Friday, January 30, 2009

If this isn't nice, what is?

I read a blog* earlier today** about this quote. Apparently it's from Kurt Vonnegut, from Timequake, and of course like all Vonnegut books I enjoyed that one immensely and then instantly forgot all about it, so I had to read this post again to remember the quote. When I read it earlier today, I grumbled a little and went back to work***. Now I am agreeing with the line and in fact rather basking in it.

* this isn't the blog I read it in. I forget which one it was. This one just came up first on google.
** I read a lot of blogs at work! I have a lot of reading time, because every time I want to compile, it takes about a minute. Plus, I use IntelliJ IDEA (which is one too many words for the name of a piece of software), which often just seizes control and "parses files" for a few minutes. This is very frustrating. Hey, any of you programmers, you must have experienced this minute-here-and-there downtime. Do you just read blogs too?
*** Not that work makes me grumble right now! On the contrary! I am at a point where I wish days could be longer even if it only meant the work day could stretch out longer. I mean, right now days are 24 hours and I work 8 of them; if days were 28 hours and I worked 12, that would be fab. I enjoy working; it's sort of like Rubiks-cubing or knitting or whatever else you do that makes you content for long periods of time. I know work-life balance is important and all that, and I like to do a lot of other things, so I haven't been working a whole lot more, but like I said, if I had more hours to work, I'd enjoy that.

Anyway, I am a coding wizard, I finished exactly the task I set out to complete (which I set out to do without knowing if it could be done or was worth it), I'm pretty content, and now it's the weekend! And, more importantly, Sarah and Daniel are both arriving tomorrow! Ergo, thusly, quid pro quo, cafe au lait curriculum vitae: if this isn't nice, what is?

Finally, if you have too many hours instead of too few, why don't you waste a couple playing Space Pips? Thanks to Gerrit!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Big announcements on the 500th anniversary of this blog!

It's post 500! I would be embarrassed if I told how you long I've delayed writing anything because I wanted to write something special on post 500. In fact, I have for you two special things:

1. The Seattle Grocery Store Survey. I did this! I'm done with it! The results probably apply to you, wherever you are, because there's probably a Trader Joe's and a Whole Foods there.
- Trader Joe's is about 9% cheaper than your average grocery store (QFC, in my case). And most of their food, besides their produce, is pretty good.
- Whole Foods is only about 5% more expensive than your average grocery store. 5%! That's nothing!
- Farmers' Markets are still the best, and co-op markets are the next best, but I have no data to back that up, it's just true.

In short, you have no reason to shop at your average grocery store. (unless it's two blocks from your house, like me. sigh. so why did I even do this survey at all? I don't know. hope you find it useful.)

2. I'm starting a cooking show! On the internet! This is something I'm quite excited about.

The goal is to teach non-cooks how to cook. This is not a hoity-toity cooking show. This will ideally take you from "never cooking ever" to "better than average." I want to do this because I think it's good for all involved: everyone eats healthier, more cheaply, and more sustainably. Plus, maybe you can slow down and enjoy your food and your life more! That'd be neat. And it'll be fun for me to make, too.

I may ask for your collective advice a few times in the next few months. I'm planning to "go live" in May, and post one video per week, more or less.

First advice question: In addition to videos, I plan to write about food, recipes, grocery shopping, cooking, food sustainability, etc. It's all basically blog format, plus some videos. Any of you have experience with this? Not sure if I should use Blogger, or Wordpress, or even just host it somewhere and roll my own blog format. (the latter kinda appeals to me for the geekiness and just so I'd know how to do it.)

Follow-up to first question: If I'm hosting it somewhere, I'll need to host it somewhere. Anyone have any experience with hosting companies, or have any suggestions there? I figure I can just post the videos on Youtube. But yeah. For the rest of the stuff. How do I do this?

Second question: Any of you ever used a digital video camera? I mean, of course you have. Any recommendations? I'm looking for pretty good picture and even better sound. If the video is hard to see or hear, nobody will ever watch it. However, still, I'm posting to Youtube, so it's not going to be super killer quality anyway.

Third question: Any suggestions/recommendations/wishes for the content? I am open to these, in any form, at any time. Send them along.

If you have any ideas, please post or email me. Otherwise, sit back and wait a few months for the antidote to fast food and frozen pizzas!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Dear Obama,

President Obama,
You should not smoke when you are president! There are simple reasons. Because you will die by smoking, and then you will not be president! But I want you to be.
Your No. 1 fan,
David Lopez, age 7
Los Angeles

Dear Obama,
I like you because you won. We saw you on TV. I hope I am your friend.
Edwin Martinez, age 6
Los Angeles

From Thanks and have fun running the country. To quote my friend Zach from high school, "Kid's awesome!"

And speaking of awesome, I got to meet Mark Bittman! Mark Bittman! My #2 food hero! He was giving a talk at UW to promote his book Food Matters, and of course I bought a signed copy because he's totally the man, and I couldn't stick around afterwards but I ran into him on my way out. It was a total fan-boy moment. I absolutely did that thing-you-don't-do-when-you-meet-a-famousman, you know, be like "oh you're so great." I think my words were something like "Mr. Bittman, thanks for everything you do, I love your column, and your philosophy, and... oh, and, uh, great talk, um, it was very good, and, uh..."

's true though. In other unrelated news, my mind is going to spinning so fast it's going to blend itself into a brain smoothie, and I'm a real jerk to everyone else and also myself. Have a good one!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Dear the thief of my bike lights:

I know Jesus said to forgive those who trespass against us, and Mohammed probably did too, and there's got to be a few awesome Hindu epics about forgiveness (maybe very long, and probably in verse). The Buddha would effortlessly forgive everyone just by being that way, and one of his distant followers would write a koan about it.

They would all be right, of course, even if I didn't care a whit about the victim, because forgiveness is probably pretty good for your inner self (whatever you think that "self" is).

However, righteous indignation feels pretty good too, and maybe if more bike thieves and bike part thieves were able to experience the effects of said righteous indignation from me or others who have recently lost a bike (or bike parts), there might be fewer bike thieves. Because if I saw you, I would beat the snot out of you*.

*or rather, I wouldn't do that, because I know the consequences would be worse for me than you (even though a bike thief is a far shittier person than one who punches a bike thief), but I'd like really yell at you a lot and probably call the cops and then fume about how you got let off with a small fine or something. Maybe more about this later.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Not actually gone, just less political.

Hey! Welcome to 2009. Thanks for checking back in. Hope your holidays were as nice as mine.

Do you have New Year's Resolutions? I don't, because it's like a cliche: people make them (and always the same ones. Auggh, I'm going to eat healthier and go to the gym. Auggh.) expecting them to fail. Then they get down on themselves and get convinced they'll never amount to anything. No sir, I want no part of that futile endeavor. I'm already well enough convinced that I'll never amount to anything.

I have a New Year's Thing I'm Going To Do, though. Actually, I have many. I want to, among other things:
- be awesome at doing what it is that I do for a living
- do a big project outside of work, which I will not discuss now because, geez, spoiler alert
- maintain an active social life, because I have met some cool people here and I want to continue to hang out with them, get to know them better, and meet new people
- cook a lot
- improv at least once a week
- keep up with the musics

You'll notice this takes a lot of time. So, one thing I do not have time for: politics! I've made a few somewhat-poorly researched posts just because something got my hackles up. Each of these has shaved a couple hours off my life, all told. And in the end, I'm not much better educated, and you aren't either, you just know that "Dan thinks this about this." In this world of bipartisan dickering and media pseudo-honesty, do we need one more voice shouting out real loud? No! So no more politics for me!

... unless it's about food.