Category Archives: Randomness

Things I didn’t post about in September


To respond to Sarah B’s complaint that I haven’t posted, here’s the shortened version of what I might have posted about if it had occurred to me.

  • Hotdish Red — A wine from the Carlos Creek Winery in Alexandria, MN. For starters, I did not realize Minnesota has a wine region, but apparently they are working on it. Second, I did not know there is a wine specifically made to go with hotdish, but there is!
  • Fenway Park — I went to my fifth Fenway game (and sixth Red Sox game) of the season. I just posted about it two weeks late. Potentially, this may not even have been my last of the season as I am on call for Thursday should my co-worker’s very pregnant wife go into labor that day (her due date is Friday, so it is not unrealistic to plan for such an occurrence). And it is certainly not my last baseball game of the season as I am flying to Minneapolis this weekend to see the last regular season Twins game in the Metrodome ever. (If they wind up tied with Detroit, this will not be true, which brings me to…)
  • Minnesota Baseball — The Twins are actually in a pennant race! I spent much of my afternoon checking up on the Twins-Tigers game and was delighted to see that the Twins can beat the Tigers even when Joe Mauer doesn’t get a hit! They’re now only 1 game back of the Tigers, who they are playing again tonight and tomorrow. This means that Sunday’s game has the potential to be interesting, which is not what I expected when I bought the tickets in July.
  • Pandas — Speaking of things I’ve been checking up on while at work, please go look at the San Diego Zoo Pandacam. The Panda I saw clearly in heat back in April apparently did get pregnant and gave birth on August 5. The little guy is adorable… and the lowered productivity at my office is directly attributable to him (and to asarwate for showing it to me in the first place). He was actually here yesterday and was berated by my co-worker for not delivering this from San Diego. And by “he” I mean asarwate, not the baby panda… although the panda would have been cooler.

Black Box


At work this week, our high school intern has been attempting to create images of an open and closed black box by using a (very smelly) permanent marker and coloring an old Mac Pro box. When the PI on the presentation who wanted the image wasn’t quite satisfied with the resulting images, I pointed out that I could probably throw something together with Gimp in about an hour… and make it animate. So, if anyone else on the internet is giving a presentation with the phrase “Such and such systems are generally viewed as a black box, but now we are going to open the box,” and wants a silly animation to go with it, have at this one with my complements. (Wait five seconds… it really does animate. Wait another minute and it will close again.)

Chocolate, Part Deux


Today was the last session of my chocolate making class. (For Brandy — we’ve been using Noel brand chocolate.) Unlike the previous two sessions, we were not as focused on making delicious fillings and chocolates that tasted amazing. Instead, we were aiming for our “chocolate display pieces.” We could only be so creative, given that we only had the giant molds that the school owned. But I still did okay, choosing to use the creepy dwarf with two children and a dog mold. There was a debate about whether or not the “dwarf” was in fact supposed to be Santa Claus, which would explain the children and the sack, but not the dog. I wanted it to be one of the seven dwarfs… and after my cocoa butter paint job, all of us in the class agreed that this dwarf was named “Creepy.”
We unfortunately ran out of time to make the “plastic chocolate” roses, but I did manage to make a little bow with some of the scrap pieces. “Plastic chocolate” is regular chocolate mixed with corn syrup and has a fondant like consistency. I took some home with the intent to try to make a rose… Chef Delphin made it look easy. I have a suspicion mine will not be as nice as his!
Creepy the Chocolate Psychedelic Wizard
Thistle truffles and a “chocolate plastic” bow
Chocolate Dolphin
A large (hollow) chocolate ball… just because



I did not think it was possible to become too full to eat another piece of chocolate. But tonight I took the first class of “Fine Chocolates and Fillings I” at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts, and I’ve discovered that it is possible. I’ve also discovered that it’s possible to have purple chocolate with passion fruit jelly and dark chocolate ganache inside. Oh, but the maple ganache made with maple syrup (inside the dark chocolate with red, yellow, and green highlights) is my favorite by far.


Overall, I came home with quite the haul.

Who’d have thought Iowa would be so progressive?


I never thought I’d find myself saying this, but way to go Iowa.
In other Big Ten state news, my plan to select a heavily Big Ten weighted NCAA finals bracket actually has me doing better than Barack Obama, primarily because of Michigan State’s upset over Louisville. Unfortunately, while I do have the Spartans going on to the championship game, I ultimately picked Minnesota to win it all… and they were eliminated in the first round.
(This was a pool for no money or prizes. Had anything been on the line, I most likely wouldn’t have picked a Final Four of Minnesota, Michigan State, Michigan, Purdue.)



Via rubinc’s blog… Crayola has come along way since the flesh color, now known as peach. Apparently if you are not careful when ordering what you think are multicolored crayons, you can wind up with multicutural crayons — 8 shades of brown! (Also, even if you don’t know her, you should check out Caroline’s blog about her Teach for America stint. It’s sometimes hilarious, sometimes tragic, and, unlike me, she’s pretty consistent about posting every (school) day.)
As an aside, I swear I remember coloring with crayons labeled “flesh,” but apparently they haven’t existed since 1962. Maybe I used crayons at my grandmother’s that originally belonged to my dad and his siblings. Dad, is that even possible?