Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Song I Shouldn't Listen To While Driving

I love Amazon when I'm wanting to buy older CD's. I recently was on a little Fatboy Slim kick a few weeks back. I ordered "Palookaville" (2004) and "You've Come a Long Way, Baby" (1998).

Right now, my favorite of the two is "You've Come a Long Way, Baby." I feel like it's got more of the classic Fatboy Slim sound. To me, "Palookaville" comes across more as a freshman release.

The best song on "You've Come a Long Way, Baby" is one that I shouldn't listen to when I'm driving home from work in the evening: prime evening traffic; peak traffic conditions, really; shooting across the interstate, weaving in and out of traffic. It's track 5 "Build It Up - Tear It Down." Let's just say this: the speed limit on the interstates out here is 55. I've realized I've been doing just over 70, just while listening to this song. You can go online to Amazon to listen to a snippet of the song.



It's got this great kind of (drum or bass) beat to it that reminds me of the theme to the Munsters, or a dark grim superhero, for some damn reason. This song should be used in a car chase scene in a Jason Stathman movie. The Transporter meets the Munsters. This one song makes the entire CD, and the rest of the songs are almost as good as this one.





And about half way through this song, you'll hear the same chant used in the chorus of "Because We Can," also by Fatboy, on the Moulin Rouge soundtrack (track 3). I wonder if Fatboy is the first artist to ever sample himself?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Is This Really a Problem?

This entire article is what appeared online on Yahoo! News on January 27, 2009:

"WASHINGTON – So you think you can dance at the Jefferson Memorial? Think again.

"A federal judge has ruled against a woman who was arrested for dancing with a group of 17 others at the memorial dedicated to President Thomas Jefferson. The woman, Mary Oberwetter, and others were dancing to music on their headphones near midnight April 12, 2008, the eve of Jefferson's birthday.

"A National Park Service officer told the group to stop dancing and arrested Oberwetter when she refused. Charges against her were later dropped.

"But Oberwetter sued the Park Service last year, claiming a violation of her rights to free expression.

"U.S. District Judge John D. Bates says the inside of the memorial is not a public forum where people can dance, even if it's a silent dance party."

Are...you...shitting...me???

Both Oberwetter's arrest and her suing of the Park Service are frivolous cases. At least her arrest was dropped. But can we PLEASE get her case tossed as well? Here are just my thoughts on all this:

1. If you don't want people dancing, PUT UP A SIGN. My God, are we living in Footloose or something? I'm guessing there is no sign. I'm pretty sure I've been to the Jefferson Memorial. I don't remember seeing a sign.

2. "...the inside of the memorial is not a public forum." Yes, we know to conduct ourselves with dignity and decorum. But, since you don't have to pay for admission to the Memorial, does that take away the privacy of it?

3. How many people were there and saw the dancing? Who complained? I'm guessing it was someone with a corncob up their rear end. Why did they feel the need to complain?

4. They were dancing to music on their headphones...so probably no one else HEARD the music. I'm guessing Mary got a little into her dancing and bumped into someone. (I'm sure they weren't dancing for the sake of the Memorial. They probably got caught up in a song or two they each really liked.)

5. Why was Mary the only one arrested? How old is she?

You know what's going to happen the next time I go up to DC? I'm going to take my MP3 player and my camera. I'm going to dance at every Memorial (tastefully: I'm not going grind on anything or be gross) and I'm going to have whoever is with me take video of my dances. When I get back home, I'll post them online! If you don't want us to dance, like I said earlier, PUT UP A SIGN!!!

Oh, and here's my A-HA moment...check the website for the Memorial (the link is above). There's no mention of dancing not being allowed! Should we let a little anarchy out while we're there?

"Anarchy is the only slight glimmer of hope."
--Mick Jagger


"Anarchy may await America, due to the daily injustices suffered by the people."--Louis Farrakhan

Monday, January 25, 2010

One More Hat and Then a Break

A friend of mine is a student at the University of Virginia. I've known Auna since she was 14, when she started volunteering at Operation Smile. She started the same summer that I started working there. At the time, Jan Rosser, the non-medical volunteer coordinator, decided that since Auna and I were both new, we'd work together. Even with the age difference, we immediately clicked.

When she was back for this last semester break, we got together for lunch at Doumar's, like we usually do. Somehow, we got to talking about crochet. Auna doesn't crochet but she said she'd like a beanie in UVA colors (blue and orange) with dinosaur spikes.

Excuse me? What does dinosaur spikes have to do with UVA?


Auna found this shirt at Mincers and pretty much fell in love with it. She's a petite young woman and can wear small sizes in clothing. So this was her inspiration for wanting the dinosaur beanie.

2 colors:
1 skein of Lion Brand Wool Ease in Blue Heather (#107)
½ skein of Red Heart Super Saver in Pumpkin (#0254)
I-sized hook
Fiber Fill (very small amount)
Yarn needle

Beanie:
Round 1: With the Blue Heather, chain 4, join with sl stitch.
Row 2: Ch 2, 8 HDC in ring. Join to beginning ch 2.
Row 3: Ch2, work 2 HDC in each stitch around. Join to beginning ch 2.
Row 4: Ch2, work 2 HDC in 1st stitch, and 1 HDC each remaining stitch. Join to beginning ch 2.
Row 5: Ch2, work 2 HDC in 1st stitch, 1 HDC in next stitch, 2 HDC in the next stitch, etc., until the end. Join to beginning ch 2.
Row 6: Ch2, work 2 HDC in 1st stitch, 1 HDC in next 2 stitches, 2 HDC in the next stitch. Alternate 1 HDC in 2 stitches, 2 HDC in the next, until the end. Join to beginning ch 2.

Row 7: Ch2, work 2 HDC in 1st stitch, 1 HDC in next 3 stitches, 2 HDC in the next stitch. Alternate 1 HDC in 3 stitches, 2 HDC in the next, until the end. Join to beginning ch 2.
Row 8: Ch2, work 2 HDC in 1st stitch, 1 HDC in next 4 stitches, 2 HDC in the next stitch. Alternate 1 HDC in 3 stitches, 2 HDC in the next, until the end. Join to beginning ch 2.
Row 9: Ch2, work 2 HDC in 1st stitch, 1 HDC in next 5 stitches, 2 HDC in the next stitch. Alternate 1 HDC in 3 stitches, 2 HDC in the next, until the end. Join to beginning ch 2.
Row 10-15: Ch 2, work 1 HDC in each stitch around. Join each row to the beginning ch2.
Row 16: Repeat row 9.
Row 17-18: Repeat row 10.
Row 19: Change yarn to orange. Repeat row 10.
Row 20: Change yarn to blue. Repeat row 10 but only ch 1 instead of 2.
Row 21: Turn hat and work 1 sc in each HDC. Fasten off yarn once complete.

Dragon Spikes:
Make 2: Row 1: With the orange, leave a length of several inches and ch 7.
Row 2: Do 2 sc tog in the sec chain from the hook, 1 sc in other sc, and finish with 2 sc tog in the last sc. Ch 1 and turn. (4 sc)
Row 3: Do 2 sc tog in the sec chain from the hook, 1 sc in other sc, and finish with 2 sc tog in the last sc. Ch 1 and turn. (2 sc)
Row 4: Do the last 2 sc tog (1 sc) Ch 1 and turn.
Row 5: Do a slip stitch in the 1 SC and fasten off yarn.

Make 2: Row 1: With the orange, leave a length of several inches and ch 9.
Continue reducing each row by 2 sc (at the beginning and end) until the triangle is complete.

Make 2: Row 1: With the orange, leave a length of several inches and ch 11.
Continue reducing each row by 2 sc (at the beginning and end) until the triangle is complete.

Make 2: Row 1: With the orange, leave a length of several inches and ch 15.
Continue reducing each row by 2 sc (at the beginning and end) until the triangle is complete.

Once you have the triangles complete, pair them up and sew them together (using those lengths of yarn from the first chains), leaving the bottom seams open. If desired, stuff the largest spike with Fiber Fill, and then sew them to the beanie. Find the vertical center of the back, and sew the largest spike in place, with the bottom edge right above the orange stripe. Continue sewing the spikes up the back of the beanie with the corners touching, so that the smallest spike is the last one to be attached.

I am so lazy! Here it is...Saturday, five days after I made the post and I'm just NOW getting around to posting the photos!



Side view (Looks a little chicken-like, doesn't it? "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!")



3/4 profile rear view (This kind of makes me wish I had put the smaller spikes all the way down the center to the front. I didn't because I was thinking it would look like a mohawk. At the time, I thought it would help to convey the idea of dinosaur spikes down the back, by leaving them like this.)



Rear view

It's on it's way to Charlottesville. I can't wait for Auna to get it!

Tried a Couple Vegetarian Recipes

Since we had another football game to go to (Saints and Vikings), it was time to go through the cookbooks to find something new to make. I didn't realize it at the time, but I tried two vegetarian recipes.

The first recipe was Hot Chili Peanuts from Southern Living Homestyle Cooking. "The best of Southern comfort foods, from the leading authority on Southern cuisine. Features over 400 authentic, homestyle recipes from community cookbooks across the South, everything from picnics to canning produce. Over 100 sumptuous photographs, easy-to-use directions, plus the assurance that Southern Livings staff kitchen-tested each recipe, make Southern Living Homestyle Cooking a must-have for cooks of all skill levels."

Published in April 2002, this is a great cookbook. The version I have is hardback, which can be kind of a pain, trying to get it to lay open while cooking.

I got an early start on the peanuts so that the flavors would have time to mix together and really take.

9 cups (about 2 1/2 lbs) salted dry roasted peanuts
1.4 cup and 2 Tbsp melted butter
2 Tbsp ground red pepper
1 Tbsp and 1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt

Spread the peanuts in a single layer in an ungreased 15x10 inch jellyroll pan. Combine butter and remaining three ingredients, stir well. Pour butter mixture over peanuts, toss gently. Bake at 350 degrees, stirring often. Yield: 9 cups.

Unfortunately, I wasn't happy with the mild taste of these peanuts. While the house took on a really nice roasted peanut smell, the taste was just that: plain roasted peanuts. A few people tried them and thought they had a very mild spiced aftertaste but I wasn't even getting that much.

My next recipe was for Amigo Dip, from Just a Matter of Thyme. " Roxie Kelley and Shelly Reeves Smith nourish the body and soul by combining simple yet satisfying recipes with tips on gracious living and friendly entertaining, all presented alongside warm and inviting hand-drawn illustrations. Destined to become treasured family keepsakes, each book features flavorful recipes along with distinctive touches. This more-than-a-cookbook book honors friendship with thoughts on friends and a chapter of gift basket ideas—from a "Bath Basket" honoring a family's new bundle of joy to a "Teacher's Pet Basket" welcoming the season of football games and report cards. The recipes include Peppercorn Vegetable Dip, Whole Wheat Pecan Waffles, White Chili, Hot Potato Salad, and Chunky Chocolate and Coconut Cookies." This particular book reminds me a great deal of the Gooseberry Patch books.

The Amigo Dip is kind of a layered Mexican-style dip.

2 ripe avocados, peeled and cut into chunks
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp milk
1 1/2 tsp chili powder

Blend all of the above ingredients in a food processor or blender until creamy. Spread this mixture on the bottom of a larger platter. Then layer the following ingredients on top:

1 cup shredded head lettuce
2 tomatoes, diced
2/3 cup diced onion
1 cup shredded Cheddar or Jack cheese
1 jar of your favorite salsa (6-8 oz)

Chill until ready to serve.

This is an AWESOME dip! If you make this, you're really going to like it!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A New Hat Pattern to Share

A few days ago, I came across the greatest crocheted cat hat I've ever seen. It's by Green Elevator and she posted it, for free, over at Craftster.org.

If you crochet, you should definitely check this out. It's worked, as a beanie with earflaps, from the top down, with the ears added on last. I'd rate it at an intermediate skill level. She's also posted pictures of her hat. The photos below are my take on her hat, kind of a crochet-a-long, if you will.





For mine, I used an I size hook, and about 1 1/2 skeins of Lion Brand Deborah Norville Serenity Chunky Weight yarn, and part of an unknown skein of dusty rose. Green Elevator used pink felt for the insides of the ears, but I just crocheted two small triangles of pink because I didn't have felt and didn't want to make a trip out just for one piece of felt.

With a little bit of Fiber Fill, the ears stand up especially cute. As always, I've got my trusty blue glass head to model the hat. This hat is going to my friend Nina, who doesn't realize that when someone asks me for a crocheted hat, even in jest, I take those requests seriously! However, Nina will not be home tomorrow when we invade her and her husband's home for football. I'll have to wait a few days for her reaction to it.