reading list 2007

New books: 28 ( 9,080 pgs )

Longest book: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (784 pgs)
Shortest book: The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip (84 pgs)
Oldest book: Hard Times (1854)
Newest book: Harry Potter and the Deathy Hallows (July 2007)
Best book: Inkspell
Best children’s/YA book: Momo
Worst book: Waiting
Most disappointing book: Nickel and Dimed

Barbara Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed
George Saunders, The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip
Charles Dickens, Hard Times
Benjamin Barber, Jihad vs. McWorld
Alfie Kohn, No Contest
Diana Wynn Jones, Howl’s Moving Castle
Cornelia Funke, The Thief Lord
Ian Falconer, Olivia Forms a Band
W.E.B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk
Cornelia Funke, Inkspell
Peggy Ratham, Goodnight Gorilla
Michael Ende, The Neverending Story
Elizabeth Enright, The Saturdays
Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Shadow
Steven Levitt, Freakonomics
Katherine Hannigan, Ida B.
Daniel Gilbert, Stumbling on Happiness
Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler’s Wife
Michael Ende, Momo
Nick Hornby, A Long Way Down
J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Malcolm Gladwell, Blink
Jeff Kinney, Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Gennifer Choldenko, Notes from a Liar and Her Dog
Debra Ginsberg, Waiting
Avi, Crispin: The Cross of Lead
Nora Ephron, I Feel Bad About My Neck
Brian Selznick, The Invention of Hugo Cabret

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One Big Puppy

Readers of Roni’s blog will know that our pet rat, Puppy, died a few weeks ago. Well I was looking through the news, and among stories of Britney Spears’s little sister being pregnant, and “don’t tase me bro!” being the top quote of the year, there was something actually interesting!

In a region of the Indonesian rain forest that is rarely explored and has been called the “Lost World” a team of scientist found a giant rat.
Now, keep in mind that this isn’t some new breed of rodent, but this is actually a BIG rat. Apparently the rat had no fear of humans, and would wander in and out of the camp on a regular basis. They think that this rat might be a new species of rat altogether, a larger than average rat.

One disappointing omission in the article was when these guys will become commercially available. Why just settle for naming a rat Puppy, when you can have a rat that is the size OF a puppy?

Good one

How many emo kids does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

None. Let them cry in the dark.

A New Hobby

No, the new hobby is not making lobster bisque. I am taking a student development class this semester. This past week we talked about stress and ways in which we can deal with stress more effectively. One of the suggestions was that you take up a hobby. I thought that I could use a good hobby, and thought if the Roni and I could share a hobby, it could be something we enjoy together. That way we could have something that we can do together.

Roni and I talked and we came to painting. She mentioned that she had a watercolor paint set (not just one of those awesome crayola ones either) and so we went out and bought some brushes and some stuff to paint on. I haven’t painted in a long time. I think the last time I used watercolors was when I was in elementary school, maybe even the first half of elementary school.

So we got home and each picked something to paint. I figured that a bowl of fruit is pretty safe, and traditional, so why not try that for my first attempt. I picked this picture to go off of.
I started with a simply sketch and then just kind of went for it. Since blogs are all about putting yourself out there for everybody else in the world to see, I thought that I might as well post my finished picture on my blog. Here it is (don’t pay attention to the stuff on the sides, that was just my color testing area):

Adventures into Bisque

I was first introduced to the word “bisque” in an episode of Seinfeld. It is actually one of the most famous episodes, The Soup Nazi. I think it is Jerry that orders the crab bisque and says that it is so good that your knees buckle, so you have to sit down before eating it. I don’t know why, but I can remember sitting there on the couch, and wondering what bisque was, and why it was so good that you had to sit down to eat it.

I never really had a chance to eat a bisque until fairly recently. I think it isn’t really something that is all too common in the type of restaurant that I went to growing up. I always imagined something rich and hearty with a strong tomato-ish flavor to it. Kind of like minestrone, but it would actually taste good, and have bits of sea food in it.

Fast forward 11 years, to my honeymoon; Roni and I went to Monterey. We had already decided that we would eat out at better than average places pretty much every night (especially after our experience at the worst restaurant of all time… Norma’s Res ran!), because we wouldn’t be able to do so again for a very long time, maybe ever. So in the spirit of ‘living it up’ we went to the Sardine Factory. Now, I bet you are thinking, “Sardine… Factory…? I thought you said that you were living it up?” But in all reality, it is a really nice place, and I really doubt that they serve canned sardines at the Sardine Factory. It is often said to be the nicest restaurant in Monterey, and that should be saying something.

[funny sidenote from while we were there, maybe Roni has blogged about the lady with the cat plate? If not… I will request that the story be put up soon, it is pretty awesome.]

I figured that since we were at a really nice place, we might as well order some really nice food. I just about died when I saw “abalone bisque” on the menu. Here was my chance! The waiter assured me that it is world famous, so I figured I would indulge my childhood fantasy and order the world famous abalone bisque. When it came out I was surprised. It looked like he had brought out a bowl of thick cream. Where were the chunks? How was this going to have any flavor that was worthy of the title “world famous?”

A first impression has never been so wrong. It was a wonderful soup. A soft, almost velvety texture with a most amazing flavor. Best. Soup. Ever. No kidding people. If I am ever in Monterey again, I might go to the Sardine Factory and just order a bowl of the abalone bisque. Maybe two bowls. It is that good. I was in love with bisque, and I suddenly understood that yes, this soup is so good you had better be sitting when you have it.

A few weeks earlier, I had eaten, for the first time, lobster. Mom and Dad took Roni and I out for a congratulatory dinner at the Buckhorn, a few days before our wedding. I figured that I would try lobster, and it was SO GOOD. I thought it would be like a big shrimp, a jumbo jumbo shrimp if you will, but it was so much better than any shrimp.

So as I sat there eating my bisque, contemplating the creamy goodness of it, an idea struck me. LOBSTER BISQUE! I became obsessed with the idea of it, and finally, this past week, my opportunity came. The local grocery store was having a sale on lobster tails, and I somehow talked Roni into putting it into our budget for the week.

I searched online and found an easy, but still tasty sounding, recipe for lobster bisque. It took a while to do, and it ended with me dumping the hot soup into the blender and then straining it. Well, it wasn’t as good as the mind altering experience at Sardine Factory, but it wasn’t bad either. My appetite for bisque has been satiated once again… for now…