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Saturday, December 21, 2002

whee! snow sculptures!

this one, in particular, is for you, ChicaBeanie.

discovered courtesy of leslie's advent calendar, which is well worth checking out, if you haven't already.

:: scribbled at 4:19 PM ... ... o

rested and ready.

of course, i have so many things i want to do today that i'm not sure where to start. but i woke up before the alarm, and i'm feeling motivated. so that's good, right? i'm feeling like i want to write again, too, so there will most likely be updates over at the journal. (public commitment has a way of motivating one, i find.) some of the entries will be recipes, since i've gotten a few requests after all my blathering about the Cookie Madness. ;)

right now, another cup of something (just had the last hot cocoa, so i'm switching to tea), get showered and organized, and then it's back into the kitchen for a bit.

:: scribbled at 11:16 AM ... ... o

Friday, December 20, 2002

two quick notes here, because i'm far too tired to fire up email.

ken: Metallica? d'oh! *slaps forehead* man, oh man... how could i have missed that one? ;)

jen: stollen recipe is on your way tomorrow; hope that's in time for you.

:: scribbled at 11:47 PM ... ... o

working on four hours sleep is no fun. truly, i had not even one nerve to get on today.

however, Things Have Been Accomplished. ;) cards: sent. gifts: wrapped, given, under tree... i have one project to finish up (a photo album of my apartment for my gram, who can't get up here), and one gift to arrive (see previous rant on Amazon). other than that, all set.

cookies: all the doughs are made, three kinds are baked, and i may get ambitious and make some more tomorrow. because, really, six kinds just aren't enough. ;) seriously, there are some apricots, walnuts, and butterscotch chips, plus a jar of mincemeat, sitting on my kitchen table, cryingout for purpose and meaning. depending on how tomorrow goes, i very well may give them their purpose. tomorrow is about getting some sleep, cleaning the place before i take photos, finishing up baking, and delivering some cookies, not to mention trying to figure out the schedule for the next few days.

and in light of all that accomplishment (whoops! timer... be right back...), i treated myself to a few videos. yup. two short videos with Lewis Black. and i got my Secret Santa present today! a lovely book on beadwork. thanks, twinklebat!

okay. off to veg on the couch for a bit with the cat, and then off to sleepy land...oooo...flannel sheets. :)

:: scribbled at 11:32 PM ... ... o

yay - the friday five is back. (i'm excited, really, just exhausted.)

1. What holiday or holidays do you celebrate this time of year?

Christmas, and the lovely quiet weekend that comes after it.

2. What was the best gift you have ever received?

um... geez, that's a tough one. my family is pretty thoughtful, so picking out just one... oh! how about the ring my best friend gave me a few years ago? she gave me a gold and garnet ring, three stones, simple setting. and it wasn't just pretty; she knew that i was still missing a family ring (emotional value) that was stolen a few years before that. means all the more for the thought behind it.

3. What was the worst gift you've ever given?

i've given some presents that weren't appreciated, but i think the worst gifts i've given are the ones that i gave without any real thought to them. you know the obligation gifts, given out of necessity, either emotional or political? yeah, those.

4. Where will you be celebrating the holidays? Are you hosting? Going away?

oh, i'm the single one in the family, so i get to travel, because it's less work for me. :/ i'm hoping to make the rounds and get to see everyone - family and friends - in the next few days. have i mentioned that i hate the hard stop that comes with Christmas? someone's birthday, you can be a few days late, and they just get more birthday. doesn't work that way with Christmas.

5. If you could spend the holidays with someone who isn't around, who would it be with? Why?

my grandfather. i miss him.

:: scribbled at 5:02 PM ... ... o

the Christmas Screed. very funny.

It’s tougher to be one of her friends, discover her explaining her socio-political point of view to your children, and fight the impulse to strike her in the head with a six-pound trout.

:: scribbled at 3:57 PM ... ... o

such beautiful things...

holidays, and stars and snowflakes. be sure to follow the links thru to see some fantastic images of snowflakes, once you're done admiring fred's photo. ;)

:: scribbled at 2:29 PM ... ... o

right. what she said.

If it takes every ounce of energy I have, if I have to collapse in a pile with a faint smile on my face at noon on Christmas, I'd prefer that to three days of crying and acting like I'm the most pitiful soul in America. Is the happiness fake if I have to try so hard? No. It's merely hard-won.

:: scribbled at 1:26 AM ... ... o

Thursday, December 19, 2002

it's late, and i'm tired. but i have six kinds of cookie dough in the fridge. go me. ;)

i had to make a desperation run to the store; having inventoried the cabinets, i thought i had every baking spice known to mankind. ...except mace. so off to the store, and get mace, some large storage things for cookies, and a four pack of Orangina for an officemate. i'm about to launch into the last of the wrapping, and pack things up to bring into the office. still haven't done cards, so i suppose i can't get the videos just yet. but tomorrow is another story. :)

:: scribbled at 11:40 PM ... ... o

hrm. something has gone very wonky with the archives, and i've only just noticed.

apparently, they stopped updating a few weeks ago, and i can't whack them back into shape. so until the helpful folks at pyra are able to point me in the right direction, i've changed the settings so as to show the last week's worth of entries. makes the page kind of long, but it's better than not being able to see things, eh?

it's not as if the entries aren't there; they are. i peeked at a few in edit mode. but the FTP minkies are not behaving. [note: report them to Santa for being naughty.]

so anyhoo... latest geek news from here. back to making cookies. :)

:: scribbled at 10:31 PM ... ... o

deal with self: get some work done tonight (baking, cleaning, cards), and you can buy those two videos you've been eyeing. deal?

really, that's the only way to get myself properly motivated. i want to splurge, and get the Lewis Black videos. i need to get some holiday things done. i have to get kinda wired up on caffeine (or Red Bull) in order not to nap tonight. i will reward myself with the videos if i manage to get things done for others.

:: scribbled at 5:51 PM ... ... o

this seems appropriate, no? ;)

wickedly funny and witty
The GashlyCrumb Tinies - You have a terribly wicked sense of humour and people are drawn to your wit. Children beware of the thin, pale man with the black umbrella!
Which Edward Gorey Book Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

:: scribbled at 1:27 PM ... ... o

as always, Columbine has words that make me think. dangerous before coffee. ;)

But I think something new has been lost; I definitely see signs of continual downward spiral. If nothing else, the surface treatment is gone. There used to at least be a facade of rationality on top, a veneer of politeness.

:: scribbled at 10:58 AM ... ... o

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

okay, now the night is really better.

because both TV boyfriends were on tonight. The Daily Show, complete with Back in Black. lewis did the lazy journalist's end of the year most popular person list. his top nominee - the northern snakehead. remember that whole thing, where the non-native fish found in Maryland threatened to colonize the entire continent, eating everything in its way? the one that could walk from pond to pond? the one that could destroy the environment without really thinking about it?

'y'know, for a black fish, you act a lot like the white man. i hope you kick the smallmouth bass square in the nuts!'

okay, so it made me laugh. and laughter is good. and Colin Quinn's new show is up next. i've developed a recent, unhealthy fascination with Colin. and he and the gang make me laugh hard enough to snort every time. did i mention that laughter is good? ;)

:: scribbled at 11:31 PM ... ... o

today has been frustrating, all around.

first some car issues (not Penny), then the clusterfuck with presents being mis-shipped, and then 45 minutes to go 2 miles, because of construction and traffic.

so perhaps i should list a few things for which i'm grateful, for mental health and balance reasons. my white kitty has been exceedingly adorable lately. i have a beautiful Christmas tree; just looking at the lights is calming. and i'm blessed with good friends and a wonderful boyfriend, who help me see the funny side of nearly everything.

and have i mentioned lately that i adore my current layout, courtesy of the gals over at Miz Graphics? it's clean, it's lovely, it's flexible, and i can change the graphics to suit the season or the mood without having to do a complete redesign.

big hugs to the woman at my local book store, who helped me out of the last gift crunch, giving me the publisher's number for my dad's book so i could order direct, saving a big heaping hunk of time and further ensuring my continuing patronage at their store.

so, okay. not all bad. in fact, pretty decent. :)

:: scribbled at 8:02 PM ... ... o

okay, i still want to cry. but i've salvaged some of the holiday gifts.

of course, it cost me a bloody arm and a leg. and not all of them will be on time.

if you ever have issues with Amazon: their real live in the flesh talk to a person phone # is 1 800 201 7575. i can't guarantee you'll get any satisfaction out of it, as the woman was unable to tell me that if the 'items purchased' option shows for a wish list, you can reorder the item and have it sent to the right address, without violating any confidentiality. but i think everyone should file that phone number away.

mal, jenn - my apologies for having to drop you emails and spoil the surprise, but i figured it was better than having you wonder why the thing you thought someone got you never showed up.

gadfly, bebelua, jess - soonish. i promise.

liz - i am so sorry that Amazon's collosal clusterfuck happened to land on your doorstep. here's hoping that the delivery guy is cute, at least. :/

:: scribbled at 3:28 PM ... ... o

i think i'm going to cry.

due to a computer glitch, Amazon consolidated 7 different Christmas orders into one. so *all* of my Christmas presents, for half my friends and family, are now being shipped to the wrong address. and there is no way for me to get presents to them. because, see, since the items have already been bought, they aren't on the wish list anymore. and since they aren't on the wish list, there's no way for me to direct them to the correct address. and the help desk person at Amazon just assured me that there's not a damn thing they can do to fix this. and she assured me that there's no such thing as a 'manager' there, so i couldn't possibly speak to anyone who could help me. and there is no way around the issue. in order to get my money back, i'll have to wait a month until they get the packages back. and even when i get the money, it does absolutely nothing whatsoever to solve the issue of my friends not getting their presents.

you know what? i am gonna cry.

:: scribbled at 2:43 PM ... ... o

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

i've gotten some email from the ex boyfriend today, which set off a few buttons. but right now, i choose to be happy.

things making me happy right now:

* i went shopping today, and found a few more gifties for people that i'd get things for only if i found the right thing.

* and i got a few more Christmas ornaments for me, including a nutcracker, a reindeer, a sailboat, and a polar bear (pahler beer for the old Macheads) dressed up in antlers. because he wants to be a reindeer. :)

* plus, i finally treated myself to a sharpening steel. it's not as if i haven't had the money before. but when i wanted it, i didn't have the money, and when i had the money, i didn't think of it. so now, sharp knives and a happy cook.

* track 10 on the new Badly Drawn Boy album, Have You Fed the Fish? the track is The Further I Slide. makes me dance around the living room like an idiot. and the cat did the bump dance with me. (don't ask. it is possible.)

* my amaryllis is blooming like nobody's business. and it's candy cane - white with red stripes.

* i finally memorized Chica's home phone number. *that* only took a year. ;)

* The Dane is on his way over, soonish, and i think we both had good nights. i'm looking forward to comparing notes, and just being with him.

all around, a most excellent and mellow night.

:: scribbled at 10:00 PM ... ... o

recently added to the blogroll: frog butts.

because, really, how can you not love a journal with a name like frog butts? plus, she's funny. ;)

updated to say that i think the correct name is Ordinary Morning, and frog butts is just what appears on the browser window title.

:: scribbled at 9:07 PM ... ... o

courtesy of dave:

some useful Elvish phrases. should you ever find yourself in Lorien. ;)

:: scribbled at 8:46 PM ... ... o

This or That. on a Tuesday, no less. ;)

1. Christmas dinner: turkey or ham (or something else)?

ham, or maybe roast beef. turkey seems to have been relegated to Turkey Day only.

2. Candy canes or chocolate?

candy canes, altho i find i like them better for decorative purposes than actually consuming. i lose a little more of my sweet tooth every year.

3. Fruit basket or fruitcake?

i may be one of the few people who actually likes fruitcake. sliced thin, with a nice cup of tea to accompany it... mmm. and i always liked the fruit baskets that my grandparents got. see, they weren't really *fruit* baskets. they were baskets, yes. and they came with that plastic faux ivory two pronged fruit picker, so you could fish out your favorite slice of dried fruit. maraschino cherries, but dried and sweeter. mmmm. hey, i was 12! ;)

4. Mulled cider or mulled wine?

generally, mulled cider. i do have a pretty tasty recipe for mulled wine. but think about it. warm wine? the hell?

5. Eggnog or hot chocolate?

yes. ;) and i prefer my eggnog spiked with Nyquil, thankyouverymuch. (kudos to the first person to identify *that* ref.)

6. Holiday cookies: homemade or store-bought?

oh, see... homemade. i generally go into Holiday Cookie Hyperdrive around about this time. not so much this year, because i'm trying not to have the Annual Holiday Core Meltdown, which means not stretching myself quite so thin... what were we talking about? oh, right. cookies. i love making holiday cookies. i've got about a dozen tried and true recipes. drop me a line if you've got a recipe you like, and we can swap, okay?

7. Roasting chestnuts or popping corn?

buche de noel. i make a killer Yule log. chocolate sponge cake, chestnut and rum filling, two kinds of chocolate cream icing.

8. On the buffet table: veggie platter or cheese tray?

as in, which would i choose, or which would i serve? i'd serve both, and choose the tray of olives.

9. Apple or pumpkin pie?


10. Christmas Day breakfast: before or after gift-opening?

stockings before breakfast, presents afterwards. or at least, that's the way it used to go, when we all lived in the same house. now that my sibs and i are all off in our own places, it's 'knock down some coffee, jump in the car, drive all over tarnation, open presents when possible.'

bonus round: i make stollen bread for my dad, usually. a proper Christmas breakfast is tea or cocoa, dad's scrambled eggs, and a few slices of stollen, lightly toasted. :)

:: scribbled at 11:54 AM ... ... o

[W]e have strict policies against anyone who has pornography - or uses pornography - in the workplace."

well, it's nice to know they have *some* standards in the Senate.

:: scribbled at 10:39 AM ... ... o

Monday, December 16, 2002

you might want to check out the 20 Things Benefit Auction.

20 things is a great art-swap project;this time around, it isn't a swap at all, but an auction to benefit several non-profit organizations. 100% of the funds go to the non-profits, and there's some wonderful art to be had. (plus, a few friends have donated their time and creativity. *g*) go check it out, see what you think.

:: scribbled at 7:25 PM ... ... o

you know what, Poindexter?

you made your bed. now you get to lie in it. sorry you don't feel like answering the phone; that's what happens, tho, when you have a listed number and an agenda that entails violating the privacy of every single US citizen. (it's unspeakably funny to me that his last name is Poindexter. you can't make up stuff that good.)

:: scribbled at 6:28 PM ... ... o

Sunday, December 15, 2002

*giggle* *snort* ohhhhh, my.

i'm listening to MIX98.5, and they're playing 'The 12 Drinks of Christmas'. i have yet to hear the whole song, because it makes me laugh too hard. and i can't figure out who's singing it, altho she sounds a bit like Rosemary Clooney.

'and a tree... a tree... a bird with a fruit on the limb!' and that's only on the fifth day. hee hee... oh my.

:: scribbled at 4:02 PM ... ... o

jen has some nice observations on giving.

she's quite right that 'giving' often becomes something quite other (the quotes are quite intentional). once it becomes reactive or obligatory, it's not giving. it's duty.

and it's hard not to get caught up in all the commercialism of the various holidays this time of year. as my TV boyfriend pointed out tonight, we as a society seem compelled to add extra layers to religious holidays. he was talking about Easter - someone comes to earth, dies, comes back a few days later with forgiveness and entrance to Heaven. 'that's a pretty damn good reason to celebrate, don't you think?' 'hmmmmm... but wait! we can add painted eggs and chocolate bunnies!' 'sorry, wasn't salvation enough?' 'yeah, but the eggs... work with me! i'm spinning this one!'

bit of a digression there... but he's got a point. don't know about you, but for me, it's hard not to get caught up in all that hooha. and i like jen's idea of stepping back, and doing things thoughtfully. seems just about right. :)

:: scribbled at 3:04 AM ... ... o

i pick up so many books, and have so little time, that it often takes me months to get around to reading something that seemed essential to get.

which is how i've only just started reading Hamlet in Purgatory, by Stephen Greenblatt. he's apparently a highly respected Shakespearian academic, altho it took little more than the title and the cover (a segment of a Heironymous Bosch painting) for me to be sold.

it's a great read, on a topic i never thought would interest me. not being Catholic, Purgatory has never been part of my spiritual or mental landscape. right, right, the title says Hamlet. and he does bring it back around to that. but the majority of the book is a wonderfully discursive exploration of a religious construct.

perhaps because of all the firestorm with the Catholic Church, especially here in Beantown, i was struck by this observation (in a footnote, of all places). Greenblatt is writing about the power of the Church in the 16th century.

It may at first seem difficult to understand why so many people would willingly abandon their innate freedoms, but in fact the process is quite simple. A tiny group chooses, for strategic purposes, to declare allegiance to a single person. The qualities of that person—who may, for all anyone knows, be a dolt or a scoundrel—are not particularly relevant; what matters is his (or her) symbolic position at the apex of the system. Nor does it greatly matter if the members of the inner circle have any serious regard for the person to whom they declare their allegiance; what matters is that their immediate dependents feel similarly bound to them and, through them, bound to the person at the pinnacle. Each of those dependents in turn has his dependents, and before long tens of thousands of people are locked into a system that is exploiting rather than protecting or serving them.

all that, in a driveby footnote.

:: scribbled at 2:37 AM ... ... o

fleecy socks...mmmmm. yummy. :)

:: scribbled at 2:24 AM ... ... o

erika! you out there? you reading? hope so.

because i don't have an email for you, and it's a bit crazy these days, so i haven't found time to write back properly. but i wanted you to know - i devoured Weetzie Bat in a single sitting, and adored it. parts of it made me laugh, others made me tingle, and others made me weepy. all in all, a great little book, and thank you so much for sending it along!

:: scribbled at 2:23 AM ... ... o

i keep seeing this one ref pop up in my referrer logs, and couldn't figure out how it got there.

so naturally, i went to explore. see, if i click thru from the referrer logs, i get a blank page with absolutely nothing helpful in the code. so i went to the home page for Vivisimo Document Clustering. they describe themselves as 'automatic categorization and content integration software'. okay, i can buy that, i guess.

it's an interesting twist on search engines, and reminds me of some very nifty groupware i've used in the past. still not sure how useful it could be, but i think that's because the interface is fairly unique. have any of you played around with this? what do you think?

:: scribbled at 2:03 AM ... ... o