16 Nov

It’s always time for pumpkin pie!

What time is it? Pie Time! It’s that time of year when everyone’s craving pumpkin. It’s not just for eating pie — there are lots of pumpkin body care products, pumpkin housewares, and Pumpkin Ale. But the basic urge in November is to have pumpkin in pie form. Vegan, cream cheese, whiskey pumpkin pie — it’s all out there and someone’s enjoying it. I like my grandma’s recipe best, though:
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15 Nov

“It is SPACE AGE and Soylent Tasty!”

Jake at 8Bit Joystick.com has posted a review of Tofurky Vegetarian Roast. He liked it! It’s true, it’s not bad. It’s not exactly turkey, but it’s pretty darned good in its own way. (And in many unusual ways, as can be seen on this recipe page.) Though I think my vegetarian gravy recipe makes better gravy than the Tofurky gravy.

The Tofurky folks also make Beer Brats which are really really good. Grilled, with mustard and onions on a nice toasted bun… mmmm.

It is getting to be about that time of year, I guess — time to start thinking about Thanksgiving food. Other than the vegetarian main course, I still usually eat the same Thanksgiving food I always did — stuffing, olives, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.

14 Nov

“A fish that was propped up and staring at us”

Stranger in a Strange Land is the ongoing story of Olen Sanders‘ experiences teaching English in China, with all the culture shock that entails. Here’s an excerpt:

I am, however, fortunate that I have such great students. Students in America ‘go’ to school whereas students in China essentially ‘live’ school. They begin their school day when they wake at 6AM and the last class of the day finishes at 10PM. Two hours are given for lunch but they must remain in their dorms for the last 70 or so minutes, presumably to sleep.

Found via this Ask Metafilter thread.

11 Nov

I’m a “moral issues” voter after all!

I couldn’t have said it better:

“‘Moral values’ as a category cannot be segregated from things like jobs, taxes, the economy, health care, the environment, the war in Iraq, Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, government secrecy, honesty, corporate corruption, educational opportunity and protection of civil rights. All of these are also moral issues.”

I care about these things. I voted for Kerry based on my beliefs in this area. And yet somehow I am immoral for voting the way I did? I don’t think so. I think a lot of so-called “moral values” voters need to reread the words of the One they claim to worship.

10 Nov

Server errors, tests, pings and things

I apologize to those of you who may have seen a lot of test messages pop up in your Slumberland RSS feeds lately. I’ve tried to delete them within a couple of minutes, but some of them might have gotten out anyway.

Basically, I have been having problems with the WordPress posting process generating errors in Safari (“NSURLErrorDomain:-1011”) and also not sending pings out to the sites such as weblogs.com that keep track of which blogs are newly updated.

Restarting the web server has fixed it for the moment, however, I don’t expect that to be a permanent fix since the server’s been restarted several times over the last few months and yet this problem has been going on at least that long.

So there may be more test messages to come, but hopefully the problem won’t reappear for a while.

08 Nov

“Oh yeah!”

The Kool-Aid FAQ v7.0 from the fine folks at alt.drinks.kool-aid is much more interesting than you might expect. From the history of Kool-Aid (It started as “Fruit Smack” — good thing they changed the name), to “Frank B. Anderson’s Secret Kool-Aid Recipe” which uses 2 cups of your favorite brand of ginger ale to replace some of the water, to Kool-Aid recipes (the, um, Kool-Aid sandwich), there are lots of interesting tidbits to be found in this FAQ.

For example, did you know that Kool-Aid has been used to dye King salmon? (Yes, the fish.) And to clean dishwashers? And how about this unusual use for the stuff:

“I work as an engineer on US flag merchant ships. We use Kool-Aid mixed into the control water system of the auto-shooting fuel purification centrifuges. It is a cheap, excellent, mild acid that helps to keep scale from forming in the solenoid valves and control orifices. The consensus is that Grape works best.”

But wait, there’s more! Remember the Kool-Aid Man video game from Atari? The FAQ includes game rules and tips.

And if you want drink recipes, they’re here: from non-alcoholic (Blood Kool-Aid, Kool Coffee, Dishwasher Punch) to the very alcoholic indeed (Dead Puppy; Antifreeze; Smurf Piss — 2 parts Berry Blue Kool-Aid, 2 parts Mountain Dew, 1 part grain alcohol!; and Purple Pantie Pulldowns).

The alt.drinks.kool-aid people are clearly insane in the best possible way. Drink up!

04 Nov

Post from Coastopia

It appears that I am writing to you from the lovely region of Northwestern American Coastopia. And it is perhaps not so coincidental that most of my favorite places in the US (New Orleans, Minneapolis, the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY) are in Coastopia, as well! (Ian added Minnesota to Coastopia in a follow-up post.)

I am waiting for my Coastopia passport, voter card, and FREE IPOD! (We do get iPods, right? It’s in the Coastopia Constitution, isn’t it?)

(OK, I’m tired, and I’m getting silly.)

(Title of this post edited in February 2005 because the previous title seemed to be drawing morons who were doing Google searches for something entirely different.)

04 Nov

And, speaking of the election….

A thoughtful and sad LiveJournal post that expresses much of what I’ve been feeling for the last day:

“Driving to work yesterday was an incredibly awesome experience. At 45th and Lamar a lady in a heavy jacket stood on one corner directing people to a polling place while another opposite her and waved a Kerry/Edwards sign. It was hopeful, inspiring. And then about halfway to work I saw a small little yard sign that read, ‘Democrats LIE. Think about that.’ ”

Red and Blue seem further apart than ever.

01 Nov

Welcome to November

Me in Elizabethan male drag. Pumpkin pants, codpiece, and all!It’s been a busy week or so for me. I decided to take a week off from blogging and reading some of my favorite websites. One reason: so I could finish the Halloween costume you see at right. Yes, that’s me as an Elizabethan-era male. No, the facial hair is not real. (It’s eyeliner.) Yes, I have a codpiece (you can’t properly see it in this picture, though). The doublet is a little large but the costume otherwise came out well. Actually, the doublet is something I already had; I picked it up this summer and then when October came around I realized that I had the beginning of a fine costume. So I made the hat and pumpkin pants this week. Unfortunately I didn’t have any really great events to wear it to.

Other thing I had to spend time on this week was researching ways to avoid blog spammers. We were getting slammed with spams for gambling, medications, etc. Though none of them actually managed to appear on the blog, we were still having to spend time dealing with them. Jason helped a lot with this, and so now I hope things will be a little better. Spammers: go away. Your spams won’t appear here and so you won’t get any search engine benefits by spamming us.

On a completely different note, the election is tomorrow. I have an absentee ballot, for the first time ever. I’ll fill it out tonight and drop it in tomorrow’s mail. I am still worried about the outcome; this has been such an ugly election that even if my candidate (Kerry, duh) wins, I think the country’s been damaged by this whole process. On the other hand, so many people are voting that never bothered before, and this amazes me. I wish it didn’t take this mess to get people to vote, and I hope that all the new voters will stay involved at this level or even do more in the future.

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