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8.11.2005 ||>   It starts with a "p" and is synonymous with 'cat"

Sometime in mid July, I emailed my ex about hanging out. The last time we tried to do something, he made up this excuse about being tired or work or whatever. This last time, it took him two weeks to even email me back (despite that he could call me - I don't have his number, but he has mine) and then it just said
So I wrote back and said yes, why don't we meet at the mall for lunch? No response. No call, no email, nothing.

You know, it's like being rejected by someone you have no interest in. He made this big show about how we could be friends, because we do have a lot in common. And despite everything, he was nice to me right up until the last week and a half we were dating (when he decided that being an ass was much more fun). I still appreciate the nice things, but I also think he's buying his own publicity about being a "good guy." This disrespectful blowing me off just makes me think he's either an immature flake or a self-centered jerk.

Either way, I'm not making any more efforts, that's for sure.

Sepra was livin' easy on 7:00:00 AM || Site Feed ||

8.10.2005 ||>   Blackberry "Fresh Jam"

In Russian, there are two types of jam, cooked and fresh. Cooked jam is a type of fruit preserves that has been cooked for a long time and usually consists of equal parts fruit and sugar. Some recipes might contain a bit of water, but not any I've heard of.

But my favorite jam is of the fresh variety. Usually involving raspberries, you crush the berries with equal parts sugar until it's liquidy. Then you let it sit either out in the open or in the refrigerator and stir it really well once or twice a day for a week. The acids in the fruit juice break down the sugar and the sugar thickens the liquid. It's still a bit runny (like most preserves that don't use pectin or gelatin) but it is very good. I use fresh jam for pancake syrup, for sandwiches and rolled into blini, or crepes.

I went to the farmer's market two weeks ago and bought a large batch of blackberries (more than a pint). I cleaned them, and using a whisk, mashed the sugar into them. I stirred it every day for a week and viola, this week I have had simply awesome peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Sepra was livin' easy on 6:50:00 AM || Site Feed ||

8.09.2005 ||>   Speaking of scams...

Ever since I saw it on the news, I have been going over to Save Toby every once in a while. The last time I went was in early June to see how far along the owners had gotten with donations.

If you are unaware of Save Toby, it's a site put up by two guys who swear that if you don't give them money then they will kill and eat their pet rabbit, Toby. Personally, I think it's very tacky and honestly, I don't really care if the rabbit lives or dies. I have sort of a morbid curiosity about it and went on over today to see if they had finally killed the bunny or not.

A couple of things I found amusing when I went to go over there.

1. The deadline had come along and since they hadn't gotten the money, they switched to extorting the rabbit for books instead of money. I guess PayPal got fed up with the bad publicity and stopped allowing them donations. So instead, they published a book and say that unless people buy only so many in a little over a year's time, they will eat the rabbit. Crunch time does have a tendency to bring out people's true colors.

2. There is a parallel site now called Save Tobi with a very similar layout and theme. This bunny is sick and needs your donations as well. I can't decide if I find this person more or less repulsive than the former site. On the one hand, they aren't threatening their pet with a trip to the butcher, but on the other, they do seem to be collecting money on the off chance someone goes to their site by accident.

Anyway, I'll probably go there in a year or so to see how many people have been duped by either of these sites.

Sepra was livin' easy on 7:00:00 AM || Site Feed ||

8.08.2005 ||>   Scammed... but where?

On Saturday I had to take a trip over to the 3rd largest mall in America to pick up my new glasses. As I was walking to the bus stop, this guy who was very loud accosted me. He was bent on telling me his whole life story involving his girlfriend who had hit him in the head with a pipe and had stolen all his money. He just wanted to get home in the city and asked me to buy him a ticket. As everyone in Philly knows, the ticket office is closed on the weekends and you have to buy your ticket on the train.

I was sort of stuck. I didn't really believe him because his story was weaving in and out, but if I had been stuck like that, I would want people to believe me. Furthermore, he was making me very uncomfortable and I wanted him gone. So I gave him two dollars in the hopes he would go away, told him that no, I couldn't change my $10 bill out for him as there was no place that would do it and I would miss my bus. Finally, he left and I went to America's Best to get my glasses and contacts.

When I was there, I asked for my contacts prescription, which they refused to give me. I asked why and the answer was that the doctor could be held liable if anything happened with my prescription. Say what?

I said that it was ridiculous. I argued, but the lady kept getting nastier and nastier with me and I was really starting to freak out with the anger and frustration. With the lamest parting shot ever, I left. The argument was that the doctor would be held liable if they gave me the prescription, it was company policy, whatever. But they were letting me walk out with contacts in that same prescription without seeing that they fit in the first place. So it seems that they don't really care if they fit, they just didn't want me going anywhere cheaper else for refills.

Of the two potential scams that happened that day, I feel better about the $2 I gave away than the organization hell bent on keeping their customers right where they want them.

Sepra was livin' easy on 7:00:00 AM || Site Feed ||

8.07.2005 ||>   Why is sliced bread so great?

I was reminded of a funny cross-cultural issue the other day as I was in my typical after-work, tv-watching coma. I saw a commercial whose tagline said that the product (car? medication? who remembers?) was the best thing since sliced bread.

Flashback to two years ago. I was handing out a Newsweek article about the rise and subsequent lameness of Mtv. I was doing a semester on music, but with the underhanded intention of getting my students to listen to more than just Britney Spears (girls) or Ramstein (boys). They hated the article. It was too long and it had too many colloquisms in it. But the lecture where I had to explain to them what "the best thing since sliced bread" meant was particularly memorable for its discomfort. First, no one in Uzbekistan bought sliced bread. If it had come presliced, it would have gotten stale or moldy about twice as fast since bread there has no preservatives. They simply tore the bread when they needed it and ate.

The whole time I stood there explaining it to their incredulous faces, I felt like the most stupid human being alive. When I finished, I realized that they were right. It was stupid to buy presliced bread. Is it really that difficult to simply slice it one's self? Almost anything is better than bread like that.

So when I saw the commercial I thought, Well, I certainly hope that it's better than sliced bread.

Sepra was livin' easy on 10:13:00 AM || Site Feed ||