About
"Everybody sees what you appear to be, but few feel what you are."

Machiavelli,
The Prince

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My Photos (2007-10)
My Videos
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Lauren's Webpage...home of the "Engineer/Troublemaker"


Sunday, May 31, 2009
And now for something completely different - New Zealand videos! I'm only about five months late with these, but I finally uploaded them to Flickr yesterday. The New Zealand videos album contains all 23 videos, but I also put each one in it's associated set in my New Zealand 12/08 collection. Pretty cool, huh? I think we would have taken more videos if our little Canon hadn't been out of commission so often. I would like to get a new point-and-shoot digital camera before our next trip to New Zealand, whenever that is (November maybe). Preferably one that takes decent videos (like the old one) and has as good zoom ratio (unlike the old one). I'm adding that to my New Zealand wishlist. It's a long list.
Posted at 10:40 PM, 0 Comments

Saturday, May 30, 2009
I realize that I've been obsessing over the Lakers here lately despite my usual disinterest in the NBA. In fact, I didn't watch a single regular season game, but Los Angeles gets fired up when the post season rolls around. And after the Lakers failed to show up for last year's Finals (what an embarrassment) the fans are eager for a better showing this year.

So don't get me wrong when I talk about the purple and gold because there's no doubt I bleed orange and blue. I own so many Gator t-shirts and sweatshirts that I could live in them exclusively. And I don't own a single item of Lakers clothing (although that will probably change now that the Lakers are in the Finals). In fact, I wore a Florida sweatshirt yesterday so that the Gator luck would rub off on the Lakers! (Actually it was because both of my purple t-shirts were dirty, but let's not split hairs because it worked!) The bottom line is that my loyalties lie entirely with the Gators, but I've got to have some sport to watch between college football, major league baseball, and New Zealand rugby. Speaking of which, did I mention that New Zealand's first rugby match of the season is in two weeks? Go All Blacks!
Posted at 10:30 PM, 0 Comments

So I guess they proved me wrong once again! Last night we saw a championship-caliber Laker team earn their way to the NBA Finals. They beat the Nuggets by 27 points in Denver and it was a lot of fun to watch. Actually, Dan and I watched most of the game at a restaurant in El Segundo with some of his co-workers, but we listened to the last few minutes on the radio on our way to Arthur Murray. I never expected them to make it this far so this is why I'm done making predictions. I am just going to watch the Finals and cheer for the Lakers. And since the Finals doesn't start until Thursday, anyone who reads my blog will get a much-needed break from basketball. GO LAKERS!
Posted at 11:11 AM, 0 Comments

Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Game 5 was another rough one to watch, but the Lakers pulled off the win! I suspected they would win after losing on Monday night, but there are no guarantees with the Lakers. Tonight they were playing like a championship team, but they are seriously lacking in consistency. At this point I'm not going to make any more predictions about the NBA playoffs because I've been wrong about this series from the start. The Lakers didn't lose in 5 games (my first prediction) and they won't even lose in 6 games (my second prediction). That's good! But as much as I'd like to predict that the the Lakers will move on to the Finals, I'm not even going to go there right now. We'll see how Game 6 goes on Friday night.
Posted at 8:52 PM, 0 Comments

Tuesday, May 26, 2009
A Tuesday list:
1) Unfortunately the Lakers didn't prove me wrong last night because they lost. It was very disappointing. The good news is that tomorrow's game is at Staples Center so I think they have a good chance of winning Game 5. It helps that the Nuggets embarrassed them yesterday because they'll be determined to win. Strange, but true.
2) I hate my laptop more and more every day. I have to reboot it about twice a week when it refuses to come back to life from hibernate mode. I don't understand why it's so slow and unresponsive. It has a fast processor, plenty of RAM, and there's almost no software on it. Bizarre. I'm looking forward to replacing it, but I can't justify spending money on a new computer now. This one still technically works, but it raises my blood pressure every time I use it.
3) I need to update my resume. As much as I'd like to think that my job is secure, there are no guarantees anymore. With all of the schedule slips and budget shortfalls at work, anyone's job can end up on the chopping block. No matter how many people try to reassure me, I'm afraid I'm going to be the next one shown the door. I need to be prepared just in case. Now where did I stash the electronic version of my resume when I reinstalled Windows? Stupid laptop.
Posted at 8:26 PM, 0 Comments

Monday, May 25, 2009
It's halftime in Game 4 of the Western Conference Championship and the Lakers are losing. So what else is new? I predicted a Lakers loss in Game 3 on Saturday night because I figured they had no chance of winning on the road, but to my delight I was proven wrong! The Lakers managed to beat the Nuggets in Denver despite playing lousy basketball. And so far in Game 4 it looks like the same lousy Los Angeles team has shown up. It's really hard to watch. As much as the fans want their team to make it to the Finals I just don't see the Lakers as an NBA championship team the way they're playing. Hopefully they'll prove me wrong again. I'll give them someplace to start - I predict Nuggets win in Game 4.
Posted at 7:24 PM, 0 Comments

Saturday, May 23, 2009
Posted at 5:51 PM, 0 Comments

Thursday, May 21, 2009
When it looked like the Lakers might win tonight I thought they had a chance to win this series against the Nuggets. But it was another nail-biter and this time they lost. If the Lakers can't win at home they have no chance of winning in Denver. I still predict they'll lose the Western Conference Championship in 6 games.
Posted at 8:53 PM, 0 Comments

Lisa walking down the aisle Lisa and Mike Orsini

Dan and I went to Mike and Lisa's wedding in Ypsilanti, MI a couple of weeks ago and it was beautiful. It was really COLD that weekend (at least for those of us who aren't used to very cold weather), but the wedding itself was great. We've known Mike for quite a number of years now and it's wonderful to see how happy Lisa makes him. They are a fantastic couple. Plus, we got to spend some time with friends we don't see too often, mostly because they moved out of California. And at the reception Dan and I got to use some of our ballroom dancing skills that are usually reserved for our Arthur Murray lessons. It was actually a very short trip (less than 48 hours), but we were happy to celebrate with Mike and Lisa. Congratulations guys!
Posted at 7:32 PM, 0 Comments

Wednesday, May 20, 2009
I always dreaded the day that my Orange Country Public Library card wore out because renewing my account would be difficult or impossible without proof of residence. (Only Orange County residents can get OCPL library cards and I moved out of the OC more than three years ago.) That day was last Friday. The bar code on my library card wouldn't scan (the old cards have the account information printed on a paper sticker so it wasn't exactly robust) and I started to panic. But to my surprise the librarian just asked if I wanted a new card! I said sure not knowing exactly what she meant, but she simply pulled out a new card (this one with the bar code printed directly on the plastic), scanned it, and handed it to me. My account number changed, but that's about it. I couldn't believe how easy it was! So I can continue to break library rules by checking stuff out from the OCPL system without being an OC resident. Excellent.
Posted at 10:37 PM, 0 Comments

Tuesday, May 19, 2009
1) Lakers win! I figured they were going to lose for sure today because they couldn't gain any ground on the Nuggets, but they pulled off more than one miracle to save their own sorry butts. The last few minutes of the Western Conference Championship Game 1 were very exciting. While I'm glad the Lakers won I still predict that they will lose this series. Today's win might push the series to six games before that happens. Until then - Go Lakers!
2) Today's earthquake (the second one we've had in 48 hours) was downgraded to a magnitude 4.0. I was talking to my boss when it hit and I barely noticed it, but some of my coworkers were a bit more sensitive to unexplained shaking after Sunday's quake. They checked the USGS website afterwards to confirm that we did indeed have another earthquake. Looks like it was an aftershock of Sunday's quake even though it was of comparable intensity. This isn't a good trend. Earthquake #2 stats.
Posted at 9:08 PM, 0 Comments

4.1 quake hits the South Bay. Probably an aftershock of Sunday's earthquake. I was at work and we barely felt it in Orange County, though.
Posted at 4:20 PM, 0 Comments

Monday, May 18, 2009
Earthquake correction - last night's quake was downgraded to a magnitude 4.7 a few hours after my post. I was watching television upstairs when it started and my delayed reaction of running to the nearest doorway was way too late to have been effective if a larger quake had hit. We were lucky that it was fairly mild, but since the epicenter was so was close to our house it felt a lot stronger. I heard glass break somewhere during the quake, but I couldn't for the life of me find anything broken after it was over. I suppose we'll find whatever it was eventually. A whole bunch of stuff fell off bookshelves, but otherwise the house sustained no damage. Dan was at work at the time so I called him immediately to make sure he was all right. He was. I was just shaken up because earthquakes are so unpredictable and there's almost nothing you can do to prepare for them. The last decent quake we had in LA was last July and that one struck while I was at work. It's one of the drawbacks of living in Southern California, but at least for tonight I'm expecting a shake-free evening.
Posted at 9:57 PM, 0 Comments

Sunday, May 17, 2009
5.0 earthquake. 2 miles northeast of Hawthorne. Way too close for comfort. I barely made it to the doorway before the quake ended. Scary. Earthquake stats.
Posted at 9:03 PM, 0 Comments

The Lakers win! Dan thought they would lose to the Rockets, today but I thought otherwise. I figured they would win because 1) they were playing at the Staples Center and 2) they were completely embarrassed in Game 6. The good news for Laker fans is that I was right - they completely dominated Houston. Unfortunately the second part of my prediction is that the Lakers will lose their series against the Nuggets. I just think there's no way they will be able to win when they can't play consistent basketball. Houston wasn't supposed to be a challenge for them, but the series stretched to seven games. How will they survive against Denver, which is a much better team? I guess we'll find out when the series starts on Tuesday. Go Lakers!
Posted at 3:12 PM, 0 Comments

So, the Lakers, right? The alternate between being a basketball powerhouse and a major embarrassment. If they can't play consistently (or win games away from home) they'll never win another NBA championship. Los Angeles residents cringe when they remember last year's finals because the Lakers just didn't show up. It was really hard to watch them crumble against Boston. So this year as the playoffs started we were expecting to see a more determined team. And we did for a while. What I don't understand is how in this Houston series the Lakers can win Game 5 (in LA) by 40 points and then look like amateurs in Game 6 (in Houston) when the opposing team's best player is out with a broken foot! We fans gets frustrated watching the oscillations between great and terrible. Game 7 against the Rockets is starting in about half an hour so we'll see which way the pendulum swings today. Go Lakers!
Posted at 11:48 AM, 0 Comments

Friday, May 15, 2009
Worlds Ugliest Cheesecake

For Easter I wanted to make a special dessert, so when I found a recipe for Mascarpone Cheesecake in one of my magazines I was excited to try it. I swear I followed the recipe...except for the whole baking it in a water bath thing. I would have done that too, but I didn't have anything large enough (and oven proof) to submerge a nine-inch pan in an inch of water. I'd made cheesecake without water baths before so I figured this one would be all right without it. But as the photo above proves, I was wrong. It took much longer than the recipe called for before the middle of the cheesecake was even remotely set. That's why the outside is overdone. And for some reason the graham cracker crust subbornly adhered to the pan when I tried to serve it. I must admit that I wasn't fond of the cheesecake when we ate it on Easter, but it got better with time (and refrigeration). In fact, the last piece was amazing! I just might try this recipe again (with the water bath, of course).
Posted at 5:43 PM, 1 Comments

Thursday, May 14, 2009
Lauren at the game Dan at the game

More pictures! Dan and I went to Phoenix in March for Spring Training 2009. We got to see three games while we were there, two Cubs games and one Dodgers game, and it was a lot of fun. For anyone who likes baseball, Spring Training is the best place to watch games. The stadiums are smaller and the crowds are smaller too. The food is still expensive, but that doesn't make the hotdogs any less delicious!
Posted at 1:56 PM, 0 Comments

Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Happy Birthday Dan! Birthday cake for Dan

I've finally gotten around to uploading some pictures from earlier this year. For example, Dan's birthday, which was in February. I was a little too ambitious making his birthday cake and it turned out to be quite an ordeal. But I won't go in to that now. The result was an odd-looking citrus cake with orange cream cheese frosting in between the layers and chocolate ganache icing on the outside. Dan told me that he liked it, but I think he was being kind. I only had one piece myself. It was the chocolate ganache that was the biggest disaster. Note to self: Let the ganache cool before applying to the cake!
Posted at 9:58 PM, 0 Comments

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