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all mixed up
Dec 20th, 2010 by wrekehavoc

dear black and decker,

i don’t usually find myself writing to large corporations, much less large corporations that generally don’t produce things which i use.  while i have been known to pick up power tools for my BS for holidays when he places them on his wishlist; and while there are times when i am tempted to locate a power tool and run screaming down the street, i am probably not part of your target demographic, being a stay-at-home-mom who tends to leave most home improvement projects to the experts (or to my husband if i am quite certain that he will not be ripping an entire wall out in the process. which did occur once, i would add. but i digress.)

recently, my husband generously purchased a black and decker hand mixer for me for the holidays. the wonderful machine is a powerpro 250 watt mixer, a cute little number with additional wisks for beating eggs and even a little scraper attachment that supposedly scrapes the bowl as you go along.  now, i know what you’re thinking: why on EARTH would you ask for a small appliance for the holidays when you could be angling for some serious bling?

in short, i love to bake. and while my kitchenaid mixer is my go-to appliance for probably 80 percent of my baking needs, there are times when you just don’t feel like lugging out the giant behemoth just to mix up the instant chocolate pudding.  and once upon a time, i had a hand mixer. yep. got it when i got married over two decades ago. it was my friend and happy little mixing companion. it survived a lot of things — and if you only understood my inability to cook well, you’d understand how that mixer could be termed a survivor.  however, there was one thing it could not survive.

that would be my son, jools.

once day, jools was helping me mix up some brownies, my most favorite food on the planet. and, if i do say so myself, i make some pretty awesome brownies. if i could only figure out a way to make them actually good-for-you, i would make a mint. sadly, no rationalization of how butter, eggs, sugar, chocolate, flour, salt and vanilla can be made to be thought of as anything but yummy. but that’s ok. anyway, the boy and i were mixing up some brownies when the boy did the unthinkable — and with lightning speed, i would add. my three-year-old chef-in-training stuck a spoon into the whirring blades.

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZTTTTTTTTTTTT! there it was.

fortunately, no people were hurt in the process (though the moment is seared unto the boy’s memory. to this very day, he recalls the incident. the day the mixer died.)

so i have been waiting for over four years to one day have a mixer. i ended up with an immersion blender one year, hoping that would do the trick. sure, it was useful for a lot of things (such as mixing up instant pudding), but it just didn’t do what a little hand mixer could do, gently combining ingredients, then raising the speed level to add some air. it had one speed, and that was that.

then, my BS went and bought me the aforementioned black and decker hand mixer for chanukah.

it is truly a lovely machine, with additional wisks for beating eggs and even an attachment which allegedly will help scrape the bowl as i’m mixing — how cool is that? (did i mention that already? sorry. i just am too excited.)  i couldn’t wait to try it out, but it took me a week or two to get a moment to bake something.

so i just had the chance to wash up the beaters, plug it in, and give it a whirl: it was time to break out some pumpkin and make some yummy pumpkin chocolate chip bread. i started out with sugar and butter in the bowl. it was creaming time. i turned on the beaters onto the slowest speed.

WHRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

sugar and butter pieces flew all over my kitchen. (i may still find pieces of butter in 2011.) wow. if that’s the slowest speed, what speeds come next, i wondered. i checked them out, each level even speedier than the next. add the power boost, and you’ve got a tool that probably has more power in it than my entire kitchen appliance collection combined.

black and decker, power is fantastic i suspect when you’re building something manly-man-like. like, say, a building. but you need to remember that baking sometimes is the art of the gentle. flour simply doesn’t fight too hard; and eggs just aren’t that tough.  i fear this mixer was built for the likes of tim “the toolman” taylor.

please consult an actual baker when you develop these sort of tools. i barely clean my kitchen as it is.

yours,

wreke

world aids day 2010
Dec 1st, 2010 by wrekehavoc

…because freddy mercury should be singing bohemian rhapsody and not elton john or axel rose.

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if ignorance is a pet peeve of mine, then you can bet that ignorance about HIV and AIDS goes far, far beyond mere annoyance in my book. as i have known plenty of people who lived and died from the HIV virus — and I have a friend who continues to live with AIDS, probably far beyond what doctors predicted — i have been gobsmacked by the stupidity people have shown toward those with HIV, as if you might catch it by simply breathing the same air.  in the old office where i used to get my monthly IVIG, i had less fear about being around AIDS patients than i did with someone with something actually infectious. it wasn’t like i was going to be having sex while getting my IV — not that i could even figure out how if i even wanted to, of course. (and i’m quite sure none of those patients were interested in me, anyway.)

i can’t believe we’ve hit world aids day 2010 and there still isn’t a cure. there are a lot of advances, thanks to groups like amfAR. still, funding is an issue — i know, where isn’t funding an issue these days. and you might wonder why i care about this disease; i don’t exactly fit the profile of someone who might be engaging in behaviors that might lead to trouble (although no one is ever truly perfectly immune from anything, i believe.) i guess somewhere in the back of my bear-brain, i know that i have a condition where so little is known. there’s no primary immunodeficiency day out there; we don’t have celebrities talking about what it’s like to have a crap immune system. but i feel a kinship with HIV/AIDS folks — they, too, have crap immune systems. theirs is an acquired situation, whereas mine was something i was simply born with (apparently.)

maybe it’s a slightly selfish thing — i figure that maybe, if someone out there figures out how to help those folks, that maybe someday, that research will possibly benefit my children and grandchildren. after all, someone’s going to get my genes.

so i hope you’ll join me in commemorating world aids day 2010. i hope i see a day in my lifetime when they no longer have this commemoration because the disease has a remedy.

and then maybe, we won’t lose people like freddy mercury just because he loved often but possibly not always so well.

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