Geek. Pirate. Mom

The Life and Times of Whitney Drake

Archive for April, 2010

My thoughts on Apple and Flash.

Okay, people. I’m a geek. I’ve been using computers since I was a kid and still remember DOS. I studied computer science in college. I’ve been designing web pages since 1997, though I still have a lot to learn about some of the newer changes (forgive me, two kids’ll knock you out of the loop).

So I’ve been very interested in this ongoing tech kerfluffle between Apple and Adobe over the iPhone/iPad and Flash. Steve Jobs posted this on apple.com today, explaining his stance on Flash.

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Quick: Dr. Drew is lame.

I have a much longer subject I’d like to share my thoughts about, but I’d like to address this first. I’ve lost all respect for Dr. Drew.

In his latest bizarre interview, Dr. Drew Pinsky (host of radio show Loveline, and television programs Celebrity Rehab and it’s various spin-offs) decided to discuss Sandra Bullock. Specifically, that he believes she suffers from a “love addiction” where the individual is so obsessed with love that they idealize their partner and don’t see their faults. He does say that she’s coping with the aftermath of her relationship falling apart well.

Love addiction? His definition pretty much encompasses most people in relationships. We’ve all had someone that we’ve been involved with where we saw the good aspects and our friends realized they weren’t any good for us. Not only that, he’s implying that there are always signs. How many times have there been news stories about a man who had multiple wives who had no idea? Plenty. There are guys who are great at compartmentalizing their lives to the point where nobody would know. Plus, she had her own life. Work to worry about, and apparently an adoption to be invested in. It’s easy to not notice the signs- you don’t need an addiction.

Besides, one would assume that a love addiction would be a life-long thing. By my count, Sandra Bullock’s been in enough relationships that didn’t last long- where admittedly, she didn’t want to commit, that it would seem that this was unique to her marriage. That she was vested in her marriage and being happy and making it work. How is that an addiction? It’s being human.

While I’ve long admired Pinsky’s ability to dispense advice, he seems to be appearing on whatever show will take him these days, talking about any celebrity. The problem I see is that he’s never met Sandra Bullock, so how would he know if she’s an addict or just a woman who trusted her spouse? Also, in that interview, he was deliberately cagey when discussing whether or not he thought Jesse James was a sex addict. Which seems odd. He has no problem discussing something that’s something he’s worked with on television, no less, but will diagnose Sandra Bullock without having met her.

Sorry Dr. Drew- I won’t be paying any more attention to you.

Is blogging journalism?

When Gizmodo posted their photos of the next iPhone prototype, it seemed to me that all the references to cloak and dagger deals to get their hands on a lost prototype was merely Gizmodo covering up a deal with Apple to leak it. Only, once Apple started sending out nasty notices about the missing device, it became clear that that wasn’t the case. I assumed that Gizmodo would be banned from the next few Apple press conferences, but never expected what happened next.

Police showed up at Gizmodo editor Jason Chen’s house, and executed a warrant, seizing his computers and some personal property. The problem? You can’t use a warrant to seize materials from a journalist. Under shield laws, those sorts of things have to be decided by a judge first- weighing whether or not it violates journalistic shield laws to take them, and then defining what the specific scope is. (Here’s Wired’s breakdown of the situation, with a legal expert weighing in)

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Monday Waffles!

Yes, waffles on a Monday. There are many times that I lament the fact that TheBoy works nights, but Monday mornings are not one of them. With his schedule reversed, he’s usually up Monday morning, and we can have a nice big breakfast for just the four of us. Otherwise, we’d have to double the amount of bacon and batter being produced, just to make sure there were enough for the rest of the clan in the household.

My family was always big on weekend breakfasts. With how busy our lives were during the weekend, we’d come together to make them. My dad, sister and I would whip together pancake batters or my parents would make papas y huevos con pan ducle (we bought the pan ducle- however, it’s on my wish list of things that I want to learn to make). Then we’d sit down together and enjoy. Ah, food: the glue that binds families together- and even helps patch up the rough bits.

How serious were we about weekend breakfasts? My parents crafted a pancake/waffle batter that worked with my sister’s allergy to wheat. From the time TheBoy and I moved in together, we worked on crafting our own recipes. He’s long been convinced that he could have a waffle recipe that didn’t require separating eggs, but when we were looking for a different recipe to try… I said I’d make the waffles today since this was a bit more complicated than our usual attempts. Boy was it worth it!

(Note: I’m not saying this is a complicated recipe. Just saying it’s a bit harder than throwing all the ingredients into one bowl)

Waffles with Blueberry sauce
Waffle recipe: Emeril Lagasse, via foodnetwork.com

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, separated
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups whole milk
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Nonstick cooking spray, optional

Equipment needed
3 bowls (two for your mixer, if you have ‘em, though one will do)
waffle iron

Directions

Preheat your waffle iron. To make for easier cleanup, I recommend placing it on top of a cookie sheet with a rim so that if you overfill your waffle iron, the batter doesn’t go everywhere.

Using two bowls, separate the eggs. Whip up the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Make sure you put your mixer on the highest setting, and be prepared for your table to start shaking if it isn’t super solid. Set aside the egg whites. In another bowl, beat together the egg yolks and sugar until the sugar dissolves into the eggs and the mixture turns a pale yellow. If I had two mixer bowls, I’d just do this in another one- but I used TheBoy’s superior biceps and a whisk to get it done. Add the milk, melted butter and vanilla to the egg yolk mixture.

In the last bowl, sift together the flour, salt and baking powder. Sifting is extremely important for good waffles- it helps get the dry ingredients combined, but also incorporates air. Air is key to good waffles. Add in the flour mixture to the egg/milk mixture and whisk until just combined. Don’t overmix. Honestly, as soon as you stop seeing giant clumps of flour, it’s great.

Fold in the egg whites into the batter. If you’ve never folded in egg whites, don’t be scared. It’s simple. You dump the egg whites on top of the batter, run your spatula around the outside of the bowl, and use it to bring up the batter from the bottom of the bowl over the top of the egg whites. Repeat until it looks like you have a bowlful of beige clouds, instead of egg whites dumped on top your batter. Then stop!

Now, spray the waffle iron with a bit of nonstick cooking spray. Ladle in your batter into the various compartments- just enough to fill the bottom part. If you put too much in, it’ll just spill out. Think of the first batch as your gauge to see how much will fill it! Cook according to the directions for your waffle iron, and enjoy!

You can top them with syrup, melted butter… or a really quick and easy blueberry sauce!

Easy Blueberry Sauce

1 cup blueberry preserves
3 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp lemon zest

Microwave the blueberry preserves to warm them, and stir thoroughly. You’ll see it already starts to make a syrup. Add in the lemon juice, and stir to combine. That’s it! Perfect for spooning over waffles or pancakes.

(If you want to make it the real way, here’s a guesstimate on the proportions you’ll need. I usually wing it)

Blueberry sauce

2 cups fresh/frozen blueberries (if frozen, thaw first)
1 cup sugar
3 tbsp lemon juice

In a small saucepan, combine blueberries and sugar. Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring regularly, until the blueberries have broken down and formed a loose syrup. Add in the lemon juice and stir.

The final verdict: The waffles were light and crisp and delicious! The syrup was sweet, but not too sweet and thoroughly enjoyable. I also dusted them with some powdered sugar. I’ve been informed that I’ll be making the waffles from now on, so I’m not the only one who liked them!

Kermit was wrong, it’s easy being green.

I admit it. I am an Earth nut. Have been since the 90′s when Earth Day made it’s big comeback. Ventura used to hold annual Earth Day fair’s at the beach where you could learn about Ventura County’s new recycling program, water treatment programs and all sorts of neat new techologies. Vendors sold reusable bags, and you could get free reusable water bottles!

You want to know how serious my family was? We went to an Eco Expo in LA and somewhere at home, I have a reusable tote signed by the voice cast of Captain Planet. (Yes, people told me I was lame for it, especially back then- but I knew I was cool)

When my parents bought our house (we’d rented prior to that), a portion of the backyard was set aside for a vegetable garden, complete with a compost pile. And our recycling bin was always larger than our trash bin.

I admit, that from college onward, I fell into a bit of a disposable lifestyle. But, I’m making a change. Most people set their resolutions at New Years, I set environmental resolutions every Earth Day. This year, I plan on starting my own organic container garden here at my in-laws, as well as making a shift away from using disposable containers. Especially when dining out.

Here are some easy ways to make your life a little greener (and no, I’m not sponsored by Delight.com at all, but they have a lot of eco-friendly products):

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Why I loathe PETA.

(Warning, this blog post was written in the span of 45 minutes. I probably could have spent hours and hours, and the span of a month writing it, with full links and whatnot- but I wanted to get this out there.)

Today, PETA announced that Kate Winslet narrated a video detailing the horrors of foie gras production. Which makes yet another celebrity who’s been misled by PETA.

Please, make no mistake- I fully support a celebrity’s right to champion a cause that they believe in. Especially if it’s to help animals. However, PETA is not in the business of helping animals.

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Are video games art? Ebert says no.

Image by Patrick Brosset, links to Flickr

What is art? That’s a question that comes up every so often in regards to modern art installations. For those unfamiliar, installations are typically more than a show at a gallery. Usually it’s a showing by a single artist with an over-all cohesive theme that’s been put together specifically for that specific space. At the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, there’s currently an installation by Marina Abramović entitled Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present where Ms. Abramović sits at a table where guests may sit across from her, while models (some nude, some clothed) pose around her. While this is hardly controversial, it’s an excellent example of an art installation.

When I was in high school, I spent much of my time at The Performance Studio, a dance studio with space for a gallery. I took part in several performance art pieces that combined the spoken word and dance, and got to see quite a few installations go into the gallery. Some were simple- with sculptures and paintings of the abstract. Some were a little unsettling (the one with headless children’s dolls and started girls’ dresses that had been painted black come to mind). But it was all art.

Many things have been accepted as art. Buildings are art. Music is art. Writing is art. Movies, naturally, are art. Roger Ebert, maintains that video games are not art. Not only that, he says they can never be art. The linked article is interesting, but inherently flawed. As Roger Ebert is not a gamer, he is critiquing a TED talk by Kellee Santiago to support his belief. Having not seen the discussion, I cannot vouch for her arguments, however, seeing what games she mentioned- I can see why she might not have won him over.

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Oh, Jim Carrey. Just stop tweeting.

Jim Carrey, once upon a time, I thought you were entertaining. Then you dated Jenny McCarthy and began spouting anti-vaccination nonsense. Yes, nonsense. There have been no studies that positively link vaccines to autism. Indeed, most studies seem to indicate that the timing of when certain vaccines are given is about the time that signs of autism begin to show in children. But studies haven’t been able to prove that it’s the vaccines. Not only that, you’ve blocked or ignored anyone who tried to offer scientific proof that you might be wrong. Not exactly a way to prove that you’re really an advocate for autism- instead, you came off like a pretentious jerk who is just using his celebrity to be heard, but doesn’t want to actually hold a discussion.

Now you’ve broken up with Jenny and felt it time to weigh in on the most relevant of topics- Tiger Wood’s infidelity. This is timely only in that he’s playing in the Masters, most of us weighed in on how we felt when the scandal broke at the end of last year. So, you’re Team Tiger. There are plenty of people who are. Not only that, you’re for the public staying out of their business. Which makes sense- because honestly, it’s their marriage. So why start saying it’s Elin’s fault? By claiming this, all it does is make you a hypocrite and completely out of line.

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The worst food blogger?

That’s right. I know of the worst food blogger, and I’m going to name names. It’s me. Maybe it’s because I’ve become so accustomed to food blogs filled with delicious looking food. You see, I have a big problem. When I make something- usually I’m so excited to dig in that I completely forget to take pictures.

Which is what happened yesterday for Easter dinner. Typically Easter dinner’s a big deal, with ham, all the family and a formal dinner. But it seemed time to scale it back a bit, and so I got to make dinner. I had the recipe in mind- a roasted pork loin with mustard crust, veggies and homemade macaroni & cheese. However, supermarkets aren’t known for their butcher’s counters, and there was no pork loin. So there I stood in Albertson’s with my phone out, looking for recipes with pork tenderloin (which they did have). I bought some Brussels sprouts and fresh broccoli, and it was back to home I went.

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The landslide.

I’m quite familiar with erosion. It all starts gradually, things falling bit by bit… and then eventually after stress, the whole hillside caves way. It’s the same with writing.

Whenever I start things like Script Frenzy, I start strong. I keep to my quota for a few days. Then, I fall a page behind. I try to make it up, but the next day, I’m still a page short… until I find I’m 10 pages behind and feel like quitting.

I’m behind, but this time, I’m not giving up. Somehow, someway, I’ll make it up. Not because I want to “win” and be thrilled about that- but because I’m tired of being the person who lives on a hillside and keeps being surprised when they evacuate due to threat of mudslide or landslide. 2010 is about changing old habits for me, and this is certainly a problem.

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