101 in 1001: 094 win at least $10 with a lottery ticket [completed 12.25.05]
if our holiday festivities were a film, they'd be a lifetime original movie directed by john woo. while the ruckus will probably translate into four-figure shrink bills years down the line, it created a luck vacuum that i was happy to exploit in order to knock silly things off of my list. joe realized (with remarkable foresight) that he would need martinis to shepherd him through the day, so we made an 11 am post-gift-opening trip to the local small-town liquor store (which, bless northern californian agricultural communities, was open). in addition to novelty spirits sold in bottles shaped like tommy guns (vodka), pistols (tequila), and rifles (ditto), the store had a $3 ticket that won me exactly $10. net gain: minimal. disproportionate sense of accomplishment: priceless. compensatory christmas miracles continued the next day when i managed to

101 in 1001: 019 leave a casino with more money than i had when i entered [completed 12.26.05]
woodland has more than its share of faults, but lack of proximity to a cheesy big-ass casino is not one of them. though my august attempt to walk out with a profit ended in tears (and the collective loss of $60), holiday luck held, and i hit an early 'jackpot' that earned about $50. i will not talk about the fact that having the balls to wager more than 45 cents might have resulted in substantial gains, nor will i discuss the extreme concentration of disabled seniors at neighboring slot machines. i will simply say that my winnings came to $43.90, and that i'll refrain from including list items that indulge my fascination with chance in the future.


and in happier news, we were finally compelled to settle on a wedding date. previous calculations were moot for the ceremony site, as an overseas studies conclave and a shakespeare conference knocked out most of july and august. pushing into september would have run into michaelmas term at oxford, and stepping back into the summer would leave me no time to plan; we'll be getting married, then, on

sunday 4 (august 20)
- warsaw pact troops invaded czechoslovakia
- trotsky was assassinated in mexico
- the stones' "satisfaction" topped american charts
- benjamin harrison, h.p. lovecraft, don king, and robert plant were born
- three popes (john xiv, pius vii, pius x) died
- national radio day

what is it with the popes, man?

12.21.05 / 12.23.05

transit strike: cluster fuck.

since i've returned to the land of free computing, i can expand on that a bit. from where i'm sitting, the strike was awful for everyone (everyone other than ed koch, that is, whose re-aired 1980 marches across the brooklyn bridge got nearly as much play as union president roger toussaint did). i sympathized with the workers: it did seem wrong that the MTA was crowing about its billion-dollar surplus just as it was asking its employees to retire 7 years later, contribute to health care, and forgo meaty raises (though i would note that most transit workers already make more and have better benefit packages than i do). that said, the MTA's final offer around midnight on monday was decent; when the (unevenly supported) strike decision was announced at 3 am, toussaint himself noted that it had more to do with management's perceived lack of respect for the union than with the offer itself. he looked like a pissy child, and he behaved like one.

martin (++1/2). unquestionably the best-received dvd i've ever nominated for rental;* george romero's vampire movie got the nod from george, dave, and joe (the horror-hater). the title character is a foppy drifter (like anne rice's louis and lestat, but much less annoying) who wanders around during the day, brings meat to lonely housewives, and delivers most of his lines over the phone to a local radio deejay. romero isn't famous for subtlety in the context of his zombie** flicks, but he's crazy for it here; one could argue that martin (the fop) isn't a vampire at all, given that he trucks around during the day, is indifferent to religious paraphernalia, and was born into his condition, whatever it is. martin (the flick) is a pleasant hybrid of moog-drenched social commentary (a la the dead franchise) and revisionist vamp history (a la nadja and the hunger) and should be remade immediately.

*this will hold until my sister and her boyfriend arrive this weekend, at which point i'll brandish the gingerdead man (about a serial killer [gary busey] who becomes a cookie) and save christmas.

**speaking of zombies, urban dead ("a massively multi-player web-based zombie apocalypse") has been a source of great amusement in the down time since our most recent issue of the magazine shipped. down time remaining after wedding business and obsessive-compulsive holiday decorating, that is.

woke up to a positively outstanding snowstorm this morning - hearty, nickel-sized flakes, our pooptastic fire escape dignified with drifts. quicker than you could belt out "snow day" to the tune of "slow ride," it had turned to sleet - but hey, what a way to get the party started.

friday morning

on the wedding front, we're thisclose to settling on an official date: the folks at the reception venue have finally forwarded me an estimate for our shindig, and everything looks lovely and deposit-worthy. this is good, as i was beginning to feel that making deals with british people would always involve a three-week dance of pleasantries / hints / veiled threats. it's diverting the first few times around, but i'm trying to save my bridezilla moments for other negotiations. someone has to have the energy to throw cars around when the flower market doesn't have any fritillaria. or, you know, if king ghidora shows up.


101 in 1001: 005 sell handmade (by me) goods at a craft show [completed 12.03.05]
at long last, my bean-filled felt fish have reached plush rush and the consumers of ohio. as they are now part of the online store (as bekko, kawarimomo [sic] and kohaku) and available to consumers of The Internets, it might be time to conclude that i went a little overboard with their asking prices (since they didn't sell at the holiday fair). that said, i worked my ass off on those fish. you hear me, Internets? fork it over!

on things that are full of beans, i threw together an amusing recipe the other night.

wily chipotle chili

- 1/2 white onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 can corn (drained)
- 1 package smart deli taco/burrito 'meat'
- 1/2 (small) can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (mince before use)
- 2 cans kidney beans (drained)
- 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce (spicy if possible)
- 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
- 1 (14 oz) can vegetable broth
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 cup water

saute garlic and onion in olive oil until soft; add bell pepper, corn, 'meat' (crumble as you go), and chipotle/adobo; cook while stirring for an additional 3-4 minutes. add remaining ingredients, bring to boil, and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally to avoid nasty-ass pot stickage, until sauce thickens (35-45 min). serve over white rice; garnish with chopped scallions, sour cream, grated cheese, &c.

this one gets the joe seal of approval, surprisingly. the key is clearly the chipotle in adobo, although it consistently gives both of us weird dreams. the faux flesh is also surprisingly good; you can't really taste it by itself, but it adds a nice texture and a hint of spice.

in other food news, i've just acquired apocalypse chow!, a cookbook with tips for "emergency cooking for hurricanes, blackouts, bachelors, and other disasters." in addition to recipes for rum chili, pasta salads with ramen bases, and so on, it has a "psychological tools" section with foo-foo napkin folding instructions and ways to make merry when you're trapped in your apartment. i'm a little angry that i didn't write it.