Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Top Ramen Gourmet

Fresh from blog-town at the Willamette Week... the Matador will be hosting a Top Ramen cook-off this weekend. Who can make the most gourmet noodles and spice packet meal? The competition is spiced up a little when you take into account the most devilish part of the rules: You can add in just $5 worth of other ingredients. And you have to account for those (and the strict $5 limit) with receipt proof. And they definately said that you have to use the spice packet (says the WW). Check out their info post here for more information including time and place.

Since today is depressing news day....

Here's another awful one. My mom mentioned this story when I was home this weekend. I hadn't heard anything about it at that point, since I was on the road and away from newslandia.

So, since everything else I've posted is full of cheer and fluffy bunnies, here's another. A UCLA student was repeatedly tasered by his Campus Safety Officers when he was unable to produce his student ID card upon request. Onlookers, asking the officers to produce their IDS and Badge numbers, were threatened with tasering themselves.

Here's the story: http://dailybruin.com/news/articles.asp?id=38958

Black Tuesday!

Sad news on the local wires this morning, Free Geek was broken into early on Saturday morning and lost a ton of stuff.

Check out the news on their website, here: http://freegeek.org/news.php#breakin
It appears to have gotten pretty good media coverage so far... it's all over the local news and even on BoingBoing.

The BoingBoing post describes nasty things like smashed doors and forcible entry. Really sad.

Also, according to the same post on BoingBoing, the IPRC (Independent Publishing Resource Center) was broken into the night before. Badness, sadness, and MADNESS! Aka, NOT GOOD!

I think it's monsterously cruel that people have targeted these awesome local non-profits. I think that's even lower than stealing tips (which, as we all know--or should know--is the bottom of the barrel when it comes to lower-than-low crimes). Pretty darn nasty.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Don't leave teddy out in the rain... he might biodegrade?

Ok, and now for a non-NYT "odd product of the day" feature.

Check this one out.


(Picture from TofuBear.com, click on it to visit the site and see Soyphia in person!)

Let me first offer a disclaimer that I appreciate the green-qualities of these products, and I encourage everyone to support sustainable, biodegradable products.

Ahem. Welcome to Tofu-teddy. A teddy bear made of soy.

Quoting from their website: How does SOYSILK® brand fiber affect the environment?
SOYSILK® brand fibers are part of the new class of green textiles. Soy fibers provide the environment with a unique “cradle-to-cradle” approach – coming from the earth and being wholly biodegradable. SOYSILK® brand fibers contain no petroleum and all products are manufactured to be eco-friendly. In addition, the United States is currently the largest exporter of soybeans in the world.

A friend also pointed out just how much fun it would be knowing that your cuddly, huggable teddy was made out of a Soy waste product.

So, seriously, kids, make sure you take care of Tofu-teddy, or he might just compost!

Actually, though, their picture of "SOYphia the goat" is pretty cute. What's not to love about a Soy-goat!? (It rhymes with "toy boat"!!!)

And now, from the Land of Aparthied....

When you see an article like this one, it makes you stop and wonder how it is we're so completely out of touch with the concept of civil rights in the United States.

We tsk-tsk at how long it took South Africa to abolish aparthied, and we salute Nelson Mandela as a hero and a saint. South Africa's eagerness to extend equal rights to all its citizens has skyrocketed past aparthied, and is quickly making the US look like a backward collection of narrow-minded pie piggies. "What? Marriage for everyone? How vulgar! Next thing you know, they'll be encouraging women to vote..."

Anyhow, hip-hop-hooray today to the South African Parliament for their guts and open-minded foresight.

Read about it here: "South African Parliament Approves Same-Sex Marriages"

(I know, I feel like a "review" of today's New York Times. I'll branch out in my next post.)

Feeling Piggy for Pie.

Pie! Pie!

The weather starts to cool, and we turn to foods golden with fat and butter.
My experiments with pies, quiches, and pie crusts this year have turned out lovely--though I still stink at making a gorgeous, decorated edge. I'm sticking to the "squish it and hatch it with a fork" method lately.

Evidently I'm not the only one who's been interested in making warm, rich, tasty foods this fall. The New York Times had an article today on making the perfect pie crust. They suggest suet--aka, cow lard. The best pies, popular opinion believes, are made from a combination of lard and butter. Me? I think I'll just stick with the sweet cream variety.

Here's the article: "Heaven in a Pie Pan."

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

What's that, Fireball?

Sorry, no fireballs this year. But! The Leonid meteor shower is taking place this weekend. Sources say that in Western Europe and the Eastern United states, you might be able to see over 100 meteors per minute! That's a meteor-downpour!

Given the last link I just posted, I should advise you not to fret--the Leonid shower occurs when the Earth passes through a cloud of comet dust. And we all know how comets feel about Tsunamis (After all, Mr. Tsunami was the one to coin the phrase "Just a dirty snowball streaking through space," wasn't he?). No meteor-driven mega tsunamis in the Leonid Gang (which, I might add, sounds like an after-school tv show), just lots of sparkly, flashy dust.

What a beautiful night to be floating on a boat somewhere out in the Atlantic ocean... I'll bet the view won't get much better than that.

Anyhow, though the chances seem slim, if it's at all clear in Seattle (C and I are visiting up there this weekend), I'll step outside sometime after dark, and see what's streaking and sparkling through my night sky!

Article on NASA Science News about the Leonids.

Surfing a Mega Tsunami

The New York Times today had an interesting article on a developing theory integrating astronomy, geology, and world-wide "flood" myths. According to the researchers in this article, the earth has likely seen far more large-scale impacts by meteors than previously believed. In a high-tech "x-marks the spot" sort of treasure hunt, scientists examined the presence of large geological formations, dubbed "chevrons" to determine where deep-sea craters might exist. The striking association of the two has led researchers to believe that the forces creating these chevrons were none other than mega-tsunamis--over 600 times the size of the memorable Aceh event.

I suggest you check out this article--if only for your daily feel-good dose of "When Science and Religion meet in the wild!" Well, if the word "MEGA-TSUNAMI" tickles your fancy, you might check it out just for that, too.


Monday, November 13, 2006


In honor of revitalizing this expedition into cyber-space, I have two new links to show you. Both demonstrate the ongoing integration of traditional "paper-based" media into the on-line world.

Back in high school I won a national writing award. It was a teacher-nominated contest, and you were asked to submit several samples as well as a timed, "in-class" essay. The prompt they evaluated us on was a topic close to my heart: Will electronic media render books, magazines, and other tactile print objects obsolete? My response, if I remember accurately, took the stance that the internet would change media as we know it, but that books and newspapers hold such an enduring charm that they would persevere.

In some ways, these two links bring that question full-circle.

The first, a daily chapter of a classic book sent to your e-mail inbox (the tagline for this site offers the irresistible hook: "Too busy for books? Read them by e-mail." As if you'd have time for them there?) :

The second, a brilliantly self-absorbed on-line catalog of your print library. Don't worry, I'm working on mine on my home computer. Once I have it up and running, I assure you, you'll see a link off to your right. How could I resist? It's just so NEAT to see them represented as little pictures on the interweb. Obviously, I love the album cover feature about iTunes as well. Genius.

Blog of a friend.

C. started up a new blog last week, so I thought I'd make note of it in case anyone out there checks in here from time to time. He has great media links from all over the place, and other fun bits, too.
So, here it is: http://bigface-smallrazor.blogspot.com/

Hopefully his dedication to that project will inspire me to be a little more active on this, my little plot of internet space.

Friday, September 1, 2006

My favorite 419 scams....

I've started receiving quite a few 419 scam e-mails at my work address. Instead of just deleting them, I tend to browse through them, seeing what creative take on "Send me your money!" they can come up with next.

This week, I've received a couple really awesome ones.

Just today, I got a post-dated one with this fantastic line:

"This mail might come to you as a surprise and the temptation to ignore it as unserious could come into your mind; but please, consider it a divine wish and accept it with a deep sense of humility. "

It's the first part that kills me. Please do not ignore this as unserious.

Another from my close friend "Tessy":

"From Tessy Benson.


Dearest one,
How are you today? I hope that you are fine, that is great.
It is a great pressure to mail you this morning with my request of assistant from you, please go through this mail very well and get back to with your ability."

She continues... in great dramatic, pulp-fiction fashion....

"I am Tessy Benson, daughter of late Chief Philip Benson. My father was a highly reputable business magnate (a cocoa, diamond and gold merchant).

It was sad to say that my father passed away mysteriously during one of his business trips. Though his sudden death was linked or rather suspected to have been masterminded by an uncle of his who travelled with him."


"I never know the caring of my mother because my mother died when I was just 4 years old which made my father to take me so special when he was alive"

(Tessy, you may want to get some professional counseling about that....????)

"...and he never hide anything from me and before the trip that leads to his death, He called me and explained many things to me and also told me that he has the sum of Nine million,Five hundred thousand United State Dollars.(USD$9.500,000) deposited in one of the security companies here in Abidjan Ivory coast West Africa, which he disguised and declared the box to contain family valuables instead of money,by this way the company does not know the true content of the box."

And the plot thickens.........

Friday, July 14, 2006

Yesyesyes! Nonono!

I think that says about it all.

Monday, July 10, 2006


Originally uploaded by ArielAmanda.
New, fresh-faced, ready for adventure and excitement! (Left)
Old, travel worn, weary, and beat-up. (Right.)

This is what happens when mailings go astray.

Originally uploaded by ArielAmanda.
This sweet little copy of our publication tried to take a trip to Nova Scotia. The address it was going to was no longer available. Sad little Focal Point ran into some sort of trouble along the way. What's strangest about this is that the liquid weirdness it got into has no odor, yet managed to cement the pages together. It is more like a solid piece of cardbord now than an actual publication. When I whack it on the table, it sounds like I'm striking my desk with something hard and plastic. It's really nuts.

More pictures to follow.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Barometer changing....

BW Barometer
Originally uploaded by ArielAmanda.
Already more than this! 72 is the comfy cozy temp of my office right now. Or, I imagine it's close to it. Ahh.... content for the time being.

Summah-time, summah-time, sum-sum-summah-time....

It's 9:15 am, and it's 80 degrees. Weather.com says it's supposed to be 101 today! That's steamy, smelly, wilty hot. Call me an over-delicate whiny voilet if you will, but that's awfully warm for our dear city of Portlandia! Time for iced drinks, drawn blinds, and plenty of cool showers.

The view from my office looks south, directly toward OHSU. Party on the hill. It's green and lush, and looking at all the trees blowing in the wind, I feel like I can watch them wilt as the minutes tick past.

Things have been busy lately. I went back to Seattle-land two weekends in a row. Once to watch the little sister graduate from high school, and again to hang out, eat delicious food, drink lots of wine, and take a glorious day-hike. The weather couldn't have been more perfect. Driving back to Portland, windows wide to the world, good music on the stereo... life felt wonderful.

I'll try to remember that when I prepare to leave the AC of my office and set off into the jungle after work today.

Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Bits and Pieces

Bits: Every time I go into Neuberger Hall to take something to Accounts Payable, I see this graffitti written on one of the stairwell doors. It says, "Fuck Fascists." It's pretty hard to argue with that.

Pieces: The sidewalks are covered in maple tree helicopters--except they are all bright spring green.
It's monsterously disconcerting to ride in an elevator that you can't tell is moving.

Friday, April 28, 2006

On a sunny afternoon, things seem a little less trite and cynical in my world.
Know that it is, then, with utter sincerity that I share with you the images and moments that have managed to mark my life in the last few days. They're nothing much, just a few scattered observations about living in town and sharing a city and its resources with thousands of other people, going about their lives, sharing their space and their city with me.

New Hero!

The other day I went to the pool for a swim after work. The lanes were full of somersaulting college boys, trim girls in round swim caps, and proliferate with older, professional people (all a little muffiny about the edges, all a little squeezed into their swimming suits).

I was a bit shy about it. The woman who'd asked if she could make three in a lane at a busy hour last week made things a touch easier. All I had to do was be polite and somewhat sheepish about it.

My target was the lane closest to the wall on the South side of the building. One swimmer. Though an optical illusion, the lane appeared smaller than the others. This being due, I believe, to its one solid edge. She was geared up in a leopard-print one-piece and round as a hot-crossed bun. Her Clairol red hair was piled atop her head in a vain attempt to avoid the pool full of water, and she was doing a version of the breast stroke that I recognized from when I used to be afraid to put my face in the water (neck craned back at an uncomfortable angle, her movement particularly vertical in the water. I watched her swim a few laps back and forth, and watched her watch me waiting to ask the big question.

Eyeing one another like two interviewees crossing paths in the hallway, we started one another down. Finally, as she approached the shallow end, I made my move. Voice soft and deliberately not at all brassy, I blurted my little prepared speech in her general direction as she neared the end of the pool, "Would you mind if I shared a lane with you?" Her response, a little more metered than my own explosion, and obviously also pre-prepared for this precise moment sailed forth with a bold Eastern European accent, "Yes! It'z not my own perzonal pool, you zee!"

She kept swimming. I'm not sure why, but she became my own personal hero for the day.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Originally uploaded by ArielAmanda.
This is how I feel now that it's SPRING!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Dear Sir. In your fancy car.

Dear sir,

Good morning! Isn't it wonderful that spring has arrived? I can tell you're enjoying the warm weather because the sunroof on your little car was wide open, as was your passenger side window.

I was enjoying the brisk spring air this morning, too, on my bike ride to work. Boy, I was looking forward to the long, swift downhill stretch ahead of me after that long, slow climb from Burnside to Market street. It's great fun because I get to go fast and there is little traffic on the broad, wide thoroughfare through PSU at 8 am.

I'm still a little confused as to why you chose to drive in the right-hand lane directly behind me, though. I know, my little patootie does look cute on the back of my little blue bike, and I did have a smart ponytail in my hair this morning (though, due to my helmet you probably didn't notice it). But, if you wanted to drive quickly, there were two empty lanes to the left you easily could have moved over into. I was tucked right up close to the sidewalk in my lane as it was.

You didn't really startle me when you leaned on your horn. I'm a city kid these days, so I've heard far worse under my window at 4am. To be honest, the tinny quality of your extended "beep" makes me laugh a little in retrospect. With a car as fancy as your suped-up Toyota Tercel I was surprised that you hadn't invested in a more masculine horn to go with your popped up moonroof. But I understand, sometimes it's hard to make ends meet, and things like that are only aesthetic luxuries anyhow.

I was a little taken aback when you leaned out your window to talk to me though. We were moving along at a good clip, so I understand that you had to yell in order to be heard. It was difficult nonetheless to make out what you said, "Pay road taxes or get out of the way!" was what I believe you yelled. The bored, sardonic tone of your voice made it momentarily even more difficult to understand. I'm glad that you slowed down once you zipped around me too. It's always nice to know that someone likes you well enough to want to drive close to you and slow down sharply in front of you. It must have been in order to get a better look at the green grass growing in the park we were passing through. It's spring, I understand, we're all a little crazy right now.

I am sorry that you misunderstood me, though. I commute to work on my bike via a specially chosen path that sticks to bike lanes for all but the last 10 blocks or so. This last little leg is a wide, broad avenue complete with the three lanes aforementioned, which are always empty of cars in the morning. It's unlikely that I proved any real impediment to your morning commute. Furthermore, I know you didn't seem to realize, but even though I ride a bike to work everyday, I'm helping out with your road taxes, too! I own a car, I pay for the license and registration, I even pay the exorbitant gas prices, too! In fact, by riding my bike to work everyday, I'm enabling you to drive that fancy little car of yours a bit longer! Isn't that considerate of me? Conserving a little fossil fuel for your benefit?

Well, I hope you had a good day at work, Sir. And I hope that you made it there safely, too. You should really re-think that whole not using your turn signal business. Even with the invincible flush that comes after hollering out your window at a biker half your age, it still could get you into an accident--and you'd be the one paying for the damages. And I know how desperately you must be saving up to replace that silly horn of yours.

I'll have a good day--even if I am a little sweaty from my ride in. I didn't have to pay for parking, I got a little bit of a work out, and I was able to enjoy the spring morning and feel a tad more connected to the city around me. I don't expect you to try it, or to really understand. It's good enough for me that I do, and that more and more people out there are reaching the same conclusions.

Set some legislation in motion--I'd happily license my bike! I follow the traffic laws (I even use arm signals when I'm turning or moving across a lane!). Maybe then you'd feel that there was something productive happening in your petty little life rather than seeking self-empowerment by striking out against those around you. Because I assure you, it was a brilliantly productive display of aggression--you're right, with summer on the way, I'd better turn in my two wheels for four. It's worth it for a two-mile commute.