Sexy mother

Filed under: — Aprille @ 2:23 pm

I hope we get this flight attendant on the trip tomorrow.  She seems very attuned to my needs, in an Oedipal kind of way.  Of course, we’re flying Delta, so who knows?


Produce is exciting

Filed under: — Aprille @ 2:14 pm

My favorite thing about summer (aside from watching cute fountain babies downtown) is produce. I picked a ton of raspberries from our patch last night, and I know we’re going to miss a lot of them when we’re away. Oh well; at least the neighborhood birds will have plenty of antioxidants in their diet. We’ve got nice blossoms on the zucchini, the tomatoes are (mostly) growing up big and strong, and I bet the onions are getting close to ready.

We have some sweet potatoes in, but I have no idea how/when to harvest those. I think of them as a fall crop. Should we wait till September/October?

I talked to my parents last night, and they had homegrown tomatoes with dinner. My dad has a greenhouse that he uses to give some plants a head start, and apparently they got a tomato very early. I am jealous of them, but at least we’ll be home in August this year. The last two years we were on vacation in August, and a lot of our tomatoes rotted on the ground (but at least the neighborhood birds got plenty of lycopene).

It’s nice we have such healthy birds. We heard a really loud owl the other night, but I don’t think he got so big and strong from plants.

ALSO:  Amy Winehouse sounds a lot like Lauryn Hill, but they sure don’t look alike.  I think Lauryn is hotter but Amy is more interesting-looking.  What do you think?


work is worky

Filed under: — Aprille @ 3:28 pm

Only 1.5 more workdays until vacation.  That’s going to be good.  We leave Wednesday morning, but I say 1.5 because half of Tuesday is hogged up with non-work stuff, so that will make it go faster.

Here’s something nice about my boss:  starting very shortly now, she has invited our entire group to spend the end of the workday at the Mill, and the first round of drinks is on her.  That’s a very pleasant thing of her to do.  Way to go.  So I guess I really only have like 1.25 more workdays, yes?


Online translators =bad, fun video projects = good

Filed under: — Aprille @ 2:45 pm

Do any of you smart readers speak Portuguese (peninsular, ideally, but I’d take Brazilian too)?

When DC and I were in Portugal, we had these really amazing pastries called travesseiros, and I’d like to try to make them sometime.  I found a recipe, but it’s in Portuguese, which I don’t read nearly well enough to try to bake from.  This is what babelfish told me it translated to:

Ingredients: 500 grams of folhada mass caretaker 1 chávena of soft egg tea with almond Confection: It extends the mass folhada until reaching the thickness of 4mm, polvilhando slightly with flour that always necessary not to catch nor to the coil nor to the table. Later cut with a knife rectângulos of mass with about 12x 12 cm It places in the center 1 Soft Egg dessert spoon, spreading a little in the direction of the width without arriving at edges. It rolls com.cuidado and espalme them in way slightly that the latch of the mass is capsized for one the sides never for low. It places the pillows in a tray separate ones of the others and has slightly led to cook in sufficiently hot oven about 15 minutes. When they will be cooked, removes them and polvilhe them still hot with sugar one by one.

What?  “espalme them in way slightly that the latch of the mass is capsized for one the sides never for low”?

Online translators are so weird.  They’re kind of funny sometimes, though.  This is what happened when I translated the wedding vows DC and I used from English to German to French to Greek back to English:

by our family and friends, and with his love and the support, the I, Aprille, you are decided, Denny, in order to you are my spouse. With the faith in in your love and in the admiration of your tender heart, from all that the life can to us take, I promise my himself in you. To you I keep, I laugh with you and cry with you. Is friendly in you in in the thought, in the word and means the letter. I am together your affectionate partner in in our life, and I am your gentleman, as you practise your clean dreams. This day, front, me’hrj a death us you make, zusammenstehen. This is my promise in you. I am proud in order to I am your woman.

Supersweet!  At some point along the way it said I was Denny’s Master, which was pretty cool, but that disappeared between French and Greek.  I think Master got turned into gentleman, in the “I am your gentleman” part.  Har.

Oh, that secret thing I said I’d write about today?  It was cool.  As a fun thing for our annual all-staff meeting, some colleagues and I made a Daily Show-style interview with our biggest boss of all, the CIO.  I don’t have a web version yet, and I’m not even sure I’ll be allowed to share it, but it was all pretty funny.  We did a first take where our interviewer asked Steve (the CIO) a variety of questions, then we rewrote it to exploit things he said out of context.  In the final version, Steve has vowed to eliminate Spam (the meat product, not the email) from the university, his children are laptop computers, and he calls the Help Desk when he’s having emotional problems.
Steve was a really good sport about it, and he even did a rather funny introduction telling people to pay attention, because the video contained things he’d meant to say in the past but hadn’t gotten a chance to.

I’m sad the project was over.  It was a fun way to use work time.


You know what’s depressing?

Filed under: — Aprille @ 3:27 pm

Here’s what:

A team I was on won an award recently.  We each got a certificate that the bosses had really nicely matted and framed for us.  Mine had been sitting in its box since I got it, but we’ve got this open house thing tomorrow, so I thought I’d put it up.

It is physically impossible to hang it in my cubicle.  It is too heavy and the cube walls are too thin to support it.

It’s the “Improving Our Workplace Award” (IOWA).  Apparently nobody did an award-winning project to make good cube walls.

A Mighty Bad Idea

Filed under: — Aprille @ 2:01 pm

This morning, in those weird minutes when the tweeting birds have sort of woken me up but the alarm hasn’t gone off yet, I had a very wonderful, albeit brief, dream.

In it, I was on the creative team for the movie A Mighty Heart, that one coming out soon about Daniel and Mariane Pearl, starring Angelina Jolie.  We decided to make a last-minute change in concept:  we changed the name to A Mighty Beatbox, and it was going to be all about hiphop.  I remember thinking to myself, “I wonder if Angelina Jolie can rap.”

Sadly, the world may never know.


Project Review and my playlists

Filed under: — Aprille @ 2:36 pm

I just finished Project Review at work. I was kind of nervous about it, because Project Review has a reputation for being intimidating and awful, but it wasn’t really too bad. I was doing a project closeout, which is a pretty low-risk thing, since I don’t think the directors have ever not let someone close out a project.

“I’d like to close out this project and stop spending your money now, okay?”

“NO! Take more! Buy yourself a nice foot massager if you have any extra.”

That didn’t happen. But it went pretty well. My direct boss is sick today and had to call in, but the acoustics in the room were really horrible (I think they have all the hamsters that are running in ten thousand hamster wheels to provide air conditioning for the building housed directly over that meeting room) so she couldn’t really contribute much. But my colleagues and I handled it all right, I think. I had to make up some crap to answer one question, and I don’t think the dude who asked it was altogether satisfied with my answer, but I’m not altogether satisfied with his FACE so I guess we’re even.

(Note to any coworkers who might be reading: just kidding about the rude face thing.)

You know what’s really handy in iTunes? The “Highest Rated” automatically-generated playlist. I have so much crap in iTunes that I don’t really enjoy – I admit it, I don’t actually like Soul Coughing very much, or at least not enough to listen to them as often as I do when it’s set purely at random. Sorry, Jamal. Anyway, sometimes when I have some free time I’ll sift through my library and apply ratings to songs without actually listening to them, just remembering that I like them. Then, later, it’s a fun treat to have them come up in my Highest Rated playlist.

For example, here’s my most recently played 10:

* “She’s an Angel,” They Might Be Giants
* “Save Me,” Aimee Mann
* “Suffragette City,” David Bowie
* “7”, Prince
* “Barrio,” Orishas
* “Hungry Like the Wolf,” Duran Duran
* “Unskinny Bop,” Poison
* “Belong,” REM
* “I Want Your (Hands On Me),” Sinead O’Connor
* “Trompe Le Monde,” the Pixies

See? These songs have nothing in common except the fact that I like them. That’s more fun than grouping by artist, album, or genre, I think. You get more surprises without stupid crappy surprises.

Updated to add:  an awesomely rad thing just happened.  Still on random order within My Top Rated playlist, I heard Neil Young’s “Winterlong,” followed immediately by the Pixies’ cover thereof.  Both versions are so great, which is why they’re in that playlist to begin with.


I enjoy cherry-vanilla yogurt

Filed under: — Aprille @ 3:44 pm

I was just thinking that this is my last full work-week for a while. We leave for Florida a week from Wednesday, and then when we get back, I only have to work a couple of days before I head up to Duluth for a conference. The conference won’t be vacation, of course, but I’m looking forward to it anyway. I’ve heard it’s a lovely place, and it’s always nice to have a change of pace.

The Father’s Day weekend was nice. We got together with both of our families for dinner in Des Moines (a decent meeting point between their homes).

My Top Secret Work Project is almost done. It has been really fun. I’ll be able to write more about it on Thursday.

Man, I’m just running low on interesting things to say right now. I guess all my exciting stuff to talk about is secret for the time being. Oh well, have patience.

Oh wait, here’s something:  video about celebrity children talking about their fathers in the year 2032.  Contains some mild adult content.


Grant Wood and Christian Petersen

Filed under: — Aprille @ 3:07 pm

I’m in my meeting at Iowa State right now, and over lunch, we took a trip to Parks Library where I saw some cool Grant Wood murals.  I must have seen them before–I used to do research at Parks sometimes for high school projects, but I don’t remember looking at them carefully.  They were really impressive.  Grant Wood is so rad.  The only downside was that this guy came up and interrupted my appreciation because he wanted to talk about how big my database is.  I think he was going to gloat about his being bigger, but it turned out they were about the same size (half a terabyte, if you must know).

This building our meeting is in, Morrill Hall, also has a nice little Christian Petersen exhibit area.  He did a lot of sculptures around town, so I was already familiar with his work, but it was cool to see so many in one place.  The exhibit area also had bamboo floors, which I enjoyed on Denny’s behalf.

Iowa State has a lot of pretty buildings.  It really is a nice campus, too.  I like all the green spaces.  I couldn’t have imagined it back when I was considering colleges, but with a little mental distance, I can see how it would be a pleasant place to go to school.


Off to Ames

Filed under: — Aprille @ 2:05 pm

Well, crap.

I just wrote a long post about my weekend plans (trip to Ames for meeting at Iowa State, Father’s Day stuff, fascinating discussion about the role of movie theaters in my life), and my browser crashed and it went poof.

I guess I’ll talk about it later.


QEPD, Mr. Wizard

Filed under: — Aprille @ 2:30 pm

It is a sad day for all science-loving children everywhere; we have lost our leader, Mr. Wizard.

I never saw his first show due to not being born yet, but I was a huge fan of his Nickelodeon show in the 80’s.  I loved trying to recreate the experiments, though I often missed the finer points (such as, say, having the correct ingredients) and they didn’t work as well as they did on tv.  I did have a very successful one, though, that I repeated many a time.

I didn’t call it such at the time, but in retrospect, a good name for this experiment is “Turd in the Pool.”


You will need:

Finely ground black pepper
A small bowl
Hand soap or hand dishwashing detergent

1.  Fill the bowl with water.
2.  Sprinkle a generous amount of pepper on the water; it will float (I bet my dad always wondered where all the pepper was getting off to).
3.  Put a small dab of soap or detergent on your finger.
4.  Touch the center of the water.  All the pepper will dash off to the edges.

Get it?  Because the pepper represents kids and the water and bowl represent the pool, and your soapy finger represents a turd.  Everybody wants to get out of the pool.

The science behind it had to do with surface tension; I’m afraid I don’t remember the details, but that was a really fun experiment.  I wonder if I could get those shows on DVD anywhere.  I hope I have little nerdy children someday who would enjoy that sort of thing.

Thanks for everything, Mr. Wizard.



Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:33 pm

You know how sometimes you get taken out to lunch for a work thing, and you’re trying to decide what to order, and you’re stuck between two things, and you decide to get the more expensive one (because, hell, it’s on the boss-lady, and it’s not really that expensive), and it turns out to be this really big (but really delicious) steak sandwich with cheese and onions and some kind of sauce?

And how you really enjoyed it, and you enjoyed your boss being nice enough to take the team out, and then she buys you cookies too, which of course you eat?  Really big cookies?

And how you’re sitting at your desk, and she comes over and says, “You’re the project lead.  You decide what to do with the extra cookies”?  And you put on in the freezer for your co-project lead who is currently at Disneyland with his adorable daughter and lovely wife, and you save one for your husband, but there are still like a billion left, so of course you have to eat one?

Yeah.  Then you feel like I feel right now.


Adventures among Regents schools

Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:12 pm

It feels like it’s summertime now.  You can always tell because it’s freezing indoors (like, say, at my office) and hot outdoors and places where the air conditioning isn’t on (like, say, at my house).  It makes it difficult to dress in the morning, even in the post Mount St. Aprille days.  It’s hard to believe that I could actually, really, seriously need a sweater when I’ve already pitted out my shirt before I’ve finished packing our lunches.  And yet, here I am.

But that’s okay.  It’s worth it for summertime.  I really need to get out to the Coralville pool again some time this season.  Waterslides are fun, but I admit I also like the children’s area.  You can turn these steering wheels and different amounts of water get dumped on your head.  It’s really a lot of fun.

I’m going to Ames on Thursday night because I have a Friday meeting at Iowa State.  It’s funny that that’s never happened before; this is a group made up of reps from all the state schools in Iowa, and the location rotates.  I feel like I’ve been to two that were held here in Iowa City and one in Cedar Falls, but I’ve never gone to one in Ames.  It should work out pretty conveniently, since we’re going to go on Thursday and spend the night at my parents’ house.  Since there’s travel time built in, the meetings don’t start until 9:30, so I’ll even get to sleep in.  That’s also Fathers’ Day weekend, so it will be nice to spend that with the fam.  I think we’re going to see Denny’s parents too.



Filed under: — Aprille @ 3:14 pm

Tomorrow night Denny and I are going to see The Full Monty, directed by our friend Chris Okiishi, featuring actual nudies.  Rumor has it the lighting is artfully presented in such a way that nothing really shows, but we can’t be sure unless we see it for ourselves, now can we?

Other than that, we don’t have a whole lot planned for the weekend.  I think I will work on healing.  I grossed up my hand almost a whole week ago, and it’s still oozy and disgusting.  I had a pharmacist look at it the other day, and he said it wasn’t infected or anything, so I guess it’s okay but it’s still annoying.

It looks like it’s going to be a nice weekend, mostly sunny and no rain, for once.  Too bad the Arts Festival was last weekend and not this weekend.  Maybe I’ll have my own private arts festival wherein I use pudding as finger paint and try to sell my creations.


It is time for stormy weather

Filed under: — Aprille @ 2:33 pm

It’s almost time for my healthy afternoon snack (blackberry yogurt and almonds), but I used up all my hungry on those mini-Snickers my coworker Mike was giving out.  Bother.  I guess I could save it till tomorrow.

I really enjoy Spanglish rap.

“Ella no sabia that yo, I knew her plan
De que iba a salir with that other man.”  –From “Mentirosa” by Mellow Man Ace

What I like the best is the fact that “yo” could either be a repetition of “I” or it could be a rap-style “yo.”  ¡Misterioso!

I really miss Spanish a lot.  It was part of my life just about every single day from the age of 5 until about 24 or whenever I finished grad school.  I need to find ways to actively get it back into my brain.  I’ve been putting Spanish-language films in our Netflix queue (Denny is really a very good sport about it), and I speak it enough around the house that Denny understands some basics.  What I say the most is “¿Dónde está mi bolsa?”  I say it just about every morning as we’re getting ready for work and I can’t find my purse.  Maybe I started doing it as a way of talking to myself, because I didn’t want to admit how disorganized I can be.  Back when I lived alone (or at least with roommates who didn’t expend a lot of energy keeping my stuff tidy), I often found myself calling my own cell phone to try to track down my purse.

Now, though, Denny understands the phrase, and he usually knows where my stuff is.

He and I have very different approaches to locating items.  He uses this strange system of “logic,” wherein he imagines where said object ought to be, and then he goes there.  I prefer to use the method where I remember where I last saw something (case in point, Mount St. Aprille, which is a pile of clothes that until recently resided at the foot of our bed).  If I remember having seen some particular tank top in Mount St. Aprille, I’ll dig through it and reasonably expect to find it.

However, Denny has this habit of tidying up after me (which I don’t mean in a bad way; I’m very glad he does it, because it makes the whole house much more likely avoid being designated a Bad Place Where Terrible Things Happen).  This means that if he sees a tank top of mine on the floor, he throws it in the laundry, washes it, folds it, and puts it in a drawer.

How am I supposed to know he did that?  Where is my damn tank top?

Alas, Mount St. Aprille is no more.  I came home from about 24 hours away last weekend, and apparently it erupted and the DNR did a hell of a job cleaning up the detritus.

Denny insists I have lots of clothes, but I don’t believe him because I can’t find any of them.


iTunes Magic 8-Ball, revisited

Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:37 pm

Sometimes when I’m feeling out of sorts, I play the iTunes Magic 8-Ball game, just because it’s fun.

You just put iTunes on random and answer the questions with what songs come on. Then, if you want, you can interpret them somehow. I welcome you to do it too and post your answers on your own blog or in the comments. Maybe it’s lame of me but I actually enjoy reading other people’s memes. It’s probably even more lame that I’m posting one myself, but I am the boss of me and therefore I don’t care.

How does the world see me? “Baby, I’m in the Mood for You,” Bob Dylan (Oooh, that’s a good one. Thanks, world. You’re too kind.)
Will I have a happy life?
“Sugar Free Jazz,” Soul Coughing (Dang, this song’s kind of downer. Good thing this is all pretend.) What do my friends think of me? “Memories Can’t Wait,” the Talking Heads (I never realized until just now that this is, I think, the riff in Moby and Gwen Stefani’s “Southside.” Maybe that means my friends think I am cool and original yet forgettable.)
Do people secretly lust after me?
“Guantanamera,” lyrics by José Martí, performed by Celia Cruz (I am a lusty Cuban exile. You know it.)
How can I make myself happy?
“Angel of the Morning,” Juice Newton (A one-night stand? Don’t tell Denny!)
What should I do with my life?
“Twistin’ in the Wind,” David Byrne (That is really not helpful.)
Will I ever have children? “My Best Friend’s Girl,” The Cars (Well, Denny is my best friend, so if we ever have a baby girl, I guess she would be my best friend’s girl. This is really stretching.)
What is some good advice for me?
“Turn Your Lights Down Low,” Bob Marley ft. Lauryn Hill (I do believe in energy conservation)
How will I be remembered?
“The Time it Takes,” King Toad (I like the line “Everything is here forever.” It makes me feel high-endurance.)
What is my signature dancing song? “Ladies Love Outlaws,” Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson (I don’t believe I have ever danced to this, but I guess I could see it happening.)
What is my current theme song?
“Contigo,” Enrique Iglesias (Hoo boy. I must suck.)
What song will play at my funeral?
“Miss Lucy,” Liz Phair (Sure, who wouldn’t want a Liz Phair song at her funeral? She’s klassy.)
What type of men/women do you like?
“Vultures Ate My Dead Ass Up,” Wesley Willis (Wow. Que en paz descanse Wesley.)
What is your day going to be like?
“High Water,” Bob Dylan (It did rain today, although I think it’s stopped now.)

Okay, this wasn’t a very good round. Maybe yours will be better.


Blah blah blah

Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:40 pm

I’ve woken up stupidly early (like 4:30-5:30) several days in the last week.  It’s annoying.  I don’t want to go to bed at 9:00 like somebody’s grandma, but it’s creeping toward that.  What gives?  Next thing you know I’ll be wearing adult diapers and demanding discounts at Village Inn.

Hm…I’m hungry.  Today is one of the few days this week it’s not supposed to rain, so Denny’s going to grill up some chicken and mushrooms, which we’ll have with farmer’s market spinach salad and…maybe something else, TBD.  I picked up some reduced fat salt and pepper potato chips in the hippie aisle at Hy-Vee last night, so maybe we’ll give those a try.

Isn’t it nice of me to just brainstorm about dinner?  Fascinating, I’m sure.  I owe you more than that.

Um…I just read two Chuck Palahniuk books in a row and I think they’re warping my brain.  I think he’s a really good writer, though.  He’s all about the novel as a whole.  Things don’t make sense at first, but as you delve further in, everything arranges itself.  He does interesting things with repeating words and phrases, and he’s all about the slow reveal, but not in the cheap twist ending sense.

I like him, but I think I need a break.  Any good book recommendations?


Red hands

Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:13 pm

This is a present for Jamal.  It’s weird, because I always thought he was pretty squeamish about blood and guts, but he wanted to see it.

It’s a different kind of gross now, more oozy and pus-filled, but I thought the shiny red was pretty so I took a picture right after it happened.

I always thought Black Francis was saying “Red hands” in the song “Caribou.”

Filed under: — Aprille @ 2:12 pm

My hands are gross, and not just because of the skin-drying soap and rough paper towels they have in the work bathrooms. No, I pulled a Princess Grace on Saturday and did a full lay-out on the sidewalk during a run. I caught myself on my palms, but my trajectory was moving forward, so I did a good amount of skidding. It was near an intersection, and a car was just pulling up. He made an eye-contact acknowledgment of my situation, presumably to see if I was okay. I was, pretty much (although that marked the end of my run, even though I was hoping to get another 20 minutes in). Fortunately, Denny was with me, so the driver didn’t feel too compelled to come, you know, discuss it with me. That would have been really embarrassing.

The weekend got better after that, though. I went to Ames to see my mom’s dance recital and also got to see my friend Emily, so that was fun. Ames has a really good new Thai restaurant called The Spice. I recommend the duck pad ka prow.

Now it is Monday, and my right hand is pretty usable (though scabby). My left hand is not in such good shape, but it’s showing signs of progress. It’s a sad state of affairs when a change in ooze color is a positive thing, no?


Blueberry Black Pepper Cake with Basil Ice Cream

Filed under: — Aprille @ 8:57 pm

I did manage to come up with a picture, though I didn’t have any of the garnishes.  It was still tasty, though.

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