Point Me

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I'm in love

Paul and I bought new bikes over the weekend. This is my new sweet ride.

And this is Paul's.

It's basically been raining monsoon-style since we brought them home, so I haven't gotten to ride much. I did take mine out the day we bought them though, and it totally revealed how woefully and ridiculously out of shape I actually am. Not a good thing when your house is surrounded by big hills on all sides. I've resolved to ride often though, and belatedly make good on my New Year's resolution to exercise more. My goal is to be able to ride the 5 hilly miles to the Olde Hadley Flea Market in June.

Right now, sadly, I couldn't make it up the first hill at the end of my street. Kind of embarrassing, but I will do better!

Monday, March 29, 2010

I haven't slept for ten days, because that would be too long

5 years ago today,one of the only stand-up comics I really ever liked passed away. Mitch Hedberg was too young and too cool to die, but ce la vie.

"You should never make cookies untouchable." Agreed!

It stinks that he's gone, and Carlos Mencia still has a TV show.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Cathedral - 1985

The same day I picked up the other owl at the salvy, I also found a copy of "Cathedral" by David Macaulay. His books are gorgeously illustrated guides to mechanics of architecture. I distinctly remember watching this movie version of the book during indoor recess one rainy fourth grade day. It really shows you the huge amount of patience and resources that went into creating these huge structures.

Gothic Architecture is my favorite sort. Gotta love the pointed arches, high ceilings and gargoyles.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Your Friendly Mittelos Bioscience Representative

This season of Lost has been pretty darn amazing. This weeks episode "Ab Aeterno" was particularly cool. It was so exciting to finally learn the origin story of the mysterious Richard Alpert. I wonder if Nestor Carbonell ever thought that he would get his own episode. He really showed his capabilities as an actor too, in a really wonderful way. I was really impressed with his ability to do an accent in transition, as he transformed from19th century Ricardo the Modern day Richard Alpert.

I like to think that this episode is one designed to be a red herring, just like the Season 2 episode "Dave". That episode plants the theory that the Island and all the people on it are delusions of the psychiatric ward alumni, Hurley. "Ab Aeterno" focuses on the theory that everybody on the island is dead and the island is hell. I like to think that it's a little more complicated than all that.

I also love the part at 33:30 when Jacob "baptizes" Richard, because it's basically an homage to this.

Mark Pellegrino is a dunking expert. That's why they hired him to play Jacob.

To celebrate this awesome episode, check out these awesome blank resin statues of the four-toed statue, aka, the devil who guards the island (16:20). Each one can be customized by you to your liking!


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Story Time!

I've noticed that there's a village in our service region called "Dingley Dell". I absolutely cannot look at that name without thinking of this:

Maybe I'll pay it a visit. ;)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Victory Bread

I made some beer bread this afternoon. I'm really pleased with how it came out, and the recipe is so so easy! You could really whip this together on the fly, and totally come out looking fancy.

I got the recipe from here. It only takes 3 ingredients, all of which you may already have in your house: Flour, sugar and beer.

Preheat the oven to 350, and grease a 5x9 loaf pan.

Mix 3 cups of flour with 3 Tbsp sugar. Then add 1 bottle of beer and mix well, first with a wooden spoon, then with your hands, until the dough is firm and sticky.

Bake for 50-60 minutes.

I used one of my favorite beers to make this bread: Victory Storm King Stout

This yummy dark beer makes an earthy, sweet bread. I think the heaviness of the stout also made the bread a little richer. We had it still warm from the oven w/ dinner. It was very yummy buttered. I actually also think it would be good with PB&J or a mild swiss cheese.

This recipe is a great way to magically turn your favorite beer into a food!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Curse of Castle McDuck - 1987

Between the ages of 3 and 9 I could not get enough Ducktales. It had adventure, mishaps with futuristic inventions, magic, and a sweet theme song. Not to mention a whole town made up of dog-people.

Looking back though, this show was like the ultimate epitome of the 80's mindset. Who's the hero? The millionaire who hoards his cash in a gigantic money bin that dominates the landscape of Duckville. When he's not literally swimming in his pile of gold coins, he uses them to take his trendy orphan wards on adventures. This show was all about showcasing the awesomeness of the millionaire lifestyle, and the supreme importance and power of money.

The 80's financial mindset is totally showcased in one of my favorite episodes - "The Curse of Castle McDuck", in which uncle scrooge takes the children to visit his cursed childhood home. I was totally fascinated by the druids featured in this one. They were a little scary, but also very mysterious and cool. I think the primary reason I remember this episode so well though is the glow in the dark dogs.

In the end, the thousand year old land battle between uncle scrooge and the druids is solved with good old fashioned cultural exploitation. Let's put our differences aside and capitalize together on the commercialization of our heritage. Yay!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Feel the Beat from the Tambourine

5 days ago, ABBA was inducted into the rock n' roll hall of fame, making them the first group to come up when you list all the inductees alphabetically. Take that AC-DC!

I think the choice to honor them is awesome, but kind of weird. Awesome, because I love ABBA. Super Trooper is my #1 Karaoke/shower song, and I can't get enough of their sassy 70's Swedish-ness. Weird, because most people who loved rock n' roll in 70's would probably react to their induction thusly:

How did disco royalty get into the rock n' roll hall of fame?

A committee of over 500 rock n' roll historians annually votes on who gets in. Artists can be put on the ballot 25 years after their first album is released. If they get the highest number of votes, and more than half the committee votes for them, they get in.

The voting criteria is based on "influence and significance of the artists’ contributions to the development and perpetuation of rock and roll."

I guess breaking chart records in 6 countries and selling 100 million records makes you pretty influential.

Dancing Queen was a huge hit at my 6th grade summer camp dance. It's also my favorite song to do dishes to. Here's a video of the group performing it in 1976 for the wedding of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden. Why yes, they are dressed in 18th century courtly garb, thank you for noticing! Plus, sing-alongy goodness.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Lions and Tigers and Bears.

Hansa North America is a toy company from Maryland that makes amazing, realistic stuffed animals. They're wonderful!

Amazing 6'5 Bear!Giant Western Elan - 11 inches

3 foot tall camel

They even managed to make the most terrifying lemur on earth, the Aye-Aye look cute and cuddly
Life-sized vulture! Yikes.

I want to ride it!

Mythical Phoenix Fire Bird! You can pretend to be Dumbledore!

6 year old me wanted these for Christmas.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


I wanted to write a post about this amazing falcon I read about in my bird book, The Merlin : Falco columbarius. Once upon a time, these 9 to 13 inch-tall birds were the most popular trained hunting bird in Europe. Why?

"Birds of prey are specialists. Some hunt from perches; others search for victims while soaring overhead. Falcons, in turn, have been specially crafted for expertise at intercepting prey in open flight. And, ounce for ounce, few can rival the spunky little Merlin, so swift and agile that it can outmanuver even such masters of flight as dragonflies and tree swallows"- (RDBNAB, pg. 33)

Their diet is full of other, smaller birds, swooped and nommed right out of the air. I was dying to see a video of this winged sorcerer, but there is a definite shortage of videos of Merlin in flight on the internet. The closest I could find to a demonstration of skill was in a video series titled "The Merlinologist", brought to you by the Merlin Falcon Foundation. In it, falcon expert David Drummond discusses his organization, and demonstrates his absolute devotion to nature and birds of prey.

Watching parts 2-5 is recommended for maximum bird viewage and naturalist awesomeness. It seems like an amazing organization!

The other merlin related video of note I found is here:

I was not expecting a proselytizing raptor bird!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Poetry Stylings

One of my most treasured books is Seamus Heaney's "Opened Ground - Selected Poems 1966-1996". I got it when I took Irish Literature at Oxford, so it's befitting for St. Patrick's Day. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Seamus Heaney is incredibly brilliant with the English language, and he combines words in very satisfying ways. His scansion is awesome! I'm jealous now of all the Butterfield kids who took Peggy O'Brien's class 1st semester freshmen year, and got to go see him read from his translation of "Beowulf".

Well, it's not quite meeting him, BUT

When I was in Ireland, I saw a bog mummy at the National Museum, just like the one from his poem:

"Bog Queen"

I lay waiting
Between turf-face and demesne wall,
Between Heathery levels
And glass-toothed stone.

My body was Braille
For the creeping influences:
Dawn suns groped over my head
And cooled at my feet,

Through my fabrics and skins
The seeps of winter
Digested me,
The illiterate roots

Pondered and died
In the cavings
Of stomach and socket.
I lay waiting

On the gravel bottom,
My brain darkening,
A jar of spawn
Fermenting underground

Dreams of Baltic amber.
Bruised berries under my nails,
The vital hoard reducing
In the crock of the pelvis.

My diadem grew carious,
Gemstones dropped
In the peat floe
Like the bearings of history.

My sash was a black glacier
Wrinkling, dyed weaves
And phoenician stichwork
Retted on my breasts'

Soft moraines.
I knew winter cold
Like the nuzzle of fjords
At my thighs -

The soaked fledge, the heavy
Swaddle of hides.
my skull hibernated
in the wet nest of my hair.

Which they robbed.
I was barbered
And stripped
By a turfcutter's spade

Who veiled me again
And packed coomb softly
Between the stone jambs
At my head and my feet.

Till a peer's wife bribed him.
The plait of my hair,
A slimy birth-cord
Of bog had been cut

And I rose from the dark,
Hacked bone, skull-ware,
Frayed stitches, tufts,
Small gleams on the bank

Yeah.. the mummy was pretty gross. They kept it at the center of a spiraled corridor, so there was no way you could see it accidentally. Nothing says Happy St. Patrick's day like a mummy, huh? And what's up with that lady who wanted to own the 2000 year old bog-mummy hair? Gross!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Old News?

You may have heard already that Jemaine Clement from Flight of The Conchords is up for a part in the next Men In Black sequel. Man, Hollywood loves recycling these days.

Sacha Baron Cohen is also up for the part
- a character, presumed to be an alien, apparently named Yaz.

I'm hopeful for Jemaine. I think he's got it goin' on!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Amherst Adventures

Earlier today, Paul and I had a nice little date in Amherst center. It was kind of gloomy out (lousy Smarch weather), but it was nice to walk around town all the same, get some fresh air and the like.

We got lunch a Tomi, which is one of the newer additions to the downtown restaurant scene. It's a spin off of the chain "Moby Dick's House of Kabob", and serves Persian Mediterranean food. It's taken up shop in a space with notoriously high turn over, the storefront next to Antonio's. Former home of Rolando's Roast Beef (which also served falafel) and Fatso's burgers before that. They've really transformed the place into a classy, modern sit-down place though. Gone are the shiny metal diner style counters and self-serve soda machine. Instead there are nice wood tables and exposed brick walls...they really made it look nice. The food was great too, and the prices reasonable. They have delicious persian tea that they serve in beautiful glass mugs with a big bowl of sugar cubes. I really enjoyed eating there, so I hope they have better luck than all the other places that preceded it. I give it all my stars and thumbs up!

Afterwards, we took a walk into the Amherst College campus to see the Natural History museum. It was awesome! They have a really impressive collection of fossils. Plus, it was free!

The other cool part is that the classrooms and labs of Amherst College are strangely combined into the museum space. So you can examine all these massive quartz crystals, and then turn around and peek at the mysterious machinery behind the door with a radioactivity warning. It's neat too because a lot of their collection was acquired by students on school sponsored expeditions. Jawsome!

Friday, March 12, 2010


I know what I want to do for my birthday this year!

I'll be 25, which is kind of crazy. Weekend of October 14th I want to be eating a leg of mutton, please. Also, I will wear a costume.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


I'm in love with lunchinabox.net, an awesome blog by a real-life mom that packs real-life bento box lunches for her grade school age kid. I hope to one day be as cool a mom as her.

Bento are single portion, traditional Japanese meals. This blog does a great job of showing how you too can make them using time-tested lunch-packing methods. It also proves that box lunches don't always have to be Kyaraben, fanciful masterpeices, like these.

Though a little whimsy never hurt anybody. Check out this sweet tutorial on how to make octopus-hotdogs (octodogs). Processed meat just got way cuter!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Pine Cone Pile!

Oh man.

So, our house is surrounded by these very beautiful, tall majestic pine trees.

As pretty as they are, they do have a downside.

The milder weather this week really encouraged me to get out and try my hand at yard work. But the amount of pine cones that I have to clean from the yard is just overwhelming and kind of unmanageable.

If I don't rake them up, the lawn is totally going to die. Pine is so acidic that it just smothers grass and kills it. Plus, the crunching of massive pine cones underfoot doesn't really encourage barefoot summer Frisbee games.

How am I gonna get rid of them? Bird feeders are a good beginning, I suppose.

Peanut Butter, Sunflower Seeds and Pine cones. You're welcome, birds.

Monday, March 8, 2010


Have you seen the new Ok Go video for "This too shall pass"? It's pretty amazing, and features a beautiful Rube Goldberg machine.

I love the way they used lots of different depths, and a long panning shot to make it feel really dynamic. I also think it's great how the machine is primarily designed to showcase cool visual stuff. Even though the energy of the machine is directed through other channels, you get to see falling pianos and wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube men on the side.

These things are truly are feats to create. To see the sciencey side of these whimsical machines, check out this video from the 2007 National Rube Goldberg machine contest at Purdue University. Physics-tastic!

1:33 - What an eccentric moustache!

2:02- 2 Indiana Jones themed machines!

2:30- Make that 3...

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Other Owl

Check out the sweet new toy I bought at the Salvation Army yesterday.

Owl Russian Nesting Dolls! They're sweet little strigiformes.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Babysitters Club - 1990

I loved The Baby-sitters Club books when I was little. They were my favorite series to read. I can still remember how psyched I was when they started making "Super Special" editions that were twice as long, and usually involved an exotic adventure. I think I enjoyed the one where they went to New York City best.


The theme song from the tv show based on the books randomly popped into my head today! The opening of the show is like a portrait of the 90's. I used to take this out from the library and watch it on a vcr.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wednesday Dinner #15 - Thai Chicken Stew

Tonight for dinner I made Thai Chicken Stew, a recipe from the 2008 Food and Wine cookbook.

This dish is a good dish for March. It's got the heartiness of a stew to combat the still-lingering snows of winter, and a delicious dose of crisp fresh greens to remind you that spring is right around the corner.

This stew is supposed to be served with potato-chive dumplings. I'll add the instructions for them per the recipe, but I'll warn you, mine didn't come out so hot.

They basically disintegrated into a watered down potato soup. I'm not 100% sure what went wrong, but I think it was a combination of 3 possibilities:

1. I didn't use the right kind of potatoes
2. I didn't coat the dumplings with enough flour, so they did not hold their shapes.
3. I was so nervous about them disintegrating that my exploratory poking with a slotted spoon might have hastened the demise.

The dish was really good though, even without the delicious sounding dumplings. I would still highly recommend it to anybody. I'm going to work on my dumpling making skills for next time, cuz I plan on making this again for sure.

Ok - Thai Chicken Stew w/Potato Chive Dumplings

-1/2 lb baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
-2 tablespoons oil
-1 lb skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch chunks
-1 large onion, finely chopped
-1 large jalapeno, seeded and chopped (though I may slip in a few seeds next time, this dish seems like it would be good spicy!)
-1/4 cup fish sauce
-3 cups chicken stock
-2 Tbsps flour
-1 egg yolk
-2 tbsp chives
-1 lb baby bok choy, chopped
-1 Tbsp cornstarch

1. Cover potato chunks with hot water and boil until soft (12 mins)

2. In a separate pan, cook the chicken in oil on high heat until brown (4 mins). Add onion and jalapeno and cook another 4 minutes. Add 3 Tbsp of fish sauce and the chicken stock. Bring to a boil and cover. Lower the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes.

3. Remove the potatoes from the boiling water and mash. Save the potato cooking water. Add flour, egg yolk, chives and salt to the potatoes and work in to a stiff dough. Turn the dough on a heavily floured board. Once coated, roll into one inch balls.

4. Add the bok choy to the stew and cook for 5 minutes. Add cornstarch and stir till thickened.

5. Bring potato water to boil and add the dumplings. Cook over high heat until they rise to the surface (2 mins). Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked dumplings into the stew. Add the remaining fish sauce and simmer for 2 minutes.

To go with this delicious meal, how about another spicy Thai dish? Wink!

My favorite martial artist is Tony Jaa, world renown Thai kick boxer. He's basically the man. Here's a scene from his 2005 film "Tom Yum Goong", released in America as "The Protector". This fight scene is fantastic, shot all in one continuous long shot. Oh man, it seems exhausting!

In case you're wondering what's up with the bell and stuff: He's attempting to track down his sacred elephant that has been kidnapped by gangsters. He's a brilliant fighter, it's like incredibly violent poetry in motion.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Massive Mammal

It's amazing how much bigger mammals were 14 million years ago, when human society was but a far off twinkle in the universe's eye. Meet the Indricotherium, a monster from the Miocene period. At 25 ft. tall and 26 ft. long, this ancestor of the rhinoceros was the largest land mammal in history.

Once these guys roamed the temperate forests of Asia, eating leaves like crazy to support their 10-20 ton frame.

It is named after the mythical Russian Indrik, a fantastical beast that lives on a magical mountain and is king of all the animals. Good that an herbivore got a shot at that job once, I say.