Monday, January 31, 2005

Won't someone please think of the pasta?

How excited am I? Some of you are probably familiar with Salumi, the Armandino Batali place in Pioneer Square. It's a great little Italian deli that serves simple, unpretentious food in a communal setting. It's a gem. The only downside of Salumi is that it's only open from Tues-Fri from 11-3 or so, so for those of us working on the eastside it's hard to find time to get over there.

So it turns out that Mario Batali, who is probably known to more of you and who is Armandino's son, is going to be in town on May 16 doing a little cooking/promoting his new cookbook. And thanks to the kindness and flexibility of Gina Batali (sister of Mario, daughter of Armandino) in helping me schedule stuff, I've got tickets to go. Mario's gonna cook for us and tell us about his new book and give us a copy to boot; in a place as tiny as Salumi, this is a really, really cool opportunity. I'm seriously excited.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Hot spot at 1st and Mercer? C'MON!

Yesterday was my not-quite-annual clothes swap party. I ended up with two shirts, one skirt, one pair of sandals, and a great bag. I'm pleased with my haul.

This event was definitely a bit girly girl.

Apropos of which: bubblegum tastes good, until it loses its flavor. I speak both of bubblegum bubblegum and its metaphoric extension.

Last night we went out with a bunch of people that eventually dwindled to its stronger, leaner core of Brett, Jess, Anna, and us. We made a momentous decision: instead of traditional music, karaoke for our wedding! Since we probably can't have the two dueling pianos guys from the bar last night. This is really a great idea. Instead of having a bridal couple first dance to kick things off, we're gonna have a bridal couple first vocal peformance. This is your chance to impact the design of my wedding, people. Suggestions? We were thinking Summer Lovin'.

This is really a great idea.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Label it, ship it, send it to me.

So most people that I meet socially I meet because they're friends of friends, which means that they come sort of pre-vetted, which means that there's a better than average chance that I'm going to have something in common with them. So even if we don't immediately click and become fast friends forever, most people that I meet socially I basically like.

Occasionally I meet people that I click with pretty fast beyond just sort of basically liking them. One reason I'm sad Jake and Kara are moving is that they're both people I clicked with more quickly than usual -- in totally different ways -- which is really pretty rare for people that come in a couple.

So here's the thing: rarely is it that I meet someone socially that I actually dislike, but once in a while it happens.

And here's where I can tell that I've lived in Seattle for a while now: I don't really meet people neutrally anymore. Everyone comes with a social context. It's postmodernism gone wild! (Most. Tedious. Party. Ever. That's another post.) And so when I meet people, at this point it's kind of like it was in Philly. I already know if/that I'm supposed to like them. In Philadelphia that made sense, because I lived there for years and years. Here's it's a newer experience, and at least in part it happens because I, like most everyone I guess, try really hard to stuff the people I meet into personas based on the limited information I have to begin with. Putting people into boxes before deciding who's worth the effort of going through and unpacking. It's easier to deal with categories. The taxonomy of friends, and friends of friends.

So then what do you do when every social force dictates that you've put someone in the wrong box? Which is another way of asking: what do you do when you really dislike someone you meet socially?

Is it better to be harmonious or to be correct?

Let's be honest: what I really need is to have Cassie or tvdetective or Atissa or heathalouise around to totally validate my impressions.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Tagliatelle, rotini, oh my!

Top Five Ways to Have Pasta Based on How I'm Feeling Right Now:

the (old) Blue Onion Bistro's macaroni and cheese
Thai wide rice noodle anything, if rice noodles count, and I say they do
yakisoba, if soba noodles count, and I say they do
straight up ragu

I realized recently that I'm making pasta an average of one and a half times a week. I'm making it in approximately forty-nine times the quantity I need to feed Chris, me, and our entire building, so if I make pasta one and a half times a week that means we're eating it a lot more than one and a half times a week. Still, I'm okay with that. I'm a noodle girl.

July 2. I don't know if there's going to be any pasta, but that's when we're getting married. We found the place today. Summer! Seattle! Puget Sound! Save the date! My friend's officemate assured me that it's an auspicious date even apart from being his birthday.

Thanks for the artisan cheese tips, by the way, and for the nice things people have been posting about the site. I'd like to thank the little people. By which I mean the leprechauns. Which reminds me of a long story about Noelle and her imaginary friend Larry. Which reminds me that there's some stuff I want to pick up at the grocery store.

Spedini. Possibly gnocchi. I knew I left something out.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

My life as a boomerang.

I worked a pretty long day today, and I'm back online at home now, working some more. Well, except for right now. I would have stayed in my office longer but some nitwit decided to turn the a/c on... and seeing how the vent points directly at my office chair, and seeing how I couldn't stop coughing, I decided to head home. It's been a pretty productive, learning kind of day, though. Good.

So I finished Jitterbug Perfume. My final estimation is that the book was... okay. I didn't love it. Before Jake loaned it to me I had a vague idea that Tom Robbins wrote kinda generic mass markety pulpy fiction, and it turns out I wasn't quite right about that. Now I think (on the basis of just this one book, which I know is a small fraction of what he's produced) that he writes kinda generic postmodernist pulpy fiction. I can't decide if that's better or worse. I actually think the book was well done of the level of story and structure. In the end, though, I think he's sloppy with his prose: the book was okay on the level of the book, but not on the level of the sentence. Still, I'm glad I read it. Now I'm moving on to one of the many good-looking books I got for Christmas, maybe some non-fiction. Probably either this collection of science writing edited by Dava Sobel or this The Know-It-All memoir that Jay gave me.

I started thinking about an interesting topic for a new linguistics paper today by accident when someone forwarded me a question from a distribution list he's on. I looked into it peripherally this morning and saw that there's not a lot out there on it, so I think I might have something to talk about when I go back for my adviser's retirement fest later this spring. It's the most enthusiastic I've been about working on a purely theoretical linguistics paper in some time. By accident.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005


I'm home sick today. I hope I didn't need lungs, because I've been in the process of coughing them up for the last several hours. This is horrible. I can't work, can't run, can't sleep except for in short, fitful, coughy spurts, can't go get my hair cut today. All I can do is take Tylenol Cold and watch backlogged TiVo and -- on the bright side -- finish the book Jake loaned me before they move away forever. I hate being sick. I need entertainment here, and I'm not sure I have the attention span to be properly entertained.

One thing I do not hate is cheese, and I'm feeling somewhat disappointed in you all and your inability to step up to the cheese rating plate. Just yesterday I was thinking about all the great bread+cheese combinations enjoyed the world over: grilled cheese! quesadillas! pizza! every kindergartener's favorite, cheese and crackers! enchiladas! cheese omelettes and toast! macaroni (cut me some slack here) and cheese!

Now if only I had an appetite.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

The era of cheese.

Top Five Cheeses Based on How I'm Feeling Right Now:

smoked gouda

I want other opinions. I'm starting the era of cheese. Let's go.

Bubbleheads unite!

I have the flu. I started feeling my throat scratch Friday night, just in time for the weekend. Yesterday I felt worse than any time since I had pneumonia a few years ago. This morning I feel somewhat better, and I can't really get sick right now workwise, so I better be basically back to normal by tomorrow morning. I think this is the thing Chris had earlier in the week and it took him about 48 hours to start feeling improvement, so I'm hoping for the best.

Last night we finally got around to watching The Red Violin, which has been sitting on the TiVo since last June. I'd never seen it before and I've been wanting to for some time -- although I guess not desperately enough that I'd made time any time in the last, oh, seven months to boop it up on the TiVo. Samuel L. Jackson manages to kick ass even when he's a sensitive violin specialist. It's remarkable. Which is I guess why I just remarked on it. And I continue to be a serious fan of Don McKellar even in minor roles. The guy makes me want to up and move to Canada. In any case I'm glad I finally watched it -- it was first recommended to me when I went to Toronto for a conference several years ago, when the movie first had wide release in Canada. It was really well done. Better late than never.

Now I need to find more IFC movies to add to the TiVo so they can sit there for months at a time while I'm busy watching reality shows on FOX.


The verdict is in: I'm definitely not a girly girl.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Next time, the tequila shots are on me.

If I'm allowed to make a late New Year's resolution, and really, why shouldn't I be, I'm making one. If I'm allowed to make a semi-serious blog post, and I can think of several good reasons why I shouldn't be, I'm semi- making one.

I'm pretty assertive. I wouldn't say aggressive, but I would say assertive. I have a strong personality. Mostly, this has been a good thing for me: I can articulate what I think, I don't mind articulating what I think, and I'm okay with putting myself out there. For all of that assertiveness, however, I'm not very good at making myself vulnerable in any significant way. I've been working on that, and I've been working on that for a while, but it's really actually very hard for me. (If I use three adverbs, it's definitely true.)

Sometimes this kind of assertiveness -- directness? openness? bluntness? -- turns out to have negative consequences where I didn't foresee them. I say what I think without always having regard for how I communicate it. I speak without thinking a lot of the time. On the one hand, I'm honest. On the other hand, I'm honest. What you see is what you get. I'm now wondering about that. Like maybe I can find a way of being honest that isn't brutally so. I'm feeling like I need to think more before saying what I think.

Because lately I'm feeling like this immediacy isn't always serving me in very good stead. More than once recently (and to more than one person) I've said something with good intentions that has ended up hurting someone I care about. I've been told by three separate people of late (in three pretty different ways) that they find this behavior disconcerting or off-putting or hard to deal with. It's been pretty upsetting for me to hear that. I'm trying to find a way of being direct and assertive that's a little softer around the edges. Sometimes I come across as a bit of a meanie, but I'm really invested in my close relationships. I think I'm a good friend. I even think I'm a great friend! I'm trying to show that in some way that people find less disconcerting or alienating. I'm trying to be more aware of other people's vulnerabilities, which may in turn make me more comfortable expressing my own.

What I'm trying to say is that next time the tequila shots are on me.

Enjoy it while it lasts... :)

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Back to basics.

Last night I went to see House of Flying Daggers. I missed Hero when it was out and I'm not always such a fan of this genre to begin with, but I really enjoyed Daggers. This particular viewing was enriched by my mom's wacky theories about eternity and the ending of the movie. Hm. In any case, I've been feeling so melodramatic lately that it was good to have a dose of good old-fashioned ass-kicking. It was a classic tale of love lost, love regained, heartbreak, and flying around on bamboo trees with machetes.

I'm thinking about starting a technical blog for work, all about linguistics and Microsoft and linguistics at Microsoft. As much as I'm enjoying working on real products that people will actually use, and I really am, I find myself missing a few things about straight up linguistics and academia in general, and I'm hoping this will help scratch that particular itch.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Hipster Cory, girl wonder.

It's true. I finally know a cover girl for Time. Cassie just sent me a breaking journalistic epistle worthy of Time itself. Her sister and my friend, Cory Creswell, with whom I have taken several drunken spilly photos and of whom I have taken several others; Cory Creswell, artist and woman-about-town; Cory Creswell, hipster extraordinaire and Chicago socialite; this same Cory Creswell and several of her group of groupies are featured in the cover story in the current issue of Time (alas, not on the cover itself) as what Cassie describes as "the poster children for permanent adolescence."

I've never been prouder. I'm hoping she makes Hard Copy or at least 60 Minutes next.

I need to run out and procure a copy of this no doubt Pulitzer-contending issue immediately.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Fly Around, My Pretty Little Miss!

This has been a seriously weird couple of weeks. I'm ready for them to be over. Can I just start over in February? I'm all over the place right now.

Jake and Kara just told us they're moving back to Portland in the very near future. I'm sad about that. There's a possibility that my sadness might just be my head trauma. I'm sad about it nonetheless.

I bought our tickets for New Orleans last night. Whoo hoo! Now we'll see who else is really serious about going.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Birdhouse in your soul, dyspepsia in my psyche.

Chris is back from Japan, my mom is in town, and I left work early today with a raging headache of paranoia; I clonked my head but good twice on Saturday night and I think I experienced a mild concussion. I feel the horrible kind of PMS teary except that I don't have PMS. In a little while I'm going to try to nap it off.

In brighter developments, my mom made me a scarf for Christmas. I am insanely excited about this thing. It's black! And pink! And fuzzy! Maybe I can get her to crochet me a wedding dress too.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Confessions of a teenage drama queen.

I meant to get a bunch of stuff done today. I've managed to do about 25% of what I'd planned, which is pretty good considering that I slept until 11:30 and I still woke up tired. It was a long, intense week-into-weekend. (I'm sure the fact that I stayed up until 4am despite my best intentions for an early night had absolutely nothing to do with my exhaustion.)

It's insidious, the way I've noticed that workspeak is sneaking into my ordinary conversation. This morning I caught myself describing something in terms of the emotional bandwidth that I had to dedicate to it. Followed quickly by my realization that that struck me as a totally reasonable way of characterizing what I was thinking. A meta-objection followed by a meta-response to the meta-objection. I don't know how I feel about that.

Okay, other stuff:

If you've known me for any length of time, you've probably heard me rant about my high school. Does anyone enjoy high school? Does anyone who turns out to be even remotely interesting in later life enjoy high school? Reluctantly I have to admit that I've met a few unusually cool people who, however inexplicably, loved their time in high school. I was not so lucky. I spent most of my time in high school waiting for it to be over. I wasn't quite Welcome to the Dollhouse, but neither was I Clueless. I was A- popular and hated everyone. Have they made a movie like that?

One contributing factor is probably that I changed schools a number of times as a kid, so that the high school I now identify as my high school was only really my school for 11th and 12th grades. I didn't go to my ten year reunion, but that didn't stop me from replying, when queried about it by email, that the organizers might want to check their math (they had our ten year reunion nine years after we graduated). Yep, I was a lot of fun back in the day, except I wrote that email alarmingly recently. It's amazing how easily I can fall back into old patterns.

So anyway, high school. Not too long ago I discovered a renegade alumni site:

And I've slowly been reading my way through all the prose therein. Were there people like these site owners in my high school? There must have been, because these dudes themselves went to my high school, and yet I didn't know them, which in retrospect feels tragically too bad. Because these guys somewhat rock. Although in a funny twist of something like fate, one guy I did know peripherally in my high school (he was a different year) that I basically liked turns out to have become a great crony of tvdetective in college. My college. Which was also his college. Which we didn't know until I met tvdetective a while later.

These coincidences take a lot of emotional bandwidth!

Well, no, they don't, but I wanted to use the phrase "emotional bandwidth" again.

Friday, January 14, 2005


Jake asked me today if I could think of a word to describe a feeling of pleasure or joy that you feel when someone enjoys something that you enjoy. Something like empathic euphoria.

I asked a few friends and the best we were collectively able to do was freudenfreude.

Not that freudenfreude isn't awesome, but any other suggestions? Jake's life may be at stake.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

I've been looking so long at my pictures of cats.

I picked up my resized ring. Now it's shiny, pretty, and it fits. Maybe it's girly girl. I wouldn't know, because no one's told me what that means yet.

I changed offices this week. One consequence of this is that I now have a bulletin board. If you send me a picture of your cat, I promise to put it up. If you send me a picture of you, I promise to put it up as long as you're reasonably attractive and/or famous and I can pretend to be related to you.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

I did wear a tiara at my last party.

So okay, I've been thinking about "girly girl." As a description.


1. I never wore pink in disproportionate quantity for the first twenty-something years of my life. Sure, I wore pink. I also wore green, blue, black, white, orange, yellow, and red. Gray. Burnt sienna. Cornflower, periwinkle, and goldenrod. In the mad, mad world of Crayola fashion, I was the macho, palette-expanding 64-color spread.
  • About a year ago I started buying pink. A lot of pink. Also black, white, and red, but mainly pink. Pale pink, salmon, dusty rose.
  • I still don't really like purple.
2. When I was seven, my dad told me I'd never really care about shopping.
  • Or boys!
  • Because I'd have math!
  • Now I like boys, and shopping, and math.
  • Sometimes in that order.
  • Sometimes not.
  • My dad was wrong.
3. I like to play sports.
  • Especially running.
  • But also other things, like field hockey and basketball and swimming.
  • And other sporty things, like hiking and dancing and Scrabble.
  • But not softball or snowy things.
3'. I like to watch sports.
  • Especially football.
  • Occasionally some other things, like basketball and soccer.
  • But really, let's be honest, mainly football.
4. When I was little, my friends were mainly girls.
  • When I was a little less little, my friends were mainly guys.
  • Now, at peace with the universe, I live in harmony with both.
Hey, Scrabble gets coverage on ESPN. Don't blame me. I don't make the rules.

So I'm thinking: I wear a lot of pink. I like wearing cute outfits. Really, I'm a sucker for the cute outfit. Maybe, at the age of 30, I'm embracing my femininity, girly-girlifying myself. But: am I really?

There's also the football, the math, and the Scrabble.
On the other hand, there's the dancing.
On the other hand, there's the weekend-long team puzzle-solving events.
On the other hand, there's the clothes swap party I'm throwing.

I think we can agree that it's a conundrum.

The things I wonder:
  • Is "girly girl" secret code for "someone who wears a lot of pink?"
  • Is "girly girl" secret code for "someone who really into hair and make-up?"
  • Is "girly girl" secret code for "someone who plays/is/plays dumb?"
  • Is "girly girl" secret code for "blonde?"
  • Is "girly girl" secret code for "someone with big boobs?"
  • Is "girly girl" secret code for "someone guys find non-threatening?"
  • Is "girly girl" secret code for "someone who doesn't use bullet points?"
  • Is "girly girl" secret code for "pretty girl?"
  • Am I a girly girl?
I'm pretty sure that the answer to the last question depends on the answers to the other questions. I'm also mostly sure that the answer to the last question is no. But lately I've been wondering whether that's true, and if it's no, why it's no.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Echoes of Joy Division.

This matt pond PA album is damn good. Like tingly good. I'm not just saying that. C'mon guys, come play in Seattle. tvdetective, use your influence to make this happen. I mean it. This is definitely one of the best 2004 albums I've heard. I need to buy some of the back catalogue.

Chris left for Japan yesterday. I feel the need to eat some sushi this week in solidarity, or something.

In the meantime I got to work before 8am this morning, which is something I haven't done since embracing the beaver lifestyle. I forgot how actually no one's here at this hour. It's kind of awesome. Though not awesome enough to repeat voluntarily any time soon.

Seriously, guys, you gotta come play here. Can't you see that I'm serious?

Sunday, January 09, 2005

I made a Brooklyn phone call.

Yesterday I ran the Bridle Trails Winter Runing Festival, which for me meant a 50K relay with five other people. So the thing about this race is that 1. it was cold (see race title) and 2. it was dark (see race title). They started things off at 3pm, which Ritchie pointed out might be to keep people like us out of the race. Either way I'm pretty sure we finished near the bottom of the relay teams. Bridle Trails Park is a pretty nice place to run in the daytime, though, so my leg, which was first, was really, really pretty. Non-trivially hilly and muddy and horse poopy, but pretty. Although we all spent our non-legs freezing and shuttling back and forth from the race start-finish (all the legs were 5.2 mile loops) and our semi-warm cars, and although one of our party might die of pneumonia as a result of the event, which death would make me feel pretty bad indeed since I more or less bludgeoned everyone into participating, and although there was an accident on 520 on the way home that delayed our return an extra 45 minutes and made me extremely grumpy, and although my car is now muddy as all hell and I need to have it detailed, it was pretty fun, and I'm glad we went. Erin came in from out of town especially to run it, and we had a good weekend otherwise too even if I was generally feeling only sort of so-so. In any case the results are up now, and by some miracle there were three relay teams slower than we were. Now I just have to figure out what my next race will be.

It turns out there was no Arrested Development this week. I am saddened.

Looks like New Orleans is on! I am going to listen to the All Girl Summer Fun Band until I depart, in tribute.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Mainly in defiance of the weather

I'm going to have to add Bad Education to my list of favorite movies from 2004. It reminded me of something Shakespearean in a way -- albeit Shakespearean with better cinematography. In Spanish. Male actors playing male actors playing female roles, play-within-a-play (or movie-within-a-movie). Some other stuff. I recommend.

Damn, I missed Epiphany again this year.

So Sonic Boom was out of The Arcade Fire album when I went and looked yesterday. Instead I picked up some matt pond PA, not only for the Wiley Cerritos lyrics, the 2001 Built to Spill album, and some All-Girl Summer Fun Band, which I've been listening to obsessively with Erin since acquiring it. She pointed out that they sound a lot like Velocity Girl, which I hadn't thought of but which is true. I'm listening mainly in defiance of the weather.

I'm feeling strange tonight. No one's awake to talk to but I feel like talking. I'm exhausted by talking. I let everyone else go to bed with no objection, even the people where talking is no work. People who energize me like that don't come along very often. I'm trying to decide now what they have in common. I'm not in an All-Girl Summer Fun Band kind of mood, if you come right down to it.

But these songs are so damn catchy.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

In our grand tradition of going to see bands with "super" in the title...

Should Erin and I and whoever else go see Super Deluxe on Saturday night? Anyone seen them before?

I'm thinking I need to make an emergency stop today to pick up The Arcade Fire album, and possibly also some Matt Pond PA. I need to buy some stuff before they're on The OC.

Travels, travails.

Ritchie told me yesterday that Cambridge, where he was an undergraduate, will give M.A.s to any members of his graduating class who return for this special M.A.-giving ceremony this spring. And to think that Penn and Princeton are worried about grade inflation...

We're thinking about taking a quick trip to New Orleans in April for a long long weekend if we can find friends who want to join us. As yet we haven't worked out the details, but it feels like a good time to go. New Orleans is one of my favorite places to travel -- I even considered taking a job there a couple of years ago -- and we haven't been back in a few years. So... who's going to go with us?

Monday, January 03, 2005

I'm the freak girl in your line at QFC.

Thanks for all the engagement well wishes in the last few days. You guys are awesome.

I used my last day off for a while to run and loaf around and cook and take my ring in for resizing. I ought to get it back 1-2 weeks later and a size and a half smaller. Evidently it needs to be sent to the Tiffany elfin workshop in New York for the resize.

While I was out running into my errands I bumped into this guy who used to work at the grocery store where I shopped. Middle-agish, balding, short, pudgy, perpetually miserable-looking. One of the last times I saw him he was the cashier in my line and we had a conversation that went like this:

Him: Hi! How are you today?
Me: I'm okay. How about you?
Him: Great!
Me: Really?
Him, pausing with my bread frozen over the scanner: Huh?
Me: I mean everyone always says great. Are you really great? I hope you are.
Him, looking like he wants to do something violent with my bread: No.

Then we sat there in awkward silence as he finished putting my stuff into a bag for a few minutes, and when I left it went like this:

Him: Have a great day!
Me: You too!

The next couple of times I saw him at the grocery store, I avoided his line and looked the other way. Then he stopped working there and that took care of that. Until this afternoon, when I spotted him wandering into the electronics store at the mall. We exchanged kind of a weird look and I could feel him thinking: Wow, there's that freak girl from my line at QFC.

Back to work tomorrow, folks.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

The new year, in brief.

Yes, it's true: I'm planning a wedding.

P.S. It's ours. :)