Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sleeping Bag/Bodysuit


"Baby Penguin Sleeping bag/bodysuit

Black/White 100% Nylon outer shell, poly-fill quilted hooded sleeping bag/bodysuit for children with mini visor detail, front zippered belly closure, soft cotton multicolored inner lining and rear perforations for attaching to stroller safety harness. Measures approximately: 43"L x 38" at widest points."

I've never been so saddened to not be 43 inches long. Alternately, I suppose I could have something that is 43 inches in length to carry around in this awesome sleeping bag/bodysuit, like a child, but those things tend to grow. Emu might be a good size--his face certainly fits--but inserting the real Emu into a sleeping bag probably entails sustaining serious injuries, so I insert him via Photoshop, scratch-free.

Friday, February 27, 2009


This kind of advertisement by Marc Jacobs is disgraceful. What is with this email ad made not even in Microsoft Paint, but probably in Microsoft Word? The ridiculous font, the absent apostrophes, the picture-of-a-picture quality of the photo, and the insinuation that someone would want these boots so badly they'd badger an employee about saving them behind the register?


This is coming from a man who has an awesome killer-calves-and-kilt combo going on lately and is a supposed fashion god of some sort. I have to say though, I've never really gotten any wanty-itis at this store like I do across the street at Club Monaco. And these pathetic emails are not doing their image any favors. Who is responsible for this horror?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Thursday Adventures Again

Today was gray and rainy, but not too cold. Mordecai and I went downtown this afternoon. We ate at Fontano's first; I had a turkey sub. Not as great as Mr. Sub's, but satisfying nonetheless. It turns out admission to the Art Institute was free throughout February, and the Munch show was half off (still $10!).


We went partially to see the Munch show, and partially so I could do some research for my own class. I was disappointed that "The Scream" was not in the exhibit. There's some lame sketch of it in its place. I understand everyone wants to steal "The Scream," but can't they get some Norwegian special security to accompany the painting when there's a Munch show at a big museum? Jeesh. Also disappointing: a lot of the modern and contemporary stuff is in storage, waiting for the new modern wing to open in May. For instance, my penguins are nowhere to be found. I was prepared for this, but again, can't there be special accomodations?


Photography (and lecturing!) was not permitted in the Munch exhibit, so instead I have these pictures of my other favorite works. I think my favorite works in the Art Institute tend to be ones that make me laugh--I laughed at the penguins, I laughed at the gold dragon-slaying, I laughed at this duo-person on the right from the Japanese modern print exhibit (it also reminded me of Aristophones' speech on the origins of love from Plato's "Symposium," which I just read again recently). The hush-hush and bow-down-with-respect-to-the-work atmosphere of art museum is too much for me, so I appreciate works that invite me to be silly.


Also noteworthy: blueberry tights! These tights are from Uniqlo, courtesy of Jenni. I want to live in all the Uniqlo things she brought from New York for me. I think if I do, I'll end up like Violet Beauregarde.

I love how unnecessary it was to roll her before sending her off to the juicing room (~1:08).

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thursday Adventures

Jenni has joined us this weekend for some Chicago fun. Last night we were hypnotized by commercials for Burger King's new Burger Shots (is that a picture of a fancy Whopper under the description of a Burger Shot?) and Joe's recent obsession, and set out on a quest to Burger King and acquire baseball cards at Meijer.


You can choose between a 2 Burger Shot Meal and a 6 Burger Shot Meal. We decided to have a big party of 18 Burger Shots total, which was a miscalculation on at least my and Jenni's part. Mordecai remembers Burger King's "Burger Buddies" from his childhood and was excited about trying these new ones out. Unfortunately he ended up disoriented because he forgot to ask for cheese. I have to say I am constantly amazed by the artificial "flame-broil" flavor that I can taste in Burger King meat. But I'm never impressed enough or care enough to return for more; I appreciate their advertisement campaigns, but I'm a Mickey D girl at heart. Plus, BK's Coke and fries are no good in comparison.


Then we went to Meijer out in Arlington Heights. Jenni found MLB Power Pros 2008 for the DS for $9.90! It took a while to find the trading card section, but Jenni found it and we went about deliberating. Mordecai got 2 packs of Topps 2009, Jenni got a value pack of Topps 2008, and I got a pack of Topps 2009 and a pack of Obama Inauguration Series cards. There was a round, large man sifting through football cards, feeling them to determine which to purchase. I should have interviewed him for insider tips.


We wandered around Meijer before checking out. I didn't even know they had a "hobbies" section, with knives, paintballs, and archery. Mordecai refused to tell me how to hold the bow and arrow, demonstrating only after taking the photos above. My shit is totally backwards!

If you'll notice, Jenni and I are wearing similar outfits, varying in colors and outerwear. We're like a walking work of art!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Eight O'Clock Coffee

This morning I got up at 7:10 and got out of bed at 7:40. I didn't have the Eight O'Clock Coffee until about 9, but I had a relatively productive morning that made up for laziness from the previous 4 or 5 days. This is my new study area, near natural light when it is available.


My fondest non-memory of Hegel is writing a 15-page paper on Phenomenology of Spirit back in the spring of 2004. I have absolutely no recollection of what the paper was about, or what the reading was about. I just remember writing it in the Regenstein and emailing Sam back and forth about how the paper was (not) coming along (ah, pre-Gmail days). Anyway, thank goodness for a fine professor who can make Hegel not only understandable, but appealing.


The coffee was good (and is reported to be a good buy, link via Mordecai), but you shouldn't take my word for it. We also got Dunkin' Donuts coffee grinds, so I will have my own taste test that no one should pay much attention to. I will report back nonetheless.

It should also be noted that I took an hour nap before noon. Still, progress is progress, peoples!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Weather Changes

I feel like being both productive and unproductive at once. So I paint my nails and blog?

It's been unusually warm the past few days in Chicago. Last weekend, after my piano lesson and hunting down Hegel's "Introduction to the Philosophy of History" at the Seminary Co-op Bookstore (who else has 25 copies lying around on the shelves?), Mordecai and I visited the unfrozen lake. There were lots of people out and about, particularly with babies and dogs. I wondered if the dogs were confused by their owners suddenly wanting to go on extra walks. Do they notice big weather changes and care like we do?


This past Tuesday it was 60+ degrees (15+ Celcius) and jackets were unnecessary. I forgot my cell phone in my parents' car on Monday night, so we went to pick it up and let Oji out.



One of these days I am going to have to photograph his snaggle-tooth face. His lips (?) get caught on his fangs and he looks...special, let's just say.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Winningest Brownies

I think I've fallen in love with Superbowls--I like the national anthem performance (even if it's fake), I like the hype surrounding the commercials (even if I'm let down), I like the halftime show (even if I don't recognize the songs), and I end up enjoying the game (even if I don't really understand the rules). Most of all, I love hosting Superbowl parties. I can still smell the Mr. Submarine sub sandwiches. (Who ate all the turkey sandwiches?! I'm mad I only got one little half of one; I even ate the onions!)

For this Superbowl Party, I baked two batches of brownies. Mordecai got me an Edge Pan for Christmas (I die for edges), which came with a recipe for brownies. I've always been a big fan of the Betty Crocker Fudge Brownies box mix and wondered who would win in a battle: brownies-from-scratch or brownies-from-box-mix? Our Superbowl Party became a platform for a taste test.


The Baker's Edge recipe calls for butter, bittersweet chocolate, eggs, sugar, flour, a pinch of salt, and vanilla extract. Pillsbury Milk Chocolate Brownie Mix calls for the mix, eggs, oil, and water.






Joe said he had a dream where the sub platter from Mr. Submarine was marketed as "Kaleidoscope of Taste." I just realized that Joe said "marketed" and not "marked." Anyway, dreams can still come true if you put your mind to it. Notice above that I placed the brownies on two different colored plates, red and white, and asked guests to vote in a Post-It Note covered Club Monaco bag on which brownies they thought were better, the ones from the red or white plate.

The results came in from a total of 14 out of 15 subjects: 9 for the from-scratch-brownies (white plate) and 5 for the box-mix-brownies (red plate). Red was apparently not a good color to sport or root for this past Sunday, I'm sorry Joe.

Here's my analysis of the results.

(1) There must have been multiple psychological factors involved. For one thing, it seemed many people felt that if they didn't pick the from-scratch brownies, they'd offend the baker. Some people asked me which were from scratch and which weren't, and if they guessed, I told them whether they were right or wrong. That was the first unscientific move on my part among others.

The other psychological factor in play is that one might feel the need to "strive" to taste and vote for the brownies from scratch because the ingredients are natural and it's made with the baker's love and is more pure and blah blah blah. The opposite is also possible: one might hold a prejudice towards box-mix-brownies because in the past, they've never failed to please.

For the record, I voted for the box-mix-brownies. It may be the case that I have box-mix prejudices that I was unable to set aside when it came to voting. I just thought it tasted better, no matter how I thought about what went into making the two batches. Pillsbury's version was sweeter, or less bittersweet, and got to the point--chewy, tasty, and made me want more. I was not eager to try another one of the brownies from scratch, edge-y though they were. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I made a devastating decision regarding my experiment, which leads me to my next point of analysis...

(2) How could I do a taste test between a brownie mix that calls for BITTERSWEET chocolate and make everyone compare it to MILK CHOCOLATE Pillsbury brownie mix? Let me explain how this happened, not that it justifies anything. I was initially going to buy Betty Crocker's Fudge Brownie mix. This mix has never let me down, and it is often on sale for about a dollar at Target or Strack and Van Til. But this past weekend, I saw it was not on sale, but all the Pillsbury mixes were cheaper. So I had Pillsbury's Fudge Brownie mix in my hand to place in the shopping cart. Then I came across a large display of the milk chocolate version, on sale, and thought "Ooh, milk chocolate, on sale!" because I prefer milk over dark chocolate, and replaced the fudge with the milk chocolate mix. Looking back, this is exactly why I don't really care about small savings like "Save 20 cents!" unless it's purely convenient. I don't know what came over me, but I think it was the milk chocolate prejudice that I did not set aside for the sake of a scientific experiement. Anyway, gotta redo the taste test with material consistency across the board. But is this really necessary? To my third point.

(3) This is a taste test of brownies. Like I said, the boxes don't fail. Betty Crocker has never failed me, and Pillsbury didn't fail last night. What is the point of going through the effort in gathering and mixing the "natural" materials when you can minimize the effort with a pre-made mix and get just as good, if not better brownies? Brownies from box mixes certainly meet the sufficient standards for good brownies, if not both sufficient and necessary conditions. Why bother fixing what isn't broken, right?

But then again, it's fun to make brownies, distribute them, and think about them. So here are some more experimental possibilities: milk chocolate box mix vs. milk chocolate scratch mix; bittersweet chocolate vs. fudge mix; Betty Crocker vs. Pillsbury; the guests not knowing who made the brownies, me or Mordecai or both; or to get really controversial and compare say brownies to marbled cheesecake brownies. Since all of this has something to do with delicate taste, true or truer judges of baked goods, experiencing and comparing species of things, and clearing oneself of prejudices, I may have to resort to one of the first two options above for my students as we talk about David Hume's "Of The Standard of Taste" this week. To be continued, possibly.