Friday, May 25, 2007

My Neighborhood

Okay, so I took some random pictures so that I could show a bit of the area I live in. This first picture is Alexandria's City Hall:

This is a little plaque that is on some of the buildings around the area to show that they are "historical".

This is Washington Street. The statue in the center of the intersection is of a Confederate soldier. Yup.

Here's the street I live on!

Here's the building I live in!

I hope you enjoyed this little tour.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

If Life's an Illusion, We Might as Well Dine

Now that I don't have a job, the days seem to be going by very quickly. There are so many things that I enjoy doing on my own. Oh, maybe I was meant to be unemployed... when I was at work, I couldn't wait for the end of the day. Now I just keep busy during the day with things that interest me. A lot of it is just taking in information, though. I think I need to work on producing something worthwhile because I can't just keep taking everything in. I do so much reading and tooling around on the internet. I need to work on creating something to share with the world.

Not that I haven't been applying for jobs. I've been working on that. I have a couple of leads. A woman called me a couple weeks back about a research job I applied for. She asked me right away over the phone what my salary expectations are. I told her a number and she said, "Well, that's a little high for what we typically start our research assistants at, but I'll see what I can do." Then, I didn't hear from her for a long while. I thought I'd messed it up by asking for too high a salary. Yesterday she left a message on my voicemail about how I shouldn't interpret a lack of contact from her as a lack of interest in having me work for them, that they are busy in the office with proposals lately, and that she will probably contact me next week to try to set up an interview. I also applied to a school psychologist position with an organization that contracts with DC Public Schools. They contacted me and I asked if I would be able to work for them because the requirements for being licensed in DC are less stringent than in VA or MD (only 500 hours of experience are needed to get licensure, which I have...VA and MD require a 1200 hour internship). The HR person I spoke with on the phone made it sound like they'd still be interested in having me work for them. She asked me my salary expectations and I told her the same general number I told the woman for the other job. "Well, we would be able to pay much more than that, I'm sure," was her response. She told me yesterday that she was going to FedEx me some more application materials overnight, so I'll probably get that stuff soon.

Eh. I'm iffy on doing more work for schools. I think it'd be really cool to be self-employed. I don't know exactly what I'd do though. I'd need to come up with one good (self-employment) idea and stick with it. What do I wanna do?

I wanna be a punk rocker! (I could write a song a week ala Jonathan Coulton!)
I wanna be an organic farmer! (I could ask the farmer I'm getting my CSA share from for tips!)
I wanna be a screenwriter!
I wanna be a philosopher! (Piss off, Ayn Rand...I'm writing the anti-Atlas Shrugged.)
I wanna be a dog trainer!
I wanna be a photographer!
I wanna be a professional poker player! (Okay, this is just because I read this article about Annie Duke, who dropped out of a PhD program in psychology to play cards. She won $2 million in a poker tournament in 2004.)
I wanna operate a food cart! (Seriously, I want to have a cart in the middle of the patent office buildings and sell lunch to patent examiners. I imagine I need some sort of license to do that, though...and a cart...and a commercial kitchen, probably...)
I wanna write cookbooks!

Speaking of cookbooks, I have been doing more random cooking recently. I need to find ways to use all this stuff we're getting from our CSA. I made my own variations of cole slaw, potato salad, and an Asian rice noodle dish this week. Most of what I make is just a variation of or a combination of recipes I read. However, I thought it would be fun to start writing out recipes. So, here's an attempt at doing just that:

The Tofu/Broccoli/Bok Choy Noodle Dish I Made Last Night

I had to find a way to use the bok choy I got from our CSA. This is what I came up with:

1/2 lb. Asian rice stick noodles
1 lb. firm tofu
2 cloves garlic
One crown of broccoli
2 heads baby bok choy
green onions
a few good handfuls of baby carrots
Szechwan Sauce
Soy Ginger Sauce


First, drain your tofu and press it for half an hour by putting it between two plates and weighing down the top plate with a heavy book (I'm told that tofu picks up flavors better if it's pressed...). Drain off the extra water that comes out of the tofu as a result of pressing. Put the tofu in a container (I used the little plastic package mine came in...) and coat it with a few tablespoons of Szechwan sauce and allow it to marinade (I let it sit for a half hour or so...I don't even know if it really did much, but I like to think that it did...). Mince up your garlic and chop up your tofu and throw them together in a pan with some oil (this would actually probably work better with a wok, but I don't own a wok...there is one on our wedding registry, I think, though...). In the meantime, start bringing your rice stick noodles to a boil in a pot. After your tofu and garlic is browned up a bit, throw in all the veggies (chopped up, of course...). When the veggies start to get tender, put in a couple more tablespoons of Szechwan sauce and about half a bottle of soy ginger sauce. When your noodles are done, drain them off and mix them in with your veggies in the pan. Mix it all together as best you can. Put in more soy ginger sauce if you want...or feel free to randomly throw in regular soy sauce or sesame oil or whatever you want. Stir fry it up for a minute or two and it's ready to go in bowls or on plates and be served!

Okay, there. I can say that I produced something today. A poorly written, random recipe. If any of you actually make this, let me know. I'd be amused.

Also, if you have ideas about what I should do with my life, let me know that too...all ideas are welcome.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Monday, May 14, 2007

Journeyin' Onward

Well, today was my first official day of unemployment. I don't know if it was quite as glorious as I imagined it would be, but I suppose it wasn't so bad. My last day of work was pretty good. People were really good to me. I got a lot of hugs from people. One of my coworkers gave me a card. This new teacher woman made me a cake, but it wasn't that good. She doesn't eat gluten, so I'm guessing the crappy cake was gluten-free.

Jake and I tried to go hiking in Shenandoah on Saturday. We bought a season pass. Our plan was to try to do a 6.4 mile hike to see a waterfall and return to the car. We got about halfway to the waterfall when it really started thundering and I thought we'd probably get rained on, so we turned around and called it quits for the day. Neither of us was prepared to get rained on. The picture above is me out on the trail. After we left the park, we stopped at this store called the Emporium. It was great. We saw the prototypical rural Virginian family there. The husband was wearing a wife beater and they all had southern accents. The Emporium sold books on how to talk country, jars of honey, bottles of Stewarts soda, lots of random things with the confederate flag on it, pieces of wooden furniture, and Minnetonka moccasins (aren't those from Minnesota?).

On Saturday night, I went out to some bars in Adams Morgan with some of my (ex) coworkers. It was good fun. I drank this awful thing called a Portland coffee, which was just Bacardi 151 and coffee mixed together. We randomly crashed a private party, which I didn't figure out until later was a "lesbian" party. Anyway, I hope I'm able to keep in touch with some of my old coworkers. Jake is having poker night again on Friday and I've been trying to bother some of them to one from work has ever come and I think Jake's had at least two or three of these things since I worked at APTS. I think Lydia might come...but she's the only one I've really heard much back from.

Tomorrow I think I'm going to go to the mall. I need to go and pick up the wedding bands that Jake and I ordered and I think I'm going to clothes shop, look for a good graduation gift for my brother, and try to find something for Jameson's birthday. Today I applied for about five jobs, cleaned the apartment, and went and worked out. What else should I do besides apply for jobs? Here are my ideas for now: knit some rags I can use for cleaning, download and listen to random podcasts, read about bioethics and economics, plan elaborate vegetarian dinners, bake cookies, sit in a coffee shop for an afternoon, look for ideas for my wedding hairstyle, and browse in bookstores.