Since my life is more than shoes...

I thought I'd share it with you

Thursday, April 29, 2004

I want to talk about fashion

Now, I know that I spent a great deal of my life avoiding fashion, and, quite frankly, looking a little odd. It wasn't for lack of trying, but I am just a little fashion challenged. I consider myself greatly improved in the last 2 years or so, partly thanks to my husband who reminds me to buy clothes that fit. This, apparently, is key to looking fashionable - who knew? Anyway, I have noticed a "new" fashion trend as I wander through the stores, namely, ruffled skirts (you know the ones I'm talking about, with different layers of ruffle one over another - comes down to your knees....). When I was a kid, in the 80s, I had a purple one with little white fish on it. It was really cute, and since my mom made it, she could add ruffles as I grew. Anyway, I've started seeking these skirts all over - Target, WalMart, just around campus here. It's amazing - like we've stepped back in time and should start getting perms and using large amounts of hairspray. I don't miss making my bangs about 5" higher than my head, and I hope that these skirts don't mean a return to such annoying, time consuming fashion. Wash and go, that's my motto.

Congrats to Vikki!! :)

Oh it never rains in Southern California...

Or so the song goes. But, if you've ever dreamed of living there, read this article before taking the plunge. Apparently all of Southern California is a smog hazard zone waiting to kill you with every breath you take. Ok, that's a little extreme, but I was surprised that basically the entire area is a little on the unsafe side. Also, 55% of us live in "heavily polluted" areas. Now I know the state of NC is trying to blame our problems on Virginia (that's a whole new issue that also includes our own hog farms - who knew farming could be so dangerous? - and what am I saying - I don't have my "own" hog farm - but a lot of North Carolinians do, apparently). Anyway, I was also quite shocked to learn that Andy's home area of Cleveland-Akron-Elvyra OH was #15 on the dangerous cities list. I don't remember seeing anything floating in the air the way you do aroud NYC or LA. It's almost enough to make me walk to the store - but not quite. I do use public transportation, though, so that's something, right? Maybe we should all move to Vermont where the grass is green and the air is clean? Of course, then we would all be in Vermont, and then it wouldn't be so clean. Well, in any case, quit buying Hummers and start driving Priuses (what on earth is the plural of Prius? I guess it would be Prii or something, if my Latin is at all remembered properly... hmm that's a tough one...)

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Good Luck Vikki!

Hire Vikki! :) I hope that they called you and had wonderful news!

Monday, April 26, 2004

Iron Chef

I've heard of this show, "Iron Chef" on the Food Network for a while now. My track coach used to love that show - Iron Chef and Emeril. Well, the fact that he loved Emeril made me skeptical of Iron Chef. I tried to watch it once while I was in high school and it was crazy, so I never watched another episode. I have no idea what made me decide to start watching it a couple of weeks ago. Maybe there just wasn't anything else on and I was desperate not to clean the house, but maybe I have just become mature enough to understand the nuances of the show. (HaHa). In any case, Andy and I have become Iron Chef watchers. We're not crazy, just intrigued. It's amazing that this weird show could be such a hit. In fact, it's such a hit that they made a special American mini-series called (surprise surprise) "Iron Chef America" which pits the original Japanese chefs against some American "Iron Chefs."

In case you're not familiar with the show, let me explain the Japanese version:
Apparently Canadians' voices are dubbed over the original Japanese voices, which, clearly makes it even more hillarious. The show's premise is to glorify these chefs as cooking warriors who prepare original dishes in an hour. The twist is that they have to incorporate a secret "theme" ingredient that they don't know about until it is unveiled right before they start cooking. Being a Japanese program, they sometimes have some interesting ingredients, including a lot of odd little sea creatures like octopus. I almost forgot about the yellow bell pepper - apparently "the chairman" (the founder of the show and the M.C.) has a great fondness for yellow bell peppers. To kick off each show, he holds one in his hand, above his head, and then starts the show and takes a big bite out of the pepper. Every time. It's a little strange, to be honest with you, but once you get used to the show, it starts to seem normal.

They also have a commentator and a "correspondent" who runs around on the floor telling the commentator exactly what's going on. He'll break in as the commentator says, "It looks like Iron Chef Sakai is making some sort of cream sauce." Then the correspondent will say "[name of commentator] san, Chef Sakai is indeed making a cream sauce, which includes today's theme ingredient of pickled trout"

In the end, 4 "celebrity" judges, which include Japanese tv stars and chefs, decide whether the challenger or the Iron Chef is victorious. They take about 10 minutes to taste the food and describe everything that they taste, and then we go to commercial. When we return, the chairman (sans bell pepper) declares the winner (usually the Iron Chef).

The American version stars Andy's favorite chef, Alton Brown as "the commentator" and some no name as the correspondent. Then we've got Wolfgang Puck, Bobby Flay and Mario Batali as our Iron Chefs. They're going up against Sakai and Morimoto, 2 of the more popular Japanese Iron Chefs. It was a good show, and quite entertaining. Especially when they cut the heads off the live trout. Yum.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Talk about tax cuts...

I originally read a similar article on MSN, and I don't know too much about this news source, but I couldn't find the original one, and this seems accurate enough...

The Bushes and the Cheneys released their 2003 tax returns yesterday, and surprise, surprise, they saved money thanks to the President's tax cuts. Now we understand why he wanted to cut taxes for the rich... By the way, note how much he saved this year - that's about what I earn in one year - it's more, depending on which article you read and who estimates how much he saved. Now granted, I'm not in the highest paid job in the world, but I took a huge pay increase to change jobs to NC State. That means that the average worker working full time at a retail store like B&N makes a little more than 1/2 as much in a year as what Bush saved in his taxes. This is just crazy...

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

I can't even believe this...

This is one FAT CAT!

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Dining with your fingers isn't as rude as your mother said it was...

A few days ago, the President came to NC and held a $2,000 a plate fundraising luncheon in Charlotte. They didn't allow silverware. Here's how it was reported by the News & Observer, the main Raleigh newspaper:

For $2,000 a plate, donors listened to Bush's campaign speech and dined on beef tenderloin and chicken salad sandwiches, fresh fruit and gourmet chips. At the bottom of the program was a note: "At the request of the White House, silverware will not accompany the table settings."

Apparently, the White House didn't want the president interrupted by the clinking of silverware.

"And we thought President Bush's economic policy was backwards," said Allen, the Democratic chairwoman. "Two thousand dollars for a 'luncheon' with no way to eat it. This takes the cake. Or it would if there was anything to eat it with."

So the next time your mom says it's not ok to eat with your fingers, you can tell her that if the President does it, it must be acceptable. Maybe it will become the latest chapter in my dining room project...


Why would anyone do this?

Pick on New England all you want...

But is your state in the top 10? According to the Morgan Quitno Press' annual "Healthiest State Award," 4 out of the 6 New England States were in the top 10, my home state of VT being #2 (normally it's #1 - New Hampshire is always stealing our limelight - but they do have a good hospital up there by Dartmouth College, so I can't say too much about it). Rhode Island rounded out the New England entries at #18 - not too shabby.

I think it's very interesting that no "northern" states are lower than 35. Since the study includes tobacco usage, I can only assume that the pride one sees in tobacco down here is the culprit. Two examples: First, I was driving home from a meeting in RTP, and a van in front of me had the following bumper sticker: "At least I can still smoke in my car!" Second, last week was "Agriculture Awareness Week" here at NC State. There were chickens, pigs and sheep out on the brickyard - the brave could even milk a cow if they wanted. While this is unorthodox, NC State is a land grant institution, so they should be out there encouraging the future farmers. What shocked me, though, was the Skoal (ie chewing tobacco) tent out there, which was giving away free tobacco. There's a great way to support NC farmers: get all of the 18 year olds hooked on chew so that there will always be a market for NC tobacco. Wow. Other people were surprised by this as well, and there were quite a few "letters to the editor" in the school paper. It truly is a different world...

Friday, April 02, 2004

I would have loved to see this video...

Check it out...