I’m back

I’m back. I’ve been back for about a week but in hiding. More on that later. While I was in Seattle, I:

  • turned 24. I still feel like I’m 18. Except when I feel like I’m 35.
  • went wine tasting
  • went to Redhook Ale Brewery (lots of sipping on this trip)
  • got a Kindle for my birthday (yeah!)
  • ate lots of fruit from the farmer’s market in Yakima
  • was caught by surprise every time somebody called coke/soda “pop”*
  • went fabric shopping with my quilter-extraordinaire Aunt Ginger
  • hung out with a rooster
  • taught Aunt Ginger how to crochet
  • cut out the fabric for an apron

When I returned, I caught a cold. I decided to go out with friends to the Orange International Street Fair anyway. Then I went to book club to discuss Howl’s Moving Castle. Then my cold got worse. I’ve been trying to take it easy and somehow blogging slipped away from me. But I’m back!


*I say “coke” 80% of the time (I lived in Texas as kid). Unless I’m getting a Dr. Pepper, y’all.

Thirsty Thursday: Latte Hands at Kean

The next few days are gonna be kind of quiet around here. Tomorrow morning I’m flying up to Seattle to visit my aunt, uncle, and cousins and celebrate my birthday!

I’ll try to drop in if I have a moment. Have a nice weekend!

Wordless Wednesday: Books and Records

via Apartment Therapy: Philip & Leona’s Wide Open Loft

Tuesday Tunes: The Ettes – Wicked Will

Yesterday’s post was kind of a downer. I’d always rather praise than complain. Since I’ve been wanting to rave about this album to people for a couple weeks, I thought I’d do so from here. This means there will be a new Tuesday category: Tuesday Tunes.

The Ettes are a three-piece group from Nashville. Their fourth LP, Wicked Will, was released earlier this month and it will kick your ass. I’ve been pissing off my neighbors on the daily with this album.

Lo-fi garage rock + 60’s girl group style + punk grit. RIYL: Black Keys, The White Stripes, Murder by Death, Patsy Cline.

Listen to “Excuse”:


Highlight tracks:

  • Excuse
  • My Heart
  • One By One
  • The Worst There Is

Meatless Monday: Summer Vegetable Tian

I hope you all had good weekends. On Friday I hung out with my mom and (as usual) we went to Grammy’s house for dinner (shrimp louie salad – one of my favorites). On Saturday morning I went to Macy’s to find a shirt to wear under my suit for my interview that’s coming up this week. Luckily, I found something quickly. My idea of shopping is getting what I want and leaving, much to the chagrin of many of my female friends and relatives. Later on I headed over to Riverside to see the Great Picture Exhibit at the UC Riverside art gallery with 8 of my SJSU friends.

It was mildly disappointing. The process of how they took the picture was pretty amazing, but the product itself (a negative captured on a huge canvas covered in some photographic emulsion that looked like gray paint) was not what we expected. We could barely make out a few palm trees and an air traffic control tower in the roughly-textured emulsion. Oh, well. In the end, I’m glad I got to see it in person.

After that, we had lunch at Simple Simon’s and walked around the Mission Inn. I was mesmerized by the macaws, Napoleon and Joseph, who were eating nuts and cherries for lunch outside the lobby. So mesmerized that I forgot to take a picture. Please use your imagination.

Last Monday, I made summer vegetable tian using a fantastic recipe from Budget Bytes. The only change I’d make is zapping the potatoes in the microwave for a little bit or parboiling them – they take way longer to cook through than tomatoes, squash, and zucchini. I should have gone with my instincts on that one.

Beautiful! If you ignore the side where I stuffed extra vegetables.

Vegan cheese! Vegan cheese! Vegan cheese! (Veggie Shreds, mozzarella flavor)

My dad, who is not very adventurous as far as hippie food goes, loved the vegan cheese. Ha! Good. Because I’m making something with tempeh tonight if I can get my hands on some.

Friday Reads: The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank

Book I finished this week:

For some reason on Monday I decided I HAD to go to the Tustin Library. So I did. I perused the fiction section. I saw this book. I recognized the title. I decided to read it. I needed a change from fantasy and dystopic fiction (I’m currently reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Howl’s Moving Castle, and 1984).

Well, it was a brief change. I read it in about 6 hours. But man, this book irked me. It had no plot (to Bank’s credit, I think it was meant to be a coming-of-age novel, so no big problem to solve). The main character, Jane, came off as whiny and self-centered (except when she was talking about or with her dad). It was all about relationships and had nothing to do with the other cool things she could have been doing with her life during her 20’s. Most of the other characters seemed so unrealistic (always saying the right things, being larger-than-life). Also, there is a chapter in there told from the point of view of an older woman named Nina, Jane’s great aunt’s neighbor, that has pretty much nothing to do with Jane’s story. I keep thinking about the purpose of that chapter. I can’t think of anything reasonable. Thoughts?

In any case, it was an OK change from Big Brother and Voldemort and Howl.

Memorable links and articles from this week:

Everyone and their mother has shared this link on Facebook and Twitter: Stop Coddling the Super Rich by Warren Buffet – New York Times

One of the best analyses of The Help I’ve read so far: This is why I worry about The Help – Adios Barbie

What Would Hillary Clinton Have Done? by Rebecca Traister – New York Times


Thirsty Thursday: Stone Brewing Co., Escondido, CA

Last Saturday, I went to Stone Brewing Co. for the first time.

My friend Ryan picked me up around 3. Oddly enough, it took us an hour to get from Tustin to San Clemente (normally a 20-30 minute drive). But it worked out perfectly! We arrived around 5PM, right before they were going to hand out passes to the last tour of the night (7PM). We were #20 and #21 in line(-ish), and they only let 25 people in. So we got our passes and then fought our way to the cocktail area for some food and pre-tour beers. We had the jalapeno/cilantro hummus and the unbelievably good Spud Buds (beer and garlic mashed potatoes deep fried in beer batter with a side of Ruination IPA BBQ sauce). I ordered a Pliny the Elder to go along with our food but they had just run out. I ordered a Ruination instead and it was pretty great as uszh. After killing some time, we made our way to the tour.

I learned many facts about beer/breweries. Here are the ones that stuck out in my mind (I have yet to verify some of these, but here they are):

  • The matriarch of the family would make beer for her family weekly because the water quality in the olden days (unspecified) was so poor.
  • During this unspecified time, the kids who drank beer were more productive, happier and healthier than the kids who drank only water.
  • Beer offers essential nutrients.
  • The lime-wedge-rubbed-around-the-rim trend started when people wanted to sanitize their used/unwashed bottles and glasses. The used/unwashed bottle thing still happens in some countries today.
  • Men who drink beer regularly have better prostate health.
  • Women who drink beer regularly have better bone density.
  • Something about beer being good for skin? I vaguely remember our guide talking about this.
  • Wort smells like Grape Nuts (after all, beer is just fermented cereal water).
  • The brewing area of breweries is really warm and humid.
  • A cold walk-in-fridge full of hops smells like heaven (my opinion, but really, FACT, know what I mean?)

After our tour, Ryan and I got our 4 free pours (including the Smoked Porter, my other favorite beer from Stone) while he waited for his growler to get filled with the ’09 Double Bastard (it was a special release). Shortly after, Tim and his brother and sister arrived, and we finally sat down to dinner around 9:30. I had an Avery White Rascal, pretzels with the most amazing whole grain mustard I’ve ever tasted in my life (I started eating it on its own like a real lady with good manners), and the tempeh shepherd’s pie (so good, but I was pretty full of beer at that point so I took it home).

After a stroll through the garden we all went home. It was lovely. My mom has plans to take us back there for my dad’s birthday in September. I can’t wait.

Wordless Wednesday: Tea

00:38 9/8/2011: Camden Town, London

By pixel.eight on Flickr

Tech Tuesday: 10 tools for library school students

This post was inspired by Zachary Frazier’s recent post at Hack Library School for their Library School Starter Kit series. For this installment of Tech Tuesday, I wanted to talk about some of the sites and software that helped me get through my distance education program at San José State. Keep in mind that everybody has different methods for productivity. Part of the fun is figuring out what works for you! Here’s what worked for me:

Don't let this become a metaphor for your brain! Get organized - life will get easier.

  1. My MacBook Pro (I am still running OS X from 2009). I love love LOVE my MacBook. The OS and interface are designed for simplicity, which is exactly what I needed during library school. With at least a full load of classes each semester, I didn’t have time to fiddle around with antivirus software, webcams and microphones. There was only one instance in which I REALLY needed a PC and that was when I had to use this old database creation software for my Information Retrieval class called DB Textworks. Luckily, I had access to my parents’ computer.
  2. Gmail. I’m obsessed with Gmail. When you’re in library school (especially if you’re going to school online), you will probably be inundated with listserv and Google or Yahoo! group digests. Gmail’s label and filter functions make it easy to manage what comes into your inbox. Here’s the kicker: you don’t have to have thousands of emails in your inbox. Once a day or every couple days, archive what’s important, delete trash, and use the labels HOLD [for unfinished business] and FOLLOW UP [for things you need to reply to] or whatever terminology works for you. You can even use different colors. When I was in school, I had labels for different classes, job posting announcements, and receipts. Inbox Zero feels so much better when you literally have zero items in your inbox.
  3. My .edu email address. Did you know students with a .edu email address can get Amazon Prime free for six months? Did you know you can also get a Prezi Edu Enjoy account for free with your .edu address? If possible, get your school to give you a .edu email address and use it to your full advantage while you can. You can even have your mail forwarded to your Gmail account.
  4. Google Chat, Google Docs, and Skype. I used all of these for group meetings and collaborating on documents. Google Chat and Skype were also invaluable for keeping up with my friends who went to grad school on the east coast.
  5. Facebook. The people in my program make heavy use of Facebook for meetups and alumni events.
  6. Twitter. Librarians LOVE Twitter. It’s a great way to network and share ideas.
  7. Google Reader. RSS feeds are magical. I don’t know how I survived without them. If you’re not familiar with RSS, don’t let the technical-sounding acronym frighten you. All it means is that when someone updates their blog or website, that update gets pushed to you in the feed reader of your choice (I use Google Reader). So you don’t have to visit each blog in your bookmarks list to see if you missed something. All updates will be waiting for you in  your reader! Sometimes you can also subscribe to the RSS feed for your school’s event calendar or announcements page.
  8. LeechBlock for Mozilla Firefox (or any other blocking program supported by your browser). For when Facebook, Twitter, and Google Reader get in the way of your studying.
  9. iCal and Google Calendar (and a paper planner). Whatever you use for a planner, be consistent. Write things down. Use the task functions in Google Calendar or the color-coded ones in iCal. I synced iCal and Google Calendar and used a cheap-o paper planner from Barnes and Noble.
  10. Evernote. I used Evernote to take notes in class and also keep track of passwords, job postings, and recipes. You can even upload pictures as notes. I think I once heard it described as the equivalent to Dumbledore’s pensieve. Pretty awesome and accurate analogy.

Bonus tip: know where you can get free wifi in your area. If your wifi craps out on you an hour before you are due to give a presentation, you must have a backup. One of my friends had to give a presentation last year from the parking lot of a Starbucks. You do what you gotta do!

Hope this helps.

UPDATE: A very kind reader has offered a few more excellent suggestions in the comments:

“Dropbox: ooooh, lordy do I love dropbox. A flash drive that lives on the net, and the first 2GB are free. [YES. Dropbox is wonderful. On a related note, it’s very important to have some method for backing up your files.]

Pencil and Paper: Old tech that requires no batteries, keep a small memo pad on you at all times to jot down notes you might otherwise forget

FireNes: Free Nintendo games for your firefox browser. It’s not ALL about studying.”

Thanks, Evan!

Meatless Monday: Peach and Cashew Salad

This weekend was nice. I spent some time organizing and cleaning (surprise!) and running errands on Friday. On Saturday I had a good workout and went with friends to Stone Brewery in Escondido. My friend Ryan and I managed to snag spots for the 7pm tour. After the guys got their growlers filled with the ’09 Double Bastard, we ate dinner out on the patio. We got home around 1AM. I was exhausted on Sunday so I decided to stay in my pajamas, organize photos on my computer, and tweak my blog layout.

Last Monday I managed to screw up stir fry. Anyone who’s made stir fry before knows it’s pretty hard to screw up stir fry. I blame myself for not checking to see if the veggies we had were good. It was just…bad. I’d rather not discuss it. We ended up getting burgers from In-N-Out instead.

The next day I made myself a pretty great salad for lunch. Spring mix + peaches + cashews + Makoto ginger/carrot dressing. It was nothing extraordinary but it sure was tasty.

I’m looking forward to making more interesting veggie dishes. Salad is way too easy!