July 2008 archive

(14 entries)

July 29, 2008

An Ode To My Sister, On The Occasion Of Her Birthday, Which Was Yesterday

[to the tune of "Pour, oh pour the pirate sherry" from The Pirates of Penzance]

I really wanted this one to be picked.Now your birthday's finally fêted,
Hope your birthday was a blast
Sorry wishes are belated
Sorry that your birthday's passed.

I remembered two days prior
Months before, remembered too
On your birthday I was tired
So I didn't blog for you.

Let this be your filled-with-mirth-day!
Since I have forgot your birthday.

Hope that you are not enragèd
By this transgression of mine
Four and twenty, now you're agèd
Have a happy valentine's.

Sister, here's your birthday songy
Sorry I'm a scurvy knave.
Hope that you won't take this wrongly,
Of all my sisters, you're my fave.

srah | 4:52 PM
Tags: alfie, birthday, gilbert and sullivan, holidays, the pirates of penzance

July 23, 2008

I woulda called him Bill.

I am Without Computer at the moment. I could have been Without Computer for a whole lot more moments if I had actually wanted to go through the hassle of getting a computer loan through The University I Work At, which would have meant that the university would pay for my computer, then take it out of my paycheck little by little, interest-free, over the course of 3-36 months (depending on how I set it up).

This would have been the logical, rational approach to take. In fact, it is the logical, rational approach I probably should have taken sometime in the last year, but I am unwilling to spend money until I have to. In this case, that means that I waited until my computer broke down again to replace it, and means that I want a new computer, and I want it now. No waiting for great deals, no waiting four weeks for my computer loan application to be processed before I can even order it. Fortunately I do have enough savings to allow me the extravagance of paying out of pocket, although I am told that one should always have the equivalent of three paychecks saved up, and I am now down to maaaaaaybe two.

I recently parted rather painfully with enough money to replace my camera, and now I have even more painfully parted with enough money to replace my laptop. These things are only getting more expensive! I keep strategically parking in the hope that - since there seems to be a trend here of replacing increasingly high-cost items - my car will be felled by some insurance-worthy event like a tree falling on it.

So anyway, that's just an update on my computer situation. I am staying a little late after work these days to do computery stuff, but you don't realize how much you depend on the computer until it's gone. If I want movie times, I have to walk/drive up to the movie theater to see when it's playing! I have to depend on cookbooks for all of my recipes! I cannot spend an entire movie reading the IMDb and Wikipedia articles about it! Overall, though, it's not too bad... especially because it's summer (so there are other things to do) and my new laptop is ordered so the end is in sight!

Now to find exotic names for my new electronic babies...

srah | 4:56 PM
Tags: camera, electronics, hecate, isidore, laptop, money, the university i work at

Maw, she's blogging about tea again!

How not to drink tea:

  1. Wash teacup and spoon, which are still dirty from the last cup of tea that you drank, and probably rife with all kinds of bacteria.
  2. Fill electric kettle and set it to boil.
  3. When kettle boils, pour the water over the teabag.
  4. Allow to steep for a few minutes.
  5. Add milk, which goes delightfully well with this tea.
  6. Let tea cool on your desk.
  7. Go to meeting, forgetting about tea.
  8. Leave meeting to advise drop-in student.
  9. Return to desk; tea is now cold.
  10. Become ensaddened by cold tea.
  11. Microwave cold tea. This is never ideal, especially when the milk is already in there, but GOSHDARNIT, you MADE this tea and you're going to DRINK it!
  12. Accidentally put an extra 0 in the microwave time so you microwave it for 3:00 instead of 0:30.
  13. Leave the kitchenette and get involved in something else.
  14. Hear microwave beep and think, that seems like it took longer than 30 seconds.
  15. Discover that tea has boiled over and microwave is full of tea.
  16. Make a sort of combination scream/grumble noise.
  17. Give up, further ensaddened. Dump what is left of tea into the sink, clean out microwave, clean burned-on tea off cup.
  18. Refill electric kettle and boil water.
  19. Reuse teabag from before because it was your last Rooibos teabag and you saved it for a second cup, little knowing that you would never get to taste the first, so all you get is this second, inferior cup.
  20. Add milk.
  21. Put cup on table behind your desk and forget about it until it is lukewarm.
  22. Drink lukewarm second-cup tea rather than risking microwaving it again!
  23. Sigh.

srah | 4:42 PM
Tags: tea

July 21, 2008

Cuppa, cuppa everywhere, nor any drop to drink

I read this post a few weeks ago about tea samples and was intrigued. Never mind that I already have so much tea that my cabinet door doesn't quite close properly. Never mind that I still own teas I haven't tasted. Never mind that I still haven't found a really efficient way to dispose of loose tea once I've brewed it (I always end up with either leaves and tea dripping all over my trash bag or a sink drain full of leaves).

Never mind any of this. More tea must be obtained!

I shopped around at all the sites linked to in the article and was immediately overwhelmed by my options, gave up and forgot all about the whole thing until I was twittering about the ingenuiTEA teapot. A friend mentioned that Adagio Teas (maker of said teapot) have a link rewards program and will send you a free ingenuiTEA set just for linking to their online store! Well, unfortunately, I don't have quite the Google PageRank to merit a whole teapot, but at PR 4, I am still eligible for some free tea!

This helped narrow the field of samples down a bit, so I decided to start with Adagio. They still had a ridiculously vast selection of teas, though, so it took me a while to settle on the teas I was going to try. Finally I decided to put to rest a long-standing question in my mind: What kind of mint tea do I like? In Israel (or indeed in many Middle Eastern restaurants in the US) I've had tea made with fresh mint, but have never known which variety of mint it was that I liked. So I sent away for a sample of Adagio's spearmint and peppermint teas so that I could do a side-by-side taste test (they also had the advantage of being some of the cheapest samples that I found on the site, although that wasn't my original motivation).

Now, on to the taste test!

KettleFirst, we must heat the water.
TeasThe tea tin tells me that the tea is supposed to be brewed for seven minutes in 180° water.
Kumar and Ryan ReynoldsI do not have a fancy tea kettle that can be set to different temperatures for different types of teas, so instead I use the highly scientific method of leaving the room while the kettle boils and going to watch Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle until I suppose an adequate amount of time has passed for the temperature to drop to 180°. Mmmm, Ryan Reynolds.
TeasSpike the punch and take a sip Open the teas and take a sniff! The spearmint smells like Wrigley's Spearmint gum. I hadn't made the connection between the mint and the gum before, somehow. (There is a little less in the peppermint container, because I cheated and had a cup before the official taste test, which had to wait until I got my new camera.) I think I like the smell of the peppermint better.
Tea strainersI do not have two of the same strainers, so I used one of each. I don't think it affected the flavor too much. I fully recognize that cup-by-cup is not the proper way to brew tea, but heck if I'm gonna drink two pots of mint tea tonight. So there.
CupsCups are very important. Do not forget the cups! Otherwise, you will have a mess on your hands.
Spearmint teaThe spoon was a little big for the tin, so I ended up just pouring it...
Tea in tea ball... into the strainers.
Pouring the water inAdd the water!
Harold, NPH and KumarThe tea needs to steep for SEVEN minutes! So you have some time to watch Neil Patrick Harris being creepy!
Tea!Ding! Fries are done! Tea is done! The color of the peppermint and the spearmint is pretty comparable, at least according to this picture. In person, I thought the spearmint was a little darker, but that could have been based on the lighting, on slightly different amounts of tea, or on the straining receptacle used.
Smelling the teaSmell the delicious aroma. Once again, I find the smell of the peppermint tea more appealing.
Blowing on the teaDon't burn your mouth! Blow on the tea first! I recently advised a twoish-year-old to blow on his food if he thought it was too hot, and he basically just spit all over it. Fortunately I am a laaaaaayyyydeee and know how to properly cool my beverages. It does sort of look like I'm spitting, though, doesn't it? There's no helping that.
Tasting the tea Drinking the teaNext, I eat the banana, thereby disarming him. Next, we taste the teas. Surprisingly, although I preferred the smell of the peppermint tea both in leaf and brewed forms, I prefer the flavor of the spearmint tea. The peppermint is a bit too astringent, if that is a word that can be properly applied here. It reminds me a bit too much of mouthwash, and even seems to leave my mouth tingling in the same way that mouthwash does. The spearmint has a much more subtle and drinkable flavor.
Thumbs-upsrah gives the spearmint tea a thumbs-up! (Peppermint gets sort of a "meh".) I'm still not sure if either of them really reminds me of the tea I had in Israel, but maybe they make it differently (I do remember on at least one occasion being offered a regular Lipton teabag along with my mint leaves), or use a whole different kind of mint, or maybe it's the difference between dried and fresh mint.

Next I want to try the Cream, Oriental Spice or Masala Chai and Irish Breakfast AND I have to decide whether I want the black, green, herbal or flavored free sampler (of course, there is no overlap between the samplers and the individual flavors I want to try!). Eventually I'll have to get around to trying the samples from one of the other stores, but there's still so much to taste at this one! (I'm not purposely approaching tea stores in alphabetical order, but I think I may try Arbor Teas next, because they're located in Ann Arbor.)

If you would like to give Adagio's teas a try, I can send $5 gift certificates to anyone who's interested. Just let me know!

srah | 12:08 PM
Tags: tea

July 15, 2008

So make the Bad Horse gleeful, or he'll make you his mare

I watched/listened to the delightful Neil Patrick Harris-starring musical superhero show Dr Horrible's Sing-Along Blog (main link | iTunes) four times this morning between 6am and 9am. I think I may have a problem. I will probably just keep playing it over and over again in a background tab and use it as the soundtrack for my day all day today.

This is only the third thing that I've seen Felicia Day in, but I am noticing patterns that can only be described... in Venn diagram form!

Felicia Day Venn diagram

I feel that there must be SOMETHING at the center of that diagram. Only time will tell. Two more days until the next installment!

srah | 12:25 PM
Tags: dr horrible's sing-along blog, felicia day, tv

July 12, 2008

Seven Songs

I have a huge backlog of blog posts in the works, both the simple and mematical. So here's yet another meme, this time via Gretchen:

List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re not any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now, shaping your summer. Post these instructions in your blog along with your 7 songs.
  1. "Standing Next to Me", The Last Shadow Puppets
  2. "Oxford Comma", Vampire Weekend

    Songs #1 and #2 have something in common: I saw the videos on YouTube before I heard the songs anywhere else. And I saw the videos (as well as this one, which came out several months ago) just because they were directed by Richard Ayoade. And so, in my ongoing insane fantasy that if only we somehow had an opportunity for our paths to meet, Richard Ayoade and I would, of course, fall madly in love with each other I must support my future boyfriend's endeavours by watching these videos on YouTube over and over all summer. Turns out that he has pretty good taste in music and talent in music video-directing.
  3. "Fill My Little World", The Feeling

    I actually bought a CD last week (I've asked for and received some as gifts, but haven't actually bought a whole CD in probably at least three years). It was this one. Good CD.
  4. "It Only Takes a Moment" from Hello Dolly!

    I came home from seeing WALL-E and hunted down this song, which I've been listening to over and over since then.
  5. "Oh My God", Lily Allen

    When I hear the chorus, I always think, "This would be good backing music for a video promoting study abroad."
  6. "Goodbye Girl", Squeeze

    Micah brought up Squeeze at some point and was looking for a remix of this song. In hunting for it, I got to hear the regular version over and over again and while up to this point it had not been one of my favorite Squeeze songs, it is this summer.
  7. "The Bakery", Arctic Monkeys

    I think it's about unrequited love, and how if two people's paths would cross, they would have the opportunity to fall in love. But they don't. *cough*RichardAyoade*cough*.

srah | 9:51 AM
Tags: memes, music, richard ayoade

July 10, 2008

The Random Lyrics Game

Via Jamelah, we have another meme. I'm not sure if I've done this exact one before, but I've certainly done similar ones. The rules this time:

  1. Put your mp3 player or music player on your computer on random.
  2. Post the first four lines from the first 20 songs that play, no matter how embarrassing the song (Skip repeat artists).
  3. Post and let everyone you know guess what song and artist the lines come from.

Readers, leave your guesses in the comments. Some will be super easy, but try not to cheat by Googling!

Lyrics are after the jump. I have taken liberties in some places with what the "first four lines" are (for example, the actual first four lines of #5 just consist of the title of the song plus "Ohhhhh," so I thought that was a little easy and skipped ahead to the verse).

srah | 9:26 PM
Tags: lyrics, memes, music

Like all women, she's shoe-mad.

The advantage of having an overactive imagination is that I am well-prepared for almost any eventuality, no matter how preposterous. I will have you know that I have many courses of action plotted out just in case I accidentally kick my shoe off while walking and as it flies through the air, it happens to fall into a storm drain. And if my shoe gets stuck in the train tracks just as I hear the train start to whistle and the railroad arms start to come down, I will give one more tug, then give up and leave the shoe behind as I flee, one-shoed, to safety.

Most of my anxiety and paranoia seems shoe-related. Maybe I should start going barefoot.

srah | 8:27 PM
Tags: fears, imagination, shoes

Join us next week for another installment of...

On the fourth of July this year, my family went for an after-lunch walk (at 4pm or whenever it was that we finished eating lunch. Srahfam cares not for your "traditional" eating "times".) We walked over to one of the 8,000 Borders stores in Ann Arbor, did a little shopping, then headed home.

On the way back, we started swapping stories of dorky or pointless things that my family has done, which I titled, in a powerful radio drama announcer's voice, "EXPLOITS... OF THE [srahfam] FAMILY!" Alfie was annoyed that I kept loudly announcing, "EXPLOITS... OF THE [srahfam] FAMILY!" as we walked along the street.

Just after I had roared it again while we crossed Packard (most likely with some kind of expressive, dramatic arm movement, although I couldn't swear to it), a voice called out, "Hi, [srahfam]s!" We turned around and there was our across-the-street neighbor in one of the cars stopped at the light. My sister was, for some reason, mortified, as though our neighbor had not seen us do even stupider things through the years, like attempting to sell "lemonade and artwork" on our lawn extension or dressing up in costumes or - stupidest of all - posing for Christmas pictures on the front step.

On Sunday in Adrian (about an hour away from Ann Arbor), as we were walking from our car to the theatre, Alfie and I did some other damned fool thing... likely quoting songs from 1776 to each other or debating some aspect of colonial-era history or professing our love for Dr Lyman Hall (actually that's just one of us, and I am not going to disclose which one). I recognized how dorky we were being by, once again, breaking into my radio voice and announcing another thrilling episode of "EXPLOITS OF THE [srahfam] FAMILY!" She looked around suspiciously and complained, "Stop doing that! Now I think every time you say that, our neighbor is going to show up!"

Oh Alfie. If you think that every time I embarrass you in public one of our neighbors is going to arrive just in time to see it, you are sorely mistaken. We do not have nearly as many neighbors as I have opportunities to publicly humiliate you.

srah | 5:17 PM
Tags: alfie, srahfam

July 8, 2008

Such a well-rounded individual with so many varied interests

It's summer and there's no TV to watch. (Except hey, did you know the cast of The Office is playing Celebrity Family Feud tonight against the cast of American Gladiators?) So in these sad days when Celebrity Family Feud is the most exciting thing on, let's revisit TV as once we knew it, because I am a boring person who has no other interests outside of TV and therefore I am unable to blog about anything else.

These are my favorite episodes of some of my favorite shows:

  • Favorite episode of 30 Rock (easy): Tracy Does Conan. ("Blue man! You’re going to tell me my feet stink?... Blue man! Blue man, where your feet at?")
  • Favorite episode of The Office (easy): The Injury
  • Favorite episode of How I Met Your Mother (easy): Slap Bet
  • Favorite episode of The Simpsons (pretty easy): 22 Short Films About Springfield
  • Favorite episode of The Mighty Boosh (not as easy): The Nightmare of Milky Joe
  • Favorite episode of Corner Gas (hmmmm): Happy Campers. I am not totally certain about this, but it DOES have the "good hair day" jingle and Davis's excessive enthusiasm for camping.
  • Favorite episode of The IT Crowd (hmmmm): I'm gonna go with The Work Outing
  • Favorite episode of Flight of the Conchords (getting harder¹): Girlfriends? It's hard to choose. Foux de fa fa!
  • Favorite episode of Lost (even harder): maybe The Other Woman, just for the ham and the dinner rolls and "You're mine!"
  • Favorite episode of Arrested Development (hardest of all): It's so hard to choose just one, because one of the reasons the series is funny is because of the running gags and jokes that build and build across episodes. I'm gonna go with The Immaculate Election, because it's got ¡Steve Holt!, the heavy-handed GOB/!Steve Holt! foreshadowing, Mrs Featherbottom and the Star Wars tape. If only it had an appearance from Barry Zuckerkorn or The Literal Doctor!

What are your favorite episodes?

¹ That's what she said.

srah | 5:29 PM
Tags: 30 rock, arrested development, corner gas, flight of the conchords, himym, lists, lost, the it crowd, the mighty boosh, the office, the simpsons, tv

July 7, 2008

Fin, enfin! (vendredi, en MUCHO retard)

Language WeekJe suis la pire fondatrice de la Semaine des Langues! Pourquoi ai-je mis le dernier jour de la Semaine des Langues au quatre juillet, jour de l'Independence des États-Unis? J'ai été très occupé ce week-end, et je n'ai pas passé beaucoup de temps devant l'ordinateur. Alors aujourd'hui, de retour à Srahtown, j'ai enfin rien d'autre à faire et je peux écrire l'article final de la Semaine.

Je vous remercie, tous les participants, et j'éspère que vous y participerez l'année prochaine aussi!

Les participants:

Les articles de vendredi: Dites-moi si vous avez écrit un article pour la Semaine des Langues!

srah | 10:57 PM
Tags: in french, language week, memes

July 4, 2008

Guten Abend, Englander scum, ein ZWEI! (Donnerstag, a little late)

Language WeekMy grandmother grew up in Germany. In college, my mother studied abroad in Central Europe one summer and visited Germany and Austria. I took four and a half weeks of German in middle school. Last year my parents had a delightful German exchange student living with them. Although I never really studied it, German was always sprinkled into language around the house.

And yet ich kann nicht sprechen Deutsch.. I have picked up phrases and words here and there - not enough to actually communicate in the language, not enough to use without embarrassment in front of actual German-speaking people, but just individual German and Germglish phrases that we use around the house like Wie viel kostet, bitte? and Raus! (sp?) and Schlag! (which is apparently Austrian-German, but not German-German for "whipped cream").

When we went to church on Christmas Eve, my sister and I would take advantage of any hymn that had the German lyrics as well as the English ones (particularly Stille Nacht). Who says you have to sing the same lyrics as everyone else? (In later years we would print out French, Spanish, Chinese and Arabic lyrics to bring with us as well.)

Marie and her elephant earWhen Marie was here last year, we taught her more appalling English ("jerkface", "you're fired") than she taught us German, but we picked up a few very useful German words here and there. I told her that I wanted to have a dachshund named Gewurtstraminer and she said hers would be called Großmuttersapfelkuchen, but we both agreed that the best name for a dachshund would be Dudelsack. At one point we were talking about platypi and she didn't understand what we were talking about ("It's an animal from Australia with fur and a beak!" "Are you making fun of me?") so I looked it up in Wikipedia, clicked on the German article, and found out that the German word was Schnabeltier. She still didn't know what we were talking about, but at least we had a German article for her to learn about them.

Anyway, that's about the extent of my German. I've often thought that I should actually make an attempt to study the language of my ancestors, but it's so much easier to just speak English with an appalling German accent, as Hugh Laurie has taught us:

Die Artikel vom Donnerstag: Sag mir, wenn Sie schrieb einen Artikel für Sprache Woche Heute!

srah | 9:07 AM
Tags: in german, language week, memes

July 2, 2008

Al-Ordoun jameel fi al sayf (yom al-arbaa)

Language Weekصديقتي ستيفاني هي في الأردن هذا الصيف. هي تدرس اللغة العربية في الجامعة الاردني. انا لن دراسة اللغة العربية في العام المقبل ، ولكن اريد ان اذهب الى الأردن الصي المقبل.

Wednesday's posts (I don't know how to say that in Arabic): Tell me if you wrote a post for Language Week today!

[click below for translation]

srah | 6:15 PM
Tags: in arabic, jordan, stephanie

July 1, 2008

J'y gagne, à cause de la couleur du blé (Mardi)

Language WeekJ'ai commencé un article en arabe aujourd'hui, mais l'arabe me fait mal à la tête et je suis trop fatiguée pour y continuer. Demain l'arabe, alors!

Comme je suis fatiguée, je ne vais même pas vous dire quelque chose d'originale - je vous lis deux extraits du Petit Prince. Et en plus ce sont des extraits que j'ai déjà écrit sur ce blog. La paresse!

Les articles de mardi: Dîtes-moi si vous avez écrit un article pour la Semaine des Langues aujourd'hui!

[click below for translation]

srah | 10:45 PM
Tags: in french, language week, memes, the little prince

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