en route

Trotting this globe thing
As far as the sun reaches,
I search for ...

Got that?  It's an interactive blog post.  You get to choose how my haiku ends.  :P  You get two syllables.

So right now I'm chillin in YOW (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada).  I bid a fond farewell to Olex, Julius, and Patrick at O'Hare today, as well as to my grandparents and aunt and their dogs at the house this morning.  I said goodbye to Bloomington and the Llama school yesterday, and my parents the day before that.  It's a sad time.  :(

I did get my visa, though, which was supremely exciting.  I've never had a nifty sticker in my passport before!  I'll post a photo of it on CERNtainly, which I have decided will be my new blog (thanks, Venus!).  I also have met some kind people already on this trip: a woman who was seriously jonesing for cigarettes (which she had been denied since entering LAX this morning at 10 a.m.) and gave me and a girl from Mexico headed to college a little cheer; a security worker who told me that in French they say, "Simple is fashionable," and that I was dressed very nicely; bag throwers (I didn't actually meet them) who ensured that my bag was THE FIRST ONE OFF THE CAROUSEL FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER (BEST DAY OF MY LIFE); and a little girl who gave me a big, bright smile when I was just getting bummed out about leaving everyone.

Agh!  There are so many adventures to report!

The trip to Chicago?  Great success!  We watched the fireworks at Navy Pier for the New Year and rode home in a limo first thing in 2010, and we spent some time in the fabulous Museum of Science and Industry and famous Gino's.  There was also city exploring and German card games and random fun.

After that?  I brought Julius and Olex back to Columbus, we saw Avatar and my friends from high school (hi, guys!), then headed to the Llama School to hang out with Patrick, Roy, Thabang, Sean, and Amethyst.  They experienced caving (Patrick and Roy, too; also photos of that should appear on Sean's Flickr page soon) and Torchwood, and we did karaoke and general hanging out.  We also had some fun adventures just cleaning the clothes from caving; they'd frozen into amusing shapes.

Anyway, this is it for this blog, y'all.  University was a blast.



happy new year

And what about you?
Did you get it all done?  Did
You leave your year pleased?

It was a successful year.  10 countries, 2 degrees, dozens of new friends, 21 years of age, 365 adventures...  thanks a lot, you guys.


from "it's a magical world"

Thanks, Bill Watterson.


the end

For the holidays
You can't beat home, sweet home!  But
From here?  Who can know?

It's all settled.  My graduation is done; I had a million cords dangling off my robe, hoping to trip me.  Projects and finals are finished, grades are in.  The CERN thing is formalized (assuming I can get a Swiss visa in time... eek).  I even did my sprint to the end: across all five terminals of O'Hare to catch a flight that I missed, anyway.

Now comes, I hope, a chance to relax and enjoy not doing anything for a little while.  Well, unless you count my grad party or extended family Christmas or visit from my German friends or packing as "anything."  It seems there really is no rest for the wicked.

Since I guess I've missed a fair amount of time between posts here, there are a few things I want to share, first is recipes!

Lentil Loaf (taken from My Vegan Cookbook) :
    Tomato Topping Mixture
  • 1 6oz Can Tomato Paste
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Onion Flakes
  • 1 Teaspoon Garlic Salt
  • Lentil Loaf
  • 1 Cup Old Fashioned Oats
  • 1/2 Block Extra Firm Tofu
  • 1 Cup Chopped Onion
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Green Pepper
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Red Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Tomato Topping Mixture
  • 3 Tablespoons Plain Yellow Corn Meal
  • 3/4 Cup Cooked & Drained Lentils
  • 1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Thyme
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 Teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Parsley
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Sugar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Onion Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Dried Mustard

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix the tomato topping mixture together first because you will need a tablespoon to mix into the lentil loaf. The rest will be set aside to coat the loaf when completed.

Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to a skillet on medium heat, add chopped onions, red and green bell pepper and let cook until onions are transparent (about 5 minutes), stirring frequently.

In a food processor chop oats for 5 quick pulses.

Drain tofu well and press with hands until all excess water comes out. In a mixing bowl mash tofu with a fork or use grater to coarsely grate.

In the same mixing bowl combine, cooked onions and peppers, 1 tablespoon of tomato mixture, oats, corn meal, lentils, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, 1 tablespoon olive oil, thyme, cumin, chili powder, parsley, garlic and onion salt, dried mustard and mix until well combined.

Spray a large sheet of tin foil with cooking spray to form loaf on, place on cookie sheet. On top and in the middle of tin foil form loaf mixture into loaf that is 2 1/2 inches tall and 4 1/2 inches square. Coat top and sides with tomato mixture (you will probably have some left over to spoon on later).

Cook loaf for 20 minutes, then cover with tin foil and cook for another 10 minutes. After cooking let cool for 10 minutes before cutting into it.

Red Lentil Stew (modified from 101 Cookbooks) :

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 shallots, chopped
2 teaspoons red-pepper flakes
6 cups good-tasting vegetable stock (or water)
2 1/2 cup red lentils, picked over and rinsed
1/2 cup brown rice
1 tsp curry powder
as much fine grain sea salt as you need

In a big soup pot, over medium heat, combine the olive oil, onion, shallots, and red pepper flakes. Let them brown, and caramelize a bit, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the broth, bring to a boil, then stir in the lentils and rice. Also add any delicious spices you feel like (but mainly the ones that are mentioned in the list). Simmer for about 30 minutes or until the rice is very tender, and not at all toothsome. By this time, the lentils will have collapsed into a thick slop of sorts. If you need to add more water/broth at any point do so a splash at a time, until the soup thins out to the point you prefer.

Eggplant chips (invented on the spot) :


  • 4-ish Japanese (long) eggplant, sliced into thin disks
  • enough oil to fry them in
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon black sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter (creamy is better)
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • vigour
Whilst frying the eggplant slices (they should be really shrinky and crispy when you're done), combine all the rest of the stuff in a bowl with a fork.  The peanut butter is hard to combine, but super worth it.  After the eggplant is sufficiently fried, which is around 10 minutes (if I recall correctly), just put them on a paper towel to soak up some of the excess oil before dousing them in sauce.  Yum!

Stuffed portobellos (also made up) :

  • 5 portobello mushrooms
  • 1/2 lb whole barley
  • 3 figs
  • some brandy
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/4 lb walnuts, chopped
  • 300g feta cheese
  • some olive oil
  • some parsley
  • seasonings you think are interesting
See, this is why I don't write recipes.  Anyway, do the boiling thing with the barley until it's nice and mushy.  Then mix the barley, onion, and walnuts together.  Crumble in the feta, shred in the parsley, and drizzle on some olive oil (not too much or it'll be greasy and gross).  Pull out the stems of the portobellos and lump this stuff on top, as high as you like.  Bake these delicious dudes in the oven at 425 for 17-ish minutes.  While that's happening, heat the brandy in a skillet over medium heat, slice the figs into 5 pieces each, then throw them in and light that stuff on fire.  I've never made a flambé before, but it's pretty great fun.  When the mushrooms are done, put the figs on top and make them pretty.

Okay, I think that covers it for recipes.  What have I been doing?

  • Throwing computers off parking garages (and giving lessons about what's inside)
  • Learning how to skid on a fixed gear bike
  • Nerfing my friends with tacky-ass nerf guns
  • Making gingerbread teepees and trucks
  • Hanging out
  • Watching Doctor Who
  • Finishing Silent Hill
  • Playing Metal Gear Solid
  • Shopping for pots
  • Gearing up for Switzerland (and I do need gear!)
  • Wearing silly earmuffs and hats
  • Christmasing
  • Practising dive rolls
  • Movie-ing
  • Re-learning chess strategies
  • Playing a bit of piano (only a bit... urgh)
....maybe that's all.  I'm sure there're things that have been left out.  Oh, I've been trying to think of a name for my new blog (for when I go to Switzerland I need one with a new name!).  Any ideas?  I'm thinking about "Swiss ABCs", where A = Alps, B = Black holes, and C = cheese, clocks, or chocolate.  Hrm.  But nothing's really springing to mind....

Addition: "Cerntainly" has been suggested.  I kinda like that.

Agh!  Things are so close!

Happy holidays, all!  And possibly happy new year, too, if I don't get off my bum and write this stuff more often.  <3



Out of muddle-murk
Arise network connections
And prospects galore!


Yesterday afternoon I accepted a job with CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, beginning on 11 January.  The group I'm going to be working with is called INSPIRE, and I don't know a lot more than that yet.


Joe: so what are you up to in Spring?
Me: oh, I think I will hang out in Bloomington and do some research with Rawlins.
Joe: um.  I am going to get you a job.

<6 hours pass>

Joe's boss (on the phone from Geneva): so Joe told me you would be good at this job.  I looked at your resume, and I think you would be really good at it, too.  I'm going to look into funding for you to come to Switzerland, ok?
Me: ...YES.

The next day, I talked to his partner at CERN, who helped with details, and now I'm in the process of getting things arranged.  So that I can move to Switzerland.  In 4 weeks.

That in mind, I ask kindly for warm things (I do believe the Alps are chilly this time of year) or plane tickets for Christmas/graduation.  ;)

One of my roommates (Sam) mentioned how ironic it is that I worked for Google, which runs the world, and am now going to work for CERN, which will end the world.



since you been gone

A rush of food, a
Slowdown of time, where is my
Graduation?  Here!

 I guess it's been a while.  Nearly a month?  Sheesh.  Okay, since then...

Thanksgiving: I went home to see the folks and the high school dudes (Robbie and Jacob!) and to introduce all of the above to Evan.  Then we went home-home to see extended family and eat way too much and play board games.  :D

School: I picked up my honor cords from the math department for graduation.  Egad, it's almost here!  I had my last code demo for Operating Systems today-our filesystem assignment.  Good to be done!

Food: What've I made the last few weeks... well, last week I made really delicious shepherdess pie (so named because of the crazy vegan feminist chicks who wrote the recipe):

    Seitan, 16 oz. Soy sauce (tamari), 1/4 cup Olive Oil, 2 tbsp Onions, raw, 1 large Garlic, 3 clove Mushrooms, fresh, 3 cup, pieces or slices Frozen mixed vegetables, 3 cups Vegetable Broth, 2 cans Flour, 1/4 cup Potato, raw, 5 lbs Milk, 1 cup Salt, some Pepper, black, some
Peel and boil the potatoes until they're soft (doing the rest of these things in the meantime).  Put the onion, seitan, soy sauce, olive oil, and garlic in a frying pan on whatever heat is required to sauté.  Sauté that stuff!  Then add the mushrooms and frozen vegetables, allowing them to heat all the way through (i.e. not be frozen).  In another pan, mix the vegetable broth and flour until they're not lumpy, and then mix that into the pan with all the other goodies.  Once the potatoes are done, mash them with the milk and some salt and some pepper.  Put the chunky stuff into the bottom of a casserole dish (when I made this, it took two 9x9 dishes) with more salt and pepper.  Then spoon the potatoes over the top and bake the whole thing at 425 for about 40 minutes.

This week, I made a recipe from my friend Carlo:

Red kidney bean curry

2/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup chopped fresh ginger
2 medium onions, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp salt
3 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground tumeric
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
15 oz tomato sauce
3 cans red kidney beans, undrained
3 plum tomatoes, diced
1 cup cilantro, chopped
  1. Heat oil in a deep sauce pan over medium heat for one minute. Add ginger, garlic, onion, and optionally, chili, and let sizzle for one minute.
  2. Add tomato sauce, salt, and remaining spices and cook for an additional five minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add the tomatoes, and undrained kidney beans plus one additional cup of water.
  4. Bring it to a boil, then reduce to medium heat and let cook uncovered for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Garnish with cilantro. Serve over rice.


Life: I'm figuring out still what it is that I'll do with my Spring.  I just got an interesting call today that may lead to a job, but I'm not sure about it yet, and I don't know if I should jinx it by telling all the Internets about it.  :)  I should have a clearer idea by next week.  I've also gotten really into playing Silent Hill, and Patrick has the old King's Quest games on his computer!  WOOOO, BITCHES.  I feel like there's some other stuff I want to say... what, though?  Oh, I've been banned from playing Christmas carols or hanging Christmas decorations or wearing Christmas accessories while in Llama School.  Heartbreaking, truly.  I sneak them in, though.  I ran the CS talent show over the weekend, and that was a great success!  I also gave myself another haircut, as you can see in the photos.  I'm learning how to skid on a fixed-gear bike (haha, though I am not nearly as good as that guy).  I'm starting to look into a bike for my trip (hooray, graduation present!), and enjoying watching my favourite Christmas movie: The Year Without a Santa Clause.  Love, love, love!

Life is good at Llama School, and here's to hoping that that doesn't change in the next week and a half.  A week and a half, y'all!  Oh, btw, there will be a cake reception at L-School after the ceremony, and all my devoted readers are more than welcome to attend.  :D



Tasty things, wrapped up
In a tasty wrapper, yum!
Veritable win.

I guess I forgot to post that I cooked last night, and it was a success!  :P  Here's the recipe for sweet-ass quesadillas:

1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
2 cans corn
1 green bell pepper, sliced in nice slices
1 white onion, sliced in nice slices
1 package tempeh
12 large tortillas (I used flour, but I guess corn or wheat would work)
4+ cups "Mexican" cheese (whatever that is, but it comes in a bag)
2 jalapeños, sliced in nice slices
some tomatoes and avocado for topping

Warm up the beans and corn in a pot with the jalapeños, until they are nice and bubbly, then keep it on low heat (since it takes a while to get through all the quesadillas).  At the same time, sauté the onion and bell pepper with the tempeh.  It's probably best to add the tempeh after they're mostly cooked, since it's not really meant for sautéing, but do what you want.

To assemble a quesadilla, take a tortilla and warm it on a skillet over medium high heat on one side, then flip it over, insert some bean/corn/jalapeño stuff and some tempeh/onion/bell pepper stuff, then cover all that in cheese (make sure the cheese at least gets around the edges of the tortilla: it's useful for sealing).  Then fold the tortilla in half and cook it on each side until it's golden-brown and crispy.

Top it with the tomatoes and avocado... and yum!  :D