Thursday, July 31, 2008

I love you to the max

In a blitz of non work-related activity and relative productivity, I started playing this video for background music. To say nothing of Dave Berman's already-lauded poetic prowess, titles the likes of "How Can I Love You (if You Won't Lie Down)" and "I'm Gonna Love the Hell out of You" make me smile pretty much any time.

That being said, I'd also like to point that there's a girl on YouTube who belly dances out of sync to Silver Jews songs and someone that put "Random Rules" over a montage from the 1986 Sean Connery-Christian Slater adaptation of The Name of the Rose. Videos of puppies and kittens aside, YouTube baffles me.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Last night, I went to see the Phillies play the Nationals, and this time there were no rain delays. The Phillies won (surprise!), and there were plenty of fellow fans, many of whom I suspect were from Jersey, to cheer them on. My seats, however, were with friends from work, that is, guys from Montélimar and Toulouse.

I encouraged them to complement their first baseball game viewing with some overpriced beer and hot dogs (next time, a half smoke). More importantly I had to explain all of the rules of baseball to them, in French (except stuff like "fly ball" and "RBI"). It was an interesting experience on two levels. First, I realized that I was explaining all the règles du jeu without really thinking about it--that is, I felt fluent. Moreover, I kept thinking how it felt good that I, a 20-something female, was explaining the ins and outs of a sport to a couple of 20-something males.

One of them followed pretty well because he knew a little bit about cricket. He asked a lot of questions, and I answered pretty much every one. It made me think back to when I was a golf caddie, and, not any more petite than I am now, no one asked for my opinion. There were a lot of other issues, such as people asking "Can you carry that [bag]?", but I didn't mind being mum on putting advice because I didn't really have any to dispense. I could carry clubs, check yardage, and banter, but I've never been much of a golfer. As someone who played softball for years and loved the lumbering old Vet, though, I was happy to spout off about strikes, errors, force outs, etc. Dontyouevah is also available to advise on football and basketball. No good on hockey or curling.

"Fascinating" photo from my Flickr.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

8 1/2

I was reading Vanity Fair's "International Best-Dressed List" article, which is full of bad puns (e.g. "she’s the Apfel of our eye"), expensive stuff, and preferred charities. For the latter, it's standard fare (UNICEF, breast cancer research), but then I got to Tilda Swinton.

At first I thought she was making fun of the interviewer, the specificity of her foundation sounded so whimsical: “The 8 and a Half Foundation, founded this year with Mark Cousins, to bring great world cinema to children on their eight-and-a-halfth birthdays.” Then I Googled, and no, it's real. Excuse me that my mind didn't jump directly to Fellini, but now I'm just trying to think of what I was watching when I was 8.5...and I'm pretty sure it was this.

Monday, July 28, 2008


After cobbling together a few recipes this weekend, I succeeded in making macaroons. (In my head, that sentence actually finishes with a "!!!".) Maybe next time they'll be pink or purple/rose or violet, but for now I did vanilla/chocolate.

Things I learned:
1. Almond flour is expensive (about $14 with tax).
1.5 Almond flour is worth it.
2. Leftover ganache is never a problem.

I'm looking online for recipes/recipe books, but not surprisingly the only macaroon-specific books I see are through French chain Fnac...So basically I'll just have to make it up as I go along + get better at converting from grams.

Friday, July 25, 2008

My outrageously beautiful Busby Berkeley dream #1: Macaroons

I'm going to attempt to make macaroons (the almond, not coconut kind) this weekend. We'll see if that doesn't become a total disaster. Per the directions I've already got the egg whites sitting out in the fridge, and I'm going to be forced to pester someone at Whole Foods about almond flour. (Is there a bourgier request?) If I am successful in making anything vaguely resembling some of these, I will feel damn self-sufficient (left on my to-do list will be learning how to cartwheel..for real). If not, well, I'll have Batman and 2 Amys to console me.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Christmas in July

I've blabbered to most of my friends already about my new toys: a MacBook and an iPod Touch. But given that it has been five years since I last bought a computer and knowing that the two iPods I've owned were, in order, a bulky hand-me-down and one of those tiny Shuffles...I feel fine gushing about my gadgets.

They arrived last night, and they are pretty! And shiny! I'll be at full speed with them once I can get the stuff (namely the music) transferred from my old, heavy-breathing Gateway. Tonight I plan on playing around with it and some of the programs I was so generously given (hello, Photoshop and Illustrator).

The only issue so far has been typing--first, on the iPod, the fingernails-to-touch-screen issue. Right now my nails are sort of long-- longer than the girl's in that linked demo/review and some are longer than in that photo-- and I definitely had to position my fingers in a weird way that looked like I was trying to type while some nail polish dried. (For the record, though, I don't think the design's misogynistic. ) I also seem to tilt le pod when I hold it and subsequently keep typing one letter to the side of what I'm aiming for. Lastly, the keys on the MacBook are also shallower than I am used to. All a matter of adjustment...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


This link (with a Dutch domain) has list of "French expressions you won't learn in school." My favorites include:

Avoir des casseroles au cul: To be haunted by a scandal (literally: "to have saucepans hung on the ass")

Ça va chier des bulles: There'll be one hell of a row (literally: "It will shit bubbles")

Courir sur le haricot: Get one someone's nerves (literally: "to run on someone's bean")

Je te vois venir avec tes gros sabots: Now we are finally getting to the point (literally: "I see you coming with your big clogs")

Hey, you there with the lazy eye: turn it to me

Yesterday I had a vision checkup. I usually go every 12 months, but this time I put it off because my vision hadn't really felt any worse. I only went because my prescription was expired, meaning I couldn't buy more contacts. Anyway, this was probably the most interesting eye appointment I've had since getting glasses in third grade (I am 24).

First, this was the first time since aforementioned glasses-getting that my vision did not get worse. IN FACT, the optometrist actually reduced my prescription from -4.75 to -4.5. This is majorly happy news. I had heard your vision eventually levels off or maybe even improves, but I had feared that I was on a Miltonian path. (Not that that'd be so bad, considering he wrote effing Paradise Lost while blind.)

Then, he explained that the reason I often close my left eye when reading for long periods of time is because I have slight exophoria or exotropia. (I'm not entirely clear on the difference between the two, but I think the latter is worse.) Basically, he said some of the muscles aren't as strong as they should be. I just don't want to end up with a truly lazy eye. On one hand it really makes me feel better knowing that there is a physical explanation for why I sometimes just can't keep focusing and why my depth perception is sometimes poor. (Really, in like 2000, a high school guidance counselor looked at some job aptitude test, saw that I wasn't great with judging distances, and told me I'd never make it as a juggler.) I turned down the optometrist's offer for a prism reading glass prescription, and apparently the condition can be improved with "vision therapy." Considering most insurance won't pay for ocular stuff, I'd venture to guess that treatment isn't covered...but we'll see what Davis Vision says. So please, if you eventually see me sporting a corrective eye patch, just call me Cap'n Kim.

Friday, July 18, 2008

France started using euros in 1999

Unless I misread the scrolling text, the soda machine on the ground floor lists the price of a can in francs. I wouldn't be surprised if my eyes hadn't mislead me, given articles such as this one and my own experience seeing price tags in FRF.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Dessert first

According to Erik Wemple, blogging about what you ate for breakfast is boring...but I don't think that puts tiered French desserts off-limits. The sweets in the caf today made me giddy. They served religieuses! These "nuns" weren't violet flavored like the La Durée pastry in the photo, but they were very, very, chocolate-y. There were also strawberry macaroons.

Crafty bastard

Woot! I just sent in my application for 2008 Crafty Bastards. Today, of course, is the deadline--last year I somehow did it ahead of time. I revamped my mission statement to sound less dorky and hopefully succeeded (can't c+p because I managed to not save the exact version I sent).

I also updated my Etsy shop, which meant adding a couple new things and refreshing some old listings. I have been slow on the crafting front and, how do you say, need to get my ass in gear. This weekend's work will be fabric- and felt-focused. I've also have to buy hooks for jewelry/key hangers and varnish a bunch of things. Here's to a weekend at home. sea change

She seems nice enough, but this woman and I could probably never be friends. Barnacles are just that divisive. (The article in that link kind of sucks, but I just wanted to point out that my feelings on the topic have appeared in print.)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Long weekend in NY

Being in my office in July isn't especially demanding; once Bastille Day rolls around, most people are headed out on long (that is, often month-long) vacations. I took advantage of my second Independence Day this month to make visits in New York...saw Natalie, hung out with mom, and got to spend time with my ailing gramma.

She couldn't remember the word "sunflower" or one of my Alaskan cousins' names, but we had good conversations about her learning French, for example, while a math major at Brown. I hadn't realized how funny she is (my mom said last time she knocked on my grandma's door, she said "come in if you're gorgeous") or how deeply I have roots in Brooklyn (my grandpa and she both grew up there). But we spent yesterday in her nursing home, which is always at least mildly depressing. At lunch, there was one table of ladies who did not say a single word to one another. Where we were eating, two buddies criticized the taciturn grannies and another, more quarrelsome table and kept repeating that they themselves were "amiable." When people started leaving the dining area, gramma told me to "watch the parade." Afterwards, my mom (an RN) asked me never to put her in a home.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Le bon mot

In the interest of being prepared, I made some flashcards from a vocab list in my GRE book. I did it for words I sort of knew or had an idea of but wasn't 100 percent right about. To help myself remember them I grouped them together, when applicable, as antonyms and synonyms. The biggest category by far (5 cards) was "deception." What does this say about my vocabulary?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Don't Take it Personal

A girl on the bus back from Philly on Sunday started singing this song after someone else exclaimed she was having "the worst day ever." It made me remember how much I loved that song when I was 11 and wore vests like Monica's. I never had her giant cell phone, though.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Actual cute overload

Cute is cute, and sweet is sweet. I like especially silly, often nonfunctional cute stuff such as this, this, and this. But the crap in this story about a lobster wedding motif just makes me gag. Especially because they were WRONG about lobsters mating for life. And because they inspired this sentence: "The painting has made the bridegroom as happy as a clam."

I hope for their honeymoon they bought each other matching khaki shorts with embroidered lobsters.

Blueberryfest: Many, many myrtilles

The blueberries are ripening like crazy at my/my parent's house. I think we have 15 bushes altogether, and on Friday I picked 33 cups of berries from the six bushes in the backyard. (That's a one-time family record, fyi.) What do you do when you have thousands of blueberries? We had blueberry soup, blueberry cookies, blueberry cobbler, blueberry pancakes, blueberry tea, and of course the berries themselves. I somehow missed out on blueberry martinis.

My contribution was a blueberry tart loosely based on this recipe. I substituted in a graham cracker crust, and my dad guilted me into making the lemon curd from scratch. ("Your GRANDMA used to make the best gingerbread cake with lemon curd. I don't even know where to FIND lemon curd at the store.") The recipe for that part was pretty simple, and the mixing bowl arm fatigue was worth it because it was really, really good. Here's my tart:

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Handed lemons

Some bummer news today has me thinking a lot about the 20-something's condition and, in relation/solace, some favorite quotes. This one feels the most apt:
I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn't quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet. (Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

La meilleure boule à facette

So I didn't blog about anything yesterday because I spent the morning actually working and the afternoon on a field trip, more or less. About 10 of us drove out, in two separate cars (which is another story, namely that I'm lucky to be alive) to the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

We went there to see "Science on a Sphere," which is a spherical (duh) screen that uses four projectors, a computer, and a Wiimote to show presentations. Basically, you can make this sphere look like Jupiter, Mars, the Moon, and so on, and you can show/track changes on earth like the melting and freezing of ice caps. Purchasing one will set you back about $250,000, apparently.

The videos were cool, in that "these planets remind me how small I am" way. I had to remember a lot of things I learned in grade school/high school (planetary order, Jupiter's moons, etc). The very mature deduction that we basically all came to, independently, is that this thing would make the world's best disco ball.