Monday, July 26, 2010

Unlike MIA, I Like Ginger(s)

Today I decided to try a recipe for homemade ginger ale I had bookmarked from Green Is Sexy. For refusing to experiment with more than one batch, I think it turned out pretty well.

2 tsp. Sliced or powdered ginger
24 oz. Carbonated water
1 Lemon
Optional sugar
(all measurements estimates)

The first thing to do is make ginger tea using your sliced or powdered ginger. I opted for the powdered ginger because I've seen my brother slicing and chopping fresh ginger before and it seems like more effort than I am willing to exert. I did, however, take the time to snap a photo of the fresh ginger at Whole Foods because it looks so cool. It reminds me of food hobgoblins might eat or, as my mom said, it looks like mandrakes.

So, boil some water like you're making tea, but instead of adding bags or leaves, throw in the ginger. I don't know if this is exactly what's supposed to be done because the "recipe" I used didn't really say. I put in two teaspoons of ginger into 24 ounces of water and stirred it up as best I could.

NOTE: Ginger apparently congeals in water super fast and is pretty hard to get off of stuff once it dries.

I let the ginger "tea" steep for fifteen minutes. Less time would probably be alright. I've been steeping things longer because I'm at such a high altitude.

After steeping, you need to strain the ginger. This is one reason why I should have opted for slices of ginger, rather than powder. Unless you have a very fine strainer, it's going to be hard to get all of the powder out. This means all of it is going to settle at the bottom of the pitcher. If you don't mind giving it a shake each time before you drink it, the powdered stuff is fine, but if you're not down with that sort of thing, I'd recommend going for sliced ginger.

After letting it cool a bit more, it's time to add the fun stuff. I used Perrier because I really enjoy it and it gave me an excuse to drink whatever was leftover from my ginger ale. Again, I came up with my own measurements. I ended up doing half and half. So that's 24 ounces of carbonated water. Following that, I squeezed in half a lemon and topped it off with four teaspoons of sugar. This is really the phase where you should just add and taste until it turns out how you like it.

Overall, mine turned out quite strong and little too lemony, but I kinda like it like that. It also has that whole ginger powder sinking to the bottom problem. But for not really knowing what I was doing, I'd say it turned out quite well. Let me know if you guys try it and if you come up with any tricks for preparing it more properly!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

What Happens In Downing Stays In Downing

That's what my friends and I used to say to each other (and carved into a lecture hall desk) when we studied at Cambridge University in 2005. We were all having ridiculous boy problems and agreed that when we left Cambridge, it would be all over. Our problems would stay at Downing, the college where we lived.

When I went to England this past April, I had planned to keep a video log of my travels. After recording a video at the first place I visited, I promptly forgot about my plans. In fact, I completely forgot I had even recorded that one video until I dug out my camcorder last night for some good ol' YouTube filming. I guess you could say that the video refused to break the rule of disallowing anything that happens in Downing to leave Downing.

For your mild and punitive entertainment, I have broken that rule. Just like I did in 2005.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Now Taking Suggestions For 21 New Things

I'm at a standstill in making my list of 21 new things to try before my 21st birthday in May. I have about twelve right now, which include running a 5K, making candy sushi and doing some left overs I didn't get around to last time.

So, please leave your suggestions here or on twitter or IRL! I think I'm mostly going towards crafty things this year and maybe picking up new skills. I'd also be up for places I should go to/things I should do in the New York area. But any and all suggestions are welcome. Hopefully I can get started before the end of the summer. Until then... Moustache Party!

"You draw on your mustache while I powder my nose... Rose Robert, together we make quite a remarkable pair."

I think this is what happened to the Merry Pranksters' bus when the seventies hit. 

10 points for a mug I desperately want. 20 points for awesome British YouTubers.
property of Charlie McDonnell

baby hipster

(featuring several of my brother's high school best friends who I totally crushed on as a twelve year-old)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Well, That's One Way To Wake Up Early

Early this morning, around six, I was half awake, half dreaming about the run I was going to go for in a few hours time. As I enjoyed the morning breeze sweeping through my open window and the squashiness of my pillows, I heard screaming, tires screeching, swerving and a crash.

The house I live in is along a fairly major road. It's a two lane road, hardly wide enough for two small cars, with a river on one side and a line of houses on the other, but it is a very busy road. Our house is set back about twenty feet from the road by a gravel area where we and our neighbors park our cars. The speed limit is twenty-five miles an hour, but from the late night until the early morning I hear cars driving past at way faster than twenty-five.

That's what first pulled me out of my half awake state. The rush of a car going entirely too fast. I had thought two cars crashed into each other, or into our parked cars, or into our neighbor's house.

Maybe there were two cars at some point, but there was actually no crash and, at first, no car.

I ran into my mom's room first, fearing for one stupid moment that a car had crashed through her front-facing bedroom (not thinking about the fact the house would have shook or anything). She was at the window pulling on a bathrobe with haste, watching a neighbor sprint to the scene. We ran out of the house, but saw no cars. Then we saw other neighbors across the river, leaning over their fence, yelling down to someone.

A girl had swerved off the road and into the river.

Lucky for her, the river had dried up so much that it was only two feet or so deep. The first neighbor was already down in the river, pulling the girl out of the car. She was terrified, but otherwise unharmed. And, miraculously, so was the car. She had definitely driven through a line of slim trees, but her car somehow managed to stay perfectly upright. It looked like she had been hovering above the water and then gently dropped into it.

For the next three hours, medics, fire men, police and tow trucks crowded in front of our house. The girl says there was a dog in the road and that's why she swerved. Maybe that's true, but if she had been following the speed limit she wouldn't have had to brake or turn so drastically.

I'm not a saint when it comes to following the speed limit or anything, but this road is tiny, consists almost entirely of sharp turns and is just feet away from houses (not to mention the river). There's even an oversized yellow sign that the girl passed soon before she crashed that says "SLOW DOWN: BLIND DRIVE."

Even though I often go below twenty-five just to make sure I don't run into an oncoming car around the many blind turns, I can understand not heeding the signs or feeling invincible. Everyone feels that way some or most of the time. You're late for an appointment, you're familiar with the bends in the road, you have to return that call, you're feeling daring, someone's tailgating you or you missed the last reduced speed sign.

But at what cost?

If she had decided to swerve the other direction, my next door neighbor and his two young children could be dead now. My neighbor must have thought of the same thing because, after the road was reopened and the car pulled out of the river, a suburban zoomed past and I heard my neighbor stop the driver and shout at him for exceeding the speed limit.

I am beyond relieved that absolutely no one was harmed, but I've only been here a month. Who knows how often this happens? Who knows how many people have died on this road or how frequently accidents take place? I'd wager quite often. And who knows how it will end next time?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Plugs and Outlets

I haven't posted since, uhm, basically since I moved to New Mexico. But I don't like spending posts apologizing (to who?) for not posting. So I let Saturday Jane do it instead:

"I’ve been avoiding Saturday Jane a bit.  Don’t worry, I’m not mad at you.  I’m not avoiding you at all, and that thing you did?  It’s cool now.  I get it, and I don’t blame you, but you may want to see a doctor.  That’s all I’m saying.
Basically, I didn’t have any good ideas for a couple of days, and then when I started having little eensy ideas, my brain went, 'NO, IT’S BEEN LONG ENOUGH THAT THIS HAS TO BE THE BEST POST IN THE HISTORY OF POSTING.  HAVE YOU SURPASSED THE WORKS OF SOPHOCLES?  NO?  KEEP TRYING.'  I would re-examine my piffling little paragraph about that time the milk went sour and go, oh, well, I guess this has very little to do with Life and the Universe, and I would start over."

Thanks Jane!

Plugs and Outlets:

Amazon is now offering free Prime memberships to all students with a .edu email address. Prime is their premium service that costs about $80/year and, among other things, gets you free shipping on just about everything (the cheapest Marketplace selections tend not to be eligible). Go HERE to sign up.

Improv Everywhere's latest video put Princess Leia, Darth Vader and a handful of Stormtroopers on the New York subway. How can I join this troupe when I get to NY? No seriously. This has to happen.

Lately, I've been partial to Calibri pt. 11 font, but this font video quiz told me I'm New Alphabet. Which one are you?

If you bought an iPhone 4 (like I did), you can now get a bumper (the cases made by Apple) for free. Or if you already bought a bumper (like I did), you can get a full refund. Apple will be posting instructions for how to do this on their site sometime in the next few days.

Have you ever wanted to put gummi bears, Nerds and Cinnamon Toast Crunch on a dark chocolate candy bar? I totally have. Uhm, not. Chocomize lets you put anything from vegetarian bacon to potato chips on a dark, white or milk chocolate candy bar and they ship it to you with an ice pack so the candy won't melt. And not all of the toppings are gross.

And now a picture of a giant horse head in Santa Fe