Sunday, February 25, 2007

Me lately

Today I got a job! Woo! It is at a bakery/coffee shop and I will serve up the food to the customers and make their tasty coffee drinks. Finally, my dream came true and I was offered the job at the interview. We were chatting and then the manager said, "I'd like you to start training next week." I am sure I did a double take as I didn't believe I heard him right, but it was true! I am scared to cancel my other job interviews, though, as what if something happens to this one? It is a big relief to have some employment, even though it is only $8.25/hr. At least I have an idea of what I will have to work with. If my financial aid ever comes through I might be all set.

Tonight I am going to watch the Oscars at a friend's. I've got my and Melinda's predictions all printed out and ready to go, so we can see who rules the Oscars this year. She always sneaks up on me by predicting the best short animated film and such.

Also, dude, what rock am I living under that I didn't know The Amazing Race started? I am so sad! I missed the first episode, and tonight I must watch the Oscars. What I am I going to do about the conflict between it and Grease: You're the One that I Want? My life is so complex and I own no VCR.

Ooops. I forgot to post that I am going on a "media fast" starting Monday. No TV, movies, books, internets or podcasts for me during the week. It will be interesting. Anyway, I am not sure I post enough any way that you will notice, but I won't be reading and commenting on blogs either. I'll let you know how it went next weekend!


10. Small Wonder by Barbara Kingsolver
This is a book of essays that was partially inspired by 9/11. A lot of them deal with how to live peacefully and lightly in the world and there are a few good nature ones as well. This was my second time reading this book. I really enjoy it, although not as much as Kingsolver's other book of essays, High Tide in Tucson. One of the essays inspired me to eat more local food, although perhaps February in New York was not the best time to start that experiment. Anyway, this is a great book and everyone should read it. There is an essay about evolution and the importance of genetic diversity, "A Fist in the Eye of God", which I would like to give to my biology students to read. Another essay that really stood out was "And Our Flag Was Still There"* which really powerfully speaks about how those of us Americans who want peaceful solutions to conflicts need to reclaim the flag as our own, realize we are in the majority in the world, and not let the anti-patriotic discourse get us down. Both of these essays exemplify why I like Kingsolver's writings. I feel like she speaks what I am thinking, but way more eloquently than I ever could.

*this version is shorter than the one in the book

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

my brain

Your Brain is Green

Of all the brain types, yours has the most balance.
You are able to see all sides to most problems and are a good problem solver.
You need time to work out your thoughts, but you don't get stuck in bad thinking patterns.

You tend to spend a lot of time thinking about the future, philosophy, and relationships (both personal and intellectual).

I actually think this is not very true. I am good at solving problems, and I often need time to work out my thoughts but I don't think much about relationships or philosophy, or even the future.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

This is me procrastinating

I am sooooo tired of applying for jobs. I have a goal of applying for 5 every weekday. I got behind the last few days so now I need to do 11 today. But it is so boring. My friend Maggie says I am riding myself too hard, so maybe I don't need to do 5 a day? But who will pay the rent if I don't get a job? Ah well. Anyway, I have had two interviews recently. One is for like a real professional job in event planning. It would be cool as I would make $18/hr. yippee! I felt like I was disappointing the interviewer with all my answers though. I also had an interview at a cafe in Chelsea which I think would be cool to work at, even though it only pays $8/hr plus tips. We will see. I am happy I am getting more interviews, as that means perhaps I will get a job one day.

Maggie and I saw Music and Lyrics yesterday. It was fun and about what I expected. But it was nice to have a movie deliver what it advertised. So it is recommended if you want a regular cute chick flick. After it we had coffee and split a cupcake with sooooo much frosting. It was out of control with the frosting. I think there was more frosting than cupcake.

Yesterday I also mystery shopped for the first time! Someone recommended it to me as a way to make money in grad school, so I signed up with the only non scam site I found. It was pretty cool. I went to a store, bought something and returned it, and then filled out a questionnaire about it. I should get $40 for it. It would be better if the store were closer to me, but I got to hang out around 5th Ave all day so it was cool. It got me out of the apartment. My dream is to mystery shop some restaurants and get the meal paid for.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


6. Tender at the Bone by Ruth Reichl
This is a memoir about the first 30 or so years of the author's life. She later becomes food critic of the New York Times, and the editor of Gourmet. In this book, she learns to cook as a child and then grows up through hippie times in the 60's and 70's and continues her love of food. I really liked this book, the author's voice is really engaging and her story is very interesting. I'm looking forward to the other memoirs she wrote about her later years (although I think Laura didn't like some of the others as much?).

7. Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett
Funny funny Discworld book about a woman who disguises herself as a boy to join the army and look for her brother. Many surprises and hi jinks ensue. Very entertaining. You basically can never go wrong with Terry Pratchett.

8. Writing Your Doctoral Dissertation: Invisible Rules for Success by Rita S. Brause
This book was not so good. I think it was too clinical and removed for me. Also, I am so cynical about grad school now that it was also too optimistic. She had way too much about how writing your dissertation is a fabulous experience and you should take time and enjoy it. Blah, I say! Anyway, this might be useful for someone just starting grad school, to get an idea of what a PhD program is like, but it had little to offer someone like me who needs motivation and tips on the actual dissertation writing.

9. La Villa by Francine Pascal
OK, I got this book from the library solely because the name Francine Pascal, creator of the lovely Sweet Valley High series, leaped out at me. Francine, Francine, you let me down so. The book is not even fun trashy, it is just bad. A woman is sad because her husband died, she moves to France, blah blah blah. I don't recommend this, unless you just really want to read something by Francine Pascal. Actually, if that is the case I recommend you re-read the Sweet Valley High books.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


Help me out, people I went to college with.

What was the actual name of "vegan crack"? Remember, the chocolate-mint frozen vegan shake thing in the foil pouch? It is driving me crazy.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


3. The Old Comtemptibles by Martha Grimes
This is part of a mystery series all set in England. What can I say, I love books about the English police. This series is neat too, as each book is named after an actual pub. This one was pretty good, although the main character of the series was not in it too much, the secondary characters are really engaging so it was all ok.

4. Writing Your Dissertation in 15 Minutes A Day by Joan Bolker
I love this book, and have become somewhat obsessed with it. It really spoke to me and gave me a lot of hope that I can finish my dissertation one day. I think the best thing about it is that the author thinks of writing as part of the thinking process, and says it is supposed to be messy. She tries to help the reader embrace that early messiness so one can come up with a really powerful end product. I haven't stuck with all her techniques so far, but I find them really valuable and will most likely buy this book so I can keep referring to it as I write.

5. A Primate's Memoir by Robert Sapolsky
This book is so so so good! This was my 2nd reading of it. The book is the story of Sapolsky as he lives with and studies baboons over 20 years. He has amazing description of Africa and he really captures what it is like to do field research with primates. So many times during the book I was nodding in agreement. He also has a great sense of humor. Be warned, there is some very sad stuff at the end, but it makes the book that much more powerful.

God wouldn't let us destroy the earth

Via Pharyngula I read this post about how a weatherman is saying there can't be global warming because God just wouldn't allow it. Yikes! Luckily, he's just a weatherman in Kentucky, so I'm not too worried it is a super widespread belief....

Sunday, February 11, 2007

New York weekend

Laura asked to hear more about living in New York, so here is some. Don't worry, Shannon! I will write about bread making soon as well!

Anyway, this weekend R and I went to see Bodies: The Exhbition. This is one of those exhibitions where actual human bodies are dissected in interesting ways and we can see how all the muscles and organs work. It was pretty cool, but R and I were a little underwhelmed as it wasn't totally amazing, as we had heard. We decided you can only look at so many muscles. There was a cool part that just showed the circulatory system. They injected a polymer into the system, it hardened into plastic, and then they dissolved the rest of the body away. It left behind these really beautiful and feathery structures. We also really liked the embryo/fetus room. Especially the embryos. I find it amazing to think about how we were all little single celled things once, and now look at us! R wanted to see more diseases, and I would have liked more organs systems. Organs are cooler to me than muscles.

So that was fun, although it took us a million years to get there. It was located on the A train, which we also live on. So at first you think, hey! No prob! The prob is we are impatient and the museum is pretty much on the exact opposite end of Manhattan from us. Usually the A runs express for quite a bit, so it is fast, but it has not been doing so lately due to construction on the C. Anyway, we get on the A, then remember we have to switch anyway to another A, because of other construction. We decide to outsmart the system and instead switch to the 1, which we will then take to the 2 or the 3 as one of them is allegedly express (isn't this fun to talk about?). We attempt this, get off the 1 to go to the 2 or 3 and find a sign that says no! The 2 and 3 are not running where we want to go. Then there is a very confusing sign saying something about the 5 running on the 2 but only as far as blah-de blah, but then we can take the 6 to the P to the Q or something ridiculous. We finally ascertained that the only train going to our destination was the A, so we got back on the 1, then back on the A, and finally arrived. Whew. On the way back we learned our lesson and just sat on the A the whole way. No problemo.

This discussion of subways is what, to me, makes NYC so unique. People like to talk about New York being special in lots of ways, but to me it is mostly just big. I am not enthralled by its 'specialness'. But the subway conversations are awesome! Nearly every time I am out the evening ends with "OK, I'll see you later, is the 2 near here?" "You can get the 2 at 32nd Street, but why don't you take the 9 to the 2?" "I don't like the 9, but can't I get the G at 30th and take that to the P to the 2?" "No, the P is not running this week, but you could take the J to the L." I love it! It is hilarious! I also overhear conversations like that all the time, and I think in depth discussions of the merits of different subway lines will always be New York to me.


Friday, February 09, 2007

my accent

I think this is correct. Impressive for such a short little quiz.

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The West

The Inland North


North Central


The South

The Northeast

What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

hmmm... some little red bars are not showing up, but I don't know why.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Garlic-Potato Soup

Here is the recipe for super tasty Garlic-Potato Soup, from the March/April 2007 Cook's Illustrated.

Garlic-Potato Soup
(Serves 6 as a main course) -- R and I ate leftovers for days.
3 tbs unsalted butter
1 medium leek, white and light green parts, chopped small (about 1 cup)
3 medium garlic cloves, minced. Plus 2 whole heads garlic, rinsed, outer papery skins removed and top 1/3rd of heads cut off and discarded.
6 cups chicken or veggie broth plus 1 cup to thin soup, if needed
2 bay leaves
1.5 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 pound Red Bliss potatoes (unpeeled) cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup heavy cream
1.5 tsp minced fresh thyme leaves
black pepper
1/4 c minced fresh chives
Garlic chips (recipe follows)

1. Melt butter in Dutch oven over medium high heat. When foaming subsides, add leeks and cook until soft (do not brown), 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add garlic heads, broth, bay leaves, and 3/4 tsp salt; partially cover pot and bring to simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until garlic is very tender when pierced with tip of knife, 30to 40 minutes. Add potatoes and continue to simmer, partially covered, until potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Discard bay leaves. Remove garlic heads; using tongs or paper towels, squeeze garlic heads at root end until cloves slip out of their skins. Using a fork, mash the garlic to a smooth paste in a bowl.
3. Stir cream, thyme, and half of mashed garlic into soup; heat soup until hot about two minutes. Taste soup; add remaining garlic paste if desired. Using immersion blender, process soup until creamy, with some potato chunks remaining. Alternatively, transfer 1 1/2 cups potatoes and one cup broth to blender or food processor and process until smooth. (Process more potatoes for thicker consistency) Return puree to pot and stir to combine, adjusting consistency with more broth if necessary. Season with salt and pepper and serve, sprinkling each portion with chives and garlic chips.

Garlic Chips
3 tbs olive oil
6 medium garlic cloves, sliced thin lengthwise

Heat oil and garlic in 10 inch skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, turning frequently until light golden brown, about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer garlic to plate lined with paper towels; discard oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt.

Yum yum! R and I made the soup pretty thick and we didn't use all the garlic head paste. The leftovers were really good, and did not get more garlicky. We feared the garlic would be overpowering after sitting in the fridge, but it was not at all.


I just spent all day sending CVs to EVERYWHERE in NYC. Everywhere that may even briefly think about hiring adjunct professors for the summer, that is. Whew. It tired me out and now I want to rest, but I still have many other things to do today. I may need a little break, though, or my brain might fall out.

My Office Supply Store is refusing to call me back. R thinks they are either so disorganized that they can't manage to call, or they don't want to hire me and are too scared to say so. It will be a sad day when I am rejected as a cashier at the Office Supply Store. Oh well. I had my teaching audition for the Test Prep Place. It went really well and improved my spirits greatly! It was so nice to be doing something I am good at. I am good at talking in front of people and teaching them things. I really hope they accept me and move me on to the next step which may be re-taking many standardized tests. Or I might get lucky and go right to the training because of my faboo teaching skills and good GRE scores. We will see. Anyway, my success with my 5 minute audition has reminded me that I am not a total failure. So that is good.

I think that is all for now. Next post will be the Garlic-Potato soup, just because I love Melinda so much.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Stagnant Drink

Someone found my blog by searching for the words in the title of this post. How interesting!

I need some motivation. I had my THIRD interview at Office Supply Store today. They are kinda out of control. They are supposed to let me know if I am hired by the end of the day, so that will be good to know. But I don't want to do any work as I am sad about money. Tomorrow night I have a teaching "audition" at one of those standardized test prep places, so I should get to work on that now.

Sunday, February 04, 2007


I might try to start posting every Sunday, so at least I'll write something once a week. I have still not gotten back the blogging habit.

So here's what's been going on in Monkeygirl land. Right now I am beset by money troubles. My university screwed me over, as is its wont. Basically, they said I could have this loan and now all of a sudden they said I cannot, leaving me missing a large part of my expected income. I can't get another loan to replace the missing one, as I am not a half time student and I do not have a job. I decided to drop down to part time to save tuition money, but it has brought so many problems that from now on I think it is worth it for me to be half time for the rest of the time I am in school.

Which may not be as long as I had feared. I'm going to send some stuff to my committee mid-March and go visit them in the beginning of April. I plan to have a ton written by then, but not to be emotionally attached to it as it will most likely be ripped apart. So we will see how that all goes.

However I still need a part-time job. It is so hard to find one! The closest I am getting now is as a cashier at a Large Office Supply Store. But it pays nearly minimum wage which is sad. I registered with a new temp agency -- we'll see if they call me more than the other one I have been registered with.

I have been having a lovely time listening to podcasts on the subway. I went to Brooklyn a zillion times this week and it was great to listen to Science Friday, NPR:Food and MuggleCast as I rode the trains.

R and I have been doing pretty well with cooking. We made Garlic-Potato soup with a beer-cheese bread on Friday and it was all very tasty. Tonight we are having a butternut squash mac and cheese.

I have some more books to post about, and pictures of food but now I think I should nap.