word salad.


MJ: He Beat It
June 25, 2009, 10:23 pm
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Word on the street, is that Michael Jackson has kicked the bucket after suffering from cardiac arrest. This news is so hot off the press that I could hardly find any articles that could confirm it.

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The First Annual Grilled Cheese Cook-off
June 24, 2009, 4:51 pm
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Grilled cheese isn’t just want your Mom made you for lunch anymore. In the sandwich revolution we’ve traded in the simple recipe of cheddar on white for an artful selection of gouda, havarti, and even brie on a delectable variety of artisan breads. However, bringing in these new elements stirred up a mountain of controversy upon their introduction to traditional grilled cheese enthusiasts. “Isn’t that a Panini?” they ask. Most people may not be aware, but there are distinct differences between a grilled cheese and a Panini sandwich. A Panini is a customary Italian sandwich typically served on ciabatta bread. Its contents can include salami, ham, and any type of cheese. Well it sounds similar, the main difference between the Panini and grilled cheese lie in the cheese-to-content ratio. To constitute as a grilled cheese, the sandwich must primarily consist of 60% or more cheese whereas a Panini does not follow these guidelines.

Yesterday, I was involved in a grilled cheese cook-off. The rules were simple: Concoct two grilled cheese sandwiches with the ingredients of your choice. Each participant will receive one complete sandwich; and honest, critical and unbiased discussion post consumption will determine the rankings.

The competition was fierce. The kitchen was filled with the aroma of spices and sweat. I began to doubt myself. I glanced down at the cutting board which was filled with minced garlic, thinly sliced tomatoes, and a sprig of fresh basil. Was I keeping it too simple? When I saw everyone else scampering feverishly around the grocery store and gathering exotic ingredients my gut feeling told me I should go for a cult classic. We took turns cooking our sandwiches, two at a time. They were then placed in the oven which was barely at two hundred degrees to keep them warm enough without further cooking them.

oven

The entries were as follows:

Kevin: Basil Garlic Gouda with Kalamato Olives, Tomato, and Spinach on Olive Loaf Bread.

Kelsey: Swiss Cheese with Shallots and Pear on Pumpernickel Bread.

Katie: Goat Cheese with Oven-Roasted Tomatoes, and Fresh Garlic on Labrea Pane Toscana Sliced Bread.

Tanya: Orange American Cheese with Vegetarian Bacon, and Red Onion on Seven-Grain Bread.

gc

Mine may not seem as creative as the others, but being that Kelsey is a self-proclaimed herbivore, the thought of bringing meat into the competition had not even crossed anyone’s mind. My entry would (and did) come from left field and shock the parties involved.

While it did not take the first place Pabst Blue Ribbon of Excellence, it was well received and absolutely delicious (if I do say so myself.) First place was awarded to Kevin’s Gouda creation, followed by Katie’s, Mine, and with Kelsey’s Pear debacle landing in last place.

While we surprisingly all agreed on the rankings unanimously within minutes, we also all agreed that there really were no losers. Each sandwich was unique, succulent and utterly incomparable. Next year we hope to expand the contest to the Greater Salt Lake Area, and hope to pull in more contenders. I’m already buttering up my skillet.



Everybodys Working For The Weekend
June 22, 2009, 6:30 pm
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How does one get their brain going on a Monday? This is an age old question that I believe dates back to the B.C. era. In my general perusing of the internet, I came across a list of 100 ways to Kickstart Your Brain that I think offers some fantastic suggestions for getting yourself going when you’re feeling a little fried.

Who isn’t beat after a weekend? When we’re “working for the weekend,” we put a lot of pressure on that forty-eight hour slab of time! Whether we spend it doing an activity we enjoy or catching up on the chores the work week doesn’t allow us to get to; it’s exhausting.

Speaking of exhausting; I’m happy to report that I am moved in. By “moved in” what I really mean is all my stuff is in one location but that I still have a to-do list that’s a longer read than a Charles Dickens novel. It’s a good thing that like a wild animal, I can survive and thrive in chaos.

I got a chance to guest blog Friday, on the LearningZen development blog. Thomas Klassen, who usually writes, asked me if I would articulate my experiences of attending the LZ demo meetings that follow a sprint. The first time I went I imagine the experience being akin to putting a fifth grader (and not one of those genius kids) in a college level course and then measuring how much they understood. However, thanks to my great colleagues, I now look forward to the meetings and find great benefit in being there.

This morning when I arrived at work, I found a surprise on my desk:

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I think they like me!



Scrambled Musings on a Friday
June 19, 2009, 5:08 pm
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Sometimes writing a cohesive entry that has things like proper punctuation, acceptable grammar, and a beginning, middle, and end; just isn’t in the stars. Maybe it’s because it’s Friday, or maybe it’s the combination of a lack of sleep and trying to move all week that has utterly fried my brain. Either way, hold onto your hats:

  •  This morning I got pulled over. “Why?” you ask. Because of a little law known as the “Move Over” law. This law states if you see any car pulled over in the shoulder of the road that you shift to the next lane. I noticed a cruiser pulled over, and due to the commuter traffic, I couldn’t immediately get over. When I noticed the two cars in front of me weren’t getting over either, I slowed down to 45 and switched lanes a few seconds later. All of a sudden, when I looked in my rearview, I saw those flashing  red and blue lights that we all love. I’m thanking my Connecticut plates coupled with my ignorance for the written warning I received. The cop himself was quite nice and understanding (he assumed I had just moved to Utah; I didn’t correct him) and he said the only reason he pulled me over is because “We want to make it home to our families.” It was all very dramatic, his delivery, and would have made for a fantastic PSA.
  •  Yesterday I played around on Squidoo and made my first lens. Squidoo describes lenses as “pages, kind of like flyers or signposts or overview articles, that gather everything you know about your topic of interest–and snap it all into focus.” It’s a fun way to share what you know, build an online identity and credibility, and connect with others. Hmmm…sounds like another great system I know. Without further delay, here is the link to my lens: Check it out! It’s a great resource if you’ve stumbled across my blog and want to know what the heck e-learning really is.
  •  We have officially finished our pet project in the new house: Painting the living room/dining room. It was a hideous pea green color that the old owner/now  landlord was quite fond of, but we convinced her to let us rectify the situation. For those of you who don’t know, the last house I lived in was affectionately named “The Shag Palace.” The house included: All shag carpeting, a central vac system, a porch covered in astro-turf, and an array of wallpaper that included circus clowns and cockatoos. Pea green would have fit quite well in the shag palace, but not so much in the new place.
  • Last, but certainly not least, is the big news. I’m having a baby puppy. I’ve already gotten the 10th degree about what a large responsibility I’m taking on, but what people are largely ignoring is that this thought has occurred to me. I live for my fuzzy animal lovers and have been planning the forth-coming addition for some time. Behold:

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The week ends, the week begins
June 15, 2009, 10:42 pm
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I’m 97% positive those are lyrics from a Dave Matthews’s song, but being that I was the only red-blooded, beer guzzling college student with an absolute disdain for Dave; I can’t be so sure.

How was my weekend? In one word: bittersweet. I’m preparing for an upcoming move and most of my life exists solely in boxes and bags and I can never find anything that I’m looking for.

Last week was at LearningZen was a busy one. An issue for a custom software client threatened to derail our development but the team did an awesome job of balancing between their LZ duties and managing a crisis.

I spent a good chunk of my time reaching out to potential contributors in an effort to build upon our growing selection of courses. While the open-source movement is becoming increasingly popular, there are platforms that have already been out there much longer than we have. The challenge is convincing those people that our system is better. We had one major success when a man from Athens, Greece posted a course: “The Source of Ethics.”

We also got some awesome “Shout Outs,” last week. Lee, the owner of: http://www.elearning30.com/ sent us some wonderful feedback: “I love the way you create or take courses. The WYSIWYG editor for creating is very nice and the flow of taking a course is great.” We also got mentioned by Mr. D from http://www.teachforever.com/ as one of his 5 sites to check out on Friday.

The momentum of our revolution is finally picking up and although were anxious to take the learning world by storm we must remember: patience is a virtue.



Brought To You By The Letter “S”
June 12, 2009, 5:23 pm
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“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.”

 That quote comes to you from the great Siddhartha Buddha. One of my well-kept secrets is that when I was a junior in High School I had a short stint where I attempted to be a Buddhist. By “short stint” I mean that I read Buddhism for Dummies, found it impossible to abstain from my material world, and in the spirit of “Go Big or Go Home,” I went home. I don’t have many personal mantras in life but one that I decisively stand by is that “If you’re doing something half assed it’s not worth doing at all.” I got to thinking this morning (which is a decidedly hard thing for your brain to do on a Friday morning; my brain was already having a glass of wine with dinner when I got up at 7 am) about learned experiences. I tried to sift through all the fuzzy and somewhat pixilated memories of my childhood and to pick out the first thing I truly remembered “learning.”

I was five years old. I know a lot of people will tell stories about how they remember something that happened when they were an infant/toddler, but I’m not one of those people. I have a memory akin to a goldfish. I was sitting in my Kindergarten class in front of my teacher, Mrs. B. She was holding up an oversized card that boasted the letter “S” with a big snake next it. “Ssssssss,” she said, “Like a Snake!” I can still see the animated expression on her face, eyes opened a little too wide and her wild black hair as she whipped her head towards us with an exaggerated jolt. Around me my fellow five-year olds started to mimic her snake sound and movements. That was the end of the alphabet lesson, the mutiny of snake-like children had ensued. I remember sitting with my arms crossed, refusing to partake in the animalistic behavior the other children were engaged in. Maybe I wasn’t properly socialized, or maybe it was because I had an irrational fear of snakes that I still have today. My first remembered learning experience, sitting on the floor; while silently cursing my classmates. Perhaps this is the reason fate put me in the business of learning and knowledge.

Now I turn this question over to you: What was yours?

s_snake



Not Your Average Lady
June 11, 2009, 8:38 pm
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I’m going to go ahead and admit that my blog statistics make me a little sad. I’d like to say that this is by far the most unpopular blog that I’ve had, but that would be a lie. Thank god I have a cookie in my purse, or I’d be in tears right now. Did I mention I travel under the semblance that I’m “lady-like” and that carrying a purse is one of my disguises? If you open that bad boy up you’d be incredibly surprised and probably a little aghast with what it has to offer. In case I’ve sparked your curiosity, please enjoy the following list of items currently in my purse:

  1. A package of Apple Cinnamon flavored oatmeal.
  2. A cookie (and two more wrappers that once contained cookies.)
  3. A used paper towel.
  4. A bottle of vitamen B-12, 1000 mcg.
  5. A paycheck stub from a job I worked over a year ago.
  6. Crumpled receipts, all from various food establishments.
  7. A necklace (now broken)
  8. 1 piece “emergency gum” for those days I just don’t brush well.
  9. A chocolate stained bank deposit slip.
  10. A “to do” list that only says “buy wine.”
  11. One single, solitary craisin.           

I don’t understand purses. I never have. Instead of collecting and hoarding them like most of my friends, I have one normal purse that I bring to work with me. The only other “purses” (I prefer the term bag) I own are made of hemp and corduroy and smell of fragrant patchouli oil. Somehow they don’t work my pumps.

Pumps are new for me. I’m currently on my second pair, the first being some half-inch heels my Mom let me wear for Julie Georgetti’s Batmitzvah when I was eleven years old. I really thought there wasn’t anything out there in the world to make me appear taller and ganglier but I was dead wrong. Heels take me up to almost six feet tall. I have to admit; I rather like being comparable to a beanstalk or NBA player.

My Cute Purse:

purse-shoe-cat