Tuesday, September 30, 2008


I have a funny picture from Josh's Rock Band night to post but I just can't seem to get my act together enough to upload it. So instead, I give you Reasons Why Zombies are Better Than Stupid People. This is from several years ago, but do zombie rants really go out of style? I'm irrationally afraid of zombies but now I'm rethinking my position and instead may start locking my doors against stupid people.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

One of my favorite things about Waltham

Waltham is adamant about the parking orientation of its citizen's cars. These signs are in every city parking lot. I shudder to think of what the penalty may be for the hateful crime of backing in.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

This is either a scene from The Grapes of Wrath

Or it's a picture of our apple-picking trip yesterday.
We went to Honey Pot Hill Orchards in Stow, where we met many a screaming child (apparently apple-picking is a popular field trip destination. Jay expressed dubiousness at the education value of such a trip) and several kinds of apples. We got enough for a couple of baked goods (I'm attempting a pie later this week) and a few weeks of good eating.

Friday, September 19, 2008

A Real Room

Since moving into this apartment two years ago, our second bedroom had been a catch-all. I'll bet some of you didn't even know we had a second bedroom. We kept the door shut so as not to let the insanity spill out into the rest of the house. And so we weren't completely shamed when company came over. It was pretty bad. If you compared it to a dump, the dump would look nice.

One of my projects this summer was to clean the room out. I took out at least six trash bags full of stuff. Four other bags went to Goodwill. In the process, I found all kinds of surprises. The best surprise I found in the bottom of a random box--several gift cards from our wedding! So this week, Jay and I got to go spend the last of our wedding money.

This is how the room turned out. We bought the chair and large bookshelf with our Ikea gift cards. As you can see, the cat has claimed the chair. It had cat hair on it quite literally moments after I opened the package. A rug and some art on the walls would complete the room nicely.
For the first time since I was very young, I actually have free space on my bookshelves. Can you imagine? I can buy more books and there will be actual spaces for them. With three bookshelves, I now feel confident in calling this room "the library." Or perhaps "the study." I can't decide which one sounds more professor-ish.

We had a couple of random things that didn't have homes that still ended up in the room. You can see the sewing machine here, and there's a corner with Jay's DJ equipment stacked up. But all in all, it looks at least a jillion times better. Plus, with our air mattress, we now have a place for people to stay.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Why it is so hard to get work done at my desk

Er...could you move a little? I can't quite see my notes.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Nothing New

No news is good news, here. Things are settling down after the start-of-school/car-death business of last week.

The only thing I've really accomplished this week is that I finally finished the Stephanie Meyer Twilight series (major spoilers ahead if you're planning on reading it in the future). I started the series because the book jacket said, "Move over, Harry Potter," which meant I had to read it. The first three books went really fast, and while I had some qualms about the characters (Bella is pretty unremarkable, and Edward's reasons for loving her--her blood smells good?--is unconvincing. Edward himself was much more interesting in the first book when he was mean and confusing to Bella, and he descended into blathering romanticism after that), I enjoyed the books for what they were.

Today I finished the last book, Breaking Dawn. I knew it had gotten poor reviews but I didn't read them in advance. I can definitely see why the reviews were bad now. Some of the book I liked. Vampire baby? Great! Jacob's slightly uninnocent love for said vampire baby? Scandalous but great! However, the end--blah. I got the feeling that things were working up to a big reveal a-la-Harry-at-the-end-of-Potter-7, but the climactic moment was completely unconvincing. The Volturi had a vote? And voted to just go home? Huh?

I also have some ideological issues with Meyer, which I try to squash. First of all, Bella is the antithesis of a feminist. I greatly dislike her need to change to be more like her man. In addition, she feels the need to become forever young and beautiful. Wouldn't it have been more romantic if she'd aged horrifyingly and Edward stood by her? I also don't like the obvious conservative motives behind some of the plot moves. Not only does it just annoy me, but it makes for some predictable moments. I've never been so conscious of an author's political views when reading, and the book suffered for that.

Anyway. Series over and done. The Twilight movie is coming out in November and I'll definitely be seeing it, if only because Cedric Diggory is playing Edward. In other teen lit news, Christopher Paolini's next Eragon book comes out next week, which I'm eagerly awaiting. And J.K. Rowling is releasing The Tales of Beedle the Bard in December, which I need to pre-order ASAP. However, I'm still mad that they moved the Potter 6 movie to next July--I'd just seen the trailer and boy oh boy! It looks great.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Airing Out the Armpits

Lately the car has taken to sitting with her arms stick-straight out in front of her. It's pretty funny. I call it "airing out the armpits." They must get awfully hot under all that fur and no one's invented kitty deodorant yet. This picture is blurry, but it has the benefit of a good angle.

From the front:

Friday, September 5, 2008

Mashed Potato Pizza

Last Saturday Jay and I needed some time to relax together, so we planned Dinner and a Movie at home. I managed to whip together a slightly odd meal with things we had in the house. The result was Mashed Potato Pizza. I'd had a version at a pub before and it was pretty good, and we had potatoes, chives, and cheese from the farmer's market, so I gave it a go.

The idea was very simple. I made a batch of mashed potatoes (which I'd never done before), mixed in some chopped chives, cheese, and a little soy bacon (which had been sitting the fridge waiting for me to get up the nerve to try it). I spread the potatoes on the rolled-out dough, topped with cheese, and baked.

It was pretty good. A little heavy for a summer night, but good. Jay said that if I ran a pizza place, this one would be a fan favorite. The best part was the wine--Smoking Loon Merlot. When I popped the cork, it had words on it. It said, "Whooh. Whooh. Whooh. Whooh. Cough. Whooh. Whooh." It took me a minute to get it.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Unforseen Purchase

Despite the fact that I pleaded with it to last *one* more year, my Nissan kicked the bucket this week. Last week, it started shaking when starting, and when I brought it in this Tuesday, the mechanic gave me the, "well, it's not good news. I don't know what you want to do..." You know when the mechanic, who sees every kind of car mess possible, mentions the possibility of sending the car to the Great Parking Lot in the Sky, it's bad.

Of course the stupid thing picked just about the worst moment to die. Now I'm convinced that cars can hear you when you talk about how much money is in your bank account, and act accordingly. They'd never die when you had oodles of cash floating around. Ah well. It was obvious that we'd need another car very quickly, so I went off to the Toyota dealership.

How'd I pick Toyota? Well, it's not too noble. I was picking between Nissan, our old friend, and Toyota, who showed up a lot on "dependability" and "best gas mileage" lists. I called Nissan first. The operator acted like I'd peed in her Cheerios or something. First she told me that she didn't know if they had any Sentras on the lot, and said I'd have to come down and see. I said, "well, I'm not going to come down if you don't have the car I want." Then she got all flustered and said, "of course we have Sentras, why wouldn't we have Sentras?" Yeah...did she not just tell me that she didn't know if they had Sentras? So, that was out. Then I discovered that I wouldn't even have to get on the highway to get to the Toyota dealership, which really cinched the deal, considering that my Sentra was quite obviously on its last legs.

Anyway. Long story short. I ended up picking a used '08 Corolla with 5000 miles on it. I saved a couple thousand by buying the used one. There was a used Mini Cooper that was pretty tempting, but I was feeling sensible. Here's the new ride:
They took a couple thousand for my trade-in, which was a surprise to me, considering it needed serious engine work, the back bumper was falling off, there's a dent in the front fender that I don't remember getting, the radio was cracked from my big accident in college, there was a rusty scrape on the side, the AC didn't work, and the upholstery was shot from me spilling, among other things, hot glue in the backseat. The funniest part was that the salesguy said that I obviously took good care of it. I wonder which car he was looking at. I had to pick up the new car on Thursday and I slept fitfully thinking that they were going to figure out that they gave me too much for the trade-in and change their minds.

So, goodbye Sentra. Goodbye power windows and doors and pretty blue color. Hello no more worrying about breaking down and no more repairs every three months. And hello to one more bill to add to the pile...