Life Gives You Lemons

I don’t understand this
October 16, 2007, 7:00 pm
Filed under: news of the weird, random beauty

I don’t know what a sim is, or the exact definition of machinima. But I don’t have to. You don’t have to either.

This is beautiful. A “video” of creating Van Gogh’s Starry Starry Night within second life.

Found on Christopher Penn’s blog.


Coney Island, Thank you.
July 24, 2007, 2:56 pm
Filed under: heroes, news of the weird, parenting, random beauty, women

Who knew our debt to Coney Island?

This surreal back story on the origins of neonatology from Sweet|Salty:

Coney Island, he said. They had a display, a freak show, for lack of a better word. Perhaps one day a baby was born too soon and this experimentally-minded doctor said ‘Let’s see if we can keep this fetus alive outside the womb…’ and he managed it, and then again, and then they were all hooked, trying to get them to survive smaller and smaller, and nobody had ever seen such a thing. It was one of the most popular displays. 

We got off so easy. 34+ weeks. Healthy. Just 8 days’ NICU. Coney Island, I’ll never look at a corn dog the same way again.

Kate is another hero. My baby’s twin whispered silently, commonly, away just into the fetal period. She’s had the strength to meet, love, nurture and surrender her Liam, sharing his short life and radiant memoryspirit —

When the sun dapples through the trees they whisper we have him. They may be all the sum of osmosis and photosynthesis and veins and nutrients but to me altogether they are one voice that breathes, knows, keeps.

— with every one of us.

TV Timer: Faith in Redbook Edition
July 24, 2007, 2:16 pm
Filed under: Attention TV People!, news of the weird, rants

Ok friends, let’s review:

Monday, July 16th Jezebel Blows the cover on Redbook’s… cover

Tuesday, July 17th “The Blogosphere” picks it up and runs with it. Shout-out to this ABCNews blog for the first TV-related pickup. (Hmm, too bad ABC producers don’t even read your “own” blog?)

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday… All manner of stuff rots here at Life Gives You Lemons…

Monday, July 23rd Hey look, the TODAY show covering, well, LAST WEEK! (WTF?)

Previous TV Timer rants: Attention, TV Journalists! Delta, we have

Effectol. Um, yeah.
July 23, 2007, 10:12 pm
Filed under: news of the weird

Seriously, someone PAID people to write, direct, edit and “act” in this commerical? For Massengil? Seriously? I would embed the video, but Jezebel already has.

Nasty rotting food Thursday
July 20, 2007, 4:46 am
Filed under: news of the weird, odd random thoughts, random beauty, recipes

Tonight the gig’s up. You’ll know which is the foulest of eggs, tomatoes, carrots, ground turkey and potatoes.

I’ve really avoided sitting down to write this. But, it’s time for the ground turkey story.

We’d buy ground turkey in frozen 5 pound white plastic wrapped torpedoes. Thawed, the pink, pulpy mush wasn’t too bad in recipes. The tubes needed to thaw a few days in the refrigerator, but were otherwise pretty easy to use.

I should mention, the cook & engineer on a ship are bound to butt heads. Electricity, fresh water, refrigeration & cooking fuel are scarce. The engineer gets PO’d if, say, the cook blows the power system with a coffeepot, starts a grease fire, clogs the drain or stresses the delicate heating and cooling systems at her disposal. The cook’s never thrilled when stuff breaks, especially should the engineer not believe her. If the engineer was a fussy eater to boot, look out.

So this one engineer and I did. not. play. well. together. Irish guy, mid-40s. Nothing worked right that trip, and I blamed him. No meal was quite to his taste, and he pestered me for extras. Always at the moment I was exhausted and hiding behind the counter, having just birthed yet another sitting’s (there were 6 a day) worth of food. For 40. I managed to make crepes (for 40!) one time? He wanted lemon wedges and powdered sugar. Yeeeeah.

For all our mutual animosity, there was one night in St. George’s Bermuda, after a lot of Dark & Stormys, when he wanted to dance to a roaring Irish waltz. Nobody was up for the ‘old fashioned’ dance or the rapid pace. He conceded to ask me largely due to a new dress and cutoff cowboy boots. The band was great, and I wasn’t about to miss the chance. Laughter at the unlikely pairing snuffed out fast as we got going. I floated. I flew. I thrilled. We danced too fast and wild to remain upright, but somehow didn’t fall. I had no clue what I was doing and I didn’t have to. He danced for me. If waltzing always feels like that I’m a damn fool not to have dedicated my life to it.

Shortly after, the ground turkey exploded.

The refer had run warm for days. I thought the system was failing but couldn’t convince anyone. The engineer was in twice a day rolling his eyes and blaming the temps on overcrowding, warmth from leftovers, too much opening the lid and everything else but the basic problem that it was no longer cooling down.

Predictably, a tube of ground turkey set in there just to thaw quickly rotted, swelled, and popped its white plastic skin. I slid from surprise to horror to fury when I saw what had happened. The smell left little doubt what that gunk was. Greenish pink tufts of wet mush clung to everything. There was smelly pulp on every food item and surface inside the refer, even clogging the drain at the far end. I called in the engineer, demanded to know if he believed me now, and then threw everyone out of the galley.

No clue what we ate next or how. It felt like it took hours to unload, wipe down, sanitize and dispose of all the rotting meat. That the bulk of it could go overboard was a small blessing, but I was traumatized, mean, and thoroughly pissed.

It was pretty bad.

But, it was not THE nastiest rotting food experience I ever had…

Nasty rotting food Tuesday
July 18, 2007, 1:00 am
Filed under: news of the weird, odd random thoughts, recipes

This week, we’re playing “What’s the NASTIEST rotted food?

Today, tomatoes.

Here’s how to get by for a long time with your tomatoes:

Buy them as unripe as possible. Get rid of any with flaws. Wrap each in paper. Hope for the best. Edit regularly.

The paper trick (same as for the romaine yesterday, or the paper towel you should slip into any bag of greens, herbs, etc.)  absorbs surface moisture, condensation, etc. and prevents it from forming little pools of rot on the surface. It helps a lot, but some are going to go away on you. Some will go away quite quickly. Check the box frequently to get anything squishy out, and to rewrap squishy’s neighbors with fresh paper.

When they do go away, tomatoes become uber fragile water balloons with acidic, stinky centers. They  spatter foulness on impact. Too far gone and you can’t even pick them up. Often moldy too. Worst, you’re pretty likely to get some on your hands going through them.  It’s plenty gross, but I’ve seen worse. I’d give them a 4 too because while they’re less foul than a spoiled egg, they’re much more likely to make a mess.

So now what do you think the winner will be, ground turkey, carrots or potatoes?

Nasty rotting food week
July 17, 2007, 1:42 am
Filed under: news of the weird, odd random thoughts, recipes

Time to play “What’s the NASTIEST rotted food?”

My job once involved cooking for 40 with not so much of food storage. The game was: use everything *just* before it crossed from fresh to foul.

Don’t hurl, now. Understand, cooking anything before “its time” meant running into nasty canned food faster and enduring longer.

I had a relatively small, unreliable chest refrigerator. High priority items — fresh milk, romaine lettuce (that’s the heartiest, wrap it in paper to make it last longer), butter, maybe yogurt, leftovers, fragile fruits & veggies and whatever was thawing from the freezer went in here. The freezer was a cube in the wall just big enough to crawl into. (Barely. And I crawled in every turnaround to defrost and scrub.) I filled that to within millimeters of capacity – the only way to wrest weeks of good meals from such a modest cache.

Most of the fruit, vegetables and eggs sat out. Yeah, eggs. They do fine. (Flip them once a week so the yolk never sinks to the bottom. If it lays against the porous shell, oxygen goes to work. This is bad.) For whatever reason (less fat?) the albumin doesn’t have such a big issue with air.

Huge crates of produce were packed densely on a large, high platform and tarped, lashed down tightly, and left open to the salt air.

Riding herd on this much food stored in this way? Amusing.

Dealing with the cache when something crossed its line early? <<Shivers of horror>> I’ll assure you, I KNOW food rot.

So of carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, thawed ground turkey and eggs, which one’s the nastiest?

I’ll give you a new one each day. By Friday we’ll know. I’ll also read/post YOUR food rot war stories.

Today, eggs.

It’s not that rotten egg smell doesn’t suck. Nasty stuff. But not the nastiest.

They really *don’t* rot easily. Flip them weekly. After a few weeks, crack one at a time into a bowl first, but otherwise you’re good. Those that go round the bend are clear about it. Cracking the shell makes a sound that’s just wrong. The contents are watery, rank and the whole runny mess is yellowgrey. Throw that one away, scrub the testing bowl and move on with your life.

I swear it was more than 4 weeks before I’d start to see occasional bad eggs, and by week 6 there were still good ones to be had. Plus, the off ones were contained in tidy shells until opened.

I’d give rotten eggs maybe a 4 or 5 on the barf scale. Left in hot air they could get awful, but your ordinary egg decay is liveable. You can contain them, avoid them, and no foodmush on your hands.

*(Oh and if you can get eggs right from a chicken owner, DON’T wash or refrigerate them. Store them dirty, flip them until use, and scrub them right before use. If you wash off the poop right away tiny bits of that crud are pushed down into its pores to hang out with your beloved pre-omlette. Do Not Want.)

So go ahead, hit me with your nasty rotting food stories. And, bon appetit!