Wednesday, September 19, 2007

One nice thing about this vacation is that I'm catching up on my reading a bit. I have probably about 10 books in my apartment which I've never read. Several of them were gifts, whether directly or as gift certificates. A few more books I don't particularly care about came bundled with things I bought that I actually did want, like some Magic: the Gathering novelizations. And the rest, I bought to expand my horizons or simply out of habit. As a teen and in the first few years of college, I read a whole lot, but between a full-time job and hobbies like World of Warcraft, not so much lately. So when I'd find myself in a bookstore to get a comic book, or the latest installment of a series I liked like 1632 or the Dresden Files, I'd get something else too that looked new and kinda interesting, and just never get around to reading it.

So I brought three as-yet-unread books with me. So far I've finished one, "Mirrorshades," a collection of cyberpunk short stories; and I'm nearly finished with Distraction, by Bruce Sterling; and I plan to read the collection of essays about modern political freedom next. Maybe I should have even brought more, since I've finished a Western novel of my aunt's as well, but sooner or later I would have run into the limits of what I could fit in my backpack anyway.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Blogging from New Mexico, at my uncle Mark and aunt Susan's house while on vacation. Good times. Saturday was just travel and recovering from it. Sunday was a hike through some state land (we picked prickly pears from a cactus my uncle Mark had found a few days before; I was the only person who didn't wind up bleeding), and we planned on going to a fundraiser for a local nonprofit at a wine bar in the evening, but decided to take it easy instead. Yesterday Mark and I drove a couple hours, stopping at a store on the way where I got a couple souvenirs, to a park with some cliff dwellings from around 1200 AD or so, which was also quite a hike, and had a leisurely evening and watched "Good Night and Good Luck," which Mark and Susan own. Good movie; I hadn't seen it before. It was good and informative and stuff, but the part that I'd call the most "fun" was the part about Liberace trying to act heterosexual. I guess that makes me a bad political enthusiast.

Also, I have found yet another unconventional source of my news: I learned here that Robert Jordan died. (When the next comic is posted to that page that link won't work, of course. In case I forget to fix it, it's the Sept. 18 comic.) To be clear, it's true according to Google News, but I found out about it through the comic strip, which I thought was funny. This is sad, obviously, but Randy (Something Positive author/artist) had the right idea: fans are justified in freaking out. I'm not, partly because I'm reasonably confident in those "precautions," but mostly because I'm jaded.

Also, remember this? Well, I did some cooking. It didn't turn out the way I wanted, unfortunately. I wanted to make an apple crisp sort of thing, but I messed up the recipe and it turned out to be more like an apple pie with no crust. But it tasted fine, and it was a good first try (not first time cooking, of course, but first time baking something by myself? probably), so overall: yay me!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Here in Vermont, it seems that, say, a quarter of all households have gardens, to pull a fraction out of my ass. However, the tomatoes produced by those gardens only stay good for a week, maybe two. Therefore, unless the gardens are very small, or people in the house really like cooking and like recipes that use tomatoes, a lot more tomatoes will be produced than their producers can eat.

This is why there is more fresh produce in my apartment today than at any point since last fall. My parents gave me a bowl full of cherry tomatoes when I left their house yesterday (a small fraction of their total yield) which I have been eating as snacks, and I have also had to politely refuse offers from the guy in the other apartment and someone at work because, come on, when would I eat them? Maybe I should cook more than I do, but not in Martha Stewart's wildest dreams would a single guy be able to go through 20 beefsteak tomatoes in a week without getting sick of them. Or even four or five. (Why not one or two, then? Well, to that I have to confess to laziness, I guess.)

Actually, though, I have to correct two parts of that last post. A bowl full of cherry tomatoes would not be the most fresh produce in a year for me by itself. The peck of apples I picked yesterday afternoon, almost on a whim after biking by an orchard and being surprised to see it was open on Labor Day, is a lot more, at least by weight. And while I haven't done it yet, I plan to do some kind of cooking with that. Maybe I'll never get around to it, etc., but don't count it out yet.