Sunday, November 30

Butternut squash 'pie'

Had to use up a butternut squash before it went bad! I didn't want to forget the steps..

1. Pierce the squash and put it in a glass bowl 1/2 filled with water. Microwave until the squash starts to cave in a little.
2. Let cool slightly and then slice and squash into cubes. Discard seeds.
3. Mash squash with a little butter or margarine, stir in a tsp or two of honey, a few cranberries.
4. Stir into a pie pan and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar & plain cinnamon.
5. Cook at 350 for about 15 minutes covered.

Tuesday, November 25

Deep Blue Sea=Silliest Shark Movie Ever

Ok, not really. I'm sure that there are far sillier shark movies, but Deep Blue Sea is definitely on the list. Maybe even top 5.

More thoughts later on this recently re-watched disaster movie (disaster as in a disaster of a movie, and a movie including disasters). :)

Sunday, November 23

Gift Giving Quandry

It's getting to be that time of year again. I just updated my amazon wishlist, and I've already sneakily reminded quite a few people that anything and everything I want is easy found online.

I just gave my boyfriend an awesome present (he passed the bar! woohoo!), and am semi-relieved that I'm now off the hook for a Chanukah present. I'll probably bake some yummy things, but I don't think I'll be buying anything! That still leaves quite a few people on my list for the holidays. I have a cute little sister expecting a pile, a broke college student brother, plus a few friends scattered across the country.

Since I'm a little type A, I've already started making present lists..but it has also made me think a little about why I give gifts.

I really like giving people presents. Sometimes I can afford big gifts, and sometimes I have to resort to the kindergarten method (Look! I made you something!). I know some gift giving is kind of a consumerist culture induced reaction, but I hope that at least some of my enjoyment is because I'm nice and like when others are happy! I hope!

Anyway, being a poor graduate student has made me re-evaluate my gift giving a little. Maybe I do get too much enjoyment out of picking out things that cost money, just for the sake of giving a present. Instead of finding something unique or perfect, sometimes I give in and just get a DVD. If I'm going to spend so much of my time (school, work) etc. feeling proud of myself for helping others, maybe I need to take a little bit more time to figure out if I'm giving out presents to look nice, or doing it because I am nice.


Friday, November 21

I hope this woman goes to prison

I just finished reading this article in the NYtimes. I've been following the story for a while through various publications, but this is first time I've blogged about the case.

Basically, an adult convinced her teenage employee to help her make a fake myspace account and send hurtful messages to another local teenager (Megan). The woman on trial, Lori Drew, claims that Megan was spreading rumors about her daughter.

Lori Drew could have called Megan's mother to discuss the alleged rumors. She could have stopped by for coffee, or she could have even called the school to report the problem to the principal. Instead, this 40 year old woman decided to lure Megan into saying nasty things about her daughter while pretending to be a teenage boy on myspace.

When that didn't work, she convinced her employee to help her humiliate Megan by having their fictitious boy say horrible things after initiating an online friendship and flirtation. In their last message to Megan, they told her the world would be better off without her.

Megan responding by hanging herself in her closet.

I seriously can not believe this woman. What kind of person enjoys torturing a little girl? Even if Megan had spread rumors, was this the example Lori Drew wanted to set for her daughter? Someone (allegedly) says something mean about you, so you try and make them miserable? As the mother of a teenager herself, Ms. Drew should have been well aware how hard it is to be 13. Raging hormones, social pressure, entering high school, body issues, mental health issues..why add rejection from a boy?

There is so much wrong in the world, and this woman decided her time was best spent humiliating depressed 13-year old girls. I hope she's convicted of fraud (due to the fake myspace account) and serves time in prison.

Wednesday, November 19

Wikipedia is part of the liberal elite media?

Did anyone else know this existed?? Apparently there are a select (dare I say rabid?) few who believe that Wikipedia is polluting the minds of American citizens with liberal & biased information. The solution? Something called the Conservapedia.

I found the link on feministing and decided I could go for some time wasting instead of homework. So I followed the link and poked around on the site. After just a few minutes, I decided that an aneurysm or shock induced heart attack would probably hinder my ability to complete graduate school. Of course, instead of actually going back to my work, I decided to blog about my encounter.

I can't decide if I highly recommend that you check out their site, or strongly caution anyone remotely interested in real dialogue against a visit. Call me crazy, but isn't Wikipedia the exact opposite of liberal and biased? The whole idea of a wiki is that everyone (regardless of political persuasion or interest) can edit the information, as long as it is credible and 'backed up' by citation. If the people at Conservapedia believe that their sources could stand up to peer review why not post their information to Wikipedia?

Instead of providing us with a more nuanced view of complicated issues, they basically attempt to scare people straight (pun intended). Examples:

1. *Abortion causes breast cancer.
2. Homosexuals want to take over, and make everyone else gay. If this were to happen, procreation in America would halt and our enemies could attack us & win. (I wish I were making this up..)
3. Dinosaurs are only "GENERALLY considered to be extinct." I knew it! All of those raptor nightmares are actually premonitions of events to come. I better stock up on rocket launchers..
4. Oh, people and Dinosaurs also co-existed.
Any measurements that prove otherwise (carbon dating shmarbon dating) are part of the liberal elite anti-religious plot.
5. Israel is perfect and all Muslims are bad. Now generally speaking, I'm pro-Israel. But I'm also realistic and recognize that no young democracy is without faults. I am also passionately against making gross generalizations against an entire religion. So yeah, the Conservapedia people have some nice info about the founding of Israel but that doesn't make it any more unbiased than the supposedly liberally controlled Wikipeida.

Ironically enough, I was semi-convinced last summer that the Wikipedia founders had an agenda and trolled for liberal pages to delete. Apparently I page I wrote did not have enough outside sources. This is true, but understandable given that the info had only been online for about 10 hours (8 of which were in the middle of the night) and I was ready to cite away as soon as I got up in the morning & had some coffee. By the time I got to the computer, the page had already been flagged and removed. The page that was flagged and deleted in seemingly record time was about a pro-choice organization..hence my Wiki paranoia.

Apparently, I had it all wrong. Wikipeida is actually trying to promote homosexuality, abortion and pornography by allowing open access to information and instituting rigorous research and citation requirements for all of its pages. Yikes!

* If you're concerned..check out what the National Cancer Institute has to say. Basically, some early studies that showed the possible link were seriously flawed (small sample size, case control instead of cohort etc. I'm getting all public health school geeky here with the explanation, so check out their info ) and all of the new, well-designed studies have found no link.

Monday, November 17

My love affair: Ultraviolet

I think I might be in love. Sadly, this love is going to be a brief yet torrid affair. I'm on episode 5 of 6 of Ultraviolet, and it is fabulous!

This Ultraviolet is not to be confused with the Milla Jovovich movie of the same name. That movie is also in my Q, but under the 'crappy fun' list. Ultraviolet may be about vampires, but it's not campy. It's also British, which makes everything better. Anyway, it is listed on the DVD cover as a mini-series, but I think it's actually a regular television show that was canceled after a short season. I think this means my love affair is going to be abruptly truncated and unsatisfying, but I am going to enjoy it while it lasts!

So far I have learned that:
1. Vampires make a really satisfying boom noise and minor explosion when staked, set on fire etc.

2. British vampires are far less frightening than other vampires. They don't look yucky and their fangs aren't scary. Although they still have bad teeth. Being a member of the undead apparently does not fix general cosmetic issues.

3. People food makes vampires sick. But if they throw it up (which they'll always do loudly in the bathroom), you can kiss them right after and not notice. Ew.

4. Charlaine Harris probably saw this mini-series and then forgot to list it as inspirational material. Synthetic blood eh?

Monday, November 10


Thank you Supernova! You did not let me down! You were tacky, had plot holes the size of the planet, included several gratuitous explosions, and your sex scenes were anything but tasteful.

I won't ruin the plot (or what little there is of one..) with details, but I will make a list. So, some things I learned from Supernova:

1. James Spader used to be kind of hot. Hot enough that Angela Bassett would actually consent to have sex with his character. Kudos to space for being the great equalizer in terms of an interracial couple getting it on on-screen...but really, James Spader?

2. In the future we will have warp drives and will be able to jump through space..but nobody is smart enough to figure out how to involve clothing in this process. Yep, everytime you go into warp speed or whatever all of your crew has to strip down to their skivvies and jump into clear booths. Apparently frosted glass would also interfere with the space travel.

3. Have sex with more than 1 man? You're toast. Silly Robin Tunney. Clearly you did not read the disaster movie survival handbook. Having sex is bad enough..having sex with the bad guy & having sex with your boyfriend*? Recipe for a painful death.

4. The guy who wrote Supernova definitely watched Alien/s a few too many times.
Strong female character w/baggage? Check.
Relationship between 2 minor characters=death? Check
Doomed captain? Check
Blowing the evil alien thing out of the spaceship? Check
Half-naked space travel? Check
....and the list goes on! really Supernova is kind of like an homage to Alien, with less chest-bursting and way crappier acting. Basically, my favorite type of disaster movie!

*It would be really easy to start ranting about the concept of purity and disaster movies..but I will try and refrain because it warrants much more than a few snarky lines. But really, as much as I make fun of characters who break the 'rules,' you have to think about who codified these ideas that the women characters who defy our expectations of sexual purity are punished by death/terror etc.

Friday, November 7


I'm on yelp now. I'm so glad I find ways to make sure that I am never going to get any work done in grad school. Check it out's neat if you like food, blogging, or list making of any kind!

Thursday, November 6

More thoughts on Nie..

I think I might have zoned out for a few minutes in class today because I realized I was thinking about Stephanie (Nie) and her family instead of listening to the lecturer (oops!). I'm not sure why this has been on my mind so much lately. I don't know Stephanie or her family, and I did not start reading her blog until after it made national news. I've already posted once about the situation..and other than the fact that it's a real-life disaster & tragedy, it has very little to do with my normal blogging interests.

Today I was thinking about something that I read on the recovery blog, updated by Stephanie's sister and fellow blogger Courtney of cjane. So far there has been very little discussion about what Stephanie will look like once she recovers. At first it didn't matter, they were not sure that she was going to live, so why dwell on superficial considerations? Now that the doctors say she is 'out of the woods,' Courtney wrote that Stephanie is still so lovely (covered in bandages and healing from burns and skin grafts). I have loved reading Stephanie's blog and looking at her beautiful pictures and I can't help but wonder what she will looks like once the bandages are removed.

I am sure that she will be grateful to be alive, and so grateful that her beloved Christian is also recovering so well. With such a large and loving family, I am sure that no matter how she looks during and after her recovery she will be happy. As an outsider though, it hurts me a little to think that Stephanie may not look the same physically because everything in her life was so beautiful (including her face).

I can't imagine what that must be like..and I'm sure that Stephanie is a far better and less vain person than I am. But I am going to hope and maybe even try to pray that she will still feel beautiful. Even if she's too good to think about that for herself, I think that someone needs to hope that she's able to be comfortable with her own appearance. I think it's OK to be a little vain, and I think that Stephanie is someone who appreciates beauty. She may feel like there is no place for self-pity after surviving the crash, so I'm going to feel a little bit for her and hope that she recovers physical function and still feels beautiful.


Phallic ship? CHECK
Stock footage of space? CHECK
Creepy robot voice? CHECK
Sex in opening sequence? CHECK

Oh yes. I think Supernova is going to be fun...

Wednesday, November 5

Dino Man Dies..

I could not think of a good title for this post! I tried..but I have been studying for my biostats quiz and I think my brain has turned to mush.

Anyway,I read this morning that Michael Crichton just died. Apparently he had cancer and his family kept everything quiet until his death.

So, why am I posting about some guy who created ER? Well, Michael Crichton also wrote Jurassic Park & The Lost World, The Andromeda Strain, and Twister. He also wrote and directed a few other things, but I only decided to include my favorites.

I read Jurassic Park for the first time in 5th grade. It gave me nightmares..recurring nightmares actually, that I still have to this day (stupid raptors). Anyway, despite being mildly traumatized by the graphic deaths, I was also totally hooked. I have read almost every single one of Michael Crichton's books, including most of the ones he wrote under a pen name. Jurassic Park is still my favorite. I'm still convinced that the book is actually a brilliant way to clone dinosaurs. Maybe that's why I also like amber..

Anyway, I think it's safe to say that JP started the minor obsession with all things doom & gloom. Michael Crichton always had an impressive body count in his books (I think it's 9+ in JP), came up with creative ways that the world might end and also wrote my favorite disaster movie of all time (Twister).

I think Michael Crichton was probably a little nuts, but he did teach me that you can't go wrong with rampaging dinosaurs, creepy killer cosmic bacteria, and tornados.

My blog says thank you & you'll be missed!

Election 08

I don't really have time to write (lots of biostats studying to do)..but I am so excited about the election. They are saying that 14 million more people voted in this election than in the last! While I'm obviously thrilled with the outcome, I'm also really excited that so many people actually took the time to vote. I was really lucky and did not have to wait at all at the polls, but kudos to everyone who had to stand in really long lines...

There is so much that could be still looks likely that gay marriage will be banned in CA which in my mind is a huge human rights violation. On the other hand, voters in S.Dakota rejected measures that would have been so dangerous and damaging for women. So much to ponder!