Upsaid journal entries and comments by user: cerise

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Upsaid journal entries and comments by user: origamifreak
(File created on: April 12 2008)

This sent by Melissa:

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

Amzanig huh? weighs in.

NB: Liz’s text reader might prove to be an exception!

Entry posted by origamifreak on June 07 2004 at 11:05 pm
One comment:
Comment posted by lcl (ip: on 06 / 26 / 2004 at 11:15 am

lcl’s website:

Beer Can Chicken, Revisited
baking dish, wine, chicken, and grill seasoning

Deb said it wasn’t clear how the chicken cooker worked, so I have supplied a “before” picture of tonight’s dinner ingredients. I used wine this time.

You can go here for an “after” picture.

Entry posted by origamifreak on June 07 2004 at 10:49 pm
One comment:
I love the “after” picture. It reminds me of a headless, potbellied old man. I know. I’m being weird. Then again, I used to make raw chickens “dance” on the counter before I cooked them.
Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 06 / 09 / 2004 at 2:35 pm

Post Captain
I am astounded. I think Patrick O’Brian was channelling Jane Austen.

Entry posted by origamifreak on May 26 2004 at 8:37 am
Never in life, dear.

His is the manly version of life at that time.

Wonderfully wickedly droll and funny. As I could only wish to be in my conversations.

Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 05 / 26 / 2004 at 8:47 AM

Deb’s E-mail:

Deb’s website:
Apparently Austen is exactly what he was aiming for. See here.
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 06 / 08 / 2004 at 11:04 PM

Global Personality Test Results
Global Personality Test Results
Sensate (46%) medium which suggests you are moderately empathetic, sensitive, and considerate of others.
Intellectual (70%) high which suggests you tend to be very internally motivated, self seeking, and independent.
Assertive (73%) high which suggests you are very proactive, direct, competitive, and intense.

Take Free Global Personality Test
personality tests by

Entry posted by origamifreak on May 22 2004 at 11:48 pm
One comment:
And I am:

Global Personality Test Results
Sensate (53%) medium which suggests you are moderately empathetic, sensitive, and considerate of others.
Intellectual (73%) high which suggests you tend to be very internally motivated, self seeking, and independent.
Assertive (70%) high which suggests you are very proactive, direct, competitive, and intense.

Take Free Global Personality Test
personality tests by

Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 05 / 25 / 2004 at 2:30 pm

Deb’s E-mail:

Deb’s website:
Beer Can Chicken Report
Mmm! It came out very nice! The chicken was really crispy and juicy like a rotisserie chicken. It was also super easy to prepare, bake, and clean up after. A lot of juice/fat collected in the dish, but the roasting dish has little spouts, which made it very easy to pour off cleanly. Definitely a keeper.

Entry posted by origamifreak on May 22 2004 at 5:52 pm
Beer Can Chicken
I got one of these at a store in Seneca, SC with Sharon today. We’re trying it on a small roaster, with Miller (that’s all Sharon had) and rubbed outside and inside with salt & pepper. It’s baking right now. We’ll eat it after Sarah’s piano recital. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Here are some more recipes, all basically the same.

Wow, this cooking method must be a big deal. They even have racks for doing several of them at once…

Entry posted by origamifreak on May 21 2004 at 6:21 pm
15750 Hz
You know that high-pitched whine that TVs make? The one you can hear from the next room, or even walking along the street, coming from the neighbor’s houses? No, I’m not crazy; others hear it, too.

It’s apparently from the flyback transformer. You’re supposed to outgrow the ability to hear it, but so far I haven’t. Just a few weeks ago I had to turn off an unused monitor in the conference room at work because it was bothering me so much. Security systems are also audible. At some museums I can’t go through certain doorways without considerable pain.

According to this page, the upper limit of human hearing is around 20,000 Hz.

Here’s a nice hearing test. I can hear 20 kHz easily. It’s a shame the test doesn’t go higher. I have a harder time with the low ranges. I didn’t use headphones and the fan on the laptop is loud, so that may have interfered some.

Entry posted by origamifreak on May 19 2004 at 8:45 pm
And to think I used to believe that Henry had wolf (uh, large canine) ancestors!
Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 05 / 20 / 2004 at 10:48 PM

Suz’s website:


Some mall jewelry stores are wretched this way also. Too painful to even contemplate entering.

Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 05 / 20 / 2004 at 6:04 PM

Deb’s E-mail:

Deb’s website:
Recent Reading
Be the one by Smith, April

*Burning the sea by Strong, Sarah Pemberton

Cuba, Haiti, & The Dominican Republic by Fagg, John Edwin

Dominican Republic : a guide to the people, politics, and culture by Howard, David

Drown by Diaz, Junot

*Francisco by Maiorano, Robert

How the Garcia girls lost their accents by Alvarez, Julia

*In the time of the butterflies by Alvarez, Julia

Master and commander by O’Brian, Patrick

The secret footprints by Alvarez, Julia

Song of the water saints by Rosario, Nelly

Yo! by Alvarez, Julia

*The farming of bones by Danticat, Edwidge

How Tia Lola Came to Stay by Alvarez, Julia

Kathie and I are taking a much-needed break soon – in the DR! I’ve been reading up on the country (see above) and listening to Spanish tapes during my long commute.

I’ve put a * next to the books I recommend, above.

Entry posted by origamifreak on May 17 2004 at 11:37 pm
What is the Farming of Bones about?

And please tell why there is no asterisk by Master and Commander.

Comment posted by Deb, who is heartily sick of s (ip: on 05 / 18 / 2004 at 10:16 AM

Deb, who is heartily sick of s’s E-mail:

Deb, who is heartily sick of s’s website:
The farming of bones and In the time of the butterflies are about two different periods of Trujillo’s dictatorship, from two different perspectives. It is especially interesting to read them back-to-back.

I haven’t read M&C yet – I’m going to bring a bunch of them to chain-read on the plane and on the beach. 🙂

[What is it you’re heartily sick of? It got cut off after “s.”]





slimy slugs?







sartorial impertinences?



Comment posted by anja (ip: on 05 / 18 / 2004 at 9:40 PM

Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 05 / 20 / 2004 at 6:06 PM

Deb’s E-mail:

Deb’s website:
Wild apples

The apple collection is blooming. The flowers above are from a tree collected as a seed from Kazakhstan. This is one of the trees described in The Botany of Desire.

Entry posted by origamifreak on May 13 2004 at 9:17 pm
OMIGOD! You like Dan Brown too!!!! I’m just reading my first novel by him (Da Vinci Code) and I am really LOVING it!!!



Comment posted by Lisa Fagg (ip: on 05 / 17 / 2004 at 9:05 PM

Lisa Fagg’s E-mail:
Lisa: You should have read Angels & Demons first – it’s a loose prequel with the same protagonist.

If you like Davinci Code, try Foucalt’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco. It’s even better. I found it pretty funny, in a tragic sort of way.

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 05 / 17 / 2004 at 11:27 PM

New House
OK, they accepted my requests for repair, so I guess we’re on track for a June 30 closing on the new house.

Here’s a very similar current floorplan from the same builder that built the house in 1988.

I also found out what happened with the water heater. Apparently the management company somehow got a bunch of 1-year-used water heaters when they bought the property from the Army, and was storing them. They put one of those in. This explains why there was new silicon tape, but rust on the outside of the tank. The home inspector verified that there was, indeed, hot water when he went back to collect the radon canisters.

You can see some pictures of the Romulus house here.

Entry posted by origamifreak on May 05 2004 at 6:56 pm
Finally, after waiting days, Qizilla was up and running so I took the quiz only to find out :

that I am Human!


You're a Human!
You’re a Human! Inquisitive and mellow, you’re an
explorer at heart.

What Star Trek Race Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 05 / 06 / 2004 at 8:36 AM

Deb’s E-mail:

Deb’s website:
Life has been pretty hectic here. I blew it on the package to Matt. Isaac wrote him a letter to go with the booklet–I will mail them today. (Friday)
Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 05 / 07 / 2004 at 8:47 AM

Deb’s E-mail:

Deb’s website:
Inspections & Paperwork
Well, I had the new place inspected yesterday. Nothing major, but they have to remove a tree growing out of the foundation, fix a wiring no-no, and make the hot water work. This will be written into the purchase offer on Monday.

In the meantime the seller’s agent is trying to pressure me through my agent: “Until the inspection contingency is removed, she’ll continue to show the house. She already has someone else who wants to make an offer.”


Meanwhile they haven’t explained why the “new” hot water heater (that was supposedly installed two days ago) looks as if it’s been there since 1987 (complete with minor leak in the ingoing pipe and rust).

I’ve been researching kayaks. This one looks kinda fun… I won’t get one until next year, but it’s fun to think about it.

Entry posted by origamifreak on May 01 2004 at 10:41 pm

This is an excerpt from the journal I kept in high school. I have initialized the last names.  Kathie and I had lunch today and discussed the thrill people might get from seeing their everyday acquaintances while in disguise.

When I was a senior in high school, I attended the open house for potential incoming students with a friend who lived across the street. I dressed up in my mom’s 1940’s clothes and put on makeup, etc, all the things I never did usually. Here is the account the teenage me wrote of the experience. I should mention that it was a relatively small school, 250 students per class, 1000 students total.


How to Find your True Friends: Frank Prank

Today after school I had to get the “Ashes to Ashes” ditto from Mr. S. I knew I had missed my bus, so while outside the xerox room I asked Mrs. K for a ride to the #18 bus stop in Montclair. She said “okay” and I went to her room and waited for her.

Sarah and Christine were there. Christine had 12 cupcakes in a Capwell’s box. She offered me one, but Sarah had taken them down the hall to offer one to Mrs. C. I ran after her and got one while in Mrs. C’s room. We walked back.

Sarah went to offer one to Mr. K. Christine went too, to make sure she didn’t eat one. I waited in room 108, knitting on my blue scarf. Sarah came back and said that Mr. K had told her that my Honors English class was getting too deep for him.

I went over to find out if he had, indeed, said that, and he affirmed it. We chatted, and he asked me if I were coming to the 8th grade night (open house) at O’ Dowd. I said “No, probably not,” unless I came with a friend (8th grade) who lived across the street. Then I went back to room 108 to find Sarah and Christine gone to the computer room, and Danny H and Mrs. K in the room.

I was asked again if I were coming to open house, and said jokingly, “Yeah. I should disguise myself and sneak in as a visitor.” We three laughed, and Danny laughed and told me to come down to the drama room so he could see me. We all laughed again. It was a good joke.

Danny left, and I helped Mrs. K. sweep her room. Then we left for her car. I started joking seriously about the disguise idea. While in her car and on the bus all the way home, I knitted, thought, and planned what I would wear: an old hat to find in mom’s old stuff, a veil, a dress from the closet upstairs (blue silk or brown velvet), coat from upstairs, and navy shoes from the New York trip. Oh yes! And gloves and makeup and possibly jewelry.

I got off the bus and went to the Quittman’s house, extracted permission from them to accompany them, disguised. Then I ran home to get ready.

From half a dozen hats I chose a brown wool felt, and attached a dark brown veil. Next I went upstairs to check out the dresses (the brown velvet). It fit. Next I got the dark blue “slenderizing” coat from the closet. I washed my face, put up my hair (bobby pins galore), put on makeup (gold and brown tones), put on nylons, shoes, the coat, hat, and gloves, and perfume. I was ready.

I went across the street and I saw Judy Q (a childhood friend) getting out of a car. She looked twice, and wasn’t sure I was me. (Success #1) I went into their house. The Q parents were a little shocked, I think. Linda wasn’t there. Jenny and Barbara, the youngest two, said I “smelled.” Joan said I belonged on the street corner. Finally Linda came home and we left for O’ Dowd.

I had second thoughts on the freeway, but couldn’t go back at that point; I was committed. We arrived, and parked outside the gate. I walked past Eric G directing traffic, but I couldn’t tell if he noticed or not.

On past Christian D and others. Doug A led a tour right past me. Nothing yet. Went into the library. Past principal, Father S (I ducked my head). Seniors were in a clump near the door (I ducked more). I edged past to be led on tour by vaguely familiar juniors. One is in my “Living and Dying” class.

They kept looking at me. We were taken to the counseling center upstairs, and were welcomed by Mrs. V. I put a finger to my lips and smiled. She started, stared, and then recognition lit her face (Success #2!)

We went into a small room. I had my first and last trouble keeping a straight face. When we walked out with the group, she said, “What *are* you doing?!” and burst out laughing. I smirked surreptitiously then dead-panned. My tour guides finally figured me out. Mrs L in the Eureka demonstration looked at me about 5 times. Mr. L looked pleased and perplexed. I left with the group. One of the guides asked in a low tone, “Are you having fun?”

“Yes!” I answered, in the same tone. We were now co-conspirators. Next we went to the drafting classrom. Along the way I explained my disguise prank to him, and he approved. He said he’d thought I was a sister of his classmate, due to our uncanny resemblance.

We went into the drafting classroom and out. I got strange looks from Marin R (he looked away every time I looked at him). Then we went to the religion classrooms. In the first one, Mr. G looked slightly disturbed. We went to the other room. Mr. S looked confused, then shocked, then tickled. He covered his face and laughed into his hands. Noone else reacted. Linda and I inspected the books.

Boris K interviewed us. I told him I was Linda’s aunt. He seemed to believe it, and not recognize me. Next we went to Home Ec. There were senoirs everywhere, cooking. Mary Ann N saw me, stood riveted, then burst out laughing, unsuccessfully covering it up. She was with Susie N and Laura R. I went over and winked, and told them I was Linda’s aunt and was inspecting O’ Dowd. Susie looked curiously at me and said, “Angela?!” I nodded slightly and looked away.

Next we went to the sewing room. It was full of acquaintances. I looked them full in the face, and no one reacted. I think they didn’t recognize me: Nancy D, Scott A, Ron T, etc. The guide was pleased. He enjoyed the game as much as I did.

Next we visited the language lab, and photography, and saw noone I knew. In the physics classroom Mr. Peters didn’t recognize me, despite the full junior year of physics and independent study senior year physics we’d spent together.

Then we went to English. I went in and stood as elegantly cool as I could, and glanced at Mr. K, who was waiting to speak to the group. He stared, and then nodded a deep obeisance-type of nod. (glorious!) I couldn’t talk to him because there were too many people.

Next we went upstairs to history in Mr. P’s room. Mrs. J saw me but I wasn’t sure she noticed *me.* Mr. O’N, Mr. P, and Mr. B were also there. I asked Mrs. J about honors history so that she’d notice me. She said softly, “Well, aren’t *you* classy tonight!” and made up some bosh about AP history being a class for degenerates. (She’s quick!) Chris caught me in the room and she “loved” it, and understood my prank without asking.

Next we went to typing and buisiness, where there was Mr. R. Amy H noticed me. She took the shock well, and was pleased and amused. We continued on to biology. It was crowded, and noone noticed. Kathy R was a bit disappointing; she knew me, and had no reaction.

The Qs and I went out to see the AV department. our group followed us, and the guides caught up. We waited outside math (room 213), but the group went on to the art room. I went in to 213 and showed myself to Mrs. K. She was filled with glee at the stunt and apparel. I went down to see Mr. K while I was there, but he was still busy. I joined the group in the art department. I periodically saw Kathy C, and we smiled and winked.

We went to gym where we saw Kathy again, and she smiled and visibly winked. She hid behind Mrs. McC and said, “Who *is* that person?!” and slipped away. I asked Mrs. McC if Kathy knew who I was, and she said “Yes, but she hadn’t been sure.” Mrs McC added that she did not like the hat. I said “Hello” to Mrs. B, the other gym teacher, who recognized me. We went to the weight room and ran into Kathy again. We spoke. She said she’d been really stumped at first, but now knew.

Nothing more happened until we reached the music room. Dan T looked at me again, and again. The guide was still very amused. We went to listen to the rally band, and I got a few strange looks. Next I went to the door of the drama room. I asked the publicity manager, Dina P, for Danny. She didn’t recognize me. He saw me and smiled broadly and said he thought it was good. I was rejoined by my group, and sat down daintily. I got a few looks from Alex M and Chris P. On the way out Chris and she said she liked my outfit and makeup.

We went up to the Quad. The Qs got ready to leave. I went to talk to Mr. K. As I was going out the doors I saw Franz F and Derek A. They looked shocked, surprised, and amused all at once. I smiled and strode on toward the English classroom.

It was still crowded. I waited until after Mr. K was finished talking and said “Hello.” I asked if I’d fooled him. He said, “Yes, at first.” He said he liked the hat. I told him Mrs. McC didn’t. (I wonder if he was joking?) I explained that I had always wanted to masquerade among unsuspecting friends.

Outdoors again, I saw Sharon C and Pam L. Disappointingly, they hadn’t been fooled for a minute. Then Evelyn C ran over and said, “Angela!” I asked, “Did I fool you?” She answered, “Yes!”

I encountered 4-5 administrators during the visit. They recognized me immediately. I went home and wrote it down. This is that writing.

Reflection will come later, I’m sure, but I *had* to record the variety of reactions and interactions. They were the whole point of this experiment.

(here are the reflections)

I feel good about the experiment. It seems about 1/4 didn’t react, 1/4 were shocked and impressed, 1/4 fooled at first, and 1/4 fooled the whole time.

I’d wanted to:
1) fool people
2) see recognition and understanding of the prank light up faces
3) shock and impress people.

Therefore, this venture was a success.

I’d also always wanted to be among my friends without them knowing it. In addition I’d had the urge to be someone else for a change, someone else totally opposite to me. This prank satisfied both urges.

Real Me
laid back, relaxed, warm & honest, comfortable & rumpled, personality-oriented, friendly, frank, natural

Prank Me
sophisticated, cool, enigmatic, collected, inaccessible, appearance-oriented, artificial

It was okay for 3 hours, but I wouldn’t want to be like that. I like myself rumpled, honest, friendly, and relaxed.

I learned a lot about myself – it took the opportunity to be someone else to the same people I’m “me” to, normally. At the end I couldn’t help slipping back into myself. (I wanted to, anyway, to finish the joke.) To do something like that takes nerve, curiosity and a talent for acting. It was a small, harmless, but exciting adventure for what I experienced. The people I know so well, reacting in all different ways to my apparel and bearing.

Entry posted by origamifreak on April 26 2004 at 3:34 pm
A famous disguise book: Black Like Me

An online account of a full-time father.

Comment posted by (ip: on 04 / 26 / 2004 at 8:47 PM

My, you wrote an lot!

Are all your diary entries so complete? I am suprised you are not a novelist.

Or perhaps you are on the sly.

I have never done anything like that. My high school was too small and I felt (and was for all intents and purposes) incognito all the time in university.

Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 04 / 28 / 2004 at 8:29 PM

Deb’s E-mail:

Deb’s website:
No, all my journal entries were not as complete – this one was the report of an experiment and its results. I think I was trying to be as thorough and accurate as possible.

Sometimes I wrote poetry. Most of the time I wrote the same kinds of teenage angst you can frequently find on Upsaid blogs.

I’ve sometimes thought that I would like to write someday, and not just about genomics! 😉

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 04 / 28 / 2004 at 9:59 PM

Macro Eggs

Aah yes, the joys of a nice macro lens, and a tripod so you can stop down the aperture very very tiny…
Close-up of psyanky eggs
(I forgot to cover the eyepiece – they warn you that stray light can get in there, and there’s a little cover on the neck strap for that.)

Entry posted by origamifreak on April 26 2004 at 1:33 am
Love the eggs! So…you’re heading out to the “final frontier”. Watch out for the roof! Henry says we would love to help you with moving etc. Let us know when and all that jazz. Meanwhile, come on over for a glass of Romulan ale and shoot the breeze!
Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 04 / 26 / 2004 at 12:58 PM

Suz’s website:

“They are beautiful and pretty. You did a good job on them.” thus quoth Isabelle.
Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 04 / 28 / 2004 at 8:31 PM

Deb’s E-mail:

Deb’s website:
Beyond the Neutral Zone
I made an offer on a house in Romulus today.

This gives me a chuckle, as my sister’s husband is a diehard Trekkie – the first time I met him he had a little plastic Enterprise dangling from his rear-view mirror. As a 10-year-old I was very impressed, and gave my stamp of approval. I think he owns just about every paperback in the series – which bugs my sister because they take up so much room on the bookshelves, where she’d rather put HER choice of books.

map of the Neutral Zone I had to call him today and tell him that if I end up getting the house, he can tell people his sister-in-law is a Romulan.

Heh, heh.

Even more apropos is the fact that Starfleet officers HAVE traversed the area recently:

Sci-fi legend to ‘trek’ around Seneca Lake

Entry posted by origamifreak on April 23 2004 at 11:16 pm
You're a Cardassian!
You’re a Cardassian! Intelligent and devious,
you’re a bit of an enigma to those around you
and scientific to the core.

What Star Trek Race Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 04 / 24 / 2004 at 7:13 PM

They accepted the offer today. Now I need an inspection.
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 04 / 26 / 2004 at 11:57 AM

Gee, I might have to figure out how to get some of this stuff.
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 04 / 26 / 2004 at 10:24 PM

And maybe I should read up on the culture and customs, at these places.
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 04 / 26 / 2004 at 11:04 PM

Financing all worked out. Inspection scheduled for tomorrow.
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 04 / 29 / 2004 at 9:53 AM

Yikes. The house is already under contract. Looks like I’ll be homeless as of June 30.

I’m scheduled to look at some properties on Friday.

Entry posted by origamifreak on April 22 2004 at 1:41 am
One comment:


When I wished you well I was not hoping for quite that well with regard to a speedy sale. Yikes.

Did you get your asking price?

Maybe you should have asked for more?

Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 04 / 23 / 2004 at 10:10 am

Deb’s E-mail:

Deb’s website:
new toy
I finally did it. I broke down and got a digicam.

I’d been waiting and waiting for Canon to come out with something that would share lenses with my film SLR, and sure enough, they eventually came out with a digital rebel. It’s nice. I like it. The lens that comes with it is plenty wide-angle enough.

Here’s a picture of the cat crate arrangement:

cat incarceration chamber for when realtors come by

Here’s a pic of Latte doing what he does best:

Latte sleeping, up-close and personal

And here’s a zoomed-in and reduced photo of Miaumoto:

Miaumoto so close-up you can almost smell his cat breath

Do I like this camera?

I like.

Entry posted by origamifreak on April 18 2004 at 6:24 pm
It’s Official.
Now it’s finally official. There’s a listing up on

Entry posted by origamifreak on April 17 2004 at 10:08 am

I can not say congratulations.

But I do hope, for your sake, that it sells quickly.

Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 04 / 17 / 2004 at 5:42 PM

Deb’s E-mail:

Deb’s website:
I feel kinda weird about it, too. It took me months to get used to the idea, and putting the paperwork in on Monday was harder than I thought it would be.

At least I’m only moving to Geneva; I’m sure I’ll come back to Ithaca for lots of reasons. And I’ll be on the way to Batavia, so you can stop for lunch and say “hi.”

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 04 / 18 / 2004 at 11:20 AM

Eggciting Happenings
Deb got me back into doing pysanky this year. I think I’ve done 5. My sister Eloise originally taught me, years and years ago. I got a bunch of goose eggs from a friend at work. I’ll have to bring some of them to show her.

When trying to find things online to explain pysanky, I came across this website. The things on there are amazing. Beaded swans made from emu and rhea eggs. Carved filigree goose eggs. Eggs that look for all the world like they came from a Faberge workshop. I can’t believe people would spend the time they obviously did on those things! Wow.

Entry posted by origamifreak on April 12 2004 at 4:09 pm

I think she must have scraped off the outside dark blue-green layer of the emu egg before she did psanky on it. There is no way the yellow and orange would show up on a natural emu egg.

I have one, by the way. An emu egg. Carved. A gift from when I was an exchange student to the Australian outback.

Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 04 / 17 / 2004 at 5:40 PM

Deb’s E-mail:

Deb’s website:
You can see how the eggs turned out, here.
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 04 / 27 / 2004 at 3:38 PM

Husky Hysterics
Boy, this sure brings back the memories…

From a news story online:


35 Arrested in Violent NCAA Celebration

Tue Apr 6,10:24 PM ET


Associated Press

STORRS, Conn. – University of Connecticut fans started fires and overturned cars during the night in celebration of the school’s men’s basketball team winning its second NCAA championship.

About 35 people were arrested, authorities said Tuesday. No serious injuries were reported.

Thousands of dancing, cheering fans celebrated across campus after the UConn Huskies beat Georgia Tech 82-73 Monday night, lighting fires and fireworks and upending trash cans.

University police said several thousand people gathered at the Celeron Square apartment complex where many students live, about a mile north of campus. A dozen fires were set outside and two cars were overturned.

“This is one of those situations we won’t tolerate,” university police Maj. Ron Blicher said. “This is the worst up here in recent memory.”

On Saturday, after UConn’s semifinal victory, a crowd lit a bonfire at Celeron Square and a dozen people were arrested. Bonfires also were started when UConn won its first championship in 1999.

A beefed-up police force dispersed the crowds Monday night while firefighters doused flames. Authorities said the partying appeared to die down by about 2 a.m. Tuesday.

Police and firefighters will be ready again Tuesday night, when the UConn women’s basketball team plays Tennessee in the national championship game in New Orleans. If they win, UConn would be the first college to win both the men’s and women’s titles in the same year. The Lady Huskies were going for their third straight title.

About 7,000 people had watched the men’s game on large-screen televisions at Gampel Pavilion, the team’s home arena.

After the game, the university set up a party outside Gampel.

“Everybody just gets so excited,” said Kevin Fahey, an assistant director of campus activities. “There’s so much energy. They need a place to let it out.”

But along with the party outside Gampel, some fans set a couch and a barrier on fire, and police arrested two people they said had climbed a ledge outside the arena.


I lived in Celeron Square when I arrived at UCONN in the autumn of 1988. They weren’t even finished building them yet, and were already in bad shape – my roommate and I had to live in a motel for a few months while they completed the apartments. They paid us a small stipend to cover bus fees and food expenses, while we paid rent. I rode my bike the 7+ miles each way to campus and used the bus money to pay for scuba lessons.

Celeron was the coldest place I’ve ever lived. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t insulated properly; maybe the contractor saved time by skipping that part? It wasn’t designed well; there was central heat/AC, and the vents were up near the ceiling — not very effective in winter, with cathedral ceilings! I finally worked out a system: I put a table fan on top of my tallest bookshelf, blowing the hot air down.

I learned to shrink-wrap the walls surrounding the windows, which were so poorly installed that there was an actual breeze that expanded and contracted the shrink wrap in and out – and that was the window that didn’t open. Ice condensation regularly formed overnight on the plastic – on my side!

I had to sleep in socks, mittens, 2 pairs of pj’s, and a hat, under a comforter, a sleeping bag, and my down coat. And I still shivered all night. I’d just arrived that autumn from California, and it was quite a shocking introduction to the Northeastern climate.

To get to campus you had to walk on a little wooded path past the UCONN landfill and also the sewer system. There was always weird colored ooze coming up out of the ground at the base of the landfill.

The wild parties back in those days were held at Carriage House Apartments, down the road from Celeron. I cannot imagine how bad Celeron is now, after 16 years of abuse.

The undergrads were pretty uncivilized back then, too. I recall during the “Dream Season” of 1989 that rocks were thrown through the windows of the Torrey Life Sciences Building stairwell. Bonfires and keg parties were pretty much standard.

In the end I tired of always having to find roommates, and got a single apartment, here. Incidentally, that little path going into the woods in the top photo to the left of the building is the first place I ever saw Latte, before he became a stray and decided to move in with me. Miaumoto was born at Orchard Acres, at the building next door to the one I lived in. They let me and my neighbors put in little vegetable gardens next to the buildings. It was allededly owned by some Rajneeshies, which is probably where most of the rent money went!

Entry posted by origamifreak on April 07 2004 at 12:26 am
Ghost Town
A friend emailed me this link. It’s one of the creepiest things I’ve seen online. The site has undergone updates. I noticed some changes since yesterday.

Here are links to more stories and pictures of Pripyat. And here are yet more of them. I think I am beginning to recognize some of the places. And just in case you feel like going there in person, there are nice tours available…

The Beaver County Times and Allegheny Times did a series of stories called Ghosts of Chernobyl.

Deb says she’s an INTP. So does Noel. There’s a chart online that supposedly describes the relationships between the types, but I’m not convinced by it.

There’s a nice, clearer, faster test here.

Entry posted by origamifreak on April 03 2004 at 7:12 pm

So what did come out to be on this second test?

Inquiring minds wish to know. Tell all.

Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 04 / 04 / 2004 at 7:07 PM

Deb’s E-mail:

Deb’s website:
It came out the same (ISTJ) on the second test, but took far less time to do it.
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 04 / 04 / 2004 at 10:47 PM

House Depersonalization
In order to sell a house, I have been informed (by my realatrix – real-estate dominatrix), I must “depersonalize” it. As in “This house was depersonalized for your protection.”

What this means is that it needs to look like noone actually lives here. While I’m living here. As in nothing on the kitchen counters except the microwave. I mean Nothing. As in, no knife block, no spice rack, no utensil caddy, no coffee maker, nothing. Same with all the other rooms. Nothing of me, so the lookie-loos tromping around can imagine themselves living here.

The cats will have to be caged in a big dog crate. THAT should be interesting to accomplish in the early-morning rush, after they start to catch on… I haven’t told them yet. Jay suggested a great idea: put their food in there, and lock it overnight, so they’re really hungry and anxious to go inside. I might end up resorting to that. We’ll see.

I depersonalized the master bath tonight. Tomorrow I will do the bedroom dresser.

It’s kind-of a drag, but it’s forcing me to throw things away. I’ve become rawther ruthless in this, which I suppose is a good thing.

When I start looking at houses in Geneva I’m going to be annoyed if their owners aren’t similarly suffering for MY benefit! 😐 So There.

Introverted (I) 55.56% Extroverted (E) 44.44%

Realistic (S) 55.26% Imaginative (N) 44.74%

Intellectual (T) 81.25% Emotional (F) 18.75%

Organized (J) 63.64% Easygoing (P) 36.36%
Your type is: ISTJ

You are a Trustee, possible professions include – management,accounting, auditing, efficiency expert, engineer, geologist, bank examiners, organization development, electricians, dentists, pharmacist, school principals, school bus drivers, file clerk, stock broker, legal secretary, computer operator, computer programmer, technical writer, chief information officer, police officer, real estate agent.

Take Free Career Inventory Personality Test

personality tests by

Here’s more about the ISTJ.

Entry posted by origamifreak on March 29 2004 at 10:07 pm
My mom was a real estate agent before she crashed and burned, so I have a few thoughts.

If the cats can’t stand the crate (you had to buy one?!), say that the house can only be shown on weekends. Take them for a walk or a ride.

Why, really, do they have to be put away? Will they really pester the ooglers, or will they hide in a closet like most cats. i understand crating dogs but i never heard of a real estate agent being mauled by a cat.

Depersonalization–yeah. But I think your person might be taking it just a little too far. You want to show that you have lots of clear counter space but a coffee maker isn’t going to blow the whole thing.

Remember that you can call some of these shots. You’re the customer; the agent is WORKING FOR YOU. I’m not sure what the market is like in Tompkins COunty now, but with interest rates low and everything, it seems that real estate is appreciating everywhere and getting sold pretty quickly. I wish I had bought something when I m oved here, I would have made some good $ over the last 2 years.

BTW, I only have 5 months left at work, so if you hear of any good and suitably nerdy job openings, lemme know.


Comment posted by liz (ip: on 03 / 31 / 2004 at 5:35 PM

Um, crashed and burned??? I’ll wait until some night when your phone isn’t busy all night to find out what THAT means… I also want to ask your opinion of Newfies. And besides, when’s the last time we actually spoke, using, like, real sound waves?

I need the crate for the cats because I’m afraid Miaumoto will escape. They wouldn’t mall the realtors or clients, except in the sense of demanding affection.

Yes, I am taking the depersonalization too far, but what fun is a blog if you can’t inject a little hyperbole into your rants on it? Sheesh. 😉

I’m hoping to have the house looking really really nice so I get a high offer quickly and can therefore buy myself more time at the getting another house end, so I’m going along with her suggestions.

I’ll keep your job search in mind – no bites yet from the dog breeding community? (Pun intended.) I’m going to a conference in Beltsville in October, which is probably after you’ll be gone! 😦 Bummer.

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 03 / 31 / 2004 at 9:42 PM

Looks like the personality test is accurate. And it accurately described me.

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 04 / 01 / 2004 at 5:30 PM

Deborah’s E-mail:

Deborah’s website:
chickens and wmd
More entertainment.

Try this:

search for Weapons of Mass Destruction on Google, and click I'm Feeling Lucky

Here’s why it works.

And sometime I definitely want to try cooking this!

roast chicken with bikini tan lines due to strategic placement of aluminum foil before baking

Entry posted by origamifreak on March 26 2004 at 8:32 pm
More Martha and the dangers of Dihydrogen Monoxide
Home sick today, so catching up on my blog.

Pictures are worth how many thousands of words?

jailhouse chili recipe, prison parties, cozy cots

fresh peas from the prison garden, family reunions one member at a time, how to know when your goose is cooked

But if those weren’t enough, go see here:

it kills thousands each year;inhaling it can kill you; it improves athletic performance;found in every river lake and ocean;it's a major part of acid rain;it corrodes metal;you owe it to yourself to find out more;

Brilliant. Just brilliant.

Entry posted by origamifreak on March 23 2004 at 1:50 pm
Prison Decorating Tips
tasteful cell with bunks on cover of magazine

Entry posted by origamifreak on March 09 2004 at 9:28 pm
I guess the prison decorating tips are for/from Martha… he he he… I love it.

I found another one of those goofy personality tests you sometimes post here.

What kind of knitting needles are you?

I am “turbo” :

“Fast moving and classy, you get things done with power and grace. Your expensive tastes can be deceiving, since what you really value is quality and efficiency. As you’re careening around those corners in life, finishing a dozen knitted objects each month, stop and smell the roses. Don’t miss the beauty of process!

Pffft… yeah… i might finish one *sock* a month, if I’m lucky And what does it mean that the things I knit are “objects?”

Good luck house-hunting!

Comment posted by Liz (ip: on 03 / 11 / 2004 at 2:33 PM

You are plastic.

Futuristic, milky, and silky, you are willing to go
where no crafter has gone before. You can do
just about anything, with strength agility, and
pretty colors to boot! While you are good at
slipping and sliding out of sticky situations,
remember to stay where and when you are needed.
Don’t overdo it on star gazing when there’s
earthbound knitting to be done!

What kind of knitting needles are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 03 / 12 / 2004 at 6:16 PM

Plastic?! I can’t believe it! It’s not like you have hair shellac-ed into Big Hair with half a bottle of hairspray, or like you’re the type to go around with fake smile plastered on your face— I was thinking something more organic like bamboo or casein….
Comment posted by Liz (ip: on 03 / 18 / 2004 at 3:57 PM

Love the Martha prison magazine cover.

Knitting needle type quiz answer.

You are interchangeable.

Fun, free, and into everything, you’ve got every eventuality covered and every opportunity just has to be taken. Every fiber is wonderful, and every day is a new beginning. You are good at so many things, it’s amazing, but you can easily lose your place and forget to show up. They have row counters for people like you!

Comment posted by deb (ip: on 03 / 23 / 2004 at 1:35 PM

deb’s website:

In preparation of my upcoming house search, I have been investigating satellite broadband options. After reading this account, I may actually try to find a place with cable access…

The same guy has a posted a small but delightful collection of Engrish instructions and documentation. I suspect my Francais Mauvaise sounds something like this to native listeners.

Entry posted by origamifreak on February 28 2004 at 6:08 pm
Yes, the commute is too horrible. In any season. 3 hours is just way to long to spend in the car on a workday, even if I can telecommute on Wednesdays.

Boonies don’t bother me that much. In fact, I’m going to see if I can find a place that is NOT a suburb… (Tired of listening to lawnmowers and leaf blowers all the time.)

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 03 / 07 / 2004 at 7:59 PM

You’re moving, eh? Was the commute just too horrible in the winter? I’m afraid now you’r going to be even farther into the boonies!


Comment posted by Liz (ip: on 03 / 07 / 2004 at 11:49 AM

Mardi Gras Topics
These are topics that came up around the dinner table at Deb’s with Suzanne’s family the evening of February 24:

1) Etymology of “Carnival”

Italian carnevale, from Old Italian carnelevare, Shrovetide : carne, meat (from Latin car, carn-; see sker-1 in Appendix I) + levare, to remove (from Latin levre, to raise).

2) Luwak coffee

This coffee is named for a “member of the weasel family” that lives on the Island of Java and eats coffee berries; as the berries pass through the luwak, a “natural fermentation” takes place, and the berry seeds — the coffee beans — come out of the luwak intact. The beans are then gathered, washed, roasted and sold to coffee connoisseurs at $300 a pound. Dave Barry wrote a particularly nice column about this product. Speaking of coffee, here’s a nice tongue-in-cheek coffee mystery story.

3) Libya vs Liberia

Apparently one of these accidentally annexed a small adjoining country in a recent geography lesson. I’m guessing Sierra Leone?

4) Origami Rhombic Dodecahedron Calendars

We made a bunch of these – I’d printed ’em out for our New Year’s party, but forgot to bring them out. They were only 2 months late… Jay’s came out particularly nice. He used lots of tape, and I don’t think I could make one exactly like it, even if I tried!

5) Origami Boulder


6) pneumothorax

Including pleurodesis, complete with tubes and talc! Mmmm. Isaac was particularly dismayed by this topic. I asked for a straw.

cgi cartoon of thoracic contentsQuicktime movie of pneumothorax.

Entry posted by origamifreak on February 28 2004 at 5:21 pm
Deployed Nephew
My nephew went overseas on Saturday. I follow his progress with Google News . You can even get News Alerts sent to an email address.

Hope he comes back.

Entry posted by origamifreak on February 21 2004 at 5:52 pm
political stock games and removing adware
I just became aware of a bizarre online game presented by the PBS show Frontline. It’s called Presidential Market 2004 and it is a virtual stock market where players are each given a certain amount of virtual stocks in each candidate when they start, and then trade these stocks to make more virtual money. It’s a weird educational experiment in both politics and capitalism.

Also, I just found out that Lavasoft has version 6 of AdAware out, which explains why my old RefUpdates stopped working months ago. I have just purged 158 adware/spyware items from my computer. Those things really slow down browsing, what with all the reporting back to companies that track browsing habits.

Entry posted by origamifreak on February 08 2004 at 9:05 am
Wow. I ran the Ad-aware I have on the machine now. It found 7 items to remove.

Then I installed the new version and let it do its thing. I t found and removed 96 items. 96!

Thank you Angela, the person closest to a techno-geek I know.

Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 02 / 14 / 2004 at 9:55 PM

Deb’s E-mail:

Deb’s website:

I am already very geeky, and becoming more so, every day as I learn more and more linux sysadmin junk just to cope with the my research at work…

sheesh. I wonder what else I’d have to be able do to actually BE a techno-geek…


Comment posted by anja (ip: on 02 / 18 / 2004 at 12:49 AM

If you want to hear this wonderful poem, Equus Caballus, sung, click on Wylie and the Wild West, new CD Hooves of the Horses. Wylie does a wonderful job singing out the words.
Comment posted by (ip: on 02 / 20 / 2004 at 9:44 PM

‘s E-mail:
Equus Caballus
Heard a nice poem on the radio one morning this week (transcribed from the audio link, below):

Joel Nelson

I have run on middle fingernail through eolithic morning
I have thundered down the coach roads with revolution’s warning
I have carried countless errant knights who never found the grail
I have strained before the caissons, I have moved the nation’s mail
I’ve made knights of lowly tribesmen, and kings from ranks of peons
And I’ve given pride and arrogance to riding men for eons
I have grazed among the lodges, and the teepees and the yurts
I have felt the sting of driving whips, lashes, spurs and quirts

I am roguish - I am flighty - I am inbred - I am lowly
I’m a nightmare - I am wild
I am the horse.
I am gallant and exalted - I am stately - I am noble
I’m impressive - I am grand
I am the horse.

I have suffered gross indignities from users and from winners
I have felt the hand of kindness from the losers and the sinners
I have given for the cruel hand and given for the kind
Heaved a sigh at Appomattox when surrender had been signed
I can be as tough as hardened steel - as fragile as a flower
I know not my endurance and I know not my own power
I have died with heart exploded 'neath the cheering in the stands
Calmly stood below the hanging noose of vigilante bands

I have travelled under conqueror and underneath the beaten
I have never chosen sides
I am the horse.
The world is but a player's stage; my roles have numbered many
Under blue or under gray
I am the horse.

So I'll run on middle fingernail until the curtain closes
And I will win your triple crowns and I will wear your roses
For you who took my freedom I have no malice or remorse
I'll endure; this is my year
I am the horse.

You can hear the poet reading his work by clicking a link at the NPR website. There’s more about the poet, here.

Started looking at the online house listings in the Geneva area. I have been really dreading moving, but this might not be so bad. Real estate is cheap up there, and contrary to my fears, there *are* some houses that I would be OK with living in.

Entry posted by origamifreak on February 07 2004 at 9:19 pm
As I predicted, the store was almost completely empty. So were the roads. Smart Ones were on sale, 3 for $5.00, so I stocked up on them for work lunches. Which is just as well, because those taste the best, of the brands I’ve tried. Usually something is on sale; either them or Michelina’s, or Lean Cusine . But like I said, the Smart Ones taste the best. More flavor, less mushy. So I lucked out.

Also got coffee and two kinds of creamer. And I also saw those little Taster’s Choice 1-cup flavored instant coffees Matthew Jee likes so much. So I got some of those to send to him during his deployment.

And I also got some oranges.

Yessiree, it was an exciting shopping trip. Stay tuned for more vignettes from my wild and crazy life. 😉

Entry posted by origamifreak on February 01 2004 at 10:41 pm
One comment:
Wow! I’m envious. I didn’t even get to go shopping today because of the weather.
Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 02 / 03 / 2004 at 7:40 pm

Suz’s website:

Still Freezing in Freeville
I saw Deb’s flying squirrels on Thursday. They ARE very cute. And furry too. They let you stroke them gently. Her cat is especially interested in them.

LL and I have been working on genealogies again. Our tree now has over 7600 people in it, at last count. We still have a lot of data to put in. Fortunately some large pieces have already been entered by other people, so I can graft those branches without having to type them in from scratch. There still is the little matter of adding the notes & sources. Best free hobby I’ve seen, in a long time. And productive, too, for the future generations of the family.

I’ve been re-reading books by Mary Renault . I’m doing Theseus at the moment. Just finished The King Must Die, and am partway through The Bull from the Sea. He’s just brought Hippolyta back to Athens where she’s having trouble fitting in to the local lifestyle.

Tonight is the StupidBowl, which I am not watching, since I don’t have cable TV (or broadcast TV). Instead I’ll be heading to the supermarket soon to do some shopping, while everyone else is out. Frozen Meal Squares for work, coffee and creamer also.

Entry posted by origamifreak on February 01 2004 at 8:42 pm
Freezing in Freeville
Yep, it’s cold.

And I hate the local taxi companies. I don’t even use Ithaca Airline Limousine anymore, because they won’t wait if a plane is late, and don’t go to Syracuse early in the AM or come back late at night.

I arranged with Ithaca Dispatch to get a ride home last night. When I got to where they were supposed to be, at 10:40pm, they weren’t there. “Oh,” said Joe Oliver on the phone, “We didn’t know you were coming. The day crew didn’t tell us. You need to talk to Ron Fey. You better arrange a cab in Syracuse.” I called Ron this morning. “Joe is a liar. We have the worst night dispatcher in the Northeast. He would lie to his mother. I gave him your information yesterday along with two other requests. Here’s my number. Next time talk directly to me.”

So I did arrange a ride with Century Cabs in Syracuse. After waiting 45 minutes, I was told my cab was the one that had just arrived. I went out into the freezing cold to see someone else jump my cab. “Hey!” I shouted. “That’s my cab!” The driver and passenger ignored me and left, leaving only a city cab at the curb. “I’ll take you,” he said. “To Ithaca?” I asked. “Hmm, let me check.”

No, they didn’t let me ride with him to Ithaca (it would have cost them more). So I had to drag my luggage back inside and asked the guy at the kiosk what the heck was going on. By the end of the conversation Larry and I were having a very therapeutic shoutfest. He gave me the next cab. I am supposed to call Century at 11 when Bill shows up and explain that Marty (my original cab driver) took some other fare instead of me. Apparently this Marty is known for it. The driver that eventually took me (almost an hour after I’d asked for a cab) had been driving since 3am. It was slippery and nasty the whole way. We indulged in a mutual vent fest all the way to Freeville.

By the way, the first thing I had to do this morning was get to Bell’s Auto to find out why my car’s fan/heater had stopped working the day before I flew to the Left Coast.

Yep, seems I’m back. Wa hoo. Or something like that.

Entry posted by origamifreak on January 16 2004 at 11:59 am
Maybe next time I will sign out a car from work and drive it to the airport. That’s what my colleagues do, except they leave their cars at work, and carpool to Rochester, which won’t help me much until I move up there.

For the record, my car was not running OK; there was no heat or fan. Even with the heat the taxi windows were icing up inside on the way home last night. And it was nastily slippery, and I’m not so keen about driving in that after a nice, exhausting day of flying…

And stop rubbing it in about the Metro, already! 🙂 Yes, we KNOW you have actual public transportation down there, and dim sum restaurants, and baja fresh, etc. etc. etc… I’m going back to bed now, where it’s warm and there are furry hot cats. :-p

P.S. The thermostat is set to 65, but so far it’s only managed to get up to 61 today.

Comment posted by Grouchy and Cold (ip: on 01 / 16 / 2004 at 10:43 PM

Ouch, ouch ouch.

I’m sitting here in Maryland listening to the wind whistling around my third-floor office window. It is so damn cold here, I can’t even imagine what it’s like in Ithaca/Geneva. Serious yuck. I should take my dog out for a pee break, but that wind sounds so awful.

Ya know, before 9/11, Ithaca Airline Limo was great. They were totally dependable, they’d take you to Syracuse, and they were always waiting there at the counter when I got in from LaGuardia at 11:30 pm. Then when we lost a lot of air service and stuff, they stopped being there at night and you couldn’t even make a reservation for a night pickup. One time I was stuck at the airport forever, because the cab dispatch people weren’t even answering the phone. Then like 7 of us had to share a cab and I ended up riding all over Tompkins County until 2:30 in the morning. (That was, after much negotiation and yelling concerning my right to be even get into the vehicle with my dog. The driver was a creep except that he didn’t charge me for the ride.

Ya know, public transit and stuff is admirable, but sometimes you just have to take the convenient option…. next time, if your car is running okay, DRIVE TO THE DAMN AIRPORT!

I can’t tell you how great it is to just hop on the Metro and get to National Airport (which I won’t call by its stupid new republicanish name). I can also access Dulles and BWI fairly easily on public transit although it takes a lot of time.


Comment posted by Liz (ip: on 01 / 16 / 2004 at 2:33 PM

l-o-o-o-o-n-g week…

Man, am I ever ready to come home. I’ve gotten to see Rose and LL and Matthew, caught up with lots of friends in crop bioinformatics, seen lots of good talks, met lots of people at the posters, and am thoroughly and entirely ready to go home.

This is one of those intense meetings where things are scheduled from 7am (continental breakfast) to 11 or midnight (computer demos). Then somewhere in the cracks you need to fit meetings with people you might want to collaborate with, and people you already do collaborate with, etc. The pace is grueling and relentless. It goes on for days like that.

I’ve heard it’s cold at home. I don’t even think I’ll mind.

Entry posted by origamifreak on January 14 2004 at 8:03 pm
Wait ’til you get here (ominous music in background).
Comment posted by Freezing in Freeville (ip: on 01 / 16 / 2004 at 11:29 AM

Freezing in Freeville’s website:

Yee-haw from Austin. In the 70’s most days here and we are all seriously sleep deprived, but happy.

Comment posted by Deb in Texas (ip: on 01 / 15 / 2004 at 7:51 PM

Deb in Texas’s E-mail:

Deb in Texas’s website:
Greetings from hot & sunny San Diego
Came out for the conference a day early so I could see my sisters Rose and Lydia. We spent the day at the Wild Animal Park. My pale, Gollum-like skin, from Upstate NY promptly got crispy-fried. It’s in the 60’s here. I imagine Deb and her kids will have a similar problem in Texas this week. Lots of Japanese food, omelette brunches, and sisterly bantering. We turned our Travelodge room into a dormitory.

The meeting starts tomorrow AM. I’ve checked into the hotel and got my registration materials. It’s going to be one of those ones where you start around 7 or 8am, and don’t get to go to bed until 11 or 12. I’ll need a vacation to recover!

Entry posted by origamifreak on January 09 2004 at 8:22 pm
Queen Margrethe II’s illustrations for LOTR

“The Queen of Denmark’s encounter with the fairy­tale world of J.R.R. Tolkien was crucial for her development as an artist. She corresponded personally with Tolkien and later pointed out how Tolkien’s words as if by an inner compulsion transformed themselves into pictures. In 1977 The Lord of the Rings was published with illustrations by Ingahild Grathmer, a pseudonym which the Queen used for her first works.”

While designed by Margarethe II, the illustrations were apparently drawn for publication by Eric Fraser.

For about $200 (incl. shipping) you can buy the Folio Society edition and 4 other fancy-bound books. They send you a 2-volume set of Greek myths with it. It would be nice to have something like that, but I’d be afraid to actually READ them. My books need to be sturdy and not something that I am afraid to touch, for fear of damaging their value.

Speaking of hardcover editions, I noticed today that my ancient 70’s-era paperbacks are falling apart. The pages are literally crumbling. I’m tempted to get a hardcover set of LOTR and Hobbit to go with the Silmarillion I’ve had for years. has a pretty decent price: $65.74, including shipping.

Entry posted by origamifreak on January 04 2004 at 7:40 pm
Deb’s new quiz. The choices are quite entertaining.

You are water. You’re not really organic; you’re
neither acidic nor basic, yet you’re an acid
and a base at the same time. You’re strong
willed and opinionated, but relaxed and ready
to flow. So while you often seem worthless,
without you, everything would just not work.
People should definitely drink more of you
every day.

Which Biological Molecule Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Entry posted by origamifreak on December 28 2003 at 11:58 pm
I dunno about this one. I don’t trust these results.

You are glucose. People feed off of you. You are sweet, caring, and a source of energy for everyone around you. You can inspire others with your creativity and depth, and you can keep people alive when in times of famine. People love you…or at least the way you taste.

I am not sweet; in fact you have called me a curmudgeon.

I don’t have any creativity to inspire anybody with.

And I’m sure not a source of energy. I’m an energy drain.

Oh, well, ya win some, you lose some 😉

Comment posted by Liz (ip: on 12 / 29 / 2003 at 11:08 AM

Liz’s E-mail:
Maybe Ben snuck in and answered the questions when you weren’t looking? It sounds more like him! 🙂
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 12 / 30 / 2003 at 6:12 PM

Trilogy Tuesday Madness
Advertisement for Lord of the Rings Trilogy showing, December 16

Way back in October Kathie suggested going to a Trilogy Tuesday showing in Rochester. “What the heck,” I said, and signed up.

Now, according to this article, most of these showings are sold out, and people are scalping their tickets on eBay. Sure enough, if you follow the above link, you will see that people are actually offering over $100 for tickets that cost only $25. It makes me wonder if I should also consider doing this, instead of busting my butt and eyeballs on December 16!

Entry posted by origamifreak on December 07 2003 at 11:36 am
Wow! I could never sit still for 3 movies. Bring knitting or something!
Comment posted by Liz (ip: on 12 / 08 / 2003 at 1:28 PM

Sell out! Just think of how many times you can see the movies on DVD and theatre if you do.

Also, then you can go with Isaac and me on the first day at 11AM. Since you are already skipping work….

Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 12 / 14 / 2003 at 5:57 PM

Deb’s E-mail:

Deb’s website:
So, did you go??? How was it?
Comment posted by Liz (ip: on 12 / 23 / 2003 at 1:56 PM

A lot of fun, actually. And they had nice seats so my butt didn’t get tired.

It was really neat seeing all 3 on the BIG screen back to back to back. I regretted that we were not going to see the extended version of ROTK. The extended versions are so much better than the theatrical ones.

I wonder if they’ll ever do a thing where you get to see all 3 extended versions back to back to back? I bet not. Setting up this thing was already enough hassle for the studio. They thought they were doing the fans a favor, but when demand far outstripped supply, all they got was complaints!

Comment posted by (ip: on 01 / 04 / 2004 at 8:52 PM

weird eyes
NFL fan with viking logo contacts

On Thanksgiving Gretchen modelled her yellow cat eye contacts for us. It turns out there are a whole bunch of weird contact lenses out there, from the relatively mundane and NFL fan all the way to bizarre theatrical effects.

I kinda like the Zoltan effect. A bargain, at a mere $250/pair!

diagonal pupil on gold background

Entry posted by origamifreak on November 30 2003 at 3:06 pm
You must have posted this for _ME_. I want weird eyes! I mean, my eyes are slightly weird, but I want seriously weird! I want to freak people out on the subway!

About 20 years ago, I had surgery on some eye muscles. In one eye, it was three muscles, and for the next month the white was bright red. Bright and red. Seriously bright and red. The other eye had only one muscle done, so it was just kind of red. It was so freaky, it was great. My sister couldn’t stand it. A song with the lyrics “Turn around, bright eyes” was popular at the time and in my house it was “turn around, red eye.”

I’m not even gonna tell you all the stories I’ve heard about _fake_ eyes. Guide dogs and fake eyes, and canine digestive systems…

My friend went to an oculist who actually had somebody request that their eye prostheses look like cat’s eyes. Quite surprising, because those things are very, very expensive. Can you imagine submitting that bill to Blue Cross??

Okay, I am outta here before I gross everybody out.


Comment posted by Liz (ip: on 12 / 02 / 2003 at 9:14 PM

Liz’s E-mail:

Liz’s website:
I remember that song. You’re talking about “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” from Bonnie Tyler’s 1983 “Faster than the Speed of Night” album. We listened to it a lot that summer before college, when I had a job cleaning my high school (scraping gum off the underside of desks, etc.)

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 12 / 03 / 2003 at 10:14 AM

Exactly! And it was the summer, because we scheduled the surgery in the summer so as not to gross out my peers. What a mistake that was! Instead of just being a loser, I could have been a truly creepy loser for a month.

My sister and I still laugh our butts off when we hear that song because it has such a strong association for us.

Comment posted by Liz (ip: on 12 / 03 / 2003 at 2:56 PM

Gretchen has cat eye contacts!? This I must make an appointment to view.

People’s lives must be unaccountably dull to have to _buy_ something to make them appear different. I can think of way too many ways to stand out that require no monetary investment…..

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 12 / 14 / 2003 at 5:55 PM

Deborah’s E-mail:

Deborah’s website:
…oh dear, no deer!
Today was technically the third day I tried getting one. (If you count Tuesday before last, when I left after an hour because of queasiness – Personally, I don’t think that should count.)

By 8:20am I was sitting in Fort Miller. Stayed there until around 10am, when Jay came to get me. Went inside and cut up meat. Went back outside and sat in Ft. Miller again, while Jay crashed around in the adjoining pines, trying to scare something my way. Still nothing but squirrels. Those squirrels certainly have a lot of opinions, and aren’t shy about expressing them. Perhaps they were complaining about their noisy neighbors in the pines.

Went back inside and ate lunch with Jay’s mom and brother. Jay took a nap, I did an x-word puzzle. Went back out around 2pm to see an 8pt someone shot at the Game Farm up the road. Jay said seeing that took the motivation out of him. The buck *was* very nice, I must admit.

Went back out again, Jay to the power lines, me to ye olde apple orcharde where I got one two years ago. It rained like crazy last night, so it took me about 25 minutes to figure out how to get across the “little” creeklet without getting my socks wet. I finally made a beaver dam of branches and walked across. One of my earlier, more inspired, but unsuccessful civil engineering attempts had been to try and hook a 3-inch sapling underneath a fallen tree on the other side so I could brachiate across. Couldn’t hook it.

Then it took another 5 minutes or so to figure out how to get over a giant chest-high willow trunk blocking the path (prickly roses all around – trust me, I thought of going around, and didn’t get more than 6 inches). I finally laid a blanket across it, stood on the bucket I’d brought for a chair, and mounted it like a horse. And it was about as wide as a horse, let me tell you. A DRAFT horse.

Anyway, I finally got where I needed to be, found a nice clearing with an apple still on a tree at eye level, picked a spot up behind the clearing and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

The squirrels over there were more accomodating than the ones around Ft. Miller. There are also a lot fewer of them, which might explain something.

At one point a large flock of chickadees swarmed around. I wondered if one was going to land on me. While cutting up meat Jay had told me one landed on his gun recently, announced “dee-dee-dee,” and then took off when he turned to look at it. They didn’t land on me.

Then I saw a deer. Way, way, far away, about 50-60 yards, and only parts of it though the holes in the brush on the *other* side of my clearing. Some legs. Then a tail. Then a nice view of the *stomach*. Oh please. At least show me something I would *want* to shoot! Then a tail again. Then nothing.


Then it started getting dark and quite chilly, and I heard someone calling, which I deduced was Jay telling me the Gator bus was leaving.

We shivered back, and Jay kindly handed me some steaks on the way out. Then I came home, took a very hot shower and snuggled under the covers in my jammies with the catfood-powered hot water bottle (Latte) to warm up.

Well, at least I SAW one today, which is more than I can say for the other times this year, so far!

I tried explaining this to Miaumoto but he was unimpressed. He looks like he thinks he’d do a much better job of getting us meat, if only I’d let him out to do it. Maybe he’s right.

Entry posted by origamifreak on November 25 2003 at 8:46 pm
Cat Videos
Stupid Videos has a nice collection of the clips running around the internet. To see ones featuring cats, you can hit the “search” tab, and then choose the “cat” category.

Last night Deb showed us the content in “Funny Cats” 1 & 2 (although the version she had was concatenated – no pun intended!. I can’t help laughing at “Cat Fan,” but the cat seems to run away OK in the end, so I hope it’s all right!

The “Cat Herding” one is really nice.


Entry posted by origamifreak on November 24 2003 at 12:42 pm
38 down, x – 1 to go…

Here we are again, once around the sun, x – 1 times to go.

Back in NY, tried hunting twice, saw nothing so far. Went and saw Master & Commander with Deb & Jay and Kathie last night. Kathie made awesome duck with crab bisque, Deb made rolls, and I provided a (bought!) carrot cake. Tonight at Deb’s for an “A” dinner.

Let me explain this “A” dinner. A month ago I was at Deb’s while Isabelle mulled over her birthday dinner options. I suggested a meal where everything starts with “I,” such as ice cream, Italian meatballs, Indian curry, Irish soda bread, etc.

She turned down that idea, but it came up as a joke later when discussing my birthday, and the joke turned into reality… well you can imagine.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

OK, back from dinner at Deb’s. Here’s what we all ate, except for Suzanne, who is on a yeast-sensitive diet, at the moment:

Appetizer venison Auricles and ventricles (deer heart cooked, sliced, and dipped in catsup)
Apples in cinnamon and Anise sauce
Asiago cheese in pasta Alfredo with Artichokes
Autumn squash
Albóndigas (meatballs) with Arroz (rice) in them
… and for dessert…
Angel food cake!

heh, heh.

It’s good to have friends as weird as me. 🙂

P.S. Here’s a good place to browse for recipes starting with certain letters.

Entry posted by origamifreak on November 23 2003 at 5:17 pm
One comment:
An Amazingly awesome, adventuresome annual activity!
Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 11 / 25 / 2003 at 11:29 am

Deborah’s E-mail:

Deborah’s website:
Cheese Nuns

I went to grad school with Sister Noella (the subject of this film ) when she was studying the microfauna on the cheese rinds. Once, when the Abbey lost power, I went and helped them churn the cream into butter by hand to save it. We got out all the manual churns they had and spent hours at at. I got a cheese in return, which was more than generous.

I did a couple of retreats at the Abbey , too. They are Benedictine, so they put you to work, which is good. I spent a nice day pulling up stumps in a future cow pasture. You tell time by the bells, starting with Matins (Lauds), and ending with Vespers. One of the nuns there had dated Elvis Presley for a while when he was only moderately famous. The chapel shown at their website is way bigger and newer than the one they used back then.

Comments added 11/10/03

Sorry, Deb. The chances of Hollywood Video having this film are less than zero. It doesn’t even show up on their main website. (That’s two strikes against the Big Chain: Pumping Iron, and now Cheese Nun!)

Seriously, though, we’re more likely to see it at Fall Creek or Cinemapolis than anywhere mainstream (video or screen).

Apparently there was a nice article in the New Yorker, too.

And another reference at the Culinary Forum:

Cheese Lovers, Note:
Mother Noella Marcellino, renown among cheesemakers worldwide as “the Cheese Nun”, was featured in The New Yorker (“Raw Faith” – August 19 & 26, 2002; available only in print). When her Benedictine order in Connecticut sent her back to college to learn the microbiology needed to produce fine farmstead cheese at their abbey, she discovered another calling. Studying in France on a Fulbright and and at the University of Connecticut (where she received her Ph.D. in microbiology in June, 2003), she became an impassioned expert on the biodiversity and preservation of endanged strains of microorganisms found in traditional, farmstead cheeses. A film about her, directed by Pat Thompson and written by Jim Bittermann (CNN’s senior correspondent in Paris), is planned for release on PBS. Audiences who’ve previewed “The Cheese Nun: Sister Noella’s Voyage of Discovery” at film festivals have given it top ratings, so it’s a must-see!

Here’s another one, from the Newport Beach film festival:

Directed by Pat Thompson, The Cheese Nun: Sister Noella’s Voyage of Discovery (full review coming soon) chronicles the life and education of Sister Noella Marcelino, who as the cheese maker of her abbey left the cloister to study cheese making in France and went on to receive a doctorate in microbiology. An expert in her field, she advocates preserving traditional methods that have suffered on both sides of the Atlantic and saving a certain way of life that is slowly disappearing. We delve into the “soul of cheese” and visit cheese caves that are hundreds of years old in remote parts of France as well as a group of monks whose cheese cave is beneath their choir. The documentary also goes into the cloister, showing nuns at work in various endeavors, having found a certain freedom behind closed doors. Spiritual, educational and entertaining, The Cheese Nun is ripe to be shown on PBS. Sister Noella’s lyrical voice lends itself perfectly to explaining the various issues at stake. And in these times, it’s even more important to show ties between the U.S. and France, from Sister Noella teaching gospel in France to being inducted in a conferie of artisans in a small village. France

…And here’s a description of the actual cheese, from FoodWeb:

Saint Nectaire

Last week I mentioned our visit to Burlington, Vermont for the American Cheese Society conference. While there we met a Sister Noella Marcellino a Benedictine nun from the Abbey of Regina Laudis, Bethlehem, Connecticut. She oversees the production of Bethlehem cheese at the abbey using the centuries old techniques she learned while on a Fulbright scholarship in France. The sister gave a talk about the Saint Nectaire and the biology of the rind. Sister Noella uses the traditional methods of the French, right down to aging the cheese 6 – 8 weeks on straw mats in caves, to make her version of Saint Nectaire. Let’s explore this delicious cheese a little.

Saint Nectaire (pronounced sahn-NEC-tair) cheese comes from the town of Saint Nectaire in the Auvergne region of central France. Auvergne consists of essentially three départements (similar to an American county), Allier, Aveyron, Haute-Loire, Cantal and Puy de Dome and is in the midst of the Massif Mountains. The words Saint Nectaire actually have nothing to due with saints and are derived from the old family name of Sennecterre.

Saint Nectaire is an A.O.C. (Apellation D’ Origine Contrôlée) cheese, so similar to other PDO cheeses and French wine, and is protected by French law how and where it is produced. On a fermier (farmhouse) cheese you will find an oval green label, on those from small farms (crémier) or factories (laitier) this stamp will be square usually indicating a pasteurized cheese. A raw cow’s milk (un-pasteurized) cheese, fermier Saint Nectaire cannot be legally imported to the U.S. under FDA regulations. It is available in a laitier form, pasteurized version, which can be found here in the states. A “wheel” is aobut 8 or 9 inches in diameter and 1 1/2 inches high, weighing about 3.5 pounds or 1.5 kilos.

But enough background. What does it taste like? The inedible rind of Saint Nectaire is leathery in texture and pinkish in color covered with up to four essential moulds ranging in color from light gray to white. These moulds assist in the development of the taste in Saint Nectaire. Inside the cheese color is reminiscent of light colored straw to an off ivory color.

The texture semi-firm and has a faint smell of sweet hay or fresh grass. There is no taste of salt but there is a very mild creamy-buttery taste with some fruitiness also. Master cheese monger Steve Jenkins describes it having a buttery texture of beef tenderloin to which I agree. He recommends a hearty red wine to accompany this cheese, perhaps a Chianti or Beaujolais. To enhance the flavor serve it with a sweet apple or pear, it goes nicely with nuts or alone on crackers.

Some other wines of the Auvergne region that may pair well would be Saint-Verny Cotes D’ Auvergne Reserve or be Saint-Verny l’ ére Cuvée, both reds.

I hope you get the chance to try this wonderful cheese. It’s a knockout.

Entry posted by origamifreak on November 06 2003 at 8:07 pm
let me know where you find it. I’ll watch it at the same time and pretend I’m eating cheese and sitting with you (self-pity inserted here).
Comment posted by Jeni Martens (ip: on 11 / 14 / 2003 at 1:49 AM

Jeni Martens’s E-mail:
Do you think Gretchen’s store carries this video?

If so, let’s get and watch it with some cheese snacks!

Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 11 / 10 / 2003 at 1:41 PM

Deb’s E-mail:

Deb’s website:
Nice, Grouchy Blog
Oh yeah.

Liz pointed out this gem to me, in a recent email: (for some reason linking from here kicks you back as soon as the page loads. Go ahead, try it!) I was immediately endeared to the site not by its strange behavior in Netscape, but rather by the frank descriptions of knitted creations (“good,” “bad,” and “fugly”).

Reminds me of last year when I was intrigued by the concept of knitting a moebius strip from the middle, outwards. When I finished, I discovered that it was too long and narrow, so I took it apart, and began something else. Exactly what this something else was going to be, I wasn’t sure, but topologically it was a rectangle. I was sort of surprised by the reaction from others when they asked what I was knitting, and I answered, ingenuously, “a rectangle.”

Entry posted by origamifreak on October 13 2003 at 9:56 pm
Well, I did it. I broke down and installed a firewall on the Win98 computer at home. I am actually amazed at the amount of activity. I only downloaded and installed the program about 10 minutes ago. At first it was kinda fun to watch the little warning windows pop up, but after the first couple of minutes it simply became annoying and I turned them off.

Once you’ve got a firewall up, you can test it.

You can get a third-party program that will submit attack reports to a clearinghouse of hacker activity, and will collect the evidence from all over and submit it to the ISPs of the originating signals.

You can see the results at the internet storm center.

Ain’t paranoia great? 🙂

Entry posted by origamifreak on October 05 2003 at 1:05 am
Ok. Finally put firewall in. You were right. Can no believe the activity in such a short span of time.
Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 10 / 15 / 2003 at 10:00 AM

Deborah’s E-mail:

Deborah’s website:
OK, now install VisualZone, the companion program that allows you to submit access attempts to D-shield.

VisualZone lets you search on the attempts and learn all kinds of interesting things, like where they originate (a lot come from China), and what worm/Trojan horse port they might be seeking, and how many other people they’ve attempted to access.

D-shield periodically submits records of attempts to the ISP of offending computers. You have to specifically sign up for this in order to have your records submitted (it’s called “fight back”).

Most attempts are from computers whose owners have no idea they’re infected. I found that sort-of interesting, too.

Because ZoneAlarm prompts youto allow or deny software in your computer to access the internet, you’re more likely to catch something suspicious at your end.

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 10 / 15 / 2003 at 8:44 PM

Toot Trapper / Flatulence Filter
Liz emailed me about this gem. I just had to share. While it seems just Wrong somehow, it’s also oddly comforting that such a product would exist…

I wonder if they’d be good for smelly pets?

The above product wouldn’t have made a drop in this bucket, though!

Entry posted by origamifreak on September 23 2003 at 11:36 pm
I thought of you this morning because I had the Fake Accent Train Conductor from Hell this morning. I mean, he pronounces everything weirdly, but it doesn’t correspond with any part of the English peaking world.

Reyed Loin to Sheddy [Shady] Greueuueve [Grove]….

….Nekust statio-een: Fowat [Fort] Taught-ten [Totten]

Ugh. Now I’m not a stick-in-the-mud; I enjoy conductor humor and wordplay, but fake accents…. feh.

Comment posted by Liz (ip: on 09 / 25 / 2003 at 3:57 PM

PS. One of my first questions about the Flatulence Fighter was whether you could get several and make them into a dog bed…
Comment posted by Liz (ip: on 09 / 25 / 2003 at 3:58 PM

When I worked for the SPCA in Cortland we went out on a case like this one. An older woman had over 100 cats/kittens in her home. She stopped using litter boxes and just swept the poop up into piles in the corners of the rooms. Her house was a big old 5 bedroom home. She also bred Pomeranians in the basement. I never got a count on them.
Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 10 / 03 / 2003 at 10:47 PM

Suz’s website:

How do YOU sleep?
diagrams of sleeping positions - see below for ascii descriptions

A news story is making the rounds that says sleeping positions correlate with personality. Mine is not very flattering: “Often gregarious and brash, but can be nervy and thin-skinned underneath, and don’t like criticism, or extreme situations.”

I’m sure my therapist would agree… 😉 She recently told me that that when we go onto topics that I don’t like, I become “defensive and obstructive” (I believe those were the words. I cracked up, because she is so right.)

Another set of descriptions had this even less flattering comment: “You are likely to be narrow-minded. You are probably self-centered and always force people to comply with your own needs. You are also likely to be reckless and desultory. Time to change your sleeping posture?”



# The Foetus: Those who curl up in the foetus position are described as tough on the outside but sensitive at heart. They may be shy when they first meet somebody, but soon relax.

This is the most common sleeping position, adopted by 41% of the 1,000 people who took part in the survey. More than twice as many women as men tend to adopt this position.

# Log (15%): Lying on your side with both arms down by your side. These sleepers are easy going, social people who like being part of the in-crowd, and who are trusting of strangers. However, they may be gullible.

# The yearner (13%): People who sleep on their side with both arms out in front are said to have an open nature, but can be suspicious, cynical. They are slow to make up their minds, but once they have taken a decision, they are unlikely ever to change it.

# Soldier (8%): Lying on your back with both arms pinned to your sides. People who sleep in this position are generally quiet and reserved. They don’t like a fuss, but set themselves and others high standards.

# Freefall (7%): Lying on your front with your hands around the pillow, and your head turned to one side. Often gregarious and brash people, but can be nervy and thin-skinned underneath, and don’t like criticism, or extreme situations.

# Starfish (5%): Lying on your back with both arms up around the pillow. These sleepers make good friends because they are always ready to listen to others, and offer help when needed. They generally don’t like to be the centre of attention.

Entry posted by origamifreak on September 20 2003 at 5:55 pm
Fetus. Definitely. 100% of the time. And I have to roll over twice before I can get to sleep (but I can’t rush things along by turning over prematurely).

I am laughing my butt off at the therapist thing…. since I had the same one. If she is still the same one, tell her I said “hey.”

Comment posted by LIz (ip: on 09 / 22 / 2003 at 9:17 PM

Yep, she’s the same one. I’ve told her you said “hi,” before, but I can say it again! 🙂

By the way, that Toot Trapper is just Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong! I still can’t believe it.

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 09 / 23 / 2003 at 11:33 PM

How to make your commute seem even longer
As I mentioned earlier, I commute. About 3 hours a day. For entertainment, my carpool buddies and I often listen to recorded books. Although it seems unlikely, the most recent one has actually made the commute worse. This horror is titled “The Prometheus Deception,” by Robert Ludlum, and read by someone named Michael Paul.

Features of the Prometheus Deception Experience (TM):

1) Ludlum needs an editor. Or maybe a better editor. Or maybe 100 chimps typing. There are obvious continuity errors. At one point we are told a pair of assassin twins are from northwestern Italy. A paragraph later, they are suddenly from northeastern Italy. There are many, many more examples, but I’ve blocked them out as a subconscious coping mechanism. Remembering even this example is kinda painful.

2) The protagonist is an idiot. We are supposed to believe that this Bryson guy is a highly trained secret agent, and yet when we’re introduced to him during a chase scene at the beginning of the book, he reaches a stairwell and mulls, “Should I go up? Should I go down?” And then proceeds to ponder, in excruciating detail, all of the advantages and disadvantages of each choice. Meanwhile, the assailants are conveniently not catching up to him and shooting him. Which is a pity, because if they’d been more on the ball, we wouldn’t have needed to sit through the rest of the 16 CDs.

At another point, much later, he spends time yakking with his estranged wifey before jumping out of a window into the Thames while the House of Parliament crawls with bad guys wielding submachine guns, looking for them. Maybe he and she should have just moved in; they certainly didn’t seem in any rush to actually, like, ESCAPE…

3) The VOICES. Liz once remarked that she really hates it when readers feel the need to “do the voices” on those books-on-tape. I used to think I knew what she meant, when George Guidall launched into yet another high-pitched female voice in the CAT WHO series. I was wrong. I had no idea how bad it can be when a reader does the Voices. It can be bad. Very bad.

The book is read by someone named Michael Paul. This Michael Paul person loves accents. Not REAL accents, but sloppy collections of phonemes which can be applied at random during speech to approximate the effect of an accent. The CDs are full of these painful things:

A female Lebanese spy who occasionally slides into Hindi.

A senator from Maine who sounds like he just walked off the set of Dukes of Hazzard.

The director of the CIA who has a “normal” Amurikan drawl until 3/4 of the way through the story when it is mentioned that he has a New Jersey accent, and he suddenly and inexplicably develops a heavy Brooklyn sound.

I could go on, but I won’t. Actually I probably couldn’t go on. That same defense mechanism against psychological trauma kicks in and stops me.

I am very grateful that we have somehow finally arrived at the end of the 16th CD, which is the nicest thing I can possibly say about this book.

Entry posted by origamifreak on September 12 2003 at 12:31 am
Heh heh heh… now you know how painful fake accents are… I once got a tape of a biography of Darwin and the reader had a *fake* British accent. I couldn’t even listen to it for 5 minutes. Very sad.

Anyone who tries to do many US regional accents is in big trouble. There are just waaay too many nuances and distinction. I mean, i can hear the difference between, say, the suburbs north of NYC and NYC itself, not to mention Brooklyn and New Jersey. And Delaware, which has some pretty distinct pronunciations. It’s just too complicated.

*16* CDs?? Yowch. I usually hate abridged books, but in this case it sounds like a good idea!


Comment posted by Liz (ip: on 09 / 17 / 2003 at 3:40 PM

Liz’s E-mail:
Yeah, me again. I think I probably need to apologize for laughing at Angela’s logistical difficulties using the restrooms in a darkened LaGuardia. As we emerge from hurricane Isabel I’ve been hearing all kinds of stories on the radio about how difficult it is for the average human to use a bathroom (or even find it) without vision.

Was the weather really bad in Ithaca?

I think I made out well– two days off work and only 14 hours without juice.

Comment posted by Liz (ip: on 09 / 19 / 2003 at 7:48 PM

Yep, vision makes so many things deceptively easy that it becomes a convenient crutch, without which lots of us are confused and lost at first. Heck, I’ve even banged my face into door jambs, in my own house, when getting up to find my own bathroom, which, I assure you, has not moved once, the entire time I’ve lived here! 😮

There are lots of things I just don’t bother doing that would make navigation easier. Counting steps. Finding tactile and auditory landmarks. Keeping my current direction in mind at all times.

One thing that I have been fairly consistent in is counting the number of seats to the exit rows ahead and behind me in airplanes. Don’t want to get that wrong, in the dark, smoke, etc!

It’s no wonder otherwise competent sighted people have so much trouble in blizzards and fog, etc. and end up getting lost in simple terrain.

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 09 / 20 / 2003 at 12:49 AM

The key for me is the “Keeping my current direction in mind at all times” is the key for me. You can find out about distance and stuff in other ways, but direction is the hardest if you lose track. And if I concentrate I can keep it mind even underground, with several changes in direction. But don’t you dare distract me when I’m trying.
Comment posted by Liz (ip: on 09 / 22 / 2003 at 9:15 PM

Here’s a nice resource. FetchBook.Info .

I found it last week when hunting for pocket atlases. They compile results of many online booksellers and calculate in the shipping to list the total prices in order. It’s how I found out that Blackwell’s doesn’t charge shipping. You can read more about FetchBook here .

Books find book.

Entry posted by origamifreak on August 23 2003 at 11:07 pm
One comment:
Where have all the bloggers gone…long time passing….
Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 09 / 04 / 2003 at 12:00 pm

Suz’s website:

Things I never want to be without
I’ve clearly become too casual about travel preparations. This is a list of things I plan never to be without, ever again:

cell phone charger/flashlight (by Friday morning, most people’s batteries were extremely low, and no way to charge them. Also, pitch black public restrooms = ICKY + BAD.)

FM radio (or this one) (There was no way to find out the extent of the blackout where we were trapped behind security. A few TVs, but too far away from the counters to watch and also hear if a flight is being called – by shouting)

Pocket Atlas (Accurate information in case I decide to opt for different transportation mode.)

roll of quarters (just in case the pay phones are actually working – which they weren’t)

$100 cash (No ATMs worked. No credit cards worked. Checks? Ha.)

granola bars

water bottle

All customer service numbers for all carriers

This is kind-of scarey; I’m starting to sound like a freaky survivalist. Let me know if I start stockpiling weapons and/or canned beans…

Entry posted by origamifreak on August 19 2003 at 8:07 pm

Chocolate. How could I have forgotten chocolate? Preferably dark and bitter.

Comment posted by Liz (ip: on 08 / 20 / 2003 at 4:59 PM

Liz’s E-mail:
Well, I think we all need to start thinking more this way. I have the 9/11 travel story from hell, so I should know.

I take Luna Bars (soy protein based) (you can get them at Wegman’s and the healthfood store that’s right off the Commons) with me all the time. I really really hate airline food but I don’t do well if I don’t have protein. When I go to conferences I take *lots* of them in case I’m exhausted by dinner time and want to get back to my room and rest. Other suggested travel foods:

nuts (satisfying protein & fat)

cheese (particularly the fake-ish kind like those baby bonbels that won’t spoil because they’re meant to survive a nuclear holocaust)

beef jerky, if you can stand it

trail mix, if you like all the ingredients (I hate picking around the raisins)

apples (less messy than fruit alternatives, but not good for overseas or returning from Hawaii)

dried fruit, although I’m awfully picky about that, too.

Only $100? I usually try to take more like $200, but you probably went through even more than that in your adventures.

As for the customer service numbers, I have one awesome suggestion:

Try to get the numbers that are separate, special numbers for frequent flyers or people with special status because they fly even more than frequently. They often work when the other numbers don’t, and they often don’t check to make sure you’re a member.

In fact, I am pretty bored waiting for my program to run, so maybe I’ll put a list together this afternoon.

I don’t know how I ever lived without a cellphone. I never chat on it, but man is it useful while traveling.


Comment posted by Liz (ip: on 08 / 20 / 2003 at 4:57 PM

Liz’s E-mail:
We just got rid of our Y2K beans. Want some?
Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 08 / 19 / 2003 at 8:54 PM

Suz’s website:

If you got rid of ’em, how is it you have some to give away???


Sure. I’ll take yer beans.

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 08 / 19 / 2003 at 9:37 PM

THIS is the worst airport blackout story I’ve seen…
So far, it’s also the worst blackout story I’ve seen.

woman pouring liquid from a pepsi bottle into a funnel attached to a tube going into a limp 4-year-old's stomach

Christie Brown, left, of Pensecola Fla. feeds her daughter Whitney, 4, through a gastric tube, after being stranded at New York’s LaGuardia Airport with other travelers due to a massive blackout that hit much of the Northeast, Friday, Aug. 15, 2003, in New York. Whitney, according to her mother, suffers from a metabolic disorder and came to New York for a doctor’s appointment and has run out of her medication. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

More details here. I have been unable to find out online whether/when they managed to get home. No mention in or even local Pensacola papers online. I hope they are OK!

Entry posted by origamifreak on August 17 2003 at 9:50 am
Nth circle of Hell
Pack for much-needed weekend in Bahamas.

Take flight from Ithaca to La Guardia, to catch connection to BWI.

Land at LaGuardia and wonder why the monitors are all blank…

When the sweat starts dripping, find out that all power is out, and noone can use cell phones or even pay phones (no dial tone)

Find out flight to BWI cancelled,

Trot over to the Washington flights, be told there are hundreds of people in line ahead of you, for a 120-seat flight

Yahoo pic of people waiting to use phones

Wait in lines for pay phones which may or may not have a dial tone by the time you get to them. Finally reach Friend Friday , who takes down cellphone info, and calls fellow Bahama-bound traveller, who is already in DC, and supposed to meet one that night at BWI. Said Friend Friday tells us there is no power upstate. Begin to realize the geographical scope of the problem.

This was a big problem. But noone seems to mention the fact that even PAY phones worked sporadically, if at all. There was no way to find out the extent of the blackout, either. There needs to be backup communication for gate agents.

Washington flights are cancelled

Realize that one’s vacation might not happen, because there are NO flights that leave soon enough to get one to BWI in time for an 8:35am international departure. Maybe BWI has no power, either? No way to find out.

Said international airline has only an automated flight arrival/departure line listed in 800 directory, and no way to speak to a human.

Continue to sweat

Said international airline apparently has no other flights to Nassau on Friday after 8:35am, and none on Saturday

Trudge, dejected, back to Ithaca terminal, hope maybe to go back home, at the very least, since international flight and vacation are apparently not happening

Sweat some more

Try to book a seat on the next flight to Ithaca via phones (see above)

Call Friend Friday back and get other international traveller’s cell phone number. (see phone usage)

Try cell phone number, can’t connect (see phone usage)

Wait to find out if flight to Ithaca will go

Try cell phone number, can’t connect (see phone usage)

Feel faint from dehydration, continue to sweat

Try cell phone number, can’t connect (see phone usage)

find out flight to Ithaca is cancelled. Must stay in NY. Airport has no reserve power. A few emergency lights are deployed.

Try cell phone number, can’t connect (see phone usage)

try to book the first flight back to Ithaca at 8:40 am (see phone use, above)

Call and book a room at the local Clarion, being told it’s the only place nearby there are any rooms left.

Try cell phone number, can’t connect (see phone usage)

Go down to baggage claim to see if, just in case, baggage routed to 3 different flights (BWI, Washington, Ithaca) might be accessible. Miracle of miracles, it’s in a room waiting to be transfered to one of 3 flights, maybe even a different one, like Iceland, who knows?

Lucky to have found our bag? YES .

Notice it’s cooler downstairs.

Retrieve said luggage.

Try cell phone number, can’t connect (see phone usage)

Get an unscrupulous cabbie who first claims he doesn’t KNOW where the Clarion is, and then charges us $10.00 to take us about 200 yards

Get to the Clarion, see hordes of people standing and sitting around outside and in lobby lit by tea lights. Find out that they are not honoring said reservations

Get a cab back to the airport, stake out a place on the floor in US Airways baggage claim. (the only places accessible in airport are ticket counter area upstairs, and baggage claim downstairs. contrary to newspaper reports online, there are no “sofas” in La Guardia in these areas. I saw not a single “cot” the time I was there, either. Don’t know where reporters were getting their information.)

Tile floor is mercifully cool. Sweating abates somewhat. Cannot use restroom, no lights. Fumble toward drinking fountains and drink as much as dare, knowing restrooms are not an option.

[Liz, stop laughing. I’m not USED to finding my way around public bathrooms I can’t see! I don’t know how! Yes, I am sightist. I admit it. there. happy? 😉 And yes, if I were desperate, I would figure it out. But I wasn’t that desperate… yet.]

Swap travel horror stories with fellow Ithacans (well, actually Trumansburgers; I’m a Freevillian, myself). Find out that one of them is a Travel Jinx of the First Order. Begin to blame him for grid failure, which he acknowledges is a possibility.

These poor people were headed home, from Hawaii. It was to be the second (or third?) night they’d had to sleep on the floor in an airport. They’d left on TUESDAY at 4am Hawaii time. None of us had the neuronal capacity left to sum up how many hours that was. Having been in that kind of situation, I can say at that point I don’t WANT to calculate how many hours it’s been, because the answer will be depressing, no matter what it is. More to the point is to conserve neurotransmitter for figuring out how to get the rest of the way home as quickly and painlessly as possible.

Later these same people will end up on the horseless carriage leg of the trip. At points I was to rue the fact that these carriages did NOT have horses, as they might have been more reliable… but I digress.

Try to sleep while the guards walk around shouting gleefully to each other, amusing themselves by shining their flashlights in our faces to see if we’ll wake up. This continued throughout the night.

Learn to sleep with face shielded from flashlights

Doze in and out for hours, sometimes chatting with neighbors next-door

(if you can call an adjacent sleeping territory “next-door” when there is, in fact, no actual door, or walls, or bed, or… well you get the idea.)

Tile floor is cold and hard. Begin shivering.

Wake up to hear arriving passengers walking past, saying loudly to each other, “Oh my gosh, look! People are SLEEPING here!” (apparently not realizing that, yes, we actually were trying to sleep)

backup power in airport comes on.

Start digging through luggage for warmer things.

Backup power in airport goes off.

Stop digging through luggage for fear of losing things in the dark.

Doze in and out for hours, sometimes chatting with neighbor

Reserve power comes back on, stays on.

Trot over to the bathroom before everyone else wakes up and does the same thing.

Resume digging through suitcase.

Put on socks, bathrobe, and lay folded beach towel down between oneself and the frigid, achingly hard tile floor.

Doze in and out for hours, sometimes chatting with neighbor

Gratefully eat some of neighbor’s chocolate-covered raspyberries.

Airport personnel show up offering bottles of water.

doze in and out

Wake up when someone knocks over a glass bottle.

Realize it’s 3:45am, and the counters upstairs might open at 4:30am. Want to go home, badly.

Trudge upstairs and pick way between more sleeping people.

Nice and warm upstairs.

Watch security people come and go, airline personnel come and go, looking frustrated.

wait some more.

Hear announcement that no flights going out before 9am

Call to rebook ithaca flight for 2:10pm

Watch as new people continually arrive at airport, stride purposefully inside, stop, and look around.

Feel uncharitable amusement when the reality you and everyone else has been living for hours dawns on these annoyingly perky new people.

Hear that no flights are leaving before 10am.

Sun begins to come up. climate heating up. take off extra sleeping apparel

Yahoo pic of exceedingly grouchy crowds at  La Guardia

hear that even when (if) power comes back on, everything will be delayed for 6-8 hours

NOT relish thought of staying overnight AGAIN, sharing airport with more people, new people who will try and usurp our territories

begin brainstorming with other Ithacans.

Try renting a car. NOTHING available in greater metropolitan area (see phone use, above)

Try calling Greyhound, Shortline bus. busy signal (see phone use, above)

Try calling Swarthout to see if you can ride on them, no answer (see phone use, above)

Resume sweating.

Hear that no flights are leaving before 11am.

Call a limousine company and ask how much to get a ride to Ithaca.

Decide that $800+ split 6 ways is worth it.

Confusion about when limo is actually coming. 15 miinutes from now? 1:15 from now?

Find out limo is here. Run around airport collecting said Ithacans.

Begin sweating in earnest.

Pile into limo.

ride, ride, ride.

In Poconos, find out that limo is overheating.

Limo driver stops, eveyone piles out and buys lunch at local deli

Limo driver decides that bulging hose leading from radiator has gone back down to normal size, so limo must be OK to drive some more.

Point out to limo driver that flexible hoses are like balloons, and once expanded, expand even more easily next time.

Suggest that there is garage just 100 yds down road, where problem might be diagnosed, and at very least new hose procured.

Shrug when limo driver decides to drive anyway. After all, he IS the captain of the boat. And it was a boat, let me tell you! It was the kind of limo people rent to go to the prom in or shuttle wedding guests with.

Everyone pile back in

Ride with windows down instead of AC, which is fine. Driver has decided this will solve the problem. Have doubts, but too tired to press point with driver.

Ride for 5 minutes until limo (overheating again) is pulled over.

Sit in hot sun waiting for driver to chat with dispatch.

Driver uncaps radiator and drives like Batmobile out of Hell to next exit, trailing radiator fluid like ghastly green ichor

Arrive at Enterprise rent-a-car in somewhere in Poconos

find out they will not do a 1-way rental.

Arrange for ride to Scranton where 1-way rentals ARE available

Arrange for 1-way rentals before setting out for Scranton

Get stuck in construction traffic on way to Scranton

Finally arrive, get two cars, one for two Syracuse-bound people, one for 4 Ithaca-bound people.

Say goodbye to Syracuse-bound compadres, pile in rental car.

Drive, Drive, Drive to Whitney Point.

Bathroom stop.

Consumed with curiosity about whether 2:10pm flight actually left. Call and ask.

Rejoice mightily when determine that 2:10pm flight was CANCELLED.

Continue driving happily. Reminisce about LaGuardia as if it was years ago.

Arrive in Ithaca, drop various people off, promise to share photos of broken-down limo, etc.

Drive to Ithaca Airport and ask for frequent flyer miles back for (yes, this is really the official phrase) “trip in vain” (feel like must add “alas” or “alack” to phrase, but don’t, for fear miles will not be forthcoming.)

Receive said miles.

Drive home. find many messages from fellow international traveller, who has apparently arrived safely in Nassau, and eagerly waiting for one’s arrival.

Discover that NO flights left LaGuardia today.

Try calling fellow international traveller in hotel in Nassau, leave messages. Sad messages. “Wish I was there” messages, but also very grateful to be home, and not facing the prospect of another night on the cold hard surfaces of LaGuardia.

Added 8/16:

Here’s what I escaped . One of the few accurate accounts out there of what was REALLY going on at the ariports…

Here’s another one.

Added 8/17:

This must have been why I heard planes continuing to take off, deep into the night. It was very perplexing. All flights cancelled, yet some are still taking off? Huh? Too bad Jet Blue doesn’t service Ithaca…

Are we glad to be home? Yes we are . (People may be stranded until Monday or Tuesday?! Yikes.)

yep, new people still stranded…

Very much enjoying Deb’s copy of Desperate Journeys, Abandoned Souls : True Stories of Castaways and Other Survivors that I’d begun reading last week. I’m beginning to notice the irony. Thank goodness we 6 didn’t need to draw lots to decide whom to eat or cast away! 😮

Entry posted by origamifreak on August 15 2003 at 8:02 pm
You mean, you didn’t pee for hours and hours because you couldn’t see??? Ouch.

You should have called me. I know the USAir terminal where the Ithaca flights leave like I know Ben’s ears. That was my main way to get to my parents’ when I lived in Ithaca, and I was a regular commuter when my dad had cancer. Anyway, I also know right where the restroom is for that area and I think I could have dug the layout of the bathroom out of my murky brain. So, next time you’re stuck in the dark, (try to) give me a call (if the national infrastructure is up and running).

In fact I wish I could see the pictures. I tried showing ’em to Ben so he could say “Oh yeah, we been there a lot!” but he’s too sleepy.

Seriously, that aborted trip does sound terrible. That’s what traveling from Ithaca is often like, unfortunately. Ugh. And spending the night in the airport must not’ve been fun at all.

This is the worst story I’ve heard about the blackout (we didn’t lose power down here in Maryland). The stuff the media has said about it all makes me want to say “So what?” But yours is a story…

Comment posted by Liz (ip: on 08 / 16 / 2003 at 10:08 PM

Liz’s E-mail:
No…popscicles would not have helped here.
Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 08 / 16 / 2003 at 10:17 PM

Suz’s website:

Liz: Um, dare I admit I was more afraid of the Disgusting Factor than the Fear of Banging my Head on Something Factor?

Suz: I dunno; It was pretty hot. I suspect popsicles MIGHT have helped, after all!

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 08 / 19 / 2003 at 9:39 PM

World’s Smallest Political Quiz
I was poking around looking at the California Gubernatorial Pageant, and found three fun things:

1) Candidate Status Report (247 at latest count)

2) A list of the qualified parties.

I especially liked the American Independent Party (for people who think the Republican Party is too leftist), and the Peace and Freedom Party (I am shocked there isn’t an active chapter in Ithaca).

3) The World’s Smallest Political Quiz

(in case you’re not sure which of the above you fit in) Here’s what I turned out to be: (no surprise here)

According to your answers, your political philosophy is centrist.

Centrists favor selective government intervention and emphasize practical solutions to current problems. They tend to keep an open mind on new issues. Many centrists feel that government serves as a check on excessive liberty.

Your Personal Self-Government Score is 60%.

Your Economic Self-Government Score is 40%.

Entry posted by origamifreak on August 13 2003 at 12:03 am
One comment:
Sitting on the fence, hmmm?
Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 08 / 13 / 2003 at 9:47 pm

more photos, more travelling…
Got my Oz pics back; wasn’t terribly happy with the processing, but you can see some of ’em here.

Colleen dropped out of a Bahamas trip with Kathie, so I jumped in. We leave next week! It’s a *real* vacation, no work involved at all. We’re even planning to go diving, which will be nice since I haven’t gone since I was certified…

We’ll also play with dolphins and snorkel with stingrays, and have FUN.

Maybe by the time we’re back the humidity will have abated somewhat. (Yeah, dream on…)

Meanwhile, saw Petra ride at a 4H horse show, where Deb and Isaac and Isabelle and Janine also made an appearance, as did the Youngs. It was very hot in the sun, so the presence of trees over the bleachers was much appreciated!

Entry posted by origamifreak on August 05 2003 at 9:27 pm
One comment:
Oh! I’ve done both the dolphin and stingray things in Hawaii and you are really in for a treat! The dolphins are really sweet and fun– they are like Golden Retrievers who like to goof around and be touched. I even got to meet a blind one 😉 And the rays are so soft and smooth you won’t believe it.

Liz, who used up all her vacation time in HI

Comment posted by Liz (ip: on 08 / 08 / 2003 at 12:30 pm

Liz’s website:

what happened to John Graham???
Still wondering about details about that whole Eliza Fraser story. There’s a tiny snippet online about her rescuer, Graham, here:

The first European ‘holiday maker’ to arrive in the Maroochydore area was the Irishman John Graham who was taking a break from his convict duties at Moreton Bay. Graham was sentenced to seven years transportation for stealing six pounds and a quarter of hemp. He arrived in Sydney in April 1825. In October 1826 he was sentenced to another seven years for petty theft and the following January he was shipped to Moreton Bay. In July, labouring under the delusion that he could row to China, Graham escaped from Moreton Bay. He tried to avoid the Aborigines on the coast who had a fierce reputation. However, he eventually walked into a camp near the present site of Maroochydore and was immediately accepted as the ghost of one woman’s dead husband. She herself died within a year but Graham continued to live with the Aborigines for another six years. In 1833 he returned to Moreton Bay and gave himself up. Three years later he featured prominently in the rescue of Eliza Fraser from Fraser Island. He was given his ticket of leave the following year and nothing is known of his later life.

And a little more about what Fraser ate, here:

Bungwall fern (Blechnum indicum), is a coarse fishbone fern extensively found in teatree swamps in southeastern coastal Queensland and northern NSW, and still plentiful in freshwater swamps in the Noosa Shire. The fern root was called bungwall, dingowa or dangum (Eipper 1841). It was a staple part of the diet and considerable resources of time and energy were expended in its production. Eliza Fraser commented she had to exist on a kind of fern-root which we were obliged to procure for ourselves from the swamps (Brown 2000). The root was gathered by women (Gunson 1978 et al), pounded and roasted. A specialised stone tool, called a bungwall pounder, found only in the same geographical localities as bungwall occurs, was used to crush the rhizomes prior to cooking (Richter 1994). John Graham was offered bungwall in 1836 during his rescue of Eliza Fraser. Another plant food was pandanus, growing along the coastal beaches and Noosa Headland. McNiven (1990) has noted that Aboriginal middens were frequently located close to pandanus trees.

Probably the best modern resources will be:

Phoenix: Mrs. Fraser on the Fatal Shore,

In the Wake of First Contact : The Eliza Fraser Stories,

Constructions of Colonialism: Perspectives on Eliza Fraser’s Shipwreck,

John Graham, convict, 1824 : an historical narrative,

and possibly this pulp-looking rendition:

Eliza Fraser by Kenneth Cook.

Fortunately, all of the above are available at the Cornell library.

Entry posted by origamifreak on July 24 2003 at 11:50 pm
Fraser Island
By the way, Fraser Island was great. You can see pics at a url mentioned in the last post. It is supposedly named after Eliza Fraser, who was shipwrecked on the island and later rescued.

Entry posted by origamifreak on July 20 2003 at 6:32 pm
Home again, home again jiggity-jig
Well, I’m back. There’s a lingering touch of jet-lag, but most of it ended last week.

There are vacation photos online from Boris, who also took the Fraser Island trip.

Matthew met me in Chicago and we were stranded there for more than 24 hours. The luggage was delayed more like 48 hours… He went home Tuesday morning. It was a short visit, but lots of fun. We saw much of Deb and Suzanne’s families that weekend.

Entry posted by origamifreak on July 17 2003 at 8:11 pm
One comment:
But he only had one pic of you!

The bird he did not know the name of was a kookaburra.

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 07 / 21 / 2003 at 5:47 pm

Deborah’s E-mail:

Deborah’s website:
tower of terror
The conference held its banquet at Dreamworld, which is an amusement park. A couple friends got me on the Tower of Terror. It was fairly exciting, I suppose, but nothing compared with the Milennium Force that my nephews and nieces and I went on a couple of years ago… After that 2 minutes I was hoarse from screaming and somehow staggered off to rest.

Entry posted by origamifreak on July 02 2003 at 6:39 pm

Moreton Bay Bugs

Tasty lobster-like things with no claws, just tails. MMM.

more bugs

Entry posted by origamifreak on June 30 2003 at 7:44 pm
Yes they do. They call them BUGS. They look like bugs, too. Just really BIG freakin’ bugs…


Comment posted by anja (ip: on 07 / 02 / 2003 at 6:31 PM

Do they actually call ’em bugs, on the menu?

Liz, numbercrunching in Maryland, but soon off to Hawai’i

Comment posted by Liz (ip: on 07 / 02 / 2003 at 4:25 PM

Upon arrival, I checked in, took a shower, and then ordered lunch from room service so I could get used to eating at the proper times of day.

I’d ordered a “burger and chips” (chips=fries for those not UK-savvy)

Most room service dishes I have experienced are small and artistic. This one was unbelievably substantial. The fries were really fresh, and there was a healthy (unhealthy?) number of them. These Ozzies know how to fry things, apparently. But that was not the most interesting thing. A little glass jelly jar with a screw-top lid labelled “tomato sauce” was also on the tray. This was, indeed, catsup. But that also was not the most interesting thing.

The most interesting thing was the stunning variety of items that were assembled between two buns:


pickled shredded beets

a slice of pineapple

sauteed onions

melted cheese

a whole poached egg (or two??)


worstershire sauce

and a large hamburger patty with onions embedded in it

I have three things to say about this interesting composition. First, it was so tall I could not open my mouth wide enough to bite it. Second, I do not think I have ever before eaten pickled beets, pineapple, and eggs in the same mouthful. Finally, having been in the country a whole 6 hours or so, and on the basis of this one meal, I am already beginning to wonder if the Oz culinary motto is, “Cholesterol? What cholesterol?!”

Entry posted by origamifreak on June 26 2003 at 1:14 am
I think if we left out the eggs and the pineapple, it would be OK!
Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 06 / 28 / 2003 at 11:38 PM

I thought it was Aussies.

I remember very odd combinations of things for breakfast and on pizzas.

Creamed mushrooms and tomatoes on toast.

Ham and pineapple pizza. This was 1976.

Today is Saturday after July 4th. Isabelle is very ill.

See you soon!

Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 07 / 05 / 2003 at 9:08 AM

Deb’s E-mail:

Deb’s website:
Lunch with Louie
Tuesday in Oakland we had soup for lunch, between computer sessions. Here are the ingredients:





orange peels

red peppers



green cabbage

red cabbage



chopped hot dogs



leftover Van de Camp pork ‘n beans

much cayenne pepper

1T canola oil

Part of the entertainment was requiring the guest to guess the ingredients, by examining what was in my bowl. I got most of them except the chicory. Apparently he makes this concoction every Saturday, eats half that night, and the other half the following Wednesday.

He almost gave me a heart attack the previous night, when he pulled out some pizza coupons and suggested going to Lakeshore and picking up a pizza. After recovering from the shock (and suppressing a desire to demand, “who are you, and what have you done with my father???”), I pointed out that they deliver, and suggested making them walk up the steps. Which is what we did, and yes I did tip the poor, puffing delivery guy 20% (which shocked Daddy).

Anyway, the gate area seems to be getting zooier, so I’m going to sign off and send this from Australia.

[20 hours later…]

I’m posting this from the hotel room in Brisbane. They have AOL in Brisbane.

Entry posted by origamifreak on June 25 2003 at 10:28 pm
aah, Sierras!

Just finishing up a conference in the Sierras. I’d forgotten how beautiful it is up here, with the white, puffy clouds, snow-dusted mountains covered with pines, granite outcrops, blue, blue lakes at their feet…


Entry posted by origamifreak on June 23 2003 at 3:07 am
rail fences
Suz and I have started meeting at my house once a week to work on her previously abandoned quilt projects. It was so fun sewing sqares for her last week that I took a look at the book she’s got and picked out a rail fence quilt for myself. Turns out I already had some great African batik fabrics I could use.

There’s a neat article online that shows lots of different ways to lay out rail fence quilts. It gave me Ideas. The one I’ll make for the bed will be pretty standard. But I’m also interested in doing a smaller one in the same fabrics but a different layout to hang or for a lap. Just because I can.

Entry posted by origamifreak on June 19 2003 at 12:01 am
dunno what I’ll do about the actual quilting part. Heck, I haven’t even cut anything yet!
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 06 / 23 / 2003 at 3:07 AM

Did I ever tell you that my sister quilts?…You recently become a great aunt and take up quilting…hmmmm. Are you using the large quilting frame or the lap type of holders?
Comment posted by Sharon (ip: on 06 / 19 / 2003 at 3:16 PM

What to do, what to do?

When on official foreign travel, ARS employees are allowed 3-5 days, maximum, to enjoy the scenery.

I panicked on Saturday, realizing I had less than a month to arrange something. After poking around online some, I settled on this. It sounded different and interesting. I’ll let you know how it goes…

Entry posted by origamifreak on June 09 2003 at 11:22 pm
One comment:
Looks Great!
Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 06 / 11 / 2003 at 3:16 pm

Deb’s website:

Matrix Personality?
You are Neo

You are Neo, from “The Matrix.”You display a perfect fusion of heroism and compassion.

What Matrix Persona Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Ha. As if.

Entry posted by origamifreak on June 07 2003 at 8:32 pm
I got the same results. Huh.

I sure do not _feel_ like all those things.

I will let Isaac take it….

Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 06 / 11 / 2003 at 3:24 PM

Deb’s E-mail:

Deb’s website:
Isaac also is Neo. I see a pattern here….
Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 06 / 11 / 2003 at 3:32 PM

Deb’s E-mail:

Deb’s website:
Pad Thai?
Deb mentioned yesterday that she and Sora haven’t been able to find a decent Pad Thai recipe.

My friend Lisa has one posted at her website and Lisa’s no slouch in the kitchen, so it’s probably pretty authentic. I know, because that’s partly how we kept each other and ourselves (mostly) sane through grad school, whipping stuff up in our respective kitchens. Ask me sometime about the “Japanese Bar Snacks.” On second thought, don’t.

I also found this one here, and it looks about right:

Some of the other recipes on there suggest adding ketchup (!) Not.

Entry posted by origamifreak on May 27 2003 at 7:02 pm
Duly copied both recipes. On to the taste trials.
Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 05 / 28 / 2003 at 8:16 AM

Deb’s E-mail:

Deb’s website:
Hey! I want to help judge those taste trials!!! Don’t forget to invite me!
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 05 / 28 / 2003 at 11:54 AM

Well, yeah. There is a Thai restaurant in Ithaca where I’ve had Ketchup Pad Thai. Or maybe it’s a Pad Thai Mix that tastes ketchup-y, because I had the identical meal once in San Diego.

I am ever the food-authenticity snob.

Comment posted by liz (ip: on 05 / 29 / 2003 at 2:55 PM

liz’s E-mail:
$2.00 Dandelions
I wheezed all night and woke up coughing this morning when Latte jumped on me, so today is a sick day.

Yesterday Deb dropped in and asked if I wanted to go plant shopping. “Sure,” I said, and went to get my Birkie clogs.

We went to two places. The first one was heavy on the upscale atmosphere. They have peculiar garden furniture and accoutrements such as artsy towers for vines to climb and giant urns and piped-in music. Their plants didn’t look very happy. We also found some whiteflies. I was very impressed, however, with their vegetable table. Among the fancy little Chinese cabbages (that had begun bolting) and other decorative and not necessarily appetizing items, they had a flat of dandelions.

Yes, I said “dandelions.” No, this was not a weedy oversight. Every individual pot had a label saying “French Dandelion” and every pot had a sickly-looking little dandelion plant in it. (How you can manage to make dandelions sickly, I have no idea – I just pulled some out of my herb garden last week and I swear they had 12-inch leaves). Anyway, there they were, sitting in a flat on the table, hoping someone would pony up the $2.00 to take one home.

I’ve seen a lot of crazy things, and that was right up there near the top.

The second place was run by a friend of Deb’s who is in the spinning guild. We tried calling 411 on the cell phone to get her number, but didn’t succeed, so we just dropped in. The sign said “hours by appointment,” but she was there working in the greenhouses, and seemed agreeable to make an appointment on the spot. I poked around and got several heirloom tomato plants, while Deb explored and found things that she could acquire with a gift certificate.

The plants in the second place were extremely happy. I don’t think I saw a single individual that wasn’t perky and just itching to come home with someone and take over its little spot. We soon found out why, when the proprietress explained that she doesn’t hire teenagers to help her because she can’t trust them to take the time to water *under* the foliage. (And we’re talking about some seedlings that are less than 4 inches high and sitting in flats on the floor, so you can imagine how low one would have to go, in order to accomplish this.) Apparently she spends something like 3 hours a day, just watering.

It goes to show that taking the time to do little things well can make a big difference.

Entry posted by origamifreak on May 27 2003 at 7:42 am
Are you OK now? Wheezing? Don’t like the sound of that. AT ALL. Get out that albuterol.
Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 05 / 28 / 2003 at 8:08 AM

Deb’s E-mail:

Deb’s website:
Call them up and ask if they have any French Dandelions.

“You Do?? HA-HA-HA-HA (ad infinitum)”

Hang up.

Comment posted by Jay (ip: on 05 / 28 / 2003 at 8:11 AM

Jay’s E-mail:
The vowels are the first to go…
Suzanne and her kids and I went to Deb’s house for dinner tonight. We got to talking about how I’d misheard Petra say that she had to “raise 50 ducks” for the 4H horse show coming up. I thought to myself, “What would they need ducks for? At a horse show???”

So we all started playing “telephone” (or “operator” – although we decided a better name might be “rumor”). Usually the consonants managed to get most of the way around the table, and the last word or two, while the rest disappeared. Both Suzanne and I had a terrible time hearing Gretchen’s vowels. Hence the title of this blog. Here are some examples:

She sells seashells by the seashore -> wishy-washy wishy-washy wishy-washy

Pouncy is so adorable -> Bouncy is no amble -> Pouncy is a snow bumble

This week I also learned about Cincinnati Chili. Joanne had changed planes on the way back from a conference in Cincinnati and brought back a packet of seasonings and directions. Susan and I helped test the creation while watching GATTACA in honor of Susan’s class on bioethics. It was quite good, although unlike any other kind of chili I have ever experienced. More like chili-flavored spaghetti sauce than what I’m used to thinking of as chili. And it had some unusual flavors in there, almost a mole effect. Poking around online produced this recipe which I think I will try next week to see if it’s like what we had.

Entry posted by origamifreak on May 10 2003 at 10:22 pm
Ooh, it has cocoa in it! But no nuts. Can I try some?

And what about Gattaca? A great film.

And sometime you need to come learn how to make chili the way my Mom taught me. We have it rarely because the large guy in the house hates kidney beans. But if company were coming….

Comment posted by Deborah (ip: on 05 / 14 / 2003 at 12:27 PM

Deborah’s E-mail:

Deborah’s website:
Hello, there……

So here I am, out ‘sick’ (read ‘mad’) and wondering what to do with my life. I am trying to start a business, if you can believe that, copy-editing/proofreading from home. Sounds cushy, don’t it?

Which brings me to my question – I spent hours last night trying to find a (the) site that would re-teach me how to make tesellated octahedrons. can you help? The night before that, I was trawing the web trying to find a ‘stich guide’ to teach me how to crochet a tam to keep my dreads in… This feels alarmingly like adolescence…..


Comment posted by Lisa Fagg (ip: on 05 / 21 / 2003 at 6:04 PM

Lisa Fagg’s E-mail:
(… trawLing the web… -Ed.)
Comment posted by Lisa Fagg (ip: on 05 / 21 / 2003 at 6:06 PM

Lisa Fagg’s E-mail:
How Unbalanced is Your Brain?
Deb sent me a quiz about male/female brains, and instead of finding out what gender my brain is, I found out that am I autistic. According to the quiz results, anyway.

EQ 13:

0-32 = You have a lower than average ability for understanding how other people feel and responding appropriately. Most people with Asperger Syndrome or high-functioning autism score about 20. On average, most women score about 47 and most men score about 42

SQ 68:

51-80 = You have a very high ability for analysing and exploring a system. On average women score about 24 and men score about 30. Three times as many people with Asperger Syndrome score in this range, compared to typical men, and almost no women score this high.

This combination of scores indicates “Extreme type S, which may be a manifestation of autism”

I am skeptical of these results. While it is probably true that as a person who voluntarily went into academia and the physical sciences I probably have a more traditionally “masculine” mental approach to life, I do not think it is possible for someone to accurately self identify his or her level of empathy.

The answers to the EQ quiz will be muddied by at least three factors:

First, what one’s friends say about one is heavily dependent upon the expectations of the population with which one associates. If you seek out friends with low EQ expectations, they are less likely to drop you hints about your lack of empathy. The converse would also be true.

Second, a person’s own expectations will color his or her answers. One with high personal expectations for empathy will grade him/herself more harshly than one who has no desire to empathize.

Finally, and most important, the point of empathy is that one understands what others feel. It would make more sense to have a person’s friends and associates fill out the EQ quiz in order to ascertain whether THEY feel understood. I once worked for a woman who considered herself the very soul of empathy, and yet in reality is the most self-absorbed, amoral person I have ever met.

On the other hand, I’m clearly unbalanced, so I suppose I’m not in a position to judge the quiz!


Entry posted by origamifreak on April 27 2003 at 2:57 pm
EQ 56

You have an above average ability for understanding how other people feel and responding appropriately. You know how to treat people with care and sensitivity. On average, most women score about 47 and most men about 42.


You have an average ability for analysing and exploring a system. Systemizing is the drive to analyse and explore a system, to extract underlying rules that govern the behaviour of a system; and the drive to construct systems. On average women score about 24 and men about 30.

Comment posted by sharon (ip: on 04 / 28 / 2003 at 9:19 PM

oh..missed the end part…i am balanced…just like a good washing machine! hehehe
Comment posted by sharon (ip: on 04 / 28 / 2003 at 9:21 PM

I am balanced with average scores in both qualities. I am sort of bummed. I hate being average!
Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 04 / 29 / 2003 at 1:03 AM

Suz’s website:

I always *knew* you were ‘unbalanced’! As for having a ‘lower than average ability to understand how people feel’, I say… bollocks!!! You were just feeling a bit down on yourself that day…


Your touchy-feely friend


Comment posted by lisa (ip: on 04 / 30 / 2003 at 7:45 PM

Beet Peppermint Chocolate Cake
Here’s the Maritimer’s Mint Chocolate Cake recipe that was requested after I brought it to Easter Dinner at Suzanne’s house.

I got the recipe from my sister-in-law. She got it from my brother’s postdoctoral advisor’s wife in Edmonton in the late 70’s. An online search for similar cakes turns up several versions of beet-chocolate, and this identical recipe submitted to the Farmer’s Almanac layer cake contest in 2001 by someone from Ontario. I ended up submitting the recipe here.

Maybe putting vegetables in cakes is a British Colony thing, as a search for “beetroot cake” turns up all kinds of recipes from Australia, NZ, the UK, and even India. It’s no wonder Canada would have such recipes, too! I’ve asked my expatriate culinary expert Lisa if she can find out. I suspect one could substitute orange, hazlenut, almond, or any other extract that goes well with chocolate, to similar effect as the peppermint. Carol says she often just leaves out the peppermint, to get a nice moist plain chocolate cake. She also says that some friends have reported that their victims got very angry when they found out there were beets in there – at least carrot cake is more obvious!

All measurements are Imperial system. If you live somewhere other than Burma, Liberia, or the USA, you can convert to real (i.e. SI) measurements here.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.


1.5c sugar

2 eggs

1c oil

(you can probably get away with less oil if you have nonstick pans, but make VERY sure the cake is cool before removing from the pan)

add 19oz pureed beets.

The original recipe says “drained” beets, but I’ve done it with 20 liquid oz of canned beets pureed in their juice and it worked fine.

1.75c flour (just regular flour is fine)

6T baking cocoa

1.5t baking soda

0.25t salt

After the above is mixed, add:

1t vanilla extract

0.75t peppermint extract

Pour into a 9×9 inch pan and bake at 350 F for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. LET COOL BEFORE REMOVING FROM PAN. This cake is extremely moist, and will stick to the pan and fall apart unless given time to “set up.” Judicious use of a spatula can help loosen the cake and aid in the removal process.

I usually frost with chocolate frosting with some peppermint extract mixed in.

The Ontario person suggests a layer of cherry jam (gack!) Maybe this is the “original” contribution to the recipe? That’s going too far. Noone likes cherry, especially not with peppermint! Perhaps if the entry had not included cherry jam, it would have won…

Anyway, it IS a darn good cake, no matter who invented it, or when.

Entry posted by origamifreak on April 20 2003 at 7:23 pm
Amazing cake!! Also amazing how I turn my back and suddenly Angela has 3 new blogs.
Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 04 / 20 / 2003 at 11:09 PM

Suz’s website:

I tried it this week with orange extract instead of peppermint and sprinkled the top with powdered sugar. It was de-lish-eeyus. MMM. Just like a Cadbury’s chocolate orange. Only moister.
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 05 / 10 / 2003 at 4:58 PM

Rube Goldberg Honda commercial
My friends at smoe pointed this out to me. Apparently it was shot in a single take, no digital modifications, etc. Very cool, and well worth waiting for the flash to download.

Entry posted by origamifreak on April 19 2003 at 9:19 am
I don’t believe that Honda commercial!!!!! Which TAKE was that???!

; )

Comment posted by Lisa (ip: on 04 / 21 / 2003 at 9:08 AM

Lisa’s E-mail:
Take # 606, apparently. See articles linked from here.
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 04 / 21 / 2003 at 6:36 PM

caffeine and ditch lilies
Note to self:

Do not eat caffeine. It makes you weird.

Yesterday I took the day off to get various things on my car diagnosed and fixed. I flipped out on them when, by 1:30pm, they said they hadn’t even looked at it, yet. I spent a delightful morning with Suzanne and her kids at the library, and the afternoon with Deb and her kids (well, Jeni came and rescued Isaac, so it was mostly Isabelle who had the dubious pleasure of dealing with the Caffeinated Anja).

Deb was awesome and helped me hijack some ditch lilies for my own personal front yard ditch, which we planted in shovel slits. Isabelle even helped some. There are still many more that need to be planted. Today I woke up feeling ill, and ended up using a sick day instead of a flex day. I guess I’ll do it tomorrow. I left those deadly caffeine cookies at Deb’s house, which might not be such a good thing, because they’re LOADED with caffeine, and just one wired Isabelle all afternoon..

I fell asleep at 7:30pm last night after getting home from dinner. I was bushed. The caffeinated cookies were from Wednesday night when Kathie and I went all the way to Rochester to see Champions on Ice (which was great, by the way), and drove the two hours home from 10pm-12am, or so. I’d gotten up at my usual 6am that morning, so the cappucino cookies helped me stay awake. Thursday morning I got up early to drop the car off, although I suppose I could have waited until noon or later, as it turned out (grr).

Next time I will specifically tell the shop I want the car diagnosed first thing in case there’s something they can do about it the same day.

Oh yeah, Lisa called from England and we talked for about 2 hours this afternoon. We haven’t finished solving all the world’s problems (or even our own), so I guess we’ll have to do it again, next weekend. (What a hardship! hehe)

Entry posted by origamifreak on April 18 2003 at 4:50 pm
Easter Eggs
Kathie and her mom and I put out plastic on our proposed garden rectangle yesterday. While I was holding down the plastic, they went to look for more stones to weigh it down. Her mom found eggs! I didn’t get a chance to look, and couldn’t find them when I went to look over there later. Deb suggested that they could have been kildeer eggs.

I found some volunteer daffydillies in the abandoned, I mean, *garden* lot. Transplanted them today where the eggplants had been, along the south side of the garage. Eventually all the iris and tulips and lilies will go there.

I’m considering moving the roses, too. The east wall they’re on now just doesn’t get enough sun. Or maybe I’ll put them in next to the deck stairs where the cherry tomatoes were last year. The east wall would be good for shady things like more coral bells and dutchman’s britches, and things like that.

I have ditch lilies on the brain, too. I want to get some and put them on the bank between the street and the drainage ditch in the front yard. I like their glossy green foliage and ephemeral orange flowers. And I won’t care if they get plowed, or mowed, or anything like that. And if they don’t get mowed, that will be fine, because mowing up and down that slope is a pain in the rear.

There’s also some volunteer periwinkle on the weedy land. I think it would grow nicely under the deck. I love the pretty blue flowers.

Yay, spring.

Now, if only my Allegra would kick in…

Entry posted by origamifreak on April 14 2003 at 8:40 pm
Miaumoto’s Birthday
My cat, Miaumoto, is 11 today. Despite my blunderings as a first-time cat owner, he hasn’t turned out as badly as I suppose he could have. I guess I really wanted a dog, so I leash-trained him, and as a result he engages in all kinds of doglike behavior. He runs to the door or the phone when either ring, he comes when I whistle “Tears in Heaven,” and lets me know when he wants food, the litter box changed, or to go out, etc. He’s moved with me a total of about 4-5,000 miles, and adjusted pretty well to anything. Except his adopted little brother.

Miaumoto was pretty opinionated until the other cat, Latte, strayed in when he was about 1 or 2. Then he went into a 2-3 year sulk and didn’t come out of it until we moved to Ithaca. Latte was clearly raised by normal cat owners. He only eats cat food (Miaumoto’s first solid food was cheesecake, at about 2 weeks), he doesn’t go on the counters, he’s snuggly rather than feisty, and spends his free time sleeping, rather than patrolling.

I think it’s time to take Miaumoto outside, now, before the sun goes down. He deserves it. He’s been a much better kitty than I have, kitty-owner.

Entry posted by origamifreak on March 31 2003 at 6:29 pm
Pandora was 2 on the 30th. She says” Happy Birthday, Miaumoto!” I say, “Thanks for the pigs!”
Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 03 / 31 / 2003 at 7:05 PM

Suz’s website:

To the tune of you-know-what:

Meow meow-meow meow mmm brrrt!

Meow meow-meow meow mmm brrrt!

Meow meow-meow meow mmm brrrt!

Meow meow-meow meow mmm brrrt!

Comment posted by Pounce (ip: on 03 / 31 / 2003 at 8:36 PM

Pounce’s E-mail:
In my opinion, Miaumoto is obviously a more refined cat than Latte. He is a bit old for me, but maybe we could arrange a meeting someday.
Comment posted by Pandora (ip: on 04 / 03 / 2003 at 4:04 PM

Pandora’s website:

Daily dose of laughter
I commute. For 3 hours each day. This is ameliorated somewhat by the fact that I have a carpool buddy, and by the fact that I telecommute on Wednesdays. But it’s still a long ride.

The carpool buddy got me hooked on these books on tape. He had Grisham’s _The_Summons_ on the first time we rode together, and we enjoyed speculating about the identity of the murderer. So in response, I found cat mysteries on tape at the library. They’re not bad, but the best thing so far is a set of Dave Barry tapes, _Dave_Barry_is_not_Making_This_Up. This has inspired me to find other funny things to listen to, such as John Cleese reading _The_Screwtape_Letters, and David Sedaris’ _Me_Talk_Pretty_One_Day_ (which I will request next time I’m personally at a library). They also have tapes of Cosby, Marx (Groucho, not Karl), Steve Martin, etc. I wish they had things by Sandra Tsing Loh and Margaret Cho, but the only stuff they have by them are printed.

Because of this excuse to go to the library I’ve been exploring other media, as well. Three videos last weekend, four Farley Mowatt books, etc. etc. And I don’t have to find permanent space to store them, the way I would, if I were buying these things.

I recommend it. It is amusing enough that I don’t care that winter seems to be planning to linger until next September.

Entry posted by origamifreak on March 13 2003 at 10:11 pm
I spend a day every week at the library, but if I don’t see some signs of life soon, I may tear my hair out!
Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 03 / 14 / 2003 at 9:41 PM

Suz’s website:

The Screwtape Letters read by John Cleese?

That I would like to hear!

Have you noticed the weather people keep pushing the day it will reach 50 degress back?

This morning it was single digits—again.

Blah. As Toad says.

Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 03 / 14 / 2003 at 10:24 AM

Deb’s E-mail:

Deb’s website:
dollies/transformers for "grownups"
I recently purchased a cell phone. I’d heard that there were all kinds of aftermarket faceplates that can snap onto the phone and make it look different. Sort of like those swatch watches in the 80’s. So I did a Google search and you wouldn’t believe all the different kinds of faceplates there are for these things.

One of the best places to buy cheap mass-produced things is from the small online merchants at EBay. So I did. I found one that looks like cow skin. I found one that looks like wood. I found one that looks like a bad 60’s painting. There are many, many more, but those were the ones that appealed to me. Then I found out you can get different buttons. And so I got some of those, too. (Always making sure to bid on the cheapest one, taking into account the crazy shipping charges some of those sellers sneak in.)

And then I found out they sell *flashing* keypads. And flashing antennae. And even flashing batteries. Since hardly anyone has the number and it’s rarely on, and flashy things give me a headache, I passed on those.

In short, you can trick out your cell phone to the extent that it no longer bears anything but a passing resemblance to the thing that came in the box. The problem is that most of these cheap and tacky options *look* cheap and tacky. I’m considering doing some original collage on the cow faceplate. Now *that* would fulfil the promise of the manufacturer, to make my phone “unique!”

Entry posted by origamifreak on March 09 2003 at 7:51 am
We were thinking of you while in the Dr’s. office today. Gretchen was sitting on the examining table that was covered in that disposable paper. We sat there a longgggg time. Gretchen looks up at me and says,” If Angela were here, she would have already taken all of this paper and made a collection of origami for the Dr.”
Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 03 / 10 / 2003 at 5:46 PM

Suz’s website:

I have never done that, actually. The paper is really thin so you’d have to use little squares of it. Otherwise the models would be too floppy.
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 03 / 10 / 2003 at 8:11 PM

Re: phones: I was in Wegmans late one night, last summer, when a lot of the international students had arrived in town. There was a group of Asian kids near the sushi stand. One girl was holding a scruffy little beanie baby dog up to the side of her head…talking to it. Now, wouldn’t you like to be holding something more cute and cuddly up to your ear, like a plush lobster or something??
Comment posted by Jeni (ip: on 03 / 19 / 2003 at 11:17 PM

Jeni’s E-mail:
Jumping Jehosecat!
Don’t remember where I found this, but I love it!

Entry posted by origamifreak on March 07 2003 at 8:26 am
One comment:
Looks like Alba chasing bugs in the summer!
Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 03 / 07 / 2003 at 11:41 pm

Suz’s website:

Blogs in the News
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Visitors to Daypop, an index of personal journalism sites known as Weblogs, were treated on Wednesday to a new feature called “word bursts,” an automated attempt to identify the hottest words at the moment.

Weblogs, or blogs for short, the online diaries that first flowered among would-be Emily Dickinsons in cyberspace, are now taking root among office workers and university students and drawing attention from big media who hope to tap their appeal.

Blog Publishers Stealing Web Limelight

Entry posted by origamifreak on March 02 2003 at 11:45 am
What Inner Color Are You?
Odd quiz.

You are orange. You are emotional. Outside, you are bitter and stubborn, inside you are hopeful, hoping someone will come save you from the bitterness of your own mind. You constantly feel the need to prove yourself, and you look up to those who can make thier dreams happen. You are broken, but not beyond repair like maroon.

What inner color are you?

Entry posted by origamifreak on March 01 2003 at 5:30 pm
I am red.

But Jay snorked when he read it.

“You are red. You are impure, but noble. You are precious and true to yourself and others. When you love, you love entirely, and will do anything to make your love happy. You are sure of your identity, therefore, you cannot change others or be changed. You are a true prince, you may be forgotten, but without you, none of us could go on.”

Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 03 / 01 / 2003 at 5:53 PM

Deb’s E-mail:

Deb’s website:
Sharon ended up blue.
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 03 / 01 / 2003 at 6:05 PM

Suz and Gretch also ended up blue.
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 03 / 02 / 2003 at 11:19 PM

International Origami Meetup Day
The Finger Lakes Paperfolders (FLaP) don’t meet very regularly. I’m trying to see if we can use to get it going… Sheesh, if we just add one more person to the Ithaca listing, we’ll be tied with Chicago and Toronto for most members!

On another topic, Kathie and I went to the Chili Cookoff downtown last weekend. I think it’s where we both got sick (head colds, not food poisoning!). Monday’s Ithaca Journal featured a picture of her riding the mechanical bull (and about to fall off). We joked with the photographer that as USDA people, we will even inspect robotic beef. hehe.

Entry posted by origamifreak on February 28 2003 at 7:57 pm
Rating the Juice

The Orange Juice Fairy is expecting a review of the juices she brought. I haven’t tested all of them, but as I do, I will fill in my impressions, here:

Taste scale*

wow! ok spittoon-bound

8 Minute Maid Premium with no pulp
(like TJ Farms but without the rindy aftertaste)
7 TJ Farms
(slight bitter rindy aftertaste, but good flavor)
5 Shur Fine OJ with Calcium
(kind of bland and innocuous)
5 Minute Maid Premium with Calcium
(also kind of flat)
5 Shur Fine OJ without Calcium
(kind of bland and innocuous and syrupy)

*Please note that I make my OJ with 4 cans of water. I like it better that way. Your mileage may vary.

Entry posted by origamifreak on February 26 2003 at 9:02 pm
You have to try fresh. I have a fresh juice machine. You get a lot of pulp, but the taste is absolutely a *10*

Of course, when you’re sick, someone else has to make it for you. I don’t have any juice machine fairies at my house…do you?

Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 02 / 27 / 2003 at 5:03 PM

Suz’s website:

Just a comment on the “shur fine” company…when my brother was a boy scout, about 15 years ago, he had to write to a company. Doug wrote to the president of the shur fine company to tell them, he thought their jelly was very good and rivaled Smuckers. He got a really nice personal letter from the President of the Shur Fine company. He still has the letter.

Maybe they make better jelly then juice.

Comment posted by sharon (ip: on 02 / 27 / 2003 at 8:21 PM

Orange Juice Fairy

I was sick yesterday. I am also sick today. I happened to call Deb and mention this fact, and she offered to get me something from the store, and I said, “Orange Juice.”

So about an hour ago I woke up suddenly, aware someone was in the house. Deb was putting OJ in the freezer. Scared the bejeezus out of me! “That’s what you get for giving people your garage code,” she announced, chuckled, and scooted out before I could infect her.

I have a few observations:

1) Miaumoto is a terrible watch cat. He should have notified me! (Instead he was probably asleep in his perch on the Cat Tree downstairs and just watched her go by. OK, maybe he’s a bad NOTIFICATION cat. He’s probably not a bad WATCH cat, if WATCHING is all that is required!)

2) She’s right. People might come in and stock your freezer with juice if you give them access.

3) The OJ tastes good. MMM. Hope it works!

Entry posted by origamifreak on February 24 2003 at 5:02 pm
Deb didn’t put anything in MY freezer (mope). Maybe that’s because I don’t have a garage! I am going out this afternoon…do you need anything else? By the way…we couldn’t get the garage doors to open last week!!
Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 02 / 25 / 2003 at 10:03 AM

Suz’s website: http://upsaid/flyingpigs/

Sometimes the garage doors stop working when it’s cold. The motors get grouchy. I’m beginning to wonder if they need replacing, or something.

Yeah, that’s it. You don’t have a garage. *That’s* why Deb didn’t deliver OJ. On the other hand, you didn’t put in an order, did you? Hmmm. 😉

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 02 / 25 / 2003 at 8:02 PM

Miaumoto was a wonderful greeter! He knew me. He jumped down from his perch and wanted to be petted. He did not follow me upstairs but waited for me to return from whence I started, trying to convince me “Angela said it was OK for me to go out.”

Then, ” Hey, wait, you’re not leaving already are you?

Where are those large kittens of yours you usually bring? What!? Not staying to play? Not leting me out?”

My guess is he retired in a huff to his perch.

There were three different kinds and price levels of oj. I will be interested in your comments about whether the juice reflects those levels. A little experimenting by (or on?) the sick friend….

Comment posted by The Orange Juice Fairy (ip: on 02 / 26 / 2003 at 8:44 AM

The Orange Juice Fairy’s E-mail:

The Orange Juice Fairy’s website:
I finally broke down and joined the 20th century (yes, I mean the 20th). I got a cell phone. All this driving (60 miles each way) with just a CB radio made me nervous.

It took 45 minutes to get the darn thing. Even though I’d chosen the phone and the plan online ahead of time, and called ahead to have them hold it for me.

It was a long ordeal. They insisted on offering me all kinds of other nice things to go with it. A more expensive plan with more minutes (nope). Insurance (no thanks). Roadside assistance (sorry, no, my car insurance does that). A “car kit” with a charger and hands-free headset. Nope; already have a thing I got from Radio Shack years ago that converts cigarette lighters to household current. Besides, if the car is MOVING, then I wouldn’t NEED to use the phone, would I???

The whole POINT is hoping that I’ll never need to use it. I told them the phone would be my dirty little secret and that noone was getting the number. They didn’t seem to like hearing that, either. Heh, heh. I’m turning into my father.

So far, the thing has mostly been useful as a place to store phone numbers and email addresses. And for pranks. Tonight I went and played UNO with Deb’s family, and surreptitiously dialed their number. Isaac jumped up to answer the phone, and I handed the cell to Jay, who pretended to be confused and slightly hard of hearing.

He kept Isaac on the phone in the kitchen trying to explain politely that his name was Isaac and not Isabelle, and where his parents were and what they were doing, while we sat in the dining room and tried not to snicker too loudly. Isabelle stood in the doorway between the rooms, looking from Jay to Isaac and back as if it were a tennis match. The look on Isaac’s face, when he peered into the dining room to verify for the caller that his father was NOT on the phone, and saw Jay mumbling into the cell phone was precious! Jay and I almost fell off our chairs.

I’m not sure Isaac found it as funny, but he was a very good sport about it. If it’s any consolation, at first Jay didn’t know what to do with the phone, and held it in front of his face and tried to talk at it like a walkie-talkie; he didn’t realize that there was already a call going on!

Entry posted by origamifreak on February 22 2003 at 7:33 pm
The first time I used someone’s cell phone, I kept moving it back and forth from my mouth to my ear.

It’s quite funny watching all of the students at TC3 with their cell phones while I wait for Gretchen to finish her class. They all seem to be walking through the halls and talking constantly.

The best one, was watching a man in the grocery store being given specific directions from his wife as to what to buy and which isle it was in!

Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 02 / 23 / 2003 at 11:23 PM

Suz’s website:

What Suzanne didn’t mention is that I “tested” the ability to send emails from the phone to her address. I got a reply: “I thought you said that thing was only for emergencies! Was this an emergency?? Shame on you!”

Or something like that, and miracuously, it was even within the 140-character limit. It gave me a chuckle.

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 02 / 24 / 2003 at 5:06 PM

Recycled Hearts
I’ve had it with catalogs. You recycle them, and more just keep coming. So I finally came up with a way to get back. I cut things out of them for collaging. Until a couple weeks ago I just cut out pictures of things. Then I had a brainstorm. Colors! Textures!

So I started cutting hearts out of red things. Red dresses. Red cars. etc. And then Suzanne and Deb and Mary came over last Saturday and we had a high old time with stamps and glue and embossing powder and paint and pens and made ourselves a glorious mess of very unusual Valentine’s Day cards. Four women, and no kids. It was like being back in kindergarten, and I’m happy to report we all shared with each other very well. 😉

Suzanne came back on Tuesday and even brought her kids to help!

The most peculiar card I made was for my nephew in the Marines. I enjoy tormenting him. His drill sargeant at boot camp once accosted him about the odd letters I sent (one was written on a long roll of tickertape). Anyway, I cut out big hearts as described above, and then cut out the little faces of models in the catalogs, also in hearts, and pasted them into the centers. They looked like they were wearing hoods and strange hats. Then Suzanne cut the letters “l” “o” “v” and “e” and I pasted them on the back like a ransom note. heh, heh.

Suzanne promised to have Henry address the envelope and Petra will mail it from Maine. Unfortunately this will probably not be sufficient to throw him off the track that his “eccentric” aunt was somehow behind it all.

Entry posted by origamifreak on February 12 2003 at 11:21 pm
Now I realize where my valentine from Suzanne came from!

It’s great to know you’re back in town. Come sit at my kitchen counter some afternoon after work, okay?

By the way, where is work? Ithaca? Geneva? Are you a rural commuter?

Comment posted by Jeni Martens (ip: on 02 / 15 / 2003 at 3:56 PM

Jeni Martens’s E-mail:
Hi Jeni!

I tried emailing you my home number, but you might not have recognized the originating email address. Email me at the address, above; I’d love to get together and hang out!

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 02 / 23 / 2003 at 5:13 AM

anja’s E-mail:
Contributing to Wikipedia
On a radio show last week I heard an Open Source guru describe the Wikipedia project, an online encyclopedia to which anyone and everyone can contribute. The analogy was that open source software is improved in the same way as the encyclopedia.

I contributed a short article about the Holland Tunnel.

It’s kind of fun to search around in there and look for topics that need to be added. For example, there is no reference to Ishi, the last native California Yahi. While there is a fairly detailed entry for Ursula LeGuin, there’s only an empty stub for her father, A.L. Kroeber, who was one of the anthropologists who worked with Ishi. Any takers? 🙂

It’s also fun to look at the recent changes to see what other people have been adding in the past few minutes. The rationale for the project is also pretty interesting, in a sociological and philosopical way.

Entry posted by origamifreak on January 21 2003 at 10:51 pm
One comment:
I read the fascinating and heartbreaking story of Ishi when I was an anthropology major, years ago. He ought to be in anybody’s encyclopedia, as should Kroeber!
Comment posted by Jeni Martens (ip: on 01 / 24 / 2003 at 12:41 am

Jeni Martens’s E-mail:
Chewing the Grief
I never met either Amy or Rachel, that I recall. And I’m in PA, not at home in Freeville. But I seem to be going through a grief of my own, down here. Maybe there’s some Seasonal Affective Disorder mixed in there too, I’m not sure. But I do know that this past week I’ve been making an extra effort to *do* things with people, to keep the helplessness at bay.

I’ve gotten back into email contact with my grad school friend Lisa Fagg, which has been a very pleasant and much-needed surprise. She and I went through some pretty tough times together which makes it easier to be honest about things. She lives in England with her husband Steve, whom she met on the internet (!) while we were at UCONN.

Lisa suggests a light box. She may have something there.

Tonight I saw the movie The Hours, which is very well done, but full of ennui. I found it resonant with my experiences, but it made me consider that ennui could be a luxury of the privileged classes.

None of the women in that movie had to struggle just to find food to eat and that fact left them a lot of time to think about the percieved helplessness, and triviality of their lives. (It is hard to be sympathetic to this, having been to other parts of the world where people have to work hard to scratch out a living.) Lisa said something relevant to this in a recent email: “You have an incredible intellect and my feeling is that you, like me, tend to turn all that power on yourself when it’s not being engaged sufficiently. You need something to chew on.” She is right; it is imperative to find appropriate things to chew on. We humans are designed for chewing. We need to chew.

On the other hand, depression exists in the third world, too, so that blows holes in my luxury of ennui theory.

Entry posted by origamifreak on January 18 2003 at 1:11 am
I think your theory of ennui stands, because ennui implies a boredom or lack of energy that comes from having the luxury to decline active engagement in one’s own life.

The only “third world” experience I’ve had is spending two summers in southwestern China (’87 and ’88). When I think of depression in the third world, I picture situations like the villages full of AIDS orphans in China, who are forced to use every bit of physical energy and wit to find their next scrap of food, all the while knowing they haven’t a hope in this world. Or, how about the babies in Chinese orphanages, who are diagnosed with depression which is caused by a lack of touch and talk. (I don’t know if I could find the article, but it was in the NYTimes a couple of years ago.)

So what do you like to chew on?

Comment posted by Jeni Martens (ip: on 01 / 20 / 2003 at 12:50 AM

Jeni Martens’s E-mail:
I find snickers a wonderful thing to chew on. hehehe
Comment posted by sharon (ip: on 01 / 21 / 2003 at 12:33 PM

Hmm. Good question, Jeni. I think I’m best off when I’m doing creative things: science, art, writing, gardening, etc.
Comment posted by anja (ip: on 01 / 21 / 2003 at 10:55 PM

Moving Pictures
Films Kathie and I saw over the break:

The Two Towers (with Kathie’s sister Caroline and Deb and Jay)

This was better than the first movie. Although things were rearranged and added and left out, it *felt* to watch more like it did to read. I don’t think I can ask for more from a mass-appeal film adaptation. For a really thorough review, see Deb’s friend Sora’s blog on the film.

Far from Heaven

Delicate, and faithful to the 50’s. One of the few movies I’ve seen in which Julianne Moore seemed well-cast. In everything else she has seemed awkward, somehow (Short Cuts, Ideal Husband, Safe, Shipping News)


Beautifully filmed. The rest seemed awfully Hollywood-ized.

Catch Me if You Can

Di Caprio looks too old to really pass as a 17-year-old. However, according to the first chapter in Abagnale’s book at Amazon, he was “6ft, 170 lbs” at 15, so I suppose that’s allowable. There are some really funny moments. Made me want to read the whole book. In fact, I’ve just called the local B&N and they’re holding the last copy for me.

Entry posted by origamifreak on January 05 2003 at 10:40 am
Well, I made it. I’m back in Phily. And you know what? There isn’t any snow here, at all!

It’s somewhat a shock, to see a place so bare, after leaving 2 ft of snow in Freeville, on top of the 1/2 in of ice that fell the day before.

The drive down was beautiful. Deb’s description of the spruces as closed umbrellas is very apt.

Here’s why I didn’t drive back to PA on Thursday, as planned:

(And yes, the Amy mentioned is Suzanne and Deb’s Amy. Very sadly missed by them and their families. I met her parents and little brother on Christmas at Suzanne’s house. They are nice people. She had lived near my house although I’d never met her; I walked past her house on the way to the bus every day.)

Friday, January 3, 2003

Storm claims 1 life, cuts power, phones

14 inches of snowfall possible by tonight


Journal Staff


ITHACA — Weather conditions were blamed for at least one death in Tompkins County on Thursday, as ice-laden trees downed lines and slick road snarled traffic.

Power and telephone companies restored service to much of the area by late Thursday, just as the first flakes fell in what meteorologists predicted could be another 8-to 14-inch accumulation of snow by tonight.

“Snow will continue developing into Friday night with temperatures as low as 20 degrees,” said Dave Morford, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Binghamton. “The heavier snow will begin in the mid-afternoon and continue into the evening.”

Slush covered roads were said to be the cause of a two-car accident in Dryden that killed one person and sent another to the hospital.

Amy E. Cochrane, 24, of 5 Johnson Road, Freeville was pronounced dead at 12:42 p.m. Thursday. State Police said Cochrane lost control of her car while driving on a curve in McLean Road. According to State Police, Cochrane’s vehicle crossed into oncoming traffic and struck another car. The second driver, Jennifer Robbins, 53, of Cortland, was transported to Cortland Memorial Hospital for injuries to her left leg.

A preliminary investigation found that both drivers were wearing seatbelts. Alcohol and speed were not considered factors in the crash, State Police said. As is common following a fatal accident, State Police’s Collision Reconstruction Unit is assisting in the investigation.

The icy road conditions were created by a storm that moved into the Finger Lake region from northern Virginia, Morford said.

“The storm pulled moisture from the ocean,” Morford said. “When it began to rain, the colder temperatures on the ground caused frozen surfaces.”

According to Morford, the conditions were the worst on hill tops and at higher elevations.

Superintendent of Dryden schools, Patricia Archambault, said the icy conditions made the decision to close the schools for the day easy.

“Especially in the outlying parts of the district, there were many lines down and driving conditions were bad,” Archambault said. “When you live in a district of this size, it’s usually a hard call. At times, some parts are fine and others have very bad weather conditions.”

Archambault said she began talking with the transportation supervisor at about 5 a.m.

“We made the call around 5:45 a.m. Most of the discussion was whether or not the conditions would improve or if a delay was a better option,” Archambault said. “As was forecasted, there wasn’t much improvement for the remainder of the day.”

New York State Energy & Gas spokesman Richard Charsky said more than 2,000 customers in Cayuga Heights and more than 700 West Danby customers were affected by fallen lines during the early hours of the morning. At its peak, 4,000 customers were without power. By 2 p.m. less than 200 were still without service.

Peter Messmer, highway manager for Tompkins County, said the icy conditions caused fallen trees and road closings throughout the county, especially the southern part.

“We’re usually the first to find such situations,” Messmer said. “We have a high priority of communication to NYSEG to reported fallen wires.”

Anxiety over the weather and road conditions was increased when Verizon Wireless customers found they had no service throughout much of Tompkins County.

According to John O’Mallery, spokesperson for Verizon Wireless, the break in service, which began at 2:45 a.m., was not completely weather related.

“A part malfunction on Time Warner Cable’s fiber optic network knocked out 100 cell sites across New York,” O’Mallery said.

Areas of Ithaca, Cortland, Syracuse and Utica were affected by the cellular service breakdown. By 11:45 a.m., service was restored in most areas. By 12:10 p.m. service was completely reinstated, O’Mallery said.

Meanwhile, the National Weather Service warned that intense winter weather will continue today and into the weekend, with snow likely Saturday. Sunday is predicted to begin as mostly sunny, giving way to mostly cloudy at night with a strong chance of snow.

Here’s why I didn’t drive back on Friday, either:

Saturday, January 4, 2003

Snow pummels county roads

Storm leads to power outages


Journal Staff


ITHACA — Despite ample warning, a snow storm created havoc during evening rush hour Friday on Tompkins County roads. As the snow fell as fast as 2 inches per hour, plows and power crews took to the streets.

Fallen power lines, often tangling with trees, caused many areas south of Ithaca and part of the Commons to be without electricity beginning around 7:30 p.m.

“It’s quiet with all the power gone,” said George Perez, as he walked through the darkened Commons. “The traffic signals are all down too, so people driving up the hill have it bad.”

The National Weather Service in Binghamton posted advice stating extra time was necessary for any travel during what they referred to as “a dangerous winter storm.”

“Quite frankly, people need to slow down enough for the weather,” said Bruce Shindhelm, owner of Finger Lakes Wrecker Service. “People need to anticipate more. In this weather, you can’t stop on a dime. So many accidents could be prevented if they had gone slower.”

In the midst of a busy day, Shindhelm said his tow-truck service responded Friday to an accident in which a tree limb had pierced through a car on Trumansburg Road.

“People don’t think about what is happening around the corner,” Shindhelm said. “Some of it’s common sense. If the roads are terrible, don’t go outside.”

Trumansburg Police Chief Tom Ferretti said his agency received many reports of cars in ditches, skidding off roads and of power outages.

“I think by this point in the year people should be learning to cope with snow,” Ferretti said.

Working in the business for 33 years has led Shindhelm to believe residents need to better prepare for extreme winter weather common in Tompkins County.

“Last year was mild. This year it’s heavier than normal,” Shindhelm said. “People know what’s in store, they need to plan.”

David Brumsted, owner of Ithaca Foreign Car Service, stressed the importance of spending the few extra minutes it takes to clear the snow from the car. He said using windshield wipers still covered with snow can lead to broken arms.

“Many people don’t have a clue as to how much difference snow tires can make,” Brumsted said. “Keeping up on the maintenance of the car is also necessary. Always warm the car.”

County plows attempted to make commuting easy by clearing the roads beginning at 3 a.m. Friday.

“It’s been continuous plowing. We’re working to keep the main roads open,” said Matthew Wittermore, senior crew supervisor at Tompkins County Highway Division of the Public Works Department. “Of course, a second shift is necessary at this rate.”

At 11 a.m. Tioga County Office Buildings closed. A recommendation of no unnecessary travel within Tioga County, due to slippery road conditions and anticipated snow fall, was also made at that time.

At about 8 p.m. a traffic backup was created on West State Street because a plow hadn’t been by in enough time to clear off the streets.

The State Department of Transportation also had two crews, each working 12 hour shifts, operating five plow trucks continuously to clear state roads in Tompkins County.

One business benefiting from the increased need for plows is Cargill Inc., a mine in Lansing which sells de-icing salt to private businesses and municipalities

“There’s already been a 50 percent increase in sales from last year,” said Steve Horne, mine manager. “Bulk and packaged have been selling a lot more than usual because of the snowstorm and weather events.”

New York State Energy & Gas spokesman Richard Charsky said during snow storms more tree crews are on hand to reply to fallen live wires.

With large amounts of snow, the Ithaca Fire Department requests the public make an effort to keep areas clear in case of an emergency.

“It’s very difficult if they haven’t shoveled fire lanes,” said Ithaca Fire Chief Brian Wilbur.

Wilbur suggested residents make sure obstructions are removed from fire escapes. In addition, he said snow needs to be cleared off of the more than 1,000 hydrants in the city and town of Ithaca.

Jack Bush, highway superintendent for Dryden, said keeping the roads clear of parked cars is essential to efficient plowing.

“If people park on the street, because they don’t feel like cleaning their driveways, it’s very difficult for the plows to get around,” Bush said.

Entry posted by origamifreak on January 04 2003 at 9:13 pm
Happy Festivus!

I have had a soft spot for festivus since it was introduced on Seinfeld. In case you are not familiar with this holiday, you might want to follow the link, above. The description contains oblique, pithy comments about Holidays Gone Bad, which might be a subject worth thinking about.

More Festivus Links:

Send an online Festivus Card
Festivus Packet

Entry posted by origamifreak on December 23 2002 at 10:11 am
You are so weird.

Come back to Freeville and be weird with us.

Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 12 / 23 / 2002 at 11:03 AM

Deb’s website:

Oh, so I’m weird now, am I?

Well, Yes I am!

And proud of it.

And I intend to.

Comment posted by anja (ip: on 12 / 23 / 2002 at 11:05 AM

How many of these things have YOU eaten?
Ray’s List of Weird and Disgusting Foods

The descriptions on there are great.

Things on the list that I have eaten:

(things I truly enjoy are marked with a *)


BAALUT (Philippines)

BEER (U.S.) *

BLOOD SAUSAGE (Germany and many others) *

CEVICHE (Mexico et al.) *



DURIAN (Southeast Asia)



FISH PASTE, FERMENTED (Southeast Asia) *


FRUITCAKE (U.S. Midwest and Northeast) *

FUFU (Africa) *

GARI (West Africa and Brazil) *



GRITS (U.S. South) * (with cheese!)


HAGGIS (Scotland) *


KIDNEY PIE (England) *

KIM CHEE (Korea)

JELL-O SALAD (U.S. Midwest)


LOBSTER (U.S. Northeast, among many) *


MISO (Japan) *

MOLE (Mexico) *

NATTO (Japan)

OKRA (Africa, U.S. South)

OYSTER SAUCE (China and others) *


PICKLED PIG’S FEET (U.S. and many others)

POI (Hawaii)


SASHIMI (Japan) *


SEAWEED (Japan and others)

SHAVED ICE (China) *

SPAM (U.S.) *



SUSHI (Japan) *

TAKO (Japan) Octopus

TEMPEH (Japan et al) *

TOFU (Japan and many cultures) *

TRIPE (France, many others)

UNAGI (Japan) *

UNI (Japan)

YOGURT (central Asia, Berkeley) *

Some other things I’ve had that aren’t on their list:

horse tartare (probably French, but eaten in Japan) *

jellyfish (China)

salty lassi (India) *

ambrosia (US)

whole dried salty crabs (Japan)

kombucha tea (Russia, Asia)

Entry posted by origamifreak on December 22 2002 at 1:44 pm
Limburger Experiments

I’d heard Limburger was strong…

I had no idea.

I bought some today out of curiosity. As soon as I began to open the package, my nose detected a strange smell. I continued opening the package, and indeed it was The Cheese. I haven’t smelled anything that bad since an ex boyfriend used to eat Japanese natto at me.

Indeed, Limburger might just be the Western equivalent of natto. Fermentation, after all, is just a polite word for “rotting,” and while the organisms are different,(Bacillus natto in one case, and Brevibacterium linens in the other), the aromatic results are similar.

I have had natto in sushi, but I’ve never eaten it plain. The ropy bacterial mucous was just too much, in addition to the smell. I tried the Limburger. It wasn’t bad to eat, but boy does it smell. I wondered what proportion of Limburger sales are for pranks rather than eating?

I submit, now, for your browsing pleasure, a few Limburger Experiments:

Your tax dollars at work

Chemical Deoderizers

Neuroscience for Kids

Entry posted by origamifreak on December 22 2002 at 1:02 pm
Visual Soma

I went and saw the latest James Bond movie last night. I must be getting old. Or maybe it’s all those art-house films I’ve been seeing recently. A few observations:

1) The Number of Previews
I lost count of how many previews they showed us. By the time the movie actually started, Colleen and I had had a whole conversation during just the previews.

2) The Kind of Previews
Oh my gosh. They must think that if there isn’t a car blowing up, or driving off a cliff or blowing up while driving off a cliff, that people won’t watch. I must have seen more explosions, crashes, rolls, kick-boxing moves, shooting, and general destruction in those 30 minutes of previews (well, it FELT like 30 minutes) than I have in the whole last 6 months of my life. Is this what people find entertaining? Or are they just using these images to shock us into an adrenalin rush so we’ll get addicted?

3) The Sound
I have no idea how many speakers were arrayed around the room. I can tell you, however, that we were treated to those aforementioned explosions coming at our ears from all sides. It was quite impressive.

4) The Sex
Does it seem strange to anyone else that Bond lives in some kind of odd, parallel universe? Where all the women look like Hallie Berry and are just waiting to pounce on him and jump into the sack? Oh yeah, we’re talking about Bond. James Bond. Sorry, forgot.

5) The Dialogue
The writers must be bored, having to defer their craft to Action and Sex. There were the typical bad Bond puns, but some of the points were made quickly and very funny:

Villian has undergone “gene therapy” and can’t sleep due to a side effect.

Bond and Villian engage in an early verbal standoff.

Villian threatens something dire.

Bond responds, “In your dreams.”

Villian agrees, and points out that, since he doesn’t sleep, he lives his dreams, because that is the only alternative.

Colleen and Anja look at each other and burst out laughing.

Theater is already cheering on the next action gag.

I’m glad I went. Afterwards I felt sort-of drained, like after a mild roller-coaster ride. I suppose this is how suburbans satisfy their unsatisfied primal desire to *do* something. I got an overwhelming sense that this was pablum of the people. Visual Soma.

Entry posted by origamifreak on December 22 2002 at 10:41 am
Wrapping up the end of the year

Two more days to go. Well, actually one and a half. Dubya gave me half of Tuesday off so that I can drive home on Xmas Eve at a reasonable hour. Thanks, Dub. Mighty generous of you, considering I didn’t vote for ya.

So this weekend involves spiffying up the apartment and packing less-used things in the car to take back to Freeville. And Tuesday I’ll work half a day, swing past the apartment, toss the cats into their carrier bags (the smart one first – learned that the hard way!), and drive us 4 hours north to our HOME. I’m getting so I can drive that route in my sleep. In fact I practically did, the last time I drove home. Note to self: Make sure there is caffeine in the car somewhere for that last stretch through the Lehigh Valley.

There will be no tree at Chez Baldo this year, and if there are any prezzies, chances are that USPS will accidentally forward them to PA, anyway. But we will be HOME and snuggly and enjoy the view from the back window, and have fun playing with Suzanne and Deb and their families, and seeing movies with Kathie. Which is all I really want, anyway. This year we’re having New Year’s at MY house! yay!

I wonder if there’s any snow on the ground up there right now? Today it was positively balmy down here in Phily. Rain. Prolly in the 40’s or low 50’s. The climate down here ain’t half bad. But the traffic and congestion is. I swear almost every commute I hear or see sirens going to some accident or other.

So that’s it, the news. Yes, Suzanne, I am alive. Tried to add a note to your insurance diatribe, but Upsaid claimed you were blocking comments on that post. Whyfore?

Entry posted by origamifreak on December 20 2002 at 9:33 pm
Ice Queens

I’ve been watching a bunch of figure skating recently and noticed that most of the skaters have joint injuries. Repetitive use injuries, actually. Tara Lipinski, who won an Olympic gold medal at 15 apparently had to retire from jumps by the age of 17 because of a hip condition similar to arthritis.

Here’s an ABC News article on the subject.

Here’s an article about Tara’s injury.

So what’s the deal? Is ice skating our modern equivalent of gladiator sports, where those pretty little dolls are tearing apart their bodies to feed the advertizing/media engine that pushes SmartOnes frozen dinners, Crest White Strips tooth bleach, and non-recyclable, “pearlized”, plastic Tampax dispensers at us? It’s rather gruesome to think about, actually.

On the other hand, it’s so horrific it’s hard to look away, either. And with that seniment, I submit for your pleasure a website someone devotes just to the ice skating tv schedule.

Enjoy! And those cracks and pops you hear aren’t their tender little ligaments tearing. Really.

Entry posted by origamifreak on December 18 2002 at 9:16 pm
One comment:
She lives!!!!!!! More BLOG fodder….I had a mammogram done today. I kept the tech amused by telling her all of the mammogram jokes I had ever heard over the years…my favorite was the one about how the name originated….they stretch and squeeze you so much during the process that it looks as if you could fold your breast, slip it into an envelope and mail it to someone.
Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 12 / 18 / 2002 at 10:00 pm

Suz’s website:

37 down, and X to go…

I had a productive weekend. Applied for 2 jobs, and turned 37. Went to see a play at a community theater and had dinner with some friends down here. Even got to throw a pot on Sunday! I hadn’t done it for 12 years, and was afraid I’d forgotten how. It’s great to have found a friend who’s got all the stuff! (wheel, kiln, clay, tools, etc. etc. even glazes!)

It’s getting colder here, but it still hasn’t snowed yet. I’m looking forward to going home for Thanksgiving. I think I’ll leave Tuesday night, if they don’t have any objections to my being gone on Wednesday at work, and assuming the weather cooperates.

Rose and I spent some time chatting online this weekend and revisited Alien Song which is one of my all-time favorite things. I hadn’t realized that the alien was a *he*, and that he even has a name, “Blit Wizbok.” If you haven’t seen it, you really should. Try the ifilm site. And watch it to the very end. And don’t blame me if you pee yourself because you’re laughing so hard. You’ve been Warned.

Daddy called tonight. He cracks me up. It takes a crusty curmudgeon to know a crusty curmudgeon. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

Miaumoto is noisily drinking from the water bottle. Latte is hinting that it is time for bed. I suppose he’s right.

Entry posted by origamifreak on November 26 2002 at 12:11 am
6 December 02

News! We want current events!

Insightful commentary!




Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 12 / 06 / 2002 at 9:43 PM

Deb’s website:

Angela! No news since Nov? What’s goin’ on?
Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 12 / 11 / 2002 at 7:14 PM

Suz’s website:

entrepreneur ideas

Chatted with Suzanne on the phone today. You can see the result of our conversation over at her blog. I am gratified that she would actually put that out there. Confirms for me that she and Deb are my kinda people, heh heh. So is Sharon. And Kathie. And Rose. And Eloise. Hmm. Come to think of it, there are a lot of us bizarros out there. The rest of y’all better be afraid. Very afraid. 😉

Entry posted by origamifreak on November 20 2002 at 1:51 am
I even scare myself~
Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 11 / 21 / 2002 at 7:48 PM

Suz’s website:

I can think of several names for the “business” but prefer not to be publically vulgar.
Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 11 / 25 / 2002 at 8:49 AM

Deb’s website:

Puttin’ on the Ritz

Took the train downtown with Connie, a friend from work, and saw Bowling for Columbine at the Ritz at the Bourse. The Bourse is the same place that Deb, Isaac, and Isabelle and I ate at the day we went to see the Liberty Bell. Connie and I walked from the train station, and it wasn’t a bad walk, even with the wind and the rain.

I expected the movie to be angled completely toward gun control legislation. While Moore didn’t address the laws that we already have that aren’t enforced, the documentary wasn’t as rabid as I’d expected. It emphasized the culture of fear that our media propagates, and I found that part interesting, and worth pondering.

I thought about how Deb and Suzanne’s kids are raised away from the influence of the TV, and that is a good thing. I thought about the sense of community that is missing in so many of the places I’ve lived, and how that might contribute to people feeling the need to arm themselves against their neighbors. Because they don’t really know their neighbors. And so they fear them.

There was some very creepy footage from the security cameras at Columbine while recordings of the 911 calls played. I couldn’t help wondering if a teacher had been armed, whether he or she could have done something about the problem. Maybe not. If someone had been armed and shot the killers before they had terrorized the school, that person would have been villified.

Moore also engaged in some of his typical stunts, trying to interview Dick Clark and Charlton Heston, and staged a gonzo media event at K-mart headquarters with two of the Columbine shooting survivors (who still have K-mart bullets imbedded in their bodies), and got K-mart to agree to phase out sales of handgun ammunition. One of the two Columbine survivors is a smart kid and Moore should hire him, because he was the one who came up with the idea of going to the local K-mart and buying their entire stock of handgun bullets and bringing them back to HQ the next day.

One of the funniest parts of the movie is in the trailer, in which Moore signs up for a bank account at a Michigan bank that gives away a shotgun with each new account. His parting remark as he walks away with the gun, “Do you really think it’s such a good idea to give away guns at a bank?” He shows himself buying ammo while getting a haircut. Made me think of that ice cream and ammo store Deb told me about in her home town.

The documentary raised more questions than it answered, which is valuable. It was a good way to spend a Sunday afternoon. I’m glad I can do things like this, even if I am missing out on the deer hunting events back in Freeville this year (snif). Those times felt more like real Thanksgiving in the degree of warmth and sense of community than any other thing I’ve ever done. I’d give a lot to be able to sit down there in Jay’s mom’s basement right now helping cut up deer. OK, I’m going to go pet my cats, before I start feeling even more homesick and lonely.

Entry posted by origamifreak on November 17 2002 at 9:34 pm
One comment:
When Henry was in highschool, he used to take his shotgun to school and keep it in his locker! That way, he could just go out hunting right after school. Times have changed, huh?
Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 11 / 19 / 2002 at 7:47 pm

Suz’s website:

flu shot
I forgot to mention that I got a flu shot yesterday. It was just like being stuck by a very large mosquito. At first it itched something awful, then it swelled up, now it’s just this sore red spot on my arm.

Entry posted by origamifreak on November 16 2002 at 7:20 pm
P.S. The changes to your blog are very cute. I love the ‘base’ and ‘past wrinkles’.

And how was the movie and the arty theatre?

I shot my shotgun today and remembered where to put the point of the red triangle to hit something accurately. Blech–it is so wet and cold, though. Jay says we leave the house at 5.30 tomorrow AM.

Daren and buddies shot about 20 pheasants today. Jay is bringing some home.

Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 11 / 17 / 2002 at 5:44 PM

Deb’s website:

FYI: The results of my quiz…

You are John Calvin!

You’re the most intellectual and thoroughly intense theologian on the block. You know what you’re talking about and you recommend people to ignore you at their own risk. Yeah, baby, you know your stuff. You speak in riddles and confuse people for fun. Still, this hurts your social skills a lot… and you end up always appearing arrogant and rude.

Comment posted by sharon (ip: on 11 / 17 / 2002 at 7:38 PM

My Tummy Hurts
I tried to have pancakes for breakfast this morning. I fear they have had me. There are no TUMS in this executive suite apartment/temporary home, so I have been lying in bed waiting for it to go away, and it hasn’t. It feels like a big lead cannonball in my stomach, and it doesn’t help when Latte decides to jump on there and knead. ow.

Tomorrow I’m going to a movie with some people at work. Bowling for Columbine. I imagine it would not be popular with my huntin’ friends up North, but I usually enjoy Michael Moore’s in-your-face documentary style, and I find the gun control debate fascinating. I was the one who suggested the movie.

I think it’s a cultural thing. City people in areas that are adequately patrolled by police don’t generally have a need for guns, so to them they are Bad, because their only association with them is Crime. I don’t have a bead (pun intended) on the whole country perspective yet, but I have definitely tasted the results of hunting with a shotgun, and it ain’t bad.

Another interesting thing about this movie is that the art house cinemas here are upscale, which is strange. I’ll let you know what I think, after I’ve seen it.

I took the which theologian are you quiz, and ended up with someone I’d never heard of, Karl Barth. OK, if you say so. I was again demonstrating my lemmingness, as I found this trend on Deb’s blog.

OK, I’m going back to bed.

P.S. Did I mention I finished that moebius strip, didn’t like it, and am now knitting a square shawl with the yarn?

Entry posted by origamifreak on November 16 2002 at 3:35 pm
Do you feel better now?

What did you not like about the mobius strip?

I, too had a flu shot–on Monday–but it did nothing to me. Melanie, the nurse, who had one earlier said her arm swelled up and itched like crazy for days.

I do not know for sure, but my guess is Karl Barth must be a more liberal theologian. Anyone who can have that much fun must be, right?

Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 11 / 17 / 2002 at 5:42 PM

Deb’s website:

Well….the chainsaw noise left and i heard the distinct sound of an axe chopping away. It got dark and i never heard the tree fall. But then again…does a tree make noise when it falls if nobody is around to hear it?
Comment posted by sharon (ip: on 11 / 17 / 2002 at 7:35 PM

I am a Lemming
Suzanne and Deb have one, so I had to have one too!

Not that I know what I’ll do with it, prolly not much, but I can’t stand being left behind in electronic trends. Hence my self-proclaimed lemmingness. No I probably would not jump off a bridge after them. I hate heights.

Entry posted by origamifreak on November 11 2002 at 9:49 pm
Ha ha! And I would not follow you into a closet as I fear small enclosed spaces.
Comment posted by Deb (ip: on 11 / 12 / 2002 at 8:37 AM

Deb’s website:

I wouldn’t jump off of it, but I might try to sell it to you!
Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 11 / 13 / 2002 at 7:20 PM

OK! My ignorance is showing. How do you make the link to your own blog?
Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 11 / 13 / 2002 at 7:22 PM

My, my. Deb starts blogging after reading my blog, and others follow! Is this like a pyramid scheme? Can I get a penny for every blog entry by everyone who started blogging because of me or because of someone who started blogging because of me or because…

No, the REAL reason I am posting a comment is the uncanny similarity between this post and my very first blog post. Great minds?

Comment posted by Sora (ip: on 11 / 13 / 2002 at 9:40 PM

Sora’s E-mail:

Sora’s website:
Is my name glowing yet?
Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 11 / 15 / 2002 at 12:35 AM

Suz’s website: pigs

Oh no! I don’t exist! Help!! I’m lost in cyberspace! OINK!
Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 11 / 15 / 2002 at 12:38 AM

I think I’ve finally done it!
Comment posted by Suz (ip: on 11 / 15 / 2002 at 12:41 AM

Suz’s website:

I am not the lemming type. I am more like a snowy owl
Comment posted by jay (ip: on 11 / 15 / 2002 at 1:52 PM

so ajna got the flew shot? Better practice is to teach kindergarten a few years–no need for any shots in the arm–in the glass, straight up will be mo bettah.

The jeezariee is about to have the master bathroom redone to deal with the dumb window that is beside the shower and traps all of the water. The cats will be in private suites (Matthew & Marhta’s cast-off rooms) singing to the tune of power tools during the day, and escaping in the evening AFTER parents have checked to verify that there are no-escapee to the great outdoos holes. this ought to be very interesting and disruptive to small lives. The big lives will need refreshment in the evening, but it won’t be flu shots.

We don’t have leemings here–round-tail & antelope groundsquirrels are good subs in daytime, and kangaroo rats/mice at night. Then there are the Great western Toads that do the washing window dance on the sliding glass door while they eat insects attracted by the flicker of the tv. They drive the cats wild: how many times does it take of charging the glass to discover that you CAN”T go through? More than last night–hurrah for lemmings, mine may meow?

Comment posted by bzzerker with needle in hand & (ip: on 11 / 17 / 2002 at 9:13 PM

bzzerker with needle in hand &’s E-mail: not at home
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