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March 2007 Archives

Zero Suggestions

March 31, 2007

Steve signed up for Netflix a month or so ago, and we've been getting all manner of strange movies delivered to our doorstep.

He has an... interesting taste in movies, a taste that isn't shared by any other human being known to man. Except maybe JIM.

Since I can only take so much bombarding of movies starring Japanese-drawn tweens and their kitty cats, he set up an account for me and I've been busy rating movies in hopes of periodically getting something I will at least tolerate.

The only problem is that the more movies I rate, the fewer suggestions I get.

Earlier this week I had rated around 250 movies, and had a recommendation list of 25. Today? I have 7 suggestions. From 398 ratings and a queue of 29. Oh wait, I just rated twelve more and my recommendations are down to 5.

Netflix doesn't know what to do with me. With the kind of person who likes Donnie Darko and Serenity and 28 Days Later and Amelie and Casino Royale and Chicken Little and Fight Club.

From ratings like this, Netflix offers me the following:

I've come to the conclusion that Netflix doesn't know what to do with me. It has washed its hands, it's done. There's no hope.

Annie, Annie, Are You Okay?

March 28, 2007

As a gift for my office's open house last month, the Red Cross offered free CPR and first aid training for the staff and I jumped at the offer.

I took the eight(gah)-hour-long class last Saturday, which meant I couldn't spend the day on the snowy slopes with my two big brothers (not like I had been invited anyway) (but even if I had been invited, I couldn't have gone) (because I don't like snow) (or my brothers) (so there).

A CPR instructor came to my school when I was in seventh or eighth grade, and we all got certified then, but I guess those certifications only last a year. Did they used to last longer? Because I remember mine being good for three years.

But then I was 13 at the time and frightened I would have to put my mouth onto the mouth of a stranger, let alone a boy, so I don't think I was really paying close attention to when I would need to be re-certified. And there could be vomit involved? MORTIFYING.

But the class went well, the other attendees were nice, and I'm afraid I ambushed the guy sitting in the row behind me who was flirting with my partner. I could have sworn he was related somehow to someone I went to school with: he looked amazingly similar, the same eyes and voice even. Instead I think I frightened him with all of my small-world small-town talk.

I was repaid by being the last one to take the CPR test, my instructor and myself the last two people in the building. I passed the test and my instructor told me that I had "perfect rhythm."

Ahem.
Of the chest compressions and the rescue breaths!
Thirty and two! Thirty and two!

I am still way more proud of my perfect rhythm than of passing the test, because even the man in front of me who barely spoke English and kept getting the verbal multiple choice questions wrong passed his certification. He hooked the mannequin up with electricity and then reached out and touched it. Way to electrocute yourself, guy!

He may have passed the test, but did he have perfect rhythm? I think not. I am the valedictorian of CPR. I bet ya'll weren't aware of the extent of my awesomeness.

When I'm not "curing" a nasty (horrible) (horrendous) (oh my gawd please shut up) cough with a well-placed pillow and firm grip, I'm busying curing the world of cardiac arrest and cancer and other sundry ailments by my awesome rhythm.

Thin Mint Ice Cream

March 23, 2007

Step 1: Poll the internet to help decide what the base will be. Get some awful suggestions, ignore the internet, and choose chocolate.

Step 2: Choose a chocolate ice cream recipe, something not too rich to overpower the cookies:

1 oz unsweetened chocolate
¼ c unsweetened cocoa powder
1½ c milk
2 large eggs
¾ c sugar
1 c heavy cream
1t vanilla extract

Makes 1 quart

Step 3: Realize one quart of ice cream will not even last one sitting. Consider tripling the recipe, then remember how many jeans in the closet would cease to fit. Compromise and double the recipe.

Step 4: Melt the unsweetened chocolate in a double boiler over hot water. Gradually whisk in the cocoa and heat, stirring constantly until smooth. Realize that the shit is one giant clump that refuses to "whisk" or "stir" or "become smooth" even though there is still more than half of the cocoa to be added.

Step 5: Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl and whisk. Notice the instructions say "until light and fluffy." Whisk until wimpy arm muscles complain. Look longingly at KitchenAid mixer and think this is exactly why that mixer exists. Set up mixer and transfer eggs into its bowl, turn on and marvel at modern science whisking eggs light and fluffy.

Step 6: Reread the recipe: "The chocolate may 'sieze' or clump together. Don't worry, the milk will dissolve it." Worry. Reread the recipe. Again. Poke at the clump of clumpy un-smooth chocolate clumpness. Curse. Wonder aloud if Dryers still makes a thin mint ice cream.

Step 7: Whisk the sugar, a little at a time, into the fluffy fluffy eggs until completely blended. Pour in the cream and the vanilla, plus a little extra vanilla always, and whisk to blend.

Step 8: Continue adding the cocoa to the chocolate clumpness, mooshing everything together with a fork instead of trying to whisk clumps. Whisk in the milk a little at a time, heat until completely blended. Pretend that it's blending and everything is fine. Everything will be fine.

Step 9: Get distracted by Deal or No Deal. Don't take the deal! One more round! You can do it! Wander back to the stove and find the chocolate and milk kindasorta mixing together.

Step 10: Wonder how someone can work at Hotdog On a Stick for nine years without selling her soul. Continue whisking the clumpy chocolate-milk mixture until it's pretty much smooth(ish). Be amazed that the recipe was right.

Step 11: Notice the recipe calls for the chocolate to cool completely before combining it with the egg mixture. Completely ignore this, adding the hot chocolate in tiny amounts so as to not curdle the cream. Blend well.

Step 12: Notice the recipe calls for the mixture to be refrigerated until cold. What the crap? Did anyone even read this recipe before starting? Cover the bowl and place in refrigerator. Look at clock: 8:16pm. Cry that there will be no ice cream that night.

Step 13: THE NEXT DAY OH MY GOD put the mixture into an ancient and temperamental ice cream maker, and start the freezing process.

Step 14: Wonder how many cookies to add to the mixture. Pull out one bag of Girl Scout Thin Mints (half of a box), and pour cookies into a ziplock bag. Crush cookies with a rolling pin, leaving some large pieces.

Step 15: Stop temperamental ice cream maker a few minutes before completion, open up and add cookies. Try to restart machine but discover that the very edges of the ice cream have frozen so hard that the paddle won't turn properly. Scrape scrape scrape until it turns like it's supposed to. Hover over the machine until it's done.

Step 16: Leaving the ice and rock salt in the ice cream maker bucket, place entire thing on back porch to further firm up the ice cream. Lecture the dog about not getting into it.

Step 17: Eat with a garnish of Thin Mints because there weren't enough cookies in the ice cream. Consider buying more cookies from the dealers.

Thin Mint Ice Cream

Step 18: Make happiness sounds.

Too Much Caffeine

March 20, 2007

Apparently it is possible to overdose on caffeine, and according to a coworker's personal experience, four cups of coffee and eight NoDoze will pretty much do it.

I have had one 12-ounce mocha, bought to me by said-coworker who "volunteered" me to share my work in front of a training class and then proceeded to tell everyone why my work sucked first thing this morning (which still doesn't make up for it).

Then I had two sixteen-ounce Mt. Dews at lunch, graciously provided by my supervisor.

What should I do with my excess energy and an early afternoon off from work?

Bibliophile

March 16, 2007

(Content filler stolen from Pretty Ashley.)

Hardback or trade paperback or mass market paperback?
I prefer the trade paperbacks because they don't make my hand hurt as much as the thick mass markets or the stiff hardbacks.

Amazon or brick and mortar?
Brick and Mortar. I love looking at books, although large bookstores like Barnes and Noble overwhelm me with all of the options. But that's probably because I'm never looking for something specific, just whatever jumps out at me.

Barnes & Noble or Borders?
Nonono. Something small and local, like Gulliver's in Fairbanks or Tidal Wave in Anchorage.

Bookmark or dogear?
In theory I'm all for supporting bookmarks, but if I don't have one readily handy (read: within non-stretching arm-reach) I'll dogear the page. Unless the book was borrowed, then I'll make an effort to find a bookmark. Recently I've been using this special bookmark thingy that Babs sent me ages ago.

Alphabetize by author or alphabetize by title or random?
Hahaha. Alphabatized? Right. I don't have many books because I don't keep them after I read them. A pile of "to be read," and a pile of "to be sold back for credit." The rest are separated by... um... subject? Like all of the Bible study stuff is all together, all of the dream interpretation stuff together, the graphic design stuff, the journals, the yearbooks, all next to books of their kind.

More...

New to Me

March 14, 2007

What could be more awesome than hauling three large baskets of dirty stinky laundry to a laundromat every two weeks while being eyed by a tiny Korean woman who wants to ensure you don't make a mess of the machines and for the love of God you can't put the quarters in the machine so quickly because you just jam it and maybe the trailer trash is eyeing your dryer because they intend to swipe your Victoria's Secret underthings?

Oh, I don't know.

Cooking Dinner

Maybe getting a nice used washer and dryer set for Free Dollars?

I am itching to use them, but they need to thaw out so important pieces don't break inside. But while waiting for that to happen, I've already scrubbed them down inside and out and tried to put the dog in them.

The newest addition to my family leaves me more time for Thin Mints and Thin Mint related activities. Which are the bestest kind of activities.

Group poll: Should the Thin Mint Ice Cream be vanilla with crushed up Thin Mints, a la cookies n' cream? Mint with crushed up cookies? Or chocolate with crushed up cookies? Or chocolate-mint with crushed up cookies?

For the record, Lacey wants nothing to do with the inside of the dryer, thankyouverymuchly.

Three Point One Four One Five Nine

March 14, 2007

It's Pi Day today, and there is a serious lack of pie in the office. What gives, people?

Advice Smackdown

March 9, 2007

I don't know why I'm so excited to have Amalah answer my question about eye makeup remover. But I am.

Plus!
Girlie bottles of skin-goodness I now need to try out!

Five Things For the Purchase of to Which Making Happy Valette

March 5, 2007

(I don't know why I must do titles in Engrish, but I must. Just be thankful they never make it passed the rough drafts; maybe this one will get it out of my system)

1// Translucent face powder
So this whole working in the big city thing? Where everyone is expected to shower daily and brush their hair? Means I'm actually dressing nicely (read: not just throwing on mostly-clean jeans and a tee with flip-flops) and wearing a bit of makeup. Every day. I know. I have this really ancient powder that is the perfect shade of Pasty Alaskan White, but it's old and still more coverage than I need.

2// A ring
No, not that kind of a ring. But my fingers feel naked, and they don't like it. Am wanting something simple enough that I can wear it all day, every day, silver (or white gold (or platinum (or titanium (I'm not picky (just have expensive taste))))), and for $cheapish because I am not $rich. I've done some looking online (oh man, do I ever love to window shop online) but have not really found anything I'm set on. Do regular jewelry stores carry something I'd like that doesn't cost and arm and a leg?

3// Canon Rebel XTi
I can't help my compulsion to lick this camera, and I've found that Best Buy frowns upon such things. Yes, this doesn't fall under $cheapish, but this is something that I am saving for. My old camera is having "issues" with its battery connection, and I've recently noticed a crack in its casing. If I continue to put a few hundred away each month, I should have it by summer. I might not get to go to California, but a new Rebel beats my brother hands down. Which, OMG. So totally yay.

4// A light box
There are plans to make this sooper-dooper fancy-pantsy lightbox with hinges so that it could collapse all nice and flat and I could store it in the closet or under the bed with all of the other skeletons and monsters. Because I don't really have anywhere to put a non-collapsible lightbox. Difficulties in finding on crucial element has put the project on hold. But I need to put things in... erm... my box. And photograph them. For the internets. Maybe something quick and cheap to get me by?

5// 25 minute lunch break nap
I know this can't be purchased, but if I could buy naps I so totally would. One of my coworkers has a love seat in her office because she often meets with tissue donors' families. And she doesn't work Mondays or Fridays. And another coworker? Has a little stash of blankets in her office. And there are these space heaters? Yeah.
Naps = Very yes. Very, very yes.

Sunday Open Letters

March 4, 2007

Dear Snow City Cafe,
Hollandaise sauce should not be runny. Neither should gravy on biscuits. Especially not after a 45 minute wait.

Dear Lacey,
You are such a bum. I know your life is so hard, what with the napping in your kennel, and napping on the couch, and napping in my lap, but do you really need to recoup from all of that by napping in bed?

Dear Alaskan Stores and Malls,
What's with closing at 6p on Sundays? Really? Do people not shop then? Because I do, and I inevitably get there at 5.45p. This, as you might imagine, sucks.

Dear Old Navy,
Please stop sucking. I want to like you, and your stuff looks okay -- not great, but not bad for $cheap -- hanging on the wall. But it's almost like you forgot these items were meant to be worn on actual bodies.

Dear Michael A,
What is the best way for me to come down to San Francisco to kick somebody's ass? I am willing to accept you sending me a ticket.

Sending my love to you all,
Valette

Go Army

March 4, 2007

GoArmy Football

Upset that I didn't take her to the Aces game tonight, she took her frustration out on a foam football that was thrown from the ice and landed under my seat.

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Hi, I'm Valette

I'm a photographer based out of Anchorage, Alaska. I've recently become a wife, a stepmother, and a homeowner. Life is pretty awesome. You can email me anytime. Learn more...

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