Sunday, September 23, 2007

In memoriam

I've just finished a novel, a brilliant book that should be required reading for history classes. Irene Nemirovsky, a Russian Jew living in France and famous for her writing, began in 1941 to write a novel about the war and the occupation of France. She never finished it, as she was taken to a concentration camp in 1942 and died there soon after.

Her daughters saved the manuscript, and Suite Francaise has been recently published complete with the author's notes and a heartbreaking collection of letters written by Irene herself and then by her husband who was frantically trying to find and save her. The book itself is a picture of the daily cost of war and enemy occupation.

It is not light reading, but I highly recommend it. It brings history to life from the perspective of an eyewitness, and forces the reader to consider the story of just one of the many innocents lost in that war, innocents whose stories are not recorded but who were nevertheless real, and loved, and mourned.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

It's chocolate, it's bacon--it's delicious!

My affinity for chocolate is well-known; some would say it's more of an addiction or an obsession. Milk, dark, with caramel, coconut, nuts of all kinds, crispies, in cheap candy bars or expensive specialty truffles--I love it all. I've dipped apples in it, spread it on toast, mixed it in banana bread, and poured it over angel food cake.

But near to chocolate in terms of delicious goodness is bacon--lovely, crispy bacon. Oh, we've flirted with turkey bacon, trying to save our poor arteries, but we've always come back to the nice fatty real stuff. The first time I ever cooked applewood bacon I was so smitten I called my mother and told her that diet or no diet, she HAD to try this stuff--the smell alone had me singing. And the flavor--oh, the sweet, smoky flavor--was like manna from heaven.

Tonight, when Batman told me what he'd bought at Whole Foods, I was first shocked, then a little grossed out, and then somewhat intrigued. He'd found a premium chocolate bar, the Vosges brand, with bits of applewood smoked bacon in it. Chocolate and bacon? I've heard of chocolate and wasabi, chocolate and chilies, even chocolate-covered bugs, but this? I was hesitant.

We sat down, divided it up between the four of us, sniffed it, and then dove in. And lo, it was good. I'd expected it to taste like a chocolate-dipped piece of bacon, but it wasn't like that at all. I could just barely pick up the scent of bacon before biting into it. The smooth milk chocolate had a crunch and a salty flavor, not unlike eating a chocolate-covered pretzel. The bacon taste didn't really appear until after swallowing, and then it was just a hint.

It was a lovely treat. Just one more reason to love chocolate. And bacon. Mmmm, bacon.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Now we can check porn, and stock quotes*

So tonight I logged onto my online classroom to check out the ongoing discussions. In one thread, a classmate had posted regarding his coworkers and how they were somewhat resistant to change. He said he was one of the few employees around the age of 21, and everyone else was over 30. I know! So ancient!

Anyway, he said he'd recently showed them how they could use their software in a way that would cut the time for one process in half, and how some of them didn't even know all the things that Windows could do. I felt about 80 years old.

I gently reminded him that technology has changed very rapidly in the past few years, and for those fresh out of college web conferencing and instant messaging are old hat, but for many of us in the workforce, those are new and unused technologies. Then I started thinking: when I graduated from college, faxing was still relatively new, email was something only programming majors knew about, DOS was king, and the people who invented Facebook were only toddlers.

Okay, now I feel 90. It's dark out; I think I should go to bed.

*Note: I never check porn, and only rarely check stock quotes. But "porn quotes" is one of my favorite Seinfeld lines.