I <3 My Job

I absolutely love my job right now.  I may be mistaking stress and adrenaline rush for love, but I’m pretty sure that this is what the young kids call “having a blast”.  (Do the young kids say that?  Seriously, who says that?)

I’m working on more projects than a non-manic, non-drugged up person has any right to attempt, my calendar is filled with meetings, I’m reading product literature, I’m designing and running experiments, I’m making connections with people from other groups and I’m a researcher/developer who’s getting to learn more about the manufacturing side of my company’s business.

It’s ordered chaos, and it’s fun!

The more engaged I am, and the more responsible for retaining and applying knowledge to produce visible results, the more questions I get to ask and the more answers I get back, the more fun I’m having.  And I am grooving on my half-desk/half-lab job today.

But, **********, would you please finish up your review of my document so I can update it and release it?  Sometime this century???

Oh, not to worry, heckling and nasty-grams are just part of the fun.

TV Good

Oh hai!  Here I am!

On Monday night I entered the timedrain called House M.D., Season 6. 

On Sunday I bought the 22-episode set from Target.  I had a very nice gift card to spend and there was apparently nothing more useful or relevant to my life that I needed from the Target superstore. 

The Hubby was scheduled to go out of town on business for the week, so I figured I would use the five days to watch the hell out of Season 6 while he was gone.  I also bought some of the food that I love – and he does not – to eat while he was gone: Ham sandwich meat, tofu, artichoke, brussel sprouts.  Yum!

I neglected the blog these last two days, it’s true.  House is like vicodin crack and I’ve literally been watching it from the time I get home from work until I go to bed.  I watched five hours of House on Monday night.  I watched three episodes last night.

Watching a TV series is like a chore – a lovely, wonderful, enjoyable chore – or a box on a checklist that I want to mark off so I can move on with my life.  I rarely re-watch movies, I just want to take in the story and be done.  I kinda wish more of my favorite TV shows were two-hour long movies.  

This is why I’ve begun to resist starting shows that I think I would love: Chuck, How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory, MythBusters.  And I’ve put the kabash on continuing some shows that I started and know I loved: BattleStar Galactica, Glee, Will and Grace, CSI: Las Vegas, Eureka, 24.  We don’t have regular TV access; everything we do watch is very deliberately downloaded from Hulu or Netflix Instant Watch.  Not having television makes it much harder to get exposed – and addicted – to new shows.

This fascination with stories is also why I’m not a gamer…I would be That Gamer who doesn’t leave the house until I solved the game.  Hell, as a kid I stayed glued to Super Mario Bros 3 for about a week until I thought I had unlocked every secret, and then I bought the cheat book and played again from the beginning.  There’s no way I could take on an adult video game and not starve to death (new diet???).  And forget about games that have no end, like WoW  – that would be my undoing.  I want spend my time getting ready to go back to school and going on trips and volunteering and doing active outdoorsy activities.  So instead I’m minimizing my TV watching, and I shall try to focus my efforts elsewhere.

You know…after I’m done with House.  

~~~~~

Dr. House: We are selfish, base animals crawling across the earth, but ’cause we’ve got brains, if we try really hard, we can usually aspire to something that is less than pure evil.

Season 3, episode 12 “One Day, One Room”

ValleyScare 2010

It’s that time of the year when the Valleyfair amusement park becomes ValleyScare

Many of the parks smaller buildings are transformed into haunted houses for ValleyScare.  Their gaudy, brightly-lit displays are switched out for black paint, fake blood, windows covered with black curtains, cottony spider-web gauze.

Spiders, skulls, bats, rats, gargoyles, vampires, devils, pumpkins, ghosts, witches and devilish half-man/half-monster creatures are planted all over the rides and food vending buildings.

The “worst” part of ValleyScare is the hordes of teen actors who are hired to dress up as zombies and monsters to frighten the guests.  They’ll sneek out from behind signs and start dragging metal buckets on the ground behind you, or they’ll lumber over from across the road to block your way.  Or they’ll just walk quietly behind you until you turn around and then moan or yell in your face.  The zombie below had no pretense or guile (that’s zombies for ya) - he just ran full out and screamed at the dude in the hoodie.  Hey, it seemed to work!

Look at the ants on the roof of the taffy shop – ugh!

This turned out to be one of my favorite photos from last night.  ValleyScare has fog machines located all over the park, and this photo captures the dusk lighting through the mist of the fog.  It’s very creepy and empty. 

Because it was Sunday, and because I arrived before the sun had set, the park was empty except for a handful of other patrons and an entire staff of zombie actors.  At many times I was one guest to four or six zombies, which really made the park feel like the end of Zombieland.

Tombestones in front of the tilt-o-whirl.

My favorite ride is the Renegade – it feels like the fastest roller coaster in the park!  Unfortunately, it’s allllll the way in the back of the park, which means I had to run the entire zombie guantlet.  I don’t mind the whole jump-out-and-scare-you thing, and it’s actually fun when I’m with a group of friends, but when I was by myself they’d jump out, I’d shriek, and then there would be this awkward pause where we’d both think, “Okay….we’re two adults standing here, one of us in a silly custume….now what?”, and I would scuttle away to be received by the next monster.  On the way back from the Renegade (yup, it was still awesome!) I cheated and followed close behind a group of three workers in ValleyScare ride operator uniforms so that I wouldn’t be attacked. Zombie camoflage WIN!

Oh look – it’s Health Reform!

The Health Reform bill’s birthday would be March 23, 2010, which is the day President Obama signed it into law. But today does mark a major milestone of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

Today on September 23, 2010 the American people can say hello to new rules for playing the game of health insurance coverage, and the new rules are definitely in our favor. 15 new provisions of the PPACA go into effect TODAY. 

This is a lovely video that explains the challenges of the old health care system, all of the things that went into effect immediately after President Obama signed the PPACA this past March, all of the changes that happen today (Phase I), and it provides an overview of the changes that are slated to go into place in 2014 when Phase II is rolled out. 

It’s worth nine minutes of your time to see all of the wonderful advances in health insurance that have been earned for the American people.  And while it is a cartoon, I believe that this video simplifies the subject without dumbing it down.

There is also an easy to navigate White House website devoted to health reform, which I enjoyed browsing last night.  There is a section containing personal stories of people who are benefitting right now from changes made to health insurance and medical coverage.  There is an entire page that lists myths and facts of health reform - what it is and isn’t, what it can and can’t do.

Fresh Pesto and Tabouli

September 22nd marked the official first day of Fall, and I (admitted defeat, bidding a woeful adieu to summer) celebrated by cutting all of my basil, parsley and chives down to the ground.  When one has grown a ton of basil and parsley over the length of an entire summer, it only makes sense to prep some pesto and tabouli.  A few glances at the interwebs and a quick dash to the Wedge Co-Op for fresh tomatoes, garlic, green onions, some walnuts and quinoa, and I was ready to begin.

Pesto

First I made the pesto.  I stripped all of the leaves from the stalks and chopped the leaves using my mini Cuisinart food processor, then I chopped the walnuts, crushed the garlic and shredded the parmesan-reggiano.  I mixed everything in a big glass bowl and then added half a cup of olive oil.  That’s it!  It was lover-ly.  For more blow-by-blow, this is the recipe I used from Simply Recipes.

The big white pieces are broad, flat shreds of parmesan…mmm… A little pesto goes a very long way when mixed into pasta.

Tabouli

I used this recipe from greatpartyrecipes.com to make the Tabouli, but I made a couple of changes.   Instead of the gluten-containing bulgar I used quinoa, I skipped the mint because it was exorbitantly-priced, and I left the cucumber out because I somehow lost it between the checkout line and home, and I didn’t feel like going back out to buy another.

I started cooking the quinoa and then chopped the parsley – stems and leaves – in the food processor.  I diced tomatoes, minced the garlic, and sliced the green onions.  Once the quinoa cooled a bit, I mixed everything together and finally added the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

It was also lover-ly and simple.

~~~~~~~~~~

Afterwards, the kitchen looked like this.

I was done with cooking for the evening, so I threw a little of the extra quinoa on a plate, mixed in some pesto, added a side of tabouli and had a loverly (if quite herby) dinner.

Best PSA ever

I dare you not to choke up – I double dog dare you.

Thanks to Toward a Moral Life for introducing me to this video.

How I discovered DeCadence

A glance through my Hotmail –>

leads me to an email from sister –>

of the video Bitches Ain’t Shit (NSFW, duh)–>

While watching this video, I saw a related video in the sidebar that caught my interest –>

which was this video (also NSFW) –>

which was okay, but what really caught my attention was this video in the new sidebar –>

because I LOVE the Mortal Kombat song, especially for the damned elliptical machine at the YMCA at 5:30 in the morning.  And anyway, that video was this (this one is fine for work) –>

and I loved this video because it was sort of flash mob.  I noticed that it was done by a group called DeCadence, so I followed the link to their youtube channel, on which I found that they had done an a cappella version of one of my favorite songs by Madonna, Like A Prayer –>

They’re goofy, and I love vocal harmony, and so now I’m completely smitten with this group, and excuse me I have to go purchase a CD from their website nao, kthxbai.

DADT Fails in Senate

Damn it.

From Ed O’Keefe at the Washington Post:

Efforts to repeal the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” suffered a near-fatal blow on Tuesday as senators fell short of earning the 60 votes necessary to start debate on the annual defense policy bill by a vote of 56 to 43.

Tuesday’s vote does not end efforts to lift the military’s 17-year ban on gays serving openly in uniform, but makes it almost impossible to ensure a repeal is included in the final House-Senate compromise version of the defense bill that lawmakers may vote on during a lame-duck session after November’s midterm elections.

The vote’s fate was sealed early Tuesday, when Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who supports repealing “don’t ask,” said she disagreed with Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid’s decision to restrict the number of amendments to the bill.

This is an except from a larger article.  Read the full article here.

If you’re not familiar with DADT, or if you only know that Lady Gaga seems really interested with it, I encourage you to visit the ServiceMembers Legal Defense Network.  They explain what DADT is, the controversy around DADT, and they lay out why repealing DADT is a crucial matter of national security as well as a civil rights issue.

~~~~~

UPDATE: Check out Joe.My.God for a very good collection of reporting and video about the defeat of the Senate DADT vote.