January 28, 2003
sugary and coffee-y

So, when I was about seven years old or so, I was under the impression that I could cook. I had a Mickey Mouse cookbook and everything. I actually had pretty good luck with it - as far as I can remember, anyway - except for one time. I was making some sugar cookies, and after the first batch, decided that dropping the batter out into individual cookies was too much of a pain, and that one giant cookie would not only be easier, but it would also be, well, a giant cookie! So, I took the remaining cookie batter, completely covered a cookie sheet with it, and put it in to bake. I think I may have overdone it a little bit. I tried for the longest time, in vain, to first get the burnt-on cookie off the sheet, then to just scrub the thing clean. Eventually, it had to be thrown away, and I distinctly remember staring wistfully at it in the garbage for a week or so, until it was taken away forever.

Twenty-five years later, history repeats itself.

So, as I mentioned briefly before, or not, I picked up a cookbook for Bernie the other day. She's been learning to cook more lately, and I'm pretty partial to this saucy British chick who seems to really like eating. So, I was flipping through it last night, and saw that there was a recipe for merengues. I'm a pretty big sucker for those store-bought flavored merengues that are showing up everywhere nowadays, and they're pretty much just egg whites and sugar, so I picked up some supplies at Central Market today, and started in on a batch. I swear, I hand whisked those goddamn egg whites for half an hour, and I swear that those little bastards stood up in white, fluffy peaks when I was done with them. Unfortunately, when I poured the junk into the piping bag, and tried to dispense it onto the cookie sheet in neat little dollops, it pretty much just oozed out, and ran all together in one big, flat pool of sticky stuff.

Suddenly, I was seven years old again, and this minor tragedy seemed to turn into a pretty good idea.

I mean, the oven was already pre-heated, right? And there's no sense in just wasting all this edible, if a little flat, goop, right? So, into the oven it goes. Forty minutes later, I take it out, and I'm confronted with a very solid, very flat, and very unappealing mass of carmelized gunk. I managed to break off a little flake, and it tasted... okay, but not anywhere near what I was looking for. Fortunately, I had the good sense to follow instructions, and lay down a protective coating of waxed paper between the baking surface and the cookie-sheet-killing mess. A couple crunches, and it was in the garbage, and I was on my way to the local kitchen superstore to get myself a damn electric hand mixer. After a brief period of quiet contemplation, I picked one, and came home to start on my second batch. Much better. Just a minute or two of whipping with the new appliance was probably equal to a couple of hours of carpal-tunnel inducing work with the crappy old hand whisk. Added sugar and coffee extract, popped in the oven for half an hour or so, and there we have it - thirty perfect little crunchy coffee puffs. And now, I can make them any time I want.

I crammed them all down in a couple of hours, with very little help. At least, now I know that when I eat a whole batch, it's less than two eggs, and probably less sugar than I put in a morning's worth of coffee...

Speaking of disasters, today was the 17th anniversary of the Challenger explosion. Seventeen years ago, I was in tenth grade, and one of the kids in my math class told me that the space shuttle blew up. I thought that was a pretty stupid joke. Next period, in computer class, we started watching the replays on television, and emailing each other back and forth over our VAX accounts about it. I'm still pretty pissed about that setting the space program back so much, for so long. Sometimes I feel like those seven people dying did more to set back the United States than the three thousand or so that got exploded and crushed last year ever will.

Of course, then our Fearless Leader has to open his mouth and make me think twice again. I made the mistake of listening to the state of the union address tonight. So pissed off. It's not so much that he's an evil, corrupt, lying sack of shit; it's that he gets away with it, and he's so obviously smug about it. I just can't understand how anyone can sit there and listen to him lie, over and over again, without saying anything. Or doing anything. The kids in Oakland want to riot over something, I think they can find something worhtwhile to bust shit up over here. Sometimes, I'm glad that it was Bush that was elected on a "zero year", and not the other guy. Me, I'm just gonna wait and see, and hopefully everything will work out just find, and the bad guys will just go away. Really, what else can you do? I got my voter's card thinger in the mail today. It's the first time I've been registered since the first - and last - time I voted, against Reagan in 1988. (I don't even remember who was running against him. Mondale, maybe?) It didn't matter then, and it won't matter now. I can't even bring myself to vote for a Democrat any more - both sides are pretty much the same soulless shitbag corporate puppets these days. They're both bad, just different kinds of bad. And the plain fact is that nobody that I feel is worth voting for, that represents anything even remotely like my views, is ever going to have a chance in Hell of winning anything.

<majcher> i figure voting for someone who has no chance of winning is just as good as not voting at all, only difference will be that people can't say, "you didn't vote, so you shouldn't talk".
<noid> I would do anything to preserve my right to piss and moan.
<majcher> it's all about marketing. doesn't matter who's right, or what people really think.
<majcher> whoever has the best ad campaigns (or can buy the most judges), wins.
<scott> or whhoever can convince most of america that everyone else is voting for them.
<majcher> i can't make people stop liking julia roberts movies, i can't get britney off the top 40, and there's no way in hell that i can get anyone anywhere near what i want elected.
<majcher> just never gonna happen.
<ranter> maybe you want the wrong people.
<majcher> maybe i do.
<ranter> and hey, i like julia roberts.


Back in the tiny world of things that I can actually control a little bit, the house buying process seems to be moving along nicely. We met Sasha for lunch today at a pretty nasty Vietnamese restaurant that everyone else here seems to absolutely love, but which has given me and Bernie gastric distress every time we've been there. Anyway, there were a couple of things for us to initial and sign, and a couple of details to smooth out. The current owners wanted to add a clause which allowed them to lease the house from us for up to 60 days after closing, to make sure they had enough time to find a new house. We weren't crazy about that, but we really like the place, so we rolled with it, but made sure that everything else we wanted was in there, too. We're doing thing funky little thing that Derek, our mortgage broker, recommended, where we get the sellers to include the closing costs in the price of the property, so they actually pay that, we put a couple thousand less down, and work that off over the course of the loan. It all sounds like black voodoo magic to me, but if it works, it works. I'm just looking forward to getting stuff all set up, and not moving again for a long time.

In other news, my uncle Bernard is playing with a band, backing up some eleven year old girl at an all-day music festival on Saturday, and helping out with a banjo workshop there that evening. Sounds like it should be a hoot. I so need to practice more. Get back on the "not sucking" train.

Speaking of which, it's after 5am, and I'm not asleep. What's up with that? I was getting up around this time a week or two ago. Out of bed, out of the house, doing stuff. I blame society.

(January 28, 2003 04:57 PM)

My god. majcher uses an oven successfully.

I voted in the last presidential election for the first time in my life. Fat lot of fucking good it did, too. My methodology? First, vote for all of the candidates that you know about and want. Then, vote for all of the women, unless they are Republican. Then, pick any third-party candidates for what's left. Then, you're left with positions that only have Republicans, or male Democrats. Vote those few Democrats in.


Posted by: brian on January 30, 2003 08:43 AM
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