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Tuesday, September 4th, 2007
11:47 pm
If you haven't already, go see Superbad.  It's hilarious and so true to life, I pretty much forgot I wasn't in high school anymore while watching it.

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Wednesday, May 9th, 2007
11:15 am - Hmmm
W hy is there a Marine One (presidential) helicopter flying all around the Maryland campus and vicinity, at really low altitude?  I hear a lot of helicopters around here... but this one was low and flying in an odd pattern as I was on my way to campus on my bike.  When I got to the physics building, it was circling around the campus at a very tight angle, and was at such a low altitude that I could read the white-on-green "United States of America" lettering on the tail of the helicopter.

Nobody else seemed to notice!  Curious.


Tuesday, April 10th, 2007
1:24 pm - Passover food
So, I've eaten a lot of very good food this passover.  First I went to a Seder at the home of a friend's family in Bethesda, and the food there was awesome. Tragically, I came in *second* in an exciting matzo-eating contest.  There were 5 or 6 of us not-quite-grownups there.  Afterwards, here mom announced, "Okay all you college kids, here are some ziploc bags, go crazy on the leftovers and get them out of here!" I came home with several vegetable dishes, some excellent beef brisket, and some fruit salad. Woohoo!

Also, I learned how to make my own home made maror this past weekend, thanks to Mariel.  (Maror means the bitter herbs used in the Passover ritual, usually made of horseradish.)  I for one don't mess around when it comes to horseradish... I'll have none of that pansy sweetened-and-mixed-with-mustard junk you can find in the supermarkets.  Nope, I demand the unadulterated product: ground horseradish mixed with vinegar to leach out the bitter flavor and give it a paste consistency.  We couldn't find any suitable prepared horseradish in the store for my taste, so Mariel bought me a raw horseradish root.

I wasn't sure what to do with it at first.  A horseradish root looks like a turnip, or a big white carrot, basically.  Just peeling it made my eyes water like doing a pile of onions (which I'm usually pretty resistant to) and the fumes also go into your nose and produce an overpowering sensation... something like mouthwash for your nose I guess.  Mariel figured out from a cookbook that you're supposed to mince it with a food processor.  I food-processed the horseradish root into little bits, and when I removed the lid of the food processor, the bitter fumes were so overpowering that I couldn't stand directly over it and even at arm's length it was pretty tough to bear.  Mixed it up with some vinegar, and finally it resembled the potent pasty stuff I know and love.

I tried it out with some gefilte fish and matzo, and that was definitely the best horseradish I've ever had.  Super-strong with a lot of vegetable-ish flavor that you don't usually taste as much in the store-bought stuff.  I am now going to be Mr. Homemade Horseradish for the rest of my life.  Yeehaw!

current mood: bitter herbs

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Sunday, December 17th, 2006
7:50 pm
Another priceless article from The Onion: How Did I End Up On The Cover Of This Romance Novel?

current mood: amused

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Sunday, November 12th, 2006
6:33 pm - Longest bike ride yet
Yesterday I did my longest bike ride yet, 151 miles. I was talked into this insane trek once again by Michael, who I did the PPTC Century with a couple months ago. Unlike the century with rest stops every 25 miles and food and music and markings on the road and mechanics, this ride was totally unsupported. You had to bring everything with you or stop and buy it.

We started at 6 am (about 45 minutes before dawn) in the super-insanely-rich town of Glen Echo, MD. We headed into Georgetown and across the Key Bridge into Virginia. Then we hit the W&OD and Custis trails for about 40 miles, which are very very flat and kinda boring. After that we were on public roads as we crossed Loudoun County and Leesburg, VA. Finally we crossed into West Virginia near Harper's Ferry, where we were promptly rewarded with a monstrous hill a few miles long. To boot it was on a rather crowded highway, not so pleasant to ride on. Finally we reached our midpoint at Shepherdstown, WV, which is a small college town with beautiful old-fashioned houses and lots of people out in the streets. Most people stopped for lunch at a hippy-ish organic restaurant, where I had a very good burger and fries.

After lunch (at the 85 mile mark) we headed north across the Potomac back into western Maryland. "Don't worry," someone had told me, "it's not very hilly on the way back." NOT TRUE! Once we got back into Maryland there was an absolutely *brutal* 15 mile stretch of up-and-down-and-up-and-down rolling hills... we stopped and took another few minutes break at a state park to recover from this, then hit the road again. More painful hills through Frederick county, and finally we entered Montgomery County with about 30 miles to go. My knees and feet were getting pretty sore by this point. The last 30 miles took us past the wooded mansions and estates of the DC elite, with horses and statues and plenty of impatient Jaguars and BMWs trying to get past us. After a wrong turn at around 144.0 mi (for 1/4 mile uphill) we recovered and flew down MacArthur Ave to our starting point, finishing at about 4:55 pm, just a few minutes after dusk.

According to this web site, in 8:50 of riding I burned about 10,500 calories, though that's probably too low because of the hills. I think I drank 7 liters of water and about 2 of gatorade.

That was fun :-)

PS- On the way back, in rural Western Maryland, I saw the *BEST HALLOWEEN DECORATIONS EVER*. This farmhouse had a giant spider web stretched between the front lawn and the roof of the house. Stuck in the spider web were a life-sized deer and a human, both wrapped up in spider silk. It was quite scary looking, kind of like something out of that X-Files episode with the tree bugs that would suck people's fluids out and leave them in cocoons in trees.

current mood: bouncy


Wednesday, November 8th, 2006
2:00 pm - The election is over... now I can stop wasting so much time on the Internet :-)
Oh dear, it looks like Stephen Colbert was right:
“Tomorrow, you’re all going to wake up in a brave new world, where the constitution gets trampled by an army of terrorist clones created in a stem-cell research lab run by homosexual doctors who sterilize their instruments over burning American flags, where tax-and-spend Democrats take all your hard-earned money and use it to buy electric cars for National Public Radio and teach evolution to illegal immigrants. And everybody’s high!”
My prediction was 230 Dems in house, 50-50 Senate with Dems winning Missouri *or* Virginia but not both. Looks like I was just about right in the house, but hopefully Webb will be declared the winner in Virginia eventually and they'll have the Senate majority as well.

A crazy, crazy election night. I was hoping to see a lot of heads roll (to remain nameless...) and got most of my wishes.


Tuesday, September 26th, 2006
10:30 pm - A man who knows his priorities

NOTE: I am not in this picture!! Mariel expressed some concern that people would think it was us. The difference is that my tent is a different color. I do like the way the guy has his arm lovingly wrapped around the head tube of the bike :-P

current mood: amused

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Sunday, September 24th, 2006
1:43 pm - Silly celebrity face thing
So, I tried the celebrity face match thing that Bonnie linked to:

It's fun but my results are kind of retarded! The *only* celebrity that *anyone* ever tells me I look like is Keanu Reeves, which I get disturbingly often... to the point that people actually ask me if I am Keanu Reeves when my hair gets a little too long. :-p

We also did one for Mariel! This one is hilarious, especially the part about her looking like John Candy!!!

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Saturday, September 23rd, 2006
5:54 pm
Mariel just found this old photo on her phone and I like it a lot :-) This is me with my dog Fyfield, from about 1 year ago.

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Monday, September 18th, 2006
6:57 pm - Historic Back Roads Century
Yesterday I did the Historic Back Roads Century, a 100 mile bike ride through rural Virginia and West Virginia. It was awesome! This was my first century, actually my first ride ever longer than about 40 miles. It took me 5:17 to complete, for an average speed of 18.9 mph, which I thought was a pretty good pace for my first century.

The terrain was optimistically described as "rolling", which basically meant a continuous up-and-down roller coaster ride from roughly 30 mi to 60 mi :-) I got a lot of practice doing an aerodynamic tuck position so that I could speed down one hill and make it most of the way up the next without losing too much to wind resistance.

There were rest stops at the 25, 50, and 80 mile marks... with a bluegrass band, mechanical assistance, and tons of snacks and sandwiches and things. I ate 4 sandwiches, lots of chocolate and peanut butter cups, and drank about 4 liters of dilute gatorade. I also carried 12 oz of Mike and Ike candy with me, on Mariel's suggestion, to eat as I rode so that I could give myself quick energy. That turned out to be a lifesaver, because on previous rides I've found that I exhaust my energy after around 1.5 hours. On this ride, I got a really good second wind at around 70 mph and was able to keep up with a fast paceline group for the last 20 miles or so.

The beautiful countryside around Berryville, VA:

Me with my bike Hephalocipede at the 80 mile rest stop:

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