Monthly Archives: October 2006

Reasons to blog

I just got back from the WITI conference, where I got the questions “Why do you blog?”and “Should I blog?” I am a big fan of blogging, so here are some reasons that I think people should blog. If you have a blog, please add to the list! If you don’t, maybe these are some reasons to encourage you to start one. Of course, I don’t think that everyone has to blog, or you are not as cool or geeky if you don’t have a blog. These are just some ideas if you are wondering what the deal is with this whole blogging thing.

  • Express yourself. We all have an urge to express ourselves, and blogging is a simple way to get part of who we are out into the world.
  • Practice writing. Even if you aren’t a professional writer or want to be a writer, everyone needs to write well to be successful. Blogging is a great way to get yourself to just write on a somewhat regular basis. It doesn’t matter what you write about. The act of writing, in a format other than an email or IM, is good practice. There are no rules about what your blog has be to about or a style that it has to conform to, so you can write narratives about your life, write critiques about other blogs or books, explain your position on an issue, get others charged up about something that you are passionate about, or just complain about the world.
  • Get feedback on your writing. Blogs are interactive. People will tell you what they think, especially if they hate what you write or if they feel a personal connection to what you write. You might not get this feedback in comments in the blog itself. People who I didn’t even know read my blog will tell me “I tried that recipe and it was great” or “You are really full of youth angst, aren’t you?” Feedback, whether you agree with it or whether it is positive, is inevitable (so expect it!) and a good thing.
  • Improve your personal SEO. Blogs, since they are updated regularly, are going to increase the number and relavance of hits when people Google you. And people are Googling you, so you should care. Have some control over what people find.
  • Become rich and famous. There is a chance that people will love your blog, you’ll attract a devoted following, and you’ll make so much money on the ads on your blog that you can retire early and be mobbed by fans every time you walk out the door. It is a small chance, but other people have done it, so you might as well try too.

Lazy girl’s chicken

Since I am eating a little bit of meat these days (although mostly fish), I picked up a chicken at Trader Joe’s, and I am cooking it up on this quiet Sunday evening.

People are always impressed when I pull out the homemade stock, but really, it is just a bonus when I make chicken. I like cooking it this way because it is easy and hard to screw up, and then I have chicken broth to freeze and use later for soups, and shredding chicken to use for salads/lunches/whatever throughout the week. If you don’t care about fancy presentation or the skin, this is the way to go. Oh, and it makes the house smell sooo good!

I learned how to do this from Michael Chiarello back when he was on PBS, before he moved to Food Network. I really loved his old show because it was really about easy techniques and not specific recipes. It was a nice balance to America’s Test Kitchen.

Lazy girl’s chicken

In a big dutch oven, add and cover with water:

* 1 whole chicken, rinsed
* a few carrots, chopped coarsely
* a few celery stalks, chopped coarsely
* an onion or two, chopped coarsely
* a few bay leaves
* some salt

Simmer for about an hour. Turn off heat and let chicken sit in the broth for about another hour (keeps the meat from being dry).

For the meat: Remove chicken, cool, and shred meat.

For the broth: Strain the broth and put it in a big bowl in the fridge. The next day or whenever you get a chance, scoop off the hardened fat and the broth is ready to go. I usually freeze some of all of it.

Weekend time!

It is the weekend and I don’t even have that sense of relief that I normally have. There is just too much going on right now and too much up in the air. And I haven’t made much progress as far as getting on top of my chores and simplifying my life. But I am going to continue to work on that.

My big accomplishment for the day was that I finally bought tickets to go visit my dad for Thanksgiving. A few weeks ago, tickets to Colorado were over $350, so I was worried that I was going to have to pay $500. But I found a direct flight from San Jose to Denver for $320! Travelocity comes through again.

I am heading up to the city tonight for a party, and I am trying to get excited about it. I am sure the party will be fun, but I am more in a PJs-and-a-movie mood right now. Fridays are normally like that. Then I can sleep in on Saturday and be ready to go for Saturday night.

Sunday is the beginning of the WITI conference. I am not a big fan of female-focused events, but since work is paying for it, I guess I’ll go, even though I’ll have to give up my Sunday afternoon. See? Don’t I have a great attitude right now?

I am hungry, and that isn’t helping the situation. I have been looking at restaurant reviews on Yelp this afternoon, and so I am craving falafel like nobody’s business. I must make it to Falafel Drive-In this weekend.

UPDATE: Another big accomplishment! I finally mailed Laura’s books to Germany and Mom’s clothes and pottery to Florida! And I now know where the post office is! And I found a really great cafe in the process! (Ok, maybe my mood is improving a bit…)

My work personality

I just filled out the application for 24 Hour Fitness, and as part of that, I took at really fast 50-question personality test (Drake P3), and the results are suprisingly accurate. Some excerpts:

  • You tend to be motivated by daily challenges
  • You can be frustrated when vague answers are given to direct questions
  • You associate with a diverse group of people
  • Maintaining focus on more routine tasks may be a challenge for you
  • You work for reasons beyond money or status
  • You are proficient in both maintaining relationships and networking
  • Because you prefer to maintain a balance between work and relaxation, you may not be as concerned about extremely high levels of achievement

I cook the most random things…

…like what I made tonight. I went to the store twice to buy things (including the missing 9×13 pan) that I forgot for the Blondies I promised to bring to the guys at work tomorrow. Then I realized that I needed something to eat other than the yam I microwaved when I got home from the gym. So this is what I came up with, given the random stuff I had in my fridge:

Tofu and cauliflower with curry peanut sauce

  • 3 oz. high-protein firm tofu (from TJ’s. love it!)
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into flowerettes
  • 1 t. oil
  • 1 t. fish sauce
  • 1/2 t. green curry paste
  • 2 T chunky peanut butter
  • 1 T soy milk
  1. Slice tofu int 1/4″ slices, sprinkle with salt, and brown on both sides in non-stick pan with oil over medium high heat. Drain tofu on paper towels.
  2. Add cauliflower to empty pan and brown slightly. Add fish sauce and a few tablespoons of water, cover, and cook until cauliflower is tender.
  3. Mix together soy milk, curry, and peanut butter (microwave to soften PB if necessary). Return tofu to pan with caulifolower and add curry sauce. Add a few tablespoons of water if necessary, cover, and cook for a few minutes. Serves 1.

It’s pretty good, I must say. I am munching on it as I type. At first, I wasn’t sure, but it is growing on me, and tastes even better as it cools a bit.

It is much better than the creation from last night that started ok: tofu and farmer’s market veggies (onion, sweet red peppers, and summer squash). I added honey based on a recipe, and then it went downhill when I added lime juice, paprika, red chili powder, and finally way too much tumeric. They can’t all be winners.

(I just checked the blondies, by the way, and they are way overcooked after only 40 minutes! I am so upset. I think it must be the fancy New Zealand butter that I bought at Milk Pail.)

What does Oliver want?

Yet another bulleted rundown of my goings ons:

  • I went to Milk Pail in Mountain View on Friday and actually bought something this time. Pressure is mounting at work for a repeat of my blondies, so I bought unsweetened coconut, and I found the Guittard white chips that Cook’s Illustrated recommends. Let me just say, they are as good as the magazine says, and I am completely addicted to them and can’t stop nibbling on them. After Milk Pail, I hung out in a coffee shop waiting for traffic to die down before heading south. There is no getting around the bad traffic on 85 and 101, and that has me worried a bit.
  • I took some instructor classes in San Ramon for 24-Hour Fitness. They were really good and I liked everyone there, despite the high former-cheerleader ratio. And boys, you missed out: a bunch of aerobics instructors practicing the strip-tease routine is as good as it sounds. They even have a disco ball and turn down the lights in that club’s aerobics room. I start the employment process this week and I have been offered my own step class as soon as I am ready! Pretty soon, it will be official and I really will be an aerobics instructor.
  • Since I was up in San Ramon, I thought I’d just spend Saturday night in the city with Normen. So for the first time I had to battle crossing the Bay Bridge into SF. I don’t recommend it. Even on a Saturday afternoon, it took forever. Once I got there, we went to dinner, did some shopping, went to a party, and listening to a lot of Depeche Mode, prompting the question: “Oliver wanted…Oliver needed…” what??

A year in blogging

I was skimming through my old MySpace blog (the gateway blog), and I realized that I have been blogging for over a year! When I look back on it all, I really have written a lot, and almost all of it from sitting in this same chair.

Here’s a little walk down memory lane:

Other than that, there are tons of posts about going out, music, food issues, dating, San Francisco, and whining about work.