Monday, June 30, 2008

For BustersDad

This is from the cooking class I took in Thailand many, many years ago

Beef Satay (you can use chicken)

Ingredients

500g (1lb 2 oz) beef - cut into thin slices

Marinade
6 tbsp thick coconut milk
2 tbsp fish sauce (can substitute soy sauce)
2 tbsp condensed, sweetened milk
1 tbsp oil (NOT olive oil)
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp curry powder

Sauce
2 cups (16 fl oz) thick coconut milk
1 tbsp red curry paste
2 tbsp fish sauce (see note above)
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup finely ground roasted peanuts

METHOD

Mix all ingredients for the marinade together and then cover the beef. Leave for at least 30 minutes.

To make the sauce, put the coconut milk into a wok and bring to a boil. Add the red curry paste and stir to combine. Add the fish sauce, sugar and peanuts and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the sauce is thick. Stir continuously.

The beef can be either barbecued, grilled or shallow fried. To grill, but the meat on to skewers and cook for 3 minutes each side until the meat is cooked. Spoon the marindea over the beef as it is cooking. To shallow friy put 3 tbsps oil (NOT olive oil) into a wok and add the meat and the marinade and stir fry until cooked.

Serve with the peanut dipping sauce.

NOTE: If you are using store-bought red curry paste you will need 2 tsps.

Serves 4 as starter, 2 as main course.

There you go! *smooches*

Contest Results: You Pick the Winnar!

Well, kittens, the contest has ended. And the competition was FIERCE!

VUBOQ has narrowed down the gigantic piles of entries to the Top 2 Posts* and, now, you get to decide the winner!**

First, go read the Top 2 Posts: Ellen and Shallow Gal.

Then, come back here and vote for your favorite! The poll will close tomorrow morning, so do it now. Don't delay!



Create polls and vote for free. dPolls.com



It's the Battle of the Beltway Babes! Who will be victorious?

PS. If the poll isn't showing up. Cast your vote in the comments below. kthxbai.

*OK. There were only 2 posts. Whatever.
**Don't you feel special?

Weekend Update: Delicate Flowers Edition

Good Morning, Kittens.

Before we get into the nitty gritty of it all, here is a pretty red flower* for you:

I made it my laptop's wallpaper. You can too, if you go to my flickr page. You're welcome.

So ... my weekend ...

I left work early on Friday (huzzah!) and went to the pottery studio. Most of my things were still a little too wet to trim, so I decided to make *something*. It turned out to be a serving dish/bowl-like thing of some sort. Not quite tall enough to be casserole, but I like it. So far.

Then, I received a text message from Tomokito. Apparently, the former friend who decided to stop speaking to me when I started dating Y** wanted to have a happy hour ... at the same place I had planned happy hour ... with the same people I had invited. Tomokito asked if I wanted to change happy hour sites. Um. No. Why should I? I'm not the one with the problem.

OK. The only problem I have is that the Former Friend can't go out and make his own damn friends. I mean, really, what's that all about? Of course, I can't choose with who my friends hang out; however, I have advised them not to date the "wrong" people. I figure that if they still want to be around someone with an unstable personality that's their business.

Anyway, I left the pottery studio, went to Y's to clean up, and headed out to the happy hour. Not 15 minutes after everyone got there, the rains came. Torrential downpour. I'm glad we were inside. As we were sitting there, Tomokito says that she emailed Former Friend, and he decided to have his happy hour somewhere else.

Apparently I am so repulsive that he can't even be in the same bar as I. Either that or, and this is what I choose to believe, he's so ashamed of the immature way he's acted that he can't bear to face me. It sucks that he went somewhere else, because (a) my friends who came to happy hour with me didn't get to see him and (b) I had spent the metro ride practicing saying really nice things like "Former Friend, it's such a pleasure to see you again" in the most flat and uncaring tone I could imagine. Oh, well. I guess it's good to have those on mental file.

The happy hour was a lot of fun. Mike, Atul, Tomokito, Ray, and special superstar guest [and hot chick], Clio Bluestocking Tales, were there. We had good fun and cheese fries. What more does one need?

CBT and I left for home*** around 8-ish. Mike, Atul, Tomokito and Ray decided to stay at the bar for a little longer. I went to Y's to hang out with him and some friends who were moving to Israel this weekend.

Saturday, after the friends left, I tried -unsuccessfully- to work on my job stuff. Stupid KSAs. I hates them. Passionately. Around 5PM, Y and I went to a house party. The mint-infused vodka was a big hit. The party was fun ... except for the pot-smoking. The smell of pot makes me queasy, so I stayed outside while that was going on. Y only stayed for an hour, because he had to work on his research. He has a looming deadline of July 3rd. I hung out with the hosts and DUN. There was a pinata. We played bocce. Fun times. A storm rolled in, and DUN drove me back to Y's.

I was a little durnk, and he was working, so I fixed another drink and popped in a DVD (Witches of Eastwick. I thought it was a good choice to watch during a storm).

Sunday morning, there was lots of buttsecks ;-) ... Then, I showered and headed back to my place. It was HOT. OMG. So. HOT. I made delicious, cold beverages and tried to work on more job stuff. [Repeat KSAs rant here]. I also made ice cubes with blueberries in them, so when I make my Blueberry Tom Collins, I'll have fun garnishy ice cubes. Yes. I'm weird. Whatever.

Later that afternoon, I made a yummy vinaigrette dressing to put on the salad DUN and I took to a neighbor's for dinner. Here's what I did:

In a food processor add:

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil [must recipes call for 3/4 cup, but I think that's too oily]
1 tsp. salt
freshly ground pepper (to taste)
one stalk of oregano (hot and spicy variety) from the garden
2 or 3 thai basil leaves from the garden
2 dried chili peppers from last year's garden
and a dollop of maple syrup.

Then, process the hell out of it.

After it's finely blended, I added two finely minced, locally grown yellow roma tomatoes.

Delicious. Srsly.

Around 6:30ish, I headed over to the neighbor's for dinner. It was yummy - homemade bread and cheese, then gazpacho, then salad and pad thai. We played some card game and drank a lot of wine. Good times.

And that was my weekend. Chock full of fun and excitement, no?

More later (including the contest results!). *smooches*

*If anyone knows what kind of flower it is, I'd be most appreciative.
**Apparently Y ignored Former Friend at a club one time and FF has never forgiven him for that horrible slight. *cough*
***I referred to Y's house as 'home' in a txt msg and he got all gooey. *sigh* Well, as "all gooey" as he can get ... which isn't that gooey at all.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

VUBOQ, Nature Photographer Extraordinaire

Happy Sunday, Kittens.

Just a quick little update with my run-ins with WILDLIFE (and not the happy hour kind, either) this weekend.

On Friday night, on my way Y's after happy hour, I cut through the park and there were BUNNEHS! EVERYWHERE! I learned that my camera doesn't take good dusk-time photos. See:

Bunneh 1-autofixed
Bunneh 2-autofixed

Then, this morning, I cut through the park again and there were DEER! In the CREEK! CUTE!

Deer in the Creek 3

And, that's all for now. More tomorrow. *smooches*

Friday, June 27, 2008

It's Been Broughten

Kittens! It's the CONTEST DEADLINE.

You have until midnight tonight to post your Ode to VUBOQ (or your post written in the Style of VUBOQ). Do it! WIN PRIZES!!! Fabulous prizes like this ... or this [and maybe, some other stuff ...].

As for me, I have a weekend chock full of fun and excitement in store. I finish work today at 1230. Suh-WEET. Who loves half-day Fridays? I do! I do! I'm heading over to the pottery studio (with a stop at Y's to get my 'pottery shoes'). Then, I *may* be happy houring in DC; however, my office email is down so I'm not sure who is coming (if anyone).*

After happy houring, I'll head back to Y's place. Saturday, I plan to get some job stuff done (and preliminary contest judging!). In the evening, we are going to a birthday party. I made mint-infused vodka for the birthday boy. I hope it's good. Sunday, I will be doing more job stuff. We're just a month away from Unemployment. Someone has got to get on the ball ... and find me a job. C'mon, people! Why aren't you out there pounding the streets finding me some employment? WHY? Do you want VUBOQ to be forced to turn to prostitution? Is that what you want? Is it? IS IT?**

And, that's about it.
Have a sunshiny day! *smooches*

*Hello, I'm Run-on Sentence. I'll be your server for this post.
**I think it is.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

VUBOQ Wanted to Take Random Photos Today

However, VUBOQ forgot his camera.

Although, that doesn't matter, because VUBOQ realized he took the batteries out to recharge them.

But, he had to unplug the batteries to plug in the rice cooker when he made dinner last night.

And, he plugged the batteries in somewhere else.

Of course, he can't remember where he plugged them in.

Hopefully, he will be able to find them (and they will be fully charged) when he gets home.

Then, you will see lovely pictures of ...

Wildflowers


PUSS-AY! and Booze
This Pic is for you, Marathon Mom!

And much, much nothing more.

I can tell your little hearts are palpitating with excitement.

ANYWAY, I was reading the boring CFR this morning, when Y IM'ed. Instead of finishing my reading and the email response, I went home and we had secks.

Is that so wrong?

I wrote the email when I got back.

Pix to be posted later this evening. *smooches*

Emerging from the Mines

Good morning, kittens.

I'm actually busy at work today. Can you believe it? Neither can I. I mean, really, what the fork? I'm almost done though (yay!). I have one more horrible email to answer [about a nationwide master list of sites where polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs) have been left in-place. Short answer: There isn't one. Long answer: ... VUBOQ thinks it has to do with the fact that there is no required reporting to EPA if PCBs are left in place; however, he has to dig through the regulations to verify this. Of course, if it turns out there is required -or even, optional- reporting, VUBOQ is fairly certain that the EPA is not organized/efficient enough to compile that information into something readily available and usable. See what I have to deal with? *sheesh*].

So, while VUBOQ reads fascinating documents with fun titles like 40 CFR 761.61 and 40 CFR Parts 750 and 761 Disposal of Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs); Final Rule and, maybe, if I'm lucky, Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCB) Site Revitalization Guidance Under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), you can entertain yourselves by composing your VUBOQ-inspired entry for the contest (Deadline: This Friday)*. ...

Hm... VUBOQ is thinking of changing the rules a bit. You may NOW write a post either (a) about VUBOQ [as originally stated] or (b) in the Style of VUBOQ. That might be more fun, huh?

OK. Get busy! *smooches*

*There are fabulous prizes. Srsly.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

VUBOQ Forces You to Look at Baby Pictures

Look! It's my SuperCute First-Cuzin-Once-Removed wearing the t-shirt I gave him:


OMG. So cute.

Thanks for the photo, M! My family, we have teh Cuteness Gene. Srsly.

Work Related Crap-o-rama

Good Morning, Kittens.

VUBOQ is a little peeved this morning. He had all sorts of plans and things to accomplish today. Until his project officer sent him 43 pages of email to answer by COB tomorrow. Yep. Email for the entire month. Email that the PO has been sitting on since June 3rd. VUBOQ is seriously considering doing less than half and not worrying about it (because, hey, we only have 5 more weeks left on this contract). Let the new contractor deal with the fallout. Whatevs.

See this face:
It does not care about the new contractor's problems.

I have not accomplished much on the Job Search front, which is disappointing. I need a big dose of motivation. Today, rather than work on those stupid email inquiries, I think I will try to complete at least one job application. Then, when I get home tonight, instead of wasting the evening plurking (and writing short stories), I will work on the very intimidating KSAs.

I will reward myself by watching the season premiere of Shear Genius (if Tomokito is still planning on hosting).

And I *might* have a martini.

More later. *smooches*

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Remember When VUBOQ Took a Short Story Writing Course?

Well ... here's another bit of a start of a story that I never got a round to finishing (and just found in my files):

Fireflies

The sky was inky black and a few streetlights flickered, mimicking the stars. The humidity of the early summer muffled sound. “It smells like crushed fireflies,” I thought.


My older brother, Dan, taught me what to do. He held a jar of freshly caught fireflies. “First, you pull one out of the jar. Wait for it to flash. Then, pinch off the glowing part,” he said, his eyes flashed green in the dusk. “Put it on your finger and rub it on the sidewalk. Like this. See?” And he slowly drew part of a big ‘D’ before he had to start the process over again. Eventually, he spelled out his name, D-a-n, there on the sidewalk in front of our house. “Now, you try it.”

I was fishing out my first firefly, when our mother came out of the house. “What are you two doing,” she yelled as she saw the still glowing “Dan” on the walk. “Didn’t your Daddy teach you respect for all God’s creatures?”

"Sorry, Mama,” we said in unison. The firefly in my hand took flight, flashing into the darkening woods.

Dan piped up, “It’s all my fault.”

“I figured as much. Go to your room this instant, young man. And, you,” she said looking at me with a slowly kindling fire in her eyes. “You let the rest of those fireflies free, you hear?”

“Yes, Mama,” I said, and I walked to the edge of the woods to let our captives go. Dan was always protecting me from our parents’ anger. He was always showing me what to do.


I felt an arm around me throat. “Give me your money,” the man growled. His stubble scratched my neck.

“OK. OK. Hold on,” I gasped, reaching for my bag. I turned to face my attacker. With one hand I gave him my purse. With the other, I stabbed him in the stomach with the knife Dan had given me.

...

la la la... I need a drink.
*smooches*

We Secretly Replaced VUBOQ's Regular Coffee with Sanka

Like, OMG, kittens.

First, I was really early to work this morning ... What up with that? The only thing I can figure is that early this morning I recognized that if I started to hit snooze to get a few minutes extra sleep, I'd be hitting snooze until about 5PM. I am Tie-red.

So, on my way into work this morning, I had time to stop by Panera for coffee and a bagel (because I still had a few dollars left on my birthday Panera gift card from the Parental Units). I got my cinammon crunch bagel and coffee and continued my mary way to work.

As I entered my building, I took a sip of my coffee and OMGWTFBBQPONIEZZZ!!!11eleven... It was forkin' hazelnut coffee *cough* *gag* *sputter*

*gag*

*cough*

Apparently, some hapless Panera employee had secretly replaced VUBOQ's favorite rich and vibrant HELLO I'M AWAKE blend with the craptastic hazelnut flavored coffee. I'm still drinking it (because I paid for it (well, technically, my parents paid for it (but still ...))). It is the epitome of grossness. I mean, really, who drinks this crap? I take a sip, shudder, swallow, and move on.

But enough about my coffee troubles, how about I tell you about pottery class?

It was GREAT! I mean, like, *w00t* I made some SuperFantastic Stuff! YAYZ. I got to class a little early and trimmed the spirally vase I threw two weeks ago. The plate I made last week was still too wet to trim, so I decided to make ... wait for it ... a canister! Which, if you think about it, is simply a cylinder with a lid. But I've never made a lid before. So, I made the cylinder and a lid! YAY! Of course, there are still plenty of opportunities for me to screw it up, but, right now, v. happy.

Then, I threw another medium-sized vase, which I think I'm going to turn into a flower pot (by carving a hole in the base next week).

AND, as I was sifting through a bunch of old bisqueware on the shelves, I found a vase I made last session and had completely forgotten about. Yay!

There was also booze and teh secks (not at pottery class, silly). So, all in all, a very good day yesterday.

More later. *smooches*

Monday, June 23, 2008

Don't Mind Me I'm Just Consolidating My 401(k) Investments

For those of you who are bored by talk of personal finances, you may wish to avert your eyes. Scroll down. Read about my weekend.

My company switches 401(k) providers about as often as I change underwear (like once a year). Our most recent switch was to Fidelity. Woo hoo. When they transferred all of our money from the previous 401(k) provider (Prudential? Providence? Mr. Bob's Savings & Loan?), they re-allocated our investments into "similar" packages. For example, if I had invested some of my money into a International Stock Index Fund. Fidelity would have transferred an equal percentage of my total investment into their International Stock Index Fund.

With me so far?

Well, see ... what happened wuzzz... I had 100% of my money invested in some sort of "We'll invest your money for you based on the date you plan to retire" Fund, probably called the You're Never Going to Be Able to Retire Fund.

Now, Fidelity has the exact same type of plan (in my case, called "Fidelity 2035," which if you ask me is being very optimistic about my retirement, but anyway ...); however, when they transferred all my investments from the previous provider to Fidelity, they did not do a 100% transfer from similar "based on when you're going to retire" fund to Fidelity 2035. Rather, they broke up the previous provider's funds into categories and invested in similar sounding categories. Instead of having one easy to manage and follow category, I now had 7 or 8. Bleah.

VUBOQ likes his 401(k) statement simple and easy-to-read.

Thus, whenever I think about it, I go to the Fidelity website and transfer all the money out of one of those funds into my 2035 Fund. Unfortunately, I don't think about this very often. Even after a year, I still have about 4 more accounts to transfer.

I guess it doesn't matter much since I'll be out of a job soon anyway. *sigh*

Weekend Update: Reunification Edition

Good Monday morning, kittens.

When I awoke this morning, I remember thinking, "Wow. This weekend seemed really long." Perhaps because it was so relaxed?

Friday night, I drove (gah!) to BWI to pick up Y. I left his place around 9:30 or so because the Southwest website said that his flight was going to land about 15 minutes early. I arrived at the airport as he was disembarking. If he hadn't've checked a bag, it would have been perfect. Alas. He checked a bag.

So, as he's telling me to just pull over and park in the pick up area, and I'm telling him that the pick up area was crawling with angry looking Security Dudes, I navigated over to the Cell Phone Waiting Lot. Silly Y seemed to think that he would get off the plane and his bag would be waiting for him at the luggage carousel. You'd think that someone that travelled frequently would realize that it would be at least 15-20 minutes ... which it was.

He got his bag, called, and I picked him up. Easy. Peasy. Except for all the stress of driving (have I mentioned lately that I despise driving?).

Then, Y drove us up to Baltimore, where we met Eric from Baltimore at [Grand?] Central [Station?]. We had a few drinks then drove back to Y's, arriving around 1 ... I think.

Saturday, after a bit of a lie-in, we had breakfast, and I returned to my house. I futzed around until about 6. That evening, we went to Mike's house for dinner and conversation. Fun times.

Of course, once we got back to my place, I realized I had left my cellphone at Mike's. Gah. So, Sunday morning, I headed back over there. He made breakfast tacos. Yay. The boy can make some tortillas. Srsly. Yum.

And you can read about the rest of my Sunday in the previous entry.

Don't forget the deadline for the contest is Friday! Write a post dedicated to VUBOQ and win one of two FABULOUS prizes! YAY!

More later. *smooches*

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Meat-Free Sunday: Not Quite a Total OLS Fail

Good evening, kittens.

Thought I'd blog about my day of foodie goodness, esp. since I'm unable to do Meat-Free Monday posts while pottery class is in session.

Yesterday, using the chocolate mint I am growing on our porch, I started a vodka infusion. Mint infuses QUICKLY. It was ready to strain this afternoon. It's a lovely yellowy-green with a nice minty smell. I'll be giving it to a friend for his birthday this weekend.

After straining the vodka, I went out and thinned the Thai Basil. Rather than trash the seedling, I washed them and boiled them in several quarts of filtered water. After letting them steep for a few hours, I strained and put in the fridge. Hopefully, I will have made a refreshing beverage for the week :-)

I decided to make a pasta salad for dinner. I'm still not quite up to meeting the One Local Summer Challenge, but I'm getting there ... I had several locally grown ingredients and one or two "almost local" ingredients.

Ingredients for the salad:
Black olives
Feta
Orange Roma Tomatoes (locally grown, kittens!)
Organic Romaine Lettuce (almost locally grown ... from PA!)
Orzo

Dressing:
Olive oil
Red wine vinegar
Hot & Spicy Oregano (from my garden!)
Rosemary (from my garden!)
Garlic
Salt
Pepper

Ta Da:

(and Chef's Little Helper is vodka on the rocks (and the rocks have thai basil seedlings in them (from my garden!)))

And there you have it. Not entirely locally grown, but we're getting there!
Stay tuned for the rest of my weekend adventures tomorrow.
*smooches*

Friday, June 20, 2008

VUBOQ Goes All Earl Cootie

Good morning, kittens. Guess who doesn't have to be at work 'til 12:30 today?

That's right! ME! YAYZ! So, I be updating from home. Aren't you the luckiest EVAR?

So, before I run down my SuperExciting weekend plans ... here are some flower and garden pix:

Cosmos (I swore I bought the pink/red seeds. Oh, well):

Mystery Flower (perhaps a poppy?):

Mystery Flower 2 (purple!):

Happy Thai Basil Seedlings (yay!):

I am so looking forward to Thai Basil-Infused Vodka!

Now that that's done ... my weekend is chock full o' fun and excitement. Tonight, Y returns! YAY! His flight arrives at BWI at 10:20PM. I must pick him up at the airport, which means no happy hour for me. *sigh* If we are not too tired, we are going to head to Baltimore to meet Eric from Baltimore for drinks.

Tomorrow, I am hoping to do some work around the house. I also am cat-sitting Fuego. DUN will be racing in the triathlon in Philadelphia. I wanted to go, but the finances and time just weren't there. Alas.

And, on Sunday, there will be more Fuego-feeding, and I've heard a rumor that one of the neighbors wants to have a Game Night Birthday Party. Fun times.

I guess that's it for now. More later (maybe). *smooches*

PS. Don't forget about the contest (scroll down to previous entry to read all about it).

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Do You Know What Time It Is?

It's time for another contest! YAYZ!

This morning, we received verification that our contract has been extended for an additional 30 days, which means that I will not be out of a job until the end of July. To celebrate this happy event, I am giving you the opportunity to own a little piece of history.

I've been in this same cubicle for nearly 6 (nonconsecutive) years (gah!). It is lovingly decorated with little bits and pieces of my life ... postcards from friends, various knickknacks I've gathered over time, souvenirs from far away lands ... and, now, I'm giving some of them away! *w00t*

Here are the 2 Prize Packages:

Prize Package A*:
Consists of: A never-used mug from Nashville (it's too tall to fit under our one-cup coffee making machine), a remote control car (new battery not included, old battery may be corroded into place), a little wind up car, AND the star of several VUBOQ Videos including this classic, Seat Belts Save Lives ~or~ the Corn Car of Catastrophe**, the Corn Car!!!!

Prize Package B*:
Consists of: A stuffed blue and yellow fish (from a former co-worker), a grasshopper finger puppet, two yarn chicks in a pink plastic egg (stars of several blogposts), a red devil, the Chick-fil-a Cow, AND a plastic reindeer which poops jellybeans (in its original packaging)!

The Winner of the Contest will pick which Prize Package he/she would like. Runner-Up will received the other Prize Package.

Now that you are salivating over these luscious prizes, here's what you have to do to win:

1. Write a blog post*** about VUBOQ.
2. Send VUBOQ a link to your post. [You can email VUBOQ or leave a comment on this blog]
3. Do this by Friday, June 27, 2008.


VUBOQ will judge the entries based on creativity, wit, originality, and amount of over-the-top brown-nosing.

Good luck! And may the best blogger win! *smooches*

*Additional items may be added as VUBOQ sorts through six years of crap valuable obects.
**Video is blocked by the Evil Firewall of Doom, so I'm not sure if this link is still active. Please let me know if it isn't. Kthx.
***If you don't have a blog, you'd better get one real fast ;-)

The Big O

About 6 months ago (I think), my company's suite was reorganized into a smaller area. The former part of our office is now being remodeled for another company. I was talking to my boss yesterday and said that it would be neat to have the O from our company's logo which was still on the wall in our former office. When I got to my desk this morning, guess what was on it?

The Big O.
Yayz.
My boss gave me the Big O.
I am so lucky to have such a great boss :-)

See:


In other exciting news, I did laundry last night.

There was a kickass thunderstorm. I love it when the thunder/lightning is so close it sets off car alarms.

Later, DUN and AtWN came over for two-bite cupcakes and a very special viewing of Singin' in the Rain. Ah, Cyd Charisse get off that mantelpiece. You're such a shock there. We need a clock there.*

After they left, I was getting ready for bed when Y called. His paper presentation went well. There was interest in his results/research. He mentioned something about possible job opportunities in Hong Kong and Singapore. I have no desire to go to Hong Kong, but I could be tempted to move to Singapore. It's so close to Malaysia and Indonesia, two countries I would love to visit again. Y returns tomorrow. Yay. I am missing him a little.

More later. *smooches*

PS. Are you reading my SuperFantastic Cuzin's Dig Diary from Israel? If not, you are missing out, bitchez. Witty writing. Interesting topics. And occasional photos of hot and sweaty archaeologists. YUM! What more does one need?

*I remember reading this in a Reader's Digest sometime in the early 80s. I had no idea who Cyd Charisse was.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Say Cheese

Once upon a time there lived a boy who loved taking pictures of himself. His name was Narcissus GayProf Vuboq. Sometimes he used these pictures for his blog profiles. One day, many months ago*, someone -who shall remain nameless**- commented on the frequent changing of said profile pictures***.

Which has inspired the following Opinion Poll...




Create polls and vote for free. dPolls.com




What say you, kittens?

*VUBOQ knows how to hold a grudge.
**but it starts with a B and rhymes with "ROSSY"
***VUBOQ can't find the comment**** now, but he's certain it was funny (as almost everything ROSSY writes tends to be).
****FOUND IT: "PS who changes their About photo more than you?" on I am Cheap.

The Hoarder

I have always been a saver. As a child, rather than buy comic books (like my brother), I would put my allowance in a cigar box, which I hid under my bed. Eventually, my parents helped me open my first savings account.

About three months into my second year of teaching high school, I realized that it would be my last year of teaching high school. I switched into High Savings Mode and managed to save enough to live for about 4 months before landing the job in Japan and flying there.

My last year of teaching in Japan, I once again switched into High Savings Mode and saved enough money to travel through Southeast Asia for several months and live for over a year in NC (with a part-time job and time spent teaching in Beijing) before starting graduate school.

Now, with my current unemployment crisis looming, it would seem that I have once again entered High Savings Mode:




I've managed to increase my savings account from less than 1.5 months' living expenses to a little over 3 months' living expenses. [Thanks in part to my tax refunds and the stimulus check]. Yay me.

Maybe I won't starve ... just yet.

More later. *smooches*

PS. The Straight Guy is sad.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Well, Duh.

An oldie, but a goodie ...
The Straight Guy is in shock.

You, Too, Can Be Just Like VUBOQ

It's easy really ... here are my SuperExciting plans for the evening:

1. Vote in the Special Election*.
2. Wash the ginormous pile of dishes in my sink.
3. Close out my May budget.
4. Update my June budget.
5. Weed the flower bed.
6. Work on answering some KSAs**.
7. Drink martini.
8. Make dinner.
9. Watch DVDs.

I'm not sure but there could also be cat-box cleaning and vacuuming at some point!

Follow these 9 (possibly 11) Simple Steps***, and you, too, will be living the Fabulous Vutopian Lifestyle****!

*VUBOQs Rock the Vote!
**Knowledge, Skills, and Assessments: Essay questions on government applications. They are full of teh suck.
***Some assembly required.
****Batteries not included.

OMG! It Is Absolutely Forking Gorgeous Outside!

Down came the rain and washed the heat and humidity out. Kittens, it is fantabulous today. OMG. When I got to my office building, I almost kept on walking ... but then I remembered the pending unemployment and that I will get reimbursed for any vacation days not taken ... so I came to work. *bleah*


Pottery class last night was fun. I finished the two mugs. The slightly crappy vase was not quite ready to trim. And I threw a plate. It was hard. I may try it one more time and, if I don't like it, no more plate-throwing for me! Anyway, class was good messy fun.


One of the positive aspects of pending unemployment is that I will be able to go to open studio more often. That will be good. I hate doing things like trimming and attaching handles during class time.


In exciting garden news, the Thai Basil seedlings are looking LOVERLY. My wildflowers are blooming. The cosmos are starting to get little buds. The sad Thai Chili Plant still looks sad (and Thai!). The marigolds are starting to bloom. And the serrano chili plant is getting really tall (but has nothing even vaguely resembling flowers yet. I hope that's not a bad sign).


I can't wait to go all Earl Cootie on you and post pictures of my little flower patch.

More later. *smooches*

Monday, June 16, 2008

How a 4-Pack of Toilet Paper Ends Up Costing $20.20

Step One: Buy your toilet paper at Whole Foods [365 Brand Papier Hygienique - $2.99]

Step Two: Realize that while in Whole Foods you will probably want to buy other things, but you also want to keep to your June budget so ...

Step Three: Tell self you can only buy items that begin with the letter T. How Sesame Street!

Step Four: After putting the toilet paper in your basket, remember you need toothpaste (T! We can buy it!).

Step Five: On the way to the toothpaste, bypass little old lady pushing her cart so slow you think it's going backwards by cutting down the Snack Aisle.

Step Six: Mmmm. Snacks. Ponder Kettle Chips, Pirate's Booty and then ... TORTILLA CHIPS [Nana's Tortilla Chips - $2.79] (YAY! T!).

Step Seven: Think that Tortilla chips by themselves are kind of blah.

Step Eight: Pick up a jar of salsa [Senor Field's Chipotle Salsa - $5.19].

Step Nine: Justify the non-T beginning salsa by referring to it as a single unit: Tortilla chips and salsa.

Step Ten: While choosing toothpaste [Tom's of Maine Cinnamon Clove Fluoride Gel - $5.59], notice that your favorite dental floss is on sale, Tea Tree Oil Dental Floss! T! [Desert Essence Tea Tree Oil Dental Floss -$2.99].

Step Eleven: Check out. Total + tax - $0.05 bag refund = $20.20

That's some expensive toilet paper.

Weekend Update: Pridealicious Edition

Good morning, kittens!

What a weekend I had. On Friday, Tomokito, Across the Way Neighbor, and I went to Adega for dinner. Then, Tomokito went home, and AtWN and I met Carolyn for Sex and the City. Yes, I've seen it. But, I didn't have much else to do on Friday night. The movie was fun the second time as well.

Saturday, I blobbed around the house until around 4. Tomokito and I headed into the District to meet Mike, some of his friends, and Y for the DC Pride Parade. It was fun, but WET. Very Rainy. You can check out my photos on Flickr: DC Gay Pride 2008. The Straight Guy had fun at Pride, too.

We left the parade a bit early and went to Straits of Malaya for dinner. YUM.

On the way home, Y and I had a bit of a spat. I won't go into details; I'll just say that one of us was being a little childish. And it wasn't me. Unfortunately, because I was peeved, there was no I-won't-be-seeing-you-for-five-days-because-you-are-going-to-a-conference good-bye secks. Oh, well.

We had to get up early Sunday morning so I could drive him to the airport. I took his car back to his apartment, metro'ed home, and took a nap. Mmm. Naps. Later, Tomokito came down and we watched a DVD. I had dinner, watched another movie, and went to bed.

Fun times.

I should have worked on some job applications. A friend of mine has recommended me for a sweet job with the DC government. I need to work on that this week.

Pottery class is tonight. *w00t* We'll be learning to make plates. And, I also need to make handles for the two mugs I made last week. Hopefully, it will be a productive class.

Finally, *it* has arrived! I am now the proud owner of a Bedazzled Uterus! I am so excited! I'll try it on when I get home. For now, a photo of the shirt will have to suffice:

It's too late to buy your own, but you can still support Medical Students for Choice by going to http://www.ms4c.org/.

More later. *smooches*

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Sophie's Choice

Yesterday, I had to thin out my thai basil seedlings, a daunting task. I love them all. Rather than discard some of them, I froze them into ice cubes:

If only Meryl Strep had known that was an option ...

PS. They are *not* floating in a glass full of vodka.

PPS. OK. Maybe they are.

Friday, June 13, 2008

A Horse is a Horse

When I was 6 years old, my family moved from Belmont, a mill town which was transitioning to a Charlotte suburb, to Murphy, NC, a town whose only real claim to fame was as part of the saying "from Murphy to Manteo," the westernmost and easternmost points of the state. The drive from Belmont to Murphy is a little over 4 hours. In a U-Haul moving van, it's probably more like 5 or 6.

Our trip took two days.

On the first day, about 3 hours into the trip, the U-Haul broke down during a torrential downpour. The truck couldn't be fixed until morning, so we checked into a motel and went out to dinner. During dinner, the power went out in the restaurant and in the motel.

The next day, about an hour outside of our destination, a young man was walking his horse along the side of the road. My dad eased the truck around them. The truck had almost completely passed them when something spooked the horse.

It bucked wildly and kicked the van. My parents said the horse broke its back and died almost instantly. We had to wait several hours for the nearest highway patrol officer to arrive. In the meantime, the horse was buried in a field across the road.

We finally arrived at our new home in the early evening.

And that's my story about the Horse and the U-Haul (and the longest move ever).

***

Since it's Pride, there is a lot going on this weekend. I'll be going to the parade tomorrow evening, but, more than likely, that will be the extent of my Pride-related activities.

Tonight, I'll be going to see Sex and the City (again) with some friends. And, Sunday morning, I *think* I'm driving Y to the airport. He's going to be at a conference all next week. If I do drive him, I'll skip the Pride Street Festival and go to the pottery studio. If I don't drive him, I'll skip the Pride Street Festival and go to the pottery studio.

Have a great day. *smooches*

Thursday, June 12, 2008

June 12 of 12: Gay Pride Edition

Good evening, Kittens. Here are my 12 photos for the 12th of June.
Since this is DC Pride Week, I thought I would focus on things that are GAY GAY GAY.

My Shower Curtain is Gay:
Shower Curtain Detail

My Earring is Gay:
Earring

Using Moisturizer (SPF 15!) is Gay:
Face Cream

The Wildflowers I planted in the Spring are Gay:
Little Wildflower

Even though I don't want trains whizzing by my window at all hours of the day, the proposed Purple Line is Gay:
The Purple Line

Rainbows are Gay:
Painted Rainbow

The Name of this Restaurant is Gay:
Bombay Gaylord

Greek Salad from Panera is Gay:
Greek Salad

Packages of Weird Seafood are Gay:
Octopus and Squid

My Reflection is Totally Gay:
Red Reflection

Making Felted Military Belts is Gay:
Craft Project

Martinis are Gay:
Martini

The rest of the Gayness is on flickr.

*smooches*

Netflix is on Crack

I was checking my Netflix queue this morning, and on the homepage they had some suggestions for me ...

Based on my interest in Moulin Rouge, Victor/Victoria, and Sweeney Todd, they recommended the following contemporary movie musicals:



Anyone see anything odd about this combination?

Almost the Weekend

Yayz.

It's the 12th, so I'm busy snapping photos of my day. Today's 12 of 12 (to be posted this evening, most likely) is actually going to have a theme. So excited.

Last night, I did laundry. 2 loads. It was v. exciting. Then, I watched Charlie Wilson's War, which was more interesting than I thought it would be. It provides a very interesting (and I wonder how accurate) look at how the US dealt with the Russian invasion of Afghanistan and its aftermath. In addition, it helped to solidify my Amy Adam's love (love her!).

During my lunch break, I have to run down to the art supply store on Georgia Avenue to see if they have fabric glue and embroidery thread. Then, to Strosnider's Hardware to buy some d-rings.

AND, I found a $15 gift card to Panera Bread that my parents sent me for my birthday. Guess where I'm going for lunch?

More later. *smooches*

PS. I sent out 2 resumes/cover letters last night. Go me!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

C'est Arrive

My prize package* from the Project Rungay contest arrived today! (Thanks, TLo!) See:

There may be some sort of Tressemme Hair Styling Party in the very near future.

*smooches*

*cat not included.

Job Hunt Update

Resume/Cover Letters sent: 2
Resume/Cover Letters to be sent tonight: 1
Resume/Cover Letters almost ready to send (and, hopefully, will be sent tonight): 1
Interesting Job Announcements which I eventually want to send Resume/Cover Letters: 7


Most of the jobs are based in the DC/Metro area, but one is in San Jose and one is in South Korea (eep!) ... which raises* the questions: How far are you willing to move for a job? And what factors help determine that distance?

For me, I think, distance isn't that big of a deal. The most important factor is career trajectory: Will moving advance or hinder my career? And I won't find that out until (if) I make it to the interview stage. For now, I'm all what-the-hell-send-in-the-application. We'll load that U-Haul** when we come to it.

*but doesn't beg
**Did I ever tell you about the time a horse attacked our U-Haul?

Last Night Enumerated

1. Housework
2. Made dinner
3. Board meeting
4. Ate dinner
5. Bed

I don't know if my evening could've been more exciting.

That's all I got. More later. *smooches*

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Journey Back in Time

I'm keeping busy at work by going through a bunch of old disks on my desk. The one I'm looking at now contains about 45 pages of old journal entries I salvaged from the caches of various search engines after diary-x crashed.

Here's a blast from the past ...

Tuesday, May 10, 2005
Am I Gay Quiz

Recently, when I check my stats, I have noticed that thousands of one or two people per day visited my journal searching for an "Am I Gay Quiz."

Although I frequently use the words am, I, gay, and quiz, there is no such quiz in my journal ... until today!

Yes, the people person has spoken!

And, since I am a Gay Man of the People Person, I proudly present to you ...

EnviroBoi's Am I Gay Quiz
[Unfortunately, ladies, this is a Men Only Quiz. I don't have the knowledge base to determine if you are lesbians or not. I suppose you could just replace the appropriate words in this quiz and figure something out.]

Instructions

Please answer the following questions honestly.

Assign the following point values:
Yes - 1 point
No - 0 points

The Quiz

1. Are you male?
2. When you masturbate (and you know you do), do you more often than not fantasize about men?

[scroll down to interpret your results]














Interpreting Your Results

Total your points [Remember Yes - 1 point, No - 0 points].

Multiply your Total by Your Age.

Score:
0-10: You are probably not gay.
> 10: You are gay.
> 60: Get out of the closet already.

All kidding aside, Question #2 is the one that really helped me come to terms with myself. I had been living in deep, deep denial for a long, long time. One day, I happened upon that question, and I realized, "Hmm ... I always fantasize about men when I masturbate."

*CLICK*

And, it all clicked. I'm gay. If you are asking, you probably are too.

Fire and Ice

With the temperatures appoaching triple digits and the FDA issuing a warning on red tomatoes, I have begun to crave summery salads, and one in particular: Fire and Ice Salad. It's really quite simple to make. Quarter tomatoes, peel and slice cucumbers, and slice some red onion and maybe a jalapeno or two. Combine in a casserole dish with your favorite homemade vinegrette and refrigerate.

It's hot. It's cool. It's perfect. Thinking of it yesterday, brought back a flood of memories ...

Two years and two days ago, I broke up with the Cheating Cheater. Two years and nine days ago, I caught him with a twenty-something-year-old with long hair and bad skin. On the metro ride home from that discovery, I somehow managed to spill an entire dish of Fire and Ice Salad which I had made to take to a potluck later that afternoon. $20 worth of heirloom tomatoes and organic cucumbers dripped down the orange metro vinyl, and I sat there, numb.

As I was relating this story, last night, to Y, he said something along the lines of, "This is probably not the best time to mention it, but I think you have an overly strict view of monogamy."

Um. What?

"If you don't like it, you know what to do," I replied.

Many things about me have changed over the years, but one thing that I see remaining constant is my definition of monogamy, no matter how overly strict it is. Other people can be perfectly happy with open relationships, with stepping out occassionally, but I know I won't be. So don't even try. If that's what you want, it's time to move on because you're not getting it from me.

Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

Robert Frost



In other news, pottery was a blast. I threw two mugs and a largish vase (which I'm not overly pleased with, but whatevs). My goal this session is to learn to make lids. We'll see how that goes.

I also had to sit through Y practicing his presentation. He's presenting a paper next week at some conference. The first run-through, and I say this with love, was baa-aaa-aaaaad. He has 20 minutes. It took over 30. He spent too much time on the set up and not enough on the results/conclusions (which should be the most interesting part, right?). I'm sure it will get better with practice.

Of course, sitting through his practice presentation meant that I didn't get to bed until nearly midnight. Y stayed up all night working. I am tired.

More later. *smooches*

PS. It would seem the Straight Guy won an award. VUBOQ never wins awards. What up with that?

Monday, June 09, 2008

I Almost Forgot the Most Momentous Event of the Weekend

I was going over in my head what I need to do when I get home from work: (a) eat, (b) drink, and (c) pack an overnight bag. As I mentally packed my bag, I remembered the Momentous Event!

Saturday, Y gave me a toothbrush that I can keep at his place.
[Yes, I know I could buy my own toothbrush to keep at his place, but I kept forgetting. Plus, I bought him a toothbrush for my place, so it only seemed fair that he reciprocate]

Yay!
I no longer have to schlep my toothbrush across county lines!
Happy Happy Happy!

I'm sure that must mean LOVE, right?

Someone is in Need of a Motavational Speech

The reality of being jobless soon has started to sink in. Consequently, I am losing all motivation to do my job here. I have several tasks to complete by the 15th. Have I started any of them?

The answer to that question would be "no."

Instead, I am thinking about what I want to learn in pottery class this term. I think I want to concentrate on making lids. Then, I can make cannisters! and jars! and, even, something like this (without the fancy designs):



Wouldn't that be cool?

Dreaming about pottery class is so much more fun than updating the training manual, confirming our technical contacts/referral list, and compiling our call statistics from October 2007 to the present ...

*sigh*

Weekend Update: Too Darn Hot Edition

Good Monday Morning, Kittens!

My weekend was chock full of fun and excitement.

Friday night, I stayed home and watched movies, namely a typically gay film, The Trip. It was all right, if a bit predictable.

Saturday, I got up and did some yard work. I trimmed the hedge. Then, I attacked this gigantic forsythia bush with the clippers. It now has a mohawk (because it's so tall, I couldn't reach the very top, even using a step stool). This Fall, I'm taking a chainsaw to that thing and cutting it down by half. Srsly. It's a menace to society. It was hot. I was sweaty.

I hate being sweaty.

So, I came inside and made a milkshake (scroll down two entries for photo).

That evening, I went to Y's. We watched Pursuit of Happyness, which was also all right. Then, we had secks. Yayz.

Sunday morning, we had more secks (yayz) and breakfast. Around two, Tomokito and a friend of Y came over for wine and cheese. We had decided earlier that it was going to be too hot for a picnic. Air conditioning is a lovely thing.

Tomokito drove me home around 6. I started to get the dreaded early-evening-I-shouldn't-have-drunk-so-much-in-the-afternoon hangover, so I took a nap. When I woke up, DUN and Across the Hall from DUN Neighbor were mowing the yard. The lawn mower was sounding a bit odd, so I went outside to see if I could help.

We turned the mower over and the blade was really loose. I went inside, grabbed a monkey wrench, and tightened the bolt. And, guess what? It worked! VUBOQ is so handy. You can read the Straight Guy's version of events here.

And that was about it. Pottery class starts again tonight (yay!), so Meat-Free Monday posts will be going on a 9-week hiatus.

More later. *smooches*

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Summer Garden

Here are a few photos from my sad attempts at growing things:

Chocolate Mint:
Chocolate Mint

Thai Chili Peppers (so sad):
Sad Thai Chilies

Wildflowers:
Wildflowers

Blooming Wildflower and BugBlooming Wildflower

Saturday, June 07, 2008

I Drink Your Milkshake

Chocolate Coffee Shake

I did yardwork this morning, trimming the hedge and the giganto bush out front. It was hot.
Afterwards, I made this Chocolate Coffee Milkshake with chocolate ice cream, Ghiradelli chocolate chips, coffee ice cubes (you know I freeze leftover coffee into cubes, right?), cold coffee, and soy milk.

OMG. Teh YUM!

Happy Saturday, Kittens.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Anagram Time

OMG, Kittens!

It's the Internet Anagram Server!

You know you want to go there and anagram your name.

Here's my first and last name: Savviest End ...
Throw in my middle name and you get: Divas, Never Stale!

Have fun! Leave your name's anagram in the comments!

*smooches*

HIgh Gear

It would seem that I need to move the job hunt into high gear. EPA published a notice in the Federal Register that our contract has been awarded to an organization for the blind in upstate NY. This is the same organization that won the last contract I was on. They spent the first 2 or so years of that contract completely forking it up.

Which annoyed me, because EPA rode our arses hard on that contract. Every single email we sent out (which was about 200/week) was scrutinized and rated for grammar, spelling, and content. We came up with a double-review process before sending any email. In the last year of the contract, over 75% of our email responses were rated "better than EPA could answer." Which, if I do say so myself, was pretty damn good.

Of course, after the contract was awarded to the other company, one of my co-workers sent a test email inquiry to them. When she got the response, she came to me and said, "If I had tried to send out something like this, you would have made me do it over ... twice." This made me think that maybe EPA was going a little easy on the new contractor ... and it pissed me off.

With the contract that they have now won, I don't think they have realized the breadth of knowledge required to answer the questions we receive. They haven't even asked to see the training manual, and we take *at least* 30 days to train new information specialists. It's another several months before a new info spec feels comfortable enough to answer questions without assistance.

The notice set an effective date of June 29th. Our project officer (at EPA) isn't sure what that means. Good luck to them. Don't expect much help from this end.

In the meantime, anyone want to hire me?

I sent out one resume/job application yesterday. I have a pile of other job openings to work on this weekend. So all is not hopeless. And, hell, I'll work in Pier One if I have to.

Anyway, enough of the boring job talk.

Last night, Y and I went to a new Indian/Nepali restaurant in Silver Spring. DUN had given me a gift certificate for taking care of her cat, Fuego. The food was really good. We had samosas for an appetizer. They were all right. I've had better. For my entree, I had some sort of spicy potato/cauliflower dish (aloo ghobib?). It was excellent. Y had something with chicken (chicken tikki masala?). We also ordered cheese-stuffed naan. YUM. The portions seemed a little small. And the prices were a tad high. I can see myself going back once in awhile. I'm not a huge fan of Indian food, so I really have to be craving it. That happens maybe once every two months or so.

When we got back, Tomoko [and Emiliano] came down for drinks and a chat. I made Lillet spritzers, which were super-yummy. Very cool and refreshing. I think I may have found my new summer drink.

Lillet, if you don't know, is a French aperitif. I bought a bottle of it when I wanted to make the Vesper Martini mentioned in Casino Royale (3 parts Gordon's, 1 part Vodka, 1/2 part Lillet with a twist). I read about the spritzer idea in GQ last week when I was at the salon.

I guess I poured about 2 oz Lillet and 1 oz soda in an ice-filled wine glass. Then, I added a thin slice of lemon. Delicious. Srsly. You should try it.

I don't have any huge plans for this weekend. I'll probably spend most of it at home. Sunday, Y and I are going with some of his friends on a picnic in the park to celebrate some Jewish holiday (that begins with an S?). Apparently, one celebrates it by drinking wine and eating cheese in a park. Which, if you ask me, is a mighty fine way to celebrate practically any religious holiday.

On a final note, big *smooches* to Chelsea for doing my little picture activity yesterday! If you'd like to do it (and why wouldn't you like to do it?), scroll down and pick some pictures!

I guess that's it for now. More later, I'm sure.
*smooches*

PS. Our friend, the Straight Guy, has updated.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

A Fun Little Creative Activity Just. For. You.

Below are 20 pictures pulled from my work computer. Your task, if you choose to accept it, is to use 5 or more of these pictures to compose an entertaining blog post. When you are finished, leave a comment, and I'll provide some linkyluv.







It's like a meme. Only it's not.

You can thank me later. *smooches*