Posts Tagged ‘luddite’

Microwaves and I do not understand each other

November 8, 2010


“Field-side Microwave” by say.today on the flickr.

Okay, right out of the gate I need to say that I’m one of those ignorant paranoiac luddites who’s still not totally convinced that microwaves are safe. So I am biased against them to begin with. (Please do not explain the science of their safety to me because I am unreasonable and stubborn and it would waste both our time for you to patiently demonstrate how they will not make us sterile or slowly irradiate our children.) I also prefer to make food in the oven because it comes out better. Anyone who has microwaved fries instead of sticking them under the broiler knows where I’m coming from.

I use the microwave for two things: popping corn and heating tea. The popcorn because it is a light snack that I do not have to slave over a pot and nervously try to capture it before it is flung all over the stovetop, and the tea because my beautiful teapot is in Portland.The microwave in the kitchen here has a “popcorn” button with which I’ve been experimenting with fairly good results. It also has a bunch of other preset buttons which I can never see myself using, such as for thawing meat, which the microwave is the last place I would be willing to do that.


“Late Night Snack” by Danielle de Leon on the flickr.

As I was heating tea around five minutes ago, I observed that, of course, there was no make-a-beverage-hot-but-not-scalding-setting. I made a “pfft!” noise as I watched the cup slowly spin from a safe distance, and I thought with disdain that any microwave which has automatic settings for all this other happy crap but no button for tea clearly knows nothing about me.

Then I thought, Why do I want the microwave to know things about me?


“Granddad’s Microwave” via funkjunkie on the tumblr.

The situation could be worse. When we moved Paolo and Miss D in to their present C-town domicile, the kitchen came complete with a vintage microwave that had a stunning array of preset suggestions. They started reasonably enough — settings for thawing meat and defrosting vegetables, then moving in to common entrees — but quickly progressed to some really obscure menu suggestions. The most shocking and thought-provoking one for me was, I shit you not, swordfish l’orange.


The saddest cookbook you’ll ever see.

Swordfish l’orange: wow. Like, first of all, I would have never thought to prepare swordfish in that fashion — I’ve never prepared swordfish at all, actually, but I feel that l’orange would not be my “go-to” style — but more importantly, if someone, somewhere, actually took a notion to cook the dish in the first place, why would you do it in the microwave? On what planet is swordfish l’orange so in demand as a dish that you whip it up in the microwave like it is a freaking Lean Pocket? It truly boggled my mind.

My Aunt Harriet had a microwave in the eighties which talked and her magnificent neighbor’s no-good son who is dead now totally stole it one morning, but all of that’s a story for a different day. I got quite a few microwave stories, and they’re all pretty good. One involves both toplessness and fire (I live dangerously). I’m not sure if I have enough anecdotes to make it a regular feature, but I’ll think about it.

Daily Batman: Blinding you with Science

April 14, 2010

Can Beach Bunny Batgirl get Scientific with you?


On this date in 1981, the space shuttle Columbia completed its first successful orbit, landing safely at Edwards AFB in Antelope Valley, CA. In 1932, the atom was split by Cockroft and Walton in the Cavendish Labs. Like, dang. Those are some incredible scientific landmarks of just the sort that Sir Isaac Newton was speaking in the above quote.

My god, what a century of achievements. What will we do next? Keep your mind open and don’t be afraid of advancements — the only way to prevent a dystopian future run by cyborgs and genetically enhanced a-holes is to stay ethically invested in the coming leaps of technology. The only way to guarantee Bizarro Robocops and sentient microwaves stalking your cloned stem-cell baby with iPod implant neck shunts and laser gun wristwatches is to not care and not keep up with change. Cell phones freak me out and I don’t even know how to begin to use touchscreen notebooks, but I’m determined to learn this year. No burying my head in the sand (or clouds, more likely) and hiding from Change for me — not anymore.

Because I look at that quote from the freaking father of physics, thank you very much, and think of all the science that has rocked our world through the years, and each time a new advancement came along, there were frightened people, shellshocked Luddites like myself waving their arms around and crying “We’re all gonna die! Apocalypse now!” but it never happened, because humanity’s better nature has inevitably prevailed, and we’ve assimilated as best we could each new challenge to keeping the lid on our growing godlike powers. As fearsome as that is, if I am concerned, that’s exactly why I should not give up on the Future, right? If I’m so worried about it, why don’t I put my money where my big scared mouth is and stick around to defend it? Ought we not fight for the future to be a brave and conscience-guided good one instead of cringing in the corner, wringing our hands and refusing to look growing technology square in the eye?

I believe that great changes at which, like Sir Isaac Newton, we can not even possibly begin to guess are going to come in our lifetimes but we can make it a safe and morally-centered time with the potential to better the lives of everyone on Earth, so long as we try and don’t give up or get overwhelmed. I believe this is possible. I really do. I’m in a new and more positive place than I’ve ever been.

Okay, so I guess in addition to getting Scientific with you, I also got a little Hippie. I have those kind of tendencies. Thanks for loving me anyway. (My providing you with all kinds of softcore porn has I’m sure nothing to do with it.)