancy drop cap? Because dailydropcap.com says I can. That’s why.

sorry, calgary

Heading into yesterday evening’s hockey match between Minnesota’s Wild and the boys from Alberta, I was more than a little torn.  I’m not one to have strong sports franchise loyalites (at least not since the 1992-1994 Blue Jays… love you guys!), and given that a Canadian team was playing I was worried that I’d have to be the one person at the Xcel Center rooting for the wrong team.  I mean… the Wild’s 20-20-3 record was not ideal, and Calgary is leading the division, and who wants to be on the side of the losing team (even if they are the home team)?

I was swayed however by the earnest hopes of my cohort for the evening: “We need to make the playoffs this year!” As a season ticket holder, Jimmy has a made a significant investment in the Wild with the main hope of being able to watch playoff hockey in his adoptive city.  So you can’t really blame him.  And the Wild did need the win more than Calgary.  And since any time I watch hockey the team I root for wins… well…

In other news: last week, if you had told me that a 70 minute review of the Phantom Menace will be the best thing I’ll watch so far this decade, I would have laughed in your face and watched that Audition Dance Online ad again to prove you wrong.  But Nation, this thing is epic in is ability to be awesome in every way that The Phantom Menace is not.  Just give me the benefit of the doubt here and watch the first 10 minute segment below.  If you are a Star Wars fan and don’t immediately queue up part 2, I…I don’t even know who you are.