2018.03 minutiae

  • One thing I forgot to mention in my Centennial article back in February: near the end, we see a character’s ancestry chart.  His paternal grandmother is Pale Star Zendt, 1874-1939.  Her mother is Prudence Wolf, 1866-1936.  I read this book before I had a very clear understanding of human reproduction.  For the longest time I thought that only cultural taboos were keeping the eight‑year‑olds I knew from having babies.

  • I found this hanging in a classroom:
    If any History Channel execs are reading this, I am pleased to present you with your new logo.

  • While one of my (adult) tutoring students wandered off to take what turned out to be a half‑hour phone call, I heard a “flutter‐BANG!‐thump, flutter‐BANG!‐thump” sound in the living room, and when I went to investigate, I found a wren repeatedly bashing into the picture windows.  It took me a moment to realize that somehow the wren was inside the house, trying to get outside.  Those windows didn’t open, but a small window in the next room did, so I tried to direct the bird in that direction, with no luck.  Finally I found a paper bag and successfully captured the wren, then took it outside and let it go.  It probably flew directly into a mulching mower or something.

  • Seen at the BART station:
    From far away I could only make out the question, and I honestly thought this would turn out to be an ad for the Democrats.

  • I am terrible at putting important objects in places I can remember.  I have to budget five extra minutes for myself before I leave for work just in case I need them to find my keys.  A couple of weeks ago I found my keys, but could not find my wallet, and I had to run to campus to give a presentation.  After several minutes of searching I was in danger of being late and had to get going.  But it felt so weird heading out of the house without my wallet that I couldn’t stand it.  I ran back inside and grabbed my Canadian wallet (contents: CDN$45 in plastic bills, CDN$7.88 in coins, TD Canada Trust bank card, seven BC Transit tickets, and a pass to the 2016 Victoria Film Festival) just so I would have the right amount of weight in my pocket.

  • Why do people on the internets announce their preferred pronouns as e.g. “she/her” or “they/them”?  Do they think that readers do not know the correspondence between subject and object case?  Are there people who mix and match, like “she/him”?  If people are going to specify both subject and object, why not throw in the possessive and reflexive while they’re at it?  This may seem flippant, but I genuinely do want to know why people say “I’m a he/him” instead of just “I’m a he”.  It’s redundant information!

  • This month’s Australian dessert: “melting moments”.  They did not turn out well.  I had to make buttercream, which involved whipping cream into butter.  I was skeptical about whether this would work for me, because while I can whip up an amazing pasta sauce or vegetable curry, I can’t get eggs to whip to stiff peaks and this seemed like the same sort of deal.  So I was pleasantly surprised when the whipped cream turned from a thick liquid into something with some solidity to it—​it looked like pipeable cupcake frosting, which was what the pictures suggested was my goal.  But when I tried to assemble the melting moments, the “buttercream” gave way beneath the weight of the top cookie almost instantly, and when I tried to whip it some more, at first it did no good and then it did actual bad, turning the mixure back into a liquid.  I guess it’s just as well, since I did’t like the cookies either: they were thick, crumbly, and dry.  Viking princess Julia would run me through with a broadsword.

    But perhaps I will pick up some tips before my next minutiae article goes up, because apparently Masterchef Australia is returning on April 29!  No longer will I need to get through my evenings chomping on fistfuls of macadamia nuts while listening to Spiderbait records and weeping.

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