readsalot: (utena [Revolutionary Girl Utena])
Getting ready to head in for what is probably my last day at this job, after 9 years. My official last day is next Wednesday; however, as part of a consolidation of all IBM facilities into one area, most of my division is being moved from Lexington (Massachusetts, about a half-hour from Boston) to Littleton (also Massachusetts, about an hour from Boston) tomorrow. That means that everything has to be packed up by 5pm today, everyone works from home tomorrow, then on Monday they go into the new building to start unpacking. I don't see any point in going in to the new office for two days, so I'm just getting all of my stuff out of there today. Then I'll go in on Wednesday for my exit interview, and then have a goodbye lunch with all of my friends.
readsalot: (sakura mixing pancake batter [CCS])
We made no-knead bread for the first time yesterday. It was just as easy as all of the articles said, and just as delicious. Shatteringly crisp crust, chewy middle--I may never buy bread again.

Notes for next time: buy some non-terrycloth kitchen towels for the final rise--I ended up using paper towels and a lot of flour, so some of the flour ended up on the outside of the crust, and the loaf wasn't as pretty as it could have been. Also there was flour everywhere.

For other people who want to try: the necessary ingredients are flour, instant yeast, a kitchen towel as above, and a dutch oven or other 5-qt container with a lid that can survive in a 450 degree oven. Also, you need to be available 12 hours, 3 hours, and 1 hour before you want the bread, though I've also seen articles suggesting that you can speed up the final rise if you want to do this on a work night.

You can see the method that I used at Steamy Kitchen (with bonus pictures of a cute 4-year-old doing the initial assembly), and one that I haven't yet tried with shorter proofing times (but no cute kids) at the kitchn.
readsalot: (yachiru dude)
More cooking this weekend: I made chili black bean sauce tofu with carrots, turnips, mustard greens, and zucchini last night, somewhat adapted from this. It was awesome. I'd never used black bean sauce with chili before, and it was delicious and spicy, and the vegetables all worked very well. I was especially impressed with the turnips, and will have to look for more recipes that use them.

This morning I made aebleskiver, because Richard's mother bought me an aebleskiver pan as a present. They were delicious--fluffy and light and cardamom-y. They're a bit annoying to make, because the pan only makes 7 at a time and that's approximately one serving. We split the first pan's worth, and then each had one batch, which used up the half-recipe that I made. The book suggested that you keep batches warm in the oven while making more, but that seems awkward. It wasn't bad for two people, but I'd hate to try to make them for a crowd.

I started reading The Lightning Thief after seeing a trailer for the movie recently. It's ok so far, though the scenes where Percy is putting up with his awful stepfather were ruined for me by my wondering why on earth his mother ever stayed with someone like that. Perhaps all will be explained later.

I just finished a manga series called Hana Kimi, about a girl who disguises herself as a boy to attend an all-male high school so that she can meet an athlete she hero-worships. It was cute and sweet, and the ending seemed kind of abrupt, though perhaps not to the people who spent 8 years getting there, as opposed to my 5 or 6 months.

Triumph!

Jan. 29th, 2010 10:04 pm
readsalot: (sakura mixing pancake batter [CCS])
It turns out that the fruit I used yesterday was a "sweet lime." Not that that explains the soapiness and general lack of flavor, but when I used an actual Meyer lemon to make tart filling tonight, the result was completely delicious. I'm very happy.

(There's no picture because it's not terribly pretty--I still haven't figured out the trick of making my pie crusts look good.)
readsalot: (ahiru ehhh? [Princess Tutu])
On Sunday, I made a lemon tart that I had to throw away, because the filling tasted like soap. I thought that it was because the food processor in which I'd made the filling hadn't been sufficiently rinsed after its last washing. However, I just tried again, and the same thing almost happened.

This recipe uses a whole Meyer lemon. You slice it thinly, remove the seeds, then grind it up with sugar, and then add butter and eggs. I made it once before, and it was completely delicious. Then, on Sunday, soap. I was trying again tonight, because I had another Meyer lemon that I'd bought with the previous one, and I noticed while I was slicing it that it didn't smell very lemony, and it did smell a bit soapy. So I tasted a bit. Yes, that was the soapy taste. Richard confirmed it.

I'm trying to figure out what to do next. I'm not going to make the tart with this--hopefully my partially baked pie crust will keep until tomorrow. But how does something like this happen? What would make a lemon taste like soap?

Quiet day

Dec. 13th, 2009 10:57 am
readsalot: (sakura mixing pancake batter [CCS])
I am celebrating my birthday by cooking. Right now, ricotta pancakes are almost done, and the lemon curd that I made an hour ago is in the refrigerator, waiting for them. Lemon curd turns out to be very easy--I don't think I'll ever buy any again.

Later today: Not Derby Pie, scallion pancakes, and hot and sour soup.
readsalot: (Urahara's love is a limited product [Ble)
This may be the silliest credit card offer I've ever seen. It's for an exclusive Visa Black Card--but this one isn't "just another piece of plastic." Because it's made with carbon!

Oh, and the annual fee is only $495. How can I resist?

Home again

Aug. 12th, 2009 07:58 pm
readsalot: (Yuuko [xxxHolic])
Getting out of Montreal seemed like it wasn't going to be possible at first, but we eventually found the secret path back, and after that it wasn't too bad. I'll post more about Worldcon once I've reconstructed my notes.
readsalot: (yachiru dude)
Montreal is lovely, at least, the bit of it that I've seen.

in which I am long-winded )
readsalot: (roy mustang snaps his fingers [FMA])
The good: I have 4 tickets to the Steeleye Span concert, purchased when they went on sale this morning through the Somerville Theatre.

The bad: they're not very good seats. Apparently the event went on sale some time ago at www.worldmusic.org, and all of the good seats have either been sold or are reserved for their members. I didn't want to buy a membership and then discover that nothing was left anyway, so I didn't do that. Grrrrr.
readsalot: (ahiru disco not dead [Princess Tutu])
Tomorrow morning I'll be buying tickets for the Steeleye Span concert at the Somerville Theatre on September 19 for me, [livejournal.com profile] mathhobbit, [livejournal.com profile] merrylg, and [livejournal.com profile] aleph_1.

Anybody else?
readsalot: (yachiru yay)
Woohoo!

I just happened to notice that Steeleye Span will be playing at the Somerville Theatre on September 19. Who wants to go?

If you haven't heard of them, (not too surprising, they were never incredibly popular, even though they've been around for OMG forty years!), a lot of their music can be found on YouTube. This is their one big hit, "All Around My Hat", from 1975.

Their lineup has changed many times over the years, and the sound as well, but they're always a lot of fun to see live.
readsalot: (Default)
Food successes from the weekend: haddock filets coated with herbes de provence and fresh breadcrumbs, excellent spicy fried chicken, and very good buttermilk biscuits. (There were vegetables, too, but steamed spinach, zucchini, and broccoli aren't all that exciting.)

The rhubarb pie failure mode this time was because I didn't put enough water in the dough, though I used the maximum amount in the recipe--4 tablespoons. So it kind of fell apart. It's still reasonably tasty, though.

I'm most of the way through The Gone-Away World, as recommended by firstfrost. It's just as good as she says. Today, while I was reading, I got to a point where something very strange happened. Just as I was thinking, "hey, maybe it's because x...", the narrator thought the same thing, and dismissed it. I love it when the characters actually think of wild hypotheses! It's so great!

I went to the Funimation website to try to watch some episodes of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, and discovered that there's a second Gunslinger Girl series! woohoo! So I watched an episode, and it was great. Details later, if anyone's interested.
readsalot: (chibi rue is adorably curious [Princess)
What I learned today: using soft flour in a free-form pie (the kind where you plop the filling in the middle of a circle of crust and then fold the crust up around it) means that the whole crust will develop leaks and blackened pie juice will end up everywhere. It's kind of sad looking. The pie will probably be ok, but all of that lovely juice is gone forever. Sigh. I should have remembered that this worked perfectly well with all-purpose flour the last time I tried it, but I had so many pie crust failures in the last six months that I used the soft flour by default.

In other news, I just finished a vampires-in-boarding-school novel called Evernight. Not great. The first half really dragged, and then the first-person narrator suddenly revealed that she knew a lot more about what was going on than had been implied--I really dislike it when the first-person narrator conveniently doesn't think about a lot of things during the beginning of the story. I think the only time that worked was in Nine Princes in Amber, because amnesia is a valid excuse.

I will probably stick with the manga Vampire Knight for my teen-age vampire fix from now on. It's entertaining, and even though it's completely absurd it still feels more believable than Evernight.
readsalot: (ahiru ehhh? [Princess Tutu])
I had a nice drive home from work in a nice warm car. I appreciate this, because last Friday I noticed that there wasn't any warm air (well, any air at all) coming out of the vents, and the first appointment I could get at my dealership was yesterday. Driving there through the snow with no defogging on my windshield was an adventure I'd rather not repeat. They replaced a blown transistor, and all is now well.

Also, apparently it's quite lucky that I have gas at home. I got a notification a couple of weeks ago welcoming me, under an entirely different name, to my gas company. I was going to call to ask what was up, but I forgot. Today, I got a bill under that name. I just called, and apparently when someone calls the gas company to establish service, they assume that the person is reporting their address correctly, and that they're a new occupant of the house, and that the old occupant is going away. Their suggestion was that this other person had transposed some digits in their address. If I had read the details of my last bill, I would have noticed the bit where it said "this is your final bill" and freaked out then, but I get my bills in e-mail, and I didn't bother looking at the details, just paid it and went on my way. They've reset the system to be in my name, but I do wonder about this other person and where they actually live.
readsalot: (Default)
We had a quiet night at home last night, because I didn't want to deal with the snow and the cold. So I made mustard chicken with a potato chip crust, mashed potatoes, and zucchini with garlic, and it all came out very well. We had a nice bottle of champagne for toasting, and we watched Across the Universe, which was great.

I've been reading reviews of the movie, and it seems like everyone either loved it or hated it. The reviewers who hated it all seemed to dislike the new arrangements of the songs. I thought that most of the new arrangements were excellent and gave the songs new meanings, that the principal actors were also very good singers, and that the action around the songs was mostly perfect. My favorite was probably "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" recast as a song of unfulfilled yearning, second to "I've Just Seen a Face", which went with joyous dancing in a bowling alley.

My accomplishment for today: potato latkes. Which are delicious, but every time I have to use my food processor to grate things, I think about buying a new food processor. My twenty-year-old Sunbeam model still works perfectly well, but the feed tube is a very narrow oval shape that nothing will fit into without major trimming.
readsalot: (ahiru ehhh? [Princess Tutu])
I have a dual-tuner TiVo box, and since I didn't need a cable box with RCN's basic cable, I had all the channels I wanted, and could record two shows at a time.

Starting on Dec. 15, we have to use a digital converter box to get RCN channels. I tried the setup for the first time yesterday, and failed because I hadn't done the extra wiring necessary. (I just used one extra cable to do wall-to-cable-box-to-TiVo instead of wall-to-TiVo.)

Looking at various diagrams and the forums on the TiVo site, it looks like I won't be able to use the second tuner after the 15th, because one TiVo can't control two converter boxes.

Am I right? What's everyone else doing? I can probably manage without a second tuner, but this is kind of irritating.
readsalot: (uzura goes ooooo [Princess Tutu])
In no particular order:

As a followup to my original travel problems, the flight to New York ended up being delayed by about an hour. Which was slightly nerve-wracking, because that left about a half hour between that flight's arrival and the next flight's takeoff. However, the two flights ended up being at adjoining gates, so All Was Well. (Except for the bathroom situation at JFK, which was dire--the women's bathroom that was meant to serve some vast number of people had only 4 stalls.)

And then the return flight, which was scheduled to take off at 11:30 pm, was delayed for an hour, allegedly because of weather in the Northeast. And another flight was cancelled, so my flight was completely full. I do appreciate JetBlue's reasonably separated seat rows (a whole 34 inches! imagine!), however, and the online booking and the checkin kiosks all work well.

The Colorado Convention Center in Denver is enormous. Vast unused spaces were often useful, but having to keep crossing them was always tiring.

The 16th Street Mall in Denver is lovely--it's a mile-long pedestrian street mall with free shuttle buses that run approximately every 2 minutes. Or you can just walk down the street if you're not too lazy.

There was a Starbucks about every 2 blocks. Even people from Seattle were boggled by that.

There's a great sculpture outside the CCC of a big blue bear.

Home again

Aug. 12th, 2008 03:25 pm
readsalot: (Yuuko [xxxHolic])
...and I am a zombie.

Dear readsalot,

You cannot sleep on airplanes. Do not schedule travel that assumes that you can.

Love, readsalot.

Also, I got an iced mocha at Bloc 11, and it is the yummiest thing ever.

Also also, this is the best Worldcon report ever.
readsalot: (ahiru ehhh? [Princess Tutu])
I got up at 5am to get ready for my 8am flight to Denver. Around 5:45 Richard noticed that the phone's message light was blinking, and when he played the message, it was a cancellation notice for the flight!

I brought up gmail and found another copy of the notice there (at some point after the panic was over I reread it and discovered that it was because of "crew legalities", which is at least a better reason than them suddenly deciding not to serve Boston), and went to the JetBlue website to rebook. That was surprisingly easy, so I now have a 5pm flight. I have to change in New York, but there'a about 90 minutes to do that, which will hopefully be ok. The alternative would have been an earlier flight out of Boston that connects with the same flight out of New York, and 4 hour layovers are fairly annoying.

Richard then called the cab company to tell them we didn't need the 6:15 pickup we'd scheduled, and would be leaving later today.

I am hopeful that this is the only thing that will go wrong this trip. At some point I'm going to call my hotel in Denver and explain that I'll be arriving very late, but I think I should wait until it's morning there. It looks like the various shuttle services from the airport run until midnight, so that should be ok.

I'm a little sad at the loss of some of my time in Denver, but it can't be helped. And I suppose things could have been worse--if we hadn't noticed the message, by the time we got to the airport there might not have been any flights out available today.

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