Wednesday, May 23, 2012

whatever he likes

NPR is like my really cool older brother who listens to really cool music and I wanna be just like him.

I kinda forgot about Tiny Desk Concerts. I'm flipping through these videos so excitedly that nobody's getting proper attention. I think I like all of 'em.

If the Chinese Internet (and VPN) are working alright tomorrow, I'm gonna stream all of these on the big TV while I go about my indoor activities.

Monday, May 07, 2012

18 Books in 18 Months

Our contract in China is up.

(But we renewed it for another year.)

I'm a little late in posting, but I did read all of these books well before the very last day of the 18 months (April 25).

I finished up the last few chapters of Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching last night, thinking my 18th book was late, but then I remembered Murakami's book was never added to the shelf! I win! (And Lao Tzu already gets added to the 12 Books in 12 Months list!)

(clicken to embiggen)

In alphabetical order (that shelf isn't chronological either):
  • Barbery, Muriel: The Elegance of the Hedgehog
  • Bukowski, Charles: Ham on Rye
  • Bukowski, Charles: Play the Piano Drunk Like a Percussion Instrument Until the Fingers Begin to Bleed a Bit
  • Bukowski, Charles: Slouching Toward Nirvana
  • Bukowski, Charles: Women
  • Doyle, Roddy: Paddy Clark Ha Ha Ha
  • Fey, Tina: Bossypants
  • Fry, Stephen: The Liar
  • Fry, Stephen: Moab is my Washpot
  • Gladwell, Malcolm: The Tipping Point
  • Hitchens, Christopher: Letters to a Young Contrarian
  • Kaling, Mindy: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?
  • Kerouac, Jack: The Dharma Bums
  • King, Stephen: On Writing
  • McDougall, Christopher: Born to Run
  • Murakami, Haruki: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
  • Stein, Garth: The Art of Racing in the Rain
  • Thompson, Hunter S.: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Unusual amounts of non-fiction for me, discovered Fry, clung to Bukowski. Next round will be a lot of finishing up books I wasn't passionate enough about this round, more poetry, and... who knows?

Friday, March 23, 2012

El Tesoro & Lime Cupcakes

I'm about to leave for a friend's birthday party at the Mexican restaurant in Shekou, Shenzhen, China. She's from Guadalajara, and not just any cupcake would do.

El Tesoro is the last tequila made with 100% blue agave hand selected by one person. It's probably my favorite. We brought a bottle back from Los Angeles when we visited in December, and it's nearly gone no matter how hard we try to make it last.

Use your favorite tequila, even if (especially if) it's a really good one. Sure, a crappy corn-colored one will do, but fancy it up! It's only a quarter cup...

Tequila Lime Cupcakes

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/8 cup (6 tbsp) vegan margarine, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer mixed with 3 tbsp water
1/4 cup El Tesoro Reposado (or tequila of your choice)
1/4 cup lime juice

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Line mini muffin pan with papers.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, cocoa, and salt. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the vegan margarine and sugars. Add the egg mixture.  In a separate bowl, combine the tequila and lime juice. Add the flour mixture and whiskey mixture to the margarine-sugar mixture; mix well.

Pour into the prepared cups and bake for 15-17 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool. (Makes about 27 cupcakes based on my first trial.)


(I frosted mine with an icing made of powdered sugar, Earth Balance shortening, water, tequila, and lime juice. Then I rimmed them with sugar.)

Salud! (And feliz cumpleaƱos, Karla!)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

These Are a Few

Here's my favorite thing someone else did today:

You see these things online, and you never expect them to happen to you. But it totally did happen to me.

(Edited to add: Except, a few hours later, I realized that guy's "than v. then" statement was for the person who posted the pic, and not me.)

And this is my favorite thing I did today (but I did about half of it yesterday):

And it really scans!! Use the QR Code reader on your smartphone to see what it says.

I'm also pretty happy about the Chinese dumplings I made, but that QR Code has me bustin' at the seams with pride. I fricking love it.

I have to practice making them a little smaller and sealing them better, but the filling was spot on. (I used an improvised combination of whatever couple-day-old vegetables I had in my fridge cooked in sesame and olive oils, soy sauce, and some old port that's good for nothing but cooking anymore).

Do something awesome today. It feels really good.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Meditation #2

When you're burdened with heartache, walk to the end of the road, however long the journey takes. When you turn around -- and you will turn around -- smile at your neighbors. Your load will lighten. And so will your brother's, which may be much heavier.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Knitted Playlist Wrap-Up

It's done!

The twenty-nine-song playlist has been knit!

Here are some guidelines I followed:
  • Only concrete-noun song titles were used. No "A" or "The" or "My" or things like that at the beginning.
  • I bought no music, but I did purchase two knitting patterns (Astronaut and Dog).
  • All photos were taken with my HTC Desire HD in portrait (just for uniformity) with a usually-unrelated prop (just for fun).
Here are some things I learned:
  • Alligators are not green.
  • Anna Hrachovec (I can spell her name now without checking the book!) is a brilliant designer. 13 of the 29 projects came directly from or were directly inspired by her work. Everything is so logical and efficient.
  • I'm kind of awesome at knitting. Following a pattern is easy, but Scarecrow, Dracula, and Superman were improvised during knitting. I knit the flag of England (with notes for possible pattern publication in the future) and designed and published the Spiders pattern.
  • There are a LOT of concrete-noun song titles out there (even leaving out ones with definite/indefinite articles or possessive pronouns attached).
  • After all that knitting, I'm still not sick of it. It's my favorite thing.
Now what?
  • I don't know what I'm going to do with all those little toys on my shelf, but I'm content to just let them sit there and be admired for now. 
  • I'm kind of sad that I'm not "forced" to knit a new one every day anymore, but I think I'll keep knitting one a week or something. (I take requests!)
  • I'm focusing a bunch of my knitting attention back to my Beekeeper's Quilt. (A hexagon a day for March, maybe?) Sock yarn donations accepted.

Many, many thanks to all the supportive folks who kept asking about the latest knitted song, picked up and admired the things on the shelf, left comments on the official Thing-A-Day site, or simply gave a thumbs-up on a Facebook post. You're sweet.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Nothing Left To Burn

Things making me happy today:
  • Hexagons
  • Carrot juice
  • The air in Shenzhen after a heavy rain
  • When Chinese ladies admire my knitting (sometimes for too long by North American-personal-space standards) and say I'm a "good lady" instead of asking dumb questions and/or declaring I have too much time on my hands

I'm back on my Beekeeper's Quilt in full-force. With only one day of The Knitted Playlist left, these wee little hexagons will fill the need for a clever little project I can whip up in a few minutes.

I took the project name from the Stars' song "Your Ex-Lover Is Dead." I like the opening bit the lead singer's dad says:

When there is nothing left to burn, 
you have to set yourself on fire.

Left: Knit Picks Stroll in Carbon Twist and Kettle Dyed Eggplant
Right: Knit Picks Felici in Patina

The rasta one was an accident. I was still knitting the red segment when a guy and his wife walked by and asked, "Are you from Jamaica?" I hoped they couldn't see from their table the green and yellow show up as I knitted on. I hate being a stereotype. But that rasta hexie does make me quite happy.