Monthly Archives: August 2006

Back and ready for some action

BeautyMiss me? I just got back from a week in the beautiful Inland Northwest. I flew into Spokane, saw my family, and went to the annual Camp Biack Rock. I was completely exhausted, phyisically and emotionally, but after a good night’s sleep, I am feeling rested and ready to go. But the best news is…

My camera is fixed! Horray! I know you were worried. The service guys at Huppin’s in Spokane are my new best friends. I was quite discouraged last week when I called some places here in San Jose and was told that I would have to send my camera in to Sony to be fixed (starting at $181). I took my broken camera along on my trip anyway in case some miracle would happen and it would start working again. Thursday, I was downtown at Auntie’s Bookstore, and I saw Huppin’s Hi-Fi Photo and Video across the street. So I ran across and talked to them. I ended up leaving my camera there while I was at the lake. I get back to great news: the LCD was in fact broken, which costs $150 to replace, but they had a spare one from a damaged T7 and they would give it to me for $20. Plus they replaced my beat up case with the extra one. With labor, I have a completely functional and shiny-looking camera for under $100. How great is that?

The 2006 crewWhile I was there, I also checked out the newer Sony cameras: the T9 and T30. Not impressed. They are both twice as thick as my camera. Sure, they have more megapixels and the T30 has a huge screen, but I am still quite happy with my camera and see no reason to upgrade yet. And now it works and I can take pictures again!

Oh yeah, so back to my trip. Even though I couldn’t take pictures at the lake, Marlene (not my mom, another Marlene) had her Canon D70 with a nice zoom lens there. Her pictures are really great, much better than I could have done, and I have posted them on Flickr. She manages to take candid shots that really capture what it is like to be at Biack Rock. I have been going there for probably about fifteen years (see?), and it is really a special place with special people.

This year there were lots of new “kids” there, and it was really fun spending the weekend with them. This was my first Biack Rock weekend sans a +1 since 1998, and it was really fun to be there on my own, I must say. Although, I had no idea how much “Tattoo Boy” would be missed by everyone. Fortunately, there were no jet ski incidents aside from me almost launching one onto the dock.

It was amazing how much we packed into such a short weekend. It felt much longer than it actually was. I swam a lot, rode jet skis, played Pinnocle, sang campfire songs, cooked dinner for 30 people, played some intense charades, read a whole book, and ate tons of food.

BiackRock06 394I also spent some time with my family on this trip. It ended up being quite emotionally draining, but we had some good talks and I am glad that we were able to talk about important things in person. I am really thankful for my great family and I am really looking forward to seeing them again during the holidays.

Up next: lots of work stuff to get through, and then some fun parties up in the city this weekend. And then Laura and co. will be visiting from Germany! Horray!

New blog: Food Fight!

Just wanted to let you know that I have started a new blog here on WordPress.com: Food Fight!

Check out my post about what is Food Fight, and today’s post about fiber, and let me know what you think.

I am off on vacation for about a week, so things will be pretty quite around here for a while. I’d say to keep an eye on Flickr for vacation pics, but my camera isn’t doing so well. I found out that I have to send it into Sony to get it fixed for $181! I haven’t decided if I am going to spend the money to do that yet, but no matter what, I won’t be taking pictures this week.

The things I think I cannot do

You must do the things you think you cannot do. — Eleanor Roosevelt

That’s what I have been trying to do lately. Everytime I find myself making blanket negative statements about myself or my abilities, I decide to the opposite.

One of them has always been:

I don’t run.

But lately I have talked to friends training for major runs, and they all said that when they started they could barely run a mile. Or that they never were runners before they started training for an event. So I decided that I should try to run more. I have run on the treadmill a few times at the gym, and besides being boring, it really wasn’t too bad. Then last night, my friend asked if I wanted to join him and some other runners for an evening run from the Ferry Building to the Presidio.

Normally I would have said no because I am not a runner, but Yesterday, I asked myself, why not? I knew that I probably wouldn’t make it the whole way my first try, but that wasn’t a reason not to go. So I talked myself into it. We drove up to San Francisco and were a little too late to meet up with the other runners. Daniel and I ran the first mile together before I told him to go off and catch up with the others. I was pretty worn out already, so I instead I did some running/jogging around the waterfront and then up to Coit Tower. It was a picture perfect evening. It was sunny and the views were incredible. Even though I didn’t do the whole run, I had so much fun on my own. Any maybe next time I’ll make it a little farther.

Another assumptions that I have made about myself:

I could never start a business. That is just too risky for me.

A friend and I used to throw around this idea for a business, but it was just a way to escape work and fantasize for a while. But yesterday I mentioned it to another friend, and she was so enthusiastic and supportive of the idea (and wanting to help herself!), it made me think that maybe I should really consider pursuing this more. It combines a lot of my passions and there really seems to be a market for it. Last night I mentioned this idea to another friend, and she thought it was such a great idea that she offered capital for the project and suggested that I talk to her sister about investing as well.

So all of the sudden, it has gone from a fun talk at work to something that I am going to do more research for. Once again, I am asking myself, why not? Sure it is risky and I know nothing about starting a business, but I have people who want to help me and people who want to give me money. I can read and learn and figure it out.

Recipe: my awesome spicy chunky guacamole

This guacamole is a guaranteed hit at any party, drinking event, dinner, or picnic. This recipe is roughly based on one I saw on America’s Test Kitchen, which is a great cooking show brought to you on PBS by the good folks at Cook’s Illustrated magazine. So once again I am going to give them a plug and say that I highly recommend getting a subscription to the bimonthly magazine. It is fabulous. Everything that I have made from the magazine has turned out wonderfully, and I am always entertained by the article format and sciency explanations that accompany the recipes.

Awesome spicy chunky guacamole

This guacamole is nice and spicy, but still creamy and delicious. Cut back on the jalapenos if you don’t want it as spicy, but trust me, you don’t want to do that. Proportions are approximate and can be adjusted. Don’t worry about measuring things too much because it is hard to screw up.

Avacado yumminess

4 ripe avocados, diced
1/3 c. red onion, minced
juice from one lime
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 jalapenos, seeds and ribs removed and minced
1/2 c. cilantro, chopped
salt

Cut the onions first and put them in a bowl with the lime juice to mellow out the onions while you chop up everything else. Mix everything together and add salt to taste. Don’t worry about mashing up the avocado too much. If they are ripe, they’ll get mushy on their own, and besides, this is supposed to be chunky guacamole.

Note: You can also use this recipe to make super-fresh-tasting salsa. Just replace the avocados with drained canned diced tomatoes. I like to make both for a party. I just chop up twice as much as everything, and then mix half of the ingredients into the avocado and the other half in the tomatoes. People, even foodies, have a hard time believing that the salsa is made with canned tomotoes.

All my favs

Just LazizGood food, good alcohol, and good people: another great weekend. Sad news is that my camera broke Saturday night, so I only have pictures from the first half of the weekend. I really really really hope I can get it fixed. You know how sad I am without my camera.

Friday night, I tried Lebanese food for the first time in the Burbank area of San Jose. Pretty good stuff, but I won’t be rushing back. Maybe if I was eating meat I’d be into it more. It hasn’t replaced Ethiopian as my latest ethnic food obession. But I am really liking West San Carlos Street more and more. I wrote more about it on metblogs.

I picked Mandy up from the airport that night, and dude, that place is a nightmare. I am dreading my flight in a few days. It also isn’t a good sign that two friends both had their luggage lost on the same day on different flights.

I like the red oneSaturday night was Gabe’s Tequilaugust, which I had been hearing about ever since Keith’s Scotchoberfest last year. Ginuary was pretty fun, but I have to admit that Tequilaugust was even better (and yes, even better than my own Tequila de Mayo). The amount of tequila was overwhelming. I must have tried at least 20 different ones. Good good times.

Then my camera broke. I have been taking pictures, often while drinking, with my adorable Sony T7 for well over a year without incident. Then Saturday night, I dropped it on the hard kitchen floor. But it was fine! …until I dropped it the second time. Now it seems to take pictures and the screen turns on, but the screen is blank. I am hoping that it is just a lose connection that can be easily fixed.

I would have taken pictures all day today. I went up to the city (it had been 9 whole days since I’d been there!) and met up with Normen and Tom to bake croissants (aka hoernchens aka hoernleins) for Dave’s birthday. Normen has claimed for some time to be an expert croissant-maker, and since I have a slight croissant obession, I had been wanting to see how to make homemade ones. Oh, I love Tom’s house. He has the most amazing view of the city. It was a great place to spend a Sunday afternoon. So, since the recipe was in German and Normen was the expert, I pretty must just watched him make the croissants. My contribution was mostly helping with the metric conversions in the recipe. They turned out more like flakey biscuits than traditional French croissants, but Normen claimed that’s how they are in Germany.

With our bag of fresh hoernchens for Dave, we headed to the Mission Bernal Heights to Zante for Indian pizza. Indian pizza is sort of interesting. It has regular crust and cheese, but instead of regular sauce and toppings, it has Indian sauces and vegetables. I don’t know if I like it as much as traditional Indian food, but it was fun to try. Oh! more pizza: earlier in the afternoon, we took a break from baking and got pizza at Escape from New York in the Haight (way better than Pizza My Heart, but same idea). My slice with pesto, potatoes, and roasted garlic was greasy but oh, so good. Not that I feel hung over today, but the greasy food hit the spot.

So after dinner we walked to Mitchell’s for ice cream. The wait was insane (this place is famous in the SF ice cream scene), but it was a nice night, so we didn’t mind waiting. My ice cream was full of tropical fruits and beans. It was good, but it didn’t have a very distictive flavor, which was surprising. Also disappointing was that the toppings are just Smuckers like you get at the grocery store, so nothing special. I am really wanting to try the Indian ice cream place now–and all of the yummy-smelling Central American restaurants that we passed on Mission.

Full of pizza and ice cream, Normen and I decided to walk back to his apartment (almost three miles away) instead of taking MUNI. Walking in the city is the best, especially at night. We walked through the quite neighborhoods along Church, looking in to the little restaurants, closed stores, and people’s windows. Once again, I find that the best conversations happen during long walks.

I love San Francisco more and more every time that I am there. With each restaurant that I try, pretty house that I see, and new neighborhood that I discover, I fall in love more. I am thinking more seriously about finding a way to move up there, even with my school plans. Tonight I so wanted to be able to walk back to an apartment in the city instead of having to drive an hour back to San Jose. I’ll be back soon for the metrblogging meetup.

Pandora, great. last.fm and Mog, meh.

I love music (like anyone hates music). I love downloading and listening to music on my computer. But I don’t have time to deal with another profile and another community just for music. I am not into it that much. I have been a huge Pandora fan for about a year, and I love the latest enhancements for discovering new music. I love the tie-in with iTunes and the simplicity of it all. I really have found tons of new musicians because of it.

I have been on last.fm for while, but all that I use it for is to post my lastest music on this blog. I like that it tracks everything that I listen to on iTunes because I am a stats junkie, but I don’t really have any use for this information. And they keep changing their UI, which is constantly confusing.

Rob is a big Mog fan, so I tried to check that out, but it is just too much work get that set up (unlike Pandora, where you are in business after adding just one song you like). Plus the Mog client thingie I downloaded totally caused weirdness and never worked right.

So what I really want it to be able to add contacts a la Yelp to Pandora so I can easily go to their profiles, listen to their radio stations, and see their bookmarks. The profile pages are pretty good and keep getting better–I just need to be able to easily get to them.

Here is my Pandora profile page with my radio stations and favorite artists and songs. Since the bookmarking feature is fairly new, well not that new I realize, I haven’t really used it yet, but I plan on slowly adding my favs. Oh, I also have my music page here on this blog, but it needs some work.

Teasers

I know that I haven’t been posting as often as I usually have. I really have been wanting to, but between writer’s block and lots going on, I just haven’t been able to get anything finished. Because I love you all, especially my readers from back in the MySpace days as well as my new readers, I’d thought I’d give you some teasers for what is to come:

  • Geek dating tips. All of the communication methods out there (IM, email, blogs, SMS) are really to the geek’s advantage when it comes to dating geeky girls. However, there are some simple rules that must be followed to avoid the creep factor and to avoid ending up here.
  • Transparency and openness online. I had some interesting conversations lately with people like my big brother and mom about how much I talk about myself here. A good standard for me has been to not putting anything here that I wouldn’t want either of them to see.
  • Web 2.0 is the reality TV of the internets. Think about it. What do Real World and MySpace have in common? What do American Idol and this have in common?

Over on sf.metblogs, I have a few things planned as well:

  • Am I a wannabe hipster?A blog post about the Yelp party that I missed and some other comments floating around these days has made me do some introspection. Am I a hipster? Do I want to be? Am a trying to hard? Are kids like me just irritating the good folks of San Francisco?
  • Cook with James. My latest adventure in underground supper clubs and it was incredible. Imagine going to your favorite restaurant where you could run into the kitchen between courses, watch what they were cooking, ask a million questions, and take a million pictures. Pure foodie heaven.

DSC00622Lots of fun things coming up for me too:

  • I am going to a tequila party on Saturday, and we all know that
    Lauren + tequila + boys = guaranteed entertainment.
  • Next week I am off to Camp Biack Rock. It will be a weekend of seeing family and friends, hanging out by the lake and drinking beer. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Finally, just wanted to say congratulations to Matt Mullenweg. While the results are not yet final, Life in the hornline is predicting that Matt has won over Will in the first round of the Web 2.Ohh Hotties contest. I guess that there is a correlation between height and success after all (see Blink).