Monthly Archives: October 2013

Dumb but explosive science question

I’ve been reading Bill Bryson and watching a lot of QI lately, which has triggered a lot of thoughts and questions about the universe. One of them, which I’m hoping will get answered by a science site I sent it in to, goes like this:

* Methane is a gas that, when mixed with oxygen, becomes highly explosive. It’s responsible for many mining explosions on earth.

* Some planets and moons in our solar system are believed to have rivers and clouds made from liquid methane and atmospheres containing some 1-3 % of methane.

* The reason the methane on these planets/moons doesn’t cause major explosions is because there isn’t any oxygen in the atmosphere to react with.

* Hypothetically, what if we could reach say Titan (Saturn’s biggest moon) with a spaceship, and what if that spaceship was carrying a significant amount of oxygen? How much would be enough to set Titan on fire? Would it have any consequences for earth if Titan turned into a giant fire ball from methane reacting with oxygen?

What? Are you accusing me of plotting what universal pranks I’m going to pull once I have established world domination? Never!

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Lets not have children

I played around with that program that generates an image of a baby by morphing two images together… I was hoping for something a bit more flattering than this:

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I’ll name him… Alistair McFluffenduffen.

Bonus picture:

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Btw this entire thing originated from seeing a guy on Homes under the hammer today and saying “if Christopher Walken and Garey Busey had a child, it would look like him”,

 

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Birthday photo post!

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Guess who turned 24 yesterday?! Me. 😀

I celebrated by going downtown and walking from London Victoria to Buckingham Palace around St James Park to Leicester Square and West End and China Town to Piccadilly Circus and then back. In short, I did a lot of walking and perhaps not in the best of shoes, but it was fun. I brought my camera and took some photos of the birds in St James Park:

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It seems like someone ordered some good weather for my birthday! Very thoughtful! I ended up stopping to rest my feet and have a bite in a little place near Regent Street where I had a delicious ciabatta with avocado, mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes and olives. Yum!

Around 3 pm my feet started hurting rather epically from walking, so I headed home and opened presents from my mum while Skyping with her. I got a bunch of baking and cake decorating things, which suits me perfectly. Once Tom got home, we celebrated with a bottle of “Horny Owl” and I made my ‘signature’ birthday stuffed bell peppers while blasting loud, upbeat orchestral music such as Champagne Galop, Beethoven’s Emperor Rondo and In the Hall of the Mountain King.

I call them birthday stuffed bell peppers because I made them for my last birthday. I was going to post a picture of them, because I’ve made them a few times and it’s really a great recipe, but I can’t find any! I guess you can take that as evidence that it’s a good recipe, since they’re all eaten and gone before I get a chance to take a photo. I’ll upload the recipe soon.

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Tom and I aren’t exactly wine experts, so we buy wine after how funny the label is. Through this method we have found great wines such as this one, Horny Owl, and Fat Bastard and Irony.  After dinner, we had a cheesecake and I opened my gift from Tom which was Cards Against Humanity, something I’ve been wanting to get for a while. It looks really fun and I can’t wait to get some people together and play it.

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I didn’t even get any stomach issues (I’ve been having dyspepsia/indigestion problems) during the night, so all in all a good and calm 24th birthday. 🙂

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Trypophobia – fear of many small holes . . . . . . . . !

Here’s something deeply unfair: Every time you google a specific phobia, google shows the object of the phobia on the first page. I feel bad for people with serious phobias who go online to search for help to overcome it and instantly run across a picture depicting the very thing they hate. Here’s a good thing though: Wikipedia seems to have thought about this and doesn’t include photos in the articles about specific phobias.

Trypophobia is described on wikipedia as fear for objects with small holes. I’ve always had a bit of an obsession with anything that reminds me of pores, but oddly I’ve never thought about it from the perspective that pores are many tiny holes. I just figured it’s damage from when I was a teen and my great aunt (the only elderly relative who I saw on a regular basis) would pinch and cut her skin because she had larvae and eggs living under her skin that she needed to get out. A couple of years later I found out that she was in fact psychotic and there wasn’t anything living under her skin at all, something that my parents had known all along and just failed to mentioned because A) Maybe they thought it was obvious B) Maybe they didn’t want us children to know that she was psychotic C) Maybe they just didn’t occur to them to tell us (knowing my parents I’m definitely going for option C). Maybe I was a dumb teen but I really thought she had insects and eggs under her skin and the idea grossed me out immensely and I was afraid that I would catch what she had every time I visited. Because of this I thought my aversion to everything involving skin and particularly pores was reasonable. Just last January I made a drawing that reflected my fear about this (click on the picture for the description at my DA). Don’t click if you’re severely trypophobic, lol.

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I’m not much for self-diagnosing and I think people in general are too quick to label something as abnormal or needing to be fixed, but it is interesting that it isn’t just me and that maybe humans in general have some biological aversion to things like this. While there isn’t much research on the subject, some people have suggested that it is probably less socially produced and might be because trypophobic patterns can be found on poisonous animals and the brain is wired to be afraid of them.

Anyhow, it’s an interesting topic and I hope there will be more research done on it. I just wished that the authors of the articles could be a bit considerate and maybe not illustrate the phobia all the time! Seriously, just writing this blog post has made my skin crawl. If you want to look at some images and decide whether you have trypophobia, I suggest going to this buzzfeed article or watch “true facts about the frog” because those things have ruined me forever (and yes, that’s where I came across the term).

To bring this post to a conclusion: BLEEEERGGGGHHHHHHH!

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A day of gluttony and calorie counting

Today I proved to myself once and for all that a very hungry small-to-average sized woman CAN eat an entire footlong from Subways. Whether she should is an entirely different matter all together though.

I have been out walking in the city today. I had to wait a little over 30 minutes for my train back, so I ordered a cappuccino in a coffee shop and sat down there and waited. Over 1 hour later and I’m home, on my couch, finishing said cappuccino. What’s up with making cappuccinos so hot that you have to wait 20 minutes before you can sip it without burning your mouth? Just because you CAN doesn’t mean you should. Or maybe I’m weird and everyone else just like their coffee that hot?

I’ve started using this calorie counting app called “FatSecret”. It’s good in the sense that it knows just how much calories a Subway Veggie Patty Footlong is (too many) and it’s pretty easy to use. It’s bad in the sense that on an average day I cook my own food using quite a lot of different ingredients, which makes registering that meal difficult. For example, yesterday for lunch I had pasta with a pasta sauce made from crushed tomatoes, red onion, garlic and cooked lentils. I also had a little bit of ketchup and cheese on top. That’s 7 ingredients that I need to find on the app one by one and estimate how much of them I ate. There is an option to “create new meal “, which means I can type “Pasta with sauce” and then enter how many calories it contains. The downside is that I can’t do this without entering the amount of proteins and fat it contains as well. I usually know which foods contain a relatively high amount of protein, but it’s difficult to specify it down to the gram like the app wants you to do. It’s also a bit confusing on how much calories you should eat per day. I have my account set on “weight loss” which means that I should burn more than I eat. The app will tell you how many calories you have eaten and how many you have left on your Recommended Daily Intake.  I *think* this is adjusted after whether you have chosen the setting “slow weight loss”, “weigh loss” or “weight gain” etc. It is however not clear, so I’m currently trying to eat less than 100 % of my calculated RDI (she says after eating a fucking footlong, lol) in case the RDI is what I should eat to remain at my current weight. It doesn’t seem to change depending on how much I exercise either.

To summarize, FatSecret is probably a good app if you don’t cook much for yourself. Correct me if I’m wrong though, because I’ve only been using the app for a few days!

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Cinnamon roll day!

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It’s the national cinnamon roll day in Sweden! The cinnamon roll (“kanelbulle””) is a very well-loved pastry in Sweden. When I mention baking cinnamon rolls to Americans they usually go “Oh I love cinnamon rolls! So delicious!” but I’ve looked at American cinnamon and they look something like this:

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You can see how the cinnamon rolls that I make, from the standard Swedish cinnamon roll recipe, looks like in the photo at the top of the post. Both Americans and British seems to enjoy frosting and icing far more than Swedes. I feel like Swedes are very protective of the original Swedish recipe and don’t like to make many changes to it, but personally I’d try Ruby’s versions from the latest Great British Bake-Off.  I don’t know why we have a national cinnamon day but I’m guessing commercial reasons. I know some people find these kinds of days and holidays annoying because they feel like it’s just a trick to get us to buy more, but I don’t mind cinnamon roll day because I will just make the cinnamon rolls myself. I love baking!

If anyone is interested, here’s the recipe I used, you can find it anywhere in Swedish but maybe it’s harder to find a traditional one in English. It’s enough for 25 cinnamon rolls.

Dough:

75g butter

2,5 dl milk

6 dl wheat flour

25g yeast

0.5 dl sugar

1.5 teaspoon cardamom

A pinch of salt

Filling:

50g butter

1 tablespoon cinnamon (Increase or decrease the amount depending on how much you like cinnamon!)

0.5 dl sugar

1 egg for glazing.

Optional: Pearl sugar for decorating.

Instructions:

Crush the yeast into a bowl. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the milk. Stir until it’s around 37c, or a bit higher if you’re using dry yeast. Pour  a little of the liquid over the yeast until it dissolves, then add the rest. Stir in the salt, sugar and the cardamom. Measure the flour and gradually work it into the dough, but save a little for when you tuck the dough. The dough has enough flour when it is smooth and doesn’t stick to the edges of the bowl. Let it rest and rise for around 40 minutes until it has doubled in size.

Spread some flour on a surface and knead the dough. Split it in to two equal parts. Tuck the dough with a rolling-pin into a square, roughly 25 cm x 15 cm. Melt the butter and brush it onto the dough. Either mix the sugar with the cinnamon in a bowl and then sprinkle it on the dough all in once, or do like me and start off sprinkling the cinnamon and then the sugar (I do this because I find that it gives me a better idea on how much cinnamon I like to put on). Roll the dough starting and finishing on the long sides of the dough. Cut the dough lengths in 10-13 equal pieces each and put them into cake tins. Let the rolls rise for another 40 minutes. Turn on the oven at 200/225c. Once the rolls are done rising, beat an egg and brush it over the buns. If you want you can sprinkle them with pearl sugar. Put the rolls in the oven and bake them for 8-10 minutes. Enjoy!

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Orange is the New Black and the B-word

I’m sure it’s been said before but someone REALLY needs to explain the word “bisexual” to the characters in Orange is the new black. I love the show and I have almost finished season 1 and I haven’t read any discussions or reviews about it but it annoys me to no end that 90 % of the characters seems completely oblivious to the fact that a person could be something else than completely straight or gay. I just can’t with Larry going “So my fiancee is gay now? 😦 Forever? :(“. I swear to god that they’ve only used the words “lesbian”, “gay” and “straight” to describe Piper (Alex: “Never fall in love with a straight girl”, Larry: “So you were gay”, Tucky: “Sinning lesbians!”, Piper: “I was gay. For a while.”) yet Piper several times has describes herself as someone who is into BOTH women and men. But NO, the word bisexual is never used. I know that there exists this weird prejudice towards bisexual people by idiots who believe that a bisexual is just someone who is homosexual in denial or just doing it for the attention, but since the show doesn’t seem to be written by those kind of people I JUST DON’T GET WHY THEY CAN’T USE THE RIGHT WORD.

She’s B-I-S-E-X-U-A-L, Larry. It happens. Deal with it.

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The return of the wooden dong bottle opener

In the summer of 2011, I went on a vacation to Crete. Tom was stuck in England and nagged me to send him a souvenir, so I went hunting for the tackiest thing I could find. I ended up settling for a wooden penis bottle opener, which was  pretty difficult to ship. Satisfied with Tom’s reaction once he received the gift and silently smug that he now was stuck with a wooden penis bottle opener in his kitchen, I forgot about it for a couple of years. 

Fast-forward to today. We’ve moved in together and I have realized that sending Tom a load of random items backfired on me, since he never throws anything away and now I’m stuck living with them too. So today we were setting up a magnetic knife rack to get some space in the kitchen. Furthest back in the kitchen drawer lurked the chunky, wooden dong. It has now made a splendid comeback, proudly attached to the magnetic knife rack. The worst part is that it’s a really crap bottle opener. Image

 

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Delicious courgette and tomato stew – edited recipe

This is a recipe that I have adapted from a recipe that I found in a book. The original recipe was good, with the exception that it didn’t have nearly enough liquid in it. I’ve done it a few times and I tried it last night with my new adapted recipe, and it tasted great! I very much recommend this recipe.

Steaming courgette and tomato stew

Ingredients:

½-1 dl olive oil

2 courgettes

3 cloves of garlic

2 big red onions

2 bell peppers

5 potatoes

1kg tomatoes

800g crushed tomatoes

500 – 1000ml water.

2 tbsp chopped dill

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 tsp thyme

Black pepper

Salt

Instructions:

Chop up the courgettes and potatoes into 1cm thick slices, cut the tomatoes into quarter pieces and the bell peppers into squares. Put a little oil in a big casserole and put on medium-heat on the stove. Slice the onions and fry them for roughly 10 minutes in the casserole while stirring continuously. Add the garlic (sliced or crushed) and fry for another minute. Put the rest of the vegetables and the olive oil with the onion in the casserole and sprinkle with salt and black pepper (after your own preference). Pour in the water (saves time if it’s boiled in a kettle in advance) and the crushed tomatoes. Add the dill and thyme. Bring it to boil and let it simmer for 2 hours, or until the slices of potatoes have become soft. Stir every 20-30 minutes. Serve with a little bread. Enjoy!

 

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