Saturday, January 29, 2011

Unrealistic measurement

I was just reading up on the most economical way to brew coffee. Unfortunately, it only focused on whole beans vs. ground coffee, and left the possible comparison of hot vs. cold brewing entirely unmentioned.

But one thing I noticed was the way the article measured the number of cups that can be produces from X amount of beans or ground coffee. The article referred repeatedly to "6 oz. cups".

Who the Sam Hill drinks 6-ounce cups of coffee or tea anymore? Cups evolved into mugs, and mugs have expanded in capacity to match Starbucks-sized servings. It's not uncommon to see mugs that hold 16 ounces or more. Compared to those, a 6-oz. cup will look like a thimble.

Maybe the coffee companies should recalculate their figures using more realistic cup sizes. But you KNOW the coffee companies won't do it, because the way they figure the ratio now makes it appear that you can make more cups of coffee per pound of their product. So we have to redo the math ourselves to get realistic and accurate numbers.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Verizon iPhone Release Gets Dated Down To The Hour

Verizon iPhone Release Gets Dated Down To The Hour

For the techno-geeks among us who are looking forward to the release of the iPhone 4 on Verizon... that would be February 3 at 3:00 AM.

Given that the weather forecast could possibly include snow from Monday night through to Thursday morning, I *hope* we don't see people lining up outside stores and camping out. I mean, I'm all about tech, and when I've set my sights on something or have placed an order, I'm as excited as anyone about it. But I'm not so excited that I'd be willing to risk an ER visit over it.

For the record, my phone contract isn't up until late fall, so I've got some months to go before I get any new phone. By then, maybe the iPhone 5 will have been released. We'll see.

Since my preferred s

Since my preferred status posting method,, has been out of whack, I have signed up for Testing, one, two, three.

25 years ago today: Space Shuttle Challenger

25 years ago today, the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded, with a loss of life of all seven astronauts aboard. I remember it like it happened yesterday. I still remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when the news broke. I was at work at my first Real Job after graduating college, and one of our techs came into the room where the programmers worked. She had a look on her face that's indescribable, one that made my thought process trail off into silence instantly. We knew before she even uttered a syllable that something serious was wrong. Then she told us what she'd heard on the radio, that the Challenger had exploded.

Because the only prior NASA accident involving fatalities happened on the launch pad, I mistakenly presumed the Challenger explosion had happened the same way. Only when I spoke on the phone to JFM a little while later, who had access to a TV at work and had watched news coverage of the accident, did I come to understand that Challenger had been in flight at the time of the explosion.

May the seven heroes of Challenger rest in peace.

Sweet! I have my own QR Code!

I found a neat QR code generator online. QR codes are a type of 2-D bar codes that, when you run a program on a cell phone with a camera, reads the image of the code and sends information to your cell phone. It could direct your browser to a URL and show a video, provide coupons, and so on.

So of course, what did I do? Generate a QR code for this blog. And here it is.


Anyone who's running the Scanlife app on their cell phone, and scans that image, will be directed to this blog on their cell phone. Alert the media and let the pigeons loose to hail this earth-shaking announcement. :-)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Enough already, Mother Nature!

Dear Mother Nature,

OK already with the snow! Although my cats do find the Snowflake Channel on Kitty TV (aka the front window) highly entertaining, my dog is up to her tiny tummy in these snowdrifts and she is Not Happy about it.

We get the point. It's winter. We've been more than sufficiently reminded of what season it is. Would you kindly stop sending us weekly and even semi-weekly doses of snowflakes? Thanks.



Fun Fact

Did you know that you can make your dog's tail wag INSANELY by singing her name to the theme from the old Batman TV show?

Well, you can.

Just ask Mini Mini Mini Mini Mini Mini Mini Mini MINIIII. :-)

Monday, January 24, 2011

This is NOT something I wanted to see

I got a note today that concerns me greatly. Someone I know might have gotten involved with something that could be an online scam. I sent a reply asking for details of the organization in question so I can look them up. And I added advice not to pay any fees or taxes to this organization, because under the circumstances described to me, a legit organization wouldn't charge either of those things.

I fervently hope there is no problem. But I'm greatly concerned that I won't like the answers that come up when this matter is examined in more detail. :-(

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Speaking of posting from an app...

Ok, one more test post. In which I feel compelled to mention that I have only seen one Simpsons episode all season long, and wouldn't you know it? Mark tuned in the show at random and it's a rerun of the one I saw. LOL.

Of course, it probably won't be on long, as Mark is in Slideshow Mode, where no one channel remains on for more than a few minutes, if that. I have come to understand and accept that the Y Chromosome has a channel-surfing gene. This comprehension is a function of being married for 10.5 years. ;-)


Ooo, fun! An app for writing blog posts in an iDevice! See Gabey click "download"! :-)

The Latest

I'm getting the hang of using this iPod Touch. It's a very nice piece of technology.

In other news, we had a contingent of about 8 people who went to see a production of Grease last night. A longtime friend of ours was the music director, and it was great to see him again after about ten years. The last time I saw him in person (as opposed to on Facebook), it was not long before Mark and I got married; he was playing the dentist in Little Shop of Horrors. Last night's production of Grease had a lot of actual high school students in the cast, and it was great to see them carry off roles that required not just acting, but singing and dancing. I'm definitely glad we got up to NE Philly to see the show.

Chal is with another group that will be putting on a different show in the spring, so I foresee another group trek to the Northeast Part of the City then.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Surgery followup and coffee

On Thursday, I had my scheduled followup with the surgeon. My recovery is proceeding as it should, the infection issue is resolved, and none of my remaining symptoms (of which there are a few) are out of the ordinary. He said it takes twelve weeks to really complete the healing process, so I shouldn't be surprised if I still have the occasional symptom at any point during the next month or so.

I'm going to presume that, as long as my condition keeps gradually improving, and as long as I don't have a flat-out mishap (God forbid) like a fall down the stairs, there's nothing to worry about from this point onward.

But it's good to know that little detail about still having a few weeks' worth of recovering to do. It means I needn't be concerned if I trigger a flareup of symptoms when I resume using the treadmill. I'm cleared to go back to exercising -- yay, hooray! :-) That's definitely my favorite good news from the doc's visit.

Oh, and as a footnote, no one came in during the final weeks of last year and exceeded my record for "largest uterus removed during 2010 at Hospital X". It's nice to excel at something, I suppose. I wouldn't say that setting that particular record would have been my first choice for personal achievements, but we have to play the cards we're dealt. ;-)

After the doctor's appointment, I headed over to a nearby Dunkin Donuts. They make both my favorite breakfast sandwiches AND -- by far -- my favorite fast-food coffee, so I figured I'd treat myself. But you know what? Even though I've only been making the cold-brewed coffee for what, a week? Ten days? I already notice the difference between it and traditional hot-brew coffee. And I like the cold-brewed better... which, given how much I love DD coffee, is *really* saying something.

So if coffee's something you genuinely like, by all means, run "cold brewed coffee" through your favorite search engine, follow the instructions, and see how you like the results. I endorse it as an experiment well worth trying.

It took long enough

Well, it took me all this time, but I'm finally doing something I have put off as long as humanly possible. I'm breaking down and installing iTunes on my computer.

I've gotten by all these years without it. But that was before I made a small investment a few days ago. I found a reasonably-priced, refurbished, current-gen iPod Touch. The discount was just too nice to pass up.

I <3 refurbished gear. A person can save some serious dollars on equipment by picking up a refurb item. Trust me. I've gone that route repeatedly over the years, and never been disappointed yet.

The latest item hasn't arrived yet. But when it does, my computer will be ready for it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Yum :-)

I can now vouch for liking both cold-brewed coffee and cold-brewed decaf coffee. I kind of HAD to try it with decaf, after I, um, overcaffeinated myself on Monday and felt kind of lousy.

There's only one drawback to this procedure, and that's the fact that with both Mark and me drinking the results, and with the extra-large mugs we use, it seems like I can just barely keep up with the demand. I wasn't expecting both of us to be interested in the concept of cold-brewed coffee. Oh, well. Mark was in charge of filling the (regular) coffee machine for a long time. I guess now it's my turn to be in charge of coffee production for a while.

Sunday, January 09, 2011


I saw a sad thing today, just as I was coming home from church. My neighbor had seen a cat hit by a car on our street this morning, and feared it was one of mine because of similar markings. The unfortunate kitty did not survive the accident. My neighbot had it under a towel on his porch, and was awaiting the arrival of someone from a local rescue who was going to take the body and bury it. But he wanted to ascertain if it was my cat first, and so he called me over to see and make sure.

Thank God, it was neither my cat nor the one that my neighbor and his wife have been feeding. They are animal-loving senior citizens, and even though the cat was unknown to them, they're greatly saddened by this turn of events. (As I am, and as every other softie-for-animals would be.)

Poor kitty. He was a big, lovely gray-brown tiger cat. My heart goes out to him and, if he has a human family somewhere, to them as well. At least we know he's not suffering now, but how I wish the accident hadn't happened at all. :-(

Friday, January 07, 2011

Coffee, Part Due

I tried the first cup of cold-brewed coffee. It does taste smoother and less acidic. The aftertaste is more pleasant, too. I let it steep for 19 hours this time. Next time, I'll leave it for a bit less time and see what that tastes like. I think I did the right thing in making the first batch strong, though, as it's easier to dilute strong coffee than to do anything constructive with a too-weak brew.

Thumbs Up to cold-brewed coffee. I had better find some time to cold-brew some decaf, though, as I can only drink so much caffeine in a day before I live to regret my excesses.

Don't censor Huck Finn. Period.

There's yet another hubbub about the use of the "N" word in Huckleberry Finn. I haven't seen the writing of the original person who wants to excise the offending word from the text, but I have seen opinion pieces written about the suggestion.

Here's my opinion piece. NO. Leave the text alone.

Sometimes I feel like the only person who realizes that WE'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO LIKE IT when we see that aspect of society represented in the book. We're SUPPOSED to find it disturbing and offensive to see a human being regarded and treated as a piece of property. Our brain is supposed to think, "Wait, what?" and we're supposed to see the glaring contradiction between people who are regarded as, and believe themselves to be, Good and Upright Christians, who give a slave girl only one dress to wear and keep a man chained up out back because they think he's someone's runaway slave, aka piece of property.

And anyone who fails to realize that the only adult male who is actually admirable and noble in the entire book is Jim, the runaway slave. The other men, all white men, are either evil beyond redemption or so stupid it's a wonder they're still in the gene pool.

The N word was not necessarily regarded as offensive when Twain wrote it. But a) it IS an accurate representation of people's language and attitudes at the time, and b) what IS offensive, and what we are supposed to internally rail against, is how so-called polite society is treating Jim, the slave girl, and all slaves. We are *not supposed to like what we see*. It's just that instead of writing a scathing treatise on the flaws of that culture, Mark Twain opted to write them into a story and let the reader pause to reflect on how unjust and terrible those things are.

So LEAVE THE BOOK ALONE. Let the reader receive the full impact of how awful the things are that the author chose to represent in his book. Don't ever dilute the message, lest we fail to learn from the past and feel no need to vow, "Never again!"

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Cold-Brewed Coffee

My Christmas gift from Mark arrived today (on "Little Christmas", as the original date for the feast of the Epiphany was known). Heck, this is the day that the Orthodox Christian churches actually do celebrate Christmas, so technically my gift DID arrive on Christmas. It simply got here on the Orthodox Rite's feast of Christmas, instead of the Roman Rite's designated holiday. :-)

So, what is it? Well, on the Twelfth Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me an Hourglass Cold-Brew Coffee Maker. I've been pining after the idea of cold-brewed coffee, ever since an online friend and fellow blogger and coffee-lover posted about it. Here's the part of the article she posted that greatly piqued my interest:

Cold versus Hot

Cold brewing takes time. However, it dissolves through the grounds only certain elements of the coffee. Surprisingly enough, about 90% of the flavor elements and the normal caffeine content come through this way, while only about 15% of the oils and acids will. It WILL change the taste of your coffee, but not the way you might think. It will strongly concentrate those most volatile flavor elements that most people like, making "super-flavor" coffee. The flavor elements you like about a given coffee will probably be up to twice as strong, yet the overall brew will have far less bite and acidity.
The first thing that crossed my mind was, "OooooOOOOoooo! Coffee that tastes like it smells? DO WANT!" You see, the whole reason that the scent of coffee differs from its flavor is the fact that the oils and acids are present in the beverage itself, but they don't contribute to the lovely aroma. And while I like coffee regardless**, the description of the differences between cold-brewed and hot-brewed coffee made it sound like it's just what my tastebuds have always wanted.

Today, my Hourglass arrived and my first batch of cold-brewed coffee is steeping, even as I type. Cold-brewing is S-L-O-W, so it'll be ready tomorrow. IMO, there's no difference between setting up a cold-brew system and leaving it sit overnight, vs. setting up a hot-brewing coffee maker the night before, and setting the timer so it brews at the crack of dawn. Either way, hours in advance, you add the grounds, add the water, and leave the device alone to Do Its Thing.

Needless to say, I'm looking forward to the results of this little taste experiment. I'll let you know how it turns out. :-)

** I like coffee, provided it doesn't taste burnt to bits from over-roasting, a la the offerings at Starbucks. I greatly prefer mild-to-moderately roasted coffee like that at Dunkin Donuts.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Auntie Mame

Mark, John R, JFM and I watched Mame for the first time in eons on New Year's evening. It got me thinking about the books by Patrick Dennis that the movie was based on.

A little looking around online later, and I discovered that both Auntie Mame and its sequel, Around the World with Auntie Mame, are available for the Nook e-reader.

Need I say that I purchased them on the spot? I was already in the midst of reading a book at the time, a science-fiction book called Spares. But I finished that this afternoon and launched directly into Auntie Mame from Spares. (I was in a doctor's waiting room at the time, and glad I'd brought the Nook for what turned out to be a lengthy wait.)

I've actually read the print versions of the two Auntie Mame books already; however, there's another Patrick Dennis e-book I also bought which I haven't read yet: Little Me. I'm looking forward to that one. But first, I'm having a grand time reacquainting myself with Auntie Mame.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Happy New Year!

I haven't got many resolutions for the new year, but the ones I do have will be more than enough to keep me busy and improve my overall life.

For one, I plan to keep following the doctor's orders that were helping me lose weight since last July 1. Or, given that I've done someholiday "cheating" where food intake is concerned, perhaps I should say "resume" following said instructions. Either way, with the end of the holidays I won't have temptation being thrown in my path every other day, so it'll be easier to go back to the regimen I had been following.

On a similar vein, I plan to pass EVERY bloodwork before the year is out. The weight-loss regimen was initially embarked on in order to eliminate some unwanted numbers from my bloodwork. In the past few months, Per doctor's orders, since autumn I've also started taking a B vitamin and fish oil to fix my cholesterol numbers and one other med to straighten out thyroid numbers. And, of course, I expect the surgery to have been the needed correction to ensure that the Anemia from Hell never, ever comes back.

So I've got the various bloodwork numbers in mind that need to be targeted. Most of them are only slightly outside the desired range anyway, so I don't think it should take too long to get the numbers onto the right side of the line. Once I get them there, though, my goal is to get them all WELL into the desired range. There's a resolution for every last unwanted item on that bloodwork, and I am going to do whatever it takes to pass every last test. Every number on that test is fixable and will be normal before the year is out. Period.