ice cream making and ranting

Thursday, December 29, 2005

More people who are ruining thoughtfulness

A very long article on thank-yous: Whatever happened to thank- you notes?

Normally, you’d think I’d fall on the side of lamenting the loss of formality. And sometimes I am, but only when good arguements are presented. Or, at least when the people offering the arguments are fair, graceful and charming. But, the people interviewed in this article are big fat jerks.

When you give a gift, it is from the goodness of your heart. If you expect, or demand anything in return it is no longer a gift. That is an exchange or a trade or a purchase. Don't believe me? Ask Merriam-Webster: something voluntarily transferred by one person to another without compensation

Like the Christmas crazies, it is completely unacceptable to get upset over a goodwill gesture. If someone sends you an e card or email maybe you can be a bit disappointed at the sad state of things today. But, you absolutely cannot say that the time and thought it took the person to type and send is "’only remotely’ better than sending nothing.

This jerk has the audacity to complain about receiving a handwritten note written on the wrong paper stock:

Morrigan says she has received one such note in the past decade, three years ago for a wedding gift of a couple of bottles of wine and some wine glasses. She says the note was on a party supply-store card - "no quality stationery here." Meanwhile, she has given five or so other wedding gifts, to no response.

And this jerk takes the cake:

So this Christmas, she threw down the gifting gauntlet. She tucked into each family's shipping box a note, hand-printed in Sharpie: "If I do not hear a reply from you on receipt of this package, do not expect another gift." Not for Christmas, not for birthdays - nothing. She has yet to get a response, and she doesn't expect to.”

I wonder if these people ever think that maybe the reason no one sends them thank you notes is because they’re such huge assholes that everyone is doing their best to ignore them.

A thank-you note may be a social norm for some, and is generally good manners. But demanding one is worse etiquette than not sending one. Do you know what people with good manners do? They ignore bad manners and rise above it.

The other thing the article touches on is that quality paper and writing supplies are falling by the wayside. A legit concern, except that electronic phenomenon known as the internet that these antiquarians are so quick to bash is full of legitimate stationary to buy. Yes, the mom and pop stationary store has gone, but so has the mom and pop [insert noun] stores too. And, that information needs to be given to make the article balanced.

In conclusion: The week between Christmas and Jan 1 is always retardedly slow. This is not an article lamenting the lack of etiquette today, it's just a bitch session. It could have been a legit article. But, who has time for that when there are New Year plans.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Take Me Out

I made the mistake of going to Best Buy yesterday. I’ve been trying to buy a digital camera, but they never have what I’m trying to buy. In addition to being out of stock of another camera, they were way more crowded than I’ve ever seen it. There was literally a line out the door for returns. And the line for the regular cash registers wasn’t much better. And it was loud. There were electronic noises coming from everywhere. It made me feel very old and crotchety. I would have just walked right out, but my sister wanted to explore.

They had Guitar Hero set up, and never could I have imagined a bigger group of rhythmless boys. Having played once, I’m obviously an expert. These boys (in their late teens) were playing the easy songs on the easy level and failing like 25% in. (you know, the Franz Ferdinand, the Ramones...) There were about 6 in line to play, my sister had never tried. And I considered letting her wait her turn. It couldn’t have taken very long, considering how awful the boys were. But I couldn’t handle it.

Honestly, in what world is anyone worse than me at some kind of video game? If I had been younger, and if the store were less buzzing with crazy Dec. 26 shoppers, I could have shown those boys up! In what world could that happen?

Like I always say, I have rhythm, I just don’t have coordination.

In like a lamb, out like a lamb

Christmas came and went with a whimper. The Christmas spirit wasn’t with me this year, despite listening to nothing but Christmas music since Thanksgiving. Yes, I know. I’m a big jerk and should be thankful for the food on my table and the roof over my head, and making more than 5 cents a day. But, humbug. I should feel that way every day, not just Christmas. So what makes Christmas special?

It always feels like Christmas for me. My mom decorates like a crazy woman. And the tree is put up, and the ornaments come out. And there are special places in my heart for some of those old things. It was a sad day for me 2 years ago when I had to throw out my milkbone/ pom pom dog ornament. And my mom seems to hate the wooden pig we painted in 4th grade (the Charlotte’s Web year), but I love that little guy to death. And not seeing him makes me sad. My cousin was in my class that year, but this year we didn’t even stop by my aunt and uncle’s house to see their pig.

Usually we have Christmas breakfast at our house. It made sense when we were kids and all the presents were at home. And we kept it up, after the truckloads of toys stopped coming. But, because of the stupid kitchen there wasn’t even breakfast. And my sister and I seemed to be the only ones who did any shopping this year. I did come out of it all with a handful of cash and gift cards. But, bah, humbug. I want presents. I want wrapping paper and bows and the joy of surprise. I know my parents were busy with the kitchen, and I know my grandparents are getting old. But, I feel like no one made any effort this year. I like buying presents (except for boys, they just don’t like anything good), it’s satisfying finding the right present for the right person. The older I get, and the more I learn, the less wonder there is in my life. Some days you just want it. Where’s my Christmas Dinosaur? Where’s my miracle on 34th street?

Thankfully, my sister saved Christmas with a giant box of Hello Kitty DVDs. More on those later. We also watched some bizarre anime about hot girl santas with a toy reindeer named Pablo that can turn into a real reindeer when people believe.

This is the first year I’m looking forward to New Year’s Eve more than Christmas.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Peace on Earth

Good Will Toward Men

Happy Holidays! and for the crazies, Merry Christmas.

And don't forget to track Santa tomorrow. (flashed-- colin left paren)

..or maybe this is why we can't have nice things

I can only guess that the jerks who are ruining Christmas are the same ones watching this Deal or No Deal show.

And now they're making more episodes.

For those of you who haven't had the sheer horror of watching this show, this is how it goes:

The set is similar to Who wants to be a Millionaire with the silver and the lights and the lameness. But, instead of a likeable Regis, there’s a bald headed Howie Mandel. And instead of trivia, there’s nothing. There are a bunch of models, all wearing the same dress, and each one has a suitcase. The contestant comes out and picks a suitcase. And that’s the end suitcase they hope has $1million in it. Then, one by one they eliminate suitcases. They’re hoping to eliminate all the low valued suitcases. And periodically the “banker” comes on the “phone” and offers you some amount of cash to quit the show immediately, to which the contestant replies with “deal” or “no deal”. If that’s not boring enough, they play up the suspense. And, instead of the 3 Millionaire lifelines, they have 3 friends or family members on the stage with them for moral support, or to freak them out, or something. And these people take it SERIOUSLY. Seeing as how it’s a game of luck, there’s not a lot of skill involved. But the contestants actually believe luck = skill. My goodness, it’s awful. I can’t believe it exists, let alone is popular. I’d threaten to leave the country again, but I understand that it was a hit in Europe before they brought it here. Bleh.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

I just don't watch movies

Inspired by Kenny, I started to think about the movies I’ve seen this year. I'm really having a hard time thinking of more than 6 movies. Although, it is entirely possible that I've only seen 6 this year. I still find it hard to believe, because I love going alone to the $3 theater and passing the time in a ¼ filled theater.

Herbie and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with Kenny (and Stephanie for Charlie),
Wallace and Gromit with Beth and Ryan,
Madagascar with my sister at the $3 theater,
The Perfect Man at the $3 theater with my mom and sister
Hitchhikers Guide with my dad at a free preview.

That’s 6. One every other month. And only 2 that I paid more than $3 cash for because of a still not fully used AMC gift card I got for Christmas. I know I don’t like going to the movies. But after reflecting, actions speak louder than words, and I really don’t like it.

TV really is my preferred medium. I’ll basically watch any piece of crap they put on, as exemplified by my recent viewing of the ABC Family Channel’s Christmas in Boston, which is so awful it doesn’t even have an imdb site. It is indescribably how awful this movie is. They give away the entire plot in the commercial for the movie, there are no twists, turns or complications. Oh, and the plot is L-A-M-E to begin with. The denouement is predictable (and if it wasn’t they already showed it in the commercial). I wish I could have gotten my mom to sit down and watch it, because she would have loved it. She hates anything that is slightly complicated, unpredictable or non-linear. Still, it was on TV, therefore I watched it. Long live TV.

My favorite movie I saw this year was Desk Set, I was only 48 years late to jump on that bandwagon. And I borrowed it for free at my local library, and watched it on my TV.

Sugar + Ice

In my general spirit of DIY, I look at some kind of baked good and say, "I could make that, how can they possibly charge that much?"

This one, not so much.

It's much cooler than a diamond martini. Too bad it sounds like the most vile creation ever baked. Anyone have an extra $1.7 million?

A total of 223 diamonds — including a 5-carat, heart-shaped stone — adorn the double-layer, marzipan-coated fruitcake, designed by Tokyo-based sweets chef Jeong Hong-yong.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Correction: I tried to quit

My boss pulled me aside yesterday and practically started to beg me to stay on part time. Then today she forces me to stick 1000 address labels on post cards. Not really the way to keep someone interested.

But it sounds like I have bargaining power now. As much as I'd like to quit and leave a trail of fiery debris in my wake, I wouldn't actually do that. And, maybe if they let me keep my benefits, I might come part time, and take on less responsibility. I don't know.

This is why I really need to find a paid practicum. So they can take this job, and shove it.

Doesn't anyone know what the real meaning of Christmas is

You've all heard the stories about the crazies waging war on not saying Merry Christmas. This one is a bit different.

The head of the township's library Board of Trustees defended a holiday card the group is sending to township residents, disputing a Township Committee member's claim that it did not mention Christmas.
Randall Gabrielan said Tuesday that the card, titled "Season's Readings," included Christmas greetings in a variety of languages, although the sentiment was not expressed in English.

This is the card in question. It could be a bit more attractive. But look how fantastically nerdy it is with the mouse arrow tree!

This Christmas really makes me want to cry. I'm pretty much over it. This is why we can't have nice things. It's only going to get worse until people learn to live and let live. And stop getting huffy when someone tries to be nice. I hope no one sends him any cards for the rest of his life.

I'd like to remind all the crazies of the sentiments expressed in Christmas music, and I'd like to quote Elvis, since everyone loves him (and I don't know who originally wrote the song)

Santa knows we're all God's children, and that makes everything right.

Monday, December 19, 2005

I am embarassed to be alive

Speaking of shortcuts

Greg Edwards, 14, a student at Bellarmine College Preparatory, dismisses IM speak as ``annoying'' but he knows his ``Ess ar why'' from his ``Tee tee why el'' (Talk to you later). He has heard other kids say ``Colon dash parenthesis'' when they are happy. Yes, they say the keyboard symbols to make a sideways happy face :-).

HAN-sel and Gretel

I went out to what I was told was a swanky club called Guy’s (I heard it as guise, so I was surprised when we got there) for a Not for Tourists book launch party.

I had a minor wardrobe crisis, because it was cold, and my going out clothes involve showing too much skin. So I threw on my fancy coat and hoped for the best. We got there early, and there was no line to get in, and the place wasn’t crowded. No one was particularly swanky, and only about half of them seemed cooler than me. We easily had seats. The tables all had alcohol menus on them, it seems that if you’d like to sit at a table when the place is crowded you must purchase a $300 bottle of alcohol (ones in the under $20 price range from the store). We did not do that.

There were free Han Asian Vodka from 9:30-10:30, and we took advantage of it. It’s made with barley and rice, and is very mild. They’re trying to tout it as a premium vodka in line with Grey Goose. It’s not. And it’s not a vodka lovers vodka. The Han company had a list of 3 specialty drinks there were mixing. I was drinking mine with cranberry juice, and it’s hard to mess that up (the suggested it be called the Hidden Dragon). I tried Ryan’s “Han Solo” Martini (neither of us could bring ourselves to actually say it to the bartender, so we ordered a Han Martini) and it had no flavor. Beth, had the Crouching Tiger, which was a Shirley Temple with vodka added and, predictably, tasted like candy. I’m disappointed no one offered me the Genghis Han, which was mentioned here. I don’t know if it was my constitution for the day, or the vodka, but I’ll say it took a while to hit, and when it did, it did.

One thing I’d like to mention is that it’s almost 2006, and the distributor is based in California. Does it really need to be Asian vodka? Can’t they just pick a country? Won’t people understand? Or is it just extra exotic to be nebulous?

Friday, December 16, 2005

I quit

My life this week felt like some kind of stupid sitcom. I went to work Monday totally dreading it because that was the day I decided to tell my boss I was leaving. And then she didn’t show up for the next 3 days. She came in for a few hours yesterday, and then disappeared. So I finally did it this morning, to no pomp and very little circumstance. My boss didn’t freak out and accuse me of being influenced by the bad seeds. She said, she knew something like this was going to happen eventually. And she said, if I ever want my job back just call. Because she likes me. We’ll see if she gets crazy in the upcoming weeks.

Today was also the last day of school before Christmas. I was very jealous as I watched all the kids walk to school carrying their presents, wearing their Santa Hats.

Today was also Howard Stern’s last day on regular radio. God bless him for fighting the good fight as long as he could. And God bless the Senate for their Patriot Act efforts And God Bless us Everyone!

My last day of work is Jan 13. Now I need to stop spending money like I have a job.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Science Rules

I don’t watch NCIS. I don’t even know what it stands for. But I turned on the TV last night, and it was on the channel that turned on. There was a girl with Betty Paige hair, about my age (she couldn’t possibly be younger, because of her job), apparently she was one of those CSI medical scientist types. And there was a table full of snack cakes in front of her.

Enter an older man. Conversation ensues about snack cakes. And then something like this happens:

Girl: yeah, I feel like Bill Nye. He did an episode once where he analyzed the content of snack food, or course his wasn’t laced with poison…
Man: Who?
Girl: Bill Nye, the Science Guy. [blah, blah, blah about Bill Nye]
Man: Oh, like Mr. Wizard.
Girl: Who?

This is not a conversation a girl of that age, who is obviously American, of that educational level would have. I watched Mr. Wizard when I was a kid. Even if you didn’t watch him, you knew who he was. I was mostly too old for Bill Nye. Granted Nye was a bit more wacky than Mr. Wizard. But when it comes to science experiments Mr. Wizard is the person anyone thinks of.

This must be why I watch so little scripted network TV. (Except for Grey’s Anatomy, that show just keeps getting better!)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

check all that apply


I hate small talk. I’m sure you all know that. And don’t understand people who enjoy it. But I really don’t understand some of the chosen topics of small talk. First I thought it was a generation gap, then I realized it might be a world traveler thing. But this boring, American ,white guy, who works for Morgan Stanley, who was only slightly older than me tried to engage me in a conversation about my ethnic heritage. This is one of the number one ways to bore me. I am sure that I have never had an opening conversation with anyone who has become my friend about ethnicity. Yes, it will probably, eventually come up in conversation in an unforced way and I learn something more about my friends. But, I don’t give a damn about the life history of strangers. And I’m leaning toward thinking it’s slightly rude to demand ethnicity from a stranger. The only people who can demand that are the Census, I think. For schools, for surveys, for anything else, it’s optional information.

Maybe I just have some hard races to deal with. Armenian: Fuck. The dumbasses who ask, often times have never heard of the place. And I become a history and geography teacher in the process too. Mixed white with a strong Polish leaning: 1. my white side of the family has never told me anything about my heritage. 2. the only thing the Poles are know for are being dumb and pirogis. Then they ask me if I’ve ever been to those places. And I tell them no, my family all lives in America, and I’m American. The next time I’m asked I’m going to say that my family worked hard to come to America for a better life, and spent all their money bribing people to escape being killed by the Turks. Who am I to second guess them? Do you think that will shut people up?

I think I’ve been brainwashed so much by being anti-racist, that I’m just anti-race. Ethnic differences don’t matter to me. I’ll fully admit to being ethnocentric, I’d be in big time denial if I didn’t. I’d just prefer that we’re all the same and that we talk about our similarities, and not our differences.

Also, I don’t particularly understand the draw of “exotic” races. Wow, you’re so different than me because your ancestors had dark hair and dark skin?

There’s current events, TV, my fantastic outfit, even freaking weather. Why ethnicity? Why? Is it just a good topic for boring people who have no hobbies, since everyone has some kind of ethnicity?

After this conversation I was so bored. But I couldn’t do anything about it. And I certainly didn’t want to listen to him talk. So when he asked me what librarians do, I started to tell him, but he was so boring I lost interest halfway through.


It’s a good thing the cheesecake was good. Really. Tiramisu Cheesecake Factory cheesecake. The crust is lady fingers, and is really much better than graham crackers. It didn’t taste like tiramisu. But was a very good flavor for cheesecake.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Come on baby, I need gravy

If possible, and I think so, I'm going to try to out potato Tom. And the food network is helping me greatly.

If anyone wants to try any of these recipes, let me know how they turn out.

Did you know?

After McDonald's, the largest consumer of potatoes in the world, are the men and women in US uniform

I love Paula Deen

I don't know what I was doing around Thanksgiving time that was so damn important, but I really missed out on Paula's Southern Thanksgiving.

In one episode she fries turkey and corn. Then she makes her own turducken. Plus more!

I was really born to be a southern belle.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

I've been sick

It sucks, but my fever is gone today. And I should be well enough to last through tomorrow's work Christmas party. (I'm hoping my door prize is a digital camera, but the minimum prize ($100 Best Buy gift card) isn't too bad either)

I was about to take a nap. But this advent calendar pumped some life back into me. It's sicker than me great.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Blogging LA

Sometimes the people in my classes are helpful and interesting. Here's an LA Times article about blogging in LA.

(Not one mention of that place that had bad things to say about me)

Friday, December 02, 2005

Jello, the San Francisco Treat?

Seriously, Jello SF! Anyone want to try a Jello building experiment with me?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

You're testing me?

I have to take a test on Saturday. A real, honest-to- goodness objective test.

I haven't had one of those in ages! I'm actually kinda indignant. You don't want to know my thoughts, or my ability to analyze complex issues. You want me to regurgitate facts!!

Mostly, I'm just mad, and I haven't been studying, and I'm never going to be able to remember the difference between a quick ratio and a current ratio.

It's a good thing I have 100% on everything that's been graded so far.

UPDATE 12-3: Apparently half my class felt the same way: Test? Really? You can't be serious.