I tried to make hard candy the other day so I could put it on the birthday list. I ended up with a pool of badly burnt sugar.
It was going fine at first. I heated up sugar, water, and corn syrup. The mix had to get to 310 degrees, and it took FOREVER to get to around 260. I literally tried a second thermometer because I thought the first one might be broken. So I thought I had all the time in the world between 260 and 310 degrees. I was wrong. Dead wrong.
When I went back in the kitchen, the concoction looked very dark. Too dark. I took the temp and yelped as it climbed past 320 degrees. All of a sudden I noticed that the air was hazy. I was smoking the place out. I frantically opened windows and turned on the ceiling fan. I didn’t know what to do with the burnt liquid, so poured it on aluminum foil like I was supposed to, and then threw it out after it cooled.
Lesson of the day: If you are making hard candy, watch it like a hawk!
I attended an award ceremony at Harvard the other night. Eddie Izzard was receiving a “lifetime achievement award in cultural humanism.” I hadn’t heard the term humanism before, but it turns out I’m a humanist!
I’ve heard the terms atheist and agnostic…I have loosely considered myself agnostic. In my online dating profile, I say I’m “spiritual but not religious.”
In his acceptance performance (it was more of a performance than a speech), Eddie said he disliked how atheism and agnosticism focused on the negative: there is no god; we can’t know if there is a god. As a humanist, he said, he believes in people. I thought to myself, yes! As my boy the Dalai Lama has said, “my religion is kindness.”
Back to Eddie…he was in top form. He is just hilarious. His mind runs so fast, I can barely keep up. He made a lot of jokes about historical events, as usual. His self-deprecating humor, gestures, and sound effects are priceless.
And oh, I freaked out when one of the first things he mentioned was getting his DNA analyzed recently! He did a documentary about tracing his family history. He’s been bitten by the genealogy bug as well, god bless him.
Latest genie discovery: I am a daughter of the American Revolution. My sixth great grandfather (!) fought in the Revolutionary War. Incredible! I can’t wait for the next genie surprise…
In birthday list news, I am currently read Saul Bellow’s Henderson the Rain King. It’s on the Modern Library’s Top 100 Novels list. And no wonder. It is hysterical! I have to read everything this man has written.
I am going to see the Punch Brothers tonight. Am excited to see some crazy string action. I am obsessed with their song “Movement and Location.”
February 14 is V-Day, a day to call for the end of violence toward girls and women. V-Day was inspired by Eve Ensler’s play Vagina Monologues. Each year, people are invited to produce Vagina Monologues, and the proceeds go to female victims of violence and sexual abuse.
Visit the V-Day or One Billion Rising website to find events happening near you. One Billion Rising is a “dance strike movement” that sounds amazing. Check it out!
I just finished MLK Jr.’s book Why We Can’t Wait. It’s #78 on the Modern Library’s 100 Best Nonfiction list. What a history lesson. Sure, I learned a brief overview of the civil rights movement in high–school history classes…and I’ve seen it in the background of various television shows and movies. But to read about the struggle from someone who was in the thick of it, from someone who led it…it was heartbreaking. And inspiring. I have never understand how a person could see another person as inferior based on skin color. Never. Understood.
As I read his words, there was a sadness in the back of my mind. A sadness that whispered, what more could he have done if his life hadn’t been cut short?