Thursday, October 11, 2007

Even more things about me

The Thrilling conclusion...
5.  I used to live a 20 minute bike ride from campus, and loved to ride my bike.   For years I rode to work all through the year, regardless of the temperature.  I don't like to ride in the snow or the rain, but I could ride until the temperature dropped below 15 °F.   There is something about riding in the cold that made me feel alive.  Now, I live a 20 minute drive from work, though when there are other people on the road it takes me 40-60 minutes.   I haven't yet found a place in my schedule to get the exercise I used to get on my way to work.  I used to swim, regularly but I sprained my elbow and had to stop.   I haven't tried it in over a year, but I constantly mean to start again.  Maybe Tuesday.


6.  I don't like Taco salad, but I do like Tacos.  I occasionally like pickles, but only by themselves.   I always have to pull the pickles out of hamburgers and sandwiches.  I've never eaten lobster.  The few times I've had the opportunity I have declined.   If I really love it I'd just be developing a taste for something that I can't afford.  If I don't love it, I'd be disappointed after everyone telling me how wonderful Lobster tastes.   I'd rather live not being hooked on or disappointed by Lobster.


7.  I'm over 30, and I've never voted.  As a Canadian, I can't vote in the U.S., and I've always been in the U.S. during Canadian elections.  Because Canadian elections are conducted so quickly, I have always missed the chance to register for an absentee ballot.   Home Town is having an election this month, but I haven't yet lived here long enough to vote.


8.  My favourite novel is War and Peace.  Once I got past the first third, and had figured out who the important characters are, I started to really care about them.   The whole point of the book is how to be happy.  Everyone has a different idea of what leads to happiness, and each finds that what they thought would lead them there does not.   The question that lingers over every page is whether they will figure life out before it ends.  The thing that I love is that the book is so long that Tolstoy has time to fully develop everybody's thought process, and show why they try what they do, and why it works or doesn't work.   Anything shorter wouldn't be able to accomplish what Tolstoy is trying to do here.  It's glorious.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Things about me.

As you may know, I recently wrote, defending and deposited a doctoral dissertation.  Then I loaded up my home, sold the house and moved to another country.   Then I started a new job.  This didn't leave a lot of time for keeping up with blogs that I otherwise enjoy.  I have a bloglines account that keeps track of new postings for me, and I recently had the chance to go look at some of what I had missed over the last part of the summer.  One thing I missed was the "8 random facts about me" meme that a number of bloggers participated in.  Of course then, I missed the invitation from By the Bay to tell you 8 things about myself.   Having just moved herself, By The Bay will either understand my tardiness and know that I didn't quit reading her blog, or she'll wonder what all the whining is about.  Anyway, b etter late than never, so here I am. 


In any other forum, not eating gluten would be a random fact, but I don't think it counts here.


1.  I am by training a medicinal organic chemist; for my Ph.D. I designed and synthesized potential drugs for imaging breast cancer.   One of the tenets of both chemistry and the biology that chemistry interacts with is that structure (chemical and biological) leads to function (chemical reactivity, biological response).   I think that this has really affected how I approach baking.  I tend to be less interested in following a recipe than understanding what each ingredient is doing.   If I don't know what something does, I don't want to put it in my food.  One result of this is that I don't post recipes as often as many (all other?) food bloggers, because I don't feel like the recipes themselves are that important, unless you have exactly the same taste as I do.

Some people don't want anything in their food that they can't pronounce.  I can say [insert IUPC name here] but I still don't want it in my food.


2.  The picture I use for my online persona is not really a picture of me.   It is my kitchen gnome.  His name is Gourmand, the Gastrognome.  That is a pun that I end up explaining to a discouragingly high number of people.   Gourmand now lives at my office because Riley doesn't appreciate his contribution to the aesthetics of our home.


3.  That brings up another random fact about me that I occasionally wish was more apparent.   The proper pronoun for me is He, not She.  I suppose that people may get confused because my spouse, Riley, has a masculine name, and ElwoodCity isn't a name at all.   Also, I bake, which is traditionally women's work.  When our two-year old daughter Hildr was younger, Riley used to call her "girly".  For a time she started to worry that by calling her girly, Hildr would end up feeling forced into a stereotypical gender role.  Then she realized that if Hildr ended up feeling "girly" she might think that that meant she was supposed to use mow the lawn and use the power tools like her Mom, instead of baking like her Dad, so that's probably OK.


4.  OK, those aren't exactly random.  Here's a random fact: I don't use Shampoo.   I have curly hair, and curly hair is usually much drier than straight hair.  When I use shampoo, my hair gets frizzy, especially since I moved back to Home Town.  This isn't to say that I don't wash my hair; I simply use conditioner to wash it with.  When I don't wash my hair, it does get oil.   I've been washing my hair this way since before I stopped eating gluten, and have had much less trouble with it than when I used shampoo.


I think that I talk too much, so I will only tell you four things about myself today, and give you the rest later in the week.   I know.  The suspense is killing you.