I saw this in the Wal-mart parking lot today. I was just so in awe of its beauty and practicality that I had to snap a picture of it (surreptitiously of course..thus the grey ford escape occupying half of the photo). I'm not quite sure if they were going for the limo effect, or if their family was just so large and rugged your average van wouldn't survive the rigors of daily life. Unfortunately, I didn't encounter the owners of this fantastic vehicle (I'm really curious about what sort of gas mileage it gets....side note: what if you did this to a Prius?). Alaska is awesome.

Speaking of Alaska and awesomeness, the moon has been spectacular lately. My camera skills are not quite capable of capturing the magnitude of awesome the night this picture was taken, but it can at least hint at what I'm talking about:

Enough talking though, now it's time to do what I do best: criticize. I'm sure anyone who has a blog on blogger has noticed how utterly annoying adding pictures is. I would gladly add more pictures..but it's just such torture! Blogger assumes that I want every new picture added to the top of the note, I do not want to move it anywhere, AND that I want the cursor to disappear afterward. The first assumption I could perhaps understand. I'm sure a lot of people DO want their pictures at the top of the blog. I could even forgive the benevolent creators of blogger for thinking that I wouldn't want to move the pictures (indeed, it's such trouble I generally don't want to move them).....but making the cursor disappear?! That's just cruel! I was always taught that one should add 2 spaces after every sentence...and now I can't tell if I've added 1, 2, or 30! Plus the whole obnoxiousness of having a touch pad and clumsy fingers (I have had far too many occasions where I have accidentally simultaneously touched the touch pad, clicked in the middle of a paragraph, somehow highlighted everything, and then hit backspace before I even know what's hit me).

Oh hey..my cursor came back.


In other news, the great blogger experiment of '09 hasn't really been working as expected. I got one more "plastic spatula melt" hit, but other than that nothing changed...except for a peculiar rise in readers. Maybe word just got around that I'd been updating. So, I have decided to lower my expectations/goals. I now aspire to just be on the first page of google's search engine for the query "plastic spatula melt". I feel like that's reasonable...and anyone who is searching for information about melting spatulas probably deserves a reprieve in the form of my delightful blog.

Here's to you, oh frustrated melty plastic spatula owners! ( I recieved an e-mail from my dad a few days ago. He said he'd read my blog and thought I'd been alone for too long. He's probably right)

I have not touched a plastic spatula ever since I discovered that my favorite plastic spatula was melting and leaving unsavory slivers of plastic in my ham. Actually, this is more to do with the fact that I've been behind on dish washing and haven't felt like cooking anything requiring a spatula than my utmost horror at the discovery that plastic spatulas melt. Here's a tip though: don't be in a hurry and just leave things cooking on "high". Plastic spatulas are much more likely to melt when your stove is on high than, say, medium. It's a fact. However, had you used a metal spatula, you probably wouldn't have this problem...unless your stove is just insane. Then you'd have bigger issues than your spatula melting..like your skillet melting. I have to imagine that would be considerably less pleasant than a few scraps of plastic. I've also discovered that once a spatula begins to melt, it is much more likely that the melting process will occur with less provocation the next time you use it. I would imagine the plastic is the same throughout the spatula..but a lot of things in life seem to go like that. When one corner starts melting it just gets worse and worse from there. Spatula is a funny word. That's probably at least 60% of the reason why I've become so dedicated to the goal of my blog reaching fame through the phrase "plastic spatula melt".

I was casually talking to my friend Jared earlier (Hi Jared!!) about cold weather clothing when I realized how extreme I sound sometimes. I was saying how my favorite boots are bunny boots (google them, they're sweet), but they'll only keep your feet warm until about -30F. At around -35 your feet will be cold..but not to the point that they hurt (which is the worst, by the way). Then he asked what the coldest weather I'd ever been in was, and I'm pretty sure the coldest I've ever been in was around -40F when I was in Irkutsk. Possibly a little lower since I wasn't carrying a thermometer around with me at the time (however, that experience is how I learned that Fahrenheit and Celsius meet at -40). That was also the day Claire and I got lost in town. Then I threw in that -40 wasn't really that bad...when my dad was mushing in a race it was probably in the -50s (I believe I remember correctly..sorry dad if my facts aren't straight). What's absolutely mind blowing though is the Siberian town of Oymyakon. Not only does it have an unfortunately umpleasant sounding name, but it also has the distinction of being the coldest town in the northern hemisphere with a temperature of -71.2 C (-96.2F). There was also a prison camp around there somewhere. Talk about bad luck.

I'm really not that extreme though. I'm just normal...ish.

I was also reminded today how inaccurate a gauge my expression is in comparison with my actual mood (unless I'm smiling..then that usually means I'm happy). I was walking in a parking lot today, thinking about how glad I was that I had my coat because it looked like it might rain, when a middle-aged passerby gave me a friendly reminder to smile. I flashed him a little smile and said "Thanks"..but then I got to thinking about how people always accuse me of either being depressed or angry, when in reality I'm just thinking about random stuff that doesn't really have to do with anything important. I'm very rarely depressed...pensive sometimes, yes, but depressed and angry, no. I just happen to direct my thoughts to other things besides what happens to be on my face at the time.

I also make pretty inaccurate first impressions (although sometimes it works to my advantage). I will guarantee you that most people who have spent a very minimal amount of time interacting with me think I am: quiet, shy, nice, smart, rarely smile, perhaps uptight, and a little condescending. I've been hanging out a fair deal with someone I used to go to high school with (if you're reading this, you know who you are...and I'm pretty sure you fell asleep before you answered my e-mail, but I'll forgive you since it's your birthday =P), and they've been quite amazed that I'm actually quite different. A lot of people are usually surprised to find out who I really am. Ok..that makes it sound bad, what I mean is that I'm actually pretty cool (in my own opinion).

So, to save people some time in the get-to-know-Amanda process, here is a portrait of me:
(although it'd be weird if people read my blog before meeting me, so this is probably pretty useless)

--A sense of humor is one of the most important things to me
--I think I'm hilarious
--I'm not shy, but I can be socially overwhelmed at times. It's just so much effort to entertain more than 4 people at a time, that I usually don't try
--I'm only condescending if I think you're being dumb =)
--I'm good at keeping a straigh face, so if I say something outrageous, it's probably not true
--I like to be unique. I think it's an only child thing.
--If I am smirking to myself, it's probably because I thought of something really funny, but it would be too hard to explain
--I am awful at small talk..so if I seem quiet at first, it's probably because I don't know what to talk about with you
--I feel socially awkward quite often, but I'm mostly ok with that
--I really enjoy outdoorsy things, but sometimes it can be hard to convince me to do things (because I enjoy being comfortable too)
--I am stubborn. You probably won't change my mind...but I'm also not unreasonable, so I won't disregard ideas just for the sake of being stubborn.
--I'm very competitive when it comes to board games
--I will probably beat you at foosball
--I am afraid of the dark (I'm talking woods by myself, not my room)
--I'm slightly nearsighted, but I don't wear my glasses very often (driving, classroom), so if I act like I don't recognize you from across the room, it's probably because I can't see your face.
--I get along pretty well with animals..cats and squirrels are my favorites. Sharks, bears, and tigers are my least favorites.
--I really hate it when my plastic spatulas melt
--I'm pretty laid-back..so don't be fooled by my haughty/dour-seeming demeanor! I'm probably just thinking about the weather...

There's a lot more that I could say (like how banana bread is amazing), but that would take away all the fun of getting to know me!

On a parting note, this is something that always brings a smile to my face, and I think everyone should watch:



Comments work now! Well..if this message shows up they do (this is a test).

Hi Amanda!

I have those pants...
No not really, but what if i did?

If you had those pants it would increase your cool meter by a few points. If you could do that dance (while wearing said pants) you would go straight to awesome, no questions asked.

Ooh, I have to try out the comment box now!


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Good news: no more required disclaimer!
Bad news: I'm really lazy about posting when I'm not in Russia