apete's apage

A place for me to speak and be heard.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Roly Poly-itical Map

I went to this chain restaurant called Roly Poly today. They make these wrap sandwiches that aren’t that great. I don’t recommend it and won’t be going back myself. While I was there, a sign did catch my eye for one reason. It contained a map of the US and the states were red and blue. At first, I thought why would they have a election map hanging here. As I looked closer, I saw that it was a franchise marketing poster. The red states had Roly Polys and the blue ones did not. Unfortunately, Michigan was blue red this time. I’m just curious as to whether the red/blue map was a marketing ploy or coincidence because the only reason that I looked at the poster was because it had the map on it.

I know...

I will be an apprentice of this guy.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

What do I do!

I am trying to decide what to do in order to balance my work and school life for next semester. As school goes, I am trying to do straight HCI or tailor it a bit in order to do something along the lines of Electronic Records and archives. I really don't know yet. I just feel that HCI is a little too focused and I think that I can get the usability and design work that I want done with a few classes and mix it up with some archive classes that I find interesting. I really don't know.

In addition to the school decisions, I need to decide what to do with my job. I have now thought about quitting the job I currently have MANY times. I first thought I was going to do it when I entered school. They let me go part time. I then thought, I'll work until Thanksgiving...and then it was Xmas...and then it was spring break. It just never happened. The money was too good. Summer roles around and I am tempted with getting an internship through the middle of June, but no, the money is just too good. Besides, I don't NEED the internship to graduate. I just have to make sure I take enough practical application classes to get 3 more PEP points.

I have to decide whether I want to go part time or take a leave of absence from work. I was leaning towards the LOA because I have a little bit more in loans and a possible work study availability and I have some roommates to provide me with some rent money. That means I am better off financially. Today, I was approached by a boss' boss' boss type person asking me if I was going to be around because our customer is thinking about starting up a project that they put on hold more than a year ago. It is an intriguing project and I would be interested in working on it. I am also one of the few that has the appropriate knowledge of the project. It's basically a electronic archive that they are trying to migrate to a new software so it does fit in well with my school interests. I just don't know. I really don't think that I can work 20 hours a week and enjoy school again.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Team Pfizer raising money for MS

Kurt...I think
Originally uploaded by apete.
So this is the 4th year that I have ridden in the MS150 to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis. It is a two day ride that is about 75 miles each way. OK this year it was 84.5 miles each way which sucked...especially mentally. 10 miles is 10 miles, ya know. Oh well.

We got a little rain on Saturday. Only for about 8-10 miles and it wasn't bad. It did look ominous for the whole ride. It was fun though. I should have trained more. My knee is pretty sore. It started hurting about 65 miles in the first day so I was in pain for the rest of that day especially on the uphills. I did ride well the first day though. As others went to the bar, I had to borrow a car and race to Ann Arbor for a wedding. This is not recommended for a large bike ride but you do what you have to.

The second day didn't go as well. After the first 10 miles, my knee got all stretched out and was ok for about 35 miles when it started hurting again. I went about 25 more and then I had to give in a little after 60 miles because I had tears running down my face when I was going up hills so I sagged in. Because of the extra mileage from the first day though I was only a few miles short of 150 so I didn't feel that bad.

Wine Cheese Salt Tasting?

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a salt tasting. That's right, a salt tasting. It was really interesting, but then again, I love when people talk food to me, especially GOOD food. The tasting took place at Zingerman's Deli. The producers from Halon Mon were in town from Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysyliogogogoch, which is on the Welsh Isle of Anglesey. No really, that IS the name of the town.

The first thing that we did was talk about salt a little bit. Most of it was talking about the differences between factory produced salt such as Morton's and naturally produced salt like theirs.

Factory salt is pure NaCl with certain additives that promote dryness. The additives give factory salt a bitterer flavor. These additives also enhance salt's ability to dry out the body by preventing the body from absorbing moisture.

Sea salt on the other hand is somewhere between 90-95% NaCl. It is not pure because seawater naturally contains other elements. The two most common are magnesium and calcium, both of which are needed by the body. As the levels of the other elements vary the flavors of the salt change. Calcium provides a sweeter taste, while magnesium has a bitter flavor. An interesting fact about calcium levels is that they vary by season depending on whether the shellfish are growing. When they are growing, there is less calcium in the water because the shellfish are using it.

The ‘making’ of Halon Mon sea salt starts with the Gulf Stream current which brings clean water across the Atlantic to their little isle. They then pump the water in where it is initially filtered naturally by the sand and mussels at the ocean bottom. (Did you know that mussels can filter 9 pints of water an hour? I can’t imagine drinking 9 pints of water a day although I probably should.) After the water is pumped into the tanks, lamps heat it until it reaches the proper consistency and crystals begin to form. At this point there is a “rinser” takes about 10-15 minutes to rinse the salt in salt water to get the proper taste, size, texture and combination of elements. This is normally done with about 2 kg of salt at a time. Once it is ready it is then packaged and marked with the date and the initials of the rinser. This whole process takes 11-14 days.

Here are some of the things that we tried having both the factory salt and Halon Mon in front of us. We tried a piece of celery. Now I hate celery, mostly for the texture but I am also not a fan of the flavor or smell of celery but I was tasting the salt so I ate it. The two things that you notice by trying both types of salt in a row are the bitterness and overpowering aspect of the factory salt. After the celery, we tried a piece of melon and tomato.

They then made a couple of quick and easy dishes. The first was a type of bruschetta that simply had olive oil and their salt on some good toasted bread. Then they had a piece of bread with some soft goat cheese and dulce de leche with some salt sprinkled on top. I love that sweet and salty flavor and have been known to put sea salt on my hot fudge or caramel sundaes for a little while now. Yum!

There were also two additional ‘flavored’ sea salts that they had on hand and let us try. One was a spiced salt that contained cloves, paprika, pepper, ginger and about 5 other spices. Actually, they only put one clove in each package and I was the lucky one who got it. I didn’t get a prize though. The other was a smoked salt, which is smoked for 6 days. Either of these would be amazing on any type of meat or fish, I would imagine.

Some more interesting facts that I won’t put into paragraphs because this is already too long:

  • Human blood has the same percentage of salt content as seawater.
  • Sea salt that is sun dried in pools is subject to anything that will fall into the pool or on the salt. Think birds here.
  • I drank A LOT of water during the tasting.
  • There is a chocolate tasting coming up soon. I can’t wait.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

My New Book

My New Book
Originally uploaded by apete.
I wanted to be like srah...except I get cool official Harry Potter glasses. Did I just say cool?

Free Lunch

Well, today turned out to be the day that the company that owns the office building that we work in puts on a big BBQ for everyone in the building. Unfortunately, it is also the first day in weeks that I made a lunch for myself. Usually, we get a weeks notice or so but today I see a flyer posted on the door as I am walking in. Oh well, l put my salad in the fridge and made off with an unhealthy footlong Coney dog and a cheeseburger...for free. I forgot to grab a Good Humor bar though. Doh!

Monday, July 18, 2005

Problems with Chips

So this past Friday, we had a little meeting during lunch. It was catered by the hotel whose room we were using. It was just sandwiches, cookies and chips. Nothing fancy but I have always had problems with people eating chips during lunch meetings like that. No, it isn't because of the crunching, it is because of those horrible little bags that you just can not keep quiet. It was driving me crazy. I couldn't hear a thing and I didn't know what to do. I wanted to rush around the table and dump everyone's chips onto their plates one single time and get it all over with.

My second problem with the chips at this was that they only had one option. That option was Baked Lay's Original. OK, Lay's Originals are not baked. They are fried. The packaging should not carry the word 'Original' anywhere. They are not made the same and they do not taste the same and are therefore not 'Original'.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Am I Crazy for Not Being Lazy

So I am one of those people who likes stairs and tries to avoid escalators and elevators as much as possible. I don't know why. I just realized how odd I was when I was at O'Hare and there were two escalators going up one floor and there was a huge line behind them and right next to them there was a set of stairs that was sparsely populated with 'climbers'. It was ONE floor. I chose the stairs of course but I probably would have done so anyway.

So I am curious to the 3 or 4 readers out there, what is your stair/elevator ratio? I would say that 5 floors is when I would start doing the elevator as long as they were both equally accessible. I like stairs, what can I say. I usually even avoid those moving floors in airports unless I am heavily laden with luggage. Oh well.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Neighba' Hata

This is the very first time that I could not wait to get home and blog! Even though it was about 30 seconds in the car.

So I am driving back in my neighborhood towards my house and as I drive by my next door neighbor's yard, he has a For Sale sign in it. This wouldn't be so bad except for the fact that in the early spring the house on the other side of me and the house directly across the street ALSO went up for sale the same weekend. I thought I was hated then, now I'm feeling REALLY loved!

I was actually waiting for this one to happen, the neighbor had his wife pass away about 2 years ago and he up and married about 6 months later and rarely spends anytime at all in the house.

As for the other two houses, The one next door has sold. I am disappointed in this because she kept a wonderful garden and he was a pilot who actually was one of the guys that carried around the Olympic torch during the last games. The other one across the street is still for sale and vacant. If I would have known I could have bought up the whole block!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Painting. Check.

I have just put a final coat in my kitchen. I am now waiting for the paint to dry. I think I finally have all of the rooms painted that I want painted right now. It seems like so much work to get started painting and then there is so much waiting in between. I just want to put my kitchen back together and call it a day. It does seem to look good although I am worried that it might be too dark in my kitchen. I guess we'll see.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Service Busy

For the past three weeks, I have been more than occasionally getting an error message saying "Service Busy" after dialing a number at my house.  It has been driving me nuts because my home phone isn't working either.  This morning I called T-mobile customer service.  They told me that the error 'Service busy' is because the local tower couldn't hold all of the calls that were going through.  I told her that this has never happened in the 2 years that I've had T-mobile and made her open a request to have someone look at it.   I had to tell her that if it keeps happening, I was going to go with a provider that could handle the traffic in my area.  Now, I think that I could understand if there was a football game or even during the art fair, but having this happen in Ann Arbor during the summer just isn't acceptable.  If you are having this problem too, I would recommend calling.  The more complaints, the better chance we have with them adding room for more calls.  Here's the number:  1-800-937-8997.

Escape from the MAN to the Library

Well, I am here at the Southfield Public Library where I have to escape to at lunch in order to keep up with all of my non-work email, several blogs, and many other things that the MAN at work tries to keep me from. Luckily the library is about a block away making the trip simple.

I guess although I don't like it, it does make some sense and I do get more work done. I do send out a special thanks to all of those who host their blogs on their own domain names because works firewalls aren't that smart...until I hit them over and over again.