Not To Be Trusted With Knives

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Happy Halloween

If I ever run in the Underwear Affair, I think I will wear this pair of undies:

DJ Funk’n’stein and I wish you a spooktacular Hallowe’en!

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Ghostly Brownies

This blog posting could also be titled: my meringue technique needs some work!

When I was a kid, my mom baked with my sister and I a lot. And many of the best recipes she had came from magazines. To this day, I can’t pass by a free recipe booklet in a grocery store without grabbing it to leaf through, just in case my next great recipe is in it. And that is exactly how I found the recipe for Ghostly Brownies! And, as luck would have it, my work is having a Halloween pot luck tomorrow!

So baking the brownies was a piece of cake1, but the meringue ghosts proved to be a challenge. First of all, despite my many years of baking experience, I don’t think I’ve ever made meringue before. I followed the recipe – beat egg whites to form soft peaks, then slowly beat in sugar and keep beating until stiff peaks form. But the stiff peaks – they weren’t forming! A quick Google search revealed two problems: (1) the egg whites should have been at room temperature, while mine were quite cold2, and (2) there was no mention of adding cream of tartar (or some other acid) to stabilize the beaten eggs. I couldn’t do anything about the egg temperature, but I threw in some cream of tartar and managed to get peaks – not quite what I’d called “stiff” peaks, but stiffer than soft peaks and it seemed that that was the best I could do.

And that long winded description explains why my meringue ghosts are a little bit, well, flat. And fat. But they are *my* fat flat ghosts.

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My ghosts before baking.

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And after baking.

And now I just need to make a little sign to go with these: “THESE ARE SUPPOSED TO BE GHOSTS!  I KNOW, MY MERINGUE TECHNIQUE NEEDS SOME WORK!”

For the record, this is what they were *supposed* to look like:

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They’ll be better next time!

  1. hee hee! Baked products humour! []
  2. the recipe I had said *nothing* about temperature, but every other recipe for meringue states this as the most important thing in all of meringuedom []

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ZOMG, This Hallowe’en Costume Is The Bomb!

But the photo doesn’t have a Creative Commons license, so you’ll have to go to the Flickr photo page to see it.Update: Janette is awesome and put a Creative Commons license on this photo, so now I can share it with you here! Thanks, Janette! I hope your little Quatchi gets lots of candy on Saturday!

Trying out the costume by Janetterie.

I may or may not have a search for Quatchi Flickr photos in my Google Reader.

Update: Janette linked to this video in the comments section and I had to post it: too cute!!

Photo credit:

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Stuff People Googled And Ended Up On My Blog

Let’s see what interesting things people have Googled lately to end up on my blog lately?

  • betrusted [I’m pretty sure that’s not a word.  Yet somehow I’m the second hit on Google for “betrusted.”  Yet the word does not appear anywhere on my blog.]
  • buckleys seamen [I think you mean “semen”]
  • a surprising number of variations of “is it ok to eat pizza that’s been left out of the fridge overnight?” [Glad to be preventing food poisoning everywhere!]
  • hotties now [is that a Google search or a demand?]
  • luongo is so greasy [what, exactly, is one expecting to find when Googling this phrase?]
  • my “legs” are “sore” [why the air quotes? are they hypothetical “legs” that are sarcastically “sore”
  • people googling stuff [so meta]
  • apples verse pop for caffeine [Um, I don’t know what kind of apples you are eating, but can I have some?]
  • women voting rights in canada in august [It’s a little known fact, but women in Canada can only vote in August]
  • guy peaing [seriously?  you don’t know how to spell “peeing”?]
  • aunty big boobs naked pic [I can understand why someone would search for a “big boobs naked pic,” but why does the owner of said boobs need to have a niece or nephew?]
  • what are the “dirty areas” in hockey [wouldn’t you like to know!]
  • can you get laser eye surgery done twice? [yes, yes you can]
  • can you fit a hockey bag in a smart car? [yes, two in fact]
  • can you have knives at a university [no, cutting things is forbidden at all institutions of higher learning.  If you’d ever been to university, you would know this]
  • hockey stick vibrator [Why didn’t I think of that??? If there a patent on this yet?]
  • what are little handles on smart car bum [bum?  you call the back of a car its “bum”?]
  • can i wear eye makeup to my regular eye [I shudder to think what you wear on your irregular eye]
  • when i was four years old what did i do [file under: things you will never find on the Internet]
  • man wants to fuck a chick in milton ont. [Does she have to be from Milton?  Or can you just take an Acton girl across the town line?]

And finally, just in time to give you nightmares for Hallowe’en, someone Googled the following: “how do people have sex with knives

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Things I Found While Tidying Up

On Sunday, my landlords told me that they are selling the house.  Not sure where this will leave me – guess that will depend on who buys the house and what they plan to do with it.  The more pressing issue was the fact that my place generally looks like a tornado hit it1 and people will soon be traipsing through my place trying to decide if they want to buy the property. And it would really help if they could actually *see* the place under my many piles of books and papers and whatnot.  So I spent most of the past two evenings folding laundry2, packing piles of paper that I don’t have time to sort through into boxes3, putting piles of books into actual bookshelves (that had been recently vacated by piles of clothes), taking a bag of clothes to a thrift store drop off4 and thanking the FSM that I recently had my friend Jen come over to clean my place, because at least that meant I didn’t have to scrub anything!

One of the benefits of tidying up my place (aside from, you know, having a tidy place), is that I found a boatload of stuff that I had lost.  Some things that I knew were missing but I just couldn’t find and other things I totally forgot had even existed.  Some of the things I found while tidying up include:

  • my phone charger
  • a motherload of hair elastics
  • my rechargeable batteries, which were mixed up in the pile of used non-rechargeable batteries that I had sitting around waiting for me to take them for recycling5
  • a receipt that I was looking for at tax time6
  • three bottles of nail polish (red, silver and black) for which I’d searched high and low
  • a long lost, um, toy… which clearly I’d hidden because I was having polite company and then forgot where I hid it!

Anyway, it’s nice to have a tidy place in which to live.  Keep your fingers crossed for me that I get to keep living there!

  1. Let’s just say I have a high tolerance for clutter.  Or that I’m too busy to worry about such things as “tidying.” []
  2. I rarely fold laundry – I usually just leave clean laundry in a laundry hamper and riffle through it to find whatever item I want to wear []
  3. probably the vast majority of such papers could be put in recycling and only a few need to be filed.  One of these days I’ll have the time to sort through it all []
  4. a bag that’s been sitting in my bedroom for months waiting for me to do so []
  5. so glad I looked at the batteries and didn’t just sweep up my rechargables with the ones I took for recycling []
  6. just a little medical receipt – nothing major, but so satisfying to find it and realize that it did exist (after all the searching I did for it, I was starting to wonder if I’d imagined it []

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Why, Exactly, Do I Need Instructions On How To Use A Pair of Headphones?

This is part of the “operating instructions” that came with the headphones I bought recently:

Seriously, it’s just a basic pair of headphones that I use to listen to my iPod.  And really, the only “instructions” are “Wear the headphone marked R on your right ear and the one marked L on your left ear.”  Thanks, Sony, I don’t know what I won’t have done without these fine instructions!

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The Prodigal iPod

The other day, I lost Marla (my iPod) in the most impossible way.   I was synching my iPod to put a new audiobook that I’d just downloaded onto her, then put Marla in my purse and rushed1 out the door and took the 20 or so steps from my front door to my car.  And when I opened my purse to plug my iPod in so that I could listen to said audiobook on the way to work… she was gone.  Just gone.  I emptied my purse.  I searched the car in case Marla had fallen out when I tossed my purse in.  I retraced my steps to see if she’d fallen out on the way to the car.  Nothing. She was just… gone.

And so things stood for two days.  When I got home after work, I again searched the path between my house and the street, and I searched my apartment.  Nothing. I loaded the audiobook onto my old iPod2 and used that to begrudgingly listen to the book (as its capacity is so small that I can’t really fit anything on it besides the book, so, unlike with Marla, I don’t have a choice between book, podcasts and music, depending on my mood).

Possible theories on what happened to Marla included:

And then yesterday, after a meeting I had in Port Moody, I opened the passenger side door of my car3 and saw this:

prodigal iPod

There she was, just sitting there, looking as innocent as can be.  How did she get there?  Your guess is as good as mine because I SEARCHED THE CAR!! WTF??

So basically, I’m thinking that Marla, not unlike the prodigal son, ran off and blew all her money on hookers and blow, and with her only other option to become a caretaker of pigs to make a living4, she came home.  And, like the father in that parable, I was super happy to see her and welcomed her back with open arms, kicking my old iPod (like the other brother in the parable) to the curb while feeding Marla a fatted calf.

Yes, I’m not a fan of the story of the prodigal son.  But super happy to have my Marla back nonetheless.

  1. being that it took so long to synch the book onto my iPod, I was running late []
  2. which I totally have been meaning to sell but was thankful I hadn’t []
  3. I was putting my bag into my car on the passenger side because some asshat in a giant vehicle had decided to park in the “small car” parking spot next to my car on the driver’s side and I could only open that door far enough to squeeze in, but not to get my bag in too []
  4. and she really is worried about that swine flu and all []

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Vancouver Public Library Trash Talks The Maple Leafs

Just saw this on Twitter and it was too funny not to share with you:

Screen shot 2009-10-24 at 11.38.00 AM

And when you follow the link, you get this search result from the Vancouver Public Library’s catalog:

Library Trash Talks The Leafs

In truth, I think it’s the Toronto Maple Leaf *players* that need those books, rather than fans.

And I just tried to do a search for books that Leafs fans might find useful and got this unexpected, but hilarious result:

Get a Life

My father, as I’ve mentioned before, is a big Leafs fan.  He also listens to country music.

The conclusion here: the Vancouver Public Library hates my father.

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10,000 km in 161 days

Today I hit the 10,000 km mark on Zaphod, my beloved Smart Car!

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Because I’m a super nerd, I’ve been tracking my gas mileage1.  And so far, this is where I’m at:

days owned 161
km driven 10,021
L of gas used 594
$ spent on gas $714.14
average km per day 62.2
$ per km $0.07
fuel economy (L/100 km) 5.92
fuel economy, American style (miles per gallon) 39.7

A few observations:

  • I have driven a lot.  Part of this is because I drive 35 km each way to get to work and part of it is because I do a lot of driving for work.  The territory covered by the organization for which I work is *huge* and I’m often having to go to places for meetings or site visits or suchlike. 2  As a comparison (and to make me feel better), my dad bought a new truck on the same day I bought Zaphod and he has put more than 20,000 km on his.
  • 7 cents per km isn’t too bad for gas, especially given the fact that I have to buy the premium gas, as apparently Smarts are “designed for” the expensive gas and if you don’t use it, you’ll void your warranty.  I do try to take advantage of the fact that I am often out in places like Abbotsford for meetings and gas is generally cheaper in Abby, so I try to fill up when I’m there.
  • A fuel economy of 5.92 L/100 km  is bang on what Smart claims it will be for city driving3.  However, I do mostly highway driving, so you’d expect I’d be closer to the 4.8 estimate for highway driving, or at least the 5.4 estimate for combined city and highway driving.  On the plus side, I’m getting slightly better gas mileage than what’s reported by other smart drivers on http://www.fueleconomy.gov/
  • Based on these numbers, I estimate that I’ll drive ~23,000 km and spend ~$1,600 in gas in a year. According to Transport Canada4, the average per year for car drivers is 15,400 km5).  The average fuel economy for cars is listed at 9 L/100km, although this is data from four years ago and I’d be interested to see if it’s any better today.
  1. really, any excuse to make a spreadsheet and I’m happy []
  2. For example, this week I was out in Aggasiz, which was a long, albeit beautiful, drive, Surrey and Port Moody for meetings. []
  3. they say it will be 5.9 []
  4. from their 2005 Canadian Vehicle Survey []
  5. cf. pick up trucks (15,000), vans (18,500) and SUVs (16,500 []

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Apparently I’ve Been Time Traveling

At work today, I wanted to see when I’d started a particular document  and when I checked the “Properties,” this is what I saw:

time travel

Somehow I managed to print this document a full month *before* I created it.  I’m that good.