Archive for April 2001

Dreaming of homebrew

I saw a bumpersticker this morning that said, "Wouldn't you rather be drinking a homebrew?" and I remembered back to college, and the days when I dreamt of being a homebrewer...

I used to like beer, and drank it fairly often. I liked the microbrew stuff, especially Harpoon Ale, and I also liked cooking. And I also was very poor. What better way to address all three issues than becoming a homebrewer? There was even a brewer's supply store near my apartment. Surely the universe was harmonizing before my eyes?

A few weeks later, I journeyed to Vermont to visit an old friend, and I shared my homebrew dream with him as we quaffed his own concoctions. "The hardest part about homebrewing," he told me, "is acquiring the bottles."

"Really?" I said, thanking him for his sage advice.

Upon returning to Boston, I spied an empty case of Rolling Rock long neck bottles awaiting redemption. Obviously they needed to be cleaned, so I rinsed them all out and ran them through the dishwasher. I was on my way to homebrewing heaven.

Several weeks later, my housemate was making a run to the liquor store and taking the old bottles with him.

"Don't take the Rolling Rocks, I'm using them for my homebrew!" I said.

"Riiighht," he said.

This scene replayed itself many times over, accompanied by a soft hazy voice from memory, "Acquiring the bottles is the hardest part." Month after month after month. For a year. Maybe even two. The bottles never moved. I never added more bottles to my stash. And I never redeemed it either. The bottles sat next to the fridge in the kitchen, off limits to anyone trying to scrounge enough money to buy another case, until I moved out of the apartment.

I learned one thing about homebrew while I was in college: acquiring the bottles is not the hardest part. It's getting to the store to buy all the supplies and actually brewing the beer.

Tuna salad regrets

I ate the rest of the tuna salad for lunch, the tuna salad that had been sitting in the fridge for several days. It was so good the first time around. I'm beginning to feel that it wasn't quite as good the second.

Do DVDs count as TV?

I shall place the blame squarely on a vagary in the language, "No TV Week," for last night's viewing of Nurse Betty. It in no way was due to a collapse of character, nor a weakening in moral fiber. Indeed my moral fiber is as strong as ever.

It's just that more attention should have been paid to the crafting of the statement, No TV Week, for the reference to TV is ambiguous and indeterminate. Does it refer to the instrument itself, the cool big box on the corner of the living room? Or does it refer to the images transmitted through the device, the programs pulled out of thin air, reassembled, and beamed out as "Must See TV"? With such a lack of clarity, it's only natural some confusion would occur. And in this instance, said confusion resulted in the viewing of one DVD.

Making changes for ourselves

I can't tell you how many people emailed me last week, as I observed "No TV Week" to let me know that "next week is tv turnoff week." I appreciate the sentiment, I do, and I appreciate people taking the time to write me, but you know what? We can all turn-off our TVs whenever we want. And we don't need a magazine or a website to tell us when to do things. We can quit smoking on any day of the year, or vow to shed 10 extra lbs., not just January 1st. We can make decisions to improve the quality of our lives each and every day.

Let's not wait for our birthdays to start eating healthier food. And please let's not wait until we hear about someone's heart attack or another person's accident to make changes in our lives. And let's not for a website or a magazine or a friend or a lover, to tell us to change. It can be as simple as saying, Today I'm going to start eating more vegetables, without waiting for Vegetable Awareness Week.

We don't need New Year's resolutions, we need "New You" resolutions.

I hate when people ruin things

It's sad when a few bad apples spoil the whole barrel, as is the case over at the 5k contest. Apparently some folks have created a bunch of bogus accounts to vote up their own entries, and vote down entries that had been in the lead.

Last year there were so many entries in the contest, it took a lot of time for the judges to go through the finalists. The approach this year was to let the visitors rate the entries and then pass the cream of the crop on to the judges. Next year? I imagine it will have to work some other way, since people can't be trusted with this method.

What I don't get is, well, two things: 1. There's no cash involved here, why are people cheating to win? and 2. Do the cheaters think the judges are so stupid that if their lame entries are voted the best, they'll automatically win?

I like to have faith in humanity, but sometimes it's so hard.

It's good to have a sense of humor

Have you heard of this new startup? The Titanic Deck Chair Rearrangement Corporation. I know more than one company that could benefit from their services...

The blogged life

Metatorial? I'd forgotten about that word. Leave it to the press to dig up the forgotten tidbits of a blogged life.

Sylvia makes way for ducklings

One step closer to restoring faith in humanity: Sylvia's incredible duckling rescue story.

Visitors in Paris

My grandmother and great-aunt are visiting my mom now in Paris. I'm having so much fun keeping up with everything via my mom's blog. If you keep up with it too, you may see some familiar faces visiting her in another week or so.

Webby nominations announced

(As if any confirmation were needed.) The Webby nominees were announced today and it looks like those in the "Academy" have overlooked, once again, some of the most vibrant and interesting content online. I speak, of course, of the Personal category.

One thing that was nice about last year's awards is that at least the sites in the category were personal! (even Diaryland is run by one person.) This year only two qualify: and (I'm not including fray in my list for two reasons: 1. I think it's more-aptly categorized as "community," for which it's also received a nomination, and 2. In my mind, I picture "personal" as a singular effort. I could well be wrong on this point).

Moving on in my complaint, Blogger?! Blogger?!! Ugh. I'm happy that Blogger's been nominated, but it's not a personal site. It enables personal expression, but it's not a personal site. I know why it's there though, because the Webby's still don't have a "Web Applications" category. I'm not sure how one expects to salute "stellar...Web sites as the ultimate bookmark of the Internet for this year" without acknowledging web apps.

Even a portion of some people's sites are more worthy of being nominated. Take for example the beautiful stories written by Jeffrey Zeldman in the My Glamorous Life section of his incredible site. The content contained therein could be its own site, for Crap's sake. is what I think of when I think of personal sites that deserve recognition, or the hundreds of other sites out there done by people who push themselves everyday to release beautiful things into the world.

Oh well, I don't know why I expected quality sites would receive the recognition they deserve anyway. Congratulations to the nominees!

Coding to the Hip

Today feels miscellaneous, ungelled, lots of disparate posts. Is this a warning or a forewarning? I'm not sure, but this I do have to say: Phantom Power by the Tragically Hip is so great and rocking. The Hip is some of my favorite coding music. If you like programming, you should try listening to the Hip while you do it. The code you write will ROCK!

I want this camera

Drool. Must pay off debt. Must pay off debt.

That's Just The Way It Is

"That's just the way it is," is my newest hated expression, and you know why? Because it reeks of complacency, because it says, "This is how it's always been done and I don't have the guts or balls or will or interest to change it." Just because that's how it's always been done doesn't mean that's always how it has to be done. What if Susan B. Anthony or Elizabeth Cady Stanton said, "Women don't vote, that's just the way it is." What if Rosa Parks said, "Black people sit at the back of the bus. That's just the way it is." The United States would be a different place.

Everytime a person says "that's just the way it is," it's a resignation. It's an acceptance of the status quo. Who cares if that's the way it is? Does "the way it is" make sense? Should it continue to be that way? Next time someone tells you that's "just the way it is," I encourage you to ask, "why?" Then ask yourself if the answer makes sense. And if it doesn't, work to change it.

megnut: where it's all about revolution, Comrades!

Weekend movie lessons

Lessons learned this weekend: I am uncomfortable with pathos, and I don't particularly enjoy movies like Wonderland which arouse this feeling in me, even when they are really good. I am even more uncomfortable with improbability, and I definitely don't enjoy movies like Armageddon whose sole intent is to show you flashy action and sappy love with a complete disregard for reality.

Making tarte tatin

Making a tarte tatin is tricky. Round one: burned carmel. Round two: less-than-optimal amount of caramel, still delicious. (note: the link does not point to the recipe I used.)

A wonderful hike

I'd tell you all about my hike on Saturday but other folks already did. Ok, I'll tell you anyway, it was fabulous. Sunny and warm and hilly and trees and green and wild-flowery and just wonderful. Even though we did get a little lost and had to double-time it for about three miles. Just wonderful. I love hiking. I want to go hiking every day. Can that be my job instead?

Read my mom's site

For those of you that have been reading megnut long enough to remember "momnut" (when my mom took over last August for a week while I was in Hawaii), you may be interested in her new site (finally!). She's in Paris right now on a two-month sabbatical, and using her new camera to post very nice pictures. I'm jealous, and can't wait to go visit her next month.

Longing for New England

The Cider House Rules re-ignited my longings for New England, for rolling hills and soft autumnal colors, for the jaggy coast of Maine, for lobsters, and for Macintosh apples. When I was in grade school, our class took a field trip to go apple picking. We were each given a small paper bag to fill and if my memory serves, I never filled it. I followed a simple rhythm: apple off tree, apple into mouth, apple off tree, apple into mouth, until my stomach ached and I climbed down from the ladder and just sat beneath the shady canopy of leaves.

picking wild blackberries on nantucketI cannot be trusted with a fruit harvest. Not now, not then. Picking strawberries from my grandfather's garden, I averaged 1 berry in the box for every 7 or so in my mouth. As recently as summer of '99 picking blackberries on Nantucket, more berries landed inside my stomach than anywhere else, though we managed enough for two pies. I simply can't help myself. Plus, it's just more fun my way. If I ever have my own garden, I fear I'll make myself sick.

It's distribution, not supply

Writers and writing

Disregard the following if you've already been to today:

Last night Jason and I went to hear Dave Eggers read at the All Saints Church on Waller Street. It was, not surprisingly, packed, and we almost didn't get in. But then some extra space was found on the floor and we slipped through the crowd into the steamy room, and claimed our little piece of listening space. And then I proceeded to laugh like hell for the next two hours.

I'd forgotten how wonderful it is to hear an author read. In college I spent a lot of time listening to authors read their works, both in my writing classes and when professors and guests would read their writings. Hearing the voice behind the voice raises the passage to another place.

Hearing authors read also jump-starts my internal monologue, "why aren't you writing more? You should write more stories, you really should. You used to write lots of stories, and you really enjoyed it. Don't you remember when you were a writer? You should be one again." Etc. etc. etc.

Someday, internal monologue, someday soon.

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