Friday, August 31, 2007

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Reading Update

I used to read a lot (really, a lot). Then I barely read at all. Within the last year I've started reading quite a bit again.

My problem is that it is entirely possible for me to read a book without ever looking at the title or seeing who the author is. Someone will hand me a book and say "read this" and I somehow miss the title almost every time. Or I'll notice the title quickly at first and then ignore it.

So I'm going to try to be more aware of what books I'm reading. Learn a bit about titles and authors. Just a bit, that way if I am reading a bunch of books by the same person, I'll realize it!

I'm going to list a lot of books now. These are the ones that I can remember reading through the summer. I'll also put a short description that makes sense to me...even if it doesn't make sense to anyone else that has or will read the book.

And I'll make a reading update post every few books that I read. The sidebar will list the ones that I've read since my last update post.

Monster Island/Nation/Planet by David Wellington. A series of 3 books. People are either dead or zombies, very few that aren't. Old mummy dude gets into people's minds. Mad scientist trying to save wife.

Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer. Boy and grandfather take the foreigner to find his dead grandfathers lover from the war. Dog goes too. It jumps between a couple of stories...the boy/grandfather and the story of the city they are looking for, with bits of stories about the war/stuff thrown in.

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss. The guy lives in a very cluttered apartment. He is writing a book. He came to the US from somewhere else. He had a love, did a modeling job, has a single neighbor.

The Shadow of the Wind by Carols Ruiz Zafon. Very good. A boy is taken to pick out a book, a man is trying to destroy the book. There are lots of little stories that tie into one in a very well done way (the blind girl, the bum, the publisher's secretary).

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. His experiences when attempting to thru hike the Appalachian Trail. Very interesting and has me even more interested in hiking than I was.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. A circus story! The almost-vet ends up on a circus train and falls in love. Of course there is an elephant. I really enjoyed this one.

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. A vampire story...the dad is telling his daughter his stories after she finds a book.

Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. Somehow I missed reading this in high school. Ummm, it is about war and the guy's life now and the aliens? I should read it again.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy. A man and his son are walking south. Something happened and the world is mostly dead. Written without extra words and reads very quickly. Many things are left for you to figure out and think about, but in a good way.

The White Castle: A Novel by Orhan Pamuk. A guy from Italy is taken as a slave to Turkey when their ship is captured. He convinces people he is a doctor and gets special treatment from the Pasha. He is sold to a man very similar in looks to himself and spends the next 20 years with him.

I think there are more that I've read. And I hope I matched up my memories of contents with titles correctly (I googled for authors)!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

change jar

There isn't much going on. I'm busy with the new apartment (I'm finishing moving tonite) and work. I really want to do some cooking and baking...I'll try to find time for that this weekend. I'm soooo sick of beans and rice. I made them again last nite since I barely had time to make/eat anything and they are quick.

I was studying at Starbucks yesterday morning and the whole hour that I was there, a woman was sitting in the corner shaking a jar of change. Not like a cup to get change from people, it sounded like a large mason jar 1/2 full of change. I thought she would stop after a few minutes, but nope. She was doing it when I got there and still going at it an hour later when I left. My iPod was great to have blocked it out enough that I could study.

In case you were wondering, here are the names of the songs to the bits I put up the other day.

i need your arms around me / i need to feel your touch / i need your understanding / i need your love so much
**Never There by Cake
you must die, i alone am best / i hope you flip some guy the bird / he cut you off and you're forced to swerve
**I Hope You Die by The Bloodhound Gang
car after bus, car after truck / after this my lungs will be so fucked up
**Carbon Monoxide by Cake
making my entrance again with my usual flair / sure of my lines / nobody's there
**Send in the Clowns by Frank Sinatra
you don't eat or drink or mow the lawn / you just fuck your uncle all day long
**Uncle Fucka by Terrance and Phillip (South Park)

Friday, August 24, 2007

snippets of songs

Bits of songs that I heard while I was studying this morning. I put the iPod on and then block out most of the stuff that goes from it to my ears. This is what didn't get blocked and slipped through.

i need your arms around me / i need to feel your touch / i need your understanding / i need your love so much
you must die, i alone am best / i hope you flip some guy the bird / he cut you off and you're forced to swerve
car after bus, car after truck / after this my lungs will be so fucked up
making my entrance again with my usual flair / sure of my lines / nobody's there
you don't eat or drink or mow the lawn / you just fuck your uncle all day long

I just found it amusing what bits of songs I heard and thought I would share! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Caffiene headache hurts
Coffee makes it go away
Addiction still there

No attempt to break
The pull of coffee on me
Too hot to drink it

Fill cup up early
Forget about it til lunch
Problem solved, it's cold

the maths (of a financial ecomonics sort):

Put-call parity
Call plus present strike equals
Put plus forward price

Call is S less K
And for Put it's K less S
Max(above and naught)

I hate arbitrage
buy/sell/short the put/call/stock
which is when and why?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I'd rather be hiking

So I'm on a roll with this posting thing!

Really I don't have anything of interest to say today. And no pictures.

Ummm, I just moved so I'm selling all the furniture I don't want on Craig's List. It is surprisingly easy. And it sells very quickly if you price it low enough! Kitchen gadgets and stuff don't sell quite as quickly as furniture. I might keep them and try again the 1st week of September, once all the students move back.

I was talking to a friend yesterday while I uploaded pics onto the flickr. I have a Mac, he has a PC. He said "my PC has VD"...that damn internets p*rn and its viruses. My Mac hates any wireless internets that I actually pay money for, but loves all the free wireless's an internets whore. Oh, J - I still have a wireless router thingy for you.

I got to play Batman's new learning game last nite (it is for his dissertation). A guy he works with made it in Flash based on what Batman wanted it to do. Now I know all about natural selection and he knows all about how it works on someone that is not him. I feel like a guinea pig.

I'm tired of eating beans and rice. I've been eating pretty much the same combo for 3 weeks now. Rice cooked in the rice maker, frozen corn and frozen bell peppers, garlic, beans (usually black, last time I got kidney and chickpeas), stir fry sauce, and hot sauce. It is filling, cheap, super easy, fast, and healthy. Hard to find all of that in a meal. Plus when I make it is enough for 2 dinners for me, 1 dinner for Batman, and 2 lunches for me. Once it cools down for real, I start making soup again. Easy, healthy, and much more room for variety.

I had kellogs organic frosted mini wheats for breakfast. The organic ones are vegan which is totally cool since I used to love frosted mini wheats (actually I liked the non-mini ones, but I'll take what I can get in vegan form).

Random enough for you?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

lots of hiking pictures

More details on my hike, actually lots of pictures and not really that many more details.

Where we camped Friday nite. Our tent and "backyard".
tent and "backyard"
Dinner Friday nite. Cous cous with chickpeas, Batman had a cup of split pea soup, and candles to keep the bugs out of the food.
dinner Fri nite

Saturday Batman and I went to find the Appalachian Trail. We found some parking near it in North Adams and got on our way.
This is the first part of it, yep a short stretch of road in the AT:
Backpacking -the view: the road part of the AT
Then we got to the trail part.
Backpacking - the view: AT sign
Backpacking - the view: sign

Hiking... this was a not-so-steep part. I couldn't get pictures of the steep part since I didn't want to slow down and didn't want to have my camera out to get broken. I had to use my hands a few times and some of those were times I didn't necessarily plan on using my hands.
Backpacking - the view: feet on the AT
Trees that look neat:
Backpacking - the view: trees
A view halfway up:
Backpacking - the view: Summit - Mt Greylock
The beacon-thingy on top of Mt. Greylock. If it does something I don't know what. I was way too tired and it was too windy to bother finding a sign with information.
Backpacking - the view: Mt Greylock beacon thingy
The view from the summit of Mt Greylock.
Backpacking - the view: Scenic View Spot
Stove for cooking dinner. I was soooo hungry that I ate all the dinner before I thought to take a picture of it. We had vegan sloppy joes with pitas. Yum. And tea cuz it was cold. The stove worked great once we got the hang of lighting it. It wasn't hard, but it took a couple of tries until we knew just how much gas to release before lighting it.
MSR Whisper Internationale
This is how I picture the "mountains" out here. Much of it was like this so I wasn't too far off. Batman did tell me that there are a few mountains in the east that have a tree line, so I guess I can leave the ""s of those when I talk about them.
Backpacking - the view: woods
Pretty trees:
Backpacking -the view: crossing trees
Stone steps. There weren't very many of these, actually this set and maybe one more shorter one. It is pretty and I liked it.
Backpacking - the view: stone steps
Playing with my macro for Batman, moss on a rock. Super exciting, I know!
Backpacking - the view: mossy rock up close

And I just found a "smudge" feature on my picture thingy. So here is a picture where you can see Batman's pack, can kinda see mine (I was wearing Batman's shirt and looke like I had been hiking aka gross), and us at the scenic view thingy half way up (I got another hiker to take our pic).
smudged pack
smudged my pack
smudged at scenic view

Monday, August 20, 2007

Quick hiking note

I had a great weekend! We ended up car camping on Friday nite (we left Boston too late to do any hiking). It was fun though, Batman made a fire and we got to cook with our little camping stove. Saturday we got up had an awful breakfast of rice meal, food was all of my choosing so I can only blame myself. Then we headed over to find the Appalachian Trail in North Adams. We had a quick lunch at a sub shop and were hiking by noon. We hiked up to Mt. Greylock and then back down to a shelter to camp at. It was 7-8 miles total, much of it pretty steep going uphill and I had a 20 pound pack (Batman's was 30 pounds). We were at camp by 5:30, and I was starving. We set up the tent, made dinner and cleaned up, and then another group came to camp at the shelter and we hung out with them. It was a group of 6 college students, they were cool. We were in bed by 10, but it took me forever to get to sleep. First I couldn't get my feet warm (even though the rest of me was sweaty), then I couldn't get comfortable, then the animals all started making noise. I got enough sleep though since we didn't get up super early. Sunday we took the easy path back down to town, so maybe 4 miles total, but no steep hills. We were back at the car by noon, so we went to the Mass MoCA. Really cool. Drove home and took a much needed shower! I slept soooo well last nite! I definitely can't wait to do it again.

I'll get pictures and more details up later this week. I've got to get a few things done, mainly laundry and grocery shopping, but I'll squeeze it in!

And if you are interested:
What I carried (about 20-22 pounds with the water full):
Osprey Atmos 50 pack (it appears that I bought a men's pack, but it fits and is a better color than the woman's, plus it is the same weight and carries the same amt.)
North Face Cat's Meow Sleeping Bag
Tent and poles (Batman had the rain cover - it was his 2 person tent)
2 liters of water in Nalgene bottles
MSR WhisperLight Internationale Stove
11 oz fuel bottle (filled with white gas)
hand crank flashlight
2 sporkish things (spoon on one end, fork with serrated edge on the other)
3 soup cups
pitas and peanut butter (I brought the whole jar)
rice meal (yuck!), raisins, slivered almonds
drinks (tea bags and emergen-c)
3 clif bars
clothes - total of what I wore and carried, 3 pairs of socks, 3 underwears, shorts, pants, tank top, short sleeve top, pullover/jacket thing (thin, nylon), and I wore my tennis shoes
toiletries - roll of tp, deodorant, face wash wipes, lotion, baby powder, q-tips, hand sanitizer, off wipes instead of bug spray
misc. - wallet, chapstick, feminine prodcuts (of course, it is that time of month, what great timing), tissues, hanky, baseball cap

I think that is everything that I carried. Batman had the rest of the tent, food, pots, toothbrushes, his own clothes and stuff, and water/water treatment, and first aid. Maybe more, I'm not sure.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

busy weekends

I have a post brewing in my head. Now I just need to figure out how to get it typed out in a way that makes sense. I'm halfway there, give me a few weeks ;)

I went to the Revs v. Galaxy game Sunday nite. It was a lot of fun. Beckham didn't play, but I didn't expect him to. It is even more fun to go now that I'm starting to figure out who the players are. I'm not sure how many more games they play. Hopefully they will get a soccer stadium built closer to the city in the next couple of years so I can go to more games (right now it is an hour drive away and I don't have a car, so I go when Batman drives). I also moved most of my stuff to my new apartment last weekend, so that made it seem busy. I've got a few things left to moved and I need to get a bookshelf or something, but I'm mostly moved and mostly unpacked!

I'm going camping this weekend, so probably no posts until next week. I have to get caught up on a ton of stuff for work (studying mostly) and finish getting supplies and food. I'm not sure exactly where we are going, but I have a new sleeping bag and internal frame pack that I'm ready to use! I'll take my camera and try to remember to take lots of pictures.

Friday, August 10, 2007


I thought I would post a few pretty pictures before the weekend.

I took these in Oswego, NY when I visited there in June. Batman and I were walking to a spot where the water snakes supposedly sun themselves. It was a longish walk, but there was lots to see the whole way there and back. Unfortunately the snakes were not to be seen.

At the stream where the snakes were supposed to be was a dragonfly though!
dragonfly in oswego

These were taken on the walk back from the stream to the house.
flower in oswego

flower in oswego

butterfly in oswego

When we were almost back to the house we saw a bunny!
bunny in owsego

And a picture for C. I saw this in 2 of the women's bathrooms in bars there. The main door locks and then you have a choice of toilets to use. This is the nicer of the two. The other one wasn't arranged in such a way that I could really take a picture of it. I took this one standing against the wall between the door and the sink.


Thursday, August 9, 2007

Ballon Finger!

This is my left hand at 7pm last nite
normal left hand

This is my right hand at the same time
swollen right hand


I got home from work yesterday and opened my window. I have to stand on the window sill to be able to open it from the top. As I was jumping down, my ring got caught on something on the window and forked up my finger! Luckily my first reaction was to take my ring off. My finger ballooned out instantly. I ran cold water on it and then put it between a lunch box ice pack and a bag of frozen bell peppers. Once I got over the initial hurtiness, I ran to the store a block away and got a bag of ice.

So instead of getting tons of studying done like I had planned, I sat for hours reading and icing my hand. Oh, and called to whine a bit to Batman and J. My dad told me to splint it, so finally at like 9pm I did (and then I organized my bedroom). Batman came over and told me not to splint it and to use it, so I'm typing with it now and it is working okay.

Today it is slightly less swollen. My middle joint is a nice shade of bruised all the way around and I have a nice red mark the shape of my ring (it is a zig-zag one).

This is the window looking all nice and safe. I took this picture on Sunday, sitting on a stool at my kitchen counter, when they were parading a saint around the neighborhood. They do this every weekend for like 2 months, a different saint each weekend and there are anywhere from 2-4 marching bands with them. Sounds great (not). This time there were only 2 bands, one in front and one behind.

saint out my window

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Catching Up

I've been back for a week and just now feel like I'm getting caught up and back in the swing of things.

Highlights from my little trip:
*eating funnel cake as it was getting dark in the "beer corral" at the fair - it was Batman's first funnel cake ever, he now acknowledges is superiority to the nasty fried dough
*riding a carnival ride with Batman, it spun a bit and went up high; it is super expensive now though ($10 for both of use to ride once I think)
*going for a mid-morning swim and then taking a small nap on the beach
*coming back to the house at nite and seeing a yard/sky full of fireflies
*hanging out and talking to the owner of a local bar, he is very interesting
*finding fruit in the middle of all of the non-vegan and/or fried food

I didn't get much studying done. I did read a few books. A Walk in the Woods (very good), Water for Elephants (also very good) and started The Historian (a bit predictable but still good). It was so much nicer to lounge and read than to sit at a table and study :) I love to read and didn't do much for a few years, so it is great to be back at it. Most of the time I only read on the subway, but I can still finish a book fairly quickly during travel time to/from work and to/from Batman's place.

Oh, and I knit! A whole 4 rows on a grey sweater I'm knitting myself. Then I needed another ball of yarn and a stitchholder to split for the v-neck or something. I didn't bring anything extra (just my ball of yarn and the instructions, not even my little notions bag) so I had to put that aside. I probably could have finished the piece (front?/back?/not sure which) on working on
if I'd had the stuff with me.

I've mostly been working and studying since I got back. I'm so ready for August to be over, it is a bit too hot and humid for me outside and inside is way too cold everywhere. Oh, Batman and I went to TJ Scalleywaggle's for lunch on Saturday. I got a veggie calzone and he got a meetbahl sub. Both were very good. I love the food there!