May, 2004

Kwahanamas 2002

OLLLLLLLLLLDDDD School. Kwahanamas: A multi-cultural celebration created at Binghamton University; Finally, pictures from the 2002 holiday festivities.

I’m debating between getting a second job and taking dance lessons or something like that. Starting to get bored already. Aie yie yie. I feel I may not really have time or energy for a second job. Maybe I need to really get adjusted to this new schedule before I decide for sure. But it’s been a week, so I should be pretty used to this 3am thing, and yet, my daily routine still involves a two-hour nap (even though I get 7 hours of sleep every night)! The nap is inevitable. I’ve tried to not take a nap, it just doesn’t work because I fall asleep while doing whatever else it is I do. I think it has something to do with the heat too. It was 100°F today. And it’s going to be 106°F on Saturday! Guys, do you understand how hot this is? I have a little heat rash on my hand just thinking about it!! We’re talking serious hotness here. Thank God I have three swimming suits and two pools (mwua hahahahaaaah!!).

Anyways, enough whining already. Life is good. I’m happy! Come visit!!

The Symbolic Significance of Boxed Brownies

There�s no doubt about it: recent advances in technology have jumpstarted a Brownie Revolution. Science and technology have changed American culture moist.jpggreatly in the past few years and brought brownies to the forefront of the dessert scene. From kids to accredited chefs, Americans country-wide are creating and consuming brownie varietals more quickly than ever before.

And why are we baking and creating so quickly? Because of the world-changing inventions which allow us to travel, communicate, and live at a faster pace than ever possible. The internet, cell phones, and jets that travel at the speed of light inspire us to go everywhere we ever imagined, do all of the things we�ve always wanted and become athletic, nutrition savvy, god-like beings! In the process of achieving these lofty goals we speed up our every activity and no longer have time to spend hours slaving over the hot oven.

And so arrives the Brownie Revolution: a mind-boggling explosion of fast, easy and satisfying alternatives for the busy, health-conscious American of the 21st century. Moms and Dads pursuing professional careers �don�t have time to bake� and embrace boxed brownies and Easy Brownie recipes in which there are two steps�mix the ingredients right in the baking tin and cook�waalah! Only one dish to wash! Hundreds of companies are now producing dozens of kinds of boxed brownies, which are available in all local supermarkets. Most of these boxes feature three-step illustrated instructions�just in case you don�t have time to actually read a recipe. Or for those living extremely hectic lifestyles there�s the No-Bake Brownie: don�t worry; you won�t have to go anywhere near the oven! And, if you�re really caught up in the frenzy of the century, just order pre-made brownies online!

Even the busy 21st centurion takes time to think about healthy food options, and modern science has invented hundreds of options for the health conscious brownie lover. The now famous No-Pudge Brownies that �taste just like the real thing, but with no fat and only one-third the calories!� What an ingenious invention! mixed_brownies.jpg

There are vegetarian and even vegan brownie recipes available– nutrition-inspired recipes like Carrot-Tofu Brownies, Twelve-grain Brownies and Zucchini Brownies. And for those avoiding sweets all together we have savory brownies filled with ricotta or spiced with black pepper. You can even get your daily servings of fruits and vegetables by sampling brownies filled with fresh or dried fruits and vegetables.

I think this new creative interest in the food industry is great because it�s satisfying cravings and providing Americans all over the country with an outlet for their culinary creativity. Parents can whip up a quick box of brownies even after a hectic day of work because the pre-made mix takes only minutes to put together. Kids too young to read can even throw a batch together thanks to the walnut_brownies.jpghandy illustrated instructions.

The box of brownies is a simple thing–it costs only a few dollars and takes but a few minutes to throw together–it’s the symbolic significance of those brownies that makes them meaningful and popular. Boxed brownies give pleasure to everyone who touches them! Children love them because of their fudgy chocolate goodness and their easy assembly; parents love them because they can have a full-time career and still have time to bake special homemade goodies that only the professional housewife used to have time to make. Through boxed brownies people everywhere are fulfilling their dreams of being the best they can be–working and providing delightful treats for their families at the same time!

Fudgy, chewy, nutty, fruity, frosted, cake-like, layered, chunky, crunchy�the hybrid specimens are endless. Add nuts, caramel, peanut butter, toffee, cookies, candy bars, pineapple, cream cheese, liquor, coffee, extracts, grains�if it makes you happy or brings you closer to nutritional Nirvana, it must be a Good Thing.

Don’t have enough time for from-scratch brownies, but want more than the average box has to offer? Check out Chocolate From The Cake Mix Doctor for hundreds of easy-to-make, better-than-the-box, chocolatey recipes.


flintstones.jpgI’m living in Bedrock–Nevadians are all about the decorative front-lawn rocks– like the large red ones the Flintstones have in their front yard. Let me set the scene for you…on Saturday mornings our neighbors rake their rocks instead of mowing their lawns. We have washes (a.k.a. “This used to be a river, but now it’s a bed of rocks”) instead of rivers! It’s at least 92�F every day (usually by around 11AM) and there are frequent dust storms! I feel like I’m in a foreign country. Where are the lush green mountains and cool, deep lakes of my Upstate homeland?!?

I have a fabulous new job working as a pastry cook at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Las Vegas!!! Everything about it (except maybe the pay) is great! I’m on the early morning shift right now, so I go in at 5AM (which, because of the 20 min. commute, requires waking up at 3:15 AM. Oh, Billy. This world is determined to make me a morning person I feel.) and get out between 1:00PM and 3:00PM. It’s a pretty good schedule, because I’ve still got the afternoon to get things done before hitting the sack at 7:30PM. Plus, I love my job!! It’s TOTALLY fun and extremely low stress and I’ve already almost completely taken over the breakfast line, so I sort of get to be in charge–something I highly enjoy. After service, which starts at 6:30AM and ends around 11:30AM, I go into the bakeshop and bang out bread production, or depending on how busy we are, head over to the pasty department and help them out with plated desserts for dinner. There’s so much to learn!

Bouchon means “bistro” in French. I’m sure you’ve all got a general idea of what a bistro is–casual great food, European style–but did you know that the first bistros were coal distributors? In the Olden Days, a bistro was a comfortable, busy, community harbor where you went to get your coal for the week, have a glass of wine, and catch up on local gossip. Eventually the bistros started offering small food items too, and as more advanced forms of heating developed, the coal-selling died out. The origin of the bistro has a lot to do with the ambiance and architecture of these restaurants today. Most of them are loud, upbeat, cozy places where you can go and feel comfortable and casual and eat great food at the same time! Adam Tihany designed both of TK’s Bouchons, so you can get a feel for what they’re like inside (this link shows pictures of the Bouchon in Yountville, Bouchon Las Vegas has blue velvet seating and is five times larger…).

Well, it’s past my bedtime, so I’m signing out for the night. New on
Lifestyles of The Poor and Aspiring
A live guided tour of my new apartment.


I’m updating the photo gallery today. Woohoo!

Pictures from Daiquiri Night (senior year of college some time…)

Pictures from my 23rd Birthday Party (Am I getting too old to have birthday parties?)

Here are the pictures from Outer Banks Vacation 2003.

Can you handle the Official Photo Documentation of a New Year’s Eve celebration in SF? If so, here you go: New Year’s Eve 2004

For more details on the move to Vegas, see Roomies Around the World.

1 of 2