Archive for March 2010

Another Tilt-Shift Mini: Dartmouth IM Hockey

March 31, 2010

click image to view a larger version; I think the "mini-ness" is much clearer in the larger view.

POTW #11: Miniature Beth Flying a Kite

March 31, 2010

We have a pretty involved model railroad setup in our basement…

Not all home made sweaters are itchy: Mo Rocca learns to Knit

March 30, 2010

Thanks to Suze for posting this:

I completely remember when Mo Rocca said that all home made sweaters were itchy, and I thought, “How many homemade sweaters does he have? My favorite part was the discussion about whether there are still lollipops at the bank. I can confirm that they are indeed still there. I got a cream-soda dumdum when making a deposit just a coulple weeks ago.

If you got lollipops at the bank when you were a kid, what was your favorite flavor? My favorite flavors were rootbeer and cream soda, but I also liked the blue kind because they turned my tongue blue.

My very own bowling shoes!

March 29, 2010

Beth and I have been bowling with friends once a week for about five or six weeks now. I’ve been saying since maybe the second week that we should really buy our own bowling shoes.  I figured it should only take a few months for the shoes to start saving us money, and even if we started bowling less frequently, my feet are no longer growing, and I’ll definitely bowl enough to justify the investment over the rest of my life (unless I get hit by a car or a stray airborne bowling ball or something like that).

Tonight we went a little early and I stopped into the pro shop at the Dover Bowl. They were really nice and helpful in there. Many bowling shoes are pretty inexpensive. Beth found a pair of last year’s model that were only $25. Sadly, they were just a little to big. But I found the above specimens, which were $40. These were the second pair I tried on. The first pair were the same price and just about equally comfortable, but looked like retirement sneakers or scientist shoes.  Now, now, I know that I am a scientist. But I do not wear scientist shoes, and I never will. I shudder at the thought.

At $3/week for shoe rental, it’ll only take 13 more bowling sessions (or three months) for these bad boys to pay for themselves and start saving us money. Additionally, they are way more comfortable, and glide considerably better than the rental shoes. Now I’ll just have to start bowling well enough to be “that guy” who has his own bowling shoes.

Rugelach רוגעלך

March 27, 2010

black cherry walnut rugelach

The name of these cookies basically means “little twists” in Yiddish. I cannot express how delicious I think they are. I try to only bake them when I can share them with many other people because otherwise I will eat ALL OF THEM. They are very easy to make. The best recipes I’ve found are by Eileen Goltz and can be found on the Orthodox Union website, here. Try them! The cream cheese dough puffs perfectly, always has the perfect flakiness, and is just too delicious.

My favorite fillings are apricot-walnut, cherry-walnut, and black currant. I use the recipe for the apricot ones, and just substitute different kinds of jam—normally Polaner All Fruit, which I like because it’s sweetened with only fruit juice, no evil HFCS. I’ve tried using lekvar (prune butter) as a filling; I like it in hamentaschen, but not as much in these. I’d really like to try making them with nutella filling one of these days. I’ll post those if they turn out well.

The recipes explain the whole method, but I’d emphasize that you want the layer of jam or preserves to be really thin—as thin as you can make it. Otherwise it will ooze out all over your baking sheet and burn, which is a horrible mess to clean up. Baking them on a silicon mat also helps protect against any little bit of oozed jam getting stuck to the baking sheet:

Mom’s (Christmas) Socks Finished!

March 27, 2010

Okay, so, I know you’re thinking, “Christmas!? It’s past St. Patrick’s Day already, Brian!” But fear not, these socks have been done for weeks and the pictures were just stuck on an SD card while I was SD-card-readerless. But here they are:

Tech specs: The pattern is Sugar Maple from the book, 2-at-Once Socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes. All the socks in the book are top down patterns and use the magic loop method of knitting two socks simultaneously on one long (~40″) circular needle. The instructions are pretty clear. I knit the socks in  Berroco-Ultra-Alpaca-fine in the Redwood mix colorway on a US1 (2.5mm) needle. They required considerably less than one 400 meter skein.

Lessons I learned while knitting these:

  1. The first week of December is too late for me to begin knitting Christmas-gift socks on size 1 needles.
  2. Don’t try grafting toes for the first time when you are in a moving car and taking to your wife (or anyone else). Graft in a well lit room by yourself with a glass of wine or a cup of tea (or both; I like both).
  3. It’s easy to make sock blockers from coat hangers.
  4. I like two-at-a-time sock knitting. This method prevents “second sock syndrome” wherein the knitter loses interest after finishing the first sock. (I’ve knit several pairs of one-at-a-time socks and always finished my second socks, but I do get bored when I’m a few inches into the second sock.)
  5. I prefer toe up socks over top down socks.
  6. I’m not very good at avoiding tangles when I’m knitting from both ends of a ball.

    Rhianna likes the socks (and laundry):

    Hopefully Mom will like them, too (as a very late Christmas present; sorry, Mom).

    Sun Rips Tail Off Comet

    March 24, 2010

    The video below shows the process that I study (magnetic reconnection) in the context of solar plasma. The narration is a bit cheesy, but I think the observation (0:48-1:08 in the video) is pretty impressive.

    Unrelated, catching that on camera was probably about as likely as getting the “Battle at Kruger” on camera (a battle between a pride of lions, a herd of buffalo, and 2 crocodiles):


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