Archive for February, 2009

  • Take one chicken breast [boneless]
  • Defrost [almost all food in our house spends some time in the freezer]
  • Pound with a rolling pin
  • Stop pounding, preferably before, but certainly after, you realize you’ve ruptured the plastic bags you had wrapped the chicken in before freezing
  • Take a pan with sloping sides, pour in about an quarter-inch of rosé
  • Add liberal pinch of tarragon
  • Start heating wine
  • Smear one side of chicken breast with horseradish sauce [Boar’s Head is nice]
  • Put chicken breast horseradish side-down in the simmering wine; cover with tight-fitting lid [in my case, the lid fit down close over the chicken, as opposed to high up on the actual top edge of the cooking pan]
  • Chop five mushrooms
  • Add on top of chicken
  • Chop some baby carrots
  • Add on top of chicken
  • Turn the chicken over
  • Consider the scent of the cooking food: does it need something else?

Sure it does!

  • Add more wine on top of chicken
  • Look in the fridge
  • Consider options
  • Select bottle of rosewater, add less than 1/8th of a teaspoon, directly onto the wine on top of the chicken
  • Turn the chicken over, and allow to continue steaming until you can cut the meat in half and see the chicken is cooked through

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svaroskispangleSimplified Cat Vocabulary:  I don’t expect long conversations from my cats.  And I don’t imagine them saying a great deal.

Xeno conveys things like “More”, “Mine”, “Mom”, and “Damnit.”

Malkin has definite opinions on “Want that!” “Want that now!”, which comes with paw gestures and a willingness to dance in circles.

Leia has branched out from “Why?” to “Pet now!”, “Not enough yet”, and “Fix!” [which means she comes into a room and announces that something is Not Right and we should now jump to and discover what that might be].

Sad moments [trying to the mousepad to highlight a section of text on the piece of paper resting on the side of my monitor]

Metaphors in Science Writing: constructing an exercise

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Just too sober

Look, I love musicals.  In high school I managed to see Evita enough times to end up at a cast party and knew the differences between the performances of 5 different Evas.  I remember songs I’ve heard only once, at shows that never made it out of previews, or never made it to tape or disc [or, for you modern folks, MP3].

Unfortunately, the frog-in-a-blender musical mixup just performed at the Oscars just didn’t work for me…except to make me wonder if anyone felt this way during the Depression, watching people singing and dancing in such elaborate precision?

No, that’s not quite right.  The musical in its proper form isn’t what we were seeing — what was up there was more like frantic vaudville.

Good vaudville, BTW, would be the delightful acceptance “speech” of the Man on Wire himself, as he made a coin disappear, and the Oscar(tm) balance on his chin.

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Super Puma,
Ditching in the water:
Not supposed to do
Someone’s swearing blue!
And somebody’s career is through.

Okay, so it just seemed filk-worthy…

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If you don’t understand the biologic process that results in tan skin, you probably shouldn’t be left to your own discretion how to use high-intensity UV lights


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It actually arrived late last week, but I was too busy to post it:


Also, a new site to explore: LabLit.  It’s about science in culture, fact, and fiction.  Sounds like fun!

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peonypetalheartBelated, but heartfelt.  These peony petals were not, of course, around at Valentine time, but don’t we all want a taste of May at this point in the year?

Even better — my beloved is home, and we had mead, cheese, breads, and fig jam for dinner, along with some little shrimp dumplings and coconut cake.

Ah, love….

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reformedleiaJust look at this lovely puff of fur — finally ready for her close-up and she isn’t even completely freaked about the camera flash.  I am so deeply grateful to whatever it was that got Leia back into civil society.  I’ve gotten off all but one of the fur knots [it’s tricky clipping close to the neck], and she stays visible even when workmen enter the house [unless they enter her room, but that’s just sensible]. It is utterly hysterical when she wakes up abruptly from a nap and announces she wants attention.

How do I know what she wants? She keeps chattering until I come over and pet her. Even if “want!”, “here!” and “more!” are the only items in her little vocabulary, at least I can do something to show her the world is a coherent place — she can make things happen that she likes.  For months I couldn’t figure out if there _was_ anything she wanted, other than for everybody to just go to hell.

Yes, her eyes are bluer than that, but the flash washes them out. Because her eyes are blue, she’s more likely to show red-eye in photos than the other cats, but it does make it easier to tell them apart in the gloaming…

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fanfernsusbg09I know that some students take jobs at strip clubs in order to pay their way through school.  One such student self-identified last night. And yes, it was relevant to the discussion to bring up how many different contaminants might be on a dollar bill. But…errr…

[Okay, I did exacerbate the situation by suggesting a potential experiment where we took dollar bills from a strip joint, a bank, a school cafeteria, and a church collection plate, and then blotted them on agar plates. Then we could look at the bacteria that grew, and see which source had more varieties]

[Okay, I pushed it even farther and speculated that if we found significant overlap between the species found on the strip club bill and the church plate bill, we might learn something about behavior patterns and guilt. Yes, I was not entirely serious there.]

[And then I talked about this article which posits that our values have shifted to the point that many people are more willing to prosyletize about food choices rather than religious ones]

But I wasn’t quite prepared for the subsequent lively discussion about how much chemistry was done in the club scene — students recounted how people would order the testing kits to check the purity [and types of adulteration] of “Ectasy” pills, and how people would make purchasing decisions based on the chemical profiles.

This isn’t to say I was shocked by the behavior. I was more amazed at the candor, and wondered what kind of authority figure I seemed to be.  Several of the other students looked equally discomfited.

Musical selection: “Still Alive”

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Music for the ride

Got back from the store just now; got some ordinary milk [as opposed to the “Happy Cow” milk we just finished] and a few other items.  Much more interesting was the music on the local college station: “The Bones of You”, by a group called Elbow.  The repeated lyric “And I’m five years ago/And three thousand miles away” captures the flash dislocation of memory really nicely.

Here’s a link to a BBC review of the album.

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