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June 30, 2007

Quote of the Day: Henry David Thoreau

"A good question is never answered. It is not a bolt to be tightened into place,
but a seed to be planted and to bear more seeds toward the hope of greening the landscape of idea."
~ Henry David Thoreau

June 27, 2007

Feta

Feta is one amazing little cheese. Its so versatile and wonderful and it can be used in so many things.


Since we've moved and now have a real kitchen, I've been doing what I can to make a mess in said kitchen. Last night, the mess turned into a goregous pasta salad.

I think the key to any pasta salad is the vinagrette. If its too oily, you end up feeling sick, if its too vinegary, you end up making faces instead of enjoying your meal. So, you have to find the balance in order to actually enjoy what you are eating. (Also, have you have to choose the right oil and the right vinegar or it won't matter if you have the balance right because the whole thing will just be wrong.) When making pasta salad, I cheat on the dressing. How do you cheat on the dressing, I hear you ask. Simple, you buy a jar of feta in oil. The oil will have some sort of herb concoction in it (not to mention the chunks of feta) so you won't have to worry about adding any extra seasoning. You simply cook your pasta, chop up a few vegetables and toss it all with the entire contents of the jar. Now, all you need is the vinegar. I recommend a healthy dash for three of a nice balsamic vinegar. Toss it all again, and you're good to go. Although, I must say this is a dish that gets better with time. Let it be for a few hours (or in the fridge overnight) and its absolutely perfect.

Cheese makes me happy. So, when I can find a way to eat cheese (especially the crumbling, salty goodness that is feta) while also getting in a few veg and making a meal out of the whole thing, it just makes me want to jump for joy!

June 20, 2007

Quote of the Day: Alain de Botton

I passionately believe that's it's not just what you say that counts, it's also how you say it - that the success of your argument critically depends on your manner of presenting it.


June 18, 2007

Re-Reading...

Since we've moved again, I've been unpacking and I've decided there are a few things I need to re-read this summer. So, I have started with How Proust Can Change Your Life.

I was also thinking of restarting Swann's Way, you know, for those moments in-between the re-readings.

The back garden of the house was finished this weekend, and I have been left with a number of plants (including a grape vine) to take care of. It is very exciting to be out and playing in the dirt and weeding around things. I have a lovely little spot to grow herbs now.

I need a cup of coffee. And, to go sit in the garden. I'm so excited that I get to do these things!

June 09, 2007

Support an end to the war!

Join Russ Feingold to help end the war

June 06, 2007

Penguins. Pragmatics. A Joke from Preston.

My friend Preston once told me this joke:


There are two penguins up at the North Pole. They are sitting down to dinner and one of the penguins says to the other penguin, "Can you please pass me the salt?" to which the second penguin replied, "I AM NOT A TYPEWRITER!"


I was lying in bed this morning and this joke popped into my head. When I first heard it my response was, "But, there are no penguins at the North Pole. There is only one penguin in the Northern Hemisphere, and its equatorial." I think Preston at the time told me not be such a jerk, which was immediately followed by, "THAT is the one thing about the whole joke that bothered you? That there are no penguins in the Northern Hemisphere? It didn't bother you that the penguins were sitting down to a meal or that they speaking English or that they even knew what a typewriter was?" Of course, if I thought about it, these things would bother me. But, the first thing that bothered me, the thing that made everything else that was to follow bizarre yet irrelevant, is that the penguins wouldn't have been at the North Pole in the first place.

This joke didn't pop into my head because of the original discussion, it popped into my head because that's how I've been feeling the past few days...like a penguin at the North Pole making a simple request for some salt and being told in a raised voice that my interlocutor was not a typewriter. I've made a lot of references to the pragmatics of things lately, whether at the pub or just in general and I am left wondering, am I, by going about things the way I've always done them (which would mean in an American style) that I am doing wrong? Or, have I recently come into contact with a number of people who either have no social skills or who are being intentionally obtuse?

I like pragmatics. Not just because people don't say what they mean, but because when we use language in generally has some intent or purpose...something that we want to get done beyond the simple passing on of information. Pragmatics textbooks are full of examples of ways that we can use language to do things. There are classic examples of how, just by speaking the words we make something happen (For example: a wedding. " I now pronounce the husband and wife." when said after an exchange of vows signifies a marriage.) But, more often than not we get things done not by using the literal meanings of words, but through some sort of metaphorical or extended meanings of words. "Can I sit down?" isn't a request for you to verify whether an individual has the capacity to sit. Its something you say in order to get invited into a longer conversation. Its also something you say when you want someone to move their coat off of a seat so that you can sit down.

I'm not quite sure of the pragmatic intent behind, "Please pass the salt." aside from wanting the salt, but I have to figure it out, because I'm tired of hearing, "I AM NOT A TYPEWRITER!"

June 05, 2007

Moving....Again.

I've spent a good part of the day packing because I am once again moving. Packing and watching the French Open (Thumbs up to Tommy Robredo for taking a set off of Federer!) Which has been a bit of a shame because the weather has been incredibly beautiful. However, I do plan on going for a late evening walk later to take advantage of one of my favorite parts of the summer: Late evening sunshine. One of the benefits of living at the latitude that I live at is that it is sunny in midsummer until around 10 o'clock in the evening. Being a bit of a night person, but also enjoying sunlight ( I am, after all, not a vampire) I find this to be fantastic.

Last night I went for a bit of a walk on my lonesome. I will probably do the same again tonight. The problem is motivating people out of the pub to go for a stroll. As it turns out, once people start having beer, what they want is more beer and not to stretch their legs or do anything that might threaten their buzz. And, while I can understand that, the light waits for no (wo)man and it won't be long before it is setting earlier and earlier every day.

In other news, please keep up the good thoughts for me getting the scholarship. Thank you very much.