Sunday, January 6, 2008

Christmas Confessions

So, this post is a little late. I kept meaning to post it, but my camera and my computer always seemed so far apart, and I wanted pictures. You've probably had enough of holiday talk and revelry and want to get on with a new year. But if you'll indulge me, I'll make this quick.

I don't bake or cook very much, but each year around Christmas I try to make some Christmas goodies, and I usually give them away to friends and coworkers (some of whom act skeptical when a guy gives them homemade holiday treats). This year I didn't do too much. I only made orange cookies (as depicted in the above left) and some fudge (as seen below).

The orange cookies turned out great. Most people like them quite a bit. The secret is in the icing. I may be a bit too generous with the icing, but I don't really believe that is possible. The only real trouble I have with the orange cookies is that it seems like I make them bigger each year. This year you pretty much needed two hands to eat them. But they turned out pretty well regardless. And in truth, I like my Christmas goodies to have a little gusto to them. Not dainty, wimpy confections. But big treats that demand attention and make you worry about your weight while you can't stop eating them... Yeah! *ahem* Anyway...

The fudge also turned out pretty well, and I made two batches (one with mint extract and one with pecans). But while I was making the fudge, I couldn't help shake the feeling I was forgetting something. But everything seemed to be going well. So, I shrugged it off.

The next day, when I went to cut the fudge, I noticed it was really rather soft. Not in an entirely bad way, but my family's fudge recipe is usually fairly firm. I knew then that I had screwed something up, but I still couldn't figure it out. It tasted fine, so I took the fudge to work anyway. Everybody really liked it, but I was still curious as to what had happened.

That night I happened to be talking to my mom on the phone about something, and I brought up what happened with the fudge. And she says something along the lines of, "You boiled it for five minutes?" And I say something like, "What? The recipe doesn't say to boil it for five minutes" (even while remembering that is what I've done in the past). Then she says, "I'm pretty sure it does." And I'm all, "Let me check" because I think I couldn't have possibly missed this.

So, I go to check, and what do I see in the first line of the recipe?

I mean, it's underlined! How'd I miss that? Keep in mind that I have made this recipe many times before. So, I don't really have any excuses except for the fact that my mind wasn't entirely on the fudge, which is really more of an indictment than an excuse.

Also I shouldn't argue with my mother about the contents of the cookbook she wrote for our family. Sheesh! You'd think I'd at least know better than that.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The Risks of Global Climate Change

This video is over seven months old, but I only recently became aware of it. (Link here if it's not embedding.)

It's a cool example of how people can use the internet for something other than LOLCATS (not that there is anything wrong with LOLCATS). In this case, I think this gentleman makes an excellent attempt at shifting the discussion about global climate change away from whether humans are having an impact towards the idea of risk management.

Of course, while I think that's the proper discussion to be having, I am aware that it will be very difficult to stay on topic. Risk management can be a dry subject that really requires cool heads and responsible, humane leadership. Controversy, on the other hand, can be incited by any chucklehead with a radio program, newspaper column, or blog (this chucklehead included if this blog were read by somebody besides my mom). Unfortunately, controversy trumps dry discussion anytime. But I do agree with the video that if we want to work on this issue in a realistic manner we can make it happen.

I haven't had a chance to look at his other videos that he uses to bolster his arguments. So, I have no comment on those.