10,166 words in about 6 hours, and the novel is actually Done.
Story arc complete.
I so totally rock.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Or, more accurately, on the porch several feet away, safely seperated from my nice cozy dining room by a set of sliding glass doors.
But the sentiment is still the same, or something.
At any rate, it's the last day of my visit to PA, and the first day on which I have nothing in particular planned--no visits with friends, no major holidays, no Black Friday visits to the mall, or Post Black Friday returns to the mall to tell Lens Crafters they screwed up the prescription in my new glasses--and, somewhat appropriately, it is pissing down rain, further cementing my resolve to not leave the house unless absolutely necessary.
What, then, is a girl to do?
I could be responsible and attempt to work on Thesis, which I have yet to do on this vacation. I could sit down with Photoshop and the cast pictures I took of the kiddos and get to editing, since I promised I'd have them ready by, oh, tomorrow.
Or, I could attempt the ultimate act of insanity and attempt to finish my NaNo Novel.
True, I've already crept across the 50K finish line, but it kinda bugs me that the story itself isn't complete. Judging by the length of the rest of the novel, I could probably finish out the story arc in about 10K words, and since I average roughly 2K an hour, if I were to start now and break only for lunch, I could probably finish up before dinnertime.
Am I gonna try it?
Bet your ass.
Posted by the frog princess at 10:30 AM
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Despite myriad distractions and life constantly trying to get in the way... I did it! I wrote 50K words in 29 days. Phew!
And the most ridiculous part of it all? The story isn't even *done*! I was so worried that I didn't have enough story to make it to 50K that I padded the beginning with all sorts of unnecessary stuff--and here I am at 50K and the most significant part of the story hasn't even been written yet!
Nothing for it but to keep going, and then go back when it's all done and weed out the fluff.
Right now I'm just going to bask in the afterglow. Weeding can wait until after December 15th.
Posted by the frog princess at 5:13 PM
Growing up, I always wanted to be Cyd Charisse. Here's one half of why:
And if you're not convinced, here's the other:
There are things we always think of as inheriting from our families. Our eyes. Our hair. Our allergies and our back problems.
But there's something else that we rarely think of. Our loves.
Tonight, while taking a bathroom break from family movie night, I began singing "Gotta Pee!" (to the tune of "Gotta Dance," above), which is not an unknown phenomenon in our house, and it immediately made me want to watch "Singing' in the Rain." So I made the request and my parents obliged.
I was raised by my parents, my mother especially, to love old Hollywood musicals. I think "Singing' in the Rain" was my first ever movie obsession. When my family first got a VCR, and before "Labyrinth" came into my life, I would watch it every day. It was slowly supplanted by "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers," but even so, "Singin'" was always the foremost of movie musicals in my world.
About 30 seconds into the 700th or so watching this evening, I remembered why.
I know that loving this film, and others of its era, and desperately wishing that I had a fraction of the talent of Gene Kelly, or Donald O'Connor, or, of course, Cyd Charrise, is part and parcel to being part of my family. Just like the large, deep-set eyes and the fast metabolism.
And truly? I wouldn't have it any other way.
Posted by the frog princess at 2:17 AM
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Happy Thanksgiving to all the American readers out there... and really, to everybody, because thankfulness should not be limited by nationality.
In addition to fabulous friends and family, here are a few things I am thankful for at this moment:
- My train back to PA was not Standing Room Only this year.
- Pouring over mail order catalogues with my mother, marking stuff we want for Christmas... before the turkey is even out of the oven.
- Watching "Futurama" with my dad over beers at 1:30am, and making him laugh when I referred to the "Girls Gone Wild" commercial shown twice every commercial break as "Underage Boobfest."
- Stripey pajama pants from Peru.
- Whatever university's marching band is currently playing "Rodeo" in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
- The smell of turkey.
- My mom actually remembering to buy my cranberry sauce this year (I'm the only one who eats it).
- Game Night with some of my Girls, where my BFF and I came back from way behind to kick ass at "Cranium: Pop."
- A shower with water pressure.
- Furry llama slippers.
- Fresh cinnamon rolls.
- Only a little over 7k words to go on my NaNo.
- Only 2 1/2 weeks left to go in my Masters Degree... actually, let's file that under "Thankful-But-Terrified," shall we?
Hope everyone has a fabulous day, holiday or not!
Posted by the frog princess at 11:18 AM
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
I just went shopping because I am out of clean clothes and have neither the time nor the inclination to do laundry between now and my 9:30am train to PA tomorrow.
Unfortunately, I did not buy underwear. Guess I'll be washing those in the sink.
Nothing like going home for the holidays with a suitcase full of dirty laundry!
Mom and Dad will be so proud.
Posted by the frog princess at 3:13 PM
Monday, November 24, 2008
Yesterday was a good day.
After closing down the show with the kiddos on Saturday, I made my way home and got a loooong (and much needed) night's sleep, awaking early on Sunday to head into Manhattan and get a student rush ticket to see August: Osage County--partly because I've been wanting to see it, and partly because I have a response paper due tomorrow the subject of which is a play written in the past 25 years.
The thing with student rush tickets is that you have to show up and get them right when the box office opens, which is at noon, and the show doesn't start until 3:00. So, after procuring my ticket (for the amazingly affordable price of $29.50), I decided to head uptown and spend a few hours in the Natural History Museum.
In retrospect, I think I chose that museum (as opposed to, say, the Guggenheim) because it's the one that my uncle would have enjoyed most.
I spent a few happy hours wandering around the fourth floor, oooh-ing and aaaah-ing over dinosaur bones like a little kid (though to be honest, most of the little kids I encountered were more of the shrieking variety than the oooh-and-aaah variety). I also checked out a temporary exhibit on horses that, geek that I am, I found totally fascinating. I need to go back for the live reptile exhibit before it closes!
There were no photos allowed in the Horses exhibit, but here are some dino bones for you to enjoy:
Note to Winter visitors: The coat check at the Natural History Museum may only cost $2, but the line takes forever on Sundays! I thought I was going to be late for the show!
Fortunately I made it back to Times Square with a few minutes to spare and was able to grab a mediocre slice at a pizza place around the corner from the theatre (I hadn't eaten all day) and still make it to my seat with enough time to browse the bios in the Playbill before the show started.
The show itself was FANTASTIC. Excellent script, excellent cast--Estelle Parsons (Roseanne's mom on "Roseanne"), who recently took over the lead, is freaking AMAZING--and the set design, a whole three story house on stage!, is also brilliant. The whole thing, in fact, is brilliant. I highly recommend anyone who is in the New York area and has a chance to see it do so immediately.
And of course, nothing would top off a quintessential day in New York without some craziness on the subway--this one in the form of some random guy chatting a stranger's ear off about real Jamaican jerk seasoning (the guy was white as snow) and how there was a massive UFO sighting in Staten Island two weeks before 9/11, so the two are obviously related... he was still talking when he got off the train three stops later. Alone.
All in all, it was a good day. And just what I needed after the lunacy of last week, and before diving into the lunacy that the rest of the semester holds in store.
On a completely different note, thank you, everyone, for your kind words and thoughts regarding my uncle. I've heard from both of my cousins and they seem to be coping as well as can be expected. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers, I certainly am. As for me, I'm still trying to figure out how to grieve, but I think the museum was a start.
Posted by the frog princess at 6:53 PM
Saturday, November 22, 2008
My mom called a little while ago, just as I was sitting down and preparing to be productive, with some bad news.
My uncle died from an overdose.
He was family by marriage, and he and my aunt have been divorced for many years. He had a lot of issues and could never seem to get his shit together (see above), at least, never for very long.
After the divorce, I think I was the only member of the former in-laws who didn't completely write him off. The last time I saw him was at my cousin's wedding, but I would always ask about him, wanted to know how he was doing. Sure, he was a fuck-up, but he was also funny as hell and incredibly smart, and I always loved being around him. When he was sober. And while his actions were never the best illustration of it, I know he loved his kids.
And today, it's his kids--my cousins--that are in my thoughts.
They've had it rough over the years, dealing with a father whose life is continually falling into a shambles, who could never be relied on for, well, anything. Neither of them talk about it much, but I know it's taken its toll. And to have it end like this, right before Thanksgiving, and with some other lurid details that I do not care to share with the internet at large, well... this makes me, personally, angrier than I've ever been with him. For not being able to get it together for the sake of his kids and grandkids, to leave them with this as the final memory of their father. It leaves me with a heavy heart, and no idea what to do or say for either of them, other than to let them know that they are both in my thoughts.
And while I hope that my uncle has now found the peace he couldn't find in life, my greater concern is for the peace of those who were left behind to pick up the pieces.
Today and every day I will be sending them my positive thoughts and love, and cling tight to the hope that, like all of the bombshells life drops in our laps, this too shall pass...
Posted by the frog princess at 12:42 PM
Friday, November 21, 2008
My three-hundredth post!!
And a very anti-climactic one it shall be, because I? Am Wiped. Out.
I stayed out too late last night celebrating a friend's birthday, and had an 11am call time for a two-show day with the kiddos. I walked into the dressing room and the following conversation ensued:
Kids: Wow, Froggy, you look really tired!
More Kids: Yeah, you do! You look tired!
Me: Great guys, thanks for letting me know I look like shit this morning.
Costume Lady: (laughs)
Another Kid: Your hair looks hot though.
Ahhh... my teenagers. How I shall miss them!
Posted by the frog princess at 10:47 PM
Thursday, November 20, 2008
The ever-girly (despite what the Gender Analyzer may say!) Princess of the Universe tagged, well, everyone for a meme... and since she turned it into a contest, how could I refuse?
1. Post three "sexy" wishes.
2. Link back to the tagger (done).
Sexy wishes are easy, being that I haven't gotten any in quite awhile (and haven't gotten any that was actually worth the effort in even longer!), so here goes!
- I would like to have sex again before the end of 2008. Preferably with a man who knows what he is doing and that I will still find attractive when I am sober.
- I would like to find a man who actually appreciates my lingerie collection, so that I can torture him by prancing around the apartment in it but not letting him touch me until after dinner/movie/game-of-scrabble/whatever is over.
- I would like someone to invent a toy that runs on solar power, because nothing is more frustrating at the end of a long day than dead batteries! Plus, I've given up hiding mine, since no man has entered my bedroom since I moved into this apartment, so it just sits on the windowsill in the sun all day. Perfect!
No pressure ladies :)
On a side note, it's 1:00am and weird techno organ music has been coming up through my floor since I got home at 8:30. I'm not sure what to make of that.
I imagine it's going to make sleep difficult.
On the bright side, I got my NaNo novel over 35K! Coming up the home stretch! The rest of my life is still in shambles, but I'm celebrating the small victories.
Posted by the frog princess at 12:44 AM
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
A book I'm reading for my newly-revamped-thesis-project uses the term "Exquisite Pressure" to define a working environment where people are given just enough time to create something they can truly own, without having time to judge or over-analyze. While this particular book refers specifically to an artistic/theatrical setting, I think the term could be applied anywhere that deadlines occur--office projects, school papers, etc.
The pressure I'm feeling right now, however? Is most definitely not Exquisite.
I have so much to do, so much to think about, and I'm having a very difficult time prioritizing.
The show with the kids opens in 2 days, so that, obviously, demands a good deal of my attention. The time commitment is finite, but the mental commitment is infinitely more extensive.
I've got that job audition next Tuesday and need to create a lesson for it, for which I need to do some research. As this is the most proximal deadline, it should probably be at the top of my priority list... but that would involve actually being able to make a priority list!
My play (or the 10 minutes of it being read aloud in class) doesn't have to be complete until mid-December, but I need to give my actor requirements to my professor by the end of the week.
My NaNo novel is falling by the wayside a bit this week, but I've got 31k words written, and I think I'll be able to get a lot done while I'm in PA for Thanksgiving and am not afforded the myriad distractions that can be found in my apartment.
And then, of course, there's Thesis. Honestly, other than reading some background material while traveling on the subway, I am thinking very little about Thesis this week. I'll worry about it when this show is over.
I also need to find time to bake some more baguettes, as I'm going to run out soon and that will definitely make me cranky.
Finally, to top it all off, I totally broke down and cried last night over this whole Slater situation. As much as I just want to be Capital-A-Angry about being so unceremoniously friend-dumped, the overwhelming emotion I am feeling over all of this is Hurt. I have apparently lost one of my best friends, and I have absolutely no idea why. And that... sucks.
The gifts I brought for him from Peru just sit there on my dresser, taunting me. What am I supposed to do with them? I can't give them to someone else, nor can I throw them away. Part of me just wants to mail them to him to get them out of my house, but do I include a note? Gah!
And of course, now my paranoid mind is reading into all of our mutual friendships as well... like the fact that B (formerly known as Maybe Crush, remember him?) hasn't written back to an email I sent several days ago. He's *always* slow to respond, but now of course I'm wondering if Slater has said something about me to make him not want to talk to me.
Clearly, my paranoia is still in High School.
It's just the icing on the cake of an already stressful month, and I wish I could just let go, but really... how can you just let go when someone you trust hurts you? When someone whose support you genuinely needed just up and decides they don't have time for you?
If you know, please... do share.
Posted by the frog princess at 12:17 PM
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
People who are surprised when the subway starts moving.
That's what it's THERE FOR!!
(And no, at 12pm in the middle of Brooklyn on the most useless train in the entire system--which doesn't even go to Manhattan--they are NOT tourists. They're just idiots.)
It's been a long freaking day.
Posted by the frog princess at 11:43 PM
On Saturday, I did not go to rehearsal. My voice was shot and it seemed silly to go when I couldn't speak--which turned out to be a wise decision as my hangover was of the late-breaking variety and I spent the better part of the afternoon feeling like ass and berating myself for my own irresponsibility.
I did, however, bake a TON of bread.
Aside from making this (which, incidentally, is much simpler to make than it looks):
I also made a ton of baguettes and part-baked them. Which means, essentially, that you take the bread out of the oven halfway through the baking process, when just a few little spots of brown have begun to appear on the crust, and let them cool. You then wrap them in parchment paper and plastic wrap and stick them in the freezer.
So, whenever you want a freshly-baked baguette (or whatever kind of bread you've made), you just take one out of the freezer and pop it in the oven.
And let me tell you, taking this:
And slathering it with butter, dijon mustard, cave-aged gruyere, and some sort of fancy ham that's sort of like prosciutto, but less salty?
I'm not sure there's anything better.
Oh, and if you save back the tail end of the baguette to smother in Nutella for dessert... that's pretty sweet too :)
Posted by the frog princess at 1:10 PM
Monday, November 17, 2008
For anyone who hasn't seen this yet, I think it may be the most emotionally and intellectually compelling argument I have yet heard on the issue.
"...because this is the only world we have, and the other guy counts too."
Well said, Keith. Well said.
Posted by the frog princess at 9:07 PM
This afternoon I sent out an invite on Facebook to NYC friends--mostly people in my program--to come see the show I've been working on with the kids for the past two months.
About half-way home on the subway this evening, it occurred to me: I didn't remember adding Slater to the list.
So when I got home, I logged onto Facebook... and he's no longer on my friends list.
I ran a search, and found two accounts with his name. One in Boston, and one with no photo or info. Then, like, an hour later I got a Facebook email from a friend about her birthday... and his name was on the list of people it had been sent to. But unlike all the other names, it wasn't linked so I couldn't click on it to get to a profile.
So... what gives? Is there some strange glitch in the Matrix, or have I officially been de-friended for some transgression of which I am completely unaware?
As if I didn't have enough on my mind already.
Christ, I'm never going to get to sleep tonight.
Posted by the frog princess at 12:34 AM
Saturday, November 15, 2008
It was several.
I am not hungover in the traditional sense (yet. It could be one of those sneaky late-breaking hangovers, we'll see), but I am very tired and my voice is shot to hell.
While I had a great time waxing philosophical with the Lovely A about how we don't really smoke anymore--over half a pack of American Spirits--I am now in no way prepared to face my day, and all the lunacy that it holds in store.
I'm hoping a trip to McDonald's before rehearsal will fix that.
Posted by the frog princess at 12:26 PM
Friday, November 14, 2008
Good grief, this month is slipping away from me faster than I thought possible! Which on one hand is a good thing, as my life will feel far less lunatic once November is over... on the other hand, the reason my life is so lunatic is that I've got a million things to do before the month is up and the days just keep disappearing!
Like, just for example, the paper that I realized only moments ago is due TOMORROW. Granted, it's a 2 page response to a storytelling performance I attended--a pittance in the world of academic writing. But I attended it last week. Let's hope my memory and the notes I took hold up until I get a chance to write that paper tomorrow morning.
Because right now? Tonight? I am going for a drink. Or several. Probably several, considering I am meeting the Lovely A, and it has long since been proven that "just one" is not in our vocabulary. Case in point, the last time she and I met up for a casual drink on a Friday ended up with me pouring her into a taxi at 4am, after speaking to her boyfriend on the phone to assure him that yes, she would be getting home okay. Why was I the one to determine this? I'm not sure, as I was certainly in no state to be making judgment calls... but I digress.
That being said, before Tuesday the 25th I need to:
1. Write 2 response papers.
2. Find time to see a play, written in the last 25 years, about which to write the second response paper.
3. Survive Hell Week for the play with the kiddos. (6 days with no less than 4 hours of rehearsal on each given day, oh my lord).
4. Come up with a 15 minute lesson covering some aspect of Shakespeare's plays as, hello! I have an audition for the one company in NYC that I would kill to work with!!. And I have a week to plan for it.
5. Nail that job audition.
Then, after the 25th, there's...
- NaNoWriMo (I past the 25k mark! Halfway there!)
- Oh, right, THESIS!!
- And a play. That I have to write. For a grade.
Needless to say, this little frog is feelin' da pressure. Hence the drinking.
Posted by the frog princess at 8:53 PM
Thursday, November 13, 2008
To the victor go the spoils, on... Thanksgiving.
Coming soon, to a table near you.
Original post can be found here.
Posted by the frog princess at 11:59 AM
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
I knew I was in for it last night when, every time I was on the verge of falling asleep, my whole body would jerk violently, waking me up. I have no idea how I finally managed to fall asleep, but I knew that my subconscious had it in for me.
I was waiting for an elevator with some of the characters from Gossip Girl, theoretically to go home (because in my dreams I get to live in classy buildings with elevators). That's when I started falling over. I'd lose my balance, start drifting backwards, then my legs would give and I'd go crashing into a wall or whoever happened to be standing behind me (well hello there Chuck Bass! How are you this evening?). Every time the elevator arrived, someone would hit the Close Door button, waiting for me to get it together. My mind was completely alert, but I had no control over my limbs.
I was in my parents' backyard, getting ready to sleep in a tent (that had screened walls, a nice bed, and a flat screen TV). Only it wasn't really my parents' backyard, it just looked like it. A shady figure snuck out from behind my neighbor's hideously ugly hedge and suddenly I KNEW he was there to kill me. Only he didn't. As I sprawled flat on the ground, hoping not to be noticed--while wearing lingerie and thigh-high fishnet stockings... why?--he crept into another screen-walled tent, this one containing a refrigerator, some shelves, and a stainless steel table. He opened the fridge to return some bread dough that I'd left at the Gossip Girl & Co apartment. That's right, the strange sneaking man was bringing me dough.
Floodlights came on, helicopters appeared, and a man in military garb appeared with his retinue atop my parents porch. Orders in Spanish were echoing from a bullhorn mounted on the helicopter as military personal poured into the yard from around the hedge and the sides of the house. I was screaming "Digame en Ingles!" and crying...
I woke up, went to the bathroom, got a drink of water, and fell fitfully back to sleep.
I was at rehearsal with my kids, where I had inexplicably brought a tray of bread dough that was rising (notice a theme here?). Rehearsal ran over and I was going to be late for a hair appointment, so I rushed out and across the street where there is a kitchen-supply store--to buy tupperware to safely carry the rising dough to my hair appointment--only when I got outside, the store was no longer there and the street was lined by several surly fabric merchants. I kept walking up and down the street, as though that would make the store magically reappear, until finally giving up and going back down to the rehearsal room, where the dough had meanwhile gone bad.
I was still determined to make it to my hair appointment. I took the inexplicably pristine subway one stop (again, why?) then got out to find a taxi, ending up with a non-yellow cab who said he would take me for $3. I got in the back and sat down and zoned out, only to snap back to myself a few minutes later and realize we hadn't moved, the driver was outside talking to his buddies! I yelled at him to hurry up, that I was late, so he got in the car and we started driving...
I was in the back seat of a different car, filled with other people--some who I know from the real world, others complete figments of my imagination. We were driving through brown dirt mountains, sort of like that opening segment in "The Shining," only not as creepy. This was an off-shoot trip of some sort of camp or retreat, and we were going to... a nudist resort. Yes. We were staying for several nights, but as we pulled into the parking lot I realized that I hadn't brought anything with me other than the clothes on my back. We entered the resort, which was mostly a bunch of big crazy swimming pools, and almost immediately lost track of each other. Though it was supposed to be a nudist resort, very few people were actually naked. The two "real world" friends stripped down and jumped into the pool (although one kept his shirt on, which he always does at the beach. Shirt and no pants, gotta love it), and I followed suit, though I ended up just hanging onto the ledge and watching the crowd--until a little girl came up to me and asked if I had "girl parts," at which point I left the pool. The sun set almost instantly and it got cold. I asked the resort manager where my room was and he loaded me into a car to drive me to a neighboring Holiday Inn style hotel...
I encountered another friend, who was inexplicably excited that this hotel had overnight-train-style bathrooms where you showered over the toilet.
I woke up.
I was reading this book before I went to bed, which explains all of the bread references, but as to the rest of it.... wtf??
Posted by the frog princess at 11:32 AM
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
No idea how this website works, but it analyzes blogs and attempts to determine whether they are written by a man or a woman by somehow comparing the writing to a control-group of male and female authored blogs.
So I decided to give the ol' Frying Pan a look-see. The result?
"We guess http://das-frog.blogspot.com is written by a woman (58%), however it's quite gender neutral."
Nice, I rather like being gender-neutral.
Hmmm... I wonder what it has to say about the girliest blog I read?
"We think http://winnipegprincess.blogspot.com/ is written by a man (64%)."
Wow, okay, that was not what I was expecting... Either Princess of the Universe is keeping something from us, or their algorithm could use a little tweaking. I'm guessing it's the latter.
Okay, how about a blog actually written by a man?
"We have strong indicators that http://redactedblog.blogspot.com is written by a man (94%)."
Dan will be relieved.
Peter, on the other hand, appears to be in trouble.
"We guess http://peterdewolf.wordpress.com is written by a woman (56%), however it's quite gender neutral."
[Pause while Froggy feeds address after address into the machine, looking for a solidly female response to mirror the 94% male given to Dan]
I am perplexed. The highest certainty of female authorship I could encounter from my blog roll was Molly, coming in at 71%, followed closely by Deutlich at 68%.
But many of my other bloggy ladies showed up with startlingly high percentage certainty of being male... so either there's a whole lot of fakery going on out there, or this algorithm is decidedly warped.
I'm guessing it's the algorithm, as I've met Ashley, and she is most certainly not a man, despite this website's 78% percent certainty that she is.
So what is it that constitutes "masculine" writing? A good vocabulary and grasp of basic grammar? Is that why so many of my girls are getting labeled as boys?
This whole thing just has me a bit confused. Go check it out yourself. What does a stranger's algorithm say about you?
Posted by the frog princess at 11:32 AM
Monday, November 10, 2008
I... am annoyed.
This is actually a significant downgrade from a few hours ago when I was thoroughly pissed-off, composing ranty blog posts in my head on the subway, and just generally in need of a juice box.
Or, you know, a fifth of gin. Whatever.
So clearly I've calmed down a bit, but the bottom line is: I am... displeased.
You see, in the last month I have heard nary a peep out of Slater, other than an invitation to attend his Master's Thesis presentation, which I had promised to attend ages ago, before he fell off the radar and essentially friend-dumped me by failing to return phone calls or text messages, and responding to lengthy emails with emotionless 2 line messages.
But, being the good friend that I am, I said I would go.
And dutifully this evening, I cut short a meeting that really could have stood to last longer and not feel so rushed, to hop in a taxi and race up to campus.
I arrived promptly at 7:00 for an event described in the invite as starting at 7:00ish... and promptly walked in on a class being held in the room I was told to go to.
I both texted and called Slater, as well as texting another friend who I thought might have been invited. I received no responses. I would have texted others, but I didn't have any phone numbers.
I went back downstairs to the lobby where there are computer terminals and checked all of my email accounts to see if there’d been an email about a change. There hadn't.
I waited around outside to see if I’d run into anyone on their way in. I didn't.
I went back upstairs to see if there was a note on the door to the classroom that I’d missed. There wasn't.
I walked over to the building where most of our department can generally be found lurking in the lounge between classes to see if there was anyone who might know what was going on. There was a meeting in the lounge, and thus, there wasn't.
I went back to the original building and checked the junk mail folders of my email accounts in case an update had accidentally been filtered there. It hadn't.
I waited outside some more where I ran into my professor from the Uganda course who said I could go ask at the 7th floor office and they could tell me what room was being used. I went to the 7th floor and asked, but they could find no reservation including either Slater's name or the topic of his thesis. Help me? They couldn't.
At this point, I had spent half an hour running around, trying my damnedest to attend the thesis presentation of an individual who hadn't even seen fit to return my freaking phone calls for over a month, and I bloody couldn't.
So I sent him a text saying I'd tried and failed and was going home.
When I got home I emailed him a detailed list of my efforts, similar to the above (though of a decidedly more neutral tone).
Shortly after 9:00, I received the following text message:
"We had to relocate for that reason [the class, ed.]. I am so sorry you waited that long, i should have put up a sign but i was so tense i forgot to."
I texted back and asked at what time they had relocated, seeing as I arrived on time myself... and I never got a response. To that, or to my email.
Over a month of radio silence and disbelieving looks when people ask me "How's Slater?" and I tell them I have no idea; half an hour of running around like a lunatic trying to find a way to see his freaking thesis because that's just the kind of friend I am; two texts, a phone call, and an email...
And that's all I got.
A two line text message.
Is it wrong of me to say that it's not enough?
Posted by the frog princess at 11:54 PM
Sunday, November 9, 2008
I should probably be working on my NaNo Novel right now (Wordcount: 16,284, hope to be at 20k by the end of the day) but instead I thought I'd fulfill your requests for recipes and other foodie goodness!
The Kaiser Rolls
First, a disclaimer on bread baking in general. I've been doing this for awhile. Bread-baking has been a hobby of mine for years, and in the last year or so I've started doing it quite often. It's not too terribly difficult, but it is time-consuming, and does take some practice. You may want to start out with a more basic loaf before diving into things like rolls and bagels. Let me know if you're looking for recipes!
Right, on to the rolls.
I found the recipe here, which has recently become my go-to resource for bread recipes--these people know their stuff! I'm not going to cut and paste the recipe, as the linked post is quite detailed with lots of helpful pictures, so you can check it out there!
That being said, I think I did alter the recipe to use a poolish, which is basically a small portion of the dough that is made the night before and left out to proof at room temperature. It gives the dough a richer flavour.
Shaping these was a little tricky, but I did a bit of research and gave it my best go. The rolls puffed up a bit more than Kaisers are supposed to, but the end result tasted great, so for a first attempt I was pleased.
These were tricky, and some of them came out better than others. Once again, I found the recipe on The Fresh Loaf. This recipe came from a book which is totally going on my Christmas list, The Bread Baker's Apprentice, and as such I stopped into Barnes and Noble and read over the book's version of the recipe before embarking on this particular mission. The shaping instructions in the book were a bit clearer, which helped.
Based on information I found on another website (I think I'm going to try this recipe next time), I boiled the bagels longer than indicated in the BBA recipe--2 minutes per side--and also added malt syrup to the water rather than baking soda. Unfortunately, I over-baked a few of them afterwards. Definitely a timing issue that needs to be worked on!
Oh, and my "Everything Bagel" topping consisted of: coarse sea salt, fresh ground pepper, poppy seeds, toasted sesame seeds, dried minced onion, and dried minced garlic. Tasty!!
Oh, the neverending search for the perfect, NY style pizza dough! It is a long and arduous task, and one that has resulted in many a pizza dinner, some better than others.
I'm not sure which recipe I pictured in the last post, but the most recent candidate was found here. While the consistency of this dough was not exactly what I had in mind, it has the best flavour of any recipe I have tried so far. However, the consistency problem could be chalked up to two factors.
1.) This recipe gives a baking time that is WAAAAAYYYY TOO LONG! I pulled it out at exactly 20 minutes and my cheese was about 2 seconds away from being burnt. Of course, it's technically my fault for not checking on the pizza sooner, so next time I'll be more careful.
2.) The yeast. This recipe differs from every other pizza dough recipe (and nearly every bread recipe) I have tried in that, rather than dissolving the yeast in the water as the first step, all of the other ingredients are mixed together and then the yeast is sprinkled over the dough and kneaded in. Being that I used Active Dry rather than Instant yeast (I just learned the difference a few days ago, oops!), the yeast might not have activated properly. I'll have to get a different type and try again.
Another key to good pizza is a pizza stone. They're a bit on the pricey side (or so I'm told, mine was a gift), but I hear that unglazed/untreated quarry tiles work just as well. Learning to get a pizza onto a pizza stone without launching the toppings across the back of the oven takes some time--I'm still learning myself. Though this last attempt was the most fruitful to date.
Herbed Chicken with Roasted Savory Sweet Potatoes
This meal was insanely easy to throw together.
First, the chicken.
Preheat oven to 350.
Take a large chicken breast--or more sections of bone-in chicken if you're feeding multiple people--and trim off any excess fat or skin, but leave most of the skin on. Rinse, and pat dry with a paper towel.
One side at a time, sprinkle liberally with salt, fresh ground pepper, sage, thyme, and paprika. Use your fingers to lightly rub in the spices.
Place chicken in a large baking dish, uncovered, and bake for one hour.
Now, the sweet potatoes.
Peel and dice as many potatoes as necessary, based on the number of people you are feeding. Place diced potatoes in a large bowl and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Add salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and thyme (if I'd had any rosemary, I would have added that too). Toss for a minute to evenly coat potatoes with oil and spices.
Spread potatoes on a large baking sheet and place in oven on lower rack. Bake for approximately 30 minutes, turning once about halfway through baking time.
Voila! Serve with a chopped salad or other veggie and you are good to go! I like Annie's Naturals Organic Ketchup for dipping the potatoes. Tastes better than Heinz AND no high fructose corn syrup! I've tried making my own ketchup several times, but it always comes out tasting like tomato sauce. Now that I've found Annie's, I stopped.
I found this recipe here, an excellent resource for user submitted and reviewed recipes. If you make an account, you can save recipes to your recipe box and have them on hand anywhere that you've got an internet connection! (Side note, my BFF turned me on to this one which is totally rockin' and adored by anyone I've ever made it for!)
The only significant change I made to this recipe was adding some freshly ground pepper to the filling to give it a bit more bite. Otherwise I made everything as-is.
Rolling the dough was a bit tricky. In the end, I went to my fabric stash and found some muslin, which I cut into a rectangle and attached to my giant butcher's block cutting board with duct tape. I then liberally floured the muslin and rolled the dough out on that. The dough tried to stick to my rolling pin, but if you keep some flour on hand you should be fine. They do make cloth sleeves for rolling pins (my mom has one) for rolling out sticker dough, but alas I do not have one. Hey, work with what you've got, right?
My chief warning is: Do Not Overfill Your Ravioli! I did, and it made it a pain in the arse to seal them up. Fortunately, none of them exploded while boiling, but I thought they would.
Now, I served them with a Garlic Pumpkin Cream Sauce that I sort of made up as I went along. The sauce itself was decent, but was a bad combination with the ravioli for two reasons: first, the sauce was too rich and overpowered the flavour of the ravioli itself; and second, the sauce was a yellowish-orange colour, which clashed horribly with the reddish-orange of the pasta. Read: it did not look pretty, and in case you hadn't noticed from the photos, I like my food to be pretty.
That being said, I would recommend serving these simply with butter or oil and salt. Save the rich sauces for a simpler pasta.
And there you have it! Notes from Froggy's Kitchen! Tonight I will be making a chicken using this, which is super-easy and makes a fabulous bird!
Photos will be forthcoming, I am sure.
Posted by the frog princess at 12:15 PM
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Friday, November 7, 2008
Wow, food porn sure brings the lurkers out the woodwork! Welcome, new friends, make yourselves comfortable :)
I will absolutely honor the requests for recipes and the like, but not today, as I have a wedding to attend and lots of stuff to get done before I leave--like writing 1700 words for NaNoWriMo (current wordcount: 13,133... over 1/4 of the way there!), since lord knows I'll be too drunk to do it when I get home.
So, on to the randomness:
I think John Stewart has a bit of a man-crush on Paul Rudd (who could blame him?), but that's okay, as I think I've got a bit of a girl-crush on Rachel Maddow.
Grilled salami & pepper jack on homemade Italian bread = possibly the awesomest sandwich ever. I recommend you go make one right now! Provided, of course, that you know how to bake bread...
I wrote to Cute Conference Guy last night, and got a response this morning. While the response was prompt and friendly, it didn't quite seem like an "oh, I remember thinking you were hot and hope this is an entryway into further communication" type email, so.... I don't know. I will write back and see what comes of it, but I'm not holding my breath.
The wedding I'm attending tonight is one that I've been looking forward to all year. I've known this couple since I first moved to NYC, and they might just be my favourite couple ever. Also, they manage to throw fabulous parties in tiny Brooklyn apartments, so I have high hopes for this evening. Let's just hope my phantom, here-one-minute-gone-the-next cold stays away for the evening.
And the new shoes I got to wear? Beyond fabulous! The red is a little darker than the picture, but paired with my vintage 1950s royal blue velvet party dress? They're going to look killer. (And if they don't, I've got plenty of plain black pumps to fall back on.)
Also wedding-related, I am currently attempting to recreate this look, which I have managed twice before with minimal difficulty... but right now my hopes are not high. Fingers crossed that it works, or I will be doing an emergency wash-under-the-faucet-and-flat-iron before leaving the house.
In case you couldn't tell, I like getting dressed up for other people's weddings. Perhaps because it's doubtful I'll ever have one of my own (nor do I want one, for that matter), but mostly because it's an excellent excuse to get all decked out and remind myself (and everyone else) just how nicely I clean up when I put my mind to it.
I hope the weather holds out. It's fairly grim and grey right now, but I think it's supposed to brighten up later.
Hmmm... it appears that most of this randomness was wedding-related. Guess I had a theme after all!
Right, off to be productive.
Posted by the frog princess at 12:20 PM
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
As we all muddle our way through the day, dealing with post-election depression (it's sort of like post-partum depression, only without being responsible for an infant), I thought I would provide you all with a little fluff to brighten your day (and whet your appetite).
Behold! Further evidence that my continuing singleness is absolutely criminal.
Homemade Kaiser Rolls.
Not bad considering they were my first attempt.
Proof that I actually did it myself.
Um, hello? Who wouldn't want to wake up to fresh bagels on a Sunday without having to leave the house?
I've been making pizza at least once a week, sometimes more, as I continue my search for the ultimate crust recipe.
Herbed Chicken with Roasted Savory Sweet Potatoes
A.) Sweet potatoes are a million times better when made with herbs and spices vs. sugar and marshmallows; and
B.) It's moderately depressing eating a rockin' meal like this alone while watching Bones on your DVR.
Pumpkin Ravioli... FROM SCRATCH!!
Does this one even require further justification as an illustration of my awesomeness? No? Good.
Behold... My Halloween costume:
Okay, okay, so it's not food... but only, like, 3 people actually got to see my costume on Halloween, so I felt the need to share. Especially considering that if I keep eating all of this fabulous food by myself, I'll never fit into that costume again!
I'm the smiley face :)
And so here I sit, basking in the smell of the two ginormous loaves of Italian bread currently baking in my oven, and contemplating what I will do with the leftovers after cooking an entire chicken just for myself.
Expect another installment in this series before the week is out.
Posted by the frog princess at 3:30 PM
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
I checked the time on my cell phone as I exited the subway, cursing the G train for having taken so long, and NYU for making us attend class rather than stay home glued to MSNBC.
I reached the top of the stairs and stepped onto the sidewalk. A few muffled shouts echoed down the street, but that's not unusual for Brooklyn.
It was as I turned the corner onto my block that the car horns started. Blaring down the street with a rhythm saying something other than the usual "Hey you! Get out of my way!" More cheers filtered into the general cacophony and I quickened my pace toward home.
It was like a ripple effect. One by one, apartments on my block erupted into raucous cheers. Through the windows, shadows bounced as people jumped and danced in celebration.
And I knew.
As a smile broke across my face and my stoop came into view, a voice from a neighboring window echoed the thought that was circling through my head.
"It's just like World War II ending!"
Tonight Brooklyn, and America, celebrates.
Posted by the frog princess at 11:35 PM
Alas, my polling station did not have stickers, thus I am forced to make due with this digital version.
At any rate, today I voted! Hooray! And I hope all of you able to do so did the same.
This is an exciting election for me, not only because for the first time since I've been able to vote, it looks like my candidate of choice will actually win, but also because this is the first election where I've actually been able to vote in person.
When I turned 18 it was not a presidential election year, and I could not justify missing two days of college in November to trek back to PA and vote for the state senate.
In the 2000 Bush v. Gore election, I was living abroad and voted by Absentee, then sat in the kitchen of my grotty student flat with my other American flatmate, staring at election coverage on British television, chain smoking and bemoaning the fact that we were 6 hours ahead and would not be able to get the results until the next morning... or, as it turns out, until several days later.
In the 2004 Bush v. Kerry election, I was living in NYC but still registered in PA, voting once again by absentee.
Thus, it was with genuine excitement that I got dressed and prepared to head up the street to my polling station (only about 6 blocks away) and cast my vote in what is possibly the most important election of my lifetime so far.
I made my way to the polling station, which was somewhat chaotic having something like 10 precincts voting in the same room, and only one booth for each, but the lines weren't all that long and, amazingly, nobody seemed to mind.
There was a palpable sense of excitement and even joy in the air, humming with the clicking and clanking of the ancient voting booths. As I signed in and took my place in line, a girl emerged from the voting booth and did a little dance, giving a whoop of joy. A few minutes later, her boyfriend followed suit. The people in line made idle, friendly chit chat with each other as we moved slowly forward. Another woman came tumbling out of the booth and came up to her friend in line.
"Those words were so small! I couldn't see anything! I was just like, show me where Obama at, I don't care about them other names, just show me Obama!"
Much as I may have wanted to, I could hardly fault her for her disinterest in the other offices holding elections. I had no idea who these men and women running for Brooklyn Court Justices were either.
As I took my place at the head of the line, I watched as the gentleman in front of me had serious trouble with the booth--the giant red lever appeared to be stuck. I stood, frozen, thinking: Well wouldn't it just figure if the freaking booth broke right before I get to vote!. Fortunately, the volunteers set things to rights and I was able to enter and cast my vote without any difficulty, smiling as the red lever slid smoothly back to neutral.
As I left the polling place, I got the distinct feeling that this election has pulled voters out of the woodwork who would not normally be bothered, and that excites me--that people in this country are finally taking an interest in how it is being run. Sure, it took an expensive, seemingly-neverending war and a serious financial meltdown to wake them up, but now that they are awake, perhaps we can finally do something.
It's time to remind the rest of the world that, while we have been behaving like the bully on the playground for the last decade or so, there is still some good left in this nation. A lot of good. We just need to start acting like it.
As I was walking back to my apartment, a guy headed in the opposite direction stopped me in the middle of an intersection.
"Did you just come from voting?"
"Yes, I did."
"How is it over there?"
"It's not bad, not bad at all."
I wondered, how could he tell? What made him ask me? Perhaps it was because I was the only person on the street who appeared gainfully employed, but I like to think it was the smile on my face.
Posted by the frog princess at 1:06 PM
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Fortunately, this is a choice that most normal people never have to make.
I, on the other hand? Am screwed.
You see, unlike everyone else on the planet, who after taking sudafed will immediately either pass out or become a catatonic mess, I will spend an entire night tossing and turning, heart racing, unable to sleep for more than a few minutes at a time, plagued by half-waking dreams involving the insubstantial plot of my NaNoWriMo novel laced with characters from the original 90210.
So basically, in an effort to not have a clogged up nose, thereby not sleeping with my mouth open all night, thereby not waking up with a sore throat... I ended up not really sleeping at all.
I hate being sick.
Posted by the frog princess at 10:23 AM
50,000 : The word count goal for midnight on November 30th.
1,930 : Words so far.
30 : Minutes spent trying to log onto massively overloaded website to update my word count.
1 : Rooms cleaned before writing commenced (because my apartment has reached such a disaster level as requires cleaning rooms one at a time)
2 : Other massive writing projects to be completed (or nearly completed) during the month of November (a play, and, oh yeah! A freaking THESIS which is going to have to be completely re-planned due to fuckery of the University's review board.)
3 : Days since cold symptoms first appeared, which seem to be neither increasing nor diminishing
240 : milligrams of sudafed consumed in the last 24 hours.
11ish : Number of times I stood up and immediately got a headache/felt dizzy/both.
0 : Number of directions I can move my neck without feeling stiffness and/or pain.
2 : Stores visited in search of candy corn, all for naught!
4 : Episodes of first season of the original Beverly Hills 90210 watched.
6 : Times wondered in which season David Silver's annoying little friend accidentally shoots himself.
2 : Incorrect actress identifications (Hot Math Teacher's Wife ≠ Erica Hahn on Greys, and Cindy Walsh ≠ the mother from "Son in Law," I blame the sudafed).
3 : Times I've almost ended this post, the come up with something else to add to the list.
29 : Minutes since I should have gone to bed. 36 after edits.
Posted by the frog princess at 12:11 AM
Saturday, November 1, 2008
So far my foray into the world of Match.com has yielded incredibly depressing results, which leads me to wonder: why exactly did I think this would be any easier than meeting someone out in the real world? And why did I pay for the opportunity to be disappointed?
Of every man that I have reached out to either by winking or emailing? NONE have responded. Not a single bloody one. The most interesting prospect didn't even view my freaking profile! Wow! I had no idea I was that uninteresting and/or unattractive.
Of all the men who have contacted me? One is somewhat interesting, but I can't seem to get excited enough to actually respond to his emails on a regular basis. And the rest? Are either: far too old, prematurely balding, poorly spoken (which is a deal breaker for me) with wretched grammar (even MORE of a deal breaker), well-spoken but have a profile that reads like a Dungeons and Dragons game-book, or just plain wonky-looking. In other words, not at all interesting to me. Like, even in the slightest.
So I'm beginning to wonder. All those profiles of men that I actually found attractive and/or interesting--and I was surprised to find so many!--that got me to say "oh the hell with it!" and pay for a membership to see what came of it... are they even real? Or does Match just sprinkle them through the website to lure in unsuspecting single girls? Not to be conceited, but I am a fairly attractive girl, which is why I find it just a liiiiiittle bit insulting that NOT A SINGLE FREAKING MAN that I have contacted has returned the favor. I mean, seriously, talk about disheartening...
Yes, I know I'm whining. Mostly I'm just annoyed with myself for shelling out money for this bullshit, as now I feel that I need to keep using it to "get my money's worth" even though all it's doing is pissing me off. Blech.
That being said, I totally need to email that guy from the conference. Just as soon as the decongestants kick in and remove the congestion-induced fog from my brain.
Posted by the frog princess at 1:00 PM