21 September 2008
Some of you may be aware of my food obsession - the do-it-yourself trend. I make my own jerky (beef and venison) and yogurt. I even tried my hand at soft cheeses using black market milk. Don't get me started with enzymes and curd making. (No details to be provided in a public forum, but rest assured, public health was not compromised. And it tasted great.)
Last November, I purchased a smoker, and have used it with great success. It provides the taste of cooking over an open fire, without the drawbacks of traditional camping, like mosquitoes, and I still get to sleep in my own bed at night. To complete the picture, my cousin has recently provided me with a smoking jacket. My smoker already had an insulating jacket.
Now, my deep love of dairy is colliding with my deep love of smoke flavored goodness: smoked mozzarella. Cheese melts at the temperatures typically associated with smoking meat. You must keep it under 90 F to avoid disaster. Google an assortment of terms, and you quickly come to the realization that there is not a commercial product for this. Do-it-yourself cold smoker instructions abound on the web. (Who would have thought I'd ever find myself wanting to purchase a hot plate?)
So, I'm not the only one with this obsession. But it does give me pause to need (or at least want quite badly) something so niche.
I'm reading "The thing about life is that one day you'll be dead" by David Shields. He states that "Older people are more susceptible to distraction, have trouble coordinating multiple tasks, and have decreased attention spans."
So let me express my concern in another way: How will you know that I've finally lost it, when I've always been way out here?
10 September 2008
Now that it's been tested, and we're all still here, I can go back to my rant. The US will spend billions on a war, and we can't invest in the hard sciences?
21 July 2008
It does seem a little less controversial than my other recent selections: George Carlin, may he rest in peace, Richard Pryor, and Mark Twain.
20 July 2008
There are two readings, followed by the sermon itself.
Title: 3,100 photographs later: How circumnavigating the world has changed my perspective.
I have two readings.
"To mention, however faintly, the West’s cultural assault on the East, is, inevitably, to draw dangerously close to the fashionable belief that the First World is corrupting the Third. And to accept that AIDS and Rambo are the two great “Western” exports of 1985, is to encourage some all too easy conclusions... In place of physical imperialism, we often assert a kind of sentimental colonialism that would replace Rambo myths with Sambo myths and conclude, that because the First World feels guilty, the Third World must be innocent...
"This, however, I find simplistic... often, what we call corruption, they might be inclined to call progress or profit...
"If the first World is not invariably corrupting the Third, we are sometimes apt to leap to the opposite conclusion: that the Third World, in fact, is hustling the First. As tourists, moreover, we are so bombarded with importunities from a variety of locals – girls who live off their bodies and touts who live off their wits, merchants who use friendship to lure us into their stores and “students” who attach themselves to us in order to improve their English - that we begin to regard ourselves as beleaguered innocents and those we meet as shameless predators.
"To do so, however, is to ignore the great asymmetry that governs every meeting between tourist and local: that we are there by choice and they largely by circumstance; that we are traveling in the spirit of pleasure, adventure and romance, while they are mired in the more urgent business of trying to survive.
My second reading is from Po Bronson’s book, “What Should I Do with my Life?” The chapter entitled “Uncomfortable is Good; rehearsing for life’s improvisation”
"I corresponded with numerous people who were traveling in different parts of the world, hoping that while away, they might figure out what to with their life. Some returned with a new courage, and an insight into themselves... Many didn’t though. They had a good time, saw the world, and often wished they could keep traveling for the rest of their years. Insight into what they would do with themselves if they had to stand still? They weren’t able to milk that rock.
"Being uncomfortable is good. If you remain comfortable, you remain more or less yourself. The quickest way to make yourself uncomfortable is to travel alone. I found high correlation between traveling alone and milking the rock. It takes courage to change your life. Sometimes, doing so, you feel all alone in life. You can get used to this scary feeling by traveling alone...
"It also helped to travel without a plan... [it’s] a way to rehearse the improvisational approach, and opens your mind to the sense of adventure. You learn to trust the laws of chance. Perhaps, when you get home, you’ll be willing to do the same.
"When you subdue these fears, they no longer guard the gates, and you invite the truth into your life.
In the late 1960’s, my father wanted to see the world. Dad joined the Peace Corps, went to India, and met Mom. A secret courtship and bribery of a cabinet-level official began their life together. Next year, they’ll celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary. I tell you this for two reasons. First, so that you know that I consider myself to be, quite literally, the product of American idealism. Second, there’s a fine family tradition of wandering the earth to find yourself.
When I got back, there were certain questions everyone asked:
Question: What place did you like best? Answer: India with the family, and Croatia of all places.
Question: What was the weirdest thing you ate? Answer: I had several meals that were “point and eat.” So I guess the answer is “unknown.”
Question: How were the bathrooms? Answer: Ingenious in their own right, but unspeakable.
But there was one question asked of me only once, and it stopped me in my tracks. Question: So, what did you learn? I think this sermon is my answer.
May we find the strength to wander in our own way, seeking our own truth.
May we be open to the chance to see someone else’s view.
And may a monkey never eat your Snickers bar.
16 July 2008
As I stood there chatting with Judy, I opened the bottle, and the contents started to spew. And spew. Since there was no end in sight, I made the 50 foot dash to the kitchen to get the bottle to the sink. Cue the laughter from the co-workers about my shitastic day.
Next stop, the internet. I needed some sort of cleansing ritual; someway to restart this day. Strangely, people on the internet take this seriously. They all wanted me to buy some detox potion. Oprah's article on "How to Move On" was no help. I was really just looking for a chant, perhaps a dance, something easy to designate a new start to my day. This site wasn't promising, but not enough content to really do the job.
Thank goodness it's not Groundhog Day...
09 April 2007
Anyway. I read in the NY Times that they have finally bred an unstinky durian. I don't think it's the same. It's not that I am a durian connoisseur; I can't judge it like wine or beer or cheese. So why am I upset? It's homogenizing food.
It's an affront to me because it's removing a barrier to entry. You don't have to go out on a limb to gain a new experience. There's less on the line.
Let's not have life be too easy.