Friday, August 31, 2012

Bye-Bye August

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Did the summer fly by for you guys? Maybe it's the fact that I'm working, but I feel like we just skipped the summer. I went to the beach a total of once, and even that was when my company was having a beach day at CEO's beach house. I didn't get to go backpacking, or swim in any lakes. Bleh. This whole not-having-the-summer-off thing is for the birds. (JK, work is soooo much fun.)

I am still determined to get out and go swimming in the ocean a couple of times. End of August and September is when the water is warmest and swimming is the most fun. I'll look for sand-crabs and then run and dive under the wave. It's exhilarating.

Did you do anything fun this summer?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Missing Family

Vova_&_parents,_June_1989
mama, vova, and papa (circa 1989)

I watched The Help with the Bees this evening. I've seen that movie several times now, and let me tell you, it is a tearjerker. I start crying from the first line of the dialogue, and don't stop until the credits roll. I cry watching movies a lot, but I don't think there is a movie that tears me up as much as The Help. It's pretty impressive, actually.

I loved making dinner and spending time with the Bees. I'm so lucky to have some kind of family just a short drive away. This movie makes me miss the family that's not so easy to visit, the family that I can hear and see, but can't touch. I love you and I miss you.

My grad-school-starting friend, Jay-Z, turned me on to this song. It's awesome. Thanks, J!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Final Draft Writer Launch Day

Team iOS
I am 90% confident I'm not allowed to love my team as much as I do

Today was, easily, the most exciting day of my career. We released the Final Draft Writer app.

As I write, we are the 3rd Top Grossing iPad app, the 1st Top Grossing iPad Productivity app (beating Keynote and Numbers, and Pages - all Apple apps), the 18th Top Paid iPad app, and 7th Top Paid Productivity app. Put THAT in your pipe and smoke it!

I've been dreaming about this day since I was hired at Final Draft 1 year and 2 months ago.

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Seth and I were hired at the beginning of summer 2011, days after we got our Computer Science degrees. Neither of us had any real experience, but Final Draft took a chance with us. I was hired about a month before Seth, and I remember feeling really threatened before he started. All those negative feelings completely went away soon after he joined the team. 

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I love Seth like a brother. We argue like siblings (I swear, in planning meetings, he always tries to give estimates that are the opposite of mine), we talk about exciting tech news, we pair program, use each other for rubber duck debugging (which, I realize, totally defeats the purpose), we even juggle during lunch sometimes. Perhaps the most telling fact about our relationship is that I watched all 11 hours and 23 minutes of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, just to see what he found so cool about it. (The answer to that question is still beyond me.)

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Seth is awesome, helpful (stackoverflow cred, what up!), smart. He is a caffeine-gum-chewing, app-optimizing machine. He is living the dream with a superstar of a girl and the cutest pup you'll ever meet. Seth is a damn-near perfect teammate and an excellent friend. (I am almost willing to forgive his dislike of Arrested Development and low-brow humor.) I'm so happy we got to celebrate our success together today.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Cooking for One

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Do you find it difficult to cook for one? I love cooking, but I absolutely hate cooking just for myself. Do you notice how pretty much all the recipes out there feed four people? The obvious answer to that is just to quarter the amount of each ingredient. But 1/4 of a garlic clove is either wasteful or annoying. Eating the same thing for 4 dinners in a row is dreadful. You'll only make that mistake once.

Here is where you'd expect I propose a solution to this problem. Nope. I have no answers for you. I've tried cooking out of Judith Jones' The Pleasures of Cooking for One? It basically gives you creative ideas for reworking your leftovers into different meals. I found it to be marginally helpful.

The dinner I made today is from Martha's Great Food Fast cookbook. I love that book for weekday cooking. Every single recipe has a picture next to it. You barely have to look at the recipe. You can just look at the picture and you know what to do. I've actually gone back a few times and realized that the recipe actually called for ground lamb instead of beef, or arugula instead of spinach. I think it's with this book that I realized I didn't have to follow the recipe word for word. It's quite liberating, and every once in a while I manage to make a reasonable-sized dinner for myself.

Any advice on cooking/eating by yourself?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Words to Live By


Apparently this is from a cartoon. I've never seen it, but maybe I should start watching because this is pretty good advice.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

All Killer, No Filler

All Killer, No Filler
I clearly did not get the sunglasses memo. What's the deal?
You already know most of these guys - SB, HB, J-Money. It's the Final Draft iOS team. The only one you haven't seen is the guy in the middle. He is our (sort of new) QA, we call him Mini Squatch. He is the dreamiest looking member of the team (Exhibit A). I'm pretty sure he is the songbird of our generation (Exhibit B). Also, he has seen and has an opinion on every single movie ever made. That, I have no evidence for, you'll just have to take my word for it.

So, there you go. It's the dream team. Real talk.

We program to this song.

"Fight ‘til you drop
never stop can’t give up
Til you reach the top
you’re the best in town"

Friends with Exes


This movie looks awesome, doesn't it?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I'm Tired

teethsies!

Yawn. It's been hot, friends. I haven't been sleeping well.

Gateau de Crepes

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I made a crepe cake, again! It's a different, more traditional, recipe from Deb of smitten kitchen. May I suggest, don't make this cake in the summer if you don't have a/c in your apartment. You can still make your friends-with-summer-birthdays cakes without breaking a sweat. Just bake the layers in the evening while it's cool outside, and the rest is...well, cake!

IMG_3221Vanilla Bean Flecks

This is a different beast altogether. I did not want to risk crepes getting soggy with custard overnight.*  The batter and the custard were made the night before, but those are the no-heat-required jobs. Whoever came up with this treat must've had fall/winter in mind. But I wasn't about to let Grandpa Jerry's 93rd(!!) birthday go by without a chocolate AND a vanilla cake. I mean, I would hope that if I were to turn 93, the least people could do is make me two cakes.

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So, it's 7:30 am, still cool but heating up in my apartment. I size up the bowl of batter with my sleepy eyes, and think, "Meh, shouldn't take more than half an hour." As soon as the gas burner starts clicking both cats look at me and go "WAT."


They have been dying during the day over here. And here I am, turning on the stove at the beginning of the day. I'm pretty sure they were giving me the IZ YOU STUPID look the whole 2 hours that I was sweating next of the hot pan while burning my fingers flipping the crepes. Moos was too disgusted by my stove-usage to even look at me.

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Never mind the cats, they clearly don't know anything about French pastries and the sacrifices that French cuisine gods require. It turned out beautiful. The custard was airy, with plenty of vanilla flavor. I used this awesome trick from Cook's Illustrated for getting vanilla seeds out of the bean. That was, by far, the most effective way - you get all of the seeds into your dish and none under your fingernails. Using a vanilla bean leaves your hands smelling heavenly for days.

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The cake survived the drive to the Bees home, Mark caramelized some sugar on top, we sang Happy Birthday, and cut into this beauty. Miam, miam!

* I suppose you could make the crepes and assemble the cake the morning, but that would require starting on the batter two days ahead of time. That's far too much planning in advance.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Thursday, August 16, 2012

An Ode to Trader Joe's


O trader, by the name of Joe
Don't ever leave, I love you so

You bring me caramels from the coast of France
They make my mouth elves do a happy dance
Basque shepherds cheese
Can make me squeal with ease
Add a butter cracker to the mix
You've got a tasty snackie in your bag of tricks

Baking soda in a nifty metal jar
Is handy - yes, but what if you are
Looking for baking powder for your cake
And add the soda by mistake
Chief Pastry Officer position I can kiss goodbye
For cake was tasted first by CEO, not I.

Trader Joe's Baking Soda

For the love of cookies and cakes, change your baking soda packaging, Trader Joe's!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Favorite Means of Transportation

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photo by pnther60

Do you have a favorite way to go places? The convenience and flexibility of driving is undeniable, but man, oh man, I love trains! I love waiting on the platform and looking down the tracks to see if it's on its way, I love the smell at the train station, I love the whoosh of wind on my face as it arrives - it's all so exciting.

I rarely get to take train trips in the US, but a couple of weekends ago I decided that enough is enough, cats or no cats, I need to adventure.

Waiting for the trainNorthbound Pacific Surfliner

Monday, August 13, 2012

Ugh

It's a Moosya Cat!

These cats kill me.