0003 Ertera 03: Bandaza Madness!

It's Bandaza time again here at the Lapinian Embassy; most folks would call it Thanksgiving, but we know it as the Days of Plenty, a three-day celebration of charity.

The holiday actually started in its current form over a dozen years or so ago, now, actually. It wasn't uncommon among my friends in Texas to be from some form of broken home: divorced parents, estrangement, a lack of speaking terms, or just plain too far away to drive and too broke to fly. One of my friends, herself from Circumstances, decided at one point that, for all of her friends who had no place to go for a "traditional family dinner," they now could come over to her place. Now, at the time, I actually had a pretty good home life, but I ended up with a standing invitation, and I enjoyed cooking enough that it was always worth it to me to make a point of going over at some point to add to the potluck.

When I moved out onto my own, I took with me the idea of opening up my home during Thanksgiving for people who needed or wanted some place to be, and subsequently it evolved into a standing part of Lapinian tradition. In its time, it's hosted a half-dozen up to fifteen people, nowhere near the thirty that I would see in Texas but still more than I would normally host at once. It's been successful enough as a plan that I hear there's now a version of it starting up in Portland, and the Boston crowd has hosted one of its own for a while now.

In deference to some of the people who'll be attending who're vegetarian, I've decided to for the first time try my hand at poaching a goodly portion of rock cod in an orange spice tea, which I've been told should work rather well. I've got my directions, and I'm fairly sure I won't screw it up too badly. There will also be a small mound of succotash, a perennial favorite of mine that I'll even prepare when it's not the holiday season. My mother's cornbread stuffing will be in evidence, in two varieties: one with sautéed vegetables and one made with bacon grease in the cornbread. Finally, there will be mashed potatoes.

I'm sure those of you keeping tally will have noticed one of the traditional mainstays of the American Thanksgiving tableau that is missing. That would be correct. I'm not providing a turkey this year; I'm making an Abomination.

At least, this is what Jessie called it.

In years past, the turkey has always been the one part of the meal over which I've had the least success. Either I've overcooked it and it's come out dry, or I've undercooked it and it's been inedible. Last year, I tried brining the turkey, which worked out okay, but this year, thanks to something Zander showed me, I'm going with something... new.

A bacon-wrapped-chicken-stuffed-bacon-wrapped turkey. That is, a turkey which has been stuffed with bacon-wrapped chicken, which is then wrapped in bacon.

Photo evidence has been collected. The following pictures may disturb you.
  1. The criminal and her implements
  2. The victim, exposed
  3. Behold the first indignity
  4. The victim, engorged
  5. The encasement begins
  6. The criminal and her victim, mummified
  7. The victim, wrapped for preservation

Tomorrow, we'll decant this mythic beast and bake it. Tonight, though, I rest well knowing that I'll have something truly horrifying with which to confront my guests this year. Hopefully everyone who isn't a vegetarian will at least consider the option after this. The rest, may Dobbs have mercy on their digestive tracts.


0003 Fathera 27: Under Construction!

So, the time has finally come for me to put the breaks on the old diary and move into the twentieth century. I hear the kids today have automated linotypes, even. What will our calculation engineers think of next?

The real joy of the operation, as it were, is migrating the whole mess of old posts to the new site. I suppose in strictest sense that wouldn't be necessary, but the fact is that I'd like to have all of the history in the same place. This way, at least, people can search through the archives if they're so inclined. I'm even doing my best to tag past entries, though for the most part so far that's really been trivial; most of the old posts are about my transition, and so far the few which aren't have been about people who were highly important to me in the days when I was still figuring out what I wanted to be when I grew up.

I suppose that's only fitting, really. The whole purpose of The Bridge was to serve as an interim home for my thoughts while I underwent a massive realignment. It wasn't
supposed to be permanent, other than as a record of how I had changed over time. My plan had always been, at least in theory, that one day I'd figure out who I wanted to be and "cross the bridge." By the time the site needed a stylistic update, I'd have finished with all of the existential questions and then could get on with the Serious Business of living my new life.

Of course, as it always seems to go, asking the existential questions seems to have become my life, or at least a large part of it.

I take comfort in the thought that I'm not alone in this. The Founding Fathers, for instance, expected that the Constitution would be a document that got rewritten every so often, and they provided the amendment process as a tool for fixing bugs until the next major release. Almost as soon as it was released, of course, it became the new standard and since then we've been slapping patch after patch on a document badly past its day. I don't mean for this to turn into a political diatribe; I'll have plenty of time for those later. I'm just commenting on the fact that I'm not the only one to fall victim to this particular process.

I believe the relevant quotation from the
fortune file is "once is a bug, twice is a feature, three times is a design philosophy."

So, is the Ranch on Mars the "new identity?" No more so than the Bridge was the "old identity." If anything, the Ranch is an admission that I'm getting old. Another "big idea" that I had during the creation of my previous website was that I would write all these nifty gadgets and gewgaws to do things like accept comments and provide forum-like options to people. That led to design ideas involving logins and building a database to handle it, and coding up a front-end that would let people log into my site and do all kinds of cool stuff. By the end, it looked like the internet equivalent of a six-year-old's Awesomest Tree Fortress Evar, complete with ice-cream ski slope and sister-launching catapult.

About the time I started figuring out cookies and all that fancy dribble,
LiveJournal started making the rounds. I could've bought in then, I suppose, but I was still riding high on my brain-juice telling me that I was better than all those faddish types. I didn't buy a cell phone, either. And I still wrote everything in C. Everything.

Eventually, I do learn. It just takes me a while.

So, here I am, putting up the finishing touches on the new home. Now I don't have to do any of the messy backend management, and I can hook up all the gewgaws and gadgets to the site itself that I don't have to try to integrate myself onto every single page to get visibility. It just
works, which is more than I can say of what I had for nine years. Sure, it served its primary purpose, but in the same way that a cardboard box keeps the rain off your head in a storm. Yes, you're dry, but it'd be a lot nicer to have working plumbing and lights at the same time.