making a mess

Since I'm moving in a couple days, I decided to take care of my weekly cookie baking on Friday evening instead of my usual Saturday afternoon. The same circumstance also led me to choose a simple recipe, so I only had to purchase butter (I use unsalted butter so I can control the amount of salt in the things I make).

This week brings another version of chocolate cookies, this time made to be crunchy instead of soft (5). They're supposed to be large, too, but I always end up making my cookies too small. This means that instead of ending up with 8 cookies, I find myself with 11. I find them pretty tasty, but don't enjoy them quite as much as the earlier chocolate cookies I made.

As far as the rest of life goes, I've been watching the Olympics, as many other people around the world have been... This past evening I watched the opening ceremony (not live, unfortunately). The production was fantastic, but for me to talk about it would mean parroting the same things as are available on any news site.

My experience of the ceremony was particularly international: I've been watching a Canadian television station broadcasting an event in China. From my American living room I set my computer up for video chat with a very good friend of mine who is currently in Austria, so that she could watch, too. To bring it all the way around the globe, she's from Singapore.

So I've been watching live gymnastics, cycling, and beach volleyball (sailing is delayed for lack of wind), and it's just lots of fun, partially because the broadcast has a Canadian focus, but also because I'm always amazed by the abilities of all these athletes. I find myself also somewhat shocked by the amount of haze and smog visible in outdoor shots of Beijing.

There are several things I would love to say about what impressions all this gives me about China, but I realize that I don't understand enough about the culture to make judgments. It seems to me that China is trying their hardest to appear strong and perfect to the world. While they do have economic strength, the country is far from perfect (and between the propaganda thrown at Americans about "Dirty Commies" and all the current human rights issues, it seems like many Westerners are not going to take China seriously).

All that said, I'm going to pack/watch volleyball. It's a good time.


  1. Awww, man... I've been so busy with bug camp that I haven't watched the Olympics at all. But check this out!

    Also---B.G. is in Austria!?

  2. it was at coffeetime today that i realized the attraction of physicists to sweets may be an international phenomenon. not only do the UM Physics Dept Cookietime and the IAEA Nuclear Data Section Coffetime (at which chocolates often make appearances) attest to that, but your blog is another case in point: "listen while i share some thoughts with you; i have cookies..." XD
    it should be interesting to note the demographics of the readership following of your blog perhaps in a year's time.

    today i spilled coffee on the table when i was pouring it out from the janky coffeepot, and Bob said "congratulations, you are now officially part of the Section."
    apparently it is a rite of passage. i managed to ask him a little about the Agency's interest in AMO (because it isn't quite as obvious as with the case of Nuclear Physics) and he breifly described how data on plasma densities are critical for calculating specs in fusion reactors. i'm not sure how interested you are in that stuff, but it's just a thought. i explained i was asking because a good friend of mine is doing a PhD in AMO, and Bob out of casual interest queried "oh, where?" and stuff, and suddenly, Georgina, the production programmer from Britain was like
    "OH MY GOD, Urbana-Champaign is such a DUMP..." she knows because her brother-in-law, a physicist, works/used to work there, whom she has visited on several occasions. and she went off on a hilarious rant on how nausea-inducing the ride on the janky plane was. i'm sorry it's not the most encouraging of things to tell you. but it was really funny.

    and speaking of the Olympics, i got the DVD recording today from Yichao, the nuclear engineering intern. i'm excited to watch it, also because it's recorded from what i think is the official Chinese TV station. so it should have extra-special communist pride commentary. haha! incidentally i was at a bookstore last weekend and i found a large picturebook in German that was a collection of Chinese communist propaganda posters. it's something that i'd really like to own, if because it's completely unavailable (perhaps even censored) in the part of the world i'm (actually) from. it doesn't matter that i don't understand German because those pictures speak the sad broken reality behind the hypocritical facade of nationalistic bravado in themselves. some ones i managed to have a look at even had subtle anti-western messages in them. (you know, the post-1970 opening up of China made them recognize the need for explicit diplomacy with the West) alas, the book is huge and expensive. and i am limited in finances and luggage capacity. =(

    but to bring it all back to the original thought, cookies and then musings are a good idea, that i perhaps should also adopt in variation. goodness knows, my family and friends strewn in every part of the world would like to keep i touch, and so would i, but crafting individual messages to everybody is just too exhausting. and my email life updates are just plain irregular. weekly baking is a good motivation to keep posts regular i think.

    or i could just exploit your blogspace and post here too, such that people who follow your thoughts might stumble upon mine too.

    but that wouldn't be fair for you. this blog is about you. (miles and piles of you...)

    so that's another thing for me to think about ;P

    and yes, Aaron, i am in Austria. it is now my lunch hour. so perhaps i will go to the cafeteria now... heh.



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