Acquired Taste

Sweet, salty, bitter, and sometimes delicious.

Archive for August, 2008

Everything’s 99 cents?

Posted by unbeelievable on August 30, 2008


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The presidential race is getting verrry interesting…

Posted by unbeelievable on August 29, 2008

So in case the 2 people that read my blog forgot, I am a former academic nerd, trying to break out into the “real world.” It’s not working so well. The corporations that I apply to see the Ph.D. at the end of my name and run. I think they are afraid of nerd-taint. This is perhaps why we Ph.D.’s stay in academia making wages that have a ridiculously low wage:years of schooling ratio.

Anyway, as part of my academic life, I worked on a study of kids’ understanding about the gender and race of the U.S. Presidents. It went something like this: We asked kids how many black/female/latino presidents there had been and recorded their answers (a common answer was “two”, which is adorable to me. Like, there must be at least TWO back there SOMEWHERE…)

Then we burst their bubbles. “No, there has never been a black/woman/latino president. All of the presidents have been white men.” And we show them a picture, like the ones you might remember from school, of all the presidents lined up, as evidence.

Most kids believed us, although one kid told us that Abraham Lincoln looked “sort of Mexican.” Then we asked why. Why have there been no women, black, or latino presidents? And the answers we got were very interesting. Many kids used discrimination as a reason. “White people hate black people,” one elementary student stated matter-of-factly. Others used internal characteristics. “Men are smarter than women,” said one little girl. Very, very sad stuff. A full 25% of kids said that it was against the law for women, African Americans, and Latinos to be president. Yes. In 2008. Against the law.

We collected our data way before Barack Obama had even thought about being president. But, thanks to the slow peer-review process for publishing academic stuff, we were never able to publish it until now. We found out yesterday that the study will be published very soon!

Could we have picked a better time to publish? How exciting is it that Sarah Palin is running for VP? Now, she may make some of my liberal colleagues want to run far, far away due to her views on teaching creationism in schools and her “feminist pro-life” stance, but I couldn’t be more happy. It makes our little study incredibly relevant.

And, our conclusion to the study is that simplest way to fix kids’ attitudes about women and minorities in public office is to PUT MORE WOMEN AND MINORITIES IN PUBLIC OFFICE! So hooray to the Democratic party, and yes, hooray to John McCain, too, for making that happen for at least one group this year. This election truly will be historic.

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The incredible shrinking grocery ray attacks!

Posted by unbeelievable on August 28, 2008 is a website that I look at almost every day. It lists great deals (for example — fly to Philly from Texas for only $79), tells harrowing stories (e.g., of an old lady who was charged for HUNDREDS of dollars of pornography from video-on-demand — and the evil satellite company refused to remove the charges) and interesting information (how to get a real, live person when you can a 1-800 number, why you don’t have to show receipts at Best Buy or Wal-Mart).

A recent obsession for Consumerist is the “incredible shrinking grocery ray.” Apparently, as gas prices have increased, costs have gone sky high, and companies have to make up that money somehow. They don’t want to obviously raise prices, though, as that might drive down demand. So, instead, they have been surreptitiously shrinking their products. Remember in the “old days” of prosperity, when your window cleaner would have a bright sticker on it that said, “30% more free!” Well, the products these days should say, “25% less..for the same price or more!!”

Case in point — this Annie’s cereal. Annie’s proclaims itself to be an environmentally friendly company…

“We see the world as one giant system, beautifully complex yet intricately interconnected, that grows organically with the care it is given. We nourish communities by providing healthy food, promoting sustainability and supporting organizations motivated by our same intrinsic purpose. Our philosophy is simple: Planet to Food. Food to People. People to Planet.”

They also have this statement on their site:

“What other ways should we be supporting the sustainability movement? Let us know! As always, we’re listening.”

OK, Annie’s, since you asked….How about making your cereal box for Bunch Crunch Honey approximately the same size as the cereal inside of it? Note Exhibit A and B… a perfectly normal (if not a bit large) cereal box with a bag inside that is less than half full. (Probably closer to 1/3 full). I could not believe it when I opened the box, yesterday. The bag was so near empty that I was able to fit it into a 1/2 eaten box of Kashi cereal that I’ve been eating for a week.

Ridiculousness! Especially from a company that claims to be environmentally friendly….

Posted in annoyances, home | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Izzy the babysitter

Posted by unbeelievable on August 27, 2008

I never knew that lil’ Iz would be so useful!

Yesterday, I was charged with watching a friend’s 6 month old daughter for a couple of hours. Now, I love kids, but babies? I have no clue. I had never even watched a baby before yesterday, and let me tell ya, I was nervous.

Luckily, Izzy had my back.

Evie (6 month old pictured here) is obsessed with Izzy. At only 10 pounds, Izzy is smaller than her, for one, and she’s sort of spazzy and admittedly entertaining anyway. So for the first hour, all that I had to do to keep Evie entertained was…nothing. She cooed at Izzy, and anytime Izzy came to sniff her, she would kick at her, sending Izzy running for the hills, and sending Evie into peals of laughter. Watching a 6 month old laugh is a beautiful thing.

Almost makes me want one myself. Almost.

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Let me scare you with my closet

Posted by unbeelievable on August 26, 2008

Pretty bad, huh? Well, it gets worse. This is the after picture. Yes, after cleaning for 6 hours, taking 3 boxes to goodwill, and a few to the new house.

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Homemade Breakfast Biscuits for Two

Posted by unbeelievable on August 26, 2008

When I was a little kid, my family and I traveled around Texas almost every weekend. The trips weren’t very fun for me, but there was always one highlight — McDonald’s breakfast biscuits (my favorite was bacon, egg, and cheese). Some of the Dairy Queens around Texas (Dairy Queen is sort of like McDonald’s and used to be in every small Texas town) one-upped McDonald’s by making fresh (vs. powdered) eggs and using real cheese. Those were always a prime find.

When I think of happy memories of my childhood, getting breakfast biscuits is right up there, for some reason. With buttermilk, quick scrambled eggs, ham or bacon, and real cheddar cheese, these homemade breakfast biscuits are killer. I make them for my sweetie at least once a week (lucky guy, right?) They also aren’t too hard to make once you get the hang of them. You’ll never look at a McDonald’s biscuit the same way again!

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Posted in 15-30 minutes, breakfast, recipes | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

Tex-New Mex Creamed Corn

Posted by unbeelievable on August 25, 2008

I was born and raised in Texas, and he was raised across the border in New Mexico (note to slow people–including my own COUSIN who has lived in Dallas for her whole life — New Mexico is part of the U.S.) Once you cross that border, though, you might feel like you’re in a different country, as the cuisine changes dramatically.

Any New Mexican worth his salt can’t eat a meal without a considerable amount of spice. When I first met my guy, I wasn’t a big fan of salsa or (heaven forbid) anything with green chile in it. It took a while, but I have been assimilated (his Dad’s a chile farmer, for goodness sakes, and even though his chile con queso may have made me want to cry from the burning..the burning!! could I really say no? No.)

And all Texans know that bacon is one of Nature’s Perfect Foods. This corn is a great match between the two, and is fast, as well. Once you start cooking it, you can pretty much forget about it, too, which is nice when you’re trying to whip up dinner (I made these with rib eye steaks with a mushroom pan sauce).

However, you can make this dish without the bacon (if you’re a vegetarian or don’t like bacon for some crazy reason) or jalepeno. It will still be delicious.

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Posted in 15 mins or less, home, recipes, vegetables | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Izzy the Iggy

Posted by unbeelievable on August 25, 2008

This is Izzy, arguably the cutest Italian Greyhound on the planet, guarding our tools and supplies at the new house. Izzy’s bad at guarding stuff because she doesn’t bark at people (thank goodness..I already have a barker, thank you!) but maybe she could stop potential thieves with her cuteness?? Like they would be so awed by her they would say, “You know, instead of robbing these people, let’s go home and plant a tree.”

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Done for the day..

Posted by unbeelievable on August 25, 2008

Here was the bedroom before —>

…and after—>

Desk is still a bit cluttered, but much better, I think

Now, where’s my margarita? 🙂

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

The value of a shiny sink

Posted by unbeelievable on August 25, 2008

I woke up this morning to a very dirty house. I’m not sure how it got this way, and it may be due to the fact that we are living in about 400 square feet, but I swear, I JUST cleaned the house 2 days ago. Are there evil spirits living in my abode??

Exhibit A: the sink. Full of dirty dishes (dishwasher is full of clean dishes). The Flylady ( would be none too pleased with the state of the sink.

That’s because she has a very clear opinion on what to do if your house is an unbelievable mess – start with the sink. A clean sink is the first step of her many “babysteps” to becoming a happier person with a cleaner home. Other steps include spending 15 minutes decluttering every day and getting dressed — with hair, makeup, shoes, and real clothes (not sweats or PJ’s) every day.

So this morning, I’m trying not to be overwhelmed. One step at a time, right? It’ll all get done, eventually. And my sink is very shiny.

Posted in home | Tagged: , | 6 Comments »