Archive for 2009

Amazon.com Oddities

December 16th, 2009

So as you may know, I have been working at Amazon.com packing all of your Christmas goodies in to boxes. Here are a couple of items that I have run across and had to do a double take on. Clicking on the images will take you to the item’s order/review page on amazon.com.

This poor guy got all beat up by the machinery and had to be replaced before I could send it off to its loving new home. I threw the mangled one in to the “damaged tote” in the center of an aisle I share with 8 or so others. It was pretty amusing watching people notice it there, pick it up, and either cringe or crack up. The Avenging Narwhal Playset (with 4 magical horns and 3 adorable animals to impale)

The Avenging Narwahal wasn’t packed alone. He had the following to keep him company and give him tasty treats:

I really should have been in bed two hours ago, so I will only include one more. Another action figure by the same company: The Marie Antoinette Action Figure (with removable head, wig and gown)

Apparently these are part of a much larger set that include Crazy Cat Lady Action Figure (comes with 6 cats!), the Deluxe Librarian Action Figure (with realistic “shushing action”), and many more. Collect them all!

Who says eating cheap is eating crap?

December 6th, 2009

One of the biggest adjustments for me to make when we started this trip was cooking at home versus eating out every day. Jenn has risen to the occasion and made some wonderful meals, but I still had a craving for Thai food, which I used to eat several times a week. Thanks to Tony and Caro up in the Seattle Bay area, I have finally learned to make a passable curry! I’ve been making it off and on since before we headed to Alaska; and for the most part, I think I’ve got it down pat.

The first thing to do, is go to an Asian food store and pickup red curry paste. Yes, I know you can occasionally find curry paste in your chain supermarkets, but you can actually get a large enough container to make several dozen meals for the same price as the tiny one meal container you might find in a chain supermarket.  In fact, the last curry paste I bought was in the neighborhood of $6 for a 35 ounce container. I don’t recall off the top of my head what the tiny containers you might find in supermarkets are, but I’d guess they’re under 2 ounces for a similar price. We hit an absolute dearth of Asian food stores in Alaska and thankfully couldn’t find the tiny containers either or I’m not sure I’d be able to live with myself.

Okay, that’s the big secret. I don’t have an actual curry paste recipe as that’s way more advanced than I want to be in the kitchen. Once you’ve got the obscure shopping out of the way, it’s one of the easiest meals you can make and still look fancy. As long as you’re in the Asian food store anyway, you might as well grab some coconut milk and whatever you like in your stir fry. Often the prices there are better than chain supermarkets anyway.

You can make stir fry, right? If so, curry is a breeze. Just make stir fry anyway you like it (but without soy or teriyaki sauce!). Depending on what we have on hand, I will use chicken or pork, broccoli, carrots, green pepper, onion, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, baby corn and bean sprouts. I recommend adding things like baby corn, mushrooms, bean sprouts and bamboo shoots last in order to keep from overcooking them. Once you’re done with the stir fry, set it aside and start on the curry sauce.

My personal method is to add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to the pan over low heat and squirt out some curry paste into the oil. How much is up to you. I tend to like it fairly spicy so add perhaps 2-3 teaspoons. Next, add in coconut milk. Anywhere from half a can to a whole can for two people will work – depending on how hungry you are and how ‘soupy’ you like your curry. Getting the right amount of curry paste and coconut milk may take a little trial and error, but you can always add more paste if it’s not spicy enough and more coconut milk if it’s too spicy.

The next bits are optional, but I’ll just tell you the way I do things. If you want a more panang style curry, you can stop right here.  For a sweeter curry, add about a tablespoon of sugar and stir it in. For an even more diverse mix of flavors, I usually add some small pineapple chunks along with pineapple juice. Depending on what you’ve added to your stir fry, you may or may not need to add a little salt. Bean sprouts definitely negate the need for extra salt. Just let this simmer and cook to your own taste. Remember that the flavor will be a bit diluted by your stir fry and rice.

Once you’re happy with the curry sauce, toss your stir fry in and let it simmer for a few minutes. That’s pretty much all there is to it. Serve over rice. We just use white rice, but get as fancy as you want.

Two Years of Two People and Two Cats in Two Hundred Square Feet

December 5th, 2009

As of December 1st, we have been living in our truck camper for 2 years. I can’t believe I almost let it slip by nor can I believe that it has been that long. It just seems so natural anymore. Its home no matter where it is parked. And, regardless of where that is, we are in a much better place than we were on Nov 30, 2007.

Back then, we were in soul sucking, yet somewhat prestigious jobs and running the middle class treadmill. Well, I guess that by then we were only walking on it. We had already purchased the truck and camper. We had gotten rid of most everything we owned. We had had the camper for a couple of days and were moving what little of our stuff that remained into it. We were still working but only because we wanted to earn some additional money. At the very least, I wanted to make sure that I made the difference between what my Xterra sold for and what my truck cost back before we left.

Where our desks lived.
The building we used to work in.
The place we used to work. Our desks and the building.

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The timing could be better….

November 30th, 2009

I haven’t posted anything about the products that you all are buying. Don’t forget, I get to see them! However, I have no way of knowing where they are going, so your secrets are safe. Normally, I pack political books, toys and sex books. These are the top sellers. Not worth mentioning really. Today I saw something that actually stuck out and I wanted to share it with you.

Wow!

Anyway, the title is in regards to fact that we both think we are getting sick. Which completely sucks as we are starting to see overtime at work. Well, I am anyway. Johnny’s group was sent home early today. We haven’t been flu/cold sick since before we hit the road. Grrr… I have been so diligent at work! OK, I am not that girl downstairs that wears a mask everyday, nor am I the lady I saw in the lunch room with the latex this evening, but I am really careful. I wipe down my equipment before using it everyday. I wear my work gloves before touching objects that lots of people do like door knobs, sign in pens, etc. It may seem a little overboard, but I didn’t want to get sick! I want to work, and its not overboard if it didn’t work.

All work and no play….

November 11th, 2009

We have stated our commitment at Amazon. Its pretty darn rough, too. its one of the toughest jobs I have had… physically. I am red, sweaty, and sore at the end of my shift. Its probably my fault, though. I push myself pretty hard. Your progress is given to you in the form of numbers every 2hrs along with everyone else and well, I have never been very good at not being at the top of the class when things are graded.

I can’t say too much about Amazon yet, as we signed an NDA stating that it was all hush, hush.

Our days are pretty much coffee, breakfast, work, dinner, and then sleep. We haven’t seen any of the local sights. Well, other than one smokey casino lounge where we enjoyed a couple of nice breakfast (for us) beers and after dinner (for them) drinks with Jim and Rene of liveworkdream.com. It was great to finally meet them after a year+ of cyber stalking. I hope to hang out with them again while we are still in the same area.

Currently, our days off consist of laundry, baking bread, cooking big meals that we can eat for dinner during the work week, and sleeping. Fun, fun, fun.

We aren’t sure if we would do Amazon again, yet. We will have to wait and see what the final compensation is before we can decide.

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