Archive for November, 2013

Every year, making Thanksgiving dinner gets easier.  It took several years for us to get things right.  The first year, we didn’t defrost the turkey (oops!).  In the following years we made a few minor mistakes, like accidentally cooking the turkey upside down (still yummy!).  Around year 5, we were pretty comfortable with the routine and were actually able to get dinner on the table at a reasonable hour—and that’s when things started to get a bit crazy.

For a few years, we deep fried a turkey.  And one year, we did the 11 hours of prep and 17 hours of cooking that go with making a turducken from scratch.  But this year, we didn’t do anything crazy.  We had a small group coming and decided to keep the menu pretty basic.  Well, if you can call cooking a 19 lb turkey for 8 people “basic.”

For the past couple of years I have always made a hearty vegetarian soup for, well, the vegetarians.  We didn’t have any vegetarians this year, but I had a spicy peanut pumpkin soup recipe picked out and I ran with it. It was not meant to be.

I got almost all the way through the recipe.  I was at the point where you put the soup into a blender (a few cups at a time) to give the soup that nice, smooth consistency.  In years past I have had the lid fly off the blender, so I was prepared.  I secured the lid and used a potholder while holding it down.  It worked for the first 2 batches of the soup.  On the last batch…well…I guess, technically, it worked.  The lid did not fly off the blender. My hand did not get burned.  But in that fateful moment, just seconds after turning the blender on, there was a loud grinding sound.  The blender started shaking.  I quickly pressed the stop button and began to assess the situation.  My hand was still placed oDSCN1924n top of the lid. Nothing had gone flying out, the soup was still in the blender. Hmmm. I lifted my hand and that’s when I saw it.  It was tragic.  In an awkward moment of anti-soup rebellion, the blender had eaten itself.  The middle part of the lid had been swallowed by the blender and destroyed, along with the soup.  Why did you do this to yourself, blender??? How could you leave me?! 

Was my soup really that terrible?  Did nobody eat my soup because it was that bad? Or was it because you died making it?  I may never know… 

This year on Thanksgiving, I was grateful that my cooking only killed my blender.

I have been hard at work learning how to program this quarter.  It’s been a lot of fun learning to write Java—I’ve written a guessing game, computed the results of a personality test, and even drawn a rocket for my nephew Noah (though I’m sure his dad appreciated it much more than he did).

It’s been very handy having Anson around to check my code. He actually does all of my assignments along with me.  I think he enjoys writing programs using only a base set of skills.  For example, writing entire programs in for loops and println statements 🙂

Programming is staggeringly different from anything else I’ve ever learned, so I’ve studiously read every single page of the text book that has been assigned, reviewed every powerpoint, participated in every class discussion…well, you get the point. So, what is so special about page 549?

It. Changed. My. Life.

For years, I have shaken my fist at new technology.  I would scream at the computer every time I ran into an issue. Clearly, the program was not intuitive enough.  I’m a reasonably intelligent person, so why doesn’t it work for me? I started to think that I had a super power which caused my computer to bombard me with error messages (Haven, anyone?).  Up until now, I was under the distinct impression that it was the COMPUTER that was yelling at me—that didn’t understand me.  On page 549 of my text, as I was reading about (yet another) example of exceptions I can throw in my code, I realized that it’s not the computer that I should be mad at—it’s the PROGRAMMERS!  Anson was right all along.  Computer are not inherently good or bad.  It’s the programmers.  And I’m pretty sure they’re all evil.  Well, WATCH OUT TECH WORLD!  I’ll start writing my own code from now on, thank you very much.  From now on, I will only shake my fist at myself—but I’ll be smiling while I do it 🙂