Friday, September 25, 2009

Tonight there will be joy!

Eggrolls with Napa Cabbage:

This is based off of many other web recipes. They all pretty much run the same, so I thought it might be beneficial to post one here.

1/2 lb or 6 cups shredded or finely chopped napa cabbage
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup fresh bean sprouts
1/2 cup finely chopped/minced onion (the sweet cooking onions work great for this)
1/4 cup chopped sweet pepper (to taste, really)
1/4 tsp garlic powder (it's hard to get fresh garlic to distribute as evenly as the powder)
1/8 tsp chili powder (or more if you feel bold--you can also use a bit of finely chopped hot pepper)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 or 2 eggs
2 dozen egg roll wrappers
1 or 2 tablespoons of cornstarch slowly added to with water, to seal the wrappers. (you can also use a lightly beaten egg to seal the edges, though it's messy)

1) Mix up all your vegetables, soy sauce, garlic and chili powders until well distributed (a big salad fork works well).

2) Scramble your eggs together and cook them in a medium heat skillet. Chop them up finely once cooked. Add to vegetable mix and stir gently. You can mix in a 1/2 teaspoon of cornstarch here if you want, to hold things together

3) Lay out your wrappers. (I find it easier to do these all at once before step 4, but if there are two of you working you can have one person fill and the other person fry). Add 2 tablespoons of filling to a wrapper (or use your best judgement here--you'll soon discover how much is too much). Apply the beaten-egg or cornstarch-water glue to the edges of the wrapper and roll it up. It should mostly hold together--if not, use more. I prefer to use my fingers for this, since it's more precise, but you can use a spoon.

4) Fry in hot oil until golden brown (remember to roll if you're using a skillet). Put them out on paper towels to drain.

and Nom! Tasty egg rolls for you!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Magneto Awkwardynamics

At the beginning of class today, as one student went off in search of another who hadn't shown yet, my professor made a comment that the first one was using "the Chinese social link".

I'm feeling guilty for not speaking up, but to be fair I wasn't entirely sure what he was referring to. Still, if this is one of those "they're all Asian students so they must all be connected" thing, I think my anger is a bit justified.

In other news, I'm a big frickin hypocrite, as I ... um... well... accidentally insulted another professor today (?!). I was endeavoring to make a joke when he was explaining why one equation looked a certain way on the board (he eventually said that "we all have our little obsessive-compulsive tendencies" or something; I had suggested the word "neuroticisms" when he was hesitating), and it went... awkwardly. Joy for my voice recorder, which now has that whole conversation on tape. *facepalm*

Finally: what do you do when someone you don't know tries to flag you down in the car in broad daylight? Especially when you're going slow and full eye contact is made? (here's a hint: no easy answer, and they're all bound to be embarrassing).

I've had my share of incredibly awkward experiences, but I have to admit that most of the time it's not my fault that people ask me crazy stuff. (There was a random guy who proposed to me on the street; or the guy who wanted me to call an apartment for him and find out if his ex girl was still working there).

So, share your awkward, weird public or private experience?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cooking Therapy

So, after becoming overwhelmed with work, I had to find a way to take a break. And something other than the addicting internets would be best. So, lo and behold, in steps my Community Shares Agriculture with my bi-weekly food shares. This week I picked up:

1.6 oz garlic (yay!)
2 heads of bibb lettuce
1 lb of concord grapes
2 lbs of apples (apples! awesome!)
one ENORMOUS head of Nappa Cabbage. This takes up 1 shelf in the fridge by itself!
2 small yellow squashes of some sort.
4 orange sweet peppers
2 lbs of sweet potatoes
1 dozen beautiful eggs
1 pound of the most amazing granola I've ever had

and using some of my credit from coming late to the season I got a loaf of bread and 2 lbs of cooking onions.

Pics to follow.

I stirfried a leaf of the cabbage with olive oil, garlic, and chopped onion. I think it turned out all right. probably too much olive oil. Then I crushed the grapes and made fresh grape juice. I know, it's a sin right? concord grapes? I killed them? but I did. The skins are so tough and the flesh is so chewy and the seeds are so big and the flavor is AMAZING that this was the best plan. And it was cold and sweet and delicious, so, win!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Stellar Awesome Red Jeans!

Graduate School has risen from the depths like some many-fanged beastie and consumed me. I can just hear the music: duuun DUN...duuuun DUN.... DUNDUNDUNDUNDUNDUN!. (or insert Jaws theme here if you can't translate that). Literally, however, I just do not have enough time for everything. I have homework due Friday, and chapters of reading to do to understand it; programming and a new homework set due Monday or so next week; and a new homework set in the never-ending, perpetual-tuesday-homework series. And I have to organize papers for my first TA job, find a grader for my second TA job, and contact my professor for my third TA job. And I need to reduce data for my work this summer, and fix my computer so I can get AT that data.

On top of that, my Arecibo proposal is coming up in about a week and I don't think I can ask my collaborators to look at it overnight. And I am thinking about putting in a second proposal for some supplementary data to the Arecibo proposal. Additionally, I need to pick a research topic for my research credits this semester. And I have to give a talk next week Tuesday. And tomorrow I have to pick up my food and my packages, and I wanted to go look at kittens but I don't think I'll have time.

And I should study so the homeworks don't kill me as much every week, and write letters to my family, and thank you letters to my undergraduate scholarship places so they know what happened to me.

And I need to clean my apartment and my car and buy a rug and vacuum and finish unpacking and set up the books and my desk and move my couch and do the dishes...


Friday, September 11, 2009

Knitting things!

One of my favorite web-zines,, just updated to their September issue. They have free patterns and contests, so it's worth signing up.

I'm especially excited by this Hex Pattern, which more than ever convinces me that I really want to start knitting lace. I like nice warm scarfs and all, but I really want to make beautiful flowing ponchos and shawls for my wardrobe, and I think getting the thinnest of yarns and using lace patterns is the best way to do this. If you've ever heard of Eunny Jang and her Print o the Wave stole, you might know why I'm interested: it's GORGEOUS! Eunny's main site is my introduction to lacemaking.

The main inhibitors? Time and Money, as always. I'm currently up to my elbow in three scarves, and they're luscious, and it's the right season for scarves anyway. I'd like to finish them before I start lacing. And of course, I'm going to need different needles and yarn (maybe even thread) for lace. But I am nonetheless excited about it.

Here's a task for you today:
Set yourself a short knitting goal. (Mine is to make a lace bookmark). You have one month! Post and let me know what your goal is and keep track of your progress!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

So Much New

New Things:

New City:
That's right, I've moved away from the land of quality cheese and adequate popcorn, to the land of delicious cherries and no popcrn whatsoever. I live in a Small Town now. I realized this when I went for a drive last week and determined that there really isn't much else besides what branches off of the main road. Now the main road is quite long and there is a lot of shopping, and the university is at the end of it... but really, if you go anywhere else (okay, maybe follow one cross street) there's nothing there. In half an hour drive I start seeing signs like "Watch for Fog on Mountain". Mountain? that explains why my car's been groaning for the past 10 minutes. Poor vehicle--it doesn't like inclines, and we're surrounded by them.

On the other hand, the view is great. So many trees that there are rabbitholes everywhere. Beautiful star shaped flowers grow along the edges of the parking lot and pool into some of the spaces, filling the air with a sweet scent in the mornings. At dusk I get the cicada effect--it reminds me of Puerto Rico, the way all the insects call out to the dying light. You can even hear it indoors. And coming down a mountain, the land falls away like a blanket, and you can see forever.

New Field:
That's right, I've converted to Astronomy fully now. Sort of. Actually there is not in fact that much difference between Astronomy and Physics. I mean it! I mean, the topics we cover are clearly astronomically focused, and yet at the same time we're delving into and expanding thermal physics and gas dynamics. I will admit that the approach is different--look at the labs! Last week I spent 4 hours in the doghouse at the university's local observatory, with a huge brilliant moon ruining the seeing and stars like pinpricks and the wind blowing fresh and cold above us, squinting through different eyepieces of a 6" refractor. AWESOME! so much better than shoving little resistors and capacitors into a breadboard and wondering why the hell my signal is still zero. And in November the department is taking the entire lab class out to Kitt Peak to do onsite observing and touring of various telescopes there.
New People:
Well, I miss my friends and family like nothing else. It's crazy to come home alone and just be myself in my big empty, boxed and unsettled apartment. But the people here are very nice. Albeit I've only met the ones in the department, but the level of welcome is almost unbelievable. And when I compare it to the physics department back home--well let's just say there are quite a few differences. I haven't found a new advisor yet, though I'm meeting with a guy next week who does cosmology instrumentation (woo!).
New Experiences:
Besides learning how to deal with the heat and humidity, figuring out how to keep my car from overheating, learning to drive in NYC (where Twin lives) and pay tolls and park (it's all confusing there), I've managed to sprain my ankle when I.... um... dove from this burning building to save 18 kittens and a bird. That's right. Anywho, I have a cast on and have learned how to walk with crutches. It's a big pain in the ass, but I'm getting pretty good at it. Fortunately, I should be able to have the cast off this Friday and then, who knows, a walking boot or something?
I've also signed up for a local Community Shares Agriculture, and I get my first batch of food tonight! I don't know what I'm going to get, but I'll let you know tomorrow and also update you on what I plan to do with it. If I can get some baking soda, vinegar, cooking wine and cooking sherry, I should be equipped to cook almost anything!

I've taken a passionate interest in scarves, and am currently working on three of them. Yes, I realize that's a bit excessive. I'll share more as I get some pictures, but one is a beautiful brown and orange, my first time doing stripes, the second is turquoise blue in the Ocean Current pattern (from that book of patterns inspired by the ocean), and the third is purple in a design I'm inventing.