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My parents visited in the middle of January (I am not going into that now), and one of the things they left with was our old tiny rice cooker. My dad offered to get me a replacement, and I requested *drumroll* an Instant Pot.

For those like me who were unaware of the glories of Instant Pot, it is an electric pressure cooker / slow cooker / rice cooker / saute-er (I know, not a word) / yogurt maker / create household peace device with a stainless steel pot and the magic to make me able to cook food I like.

I got it to cook rice. Over the past month, these are the other items we've made, in order of awesomeness:

* Chicken Pho - plus star anise and with the greens on the side; I had to fight for the leftovers
* Beef stew - modified to add cloves and cinnamon and replace potatoes with Gilfeather turnips
* Risotto (used short grain Haiga rice: mushroom; chicken-fig) - still refining; has a tendency to end up a little sweet, but the consistency is great
* Crispy potatoes; French Fries - steams the potato before pan-frying or roasting, so they're double cooked
* Saag - no dairy and awesome
* mashed turnips
* Sushi rice (Haiga again) and Basmati rice
* Steamed Sweet Potatoes (and regular potatoes)
* Applesauce / Apple butter, to use in:
* BBQ Pulled Chicken (AIP)

Not sure I'd make again without modification:
* Goat/lamb boned curry - I had some issues with the bones (should have pulled them out / returned the meat to the dish); sauce flavors were awesome though
* Chicken Stew - good, but not as good as others
* Winter Vegetable Soup - very tasty, but my body isn't liking coconut milk based soups for some reason; I'd recommend trying with actual cream added post-pressure cooking for people who aren't dairy-intolerant

We have not yet done tried making hard-boiled eggs (I was not eating them during January) or stock. I also have a list of recipes to test out, unless I decide to make pho every week... Anyone want to swap recipes and tips? :)
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The massive amount of floating plastic bits in the ocean has made me sad for a long time - now someone's doing something about it!


Here's hoping their pilot goes well. :)
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You asked: what will the new year bring?

The Basis:
Frith, reversed
A thriving community of people share a potluck dinner. Children are playing happily nearby, and two friends are hugging.
Meaning: Infighting in community about petty details can make us lose track of how much we have in common.

The Situation:
A harlequin is trying to juggle mystical symbols: a pentacle, an ankh, a crescent moon, a wand. Most of them lie scattered around his feet. He is reaching for one that is outside his grasp, and about to trip on the pentacle.
Meaning: You are trying to do too much at once, or something more ambitious than your skills allow.

The Outcome:
Network, reversed
A fisher in a flying boat casts a net forth, trying to catch from a school of flying laptop computers. Mystical symbols show on their screens.
Meaning: It is easy to get tangled up in distractions, so you should focus tightly on what is important to you.

You may ask another question.

Reading from The Crowdsource Tarot.

(Thanks to [personal profile] metahacker for introducing the Crowdsource Tarot!)
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Note: Comments disabled because I don't feel like getting into a vaccination discussion. I am not planning to get a seasonal flu shot myself, but I believe that each person can make the decision for him or herself. Feel free to e-mail me privately if you are curious and want to discuss.

Posting these links because I know a number of people who haven't gotten seasonal flu shots yet, but are thinking of getting them. I have not yet tracked down the studies and looked at them, and it's possible as with any scientific study being reported in the mainstream news that the data is not being presented well.

CBC news articles - Seasonal flu shot may increase H1N1 risk - and more )
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Over the years, I've read bits and pieces of information about cell phones and radiation (or microwaves, or wireless networks, etc.). Mostly, what I saw was vague (or extreme) enough that I moved most electric items away from the bed, told myself that I needed to use a headset for my phone, tried to stay back from the microwave when it was on just in case, and sort of forgot about the rest.

However yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] lilairen mentioned an environmentally-focused blog that she sometimes reads, and paging back through its archives randomly, I found an entry called "10 Ways to Limit Health Risk from Cell Phones".

Well, if the French (and other countries) are banning cell phone use in their public elementary schools, then that's interesting...I had also heard that at least one Canadian university had decided not to roll out a WiFi network due to potential health concerns (the radiation, it's everywhere! O.O).

Even more alarming was the report (which I thought was linked off the DailyGreen entry, but now doesn't seem to be - how odd) called Cellphones and Brain Tumors: 15 Reasons for Concern (Science, Spin, and the Truth Behind Interphone). I haven't done any checking as to what dissenting responses may exist to the report (happy to get that information), but the report at least is endorsed by a range of scientists, doctors, etc - not just one or two specific people. I found its review of the data to be a bit alarming but not alarmist or sensationalized - I would be very interested in knowing other people's reactions as well.

An inset quote from the report: “In a world where a drug cannot be launched without proof that it is safe, where the use of herbs and natural compounds available to all since Egyptian times are now questioned, their safety subjected to the deepest scrutiny, where a new food cannot be launched without prior approval, the idea that we can use mobile telephony, including masts, and introduce WiFi and mobile phones without restrictions around our 5 year olds is double-standards gone mad. I speak, not just as an editor and scientist that has looked in depth at all the research, but as a father that lost his beloved daughter to a brain tumour.” Chris Woollams, Editor, Integrated Cancer and Oncology News, Icon Magazine

The report also notes that the effects of cell phone radiation are the sort that would build up over time and amount of exposure, and it's really just getting to the point where 10+ year studies or reviews can actually be attempted.

Both pages had some suggestions for reducing your exposure to cell phone radiation (which I mostly combined into one list):

Steps to reduce exposure )
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I had been thinking about posting about how Joss Whedon's new show "Dollhouse" wants to be a live action cross between "Kiddy Grade" and "Gunslinger Girls" (I'm just hoping that the plot holds up to good anime standards). I'm not going to put any other spoilers than that, but it had that cosplay + [enter_item_here]-of-the-week feel to me. Of course, there's only been one episode, so that's not much to go on.

But that was all the way back on Friday. What finally succeeded in getting me to post?

...they remixed the theme song to "The Amazing Race".

... ... O.O

It's so -weird-. It's slightly breaking my brain. :} I'm just sitting here with this stunned expression on my face, which would probably be amusing if there were anyone here but the turtle to see it.

Ah well. And back to Warcraft. :)
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(Look, a post. Without much personal content, but still something.)

We just cleaned out a bunch of extra A/V and computer cables, and I'm trying to find a place to donate them. If anyone could use anything on this list, please let me know - they're free. Also, if you know of a place that might want these, I'd be happy to take any information, as I'm mostly starting by calling around to thrift stores (I'd rather reuse over recycle to start).

Read more... )
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There have been news stories lately about sunblock ratings and how they need to change (for example: current UVA protection claims on packaging mean nothing).

The Environmental Working Group has published a Sunscreen Summary rating a large number of sunscreens on both sun hazard (e.g. how effective they are against UVA / UVA) and health hazard (based on certain chemicals - they break down the ingredients in detail in case you don't care about fragrance, etc.).

[livejournal.com profile] naturalliving has a nice short list of some of the more affordable good ones and links to where they can be bought, saving a lot of research time.

ETA: Note that some of these sunscreens may contain nanoparticles, which have a bit of controversy surrounding them that I haven't researched yet to my satisfaction.

This information actually comes at a good time for me - I was wondering if I should buy some of that Anthelios stuff they have by the counter at CVS, even though it's pretty expensive. Now I think I'll buy something else (and if anyone else is interested / wants to go in on an order somewhere, let me know, although I'm not quite sure what I want yet).

Also, if you use cosmetics or...well, soap...you might be interested in the rest of the Environmental Working Group's cosmetics database.

And maybe I'll make a personal post at some point...or maybe I won't...
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(via [livejournal.com profile] mr_teem)

Giant Microbes has added new products!

Oooh, maybe it would be nice to have a White Blood Cell to cuddle when I'm sick. Go little white blood cells! Fight those invaders! Fight like...the wind...(er... :} )
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For the cat-loving, cat-allergic, Gilbert and Sullivan-knowing, masses of people on my friends list, just in case they didn't see this, I present:

The Shedding Cats Patter Song (Two Lumps)
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lists )
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So far tonight, the dishwasher has oversudsed onto the floor, the ceiling in the kitchen started leaking/spurting water causing [livejournal.com profile] arawen to go out onto the roof (luckily the one-story mostly flat one) and use multiple tubes of roofing tar in the middle of a massive thunderstorm, and the lights flickered twice (but we didn't lose power). But I finished making random stuff+rice dinner anyway, and now I'm making brownies, because, dude - on the roof in the middle of pouring rain = must provide chocolate reward.

And laundry. It also probably means laundry. Wow, it's only 8:30? So much has happened already since I got home...


Jul. 17th, 2006 10:33 am
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For many, many people...

Dance Dance Immolation

Also (added to this entry because I didn't really want to create a whole separate new one):

Quoting out of context by the "liberal" media (NYT) (gah! - example is short but clear)
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(To the tune of "Silver Bells")

~*~Pager storm...pager storm...it's on-call weee-eeek for meeeeeee...~*~

But it's all figured out now. :) Well, I have a bit more to do in about 10 minutes, but just a bit.

And for your amusement and delight, from a couple of friends:

Somerville Fire Local 76 Live Scanner Feed (requires Windows Media Player) - courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] chuckm

I don't read fanfic much at all, but I was bored and [livejournal.com profile] briar_pipe provided links, and thus I read furry octopus SGA ultra-cute fiction - and I've never even seen Stargate: Atlantis (it says no spoilers for the show, in case that's an issue). Seriously, the cuteness and the fuzziness and the pen fetish - give it a chance. :) (I actually read the second one first, even though it's a coda for the first one.)

Once Upon a Furry Octopus and And They Lived Happily Ever After by Skoosie (PG and PG13 - R, respectively)

And now, I'm back to finishing up pager work.

listy list

Jul. 11th, 2006 11:10 am
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I've got enough going on at work today that I'm going to write down all the non-work things that come to mind so that my brain doesn't explode.

Read more... )
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I keep forgetting to mention this (for people who don't listen to the radio or otherwise get the information) - May is Museum Month is an interesting promotion by Bank of America / MBNA where you can show your bank or credit card and get yourself and a guest into a participating museum for free (except for special exhibits, etc.). This may just be in the Northeast, though; in the Boston area, it includes the Museum of Science, Children's Museum, MFA, and others.
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I keep forgetting to actually post this - here are the answers to the 15-song lyrics meme I put up last week.

The answers, oh yes )

lyrics meme

May. 2nd, 2006 08:11 pm
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This is the lyrics meme from [livejournal.com profile] kviri and many others. Well, mostly - I took liberties with the numbers, skipped ones that were instrumental / not in English / etc., stuff like that. These are the first one or two lines - try to figure out the artist and song title. Good luck! :)

(I'm pretty sure they're all correct, because I'm rather bad at recognizing lyrics myself, so I looked them up.)

The beginning of 15 songs, some very weird - can anyone figure them out? )
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"Never trust a man with a blanket."

Thank you, It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown. :)

*doo de doo doo de doo doooo dooooo....doo de doo doo! (dee dum dum dee dum dum dee)* Snoopy dance!
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A couple of links:

1) Edit: Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] chuckm -- One of those online puzzle / brain-bending games that can consume me for hours (I escaped this one just in time, barely).
(I need to re-find an online Flash game in which you're skateboarding down a street filled with stuff that you have to avoid - I used to play that one for hours while listening to an Andrea Bocelli CD when I was home on break from college. Or, well, maybe "need" is the wrong word... :} )

2) A symptom / diagnosis finding site that I ran into while looking up food poisioning information (because of [livejournal.com profile] jikharra and [livejournal.com profile] keshwyn's ordeal).
Edit again: I will make the obligatory disclaimer that I am not a doctor, as far as I can tell the people who run that site are not doctors, and you should not rely on medical information on the web if you think you have a serious condition - go see an actual doctor if you can. I say this because I pointed my dad (a doctor, albeit a rather conservative one in some ways), and he was immediately skeptical about it. At the same time, I don't see a lot of harm in looking at the site, getting some information from it, and then running it by an actual medical professional, and the site really doesn't seem to be misrepresenting itself or saying that it's actually able to diagnose anything.

Also, I used to know of a site that contained lists of the songs played on (air) radio stations - you could choose a station, and it would show you which songs it had played and at what times. It wasn't specific to any radio station and I believe it covered a lot of stations, not just ones in the Boston area. I think the site name started with "i" or "e" (as in iPod or eRadio, not an actual word starting with one of those letters). Does anyone know of a site at all like what I'm describing?
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