Friday, May 26, 2006

Real Invisibility?

What do Romulans, Frodo, and Harry Potter have in common? Devices that allow them to be invisible... and soon it could reality instead of fiction if Scientists may be able to make magic like Harry Potter on today is true.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Towel Day

Do you know where your towel is?

In honor of Douglas Adams (1952-2001), author of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, May 25 is Towel Day. For details refer to Wikipedia and the Towel Day web site -- and don't panic!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Celebrities and Weight Loss

In a story carried by most news services today, Janet Jackson claims she lost 60 pounds in 4 months by "eating 'nice, balanced meals' and working out with a trainer." She says she gained the weight for a movie that didn't work out and had to lose it quickly for her next album/tour. Quickly = 15 pounds per month!

Just once I'd like to hear some celebrity thank her personal trainer and/or plastic surgeon (or even admit they exist) instead of pretending that all she has to do look great is eat "nice, balanced meals." If that were true, every woman I know would look like the actresses on Desperate Housewives. Real 40-year-old women don't look like that because only celebrities can afford a personal trainer who plans every meal and custom workouts!

Geez, Janet, be honest and thank your income and your trainer...

Monday, May 22, 2006

What I'm Reading: Julia Child

Last weekend I read My Life in France by Julia Child and Alex Prud'Homme. As the title suggests, it's the story of Julia's life in France with her new husband Paul, how she learned to love French food and cooking, and how she wrote Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It's an entertaining read and I could just hear her voice as I read it -- what fun!

I was so impressed I shared a quote with my technical writing students today:
Writing has to be lively, especially for things as technical and potentially dullsville as recipes. I tried to keep my style amusing and non-pedantic, but also clear and correct. I remained my own best audience: I wanted to know why things happened on the stove, and when, and what I could to do to shape the outcome. I assumed that our ideal reader -- the servantless American cook who enjoyed producing something wonderful to eat -- would feel the same way. (77)

I loved visiting Julia Child's Kitchen at the Smithsonian and I bought her last DVD, Julia's Kitchen Wisdom, with some of my birthday money.

Julie Powell, a 30-year old secretary, loved Julia so much that she spent a year trying every recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking. She chronicled her progress on her award-winning blog The Julia/Julie Project, which was published in book form as Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen. Such an ambitious project would never occur to me. I guess I like eating more than cooking!

I recommend any and all of Julia's books, but My Life in France is personal glimpse into her private life that is well worth reading.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Cinco de Mayo

Several people sent me this in honor of Cinco de Mayo so I thought I'd share it. Feliz Cinco de Mayo!


There are many stories related to the sinking of the Titanic. Some have just come to light due to the success of the recent movie.

For example, most people don't know that back in 1912, Hellman's mayonnaise was manufactured in England. The Titanic was carrying 12,000 jars of the condiment scheduled for delivery in Vera Cruz, Mexico, which was to be the next port of call for the great ship after New York City.

The Mexican people were eagerly awaiting delivery and were disconsolate at the loss. So much so that they declared a national day of mourning which they still observe today. It is known, of course, as Sinko de Mayo.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Podcasts Galore

Last fall I discovered podcasts. I was so busy with work that I sort of forgot about them. Yesterday I was reading How to do Everything with your iPod and iTunes by Guy Hart-Davis (my birthday present for myself) which reminded me of the many free podcasts available. After a quick look at iTunes I realized my podcasts subscriptions had stopped auto-updating the last time I updated iTunes, so I resubscribed to old favorites (PodVet, Science Friday, Skywatch, Stardate, and This Week in Technology) and discovered tons more (Archaeocast, Archaeology Channel, MacCast, Mysterious Universe, NPR Health and Science, NPR Technology, The Food Geek, and The Onion). I also figured out how to get recent episodes (more than one of each podcast) so I could get caught up on the ones I'd missed since the Holidays. Wow, I almost filled up my 4GB iPod Nano for the first time!

Another cool thing Hart-Davis's book covers is how to convert your cassettes and LPs to MP3 so you can listen to them on your iPod. Guess what my next project is? :)

Is sure is going to be hard to go back to work next week...