Wednesday, February 27, 2008

territory, rigatoni, and awesome

1. The cats have had a sort of territory arrangement since we moved into the apartment - Parallax claimed the bathroom (shower water!) and the living room (where we eat our meals), Tonks lives mainly in the bedroom, and they grudgingly share the kitchen because they have to eat, after all. You can tell when one of them is in a rabble-rousing sort of mood because she will come and deliberately sit just inside the invisible border and stare at the other.
AngelKitty has sort of upset the order. For one thing, she has a great big voice and is quite willing to use it, whereas Parallax is just sort of confused and Tonks, after trying to hiss in her little kitten voice back, runs away. She's taken over the living room and alternates between the two chairs and a space on the couch that is warmed by my laptop fan. She's pretty content at this point, mostly just hanging out and looking for pettings, but Parallax is still a little confused about having lost her country.

2. Jamie Oliver, the Naked Chef, has a lovely recipe for something called Honeycomb Cannelloni. Cannelloni are big fat pasta tubes, and generally are stuffed painstakingly with cheese and then baked. His are pushed into the baking dish vertically, so from above it looks roughly like a honeycomb. Of course, being a real chef recipe, it also involves a "quick" cream sauce with crème fraîche and anchovies, and also a vegetable ragú sauce. Altogether too much effort, especially considering I have no idea where to get crème fraîche in this city and also that I am allergic to recipes that involve more than one accent.
Nevertheless, the honeycomb pasta is pretty, and a great idea - the sauces are poured into them instead of having to hand-stuff the pasta - so I made my own version for supper tonight. I call it Honeycomb Rigatoni for the Lazy.
I chopped whatever vegetables we had - in this case, half a red pepper, half a small zucchini, and half an onion - and mixed it with some Ragu we have kicking about for pizza sauce, as well as some feta (mm). I poured half of it into a little baking dish we have that was probably too shallow, and then stuck rigatoni in it in the honeycomb pattern, and finally poured the rest on top and forced the sauce into the pasta with a spoon. It worked better than I thought, but they weren't quite full, so I topped it up with more Ragu and some grated mozzarella. After 45 minutes at 375, the pasta was cooked and had swollen into a real honeycomb, and the effect was actually really tasty, though I'd probably use more liquid next time, because I forgot that pasta sucks up all the water in cooking. Sean pronounced it quite good, which at least means that it was edible. Definitely one to keep trying.

3. I wrote an midterm today, as well as going to both of my languages. I spent a good chunk of yesterday studying for it, and honestly didn't expect that much of a challenge - it really is only a first year course. Well, it was pretty brutal, and though I doubt I failed it, it certainly wasn't the guaranteed A I thought it should be. Turns out I'm not the only one who thought so - half an hour ago I received an email from Professor Geyssen (the same as for Latin last semester):
Having thought about this all afternoon and evening, and having talked to a couple of you via email, i have come to the conclusion that the exam was not as fair as i'd hoped when i set it. I was trying to test you on the factual information associated with the gods, but i see that that is not what everyone was expecting given the course content. I also underestimated, i think, the difficulty in making those associations between epithet and god, place and god, etc, difficult at least in terms of how the exam was structured. I offer my apologies. The exam did not give you an opportunity to show me what you know.
I will not count this in the way the syllabus says. I might suggest simply discounting this mark if the final (which will be an entirely different format) is better. In any event, i will consider how to best deal with that over the break.
[...]
Again, i am sorry for how this turned out. Do know that no-one's mark will suffer as a result of the midterm. I hope this will allow you to enjoy the break a bit more. Feel free to continue to send emails and voice your opinions.
I can't even tell you how awesome this is. Not so much because I think I did less than great, but because it's so good to have a professor who actually cares that we felt that the midterm was too hard. Many professors will just brush you off with a "well, it's only 30% of your final grade" and "next time you'll know how to study for my exams". It restores my faith in the system a little to get things like this.

4. Tomorrow, with the exception of my Latin America class with Christiane, is going to be finishing up my hours at the lab for this week. Normally I would be working Friday afternoon as well, but as I've mentioned, Friday is a scheduled service interruption day, so I'm making arrangements as necessary.

5. Links:

3 Comments:

Blogger dp said...

Well, I am glad the cats are settling down into a routine. After a month, they will be like sisters... or maybe they are like sisters now!?! Your Honeycomb rigatoni sounds very cool.... take a picture the next time. Your professor sounds very cool as well, and I hope you replied with a "thank you". I love the "obay" too funny

7:01 AM  
Anonymous Jill said...

I do believe that there is a "straw house" in a small subdivion in Harmony. I remember being there for a walk a few years ago and spotting it being build. It was very interesting to see. And, if I am not mistaken, it is difficult to tell, now that the house is actually finished and occupied.

5:51 AM  
Blogger GailM. said...

I can attest to the smell of the rigatoni was just delightful. I smelled it when I brought over cat goods for Angel's stay. Even on Monday night, when we took her over for the test, supper smelled really good...

Angel has been living by herself for too long. I think she was better when we had a dog to keep her in her place :).

We're 8 miles from the North Carolina border tonite. It's so nice to get out of the car and not go brrrrrr.....

Thanks again Stef and Sean.

5:46 PM  

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