Friday, April 29, 2005

the land of the living

I've returned to the land of the living, more or less. I'm still sick (green phlegm is not my friend), but feeling better in other respects. Not as tired or achy anymore. In my little bout with illness, I did still get to enjoy a couple of things. First, I made a tasty chicken noodle vegetable soup for myself the other night that was packed with vitamins and other comforting goodness. Also, I got to sit down and watch the second season of The Office, this wonderfully dry comedy from the BBC that I discovered through a friend's recommendation. Good stuff. (On a side note, I believe the American version of the show may be out either now or very soon and will star Steve Carell from The Daily Show).

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

sick sucks

While I had an awesome trip out to the Mojave and to Las Vegas and Los Angeles, the happy glow of a good vacation has all kind of faded away already as a result of a nasty cold/flu bug I caught on the way home. I've been laid up for the last couple of days with general achiness and feverishness coupled with a horribly swollen throat, barely making it out of bed for my final writing class last night. While all my classmates got to toast the end of our semester, sipping on wine and nibbling on fresh treats, I was stuck in the corner sucking on cough drops. I will try not to let the self-pity overwhelm me.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

eight hours and counting....

Only eight hours until our plane touches down in fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada! So exciting, partly because it's a vacation and any vacation is exciting, and partly because of all the fun stuff that the boy and I are about to embark on. We'll be spending a few days enjoying nature out in the Mojave Desert, where a friend is currently working on an archeological dig. While we're there we hope to see all of the amazing wildflowers that have cropped up with this winter's excess of rain (hope it's not too warm yet for them), as well as enjoying the every day beauty of the area, and the cool stuff that our friend has dug up in the course of her work there. Then, we're back (via 4x4) into Las Vegas for a quick bout of gambling (Texas Hold 'Em, of course, for the boy, and some slots for me) and the usual overindulgence that accompanies any trip to Vegas. (Did someone say Elvis Impersonator, what?) Then, we're down to Los Angeles for a few days with the boy's family and the annual Pesach Seder. As usual, there will be a big old crowd to enjoy the festivities, and a good time will be had by all, I'm sure. (Got to remember to work on my final essay for my writing class in the midst of all this madness!) Anyway, I'm looking forward to the whole thing, and can't wait until the end of the day!

making my voice heard

I've been trying to figure out ways to drive traffic to this site, although I'm not exactly sure why. Is it ego? Whatever it is, I want people to read, dammit! So, I've listed this blog on a number of directories: bloghub, Blogarama , etc. I'm hoping to get a little more exposure as a result of these listings.

Friday, April 15, 2005


For the sake of simplicity, this blog has been yet-again renamed. What was once Ramblings of a Modest Genius, and then Tiaras, Alcohol, and Sugar Cereals, is now simple Raving Loon. Phew, there, that ought to make it all a lot simpler! These are the rants and raves of your twenty-something girl next door (who just might be crazy...and by crazy, I mean crazy smart). Ha!

friday afternoon sleepies

....I've got 'em. Only an hour left at work and I'm trying to stay awake. The boss is gone, I wish one of the other managers would just let us all go home. They did that once last summer, came on over the PA system and announced that we were closing in 15 minute. I wish they'd do that now!


I've recently (as in this week) joined the ranks of the Bay Area folks who subscribe to the Box. It's a weekly dose of organic fresh-from-the-farm produce delivered right to your door (or in this case, my office). The idea of getting fresh yummy vegetables brought to me every week was enticing, however the challenge will be to figure out how to prepare some of the items that I've never had before. This week's challenges were: fava beans, red kale, and fennel (also included in this week's box: asparagus - the thin tasty kind, baby garlic, mixed greens, carrots, and walnuts). I haven't figured out what to do with the fennel yet, since it's got a kind of licorice-y flavor to it and I'm not really partial to licorice. The other ingredients, however, came together nicely in two different dishes. First, I made a big old pot of chicken matzo ball soup and threw in red onion, the carrots, the baby garlic, and some snap peas from my own garden. That's for dinner tonight, and I'm looking forward to it. The other dish I made was last night's dinner, which was bow-tie pasta with sliced chicken breast, bacon pieces, fava beans and asparagus that had been sauteed in the bacon grease (sounds gross, but if you use just a tiny bit it makes them taste wonderful!), ribbons of kale, and plenty of parmesean cheese. So good. Not too heavy because it didn't really have much of a sauce beyond the melted cheese, but very tasty in a nice spring veggie pasta kind of way. Plus, it had bacon in it, and everything is better with bacon. : )

Thursday, April 14, 2005

work sucks, let's all go home

I work for a nonprofit in a very nonprofit-y sort of town. The whole situation has its ups and downs, though lately they feel mostly like downs. One of the things I hate with my particular group is how there's always this big deal made about how we don't have any money, we need more money, nothing can be done until we have more money, but then certain people go apeshit to find ways to spend money in the most stupid and unprofitable way possible. For instance, we're (and by "we', I don't mean "me", I'm too far down on the totem pole to get to go anywhere) throwing this big cocktail party at an upcoming national conference, which is fortunately being underwritten by another group, but then the higher ups around here want to go around the event handing out our merchandise for free. This is crap that we have to theoretically try to make money, and they're packing up boxes of it to go give away. And, right now, some of them are over in the Executive Director's office talking about designing tee shirts to sell for an issue that we don't cover. We don't even deal with this particular problem, but because Someone's girlfriend just had a brainstorm about it he wants us to plug a bunch of money into having shirts made (shirts, as we've learned with previous merchandise items, don't sell, by the way). It's ridiculous.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

phew, again

I had my second "workshopping" experience last night in my writing class, this time for a piece on a summer camp I used to work at. I was afraid that the whole things might come across as too much of an insider piece, that no one would care to hear about this particular place or my ruminations on it. However, the class seemed fairly receptive to it, complimenting me again on my writing style, and giving me some suggestions for further development should I wish to revisit the piece. I'm really pleased with how my work has been received in this class, I have to say. Going into it, I'd had almost no experience with creative writing (fiction or non), and had no way of gauging where people's interest in my writing might fall. I was afraid that the consensus might be that I should give up the budding notion altogether, and return to what I know - reading and evaluating other people's work. Thankfully, though, the reviews have been positive, and I've even gotten some suggestions for places where I might want to submit my work for publication. The publication thing, however, is a whole other issue for me, one that hopefully I'll be able to sum up the courage to do some other day!

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

new tools

I love what's available to amateur bloggers these days. My latest find is Bloglinker, to help create lists of all my favorite blogs.

Monday, April 11, 2005

getting closer

I almost did it. I came close. I thought about it, weighed it in my mind, told myself that I was ready and that it was no big deal. But, I didn't do it. I was planning on finally cutting all my hair off, chopping ten inches or more to give to Locks of Love, but I didn't do it afterall. Walking in to work today, I prepared myself to tell people that I just didn't have time this weekend, what with the baby shower on Saturday and going home for my brother's birthday on Sunday. Just didn't have time. Then, I realized that, truthfully, I didn't make time. On some level, I guess this means that I'm not ready yet. Still have to let my brain wrap itself around the idea of getting rid of all this hair.

Friday, April 08, 2005

dear old dad

One of the few things that I own in this world that is of any actual value is my car, which is both a blessing and a burden. I have a Toyota, so my car is pretty reliable, small enough to squeeze into tight spaces, and efficient with gas consumption. However, it is also one of the major sources of bills for me, what with gas prices reaching over $2.60/gallon and the need for auto insurance and routine maintenance and whatnot. I've spent hours researching the lowest priced car insurance for my situation, know all the cheapest gas stations from here to Southern California, and regularly get my oil changed at a discount store. So, it's kind of a hard pill to swallow when I actually have to cough up a sizable chunk of money to get something done on my car. It's never really in my budget, and I keep reminding myself to stash extra cash for future car needs, but never do.
Anyway, about six months or so ago, I had a long snaking crack in my windshield that kind of made me uneasy, so I had my dad take care of the details and we went to the world's sketchiest auto glass shop in the Central Valley to have it replaced. If my dad hadn't been with me, I probably wouldn't have even rolled down the windows there, much less gotten out and waited on the curb on the lawn furniture that counted as a waiting room. Not too pricey, but still more than anyone wants to have to spend. The latest trial of my car, however, looks like it will cost a lot more. It's reached the 50,000 mile mark and the wheels/brakes squeal like stuck pigs. It'll no doubt need new brake pads, hopefully nothing more (like repairing the brake drum, or whatever you call that part that rubs up against the pad). I've been on the phone/web to various auto repair places and dealerships in the area, trying to confirm costs and schedules, all while calculating in my mind just how far in debt this latest bit of repair will put me. Well, I guess my dad could sense the nervousness in my voice the 20 or so times I called/emailed him to get his advice (perhaps that was the giveaway) and has generously offered to take the car in and pay for whatever work needs to be done on it. Thank goodness for dads, they're the best.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

interesting sites to check out

Sometimes I get really bored while surfing the web; I feel like I keep going back to the same sites over and over again. Then, some days I actually find new and exciting stuff. Here's today's excitement:Self-Portrait Day and The Mirror Project. Enjoy.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

I want your opinion!

I've created a handy dandy survey, courtesy of the brilliant tools over at Survey Monkey, to figure out where to go from here with my blog. To participate in this quick little questionaire, Click here to take survey. Thanks for participating!
*ed. note: survey link fixed now.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

last post of the night

Okay, last post of the night, I swear. I just wanted to say that my new favorite album is the Bright Eyes "I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning" CD. I can't stop listening to it, it's so good. You should give it a listen if you haven't already.

rest in peace

I've been thinking about death a lot lately. I know that sounds morbid, but several notable people have died in the past few days, and that, coupled with my new volunteer work facilitating a children's grief support group, has really brought the topic to the forefront of my mind recently. I think that I'm probably not the only one reflecting on death either. The whole Terri Shiavo thing was just so sad and unfortunate, but seemed to really hit a nerve with a lot of folks. I have to say, I sided with Michael Shiavo through the whole thing; as bad for them as I felt, I think her parents were largely in denial about the state of their daughter's condition. In bringing the matter to a number of levels of the judicial system, an awful lot of doctors examined the situation and presented their findings to numerous judges, who all reached the same conclusion - Terri Shiavo was not capable of conscious thought. The sounds and facial expressions that she made were random, and should not have been construed otherwise. This poor woman sat in a hospital bed, tied up in tubes, for how many years? It's just sad.
On the issue of the Pope's death, I find myself a little more torn. On the one hand, I recognize that he was a major spiritual leader for a large percentage of the world's population, on the other hand I completely disagree with the political and social viewpoints of the Roman Catholic church. From their condemnation of homosexuality and gay marriage, to their stance on birth control and female reproductive rights, I am stongly at odds with the perspectives of leaders of the Catholic church. The main thing that I admired about the late Pope was his stance on war, and on the need to end human suffering in the face of war. For that, I pay my respects.
A recent death that has been eclipsed by the death of the Pope, but is being felt strongly in my little world, is that of comedian Mitch Hedberg. He was an incredibly funny man, whose star was on the rise, and who will be missed.

drama for your mama

The boy has been having some roommate issues lately, and it's been reminding me that I should be glad not to have roommates anymore (though his are practically mine anyway). He lives with a guy and a girl, both younger than him but generally nice, fun people. The girl is in grad school and the guy is in community college, still figuring his shit out. Anyway, relatively recently the guy started going out with this new (skanky) girl who none of us can find it within ourselves to like. The circumstances of their getting together were tawdry enough to merit an appearance on the Jerry Springer show, and their relationship has established itself as something not too far from that either. The girlfriend's friends are plain scary, and she's not a whole lot better...very loud, skanky, obnoxious, oh and did I mention skanky? The bright side of the whole situation is that she lives across the country and is only around on breaks from school, but even that has been pretty hard to bear. As a result of the tensions caused by her presence in the house over spring break, the roommates have been at odds. Angry missives have been fired off to each other over email, and nothing can be fully resolved until the girlfriend leaves to go back to school. I think we're all counting down the hours.

learning new tools

Oh, I also just learned how to use another available tool here on Blogger...the hyperlink abbreviator thingie. From now on, all my links will be neat and tidy!

let the money start rolling in

I just added Google AdSense to this page...any day now it'll turn me into a millionaire. I think the most interesting part will be trying to figure out the relevance of the ads they choose to post. The first one up was for left-handed guitars (oh great, now that I've mentioned it they'll always be about left-handed guitars), and I couldn't figure out the connection to guitars. Clearly, since I mentioned Burger King's April Fool's announcement about left-handed burgers, that's where the lefties bit came from, but I was having trouble with the other part. (Though it did remind me that I did want to post something cool about guitars...check it out, a friend's awesome handcrafted string instruments business - Manke Crafts. ) Anyway, I finally realized that I mentioned a listening to a guitarist while out in the city the other day. Mystery solved. I'm still curious about what sort of odd ads my ramblings will inspire, though. (PS: Thanks, to the boy, for his techie help.)

Friday, April 01, 2005

finally, no more left-handed burger mess

Burger King has finally come up with a solution to that age old problem of lefties and their burgers: prnewswire.

and we're off!

It's time for the 26 Things Project! I read about this game a while back and have been waiting for a new round to begin and today's the day. Play along! Check it out at .