Is this a metaphor?

In Uncategorized on February 15, 2011 at 4:57 pm

Have you all read this piece in the recent New Yorker? Here is the big revelation that top-level Scientologists learn, once they have reached Operating Thetan III level:

“A major cause of mankind’s problems began 75 million years ago,” the Times wrote, when the planet Earth, then called Teegeeack, was part of a confederation of ninety planets under the leadership of a despotic ruler named Xenu. “Then, as now, the materials state, the chief problem was overpopulation.” Xenu decided “to take radical measures.” The documents explained that surplus beings were transported to volcanoes on Earth. “The documents state that H-bombs far more powerful than any in existence today were dropped on these volcanoes, destroying the people but freeing their spirits—called thetans—which attached themselves to one another in clusters.” Those spirits were “trapped in a compound of frozen alcohol and glycol,” then “implanted” with “the seed of aberrant behavior.” The Times account concluded, “When people die, these clusters attach to other humans and keep perpetuating themselves.”

I especially enjoyed the description of Paul Haggis’s reaction when he was finally allowed to read this secret text:

Carrying an empty, locked briefcase, Haggis went to the Advanced Organization building in Los Angeles, where the material was held. A supervisor then handed him a folder, which Haggis put in the briefcase. He entered a study room, where he finally got to examine the secret document—a couple of pages, in Hubbard’s bold scrawl. After a few minutes, he returned to the supervisor.

“I don’t understand,” Haggis said.

“Do you know the words?” the supervisor asked.

“I know the words, I just don’t understand.”

“Go back and read it again,” the supervisor suggested.

Haggis did so. In a moment, he returned. “Is this a metaphor?” he asked the supervisor.

“No,” the supervisor responded. “It is what it is. Do the actions that are required.”

Maybe it’s an insanity test, Haggis thought—if you believe it, you’re automatically kicked out. “I sat with that for a while,” he says. But when he read it again he decided, “This is madness.”

Real talk.

Speaking of madness, I have eaten cupcakes two days in a row at work and I can tell that they were made from a mix and you know what? I don’t care. I am saying it right here, right now, sometimes canned frosting is delicious. Praise Xenu!


Cooking the Books

In books on February 13, 2011 at 7:54 pm

I really love baking and I really love books. The most recent book that I absolutely loved was Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad. Egan writes with utter authority. No author anxiety or pretension poking through. She manages to set some of her writing in the future in a way that is completely believable (and scary and beautiful and heartbreaking). A friend of mine, who is an up-and-coming writer herself, sent me the video below.

Emily Gould is perhaps best known for her notorious New York Times Magazine piece on blogging for Gawker and going through an epic breakup. Her story received 1216 comments, most of them indignant. Gould now hosts a cooking/book show (she interviews authors and they make a dish together). What a great concept! You know, I like Gould’s honesty about life. I like the questions she has for the authors. Maybe I’ll read her book And the Heart Says Whatever sometime. Whatever.

Here is Jennifer Egan making macaroons with Emily Gould. I’ve never made macaroons but now I’m tempted to try.



Crash and Burn

In life, nostalgia on February 13, 2011 at 1:05 pm

It’s been a rough year and I stopped blogging for many months. I also stopped running Beatrix Cakes as a business after this summer because I simply couldn’t balance everything. My daughter became mobile and I could not chase her and make frosting at the same time. And so here are a few of the cakes I baked before I decided to close shop. Cue Boyz II Men:

King Cake

I baked this cake for a book group. They were reading A Lesson Before Dying. A king cake is meant to have a little baby Jesus figurine in it, but I chose to use an orange wedge instead. No choking!


This was a chocolate cake for a group of soccer-playing children and their parents.


This was a birthday cake I whipped up for my sister-in-law’s birthday. No frills or borders, but I sort of like this one best out of anything I’ve made.


This was a vanilla cake with chocolate frosting and tiny flowers (for an Easter celebration).


A cake for a poet and her philosophy grad student friends. View from the top:



A mocha cake for Mother’s Day.


A chocolate cake with chocolate shavings. Honestly, I don’t even remember making this cake. I hope it was tasty!

Certainly, the best part of the last year has been watching my daughter grow. Here she is with her two great grandmothers, playing with a cake ring toy from my dear friend:

And so I will try and blog more, with updates of anything interesting I have baked, books I have read, places I have traveled… you get the picture.