Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Sounds Industrial

I was walking through the halls at work today and the sounds coming from some of the construction had a musical quality about them. I passed a student who said, “Where’s that music coming from?” I said, “There’s some construction going on.” He said, “Sounds strangely like music.” and I replied, “Sounds Industrial” and then walked away.

“Cup” Cake Update – GOOD NEWS!

I made a third attempt today and the 5 minute wonder cake in a coffee mug cooked in a microwave. I was unable to figure out the wattage of my 12 year old microwave so I decided to use 80% power for try #3.
I mixed the dry ingredients in a small bowl with a whisk and then pouted them onto a piece of parchment (so I wouldn’t need to dirty another bowl – this is supposed to be a quick thing).
I then assembled and whisked together all of the wet ingredients in the bowl and then added the dry ingredients back in and mixed them together into what looked like a cake batter; I then folded in the chocolate chips and poured it all into a mug and placed it in the nearby nuclear reactor (microwave) at 80% power for 3 minutes.
The end result, infinitely better than tries #1 or 2. Perfect? Amazing? Neither…but it is cool and yummy enough to make it worthwhile when that craving for chocolate cake needs to be satisfied faster than the simple and delicious Wowie Cake I posted here way back in September of 2004.

Monday, April 27, 2009

“Cup” Cake

A colleague gave me this recipe called “5 Minute Chocolate Mug Cake”; it goes like this:
  • 4 tbsp. flour
  • 4 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tbsp. cocoa
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp. milk
  • 3 tbsp. oil
  • 3 tbsp. chocolate chips (optional)
  • A small splash of vanilla extract
  • 1 large microwave safe mug
  1. Add dry ingredients to mug and mix well.
  2. Add the egg and mix thoroughly.
  3. Pour in the milk and oil and mix well.
  4. Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla extract and mix again.
  5. Put your mug in the microwave for 3 minutes (1000W oven).
The cake will rise over the top of the mug; don’t be alarmed! Allow to cool a little and tip out onto a plate if desired.
EAT!
So, I saw this and of course had to try it out. The first attempt, I followed the instructions as above and after I turned out the cake onto a plate, there was still a heap of floury, dry ingredients at the bottom. Obviously, mixing it in the confines of the mug was not as easy as it seemed because there was no way to know just how well mixed it was.
Here are some photos from the second attempt (notes to follow):
For the second time, I mixed the ingredients in a bowl; dry ingredients in one, wet ingredients in another, then I brought them together and mixed them well.
as you can see from the first two photos, there’s a cake look about it and mixing it well made a huge difference. I cut the thing in half and added some powdered sugar then some ice cream to finish the dessert.
Conclusion – it’s a neat trick but the texture and taste are not so great. It certainly doesn’t suck but I am not sure I’ll make this a staple.
UPDATE: 4/28 7:30am - after sleeping on it, I realize I should probably confirm the wattage of my microwave instead of just assuming it's 1000 watts. The consistency of the cake was similar to an overcooked cake so before I write it off into the sunset, try #3 will have to happen.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Freaking Podcast I Said

UPDATED: 4/24 - FRIDAY Morning - I realized this morning I probably should warn you here of the vastly colorful nature of the language in this particular 10ish minute podcast (I curse alot, consider yourselves warned).

Long time no Podcast...until tonight. So listen, laugh, enjoy...
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN
or, listen right here:

Sunday, April 19, 2009

What the H-E-Double Hockey Sticks is Up?

  • This Wednesday evening I will be seeing Bruce Springsteen & the E-Street Band in Boston.
  • I have tix to see U2 at Gillette Stadium in September.
  • My dear pal Jenn is playing in Boston on the 23rd and the 30th. I must see her on at least one of these days – I haven’t seen her since she moved out to Cali and I miss her.
  • I totally hate all contractors! I hate home ownership! I hate home improvements (not the actual improvements but getting to them)!
  • Reading “Eclipse”
  • Saw the movie “Ghost Town” – super funny!
  • I am typing this on my shiny new Toshiba notebook.
  • That’s all for now…Hugs :)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Pee Pee Curtsey

I’m up in a classroom helping a speaker set up their personal laptop in one of our multimedia classrooms. I get the whole thing set up and I am showing one of the speaker’s how to proceed when in mid-sentence, she makes an odd face, similar to that of a baby just before soiling the diaper, and did a curtsey.
I paid real careful attention to the expression on her face and it struck me was happening. The instructor had to pee really bad but didn’t want to disturb me. So, she did her best to tighten the required muscles by curtseying her way to bladder problems.
The whole darn thing was surreal, perhaps because we were in a classroom that was full of students. Very odd!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Memories of Easter Past

The first image that comes to mind is the ham (of all things). This wasn’t a newfangled fancy spiral sliced ham, they hadn’t been invented yet, this was a big slab of formed ham that came from a giant ham – shaped a bit like my aunt Josie, and tucked tightly inside a can (whose actual shape it took on) swimming in a gelatinous outer shell. The gelatin would be removed and dad would carefully score the meat in a crosshatch pattern and then carefully place whole cloves strategically about the ham and topped it with canned pineapple slices (Dole or Libby’s) and sprinkled with brown sugar.
The ham was such a significant centerpiece of the meal that I can’t actually recall much of the rest of the meal. I remember always having to get “dressed up”.
Coloring eggs – we used to get the PAAS kit with the little color pills that you dissolve in vinegar. There was the little wire, egg-balancing contraption that was used to lower the egg into the dye and then lift it out. While it always ended up that the solid colored eggs looked best, we always experimented by dipping parts of an egg into one color then dipping the other parts into another color. Most of the multi-colored eggs as I recall looked like crap but we didn’t think so back then.
Easter baskets – this was my mom’s specialty. She’d get all the supplies well in advance, the baskets, the green plastic grass, always a hollow chocolate bunny, and an assortment of other treats. Carefully, mom would arrange the baskets and then cover them in pastel colored cellophane and labeled each of the finished baskets with the name of its intended recipient.
Oh, those days.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Home Improvement Season

Another summer is upon us and yet again, it’s time to sort through the list of things that need to get done around the house, prioritize, and make something happen.
This years project is one I have contemplated for a few years and knew was inevitable…Vinyl Siding! The levels of anxiety amplify by simply saying the words.
I’ve lived here for 7 years and when I moved in the exterior needed work, at least a paint job. However, a 5 grand paint job just hadn’t seemed as necessary as the other projects I’ve “invested” in. However, after the roofing job last year, the gutters, which were already in bad shape have gotten worse and the current exterior of the house is in pretty bad shape and the time is now.
So, I have 2 quotes in hand and even have saved the ridiculous amount of cash needed to pay for the job. However, as I predicted, just getting the siding and gutters done does not come without other things trickling their way into the list of things that need to get done.
I have a deck that is in such bad shape, I won’t even walk on it. A new deck this year is just not going to happen but in my head, it seems that it makes no sense to side the house around the current deck which leaves me with no choice but to later build a deck around the same framework. So, I decided to have the deck demolished  - at the additional cost of the first four digit number after the last three digit number.
Here’s something that is a bit sillier after reading the deck situation. The “patio door” that leads to the deck is in dire need of replacement. The door frame on the outside is tied in some way to the house exterior, which of course is being redone. Seems to me that it makes sense to replace that door and frame before the siding job so as to not have to alter or mess with the siding job later. Now a patio door does not have to be a huge deal, though in order to get a decent product that is well insulated (it is a 35-40 square foot opening in New England) it seems I need to fork over at least $1500. Of course my OCD and stylish sensibilities (give me a few minutes to finish laughing……okay, I can continue now), I really want one with blinds between the glass (Google it, it really is neat and I could get rid of the awful vertical blinds). Of course, there are a few manufacturers that make them now but none of them do so with energy efficient glass. The one company that does make the product in an energy efficient format, of course, charges a hefty price, considerably more than twice the price I mentioned earlier. The advantage is that is qualifies for a federal tax rebate of 30% of the cost which will help but of course, still way more expensive.
Scattered about the exterior are a number of motion-sensor lights that pretty much haven’t worked right in the seven years I’ve owned them. Seems to me it makes no sense to construct vinyl siding and capping around fixtures that don’t work. Hello electrician, can you help me out? I have no idea how much this will cost but it needs to be done.
Enough about this – it will be painful but it will need to get done. I’ll keep you posted on how it all works out.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

For Those About to Rock

I was chatting with Cuzzup today and one of our many topics was concerts. She mentioned that she saw AC/DC and it occurred to me, when they sing to the audience “For those about to Rock, we salute you”, what is it they do to/for those not about to rock?
Is there something to distinguish those about to rock from those not about to rock (not to mention, those currently rocking)? Once distinguished, how does the band get the specific message to the target audience (only those about to rock, not those already rocking or not about to rock)?
Perhaps there are for those about to rock glasses and only those wearing them (those about to rock that is) can see the special salute while those not about to rock and those already rocking simply do what they are already doing.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Believe In Me

I know that I haven’t been here much lately. I don’t want to sound like a broken record, it’s just that I am having a rough time putting my thoughts and feelings into words.
I still believe in this blog and this medium very much and plan on posting here – I just can’t force it right at this moment. Regardless, you are still in my thoughts and I hope that I am still in yours.
I hope that if I can receive proof of one old adage is that absence makes the heart grow fonder (and not out of sight out of mind). For you, dear bloggers and readers, are always a part of my thoughts.
I will be back, hopefully soon – in the meantime, perhaps more sporadic than in the past.
I heart you…especially you!