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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Who Says Cooking isn't Fun?

If you follow this blog at all, you know I'm a devout fan of Good Eats. If you've never seen it or don't understand, give me one episode to convince you. My favorite episode of all time is...

Cuckoo for Coq au Vin


The infomercial: Coq au Vin in a Box. He even orders it in French.
Alton's look is too cute.

To his shock and awe, Alton's wine is confiscated by customs 
but a live Rooster manages to get through.

This. Just this.

This visual aid explains the profile of the wine he needed to cook with. 
Powered by actual men.

It's hilarious because he decided not to redo this take.

During the entire episode the rooster wouldn't shut up. He almost lost it a couple of times. 

No actual roosters were harmed in the making of this episode.

I don't ever even plan on cooking Coq au Vin. But it sure as hell was funny to watch how it's made.

I'd give ya'll the episode in its entirety, but Scripps forced me to take them down off of youtube long ago. It's such a shame, because Alton's writing is pure genius. As he often says "laughing minds are more absorbent."

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Review with a Moral

In Review: Sonicare Toothbrush

I was a bad kid. I lied about brushing my teeth, yessir. I thought it was a pure waste of time, and it ruined my sense of taste for like, an hour. Dad became suspicious if I was telling the truth about my habituals, so he straight up told me “I will find out if you’re not telling me the truth.” Because honestly, I was a horrible liar. But I was all “Fine!” I even went through the motions of it in case he was listening. Pretended to brush – the whole nine yards, without actually doing it. In retrospect, it was kind of lame. But, I digress. I thought – I got him. There’s no way he’ll know.

[Pro tip: If you ever need to know if your child is brushing their teeth or not, take a toothpick and swirl it around the paste at the end of the tube.]

Anyway, even as I got older, it never really became a habit to brush. After a glowing recommendation from a friend of mine about the Sonicare toothbrush, I thought that would give me the push I needed. I got a good deal on ebay but Costco sells a 2-pack for a good price. They also sell a 6-pack of brush heads for $40, but you can get them for $30 on sale. They’re supposed to last 3 months each, so that’ll set you up for a while.

Yet even with the Sonicare, I still didn’t do it. It wasn’t until after a stint of unemployment and I got my dental insurance back that I finally decided to see a dentist. My parents didn’t have insurance when I was a kid, so the last time I saw one was literally the day they pulled the baby incisors out of my mouth because the permanent ones were coming in through the gum line. I had 11 – count em – 11 cavities. No surprise, really. They even took the trouble to shave down half my wisdom tooth full of rot, rebuild and crown it off. This – this was the push I needed to start brushing, and the Sonicare is a pure winner.

1.      It’s rechargeable so you don’t have to mess with batteries. It will also hold a charge for at least a couple of days in case you go on a short trip or forget to put it back on the base.
      2.      Each brush head comes with its own plastic cover, because we all know about how the particles of water from the toilet float in the air every time we flush right? Yeah.
      3.      Each brush head also comes with a little colored ring, in case you have family that doesn't like to share.
      4.      The vibrating timer is the best feature. It makes you brush for the full 2 minutes; giving 30 seconds to each section of your mouth. The HealthyWhite version even gives you an extra few to brush your front teeth. (The vibration supposedly changes to help lift stains, I believe.)
      5.      If you find it difficult to keep track of how much longer lifespan your brush head has, not to worry. Each brush head comes with blue bristles that slowly wear the color off over time. When it reaches the base, it’s time to change out!

Thanks to this toothbrush, I’m not only making it a habit to brush every day, but I know I’m getting the best possible clean for my mouth. Hopefully the next time I go to the dentist, I’ll be cavity free!

Disclaimer: My reviews are from personal experience & only from products that I bought myself. I am not getting paid by anything I promote. Although, if Sonicare wants to give me some stuff, I wouldn't complain.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Schrodinger's Math

I'm going to dip my toe into something very controversial: Common Core Math.
First, some facts about me.

1. I'm not a mother. I don't have children, and I'm not invested in our education on a personal level.
2. I hate all math. It is the scourge of the universe.

Okay, so, this is just my opinion based on the small amount of research I've done and how I grew up. After all the vitriol and spewing of hatred towards this way of thinking I became intrigued because I believe that the way I learned math in my early years screwed me up for life. If you don't have a solid addition and subtraction foundation, then you will be stuck at that level for the rest of your damned life. It's true, I'm more right-brained than left-brained. I lean towards art much more than equations, so math is naturally harder for me to begin with.

I learned TouchMath. If you are unfamiliar with it, here is a preview:

I call it the dot system. Basically it means that instead of memorizing what 4+9 is, you count it out. Always. Forever. I am 30 years old. To this day I can not tell you what 4+9 is without counting it out. Guess what happened when I changed schools and moved onto our times tables? Yeah. Suddenly I couldn't use the dot system anymore. I was completely lost. I never fully got it. And when I went into JH and HS and tried to learn even more complicated subjects? I barely kept up.

My brain can not hold numbers in my head. If I tried to take 34-52 and had to do all that crossing out bullshit, it would almost literally float away. Numbers were the enemy.

So, maybe Common Core Math is more my style. I've watched a few videos, saw how some of it is done. It's conceptual and you know what - maybe it seems convoluted and silly, but maybe it's just what I needed. Some arguments were along the lines of some Common Core adult standing in the grocery store drawing circles on a napkin to figure out how much he is spending. No. A child will need this for learning, but once it's learned you won't need to draw it.

I still need to count the dots.

To the adults of today's Common Core students, it looks idiotic. That's because that's not how you learned it. They cry because math is hard? Well guess what - so did I. Maybe not all children need to learn with circles and diagrams but I think it sure as hell would have helped me: the right-brained student.

So, let me have it in the comments! What do you think about Common Core Math?