Archive for the ‘Projects & Obsessions’Category

Good Meets with Alton Brown

Photo by razordu30 on Flickr

I just came back from the heavily packed parking lot of Alton Brown’s book signing. Due to a babysitter malfunction, I went for the Q & A session, then tagged Mark at home to go to the book signing (though there were plenty of kids there, and AB insisted that all the kids get their books signed first, my kids apparently didn’t remember their yesteryear obsession with Good Eats).

Alton was memorable, witty, goofy, and friendly. Some bits:

One boy asked if he’d ever do an “outdoor food” episode of GE, as in camping food. Alton declared that he had done so many episodes outdoors, but the boy insisted this was for Scouts. So Alton promised he’d do a camping GE…with squirrels, how to pick one, how to skin it, how to stab a stick in its butt. “Welcome to scouting, son!”

Doesn’t ever watch Food Network, last watched tv three years ago. Says he’s reading sixteen books at the moment, current fave is Roald Dahl’s autobiography.

Someone asked if we should eat the koolicles (koolaid-brined pickles) at the NC State Fair, as tonight was the first night. After disparaging fair food up and down, he admitted that brine would kill most…things.

Wouldn’t touch the question of which Iron Chef was his favorite…

…but food that Challenger chefs have prepared and he wondered what they were thinking? Trout ice cream. “It’s what you think it’d be like but worse. Trout. Ice. Cream. Then put those words together. I think I even got a scale stuck in my teeth.”

Asked one woman why she took her glasses off to ask him a question. Then a couple questions later, he was told how handsome he was. His response was to suggest to the glasses lady that she loan her glasses to the second woman. But several women commented on how handsome he is. Guess geek is still in.

“Eating is about the people your with and the time you’re having, not about what your shovin’ down yer pie hole.” Didn’t have restaurant recommendations because he likes staying in (and presumably cooking instead). Love his realistic perspective of food.

Asked what food he’d eat for his last meal, he said he’d spend the last few weeks finding a Little Debbie truck and only taking a break to get a smoke, citing his experience being born and raised as Appalachian trailer trash.

When asked what he “really” thought about truffles, he reiterated that winter truffles were better than sex, that he’s had thousand-dollar truffles, and not thousand-dollar…oh wait, there was his ex-wife.

TV show parodies he’d like to incorporate into Good Eats: currently working on a Man vs. Food, Star Trek, and one “particularly loathesome reality show”

Favorite international destination has been Tokyo because the food is amazing. However, he lists the downside of Tokyo as the Japanese not knowing that the rest of the world exists, and eating up all the bluefin tuna, whales, and then what’s next? This prompted another question about the regulatory board of seafood and one of the few serious answers of the evening.

That’s all! Hopefully Mark gets me a good photo or sumptin’.



10 2010

Couch to 5K-style playlists

I’ve been doing my exercise inside this summer because I’m such a humidity-phobe, but surreptitiously eye the runner lifestyle. A couple of my friends have used the Couch to 5K system, which is a running guide to progress from being a new runner. James at spotifit has started creating playlists for this purpose; one uses the beginning of each song to switch from running to walking, and vice-versa, instead of using a watch as one would otherwise have to do. Unfortunately, Spotify (the music-streaming service used to create the playlists) is currently Europe-only, but Americans now get! If you’re familiar with, it’s similar, but with increased music availability for streaming.

Anyway, as playlist creation is rather fun, and the system is easy to work with, I started trying it out on rdio. I’ve created a sample list for about the second run of the second week, but couldn’t resist the siren call of everything being a They Might be Giants song, with the energy TMBG has. You can stream it here if you’re a member (if you want an invite, let me know). You’ll note that my walking songs are a little shorter than they maybe should be. That’s just a short TMBG song or album for you.

1. The Guitar (3:48, warm-up walk)
2. Why Must I Be Sad? (4:08, brisk walk)
3. Twisting (1:55, jog)
4. Sleeping In The Flowers (4:30, brisk walk)
5. Destination Moon (2:27, jog)
6. How Can I Sing Like A Girl? (4:26, brisk walk)
7. Subliminal (2:45, jog)
8. Spiraling Shape (4:24, cooldown/walk home)

If you’re familiar with TMBG, you’ll notice a trend with the songs, in that they’re from only 4 albums. I hope rdio is still building up the music database. I also hope that the 3rd party tools available for Spotify will also be developed for Rdio (including tools to convert a playlist from one service to another).


07 2010

For those who don’t actually like eating cabbage

It’s amazing how much fun you (and those much younger than you) can get out of a purple cabbage. I sort of glaze over the “common” science experiments, dismissing them as blasé, but they aren’t blasé when you’ve never seen them before (aka, are 5 years old)!

First we just had fun dying scraps of cotton fabric in our cabbage dye, but the real fun was what came after pouring out cups of the liquid (a pH indicator). First we determined our knowns. Katya and Emma knew lemon juice was sour (though we had to taste it numerous times to be sure), and when we put that in our cabbage juice, it turned pink. Great, pink is an acid! (We also talked about acids yesterday when discussing Vitamin C). Then we tried baking soda, though I wasn’t so cruel as to have them taste it, so that was our blue and blue-green (the linked article has a color guide for determining actual pH based on the color, but pH was just a little advanced for 3- and 5-year olds). We did a couple others, tasting and “measuring” vinegar and Squirt soda, for example, but when Mom gets bored, then the kids must get to mix everything willy-nilly just because. Oh, and did I mention how wonderful everything is when it fizzes too?

So now the only question is if we’ll be able to tie-dye our original cabbage-dyed fabric with lemon juice and baking soda.


07 2007

Book of Craft

I decided to start a weblog with more of a focus, and one that theoretically I’d be interested in furthering. Thus, Book of Craft is born. It will journal my various projects, and on more complicated projects will include templates or instructions, but mainly will serve as a timeline for me of creations and ideas.


03 2007

Gained 200 XP today

Think of your mother. Perhaps your grandmother. Someone who is female and around 55, 60, in any case. Perhaps slightly conservative, and highly involved in your church. Doesn’t seem to be much of a stereotype breaker yet.

How big is your sack?Now picture this same woman wearing this shirt. It’s a gaming shirt. More importantly, it’s a World of Warcraft fan shirt.

I met this woman at a church class today. When I saw her shirt, my jaw about dropped. Apparently she plays on a few different servers, including playing Blizzard’s Burning Crusade expansion beta server. We didn’t have time to talk shop, though.

I need to start wearing my rpg/WoW shirt more often to sweat similar fans out of the closet. I can’t picture my mother playing WoW (and enjoying it), but I’m glad someone else’s does. Next post will be about a similar gaming topic I’ve been contemplating.


10 2006

Repressed Memories

Mark put up a detailed writeup with pictures of the steps we took to give our house a new look. Of course, it IS a biased viewpoint, and he neglects to mention some of the things that I did. 😉


03 2006

Compare. Contrast.

Kitchen remodeling 1

The old


10 2005