March 2008 - Posts

At work yesterday I was mentioning how it seems that blog posts about food are really popular, even though, to some of us (me! me!) this doesn't sound like the most captivating topic. But then I left the office and had dinner with friends and realized the dinner table conversation kept circling back around to food, and it was not because the conversation was bland or unisnspired--it was because we were all fascinated with one another's thoughts and opinions on the topic. Somewhere along the line this got me to thinking about how many of the social events in my life are food-oriented (basically, if it isn't Frisbee, croquet, music-oriented or Scrabble, then it's food). And that's when I realized maybe it is more interesting--even to me!-- than I first considered.

So in the spirit of this new revelation, I present you with "Five Foods I Eat at Least Five Times a Week." NB: Controversial though it may be, beverages are totally foods in my book.

1. Coffee! With cream n sugar or with one or the other or with neither. I especially love it on the weekend on the back deck on a sunny morning!

2. Brown rice. Can't seem to tire of this one, and not only that, I even crave it when I don't eat it for a while. Is this in part because my mom made me eat it as a child? Who can say for sure, but I think it might be.

3. Greens. I like the kind that improve with cooking, like collards, turnip greens, kale... I also like the versatile kinds that do well cooked or fresh, like arugala, dandelion greens, spinach... And then there's the type I hope I never have to eat cooked, like lettuce. I love pretty much any and all of them.

4. Legumes. My diet might be about as close as you can get to being vegetarian without actually being vegetarian, so beans are a big hit with me. My favorite are red beans cooked with tomatos, garlic, a modest blend of "italian" type spices and cayenne.

5. Cheese. Except processed varieties ala American or Velveeta. Lately I've been into white sharp "Vermont style" cheddar.
 

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Today I came across this site called The Ageless Project  that registers blogs by the author's birthday. I will readily admit that I think this is a unique take for a blog directory, but when it gets right down to it, I have such a huge reading backlog that I never really find myself looking for something new to read. Add to that the amount of the workday that I spend looking at a computer monitor, and the last thing I want to do when I get home is look for even more things to keep me on the computer. (Ah, but she is willing to write a blog! Go figure.)

Still, even though it's not my style, The Ageless Project hooked me. How? By featuring the world's oldest blogger. 

Maria Amelia Lopez (b. 1911) was given a blog as a birthday present by a grandson and took to it immediately. These days she has the kind of readership that makes even pro-bloggers jealous. Since Srta. Lopez is from Spain and blogs in Spanish, I missed a lot of what was going on with her blog, but my two years of Spanish class in school did come through for some of it. Plus, there's some content in English (as well as several other languages), so there's no reason not to stop by and see for yourself what it's all about.

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This one's pretty old, but since Michael Pollan's latest book In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto (2008) wasn't available at the library, I'm rereading The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World (2001).

If you missed this one the first time around, it's as good now as it was seven years ago. Not everyone can make evolution sound interesting non-stop for over 200 pages, but by focusing in on four common domesticated plants--the apple, tulip, marijuana, and potato--and approaching each one from a variety of angles, Pollan makes it happen. Blending the common take--that humans have cultivated these plants to meet our own preferences--with the "plant's-eye view," this book stirs the reader to look at the whole of nature, both domestic and wild, in a whole new light.

You can visit Pollan's own website MichaelPollan.com to find out more about his books and upcoming speaking engagements, check out links to numerous articles and interviews by or about him, and learn more about his career as a professor of Journalism.


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Those of you who know me know that reading the New York Times from cover to cover is a long loved guilty pleasure of mine, but did you know I gave up this sink-hole pleasure for Lent? It's okay, I still have other (and more affordable, I might add) time eating tricks like devouring the classics of Russian literature, so I'm not totally going out of my mind or anything. Still, while picking up a fancy latte beverage at (hold on to your hats!) Starbucks this afternoon, I did deign to glance over the cover of the  'Times. Here's one random thing that I learned: "Last year, by one estimate, the video site YouTube, owned by Google, consumed as much bandwidth as the entire Internet did in 2000."

Reported by Steve Lohr in an article titled "Video Road Hogs Stir Fear of Internet Traffic Jam," this speculative statistic joined other tidbits including the projection of 100% growth in the future as compared to 50% currently. Also of note: in Taiwan internet speeds are twice what they are in California, and cheaper to boot. This, of course, reflects differing national policy surrounding broadband infrastructure, and this, reader, is where the article becomes relevant. What kind of economy will the United States be left with if it fails to invest in the future of the internet as fully as other countries? That's a lot to think about. I love the 'Times!

Say what you will about my need to justify my illicit visit with the object of my desire, but I think procuring this little bit of reportage was a good use of a couple minutes--I mean, I was waiting in line anyway, and it's not like I bought the paper!

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In yesterday's mail I received notice that my debit card is being deactivated and reissued due to a data breech at some unspecified merchant. The letter suggested I thoroughly review the last few months of statements for any unauthorized charges. Upon doing so I was relieved to find nothing out of the ordinary--so far, so good. But reading through the letter from my credit union, I couldn't help but notice that it didn't offer any advice on what to do if I found anything suspicious. Of course, I have enough common sense to "report it immediately," but beyond that what would one expect? This led me to peek around the internet for advice. The gist of what I learned, pertinent to my original question, was that victims of fraudulent charges aren't held responsible for charges exceeding $50 (provided, of course, that they report the fraud). I could only hope that in this situation, since the fault would lie with a merchant and not the card holder, the victim wouldn't be held accountable for lesser charges, either. Meanwhile, I also found several resources available for various other id theft concerns. For a quick run-down of various types of identity fraud, how to protect yourself better, and what to do in a worst case scenario, visit the "resources" section at www.debixidentityprotection.com/. While you're there, why not consider whether something like LoudSiren--a service which alerts you and requires your consent before new lines of credit can be established in your name--is right for you?

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My blog could use an awesome-quotient upgrade... 

I'm evaluating a multi-media course on blogging from the folks at Simpleology. For a while, they're letting you snag it for free if you post about it on your blog.

It covers:

  • The best blogging techniques.
  • How to get traffic to your blog.
  • How to turn your blog into money.

I'll let you know what I think once I've had a chance to check it out. Meanwhile, go grab yours while it's still free.

 

 

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Remember a long long time ago (okay, it was a week ago) when I was all excited about an audio clip of an interview with Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky? At the time I wanted to embed the clip in my post but couldn't make it work. Well, it works now! Check it out! (If you don't see it yet just give it a couple seconds--it takes a minute to upload sometimes).

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