Friday, January 30, 2009

Favorite passage from a lunchtime read

This is out of David Sedaris' When You are Engulfed in Flames, and I think that if you stop at just the right point in this section it's a beautifully poignant look at human nature. Fortunately for us, Sedaris goes beyond that point and gives us something to snort with laughter at in our offices.

"I remember once riding in the car with my dad. I was twelve, and it was just the two of us, coming home from the bank. We'd been silent for blocks, when out of nowhere he turned to me, saying, 'I want you to know that I've never once cheated on your mother.'

'Um. OK,' I said. And then he turned on the radio and listened to a football game.

Years later, I mentioned this incident to a friend, who speculated that my father had said this specifically because he had been unfaithful. 'That was a guilty conscience talking,' she said, but I knew that she was wrong. More likely my father was having some problem at work and needed to remind himself that he was not completely worthless. It sounds like something you'd read on a movie poster: sometimes the sins you haven't committed are all you have to hold on to. If you're really desperate, you might need to grope, saying, for example, 'I've never killed anyone with a hammer' or 'I've never stolen from anyone who didn't deserve it.' But whatever his faults, my dad did not have to stoop quite that low."

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Not counting my chickens yet, but...

Dang, that's some fine cheese. I know because I made it and pressed it and dried it myself. I lovingly (perhaps a little paranoidly) turned it over and over as it dried, so one end wouldn't be any moister than the other. I smelled it sometimes.

Ok, I smelled it a lot. I smelled it every time I turned it over, perhaps 50 times in four days. Sometimes I smelled it twice when turning it over. Sometimes I smelled it in between turnings. It just smells good, ok? I'm not sure I can stand to wait a whole four weeks before eating it. More than once I nearly took a big chomp out of it while smelling. There might even have been drool.

I think I covet my cheese.

What I do not covet, however, is the crappy waxing job I did on it. Yes, that is a big ol' thumbprint in the top of the wax, and no, I don't own a pastry brush. Turns out that putting a few layers of wax onto a cheese without using a pastry brush and without burning your fingers is pretty difficult to do. But it's done! Now I have to wait. Probably the most difficult stage of all the cheesemaking stages. You should check back with me in a month. I'll let you know how it went.

Also? I've got two more gallons of milk in the fridge (it was on sale, I promise!) that will begin the process on Saturday. I'm stoked.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A promise I have no problem with

Alright, so yesterday I found an amazing book on a free books pile. A free books pile in itself is a beautiful thing, and when there's a book in there that looks interesting, it's just an added bonus. I've come across a couple of these books; sometimes I just take it because I like the cover (see: five paperbacks of, like, academic journal bibliographies swiped from a geography department in Canada, and an issue of American Quarterly with a picture of a woman wearing a gas mask while pushing her child in a stroller, also be-gas masked), while other times it's an actual book that I read and enjoy (like the memoirs of some blind guy on how being blind doesn't preclude you from being a normal guy).

The book I got yesterday was an encyclopedia of religion. Yes, you can open the book and find entries on faith, necromancy, and every kind of protestantism there was in 1945. I was standing there next to the book pile, gloating over my good fortune in finding this gem, when our Jane Austen-loving male friend came up and asked what I was reading. I showed him the book with glee, and he totally confirmed my good taste. Thank goodness, because on other occasions when I have been excited about things I have been shut down by people who do not understand the coolness! of the things! He got excited about the book and asked me to look up a few things, and expressed his jealousy that I got to it first.

Just as we were about to part, me going back to work and he going back to work on his comps, he asked in passing the name of the compiler. The best part! This man's name was Vergilius Ferm. If we ever had any doubt as to the legitimacy or accuracy of the book, or even the sheer wonder of the book, the name on the spine would be an instant reassurance. Vergilius Ferm. The stamp of authority. Vergilius Ferm! Before we parted, the Austenite made me promise that my firstborn son (or even my firstborn daughter) would be named Vergilius Ferm.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Things that Make the World a Sadder Place

Little Women (the Winona Ryder version)


Police chase video TV shows

Arm Fat (stomach fat and leg fat as well)

That scene in Animal Farm where the starving, cold animals smell barley wafting from the house and think the pigs are making them a warm mash, when they're really making beer for themselves. *Sob*.

Capitalism (sort of)

Things the World would be Sadder Without

Pyrex bowls

James Thurber

Dr Mario



Ice water



Hershey's fake white chocolate with minty sprinkles in it


The Beatles in general, and George Harrison in particular (also John Lennon [Ringo Starr as well {I guess Paul is ok, although, as Mimi Smartypants pointed out, he does look a little too much like Angela Lansbury now that he's old}])

The whole concept of dinner and a movie

Pamper-y bathroom things like lotion and nice soaps