Archive for November, 2008

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Science!: Hot Pepper Juice

November 29, 2008

Tonight, I got hot pepper juice on my fingers.  Yep, the stuff you get from using your fingernails to clean out the seeds; the same sort of stuff you may put on objects that you don’t want your dog to be chewing.  At the moment, I still have hot pepper juice on my fingers, and it is quite excrutiating.

In the interest of being a good sport, though, I’ve taken advantage of the opportunity to conduct a few scientific experiments on hot pepper juice, and some substances that one may think of when considering relief or remedy.  With that in mind, I will compile a list of all the remedies I’ve tried – some traditional, some on-the-spot and born out of desparation – and their effectiveness.

Firstly, the classics.

  1. Cool water.  While this does provide temporary relief, as soon as my fingers cease to be immersed in it they’re right back to hurting.
  2. Dairy products (in this case, sour cream).  The coldness does temporarily ease the pain, but again it wears off; the burning oils do not seem to adhere to the cream, although this may be because they’ve worked their way under my fingernails.
  3. Ketchup.  Again, coldness.  Again, wears off.

And now, the other ones I attempted:

  1. Grease-cutting dish soap (both Dawn and Palmolive).  No effect.
  2. Hand sanitizer.  No effect.
  3. Talcum powder.  No effect.
  4. Baking soda.  No effect.
  5. Orange spray cleaner.  No effect.
  6. Trimming my fingernails.  No effect.
  7. Goo Gone.  No effect.
  8. Sunblock.  No effect.
  9. Soap, both glycerin and other.  No effect.
  10. Rigorous cleaning.  No effect.
  11. Hydrogen peroxide.  Intensified symptoms.
  12. Shower.  Intensified symptoms.

All of these (except the shower) caused temporary relief from the change in temperature and/or use of water, but none of them provided the cleansing effect I was looking for.  The shower both caused miserable pain while I was taking it and an intensification of pain afterward.  From this, I conclude that it is basically impossible to get hot pepper juice out of your fingers once it’s there, and your only solution is to use a knife when dealing with hot peppers.

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iApprove: Pirozhki.

November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving is one of those things that seems to mean the same thing to everyone.  No matter where you live in the US, thoughts of Thanksgiving turn the mind to thoughts of roast turkey, bread stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie.

Not so for our house.

Some years ago, my mother decided she was tired of making the same food every year for Thanksgiving.  Having been raised by a mother who supplied the family with a considerable variety of foods year-round, she found herself unsatisfied sitting down to the same “traditional” American meal each year.  So every year we do things a bit differently.  Some years we have turkey, some years ham, sometimes both.  And some years we have pirozhki.

I am referring to a traditional Russian food: deep-fried bread buns filled with meat, rice and other foods and seasonings.  My grandmother learned it from a Russian neighbor, and though she never knew exactly how to pronounce it (pereski became the normal term at our house), my mother loves to eat it.  Unfortunately, it’s a rather involved process, taking a lot of time and sweat to prepare enough for everyone, so we don’t eat them very often.

So what better time to have them than Thanksgiving?

Now, I realize that by now people already have their Thanksgiving menus planned; if I wanted to plan a countrywide pirozhki rebellion, I should have done it days ago.  But since it is a marvelous recipe, I decided to share it anyway.

It runs as follows:

(Filling)

2 lbs. ground beef

1/2 c. uncooked rice

1/2 c. fresh parsley, chopped

Salt, pepper and garlic to taste

In small saucepan (ha, I love saying saucepan), bring 1 cup water to a boil.  Add rice, return to a boil, reduce heat and cover.  Continue cooking on a low boil until the water has soaked into the rice, about the same amount of time it’s going to take you to brown the meat.

Brown hamburger in large skillet.

While that’s going on, prepare your parsley.  Remove large stems – those tend to make a weird texture – and chop the remainder.  Set aside.

Once your meat and rice are done, combine in your skillet and allow to cook for a while longer.  Add parsley, stir.  There’s your filling.

(etc.)

1 batch bread dough, any

In medium or large saucepan (ha, said saucepan again), bring to a boil whatever kind of oil you prefer.  Remove a piece of bread dough about half the size of your fist (give or take) and flatten into a round shape (miniature pizza crust-esque) on a cutting board or plate.  Add filling, taking care not to overfill; overfilled pirozhki tend to burst open while cooking and make a terrible mess.  Finally, bring together the edges of your bread, starting in the middle and working your way toward either end (remove some filling if this is difficult).  Pinch together the edges of the bread until you have a completely encased pocket; fold over edge and pinch again.  Pinch away excess dough, taking care not to make any holes in your pirozhki.  Place in hot oil and cook until brown (preferably in a batch with other freshly-made pirozhki).

Repeat for the remainder of your material or until you have enough for everyone.

Around here, we like to eat them with ketchup.  They’re very tasty, but the filling also tends to make them a bit messy, so caution should be exercised when eating.

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iApprove: “Terminal Depression.”

November 25, 2008

So, I haven’t updated my blog in a couple of days.  Yep.  I really have no excuse for that.

Well, maybe I do.  See, it’s getting close to deadline for NaNoWriMo.  It’s also getting close to Thanksgiving.  This means plenty of noveling as well as housework to go around.  Now, I’d love to try to say that noveling and housework has been eating up my time, but that just isn’t true.

The truth is, I’m a procrastinator.

The closer I get to a deadline, the less I want to do it.  The more I have to do, the less I want to do it.  So I procrastinate.  I get on the computer and fart around doing piddly little things until I’ve run out of time.

My other excuse is that I have Seasonal Affective Disorder, although I don’t know how much it’s actually affecting me at the moment.  But it happens around this time every year; I get into somewhat of a slump and I don’t want to function very well unless I have lots of flourescent light to play/work/eat/but not sleep under.  Without a certain amount of light every day, I start suffering from symptoms akin to depression.

Which is what brings me to the focal point of this post.  I was thinking about terminal depression yesterday.  Really, I have no clue what that is.  Is it really, really bad depression?  Is it depression so bad that you can die from it?  (That’s what “terminal” usually means, so…)

Anyway, since I didn’t know and I wanted to know, I decided to do a Google search.

The search was remarkably unhelpful.  It seems that there’s no handy definition of terminal depression on the Internet.  Most of what I found were little scientific studies and “ways to cope” sites and things like that.

One thing that surprised me, though, was a link available only four hits down the page.  A link to the story “Terminal Depression”.

See, I first read this story years ago, at its home on tsa.transform.to.  It’s a transformation story (not a “furry” story, mind; it doesn’t even contain an elaborate transformation sequence), and a funny one at that.  It’s about a couple of college roommates, one of whom is a warlock and the other of which collects dragons, and there’s a bit of revenge aspect there.  But I won’t go into detail; I recommend you read it for yourself.

I also recommend that you check out some of the other stories on the site.  Most of it isn’t even furry porn.

http://tsa.transform.to/misc/terminaldepression.html

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iLOL’d: Prince Albert, Canada.

November 23, 2008

While working on my novel today, I realized that I was short one town name.  I wasn’t sure what kind of town I needed, other than it needed to have a strange name and it needed to be in Canada.

BINGO: Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.

Now, Prince Albert is a pretty humorous name for a city anyway.  But Prince Albert in Canada?  I foresee many prank phone calls arising from this.

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DoNotWant: My Breasts Enlarged!

November 21, 2008

Nor do I appreciate your continual insistence that I CAN afford better breasts.  I also do not need you to keep asking me to claim a nonexistant gift certificate or reminding me that you need nurses.

Okay, I’ll be honest here.  From a strictly vain, measuring-up-to-my-sister standpoint, larger breasts would be nice.  There are a few problems with that, though: one, I can NOT afford larger breasts, despite your claims otherwise, and two, I’ve seen what those things look like.  There’s a word for it: FAKE.  I would much rather have my small, pointy, natural breasts than a pair of round, silicon fakers.

And from a practical standpoint, just NO.  My breasts do a fantastic job of obstructing me during certain tasks as it is.  I do not need them to be larger just so they can do it more.  I also do not need to have to buy larger brassieres right now, nor can I afford the hundreds of dollars worth of liposuction that it would probably take to fix the rest of my body to that my new bigger breasts would actually be worth something.

Thanks, but I’ll pass.

(I do, however, appreciate you advertising to the right demographic this time.  You have no idea how many companies send me e-mails saying that my wife wants it bigger.)

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Apparently I’m inspiring?

November 19, 2008

So, I was a-checkin’ my spam queue, and I found a comment that was essentially a pingback — a repost of material from a blog entry.  In this case, though, it wasn’t material from my blog.  It was, in fact, from another blog, possibly located somewhere in Poland, who decided to post a link to my “iLOL’d: Dave Barry” post.

That in itself isn’t strange.  What is strange is the blog title: How to get Inspiration? Apparently, they found my post on Dave Barry to be inspiring.  Enough to post it on their website.  I can’t imagine why.  Perhaps the site is run by robots who fish up random blog posts, then post them on their site and make pingback comments on the blogs in question to try to drive up traffic.

Whatever the cause, I truly hope that the people of Poland find me to be a good inspiration.

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iApprove: NaNoCat Word Counter

November 18, 2008

Somebody over at NaNoWriMo recently posted a link to this spiffing little device.  Just put in your user ID code from the NaNoWriMo website, choose a kitteh, and you can see your username and word count as a LOLcat!

J00 can haz ur 0wn at http://davidwclary.com/fun/nanocat.aspx