Monday, September 22, 2008

700 Billion

We, the tax payers, have decided (through our elected officials... wait, an appointed official from the most incompetent president ever... sigh) to bail out the financial markets.

It's disgusting. Is it needed? Maybe, but the people who are saying we need to do it are the same people that let us get into this mess. I've got friends who swear by the capitalist system: it's the most efficient, generates most progress, etc. etc. And when you throw up critiques like it has led us down the path of destroying our environment, commoditizing the commons, preying on the un-educated, privitizing public programs, and so on. Of course the standard response is something along the lines of, "well, that's because the costs were not set up properly... blah blah blah" Nice out, it's akin to saying, "X is the best. Oh, it's not working? You're doing it wrong."

Anyway, transparency is a good thing all around. Mark Cuban thinks that's what's needed to get the bailout to work: 700Billion bailout ? Ebay it ! « blog maverick

Sunday, September 21, 2008

September Simone

It's been a while since the last photo post. Here are some snippets of what we've been doing the past month. It's mainly been: going to the park, to the water fountain, to the farmer's market, hanging around at home, working in the yard, the usual.

Fireplace, Take 2

Wow, I just looked, and I never posted pictures of the finished fire place from last year. I know we've got them - they're probably on the other computer.

So, if you don't know the story about the fireplace, it was finished last fall. It was beautiful. You really need to see the pictures. Notice the past-tense. In November or so, during a big storm, it collapsed. Mary and I had just gotten into bed when we heard a huge, "whump!" I sleepily got up, knowing what it was - Mary was a little more panicked because she thought it might have been Simone falling out of bed.

Kiko came out (apologizing profusely) and figured out the flashing wasn't quite right, and the water had dripped down and saturated the front of the chimney at the base - and that's where things collapsed. He'd come out earlier when we saw the chimney starting to weather poorly, and we'd wrapped it up in tarps, but I guess that wasn't enough to save it.

Long story short, we no longer had a fireplace.

Well, now we have one. It's a completely different design. I really need to find the older pictures so you could see. But here it is. We fired it up two nights this week and it works pretty well. You can't see the chimney in any of these photos, I'll have to get another picture.

Eggs, take 2

A month ago we started getting eggs, and the girls have been steady at producing 2 nearly every day. I find that amazing - how do they know to balance their laying out like that? Why don't we ever get 3 on one day?

The eggs have steadily gotten larger, one day we even had one that would have qualified as Jumbo (I should have weighed it).

We get produce scraps from the co-op every week or so to supplement the girls' diet - they plow through a 40 pound pile of lettuce/melon/apple/whatever in a few days. With the scraps from our kitchen and the co-op, they end up not eating very much of the pellet food. And, when we're in the back yard, we usually let them out to roam around to find whatever bugs/greens they want to eat.

Here are the girls:

100 Pushups, week 1

We just finished the first week. It has been relatively easy (motivation-wise) to do the routine. I still have a little trouble imagining being able to do the 6th week's schedule (250 push ups in an evening), but it was easy enough to progress along with the first week's plan. I ended up doing 168 push ups total, which has to be more than I've ever done in a week before. Mary out performed me with 192 - you go girl.

Hot Chocolate Cakes

Mary and I ate at Sybaris for the second time about a week ago. The food was delicious, as expected. Dessert was a chocolate sampler, the best of which was a souffle-like cake with a molten center - absolutely delicious.

I thought I'd try making my own. I looked on David Lebovitz's site for a recipe that sounded like the cake, and I found this: Individual Hot Chocolate Cakes.

The cakes didn't turn out quite the same. The recipe has you unmold the cakes onto plates - so the presentation is different. And, even before that, the Sybaris cake had a crispy top, where the Lebovitz cake was a little softer. The center of the Lebovitz cake wasn't molten, just very soft.

That being said, Lebovitz provided yet another winning dessert. The cake was rich and delicious. The cake is so soft it barely holds itself together, and when you "bite" into it, what little structure remains just melts away inside your mouth.

Plus, the cake is very easy to make and doesn't take much time. I'd only change the recipe slightly - I'd be sure to use superfine sugar to line the ramekins, and I'd use ramekins (I don't own any, I used coffee mugs). As it was, the sugar on the outside of the cake was a little grainy and distracted from the cake itself. Plus with such a tall cake mold, there was just too much sugar on the outside.

The next time I want to impress folks with a dessert, this is the one I'll make.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Mary found this page a week ago: one hundred push ups.

It's a simple workout, the standard pyramid where the sets decrease in number of reps as your muscles tire. The goal of the program is to work your way up for 6 weeks until you're able to do 100 consecutive push ups. It should take about 30 minutes a week initially, probably more like an hour a week at the end, and then you should be able to do 100 in a row.

Mary and I just started. We both tested at 20 push ups (I'm doing traditional, Mary is doing the "knee"), and we completed the workout Monday night, which was about 50 push ups in total. By the end, the workouts will result in 250 push ups.

I just think it'd be pretty macho to be able to drop and do 100. We'll see if it sticks. Check back in 6 weeks.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Barack Obama and the “End” of Racism

After a long-winded introduction to the author, the piece wonderfully illuminates how some view Obama's rise as it relates to racism in this country. I found this particular passage interesting:

The Fourth World: Barack Obama and the “End” of Racism:
"Obama plays the role of a Black Cinderella. He does for Black folks what Cinderella does for girls. He shows that oppression and silence can be good for you – at least if you are the one the prince chooses, or if you are the one who gets to be the prince. It’s total fantasy. It’s a glass slipper that will break at the arch and be turned on us like a broken beer bottle or a jagged-edged knife; the same knife Obama has threatened to turn on the people of Iran and Pakistan."

Well worth the read.

hat tip: letterstotheoregonian