Category Archives: Uncategorized

Life Announcement

So get this.  After my current Americorps stint is completed in mid-June, I will be migrating.  It’s sort of a rust belt to sunbelt migration.   Like many yuppies, I will be moving to New Orleans.

This is exciting.  Mostly because West Virginia winter is making me die.  Also because Benji got a job with TeachNOLA so  finally once again we will live in the same place like normal people.  Long distance relationships are really bad for the environment, so it’ll be good to be done with that.  Plus, I’ll be closer to Little Rock.

I’ve never had any special desire to move there, but I liked it when I visited (8 years ago.  to see Bright Eyes.)

Here’s the problem:  I’m terrified I won’t find a job.  TERRIFIED.  So your job, readers, is to find me a job.  I have a baccalaureate degree in Sustainable Development, experience affordable housing, and a nice, trustworthy face:

This is a picture of me at my desk at work. Trustworthy.

I’m good at spelling, talking, using Adobe products, identifying energy efficient windows.  Oh oh!  I’m a Green Advantage Certified Building Practicioner! I can’t work in the restaurant business because I’m clumsy and inefficient, but I could work in retail.   I have worked on grants before and I’ve even tried some non-grant fundraising.

So everyone–spread the word.  You know a gal.  She’ll do the job.

Also, if you live in New Orleans, let’s hang out, pals! (in four months)  Yay!



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Clothing Blogs (aka Snooze City Post)

Sorry I’ve been absent lately.  I’ve been busy busy.  Not only did I travel for five days to North Carolina, which is a LAND OF DREAMS compared to the frozen snow hell I’ve been living in, but upon return, I received three (3!) new New Yorkers AND A HARPERS that I’ve had to read.  I’ve also had to play Settlers of Catan four times.   What good times.  Anyway.

Something I’ve been thinking about too much lately, because I have been using the internet too much lately, is how there are a whole lot of good menswear blogs, and I enjoy reading them even though  I do not wear mens clothing regularly.  These include Put This On (Jesse Thorn is my favorite internet/public radio semi-celebrity), A Continuous LeanArchival Clothing,   Nerd Boyfriend, Street Etiquette, and of course the dress and grooming section of The Art of Manliness.

The reason these are good is because they aren’t unfashionable, but they aren’t about fashion.  They talk about quality of clothing and kinds of clothing and why certain clothings are the way they are and what different fabrics do.  My question is: Are there womens clothing blogs like this?  And if there aren’t, why not?  I’ve been thinking about this and I think it might be that there are very few classic womens clothing pieces.  Women’s clothing in our culture has been driven by fashion since before mass production of ready-to-wear clothing was even in existence.   But I’m certain that its possible to dress with style without adhering to current fashion.  And I’ve never been good at either of those things.  So this is why I need someone to tell me how to make these decisions responsibly, the way that thousands of men are eased through the process daily through the myriad blogs there to help them.

I’m not sure what I’m getting at here.  Alls I know is I like a quality leather in my shoe, a quality natural fiber in my sweater, and a quality a-line skirt.   And I want to buy clothing that lasts, not clothing that I’m going to want to get rid of in a year because it looks dated OR because I bought it at H&M or Urban Outfitters or Target and it broke.  But I don’t want to dress like a prarie woman because I am short and stout.   I want some like-minded individuals to talk about this with.

(I realize this isn’t terribly important.  This was all sparked by a trip to the worst place on earth this weekend, an abomination in “urban” development, a monument to the perversion of “new urbanism,” The Streets at Southpoint, a mall in Durham, NC that is made to make you feel better about going to a mall.)


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Web 2.0 (Another Post Called Web 2.0)

On Friday I left work early for fear of the major snowstorm hitting the East Coast.  I went home and I watched the show Caprica*, which is the prequel series to Battlestar Gallactica.   One of the important themes in the show is virtual reality, and social network software taken to it’s logical conclusion (therefore, the plot rightly centers around high school students).  This virtual world eventually leads to the development of cylons and, by extension, the destruction of all of mankind–of course.

In fear of this future, I “deactivated” my Facebook account today.  I did that because it takes up too much time and makes me feel distracted and it makes me feel lonely, even though I have 465 “friends” on it.  To quote Jaron Lanier from this month’s Harpers, “Obviously, [this statement] can be true only if the idea of friendship is diminished.”  But it’s tough.  There’s a reason this website calls it suicide.  Technically, and this is the worst part, I haven’t actually deleted my Facebook account.   This is horrifying, but I actually don’t have the strength to convince myself to do it just yet.   Currently I can just … log back in… if I feel like it.  And I might feel like it.  For instance, I might feel like it when I realize that the vast majority of people who read my blog come in through Facebook.

I didn’t really do this just because of Caprica, but because right now I am being innundated constantly by articles, movies, books, ads, all kinds of things which seem to be asking me (and hopefully you will be asked this as well) “Will you be in control of your participation in the digital world, a world which in our lifetimes will become equally important to that of the phyiscal and interpersonal world?”  a question which you may be answering “no” to if you are using facebook, since they own everything you put up and sell it.  (Plus I’m sick of them suggesting that I’m fat and a single mother and want Uggs.)

I don’t want to hear about everyone anymore.  I don’t want to see your friends, I don’t want to see you drinking in Prague, I don’t want to read about your baby, I definitely DO NOT want to hear about your opinion that Obama is a Socialist OR about any quizzes you took. (I mean.  There are some babies I like and want to know about them.  There are some trips to Prague I want to hear about.  But mostly I don’t.)

Right now though, I’m just stepping back and trying to take control over my virtual presence, and take it seriously.  By maintaining this blog, my rarely-updated Twitter account (@immerspaetlin), and my email (, not to mention the telephone, letters, etc. I like to think I’ll be able to have a fulfilling social life.  Right?  Right?

Also, if you’re interested, you might watch this episode of Frontline.  Just typing that makes me feel like an excitable high school history teacher.  But really.

Until later see ya’ll in Second Life!!!!!!!! (jus’kiddin)

*Like Battlestar Gallactica, I feel simultaneously that I LOVE IT SO MUCH and also that the actors are so bad and the symbolism so heavy-handed that I am sick of it.  In case you were wondering what I think about it.


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Dreamy Scientists, Part II

In order to quash your feelings of uncomfortable borderline-infidelity stemming from the recent scientist-objectification project, you may send your loved one scientist valentines.

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Okay.  I told myself I wasn’t going to use this forum for rants and raves.  I hate that.  But do you know what I hate more than people who complain on the internet?


Continue reading


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Call to Action

A pal of mine, Kathleen, and I are sitting on my couch right now.  After we noticed that the picture of Carl Sagan on the back of Cosmos is pretty dreamy (however not on the back of Broca’s Brain), we decided that it would be an excellent craft project to make a teen-magazine-style collage of dreamy scientists.

so far we have:

carl sagan

Carl Sagan on the back of the book version of "Cosmos"

malcolm gladwell

alfred wegener

nikola tesla (controversial)

brian greene

sir edmund hillary (is he a scientist?)

jacques cousteau

todd surovell

I’ll add pictures later.  But what I need from you, loyal reader, is to tell me who YOU think is a dreamy scientist.  I expect my comment section to be filled which means don’t send me a facebook message or whatever.

I’m excited, I hope you are.


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Pepperoni Roll Time

By now I’m sure you’re all familiar with a very delicious regional specialty native to the north central West Virginia cultural cradle:  The Pepperoni Roll.  Did you just say “pizza roll?”   You’re wrong.  This isn’t a pizza roll.   It’s miles and miles ahead of the pizza roll.  Forget the pizza roll.

For a primer on the food, I’ll direct you to this New York Times article where an east coast liberal elite lowers himself to the common folk.   Basically a pepperoni roll is a lot of pepperoni, either in a solid stick or in slices, depending on who you ask, rolled into a yeast roll (not pizza dough.  definitely not.)   You might put provolone or pepper jack (or hot pepper cheese, as it is universally referred to here) in it as well.   Bakeries in this area have been making them for many decades.  The story is they were invented by Italian coal miners to take into the mines.  (side note: the funniest part of that page is that the “interesting links” section is empty, because there is nothing more interesting than a pepperoni roll)  They are baked by small family owned bakeries and sold in gas stations and grocery stores.  My very favorite is Home Industry Bakery, and yes, partially because the name is so unpleasant, but also because they are so delicious.

Why have pepperoni rolls not taken the world by storm?   I mean, what’s not to love about a delicious meat and cheese snack kept at room temperature?  The rumor is that health regulations will not allow it to be sold outside of the state.  HOWEVER this is called an urban legend by Wikipedia and also I once bought a delicious Home Industry Bakery Hot Pepper Cheese pepperoni roll in Pennsylvania.

But this isn’t just a boring “wacky regional specialties” blog post.  Oh no sir.   I’m here to tell you that you, too, can enjoy the pepperoni roll–and you don’t have to come to West Virginia (or parts of pennsylvania) to do it!

Notice: the weight I've gained--all pepperoni rolls. all of it.

No sir, you can make them yourself!

But how?  I do not have a home industry!  I am not Italian!  I am not a coal miner’s wife!  Just follow these simple instructions and you too can enjoy a delicious treat that will make you look and feel like a real  West Virginian–obese, but friendly!

Ok!   Estelle’s Famous and Delicious Pepperoni Roll Recipe and Cure-All


One packet of dry active yeast in

3 tablespoons of warm water.

Wait for it to dissolve (5 mins or so).  THEN ADD

1 cup warm milk

5 tblsp butter, melted

4 or 5 tblsp sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp salt

Mix by hand for 1 minute, and gradually stir in

2 cups of all purpose flour

and add until dough is moist but not sticky

1.5-2 cups all purpose flour

Knead until dough is smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes) and oil the dough.  Cover loosely with a clean cloth and let it rise in a warm spot until it doubles (about 1 hour)

Then (and this is the fun part), grease a couple of baking sheets.  Pull out small balls of dough, maybe a little larger than a ping-pong ball, flatten and stretch them so that they are a circle.  Lay it flat on the baking sheet (this can be difficult since the dough is elastic, but don’t worry, it’s not important that they look all that good) and place in it pieces from:

1/2 a pound of pepperoni (pre-sliced)

1/2 a pound of cheese, either provolone, mozzarella, or hot pepper (optional)

The amount you put in each roll is up to you.  I am of the school of the more the better, but sometimes it can get hard to close.  All you need to do is make sure the pepperoni and cheese is wrapped fully inside the dough, you’ll come up with a good method.

As you finish wrapping them up, place them seams-down on the baking pan.  Then beat one egg and brush it over the top of the rolls.   Cover the rolls with plastic wrap and let them rise for another hour or so.  Preheat the oven to 400 and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until they look brown and delicious.

Let them cool before you eat them because cheese burns your mouth somethin awful.

wow. also, the ones on the plate were made with vegetarian pepperoni, which is less tasty.


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