MUSIC: Number of Renaissance songs in my iTunes library (mostly ripped from Sasha's CD's): 139
Number of those songs I sang with Renaissance Choir: 10
DOES PASTA NEED LOTS OF WATER? I keep reading in various places that pasta should be cooked in huge amounts of water. Alton Brown, for instance, recommends that a single serving of pasta be cooked in no less than 3 quarts of water (the size of a large saucepan filled to the brim). Lidia Bastianich cooks pasta for four people in a stockpot. I, on the other hand, frequently cook pasta for two people in about 2 quarts of water or less.
Last night I decided to test this hypothesis. I cooked one serving of pasta in 1 quart of water, and simultaneously cooked one serving of pasta in 3 quarts of water. I put them in separate bowls, and Sasha and I each tasted both (without sauce). Sasha did a blind tasting, while I knew which was which. Neither of us could taste any difference at all between the two cooking methods. They were exactly equal in taste and tenderness.
Since large quantities of water take a long time to boil, I'm going to continue using small amounts of water to cook my pasta.
BUREAUCRACY UPDATE: About two weeks ago, I went to my local social security office to change my legal name from my birth name, Hanah Ayelet Metchis, to my desired married name, Hanah Metchis Volokh. The woman at the counter told me that this was impossible. With a marriage certificate instead of a legal name change form (the getting of which requires $90, 6 weeks, and a court hearing), she said she could only change my last name, not my middle name. She offered me the choice of being Hanah Ayelet Volokh or Hanah Ayelet Metchis-Volokh. With my hatred of hyphenated names, I chose the former.
Upon getting home, I realized that this made no sense whatsoever. I called the Social Security 800-number I found on the website, and the woman on the phone agreed with me that this made no sense whatsoever. I should have been able to change my name to Hanah Metchis Volokh, she said. She advised me to wait for the new card to arrive in the mail, then return to the office and try again. She told me to speak to a manager if they still gave me a hard time.
I did just that this morning. New card in hand, I went to the office expecting an hour-long wait. But the woman at the reception window was flabergasted by my story, took pity on me, and processed my form herself instead of sending me to the waiting room. Now that's good customer service!
I then proceeded to the DMV, where I waited for two hours to get a name change on my driver's license and a 2005 car registration sticker.
Soon both cards will arrive in the mail, and I'll be able to get on with changing my name on my financial information. Bleh.
RETURN OF THE KING: I just finished watching the Return of the King extended edition DVD for the first time, and it's fantastic. The additions during Frodo and Sam's trip into Mordor, and during the lead-up to the battle at the gates of Mordor were particularly good. I thought those sections seemed clipped and confusing in the theatrical release, but the extended edition gets them just right.
I'd been greatly anticipating the scenes of the confrontation between Gandalf and Saruman, but they turned out to be a bit disappointing. There was no reason to be quite that
unfaithful to the books. (I'll leave out details for those of you who haven't seen it yet.) And I would have enjoyed seeing even more of the Eowyn-Faramir romance.
Still, RotK extended edition is a great improvement over Two Towers extended, which I didn't like much at all. I thought the added scenes in TT rendered it unfocused and reflected badly on some of my favorite characters (especially Eowyn). But RotK has definitely been improved with the added scenes.