Chattering-Magpie-blog

Vegan baked goods ain't half bad.

Posted Sat Feb 28, 2009, 18:11 PM by Tracy | |

It’s good to learn something new every day. Today I learned, done right, vegan baked goods are downright tasty. What’s more, they don’t weigh you down and make you feel slightly sick when you over indulge.

At least, that’s what I’m told. I didn’t eat a dozen cookies or an entire loaf by myself, but I did sample some banana bread (moist, not greasy) and oatmeal cookies at a bake sale.

The trick is to replace eggs with flax seed. That’s right, flax seed. I never would have guessed. Apparently, when crushed and mixed with water, flax seed whips up like egg whites. It adds appropriate body and moisture to the baked goods. Plus, there are good substitutes for butter.

Who knew? Vegans, that’s who.

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Chattering-Magpie-blog

This is only a test. If this had been an actual blog post ...

Posted Sun Feb 15, 2009, 08:04 AM by Tracy | |

I’m trying out posting directly to my blog from the iPhone. Touch screen one finger typing is still awkward for me. I can touch type with fair speed on a full size keyboard and I’ve gotten pretty good at Grafittis 1 & 2 on the Palm OS over the years. I’m told it will take practice. We just got the iPhones Friday evening. Auto-correction is saving my butt.

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Chattering-Magpie-blog

Cocktails and basketball.

Posted Wed Feb 11, 2009, 19:53 PM by Tracy | |

We were hanging out the other night at our favorite bar, when the bartender mentioned he had been asked to invent some cocktails in honor of the NCAA.

As it happened, the martini I had just had him mix for me would fit right in that theme: Belvedere vodka with a splash of Clear Creek Distillery Eau de Vie of Douglas Fir and a twist of lime. I christened it The Tall Fir. The first NCAA basketball champions were the team from University of Oregon, nicknamed the Tall Firs.

We brainstormed a few more possible cocktails:

  • NCAA: *N*ocello, *C*offee, *A*maretto and *A*bsolut Vanil
  • Sweet Sixteen: something sweet and pink with a powdered sugar rim
  • Bracket Busters: regional cocktails to honor each geographic region of the NCAA

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Chattering-Magpie-blog

Crime in the 'hood.

Posted Mon Feb 09, 2009, 08:42 AM by Tracy | |

I used to say that we lived in a no-crime zone. You could look at a map of my city that shows where crimes are reported. There’s a little blank square where nothing happens. Our house is inside that square.

This morning as I prepared to scrape the frozen frost from the windshield I noticed my driver side door was slightly ajar. I was sure I had closed it, I thought, as I opened the door.

Immediately I saw that my coin holder was missing. Not just the change it contained, but the entire holder. Plus the few random dollar bills I would occasionally tuck into the another holder between the seats (do those things have names?)

Damn punks got into my car and took my change. Now I’m mad. They didn’t take anything else, not that there was anything of value. I’ve been very lax about security, neglecting to lock my car as it sat in the driveway. I’ll be locking it from now on, I suppose, for all the good it will do.

Now what do I put my loose change into?

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Chattering-Magpie-blog

My husband's cousin.

Posted Thu Feb 05, 2009, 09:43 AM by Tracy | |

Is an idiot. He or she (I’m being marginally discreet) regularly forwards emails warning of dire consequences of using some product or service. “Authorities” cited are of dubious credibility if not downright fictional. Many of these emails originate from the 80s or early 90s and were debunked ages ago.

  • Cell phones cause brain cancer
  • (Then candidate) Obama wasn’t born in the US, doesn’t have US birth certificate
  • Microwaving food in plastic containers releases dangerous toxins (okay, this has some validity, but nothing so drastic as the email suggested)
  • #77 connects you to the state highway patrol (this one came with a rapist scare story to make it more … scary)
  • Tampons and sanitary pads contain asbestos and cause Toxic Shock Syndrome

There’s more of course, but these are the ones that stick out in my mind.

This person is otherwise reasonably intelligent and is college-educated. But when it comes to alarmist emails, common sense just flies out the window. And clogs up my inbox.

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Magpie-Knits

Aran Long Cardigan

Posted Sun Feb 01, 2009, 21:25 PM by Tracy | |

Digital photography is a miserable thing. I have yet to figure out the ideal combination of shutter speed and aperature to bring out the shadows of white-on-white cables. Lighting has something to do with it, too. Someday I should take a class and really learn this stuff.

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Chattering-Magpie-blog

Some days I shouldn't be allowed to have a computer.

Posted Wed Jan 21, 2009, 19:39 PM by Tracy | |

I was all set to demo a piece of functionality to an internal customer this afternoon when my laptop computer suddenly shut down. I rebooted and it immediately began shutting down again. I begged off and went in search of IT.

Just for the heck of it, I docked the laptop and tried rebooting again. Sure enough, it shut down just about as everything had completely loaded. Everyone in IT was off helping other people, so I took my laptop to the “Vault”, a secure room where the programmers and QA work.

Let’s take a look at it. What’s it doing?

I start it up and it immediately shuts down, I say.

Fire ‘er up.

The laptop started up and loaded my startup apps.

I’m going to run the command line to abort the shutdown process. Oh. It couldn’t abort because it’s not shutting down.

I explain that I can’t even shut off the sound and reach out to press the sound on/off button.

Why are you pressing the power button to shut off the sound?

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Chattering-Magpie-blog

Snap and double snap.

Posted Tue Jan 20, 2009, 18:00 PM by Tracy | |

From today’s inaugural address.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

Oh snap.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things.

Double snap.

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Chattering-Magpie-blog

Not the "Magic Negro."

Posted Mon Jan 19, 2009, 12:57 PM by Tracy | |

Early in the campaign, in 2007 in fact, Rush Limbaugh (no referring-link love here) tried to claim the phrase “Magic Negro” and attach it to our now soon-to-be President. He pulled it from an LA Times editorial, which I understood to be about public perception and expectations of Barack Obama.

The Magic (or Magical or Mystical) Negro, a stock character of film and literature always subservient to the needs, goals, and personal growth of the white (usually male) protagonist, is a racially-infused construction of the older mythic tradition of the Companion.

As the Hero sets out on his (or her) journey, he often acquires up to three companions, frequently possessing magical powers, who assist him on his quest. The Companion may be a dangerous wild man or talking animal, or even a wise though non-magical servant.

Barack Obama does not fit the construct of a Magic Negro. He is not a companion to a protagonist, he is the protagonist. It is as the Hero that he carries the hopes and expectations of the nation. His quest is to lead the nation.

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Chattering-Magpie-blog

I come home to an empty house.

Posted Fri Jan 16, 2009, 20:06 PM by Tracy | |

A couple three times a year, E goes off for a weekend with his buddies. I’m welcome to come with, I just don’t want to.

Typically I take myself out to dinner in the Pearl, for sukiyaki at an upscale Japanese restaurant. I have sufficient leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch.

It’s just me and the cats. I don’t know what to do with myself.

What will I do when he’s gone?

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