Sunday, November 27, 2005

Yukon ho!

Wow, I can't believe it's been a whole week since my last post. This has been my biggest lapse yet. Well, I'll attribute part of it to studying and part of it to Thanksgiving. Hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving holiday!

My holiday was fantabulous. A very kind and generous friend of mine, whom I'll call Boll Weaver after the yarn and weaving shop she opened years ago in California, invited me and GPG over to have Thanksgiving dinner with her and her daughter. GPG and I made the mashed potatoes, plus fruit salad and vegetable salad . . . but our contributions are pretty measly compared to the feast that Boll Weaver made. Turkey, fresh cranberry sauce, dinner rolls, roasted vegetables, sweet potatoes, stuffing, gravy, and two kinds of pie--ALL FROM SCRATCH. Even the dinner rolls, which looked so perfect I couldn't believe it. That meal was heavenly, and I ate a ton. Two major helpings of everything, plus coffee and pie afterwards. I can't stop raving about it. Now I want to learn how to make a turkey so I can have turkey and mashed potatoes and gravy ALL THE TIME. YUM.

I ate so much of Boll Weaver's good, good food in part because GPG and I went for a 10-mile run earlier in the afternoon around Town Lake. I know that 2 times in 2 years does not a tradition make, but we had run 10 miles before Thanksgiving dinner last year, so we did it again this year. Ostensibly, this is all in preparation for the Houston marathon in January, but I'm even farther behind in my training this year than I was last year, when I bumped down to the half marathon. I think I'll try to run the full one this year, but that means a ton of running for me after I'm done with finals on Dec. 19.

Anyway, I'm just taking a break from studying to profess my undying love for Yukon Gold potatoes, which make the BEST MASHED POTATOES. EVER. According to the fine folks at America's Test Kitchen, they tested all different kinds of potatoes and found that Yukon Golds make the best mashed potatoes. So that is what I bought to make the MP for Boll Weaver's lovely dinner. (Well, really, I only boiled the potatoes; GPG mashed them. And he did a beautiful job.) And you know what? ATK is right. Yukon Golds make amazing mashed potatoes. And the recipe is so simple and so delicious that I even made some more last night. Really, here's all you do:

Cut up 2 lbs of YG potatoes into 1-2" chunks.
Put in pot; cover with water; bring water to boil.
Boil potatoes until they are tender when pierced with a fork; drain.
Mash potatoes (ATK recommends putting them through a ricer, but I don't have one) with 4-6 Tbs butter and a cup of warm milk.
(I guarantee that they'll taste better with closer to 6 Tbs of butter than 4 Tbs. And, soy milk seems to work just fine.)
Salt and pepper to taste. Don't skimp.
And, GPG's secret: throw in a pinch of sugar at the end, stir, and let sit until ready to serve.

It's heaven in a bowl. Throw on some turkey and gravy and you're set.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

A quickie update

I emerge from the depths of Intellectual Property (more specifically, the standards for patenting an invention) to procrastinate and write about other forms of procrastination in which I have engaged over the past few days:

1. The Chairman and Chairwoman came to visit. On Thursday. In the Chairman's case, from Japan! It was good to see both of them again. They brought me lots of food (which I definitely appreciate during this time of year, when I lose all motivation to cook anything for myself) and we also went and had dinner at the Brick Oven, an Italian restaurant nearby that serves remarkably good food for a remarkably good price. (Try the cannelloni if you go.) Now they are both back in Japan for Thanksgiving, although one wonders if turkey and mashed potatoes are easily accessible over there.

While they were visiting, I gave the Chairman his secret Christmas socks, which I'd been knitting like mad so they'd be ready by the time he came. They turned out quite handsomely, if I do say so myself, and I'm thrilled that they actually fit. The Chairman is supposed to send me a picture of them in action; when he does, I'll put it up here and actually have some knitting content on this blog!

2. GPG came for a visit. On Saturday. We didn't do too much, just had a lazy day, but it was nice--in part because we went to the Salt Lick and had scrumptious barbecue. Now, I know Austinites are pretty opinionated about who they think serves the best barbecue . . . and I will also confess that I am not a big barbecue aficionado. I don't eat out in very much while I'm up here, in interests of saving money, so to be absolutely honest, the only Austin barbecue I've had is Salt Lick barbecue. (And, in interests of being totally honest, that means that GPG is basically something of a sugardaddy for me.) So, although I won't give authoritative judgment on Austin barbecue . . . I will say that the Salt Lick is far better than any barbecue I ever had in Houston. Yes, even better than the ridiculous Goode Company, which I call "ridiculous" only in that the Salt Lick is SOOOOO much better that I don't understand why Houstonians go into such vapors over it. And, luckily for me, there's a nice new Salt Lick satellite location out on Capitol of TX Hwy, which means I don't have to go driving all over God's green earth to get some good barbecue. I was afraid that the food at this satellite wouldn't be as good as the original, but I'm pleased as punch to report that it is indeed as yummy.

That's what has been most memorable in the past few days.

Okay, back to IP.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Warning: spotty posting ahead

I think that posting from now until the end of the semester will be pretty spotty as I try to gear up for finals. Already I can tell that the frenzy has somewhat begun; I have been (somewhat) more productive and disciplined in the past week, and I'm sure I will only become even more frantic as finals approach.

But, before I disappear from the radar screen entirely, I'd like to write to encourage those people in the Austin area to go and see the Ansel Adams exhibit currently showing at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at UT. GPG was in town this past weekend and we went to see it on Sunday afternoon. It was great! Lots of beautiful photographs, plus a lot of images that you don't usually see in typical Ansel Adams collections. For instance, I had no idea that Adams did portraits or any kind of urban photography. Admittedly, I like his national parks photos best, probably because that's what I've come to associate him with, but the other photographs at the exhibit are still unique and very impressive. Go check it out!

(The HRC also has a Gutenberg Bible, which you can see while you're there to take in the Ansel Adams exhibit. It's supposedly one of only five complete copies in the U.S. I can't remember if the one I saw at the Huntington was a complete copy or not. Pretty cool if I can say I've seen two of those five copies now.)

Anyway, GPG and I had a good weekend. We went rock climbing on Saturday, which was a little pathetic because we hadn't been climbing in over a year, but still fun; we saw the new Wallace and Gromit movie, which was really entertaining; and we went to Java Noodles, one of my favorite Austin restaurants, which serves Indonesian cuisine. All in all, a great weekend. Hope you all had a good one, too!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

So close

It may be evident by now to those who know me well that my lack of posting about the championship flag football game means . . . we lost. 15 to 16. It was excruciating. I can't even muster up the will to write much about it, so here is a bit of what our team captain wrote to us today to summarize the game:

TLR lost in the championship co-ed flag football game by a score of 16 to 15. With two plays remaining, we scored a touchdown to pull within one of the eventual champion and decided to go for the win with a two-point conversion. Unfortunately, we came up inches short of completing the pass that would have made the conversion successful. We were in position to win the game and everyone played extremely well during the game--and throughout the season.

What our captain didn't include was that there were a lot of referee calls against us that made the ref'ing seem a little one-sided. I think it's always easy to blame losing a game on bad calls, but there were at least two instances that I can think of--one where we totally had a safety, but the refs didn't count it, and another where there was a serious roughing-the-receiver, illegal defense type incident that never got penalized--where a lack of proper refereeing was arguably outcome-determinative. I almost think that the captain used up all his arguing good will in the previous play-off games, because I'm pretty sure that one of the refs (who got into a few arguments with our captain in earlier games) probably didn't like us very much.

Oh, well. I guess there is always next year.


Sunday, November 06, 2005

Way to argue, man. Way to argue.

I hate to say it, but it probably is only at a flag football game involving law students that you'll ever hear players giving their team captain props for successfully arguing a protest on a call the referee made. But I guess you've got to give credit where credit's due: our captain was right, the refs made the call our way, and we ended up winning the game. To get really law-school nerdy, his protest wasn't sufficient for our victory, and it wasn't even technically necessary . . . but as a result, we only had to defend one more play in the game to win, instead of two, and if I don't have to know what could've/would've/should've happened if we'd had to defend two plays, then I'm happy with that.

In our flag football league, a game has only ten plays left after a certain point in the second half. I'm not exactly sure why this rule exists, but I bet it's probably an expediency thing to make sure games end on time. Anyway, we were within the last 10 plays; we had successfully scored another touchdown to pull ahead; and all we needed to do to win was keep the other team from scoring. On the ninth play, they completed a pass and we got a roughing-the-passer call against us. The referees ended up tacking on a 10-yard penalty to the yardage that the team had gained with the pass . . . and they repeated the play, calling the play count as two plays remaining.

Sound fishy to any of you flag football aficionados out there? It did to our captain; this is where he stepped in. He argued that the other team should only be able either to decline the penalty yardage and repeat the play, resulting in two plays left, or accept the penalty yardage and count the play, resulting in only one play left. Makes sense, doesn't it? To let them have both the yardage and the play repeat wouldn't be fair by normal football rules; it would give them two benefits from one penalty call. The refs ended up agreeing with our captain; I think he did the right thing by arguing.

But, of course, it took probably a good ten to fifteen minutes to hash it all out with the referees while we stood around on the field, further building up the reputation of attorneys as litigious, argumentative, nit-picking nerds. Oh, well. The refs made the call our way, we defended the last play of the game, and we won. And a bunch of litigious, argumentative, nit-picking nerds are going into the CHAMPIONSHIPS on Tuesday. That's what counts, right?

Is it Christmas yet?

November is supposedly the month where law students are supposed to get into gear and start studying for finals. And, in fact, I think I remember being pretty hard-core intense about studying last year, when I was an eager-beaver 1L. Now I am a jaded 2L and it's a lot harder for me to get my study on. Instead, I'm just about ready to skip over to winter break right now. I am ready to veg on the couch watching things like the ooh-la-la-only-twenty-dollars-now-isn't-technology-awesome 6-hour BBC version of Pride and Prejudice, knitting pretty, pretty things and eating yummy baked-by-me goods.

But, since I can't, I have to focus on the federal income tax consequences of disguised income instead. And totally procrastinate by still baking yummy things and knitting on secret Christmas presents.

Finals are going to be a catastrophe, but at least I'll have all my Christmas presents ready and a good layer of pumpkin-bread-induced fat to keep me warm.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Stupid computer.

I had a great post written about how my journal's flag football team won the quarterfinals in TRIPLE OVERTIME yesterday night, but then my computer ate it and I am not going to try to write it again. Suffice it to say that a bunch of law school nerds are trampling over a bunch of undergrads on the way to the UT flag football championship. Semifinals are on Sunday. Yee haw!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

More Japanese films

Ever since GPG and I saw Miyazaki's Spirited Away, we have been on something of a Japanese animated film kick. (Is that a Japanimation kick? I am not sure what Japanimation includes. Somehow I always got the impression that it is more a Yu-Gi-Oh! kind of thing, but what do I know?)

Anyway, we started watching movies by Satoshi Kon, who is apparently another big figure in Japanese animation/Japanimation. So far we have seen Millennium Actress and Tokyo Godfathers, and I would recommend both. They are pretty different from each other, but both are certainly entertaining, interesting, and much more engaging than American animated films. All the Japanese animated films that GPG and I have seen target a much more mature audience than American animated films do, which is refreshing. It's nice to see animation companies that don't think that their movies have to be covered in sugar and sunshine, chock-full of overbearing moralistic lessons, to be successful and entertaining.

Go check out these movies; they're good. I'll warn you that I thought Millennium Actress was pretty sad, but not in a bad way. And it had some really clever story-telling, too.