As this dream started, it was clear that half of me was watching it as a movie, and the other half was actually in the movie. It begins at an airport somewhere in Asia and I was watching aged 747s land. The movie was sort of like Chungking Express. I was some kind of secret agent/bodyguard and was on assignment trying to find Guo Jing Jing (diving star). My partner and I were following her as she was moving through the crowded terminal. She went down an escalator, and was momentarily obscured from our view. Looking over the railing to the level below, I caught a glimpse of a friend of hers, who had pink tips in her hair incidentally. Her character was the beautiful rebel-type, street-wise and suspicious of the law. She saw that I spotted her, and she was shielding Jing Jing, who now was wearing different clothes and sported a new short hairstyle. It was quite a quick disguise, but I was onto it. I yelled at my partner what was going on, and we ran towards the escalator that the two women were taking. Both of us hopped onto the railing which was a smooth metal slide, and as we were sliding down, we could see that the two women were also on the slide, but were not moving. We ended up catching them, and in a friendly exchange, informed them that we were to stay with them during their stay in the city.
At this point, the plot of the story became more of a romance, where my buddy was in love with Guo Jing Jing, and the other woman and I were just tagging along. I was in third-person view for the next scenes, which were the kind you see in movies where a nice song plays, and the two characters have fun building the relationship. That part of the movie Shrek where Fiona and Shrek are on the way home and they blow up those balloons is what I am talking about. In the dream movie, I could see my buddy trying to impress Jing Jing, buying her flowers, opening doors for her, and trying to be the sweetest guy ever. It was pretty funny because it was so campy. Even though I was a supporting character in this movie, my character had a funny (and goofy) scene as well. My love interest was buying CD’s and my role had become less of a bodyguard and more of a valet. I ended up carrying all of her shopping bags and it was kind of a sappy, playful movie scene but fun nonetheless. This went on for a bit, and then when it came time to leave the store, my love interest abruptly gave me the cold shoulder and hopped on a bus. I was devastated. Looking at it from third-person view, my character watched the bus leave and was left standing amid the Hong Kong bustle. It was truly a sad sight! (cue Incredible Hulk TV series ending piano song)
Skip forward to the next third-person scene, which was at night and there was a huge celebration happening throughout the city. It seemed like Chinese New Years, and there were people out in the street eating, dancing, and generally having a great time. My character, on the other hand, was sadly wandering the streets, hands in his pockets. Meanwhile an image of his love interest was shown at some swanky party at the top of a skyscraper. She was wearing a purple sequined party hat, the leprechaun-style shaped hat you often see at New Year’s celebrations. But she was only pretending to have fun. As she gazed out across the city from high above, she felt sorrow and regret.
At that point I was thinking that maybe I still have a chance, and the movie will end with us being reunited. Unfortunately, I woke up and could not fall back asleep to the same dream, so I guess we’ll never know. And I never did find out what happened to my buddy and Jing Jing.
We tried this pizza dough recipe the other day, and it turned out great! I prefer a thinner, dryer, tougher crust to the fluffier, chewier type, and so I loved this crust. It’s slightly modified from Bread Machine Magic’s recipe. We use the bread maker to knead the dough, and then a pizza stone for the actual baking.
1 cup cake flour
1 cup bread flour
3/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons yeast
Put all ingredients, except yeast, in the bread pan. Put the yeast in the bread machine’s yeast-dispersing place (that’s the best description I can come up with). Set the machine to Dough and press Start. After it’s done, spread out the dough on a lightly floured pizza stone. We made a stuffed-crust pizza by rolling cheese into the edges. Then put the pizza stone and crust into a preheated 350°F oven for about 15 minutes. Take out, then add your sauce and toppings. Turn up the oven to 450° and cook the pizza until toppings are done and cheese is melty. (we usually sautee the veggies beforehand) Enjoy!
If you have a bread-maker, here’s a good recipe that we’ve been using for some plain white bread. Nothing fancy, but good all-around bread for sandwiches and toast.
1 cup warm water (110°F / 45°C)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 package bread machine yeast (.25 oz or 1 1/2 tsp)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon honey or Agave syrup
Put the water, sugar, and yeast in the pan of the bread machine. Let the yeast dissolve for 10 minutes. It should get foamy. Add the flour, oil, salt, and honey/syrup to the pan. Select Basic or White Bread setting, and press Start. In 4 hours, you’ll have a nice big loaf of bread. Enjoy!
I enjoyed reading Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code” a couple years ago and was pretty excited to hear about the movie. Well, I finally got around to watching it (it was in my Netflix queue forever) and thought it was really good. As opposed to Stardust, I thought the screen version of the story matched exactly what I imagined when I was reading the book. Sure, they are real world locations in DaVinci Code, but still, it was so weird that while watching the movie, it seemed like I had seen it before. The movie was just sort of an enhancement of the written story. I guess if you never read the book, the movie might be kind of weak, but I thought it was wonderful. Tom Hanks did a great job as Langdon, and Audrey Tautou was perfect. Now I am looking forward to the film version of “Angels and Demons”, which I thought was even better than Da Vinci Code.
This weekend Bay and I visited the UT campus for their annual Open House event. There were lots of kids there, from all over the state. Basically the UT students have activities for the kids to do, based on the students’ specialty. Bay and I had looked over the schedule of events in advance and decided that we should check out the engineering and science areas. The engineering school looked pretty cool, and Bay made a “robotic” hand out of cardboard, rubberbands, and masking tape. He also participated in a fossil dig at the Geo-sciences plaza area.
It was actually the first time for both of us to walk around the UT campus, and it was a lot of fun. The campus is pretty big, and many of the buildings were really cool. Bay seemed to be interested in UT, and of course living in the area, you are constantly seeing the longhorn logo everywhere, so I am thinking that UT will probably be #1 on his list of schools to go to, and that’s fine with me!
I was just checking my twiiter feed and banannie had a post that said “I can’t remember the last time I swept the floor”. I mistakenly read that as “slept on the floor” and got to thinking about the last time I actually did that. Not like taking a nap, but actually spending the night on the floor. I guess the last time I did that was in 1997 at an acquaintance’s house in Saitama prefecture in Japan. We went over for dinner, and had tons of good food and drink. Mariko’s friend’s husband was Tunisian and cooked an awesome beef stew, which we all enjoyed. It got late and we decided to sleep there, on the tatami, in our street clothes. It was summer and so hot and there was no A/C in their place, so it was a pretty damn uncomfortable night. But what was worse was traveling home the next morning on the train, wearing the same old, semi-sweaty clothes. Still, it was pretty fun, and a good memory to stow away!
I’m a big fan of Leo Laporte’s podcasts and one of his sponsors that he mentions each week is Audible.com. After hearing the pitch for a while now, I decided to check it out. I figure I can spend $15 a month out of my monthly budget for some audio books. But when I was checking out the membership plans at Audible, I saw that for $14.95 per month, you get 1 credit. This credit is equal to one audio book. Am I crazy, or does $15 for a single audio book sound expensive? Is that the normal rate of a book in audio format? It would seem reasonable to pay about half that amount, or get two credits a month. On a happier note, I see my local library has a bunch of audio books in their catalog that I want to borrow. I’ll be getting some later next week!
Yesterday Mariko said to me, “I have on my calendar written that you were planning on making the raised garden today.” Oh yeah. I vaguely remembered saying that. Well, I had the afternoon with the kids, so I might as well spend some time out in the back putting together the raised garden. Bay and I made a quick trip to Home Depot to get the supplies. We got the wood cut to size (they never seem to charge for extra cuts beyond the single one you get for free), but at checkout I was shocked to see the price. However, when we did a search online for pre-fab cedar garden beds with similar dimensions (11’ x 4’ x 11"), we found that they ranged from $300-400. So we actually saved quite a bit of money, and the cedar planks I got were about 1.75” in thickness and have held up quite well in the other beds we’ve made.
Since I made this kind of raised bed before, yesterday’s construction went smoothly. In fact, I didn’t have any problems at all! It was a really nice experience too. They afternoon wasn’t too cold, the kids played nicely, I had a couple of cold beers, and the baseball game was streaming on my laptop. The hardest part was making sure the ground where the frame would end up was level, and even this went smoothly and quickly. At this point, I was thinking that this was going too easily. The only thing left to do was move the frame from the patio into position. It was pretty heavy, and having another person there would have helped, but the frame went down into the dirt without any problem. It was almost too easy! (Now I am really suspicious of what will go wrong)
When Mariko got home, I had already cleaned up the tools, had the kids done with their homework, and was enjoying my third or fourth beer. She looked outside at the new garden bed and said it was beautiful. Woohoo! Success!
Next step will be to add some good dirt and have it ready for planting. It will actually take quite a bit of dirt to fill, but maybe we can just do a portion of it. I have some extra wood laying around that I can use to section off the bed, so that is an option. When it comes around to planting, we’ve decided to have the kids take care of their own sections of the bed, and decide what they want to grow. I’m excited about my own section, and have some plans which involve lots of peppers and hopefully cilantro. Yes, I’m thinking salsa! But we’ll see. Anyways, I’m planning on spending some more time out in the backyard this summer, and taking care of the garden is pretty fun.