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Saturday, February 28, 2009

One word for hippo fat

  I didn't pay attention when he my fellow vegetarian ordered dinner at Il Fornaio, but his dish arrived with ham pieces in it.

Yes, ham pieces. The long-time stuff of jokes told by my family about their faux-efforts to contaminate my meals. (As a housewarming gift, my mother planned to bring over a small, ceramic jar labeled "ham pieces.")

He didn't see ham pieces listed in the description on the menu. That's because the menu didn't admit that there was any form of pork in the dish... instead, it said that the dish contained "speck."

As a WordScraper player and long-time lover of dictionary.com, I actually knew that, according to the speck definition at Dictionary.com speck could mean whale (or other marine mammal) fat... or hippo fat.

Which means that, in parts of the world, it is efficient to have a single word that means that. Which means... people eat or otherwise use hippo fat routinely enough to want to describe it in one syllable.

Here is one syllable: Euuuwwww.

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posted by Arlene (Beth)10:00 PM


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bands I Have Seen Live - Preliminary List

  I used to collect tour shirts, but that started to get out of hand. Then I saved ticket stubs, but after a while, I filled the little box I kept them in... And at some point, I started to lose track. So this is a preliminary list of concerts I have been to. If I have seen an act more than once, I'm indicating that with a plus symbol.

If you have attended a concert with me which is not on this list, drop me a note. (Aside from all of those classical music acts I went to see in junior college and college, which I frankly can't remember the names of. Though I was thrilled to see them at the time.) And now, in first name order, the second draft of the list:

A-ha
Aimee Mann
Amon Tobin
Ani DiFranco +
Anthony Braxton
Autechre
Ben Folds
Book of Love
Bracket
Branford Marsalis
Brass Liberation Orchestra
Bright Eyes
Bruce Springsteen (awful!)
California Guitar Trio
Call, The
Candy From Strangers +
Carmaig DeForest
Charlie Hunter +
Charming Hostess
Chowderhead
Chris Isaak
Cure, The
Dave Matthews
Dead Milkmen
Death Cab for Cutie
Definite Articles, The +
Depeche Mode
Dizzy Balloon
Duran Duran
Echo & the Bunnymen
Eels, The +
Elliott Smith +
Emmylou Harris
Eurythmics
Extra Action Marching Band +
Flock of Seagulls, A
Foxtails Brigade
Frank Black +
Franz Ferdinand
Frente
Gene Loves Jezebel
Genie, The
Giant Value
Hansi (see also Truxton)
Howard Jones
Incredible Moses Leroy, The
Infernal Noise Brigade, The
INXS +
Jack's Mannequin
JK47 (featuring DJ Push)
Joe Lovano
Judgement Day (the e is intentional)
Karney
Katrina and the Waves
Killers, The
L7 +
Ladytron
Lords of the New Church
Los Mocosos
Lost Goat +
Low +
Maceo Parker
Massonix
McCoy Tyner with Kenny Garrett
Michael Franti
Midnight Oil +
Ministry
Mophono
Mount Sims
Mr. T Experience, The +
Mucca Pazza +
Muffs, The
Neil Young
New Order +
Norah Jones
Offspring, The
OMD
P.I.L.
Pointer Sisters, The
Power Station, The
Psychedelic Furs
Quails, The +
Quasi +
Rupa and the April Fishes +
Sandpit + *
Sangano + *
Saul Williams
Seu Jorge
Seven Year Bitch +
Shonen Knife
Simple Minds
Sleater-Kinney +
Storm
Slow Poisoners, The
Smithereens, The
Sugarcubes, The +
Sugardaddy
TalkDemonic +
They Might Be Giants +
Thompson Twins +
Trifles, The
Truxton
Uni & the Ding String Trio
Veruca Salt
Violent Femmes, The
Voodoo Glow Skulls
Weather Girls, The (least probably opening act for A Flock Of Seagulls imaginable)
Wham! (as a favor to my kid sister, who will never admit to this now)
Wire Train +
Yanks, The

(* = dated bandmember (same individual in two bands), and thus was obligated to see hundreds of shows. Which really took the edge of my desire to see OTHER live music during that time period.)

This list might double in size easily if I kept better track of opening acts (which, despite what you may think, I usually DO show up for, and which some of these are), acts at benefit concerts I've been to, jazz shows at Yoshi's, and DJs. Only a few of these are festival shows, including one Bridge School Benefit (you can probably pick out the acts that otherwise wouldn't appear on this list). Some of the opening acts I didn't actually like, and so I am omitting them intentionally. And then there are the ones I can only remember as "that awful band that was pure industry product at Slim's," or "the one I described as trip-hop-for-whales." That doesn't exactly help, does it?

Drop me a line if you can think of acts you witnessed with me.

(This list was revised on Thursday to resequence the two bands whose names started with The.)

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posted by Arlene (Beth)11:00 PM


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

On the subject of fresh, California strawberries in February

  As if I'm going to fall for that one again.

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posted by Arlene (Beth)9:11 PM

On the subject of fresh, California strawberries in January

  Nice try! You had me fooled.

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posted by Arlene (Beth)9:08 PM

Calories by weight

  MiniMe showed me What Does 200 Calories Look Like? (wisegeek.com), a web page which shows photos of 200 calories worth of different foods, organized from most weight to least. Although it isn't as comprehensive as I might like (I know, I know, it would have to have a full menu of prepared dishes from several continents...), it is a useful tool, and a nice way of presenting some basic information. As the text notes, you could eat a lot of broccoli OR you could eat a spoonful of peanut butter and would be consuming the same number of calories, and so should plan accordingly. (Let's not discuss broccoli in spicy peanut butter sauce, which is where I was going with that idea.)

There were a number of diet celebrities in years past, and one of them had a model of a clear stomach that he would use to make the same point. His favored diet involved whole foods, including whole grains and relatively unprocessed veggies. He would fill a stomach with a brown rice mixture, and then he would put a little lump of meat into another one. He'd ask which one of the stomachs would FEEL more full, and then point out that the rice stomach actually had fewer calories in it. It made it clear that you could eat large volumes of low calorie foods to feel full, while also limited your caloric intake (and thus, if you do everything else correctly, lose weight).

I wish more people I know who use fad diets would look at things like this, and consider how to moderate their 'regular' diets with the additions of healthy, high fiber foods that could fill them up in a more beneficial fashion than some of the odd things they choose to eat on their unsustainable fad diets.

If I was going to sell an unhealthy fad diet, I would base it around... whatever foods you HATE. You'd have to eat (depending on the caloric load) a few cups of that before you could eat small servings of anything else at each meal. If you hated that food enough, truly hated it, you wouldn't get far, and would lose weight. Yes, it's cruel. Think of it as a punishment for fad dieting.

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posted by Arlene (Beth)12:17 AM

Internet job searching, intentional or otherwise

  I hadnít realized that myspace jobs tries to customize Google searches that hit it:
| MySpace Jobs

We couldn't find any jobs for Benevolent Overlord. Please check the keyword terms you entered. You can also try using some other keywords, or enter fewer ...
jobs.myspace.com/a/ms-jobs/list/q-Benevolent+Overlord - 43k - Cached
So much for THAT plan...

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posted by Arlene (Beth)12:10 AM


Monday, February 23, 2009

Respected By All

  Ill Matik album cover artAnd now for something less serious... I use iTunes to load my iPhone with iAlbumArt for the iMusic I have iImported into the phone. Generally, iTumes has difficulty finding art for older music, which is fair, or for foreign releases, which is also quite fair. Until the current update to iTunes, it was a very easy matter to drag the correct art, or one's own art, onto the icon representing the album and fix this.

But iTunes does TRY to find art that fits your album. And when it thinks you just misspelled the title, it takes a few good guesses.

The art beside this text is a screen-grab of what is supposed to be the cover of The Matrix: The Motion Picture Soundtrack.

It reflects a creative guess on the part of iTunes.

It's so great, I'm tempted to leave it on the phone indefinitely.

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posted by Arlene (Beth)10:20 PM

Radio Silence

  No, I'm not going weeks without posting because I'm on an(other) exotic trip abroad to a glamorous-yet-WiFi-free city, nor am I backpacking in my beloved Sierra Nevada range, whose polished granite valleys are quickly, finally, filling with much-needed snow. (How I would wish that were the case... though really, I don't like sleeping outdoors in sub-zero temperatures. That was one of the lessons I brought home from Nepal. Sierra summers are much better for the high elevation trips that absorb me with otherworldly beauty. Even in July and August there can be snow in the corners of the dramatic valleys that I so love to hike through...)

Without going into great detail, I can say that I've been to hell (hold the hand basket), and that I wanted to send you a postcard from there, but the vistas are painfully ugly, the postage is overpriced, and anything I could have written would have seemed garbled, negative, and out-of-context. (Matthew Sweet: "And every word I say, has a way of turning evil in you...")

At a slightly higher level of detail: as a result of a relationship breakup that I initiated last October, followed by subsequent months of estranged days and argument-filled nights, I am a pale shadow of myself. When I try to write here, it barely sounds like me. When I try to write elsewhere, I am either interrupted or I fall asleep, and the words just pile up, waiting impatiently for their turn to escape my head and pen, like fish in a really bad spawning season analogy involving some piss ant river you've never heard of. And an environmentally unsound dam that no one wants to pay to remove, which is an obstacle to the fish. And hungry bears. And federally subsidized farmers diverting water to grow crops that aren't worth the cash value of the water that irrigates them...

That almost sounds like me.

News: I'm living on my own; I am making few compromises; I am trying to take care of myself and start fresh.

Thank you to everyone who has been supportive of me during this time period, whether I wouldn't tell you anything, or whether I dumped nearly everything on you. Your patience, encouragement, light-hearted interrogations, and cheerful support have kept me walking upright. It has meant a lot to me. Thank you.

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posted by Arlene (Beth)9:04 PM


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