We don't even get doughnuts

Today I was volunteered to chair the Blogs subcommittee for the Standards and Practices committee of the Community Conversation supercommittee. We have to have a lunchtime meeting on Friday and then report back to the full committee, whose recommendations will then be submitted to the supercommittee.

(I'm not sure if it's actually called a supercommittee. It might be a delegation. Or maybe it's a committee, which would make S&P a subcommittee, which would make Blogs - my head hurts.)

When did my office become Dilbert's?

'80s attack, part 2

Eileen, you need to have another contest soon. Now that I have obtained "Everything She Wants," I require MORE sustenance! I HUNGER for '80s songs!

Specifically, my sights have turned to this:

Video Analysis:
- You can tell this is going to be a cool video from the start, since it opens with a helicopter! You don't get any more bad-ass than that, unless it's ...
- PHIL COLLINS DOING DANCE MOVES IN A SWEATER-VEST AND CHINOS! Hot! I'm not even going to mention the vibrating pelvis scene, because my mom reads this sometimes. Poor Phil Bailey doesn't have a chance.
- Is this the video from which all other "how we made the video"-themed videos sprang? Maybe it is ... and maybe it is.
- During the "rehearsal," you can hear the song, but you can also hear Phil & Phil rehearsing the song on top of it. Whoa - meta.
- I'm glad they went with the suits and not the sequined headbands Phil C. seemed to want. Also, a silk button-down shirt that appears to have been splattered with paint? I don't remember that trend, but we need to bring it back.

Thanks, Phil and Phil! You make making a music video look like so much fun - not like that Saved by the Bell episode where Jessie got addicted to caffeine pills.


'80s attack!

So Eileen had a contest, and I won a prize through sheer perseverance, basically. My prize: an iTunes song of my choosing.

The thing is, I've wanted to get this song for months, but I've held off - partly because I'm usually at work when the urge to listen to it strikes, and partly because I figured I could find the whole album used somewhere for the price of the iTunes song. It seems like that kind of album.

But now the song is mine, and I never have to go another day without listening to "Everything She Wants" by Wham!

So here is a gift for you, gentle reader. In the long, dark days B.C. (before the contest), I would content myself with watching the video of this song. I present that video to you in all its awesomely '80s glory.

A few points:
- George Michael with his crazy lion's mane!
- Poor Andrew Ridgeley (whom I've looked up like 8 times and still had to pull up Wikipedia to remember his last name) only gets face time when he's singing "Ah-ah-ah, ah-ah-ah, a-whoa-oh, a-whoa-oh, doo-doo-doo LA LA LA LA-LA!" Already it was clear what was going to happen to him.
- During that instrumental break in the middle, we get this awesome scene - George in bed with a woman, looking all hurt and scared, like a lost puppy. Poor George Michael!


Test post with Camino ...

... and ... it's letting me use Compose mode! Score one for Camino!

Shiira does not seem to have Compose power at this time. Too bad - it's rather pretty, plus it does the RSS thang.

UPDATE: And where, may I ask, is the RSS thang on Camino? Grr - I'm right back where I started. Camino 1, Shiira 1.


Browser browsing

Like Gina, I've had it up to here with Safari. I'm sick of its stupid, clunky find feature; I'm sick of not being able to use Blogger's compose mode; I'm sick of not being able to do as much in general. I would say I'm sick of the way the page loading progress appears in the URL text box, but I never liked that to begin with.

The last straw for me was when I realized I couldn't put folders in my bookmarks menu; the whole thing has to be just a straight line of unrelenting bookmarks. I don't want to go to the "Show All Bookmarks" page every time I want to access my bank account, just because I wanted a folder of "Finances" links!

But MAN, I am not a fan of Firefox's "live bookmark" feature at all. I want my RSS feeds back - plus I hear there are better browsers out there for Macs. So here I go out into the world, trying to find the browser for me. I've got at least two that I'll try:

- Camino: what Gina found when Safari left her for Tiger
- Shiira: recommended by electro^plankton

(I might also try a Mac-optimized version of Firefox, also linked from the electro^plankton post.)

Any other suggestions? Things to look for in a browser?


Let it snow

I save something like $75 a month by parking in a large lot about four blocks from my office building (a fact I really need to keep in mind when it's pouring rain and I'm running late).

The lot is located just underneath a twisting series of on- and off-ramps that connect the western side of downtown Cincinnati to I-75, so the first half of my car-to-office trip is sheltered by these enormous concrete-and-steel bridges that start 40 feet in the air and 100 feet apart, and then gradually come together (getting lower all the time), and finally converge at a point so low I could probably jump up and smack the underside of the highway with my hand.

There are a few strange gaps in the overpass where, for a bit, the ramps run roughly parallel to each other. When it snows, the snow falls gently through these long, narrow openings, creating a thin curtain of swirling white. Whether it's illuminated by grey daylight, bluish fluorescent lights or warm yellow sodium lamps, it is an absolutely beautiful sight.

And that why I'm rooting for snow.

Well, it's one reason.


I've been remiss ...

... in not directing your attention to CiN Weekly's Last Word blog, where the featured column is written by my very own Mr. Wufflekins! (For a few more hours, anyway. After that, you can still read the column and comment here.) Do you hate Muzak, the Yellow Book, or people who are loud when you're trying to sleep? Do you like teddy bears named after tropical fruits? Of course you do! Go read!


The image of McDonald's workers cracking eggs to scramble fresh each morning ...

... is just one thing I love about this hilarious New York Times article on the Starbucks vs. McDonald's breakfast battle. It runs across three pages, but it's worth it - that "fresh food from McDonald's" gem (a quote from a spokesman) is on the last page.

The other quotes are fabulous, too - the woman who gets her coffee at Starbucks but goes somewhere else for her food because she's "been burned too many times by that pastry case"? The other woman who describes Starbucks' croissants as "literally the worst on the planet"? Awesome.

Also, it won my extremely official "Description of the Week" award when it referred to McGriddles as "a howling success."

And finally, it's got some good, interesting information in there along with the snark. For example, did you know the most popular breakfast to go is "egg and cheese on a bread carrier"? Did you know Wendy's and Taco Bell are looking into getting breakfast menus? I look forward to eating a Breakfast Burrito Bell Grande.

The Omnivore's Dilemma and local farms

It's been a few weeks since I've finished The Omnivore's Dilemma, and not much has changed for me yet. I bought an "organic free-range" chicken at Trader Joe's and wondered if the soothing narrative on the label matched the bird's actual life. I've been thinking more about labels, about high-fructose corn syrup and antibiotics, but none of that has really affected my purchasing.

But, thanks to this thread at Pandagon, I'm thinking about buying more of my food locally.

In one sense, of course, I do buy locally - from the Bigg's a half-mile from my apartment, or maybe from the Meijer a mile down the road. But you know what I mean. How close can one come to living entirely off of food produced in the Cincinnati area?

As it turns out, you can do pretty well! I was surprised to find that within 20 miles or so of my apartment are six farms, most offering not just produce, but meat and eggs. (Two of them are in Indian Hill, which seems incongruous to me, but I guess the richie-rich set is currently the main customer base for expensive humanely-raised pork.) Red Sun Farm in Loveland even posts their prices online, so I don't wind up driving all the way out there only to discover that their lamb chops cost 20 times what I'm willing to pay. (Also, they don't!)

Originally, I was thinking about joining a CSA, but many of the local farms listed in these databases sell their wares "a la carte" as well as on a subscription basis. In fact, I think only Turner and Gravel Knolls offer CSAs. Maybe that can be a next step for me.

Here, I've complied a resource for me and you - information on the local farms that show up on the lists:

Turner Farm
7400 Given Road, Indian Hill
(no hours given)
Produce, lamb

Greenacres Farm
8255 Spooky Hollow Road, Indian Hill
8:30-5 M-F
Beef, chicken, turkey, lamb vegetables, eggs

932 O'Bannonville Road, Loveland
(no hours given)

Red Sun Farm
10995 Grog Run Road, Loveland
(no hours given)
Beef, pork, eggs, chicken, lamb

Gorman Heritage Farm
3035 Gorman Heritage Farm, Evendale
9-5 W-S (and 12-5 Sundays in summer)
Eggs, chicken, lamb, pork, produce

Gravel Knolls Farm
9424 Cincinnati-Dayton Road, West Chester Twp.
no hours
Eggs, poultry, produce
(Gravel Knolls is the only farm on this list that doesn't sell its wares on-site; you can get it through the farm's CSA or at a farmer's market in West Chester.)

Or, you know, I could just go to Findlay Market.


Well, hell.


At least I watched the game at Mr. Wufflekins', who - despite his opinion that former national champions' fans shouldn't complain about their team's setbacks for at least five years after the win - couldn't have been nicer to me. I'm sure if I had been elsewhere, I would have been far more depressed about the whole thing. As it is, I'm putting this loss behind me, and I'm certain we'll win it all next year.

Afterward, Mr. W hugged me and told me he was sorry that it wasn't a good game.

You know, I'll take him over a game any day.


The Great Cranberry-Apple Crisp Caper

I finally used up the last of those cranberries (amazingly, there were still some good ones left!) with another batch of cranberry-apple walnut crisp. Delicious! I made it in my baking dish that has a cover, so I could bring it to work.

This week, I've been trying to wake up early and go to the gym in my office building before work. I throw on my workout clothes when I wake up and bring an office-appropriate outfit along in my big duffel bag. Because it's tough to carry a duffel bag and a baking dish at the same time, I just placed the dish carefully inside, balanced on top of my sweater and jeans.

You can already see what's coming, can't you?

When I unzipped my bag after my workout, I discovered that the dish had shifted, leaking reddish-brown syrup into my bag - and all over my clothes.

The upshot: Not only did I have to wear my sweatpants all day at work (just be glad it wasn't the bike shorts), I also wound up stealing several towels from the gym locker room. There's a hamper in there for used towels, but I couldn't bring myself to toss in the reddish-brown-stained ones I'd used to clean out my bag - I kept imagining what the cleaner would think. I may be the only person ever to steal towels, only to return them after a good bleaching.

Actually, I'm probably nowhere near the first.