A Stationary Odyssey

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Drinking Liberally.

I found a mention of this group, http://drinkingliberally.org/, which has a chapter in Ithaca. It seems like a group that gets together at a bar and drinks and talks politics, and are liberal. It sounds interesting enough that I might wander in some time.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Christmas Gingerbread House.

As we were getting ready for Thanksgiving this year, I found the gingerbread house mold I was given years ago, but only used once to make a chocolate house. We decided that we'd actually make the gingerbread house this year. Here it is in front of our Christmas tree (the first we've had in three years, mainly because we had been travelling for Christmas until this year). The gingerbread itself is quite strong and crisp, with no leavening at all, but tastes really good, like a molasses gingersnap.

Unfortunately, I forgot to mention the "molasses" part to Dan, who was part of the group that came over on Saturday for a little get-together. Molasses makes Dan's mouth tingle, apparently some kind of food sensitivity, and he tried one of the cookies. He knew immediately that it had a lot of molasses in it (organic molasses, of course), so stopped after biting off the head of the gingerbread man. He said it was probably OK, but had a couple of other things to clear the molasses out as a precaution.

The "smoke" rising from the chimney is a pair of meringue cookies put together with the same frosting that was used to assemble and decorate the house.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Artisanal Food


My brother posted this link on his blog, which is another blog (blog, blog, blog - sounds like an ogre walking through mud in a fairly tale). It is about the rise of artisanal food, mainly in the U.S. with a mention of Europe but my brother also sees it in Uruguay.

As someone who has made his own cheese, bread, mead, beer, vinegar (though it was terrible and I threw it out), and more, and buys as much at the Farmer's Market as I can, I really believe I am part of this "movement." I think the original post is good, but leaves out some other issues such as food miles as part of the locality issue. I read about global climate change, see where it comes from (trucks bringing food from California to New York, for example), and say, "I want to help stop that." So, I don't buy California foods unless I don't have a choice. There's also issues like taste, nutrition (fresher foods have more nutrients), and the absence of rocket fuel or, hopefully, E. coli. I suspect Ithaca is a hotbed of this kind of thinking.

One interesting comparison would be the Arts and Crafts movement of 100 years ago, which I think is based on a similar ideology. Perhaps I'll follow up on that if I get a chance.

Here's a picture of our cheese making in progress, the "bag method" of draining the curd. Its hanging over the sink.

The new laptop has a built in media reader, so I can directly read both the memory stick from my camcorder and the card from Laurie's digital camera. Here are some images from various places. I'll put more up as I go along.

This first picture is from Green Lakes State Park, near Syracuse. The lake has a reef-like formation, made of calcium carbonate around bateria. The lakes are very deep, and the marl creates a shelf just below the surface. A variety of unusual things, like fresh-water sponges, live below the shelf.

This is a view down the lake, which is a small glacial lake.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Even in Texas, the GOP loses...


Upgrading technology.

Yesterday, we replaced a dozen incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents (CFL), which, presuming average use, should save a ton of C02 production a year. Now, most of the lights are ones we don't use that much, but it should make a difference. We also replaced one desk light that had 2 40W incandescents with a larger light that has 3 20W CFLs for a net reduction of about 20W and a net gain of, oh, a couple thousand lumens. Its bright enough we don't need the overhead anymore except on rare instances. The new lamp also has the option to turn on and off each bulb independently, so we can cut it down as much as we like. The reports say that if each household replaces one incandescent with one CFL, the energy demand for the country will be cut by some enormous amount. I guess we've helped counter-act a few less-enlightened households since we did 12.

I also got a new laptop that is really nice, replacing the old one that came from our friend Florence. It has the fingerprint swipe sensor, which as much as it seems like something from Mission Impossible, is convenient. You swipe your finger and it logs you on. You can also use it for websites, so you don't have to worry so much about keyboard captures from spyware if those make it onto the system. The only problem so far is it doesn't seem to hold the wireless connection at home very well. It seems like the wireless connection disables itself after a little while being idle. I'll try updating the drivers and see if that helps.

In other news, we're having a holiday party on Saturday, so if I missed sending an email, you know us, are local, and see this in time, drop by. If you're not local and happen to be in the area, drop by too.