Christmas in April

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The Oberlin College Series

Christmas in April
ChaosFarm Christmas in April.
Credit: JD Nobody.

ChaosFarm LogoChristmas in April

A freak snowstorm has temporarily turned the woods beyond the south pasture into a Christmas-like scene. The forest trees are budding for Spring, but their instincts are to slow down until it warms up.

JD surmises that the OC Board of Trustees has not been as fortunate as to have achieved tranquility. In the unlikely event that they have some strategic vision, thinking about the crisis afoot in the land should induce instant incontinence in them. One suspects that their plan for dealing with this situation will be limited to wiping off their chairs, changing their clothes, and nothing more.

Everything in the world seems to be just a little off. COVID-19 and its turmoil have not yet invaded ChaosFarm, so it feels like little has changed this year despite the country passing the point of no return. It is a bit like living in a Kafka novel in that things at ChaosFarm appear normal, but don’t feel normal.

This morning JD noticed that the heat pump rather than the furnace was heating the farmhouse. JD surmised, using his excellent Oberlin education, that the outdoor temperature sensor was lying to the thermostat. In turn, the thermostat was lying to the furnace, which made the heat pump run when it was the furnace’s turn.

Fortunately, there was a quick fix for the lying outdoor temperature sensor, and the farmhouse has remained warm. Thank you, Oberlin!

Pancakes, Oberlin style

It was time to make some delightful warm pancakes since, on an earlier trip to town, JD had purchased a lifetime supply of pancake mix at Costco. Making pancakes should have been a no-brainer task, but the tranquility at ChaosFarm had lulled JD into losing sight of living in a brave new era of sailing across mostly uncharted waters.

The first complication was JD could not find the pancake turner. JD went online and found several pancake flippers that were deliverable to the farm without braving exposure to the virus. So far, things seemed pretty logical despite the new Kafka-esque world beyond the end of ChaosFarm’s lane.

Costco does not carry pancake turners despite selling pancake mix by the ton. An odd merchandising anomaly indeed.

The Bed, Bath, and Beyond website was an inoperable engineering abortion that was still featuring their Christmas specials. So much for that.

That old standby Amazon had a decent pancake turner but wanted to double the price with the add-on shipping. Wal-Mart did not have anything that appealed to JD’s epicurean tastes.

The Target website had the best customer bait for pancake flippers. The site and the Target in town had what JD wanted for an acceptable, albeit ample, price. The Target website had two big red buttons — one for having the item shipped right to the farmhouse door, and another for in-store pickup. Both buttons were dead, but the webpage gave an assurance that the desired pancake flipper was in aisle B41.

The situation was now clear. JD would either have to don his respirator mask and other gear for a trip to town or do without pancakes. The desire for pancakes won.

Pancake flipper procurement

The car had been sitting in the barn gassed up and undriven until now — abandoned and unloved. Rather strange that more than a month after buying gas, the tank was still full. But then, we are living in odd times.

The car started despite sitting abandoned for so long, the barn door opened flawlessly, and JD drove down the lane to the road enjoying the car’s luxurious, quiet electric power. The trip to town and Target was uneventful. It was almost like the old days.

The customer traffic at the store was relatively light, and most customers were observing no quarantine precautions. Nevertheless, the desired item was in aisle B41, as promised. Only the self-serve checkout line was open — manned by a woman who menacingly hovered over JD while pointing a giant spray bottle of disinfectant at him.

Once back at the farmhouse, it was time to go through necessary decontamination and then make pancakes. The recipe called for making six large pancakes, so JD made a smaller half recipe.

Alas. The pancake flipper was too big for the frying pan, so a workaround technique had to be derived. Cutting the pancake flipper in half to make a half recipe turned out to be a terrible choice.

Pancake preparation methodology

After preparing the batter, JD got a serendipitous dividend out of his Oberlin education. It became clear upon analysis that the mixture was too viscous to spread out properly in the frying pan. After some reflection, the solution to this applied chemistry problem became apparent. Decrease the batter viscosity by adding a little more water to the next batch.

The next batch of pancakes contained the best available guesstimated batter viscosity adjustment. Unfortunately, the viscosity adjustment was excessive, causing the pancakes to spread out too much in the pan.

This experimental failure correction would require more reflection and analysis since JD was now up against a batter viscosity equilibration problem. It had to be solved to make good pancakes.

The tentative solution to the batter viscosity problem, arrived at after considerable deep thought, was to hone in on the correct amount of water (or mix) needed to achieve the best viscosity. It looked like the best shot at this would be to use a batter viscosity binary search algorithm. 

This promising methodology has not yet been empirically verified, but never fear. In the days of yore, Oberlin gave its students the tools needed to think this through. Pancakes will rise again.

BTW the experimental pancakes smelled delicious while they fried and were acceptable when eaten.

Pancake cleanup methodology

The Oberlin of yore once again came to JD’s rescue. Kitchen cleanup after preparing food has been a problem since time immemorial. Decades ago, JD derived a general theory of kitchen management to address this challenge. The general theory is universally applicable to any food preparation, and states: If you don’t get it dirty, you don’t have to get it clean! Unfortunately, the general theory does not apply to dirty utensils already in the sink.

chutzpah, hype and horse manure for the Gibson Bakery appellate court decisionHell freezes over

The Oberlin Review reports that President Ambar has publicly admitted to making a mistake. What would President Trump say about such unpresidential behavior?

Is it too much to hope that His Majesty, T. Christopher Canavan, can also admit that bullying tiny Gibson’s Bakery and blowing tens of millions of the college’s dollars on a legally meritless lawsuit was a mistake? By all indications, the hollow righteousness of T. Cristopher’s baseless crusade will provide the heat necessary to unfreeze hell ASAP.

Now you can say in all honesty, Nobody told me!
/s/ JD Nobody (he, him), OC ’61. logo

Posted Apr 18, 2020 at 17:07. Revised Jun 10, 2021 at 08:11.
Retrieved Jun 12, 2021 at 16:44.
Copyright ©2021 Charles E. Dial. All rights reserved.

Categorized as ChaosFarm

By JD Nobody

JD Nobody, OC '61, has a 54-year career in developing software. This involved IT application design and maintenance, software engineering, bank operations, and article composing software for The Business Torts Reporter. He was an administrative officer and ICBM launch officer in the U.S. Air Force.

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