Friday, July 29, 2011

A new scale for a new century.

After doing some yardwork (which involved hacksawing off the ends of trees), I took off my hoody and shoes in preparation for showering off all the leaf-gunk. I took my iPhone out of my pcoket and briefly checked Twitter in case someone had replied to me. They had not, but I spotted a tweet from @punky_and_me with the word "Amazeballs" on it, a word I had used in a tweet the previous day, so I was intrigued and clicked the link. It was a link to the mobile page version of a blog post featuring amazing claymation art from Etsy. I really liked one part, so I went to leave a comment. Tapped "Leave a comment". I typed my comment into the field on the mobile version of the comments page. It asked me what ID I wanted to used, I choose my Google ID then pushed "post". I was then taken to the non-mobile-web version of the comments page with a suddenly-blank comments field. I dutifully retyped my comment, and filled in the Captcha, which was something like "Cohardleb", then pushed "post". However, in the time it took for my finger to go from typing to "post" my iPhone autocorrected "Cohardleb" to "cohabitable". The page then spat me back to the comments page, where I had to carefully re-enter a new Captcha, aptly "RitardSm", then pressed post again. I was the redirected to a Google log-in page where I needed to enter my email address and password. Then hit submit.

Finally, it posted. This whole thing took 7-9 minutes of frustrated pecking at my phone. For one two-line comment.

I reached a 6.5 on the Tanjabraun Scale of Anger-At-Technology (similar to the Rounsaville scale for measuring racism).

So far, in this dimension, the only event which has caused a full 10.0 Tanjabrauns was a left-ward swipe on the trackpad of a Sony Vaio laptop being interpreted as "back" on a browser, in which sat a 10-page blog post that it had taken the better part of 2 hours to write.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

All my mornings should end up as comics.

Brought to you by my trusty Moleskine Storyboard Notebook!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Cooking Sunday: White Chocolate Blondies

This recipe originally came from a Revision3 podcast (now sadly cancelled) called Food Mob. It was an interesting show, with very cool recipes, but it had a flaw. The chef, Niall, would be cooking on the fly, and was a bit haphazard with measurements. Often what he would use would differ from the show notes on the website. The show notes themselves would often omit necessary steps and ingredients, or worse, list an ingredient, then never mention it in the instructions. As a result, to get a working recipe, you had to watch the show repeatedly, take notes, compare to the recipe in the show notes, and work out something yourself through trial and error.

This can be frustrating.

But here's one I've adapted from Niall's version and made multiple times. Fair warning, this is a very rich desert. Goes great for bake sales, but if you ate a whole batch to yourself, you might explode. And we wouldn't want that.

White Chocolate Blondies

  • Preheat your oven to 200 degrees.
  • Take your butter out of the fridge. It'll be hard as a rock, so you can do this ages before, or, if you're stupid like me, you can put it into a ziploc bag, wrapper and all, and dip that bag into some hot water until it softens. Alternatively, you can put a baking tray with an inch of boiling water on the counter and rest the base of your metal mixing bowl in that. Did I mention you'll need a big metal bowl? You'll need a big metal bowl.
  • take your big metal bowl (see? Told you.) and dump in your brown sugar. When your butter is soft enough (and you'd better hope it is), put it in with the brown sugar.
  • Now comes the hard part. Get a wooden spoon or flat spatula, and mix the butter and sugar together, creaming them. It'll take some muscle. Don't use a whisk. Don't use an electric mixer. Both will just make a big mess and you'll spend half your time trying to pick the mixture out of the mixing-device-beater-tool-tong-thing. Think of this as character building, and reminisce about the last RPG character you made and how awesome they were until the game got boring.
  • Now once your mixture is well blended and there are no lumps of butter in it, it should look like this:
  • Add your flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda to the wet mix, get your spatula, and mix it all together again. It'll separate out into little globs, but keep mixing. It'll get smooth again.
  • Break the egg into the bowl and mix again. You arm might be tired at this point. Switch arms. Seriously, you could hurt yourself.
  • Once you've mixed the egg in, spread a handful of walnuts onto a chopping board. Oh, crap, did i forget to put walnuts on the list? You need walnuts. Write that down. So. the walnuts. Spread 'em out like this:
  • (the picture is actually two handfuls) Run your knife through them, chopping into little bits. You could use a food processor or a mortar and pestle. Listen to your heart. Pour your chopped-up walnuts into the mixture and stir them in again. You thought you were done with the stirring? No, no, is no done.
  • Get your vanilla pod.

  • Slice the pod lengthwise and use your knife to scrape out the speckly stuff inside. Into the bowl with it. Stir thoroughly, making sure all the speckles are spread around.
  • Measure out your chocolate chips. I use white chips, but really, you can use whatever you like. Into the mix with them and stir for the last time, I promise. The mix should be really thick by this point to where you can stand the spoon up in the bowl with no trouble, to whimsical effect:

Or you could fantasize about the world's unhealthiest lollipop:

Ahem. Anyhow.
  • Get your pan, and lay down some baking paper. Scoop your mixture onto it, and flatten it down to about 4cm thick. Make sure there's baking paper between the mix and the pan, otherwise it'll stick.

  • Into the oven with it. 20 minutes. Open the oven door, and poke a skewer into the middle. If it comes out wet, give it another 5 minutes.
  • Take the tray out of the oven and let it sit for a few minutes, to let it settle back down (I didn't know what the opposite verb for "rise" was). It ought to look like this:

  • As soon as you can, use the paper to lift the whole thing out of the pan and set it on a cutting board or tray. Peel the paper edges away and let it breathe:

  • As soon as you can (again), chop the whole thing into squares and carefully lift them off the baking paper onto some paper towel (if you do this too soon, they'll fall apart. Judge it). The reason for the rush it that the blondies will leak butter as they cool. The last thing you want is that butter sitting on the paper and making the bottom of your squares soggy. You may need to move them carefully onto new paper towels a couple of times. Once they've settled, you're done! You can dust 'em with icing sugar, but really, they're fine on their own. See?

Friday, July 08, 2011

What I Got (continued)

WATCHING \aleph \!\, Forgot to mention a few more podcasts. \aleph \!\, Despite my dislike of their myriad of convention shows, iFanboy is still going strong since leaving Revision3. Their shows on Frank Miller and Starman have been my favourites lately. \aleph \!\, LifeHacker is one I've been trialing, and is nothing but good so far. It's basically tips on how to streamline and nerd up your life and work, such as making a cord-free office, making an emergency lamp out of a tuna can, or a laptop bag out of your hoodie. \aleph \!\, PennPoint is handy because when I watch it minimised, it's like listening to a radio show hosted by Penn Jillette. One of the few podcasts where video ain't necessary, which is good when your battery is low, or you have Twittering to do.

APP-ING \aleph \!\, I've been leaning away from iPhone games lately, using my phone much more for media and web-based stuff, though one has grabbed my attention: ShapeShift may look like a Bejewelled clone, and maybe it is, but it's highly addictive. My only gripe is that it's not timed, but turn-based, and you don't get any bombs (the only things that'll stop a game) until at least 8-10 minutes of gameplay. So until that point there is absolutely no challenge. It's also a battery-suck. \aleph \!\, I've also been playing a bit of Fruit Ninja, since they updated and added Arcade mode, which really changes up the action, adding power-ups and rewarding you for creativity. \aleph \!\, I've long been a user of Words With Friends, sometimes running as many as 20 games at a time. This has become its downfall, though, as the sheer number of games combined with an instant rematch after each win or loss has rendered the joy of winning obsolete. As it doesn't matter, then my motivation for playing is lost. \aleph \!\, I've branched out into its cousin, Hangin' With Friends, but it's not grabbing me as much. The random nature of Hangman means you either get the word straight away or you have no idea and flail about getting things wrong. I therefore don't feel accomplished when I get something, I just feel lucky. \aleph \!\, Social-media-wise, SoundTracking has been my latest download. It's free, and it is to music what Instagram is to photos. You can have to grab what's playing around you (handy in bars or music shops) or grab what's on your iPhone and post it with a comment. The big honking downside? Nobody's using it. At least, no one that I know. That means the service only exists to post songs to Facebook, Twitter, etc. Without the rich community that Instagram has, I don't think it'll stick with me long. \aleph \!\, Speaking of Instagram, it's become one of my primary ways of interacting with my social networks. You guys think I tweet a lot? My Instagram feed is 2-3 times as full. However, my love of skylines and clouds has gotten me tons of likes from people I don't know, but annoys the crap of people I actually know. So swings and roundabouts. \aleph \!\, Speaking of Apps, I still can't find a good blogging app for iPhone that'll let me post photos to Blogger the way I normally do, and it shits me.

READING \aleph \!\, I've been digging through the pile of books I've had since Christmas and cleared a few off my list. \aleph \!\, I finally took the plunge and read The Gunslinger by Stephen King. Despite high hopes, I did not like it. I found the language too florid and the characters inscrutable, taking actions I did not understand and they did not explain. I was waiting for the actions to make sense, but no one gave any explanation for what they were doing apart from it's "what I must do." Great. Thanks. \aleph \!\, One I had no preface to was iBoy by Kevin Brooks. It's a kid from the housing projects outside of London who has an iPhone hit his head from a high height and gets superpowers. Yep. Initially it's just an internal processor and all the knowledge of the InterWebz, but then it extends to a personal forcefield, electrical powers, telekenesis and, well, whatever the plot demands from the scene. No upper limit or explanation is given for these powers, and he essentially runs around beating up gang members until the finale, which by that point I did not care about. It was not a good book. \aleph \!\, The third volume of Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis, and the series is starting to bug me. It tends to alternate between wonderful, funny and interesting stories, and then perhaps one issue in three will be terrible. It's inconsistant stuff like that that I want to push through to get to the good stuff. Example? A sentient police dog that Spider castrated during a riot seeks revenge upon him. It's exactly as bad as it sounds. But the rest is so good! Argh. However, I am tempted to try the Spider Jerusalem Experiment. For one day, from early morning to late at night, to watch television. To do nothing but watch free-to-air television. Take it all in. I think it'll either result in some amazingly interesting blogness or my brains running out of my ears. \aleph \!\, I have 8 or so issues of The Word sitting waiting to be perused. i should really do something about that.

LISTENING \aleph \!\, I've found a cheap CD shop (10 CDs for $50) near my work, so I've resupplied my musicness. Here's a list because I couldn't be bothered keeping up the format of my own blog entry:
There! That'll do it. That should give you something to do for a bit.

Organ Size

I understand this lighter is meant to be bawdy and ribald. I understand this. But it is fundamentally incorrect, even within the confines of its own joke logic.

The idea behind this comment is as follows:

The skin is the largest organ in the body. This is fact. The assertion the joke makes is that the gonads of the lewd-lighter-holder are in fact larger than the entirety of a normal human’s skin, usurping the claim of Largest Organ Evah.


If the fanciful-lighter-holder truly had a set of gonads that large, said brobdingnagian gonads would be covered with skin. Thus adding to the skin’s overall area to the point where the skin is STILL the largest organ on the capricious-lighter-holder’s body.


a) The quirky-lighter-holder’s brobdingnagian gonads are in fact skinless, and thus would be prone to infection, rupture and, well, falling out... OR

b) The humorous-lighter-holder’s brobdingnagian gonads contain within them yet another skin-equivalent in mass through density (potentially due to being made of some sort of organic metal).

In either case, it would be a serious medical condition and should not be the subject of a whimsical cigarette lighter boast.

I’m Lucas, and Things Like That Shit Me.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

What I Got (Watching)

New look blog! Or at least, until I decide to change it again. The background seems to be the hardest thing to decide on. So expect further changes, as I am indecisive.

I've had all these posts rushing around in my head, so I'm going to try and combine them into a rapid-fire short-form-list of what I've been watching/reading/listening/Apping.

Is Apping a word? It is now.

Warning. Excessive linking ahead.

WATCHING \aleph \!\, With my longer commute, I've finally been delving into things I've had on the HDD for months, including Transformers Animated, Justice League, Teen Titans, and Transformers Prime. All are highly recommended, for different moods. T:A is arc-based, like Justice League, so it's great to watch the stories unfold when you can watch 3 or 4 episodes in a row. TT is much MUCH more episodic and far less serious (they even have a special Japanese version of the awesome PuffyAmiYumi theme song as a signal that it'll be a silly show). Transformers Prime is as if Beast Wars, War For Cybertron, and the Transformers film series had a crazy LAN Party/threesome which made beautiful shiny robotic baby, and then had it raised with the G1 series as a nanny, which is a strange image and I want you all to forget it. Thing is, I know the first half-season of ALL these shows are not the best. Persevere. They will Grow The Beard. Promise. Also, seeing all these awesome shows has made one I previously loved look a bit shallow. Batman Beyond was always my favourite of the DCAU, and compared to Justice League, frankly most of it seems a bit shallow (but I could listen to the theme song all day long). Oh, and the first season of Batman: The Animated Series sucked. Like a lot. \aleph \!\, At home, since we've run out of Castle, Modern Family, & Community (which we still love), and Big Bang Theory, Chuck and 30 Rock (which we're starting to wane on, due to Flanderization and Seasonal Rot), we've been looking into movies. The arrival of Netflix Instant streaming into our house caused an evening of Emma/How To Marry A Millionaire (which showcased examples of Politeness Judo & Ship-To-Ship Combat in the former and MegaNekko in the latter). It's also caused me to find the Astonishing X-Men Motion Comic. It's also caused an overabundance of choice, which has led to occasional BSOD moments when deciding what to watch. Happily, there's always Firefly. \aleph \!\, My podcast watching has slowed ever since I took a few weeks off watching Podcasts while trying to sort out my music library. Then they piled up and suddenly I have 14 episodes of FrameRate, 10 of NSFW, 42 of the Totally Rad Show and 17 Diggnations. Funnily enough, I was about to keep up with Destructoid, Appjudgment, Death Battle, and Bytejacker due to their shorter run times. Though Bytejacker is now on hiatus, which makes me sad.

Oh, crap, that took 34 minutes to write. I might need to pick this "What I Got" thing up later, as I must get ready for work.

Friday, July 01, 2011

My Game of Thrones Review.

Filmed early in the morning at Parramatta station. I say "awesome" a lot.