Saturday, June 27, 2009

How To Make A Geek Girl Cry

Being chronically behind the rest of the world, I just now watched the last three episodes of Doctor Who, Season 3. I sobbed like a baby at intervals throughout, but especially at the SPOILERSPOILERSPOILERSPOILER. I never thought I would cry at the SPOILERSPOILERSPOILERSPOILER, but I did.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Damn you, xkcd!!!!!

So...

I had to do WAYyyyyyy too much research to get the joke, there-- meaning exactly the right amount to make me happy, because I am a huge nerd. And it was so worth it. Because now it is my FAVORITE COMIC EVER, and I want a huge poster of it to put on my wall, as it is simply my favorite take on a zombie apocalypse EVER, and NOW I AM OBSESSED WITH FIGURING OUT MY OWN ERDOS NUMBER!!!!!! It's going to be quite huge, I suspect. ;)

Also, how to pronounce that name. I'm not typing it correctly here, 'cause I dunno how to get Blogger to do a Hungarian umlaut over the o, which looks like two forward-slashes. Hungarian is a tricky language for the non-native speaker. Found this page LOADED with soundfiles, though! :) While this page says it's a lot like "air-dish," but this one indicates it's closer to "err-desh," as in "to err is human" and of course, the Hungarian speakers would use a gently-rolled 'r' on the "err," which, as the Google Answers page points out, is really hard for an American to do without making the rolled 'r' into an extra syllable!

What I'm curious about is how people in the mathematics community habitually pronounce it-- mathematicians, being notoriously nerdy and detail-oriented (and I say that with all the reverence of one who ASPIRES to that level! :)). I mean, MY GOODNESS, if I were to confront the Zombie Erdos and ask him to sign a paper, I WANT TO KNOW I'M SAYING HIS NAME RIGHT!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Art: It's a dangerous business!

Eeee, I can't believe it has been a MONTH since my last entry, gahhhah! I got swamped with art assignment. Which is a good thing! But also, YOWZA, what a tight deadline-- I got given one month to get it all done! ...Er, which is the same time for which I did not blog-- non-coincidentally, I think! :)

Art is not an easy profession. You sit on your butt for HOURS on end staring into a computer (HOW is this different from blogging, again? :D), obsessing over tiny details (perfect job for me), and toward the end of the project I was putting in 18-hour days, and one twenty-hour day. The latter broke my brain a bit, but I'm recovering, mainly with the ol' "hair o' the dog" cure, meaning coffee and lots of it. (Am I the only one who drinks hot coffee in this weather? According to the baristas in my neighborhood, yes. Yes, I am.) Coffee used to make my hands shake so that I couldn't ink when I'd had too much. I solved that problem by replacing all my blood with coffee and just drinking hemoglobin now and again! (Why, yes, I AM still a bit punchy from my long sleepless week, why do you ask?)

Do not ask me how much my pay for such projects typically translates into hourly earnings. No, really. Don't ask. I don't want to weep. No, we artists, especially in the gaming industry, definitely do it for the love. Of sitting on our butts for hours on end staring into a computer. Which is something I believe everyone here can relate to. HA-cha-cha!!!

Best of all, my contract for this set of pieces has me under a non-disclosure agreement forbidding me to talk specifically about the project for five years from date of signature! This amuses me greatly, as to the best of my knowledge, the book is due for release in AUGUST. Ahhhhh, gotta love lawyers! :)

I haven't had much skepticky content on the blog lately, though while I did the art, I listened obsessively to the Skeptic's Guide to the Universe podcasts! Wherein I learned that sitting still for many hours on end, such as on long plane flights or, I dunno, staring at a computer for hours on end, may put one at higher risk for blood clots, yay! (Here's the press release for the actual research.)

The best thing I took away from this month's listening?-- Get up and stretch, or at least flex your calves. :)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Why, yes, I HAVE fallen off the face of the planet! The view's nice.

Ever since I was a kid, I have done this thing whereby I get nervous about something-- usually something interrupts my routine-- and it takes me forever to kind of recover myself. For a small instance, we had an internet outage when an electrical storm fried our modem, and I got so far behind on Scienceblogs that I just couldn't face reading them for a while. For a big instance, my child is about to be out of school for the summer. O.O ParalysisMENTALCOMAzomgGAHHHHHHH

Now that I've had time to stress out about it, come to grips with the no-summer-school thing, and settle into it, I find I'm really looking forward to it! He and I are going to be summer buddies! :) We're going to make ourselves a summer schedule. Instead of hopping in the car to go to school at 7:30 every morning, we're going to walk to the deli for breakfast, then hike around the neighborhood! Then we'll read books, then write. Then some TV and arm-flapping time, while I make lunch! After lunch, then some math. Then OUTSIDE to play in the yard!!! If there's any Special Thing planned (on certain days we have our Things We Do, like a trip to Citgo on Fridays, and Wednesday Farmer's Market, for instance) we'll do that stuff in the afternoons too.

It is going to be cool and awesome, and I can't wait to spend the summer with my cool and awesome child!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Birthday update, or, Candy Saves The World!

My day of cake-bakery very nearly turned into an episode of I Love Lucy.

Up until now, I had been mixing all my cake batter (from a mix) and cookie dough and homemade icing by hand, using a wooden spoon twirled between my palms. But, as this was my first cake-from-scratch, I got a little electric mixer.

This was the first time I've used an electric mixer since, er, ever.

The thing does not have a speed which I would characterize as "Slow."

As far as I can tell, its settings start off at "Fast," move on from "OMG" to "WTF," and culminate in AAAAAAHHHHHH RICKYYYYYYYYYYY!!!"

So of course as soon as I started beating the dry ingredients into the sugar-butter, THE FLOUR STARTED FLYING!!! My kitchen was enmisted in a fine white powder! And not the kind with street value! Visibility was down to one foot!!! COULD I make it through to the Batter Side??? Would there be any batter left in the bowl when I was done???

The answer was Yes!!! Batter was achieved! Cake was accomplished!!! And it did, in fact, look like something approaching a castle!... if a castle had been somehow left in the same pasture with the Great Ziggurat of Ur when it was in heat. But no archaeologists were on the scene to complain.

The frosting process got a little sticky (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA...*sigh*)-- the hot temperatures and high humidity didn't allow the buttercream to do anything but look blobby. So I ended up cementing the whole castle shape together with royal icing made with an extra egg white and liberal cream of tartar, then when the structure dried I just spackled on the frosting like adobe. (If you're paying attention, now we've got a Mediaeval Castle/Mesopotamian Ziggurat/Adobe Mud-hut.) Since the stuff was too liquidy to do any fine detailing, I made it look more building-like by using candy. Red Twizzler architectural detailing, Dots for the battlements, and Whoppers around the rim like so much insanely boulderlike landscaping. And, not too bad a look, as it turned out! Wonderful Son was pleased, and that was what counted. :) He got to put the final dots on the towers, and that made his day.

Pictures were taken!!! As soon as I quit being lazy I will put one up. The party was fun, the kids played without getting horribly taxed and worn out, and a good time was had by all. This was the most fun birthday party yet, and as the kids get older, I think they're just going to get better and better. :)

There are days when being a parent is like being one of those people who voluntarily sleeps on nails and walks through burning coals. Then there are days like this, when everything was sunshine, cake, and presents. For me, the company of fun adults and happy, awesome, interesting kids was the best present, ever.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Once more, into the breach!-- with cupcakes.

I... am not a good cook.

Oh there are some things I have learned to do well. But, when it comes right down to it, cooking scaaaaares me. There's this HOT thing that can BURN me!!! And I have to go NEAR it! On purpose!!! It's just WACKY MADNESS, I tell you!!!!! :D

Once I get a recipe or method I like, though, I find I enjoy it. I love, love love cooking curries, for instance! There's all this fiddly little obsessive-compulsive stuff I can do with my hands, like peeling garlic cloves, separating coriander stalks from the leaves, adjusting spice ratios and such. There's a lot for an Aspie to love about this-- once one gets acclimated. :) Personally, until I am acclimated to a task, I always go into it with copious anxiety... which sounds like a dreadful way to go through life, but actually, it kind of turns extremely mundane aspects of life into this HUGE ADVENTURE, so, it's pretty fun on balance. :) OMG DOING DISHES!!! OMGLAUNDRY!!!! See, I can confess this to the blogosphere-- I would not tell people face-to-face what a HUGE DRAMAFEST I find daily life tasks to be, because it is silly and embarrassing. But it is also my SECRET GUILTY PLEASURE! MY ENTIRE LIFE IS SEEKRIT OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY!!! :D :D :D

:ahem: Anyway.

Today's adventure: OMGBAKING!!!

Baking and I have a checquered history. There are so many things that can go wrong when one bakes, and I think I have discovered just about all of them. Shockingly, I am awesome in a chemistry lab, though, so learning more about food chemistry has helped! Now I can view baking rationally as a BIG HUGE ACID-BASE REACTION in my STOVE where the object is to produce zomgBUBBLES!!! so that the cake RISES and is FLUFFY and not all masonrylike and flat like my first cake turned out. (Oh, yes, I managed to screw up a CAKE MIX. That took supreme inattention, yes yes!)

I have since learned not to screw up cake mixes, huzzah! So now the next step-- what's on tap for today is my first-ever scratch-made cake. I have made cookies from scratch, so I think I'm up to the challenge.

The recipe: Yogurt Sponge Cake from this book called Birthday Cakes from Love Food (R), an imprint of Paragon Books Ltd, 2007. Recipes by Oliver Trific, which is just the best name ever and cannot POSSIBLY be his real name and if it IS, OMG!!! Best name ever.

I am going to use this recipe in an attempt to make 18 cupcakes. Wish me luck. I'M GOIN' IN!!!

(:runs into kitchen yelling battle-cry while waving cookbook overhead:)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Random Numbers

Number of miles walked it takes to kill a panic attack (for me): 3

Number of cupcakes which must be baked by Friday (by me): 4 dozen

Number of paintings needing to be painted in order for me to feel I've accomplished something in my life: 1 more than I've currently painted, as always.