ice cream making and ranting

Thursday, July 27, 2006

High Dining

I tried to get some homework done yesterday, but it just wasn’t to be.

My grandma was over, and holding her newest treasure, straight from Michigan. A DVD called Hye Dining. This is funny because “Hye” (pronounced high) means Armenian. They were waiting for me to come home because neither my mom or grandma can work the DVD player.

I was expecting the worst, but I was very impressed. The thing about small ethnic populations like mine, is that the church is much more the cultural center than it has any right to be. And let’s just say that churches in general are not known for technology. And as a fundraiser for a church, you can’t expect much. But, I’ve seen much worse. It’s definitely PBS quality. If the whole thing wasn’t produced by some lame wedding videographer with a broken website, they could sell tons to the community, when word got out.

So, I popped the DVD into the player and we all sat transfixed. Even my dad got into it. As with most traditional cuisine from any country, most of the stuff is a lot of work. And the only way to really learn was to watch your grandmother/ great grandmother/ crazy lady down the street etc. And you always hear stories about a handful of this and some of that, women who don’t really know how to explain what they’re doing. They just do what has been done for centuries… This was totally not the case. These ladies knew what they were doing, cleanly measured things, and most surprisingly, actually knew why they were doing what they were doing. The librarian in me loves that these recipes are preserved, organized and presented. Currently we’re using some ratty old book made in the late 1940s that keeps threatening to fall apart. One day I should find some initiative and photocopy the whole thing.

The DVD was inspiring. Some of the stuff wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought. And some of it looked much harder, and well worth the price to buy it made. I just about started to make my favorite cookies (ingredients: butter, sugar, flour) when I was warned by the nice lady in my TV that they’ll crumble if you make them when it’s hot and humid. And she even showed us a simpler way to shape them, for lazy people like me.

But my next project will definitely be Kadayif which is impossible to explain, but it tastes like heaven. And, apparently it’s super easy to make. Anyone want an adventure in Armenian Cooking?

Zoo fights heatwave with meat ice cream


It sounds more like a popsicle than ice cream. But, I should really check it out. Who wants to come with me to Zurich?

Zookeepers in the Swiss financial center of Zurich are feeding animals a diet of frozen berries, meat and bones to help them stay cool in the sweltering summer heat.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Wikipedia: Britannica :: Rock and roll : ?

Here's a pretty good article about the Wikipedia, if anyone has the energy to read the whole thing, please comment.

KNOW IT ALL: Can Wikipedia conquer expertise?

“Wikipedia is to Britannica as ‘American Idol’ is to the Juilliard School,” he e-mailed me the next day. A few days later, Wales also chose a musical metaphor. “Wikipedia is to Britannica as rock and roll is to easy listening,” he suggested. “It may not be as smooth, but it scares the parents and is a lot smarter in the end.”

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Read it and Weep

The newest Disney Channel original movie, Read it and Weep, premiered on Friday. It was disappointingly unremarkable. Not particularly bad, not particularly good, just very much a Disney Channel Movie.

Jaime, a 14 year old girl, not popular, but not really a loser, deals with her frustrations by writing in her journal. In her journal she creates a fabulous alter ego, IS, who stands up to bullies and popular kids, offering justice for all kids. In this movie, the alter ego is played by the older, prettier sister of the actress playing Jaime.

The journal accidentally gets emailed as Jaime’s essay contest entry, and ends up winning a writing prize, even though the stories happen in about 2-4 sentence intervals. So the names of the characters in the story are disguised, and no one is smart enough to figure it out. And, magically, she gets her diary published as a book, and it becomes a best seller. All the while, everyone is dumb enough to think it’s complete fiction. Until she accidentally blurts it out on a tv interview. Of course, the school turns on her. Meanwhile, the alter ego is getting more pushy, and obnoxious, and in control of Jaime’s life.

Of course there’s a romantic sub-plot. Of course she has a crush on the most popular, beautiful boy in school. And of course he’s dumb as a doornail. All the while her best boy friend wants to be more than friends. Predictably, when she’s popular the crush asks her out, she finds out he’s lame, and in a really good plot move involving poetry (bleh) and a letter to the editor of the school paper she finds out she’s been in love with her boy friend the whole time.

Honestly, the resolution is a little fuzzy to me. Somehow the school stops hating her. Somehow her real friends that she’s been ignoring stop hating her. Somehow there’s a valuable lesson learned, maybe about not letting fame go to your head, or the value of real friendship, or something. And it all works out okay.

Mostly, I spent the whole movie distracted by her tablet/laptop computer. You know, the one where the screen swirls around. Witchcraft, I say. I can’t imagine that thing lasting very long.

This movie was a book first. I read the book yesterday. It was very different from the movie. And skewed a bit older. The alter ego isn’t a character as much as a wish to be more assertive. There are two whole subplots 1 about body image, and 1 about some girl with trouble at home who almost runs away with a 28 year old she meets on the internet. And the romance is much less of a plot. Also, one of the friends ditches school, a lot, because her parents don’t pay attention. I think the book is much more about coping with the situations you’re in

Yeah, this is a boring post. But, I said I’d post, and here it is.

Don't waste your time watching the movie, give Wendy Wu, or High School Musical a go first. Or, if your lucky my favorite, Life-Size, will be on.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Fun with words

There's this obnoxious new Special K commercial on TV. The ladies are breakfasting at an outdoor cafe, and their fabulous friend dressed in red and white walks up. Wow, isn't she fab and skinny and wonderful. Oh, it's because she eats nothing but cereal. Wow, how exciting, the friends chatter insessantly. Oh, I'm totally going to pay like $6 to eat cereal from a restaurant too.

And then the narrator starts talking.

Women who eat breakfast, like the Special K breakfast, weigh less.

And I hear:

Women, who eat breakfast, like the Special K breakfast way less.

Honestly, someone should have figured that out before they let it on TV

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Happy Birthday Sandra Oh

I so have a girl crush on you, even though you're Canadian. Congrats on playing the best characters in Hollywood.

But really, when did IMDB start adding pictures to their cast listings. They're too small to be of any use, but it's a pretty major change to the layout of the page.

P.S. to Kenny: Do not blog the new Disney Channel movie before I do!

Nickel for your thoughts?

US bill seeks penny's end

Apparently pennies cost 40% than their worth to make. All cash is annoying to deal with but pennies are by far the most inconvenient.

I’d love to never have to deal with pennies again, but even I’m not sure I’d like if they were gone. What would you smoosh in those penny smooshing machines? What would you glue to the bottoms of small things to make them stand up? And what about teaching kids counting?

"The only reasons for wanting a penny now are nostalgia and inertia, and those are two pretty bad reasons for doing anything," said Dubner.

Dubner is waging his own small-scale battle against the penny. When he receives change, he picks out the pennies and either gives them back or throws them in the garbage. "Why would I want to carry about this extra weight in my pocket?" he asked.


I’m prone to exaggeration, I know. But, I may well have found the worst book ever. TTYL by Lauren Myracle, (subtitled Talk to You Later, you know, for people not in the know)

TTYL is a book written entirely in IM conversations between 3 best friends, complete with IM abbreviations and spellings. While annoying, at least it’s consistent. R, U, UR, altho, i c... surprisingly it doesn’t overuse the smileys, and to my dismay, they were actual dingbats and not the punctuation bits--- kids today have it too easy, back in my day we had to look at colon right paren. Not only is the conversation in IM, the page is laid out like a chat box.. Well, more like an imaginary computer on TV from about 10 years ago, but we get the picture, cloyingly. Luckily Each girl has her own font. The quiet one gets an unassuming small serif font. The moody one gets a bold font, and they spent a bit of cash so the boy crazy one gets a blue comic sans. 15 year old whores write in blue comic sans, we learn.

It starts off great (and by great, I mean awful) and by page 2 we’re already into female ejaculation--- setting a tone, and promising us smut that it never comes close to delivering. The girls gossip about school and whatever. And finally their individual story lines grow.

The whore’s is the simplest. She likes an asshole boy, he doesn’t like her, then he does, then he dumps her, and eventually she decides to give the nice boy a chance. Bleh. Heard it a million times before.

The bold one is a bit weird. She’s the oldest, somehow managing to have her birthday in October, so she turns 16 and gets her license on her birthday. And the girl who has always passed under the radar, or was outcast by the popular kids is suddenly popular. And of course the popular kids are bad, and make her do retarded popular kid things. And for Halloween she ditches her real friend to get drunk at a frat party, where she has pictures of her taken dancing around topless, and of course they get emailed to the whole school So, instead of turning to her real friends for support, she shuts down. This is pretty much the cornerstone of YA lit, refusing to open up, tell the truth to the people who will care an understand. Granted, if everyone did healthy things like that there wouldn’t be much YA lit, but really, it just pisses me off.

And of course, the quiet one has the most bizarre storyline. Her 24 year old, Christian teacher helps with some youth group and gets the quiet one to join. He of course, drives her to and from these outings, have very valuable, meaningful, spiritual conversations during the drive. She’s smart enough to realize a crush on her teacher can’t go any further. But the denouement comes as she goes over to the place he’s house sitting at for some time in the hot tub (arrrgh gross, my non-existent maternal instinct is screaming). So, a quick IM from the whore to the bold one snaps the bold one out of her funk, and they go to rescue the shy one. And live to laugh about it, like it’s totally no big deal. And of course they don’t tell the police or anyone that the teacher needs to be put on sexual predator status.

But other than that, it has my favorite kind of ending. They all learn a valuable lesson about friendship, and it all works out in the end.

A book written in IM form is not too different from a diary book. It’s written from the perspective of the girl, as herself, not as a narrator. Lots of back story starts to get suspicious, so the reader has to just pick things up. And I suppose it takes a bit of talent, and effort to write convincing IM that tells a story to an outsider. And I definitely identified with parts of the conversation. I liked how the book took place in the real world, with real pop culture referencesBut, that still doesn’t make the book any good.

The boy who wrote the first review on Amazon is a bit trite, but is also after my heart:

In the future, robot archaeologists will be sifting through the rubble of a long dead human civilization, patiently searching for the ultimate cause of mankind's extinction. After sifting through the remains of our fallen society, searching through libraries and the streets of ghost towns and the insides of long-dead computers, they will eventually find the horrific shout that set off the avalanche that would destroy us.
They will find TTYL.
It will be the first time a robot weeps.

And if you haven’t had enough, there’s a sequel: TTFN

Monday, July 17, 2006

Anyone going to comic-con?

I must have these BSC buttons. They're much cooler than the zipper pull things.

Thanks again Tom, for the book from APE.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


Sorry Tom, I watched Shopgirl without you. It wasn’t great. And very much different from the book.

It started off great, just the sort of movie I’d make, long shots of make-up and frivolous expensive things as Saks. And Claire Danes is dressed adorably, definitely my style icon for the week. And she has these adorable glasses she wears for driving only (although mine are better)

The story though, was way simplified. The love triangle is hardly a triangle at all. There’s not much suspense, or turmoil or much of anything. Pretty much the main thing I remember from listening to shop girl on that trip to Berkeley, forever ago, was the really uncomfortable first sex scene between Steve Martin and the girl. She had all the objections and reactions that a pretty girl would have to some strange old man. It’s never really addressed in the movie that she’s creeped out by his oldness. And the boy, kind of just disappears in the movie. I almost believed Steve Martin and Claire Danes were going to end up together until the boy magically appears.
And the movie wasn’t funny, I don’t think it was meant to be. I’m pretty sure the book was.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

YA #3

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire As you all know the Harry Potter books are too British for me, but up till now I’ve enjoyed the movies. Quite possibly the book makes more sense than the movie, but really, I’m not going to waste my time. So there’s some random competition that HAS to occur. And it’s left up to some magic cup who will participate. This is sacred, and will likely kill you, and all the kids want to do it. So, rather than protecting their best witches, the various schools send up their best to die in a meaningless competition, rather than keep them safe so they’ll be around to fight important battles, like evil. My gosh, what a crock! Sure I love dragons as much as the next girl, but I can’t get behind the premise. Also, the rift between Harry and Ron was just as stupid as any rift between boys, based on assumptions not truths. If there’s one thing about YA lit I can’t stand is the nonsense that happens in their heads that keeps them from confiding in their best friends. And when the hell did they stop not saying Voldemort??

Pirates! is not nearly as bad as I thought it would be, even though it has an exclaimation in the title. In fact, I almost liked it. The first 2/3 has a very princess bride feel to it, and for the first 100 pgs I felt like Fred Savage trying to get through the mushy stuff. But there’s action, suspense, love, friendship, treasure, cross-play, all very much the way you want pirates to be. Of course the main girl was educated like a boy in her youth, and then the dad got remarried and she was taught to be a lady. So she’s got the best of everything. And of course she treats all people as people and judges them based on their character, and not their upbringing, race, status etc, etc and we all learn a valuable lesson. (gag). SPOILER: The ending pretty much disappointed me though, instead of marrying the Dread Pirate Roberts and sailing around the world she gives up adventure for love.

If you haven’t seen the Princess Bride, who the hell are you, surely you’re not my friend. If you haven’t read the book, please do, it’s good. And if you’ve read Princess Bride, then read Pirates!, it’s pretty good.

Rocket Boys/ October Sky (book) This is my favorite book from the class so far. It’s a true story, so any sappyness is allowed, because it really happened. A really inspiring local boy does good story. The movie is good, and the book is better. Space race, poor uneducated mining town, building rockets, science fairs, unions, father who’s smart but not traditionally educated, mother who wants nothing more than to move to Myrtle Beach and be done with coal once and for all. Science, explosions, love, what more do you need? Next time I won’t listen to this book in my car though. Note to self: no books on tape that are likely to make you cry when you’re on the freeway.

October Sky (movie) If the book is a true story, the movie is based on a true story. It takes the best of the book and hollywoodizes it quite a bit. Still, it’s pretty good, and I love cute retro people.

Whale Rider A critical hit full of universal themes and traditional charm. Oh wait, that’s just a nice way of saying dull, hackneyed, and way over with. How many times have we heard this story before: A (usually ethnic) girl grows up full of energy and intelligence, but it’s not the old way for a girl to be strong/a leader/ educated. And the old way is best, because. And the men won’t hear of it. And the women folk are slow to come around, but they change, because women are adaptable and men are stubborn. And the girl does something great, and the womenfolk cheer, and the men folk grunt, but you know in their hearts they’ll learn to accept it. And one again there’s hope.--- Heard it like a million times. I bet every ethnicity, and every profession etc, etc, has a story like that. And Whale Rider is the one for the Maoris. So the story is predictable, the people and scenery are ugly, and generally there are no redeeming qualities. This is a “good for you” movie that people like to pretend to love. I prefer good movies.

Fat Kid Rules the World Homeless, druggie, guitar playing, bi polar, stomach problemed drifter kid Curt (yes, pretty much Kurt Cobain—is he still a viable reference for kids today?) befriends Fat Kid with no self esteem and military father. And they start a band. Kids and their bands, it seems like a lot of kids in books have bands. So fat kid learns self esteem and Curt learns the value of stability, and it all works out in the end. Actually the book isn’t as bad as I’m making it sound. The story moves well, and isn’t un-good, just don’t think about it too hard.

Teen Angst? Naaah . . . A Quasi-autobiography Written by 19 year old Ned Vizzini, he chronicles high school in his first book. He’s adorable, and I love him. Who doesn’t love a nerd who writes well? He spends his time playing video games and Magic, yet manages to not be a total geek. Although it seems that he’s grown up now, and is available for motivational speaking, so maybe he’s not quite the boy I want him to be. I’ll have to read some of his newer stuff, and make a decision on his dateability. Daniel Deford, since you no longer work for the Daily Breeze, this Ned boy is about to replace you in my heart.

That’s definitely enough for now, I’ve probably forgotten some, but whatever. Here’s a non-class review to reward you for sticking around to the end.

Word Wars. A 80 min documentary on Scrabble players. Ok, could be much better. Word Freak by Steven Fatsis, is much more detailed and quite possibly worth a thousand pictures. Steven Fatsis is in this movie, and the makers thank him for their inspiration. And apparently he makes a poor muse. What I liked though, was being able to watch the people I read about. Somehow there wasn’t quite enough crazy.

Sunday, July 09, 2006


Some days mokonas get tired of popping apples out of their mouths and just use the phone.

My favorite lion got AX'ed. There are so many pictures of him, but very, very few of him holding the balloon.

Yeah, so AX happened a week ago, and I'm finally posting. I didn't take many pictures this year. I figured there wasn't much point, someone else would have the same ones. But here are a few rarities for you.

Kenny, the pusher, you'll be happy to know the Pinky you got me last year was being sold as new and full priced this year. You're way ahead of the curve.

Wardrobe Disfunction

It seems that is going out of business. This may be my last chance to get the Less Shush More Lush shirt.

Do I want one? Yes. Will I ever wear it? Probably Not. Especially considering I've had my Librarians and Cocktails shirt for 2 years, and can't muster the gumption to wear it.

Besides, AX filled my novelty t-shirt quota for this month, with everyone's favorite cat in food.

I'm not sure when Hello Kitty became a whore

This is completely unacceptable behavior for a UNICEF goodwill ambassador.

Think Happy Thoughts and Boys Will Buy You Diamonds

Although, I suppose we're all allowed to dream.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Ball-Room to Hell

Yes, I know I should be posting pictures of my kitten, or the crazies from AX or any number of things I have in my camera that I haven't dealt with yet.

But, Boing-Boing just posted the most amazing book about the dangers of ballroom dancing. And that's just ballroom dancing, not even gay square dancing. Just think what they'd have to say about my belly dancing.

If this is what ballroom dancing is like, I'm so there:

Her head rests upon his shoulder, her face is upturned to his, her bare arm is almost around his neck, her partly nude swelling breast heaves tumultuously against his, face to face they whirl on, his limbs interwoven with hers, his strong right arm around her yielding form, he presses her to him until every curve in the contour of her body thrills with the amorous contact. Her eyes look into his, but she sees nothing; the soft music fills the room, but she hears it not; he bends her body to and fro, but she knows it not; his hot breath, tainted with strong drink, is on her hair and cheek, his lips almost touch her forehead, yet she does not shrink; his eyes, gleaming with a fierce, intolerable lust, gloat over her, yet she does not quail. She is filled with the rapture of sin in its intensity; her spirit is inflamed with passion and lust is gratified in thought. With a last low wail the music ceases, and the dance for the night is ended, but not the evil work of the night.