Friday, April 30, 2010

Shipping solved

Filler Item is a website that lets you plug in how far away you are from free shipping on Amazong, then creates a list of what you can buy for that exact amount. I feel like I am always just short of free shipping, and it's a pain to look for cheapo items manually. If you're only $2 away from getting it for free, and shipping would cost you $10, it makes a darn lot of sense.

You're welcome.


Given how much I link to the New York Times on this blog, it's probably clear that I don't read That said, is brilliant. It shows you the current homepage of CNN at the top of the screen and the current homepage of a different news outlet - BBC, Al Jazeera, etc - at the bottom. CNN suffers by the comparison. You get to view two different media outlets at the same time AND feel superior to the American news establishment!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Mystery box !!!

Oh my god I love Thursday night mystery boxes. Tonight $25 netted me (from left, sort of): baby gold turnips, sugar snap peas, beautiful red and green baby lettuces (each head is the perfect side for a one-person salad), parsnips, thyme, artichokes, radishes, orach, leeks, and fennel.

Good Samaritan

Our friend Mark is secretly famous - he tailed a car that looked like it had been in an accident, then called the police. Lo and behold, the genius driver had rear-ended a car, backed into a bus stop, then hauled ass out of there. This is what the bus stop (which had a lady in it at the time) looked like:
Mark's vigilance and good citizenship strike fear into the hearts of shitty hit-and-run drivers everywhere.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


The beautiful thing about the Bay Area is that no matter how precious or snobby or laughable the culture seems sometimes, there really is a there there. Northern California culture is genuinely great, even when it's also annoying.

Behold: urban homesteading in SF, as covered by the NYT. I brew, so they say I am part of this movement (who knew?). I kind of think kombucha is gross (I'll never forget the look on Meesh's face when an acquaintance introduced us to "the momma and her babies", which were, of course, fungus), but if you want a chicken coop or beehives or whatever, my feeling is that you should go for it.

As such, I really want to go to this "hootenanny" tomorrow night, since it will apparently have lots of homemade things that will either kill me or be delicious. If it turns out not to be my crowd (and odds are good), I will at least feel like I have made an attempt to make my way into the local culture.

Also, a group called The Goat Sisters is playing. So I have to be there.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

All the beer geeks

If you have a spare hour (and I'm sure you do) you should watch this talk by Sam Calagione, the founder of Dogfish Head, speaking last year. It is fantastically interesting if you are into beer.

Vhere is Valdo

I freaking hate Werner Herzog. I think he has great ideas, and makes them into annoying movies - mostly through his stupid voice overs.

So how perfect is it that someone has him (or someone who sounds like him) reading "Where's Waldo"? It's brilliant.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Woopsy daisy

This list of 15 unintentionally perverted kids' toys is priceless, and reminds me of Beth's Superman lightswitch plate (with strategically placed lightswitch). It is a whole bucket of what-the-hell.
My favorite is the Harry Potter vibrating broomstick, but I have seen the anatomically questionable inflatable slides, and they are also dandy. Trauma abounds.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Oh, Banksy

Pretty good though, right?
(courtesy of Hypebeast)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

John McPhee, again

Tonight I finished Silk Parachute, a just-published book of John McPhee's essays. They're pieces from here and there - some have the seeds of his book-length works, and some are one-offs. He talks about lacrosse, and the New Yorker's fact-checking team, and eating weird foods, and canoeing. All his essays make you glad to be alive.

And best of all, he ends with a short piece on New Jersey. When you come from a maligned state, you cannot imagine how wonderful it is to have a respected man of letters stick up for your homeland - and a man of letters who you kind of want to kidnap and make talk to you forever and ever, too.

Here's what he says: "I must go [to Alaska] from time to time to recover from the sheer physiographic intensity of living in New Jersey - must go, to be reminded that there is at least one other state that is physically as varied but is sensibly spread out."

Someone from Tennesse asked him why "a writer, who could live almost anywhere he wanted to, chooses to live in New Jersey."
Is he kidding?...When you cross New Jersey, you cover four events: the violent upheaval of two sets of mountains several hundred million years apart; and, long after all that, the creation of the Atlantic Ocean; and, more recently, the laying on of the Coastal Plain by the trowel of the mason. Do they know that in Tennessee? Tennessee is a one-event country: all you see there, east to west, are the Appalachians, slowly going away.

New Jersey has had the genius to build across its narrow center the most contentrated trasportation slot in the world...a tube, a conduit, which has acquired through time an ugliness sufficient to stop a Gorgon in her tracks. Through this supersluice continuously pass hundreds of thousands of people from Nebraska, Kansas, Illinois, Iowa, Texas, Tennessee, holding their breath. They are shot like peas to New York. If New Jersey has a secret, that is it.
I love him.


My cat is morbidly obese and has a tapeworm. I am so confused.

Allergies & alcohol

Well, shit. Alcohol may worsen allergies symptoms because it contains histamines. Since histamines are evil little beasties that make me break out in itchy hives anytime my heart rate increases (thank you, store brand Zyrtec for making exercise bearable again), this is very bad news. Perhaps this explains why my hangover headaches are centered on the sinus region? Or not.

Financial stuff blah blah

A few months ago I signed up for a daily financial planning email from LearnVest. Some days it's super relevant and really handy, and some days I just ignore it. But if you are a lady, and you are not feeling entirely in control of your financial life, I highly recommend it - it's a nice regular push to get on top of things.

For example, I am oh so close to switching from Bank of America to a credit union, and having regular reminders to be more proactive about my money has gotten me here. Now I just have to actually go to the credit union and sign up. Despite their recent infusion of investment cash, LearnVest cannot yet actually drive my ass to the bank. Maybe one day.

Friday, April 16, 2010


I never buy sweet treats from Miette because they are so insanely overpriced. But: WANT.

New brewpub

A brewpub is opening in the Sunset and holy crap, it's going to be mostly vegetarian. As much as I love Magnolia's beers, it's not worth dragging my vegetarian boyfriend to a place that is all about the sausages and sweetbreads. (Warning, menu link is a PDF. Why the f do all restaurants have PDF menus?) So this is mightily welcome.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Stuff it

Earlier in the week I created what I think is a genius concoction, though you may disagree. A few of my popovers had lost their bottoms in the baking process, so they were essentially hollow. I cooked some chard with garlic the other night, and decided to stuff the popovers with the greens. Because WHY NOT.
It wasn't the prettiest thing in the world, but it did the job. Repurposing baked goods FTW.

Also, that is an $18 bottle of beer, which is more than I have ever spent on a bottle of wine. It's a Belgian style Allagash ale that is aged in bourbon bottles. It is super duper good, and yes, I get that I am a beer sucker.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Search Stories

Today I tested out YouTube's new Search Stories tool so that I could talk about it with my book publishers. I decided to go with a reunion theme, since why the hell not.
I'm sure I could do better, but for now, I'm proud.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Wellesley professors raking it in

The average professor's salary at Wellesley is the highest of any liberal arts college in the country! I don't really feel one way or the other about it - god knows they sit through enough emotive office hours to earn it - but it does make me feel differently about how most of the English department dresses.

Beer Sunday

I bravely overcame a shiteous sinus headache this weekend to enjoy the rainy Sunday with homemade baked goods and delicious beer. I first made huge oven-baked pancakes for breakfast - we had them with maple syrup, and they were oh so tasty. And crazy looking.
Next up were popovers, which I assumed were way above my skill level but turned out to be fantastically easy, and perfect with tomato and raspberry jam. I doubled the recipe, so I have popovers to go home to tonight. We had made a pilgrimmage to City Beer Store on Saturday, so we cracked open a bottle of Pliny the Elder, which is considered to be one of the best beers in the US. It is also ridiculously hoppy - it burns your tongue a little bit.
We then bottled our own IPA, which isn't going to be as hoppy as Pliny, but is still going to have some bite.
Then I threw together some vegetable things (best creation: collards with lemon, fennel and toasted walnuts) and we split a bottle of Tusker beer, which reminded Mike of the time he lived on that ship in the South Pacific that one time.

And then, you know, we watched stuff on Hulu.
Modern love, right?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Stuff I Eat

If you have any interest in watching a slightly cheesy video about food at Google, here it is. I ate at Big Table today, and PIC (Pure Ingredient Cafe) is my regular cafe.

And now you know why I have gained weight since I started working here. But I still realize that I am a lucky lucky lady. Come visit!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


I still love Ellen Page, even though "Whip It" was epically disappointing - but I blame Drew Barrymore for that. Out of everyone in pop culture right now, I think Ellen Page speaks something that is the closest to my dialect, though maybe she twee-ifies it a bit. She's into permaculture! She's into roller derby! She is Canadian and tiny!

This quote from a Guardian article is pure gold: "I am a feminist and I am totally pro-choice, but what's funny is when you say that people assume that you are pro-abortion. I don't love abortion but I want women to be able to choose and I don't want white dudes in an office being able to make laws on things like this."


Bike policy

I totally support what Secretary LaHood is saying (and, hopefully, doing) but I think he needs a better messaging approach. In this NYT interview, he says that biking and walking transportation alternatives are "what the American people want" at least six times. But damn, can you imagine if every city had bike lanes so that everyone - people on road bikes, people on cruisers, people with trailers and panniers and baskets - cycled as their primary mode of transportation? It would be so freaking sweet! And it's why I'm a member of the San Francisco Bike Coalition.


Hello, there is going to be a free zipline in front of the Ferry Building! Yippee!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Bikes and beer

Look at the cover of this month's Brew Your Own magazine!
I may need to go out and get myself a copy.

Back to the land?

Last week I read an article about Darina Allen, who seems to be the Alice Waters of Ireland. She was one of the first people to embrace traditional Irish cooking and make it a bit more refined - she was all about the locavorism when everyone in Ireland was a locavore by default and there was no caché to it.

Now, of course, there is caché, and so her books sell very well. I bought my mom a copy of "Forgotten Skills of Cooking: The Time-Honored Ways are the Best - Over 700 Recipes Show You Why" as an early mother's day present. It's perfect for my mom and dad, who, aside from being uber Irish (they're going next week), are now occupying some beginning-homesteader niche. They tapped trees for maple syrup a few weeks ago, they just got their beehives, and they've started their spring garden.

My dad will be stocking the pond with fish once it's been dug (my interest is more in swimming in it, but whatever). They're also planning to get larger animals - probably a goat, maybe ducks. The goat will be for milk and cheese, the ducks for eggs and eating.
And, as my mom said in an email, the book lays out how to make flavored liquor, so she is planning to buy giant bottles of gin and vodka. Between the booze and my dad's homebrew, I think their middle-of-nowhere house might wind up the place to be.

Stuff I Eat

Yesterday was rainy and a Sunday and I was in recovery from Vegas, so I cooked up a storm. No pictures, alas, but I can link to some recipes.

Once again I made butternut squash pasties, but with whole wheat flour and some variations based on what I had in the fridge - manchego and feta in place of parmesan, some cilantro in place of parsley. Delicious, and I doubled the recipe, so I have several still waiting for me at home.

I also made Smitten Kitchen's tomato sauce with onions and butter, and it is completely freaking delicious. I sampled a bit on some leftover quinoa, but reserved most of it for dinner tonight. I'm so excited to dig into it - I wish I had made a larger batch.

While taking care of the above, I cooked up a big pot of azuki beans with an onion, garlic cloves, and shoyu soy sauce. The beans are fantastic, and are going to work their way into several meals this week.

Tasty tasty productivity.


I am so pleased to see that there is a website that has compiled some of the best Venn diagrams on the internet, to explains the internet's fascination with Venn diagrams. Or something.

The one below is probably my favorite, but almost all of them are awesome.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The neverending story

If you are interested in weird animals and bugs and plants, you should keep an eye on my brother's Flickr feed - he's living at a biological station in the Australian rainforest for the next year, and he's uploading photos almost daily.
The photos are both super cool and - when he gets around to including captions - super informative.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Beer me

A quick rundown of our grilled cheese and homebrew party. Sadly I didn't take any photos of the sandwiches, but I can assure you they were amazing - we went through four or five loaves of bread, 5 0r 6 kinds of cheese, a ton of butter, and lots of toppings like tomato jam, butternut squash, roasted potatoes, pickles, basil, and cilantro and sage butter. (Not all together, as far as I remember.) We had dal and tomato soup for dipping, and lots of beer for drinking. Which is good, because about 30 people showed up - hopefully they don't all hate us now for cramming them into our apartment.

We got to present our homebrew:
To lots of people:
And assault a pinata:
All while drinking beer, of course:
I'm already planning our next one.