Author Archives: Madeyemaryann

Tofu Kimchi Eggs Benedict

Shipping is hard. 

Like when you’ve “finished” your term paper, but you still have to add page numbers (but not on page 1!), do a bibliography, and scrub the footnotes for grammar and idiocy.  Like when you’ve “finished” your code, but you still have to push all the pixels into place, run beta tests, and fix bugs - soo many bugs.  Like when you’re “ready” to walk out the door, but you still have to check the weather, put on a scarf, find your keys, and make sure your scarf matches your shoes.  Then drive back down the street to make sure the garage is closed (always is).

Shipping is hard.

I always mess up some mundane detail!
(Shoulda set up a test environment, fool)
photo credit

Because I know this fact, I almost always give the benefit of the doubt to things that have shipped.  If an idea was conceived of, deemed worthy of being brought forth into reality, and run through even the most basic of sanity checks (“Honey, do you think I’m pulling off these red boots?”), then how bad can it be?  I mean, if something manages to navigate the perilous trail between inspiration and fruition, at worst it’s gonna be “not-quite-my-taste-but-I-can-see-why-you-might-like-it.”  N’est-ce pas?

So when I went to brunch this Sunday and saw “Tofu Kimchi Eggs Benedict” on the menu, my first thought was “sounds gross and weird,” but my second thought was “must taste way better than it sounds.”  I mean, someone cooked this, wrote a description of it, and printed it on the menu.  They sat around figuring out how much it should cost and what to serve on the side.  How bad could it be?

Answer: Bad.

Imagine an oily slab of fried tofu in place of the English muffin, and a slop of kimchi instead of the canadian bacon.  It’s problematic because the tofu and poached egg are too similar in texture, and the kimchi adds to the mushiness of it all.  You need the English muffin and the meat/vegetable to soak up the goop.  Accept no only adequate substitutes.

I should have known better.  Eggs are gross, and eggs benedict tastes good only because the other layers overcome the egg.  Under no circumstances should I have expected the egg to be the miracle worker that makes fried tofu and kimchi taste good. 

But… how did this even end up on the menu?  How?  Only 2 scenarios come to mind.  Scenario 1: Chef is a maleficent dictator with weird taste buds and no tolerance for dissent.  Scenario 2: Chef is also Grandma and her taste buds are dead but nobody has the heart to tell her.  But maybe I owe them more credit… Scenario 3: Chef is a capitalist and knows the likes of Maryann will order the weird sounding thing, so he puts it on the menu regardless of probable gag reflexes.

Really, I should have known better.  My logic-meets-optimism-meets-curiosity approach also led me to order a stout float at my favorite place (never do this), and shrimp and banana spring rolls at my second favorite place (sounds insane, tastes even worse).

I started this post earlier today, and had planned to end it with an uplifting tale about how Ben and Jerry’s Free Cone Day today provided such abundant deliciousness that all past anti-deliciousnesses were washed away.  But alas, curiosity reared its ugly head and I ordered Schweddy Balls – “Fair Trade vanilla ice cream with a hint of rum loaded with fudge covered rum and milk chocolate malt balls.” 

This was merely “good” on the “dessert” scale, but “below average” on the “ice cream” scale.  I had hoped the malt balls would compensate for the rum and vanilla, known agents of anti-delish. 

Nope.   Next time I get strawberry.

Goals Checkin: March Edition

Another month, another goals checkin.


I try to be positive, especially on the blog, but I’ve been feeling overwhelmed with life lately.  Or maybe more accurately, I’ve been feeling underwhelmed with myself lately.  The space between my expectations and my reality seems to be growing.

Problem to solve?  Time for a list!

Option 1: Fundamental Laziness
Ugh, I hope not, but probably maybe.  Is there any cure for this?  Am I doomed to a life of mediocrity just because I can’t be bothered?

Option 2: Mouth bigger than stomach.  Biting off more than can chew.  Other eating-related metaphors.
Is it possible that I’m expecting too much of myself?  I think not.  There are people out there scaling mountains and running governments, certainly I can handle a handful of personal goals.

Option 3: Deer in headlights
I haven’t read Paradox of Choice, but I imagine that something like that is at play here.  I have far too many options, good options at those, which overwhelm me on any given day.  Because if I’m practicing guitar, that means I’m not coding, or blogging, or going for a walk, and so on, and so on.  Optimizing my day becomes this harrowing ordeal that leaves me drained and unable to actually do anything.

But as I’m typing this, just like that, it occurs to me that I’ve already solved this problem.  Here:

I’ve managed to settle on RESOLUTIONS FOR 2012/LIFE:

Set fewer, smaller goals (dare I say SMART goals) and celebrate the small stuff.

It doesn’t necessarily sound like much in the way of world-domination, but I expect it’s gonna make a huge difference (positive direction) in what I accomplish and how I experience life in general.  So, instead of making an 8 item todo list every morning, getting only 4 things done, and then having sleepless bed-rage nights, I’m going to start off more realistically by putting just 3 items on the list.

Ok.  So I’m recommitting to this.  Set fewer goals every morning.  Do the hard stuff first thing, enjoy the rest of the day.

I’ll also remind myself that while March wasn’t as productive as I would’ve liked in terms of goals, it was filled with good things.  Visiting family, a last minute trip to New York, watching the Hunger Games.  If giving myself a few extra weeks to finish up means I get to do all that, then I guess I’ll find a way to deal with it!

Without further ado, here is my final goals checkin for this first quarter.  (Sighs of relief sweep across the crowds).

In progress.  The huge breakthrough is that I can now do the top part of a chin-up.  Prepare to be amazed.

Yes!  First, I went to the Creator’s Project music festival and saw SquarePusher and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.  Then, I went to a nearby open mic and saw several intimidatingly awesome acts.  This was true fist-pumping fun, and I’m upping my concert going frequency to twice per month from now on.

Tech Ninja
I’ve made considerable progress on my apps, but like they say, the last 20% of the work takes 80% of the time.  Meanwhile, I did update LinkedIn, which, by the way, has become rather useful and populated since I last logged in 5 years ago.  Career-havers of the world, take note!

Music Arsenal
I was going to write a song this weekend, but then decided to chill out instead because… it was the weekend.  As a reward for containing your anger, and not grabbing your pitchforks and chasing me out my house, I give you this.

Feats of Fun
No progress this month, but who cares?  I went to New Haven and had hours of fun I shouldn’t have had instead!  (Remind me to tell you about this, the most efficient evening of fun ever).

Phew.  I feel better already.  April goals (few but meaningful), coming up!

Start spreading the news

Just got back from the one, the only…

The City, The Big Apple, The Concrete Jungle Where Dreams are Made of

Photo Credit

I’m old enough to remember a time when people would lure unsuspecting victims to their homes then brutally subject them to slideshows of vacation photos.  At least I remember a time when this was oft-depicted on sitcoms as an insufferable life tax, routinely paid to clingy neighbors and pesky in-laws.

But worry not my friends.  I won’t make you come over and pretend to be interested in my pictures.  That’s what this blog is for!

All this (and more!) in 2 and a half days.  Life does move fast in New York, even when you’re on vacation.  But that’s not a bad thing, because there really is so much to do, so many people to see.  No time to waste a minute!

The biggest upside, though?  I had this song stuck in my head the entire time, which was akin to having a 60-hour runner’s high.  Let’s hear it for New York, New York, New Yo-oork!


I’m weirdly thoughtless today.  So please, go read everything on George Takei’s facebook page

Just one of the many many gems you will find there.

Pi Pie Pie!

It’s a funny thing about having a blog.  It makes you wanna do things up a little bit “just for the story,” AND it makes you see stories everywhere.  Even in the unremarkable little things, like making lists or buying oreos.

That said, I’ve always had a special place in my heart for pi day.  But now I have the pictures to prove it!

Pi Pizza Pie

Perfectly Petite Pies

Divied up!

Fun fact: Today is also Albert Einstein’s birthday!

π is ubiquitous, mysterious, and coy – its value is still being calculated – so there’s really no question that it deserves a party.  However, the true magic of pi day lies in the fact that it’s recognized only by the sector of humanity which resides in my particular strata of Cool-slash-Awesome.  So here we are celebrating together, shades on, looking down on everyone-who-wishes-they-could-be-this-hip, placing bets on pi recitation contests (yes, that’s exactly what it sounds like). 

Happy Pi Day!  Go forth, be irrational!  #mathhumor

Origins: Dessert Ratios

I’ve been demanded to justify these injustices I revealed in last week’s episode:

And as per the unwritten [now written] agreement of the manor, my share of all desserts is a paltry 1/3.

Wait a minute – isn’t this the 21st century?  What happened to share and share alike?  Am I a doormat??

Answers: Yes, it depends, and not to my knowledge.

There are basically two explanations for our dessert rationing philosophy:

1. Logic

Matt stands 8 inches taller and 50 pounds heavier than me.  He far exceeds me in both basal metabolic rate and overall appetite.  He can absorb more excess calories into his bloodstream rather than paunchy lipid stores, in a single bound.  Biology.

Thus, whatever I eat, he should eat more.  Or whatever he eats, I should eat less.  Math.

Where Matt does NOT exceed me is in his time-enjoyment-of-food constant (notation: te).  That’s a real thing I just invented, nay, discovered.  His bites are 4x bigger than mine and his consumption velocity is 3x as fast.  This means his total time-enjoyment of 4 oreos is actually lower than my time-enjoyment of 2.  So where my caloric share is paltry, my time share is whopping!  Science.

From a moderation standpoint, all this works out well because it only takes one of us to make good dessert decisions for it to spill over to the other one.  Checks and balances, people.  Civics.

So there you go.  We run a perfectly rational household here, and that’s how we compute equitable divisions of dessert.


2. Reality

Scene: The Cheesecake Factory, Bellevue, WA, circa 2007

Maryann (hopeful): Want to share a cheesecake?
Matt (perplexed): Share?
Maryann: Yeah…
Matt: But… don’t you want your own?
Maryann: No!  Fool – they are huge!
Matt: But half isn’t enough??
Maryann: What if I eat less than half?
Matt: *stares*
Maryann (sincere): For every one bite I take, you can have 2.
Matt (skeptical): oh-kaay

And so it went on for the rest of time.  History turned to legend, legend turned to myth.  And some things that should not have been forgotten, were lost…

Until now!


In the beginning, I never ate Oreos at home.  Except for before the beginning, when I ate Oreos at home all the time.

Sometime after that, I realized that it was ok to eat Oreos, but only if it was Super Bowl Sunday (or one of the next 3 days).

But then today, I was notified (thank you Google+) that the Oreo just turned 100 years old.  Today.

That’s a long long time and also quite rare - time for a celebration worthy of remembrance!  Anything less would be a mistake at best and a tragedy at worst.  Right?  Right.


Hopped over to the convenient neighborhood convenience store

Yes!  But I was hoping for something smaller?


Happily headed over to the counter, where I noticed…


Dilemma!  Do I go with the super sensible choice or the somewhat sensible one?

Final bounty

That’s 6 oreos for 2 full-sized cookie monsters.  And as per the unwritten agreement of the manor, my share of all desserts is a paltry 1/3.  Being a sensible adult sux OMG wtf AFK!!!

But take heart young squire, my two Oreos still tasted awesome for the 10 glorious seconds that they lasted.

Happy birthday Oreos!  Never ever change.

Last Friday Night

I had a lot going on Friday night.

1. Netbook (Toshiba NB505), being used here as a book prop thing.

2. A Game of Thrones, by George R.R. Martin.  Winter is coming.

3. Sidewinder gaming mouse, photo-bombing

4. The Art of Computer Programming, by Donald Knuth.  Also a photo stowaway.

5. Water bottle.  Hydration is important when nerding out.

6. The heart shaped box formerly known as the heart shaped box of M&Ms.

And the Star of the Show:

7. “Back-of-envelope” calculations. This was some critically important Jack Bauer shiznatch. I was working out what had a bigger effect on population growth – number of children you have or the age you are when you have them.  Answer: it’s complicated.  But I CAN tell you that if you’re worried about your spawn footprint being Yeti-sized you can make a big difference by waiting longer to have kids. I can also tell you that I was beside myself about having an original thought for once!

All around a pretty exciting night – I’m sorry you couldn’t all be there!

I made this

I wanted to celebrate leap day yesterday by doing something I would only do if I had a lot more time.  Perhaps one of those ladylike pursuits they talk about in Jane Austen movies (haven’t read the books).  So completely out of the blue, I decided to learn how to draw!

Maybe I’d be able to do a fish or an apple or something?  Work my way up to a face or a mountain after enough practice?

I drew this.


No, I didn’t trace that!


Apparently the secret to drawing is using your “visual” mind instead of your “logical” one.  From

Your visual mind doesn’t see a left eye, it sees lines, shapes, and lights and darks that combine to make a whole picture of a left eye. In order to “draw what you see” you will have to learn to draw lines, shapes, and lights and darks that combine to make a whole drawing. Your logical mind, that labels everything it sees, will not be a part of the drawing process.

To help you focus on the lines and shapes instead of the big picture, they have you do your first drawing exercise upside down:

Lots of erasing.  Don’t forget your pencil!

All done and ready for the big reveal

Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.

And all that in less time than it took for me to write this blog post.  This really was amazingly easier than you would think (I have no more drawing experience than your typical 6th grader).

Anyway, I don’t think I’ll be taking up drawing in any more earnest at the moment, but you can look forward to Exercises in Drawing, Episode 2 – coming soon on February 29, 2016!

Just needs a frame

If you’re at all interested, definitely give this a go!  Find the tutorial I used here:

Monthly Goals Check-in: Appuary Edition

As February draws to a close, it’s become that time again… Without further ado, here’s my monthly progress report!

Feats of Strength (66% done)

I’ve been diligently working towards my pull-up, and I’ll continue chugging along in that vein.  At the rate things are going, victory is not assured during the next month, but I can promise to focus on the things I can control 1) working out every other day, 2) “bringing it” during every workout.  If it takes a few extra weeks or months, so be it.  2012 will be the year of the pull-up!

Get Inspired (33% done)

This month, I went to the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco which had an exhibit about Jewish history in California, gold rush to present.  I was disappointed to find that the Houdini exhibit I was expecting wasn’t there, but did you know that Levi Strauss lived in SF during the gold rush when he patented the first riveted denim work pants?  And so the blue jean was born.

The next day, I went to the huge and crazy Alameda flea market, which was almost a museum experience in itself…

Win Friends and Influence People (100% done)

That’s right, I’m winning friends and influencing people all over the place.  It’s like I’m prom queen, Rachel Maddow, and Oprah all in one!  I had a Super Bowl party, during which I served oreos to a total of 4 people (myself included).  Watch out, Martha Stewart!

Tech Ninja Level-Up (70% done)

I’ve gotten my v1 app fully prototyped, and am moving on to the re-write, test, polish phase.  Now that all most of the unknowns are known, I’m fairly confident that with a reckless fury of typing, I can get something submitted to the app store by the end of next week.

Pull up all the hacker nerd mental images you can right now to picture this – it’s gonna be lots of sleeping under my desk and eating take-out until it’s done (when I’m not doing pullups of course).

Musical Arsenal (20% done)

I found a music studio near my house and signed up with them yesterday for guitar lessons.  Technically, I take my first lesson on Monday, but they already have my money so I think it’s fair to say that the guitar lessons are taken care of.  January was blogging month and February was coding month - March is going to be music month.  Looking forward to dusting off my keyboard and finally unpacking the guitars!

Feats of fun (60% done)

I present, burgerius vegtacularus:

Appetizing, pre-burger state

 Less appetizing, but more tasty, post-burger state.
Atkins style, because it didn’t already look enough like horse food.

They needed more seasoning, but actually these burgers weren’t half bad!  Will be tweaking recipe and making again.


There’s a lot left to do this quarter, but it’s a just barely manageable amount.  These next 31 days are going to require a steady, vigilant march towards these goals, and they will also be heavily music focused.  In light of these facts, I dub this upcoming month: March.

Happy Leap Day!  In honor of this being the day that shouldn’t be, I’ll be dedicating some time to things I would do if I had more time.  Maybe spending a couple hours this evening learning how to draw or take pictures (nice ones).  If it’s your birthday, Happy happy happy happy birthday!  Please eat a huge amount of cake!