Different kinds of cold.

For years I've been corresponding with people from Furrin Parts--Australia, Europe, Cananada, Back East (between the Miss. river and the eastern seaboard), Texas (warrants a mention all its own), New York (ditto)...and most of those places, come wintertime, have it far worse than us. We have occasional snow, once a winter or so. We have rain (well, the Hoh Rainforest is practically in our backyard).

And, we have cold.

For years, my foreign correspondents have said "You want to hear about COLD, well, foof, it was X degrees HERE this morning," and I guiltily agreed, because don't we live in a "temperate" zone? Isn't this USDA Zone 8 or thereabouts?

Hah. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, the renowned knitter and knitting author, had occasion to visit Port Ludlow recently for a knitting/fiber arts retreat. (Just down the road, near Sequim.) She is a resident of Toronto and knows from cold--matter of fact, I was just reading something she wrote in which she mentions how snow underfoot has a distinctive sound at fourteen degrees fahrenheit. Want to know what she said about our cold November rain?

I was cold. Cold hands, cold feet - I was under-prepared for the deep damp chill of the Pacific Northwest this time of year. It[...]is a committed and fierce sort of chilly that gets right into you and can only be relieved with warm baths, hot tea and woolly things.
  • Current Mood
    amused amused

Watching Mythbusters again...

...the "six mini myths" episode that aired recently. In it is a test of whether people actually DO know the back of their hands like, well, the back of their hands. Fine, good scientific technique (as far as I paid attention), good sample size, etc.

Then they decided to test whether people could pick their own teeth from photos. And that's when I realized this was another Different World incident.

Teeth are not only as individual as fingerprints, they're DISTINCTIVE. At least, in the world I live in.

My father has teeth so uneven the top front incisor is SIDEWAYS. I could pick a photo from a hundred toothy grins.
My husband has unique teeth also--gaps, unevenness, a "dead tooth" of the painless kind with a visible black core. I could pick the photo from dozens like it as well.
My own teeth? Again, the repairs, prostheses and fillings are totally distinctive.
My mother's might be slightly harder, as they're dentures and thus kind of standard-issue.

But the Mythbusters gallery of teeth were uniformly straight, white, even. No visible fillings, no gaps or crookedness, not even much variation in size.

Just as a sidebar, I'll point out that they assumed everyone brushed their teeth by staring into the mirror. I thought the commercials depicting such strange, but maybe people DO stare at themselves working up a lather with the toothbrush. I was taught to bend low over the sink to minimize toothpaste fallout, a behavior I've occasionally observed in others. (It's not like I have vast experience of random individuals brushing their teeth.)
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    contemplative contemplative

Okay, last "political" post for awhile, I promise.

The guy who does this comic HERE (NSFW if your coworkers are fast readers) included a kind of editorial the other day that echoed a lot of my own beliefs. I'll quote it here (WITH permission, natch):

TL;DR version: I’m a liberal moderate who likes guns. I support some social services, and oppose others. I’m anti-war at this time, although I do believe that going to war is something we have to do in special cases. I’m pro-abortion, anti-life, and yet anti-death-penalty. Blah blah blah, it doesn’t really matter what I think, does it? I’m just a damn cartoonist. But I think both sides need to agree: Cops are minutes away when seconds count. Your responsibility to protect your life, loved ones, and property ultimately comes down to you, when the hammer meets the anvil. And no matter what your views on guns are, there is no situation where knowing how to use a firearm safely, accurately, and properly, is a detriment to your life. The topic of firearms never should have become a partisan issue in the first place, because whether you’re a Democrat or Republican, a Libertarian or a member of the Green Party, a Pacifist, an Isolationist, a Marxist, or a Philanthropist, the truth is: If you live in the USA, your life and property are protected and made possible by guns, and those who use them – civil servants, or just citizens.

And he closed with

Let the hate mail commence.

I don't agree with him line for line, letter for letter, but it's close enough that maybe y'all can grok why I don't fall into lockstep for EITHER red or blue.

And no, I'm still not telling for whom I voted. It's secret ballot for a reason (are you listening, Instagram users?)
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    tired tired

On polling places.

They took ours away years ago, and I miss them.

I miss...

...going down in the cool evening to the Elementary school gym and walking into the bright warm gymnasium.

...the vaulted ceiling and the cathedral hush where rustling of the voter-reg books echoed off the beams.

...the little old ladies who volunteered and how they were always happy to see you.

...choosing a "voting booth", which was usually a study carrel from the school.

...the machine and the little punch-stylus you used to mark the ballot.

...depositing the ballot into the scarred plywood box and wondering where it was kept between elections.

I miss the "I Voted!" sticker the nice little old ladies would give you as you left, and which I would carefully transfer to my clothes for the next day.

Tenino isn't quite Dixville Notch, but there was never a line, never a wait.

They took that away in 2005. Now you must mark the ballot in the "privacy of your home" and entrust it to either the vagaries of the postal system or a metal depository sitting in a cold, wet parking lot.
  • Current Mood
    cranky cranky

Sometimes I just want to swear and kick things.

The Walmart ad I'm looking at features an appeal to make a difference for hungry families. Fighting hunger together. One in six Americans struggle with hunger. You can help other families. Working together for hunger relief.

Fine, whatever. I’ve accepted charity from food banks in the past, and I've donated goods as well. Let us peruse the goods advertised with this noble appeal.

Cold cereal.
One, two, three, four, five, SIX varieties. Most so sweet I can’t even gag them down, which is why I debated putting them in the next category.

"Toaster strudel", its rival poppie-tarts, "fruit snacks", cereal treats (three varieties), granola bars (three varieties), ice cream bars, gelatin-and-candy mix that I don’t even want to know about, brownie mix.

Processed crap.
The helper of hamburger, the dehydrated potatoes with dubious sauce, boxes of pasta with equally dubious sauce, canned pasta, shelf-stable cheese (y'all know the one), instant rice with that sauce again, frozen pizza rolls, powdered-and-reconstituted potato chips sold in stacks, fluorescent-orange cheese crackers, "snack mix" based on crackers, and oleomargarine by the bucket.

The few things I would even consider buying for my own household:

Canned vegetables. One brand, one type of vegetable photographed.
Mayonnaise. While I know how to make it, storebought does make it easier.
Genuine honest cheese from the refrigerated section.
Tomato-based pasta sauce in glass jars. (An unlikely purchase considering how many tomatoes I have, but I said the ones I would consider.)
  • Current Mood
    cranky cranky

I did not watch the debate last night.

Nor the veep debate, nor the debate before that. I've read accounts that called last night a draw, accounts that (while clearly partisan) proclaimed O won, and accounts that expressed disbelief at the unprofessional conduct of everyone down to the tech crew.

I tend to agree with Grey on this--his solution for debates: have each candidate stand up, read verbatim to the cameras, "My opponent is a lying, cheating piece of crap and *I* am the best candidate for the job," and then sit down...which would accomplish just as much and save a lot of time. I did marvel at the unprofessional conduct bit, though.

Interruptions. Why isn't the mike of the non-responding side cut off until it's time to talk again? This would seem to be simple common sense. And there are people squawking about the moderator interrupting. Why would a moderator need to interrupt? If a response is running over time, cut the mike. I understand it's not difficult.

Time. Apparently the CNN clock says it wasn't equal time. Again, this would seem to be simple enough to solve. (Some people are snarking that the D side needed more time to make up for the um-ah-er filler. I found this fairly witty, though again I have not seen the debate footage nor read a transcript.)
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    amused amused

Just a note to say...

...that regular, red tomatoes are too orangey-red inside to really carry off the "bloody" theme, but mix a few purple heirloom tomatoes into it and the sink starts looking like a gory mess.
  • Current Mood
    cheerful cheerful

Gray areas and zucchini

Last weekend Grey and I got into the car and drove into town JUST to buy a fast-food meal from a burger stand.

Yesterday I actually paid MONEY for zucchini, compounding it. I feel so...dirty.

(We did plant zucchini but harvested not a single squash.)

I wanted the aforementioned squash for this recipe:

1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
2 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup nuts

Cream together sugar, oil and butter. Add eggs, buttermilk and vanilla; mix well. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and cloves; gradually add to oil mixtue. Stir in zucchini, chocolate chips and almonds. Pour into a greased and floured tube pan. Bake at 325 for 55-60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn onto wire rack.

...I should add that "shredded" means the standard holes on a grater: neither fine like parmesan nor the big dime-sized holes you use for hashbrowns.
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    indescribable indescribable

Kitchen gadget meme

Bold the ones you have and use at least once a year, italicize the ones you have and don’t use, strike through the ones you have had but got rid of.

pasta machines, breadmakers, juicers, blenders, deep fat fryers, egg boilers, melon ballers, sandwich makers, pastry brushes, cheese knives, electric woks, miniature salad spinners, griddle pans, jam funnels, meat thermometers, filleting knives, egg poachers, cake stands, garlic crushers, martini glasses, tea strainers, bamboo steamers, pizza stones, coffee grinders, milk frothers, piping bags, banana stands, fluted pastry wheels, tagine dishes, conical strainers, rice cookers, steam cookers, pressure cookers, slow cookers, spaetzle makers, cookie presses, gravy strainers, double boilers (bains marie), sukiyaki stoves, food processors, ice cream makers, takoyaki makers, and fondue sets

Half of this stuff I don't even know. What in the name of flying fornication is an "egg boiler"? A "sandwich maker"? (You make sandwiches with your hands, doncha?) Conical strainer? (I've got a conical colander, does that count?) Gravy strainer? As distinct from a conical strainer, evidently... Oh, and I'm presuming that "jam funnel" means "canning funnel". I have a pressure canner, but I wouldn't call it a pressure COOKER since I don't cook in it. (It's raw-finish cast aluminum. No way any food is going in there that isn't encased in glass.)

If the urge ever comes over me to drink a martini (it hasn't thus far), I'll manage with a simple goblet.
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    cheerful cheerful