Friday, April 25, 2008

It's a Mac Mac Mac Mac World

An article I once read was written like a "he said/she said" argument about Macintosh vs. PC computers. Each writer had a say, with the other making a rebuttal and then an additional comment. The final PC comment was that there were far more PCs in the world than Macs. The Mac writer replied that there were more cockroaches in the world than people, but that that didn't make them better. I've laughed about that article for years, and this week really made me feel again the joy of having my Mac, and the truth of that article.

I finally took my six year old Mac in for a tune-up. I have never had that done, but there were a few small problems and I wanted to know for sure if it was a small problem or a large one, and whether or not I could get another year out of the machine before getting a new laptop. It only ended up costing me $90, but the repair was done in Boulder, and meant that I spent a week without my machine ensconced on the special computer table in front of my easy chair.

To make my life easier, so I could still check email and blogs, pay bills, update my iPod and whatever else I needed to do, John brought up his PC laptop and put on my little rolling desktop. I'm really grateful. Really I am. Actually, now that we got my Mac back today, I'm even more grateful.

PCs are so annoying. Why do you have to hit so many keys to make them do simple tasks? Why can't you put a degree mark in a recipe's oven temperature
or put an accent mark over a letter in an author's name without looking up its ASCII code?

It seems that in the past ten years Microsoft has spent an incredible amount of effort trying to become as Mac-like as possible while still missing the point of the entire Mac experience. I remember the great decision at our corporation that perhaps the designers should switch to PCs. We did cost analysis studies, made projections, had meetings... Wouldn't it be better if we were all the same? Used the same stuff? After all, everyone else used PCs, so why support these other machines?

We went through everything, checking off the relative costs. At the very end of a three-month study, we contacted the three color houses we used to tell them of our pending decision. What did they all say? Sure, you can switch. We'll still accept your work. However, we will no longer guarantee that what you give us will match what you get back.

Say that again? Yes. When two people who don't speak the same language use an interpreter they never know if the nuances of their speech are quite accurate. So it is with 4-color processing on the PC platform. Windows is a shell that goes over the MS-DOS platform. Macintosh is a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) form of Graphical User Interface, which doesn't use an interpreter at all.

So do I own a PC? You bet I do. I use it every year to do our taxes. And sometimes I play a game or three of solitaire if I'm down there waiting for something to print or come out of the dryer.

As I sit here typing this moderate rant, I notice that my nice little laptop realized, without any help from me, that it was time to back up my information. Without bothering me, interrupting me, or slowing me down, it's quietly sending changes made on my internal drive to a remote drive. Isn't life sweet in a Macintosh world?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The White Lie Cake

This morning my wonderful "old" friend, Pastor Stan, sent me a story that was too good not to share with everyone. It's the first time I've received a joke that I wanted to post on my blog. This one I just loved on so many levels. Enjoy...

The White Lie Cake

Alice was to bake a cake for the Church Ladies' Group in her new city, but forgot to do it until the last minute. She remembered the morning of the bake sale and, after rummaging through cabinets, found an angel food cake mix & quickly made it while drying her hair, dressing, and helping her son pack for Scout camp.

When Alice took the cake from the oven, the center had dropped flat and the cake was horribly disfigured. She thought, "Oh dear, there is not time to bake another cake."

This cake was important to Alice because she did so want to fit in at her new church and in her new community of friends. So, being inventive, she looked around the house for something to build up the center of the cake.

Alice found it in the bathroom - a roll of toilet paper. She plunked it in and covered it with icing. Not only did the finished product look beautiful; it looked perfect!

Before she left the house to drop the cake by the church and head for work, Alice woke her daughter Amanda and gave her some money and specific instructions to be at the bake sale the moment it opened at 9:30 and to buy the cake and bring it home.

When Amanda arrived at the sale only a couple of minutes late, she found the attractive, if imperfect, cake had already been sold. She grabbed her cell phone and called her mom.

Alice was horrified. She was beside herself. Everyone would know! What would they think? She would be ostracized, talked about, and ridiculed! All night, Alice lay awake in bed thinking about people pointing fingers at her and talking about her behind her back.

The next day, Alice promised herself she would try not to think about the cake and would attend the fancy luncheon/bridal shower at the home of a fellow church member and try to have a good time. Alice did not want to attend because the hostess was a snob who more than once had looked down her nose at Alice because she was a single parent and not from the founding families of her city but, having already RSVP'd, she couldn't think of a believable excuse to stay home.

The meal was elegant, the company was definitely upper crust and, to Alice's horror, the cake in question was presented for dessert! Alice felt the blood drain from her body when she saw the cake!

She started out of her chair to tell the hostess all about it, but before she could get to her feet, the Mayor's wife said, "What a beautiful cake!"

Alice, still stunned, sat back in her chair when she heard the hostess say, "Thank you. I baked it myself."

Alice smiled and reminded herself, "God is so good."

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Good Friends, Good Food

A large group gathered at Matt & Heather's today - we were included. There were Matt & Heather with their 5 kids; Joe & Heather with their 5; Dave & Heather with their four; Marv & Sharon; Aunt Dale and Great Grandma M; John & me... I don't think I missed anyone, but if I did, they were probably named Heather... The new twins were dressed and blessed, and then the feast began.

Food. Everything was marvelous. It seems each of the ladies has a specialty, and there were plenty of requests for recipes going around. I hope the Heather who made that wonderful sweet potato casserole remembers to pass hers along. I have no idea what that crunchy topping was, but it was the best I've had. It was like eating a sweet potato pie. Which brings me to my contribution - I made pies.  

So to keep my promise, here's the recipe for my Lemon Chiffon Pie. It's easy.


Make a graham cracker crust. (Massacre 8 graham crackers in your food processor; with a fork, stir in a small bowl with 5 Tbsp. of melted butter and 2 Tbsp. of sugar until blended; press it into shape in a 9 inch pie pan with the bottom of a glass and bake at 350° for about 25 minutes.) Set the crust aside to cool.

1 14-oz can Sweetened Condensed milk (NOT Evaporated Milk)
1/2 Cup Lemon Juice (Tastes best if free lemons are used)
Optional - add a couple drops of yellow food coloring to make it more yellow
1 Cup (1/2 Pint) whipping cream, 
         whipped with 1 Tsp. vanilla & 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar

1. In medium bowl, combine Sweetened Condensed Milk, & lemon juice (plus food coloring if you want to use any). Stir until well blended.
2. Whip cream into peaks. Gently fold into the Condensed Milk mixture.
3. Pour into the baked crust and chill at least three hours to set. You can serve it with more whipping cream if you want, but it's fine just as is. Best served with friends, of course.