Saturday, March 24, 2007

Basketball, SF, and Movies

So I'm pretty much fucked. Two of my final four didn't make the cut, and I was only 5/8 in the conference semi-final participants. My champ, Florida, an unpopular pick so I'm told, due to the idea of winning 2 years in a row, is luckily still in. But I don't think even picking the champ will get me back where I need to be in points at this point. Se la vie. Still had fun doing it.

Was in San Francisco for most of this past week on my first work-sponsored business trip. It was really fun. Even though I really saw very little of the city, being someplace warm was nice, and I got a real thrill from representing my company at such a high class event. Can't say much more about the content than that, unfortunately, without risking venturing too far into work-content-land. Don't want another bit o trouble. Had a very lovely dinner with coworkers the first night I was there at a swanky restaurant called Boulevard. As I understand it, this place is up for the James Beard award this year for best restaurant in SF. For my app I had a caesar salad, which instead of utilizing the typical heavy creamy type caesar dressing, actually boasted a lovely tart caesar vinagrette. For my entree, I had wood oven roasted halibut, encrusted with a combination of walnuts and minced porcini mushrooms. It was served over a bed of asparagus and potato puree, with a sauce called (on the menu) a "green garlic beurre fondue." I'm still working on googling all these terms to find out what they mean, but it was tasty as heck. And I'm not normally a huge halibut fan. For desert I went with a classic pick - vanilla ice cream. Nice and simple. Great meal, good company.

Saw two movies in the last week, and just short reviews for both. Talented Mr. Ripley - can I just say - weird?? What a strange movie. 50 First Dates was the other and it was adorable.

Well, gotta dash for now.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

12 Down, 4 to Go

So with 12 of today's 16 first round NCAA games down, I'd like to state for the record that I'm 9 and 3. Which I feel is pretty darn good. My mistakes were in the GW-Vanderbilt game (I had GW), the Butler-Old Dominion Game (I had the latter), and the Texas-Tech - BC game (I went for Texas). I'm happy to say that only 1 of these 3 misses carries beyond the second round, and that one only to regionals, not as far as the sweet 16. I have to say I'm pretty proud of myself for picking that Duke would go down in the first round. That's not something that's easy to write on a picks sheet. You feel some serious hesitation in your hand while jotting down anyone over Duke in the first round! I took a similar strategy with the Indiana-Gonzaga game, but after the first half it's looking like that might be my fourth loss of the night. We shall see. After all, VCU only took it in the last minute or so of the game! I'm also pleased that MSU managed to take down Marquette. Not that it was by any means clear who would win in that pairing, just happy I made the right choice. Anyway, I'll keep you posted on my progress, but I'd say so far, 75% correct isn't too shabby. After all, the only pool I'm in is with 20 coworkers. It's not like I'm competing against 10,000 people on Yahoo! or something. Then, 75% would be a different matter.

Saw a few movies last week. Keith and I watched the Island which was a bit long, but overall enjoyable. Kind of exactly what I predicted when I first heard about it: The Matrix meets Brave New World meets Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery." An interesting flick. Also saw with Keith 13 Conversations about One Thing which hot on the heels of Little Miss Sunshine I wanted to see in order to get more Alan Arkin. We really enjoyed this film. There was one line spoken by John Turturro which particularly affected me. I'll have to look it up before I quote it though, because I don't want to bastardize it. But it certainly was a movie that gave you a lot to think about. Which I always enjoy in movies, especially when it's not coupled with continual utterly depressing moments. There were a few sad parts, but by no means overwhelming. On my own I watched two more, both older flicks. First, Network which I have to say was a very odd movie. It was neat to finally understand where that "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore" cut scene shown at Rangers games (and every oscar montage) comes from, but the rest of the movie was so so weird. They couldn't decide whose story they really wanted to focus on (i.e. Faye Dunaway vs. Peter Finch vs. William Holden). Plus I came into it thinking the movie was about the shift in network news from the positive to the depressing/grotesque/shocking. That is NOT what the movie was about. It was about a newscaster who went wacko and started preaching on television. Not his "prediction" that news would get darker, as the video's description advertised. Over all, I wouldn't recommend it. Too long, too all over the place. Though interestingly, filled with great talent and HUNDREDS of "that guy"s. Also saw Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, a movie which has been on my list forever. I can't say enough good things about how awesome this movie is, and I won't do it justice unless I do, so I'll just say "If you haven't seen it - see it!" B/c it rules. I repeat the fact that I love love love Michelle Yeoh.

Tried a new recipe too this week which I quite liked. It follows below. I haven't been able to get my act together with weight watchers lately and I can't figure out why. I'm trapped in the horrible cycle of "Feel bad - eat - feel bad - gain - feel bad". But I can't seem to find the motivation to launch myself out of it. It sucks. I put on about 6 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years, and while I've at times taken parts of it off, they've come right back on the next week for the most part. I guess there's just so many things in my life right now which are unstable and throwing me off balance overall as well as in weight loss. I'm going to be traveling a lot for work in the next 2 months so I think that's contributing to my feeling of intimidation about going back on program. Anyway, enough about that depressing stuff, here's the recipe:

Farfalle with Asparagus in Cream Sauce
Points: 5
Serves: 4

  • 4 cup cooked pasta
  • 1 cup asparagus
  • 1/2 large vidalia onion(s)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/3 cup half-and-half cream
  • 1/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp table salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 4 tsp grated Parmesan cheese
1. Trim the asparagus and chop into 1 inch pieces.

2. Cook the farfalle.

3. While pasta is on, heat olive oil in pan on medium heat. Add onion (finely chopped). Cook till onion is softened, 2-3 minutes.

3. Reduce heat and add broth and half and half. Stir constantly until sauce is reduced by about half, around 10 minutes.

4. Drain pasta, place asparagus on top, and pour sauce over. Toss to cover and top with parmesan cheese.