Open Letter to Library Patrons

Dear Patron,

If you’re calling and there’s no answer, please leave a message.  I can’t help you if you don’t leave a message.  It’s not that I don’t want to talk to you – it’s just that I’m helping someone else.

Really, I can’t do anything for you unless you leave a message.  I’m sorry that you feel that you have to hang up after three rings.  It’s really not going to do either of us any good if you do that.  We’ll both just get annoyed and frustrated, and it will be a negative experience for us both.

My dear patron, just leave a message.  Oh, and when you do leave a message, please leave your name AND your phone number and maybe, if you feel like it, some indication of why you were calling.  It’s better for us both when you do that.

Love,
Elizabeth

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February Mixtrade: Selling Out

For my contribution to a year-long mixtrade, I initially planned to make a Presidents’ Day mix, with all songs that either referred to or had some sort of association with presidents.  On the way to a friend’s birthday brunch, however, Shane and I started talking about songs that had been appropriated for commercial purposes, and I realized I could make a pretty damned good mix using songs that I like that have been used to advertise various products.  I ruled out any Apple commercials, since those are consistently great, and any commercials for media products like movies or video games.  When it was all said and done, I was actually sort of horrified at the number of really good songs that are used to shill for cars, Coke, and other products.

Without further ado, then, my mix:

1. Poe – Hey Pretty – Ford Flex

2. ELO – Mr. Blue Sky – VW Beetle

3. Goldfrapp – Ooh La La – Diet Coke

4. Röyksopp – Remind Me – Geico

5. Of Montreal – Wraith Pinned To The Mist And Other Games – Outback Steakhouse

6. Cat Stevens – Here Comes My Baby – Chase Bank

7. Ben Lee – We’re All In This Together – Kohl’s

8. The Cure – Pictures Of You – HP

9. David Bowie & Queen – Under Pressure – Propel Fitness Water

10. The Beatles – Real Love – JC Penney

11. Robert Plant & Alison Krauss – Killing The Blues – JC Penney

12. José González – Heartbeats – Sony Bravia

13. Hem – Half Acre – Liberty Mutual Insurance

14. Donovan – Catch The Wind – GE

15. The Rolling Stones – She’s a Rainbow – Sony Bravia

16. Morrissey – Every Day is Like Sunday – NFL

17. Hum – Stars – Cadillac

Notes from my Unconscious

The following things happened in my dreams last night:

  • Jon Hamm was married and had a kid and was at Karin’s birthday party, where he went on and ON about how much he loved Zima.
  • Karin’s birthday party was circus-themed.  She was dressed up as the ringleader, complete with a top hat.  Her entrance was announced by guys doing cartwheels and maybe also some fireworks?  This was in an apartment, mind you.
  • Rachel was there and wasn’t sure why the whole thing was circus-themed.
  • Shane and I and David and Mary Clare and one other person that I can’t remember had to deliver a whole lot of pizzas, some to Rockford, which was 45 minutes away.  I don’t know why.  None of us were generally responsible for pizzas in any capacity.
  • Shane thought the best way to deliver a surprise pizza was by asking the dad (the surprisee) for directions to somewhere, during which time either we would sneak up with the pizza, or maybe this whole part was just Shane confusing the guy about why we were driving through his neighborhood?
  • We picked up the pizzas from the pizza place, then left them in the car for almost an hour before we left to deliver them.  I was as confused by this in the dream as I am now.

Man, what in the world is going on in my head?!

Doing the math

I made a roast chicken for dinner last night using a Jamie Oliver recipe.  It was really, really, really good – maybe the best roast chicken I’ve ever made.  The secret? Parboiling potatoes and a lemon, then pricking the lemon and stuffing it in the cavity while the chicken roasted, and tossing the potatoes in about halfway through.  Everything was caramely and delicious.

That is, however, not the point of this post.  The point is the math.

I bought the chicken Saturday morning at Whole Foods for about $8.50.  It was a four pound bird, so that works out to roughly $2.12 per pound.  Not the cheapest thing in the world.  Other chickens could have been had elsewhere for cheaper, but we’re trying our best to buy sustainable, minimally processed and packaged things produced ethically, and Whole Foods does a pretty good job with these things as far as we can tell.  (While we’d prefer to buy all of our meat at the farmers’ market, the same chicken would cost us roughly twice as much, which, given the numbers that will follow, turns out to be an OK deal in the long run, but not in the short run, and that’s the part that really bothers me on shopping day.  Anyway.)

So dinner: the chicken ($8.50), a lemon (already in the fridge in a bag that was 7-8 lemons for $3), a few potatoes (I’m making this up – $3? from the farmers market), and assorted herbs and spices that we had lying around.  Total: $11.92 for a fantastic dinner for the two of us, with a LOT of leftovers.

Using the carcass, the lemon, a carrot (bag for $3), an onion (usually around $2/pound at the market), half a parsnip (who knows), and a lot of water from the tap, I made 2 quarts of stock.  Net additional costs: roughly $2.

We both had leftover chicken for lunch today, and then the remainder reheated with some roasted vegetables for dinner.

Peapod tells me that a quart of Swanson’s chicken broth goes for $2.99, so here’s the math as far as I can figure:

Initial meal: $11.92
Broth extras: $2.00
Total expenditure for one entire meal for two, leftovers that provided the centerpiece for two additional meals for two, and two quarts of chicken stock: $13.92
Savings on future broth purchases: $5.98
Remaining meal expenditure: $7.94
Cost per portion after broth savings: $1.32

$1.32! Not bad!

Today was a very nice day, but tomorrow I must get back to work.  The weather was in the 60s and I went running and also cleaned out expired spices and oils and other kitchen-y things and also baked and roasted and then also ate delicious things.  I bought good gin and SB and I took care of some cats at the rescue organization.  I will sleep well tonight.