Chorizo cookies

I baked a cake today. A birthday cake. Red velvet. I enjoy baking. I’m better at baking bread than cake. Bread requires fewer ingredients. Usually. Yeah. Bread has more steps but fewer ingredients. There’s kneading, which is some work. But it’s pleasant. And I like the whole yeast thing. I get a cup of water, right around 110 degrees. I put some sugar in. I add yeast. The yeast blooms. Then you pop in flour and more water and off you go. Salt.

With cake you’re about to get going then you realize the butter isn’t room temperature. So you wait. Wait for the butter to warm up. It needs to be room temperature. I’m not sure why. God forbid you need buttermilk. The grocery stores around here have one brand of buttermilk. The expiration date? Tomorrow. Don’t sniff it. Buttermilk smells weird. Is this what buttermilk smells like? Has it gone bad? You need eggs and baking soda and salt and vanilla and flour, etc.

Something always goes wrong when I bake a cake. For example. Today, there was no red food coloring. I baked a red velvet cake, you see. I bought red food coloring. I remember the tiny box. I brought my youngest daughter to the grocery store. She sat in the shopping cart, taking it all in. She rarely visits the grocery store. It’s very exciting for her. AVOCADOS! BALLOONS! HOT DOGS! COOKIES! BLACKBERRIES!

I picked the red food coloring box off the shelf. A tiny box. I showed it to my daughter, put it in the cart, paid for it. I see it on the receipt. But I don’t recall unpacking it. I don’t recall removing it from a grocery bag and putting it in the pantry. Maybe it was misplaced. I couldn’t find it. So the cake wasn’t red. Sort of reddish brown. It was a reddish brown velvet cake.

You need to sift flour. I hate sifting flour. I hate cleaning those metal sifters with their tiny, obnoxious holes.

I like baking pie more than cake. Flour and butter and salt. Fun. I like pie crust. I like the potential of pie crust. You can put anything in there. Apples. Pumpkin. Pepperoni. Cheese. You can do whatever you want. It’s a pie crust. Cake doesn’t really work that way. Cake is inflexible. No one wants to eat a chorizo cake. Bread and pie, you can do whatever you want. I also like the little beads you put in the crust when you pre-bake it.

What about cookies? I wonder if anyone would tolerate a chorizo cookie? Maybe it depends on how you make the dough. I would eat it. Pasta, I also like making pasta.

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Categorized as cooking

Goose farts

In the time between compact disks and streaming, we had mp3s. A person would use software to search for music and download the music from other users. It was fun. Back then internet connections were garbage, so I spent a lot of time hunting for users who had good connection speed and a lot of interesting music. Some people didn’t share music, they only downloaded it. The term for that was leeching. Do people still say that? Who cares. We’re probably taking about 1999ish is when this started and it stayed this way for a good long time. Throughout my 20s and into my 30s. Eventually it became more convenient to just stream music using Pandora, Spotify, whatever.

Back in 2000 you would have thousands of mp3s on your computer. I would visit friends or whoever and music was constantly playing. There was always a laptop attached to a sound system and a sad old desktop riddled with viruses was looping on random through a playlist of thousands of mp3s. You see, the mp3s were files that you played using software. In my experience this software was generally Winamp. You could use Winamp to listen to a song or an album or a list of random songs.

Another new concept was the playlist. Of course had mix tapes in formats like cassette or cd. I loved making mix tapes. I recorded songs from CDs and the radio. I preferred cassettes because they were durable. And I didn’t own a car with a CD player until long after the technology was relevant. Mix tapes had limitations based on store space (for a CD) or total minutes (for a cassette). Playlists had no such limitation. Playlists could contain thousands of songs, days of music. All kinds of music. I made a lot of playlists.

Time passed and here we are. I work too much. I have two kids. I certainly don’t have the time or energy to curate thoughtful playlists like the navel-gazing weirdo who wore my skin 20 years ago. But I do have a list, one list. That list is goose farts.

I like geese because they are ornery. They eat grass in mud. They go to the bathroom all over walkways. They don’t take any grief. And they stick together. I overthink a lot of garbage. This is probably a relic from when I had way too much time on my hands.

I started adding songs to goose farts in 2016. I originally created it earlier than that, but my Spotify account got hacked. I got to work one morning and realized some bozo deleted my playlist and all my albums. So I booted him out, set up 2FA, and started again. All the songs are sorted based on the order I added them. That’s not particularly helpful. Sometimes songs go dark: they stay on the list but I guess they’re no longer on Spotify. That’s an annoying nuance I didn’t have to deal with in 2002. Oh well.

Shovel reptile

I’ve been reading Digging Up the Past by Edwin Colbert. I bought the book a couple of years ago. I was excited about the lystrosaurus and continental drift. The lystrosaurus (meaning shovel reptile) was a funny looking reptile that was built like a pig. I say funny looking. I’m being kind. That said, the lystrosaurus survived the mass extinction event at the end of the Permian period. It was a dumb looking but badass reptile that survived an apocalypse and went on to dominate earth in the early Triassic for millions of years. Cool. Edwin Colbert was a paleontologist. Colbert found a lystrosaurus in Antarctica. Lystrosaurus fossils had previously been found in Africa and India. This discovery ultimately led to broader acceptance of the continental drift theory.  

Anyway, Edwin wrote this memoir, Digging Up the Past, in the late 80s, at the tail end of his career. Several years ago I was all fired up about the lystrosaurus. Who knows why? Probably because it’s stupid looking and I’m a sucker for anything that looks stupid. I was also really excited about continental drift. I hate the concept of permanence. Nothing is permanent. Not even the location of the ground beneath our feet. I love that. So here is a book about a guy who dug up a stupid looking reptile and wrote about continental drift. Double whammy. Because I’m Mike Lynch I promptly bought the book, added it to the pile, and forgot about it. Then I found the book a few weeks ago and started reading it. And to be honest what makes it interesting isn’t even paleontology. He doesn’t even become a paleontologist until about 200 pages into the book.

I was born in 1980. Edwin Colbert was born in 1905. He talks about growing up in the time before cars, what his education was like, rural pre-WW1 Iowa, his family dogs, the neighborhood kids, how he learned his trade (paleontology). The language is dull and the stories are long winded. This book is not a page turner. The guy can write but he’s no Alexander Dumas. He loved reading. I want to say he studied English in college. This book actually turned me on to some books that were popular in Edwin’s day but I had never heard of. Jalna by Mazo de la Roche for example. Apparently Jalna was a big hit in the 1920s. Who knew? Not me. It’s random discoveries like this that make the book interesting. Colbert died in 2001 at the age of 96. He is from an era that overlapped with mine but only for a little while. We shared time on this earth for a good 21 years and yet almost everything about him is entirely foreign to me.

Anyway. Why am I still writing about this?

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Categorized as dinosaurs

Broken website

So my website broke! I think the theme I was using went belly-up after the transition from PHP 7.2 to PHP 8. What can you do? The theme was about 7 years old, so it had a decent run. I’ll have to try and find a new one. At least the website isn’t broken anymore. I also salvaged all the files, which is great. I hate to throw anything away.

Maybe since the old site is gone I should just try something completely different. Maybe I should just write in WordPress. Imagine that? What is this, 2005?

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Categorized as BS