Thursday, November 29, 2007

From the LA Times

Today's birthday (Nov. 29): You're committed to making a difference,
and the world seems to respond to your every intention. You have great
influence over your immediate circle in December. Increased fortunes
are the direct response to advantageous relationships you make in the
spring. Aquarius and Capricorn connections are particularly sweet.
Your lucky numbers are 51, 20, 37, 16 and 12

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanksgiving Pies Hit The Bottle

My Thanksgiving was all about the booze. First, I added vodka to my
homemade pie crust and it was fabulous. See there's this issue with
pie crust that if you add too much liquid (water) when you make it,
the gluten gets activated or some other mumbo-jumbo, and the resulting
crust is hard and gluey instead of soft and flaky. So you add the
minimum amount of water to get it to hold together and then reform the
crust eight hundred times after rolling it out because it cracks every
time you try to move it due to severe lack of moisture.

However, Cooks Illustrated had a brilliant hypothesis which they
turned into a foolproof recipe. Alcohol, specifically that magical
flavorless wonder known as vodka, adds moisture but does not activate
the gluten, and the alcohol bakes out when you cook it. So the raw
crust is super easy to work with (and has quite a kick to it-- chaser
with your bite of pie dough?), and the baked crust is as light as a
dream. I recommend Ketel One to all you bakers out there.

The second booze fest took place during the gravy making portion of
the evening. There was a time when we'd put my grandmother in charge
of the gravy. She would spend more time explaning she had no idea how
to make gravy than she did making the actual gravy, and I remember
standing with her as she stirred in the special gravy flour into the
pan juices and shrugged the whole time to indicate her level of
comfort with the process. This year, we had a recipe which created a
lovely gravy, and it basically consisted of wine, fat, and flour. Now
I have no idea what genius finally realized those three elements
belong together (my mother found the recipe), but thanks to you. It
was delicious.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Cinema Corner

I did something last weekend that I haven't done in way too long,
which is see movies; two movies in one weekend, as a matter of fact.
I had a great movie buddy in Philly with whom I'd maybe squeeze in one
movie every other month, since the theaters were so inconvenient and
our schedules were so crazy. But I remember feeling like every time I
went and saw a movie (or cooked a good meal) that I felt more like
myself and at one with the universe. It's funny, I had lunch with a
co-worker of mine today and she was telling me about realizing during
her first year of business school that she was unhappy with her life
because she no longer was doing any recreational reading. She made a
point of reincorporating it into her life the next semester and all
was well.

Anyhow, that's a long unexpectedly cheesy intro to two movie reviews.
The first was American Gangster, which is not that good. The acting
is very good, and there are some very strong moustaches. But it's too
long and yet still doesn't have enough to it to be a really great
film. What I liked most about it is a girl I've met at work who I
decided is a potential new movie buddy told me prior to seeing it that
it wasn't that good (I went anyhow because some friends wanted to).
So I feel like seeing a not great movie to confirm that this girl is a
potential movie soulmate was well worth it.

The second was the movie Gone Baby Gone, which is unfortunately nearly
gone baby gone from the theaters. But it was really really good and
marks the directorial debut of one Ben Affleck. It was very
depressing, and I truly believe that Boston should be the setting for
every crime film after this and the departed. If that city is really
like that, I don't know how anyone lives there. But it was
suspenseful, well cast, and I got really sucked in. And if it's wrong
to live in a world where Ben Affleck is the brainy artistic genius one
and Matt Damon is the sexy one, I don't want to be right.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Few More Ranch Pics

See, Satchel also made a whole new group of friends, all of whom look very sober.

Ranch Weekend Recap

First of all, before you sic the SPCA on me, Satchel did not actually do a keg stand. But just ast every kid has to take the portrait on Santa's lap, Satchel could not escape the weekend without the standard Ranch Weekend portrait. Besides, in not requring opposable thumbs, the keg stand shot was easier to stage than "Satchel does a Jello shot".

Satchel did attempt to drink his first beer. When he came upon a not empty beer cup on the floor, he was treated to an impassioned plea from Ruthie along the lines of, "Oh, no, Satchel. You really don't want to do that." And really, I think that kind of tactic is far more persuasive than just picking up the cup and taking it away.

Ranch weekend was a bunch of people sitting on Ruthie's family's super-beautiful ranch in Texas and doing very ranch-like things, like fishing, walking near the cows, football watching, eating BBQ and queso, and playing really sketchy drinking games. It was fun to see some old friends, and interesting to meet some new ones. I have to say that post-business school I've settled back into a more normal version of myself, and it was interesting to go on a weekend where I was on the tamest end of the spectrum. It was really fun, but it was different to be the least crazy person in the room. For instance, I've never taken my clothes off as part of a drinking game (and I still haven't). But it was fun to watch other people be crazy, and I'd overall rank the weekend strong to very strong. I ate way too much, I drank too much, I danced on a counter, and I am exhausted two days later.

Satchel was in a bandanna the whole time, and delighted in the constant attention. He also discovered cows, and evolved from being extremely frightened of them to extremely excited about them after they appeared to be scared of his terrifying bark. Also, thanks to Marji and Roger, he's completely golf cart obsessed, which proved to be a problem since people took the golf cart out frequently and he would charge at it unless I scooped him up and kept him away.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Photos from Ranch Weekend!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Oil Spill

So this is a sad story-- an oil spill I read about the other day in
the Bay was initially said to be only 140 gallons of oil, but it's
actually more like 58,000 gallons. This means there are birds and
beaches heavily affected by this. In fact, our beloved Crissy Field
is closed due to the spill. I had a great outing there last weekend
with my parents and some friends and some dogs and it makes me really
sad that it's been damaged.

I'm so sad, I guess I'll just go to Houston and hang out on a ranch all weekend.