Sunday, February 24, 2013

What-What?! Week of February 23rd

So, ordinarily I start working on my blog post about Wednesday of every week.  As I’m starting to write this, it is Saturday.  This week, in my capstone class we had our first major paper due; the history and overview of our client, Monterey Language Services.  This paper was pretty easy, especially in comparison to our next paper, which is the external analysis of the industry and competitors.

The other thing I’ve been working on is my portion of the community scan for my ethics class; I’ve been working on a map of Seaside and Sand City, with all the food pantries and other services highlighted on it.  The result has been pretty horrible; Sand City is one vast swath of nothingness, and Seaside is lacking some pretty basic resources as well.  In the image above, you can see what's there; what you don't see, is that all of Seaside north of Coe Avenue has nothing in it, other than what is at CSUMB.  Mostly it's golf couse, anyway.

Crafts: Paper Dolls
Last night, Saffron asked if we could find some paper dolls to print out for her to play with.  Looking on Google, I found many interesting and horrific ones; there are lots of skanky, big-headed, tiny-waisted, Bratz wannabes.  On the other hand, I did find some steampunk paper dolls, as well as some other historical ones, which is pretty cool considering that I’ve been reading the Felicity Merriman series of American Girl books.  The bestest one I found, though, has got to be the Girl Genius paper doll of Zeetha.  Get a load of all those daggers!

If you’re interested in this or other GG paper dolls, the Foglio’s have a whole page devoted to paper dolls.

Below is the one that I wound up printing out.  I was looking for one that wasn’t colored, because printer ink is expensive.  It was only after I printed this doll out that I realized it's Lucy from the Narnia series.  The website that this is attached to is actually kind of awesome in a geeky, not overly-Christian way.
If I wasn’t worried about ink, though, I would’ve printed out these great dolls from the 70s.  I love their clothes!  Particularly that yellow/green dress thing.  I dig those puffy Renaissance sleeves something fierce.

Writing: Tazo’s Redesign

One of my other projects that I’m slowly chugging away at is a paper/infographic critique on Tazo’s recent packaging redesign.  I think the greatest problem they face is that all their teas now look something like Wal-Mart’s Great Value brand.  The new design for the chai tea concentrate mix is particularly bad; it is very difficult to read the text, especially since Tazo opts not to pay high shelving fees, so the product lands on the highest or lowest shelves.  Look for a more complete critique and graphics soon-ish.
Geeky Stuff: Things to Buy
I have spent this week finding things to spend money on.  Don't ask me why, but they have just appeared this week.  Things I have found include an awesome orange/turquoise purse (makes me think of Jen from Epbot), and teacup-shaped muffin cups.  So cute!

Art: Octopus and Crab Art
I spotted this great piece of art while trolling Cracked; there is an artist name on it, but I can't make it out. :(

(images via all the places.)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

What-What?! Week of February 17th

Many, many things happened this week.  Happily, most of them were okay. :)
We took the kids to the the state beach in Marina, which didn't go very well; it was quite windy, and it is not okay to go wading at that beach (there are signs).  So, we walked on the sand, picked up a few seashells, then left.  My daughter was scared of the surf, and the sand (it was "slippery"), and was generally miserable.  The other kids enjoyed it, though.
Then we went to REI, which is one of those stores where it is easy to spend money.  I saw these boots in the store, and Peter wound up ordering them online later that day.  They are very comfy:

Holiday: Valentine's Day
For Valentine’s Day this year, Peter got me a bunch of stuff from Think Geek, including a math T-shirt, TARDIS socks, a Firefly sticker for the car, and chocolate dice.

This week, I made some quick pork stir fry; I used some sliced pork, a steamer bag of asian vegetables, and Ree Drummond’s sauce from her Simple Sesame Noodles recipe.  I put it together in maybe 15 minutes, start to finish.  Though the rest of it was good, the sauce is the star of the meal.  It has become my go-to sauce for everything asian, because it is quick to put together, goes with everything, and is very friendly to eyeballing amounts.  For most things, I generally add some flour or cornstarch to thicken it up a bit.  I highly recommend this sauce recipe!

These are brilliant!  While I knew that they existed before, I had never realized how easy and fast it was to put them up.  Whenever Pete and I get a house, I’m totally doing this; I especially love the circles in circles one.

Video:  Life after Death by PowerPoint

We watched this in my capstone class this week; it deftly demonstrates all the different ways to screw up a PowerPoint.

On a serious note, whenever I create a PowerPoint, I cannot help but think of the article I read a few years ago, “We Have Met the Enemyand He is PowerPoint”.  My favorite quote: “Commanders say that behind all the PowerPoint jokes are serious concerns that the program stifles discussion, critical thinking and thoughtful decision-making”.  Graduating from business school now, I see this.  I see a lot of students that use PowerPoint as a crutch, dazzling audiences with prettiness, rather than actual substance or thought.  Last semester, I was in a group with a girl who’s strategy to get an “A” depended on just that.  It was disheartening, to say the least.

Anyway, on to the vid!

See you next week. :)
(Photos via The Pioneer Woman, Think Geek; vid from YouTubez).

Sunday, February 10, 2013

What-What?! Week of February 10th

Another week spent reading horrific books and writing papers.  I keep telling myself that things will be worked out by the six week mark, but I’m starting to doubt that.  Just found out that I have to do service learning hours (community service) for one of my classes, despite being told that I wouldn’t have to.  Of course, this is kind of my experience with California State University, Monterey Bay: If it makes your life harder, then let’s do it that way.  Some things happened in one of my classes this week that really upset me.  Maybe sometime soon I’ll talk about it, but for now I’m keeping it under wraps.

My husband actually cooked something new this week!  He’s doing okay, though still in pain from having his wisdom teeth out.  He now also has a cold. :(

These were pretty good; we only had rice paper, so ours weren’t browned like the ones in the recipe, though they were still crunchy.  The kids also both liked them, though the crunchy wrappers made them a bit difficult to eat.  The thing that I did not like about these, is that the rice paper we used was really not the best choice; it fell apart easily, and then you had cheeseburger crumble.  Next time, I think we will use actual eggroll wrappers.

Food: Baked Tuna Cakes and Dip
I was inspired to make these based on a salmon cakes recipe off Tasty Kitchen.  My recipe turned out to be nothing like theirs, though.  This recipe is particularly brilliant for days that you are busy; basically everything for the cakes comes from the pantry, and it only takes about 30 minutes, start to finish.  Also, we ate these before I could take a picture of them.  D'oh!

Baked Tuna Cakes
  • 14 oz canned tuna (I used two 7 ounce cans from Costco)
  • 1 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 2-3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • Spices: Salt, pepper, dill, garlic, onion, or whatever sounds good

Preheat oven to 425F.  Combine all ingredients, and stir until well-incorporated; the mix should stay formed when you make a ball.  If it seems too dry, add more mayonnaise, but don’t make it too moist.  Spray cookie sheet or jellyroll pan with cooking spray, or rub some butter or oil on it.  Divide mixture into 8 parts, and roll each into a flattened circle.  Line them all up in the pan, and put in the oven for 10-15 minutes.

Lemon Fish Dip
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
  • 1-2 tablespoons relish
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • Dill

Combine all the ingredient and mix well.  I should note that my husband did not actually like the dip; I think it's becaused I used yogurt and dill relish, rather than sour cream and sweet relish like he's used to.

Twenty-sided die (icosahedron) with faces inscribed with Greek letters
This is really cool.  Archeologists have found 20-sided dice.  When I first showed my husband, he didn’t realize that they were real; there are so many different themed dice sets out there already, it’d be totally believable that these are just some small company’s product.  But no, they’re real!  So.  Cool.

See you next week!

(photos via Taste and Tell and Met Museum)

Sunday, February 3, 2013

What-What?! Week of February 3rd

This week has been busy again.  I still haven’t cooked anything interesting, mostly because we’re still cooking soft foods for the poor husband.  He’s been getting better, but slowly.  It doesn’t help that we are also hitting the end of the month, which means pickings are a little slim.  Happily, my mother-in-law gifted us some ground beef from a cow she had slaughtered, so that gave us some more options.  Also, this beef is seriously good; you don’t realize how un-beefy the stuff from the store tastes until you eat the real deal, so to speak.
As for school, that’s going well; my capstone team is complete, and our client will be Monterey Language Services.  We had our first meeting on Friday, which wasn't so good, but the owner is very excited and helpful, so I think it will still work out well.

After the semester is over, I might contact the Old Monterey Business Association and see if they’d be interested in an intern or something.  They need a new website, which I could possibly work on.

On Writing: Squidoo
This week, I posted up an article about the Mountain ViewFarmers’ Market.  Not much else happened, as I’ve been busy working on school papers.  I wrote one paper that was a history and overview of myself, which was kind of painful.  There was lots of editing, and eventually I started throwing out entire sections to get it down to the allotted three pages.

Local Life: MY Museum
MY Museum - Monterey County Youth Museum - Monterey, CA
This past week, we went to a children’s museum in Monterey, called MY Museum.  I really wish I’d known about this place before we got a membership to the San Jose Children’s Museum.  It’s much smaller than the San Jose museum, but at the same time, it didn’t have that packed kind of feeling.  I felt a lot more at ease; at the San Jose museum, I have to watch the kids like a hawk, but because this place in Monterey is so small, it’s a lot easier to see where a child is running off to without losing them.
At MY Museum, there are lots of different displays for the kids to play on; both the kids enjoyed the kitchen and cooking area, which had a real cash register, all kinds of play foods, menus, and fake money.  Saffron also enjoyed the “dollhouse”, which had a huge Melissa and Doug dollhouse on the inside, complete with wooden dolls and clothing.  She had a great time changing their clothes, and having tea parties with the other little girls.  The craft area at MY Museum is also a lot more manageable, so I took Saffron over there, where she had a good time crafting a picture of a dress.  While we were there, this kid showed me his craft, which was covered in white glue.  I was like O_____O “that’s very nice, now why don’t you take it over there, where there’s more space, hm?”.

News:  Small Businesses Say LinkedIn Works
I thought that this was a pretty interesting finding; I am not so surprised that Twitter doesn't work, but I honestly would have expected that FaceBook would be on top.  What I will say, though, is that I think this probably depends somewhat on the kind and size of business you run; a "small business" can mean that someone is working out of a garage alone, or it could mean someone who employs 50 people.  Like anything else in business (and life), your milage may vary.

Music: The 60s, Yo’
After going to MY Museum, we headed out for dinner, where we heard this awesome song.  It’s titled “Dandy” by Herman’s Hermits.  It's worth a listen: