Saturday, December 30, 2006

Time for a Visit

I should be down Portland way for a week or more starting Sunday evening, perhaps we'll see each other there.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Merry Christmas


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Anything Seem Wrong?

So, I'm very good at most things in the kitchen. I cook well and I bake very well. I've even won awards for my pumpkin pies (okay, so it was at church, but I did win first place over more than 20 other bakers). I've rarely had any trouble with a recipe unless there was an unusual factor involved (like having to cook for more than a dozen people), I even have a good rate of success with delicate and exotic recipes and some of my best creations were adaptations I made of an existing recipe on a whim.

So, what I'm saying is, I am usually a good baker. I enjoy it and I'm good at it. Tonight, however, my baking skills might be compared to the skill of Colin Farrell at remaining celibate, or Kevin Federline at singing, or Kermit the Frog at commitment; in other words, I burned the cookies.

As if that were not embarrising enough, I ruined the Rice Krispies® Squares, which I believe, needs an apostrophe after the ess on Krispies®, since they are composed of Rice Krispies® and always contain more than one. To be perfectly honest, I didn't understand the instructions until after I ruined them. The box said to "melt the butter and marshmallows:" Done. "Mix in the Rice Krispies®," I can do that, or I thought so until I got to the line, "until well coated."

Now, let's do the math: the recipe calls for 40 marshmallows and one LARGE box of Rice Krispies®. The 40 marshmallows create about two cups of marshmallow gunk. Two cups of marshmallow gunk will hold approximately three quarters of a box together, if you really work hard and don't care about the taste. If you want it to taste good, two cups of marshmallow gunk is enough to hold about a dozen individual Rice Krispies® together (I think that this might be my first exaggeration in this entry). So, as you can see, if one follows the recipe on the box, one will get just what I got, a lump of loosely adhered and almost completely unsweetened Rice Krispies® "treats." That, my friends, is NOT treatastic.

One happy note: I've rekindled a love of mine. I learned to love burned cookies when my mom would spend the day baking cookies for my cousin, Todd, who used to visit frequently. Todd was very picky about his cookies, so mom would bake several batches until she got one just right. While some of those rejected batches were perfectly good and would be doled out as dessert, some of them, on rare occasion (I remember two instances), were the victim of an unpredictable oven's whims. These victimized cookies were then made available to the child population of the house to consume as they wished.

Gina, always a character of refined taste and of too much pride to stoop to eating the seconds (when she could procure the cookies of highest quality through bargaining, theft, or subterfuge) would leave the burned cookies to me, after removing the portion of older sibling tax that was her due, and which consisted of any cookies which escaped enough damage to have edible portions, would allow me to eat the largest portion of the remaining cookies (and would additionally allow me to hand over any "good" cookies that might come my way).

[I believe I shall let the previous paragraph/ sentence run-on as it wishes, for the sake of the fans, from whom I receive many encouragements in this regard]

Because of this method of cookie distribution, I became accustomed to the burned cookies. I cannot even say that this happened over time, for it seemed that I loved these extra- crispy rejects from the beginning. I loved their dark and sultry flavor, the crunch as I bit down on them, even the smell of sugar exposed to heat greater than its want. Because those were always chocolate chip cookies, I thought it was only their sinister appeal that drove me to distraction (yes, I, who regularly refuses dessert, I, who would rather bake dessert than eat it, I, who eats ice cream more often as a social lubricant than for enjoyment), but such was not the case. I just ate half- a- dozen burned gingerbread cookies, and was compelled to drink three glasses of milk (to which I have an allergy, and to the lactose of which I am intolerant) in the process.

I am sick (and my physical condition will soon match the condition of my disease, due to the milk).


Thursday, December 14, 2006


Warning: This will be a random set of rambling.

Yesterday was my mom's birthday, I don't know which one (and wouldn't tell if I did). My mom is one of the sweetest people whom I have ever had the pleasure to know. She will try to help anyone, and she doesn't really want anything in return (except maybe a courteous response).

It is not hard to figure out where she got all that caring; my grammie, the Christmas party of whom I had the pleasure of attending tonight at the Sunbridge Care Center, is the same way. They both always look out for other people before themselves and spread love around where ever they can.

Mom always wanted us to call her "mommy," but both of us just skipped that stage. Mom was mom or momma, but as I get older, mommy seems more fitting.

When I was three, Gina went off to school. I, who had never been parted from my sister for more than an hour or two, was miserable. I felt like I was being left out of all the good stuff. Gina, on the other hand, was perhaps even more miserable, stuck in a classroom all day and longing for freedom.

Mom, recognizing just how much I wanted to be doing something important, like Gina, decided to help me out. She planned special times each day to do something special, just the two of us. I don't remember what we actually did, but it was important.

Poor Gina. She came home from her unjust confinement (after all, she had already taught herself to read, and read she did: Tom Sawyer was her first book) and she discovered that while she was forced to where she didn't want to be and do things she didn't want to do, I was at home living a better life than she had gotten to have before her daily exile.

Seeing just how miserable Gina was, my parents decided that it would be best to take her out of school for a while and teach her at home; and that is what Mom did. Mom had learned a lot about education when she helped Dad get his Masters of Education, and on her own, and, let's face it, she was a natural teacher. I can honestly say that the most important lessons that I learned in our educational situation were not academic: we learned responsibility, the love of service, and the importance of creativity. We were treated with love and respect, and we needed love and respect. Gina and I have a lot to live up to, and I hope that TANK will have as wonderful a childhood as we did.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I Can Stop Any Time I Want to . . .

. . . which, evidently, means 1:34am, when I put it on pause until tomorrow.

Perhaps that is even more pathetic than the situation of the game site's name as outside the confines of good grammar.


Monday, December 11, 2006

Wisdom from Robert Jordan III

On his blog, Jordan says:
To all of those of who have posted that you are praying for me, thank you. For all of those who say you don’t believe, but you send good wishes, thank you, too. You think good wishes; God hears prayers.

Is God too proud to accept the prayers of unbelievers? I once tried to convince a Portland-area preacher that his sermon on how God doesn't hear the prayers of non-Christians was unscriptural. I was ready with several scriptures, but he wouldn't even entertain the idea that he might be wrong. If God is better than an idol, he must be good enough to hear the prayers of all people. The Hebrew prophets made it clear that God was not merely the God of Israel, but the God of all nations, whether they know it or not; he cares about pegans and Christians and Jews, and Muslims and it would be a bizzare and unmitigated lack of faith in him to believe that he only hears the prayers of one group. It would even be against the basic tenants of salvation itself if people who were bad could not pray that they might become better, if those who were idol worshipers could not pray that they could leave behind their gods.


Hit a Nerve?

Have you ever looked forward to dental surgery? Well, I do.

Every day I look forward to having my bottom left wisdom tooth cut out. Nature has already started the process. I have a hole in the tooth about a quarter of the size of the exposed area of the tooth, thogh it feels like it takes up a quarter of my body, especially when something hits the nerve. My beloved water pick has been very faithful in cleaning out anything that got itself wedged in there, but, and I am just speculating here, something sharp got in and pierced the thin piece of material that was keeping me from pain. I am currently using a temporary tooth patch, and waiting for Christmas, when I go home with my parents and they take me to a dentist and the dentist takes out a drill and cuts that puppy out. I just hope I don't have an absess or nerve damage or whatever.

Well, tonight I had to change the patch because it had broken. I had to wash out the hole . . . you know, the one with the live nerve. it wasn't so bad with the luke-warm water, but when I rinsed it with cold mouthwash I had to brace myself and pray for it to be over. All that trauma has me up until the current hour, but now the tooth-deadening stuff in the temporary filling is finally starting to work, maybe I'll get some sleep afterall.


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Wisdom from Robert Jordan II

(N)ever give up. No matter how bad things seem today, you just don’t give up. You don’t do it. As long as you believe that things will get better, they will. I don’t know why or how that works; it defies logic; but work it does. It is when [I] begin to believe that there is no hope that things start going bad. So DON’T GIVE UP! . . .

. . . When you are sure there’s nothing left, then you tell yourself, “I’m not giving up! I won’t quit!” And if you have to crawl into the ring, then you . . . crawl, man. You make the bell any way you can, and if you have to pull yourself to your feet by holding onto Liston’s trunks, you . . . do it. I know the pain. You can beat that. You can. It is surprising how you can make friends with the pain when you have to. Somehow, it doesn’t hurt so much then. It just is. But don’t you give up. . . .

--Robert Jordan

There've been a lot of people over the years I wish had listened to advice like that. It's good advice when you're shivering in a cold operating room, but it's even better advice when you don't know how you're going to make it through one more day without going nuts.


Monday, December 04, 2006

On Writing

I am a writer at heart, but not by nature. I love words and phrases, figures of speech and idioms, narrative devices and hooks. I have even been known to indulge in allerative interludes and color my speech with mondegreen and spoonerism; for all of that, though, I will never write naturally, I will likely never have an acceptable first draft, I will probably never feel that what I've written lives up to my standards, and I will, quite probably, always wish for one more revision before I have to surrender my work for criticism or for print. I would like to lay blame for all of that on my writing disability, but I think that such a stance is simplistic in the extreme.

You see, I do have a rather severe writing disability, and it does effect my work in all matters, from formulation to the way my fingers miss the proper keys; from skipping or repeating words, thoughts, or ideas to reading what I thought I wrote, rather than what the page says; but these things are more the origin of my problems with writing than the sum. Because I struggled to learn these tasks, which I will never master (barring an absurd miracle, like Jesus healing a hangnail and ignoring a leper), I have developed an almost insane desire to retype every sentence I write, never until it is up to my standards, but just until it is a little less . . . unrefined. This tendancy, in combination with a perverse and shatneresque inability to write without pauses, which if reflected in print, would engender more elipses, parentheses, and em-dashes than words, makes it unlikely that I will ever write half so beautifully as I believe that I should.

I am sure that you can understand, then, why I admire good writing, or writing that strives to contain the artistic value which legitimizes its existence. So I thought I'd share with you two of my favorite narrative bloggers; people who take the time to do what most of us do not even consider: conceive of a blog as a literary form, with every right to the artistic details and imaginative language that that one should expect of good narrative. I shall include a few links below to these writers, the skills of whom are still growing, but for whom the trajectory of their current work promises future excellence.

Warning: Some of the following contain infrequent, but decidedly objectionable content. Also, the author of this blog does not necessarily agree with the views expressed by these bloggers, he just recognizes the qualities reflected in their forms of expression.

Fight Club, Why Worry and Scenes from A Restaurant from Gary James at The Big Side Order. James is rather consistent in his quality, with a quirky sense of humor, and amazing aesthetic sensabilities (and a strong notion of when to violate them). I find his wit and openness worth the

I went to the County Fair, The Glass Seems as Dark as it Can be, and Ridiculous and Awkward from Steve at The Underground Railroad of My Mind. Steven is a thoughful and insightful philosopher. He often questions society, reality, Christianity, and his own intentions, and seldom lets the humerous or absurd pass unmarke.

If I were to compare writing to art, mine is architecture. The lines are generally straight, the construction designed primarily to hold weight. I wish I had the time and talent to develop the brush strokes and exhausting intricacy that writers like these bring even to their most informal utterances, making them nuanced paintings of the human condition.


Sunday, December 03, 2006

Story of the Year

Click the pic to read the story.

Amazing. I love that it worked, but I hope the kid gets a good psychologist before he tries it again.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]