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Archive for March, 2010

Gas & Taxes

On my way home from Kinnelon, I pass by a gas station in Little Falls. In the space where the gas station mini-mart would normally be, there is instead a Dunkin Donuts and a Jackson Hewitt office. I know there are a lot of terrible jobs out there but, to me, nothing seems quite as terrible as working at the Jackson Hewitt behind the gas station. It must be miserable—having to get up every day to go sit in a tiny office and do people’s taxes, all the while breathing in the terrible stink of the gas station fumes. And what about when you have to tell other people what you do? Let’s just assume for the moment that the accountant I am imagining is a guy.

[in bar]
Girl: So, what do you do for a living?
Guy: I’m an accountant.
Girl: Oh, that’s cool. Where do you work?
Guy: I work at the Jackson Hewitt in Little Falls.
Girl: No way! I live right around there. Where in Little Falls is your office?
Guy: It’s, um…on Main Street…right behind the, uh…gas station?

I guess there are a couple of good things about working there, if you really think about it. One, you’re never more than a stroll away from all those delicious donuts. Two, you’d never have to worry about making time to go and fill up your tank, because you’re perpetually parked essentially at a gas pump. Those are pretty much the only benefits I can think of at present.

In closing, I’m thrilled that my math skills (or lack thereof) preclude me from the possibility of ever having to work at the Jackson Hewitt behind the gas station. However, with the current fiscal state of libraries, perhaps I will have to start looking into alternate careers for the time being.

I wonder if the Dunkin Donuts is taking applications.

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Over the past couple of months, I had been seeing and hearing a ton of hype for the Census. It started with those weird TV commercials, then I heard Brian Lehrer do an entire show devoted to it on WNYC. Then, most recently, I got a pre-Census letter in the mail imploring me to do my civic duty and fill out the survey when it came.

After all this, and as nerdy as it sounds, I was actually kind of excited when I saw the real-deal Census survey in the mail yesterday. I took it inside and opened it up, ready to bear my soul to the Census Bureau while Michael prepped our taco dinner. Much to my dismay, they really didn’t seem to care about our lives all that much. The Census basically asked how many people lived in our apartment, our relationship status, and whether we rented or owned. As far as personal specifics, all it asked for were names, ages/birthdays, and our race.

I thought the Census was going to be way more fun. Where were the questions about my likes and dislikes? My favorite food? My idea of a perfect Friday night? I think people would be way more inclined to fill out the survey if it read more like a Cosmo quiz.

In all seriousness, though, there was so much talk about how the Census would affect funding allocations for different areas, but how is that possible when there aren’t even any questions about income? Maybe I should have listened to that whole Brian Lehrer segment. Regardless, I did my part and feel pretty good about it. Do I get a prize for mailing it back? A free subscription to Cosmo, maybe?

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So here it is, my sorriest-looking bread blog so far. In the past month, I’ve made two breads: Multigrain Bread Extraordinaire and Pain a l’Ancienne. Both were successful, although I preferred the former, surprisingly. The recipe for the multigrain bread called for wheat bran, oatmeal, and brown rice, among other things—so, at first glance, I thought this was going to be a pretty chunky bread. And I don’t like bread with chunks in it. After reading one of the side notes in the book, Reinhart actually points out that the formula didn’t call for enough rice to actually warrant buying it, or even cooking a full serving (he said to use it if you had some leftover). That basically gave me the green light to skip it, which was a relief. Aside from that change, I made the bread as directed. The oatmeal pretty much dissolved into the dough, so it did not cause any unwanted chunks—another plus. In the end, I was rather happy with how this bread turned out. I didn’t take any pictures during the process, but here is the final product.

I made the next bread a few weeks later. This is another French-style bread that is most commonly seen in baguette form. I wasn’t really looking forward to making baguettes again, since that still seems to be my weak point in the bread baking world. This formula would have yielded six baguettes, but instead I decided to make three baguettes and one ciabatta-style loaf. The results were decent, although my baguettes still leave something to be desired.

Lastly, I would like to address the fact that the frequency of my breadbaking has definitely declined in the last couple of months. In the past seven months, I have completed 21 of the 43 formulas, but I am sort of hitting the wall at this point. A lot of it has to do with the fact that I have had a significant drop in free time since I’ve picked up the second p/t job at the Kinnelon PL. As of now, my plan is to continue to bake when I can until summer kicks in. Since I don’t think hot weather is really conducive to bread baking, I may put things on hiatus during those months. We’ll see!

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Repeat After Me

It’s funny how the word “like” can completely change meanings simply by repeating the word, e.g.:

Girl: Sven is a nice guy – I like him.
Girl’s friend: Okay, you like him. But do you like like him?
Girl: I think I do! At first I just liked him, but after seeing him lead the squash team to victory, my feelings have totally changed!

[giggle giggle]

I think that is the only word where this rule applies, and for good reason…

Doctor: The test results are back. I’m sorry—it’s terminal.
Patient: Phew! You really had me worried there, doc!
Doctor: No, you misunderstand. It’s terminal terminal.
Patient: Dear lord!!

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Every once in a while, I enjoy reading the Missed Connections posts on craigslist. The majority of them are good for a laugh, although some of them seem more genuine and thus make me a little sad. Like this one, titled “Met in Home Depot”:

I really hope you see this! We met & chatted for quite a while, I finished my project, but needed to return to the store for something else…Did you get your problem fixed?…What did you “lend” me, just so I know it’s you!

Posts like that make me think of Ghost World, a great little indie movie (starring Thora Birch, Scarlett Johansson, and Steve Buscemi and based on a graphic novel of the same name), if anyone is interested. Anyway, as much as I love reading these, a little part of me can’t help but wonder why no one has ever written one to ME! I would love to be a craigslist Missed Connection. I can see it now…

To the brunette at Platinum Fitness: I was jogging behind you when you nearly fainted and fell off of your treadmill. You looked so elegant and graceful as the cleaning lady caught you. I wanted to go up to you but you were busy talking to two burly trainers who helped you get your bearings. Hopefully I will see you again someday.

Girl in the silver Corolla on Bloomfield Ave: I cut you off in front of Panera, and it was the greatest decision I’ve ever made. After laying on your horn for a solid 10 seconds, you switched into the left lane. Then, as luck (fate?) would have it, we met at the next red light. As you flailed your arms wildly and flipped me the bird, I can only wish that among the expletives that escaped from your lips, you would have also shouted out your phone number. If you see this, send me a message and tell me what kind of car I was driving.

Yesterday at the Bloomfield Stop & Shop: You were in the self check-out lane, and I was in the next lane over. I watched you scan your groceries with such focus and expertise. Minutes later, I watched you yell at a girl for bagging your groceries. You went on and on about how you had brought your own reusable bags (I too am going green!), and berated her for putting your carton of OJ on top of your eggs. I like a woman who stands up for herself and isn’t afraid of confrontation. We briefly made eye contact before you stormed out of the store. If you see this, meet me near the deli counter next Tuesday.

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