Monthly Archives: June 2010

Organization by Magic

A midweek post in honor of the fact that I do not have class today!

1. Whilst making myself French toast for breakfast, I accidentally (does anyone do this on purpose?) sliced my thumb with the bread knife. It was not nearly as bad as a certain incident with the immersion blender, and it gave breakfast a nice salty iron flavor! (Just kidding.) Anyway, just a friendly reminder to you all to a) use proper technique and keep your fingers out of the way of knives, and b) have a first aid kit, or at least band-aids, around the house someplace.

2. Users of Google Reader: did you ever notice there’s a “sort by magic” option? You can “sort by oldest,” “sort by newest,” or “sort by magic.” Really! I haven’t tried it yet, because I expect nothing short of sparkles and fairy dust to swirl around my computer screen when I click on it, and the realistic part of my brain is afraid that won’t happen.

3a. Speaking of Google Reader, I just discovered a new blog via a friend’s shared item: Catalog Living. It takes pictures from catalogs and makes fun of them via fictional couple Elaine and Gary.

3b. When I was using Blogger instead of WordPress, I had a bunch of links on the sidebar to blogs and webcomics I read regularly. I am now side-bar-less, but here are a few favorite posts/comics from some of those sites:

xkcd on growing up

McSweeney’s Internet Tendency on Dragon-Free Butterscotch

Questionable Content (QC) on baking and science

Dooce on customer service

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal (SMBC) on religion

The Oatmeal on customer service


4. And now I suppose I should take advantage of this free time to – what else – go to the library and get some work done. Happy almost-Fourth of July weekend!

What I’m reading: Runaway, Alice Munro; The Historian, Elizabeth Kostova (audiobook)
What I’m listening to: Help! (and assorted tracks from other albums), The Beatles; The Warrior’s Code, Dropkick Murphys

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Making Mondays Better

Unlike most of us, Oliver doesn’t have to wake up early, commute, spend most of the day sitting in front of a computer, and commute again.

But it’s hard to resent him for this.

And he does live in a basket.

What I’m reading: Runaway, Alice Muno
What I’m listening to: Little Plastic Castle, Ani DiFranco; Blonde on Blonde, Bob Dylan

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Will There Be Snacks?

Should you happen to have tomatoes and fresh mozzarella available, and a basil plant outside (or pesto in the fridge), here’s a super-easy three-ingredient appetizer/snack to eat while you’re making your real dinner:

Top to bottom: tomato, basil, mozzarella.

These tomatoes were a little anemic; if you can grow your own and use those, that makes it ten times better.

Even so, I’m thinking of making this the header in the future (for those who go to the blog itself and don’t get updates via Google Reader):

What I’m reading: Cutting for Stone, Abraham Verghese
What I’m listening to: Live in Japan, George Harrison; The Best of Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds

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I have this professor, you see.

(Years ago I read a Dick Francis book that began:

“I have this friend, you see, that everyone loved.
(My name is Sid Halley.)
I had this friend that everyone loved, and I put him on trial.”

Great beginning, no? Even if he probably should have used “who” instead of “that,” but we’ll forgive it, because it’s a brilliant book.)

So anyway, this professor is great. She knows her stuff inside and out, she talks at least three or four times faster than your average lecturer – and classes are three hours long – she starts every PowerPoint presentation with library-themed LOLcats from icanhascheezburger and just generally makes subject material that could be both confusing and dull, neither of those things. And she says funny stuff in class.

So I thought I’d share.

You might not think any of this is as amusing as I do, which could be a context thing, or could be a library-humor-is-its-own-breed thing. Anyway, enjoy. And did I mention she’s Canadian?

On searching/browsing: “There’s no serendipity if I make PDFs out of everything you need to read.” (Okay, this isn’t actually that funny, but the word “serendipity” always makes me think of the adorable little swimming dragon from the book.)

On library science in general (?): “It’s got all the good acronyms.”

On the institutional repository: “[IRĀ  is] the redheaded stepchild [of information discovery systems].”

On our first assignment: “I’m asking you to do something no user would ever do.”

When looking at a metadata poster (in the tone of voice one usually reserves for tiny kittens): “Look how teensy the word ‘archives’ is!”

About that same poster: “It’s an organize-y thing.”

On metadata: “There are a lot of Australians who are really into metadata for reasons that escape me. And a lot of Scandinavians.”

About an assignment on tagging: “If you were a book, how would you be described?…Pretend you’re a book.”

On Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH): “You cannot go making up main headings.”

On the five volumes of LCSH: “It’s like the elephant in the room, it sneezes and you have to deal with it….Sooner or later it will go away.”

I’m sure there will be more to come. Meanwhile, here’s a list of illustrations I’ve made in the margins, for one reason or another:

-an umbrella
-a needle in a haystack
-a tin can phone
-a duck (OK, pretty sure there was no reason for the duck)
-alphabet soup
-a crosswalk
-a librarian with a hand on her hip
-a cup of coffee
-a parakeet (a.k.a. budgie. Same thing, apparently! Learn something new every day.)
-an elephant sneezing
-another cup of coffee

Finally, other notes:

New favorite word: Aboutness (YES. It’s a real word!)

The word “abstruse” reminds me of strudel (“mmm…apple strudel. <3” -a classmate)

“Comic sans – just don’t do it.” (apple-strudel-loving classmate)

Do librarians ever name their sons Marc? “Mom, why’s my name spelled with a ‘c’ instead of a ‘k’?” “Well honey, you’re actually named after MAchine Readable Cataloging…” (the strudel-loving, comic sans-hating classmate made the excellent point: “Better than naming him AACR2.*”)

*Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, Second Edition

DEAR FUTURE KIDS: I apologize in advance.


Filed under random, school

Let’s Talk About Leftovers

NOTE: Feel free to skip on down to the italics if you just want to see pictures of chicken pot pie. All I can say about the paragraphs between here and there is, I’ve just done the equivalent of four weeks of grad school in two weeks (I actually had a dream about MARC and XML code a few nights ago, FUN!), and in general all is not quiet on the western (or eastern) front, so just bear with me. Or skip to the pictures. Also, Let’s Talk About Leftovers is the name of a Lagwagon album, so that’s where that came from.


I didn’t like leftovers much when I was younger (though I mostly ate macaroni and cheese, which isn’t all that different the next day), but I love them now. Some foods, like lasagna – which I also wouldn’t eat when I was little because it had a) red sauce b) leafy green vegetables, and usually c) hidden tofu disguised as cheese – actually improve with time, and are better the next day or the day after than they are straight out of the oven. Something about the flavors melding, I suppose, though if you let them meld until green fuzz appears, the meld has become mold and you should throw whatever it is (was) out, and scrub out whatever container it was in real well.

Also, if you DO want to hide tofu in lasagna, use equal parts tofu and ricotta, and mix them together well in a bowl separately before layering them in. I’m stopping here because I know what happened to Jessica Seinfeld, but anyway, camouflage!

This is going to be one of those posts with a lot of tangents and asides, I can already tell. One day the parenthetical police are going to come after me, or at least impose a tax.

Anyway, the point of all this (yes! there is one!) is that leftovers are especially great if you want to bring lunch to work or school, but do not want to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every single day. Because when you do eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day, it can have adverse consequences, like making you never want to see or smell or taste one again, and that is sad, because every now and then a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is a wonderful thing. (“A road diverged…”: Oh no, two tangents have occurred to me simultaneously! First: apparently there are a lot of schools where kids are no longer allowed to bring peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at all, because, as the name suggests, they contain peanut butter, and OTHER kids at the school are deathly allergic to peanuts, and I imagine this puts the parents of picky children in a real bind, because chances are the picky kid for damn sure is not going to eat tuna, and WHAT THEN? Second: ever since I watched that stupid episode of Glee where they sang “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” every time I say or hear or see or think the phrase “every now and then,” I get that song stuck in my head (“Every now and then I fall apart…”) WILL THIS EVER END? It’s like “My Heart Will Go On” but WAY WORSE, because how often does the phrase “my heart will go on” come up in conversation, unless you are a seventh grade girl in 1997? Or unless you’re unfortunate enough to be listening to hold music on a customer service call. Thanks a lot, Celine.)

Okay, what was I…Right! Alternative lunches. Alternative lunches that are not nine-dollar midtown sandwiches, thankyouverymuch. Glad I do not work in midtown any more. So! I believe the question was – not that this question was explicitly stated above, but rather, the point I am trying, despite my divergent, Robert Frost brain (“Frost brain” – cousin to “brain freeze? Discuss) to make – “What can I make that will be a tasty dinner tonight, and ALSO a tasty lunch the next day, or perhaps for the next two or three days?”

“What can I make that will be a tasty dinner tonight, and ALSO a tasty lunch the next day, or perhaps for the next two or three days?” (For those wisely who skipped the thoroughly nonsensical and incoherent paragraphs above.)

You can make chicken pot pie.

Or veggie pot pie, if that’s your thing.

I made this last weekend, and it carried me nicely through the week. I’m not gonna lie, it’s a little labor-intensive and time consuming, but then you don’t have to cook much else for the next several days, and it’s pretty filling. I used the New Best Recipe recipe, for the crust as well as the filling, though I added a bunch of extra vegetables: not just peas and carrots, but also corn, broccoli, and potatoes. (Thank you to the sous-chef, who I think was delighted that the crust, originally intended for quiche until I discovered I did not have anything like the appropriate amount of cheese on hand, came to be used for this purpose instead.)

Deep breath.

What I’m reading: Cutting for Stone, Abraham Verghese; Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J.K. Rowling (audiobook)
What I’m listening to: Undertone, The Undertone; Songs Without Words, Mendelssohn; The Replacements; “Books About UFOs,” Husker Du

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Walden Pond

The weekend seems like a long time ago…

As if a day at the pond wasn’t perfect enough already, Saturday also started with this:

Peach cobbler: peaches from Atkins Farms in Amherst, recipe from The New Best Recipe. Highly, highly recommend. The level of deliciousness is not to be believed.

What I’ve been reading: Melusine, Lynne Reid Banks; Cutting for Stone, Abraham Verghese; Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J.K. Rowling (audiobook)

What I’ve been listening to: Moon Safari, Air

What I’ve been watching: Finding Nemo, Toy Story 3


Filed under elsewhere, food, movies

We Have A Winner

Ladies and gents, we have a winner.

This is the Vermont Whole Wheat Oatmeal Honey Bread from King Arthur Flour. For once I didn’t tamper with the recipe at all, except I didn’t have maple sugar, so I used just under 1/2 cup of regular sugar with a little less than a tablespoon of maple syrup. And OH MY GOD IT IS GOOD, if I do say so myself. Also, easy!

Unfortunately for the photo quality, a late-afternoon rain shower diminished what natural light there was left.

Unsurprisingly, this bread is delicious with herb butter. As are most breads.

The last remnants of last week’s herb butter…all gone now.

What with school starting, bringing with it massive amounts of work, I may be posting less here. But if you need help finding something in a library…ask away!

What I’m reading: Love Stories in This Town, Amanda Eyre Ward; Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J.K. Rowling (audiobook)
What I’m listening to: Undertone, The Undertone; Horses, Patti Smith; Under the Table and Dreaming, Dave Matthews Band; The Replacements; NPR


Filed under food, recipe