I’ve got a good parking situation. Both at home and at work, which is a rare thing for San Francisco. Usually, I can park in the building where I work at a greatly reduced fee. Sometimes, if that lot is full, I walk one very long block to park in another garage, also generously subsidized.
Paying at this lot has an unexpected pleasure. Going through the automated payment process gets you to this sentence (spoken by computerized woman’s voice: You can now pay in cash the amount…
I like this strange arrangement; a tune I can’t get out of my head. In my mind’s eye, it is unpunctuated, pure.
It reminded me of the first writing class I ever took. It was with Daphne Merkin, a writer I love and admire. There was a Japanese woman in the class who wrote these wonderfully evocative sentences, as only someone writing in a second language (with a lot of talent) could muster. I was doubly jealous, of the second language, and the sentence construction.
A colleague recently asked me if I was going to suggest a certain writing rule at my company. I said no. I like rules, but mainly so they can be beautifully broken.
This is one of the most evocative phrases I’ve read in a while. I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s the perfect way to describe the movement, curiosity and explorative behavior of children. Brilliant. It will come as no surprise then that Julian Barnes wrote it. It’s the opening of his novel, Arthur & George.
A child wants to see. It always begins like this, and it began like this then. A child wanted to see.
He was able to walk, and could reach up to a door handle. He did this with nothing that could be called a purpose, merely the instinctive toursim of infancy.”
This is more of a feeling, not yet developed into a theory, but I wanted to put it out there. It’s simple really. Text talk (tt), or whatever it’s called isn’t a bastardization of proper English and correct grammar, it’s a new language; and it’s a particularly good language at expressing love or romance or lust or infatuation or … well you get the point. And here’s why. It’s not just words, it’s an audio/text/dopamine trifecta. And that’s not counting how close we are to our little mobile devices. How most of us carry those little guys on our person most days. A little warm buzz in the pocket or against the side tucked into a purse, or strapped across the chest in a messenger bag. The cell phone. Close to the head, close to the heart.
It starts with the chime, or the ding that lets you know something’s just come in. That’s exciting to begin with, then there’s the message itself, short, compact, urgent, in some stunted form. Long sentences, pauses and proper grammar would only slow things down and distort the meaning. Because pace is important; timing is everything.
Uh, this commercial made me tear up. Twice. I’m not sure whether it was the voice over, or agony. However, an impressive piece of commerce, this is. I’ll explain why I was watching it at all, later.
I like to use birthdays as an excuse to make a new cake. Or make an tried and true cake that challenges my decorating abilities. Thus, the Tiara Cake came to be. It’s in honor of M’s 5th birthday, which is today.
Having a child turn 5 is one of those milestones, where you say to yourself, “Five years have already passed! I can’t believe it’s already been 5 years.” And 5 is big, because your child is playing iphone games, has decided to be an astronaut, and uses the word awesome. You may have even seen a glimpse of the teenage years to come and the accompanying fashion and attitude, and yet, you still have a little girl who likes her princesses.
And so, in honor of the occasion (and for the party), we decided that the cake would not be shaped like a tiara itself but have a tiara (image) on it. (I wasn’t about to start drawing Ariel herself, in frosting). A tiara, which M will likely be wearing today, seems a solid symbol of both princesshood and birthdayness, and it’s not too complicated to represent in sugar products. It had to pink, of course, although I started out thinking it would be silver, only to find that frosting doesn’t come in silver, not at any local store anyway. M had also requested that I write, I love you and put some hearts on the cake.
For her party, we are also having a pinata, which has all six princesses (I guess Repunzel hasn’t made it into the hallowed center six for good yet) hanging out at their castle. I am expecting that by next year the princess interest will have waned, and we’ll be onto something else. I think we’ll be ready.
The cake is devil’s food cake with white chocolate chunks (again, for surprise) and a cream cheese lemon frosting.
The frosting is easy and reliable and delicious:
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces, softened
8 ounces cream cheese cut into 4 pieces, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1 1/4 cups confectioner’s sugar
I mix up the first two in the kitchen aid, add the second two, sift in the sugar. Mix but not too much. And it keeps in the fridge for week.
I’ll post the cake recipe if it turns out to be very delicious. Now, I’m just hoping my fairy godmother prevents it from raining…