Monthly Archives: April 2012

Why it’s good to have smart friends with lousy memories

I once had a friend who could casually drop quotes from a famous astrophysicist, segue into a comment about Germany in the 30s, and end with his ideas about Harry Potter.

But while his memory for facts and figures was phenomenal, he had a TERRIBLE memory for personal details, about himself, about those around him, about what time he was supposed to show up for his own parties…

He continually made clever observations which he would never remember making.

So I would often impress him with his own words from previous conversations.

It generally went something like this:

ME: Yeah. I met a guy who is a spherical bastard.*

HIM: Wow! I love that quote from Zwicky! I didn’t know you were into astrophysics!

ME: I’m not. You told me about him last week.

HIM: Oh.

A few weeks later…

ME: Ok, so that guy wasn’t so much a spherical bastard, as a cubical one…**

HIM: Ha! I love Zwicky! I didn’t know you were into astrophysics!

ME: …

I haven’t seen the guy for years, but I’m sure that he still remembers me as more intelligent than I am.

I doubt he’ll remember why though.

*someone who is a bastard no matter what angle you look at him
**when I come across a good description, I tend to overuse it, like a much loved t-shirt


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Sardine Butter

So I made sardine butter.

For those of you who don’t like sardines, this probably sounds disgusting.

For those of you who don’t like butter…

Haha! Who am I kidding? Who doesn’t like butter?!

Anyway, sardine butter is  a “compound butter”. A compound butter is butter that has been softened, mashed with other ingredients, then refrigerated.

It’s super easy to make and there are several different recipes for sardine butter online; I used a stick of butter, salt, and lightly smoked sardines.

You can make garlic butter, chive butter, anchovy butter, horseradish butter..etc.

Usually, compound butters are used on top of vegetables or steak. But since I crave salty over sweet, I’ve been using this on toast as a snack.

Because while buttered toast isn’t exactly health food, its probably better than the bag of potato chips I’d otherwise eat.

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In space, no one hear you cry…a lot.

So I’m late to the “Battlestar Galactica” caravan. But with the magic of Netflix, I can now watch all five seasons without commercials.

I generally like to do this, unblinking, on my couch, for hours, until the sun rises.

I recommend. Bring snacks.

A lot has already been written about this show; the superlative acting, the quality of the special effects, the intricacies of the plotting and character development. How the writers use the word “frack” to get around the censors, leading to terms like “motherfracker”*; a linguistic necessity that is profoundly irritating at first, but eventually normalizes. (However, never use the term out in public. Just don’t. You’re just making everyone uncomfortable.)

All of this is true.

What is also true is that there is more crying and suffering than a Spanish soap opera.

Granted, the characters have a lot to cry about. I mean, sure, most of them are attractive enough to actually be in a Spanish soap opera. But they’re forced to wear grungy clothes, under unflattering lighting!

Plus there’s that whole end of the world, last of humanity, being hunted by killer cyborgs thing to grapple with.

Anyway, if you’re one of those people who generally doesn’t like science fiction, but does enjoy watching attractive people suffer nobly, over many, many hours, give BSG** a shot.

Pretend it’s “Mad Men” without the clothes, historical context, or Don Draper.

*a coal miner with maternal instincts
**Battlestar Galactica. Yeah, I know the acronym doesn’t technically work,  it doesn’t matter. Use it for nerd credibility.

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Anyone who knows me knows that I have a deep and abiding love for cheese. So much so that an ex-boyfriend once complained that he wished I was as excited about him as I was about cheese.

He had a point.

(When I repeated the complaint to a friend of mine, he said my response should have been: “Because cheese satisfies me.”)


I’m not the socially acceptable version of a cheese lover, as I even like the stuff that spells “cheese” with a “z” and ends with the word “whiz”. I have regular cravings for food that belong to the group I call “the orange group.” (And I don’t mean carrots and oranges.)

Not only is cheese delicious, but bad cheese products are a useful metaphor for trying times.

For example:

Sometimes you know you want to wallow in the drama of a situation, but feel you’re too grown up to do so. Well, like Cheetos*, it’s okay to indulge once in awhile, even necessary. In fact if you try to hold back, you just make it worse.

So go ahead, swoon over that celebrity crush, admit that you just don’t like someone for no discernible reason except that she physically resembles the girl who bullied you in eighth grade, throw a tantrum because you discovered that your favorite teacup has a chip in it.

But then stop. Because you shouldn’t overdo it. Scarfing down a whole bag of Cheetos will make you feel gross afterward, and then embarrassed and dirty when you’re caught.

Don’t overindulge in Emotional Cheetos(TM), is what I’m saying.

*Edit: A friend of mine pointed out that I had spelled Cheetos wrong. I’m so ashamed. It’s like a catholic not knowing the name of the pope!


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Let’s go Vegas…

A friend of mine announced that she got a new job and I responded:

“Let’s go to Vegas!”

Three days later, we were in Mandalay Bay. Imagine our surprise when we immediately found ourselves captured by a military dictatorship and placed under house arrest in the middle of the man-made wave pool next to a giant iguana statue.

Haha! Just a little Burma joke there!

Having never been to Burma, I can’t say with certainty, but I’m going out on a limb and say that I don’t think there’s any resemblance to this Mandalay and that Mandalay except for the name. Which is probably a good thing because it wouldn’t be popular otherwise, except by extreme survival fantasists.

Las Vegas is a place where every cultural stereotype is exaggerated in a manner to put those who are uncomfortable with other cultures at ease. There is no need to deal with foreign languages, unfamiliar public transport, or strange food, because even in medieval times, pizza can be procured (food mall in Excalibur!).

Paris is an amalgam of the Garnier Opera House, Arc de Triomphe and Eiffel tower, where a French restaurant serves classic standards such as American style pancakes. NYC is the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, and Empire State, without the aggressive pedestrians and cabbies. Even the slot machines tread the line of unthreatening fantasy. Names like “Great Wall” or “Brazilian Princess”, imply exotic adventures in gaming, but are really…just slot machines. (They also feel vaguely racist, but in that retro way of the harmless aunt who doesn’t get why she can’t say “oriental” anymore.)

Moreover, no matter where you are in Vegas world, you will be accompanied by the greatest hits from the 70s and 80s. Because nothing says “oh la la!”, “fuggedaboutit” or whatever it is they say in ancient Egypt, quite like Hall and Oates’ “Maneater.”

In Vegas, every day, someone is getting married and it never feels earlier than 9:30 p.m. Your circadian rhythms will be wrecked, but it makes having a martini with your bacon and eggs seem perfectly reasonable.

And if the noise gets overwhelming, you can check into a spa for $25 where you can use a sauna, hot tub, and cold pool in an endless loop for an entire day while being served a bottomless supply of tea, juice, and fruit.

So pack too much eyeliner, too short skirts, every sequined item you own, three cans of hairspray, and go to Vegas. Really. You’ll have the best time that you’ll be vague about having when you get home.

ImageCasual Vegas Footwear

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