Friday, October 9, 2009


is on my mind, lately. So it's no surprise to me that no one has commented on my post, asking for political-awareness recommendations for Mr. Hatandcoat. As I had thought, this blog is dead. It's a shame.

A SHAME, I say.

Well, I guess I can reanimate it and make it into my personal political blog.

(this is fair warning)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Hat and Coat and All

Hey there. I'm in Japan. I know that's no excuse. But where's my coblogger?

When last we spoke of politics, Mr. H asked me what political blogs I follow. He was looking for an easy way to stay informed.

Unfortunately, I don't follow political blogs. I find them annoyingly concerned with putting forward agendas rather than news. Liberal blogs are great when it comes to disputing crazy-ass Fox News stuff, but they're no fun to read regularly.

The only totally political stuff I follow on GReader is political cartoons. I gave some of those to Mr. H, but he didn't seem amused...

How do I stay informed? Well, ambient news. When the Author of the etymology blog is riled up about some senator, I get riled up, too. Facebook, Twitter, etc., all contribute to the ambient newsscape, as well as the CNN and BBC feeds that I skim the headlines of.

If Hatandcoat were to post the same question here, how would you inform him?

Monday, July 6, 2009


My co-blogger is cabin-fevery at the moment and requires entertainment.

A place to kill time:, in case he hasn't been there in the past few hours.

I just gandered at the favorites list, and I've heard of two of the top 50 and played 1. I wonder what those numbers are for aak.

Perhaps he could take inspiration from our shared Jesuit educational background and spend his recovery time like St. Ignatius of Loyola did.

I don't know if Aak can leave the house, but if he can get out he should see the new Star Trek movie. I spent weeks talking gf into going to see it. When I finally got an endorsement from a non-nerd she broke down and went with me last night. I think she liked it more than I did. The entire movie had me wondering about the accuracy of the background events, but I didn't know the original series very well. The only ones I watched were TNG. But they explained things in a way that made it possible, if totally new to the timeline.

This reminds me...While gaming with Aak and a couple of other friends we got into a discussion of what terrible movies we like. When put on the spot to name one of mine all I could think of was Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves. I watched that pile of garbage enough times in the early 90s so the nostalgia value can carry me through the two hours or so. But I have a new response: Star Trek: Insurrection. And I'll go a little further, I liked Insurrection more than I liked First Contact. I fully admit that the latter is a better movie, but I have my preference nonetheless. I think I'm taken with 1) the cheap time-freezing scenes and 2) Picard's love interest with the hot 300 year old cougar.

I have a challenge for Aak: see if you can make a house of cards using only your plastic shark extended arm grabber. It may not be possible.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Russian "Winter" Salad

Winter Salad
Made this for book club tonight, since we were discussing The Master and Margarita. A Russian said it tasted really authentic.

For once, I'm going to be really specific about the directions, so watch out.

Winter Salad

4 potatoes for boiling (Yukon Gold works)
3 hard-boiled eggs
2 medium-large carrots
2 spring onions
a handful of fresh parsley
4 small gherkins
peas, canned in sugar, salt, and water
a few slices of ham
a few dollops of mayo and/or sour cream
most of a medium Granny smith green apple
  • Scrub but do not peel the potatoes. Do not cut them up.
  • Peel carrots but do not cut up.
  • Boil potatoes and carrots in the same pot.
  • When potatoes let a fork pierce them without much resistance, remove from pot, drain, and set aside to cool.
  • Meanwhile, dice the gherkins into tiny pieces, like relish size.
  • And chop the green onions into small chunks.
  • And boil the ham if you need it. The ham shouldn't be like lunchmeat, it should be more substantial than that. Cut it into thinnish rectangles.
  • Dice the eggs.
  • Chop the parsley.
  • When the potatoes and carrots are cool, peel the potatoes and cut them into bite-sized pieces.
  • Chop up the carrots bigger than the gherkins.
Okay, now here's a tip: you eventually will be mixing all this together. But the more you mix it, the mushier everything gets. So I worked in layers, adding potato, egg, gherkin, carrot, onion, parsley, ham, peas (drained), and mayo.

THEN, dice up a slice of the apple. Dice really finely, as finely as you can. Add that to your layer and then mix gently. I used a spatula, wriggled it under everything, and turned everything over five times.

Repeat until everything is in there. Refrigerate for many hours to get all the flavors to mix. Serve cold as a side.


I didn't make this, but Erik brought it, and it was great. It may have made me like beets.


First, sauté:
  • onions
  • garlic
  • potatoes
  • red cabbage
  • celery
Then add that to:
  • beef broth
  • canned diced tomatoes
  • canned beets
Stew for a long time.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Lentils And Everything You Got Soup

Sick. Paper, translation project, and exam yet to finish. Sentences... beyond my ability. But, recipe:

Lentils and Everything You Got Soup

stock (turkey)
everything you got (can of tomatoes/okra/corn; can of mushroom pieces; bowl of cooked but left-sitting-for-2-weeks red kidney beans; leftover carrot--no, wait, it's rubbery; leftover fresh spinach; remainder of frozen chopped spinach)
seasoning (chili seasoning, parsley, curry powder)

Cook lentils til soft, drain.

Fry onions in butter. Add mushrooms halfway through. Stir-fry over high heat.

Thaw out homemade turkey stock (only 2 months old, not bad). Add a little lentil juice for good measure.

Combine lentils, onion, mushroom, and basically everything you got (except the spinach) into a big pot, and add the thawed stock. If the stock doesn't cover it all easily, add water and/or more stock, as long as the liquid doesn't get too watered down.

Bring to almost-boil, then reduce heat to simmer.

It's ready to eat whenever the flavor penetrates the red beans. Then add spinach and simmer for a few minutes more.

CAREFUL with that curry powder. Not even a teaspoonful.

Also, take the time to skim off the scum off the top. Don't say I didn't tell you.

Result: awesome.

Monday, May 18, 2009

My Old Friend, Mr. Blog

You ever pick up a book that you don't understand one bit, then take a class where the subject overlaps with the book's topic, then revisit the book afterwards, but not as if you were looking to test yourself and how you've developed, but more like you stumbled upon it when looking something up after a reference made in a conversation with your Dad whose interests overlap with yours exactly in the subject matter of this book, like, he's into philosophy and you're into math and the book's title is Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy? When that happens, isn't it awesome that you're like "hey, this totally makes more sense now!"

I've been done with classes for a week now and I had one day of extreme relaxation and satisfaction, then boredom settled in. I don't know what to do with myself. I felt a craving for a movie involving war and death, but friggin' Hollywood Video didn't have braveheart (!?), so I rented the first three episodes of Generation Kill instead. The next day I finished off the series. Sure, seven or so hours of tv will leave you feeling like you have a film of unproductivity slime covering your body, but I loved it. The problem was that I was hoping for something hollywoody and stylized and glorifying things, but this was just so real and made you feel moral hazards and gray areas and decision making hell. It was a bit heavier duty than I was expecting as an escape. Of course, I knew what to expect after seeing the creators' other show, The Wire - one of my favorite shows of all time, but still.

The boredom ends in two weeks when my summer semester starts. Meanwhile I get to dive more into my hobbies. In BJJ, I missed lots of guard passing lessons while studying for finals, which blows, but now I get to know all about leg locks. And in Tango gf and I may take private lessons because we think that's what we need at this point for further growth. There's also a dude in our class who proposed to me that we dance together outside of class for a while. He wants to learn how to follow (the man leads and the woman follows), and I do to, so we can alternate. I figure it'll make more sense in the future if I know what my counterpart is experiencing.

While I'm writing this Jimmy Fallon is bombing on the tv behind me. I hope he turns out better than this because it's just sad to watch. Nah, f*** it, I'll just enjoy watching the struggle.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Mid term and a computational project out of the way. One mid term left. That was a stressful week.

I've never done any computer programming except for a brief online tutorial I took once on html. Now I use matlab for a class. I have mixed feelings about the experience. Overall it was incredibly fun. It's extremely satisfying to type in a command and see all your efforts lead to one beautiful plot. It was very stressful, though, because I was trying to learn a whole lot of stuff at once for a deadline. I leaned pretty heavily on a former programmer friend of mine who had to put up with me for a couple of days saying "hey, dude, it's [h&c] again. Uh, how do you ______?"

My friend tells me that as far as programming goes matlab is very easy. That makes me excited to learn more.

I became compulsive with it and I felt like I was doing that empty vessel distant boyfriend thing during the past week. Glad that part's over.

One interesting part was finding out how juvenile I still am. When I was trying out simple programs just to learn syntax and such, I named them things like "eatme" and "gobblemy____." When I type "eatme" I think it gives out an collection of 8x8 random matrices :). I'm reminded of a novel where the main character was interacting with some programmers who created a virtual world. The dude went into this virtual world to do what he needed to do for the story then interacts with the virtual beautiful tour guide woman. When he mentions the programmer's name (we'll call him joe johnson), the woman chimes in with something like: "Joe Johnson is the greatest man alive."