Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Totally Random Stuff

Wendy is buried in business. I am buried in writing and Spanish.
Three hundred and fifty flashcards, two hundred tossed out a couple weeks ago because I had memorized them. Rosetta Stone lessons done every morning. Private lessons with friend and professor Montse, (a bullfighting aficionado like myself) and conversation class for an hour and forty minutes a day.

I write almost every day. Last week I transcribed forty voice notes, then we went to Cordoba for a weekend and I made forty more. This blog needs more updates and I’m working on it. I have three long entries started that I hope to have up soon. In the afternoons after conversation class I no longer have homework so I’ve had time to work again on “Marilyn’s Story.” I’ve really come to believe in this piece and am anxious to get it in final published form, have it for sale here, and then approach a publisher about adding it to their line. It requires a lot of work, all of which I hope to (will) have finished before we head to Vermont in late July.

In other news, I should tell you how to make the best scrambled eggs in the world. Because anyone who has eaten my eggs will tell you, I make the best. Wendy wanted to know my secret so she watched me one day.
Turn your burner to a medium high heat. My burner goes from zero to twelve and I cook the eggs on eight. Then moisten the pan with either olive oil or butter. If you use butter, you will have to experiment with how much is the right amount. What a lot of people don’t understand is why even simple food in some restaurants taste so much better than their home cooking. I found the answer in Anthony Bourdain’s fabulous book, “Kitchen Confidential.” A lot of the reason is sugar and butter. Lots of both. A lot more than you use at home because you’re trying to eat healthy.

I use a lot of butter in my scrambled eggs. The second thing I did that baffled Wendy was breaking the eggs directly into the oiled pan.

“Oh, I thought we were making scrambled eggs?”
“We are.”

You let the eggs cook for between thirty seconds to a minute as if you were frying eggs, then you break them all up and mix them together. What this does is make small white egg flakes, surrounded by soft yolk. Let them sit about ten seconds, mix them again, let them sit, mix them again, and remove them from the flame the second they are about to lose the last bit of moisture. Wendy and I both like our eggs fairly “wet.” You will have to experiment with how wet you like your eggs, but it should always be some ways away than “totally dried out.” The eggs lose their flavor if they are cooked completely through.

NEVER add milk to eggs. I don’t know how this practice ever got started but if you’ve ever had eggs without milk in them, you know how much better they are than the traditional version.

Wendy and I have made them a bit more complex for our diet by adding onion, red peppers and mushrooms to the mix.

First, oil the pan with olive oil. (Butter tastes a little strange with this mix for some reason.) Then throw in a handful of chopped onion. The onions require more cooking time than the other ingredients so let them cook three or four minutes, then throw in a handful of finely chopped red peppers and chopped mushrooms. Break the eggs over the top of them and repeat the steps above for making perfect scrambled eggs.

And the last little ramble that I have to get off my chest and don’t have anywhere else to put it – Why are our dreams so weird? When we sleep, aren’t we supposed be giving the brain time to process events, write long term memory and relax?

Last night I dreamed a creature or tornado or something was destroying the eastern section of my home town and rapidly bearing down on my house. I couldn’t see what it was, but trees and houses were flying into the air and being destroyed at a frantic pace. I knew I had only seconds to run inside, grab Wendy and immediately either jump in my RAV4 and drive, fast, or hide in the basement. If I hesitated we would be lost. I ran inside and everything was peaceful. I forgot why I was there. In fact, in my dream, I remember “waking up.” What a terrible dream I thought. Then I went outside and down the street from me was a huge building project. I went down to look at the cranes and bulldozers and lawns torn up, with builders working at a furious pace. And yet, people sleeping on top of the construction. In beds.

Why does my brain have to do this? I don’t get it. How come I can’t go to sleep every night and dream of being a Superhero saving a city from Dr Doom? How come I can’t dream about being undefeated in the UFC? How come to relax, my brain doesn’t dream about hot triplets?

What exactly is my subconscious doing when it would rather “play” by dreaming about smoke monsters and construction?


  1. I'm not an expert, so take this with a grain of salt, but it's what I glean from the few psychology courses I took back in college and the little bit of reading I've done in science magazines about sleep studies.

    Yes, sleeping is when our brains process, organize memory. Is it really when they relax, though? I guess it means what you mean by "relax". We tend to think of relaxation in terms of the skeletal/muscular system; as a sort of physio-muscular release or decompression. I'm not sure the brain does that exactly. When the brain "relaxes" it is merely falling back into a basic pattern of functionality. Keep the necessary body functions going, flit through memories, maybe sort them somehow. I think the brain's "relaxation" is the absence of conscious focus on any particular topic. The "thoughts" we have when sleeping come from the basic urges/impulses/habits which we unconsciously or subconsciously fall into when not forcing our thoughts to concentrate on work, school, games, whatever activities we engage in during waking hours.

    That's why dreams are so valuable in psychiatry. They are honest, if discombobulated. Getting to your question: why does your brain have to do that? It's tough to say without a thorough grasp of your context. In a very simplistic, layman understanding (because that's how I understand it, not because I'm trying to dumb it down) memories are organized in associative clusters and no two persons' clusters are necessarily identical. We all probably put y=mx+b in a "math" cluster. However, the memory of learning the equation of a line might be in that same cluster, in a "sexy teacher" cluster, in a "things I hate" cluster or whatever depending on our own personal experiences and preferences.

    Nebulous destruction, home, your RAV4, Wendy, sleep, construction. Somehow you've associated them or dealt with them recently or something and when "relaxing" your brain flitted through them. Dr. Doom, UFC, hot triplets . . . that's exercise for your brain, not relaxation.

  2. You do make the best scrammbled eggs.

  3. You do make the best scrammbled eggs.

  4. You do make the best scrammbled eggs.

  5. Time to set your Spanish back a few semesters

    (Warning! Spanish insults) http://www.cracked.com/article_16275_9-most-devastating-insults-from-around-world.html


  6. you don't season your eggs at all! these cannot be the best eggs without a little salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.

  7. Long time no see old friend. I've been thinking about you a lot, and have tried to get your email address. I'd love to come to Spain and visit!!! But it may be just email for now. Josh has my email, please get it from him and get in touch with me. Tons has happened since we last talked - years ago!!!

    I'm really interested in dreams and what they mean, I even spent several months going to a dream Analyst. I'll try and figure out your dream, but you'll have to email to get the results!! Miss you friend.