Sunday, March 6, 2016

Reflection, so Far

A few of the things I have learned and some take-aways sin our class so far:
  • the vastness of the internet and the amazing amount of content that is generated on a daily basis.  
  • the fact that the internet allows us all to be contributors and collaborators of content.  We create meaning in spaces that have never existed in this way before.  The web allows for unprecedented ways to connect with people and create meaning
  • we are so immersed in the rapidly changing face of technology that we are often oblivious to how quickly it is changing our daily lives--this lack of awareness is problematic insofar as we are not necessarily being reflective consumers of technology, but instead are being led by it
  • who we are online is a huge question.  The power of the internet to mask, transform or alter our real selves can be positive and interesting or not, depending on how we use this new found power.  The internet allows us to, in ways only imagined in a few decades ago, communicate across space and time and who we are is a matter of choice.  There is a tremendous capacity for good, but there is also a lot of damage that has been and can be done in the is medium.
These things serve as a basis to begin understanding learning media and the impact it has it and continues to have.  Social media often drives learning media in new and innovative directions, understanding trends in social media helps us to better predict how educational media may follow suit. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Facebook knows me best.

I do a lot of shopping online--90% of my purchases are done online for clothes, electronics, travel and even groceries.  Facebook logic has somehow integrated itself into my every move as a consumer: if I shop on Amazon for a particular book, within minutes my FB newsfeed contains advertisements for that particular book and other related items from various sites.  I have tried to figure out why, even when I'm using sites that are not formally connected to Facebook (those where I don't use my Facebook password to log in) how the information is picked up by Facebook and then delivered to me.  I don't use my Facebook password to log into eBay, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Best Buy, or Expedia, yet almost magically my purchasing behavior is tracked by Facebook.  While there are many things about Facebook that I find helpful in my daily life, this particular feature has made me wonder what else FB is tracking behind the scenes.  It isn't that I do anything questionable on the Internet, however, that is not reason alone to pretend that this type of tracking isn't of concern.  I'm just not sure how to reduce my exposure and that deeply troubles me.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Gender Roles and the Internet

Our textbook, in Chapter 4, raises some important questions about how gender stereotypes have been exacerbated by digital media.  The medium lends itself to the portrayal of women in many different forms, but there are, in certain places, a heavy emphasis on exploitation.  I found the discussion about cyber-feminism to be very interesting--there are many ways that digital media can be used to advance civil rights, yet there seems to also be this ability for the medium to take us back in time.  The book cites the lack of 'watchdog' groups and advocacy organizations to monitor internet material in the same way they do television, movies and radio.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

My poor blog needs resuscitation!

I am taking a class called New Media and Society and we are required to create a blog...but I already have one.  The poor thing has been neglected, though.  Like a lot of things I start, I didn't continue posting and writing to this blog even though I enjoyed it. Life got in the way (or I got lazy!) and I left it here for dead.  I am going to use this blog to post about my experiences in class, even though the original intention of this space was to post pictures and thoughts about food and life.  Change is good, amiright? To be honest, I don't want to use it for my class, but I also don't see a reason to put another blog site out here that I won't use again after it's over.  So, here goes... :-)

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas Abundance

Abundance, in Cookie form.

For me, this year particularly, the abundance of Christmas was most illustrated through cookies!
Andes Mint Cookies

Biscoff Toffee Crinkles

White and Dark Chocolate Chunk

Chocolate Pecan Chunk

Lemon Genettes

Gingerbread with Clementine Glaze

Pretty Gingerbread!

Lots of Lemon Genettes!

Peanut Butter Blossoms

Peanut Butter Cups

Pecan Shortbread

Pecan Tassies

Raspberry Thumbprints

Hershey Kiss Snowballs

Tangerine Butter Cookies

Whipped Shortbread

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Game Day Imposters

If your team is in a Divisional Championship game today, then this day feels a little like Christmas eve or the night before you leave to go on a vacation.  You are excited; there is the optimism that comes from possibilities that are not yet realized, and hopes not yet dashed.    The NY Giants, despite their mediocre regular season performance, are in the playoffs--and today are one win away from going to the big dance.  The last time we were there was 2008 when we again beat the odds and won against Goliath (aka as the New England Patriots).   The Giants always do better as the underdogs--it seems to reinforce our long-won reputation as being the down-in-the dirt, scrappy kid who, while unrefined, has a heart as big as the city itself.  It all smacks of an afterschool special, doesn't it? :) 

 The part that strikes me, though, is how great it feels to be in a place where naysayers were sure you wouldn't be. I recognize this feeling on a personal level, I bet many of you do too.  While it feels great, there is a nagging little voice that sits on you shoulder and says "you're not supposed to be here, you're an better be careful or everyone will realize that you don't belong here.."  That insidious voice can follow us and even bring us down at the moment when it is our turn to shine.  It's been called the "Imposter Syndrome" in psychological literature, and it is very real.  I worry that the some of rookie members of the Giants team will succumb to that voice today and forget all that they really did to get where they are.   That concern, coupled with gentle reminders that I do belong where I am, has at times failed me.  I bet it has failed you, too.

When I talk to friends and colleagues, I am always amazed at how prevalent the 'imposter syndrome' is among us, and this particularly true among women.  It's a phenomenon, really, that so many of us feel that we are in places where we don't deserve to be.  For me, today, it's finishing my doctorate.  I've done everything that needs to be done, I've jumped through all the hoops, passed all the checkpoints and now I'm faced with the dissertation.  I've been stuck here for too long because, frankly, I can't see how I actually got here.  Standing from this vantage point is has been much too easy to forget all of the trials: the papers, the exams, the hours, the sacrifices-- all of it, that I had to overcome to get to this point.  I know that it may not make sense to anyone who isn't me, but something about preparing for today's game reminded me that, just as the Giants have earned their place here, so have I.  Chances are, so have you too.   So today, my wish for you, for me (and the Giants) is that we each take some time to look back, recognize and then value all the ways we overcame odds to be where we are today. 
Glazed 'Pressure Cooker" Ribs (recipe at the end)

Oh, and because this blog is really about the intersection of food with our lives, these special days require some special food.   Unusual or special dishes remind us that this day or this occasion requires special tribute.  I think the lesson is really in the celebration itself:  the game has not been won, yet we choose to make this day special because of the journey it took to get here.  This is something we need to consider doing for ourselves: we need to not just celebrate the attainment of a goal, but also carve out time to celebrate the journey it took to get there.

Rustic Apple Pies

Asian Glazed Ribs from the Pressure Cooker

Glaze (for 2-3 Lbs of Pork Ribs with bones)
1c Orange Marmalade (or Apricot Jam)
1/2c Hoisin Sauce
2tbs Soy Sauce
2 tsp Sesame Oil
2 tsp Garlic Paste or Garlic Powder
1 tsp Ginger Paste, Fresh Grated or Powder (I like the paste that comes in the tube!)
2 tsp Lemon Grass
2 tsp Oyster Sauce
Chili flakes or chili oil if you like some heat.

Mix all of the glaze ingredients in a medium size bowl and adjust to taste. The amounts are really pliable meaning that you should make the sauce taste the way you like it.  You may like a little more ginger, or more's up to you. 

Cover each rib liberally, on both sides, with the glaze and then wrap them all together in aluminum foil--you want this to be as water tight as possible.  Put 1-2 cups of water in the bottom of your pressure cooker.  (If your pressure cooker has a little rack to help keep the food out of the liquid, use it). Put the well-wrapped ribs into the pressure cooker. Set the cooker to High Pressure for 40-minutes . When the cooker is done, allow it to cool down naturally (rather then letting the steam out manually).  NOTE: boneless ribs will take a little less time.

Your ribs will not be crispy, but they will be tender.  If you want to crisp up the outside, once you've removed the ribs from the pressure cooker, unwrap the foil and pop them under the broiler for a few minutes.  Either way they are DELICIOUS!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Feast Days

December is drawing to a close, a new year is upon us.  Christmas this year for me and my family was very joyous--we had the opportunity to spend time together and eat, of course.  I am a fortunate girl, I have my whole family and good friends (who are like family) around me--everyone is healthy and doing well in their lives, we are a blessed bunch.  I have a beautiful niece, a loving husband, and parents who I adore, even when they drive me completely bananas.  I am also so grateful for my two brothers.  When you're young, your siblings can be the bane of your very existence.  If you're lucky, as you get older those relationships develop into something very special.  Your siblings are the only people who truly understand the special dysfunction of your family--and even though you are different people, they share a vantage point with you that no one else does.  My brothers are so special to me and each for different reasons. 

In my way I page homage to the season by baking and cooking my ass off.  The phrase would imply that I have no ass left, when actually the opposite is true--it's still here, big as ever. :) 

Here are a smattering of some of the yumminess that came out of my kitchen this December:

Amaretto Tiramisu

Homemade Irish Cream (Just like Bailey's, only SO much better!)

My true Christmas miracle--cookies, cookies and more cookies! My favorite this year were the gingerbread with satsuma glaze...OMG, so amazingly good...even if I do say so myself.

Ok, yes, these are fruit cakes..but people actually LIKE to get these! I leave out all the citrusy stuff that makes fruit cakes bitter and put in extra nuts.

My original Peanut Butter cup cookies. Amber's favorite!


Hasselback Potatoes...

Egg Nog Pound Cake Cupcakes with Mascarpone cream frosting..I had some mascarpone cream left over from the Tiramisu..couldn't let it go to waste!

Carmelized Onion Dip...a riff on the old California Dip standby, just 1000% better.

Matzo Ball soup---not too shabby for a Catholic girl (although truth be told, I think I was supposed to be born to a nice Jewish couple from the Upper East Side.)


SHRIMP.....started out as shrimp cocktail on Christmas Eve and by the 26th it was the most delightful shrimp salad ever.

 So what do all these pictures tell us?  First and foremost, we all ate well and often this year.  But the bigger message here, for me, is that when I stop to take stock in the abundance in my life I stop fretting over what I don't have, what I haven't done, and all of the "if only's" that can punctuate any given day.  It isn't as easy as it sounds, though.  We all want to keep our eyes on the positive, don't we?  Why can be it be so difficult when blessings are surrounding us daily?  I blame some on the "do more, do it faster, have more, get more" aspect of our culture.  But I also think that some of it is that humans are amazingly adaptive creatures, this adaptivity is great, but also it results in us not seeing what is right in front of us until it's threatened or even gone.  We are like the fish that don't see the water they swim in--our blessings, our abundances become so secondary to us that we become blind to them. 

Yesterday I watched a video created by an 18-year old Ben Breedlove.  A young man who had struggled his whole life with heart defect.  His video, on YouTube, showed the kind of courage and beauty that you see with people who deal with a daily threat to their lives.  It's like they know something we don't: they know that everything we have no matter how big or small, is precious, but nothing is as valuable and fleeting as time.  It's something to which we pay lip-service, but we really aren't able to internalize it--if we were fish, time would be our water. 

I have no actual answers to this, except to say that my New Year's resolution is to be more present in my daily life and to try to stay aware of the 'water' that surrounds me.  Best wishes for a healthy and happy new year to all of you!