Thursday, December 31, 2009

Σ strawberry-rhubarb pie

I made this strawberry-rhubarb pie, using this recipe as a general guideline. It was a Christmas present for E.No, that's not an "E," it's a "Σ."

This post's theme comic is a cautionary tale about mathematics in non-mathematical realms of life:

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Rubik's yeah!

My graduation date may need to be pushed back a few years. I love these puzzles. This one in particular is quite devious. Mind games. The math is so delicious.

This post's theme word: birl, "to rotate (a floating log) by running on it in place," or "to spin or rotate. "

Monday, December 21, 2009

Inglorious Basterds

I saw Inglorious Basterds a few weeks ago. It was good. Really good. Edge-of-the-seat-gripping good. Quentin Tarantino can just do things with a camera and two actors in a room that give me chills, that make me laugh with delight at the wonder of their construction. The symbolism in this film was absurd, abstract, fantastic. (In one scene, my brain kept shouting, "Why is there cream?! What does the cigarette mean?" I have a fully-formed hypothesis on dairy, whiteness, and parallelism [the first and last scenes, although completely different, have excessive parallelism], but don't want to spoil it for you.)

Most movies are a little formulaic and predictable. This man has an unexpected style -- I never know what is going to happen next. I am often surprised (especially given Tarantino's predilection for extreme violence).

Go see it.

This post's theme word: rhubarb, "a heated dispute; a brawl." Delightful! Unexpected! Symbolic?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Punkin ale

That is not a typo.Yet another in my delightful exploratory series, "Alcohol Inexplicably Named After Animals It Does Not Taste Like."

I wish they made pumpkin ales year-round.

This post's theme word: cacography, "bad handwriting" or "incorrect spelling."

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mary and Max

I went to see Mary and Max yesterday. Based on the trailer, the poster, and the visual style, I thought it would be a quirky, quiet, cute film. And it was. It was also unexpectedly sad, and made me reflect on the difficulties of interpersonal relationships, mental instability, and illness. R. and I both left the film heavyhearted. I'd still recommend it, but beware: it's sad. Very sad.

This post's theme word: subfusc, "dark, drab, or gloomy" (adjective), or "dark, formal clothing worn at some universities for exams and special occasions" (noun).

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Apartment irks

Finally! Today the heat came on for the first time this winter, and I awoke with a painfully dry nose in a too-warm room. Equally uncomfortable was my roommate, whose bedroom heat is still broken/off/misconfigured. The temperature difference between our rooms can be felt on the skin.

To make "the heat is working!" an even more bittersweet semi-victory, we continue to have no hot water. On Monday some aspect of our formerly-fully-functional hot water system was replaced, and it has not yet heated and delivered water to our faucets since. Grr.

This post's theme word: rachmanism, "the exploitation and intimidation of tenants by landlords." I don't feel so much exploited as abused, avoided, and neglected. I miss being able to feel my hands after I wash dishes.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Ninja Assassin

We saw Ninja Assassin last week. It was the vapid, hand-to-hand combat-filled, mysterious, shadowy ninja flick that you'd exactly expect with a title like "Ninja Assassin." As the Ask A Ninja host points out, the title is redundant. Ninja. Assassin.

We all left with a clear idea of what the plot intended, though the execution made it unclear. (Yes, obviously there will be a ninja with a grudge against those who trained him. But what motivates that grudge? Who is the antagonist? Does it matter, as long as people fade in and out of shadows, and a suitable number of throwing stars and blood spatters are spread around?)

This post's theme word: hecatomb, "a large-scale slaughter."

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

December consumerism: no, thanks

We've all survived another year of Thanksgiving, black Friday, and cyber Monday. (I also received notification of cyber Wednesday, presumably for those too lazy to get around to internet shopping until two days later.) Now the Christmas* season is upon us, with its pervasive question:

What do I want for Christmas*?

I want world peace, and for humans to stop destroying the environment and each other. I want a solution to P=NP (with proof). I want three feet of snow.

What I don't want is more stuff. I have lots of stuff. I have all the material objects I need (food excepted -- I just keep eating it!). Probably, you have all the material objects that you need, too. You don't need anything more. Perhaps you want something more, or advertising has convinced you that you want something more. I don't want anything more; I don't want to have to carry it around and keep it clean and in good condition and worry about whether I'm using it too much or too little. Stuff is just a hassle. (See my other notes on Project Simplify.) This Christmas*, I want to avoid consumerism, reduce my wastefulness, go off the grid.

So please don't get me more stuff. If you want to get me a present, get me something that has meaning. I'd much rather have a nice letter from you than a DVD. I'd rather eat something you cook than play a video game. Let's go on a walk instead of buying each other silly cards! What I'm saying is partially that I'd rather have something that cost you time and brain cycles than something that cost you money. I'd prefer interpersonal value to monetary value.

And I also want to give such gifts. I'm working on that now.

So what do you want for Christmas*?

*or whatever you would rather read -- insert your own politically-correct or -preferred holiday [noun] here.

This post's theme comic is from A Softer World: