Tuesday, April 05, 2005

this is grace in gravity

In a fit of not being altogether productive but yet wanting to keep myself frenzied last night, I embarked on another baking adventure that went, sadly, south. Actually, I say sadly, but I don't really mean it. Failures in baking give me a certain satisfaction. They signify experimentation, and they inform my next iteration. It occurred to me, during this process, that I am a tweaker more than an inventor. Also, I have a problem with authority. I can't follow recipes, to the point of neurose. I don't trust them, am never quite convinced that the recipe I'm reading is going to result in what I really want. I figure out what I have to keep constant, and then madness reigns. I can alter recipes to the point that the product in no way resembles the original, but I can't (or don't try to) come up with my own recipes.

Yesterday's attempt was 50% MacGyver, 50% actual desire to make something. I was looking in my refrigerator and thinking you know, you really need to do something with those apples soon... and those eggs are nearing the end of their usefulness. Next thing you know, a cake is born. It came out really bland though. If only I had a stick of chewing gum or some duct tape, maybe I could have solved the issues. Luckily for me, I have coworkers who apparently have no taste buds and will eat anything left for them in the break room.

The only real problem with this kind of excursion is that I'm taken back to my research days. I'm intrigued by the outcome of this experiment, and am contemplating what went wrong with the experiment. More cinnamon? Less maple syrup? I want to get back in the lab and run another experiment, change the variables, figure it out.

It should be noted that all of this was a nice distraction from the task that should have been at hand: Operation please in the name of all that is holy clean your apartment. My friend A is coming to visit on Friday, and, while I have often affectionately referred to him as a human garbage disposal for his uncanny ability to lay waste to even the crappiest of my attempts in the kitchen, I don't think a blech apple cake was really needed in preparation for his arrival. A and I have to figure out whether we're going to the Mojave this weekend to glimpse the wildflowers, or if we can work out a way to go to Yosemite to check out one of my favorite waterfall hikes. Or if we're just going to hang out in the Mission getting crunked. You have to keep your options open.

In other news, the time difference is still kicking my a**, and NC state winning the NCAA championship blows... mostly because I will have to hear my brother complain about it for the next decade or so.

On a far more serious note, lest you think I've gotten off my high horse about smoking... well, I have been feeling like I've been too preachy and judgemental towards people who are engaged in the whole smoking chic thing, but... I'm back to being a pain in the a** about it now. Driving in to work this morning, I saw a really old dude driving a beat up truck while flicking the ashes off his cigarette, and thought, now this guy I can't fault for smoking. If you make it to 80, fine, light 'em up, grandpa, you have earned the right to throw caution to the wind. But right after that, I heard this morning that Peter Jennings has lung cancer. Jennings, a former smoker, is an anchorman who has hidden depths. For one thing- his wit. Of all the network anchors, he's been the best sport about visiting The Daily Show. Chirpy Katie Couric could take a lesson or two from Jennings. So I thought it quite touching that he handled even this terrible news about his health with typical Jennings composure and understated humor:
"There will be good days and bad, which means some days I may be cranky and some days really cranky," he told ABC News employees in an e-mail.
That's impressive.

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