Sunday, November 28, 2010


Despite being raised by a man who was raised in the South, I have precious little experience with deep-frying. I suppose I could have corrected this with deep-frying Twinkies. Instead, I decided to make donuts.

apple cider donuts

I used this recipe for apple cider donuts, mostly because I had never had these type before, but also because these donuts didn't require yeast, which I felt might push me over the edge of anxiety. My comfort level with yeast is halting and precarious, and combined with my inexperience with hot oil could have truly resulted in disaster.

apple cider donuts

Things came together well. The only mishap was that although the oil was supposed to be at 350 degrees, I found that this temperature burned the outside of the donuts before the insides could cook. I kept the oil between 250-275 degrees, and that produced deliciousy-goodness instead of raw, gooey singeing in my mouth.

Whit was in charge of coating the finished donuts with a cinnamon-sugar topping. The boy done well.

apple cider donuts

Also, I got to use a donut cutter, which is a tool so perfectly tied to its function, it is almost inspiring.

apple cider donuts

Friday, November 26, 2010

Belle & Sebastian, "I Want The World To Stop"

I finally broke down and bought Write About Love today, if only so I would stop obsessing about this song:

Belle & Sebastian are their usual dour selves in the video, but the album so far is a good showcase of the shimmery retro-pop to which I look forward from them. I'm excited about rocking this over my bike commute.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Grim Saviour, "Banana Phone"

There were many great things about tonight. But the greatest was my introduction to this song:

[For the original, click here].

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone

...wherever you are.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

first frost

After weeks of crazy warm weather, it plunged into the 40s today. Just enough for morning frost during my morning ride.

morning frost
morning frost
morning frost

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Nordstrom Juniors

Usually when I'm in the mood to buy trendy pieces, I head over to the Nordstrom's junior department (I prefer this over Forever 21 and H&M). As a 31-year-old, I approach this like a rescue mission over enemy lines. I do my best to blend in with nondescript clothing and no make-up, so I can pass for my usual 24 or so.

Unfailingly, however, there are missteps, such as when New Moon came out, and the entire junior department was transformed into the worst examples of healthy teenage relationships ever. Life-sized cardboard cutouts of Taylor Lautner and Robert Pattinson leered at me between piles of T-shirts. I would try on a jacket, and stenciled words like "It’s like you’ve taken half my self away with you" would be accusingly reflected back onto my face.

Ahem. My point is that it is clear that I'm not a teenager anymore, but because I choose to shop with them, I have to be prepared for some residual annoyance. But it means that I get things like this for relatively cheap:


Monday, November 22, 2010

FX photo share

We had our first photo share of the semester on Saturday.

photo share

The first photo shares are always both giddy and frustrating. Teenagers who are used to gauging reactions first before acting, find it difficult to lay out their work out bare and let people examine quietly, so there are a lot of side glances initially. However, these are quickly replaced with viewing concentration, because while people are interested in what others think, they also almost immediately become distracted by the diversity of what's on the table. Strained comments like "I like this" finally wander into "...because of [x]." Proof that you can teach life skills such as constructive feedback to eighth graders.

photo share
photo share
photo share

Friday, November 19, 2010

music that is unhelpful during a rainy, cold bike ride*

Emitt Rhodes, "Lullaby"
Primitive Radio Gods, "Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth With Money in My Hand"
Elliott Smith, "Miss Misery"
PJ Harvey, "A Perfect Day Elise"
The Smiths, "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out"
Marvin Gaye, "Mercy Mercy Me"
Evanescence, "My Immortal"
Modest Mouse, "3rd Planet"

*on random playlist from actual ride home tonight

    Thursday, November 18, 2010

    gynecological claus is coming to town

    Faculty: I have a present for you. [handing bag of specula, cytobrushes, and spatulas to co-worker]

    Co-worker: Oh, great! Thanks for this.

    Faculty: No problem; better to give than receive.

    Me: Especially when we're talking about pelvic exams.

    Evidence by Godfrey Reggio

    I feel like there are two kinds of households: ones that will let their kids watch lots of TV, and ones that do not.

    I grew up in the former type. I had a television in my room from the time I was 6, and it was one of seven in the house (there are 3 people in my family). My dad can't sleep if the TV isn't on. I learned to tune out the television as background noise pretty early, which came in handy as I usually preferred reading.

    My husband grew up in the second environment, and as a consequence, he absolutely cannot ignore a television if one is on. Because of this, we actually don't have cable television at our apartment; the TV is used for video games and movies only.

    I used to argue with him about the benefits of growing up with television.: the Muppets, what marsupials are, and whether or not Mister Ed could really talk (my father crushed my hopes and dreams on that one). I believe it is perfectly fine to let kids watch TV.

    Until now.

    This short documentary, which watches children watching television (Dumbo, to be specific) is kind of the most horrifying thing I've seen in a while. Via Open Culture.

    Wednesday, November 17, 2010

    fountains run red with pride

    The Big Game is this Saturday, which means the fountains at Stanford are running red (pink):

    pink fountain

    Tuesday, November 16, 2010

    NASA Goddard, "The Earth As Art 3"

    If you aren't following the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center account on Flickr, you are missing out on so much awesome spectacularness. These are from their "The Earth As Art 3" series.

    Siberian Ribbons
    Caribbean Luxury
    Empty Quarter
    Meandering Mississippi

    Monday, November 15, 2010

    vertical tasting of Stone Vertical Epic ales (2006-2010)

    My friend Ted is something of a beer collector (I think he has almost 100 bottles or so in storage), but he also likes to drink with friends. Which led to seven of us heading over to his place to do a vertical tasting of Stone Brewing's Vertical Epic ales, from 2006-2010.

    Stone Vertical Epic vertical tasting

    The Vertical Epic is an annual beer that is released one year, one month, and one day apart from the last one. That is, the 2002 version was released on February 2, 2002 (02.02.02); the 2003 version was released on March 3, 2003 (03.03.03); and so on. They will continue to brew and release until 2012 (12.12.12). You're supposed to wait until then to do the vertical tasting, but I assume that Ted didn't want to wait. I'm excited to think about a shared cultural experience in December 2012, however.

    Each version is brewed with different ingredients and slightly different styles, varying from witbeir to Belgian dark. By the way, the older ones are hard/expensive to find. As in, $750 per bottle hard/expensive. However, Stone posts a homebrew recipe for each version, which is really nice. It would be even more nice if I could understand it, but that's not Stone's fault.

    Stone Vertical Epic vertical tasting

    The 2006 and 2009 were my favorites, but I'm partial to dark ales. They were actually all pretty nice. Here are the Beer Advocate reviews for the ones we tasted:

    Sunday, November 14, 2010

    pinhole camera day at FX

    Every year, First Exposures does a pinhole camera workshop for one class. There are always 1-2 students who choose to work with pinhole more afterward. We had one student who worked almost exclusively in pinhole photography for the remainder of his tenure with the program.

    My student and I initially had a frustrating experience; the camera we were using was leaking light all over the place, so we couldn't come up with a good print. We changed to a camera made from a tea tin (thanks, Matt!), we got a much better result:

    Jenesh's pinhole photo

    Other photos from the day:

    Don doing a demonstration
    Don doing a demonstration
    pinhole street photography

    white pumpkin pinhole camera

    Friday, November 12, 2010


    Hey, look at that. Some people I know are in a commercial.



    The commercial is for Doritos, but I'm not sure what the product story is. Doritos are so loud that you'll be tortured by meticulously prepared criminals? Peggy Olson would disapprove.

    Thursday, November 11, 2010

    Fistful of Mercy on Conan, "Father's Son"

    While I was staying at Patrick and Becca's in DC, we saw this performance by Fistful of Mercy on the Conan show. It was a slow build; initially, we listened lazily, and then with a start realized how tight this group played together. I bought As I Call You Down immediately after I returned home.

    Tuesday, November 9, 2010

    Washington, D.C. 帰る

    I'm in DC for most of this week, attending the American Association of Medical Colleges annual meeting. I'm participating in a workshop on cultural competency education. By "participating" I mean, "I made the demo video and will float around while pretending to facilitate."

    U.S. Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C. (LOC)
    U.S. Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C. Photo via Library of Congress

    (The Supreme Court building was one of the few touristy things I visited when I lived in D.C. At the time, there were a few men protesting in front; they were highly upset about male circumcision. I suppose everyone needs a cause.)

    Sunday, November 7, 2010

    Stanford v. Arizona

    Despite the fact that I have been at Stanford for the last eight years, yesterday was the first time I had ever gone to a Stanford football game.


    To be fair, yesterday's game was the second college football game I had ever been to; the Howard v. Morehouse homecoming game in 1997 was my first. Howard won, partly because it was homecoming, partly because Morehouse is in the division below us. Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure that Howard ended up last in the division that year.

    Ahem. Back to a good football team.

    first down

    If you haven't been following college football, Stanford is basically killing it this season (currently ranked #13). Stanford won this game as well, walloping Arizona 42-17.

    Stepfan Taylor making a touchdown

    One complaint about Stanford is our failure to fill the new stadium -- yesterday's game was about 7,000 people short of full capacity, and only 36,679 people came out for the homecoming game against Washington State. I think the Stanford community has still not come to grips about having a good football team.

    The fans that were there really came out for the cause, though:

    first football game ever

    first down

    make some noise

    Saturday, November 6, 2010

    Friday, November 5, 2010

    Janelle Monae blew my mind

    My report on Janelle Monae is: oh my god.

    Janelle Monáe, 10/29/10

    I can't even fairly put into words how incredible the energy was for this show. She totally rocked it, far beyond what I could have imagined. I watched the Of Montreal fans around me go from "who is this chick?" to dancing in the aisles and screaming wildly at the end of her set:




    I think the turning point for the crowd occurred as Monae performed "Smile," and as she finished, she pulled the microphone from her mouth so we could hear her hit the last note pitch-perfect.

    I'm going to refrain from talking about the Of Montreal show, other than it got a little uncomfortable as Kevin Barnes simulated sex with one of his dancers who was dressed as a pig. And then another one. And then pretended to perform oral sex on a dancer who was dressed as a Roman guard. I think I'm too old for this.

    Thursday, November 4, 2010

    voila: first mug

    I know you've been anticipating the final version of my first mug; well, wait no more:

    glazed pieces

    Don't worry; no one's getting this baby for the holidays. It's pretty much the ugliest thing that I've ever made with my two hands.

    On a better note, here are the other two pieces that I made at the beginning of the quarter:

    glazed piecesglazed pieces

    These bowls are actually quite well-balanced. I like how the brown glaze on the second piece, along with the texture, makes the bowl look like it's made out of wood.

    I'm noticing that my larger bowls are starting to warp a bit as I throw them, so I'm trying to work on correcting my technique. In the meantime, I'll be deciding whether or not I want to keep throwing bowls exclusively, or try out plates. All these things I keep forgetting that you can make on a wheel...