IFT 2013 in Chicago – Part 1

Hey everyone,

Guess What? I’m in Chicago right now for IFT 2013! IFT13 is the Annual industry/scientific/professional meeting and Food Expo for Food Scientists (and affiliates) everywhere! IFT is the Institute of Food Technologists with the goal of “feeding the minds that feed the world”. Check them out here! The Expo runs from Sunday July 14, 2013 to Wednesday July 17, 2013 at the McCormick Center.

With over “20,000 of the world’s top food science and technology professionals” in attendance, IFT is the place to be to learn about the most recent and influential product development products, ingredients, and technology. Companies from around the world come together to showcase their products and ingredients. Additionally, there is a plethora of scientific programs, lectures and poster sessions (link) for all participants. The conference’s top talks are all streamed live for those who aren’t able to participate (link). For students part of IFTSA (IFT’s Student Association), there are also multiple competitions (ie: IFTSA product development competitions, College Bowl Competitions, etc.) and interviews/educational opportunities.. There was also a sold-out 5K Fun Run/Walk whose proceeds benefit IFT’s food science student/professional development program, Feeding Tomorrow (link).

[read more!]

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Will You Trade Me a Lightshow?

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Lightshow by Tofu of EmazingLights at DanzHaus / The GingerBread House (11.22.2011)

Daily Prompt: Barter System (photo: Skill)

In a previous life, long gone – or is it really ever gone – I used to live in San Francisco. While that could have been the start of a great story, I think I’ll spare you all the sordid (but oh-so-delicious) details.

NOT.

     I used to be am a raver; however, the days of complete abandon and reckless behavior are long over. *snickers* (I’d like to think that I was a bit more responsible than that nowadays.)
     One of the biggest attractions at raves – from small underground industrial warehouses to large music massives – is the glow and wonderment of lights everywhere. On the more external level, there are lasers pulsating wild and convulsive patterns from the stage to the audience. On the more intimate, human level, what once started out with the basic glostick following along intricate patterns about a performer’s body has now spawned into various forms of light displays (ie: poi balls, flow lights, orbitals, conjuring, gloving). These light displays (aka: light shows) have themselves divided into various types of  lights and bulbs  used to create varying intricate and mesmerizing affects. Ultimately, it is the controller of the lights that creates the magic of a light show.
     On one hand, you have individuals who will, to put it simply, go through the motions of a predetermined set of performance skills in order to simply attract attention (or ladies).
On the other hand, there are individuals (ie: Tofu from EmazingLights, above) who pour their heart and soul into their art. For them, it is not only an art, but it also symbolizes life. It makes them who they are, and by performing selflessly for others (for free and whenever asked, despite their own mental of physical state), they not only express their whole being, but also demonstrate to the world a love that can not be compared.
     So what does this have to do with Bartering? In the realm of raves, there is the concept of asking people to “give [you or your friends] a light show”. For some, this is simply the act of taking without offering anything back (ie: water, a massage, etc.). For others, it is the impact and love of watching others’ shows, learning from them, forming a connection; for these individuals, a light show is bartered/traded for another light show in which mutual respect is garnered, and friendships are formed on both sides.
     (Note: Having done this before, I will say that there are obviously dicks out there who do this to rub in your face how good they are compared to you. That is frowned upon and not good etiquette when you consider a lightshow is a projection of the person’s creativity, thoughts, and life.)
     I believe that this is the most genuine type of bartering – to form the connection of humanity, respect, and friendship through a shared ideal and interest. (Although, perhaps I’ve stretched this concept).

Weekly Roundup: Edible Adventures in Raleigh (06/10 – 06/14)

One of the great things about being back in a “real city” again, is that Raleigh is not only chock-full of adventures, but it has spectacular farm-to-table food. Being in the South, one is inherently closer to one’s food source, and having an open-daily Farmer’s Market is a definite contribution.

I will try to write, either on Saturdays or Sundays, about the fun food & drinking adventures (hopefully provide some recommendations) around whatever area that I am at at the time.

I have had the fortune of meeting like-minded and like-palate-minded friends and individuals. One girl also interning with me this summer, HB, is from Rutgers; she and I share a very similar palate in food and have not only gone on quite a lot of adventures together, but because of our eating habits, have been able to share a load of food (thereby allowing us to try everything)! My roommate, AL, is also very keen on different types of foods.

This will only cover the weekdays of Monday (06/10) to Friday (06/14).

Disclaimer – Lots of pictures included. Please contain your salivary glands, thank you. Any malfunction of keyboard or mouse, along with discoloration of tables should be towards the Man-in-the-Yellow-Hat.  Thank you.

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The State of “Good Morning”s & “Hello”s (…my how things have sort of changed…)

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Back in October 2011, I wrote a little blurb on my Tumblr [link to blurb] about the the declining and actually depressing state of “hello”s and “good morning”s in this world. At the time, I was still living in the East Bay and working at the ___- actually I remember the moment as I was typing it all very clearly.

I had just gotten off the El Cerrito North BART [Bay Area Rapid Transit] (coming off the Red-Richmond Line from San Leandro). Picked up my morning cup of delicious Caramel Latte (or was it Earl Grey Tea?) from the Peets Coffee. Walking with a bounce in my step, and a huge smile on my face towards Buchanan Street on San Pablo Street (fuck, can you tell that I really miss this place?), I was determined to greet every person as I passed – as was customary of, well, y’know…mornings? Haha. After quite a few people that I passed, I remember pulling out my phone and quickly throwing this up onto the interwebs:

It’s interesting, people don’t seem to be quite as friendly as they used to be. Or perhaps this is relative to being in Irvine in which the community is so safe that one wouldn’t ever consider anyone else suspiciously.

This morning I’m taking the Bart to work, but in order to get there I have to walk about half a mile to the station then after I get to destination I have to walk another 1.6 miles. Just in that half mile alone, it was very interesting-amusing and incredibly sad to see the look of surprise on people’s faces when I greeted them and bid them “Good MORNING” in passing. What has become of greeting your fellow morning goer. Despite the fact that one may not want to be awake, the very action alone increases your own happiness and awakens one to one’s surroundings.

I do understand college students though not wanting to greet people ; the majority have probably already spent all night awake and can hardly deal with themselves let alone others. This was evident every morning that I drove the early shifts at Unitrans. Hehe.

Well, we will see how many other people look up incredulously and in shock and/or smile and greet me when I walk to work. Haha.

But in all honesty, a nice good morning goes a long way.

Now that I live in the South – both here in Raleigh (actually, especially here in this tri-city area around Raleigh), but also up in SouthWest Virginia – and have travelled around this Southern area to Georgia and whatnot, it seems that I was wrong in my assumptions and that the customs of saying “Hello” and “Good [insert time of day here]” have not changed very much! Everyone here is – even if it may be all a show – welcoming and courteous; the culture is so different! People will look up from across the street and wave at you, look up from their books and say hello, pass you by on the street and smile at you with a twinkle in their eyes!

There is something incredibly reassuring about looking someone in the eyes as you pass them and giving them a greeting. In fact, I hadn’t even started it until I’d received a few greetings of my own! At first, I was quite taken aback and surprised – much like my previous victims in the Bay Area – but have quickly learned to reply in eager step and beat. Definitely one of the things to brighten a day and turn that frown upside-down (cliche, I know).

While it may actually take a certain amount of gumption and courage to go out there and put on that smile and say “Hi! Good (insert time of day here)”, definitely would recommend it as part of a daily regimin. While it may weird some people out – and there is always that fear of rejection from such – don’t be afraid, it brightens your own day to see a happy response back!

Have you ever done so?

What did you think?

If you’ve never tried it before, I double-dare you to get out there and do it! 🙂 See what happens; you may be pleasantly surprised.

Disclaimer – At no point in this am I suggesting that you should also run after the candy truck if someone offers it to you. Any bodily harm caused by inadvertent candy men are in no way connected to this.

Dog Walking

This summer is turning out to be quite exciting; I just moved to Raleigh, North Carolina to work at NC State with Ben Chapman on Food Safety through social media. This city (or trifecta of cities, as it encompasses Durham, Cary and Chapel-Hill, too) is very reminiscent of a smaller (and up-coming) version of the Bay Area. It’s a nice taste of home.

I’m working on a few different projects – along with being involved in a new startup (www.kitchology.com) – with Ben and his graduate student also named Ben! At least in my head, conversations tend to be pretty funny; I can’t stop thinking about back in the old days of Marching Band at Davis and how all the mellophones were given double-name nicknames. (ie: Susanna – SuSu, Benjamin – BenBen, etc.) In my head, definitely, I think of Ben’s grad student, Ben, as BenBen. 😛 Shh, but don’t tell him I said that.

I’m actually subleasing BenBen’s room, and using his office desk at work, etc. This house is huge (and it’s right near downtown); but everyone says it’s in the “ghetto” area which having been in that situation, I really don’t think so.

Starting to think about all these different projects is definitely an experience. On one hand, I’m glad that I’m not working in the lab for the summer – since my research is currently a bit frustrating. On the other hand, there’s the fear that I won’t meet expectations with all these projects I’m doing now. Here’s to keeping a sober summer, though.

Haha, onto more “cute” adventures though. BenBen has a cat named Sherman. Since BenBen isn’t here, though, the cat isn’t either. One of his roomates, C, has a dog named Kirra. C’s gf has two dogs: one cute puppy, and one belligerant Yorkie. Additionally, BenBen’s third roommate has another dog named Belle. She will soon be acquiring a kitten! 🙂 I definitely love having animals around 😀 This is superb!

What can possibly make this more superb? SUBWOOFERS EVERYWHERE! Literally, every room in this house (including mine) has a big bass sub. The basement, as it were, has FIVE! This house definitely packs a punch in music. Considering it’s also isolated with its own hardwood floors, the sound carriage is fantastic.

C is out of town for a few days at the beach. In the meantime, I am allowed to care for Kirra. So today, we went for a walk! Not going to lie, it was definitely a very enjoyable walk! I hope to ask C if I can walk Kirra for the rest of the summer, too. Definitely allowed me time to cool off from the work day, while providing me time to think and mull things over. There’s something refreshing about choosing a direction and going.

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But then, we got home and kaboom! To sleep she goes. Perhaps 1.3 miles over 30 minutes was too long of a walk? I will bring water next time, though, for sure.

This weather is interesting. One minute it is sunny and bright, the next it is thunderstorming like crazy with Flash Flood warnings everywhere. I’d ridden my bike a mile to the UPS store and it was fantastic! However, the moment I walked out of the UPS store, a sudden downpour of flooding madness came upon us! It wouldn’t let up! What is one to do?!

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Get a BIG RED PONCHO and hopefully not get swept away! What Madness! But LOVING the humidity and warmth. While others may feel that it is too sticky or miserable, this Californian is enjoying the smothering tropical heat!