20100823

☿℞, ♄▢♇, and other identity crises

So i'm not really too big on astrology.  Most of it is kinda silly.

But i think there's some of it that's fairly legitimate that gets overlooked by "rational" people because it's lumped in with a lot of other superstitious foolishness.  If you believe we're not affected by things like the phases of the moon, you don't deserve to believe in tides, and don't blame me if you get sucked out to sea by a superstition.  And if you think the moon doesn't mess with people's heads, go to a hospital or a police station during a full moon.  Or tell those various sea creatures that only spawn during the full moon that they are evolutionarily out-of-touch, and they should just go extinct.

I think there are a lot of things that affect us very subtlely, sometimes subconsciously, and my rational brain says that should end with the moon, since that's the only thing that really has much of a "pull" on us, literally and figuratively.  But for several years now, i've been keeping track of other subtler astrological happenings that most definitely impact us, even though i can't find a logical explanation for them.  Two of the most profound of them just kicked our collective asses this weekend.

☿℞

Mercury went retrograde on Friday, and will remain in retrograde for another three weeks.  And experience tells me that it'll be yet another three weeks after that before all the things that go wrong in the meantime get put right again, when Mercury again passes the point where it "stationed" on Friday.


Mercury retrograde is an imaginary phenomenon whereby, due to our perspective in the solar system, Mercury, moving faster than us, appears to stop in the sky and move backwards about three times a year.  What this means in practical terms for us is that "the Messenger planet" basically takes a vacation.  Emails bounce.  Shipments get delayed or go missing.  Mail gets lost.  Computers break down.  404 File not Found errors abound.

I'm waiting to see how this plays out in this year's 1L orientation.  I can already tell you that our 4GB flashdrives that we plan on passing out at orientation are indefinitely backordered, and it now looks like they're not going to be here in time.  Worse yet, the incoming class size has increased and i'm getting worried that we are not going to have enough laptops for everyone.  I've placed an order for more (significantly before Mercury went awol), but no word on them yet.

♄▢♇

On a more personal note, we just completed our third run-through this year of Saturn square Pluto on Saturday, and the last for another twenty-some years.   Now, i can buy that the inner planets affect us.  Even Saturn and Jupiter have a gravitational affect on the Earth, cosmically speaking.  Jupiter is even in a 12:1 synchronous orbit with us.  But Pluto?  As far as i'm been able to tell, Uranus and Neptune don't really have much affect on us at all.  But that icy, rocky little former planet has the ability to mess things up on a grand scale.  I don't know why.  It has a particularly nasty affect on my life personally, and on select others i know, though some don't seem affected at all.  It's almost like an allergy of sorts.

Saturn square Pluto is all about conflicts between control issues, money, and secrets.  The traditional astrological definition calls for corruption in high places coming to light, governments and corporations failing, and general lack of compromise causing ruin and downfall.  Sneakiness and greed getting exposed all over the place.  Shady-Ass Behavior revealed.  It'll be interesting to see what, if anything, that means in the world at large.

Anyway, this is just some meaningless rambling at the moment, but it'll be interesting to look back at this in a month or two and see if anyone says, "Oh yeah, that's when blah-blah-blah happened."

So, good luck out there, stay safe, back up your computers, back up your backups, don't trust the mail, don't trust anyone, back up your computers again, and try to have fun.

On a particular note for IT folks - this is not the time to start working on your Disaster Recovery Plan: it's time to use one if you have it, and if you don't, you're just plain screwed.  (Creating one now, you're going to miss something fundamental, and you won't discover it doesn't work until it's too late.  Thanks Mercury.)

20100818

Gothic for Goths: Stuff!

So, not one, not two, but THREE new Gothic for Goths videos this weekend!

Now, don't get all excited, they're not the regular sorts of meaty videos full of romans and chupacabras that you're used to, but there are two vlogs that i'd like to think are rather informative, and a "secret" lesson of Gothic for Goths that is being made available only to those lovely individuals who have purchased a T-shirt from the Gothic for Goths storefront.

The first vlog is just about random various things, and the second is a spin-off about a sore subject that gtets a little long.  Check 'em out on my YouTube channel, or watch them right here!








And yes, i know my roots are getting a little out of control.  Don't worry, i'll be doing Something Interesting With My Hair for orientation soon.

And if you'd like to see that third video, which i promise is very interesting and informative, go buy a T-shirt!  And remember that all sleeveless shirts are 25% off for another three, four days or so!

20100816

The Jamin & Karen Supper Club: Midori's Floating World Café

Actually, the title is a little misleading: I went to Midori the other night with The Sweeties, not with Karen.  They treated me to what is possibly the only sushi place in the Twin Cities that i haven't been to yet in exchange for some laptop fixin'.

I wasn't really sure what to expect from Midori's Floating World Café, but what i definitely did not expect was how overwhelmingly cute it was!  It's just adorable.

We got some tasty beef pot stickers as appetizers with our drinks, and i was very pleasantly surprised by the delicious peach sake cooler - pretty much a sake spritzer with peach syrup in it.  Very refreshing. Then came little octopus dumplings and some sort of tofu salad.  As cute as they were, i need to accept the fact that i just don't like octopus. 

For an entrée, i got the sashimi and tempura bento dinner, and it was nice enough, pretty; nothing special.  The tempura was particularly good - especially the sweet potato; the sashimi was fine but nothing to blog about... and, having just relearned my lesson for the nth time, i gave the tako to Ms. Fledermaus.

20100803

The Jamin & Karen Supper Club: Rainbow Chinese

It occurs to me that there are a lot of "rainbow" things around the Twin Cities.  Rainbow Foods, the grocery store chain (our local version of Food4Less, if you're from California, or maybe the Grand Union if you're on the East Coast, and somewhere between the Piggly Wiggly and Food Lion for you southerners -- by the way, has it ever occurred to anyone that it's weird that there are totally different grocery store chains in every part of the country?  Same gas stations.  Same restaurants.  But totally disparate grocery stores.  But i digress...), Rainbow Taxi, and of course, my favorite, Rainbow Chinese.  All of them surprisingly not gay.  (Not anti-gay, mind you, just un-gay.)  There are also Rainbow Tree Service, Rainbow Research, Rainbow Lawn Care, and even Rainbow Pest Control.  (I don't really know the "gay" status of those last few.)

The first time i ever heard of or set foot in Rainbow was over ten years ago now, on a date with a very nice young man named Steve, of whom i was rather fond, but who was scared away by the now-infamous Evil Matt #1, by introducing himself as my boyfriend long before he was.  But that's another story entirely.  In any case, i've been going there for many years now.  Every time she visits Minneapolis, my mother insists on going there so she can get the Honey Walnut Shrimp, which I'll get to in a moment, and you haven't lived a full and rewarding life until you've tried the Tangerine Beef, now to be had only on their Chinese New Year menu.

Karen and i went there this evening, and they -- almost, mostly -- delivered as usual.  I have to say, though, it's taken some downward turns in the couple of years since i was there last.  No more cloth napkins.  The new formica tables are disturbingly truck-stop-diner-chic.  I didn't notice any blooming orchids tonight (back in the day, they were thick on the ground).  And the new menus, well, they've been upgraded, but to what?  They now weigh several pounds, and their bronze bindings don't really make up for the fact that nothing inside them is the same.  Including a total lack of my own S.O.T., Chicken with Crown Broccoli.

Anyway, we started off with appetizers of calamari and pan-fried vegetable dumplings.  The calamari recipe has changed.
Calamari
I'm really not a fan, but it was palatable enough.  Not enough to get it ever again, though.

I'd never had the dumplings before, but there was a strange taste to them that didn't agree with me.  Was it lovage?  Celery?
Pan-fried Vegetable Dumplings

I also started things off with a lychee martini, which is the one thing that seems to have improved with time.
Lychee Martini

After what seemed like a fairly long time, Karen's entrée, Jai Mai Fun, arrived,
Jai Mai Fun
...and was very tasty, but then i was informed that they were out of asparagus, and so my Sate Asparagus Chicken was a no-go... but would i like it with green beans instead for the same price?





...RUFKM?


I felt badly for the waitress, who had to bear the brunt of Karen's obvious question, "Why the hell not tell us they were out of asparagus when we ordered it?"  Apparently, the kitchen doesn't work like that.  Lame.

So i ordered an old stand-by: the Honey Walnut Shrimp.
Honey Walnut Shrimp

Sometimes when Peat and i go there, we'll order a regular meal and get that as dessert, or at least get some to go.  It's so awesome. And that's the one recipe tonight that doesn't seem to have changed. 

Now, i'm not a food critic, nor do i play one on TV, so i'm not going to give this a rating or anything, but i have to say my Rainbow experience this evening was less than stellar.  It was a solid Meh.  At best, a Meh+.

Rainbow is not particularly cheap, but it's worth a shot just for the Honey Walnut Shrimp.  If i'd forgone the need for an appetizer and just stuck with that and the martini, I'd have been blissfully happy.  In all the bill came to right around $35 a piece.  Yeah, and no discount for not bothering to tell me that my meal was out-of-stock until the other had been delivered.  Fail.