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What to do with ripe bananas?

Mister Mistoffeles
It seems I wrote my last post just in time! I went on to Google yesterday and the doodle for the day was a depiction of a scene Swan Lake, and had been created with the SF Ballet. Turns out yesterday was Tchaikovsky's 170th birthday!

But moving on, today is cooking!


So I have been making lots of banana bread lately - some of you have had to endure firsthand my need to get rid of old bananas. I never seem to eat them fast enough.

Anyway, I discovered that, as much as I hate to admit it, the recipe for lowfat banana bread (given in an earlier post) is not as good when you only use nonfat yogurt. You need some butter - as long as you use the minimal amount acquired by the recipe, I can't tell the difference. But maybe its the nuts too, that made it better - I always used to leave those out.

For a topping, I chopped up blackberries and tangerines and mixed them with whipped cream.

However, after we finished the second loaf, the first one a double recipe, my father has no interest in seeing another loaf of banana bread. What else do you do with overripe bananas?

I have trying to drink a lot of banana milk shakes. In the blender: two bananas, three tablespoons of sugar (I have a sweet tooth) and filling the container just under halfway with milk - also four ice cubes. I had to learn patience to let the blender run for a while - I always stop it too soon, and then the milk and banana separate, or sometimes I even end up with some banana chunks. I also like to add a dollop of fat free chocolate sauce.

On my father's birthday, I cleaned, and I got my Dad Ralph Nader's new novel, Only the Super-rich Can Save Us! I cannot recall what we did about dinner, but I made a lemon pudding cake for desert. It's really light and fluffy - I could probably eat a whole cake in one sitting. The bottom is supposed to be creamy/moist (at first I thought it was underdone).

Baked Lemon Pudding Cake
Ingredients: 
  2 tablespoons butter (no-fat or low-trans fat margarine can be substituted) 
  6 tablespoons Splenda® - I only used regular sugar
  6 tablespoons super-fine granulated sugar 
  2 large eggs 
  1/3 cup lemon juice 
  Zest from one lemon, finely chopped 
  1/2 cup unbleached flour 
  1 1/4 cups low-fat milk - I used nonfat milk
  Powdered sugar 
Preparation:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch pie dish with cooking spray.
2. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter or margarine well with an electric mixer. Add the Splenda®and sugar and beat well.
3. With an egg separator, separate the eggs; save the egg whites in another mixing bowl.

Add the yolks to the butter mixture one by one

gradually add the lemon juice and lemon zest

The batter will look like lemon frosting at this point.


Slowly add the milk to make a thin batter. Set aside.
4. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they are stiff with an electric mixer.

Gently fold the egg whites into the lemon mixture.

Pour the batter into the prepared pie plate.
5. Place the pie plate into the preheated oven and bake 30 to 40 minutes. Remove the pie plate from the oven and allow the pudding cake to cool. Dust top with powdered sugar if desired and/or serve with fresh sliced strawberries. 
Yield: 6 servings 
Nutritional Information:
Per serving (without strawberries and whipped cream): 170 calories, 5 g protein, 24 g carbohydrate, 6 g fat (3.3 g saturated fat, 2 g monounsaturated fat, 0.4 g polyunsaturated fat), 83 mg Cholesterol, 0.4 g fiber, 83 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 32%.

We didn't celebrate Valentine's Day. I could have sworn I made a desert for Easter,and I think it must have been Mint Chocolate Snowballs, my new favorite cookie to make, because I cannot recall making anything else.

Chocolate Mint Snowball Cookies
Ingredients:
  3/4 cup whole-wheat flour 
  3/4 cup unbleached white flour - I only used regular flour
  1 teaspoon baking powder 
  1/4 teaspoon salt 
  1 cup mint-flavored, semisweet chocolate morsels (like Nestle Toll House)* - I just used regular chocolate and added mint extract
  3 tablespoons fat-free sour cream 
  3 tablespoons canola oil 
  1/3 cup granulated sugar 
  1/3 cup Splenda - again, I only used regular sugar
  1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  1 large egg (use a brand higher in omega-3s, if available) 
  2 tablespoons egg substitute or 1 egg white, beaten slightly - I just added 3 eggs
  Powdered sugar 
Preparation:
1. Combine flours, baking powder, salt; set aside.

Melt chocolate chips over low heat in microwave or in a small nonstick saucepan. - I don't know why they suggest microwave here, because if you melt chocolate in a microwave it will burn. You have to melt it with indirect heat in a double boiler, or a bowl inside a larger saucepan full of water.


2. In large mixing bowl, beat sour cream and canola oil with sugar and Splenda. Add chocolate mixture and vanilla and beat to blend. Add egg and egg substitute and beat until smooth. Add flour mixture and beat only until blended. 




3. Split dough into fourths and wrap each fourth in plastic wrap. Freeze until firm (about 20 minutes.)




4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees - I used the time to clean the kitchen, and when I was done the dough was ready
Shape each portion of dough into about 10 (1-inch) balls, and place on cookie sheets that have been coated with canola cooking spray.

Bake for 10 minutes, watching carefully. Once the cookies are cool, dust the tops with powdered sugar, if desired.

Yield: 40 cookies (20 servings)
Nutritional Information: 
Per serving (2 cookies each): 100 calories, 2 g protein, 15 g carbohydrate, 4 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 1.2 g fiber, 60 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 36%.

Every Christmas, my mother used to make Mexican Wedding Cakes, or Sandies if you like, which were like round shortbread with walnuts, and since the end result looks the same, I feel like I've found a substitute.

The reason I have all the photos, is because I ended up doing the presentation I had to do for German class on baking Mint Chocolate Snowballs.

On Easter also, I died eggs, for the first time in years. They say the brown ones have a richer hue. Can you tell the difference?



Current Book: Cultural History: History and Theory, Anna Green

Quote of the day: "We should look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink." — Epicurus

Apr. 11th, 2010

Mister Mistoffeles
Hello everyone. Salut! Gruss dich! Bonjour. Guten Tag.

I know it has been a long time since I last posted. Mostly this is because I am taking French and German classes, but also because I am volunteering at the Museum of Performance & Design still, at the same time, while trying, of course, to find a job, celebrating birthdays and holidays, baking, seeing friends, cleaning etc, etc, etc - all those little things which make up a life (or would if I had one). So because I have a lot to cover, but I do not have the time to sit here and cover it all right now, and you do not have the patience to wade through my typically epic posts, I will cover it all in stages - a little bit at a time.

Today: the weather - as I am prevented from running today because of the rain. Has it been weird or just me? Way back in February I go out for a walk, and - I don't know what it was, the scent or the feel of the air - something just said it was Spring. It might have even been Groundhog Day. So we get some nice warm, sunny days with some nice, soft breezes. Not long after I am in the museum, and we are hearing thunder and the flash of lightning is noticeable even in our cubicles, so that the guy in the next cubicle, Eric, shouts out "It's the end of the world. David is talking about flood warnings for San Francisco, and the fact that he and his girlfriend bought special boots, since the water gets feet deep down this one street where he has to walk, and he ended up soaked up to his hips. Then its warm and sunny again. That is, its warm and sunny when I go into the museum - I come out, ready to bus over to the Foundation Center to do some research for one of my supervisors and its raining. I had to borrow an umbrella. It happened to me again to, only this time I was leaving the museum, and busing over to USF to do help Professor Olds with some research, so I couldn't borrow an umbrella. Then it happened to me yesterday, when I was walking to the post office - but by the time I go home again, the rain had vanished and the sky was blue again.

At least the reservoirs are filling up again.

Of course, as a result of the rain, this past winter everybody learned about the existence of Pacifica. I don't why the media was so fascinated by our eroding cliffs - for weeks the evening news was giving updates on the latest developments. My first day of German, we are going around the room introducing ourselves in German - Mein Name ist Nicole. When it gets to the where do you live part - Ich wohne in Pacifica. I am the first and only person the teacher asks a question of - she asks me how's the weather? As if the weather was that different between San Mateo and Pacifica. Then she suggests houses falling into the ocean - as if one cliff eroding in one part of Pacifica translates to the entire city falling into the ocean. As it was neither of the endangered apartment buildings actually began sliding down the cliffs, as has happened to some houses in previous winters. Every winter there are landslides - especially in an El Nino winter.

Anyway, people do not realize, but lots of interesting things actually happen in "P-Town," which get no media attention at all. I will not go into all the sordid details, since I know some of my friends are already leery, and I do not want to scare them away from ever visiting me again. It is totally safe for anyone who does not deliberately involve themselves in nefarious activities - as far as I know, no innocent bystanders have been hurt. However, yesterday alone I saw cops taking statements in front of a house on my run, and then a cop car came blaring down the street when I was on previously mentioned walk home from the post office - only to stop at the chain-link fence blocking access to the river. As I passed by I saw that the cop was talking to some kid sitting on the embankment - he mentioned missing classes, though I think it had more to do with having climbed over the fence and entering a restricted area (perhaps he got himself stuck?) than with truancy. In any case, you may say this is an example of cops having nothing to do, but on the bright side it makes them super responsive. Whatever complaint you may have, they are there immediately, taking your statement, and being totally serious and respectful about it too. There was that time we got kicked off the beach, for starting a bonfire, having not heard the new "no fires" rules. Any given night, there is always a fire on the beach. But we got ratted by a guy with a bug up his butt, who got upset when my Dad unloaded our old Christmas tree, scattering dead pine needles everywhere. Anyway, the cop that responded was totally apologetic and nice about it.

Quote of the Day: "You are never given a wish without being given the power to make it true. You may have to work for it, however." - Richard Bach

Current Book: No time to read

Jan. 25th, 2010

Mister Mistoffeles
 Happiest movies ever made:

Singing in the Rain
Stranger Than Fiction
The Producers

Tags:

Jan. 13th, 2010

kitty with a bad hair day

It's been a crazy few days. Showed up late at Anna's mother's party - sorry Anna! It’s my fault. I woke up late, and while I was posting here Dad comes in and tells me we're supposed to be at your house now, thinking I would have been ready.

I had my first day volunteering with Development at MPD on Monday. I collected stuff for the grant application for the Angels in America Exhibit. I had to watch the DVD, to locate two minutes with the angel in it, since we have the wings used in the original Eureka Theater production, and they will be the centerpiece of our exhibit. The last scene of Millennium Approaches when the angel converses with the dying Prior Walters, was exactly two minutes. Then I went through the archive file we had on the subject, and pulled (marked with slips of paper) several useful images of several productions which the Development Director listed for me – besides Eureka, the Broadway and ACT productions, as well as the HBO televised version. I spent the rest of the afternoon scanning.

Yesterday, I started the day figuring out the Xerox machine copying a very fragile very old newspaper article, trying to make it as large as possible so it is legible while still fitting on a page. I was working with Legacy, the oral history project. I helped put together a preliminary copy of the oral history of a pianist whose health is pretty bad at the moment, so that she probably won't last until the transcript is published. She has degrees up the wazu, and has adjudicated (her word) many auditions, including that for the San Francisco Opera's Merola Opera Program, a training program - *sighs* what I wouldn't give to get into that!

I got an hour break for dinner, and I went to the California Pizza Kitchen for a pear and gorgonzola pizza - which I want to try to make myself, by the way. While I sat at the bar, I watched the news about the earthquake in Haiti - up to a million dead? The guy behind the counter was quick to reassure me it's on a different tectonic plate - I must have looked worried.

When I came back we were gathering the last pieces of the preliminary transcript together and proofreading. I ended up being late to report to Tony for volunteering at the celebration that night for the Erik Tomasson Photography exhibit. His photographs are beautiful, if anyone wants to stop by the museum (it is free, and Rock N Roll is still up as well). He has to be a good photographer, to earn respect as the SF Ballet's photographer, given that he is the director, Helgi Tomasson's, son. Helgi Tomasson was our primary speaker for the evening, in fact. Furthermore, the Ballet was paying so the food was a lot nicer, proseco in addition to two kinds of wine, water - no mineral water though, vitamin water, biscotti, vegetables with spinach dip and an absolutely monumental wheel of cheese, a huge chunk of which I ended up just tossing in the garbage. Mimi, who puts our exhibits together, told me they forgot to put out the crackers, so we had to go on a cracker hunt - though why she comes to me, I do not know.

I was in charge of bussing tables, especially the tiny drop tables at both doors of the gallery, where food is not allowed. I walked back and forth gathering glasses all evening, getting more exercise in one night that I have gotten since I got out of school – my feet were killing me by the end of the evening, as I did not sit down once. It was damn near impossible to get through the crowds, given that anywhere between two and three hundred RSVPd, especially with my arms full of glasses. Some of the glasses still had stuff in them, but thankfully I only spilled wine on myself once.  You should have seen the dirty looks I got when I went around telling people the program would be starting soon, perhaps because my arms were full of dirty glasses, because I never felt more like "the help." Definitely a different crowd from the hippies who came to the opening of the Rock N Roll exhibit. When I ended up behind the bar, I had already poured a glass of red, and the guy says never mind, I want it in this glass. I hesitate - I had already dirtied a plastic cup, plus it is not polite to pour from one glass to another. He goes "Watch this," takes it from me, and pours it from his glass to his cup, as if I was an idiot. I did learn a lot - how to open a wine bottle, and that you are not supposed to chill red wine, for example. This time I did not get access to the program - last time I could hear the music in the hall.

Today, I had my interview to work for the Institute of Reading Development. I have all these great ideas, if I actually get my own class, but I am afraid this didn't come out really well. I am a terrible interview. I was so awkward, hemming and hawing.

Also, a spot opened up in that beginning jazz dance class I was on the wait list for, and I had till midnight tonight to register once and for all, but websmart was not letting me. A woman very kindly helped me fix the problem.

 


Jan. 10th, 2010

Mister Mistoffeles
So I was thinking on my walk yesterday that another whole era in my life is over, now that I have a bachelor’s degree. The college era is for me, not the beginning of the rest of your life, the start of a career, but a transition, and is thus characterized by confusion, questioning and the destruction of all you thought you know and was sure, and the failure to find something to replace it. It was a time when I realized how small and insignificant I am, and just how little I know. I realized my limits, and now they are scaring the shit out of me as I contemplate all I ever wanted to do with my life and just how little time I have to do it in.

I was all gung ho to go the musicology route, to become a musician for real, specifically to become an opera singer, and maybe later write operas or musicals, but now I am back to the anthropology route. Except if I ever want to be on stage I have to do that now, before my voice is gone. Opera singers never last long. So maybe I can put the anthropology thing off till later – when stage career is over.

In the meantime, of course, I have loans to pay off, and I am going nowhere, education-wise, until I have the money to do so. I applied for the public programs assistant position at the new Walt Disney Museum – an unpaid internship, unfortunately. I heard back and they have filled that position, but they like my resume and think I would be an asset, and so want to send me the other available positions for review. I heard back from the Institute of Reading Development, which pays $6000 to teach summer classes. They liked my resume, and chose me for an interview, this coming Wednesday. I have a whole bunch of material to review before then to prepare, so here’s hoping.

I start volunteering at the Museum of Performance and Design tomorrow. I have also applied for French, Jazz Dance and German classes at the College of San Mateo, but they were all full, so I am on the wait list. I will show up the first day and see what happens.

O, and yesterday I tried to get DRM Converter software yesterday – beware. I was directed from one page on how to burn movies from iTunes to a DVD that you can play in your DVD player to the necessary software, but it was for windows. I followed the link for Mac, except that was different software, only for music, so that I just spent forty dollars on nothing. It was an immediate download, so there is nothing to return. I emailed their support to see if there is some way I can make it work for movies, and since I purchased with PayPal, I filed a claim with the Resolution Center, and we’ll see if I can’t get a refund, or a program that will in fact do what I want. But I kept looking on the Internet, and I tried some free demos, and in general it looks like these software are not to be trusted, at least for Macs.

Otherwise, friends and I went to downtown San Mateo Thursday. B Street Books re-opened in a place cattycorner to Pete’s Coffee. I found two treasures, A Song of Love and Death: The Meaning of Opera and the Bloom’s Shakespeare Through the Ages volume of criticism for Julius Caesar, my favorite Shakespeare play, for only ten dollars. We also went to see Nine. In spite of what the critics said, I enjoyed it. It was complicated, with an open-ended ending – not an easy movie by any means. But the music, the dancing, the sets and the costumes were all awesome. Daniel Day Lewis is a genius, who played a very sympathetic Guido – I did get the sense that he was a confused little boy in a grown man’s body. For all his crimes against his wife, there was a sense of innocence around his character, like he was trying so hard to be good, and he couldn’t understand where he went wrong – something we can all relate to I think. I was a little said, however, that some songs were left out, namely one of my favorites The Bells of Saint Sebastian. I guess such is necessary turning a musical into a movie, but then they added some songs too, written just for the movie, so I do not understand how that works. Thought it is true that I like the new song Cinema Italiano. Plus I was upset that Nicole Kidman sang Unusual Way, my favorite song from that show, octaves lower that it was supposed to be sung – it’s a soprano song, not an alto song. It sucks, also, that Unusual Way is now out as an audition song, given that it was my favorite audition piece. Once it’s in a movie it cannot be done anymore, because everyone is going to be doing it, at least for a while, and it will get overdone. You always want to go into an audition with rare, or at least rarer, songs.

Still here

sleepy kitty
I saw this on my walk the other day, and thought it was symbolic of the times, in a good way - of all the things you would expect to be spray painted, Merry Christmas is not high on the list, and on a real estate sign too.

Sorry it has been so long. I finished my last to projects for school a week late, only on December 21st, after two nights without sleep, so I have been doing as little as possible, and sleeping as much as possible.
 
I continued to meet Professor Olds, to make sure I had translated the source she is working on correctly, as her research assistant, making the corrections in the database. I had one steady Latin student this past semester. Another needed me to proctor her midterm when she missed it. But something kept coming up and eventually she just stopped responding to my queries. I hope she got it sorted out with her professor. Only now do I actually have a Latin dictionary of my own, a graduation gift from Professor Claussen.

Mostly, however, it was my regular classes that took up all my time. We did not meet often for class, even though when we did meet it was for three hours. However, Professor Nasstrom probably assigned too many papers, given the need for one hundred hours of service, including The History Wars, read both for a debate in which I represented “The Press,” and for a paper, the topic of which we were only informed of after the fact. She gave me a C on my first paper and B on the third. Because I am a member of Alpha Sigma Nu, she gave me the opportunity to get out of the last paper, but I needed to boost my grade after those. She read a draft for me, ahead of time, and, having rewritten it, I ended up pulling an A- in the class. Anyway, my Tuesdays were totally given up to the internship. I mostly worked with the Legacy Oral History Project. I made a timelines to be included in the introductions to two oral history transcripts, Naomi Newmen and Jocelyn Vollmar, juxtaposing the major events in their lives with other major events, in the historical development of various areas. In the case of Jocelyn Vollmar, for instance, I got to research the San Francisco Ballet. It’s the oldest professional company in the United States. I researched candidates for oral histories as well, Krissy Keefer, co founder of the first feminist dance troupe and one who ran for Congress with the Green party, Terry Riley, who sparked the minimalist movement in music, Peter Coyote, an actor you all might know, having been on many famous and popular television shows, in addition to some known movies, and having done voice over work for popular documentaries, the Olympics and the Academy Awards, but he is better known in Europe, and he was also a founding member of the Diggers, an San Francisco anarchist group in the 60s, and Robert Cole, director of Cal Performances and representing the very intriguing position of arts presenter, in which he developed relationships with Peter Sellars, John Adams, Yo-Yo Ma and Mikhail Baryshnikov, among others, introducing Robert Lepage, Cecilia Bartoli, Herbie Hancock, Bryn Terfel and Ian Bostridge. I got to scan photos, and write to people for permission to use their photographs in a transcript. I got to drop off photographs and manuscripts at the copy shop. I got to help with mailings, of invitations and of donation requests. In the case of the later I ended up stuffing the envelope that went to Nancy Pelosi’s husband. I also was surprised to receive one of the letters myself. Then there was the evening I volunteered for the opening of the Rock N’ Roll exhibit. I served drinks. I had to teach the other volunteer at my station how to open a beer with the bottle opener, and I have never actually drunk a beer before! We ran out of wine, or rather we ended up without a wine opener. At one point, in the middle of the concert, I was clearing out the empty bottles, and they clanged very loudly – quite embarrassing. But it was fun talking to all the artists who ended up studying areas related to public history – the one sharing the table with me ended up getting her masters in museum studies, but she had a dance studio too. Another, with a degree in library science also was having her fashion designs exhibited at one point.
 
However, I think the biggest drain on my time was the Twentieth Century class. I reluctantly devoted an awkward evening to the dinner we had in lieu of our final class, at Professor Neaman’s house. It was just the professor and I in his car on the way over, and throughout the evening I felt like I did not have much to say to my classmates, and that in my attempts to help, with the dishes, or setting the table, or slicing bread, or preparing coffee, I was only getting in the way. We got to meet his daughter – she gave us a dance performance to “Friend Like Me” from Aladdin. Apparently cooking is a hobby of Professor Neaman’s, and he shared with us the secret ingredient to his pasta sauce – cinnamon. Throughout the semester, though, it was a lot of reading, which I felt I had to do all of, unlike previous semesters where I read selectively, even where I had to do a response for each reading, as was the case in this instance. However, it was more that I felt like I could not write less than a tremendous amount. At the end we were supposed to weave together our weekly responses, into one long piece, which ended up being about fifty papers, even eliminating as much extra stuff as I could, and my final paper was thirty pages, so that in that last week I ended up writing seventy pages. However, Professor Neaman does not care about deadlines so he was OK with it., when I turned them in a week late. I do not think I deserved the A I got on my second paper on existentialism in film noir, in particular. I did not finish that one in time for class either, but had to email it to him later that evening, in spite of spending two whole weeks on it, and pulling an all nighter that last night. In class that day we walked to a mausoleum, to look at the ways people wanted to be remembered, as exhibited in the way they designed the niches for their urns. Afterwards we sat together on the bottom floor again. The light hit one of the stained glass windows perfectly, a window of Jesus surrounded with light – it was pretty cool to see. There was something about the place that was extremely peaceful and I could just feel the tension melt away, and I just fell asleep. When I turned in the first paper, a book report on a book about Nietzsche, also, I had to pull an all nighter, and I did not even get to the reading for that week, so I had to fake the response.
 
Thanksgiving week when I had expected to get so much done, my final paper for my internship class gave me surprising difficulty, if mostly because I really didn’t want to be writing it, but my final piece for my Fiction class was even more unexpectedly labor intensive. I ended up doing a lot of research, so that days were spent just thinking, before research gave me the explanations for more and more of the elements of my story, allowing me to make more and more connections, and the details just came together, almost as if I had had them in mind the whole time. I resisting involving the mob for a long as possible, but the story just made its own demands. At least I know now that I can write, even if I feel the current piece is still not very moving yet – too cerebral. I also needed to attend two word nights for my fiction class. I only did not have to attend three because I read at one of them. A couple started fighting in the street behind me in the middle of reading my poem on a stool at the front of the cafe, really loudly, the man pounding the wall. The teacher complimented me on my composure, managing to keep going without pause – probably a result of my acting experience. When I attended my first word night, I had pulled an all nighter writing my final paper for Claussen’s class on The Fall of Nineveh Chronicle due the next morning – still wasn’t quite finished with it. In general it got to the point where I felt like going to bed at one in the morning was early, and four in the morning was a normal bedtime.
 
Thankfully, Professor Claussen let me out of the final, again thanks to membership in Alpha Sigma Nu. For Claussen’s class, we also got to see the Tut exhibit, at the De Young museum. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would, for all the bad reviews, though probably not as fun without a class that knew the material and a teacher giving information, many of the artifacts having been imaged in the power points that went with our lectures. I fact, I got to take over at one point, regarding the depictions of the gods and their roles. Finally, there was the final dress rehearsal for Il Trovatore, to which I was invited by Professor Amati-Camperi. I certainly didn’t notice that people were marking, even though it was a dress rehearsal. The witch had a particularly powerful voice, though the teacher felt she was off in places. I also enjoyed the tenor a lot. My professor loved the soprano. The sets were very cool, though I could not described they as “beautiful” – very existential, spare and dark.
 
I got my Dad and I tickets to Riverdance, for Sunday – one of my birthday gifts to myself. Dad complained about the seats I got – I didn’t get to pick seats on the isle this time. Then there was these kids – I think her parents were actually from Ireland, from their accents – who wouldn’t stop fiddling with this candy wrapper. I saw that they left other food garbage behind, as well – I wonder that no one told them no food in the theater. Dad also complained that the flamenco dancer was not dancing flamenco – it was some weird hybrid thing, with barely any feet and belly dancer hands. Worst of all, for my father, was that the dancer did not play her own castanets. Worst of all, for me, the flamenco music is a type of cante jondo, or deep song, which means it is music first, and dance second, specifically, it is an improvised vocal music first. Plus, need more clapping!
Firedance from Riverdance: www.youtube.com/watch
This one seemed more in keeping with tradition: www.youtube.com/watch
Or: www.youtube.com/watch
The Russian dancing was awesome, though, as something I am not very familiar with – there was a lot of aerial action. Then there was the awesome dance off with the tap dancers and a saxophonist against Irish dancers and fiddler. They mocked each other, with the tap dancers, for example, having one spin the other under his arm like ballerinas. Finally, there was a really interesting scene with a nymph and a satyr that was more like ballet than Irish dance.
 
Monday my father and I went to see Sherlock Holmes, in X-D. Don’t waste the money for the X-D experience – nothing special about it really. I loved the movie, though. The sets and costumes seemed pretty realistic – that is filthy and not overly romanticized. I particularly enjoyed being presented with a much more athletic and capable Dr. Watson. He was, after all, a soldier right out of the Afghanistan War, and we are always presented with this chubby old guy. Also the more obsessive, as in unconcerned with hygiene, and manipulatively acerbic Holmes, in the fashion of House. They’re both closer to the books, than the original movies, if still not spot on.
 
Tuesday I dropped off my computer to be fixed – the CD drive was jammed. They said it would be a week, but they called Wednesday and it was already fixed. The warranty ended December 2, but they still gave it to me, saving me $200. This after I had thought I lost my phone on my birthday, while in Borders. Poor Jennifer had to deal with me freaking out all afternoon. I swear I remember having it with me, putting it in my pocket, going up the escalator. Then Dad called and said he had it – it must have fallen out of my pocket, leaving the car. It makes me feel hopeful again, after the bank had taken our car, and we got a notice of foreclosure from the bank. The latter occurring, after Dad had waited in line from 10:00 am to midnight, without bathroom or food break, to talk to a NACA representative at the Cow Palace, and they were supposed to be taking care of everything with the bank – we did all they said, but they don’t seem to be doing much. Still, we’ve sent offers to the bank, and I think, now, that it will work out.
 
As for Avatar, the new white guilt flick, as they are calling them now, there were a lot of the old clichés from the white people meets indigenous people scenario:
For new years eve, Dad and I made pasta with white sauce:
We warmed up the store bought meatballs in oil.
We filled the pasta cooker with water, throwing in a handful of salt, and left it to boil.
We sautéed the onions in oil, until just before they were transparent.
Then we added milk – four cups I think – and cheese, with pepper, nutmeg, and just a pinch of salt, for a low fat white sauce.
Waiting for the cheese to melt, we dumped the pasta in the water – six minutes, since it was dried.
We mixed two table spoons of starch with just enough water and dumped it in the sauce
When it began to thicken, we added the meatballs.
I put oil in the bottom of the bowl before dumping the pasta in it and tossing it. Then we dumped in the sauce.
 
We watched The Proposal: really cute relationship, but the Bullock character’s confession scene was cliché and not very believable. We also watched Four Christmases, essentially no good at all.
 
In other housekeeping, they let me sign up to take the test again before school started. I ended up getting a perfect verbal score, a math score in the six hundreds or five hundreds (not unexpected), and a five on the essays. I am debating retaking it to try for a six on the essays. They ended up refunding the money for the test I missed too.
 
Here’s the rest of this semester’s quotes:
 
Professor Claussen:
“You don’t build camels, they appear magically out of wet hay or something”
“they’re like economists except they’re bad at math” – sociologists, I think
“I don’t know what they are now – I’m a historian”
“It’s those darn Egyptians that are giving them their problems there.” 
What does Henry VIII do? “he eats turkey legs!”
“Dear Yasmah, you are so dumb.”
“Our president insists we teach ethics in class . . . You’re in ROTC, right? Don’t torture prisoners of war.”
 
Professor Steinberg:
 “How would you like to live in the shadow of the semicolon.”
 
“Why are we bedazzling the phoenix?”

Quotes

Mister Mistoffeles
Taking a break from writing a story for my Fiction workshop - brief writer's block trying to figure out how to write a story with a business card and either a red scarf, an eye patch, a wooden Buddha, a knife, a pair of eye glasses or a note book.
Here are the latest funny teacher quotes, all from my fiction professor:
"I get text envy"
On collecting face book friends: "you're creating the audience to your funeral"
"there's that drunk man showing up in everyone's stories - I think its the result of living in San Francisco."

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Aug. 1st, 2009

Mister Mistoffeles
 Sorry - I know I disappeared again. I have spent every waking moment for the past two week studying for the GRE, which I was supposed to take at 8 am this morning - yes, 8 am - the bastards - they really are trying to torture us. Because of course that this means I had to get up at 6 am, to get ready and out the door and to south san francisco on time. This after I had been going to bed at the wee hours every night for the past few weeks, staying up unwilling to give up on getting that last bit of studying in. The past few nights I went to bed earlier in preparation, but I still ended up staying wide awake until the wee hours - I need to lay off the coffee.
Anyway, I show up at 8 am this morning. I had gone to the DMV for my appointment to get my ID renewed yesterday, knowing I would need to produce a valid photo ID (they don't take anything else) and mine had been suspended for some time. But of course, I wasn't thinking - of course it will take time for my new ID to get to me. So all I had was my receipt proving it had been renewed. I figured it would be something like you get when you get your permit - a pamphlet with photo and all - put know, it just details the nature of the transaction, essentially, with the cost and the statement declaring NOT A VALID ID printed across the top. Well, I showed up anyway, and produced both expired ID card and the receipt proving it had been renewed, along with birth certificate and social security card, and my student ID, and they still did not let me take the test - after all the work I had done, two weeks of my life wasted and $150 down the drain. The man was so rude! He didn't even try to work with me! Given the situation, that I was trying to take a test, for Christ's sake, not take out a loan, and the fact that I obviously was who I said I was, you would have thought he would have cut me some slack - damn, stupid bureaucracy.
Now the issue is that they do not let you take the test again in the same month, and if I cannot take the test before the semester starts I am going to have to take it without studying (because I won't have time) in the midst of my very crazy next semester, since grad school applications will be due December 15th (in the middle of finals) and we are required to submit GRE scores with our applications. I am going to try to fight it. I am also worried that a zero may show up on my record, since I didn't take the test I was scheduled to take - I need to make sure that no scores are submitted and the test as a whole is withdrawn. That may raise eyebrows *sighs*
If you hadn't noticed, I have hit panic mode as regards grad school. I met with one of my professors to see if he could help me, but the fact is I just cannot figure out what time period of history I want to specialize in - apparently that is more important than where, specifically, since I know i definitely want to do Europe. There was really nothing my professor could do to help me with that - he lent me some books to start with, but the ultimate decision is mine. I was just kind of hoping he could give me advice on a set of criteria or a process I could use to help. No go. So I guess I just have a lot of reading ahead of me - so TIRED. But both the professors who I have talked to about it in depth say that the entrance essay is a big part of getting into a grad program, and that in it one needs to be very specific about what one wants to pursue and why one thinks that is the place where one can best pursue it - a specific person one wants to work with, for instance.
And in the midst of all this we lost almost all our TV channels. The other day Dad was trying to upgrade our service and to include internet in that service. Then it turned out we were receiving more channels than we were supposed to be receiving - unbeknownst to us, I assure you. And then, about a week later, all of the sudden our channels were reduced to about thirty. We were pissed off enough, that we decided to do without them altogether. Done away with our credit cards, done away with our cable - slowly yet surely declaring our independence from corporate America! YAY!

Quote of the Day: "Here is a test to find out whether your mission in life is complete. If you're alive, it isn't." Richard Bach

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Mister Mistoffeles

Knowing so many of us are aspiring writers, this is a really interesting discussion about the publishing industry, and explains a lot about why I as a fangirl have had to struggle in pursuing my obsession and had to see it derided by the larger reading public - damn marketing!
Notes from the Labyrinth - publishing, series, fantasy, an announcement of a personal nature, and a big helping of wtf