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Had my Dr. Who Night crew over on Sunday. There was a request for low-fat (or maybe calorie?) cooking... just this once ~grin~, and after a brief consultation as to what that could possibly mean, I embarked on the following:
Recipe for Experimental Garam Masala ChickenCollapse )

I also made a new variation of Iced Tea.
My sister bought me some Rose tea last November. bitmonger is skeptical of roses in tea, and so I kept forgetting to use it. I tried it out with something like 1.5 T of unknown black tea, and half a T of the rose tea for a 2 L iced tea container. The rose flavor was really pronounced, which I wasn't certain is quite right, but there's no bitter aftertaste (well, more than usual), so I don't have to worry about that. I'd probably knock the amount of Rose tea down to a tsp next time.
Even so: It tastes great with the lemony garam masala chicken leftovers. Really melds with the flavors just right. Something to think about.


Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches


We made chocolate chip cookies from the Betty Crocker recipe. (I wouldn't recommend in future. I had to make several adjustments (at least +1 egg and + vanilla extract), and they were still unusually tall, wide, and kinda chewy.) That being said, they work with the (leftover homemade butter pecan) ice cream quite nicely.

We didn't try to get an entire container of ice cream to be 1" tall (as recommended by King Arthur bakers) for use with biscuit cutter, as this seemed nigh impossible, given that we're talking near half a gallon of ice cream in a deep gallon like container. So we just left it on the counter for ... a while (what? My sister called.), and then scooped it on a cookie, and smooshed it down with another cookie. Placed on cookie sheets, between wax paper, and back in the freezer.

Downside: (at least the first day) the cookies became something like rocks. They were better (read: easier to gnaw) the next day. I'm hoping this continues as a trend.

Upside: Flavor was perfect.

Just have to work on that frozen cookie issue.

p.s. Any of y'all whose coolers are currently residing in my living room (and yes, there's more than one of you) can get yourself a Free(!) Homemade Ice Cream Sandwich (or slice of blueberry pie) when picking up said cooler. (While supplies last!)


Lowercase z FTW

So, I do a lot of regular expression work in my job. And I ran into an interesting quandary recently.
Techno BabbleCollapse )


Park Bench's how to

The Park Bench: How to Meet and Woo a Nerdy Girl

Tip 11 was the one that really cracked me up.

btw, this Park Bench site seems kinda interesting. Of course, I think I'm perhaps a member of its target audience, so that's somewhat to be expected.


Adventures in Franken-Tea

So, I'm a big tea drinker. Mostly black teas. We usually have a selection of something in the neighborhood of at least 6 perfectly nice black teas (with no flavors). Mostly don't put flavors in my hot tea (Republic of Tea's Vanilla Almond being the exception.)

That being said, as much as I like plain old yummy black Iced Tea, I started at some point or another experimenting with adding flavors to it. It started with remembering that my Mom would put fresh mint in her iced tea, and how I liked that. So a common Iced Tea will be 1 part black 1 part Mint. But, then Republic of Tea kept sending me random samples of teas we would never drink (Blueberry), and it seemed reasonable to use them up that way (3 parts black, 1 part weird). And then they sent me a sample of something I liked in general, but was obviously superior iced (Orange Blossom White Tea). And then I started purposefully buying things that sound like they'd make good additions to an iced tea (Republic of Tea's Desert Sage used 1 part against 1-3 parts black, depending). And then I was at my local cafe and they had something called Maple Iced Tea, which I really liked... and it's all really snowballed from there.

Cut 'cause I careCollapse )


Justice dept defends DOMA

The LGBT community's in something of an uproar, and understandably.
Short story: DOMA (The Defense of Marriage Act) is a law that is used as a justification to deny same-sex couple benefits, and in immigration deportations when half the same-sex couple is not of US origin. People have been putting forth lawsuits arguing against it's constitutionality. Obama's Justice Dept filed a brief in defense of DOMA for one of these lawsuits. It's arguments can be summed up as:
* Giving same-sex couples full rights would be very expensive
* States have precedent for restricting who can get married, for example, incest and age restrictions.
* Legally married same-sex couples (like from Vermont, for example) are not constitutionally entitled to Federal recognition.

~rubs bridge of nose~ Um. We've been relatively patient since the new administration set up shop, but nobody likes being compared to a pedophile, as tired as that old insult is getting. And too expensive? That's a novel defense of bigotry, when the benefits in question tend to be things like health care and death rights. Can't be having people with health care, able to keep their houses after their partners die, and help their partners immigrate. Think of all the chaos _that_ would induce. Oh wait, people without health care cost more because they have to avoid preventative medicine. And life insurance is a pretty standard and common concept we've been dealing with for quite some time. And I'm pretty sure that the federal life insurance type benefits are paid for with our taxes. Oh yeah, and immigrating couples... hard to figure out how this would cause _more_ problems than tearing families apart. Oh, how I loathe DOMA.

* AMERICAblog: Obama defends DOMA in federal court. Says banning gay marriage is good for the federal budget. Invokes incest and marrying children.
* Dan Savage: Obama Defends DOMA

New tech for breast exams

This is interesting:
Breastlight Could Help Find Early Signs of Breast Cancer

The Breastlight works by shining powerful red LEDs through the breast, allowing women and their partners to see what is normal for their breasts and identify changes over time. They will be able to see veins and other blood vessels as dark lines in their breasts. Regular inspections could reveal dark spots, a possible signal of the growth of new blood vessels which feed cancerous tumors.
The company claims that results have been extremely favorable with women that have large or lumpy breasts who find self-examinations of their breasts difficult.
Sales in the US are currently in the negotiation stage.

New secrecy law

Quick synopsis:
The 2009 Supplemental Spending bill has an amendment (Graham-Lieberman amendment) which is a nasty sucker allowing the exec branch to suppress photos of detainees during the Bush administration. It's been added because the ACLU has repeatedly gotten courts to rule that the Freedom of Information Act requires their release when asked for. The White House would like not to release them, so they're encouraging this amendment.

The bill with the amendment has passed in the Senate. It looks like, however, given Republican lack of support in general that a critical contingent of liberal Democrats (including my own Phila congressman) who are against this amendment may be able to get rid of it, or block the bill in its entirety. Jane Hamsher at Firedoglake has been reporting on this, and there's a nice listing of said reps and their phone numbers here in the event that you want to voice your opinion to those reps.

More links:
* Glenn Greenwald: Are House Democrats about to block Obama's new secrecy law?

Hey, it worked!
Lieberman-Graham Dropped From Supplemental


Really nice vim ui for Firefox. Stunning really. Bitmonger says it's a game-changer, and I'm inclined to agree with him.

Sidenote: If you don't know what vim is, and aren't particularly looking to make Firefox a more keyboard centric UI experience, then this is probably not for you.

Also: If you install this, and use gmail, and use gmail keyboard commands, you'll want to add a command to your .vimperatorrc to not interfere with gmail key commands. Learn more here (search for gmail or 'useful autocommands'): Vimperator Wiki