Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Ditty Bops

Ever wondered what They Might Be Giants would be like if they were women with good voices singing close harmony? Playing acoustic? Well, it's The Ditty Bops.

Listen to them live. Listen to their complete debut album. Buy their 2006 Bicycle Bikini Calendar.

That is all.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

CS Lewis article in the New Yorker

This article is very interesting. It documents the twin pillars of Lewis' life, myth and allegory. I don't agree entirely with the article. In particular, this paragraph:

For poetry and fantasy aren’t stimulants to a deeper spiritual appetite; they are what we have to fill the appetite. The experience of magic conveyed by poetry, landscape, light, and ritual, is... an experience of magic conveyed by poetry, landscape, light, and ritual. To hope that the conveyance will turn out to bring another message, beyond itself, is the futile hope of the mystic. Fairy stories are not rich because they are true, and they lose none of their light because someone lit the candle. It is here that the atheist and the believer meet, exactly in the realm of made-up magic. Atheists need ghosts and kings and magical uncles and strange coincidences, living fairies and thriving Lilliputians, just as much as the believers do, to register their understanding that a narrow material world, unlit by imagination, is inadequate to our experience, much less to our hopes.

What I take from this is that the story experience is irreducible, is demonstrative knowledge like the inputs of the senses. This ignores a quality of stories: their propensity to come to life.

Good authors manage a curious trick. Whether it is creativity by randomness or subtle twinges of the subconscious, divine inspiration, the Muse, what have you, this effect is displayed when readers come up to an author whose work they have enjoyed, and ask if the story "really meant" X and Y and Z. The author reflects for a moment, and says, "Oh. Well, I suppose it did." And the trick is that it really did.

Human existence overflows with stories. We are story beings, naturally desiring to know. And that's not just Biblically or scientifically, it's knowing something inside out, divining whatever meaning envelops us constantly. Just as there is an infinity of sentences from a finity of words, there is an infinity of associations and meanings from a single sentence.
The yarns of seamen have a direct simplicity, the whole meaning of which lies within the shell of a cracked nut. But Marlow was not typical (if his propensity to spin yarns be excepted), and to him the meaning of an episode was not inside like a kernel but outside, enveloping the tale which brought it out only as a glow brings out a haze, in the likeness of one of these misty halos that sometimes are made visible by the spectral illumination of moonshine.
-- Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad

In fact, we always think that our story has meaning. Without exception, we are the authors of our own stories, asking (if we are awake) what our life means and where we will go next. We have to take up the questions, even if we choose to lay them down and live in the moment, asking no more meanings from existence. If a close friend, knowing our life story, draws together the tapestry of actions and dreams to point out a recurrent thread, we do not retort (if we are honest) "That's not what I was doing at the time!" Instead, we say, "Oh. You know me better than I know myself." And the trick is that they really did. That's because we are more than newspaper articles.

The paragraph from the New Yorker that I quoted comes up to this point and draws back, where it says, "Atheists need ghosts and kings and magical uncles and strange coincidences, living fairies and thriving Lilliputians, just as much as the believers do, to register their understanding that a narrow material world, unlit by imagination, is inadequate to our experience, much less to our hopes." To see what I mean, just start rereading that sentence from "a narrow material world."

I am thus confused by the article's "this is the futile hope of the mystic", that the story means more than it says it does, that the aesthetic experience corresponds to something beyond itself. When language, human thought, and life itself are mystical, gainsaying the mystic is truly futile. The writer was not connecting the dots.

I take the Christian story as marvelous and true, where God has created a world invested with meaning. The article would have it that the question of Christianity's historicity does not speak to its richness for humanity: "Fairy stories are not rich because they are true, and they lose none of their light because someone lit the candle." On the contrary, marvelous things that are really true cut us differently than beautiful lies. I just talked about that, come to think of it.

More on these thoughts later. But read the article, it's well worth the time.

via Neil Gaiman.

Two meters

Sarah and I bought our first car in May 2003. I had recently completed driver's ed in Utah and obtained my first driver's license at age 22. The same day I got the license, we went about an hour south to buy a lease-return 2000 Toyota Corolla LE. I say it's purple, Sarah says it's blue.

When we bought the car, it was about three years old and had 38432 miles on the odometer. This is between 12 and 13 thousand miles per year (I think it was a company fleet vehicle). Last week we hit 50000, going 4 or 5 thousand miles per year as a family.

I was going up a hill in Sardine Canyon, on the way home from Brigham City to Logan. I got to watch it turn over from 49999 to 50000, because I was pretty alone in my lane.

When we got home, we had something like 50016. I don't really remember the number. That's because milestones are curious numbers. We approach them, we mark them, even celebrate them, like a 40th birthday or Cal Ripken's 2131st consecutive baseball game. They stopped the game so Cal could take a bow, then he ran around the stadium high-fiving fans.

The same change happens the next year, the next game, the next mile, but nobody marks their 41st birthday, Ripken's 2132nd game in quite the same way.

Just over a month ago we passed a round number in Iraq. There was much fanfare about it, how that week there was a perfect storm in politics for the American President. I think Libby was indicted that week too, something else happened.

Today I read an article that mentioned in passing that more than 2100 soldiers have died in Iraq. All I could think was, When did that happen?

Saturday, November 26, 2005


Hi, everyone. Thanksgiving break is over and it ended with a most curious dream.

In this dream, I met an old friend, a girl I haven't seen for several years. We were in a classroom talking, and some teacher who looked like Condoleezza Rice came over to listen to us. I started shouting at the teacher, "Get out of here! You don't have permission to intrude on our privacy!" The girl blushed and was happy that I'd do something so forcefully on her behalf.

When I woke up I thought about this for a bit, and I realized that this particular girl and I had not actually lived a life of privacy together, of shared secrets. I wrote letters to her that I never sent (every time I think this now, I hear a Sean Watkins song called "Letters Never Sent"), chronicled our meetings and moments in Masoretic detail, and credited her with attitudes and feelings that were, at their best, holy. My half of our relationship was, to put it mildly, ungrounded, and the secrets were not shared; I was the one with the secret.

My memory of her is suffused with this attitude, enough that sometimes I cannot separate the living person from the marble statuette. The things I remember clearly are shared moments, when we disagreed or moved around together. They are surprisingly brief, and they make me think I never knew her. The memories I made up by myself are literary, not in a positive sense. They are beautiful at times, heartbreaking to remember. Fiction. I remember our last disagreements. Reality.

I try to remind myself of this as I troll around the internet, looking at the footprints she's made, pictures and things she's written, where she is. I could email her this second, for good or for evil. But I have been unsure about what it would mean to me. I've had other dreams, that I'd tell her I was proud of her, proud of what she's become. But frankly, that is all made-up stuff again, my relationship to dead artifacts.

I also try to remind myself that I have my own secrets now, sequestered in the four walls of my home with my wife and my son. I know how much must go unspoken in any conversation with her. Like Levin at the end of Anna Karenina says, "... there will still be a wall between the holy of holies of my soul and other people, even my wife..." and how much more so, with this lady who is practically a stranger to me.

It has a strange hold, memory. She has never given me any sign she knows I exist, not since we talked years and years ago. She doesn't look for my pictures or articles. I don't know if she even remembers me.

Yet I want to write; yet I wonder. And I feel a little bit strange trying to explain this all to Sarah. But I will, and it will be another secret just between us.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Thanksgiving blessing

Happy is a yuppie word
Nothing in the world can save us now
It's empty as an argument
We're running down a life we won't cash out

Jon Foreman of Switchfoot wrote this song after a Bob Dylan quotation "from a 1991 Rolling Stone interview. Dylan was asked, on the occasion of his 50th birthday, if he was happy. Dylan replied, 'Those are yuppie words, happiness and unhappiness. It's not happiness or unhappiness, it's blessed or unblessed.'"

If you want to put things this way, happiness and unhappiness are a matter of your instinctual reaction to your circumstances. When we long for happiness, we long to control our circumstances to the point that all our desires are endlessly satisfied, and we ride on a wave of pleasures to our eventual death. But it's good while it lasts.

I should have said, rather, to our eventual unhappiness, because the kind of control necessary here is impossible. This is one of the things the machines couldn't understand in The Matrix: "Some thought we lacked the programming language to describe your perfect world..." It's in a CS Lewis book too (Pilgrim's Regress) that advising people to the pursuit of happiness is like advising someone to enjoy unbroken good fortune.

Blessedness is not about luck. It rejects the power fantasy of the yuppie world. This is the first way that blessedness is about weakness. Here are some other ones.

[3] Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
[4] Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
[5] Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
[6] Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
[7] Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
[8] Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
[9] Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.
[10] Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessedness is not a question of circumstances. It is an orientation toward the world, an allegiance to a point of view. That point of view is to understand the world as overflowing with meaning, rain or shine. It is to understand the seasons of living.

For Christians, blessing lies beyond the horizon of this world. Still, they find blessings everywhere. But that's a story for another day.

May your lives and your families be blessed this Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Banner news I keep forgetting

It's the pre-holiday homework stress. But last week I got my first business cards ever. I am now the Product Manager for a piece of Proprietary Software at My Company. I'll scan a card sometime. I think I might be leaving my job soon though, so they did that just in the nick of time. It only took three years from my first days on the job.

And last week they mailed me my Bachelor of Arts diploma. So, crappy grades and all, I officially made it to the next level. I am a Linguistics journeyman, to go with my journeyman Computer Science 5k1772. I have mixed feelings about my linguistics education, but I guess it is still serving me.

I stayed up late and I'm tired, but I still have more work to do. Thirty minutes asleep might help.

NPR story on Jose Padilla

One of the most famous detainees in the war on terror, Jose Padilla, was finally charged with a crime. Padilla is an American citizen arrested in the United States, who was labeled an enemy combatant and denied habeas corpus rights and access to counsel for three years. His case has been working its way through the courts for quite a while. Now I suppose the constitutional problems his case raises for war-on-terror detention powers won't be heard by the Supreme Court. Google and the Washington Post think, lo and behold, I might be right.

Originally the government said he was plotting to detonate a radioactive "dirty" bomb. Now they are charging him with fundraising for NGOs suspected of funding terrorist organizations. With the three year head start, you would think that the government would be farther ahead by now.

I heard something on NPR about this as I came home. I've been unable to locate the report to link to it.

The report ended with this line: "Padilla faces life in prison if convicted."

Take a moment to let the irony sink in.

Nickel Creek tour

Supergroup Nickel Creek is coming to a town near you. I really can't say enough good for them. If you poke around on you can listen to their newest album for free from beginning to end. Guitarist Sean Watkins has a new solo album out. It is in stores in March 2006 but he wanted everyone to hear it, so it is pay-to-download mp3s.

Their Utah show on 12/2 is sold out. I'll be there. I am extremely excited. It's been two years since I last saw them live.

The grueling schedule continues with a show in Spokane, WA 12/3 and at the Paramount in Seattle on 12/4. I can't recommend this concert highly enough. The opener, Andrew Bird, is extremely talented as well and we will be there early to see him. He is a one man symphony, playing the guitar, violin, and glockenspiel, whistling and singing, remixing his loops live.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

CS Lewis on Intelligent Design and Evolution

Just a quick note since I'm busy with end-of-semester projects. You might think the subject of this post curious, because CS Lewis died the same day as President Kennedy in 1963, but the term "Intelligent Design" wasn't invented until the early 1990s.

Do not be scared by the word authority. Believing things on authority only means believing them because you have been told them by someone you think trustworthy. Ninety-nine per cent of the things you believe are believed on authority. I believe there is such a place as New York. I have not seen it myself. I could not prove by abstract reasoning that there must be such a place. I believe it because reliable people have told me so. The ordinary man believes in the Solar System, atoms, evolution, and the circulation of the blood on authority -- because the scientists say so. Every historical statement in the world is believed on authority. ... A man who jibbed at authority in other things as some people do in religion would have to be content to know nothing all his life.

This quotation is from Lewis' modern classic, Mere Christianity, which is a thoughtful exposition and interpretation of a certain core of Christian belief, leaving debates about details on the fringes to the theologians and historians.

Fundamentalist Christians (along with other Christians) accept Jesus Christ's godhood on the basis of the authority of the apostles who wrote about him, or on the essential trustworthiness of their books about Jesus and the action of Holy Spirit in the early church (collected in the New Testament). That's what "for the Bible tells me so" means. But they don't accept Darwinian evolution even though the scientists have been saying it with one voice for decades in peer-reviewed journals. Seriously, disbelieving evolution is like disbelieving global warming: all you have to do is ignore the people who know something about it, and listen to the cranks.

CS Lewis, at least, is not on their side. This is not an isolated quotation in his work. At every conflict Lewis is on the side of a kind of conventional wisdom; not the kind that is constructed out of clouds of jello by our all-spinning mass media, but the kind of wisdom that sensible people have all agreed upon over the years. An Experiment in Criticism thinks about the wisdom of common people in regard to reading books, Mere Christianity considers the main thrust of Christianity as believed by the great mass of Christians down the centuries, The Abolition of Man considers the morality that is common to people of all religions and cultures. The Narnia books are, in the main, stories of ordinary, even weak people thrust into extraordinary situations, who triumph over the rich and powerful of their age by common virtues. I could go on.

I'm not on their side either. As a journeyman scientist, I cringe to think of what the fundamentalists will make of ever-stronger AI, and what they will make of me as a scientist who tries to explain it to them.

I had a conversation with a friend several years ago, before I dreamed of becoming a computer scientist, where I said, in effect, that I didn't know how somebody doing computers could be as good a Christian as someone doing ministry work. Needless to say, he was doing computers at the time, and I was volunteering a lot of my time to a university Christian group. I've since apologized to him, but I understand how easy it is to let "ministry" assume an undeserved primacy in your religion.

There is a reason why religious figures like Robertson and Falwell and Dobson dominate the public religious conversation. It is an undercurrent in Protestantism, that people who have given up their lives to listen to God and do what he wants are more qualified to speak for Christians than people like me. They are the truly sold-out.

I am wishy-washy. I am too secular, which is only a step or two from idolatrous to the minister-pushers. They think I am building silicon sand-castles. They regard the world as the Titanic, and me as a microchip-polisher.

CS Lewis's main job was as a lecturer and writer at Oxford, the chair of Medieval and Renaissance literature. He excelled at his job, writing a permanent volume in the Oxford History of English Literature, on the 16th century (excluding drama).

What I've learned in the years since I talked to my friend is that good work glorifies God. I only wish the Intelligent Design agitators would learn it too.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Tuesday morning, it was cold in Logan. I had parked down the hill from campus near the football stadium, which is a 5 to 10 minute walk. I was bundled up well and put up my hood as I approached the crosswalk to go down the hill. The light turned green, so I started walking through the crosswalk. Maybe eight steps into the street, a black sedan cut in front of me, turning right, from behind me. It was so close that I could have touched it. To prove that fact to the very dangerous person behind the wheel, I started walking forward, and kicked the car in the back right panel before it passed me. I hope they got a dent. Remember, drivers and pedestrians are equal, except that the driver can kill the pedestrian. What am I supposed to do, honk my horn? Several other revenge fantasies played out in my head as I walked to my car, and I stopped for a pedestrian at the first light on my way to work. I have felt smug and superior about the whole incident ever since until now.

I played checkers with the computer (it was for class! really!) and was leading four kings to two kings and a piece when I made a stupid mistake and the computer jumped three in a row. But I shouldn't feel too bad; our last big project in AI class is to make a computer program that can beat us. I think I must have been playing a dumbed down version of the checkers AI, otherwise I wouldn't have even been close.

I made potato soup that tasted like my father's chowder, clams not included. It made me very nostalgic for his kitchen. Was the secret the sour cream (and whole milk and cream)? The scallions? The bacon? My recipe made a gallon (!) of soup. Great for the winter, and for heating the house.

I have loved the end of our grad school seminar because of all the new cooking time. Sarah has been sick and I bet all the leftovers have helped her relax a little. We also had shepherd's pie on Monday, another one from my dad's kitchen.

Oh, and someone really should've told me that after you've uncorked a bottle of wine, it only keeps for a couple of days. I have a bottle in my fridge door of some fruity white that I used for a stir fry about a year ago. The things you miss out on because you're a debate math drama honors nerd in high school. Found out on I Want That!, the show with the misleadingly selfish name, about gee-whiz gizmos etc. for the home. It's going in the trash when I get home.

For obsessive coverage of the Valerie Plame CIA leak investigation, read firedoglake.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Habeas thou a corpus?

4 days ago, the Senate passed an amendment to an appropriations bill brought by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina). The amendment narrowly circumscribes the habeas corpus rights of enemy combatants in America's secret prisons (and not-so-secret prisons like those in Guantanamo Bay). The vote was 49 in favor to 42 against with 9 abstentions.

What is habeas corpus? It is the only individual right in the Constitution itself: the legal right to challenge your detention in the courts. "The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it." The exceptions are rebellion and invasion, where obviously there might not be time to convene a court to justify the detention of a soldier while the British are attacking the prison. But the Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism is not against a rebellion or an invasion. Discuss.

Why do they always release suspects within 24 hours on Law and Order? Habeas corpus. The government has to justify holding you or give you up. Now, habeas corpus is not the best thing if you are trying to prosecute a case. It makes things more difficult on the Bensons and Stablers and Gorans and Eameses of the world. When it is obvious who is the criminal, we naturally want every tool at our disposal to aid the good guys and hinder the bad guys.

But habeas corpus is the best thing in the world if you can't tell apart the good guys and the bad guys. And it is the best thing in the world for you if you are arrested. Without it, the government doesn't have to release you, even if you are completely innocent. The government doesn't have to explain what they are doing with you, much less justify it. Habeas corpus is the guarantee that a justice system which is predicated upon fairness is in charge of your fate, not a mercurial, sometimes cruel government.

Habeas corpus is also the best thing in the world if you are labeled an enemy combatant. The American President can label anyone an enemy combatant (since the PATRIOT act was passed in 2001) and leave them in the oubliette forever.

Our democracy took a major left turn when we gave the power to suspend habeas corpus to any President at all, much less George W. Bush, who has shown a propensity to defend and exercise any privileges the executive has been afforded by our laws. This power has not sat useless against the day it would be required to Defend Freedom; it has been used over and over again.

If you read about this in the papers, you will find out that even the crippled military tribunal process has found many detainees to be completely innocent. The detainees have remained in prison. Here's an example:

"In late 2003, the Pentagon quietly decided that 15 Chinese Muslims detained at the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, could be released. Five were people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time, some of them picked up by Pakistani bounty hunters for U.S. payoffs. The other 10 were deemed low-risk detainees whose enemy was China's communist government -- not the United States, according to senior U.S. officials.

More than 20 months later, the 15 still languish at Guantanamo Bay, imprisoned and sometimes shackled, with most of their families unaware whether they are even alive."

That quotation from the Washington Post is drawn from a series of posts on Obsidian Wings, 13 in all, addressing Graham's amendment and a counter-amendment by a Senator Bingaman to restore habeas corpus to enemy combatants. They are indexed here. They're recommended reading, of course, and they say all this in much more eloquent and sourced detail than I have.

Clearly this is a miscarriage of justice. But consider carefully that for these men, it is a miscarriage of no return. These men have no way back through the looking glass. Many of them were picked up for having the wrong skin color, or being in the wrong place. Some of them were tortured to the ultimate point of no return.

If you were labeled an enemy combatant, you would live and die at the mercy of your interrogators. Your dossier would languish at the DoJ, and you would languish in an Eastern European prison, location classified. The President would say "We do not torture."

I don't know about you, but that sounds more like the Ministry of Love than the United States of America.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Batman Began

I finally saw Batman Begins, an excellent rendering of the Batman mythos. It is very satisfying, so see it if you haven't. I'd say that I will be shocked if they leave the cast they assembled on the shelf. Sequels are coming! That's what I think anyway. I really liked the way the movie portrayed poor people. A lot was filmed on location in Chicago, I gather, which accords somewhat with some high school memories riding on a bus through the bad parts of town to Wrigley Stadium (I was there for a math contest). I also liked its take on justice and mercy. They picked a great Batman, great director. Not much wasted dialogue either, just really really well done.

Food for the mind as well as the thalamus. Please let there be more.

[Edited 11/16 to delete redundant reference to the portrayal of poor people]

Saturday, November 12, 2005

"We do not torture"

There is a reason why a President of the United States said those words.

Here's another one: "We do not use chemical weapons on civilians". [some swearing]

And another: "We do not imprison Americans without due process". What happens when you are labeled an enemy combatant?

What's next? "We do not engage in human sacrifice"?

What kind of country is President Bush making America?

Needless to say, I agree

Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced -- even a proverb is no proverb to you till your life has illustrated it. -- John Keats

This was one of the Slashdot page quotes. I never knew Keats said this, but I am sure glad he did.

No religion means anything until it is real like this.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

This last week

Hi all. I have been verrry busy this last week, but a number of notable things have happened.

I acquired a major advisor for my Master's Thesis by a combination of fast-talking, overpowering genius, sheer charisma, and serendipity: Dr. Nick Flann.

You can see from his web page that he is interested in Autonomous Vehicles and Bioinformatics, which, while not repellent to me, are not the focus of my interest. So why him? A passing reference to learning algorithms in my classical AI class, I guess. He has also mentioned interest in the evolution of the brain (Steven Pinker visited our campus recently and Dr. Flann was all over it; I was at work).

Fortunately, he is interested in the Cyc Knowledge Base. This is essentially a computer-understandable, hierarchical database of common-sense knowledge about the world we live in, with associated logic machines, natural language processing, etc. There is an open source version that I am downloading as we speak. This seems like a good fit for my interest in computers becoming creative: see my earlier meandering post. I was extremely lucky to run into him when I did, as I gather that his interest in Cyc is relatively new.

I got the feeling while we were discussing all this that I sounded a bit wild-eyed, talking about creative computers and ruts of abstractions in the brain. But he did say my project sounded cool and real, which is hard to find in an artificial intelligence topic, so I guess I struck gold. I am open to the future of what I can do here, so it should be interesting to see my topic morph over time. I wonder idly if my work will be too closely tied to this particular technology, or if Cyc is the only game in town for my interest. I suppose I will be learning a lot along the way anyhow.

Bonus: next semester I could take a "readings" class that will help me prepare to use this technology. So, much less homework! I guess we will find out pretty fast how much I enjoy the art of research. But I have high hopes.

It snowed in Logan on Friday night. Sarah and I had just finished watching Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (which I found affecting and well-constructed, except for the somewhat pat resolutions of the interweaving story threads) at midnight, and we stretched and saw the snow outside. It stuck at night and thawed in the morning. But it was quite beautiful for a while there.

On Saturday we went to a great store called Ten Thousand Villages. This is an organization that buys from artisans around the world at living wages, then sells locally. I liked the instruments best, but there were puzzles, clothes, jewelry, sculptures, and one exquisitely carved Chinese box. I couldn't believe how cheap some of it was.

We came home from the store because Alex was tired, but then we found out that our water was cut off. What happened, we pieced together later, was that a person who owned the condo below us (and moved out a while back) had come while we were out and shut off her water. Unfortunately, and bizarrely, our water was connected to hers, so ours was cut off too. For the next six hours, we lived without water. Not as easy as it sounds; I kept saying, "Well, we can have eggs without using water," and "How about tuna fish?", and "Well, I can go without a shower, it's ok," even though I almost never do and it almost never is. There were other problems too. A real estate agent with a key came back and turned on the water at about 10 PM.

Today was a banner day because I made my first recipe by James Beard, the Apostle of American Cooking. It was a braised onion sauce with bowtie pasta. Take half a pound of butter, melt, add 6 medium onions, sliced, and cook till soft and transparent. Add a tablespoon of sugar, simmer for an hour, add 1/4 cup of Madeira (I substituted white wine, so maybe it would taste different), pour over fresh pasta, sprinkle cheese. How do people come up with this stuff? I thought it was great, but Sarah was put off by an excess of onions. So there are lots of leftovers. I can't remember the last time I felt so full.

Back to work! But I am way off my 2-post-per-week average. Maybe this week, maybe next week, I will catch back up.