F 1 D 0 -- 02 11 13 at 1830 Small Discoveries. 1. Put the liquid in first. Oh, please stop laughing derisively. Yes, it's my own fault that I didn't truly read the important parts of my bread machine book. For this machine, it really likes the liquid next to the stirring blade. I use the Black and Decker. Tonight I'm making a bread with a lot of Feta Cheese and Basil. I suppose I should go have a look and see if it is rising ok. Oh! If you are buying a bread machine, be certain to get one which makes Quick Bread. I can't get anything from mine in less than three hours. My first machine gave me something in two hours, but one day it decided to stop baking. People should make them more like washing machines. It should be automatic, yes, but it should have a rotary control so you can start it mid-cycle when needed. It is easy enough to stop it early, just stop it! But to start it just to bake something? No can do. You may as well just pour the dough into the oven, and heat the house. I love how little heat these things make. 2. Instant yeast sucks. But that is because yeast crystals look the same when they work as when they don't. The way you use this stuff is easy. Pour ingredients in, and then push start. If the yeast works, then you get this fluffy loaf of bread. If it doesn't work, and you've been expecting trouble, you get a dense loaf, akin to a European Rye bread. I've had much trouble with the assorted packs and jars of instant yeast I've had. I was going to buy a pound of professional dry yeast but that's about 5.00 new, and 2.50 when reduced. I almost did, but figured it might not be any better. There is a bakery run by an elderly couple here. Kievela's Bakery. I went in and spoke with Hazel. I asked her what she uses. "Oh, we only use Fresh Yeast. We sell it you know! Only 70c a half pound." Life doesn't get better. A block of real yeast looks like halvah but it is so bubbly when you proof it. (add it to some warm water with sugar in it. If alive, it should bubble. Uh, this stuff foamed to fill a 3c conainer) 3. Snowfall helps the weather. I've been freezing here. It has NOT been especially cold. Maybe +10C or 50F. Still I was cold. The temperature dropped some more, to +5C or 40F. Now I was exceptionally chilly. All of the time. I'd wear something around my neck inside, and sometimes a hat too. Then we got some flurries yesterday. The temperature dropped to -10C or 15F. It should be exceptionally cold now, and I should be dead, right? No, something happened to me. Now it feels like winter. It looks like winter too. Bright sunshine, and white all over the place. It didn't snow so much as to ruin the roads. Oh, there is snow, but it is light and reasonable. Ah, but what happened to me? I really don't know the mechanics, but I'm not feeling cold any longer, even outside. 4. Hard drives die occasionally. Not mine. I'd come right out and tell you. But a friend at Bluegrass Jam was telling me how he's got a friend of his installing Windows XP because his system was just getting so slow and awful, it would not even burn a CD for him. Something about our chat made me think I should back up everything tonight or tomorrow. 5. I'm not orthodox. I saw a movie, Trembling Before G-d. This is a documentary about the trouble certain gays and lesbians experience. Which 'certain'? Those who happen to be jewish. But when I went to see the film, it is more specific, and explains the personal troubles of lifestyle among Orthodox Jewish Gay and Lesbian. I went to see the film hoping I'd find out more about my jewish roots. I saw lots of nice community shots of New York City that looked almost familiar to me. Those are roots, right? I didn't feel much in common with the degree of orthodoxy. But I truly understand the problem here. The torah says "...to put men who lie with men ... to death." Now even if we don't go around doing the Church Police thing, there is one thing someone of Orthodox Judaism will know for certain: there is no place for a gay/lesbian life. The movie was all about the guilt and the hiding. It was also concerned with how family was dealing with it. Never very well, but to get the sense of the family problems, you had to listen carefully. One man, he's 50 something, and his father is 90 something. So he wants to see him after 20 years. He writes his dad. His dad writes back, and says that he's not ready to see him, but they can talk on the telephone. (I'm thinking that this is still something positive, after no contact for so long). We as listeners get to hear the phonecall (I truly dislike speakerphones). The aged father is very busy getting up at 430am to pray (for his son), and is getting ready for the high holidays, and for yom kippur, and for sukkoth, and for (this), and for (that) and so he cannot get together to say hi to his son in person. A similar call happened to one of the women, where her dad calls, and says, "Sorry, this is just a quick call, I'm heading out to shuul, wishing you a good shabbat. Bye! (click!)" The woman cries to the camera. "He calls me like that every week. He never talks to me, never listens to me..." There was a lot of that in the film. These folks miss their parents, and nobody is getting any younger. I expect a film with this kind of agenda to be this way. It has a message. "Us religious gay and lesbian are lonely and we miss everyone. We're family, stop ignoring us." I doubt their families would watch this film. I realized how little I have in common with someone who is Frumm, that is, Jewish Orthodox. 6. I liked Moon Palace. Moon Palace is the pseudonym for Sai Woo, one of the oldest Canadianstyle Chinese food joints in Toronto. This was a short (25 min) film. We are introduced to a young guy who is rotting in front of the television set as his girlfriend moves out with everything else. During her lecture, he is clearly only noticing her breasts. He reads the classified ads, and look, she circled one for Moon Palace wanting a Writer (not a waiter). "I'm in the Restaurant Business!" That is the proprietor's theme song. He has a small room in the back where he can hear the private talk at each table, and our hero has a new job: to write a fortune which is timely to the people who come to eat. "I think you should install a microphone in the bathroom! I'm missing all of the good stuff!" he laments. "No! You listen to me, I'm in the Restaurant Business! You worry about doing your job!" If you should find it playing as part of a local film festival, make sure you get to see it. It has good magic. (continued twelve hours later) In the background as I write, I'm listening to Home Alone 2. This is just as much of an American Adventure as Arnold Schwarzenegger movie. Same realism, same good guys win, and I like the science. Anyone, even Macaulkay Culkin, can play MacIvor. Just earlier, I changed some of the bulbs around the house. We'll see if we can stand them. Many of them burn most of the time. I like the idea of areas which are lit all of the time. For such uses, I have installed Ikea's small fluorescent bulbs. The use 10 or 11 watts. In many ways they are brighter. If I look straight at them, they bother my eyes. And my friends say they notice the bad things about them all of the time. So we'll see. It isn't like I've thrown out the incandescent bulbs. I've just changed them to see if it makes a difference in the cost of Hydro (what many of us Canadians call electricity. We've become so used using waterfalls for power, the Hydro rather than the -electricity has stuck as a moniker). I'm wondering why I don't see more wind farms. There is lots of wind. It is nearly free. If the unit rotates, then it doesn't matter which direction the wind blows. I've seen one such wind thing up here in Thunder Bay, in someone's back yard. But it could be like a rooster on the roof- it may be only decorative. I'm rambling. I need to do more if I'm going to write about it, and make it interesting for you. You readers should do your share. Write to me and let me know what you've been doing with your lives. Tell me you're okay. Remind me your family is keeping well, and work isn't bad. Say hello. That's all I know.