October 11th, 2004

Dancing Thru

A cooking weekend

I did a lot of cooking this weekend. First, I took a trip to the 99 Ranch market, then to Trader Joe's for ingredients. I then made some oriental-style tripe, which turned out fantastic. I mucked with the recipe a bit to use three kinds of mushrooms (button, shitake, and wood ear), and made it a bit hotter. Definitely a winner. Then I invited Chris for dinner, and did what I call "17th century fusion" for dinner. Basically, the pork loin recipe was based on 17th century tastes, in the marinade and spicing, which used an orange-based custard sauce with vinegar, but I also added baby bok choy (instead of cabbage) and orange segments. Then I did brown jasmine rice with saffron and truffle oil. Dessert was apple compote with raisins topped with meringue. I used my own apples, fresh off the tree, and only about a tbsp. of sugar in the whole thing, and beat a lump of Chinese yellow sugar to powder in the mortar and whipped it into the egg whites (which I did with the egg beater, not the mixer), more into the whole Zen experience of making it than just creating food. The whole dishful disappeared between Chris and myself.

Yesterday, I did Chinese Chicken Feet, like for the dim sum restaurant, from a recipe I got off the internet. Yeah, it's labor intensive, but I was cooking for the experience, again. I think I need to cook them for an extra hour, next time, as I couldn't quite suck the gelatin off the bones. Close, but not fully there. Next time. The taste could have used some extra green onion and star anise, but was pretty close. And I have leftovers in the fridge!
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    Iron Chef (Chariots of Fire)
grandma

PayPal is SO Hosed...

I've been starting to feel lately like I need to stop buying so much on ebay anyway...

BUT this is not a good sign, overall. PayPal has not only been down for several days, but there have been a lot of ramifications. A lot of sellers can't access money in their accounts, money they use for things like food and gas. These are small sellers, people I talk to on the boards, whom I think of as friends. They're having their PayPal ATM declined. I thought it was weird on Friday when I had trouble making a payment to a seller in Japan, and it would *only* accept a bank transfer, not a credit card. It claimed that my credit card was "not authorized for that amount." Huh? For $50??

But wow, the boards were full of it this morning. I just sent a note to one of the vintage dealers I just won a Victorian dress from and said "What if I send you a check? Have you seen what's in the boards?" I can hear her starting to panic. She thought it was odd that she couldn't access her account, but hadn't checked the boards. She's very HAPPY I offered to send a check.

And the support folks don't seem to be making much headway. The site comes up intermittantly, apparently, then crashes again. It's pot luck what you get. And the sellers find that payments to their accounts may not be there, or may be there in triplicate, or there is phantom money that's appeared. They forget that PayPal is not a bank. They have come to rely on it. And then it comes out---guess what operating system eBay is hosting PayPal on? Yep, it's Windoze. The story has been making all the major media now, but it seems like it's downplaying the seriousness of the problem. If it were, say, Bank of America that suddenly couldn't function for a few days, it would cause a panic. PayPal, thankfully, isn't quite that big, but it's still sobering.
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    worried worried