A brief chronicle of my new life in Michigan, focusing on the fact that I live in a converted factory loft building with several hundered other "young professionals." Yeah, it's a yuppie dorm.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Rejection, in retrospect, was a good thing

While watching all the coverage of Katrina, several thoughts kept occurring to me:
  • Why, when the hurricane was approaching, did so many CNN reporters feel the need to stand outside and report? I would have believed them that the rain/wind was ferocious. Really, I would have.
  • Why were the anchorpeople so superior in attitude? They kept berating the people who didn't evacuate -- I couldn't help thinking that many of those people in New Orleans, especially, were so poor that they didn't have cars.
  • A year and a half ago, I had an interview for a teaching position at a New Orleans college. I have, over the past few days, been repeatedly overjoyed that they never asked me back for a follow up interview.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Just Finished Reading

Freakonomics. (S. J. Leavitt) VERY GOOD. It will make you look at the world differently. I know - cliche; however, Leavitt's goal is to use economic strategies to look at what are essentially sociological issues. And it works. I especially liked the "why drug dealers live with their mothers" analysis of the corporate structure of the inner-city drug business, and his analysis of the effect of environment and parents on student success in school.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. (J. K. Rowling) Quite good, and no, I'm not going to comment on the plot--you'll just have to read it. What I particularly enjoyed was Rowling's use and manipulation of your expectations of "usual" (based on her previous books' formulae) and her homage to Tolkein near the end. And that's all I'm going to say.

Yes, I did pay the rent. And the AC is back

I checked with the Yuppie Dorm office this morning, and they had indeed messed up; my rent was credited to the account of someone who has the same (rather common) last name that I have. They compared check numbers to the copy of the deposited check I brought in, and lo and behold, the numbers matched. Luckily, they're so disorganized that they hadn't even made a note on my account, let alone reported it to anyone. As for the series of phone calls that were on my answering machine, I cleared up (hopefully) the last of them, and talked to a very nice woman who was profoundly glad I wasn't yelling at her, or denying that I owed money, etc. She actually had no record of my phone number, so that one was probably a wrong number.

And the air conditioning in my office is working really well, now that the weather outside is nice and cool. I've been rearranging my shelves, sorting through piles of papers and files, and generally making my office feel less like the dumping ground it was during the no-air days.

As Matt would no doubt tell me, I worry too much.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

I *did* pay the rent...

I just got back from a week and a half in Bloomington, and a note taped to my apartment door greeted me with "we never got your August rent." And about 7 messages were on my answering machine telling me to call what I think are collection agencies -- not because I haven't paid anything, but because the person who had the phone number before me didn't pay something, or someone just used my phone number (it's easy to fake, and those that call never have my name or information connected to the number, so I'm pretty sure it is not identity theft.) I'm feeling a bit unduly persecuted here -- mostly because when I called the one collection agency that had Sunday hours, they said "no, we don't want you, and sorry for bothering you" and when I checked my online bank statement, I noted that my rent check had been cashed on the 3rd of August, eight days before the "we didn't get your rent" notice was sent.

Online access to banking records is a wonderful thing; first thing tomorrow morning I'm going down there with the printout of the check (front and back) and demand that it be cleared up, with no comment in my record. Or with a comment of apology.

Monday, August 08, 2005

More Tales from the Kitchen Front

Successful cooking today. I got up and went to a wonderful local market called Kingma's, got potatoes, celery, and a carton of brown eggs and a few other things to make a potato salad in the style of my mother and grandmother (a style characterized by a LOT of mustard. 1/3 of a cup, to be exact. And onion. I like my potato salad crunchy and with a bite.) I had a potluck to go to this evening, and it's August. Potato salad. It came out great, so I decided to make a batch of oatmeal raisin cookies too. The first set had the problem I've been noticing in my cookies lately -- they get all flat and runny and essentially spread out over the pan rather than puff up, cookielike. Today I finally figured out the problem: my flour was old. I have a big plastic tub of flour that I think I've just been adding flour to for the past few years. This is fine when I'm in the top portion of the tub, but I've been making way way down to the bottom and using old flour. Not good! So I dumped the whole tub, mixed some fresh flour into the rest of the batter, and had much more puffy cookies for the second two dozen. And I stuck a piece of tape on the flour tub with today's date, to remind me not to use old flour again.

I'm now looking at my spice cabinet and wondering how old some of those things are... might be time to restock.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Update Update and a Question

Re: Bendy cutting mats referenced in previous entry.
OK, so I completely ruined some salmon this evening--I hate waiting for things to defrost, and I cooked too quickly. In the process, I broke in the blue mat (for fish...) and couldn't decide which side to cut on -- the rough side or the smooth side. I noticed that both sides could get marred by knife strokes (through basic testing). So - is the rougher side supposed to support your food (my first thought) or to prevent slippage on the counter by being put towards said counter? The packaging didn't say.

More testing is necessary - though I think I'll use unfrozen fish next time. I wonder how long defrosted fish keeps in the fridge?

Dinner ended up being a BL sandwich on wheat (bacon/lettuce, no tomato on hand, and I really like the tomatoless version, anyway).

Various Updates

I can't think of anything significant to blog about, so I'll write short updates upon various aspects of my life.

Office Air Conditioning: Still out, and the recent spate of 90+ degree weather pretty much made my office unbearable. Luckily, some of the people who have to be in the building (such as admin. assistants) have jerry-rigged interior A/C units that (sort of) cool their offices. My office, I start sweating as soon as I sit down, and I don't want to run the computer for longer than about 1/2 an hour.

Office decor: Purchased a bent-wood-style chair for the office at Target. I've been wanting a comfy chair in which I can read when in my campus office, but I didn't want to spend that much on it. It is currently still in its box; I'm not putting it together until the AC is restored. Ditto for all my other office-cleaning projects. It will stay a mess until I can stand working there.

Current Obsession: Food Network. I've been watching a whole bunch of FoodTV, and thinking things like: "Wow, what I could do with a decent food processor..." Most recent food-related purchase--a set of bendy cutting mats that are color coded to type of food (red for meat, blue for fish, yellow for chicken, and green for veggies).

Reading: Harry Potter 5 (rereading, actually), in preparation for getting to Harry Potter 6. I meant to do this months ago, but obviously, I'm not a complete Harry Potter obsessive, as I'm being pretty slow about it. Blame Matt, who gave me two other books for my birthday that actually bumped HP6 down the list. And the whole teaching a survey class in six weeks, and prepping for fall classes thing.

Looking for (halfheartedly): a headboard for my bed. When I moved here to the Yuppie Dorm last year (re-upped the lease, by the way for at least one more year of yuppie dormness), I got a new mattress and a new dresser for my bedroom (the old mattress is now a guest bed in the treehouse, and the old dresser is with a new owner). I also was going to get a headboard/bedstead, but I got sort of freaked by how much money I was spending at that time and skipped the piece of furniture that I didn't immediately need. However, I like reading and working in bed, and not having a headboard makes the paint behind the bed get pretty messed up -- so, I'm thinking that I should look for a headboard. At some point. Maybe. (Still not liking to spend large amounts of money!)

Decided: To collect Shakespeare on DVD. Updated Amazon wish list appropriately with the ones I don't own.