"I suppose there are people who can pass up free guacamole, but they're either allergic to avocado or too joyless to live."— Frank Bruni

Friday, December 23, 2011

updated Christmas palette

(pic cred: here)

For this Friday fashion post, let's play with colors! Last Christmas, I tried to sport an updated Christmas palette that wasn't so 'cherry' and 'grass,' in reference to the 2 colors above. I can't remember what I wore, so I'm not sure if I succeeded. This year, I toyed around with shimmery rust and black, but my pieces just didn't fit right. After playing around with a handful of pieces, I came across a winning combination. So for this weekend's Christmas holiday, I will be wearing a 'citron' tank with a 'merlot' skirt, topped off with a black long-sleeve lace top - updated, with a Victorian touch (or so I like to think, even though I'm not so sure what that means). If I was celebrating Hanukkah, I'd love to pair 'Tiffany' blue with something. That dusty 'French' blue is nice, too.

I hope your Christmas is filled with lots of colors of happiness and cheer! (I'm thinking 'sunset' and 'lemon' - such happy colors!)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

back again with a potpourri list

Due to a bad case of Lifemademelazyanduninspired-itis (inflammation of my lazy gland) last week, there was a dearth of posting. In the meantime, however, I learned a few new things and thanks to some lazy time and figuring out how to access Midnight Train from work, I'm feeling a sparkling of blogging energy. So now I share with you the things I've learned recently in the form of a much needed and overdue List (though some or all of you probably are already aware of some or all of these things).

  • Applesauce is a great replacement for oil or eggs when baking!
  • Cetaphil is the best, mildest yet effective lotion. I like to think it cured my scary goosebump rash on my face. (I'd like to use a more natural alternative, however. Anyone know of one that is comparable to Cetaphil?)

Moisturizing Lotion
(photo cred: Cetaphil)

  • Copying and pasting in Excel can be a tedious and hand-cramping task when you have many long columns of data to which to apply an input, format or formula. I recently accidentally found a shortcut that can eliminate all that clicking-and-dragging-down. Please see the figures below:

Let's say you want to apply the year 1999 to all the cells in column A. Instead of clicking on the little black box at the lower right corner of cell 2A and dragging all the way down column 2, you can simply double-click on that little black box and '1999' will be applied to all the cells down column 2. Excel miraculously knows to only apply the entered data (or formula) in the subsequent cells that are in rows with other data (and not in leftover blank rows, like in rows 12 and 13 and so on, as seen below).

  • Concatenating in SAS is such a helpful function when you need to create a new variable created from smooshing 2 existing variables together, particularly when de-duping your data. The CATX function is something I learned a while ago, but never put to real use until recently. (Nothing beats relearning something in SAS and having it actually work!) The figure below shows the CATX function in the context of some code. Let's say some SAS-savvy pet hoarder wants to keep track of his/her cats and dogs in a nice spreadsheet and wants to consolidate some variables - pet name and age - into one variable. In the data step below, a new dataset named 'pets_ages' is being created out of the existing dataset 'hoarder.' Two variables - CatName and CatAge - are being combined by the CATX function. The result would be something like 'Bud, 2' for a cat named Bud that is 2 years old. The same is repeated for dog names and ages.

  • I didn't know until this holiday season that Christmas tree lights come in LED varieties, including those that look just like traditional 'soft/warm white' lights. What a great and long overdue innovation! ...makes us feel less guilty about energy usage when leaving our tree lit in the evening.

  • I can't remember where we got our Christmas trees growing up, but G and I recently got our cute tabletop tree from the Wheaton Volunteer Rescue Squad's tree lot. I suppose it depends on where you are, but now I know one way to support local groups in their holiday season fundraising efforts is through purchasing a tree from a sponsored lot. On a side note, I remember tree-shopping in the East Village involved checking bodegas, that one Rite Aid, and maybe a random lot. Good times!
  • I'm sure much to a friend's dismay, we only recently discovered and experienced the wonderful food options in Wheaton, despite her urging us to visit Wheaton more regularly a long time ago (except for Ren's... I was on top of that like a cat on a yarn ball).
Wheaton Lot 13
(photo cred: Just Up The Pike)

We enjoyed getting ensaymadas and pan de coco at the Filipino market, Italian sausage and meatball subs at Marchone's and chicken 'n' yuca fries from El Pollo Rico (just as good as the Arlington location), all within 20 minutes and .25 miles.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

our tree is complete

(...special thanks to everyone who contributed to our tree's growing ornament collection)

crack pie, continued...

I baked a crack pie! (Actually, it was 2 pies, as indicated by the recipe. Please excuse the missing half.)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

steelers christmas

Check out this tree topper, Yinzers.

photo cred (and where to click to have a closer look): Amazon

Thursday, December 08, 2011

smaller, smaller...then bigger, bigger

(photo cred: PCWorld)

(photo cred: beatsbydre)

What's with the trend away from portability?  Remember when pagers (aka beepers) shrank?

           (both pager photo creds: Wikipedia; yes, that's a pager)                                             

Then cell phones followed suit...

        (photo cred: Wikipedia)                                                                             (photo cred: PCWorld)

...but now, big headphones are in and itty earphones are out and compact phone designs have made way for smart phones that can be seen as pocket-sized computers, secretaries, brains, libraries, banks etc etc (only they're so huge now, they don't even fit into pockets...pants pockets, at least). I've always been concerned about consolidating too many devices into one and still believe in functioning as I did ten years ago with a phone that's a phone, a paper calendar book, and an iPod, but look forward to the day when we can drive cars that have televisions built into them. Oh wait...those exist already.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

piling it on

The raw milk bashing continues! As you can recall, this item of popular debate has been highlighted previously on Midnight Train. In case you needed yet another argument why it's unwise to consume raw milk, Food Safety News busted common raw milk myths that mislead people with false nutrition claims and understated safety concerns.

(figure cred: here, and not data and graph source above)

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Landrum's Tantrum

(photo cred: Eater)

(The title of this post isn't really true, but I like how it rhymes.) In recent months, Michael Landrum of Ray's Hell fame, opened a new mysterious restaurant, closed another establishment (one of his most beloved), and turned it into a cheesesteak place.

Now let's rewind a couple months back when I expressed doubt about Michael Landrum's restauranteering style. Lo and behold, Eater reported (second-hand news from ARLnow) that Steak and Cheese has closed and has been restored as Ray's Hell Burger Too.  While 'order has been restored' on one side of Wilson Blvd, I wonder how Ray's to the Third is doing across the street (anyone try it yet?), and am still wondering if people are growing weary of this indecisive nonsense, particularly his employees.

...just sayin' and shruggin'...

Monday, December 05, 2011

for those in need...

Read more here: Fresh Off The Boat

coin slot

I didn't know they made football pants in a low rise variety. What's up with your ass crack, Vernon Davis?

(photo cred: here)

(photo cred: here)

(photo cred: here)

I've seen much more of that crack than shown in these photos while watching the game on tv. It's only a matter of time before he's tackled by the legs and pantsed on the field. It's okay, Vern - just keep making plays. Go Niners! (and go Steelers! ...oy I'm so conflicted...but I'm not...but I am...but...)

Friday, December 02, 2011

ritzy receptacles

(photo cred: the cans' owner, Chad Silver)

The Times reports that the owners of these garbage cans had trouble keeping their cans from getting stolen, that is, until one of them put these stickers on them.  This is completely trivial, but how would one explain this phenomenon? I would think the stickers make the cans especially attractive for kleptos, but in this case, the branding seems to have a reverse effect.  Aesthetically, the gold-on-green Prada can looks great.

(...yes, slow fashion day on Midnight Train...)