notmatt: (Default)
Haven't posted in a while. I survived LPSC the week before last; actually both talks went quite well. After my talk Thursday, the Santa Cruz people took off for the rest of the afternoon and we went into Galveston. I'm not really sure why, Charlie wanted to. I have to say, if Galveston is what happens when Ron Paul's in charge of a district, I don't want him for president. Probably unfair to blame him for that; I think the town never really recovered from the 1900 hurricane. We attempted to play drunken poker later that evening, but there was too much of the former to do much of the latter. Thus, Friday was a total loss for me. I must remember that when I can no longer remember how many I've had, it's been TOO many.

Last week was a mad rush to grade homeworks and projects for my class, make, proctor, and grade the final exam, and finally get around to reviewing several papers. They're now nagging me since I'm late with the reviews. Also GRL accepted my paper (yay), and they were nagging me for the files.

I took the weekend off. Since teaching the class, I haven't been able to do that. I usually spend a few hours Saturday grading, and Sunday prepping for Monday's lecture. I did almost nothing productive this weekend. I got to finally start Super Mario Galaxy. I'm sure I'll pay for this later. Easter dinner was supposed to be roast leg of lamb with artichokes and potatoes. But a whole leg was something like $40, which is more than I wanted to spend on a hunk o' meat for just the two of us. Although it would generate a lot of leftovers. Anyway, I elected to go with the ham instead. I know, I'm a Jew, but pigs are delicious. There are plenty of leftovers anyway, but ham keeps better.

I'm off to Technicon next weekend. From what I can tell lurking on the staff list, this is looking to be disasterrific. It appears to be the most poorly run Technicon in my memory, though I say it as shouldn't. I wasn't exactly a stellar chair for Tcon 18. I suppose I can't complain but so much, since I'm not actively involved with staffing this one. We're taking the red-eye flight into Dulles on Thursday night, crashing at my parents house in the morning and driving to Blacksburg in the afternoon. We plan to be there for opening ceremonies.

What else? Oh yes, two weeks after Tcon, I'm off to EGU in Vienna. Assuming I don't have to report for Jury duty. I requested a postponement until after that conference, but we'll have to see. Then in May I may be going to visit APL, my folks will be coming for a visit, and there's Fanime con. In June there's a workshop in Santa Barbara and the baby's supposed to show up in July. Santa Barbara's only 4 hours away by car, so I can get home relatively easily if anything should happen early. The fun never ends!

Now if you'll excuse me, I have some anime to catch up on.

Sage Advice

Oct. 7th, 2007 10:26 am
notmatt: (coffee)
So, the sage plant we have in the backyard is taking over the universe. It measures approximately 4.5 feet in diameter, encroaching far into the patio area. I need suggestions for things to do with all this sage. Drying it is probably not going to be all that useful, since we're less likely to use dried herbs when we have all the fresh stuff growing.

Oh, sour cream and herb muffins are done. Time for breakfast.
notmatt: (coffee)
The microwave oven died Friday night. Just trying to reheat the rice to go with the cornish hen and it went on for half a second and then the whole thing shut down and wouldn't come back. I'm annoyed, as that unit lasted only six years. Fortunately the microwave is more of a convenience than a necessity for us. But yesterday we got a new one. It's red. Wasn't much of a choice. There seems to be a thing these days that all new appliances MUST be stainless steel. I hate that, since it shows up fingerprints and anything else. Fortunately this model came in red also.

We took the opportunity to re-evaluate our counter space. We've never been happy with the spot the micro was in because the door opens the wrong way. It was in the right corner of that counter and the hinges are on the left side. There's an ideal spot for a microwave in the left corner of the counter at the other end, but some genius elected not to put in any electrical outlets on that side. However, one whole wall of the kitchen is free, with an outlet smack in the middle. We had stuck our drinks fridge, trash and recycling on that wall, but hadn't made good use of the space. So we also picked up an island/shelf thing to hold the micro next to the mini-fridge. The recycling can go underneath, but we'll probably pick up some better bins than we have now. By pure chance the microwave we got is exactly the same model shown in the picture on the box the shelf came in (except for not being stainless steel).

I'd planned to make barbecue chicken tonight, but I discovered that the chicken I thought was in the freezer is not there. I should really check the freezer more carefully when making a shopping list. Fortunately, there is an overabundance of pork tenderloin which I now have marinating in preparation to become Char Siu. I would have difficulty keeping Kosher, given the tendency of pork to be at once non-Kosher and delicious. Speaking of Chinese food, the chinese restaurant in town has a delicous Crispy Shrimp with Walnuts. It is not, however, "better the next day", so if we get it again we hae to be sure to have enough room to finish it right away. I have also secured some peaches from the farmers' market that are intended to become blobbler.

Coffee

Jun. 4th, 2007 12:47 pm
notmatt: (coffee)
It's one of my icons. I HAD to do this one.


Mingle2 - Free Online Dating

Stuffs

May. 10th, 2007 10:40 pm
notmatt: (Default)
Um, let's see. Had a blast this weekend. Went up to Sonoma County last weekend. Stayed at my aunt and uncle's place in Guerneville, and my grandmother and her husband (my stepgrandfather I guess you'd say, but that term never sounds quite right. I call him Harvey, for that is his name) came over for dinner. Did I mention that my aunt used to be a professional cook and my uncle is the regional manager for Whole Foods? We brought them up a flat of local strawberries, picked about two miles from our house. They were well received. Apparently the ones up there are far inferior at the moment. My point is, we ate well that night.

Sunday we met up with [livejournal.com profile] cblack and [livejournal.com profile] jonny_law in Sonoma to visit some wineries around the Glen Ellen, and Napa areas. We also did some chocolate and cheese tastings. Apparently [livejournal.com profile] cblack knows where to find everything within a 100 mile radius of San Jose. We got us a slab of cheese, some truffles (we brought along a cooler for that), a bottle of port and a late-harvest Reisling. I'm not usually a big fan of dessert wines, but [livejournal.com profile] kathleenroberts is. It was a fun trip, but it appears I prefer the wineries of northern Sonoma County (say Healdsburg, Santa Rosa) better than those of Napa. But there's no reason we can't do that again, we live close enough.

Abstract is due next week for a meeting on icy satellites. The meeting is in Boulder in August, so I may get to see some of the Boulderites if you're around. I should have enough results for the abstract, though I wouldn't relish giving a presentation on it just now. It's still awfully rough, and there are some things I don't understand. Have to check some things to make sure I didn't frak anything up and the results are real. If you've never been to LPSC, you might say that an abstract's no big deal, but LPI style abstracts are things that would be called "articles" in Nature or Science. They're two pages long and have figures and references. People actually cite them. My point is, that you've actually got to say something in them. But at least this helps you avoid the situation of submitting an abstract, and failing to get the results before the meeting.

I feel kind of bad that I've been neglecting the Wii, when there are still others who can't get hold of one. Haven't really played it since I beat Twilight Princess, because when I do have time to play videogames, I tend to play the DS because that's easy to do in short bits. I got FFXII for the PS2 like two months ago and haven't even touched it yet.
notmatt: (coffee)
Well, bugger. )

And an update )
notmatt: (Zapp Brannigan)
I stepped on something in front of the house a few nights ago, but could never make out what it was, given that it was dark out. I'd assumed it was just a leaf, but when I put my foot down it went "crunch" and then "squish". And the crunch wasn't a leafy crackle, it was much louder. I thoroughly cleaned my shoe in case I'd stepped on a roach or something. I've heard that is a common method of getting roaches into a house: stepping on one, bursting the egg-sac and tracking the eggs in. We definitely don't want that. We have enough problems with ants at the moment. They seem to keep getting into the master bathroom of all places. I assume they're after water, but there's plenty of that outside. We don't really know how they get in since we never see them anywhere else and there are no obvious cracks or holes anywhere. We'll spray and they'll go away but a couple weeks later we'll spot one.

Tuesday, I finally spotted the wily banana slug on campus, the noble mascot of UC Santa Cruz. I nearly stepped on it too, since it looked like a rolled up yellow leaf until I looked more closely. I should just avoid leaves. My boss and I were on the way to acquire coffee when this happened. He mentioned that if you lick one, you get a tingling sensation. I did not ask why he knows this. Then again, this is Santa Cruz, the city that makes Boulder seem like a drug free zone. Putting 2 and 2 together, I realized that the other night I must have stepped on a snail. Someone imported a bunch of escargot snails, they got out and generally wreak havotc on the local ecosystem. There's dozens (or "tens" if you prefer) of them in the garden, especially on the lemon tree right by the front door. The shell would go crunch, the "body" would go "squish" when stepped on.

Speaking of molluscs, this Saturday is the Santa Cruz Clam Chowdah cookoff. Might go to that if we can find parking by the wharf. Especially in light of the fact that we missed the Capitola Wine and Crab Tasting because I didn't find out about it until a month after the fact. [livejournal.com profile] kathleenroberts is displeased because those are two of her favorite foodstuffs. However, we have another thing to do on Saturdays now. I finally found the Anime club on campus. I tried to find it when I first got here, but no luck. No flyers (until last week), no contacts posted, and the website was three years out of date.

Icarus finally returned the reviews of the revised paper. They are asking for further minor revisons, but it looks like it's going to be accepted and not sent out for more review. I think. The decision is "Further Minor Revise" with no indication of status otherwise, but both reviews are favorable, and the revisions are not substantial. I may be able to get that resubmitted tomorrow. I am so ready to be done with this paper. I'm coming up on the first anniversary of its initial submission to Nature next week.

Posting from the office this time, since I never seem to remember when I get home.
notmatt: (Default)
Man, I go away for a few days and it takes quite some time to catch up on LJ.

I went back east (as always) for the Thanksgiving holiday. There's a lot to discuss, so I shall do so behind the cut. )

It was a good trip, but I do hate flying. Our copy of Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess arrived today, but too tired to play it tonight. How sad is that?
notmatt: (coffee)
Saturday [livejournal.com profile] kathleenroberts and I went to the Swank Farm's corn maze in Hollister. I thought this one was not as good as the one in Erie, CO, but it was much better maintained. The corn (sweet-corn, not feed-corn) was still alive and green at this one and dense enough that you couldn't see through it. They give you a map, which I sort of think is cheating, but eh why not. The labyrinths were less impressive since there's only one path through those and nothing to look at but corn. We're contemplating going back at night when it's haunted. And also cooler. It was 90 in Hollister this weekend. And I need to get a new pumpkin. The perfect one I found was not so perfect as it's started to rot.

Sunday we met my parents went to San Francisco. We spent the afternoon in Japantown, had lunch at a noodle shop called Mifune, and my parents bought us our birthday presents. We got a new sake set and some bento boxes. Kate got a new haori as well. The folks were staying at the Queen Anne Hotel on Sutter St. It was described as Rococo. A less charitable description would also be "gaudy". My aunt and uncle came down from Guerneville and my cousin came over from Oakland and we went to The Slanted Door near the ferry for dinner. Cuisine is sort of Vietnamese-French-Californian. Note: The door is not actually slanted. Unless you've had several of their Ginger Limeades (kaffir lime vodka, ginger, and lime juice). Very strong on the lime.

When you go out to dinner with the Hirsch family, you don't order a meal. The table orders several meals and the plates fly around the table at a very high rate of speed. I grew up with this, but if you marry into the family it can take some getting used to. We had four kinds of spring rolls, manila clams with pork belly (mmm pork fat), daikion rice cakes and green papaya salad. And those were just the appetizers. Then we had the Shaking Beef (hunks o' tenderloin), duck, prawns, crab noodles, scallops, haricots verts, rapini, baby spinach, and rice. I had most of a warm chocolate pudding for dessert (along bits of others' pain perdu and figs). Hope I didn't forget anything. Definitely overdid it. Looks like it's whole grains and leafy greens from here on out.

Today was not so good. Just been irritated for no good reason. Purchasing gasoline this morning was more difficult than it ought to have been.

But I'm really glad I get on so well with my family (and extended family).
notmatt: (coffee)
Yeah, it's Wednesday night. What of it?

My parents came for a visit this weekend. Took them to the Monterey Aquarium on Sunday. Fortunately, our memberships came in the mail just the day before. That meant we didn't have to wait in the unusually large line. You have to be careful if you take my father to any museum or zoo type place, because he will look at everything there is to look at and read every sign in the place. Kate and I had been there before and my mother's tolerance exhibits is a little more human than my father's. So we left him there and took Mom to Cannery Row. Yes, Steinbeck's Cannery Row. Of course now it's just a tourist area rather than a cannery, but they got wine tasting and saltwater taffy. And we got some info on whale-watching tours.

On Monday, Kate and I had to work, so we let them putz around downtown Santa Cruz. The Boardwalk is pretty well deserted this time of year. We had dinner on the Wharf. You might expect restaurants on the waterfront to be lacking in quality, it's a tradeoff. But Carniglia's was excellent. If you like garlic that is. Which I do. I think all the savory dishes we had were garlicked up to the max. The dipping oil for the bread had so much slivered garlic in it, it was hardly even a liquid anymore. The calamari? Super-garlicky. The roasted garlic and goat cheese? You figure it out. I had the linguini and clams, which was not only highly garlicky but lemony as well. All this went very well with the wine, a Geyser Peak Sauvignon Blanc. It's a really good wine for not a lot of money. It does not contain garlic. Dessert was the Amaretto torte. Also sans garlic. When you order a coffee, you get a mini-french press. I assume you could request garlic with it, but that's a little too weird for me. All in all, it was far superior to Miramar Fish Grotto, the last place I ate on the wharf. That wasn't bad, but we were clearly paying for the view when we went there.

They've gone up to Sonoma County for visits with other relatives and wine. Sunday we're all gathering in San Francisco. As usual, at one meal, we discuss what we're doing for the next. It's a Hirsch (Mom's family) trait.

On a totally unrelated note, here is a bizzare dream I had. ) It's a bit disturbing, so it's behind a cut.

Stuffs

Oct. 13th, 2006 10:16 pm
notmatt: (coffee)
Had sushi tonight. There's a (very good we discovered) Mom'n'Pop Japanese restaurant called Miyuki a half mile from the house. Which means that [livejournal.com profile] kathleenroberts and I can both drink, since we can just walk it. It was very busy when we got there. Had a half-hour wait at 8 pm, but everyone else waiting was adamant about it being worth the wait. It was indeed, quite good. And less expensive than the other sushi places we've been to round here. They also didn't have a lot of the "special" rolls you see a lot. Why are macadamia nuts a common sushi ingredient in Santa Cruz? I prefer the more traditional types in any event. The sushi menu is entirely in Japanese (ok, Romaji), so you've got to know the Japanese names for the fish. Not an issue for us, but it might be for others.

We _finally_ got the last bits of the house put together and all cleaned up at the same time, so I'll be taking pictures of it tomorrow and posting . . . eventually. We still have pictures of Fall Equinox and the Monterey Aquarium to post. Yes, we've been here four months and just now got it all done. It was mostly done about two weeks after we moved, but we just ran out of momentum and a few piles lingered until recently.

The only reason it got done now is my folks are coming tomorrow. They're spending three days with us, then heading up to Sonoma County to visit the rest of Mom's family, and _next_ weekend we're all going to San Francisco. There's nothing in Watsonville really worth seeing, so we'll take them to Monterey for the Aquarium, Cannery Row, and Fisherman's Wharf and to Santa Cruz for UCSC, the Boardwalk and the Municipal Wharf there. Tomorrow I'm going to the River Cafe Cheese Shop in Santa Cruz, Gayle's Bakery and the Cabrillo Farmers' Market in Capitola, and Phil's Fish Market in Moss Landing for cioppino ingredients. Lots of good eats to be had, but they're scattered. I'd post links to all those places but I'm too lazy. None of you are likely to visit these places anyway.

Magnetica for the Nintendo DS is at least as addictive as Tetris.
notmatt: (Default)
It rained today. Or at least the closest thing to it since I've lived here. It was more of a misty sprinkle, but the water droplets were definitely moving downwards. It wasn't a fog. Of course this would happen at the same time I'm hauling a big ol' stack of 40-year old books back to the library.

I've found that if I leave work a bit earlier than norml on Fridays, I can get back home in time for the end of the Farmer's market. Today's purchases were white corn, plums, green beans, blackberries, and fresh-roasted peanuts. All for like $6. The plums will be a cobbler in about 15 minutes. Mmm. 50-cent cobbler. (Has nothing to do with the hip-hop artist, btw).

Labor Day

Sep. 4th, 2006 03:31 pm
notmatt: (Default)
Hermes: Labor Day? That fat cat industrialist holiday the government crams down our throats?

Fry: That's the one.

Hermes: Hot damn! A day off!


Turns out it's a really good time to buy stuff for the backyard. We went out on Saturday to buy materials for making a shoebox for the front hall. We thought we'd also maybe look at getting a grill but not too seriously. We ended up with a grill, an outdoor firepit, and a wrought iron and glass table and 4 chairs to match. All for about $230. We went to 4 different stores to find the best deals, but I think we made out pretty well.

There's something very satisfying about putting a grill together. When my job entails working on problems that nobody knows how to solve, it's nice to simply follow a set of instructions for a change. The grill has an easy-to-remove ash tray. Our last charcoal grill had an ash tray that could not be removed without a series of contortions and spillings of ash. It also has a "warming rack" that's useful. I'd taken the one off the last gas grill we had because it effectively blocked access to the rear half of the cooking grate. When you open the lid to the new grill, the warming rack slides back and only overlaps the cooking grate by about 4 inches. It's also pretty easy to raise and lower the charcoal grate for temperature control. Now that we're a t sea level, the charcoal cooks down a lot faster than it did in Colorado. Must be the extra oxygen.

We broke the grill in last night with steaks and skewered fruits. The papayas here are ginormous. Like 3 pounds. Didn't like them as well as the normal sized ones. The pineapple was fantastic. The peaches were a bit overdone. Everything cooks at a different rate. I should have used different skewers for each one. Oh well. Still have plenty of papaya left. Maybe I'll try to make a sorbet.

The table and chairs have the misfortune to be part of the Martha Stewart line, and Martha Stewart is Evil (TM). I'm not talking about the insider trading either; that's got to be the least Evil thing she's done ever in life. But we got the thing at 60% off since the salesperson had to get rid of it by today. Once we bought it, we discovered the table wouldn't fit in the car. There was room in the car, but no opening large enough to accomodate a 4' by 4' square box. We had to run home, put the luggage rack on the car and then return to the store for it.

Brought home some work this weekend, but have been totally unmotivated to do any of it. As a postdoc, I think I'm supposed to work all the time, but I'm not doing that. Typically only putting in 9 hours a day. Oh well, it's not like I get paid overtime or anything.

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