November 30, 2009

Why I Shouldn’t Cook, Part II, and Why High School Science is Important

[12/1/09: For some reason, the comment count isn't displaying but you can still post, and I'm checking them through the back door, so Irina, Mel, Erika, Abby, Batty, Kristen, Caro, Caroline, Kat, Seanna Lee--thanks for chiming in!]

Alas, the stir fry and rice continued to get the best of me: Within 24 hours, the rice explosion was followed by some unexpected microwave theatrics.

The night after I made the stir fry, I plopped some leftovers in a smallish but heavy bowl, covered it with one of those plate-sized plastic microwave covers (it was wider than the bowl; this is key) and nuked the whole shebang. The microwave cover didn’t have a vent in the middle so the nuking caused the middle of the cover to get sucked into the bowl and for a strong heat-sealed vacuum to form. Seriously strong, black-hole-comparable suckage had been created. (I think the phrase "Epic Fail" was invented for just this moment.)

I held the bowl in the crook of my elbow and heeaaaaaved on the cover but it didn’t budge. I held the bowl between my ample but strong thighs and heeeeeeaved some more—ditto. Risking a repeat of the rice disaster, I held just the cover and waggled everything vigorously around in the air—ditto ditto. Some more emphatic waggling, some more heaaaaaaving, but that mofo’ was really stuck. And I was hungry. And annoyed.

Thanks to a long-ago high-school science class, I knew that I could have waited for somethingsomething to cool down and somethingsomething to heat up and somethingsomething scientific would occur and the vacuum would release and I could go face-first into my dinner, but I was way too impatient. Then I remembered something else from high school, that if I could just get some air in somehow, all would be well. Feeling angry and rebellious in a Thelma-and-Louise way, I hunted up my X-acto knife, gouged a hole in the microwave cover and—imagine a small, sighing, wooshing, releasing sound here—voila! My stomach and I thank you, Mr. Long-Forgotten Science Teacher.

Note to self: Scratch stir-fry off the list of things you think you can cook. You can't.

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My knitting has taken a slightly photographic detour. Inspired by a blog entry Erika wrote a while ago—which, she tells me, has sadly disappeared into the Interwebs ether—I decided on a whim to make my own cheap-o light box. On the down side, I picked a remarkably flimsy box which threatened to disintegrate into paper dust at every turn. In my defense, it was the only box I had (see "on a whim" above). Oh, and I had help. Does he really think I can't see him?

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However, I still managed to patch together this...

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...which was adequate enough to take these two test photos of a scarf:

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Interestin’. Am liking the accurate colors. Might have to invest in a sturdier box. Benny is fully in support of this idea.

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As much as my interest was piqued at the idea of shipping dahlia tubers around to my knitterly e-friends, I think the U.S. Department of Agriculture would have something to say about that. As in, "Don't." But local folks, let's tawk.

Posted by Ryan at 11:53 PM | Comments (0)

November 25, 2009

Why I Don't Cook

In life, I have a bad habit of starting Step A, completing all of it except, for some unfathomable reason, the last little bit and moving prematurely on to Step B. Fortunately, I’m aware of this, so I keep a wary eye out for signs of this self-defeating behavior. Sometimes, however, even that is not enough. Case in point:

Last night I made rice for the week. I got out the bag of rice, poured a hefty amount into my rice-cooker insert and started to take the insert to the sink to add water. Being aware of The Bad Habit, however, I cast about and noticed that I had left the largely full bag of rice open and teetering on the counter—a bad, certainly slapstick, accident waiting to happen. So I put the insert down and closed the bag, feeling all self-disciplined and in control of my universe.

Turned around. Hit the insert with my elbow and knocked it onto the floor. Rice everywhere.

Damn.

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For those of you who may be interested in a further horticultural lesson, Dahlia Dig-Up Day is quickly followed by Dahlia Dismemberment Day. Below, a picture of the behemoth I pictured here, divided into 11 pieces.

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The pieces will be stored in vermiculite in a porous plastic bag for the winter. In the spring, I will, with fingers crossed, check them for eyes. 11 eyes means I could potentially have 11 of these beauts:

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Do I need 11 of them? No sirree. As a matter of fact, I only want one. But there's still something satisfying about getting something, or 11 somethings, for nothing. Besides, it's a stash thing; you knitters understand.

Speaking of knitting, below, the body of the Recession Sweater, finished, knit with a v-neck in order to add a shawl collar, slightly blocked, all ends woven in, waiting for sleeves. The only setback I see so far is the armholes are a whoppin' 12" deep. You could drive a truck through them. That, and the whole thing looks like a slightly psychedelic jail jumpsuit. Argh.

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Happy Thanksgiving to all!

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Posted by Ryan at 11:12 PM | Comments (16)

November 15, 2009

When Worlds Collide

If you are a dahlia fanatic, Dahlia Dig-Up Day is like Christmas. You never know what you’re going to get but, thanks to Mother Nature, it’s always better than what you put it in. Case in point: Early spring, I planted one medium tuber; yesterday I dug up this:

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Then I turned it over, and before I could stop Her, my Inner Knitter thought, “Man, that’s a lot of ends to weave in!”

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Posted by Ryan at 09:36 PM | Comments (10)

November 08, 2009

What We Do For Our Children

Being Children of the Millennium with little respect for their parent, this morning Benny and Joon gave me a long, petulant lecture about how cheap of a mother I am since I'll only pay for one cable channel for them: SQRL-TV. And about how there seems to be only one show on SQRL-TV. And how there's only one setting for the show—a large but slightly shabby yard. And how the budget is so small the director can only afford to change the lighting effects about every three months—and every night turns the lights off altogether. And about how there only seems to be one small, boring, gray-haired actor, and how he sometimes just arbitrarily wanders off-screen. Sure, sometimes there are two or three actors, but there's no dialogue, and it can be hard to tell the actors apart. And how there only seems to be one activity—interminable leaping, scrounging and nibbling, no heroes, villains, damsels in distress, space ships, guns, chase scenes, romantic encounters, dramatic rescues…

I told them if they were really good and patient, and ate all their vegetables, I would get a second channel in the spring: ROBN-TV. They are very excited.

Posted by Ryan at 04:27 PM | Comments (16)