Entries in geekery (7)


dear internet: i've missed you

Sweet holy Batman, we have internet again!

We've been without internet since an outage on Wednesday morning that subsequently scrambled our modem and wireless router. Wednesday was bad news bears from start to finish, really -- internet down on a work-from-home day, news that the neighbor's insurance company was quibbling about paying for the damage to our yard from the neighbor's fence*, our first mortgage payment since the refinance not getting paid electronically as scheduled (and thus late), and bumping up against the data limit on our phones due to the lingering effects of being without computers for weeks on end. And to top it all of, I was fighting off some kind of bug thing, secretly worried that it was the flu.

*(Not the neighbor's fault. She argued on our behalf, and wants to make things right; it's not her fault her insurance is being a shithead.)

Wednesday was primarily lost to dealing with Comcast's phone tree hell and "technical support". For future reference, trying to get your internet up and running while simultaneously juggling your job duties, all while using only your smart phone AND checking your data usage every 20 minutes to verify that you haven't gone over your alloted amount? Shortcut to a panic attack.

The bug got the best of me yesterday, after a night of not-good sleep, and resulted in yet more lost time for some really pressing work stuff, not to mention cancelling my evening plans. And still no internet, but I didn't have the energy for eating, let alone for arguing with the internet provider about IP addresses and modem serial numbers. Never mind poor Sal, who had spent his entire morning on the phone trying to get it fixed while also trying to get all of his final grading done for the last day of class for this term.

But, as I said, hallelujah, we have internet again. It took three more hours of phone calls this morning with five different technicians at two different companies, along with some petty extortion – excuse me, “short term warranty fee” – from the last company in order to get them to fix the router remotely. I guess I should be glad it didn't involve a ritual sacrifice or something. Of course, our neighbor’s back fence is still laying across the back bed of our yard, her insurance company is now adamant that they don’t have to pay for the damage to our side, and that flu/cold bug is digging in deep just in time for the 3 day weekend Sal and I had planned.

But by god, at least we have internet.


gollum stole the show, as expected

thorin and thranduil doing a kegstand, by the inimitable and brilliant gingerhazeBecause several people have asked me about The Hobbit, and I'd intended to post this last month....

We actually saw the movie at a midnight showing on opening night...? day?...whatever, it was a Thursday at midnight. Not as the obsessive fans we were for LOTR, purchasing our tickets well ahead, leaving work early, and standing in line for hours, but just because it worked out. We did not even trek to a technologically advanced theater with the best sound system and reclining seats. Our trek involved only the four block walk from our house to our little neighborhood theater about 30 minutes before the movie started. But more about that in a minute.

See, I never felt about The Hobbit the way I did LOTR, which is kind of odd since it was my gateway to the world I fell in love with. I loved The Hobbit in the same way I loved The Chronicles of Narnia and The Chronicles of Prydain*, as wonderfully immersive and thrilling adventures that satiated my hungry imagination. But even at that age, I understood the fundamental difference between The Hobbit and what came after, the difference in tone and scope and magnitude, and that deep, deep mythology of LOTR satisfied me in a way that The Hobbit did not.

[*Although in truth, Prydain was elevated even amongst these, and was as formative to my childhood as LOTR, A Little Princess, Ramona Quimby, and To Kill A Mockingbird. Prydain was what developed my taste for the tragic with the triumphant, the flawed characters who start as endearing dreamers and end with a hard-won and tattered nobility.]

Which is to say that I was looking forward to the movie, but not with anywhere near the anticipation that I had for LOTR. We weren't even planning to see it until sometime the first weekend, but I'd noticed on the neighborhood theater billboard earlier that week that they were advertising a midnight showing and thought hey, that might be fun. We love our neighborhood theater, and it just seemed the perfect way to enjoy the movie.

Of course, our neighborhood is comprised of many types of very Portlandesque Portlanders, including a large representation from hippie to hipster, and that alone was guaranteed to make the whole experience even more entertaining. The wonderful thing about the neighborhood theater is that it's this great old theater that's been restored, but not by people who were slavishly devoted to the architecture and intent on turning it into a monument to some golden era. The place looks fixed up, but fixed up on a budget, and it still has some of its shabby charm and juuuust a touch of funky aesthetic to give it its own character and sense of home. Which is characteristic of our neighborhood in general, but I've already digressed enough.

Anyway! As we settled into our seats and watched the place fill up around us, it became clear that the hipster contingent of the geek crowd was going to comprise the majority of the audience. Which became an anthropological exercise of its own, since I'm far more versed in the culture and traditions of the full-blown nerd subset of fandom, and there are definite differences between the two. The nerdy part of fandom is more likely to dress in costume, for instance, and argue the lineage of Numenor, while the hipster sect will top each other with how early they were into LOTR before it was cool. But, you know, geeks are geeks in all our different flavors, and we share more in common than we do with the general population. Like showing up at midnight for a movie about a hobbit who lived in a hole.

If it seems like I have a whole lot to say about the experience of the movie rather than the movie itself, that's true. The movie itself was fun and silly and enjoyable. It captured the tone of the book well (i.e., that the book was a children's story, and had an entirely different focus than the later books). Middle-Earth was as lovely and magical as ever, and I would've seen the movie for that alone. Martin Freeman made Bilbo relatable and likeable. Thorin was appropriately driven by duty, and depicted with far more gravitas than I think every came across in the book, no doubt to serve the need for an Aragorn-like hero. Also, LOL Thranduil and your haughty disdain for all things dwarf.

Like everyone else, I wondered how the movie would fare by being stretched into one of three, a ridiculously transparent money-making scheme that I worried would ruin what could be a good movie (or movie and sequel at most) with a bunch of filler. As expected, the filler came from other Tolkien works, giving backstory that happened off-screen in the book, but I thnk it was generally handled okay.  The little detour with Radagast, for instance, was fun and set the stage nicely for "The Necromancer" and of course the appearance of the Witch-King of Angmar and the infamous Morgul Blade was a nice bit of foreshadowing. (Although I was disappointed by the characterization of Radagast, as I always thought him more akin to St. Francis of Assisi than Dr. Dolittle.)  That said, three movies is still going to be much more than necessary, and just makes me wish for more LOTR than more Hobbit.

Still, I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the experience we had in seeing the movie, and I'm glad we didn't go to the lengths we went for LOTR. I didn't have my socks blown off, but I didn't expect them to be.


ace of cakes

So...this is a thing that happened today. Sal said, "Yeah, I thought we were doing serious faces...".


(Duff is here for Feast Portland this weekend and needed a kitchen for prepping a few things. Of course he came to OCI, because OCI is home of the Kitchen Ninja. I MEAN REALLY DUH.)


in which i let my inner fandom nerd off the chain

Lunch first, then geekery...

lunch, Lunchbot Duo:

  • Thai peanut chicken (grilled on skewers)
  • couscous with caramelized onions, green beans, and sesame seeds
  • sugar snap peas
  • cherries
  • raspberries (from our yard!)
  • chocolate-covered candied almonds**

**Okay, so this is pretty much the best thing ever, made by Sal, of course. They're almonds that have been roasted with a caramelized coating, cooled, then rolled in dark chocolate cocoa powder. They're totally cracktastic, and no matter how big the batch, it never lasts long.

On to the squee! This is a quick rundown of all of the non-TV geekery in which I have engaged in the last few months, and my ratings thereof:


  • The Hunger Games: A -- Loved it, despite the changes. When the countdown started in the arena, I damn near had a panic attack of OH NO THEY'RE REALLY GOING TO DO THIS NOW I AM NOT READY.
  • Cabin in the Woods: A-  -- So thoroughly and hilariously Jossian that there was no way I wasn't going to enjoy this. Plus, Chris Hemsworth, freshly post-George Kirk, so cute. And Topher!
  • AVENGERS OMG: A -- Who would have ever thougt that the Hulk would steal the show? I have never cared about the Hulk in any incarnation ever. Holy crap, Bruce Banner, you win the universe. (Thank you, Mark Ruffalo.) Plus, Bruce Banner and Tony Stark as nerdy genius buddy cops! Being all science-y and stuff! And Natasha and Maria Hill, not objectified or fridged! And Thor, Thor, Thor, Thor, Thor! (WHAT THE HELL CHRIS HEMSWORTH YOU ARE NOT EVEN REAL YOU ARE A PHOTOSHOPPED VERSION OF A HUMAN MALE.) And again, Joss' fingerprints were everywhere (for good and bad). Speaking of Joss, I had one GIGANTIC issue with this movie, the same one that someone else already tackled much better than I could have, so go read that instead.
  • Snow White and the Huntsman: B -- Kristen Stewart cannot act for shit, and there were some plot gaps that were ridiculously lol-worthy, but it was fun and pretty and also Chris Hemsworth, which is all that needs to be said, really.

(It was a seriously Chris Hemsworth-y run, there. Thank you, movie people, for the 1-2-3 punch of hotness.)

  • Brave: A++++++++++ -- OMG I LOVE EVERYTHING THIS MOVIE CHOOSES TO BE. A central character who's a girl! With agency! Who saves herself! And a mom who isn't evil! Or dead! And a story about a mother and daughter and how that relationship is complicated and hard and wonderful and also did I mention this story is set in Scotland and also that every detail of this movie was made specifically for me?
  • The Amazing Spiderman: B+ -- Wasn't expecting to enjoy this as much as I did. I have no particular loyalty to the previous franchise, but was kind of mystified about why they were rebooting so soon. But wow, that was fun. I see from various reports that there was a lot of butchery done to the script due to studio politics stuff behind-the-scenes, which would explain some big gaps that I was wondering about, as well as the lull in the middle. But despite those problems, I still enjoyed it more than the Tobey MacGuire version, which I didn't not like, so my reaction was a surprise.


  • Waaay back in May, ProcrastiGirl and I saw Snow Patrol in concert, and I died of ecstasy. I was maybe 20 feet from Gary Lightbody. He was just, you know, there, right up there, just being adorable and Irish and amazing. And Nathan and Johnny and Tom and Pablo, all of them just kicking ass like it's a regular thing that normal people do, which it totally is not. And I heard my all-time favorite, favorite song* live, and they played for 2 hours and came out for 2 encores, and Gary's voice was gorgeous from start to finish, and everyone who said they are incredible live was so totally right. Setlist:  "Berlin (Remix)", "Hands Open", "Take Back The City", "I'll Never Let Go", "Run", "Hands Open", "This Isn't Everything You Are", "Crack the Shutters", "New York", "Set the Fire to the Third Bar", "Shut Your Eyes", "Chasing Cars", "Chocolate", "You're All I Have", "Called Out in the Dark", "Fallen Empires", Encores: "Lifening", "Just Say Yes"

*Arguably. I have so many favorites, it's like picking a favorite kid. But "Run" appears in almost every playlist I make, so.

I also just finished reading The House of Leaves, so my cult-pop geek cred is restored. Wow, that book was like putting your brain in a blender and hitting puree.  I haven't worked so hard to read a text since my engineering days (I'm looking at you, Differential Equations II). I know I probably didn't even catch half the embedded codes and riddles and cannot wrap my brain around the idea that a single person wrote that book. Mind officially blown.


on the nature of the unintended hiatus

You know how you get behind on something, and then you finally get a minute to do that thing, but you're so behind that you don't know where to start so you don't? And then you just get more behind and it seems like too much to even begin, and the whole thing just kind of snowballs into a big icy ball of Do Not Want?

Welcome to the last two months of website non-updateyness.

We have been busy, yes, but not significantly more than our usual Hamster Wheel O'Crazy, so it's not attributable to some new escalation. And some of those busy things have included many fun and exciting things. Things which include adventures and hilarity and sometimes even photographic evidence! Things that are, in short, terrific website fodder. The radio silence is therefore also not attributable to a lack of material about which to post.

So we will chalk it up to a case of needing to cut something out for awhile in order to maintain sanity. Also: laziness.

In any case...hello! I have many things to tell you about! I will probably tell you about most of them! If I feel like it! I will probably forget something I meant to tell you about! I will include pictures! If it's not too much work! It will probably be too much work! Because I am lazy, as previously established! Some of the topics I plan to tell you about if I'm not overcome by an overpowering desire to do something else:

  • The Great Gallstone Adventure of 2012!
  • Why family is totes the best!
  • Sal's birthday!
  • All of the many movies we have seen recently! See also: geeks are the greatest.
  • That time I was 20 feet from Gary Lightbody and totally didn't lose my shit! Except for maybe a little bit!
  • Girls' Road Trip!
  • Girls' Art Weekend! Launched with an actual Mad Hatters' Party! Because I am the raddest.

So, you know. Those things might be stuff to look forward to hearing about. Although that really puts a lot of pressure on me to make them interesting, and I don't need the stress (see also: gallstones), so I make no promises. Also, vacation starts in two weeks so I am a kitten distracted by shiny objects right now.



random friday!


Totally unintentionally. One of the catalysts for posting has been my bento pics, but my work computer has suddenly developed some bizarro error thing that's been preventing me from posting pics. So even though I write my posts the night before, I haven't been able to get my pictures uploaded when I'm at work, and haven't been able to figure out what the hell the issue is, and apparently those two things were insurmountable obstacles or something.

But! I cannot continue having bento pics stack up or I will just never get caught up (hahahahaha hello every house project update since approximately forever). And in the interest of getting caught up, I also have a ridiculous number of saved tabs in my browser that's becoming a serious impediment to being totally unproductive on the internet. Which means: Random Friday! Haven't done one of these in awhile.

Love Story, Twitter Style -- "Actor and comedian John Fugelsang shares the remarkable story of how his parents...a monk and a nun...met, fell in love, and went on to raise a family. Told in Tweets and photos."

Hobbes and Bacon -- A comic imagining of Calvin and Hobbes, in which Calvin has grown up, married the much-hate Susie, had a daughter, named her Bacon, and introduced her to his beloved Hobbes. Hijinks (and nostalgic tears) ensue.

Fan letter to a weatherman -- A child writes a letter to his favorite meteorologist, and proceeds to win the internet. "More awesome than a monkey wearing a tuxedo made out of bacon." Took the words out of my mouth, kid.

6 Things Rich People Need to Stop Saying -- Seriously. Have these people never heard of the French Revolution?

Educating Tomorrow's Culinarians -- Lovely little article in a local foodie publication about OCI (where Sal teaches), their philosophy, and their commitment to their students and the community.

via Nichelle Nichols' tweet...that's right, Uhura has a Twitter account because she is a total bamfI know I already reblogged this on Tumblr but whatever, its inherent awesomeness requires posting everywhere, all the time. YOU GUYS THIS IS A THING THAT HAPPENED AND EXISTS IN THE UNIVERSE. The PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES was visited by UHURA OF THE STARSHIP ENTERPRISE and they stood in the Oval Office talking about Thomas Jefferson and Captain Kirk and and then they posed for the cameras and gave the Vulcan hand signal and that will never ever ever stop being ridiculously adorable. President Obama is our Nerd-in-Chief, amirite?


3/20/12 lunch, pink Natural Lunch:

  • herb roasted turkey breast
  • roasted smashed parsnips
  • roasted brussel sprouts tossed in balsamic vinegar
  • Pink Lady apple slices


3/22/12 lunch, lunchbots duo:

  • herb roasted turkey breast, red leaf lettuce, dill Havarti in sun-dried tomato wraps
  • broccoli
  • baby carrots
  • dried cherries
  • sunflower seeds



3/26/12 lunch, Ms. Bento:

  • creamy vegetable soup made by Chef Salvatore (potatoes, carrots, broccoli, string beans, onions, garlic, parsley, Jerusalem artichokes, thyme)
  • turkey breast and dill Havarti in sun-dried tomato wraps
  • raw pumpkin seeds
  • kiwi halves
  • almonds and dark chocolate covered raisins

i, for one, welcome our google overlords

Sal and I have been trying out Google+ this last week, and while it may be too soon yet to say what its prospects are, I think I'm in love. For still being in beta, it's remarkably intuitive and I love, love, love the additional benefits if you have a Droid, because omg so seamlessly integrated. They have a long way to go yet before Google+ can pose any kind of threat to Facebook, but this feels like the next evolution of living online. (I would even make the case that it's a more natural evolution living online than Facebook has been. I'm admittedly biased, but Google's primary focus has always been on the user experience and it shows in the way Google+ is set up. Facebook's focus is different, obviously, since their client isn't the user, but I suspect if Google+ manages to a measurable success, Facebook will be forced to reexamine its focus and make at least some adjustments.)

Now, if I can just incorporate New Seasons grocery delivery into it somehow, I will be one happy girl. (RIP, New Seasons online grocery ordering and delivery....)

lunch, Ms. Bento:

  • still working on that crockpot stew -- potatoes, carrot, onion, celery, kale, fava beans, roast pork
  • broccoli, carrots, cherries
  • plum sections
  • cashews and dark chocolate covered raisins with dried mango as baran