You are currently browsing the Breaching The Web blog archives for November, 2004.


November 29th, 2004

We had a lot of leftover mashed potatoes, so I made potato pancakes. To whatever quantity of mashed potatoes you have, add eggs (one at a time) and mix until it is about the consistency of thick pancake batter.

Heat a cast iron skillet and melt some fat (bacon grease is ideal, crisco is ok, a mix of 1/2 butter 1/2 olive oil — not extra virgin! — will do in a pinch). Spoon a glob of the batter on the the skillet and smash it into a 3-inch round pancake, about 1/3 to 1/2 an inch thick. Let cook until one side is brown, then flip and brown the other side. Serve with butter and sour cream.

Mmmm…. so good.

Me too

November 29th, 2004

The turkey was good, the Wild Rice Pilaf was divine, the Winter Salad was amazing, and the beer tasting (I was told — I did not myself taste) was educational. My contribution to the Thanksgiving feast was gingerbread and humble mashed potatoes. I have no recipe for the potatoes — you boil them, mash them, then add half and half, salt, sour cream, and butter until they taste right (this year they had whole milk instead of half and half, which could not be had for love ‘nor money in my neck of the woods). Here’s the gingerbread recipe:

Gingerbread Recipe

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
4 tablespoons softened butter
1 cup molasses
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon soda
2 rounded teaspoons ground ginger
1 flattened teaspoon cinnamon
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×9 pan with parchment.

Cream sugar and butter (do yourself a favor — use a mixer if you have one), add molasses a bit at a time. Combine and sift dry ingredients, combine sugar mixture and dry mixture, stir just until combined. Add boiling water and stir. Pour into pan, and bake 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

As my husband can attest, I never, ever, ever make a recipe the same way twice. A recipe is a general framework within which to work — it’s a design sketch, not a blueprint.

This year, I added some cloves and star anise to the gingerbread, used 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup white (this was due to running out of brown sugar, not to any grand plan), and added some extra molasses. In previous years, I’ve added crystalized ginger (which was very good — I would have done this again had I planned ahead) and extra cinnamon. I really wanted to add a bit of cayenne pepper to give the gingerbread a little oomph, but, uncertain of the results, I restrained myself. It’s not a unique idea — see here and here. Maybe next year.

Better than perfect

November 22nd, 2004

For those among us who have painful memories of petting-zoo incidents, The Childhood Goat Trauma Foundation is there to help. To get as much help as possible, make sure you roll over the goat icon and visit the gallery (link via Holy Weblog).

I’ve lost

November 22nd, 2004

I’ve turned off the comments feature on BtW. This is likely to be a permanent change — I don’t want to waste what little updating time I have on comment spam.

The spammers have won.

Grrr… baby, very grrr…

November 17th, 2004

In Newark, Ohio several residents have reported seeing a lion, suggesting that some kind of big cat is on the prowl. But no one has been able to identify what kind of cat, or if it even truly exists. It has not been photographed, and authorities have not been able to find scat or kill remains verifying the cat’s existence.

In other catly news, The University of California-Davis Veterinary Hospital does kidney transplants for cats whose kidneys are failing. The owner selects a donor cat from the Hospital’s research labs, adopts that cat, then has one of its kidneys transplanted into his or her pet. The owner is obligated to then take both cats home and care for then.

There’s something deeply creepy about both of these stories.


November 16th, 2004

The management here at Breaching the Web Industries is interrupting the previously scheduled postings of fluff and/or bubblegum to announce our serious concern over the potential appointment of Condoleezza Rice as Secretary of State. Given her impolitic handling of European resistance to the war in Iraq, we here at BtWI do not think she has the skills or personal capital to do the job, and we fear for what further damage she might cause to the reputation of the United States abroad. We at BtWI do, in fact, weep for our country tonight.

We now return to our previously scheduled diet of meaningless trivia.

Some folks

November 16th, 2004

The Route 127 Corridor Yardsale is the largest sale of its kind, anywhere. It began as a way to attract traffic from the interstate to several small towns along route 127, and now it covers 4 states and 450 miles. It’s become a huge tourist attraction, drawing shoppers from all over the world. Next year’s sale is from August 4 to 7th.

Love it

November 12th, 2004

Here’s a perfect example of why I love Bitch Magazine: I’m filling out their subscriber survey, and the very first question is this:

Gender (check any and all that apply):
   Bio-female or female identified
   Bio-male or male identified
   Trans (specify below if desired)
   Genderqueer/Gendervariant (specify below if desired)
   Other (please specify)

I’ve never before seen such comprehensive response options to this question! And I’m totally excited that they are truly asking about gender not just incorrectly using the word gender when what they mean is sex. How cool! Unfortunately, their race question, while good, leaves a little to be desired.

You do already subscribe to Bitch, don’t you?

Social dud

November 11th, 2004

Social trivia is a professional hazard of mine — as a sociologist, I’m trained to keep an eye on social structure. In my non-work life, I find that I often can’t close that eye — I notice structure everywhere, from lines at the movies to turn-taking at the grocery store deli counter, to the order in which people get on the subway. I’m particularly fascinated by how small groups of people create meaning and order through rules, and how those rules become codified and institutionalized over time.

The newest example I’ve found of this is wetiquette, the rules and guidelines for what surfers owe to one another, both in the water and on land. There are numerous webpages about wetiquette, and even a book about it. We non-surfing folk often look at surfers and see disorder and laziness (sometimes this is appealing, and sometimes it is not), however, the surfing world is quite structured, both hierarchically and socially.

It’s fascinating, and not surprisingly, there have been many social scientists who have studied surfing, like this one and this one.

Of course, no weblog entry about the social structure of surfing would be complete without a mention of the movie Surf Nazis Must Die — for a certain kind of movie fan (like me!), this movie is pure genius.


November 10th, 2004

Bubble Gum Alley is an otherwise innocuous alley in San Luis Obispo, where in the 1960s people started sticking their gum. There was no organized call-to-arms for gum chewers. The gum just started to appear. And appear. And appear some more. These days, the gum is everywhere, and the alley has become a small tourist attraction. It’s gross, but oddly compelling at the same time. The detrius of so many gum chewers — it’s a weird example of the human need to shout “I was here! I exist! I made a mark!”