In my brain, the storm-signal flags are at 'PHE hurricane warning' level: instead of black-on-red squares, blue-on-white squares with little penguins at the bottom. Not to mention the little dusty white fingerprints from the all-purpose flour I've been going through like water.

Oatmeal cookies? Check.
Gingerpeople? Check.
Molasses spice cookies? Tomorrow.
Chocolate chip cookies? Not gonna bother until Saturday and Sunday.

Yep, gingerpeople. They're androgynous, chubby little things. Yet strangely delicious when you bite their little heads off. (Remember, if you don't give the cookies mouths, they can't scream when you do that.)

Days like this I miss having Kat around. Kat is a far more gifted baker than I will ever be, and her baking experiments were always pleasantly tasty. Me, I follow recipes. I might have my great-aunt Belva's crooked little toes, but I didn't inherit her fantastic biscuit hands. (Any woman that could make biscuits from scratch without a recipe OR measuring spoons OR measuring cups has 'biscuit hands' by any definition of the phrase.)

See, baking is supposed to be this ladylike thing. Baking is not supposed to leave you with smears of gingerbread dough in your hair because you got a little overexuberant while rolling out dough while singing along with the Clash. Baking is something you're supposed to be able to do with cute little aprons and come out perfect and smelling like sugar dough and oh, what the hell ever.

Yeah, so somewhere during 'Ballroom Blitz' I got a little overeager; my gingerbread recipe is a finicky, finicky little racehorse of a dough. It gets made in a food processor, and since most of the liquid comes from molasses, it is virtually impossible to work with. The only way to do it is to roll it out between two sheets of parchment or waxed paper, then pop it in the freezer for 15-20 minutes to firm it up enough to be able to cut shapes out of it.

Problem is, you've gotta work fast, or the dough goes from barely manageable to something resembling a deliciously clove-and-ginger-flavored wall spackle. Oozy wall spackle.

(I like that word: 'ooozy.' It makes me wiggle my fingers.)

When I say "work fast," I mean that you, the intrepid Clash-loving baker, have approximately the amount of time between the beginning of 'Rock the Casbah' to the first chorus to cut out and place the gingerpeople on the silicone mat before the dough is unworkable again. Get jamming to 'Ballroom Blitz' and things can go wrong, fast; the next thing you know you're trying to push the dough just a little too far and then,


you've got something that isn't really a gingerperson, but is more like a gingergimp. One arm stretched totally Go-Go-Gadget out of shape, one leg completely ripped off, or the truly pathetic and totally anencephalic specimens.

Yes, I actually blurted out the phrase, "Oh, damn, a gingergimp" this afternoon.

The PC police may arrest me after my nap.

A couple of the finished gingerpeople could probably use a few arm exercises to beef up their upper-body musculature, but overall they've got that appealing master-race homogeneity about them. I'm pleased. They will make excellent sacrifices to the altar of geek hunger.