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Category: music

12/27/09 02:54 - 31ºF - ID#50667

Irrational favourite song.

Who knows what miracles you can achieve...
When you believe, somehow you will!
You will, when you believe!


I love this song. I could listen to it on a loop for a solid 1 hour or more. I know, because I have done it. The lyrics are so irrationally and completely positive and that, I think is part of its magic. Of course, the other part is Whitney Houston's smashing powerful voice. Anything she sang turned into an impressive crashing waterfall of sonic gold, back in the day.
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Permalink: Irrational_favourite_song_.html
Words: 91
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: eating in

12/26/09 04:14 - 33ºF - ID#50664

Can I grind up pasta to get flour?!

Well, what do you think? I am slowly getting through everything on my grocery shelves. The idea is to completely finish all stored grains, grain products, lentils, beans, rice and other non-perishables in the next 6 months. I am on a clean-up-the-whole-kitchen-and-start-completely-afresh drive.

I have some pasta but I am not very keen on making it because I tend to cut down on my vegetable portions if I eat too much pasta with regular meals. I do want to try my hand at some bread again - so if I take the pasta (white, acini de pepe) and grind it to a coarse powder will that make a good bread flour along with ground bulghur? I am thinking of making some kind of fruit/banana/apple based bread.

Does this sound insane? Well... it does sound a bit weird but still, do you think it might just possibly work? Thoughts?
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Permalink: Can_I_grind_up_pasta_to_get_flour_.html
Words: 149
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: art

12/26/09 11:43 - 36ºF - ID#50660

Julie and Julia

Is pitch perfect.


Only, I think Amy Adams was a very poor choice. She is just too goody-shoes to be convincing and absolutely fades in front of Meryl Streep. That actress who played Bridget Jones could have been more effective. The real author could have been a fabulous choice.

The movie was a nice contrast between the 60s and now; a look at just how far we have come in terms of personal freedom of expression without bureaucratic constraints. Evidence is this blog that came to life as the movie. Of course, being recognized for it in the face of enormous odds of sinking into oblivion, is a fairytale and a real one. But really, that is very thin justification for casting that chirpie unreal disney fairytale fluff woman. I think the movie could have done on the "Julie side" with a lot more grittiness and conviction - would have made it happier, ironically.

Throughout the movie, I wondered about the cooking. If Julia Child's cooking was so iconic here, what influence did she really have on American home-cooking, in general. Could it be that her rich French recipes were slightly misinterpreted across the pond and people ended up with more plaque in their arteries than they could manage? I have never really read her recipes or seen her shows but what were the portion sizes she advocated? Anyone know?
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Permalink: Julie_and_Julia.html
Words: 237
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: eating in

12/21/09 07:58 - 28ºF - ID#50619

CSA: First Share Pickings (Thorpe Farms)

My first winter share through the Community Supported Agriculture plan from Thorpe Farms was waiting for me today morning under my office desk - thanks to my wonderful officemates. :) It was quite a surprise. Given that four of us are splitting the share, I wasn't expecting much but I received:


Florida Oranges









Brussel Sprouts - on a stalk!

Swiss Chard




I gave away the potatoes because they are banned from my kitchen. I also gave away the garlic for no particular reason.

PS: Just roasted some of these root veggies and they are incredibly tasty! They beat regular grocery veggies by oodles and oodles of awesomeness!

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Permalink: CSA_First_Share_Pickings_Thorpe_Farms_.html
Words: 142
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: opinion

12/18/09 06:40 - 22ºF - ID#50598

Christmas Presents

What odd/crazy things are people getting for other people this holiday? I am asking because I need to put together a collection of odd/crazy things for someone and a standard gift-basket seems like a boring thing to do. I already have one apparently nifty thing on my list and one thing that I know the person likes:

a) The scalp massager.
b) Super-Soft Fuzzy Blanket

But that's about it for my list. I can't think of anything else thanks to my completely dead unimaginative brain when it comes to gifts.

What small strangely crazy/useful/fun/weird things did you get or gift that you always remember or had tons of fun with? Any ideas, suggestions for random things are really really appreciated! :)

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Permalink: Christmas_Presents.html
Words: 125
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: science

12/17/09 05:24 - 18ºF - ID#50586

Beers & Beer-Bellies aren't associated.

Seriously? Someone actually did a study on this and got published in a fairly good journal? I so need to get on this slipping sleigh.


[box]BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: The term 'beer belly' expresses the common belief that beer consumption is a major determinant of waist circumference (WC). We studied the gender-specific associations between beer consumption and WC (partially in relation to body weight and hip circumference (HC) change).

PARTICIPANTS/METHODS: Within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-Potsdam study (7876 men, 12 749 women), cross-sectional associations were investigated applying general linear models. Prospective analyses of baseline beer consumption and an 8.5-year WC change were assessed using multivariate general linear models and polytomous logistic regression. To test the site-specific effect of beer consumption on WC, an adjustment for concurrent changes in body weight and HC was carried out. In addition, the relationship between change in beer consumption and change in WC was studied.

RESULTS: A positive association in men and no association in women were seen between beer consumption and WC at baseline. Men consuming 1000 ml/d beer were at 17% higher risk for WC gain compared with very light consumers. Significantly lower odds for WC gain (odds ratio=0.88; 95% confidence interval 0.81, 0.96) were found in beer-abstaining women than in very-light-drinking women. The adjustment for concurrent body weight and HC change diminished effect estimates notably, explaining most of the association between beer and change in WC. Decreasing beer consumption was related to higher relative odds for WC loss, although not statistically significant.

CONCLUSIONS: Beer consumption leads to WC gain, which is closely related to concurrent overall weight gain. This study does not support the common belief of a site-specific effect of beer on the abdomen, the beer belly.

I have no idea what they set out to achieve. I hunted the paper down and read through their justification for the study and I see this weak unreferenced statement in the introduction:

Abdominal obesity is one of the most potent cardiovascular risk factors, making it of interest to understand whether beer consumption increases the risk of this site-specific fat patterning.

First, abdominal obesity was never really "the most potent risk factor" of cardiovascular disease as they claim. Second, there are a million other "potent risk factors" for cardiovascular disease and abdominal obesity figures rather low on that list. Third, there are strong hormonal, genetic and gender-related determinants of who accumulates fat near their bellies and who doesn't. Ignoring this fact completely in the justification section is rather dodgy.

Most importantly, doesn't every one pretty much know that Beer is just empty calories and that consumption without exercise will lead to weight gain? Was it so essential to wade in, and analyze a huge dataset to death just to show that it does lead to weight gain and is not really specifically associated with Beer Bellies?

What is the message they are trying to convey to the public anyway - that it is okay to drink Beer because you will only gain weight, and not grow a Belly? A truly "what-the-hell-do-epidemiologists-do-when-they-are-out-drinking-beer" study. Maybe I should start drinking beer now and coming up with random publication ideas. Or maybe I should just get that soymilk carton I have been craving and start drinking with abandon. The effect will be eerily similar to drinking beer.
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Permalink: Beers_amp_Beer_Bellies_aren_t_associated_.html
Words: 552
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: fact

12/16/09 06:13 - 22ºF - ID#50577

Rochester's bus fares are $1 because...

they scrapped the transfer charges of $0.30 and charge $1 for every ride regardless of however many transfers you might be taking.

Honestly, I would prefer that scheme. I never have that ridiculous quarter AND a five-cent coin or three ten-cents coins anyway and end up paying $1 or $0.50 for transfers. Also, I rarely transfer within city limits or while going to the nearest malls/airport.

I am just a little annoyed that the fares are $1.75 here because of poor management of public transport while our neighbouring city has better sense and judgement.

Oh, and on another note, I derailed someone's lunch plans to go downtown and see if I could catch the Matrix bloke, but all I saw was a white tent. That's it. I couldn't see even the cameras! Unfair. Were they shooting inside or what?

There seemed to be most barricading near the M&T gold-domed bank building.
I am speculating that Henry's crime might well be that he ripped the 24 carat gold leafing off of the dome in broad daylight and chilly winds and didn't wave at Buffalo denizens while scaling the dome.

  • Yeah, that was off the Intehn3ts.
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Permalink: Rochester_s_bus_fares_are_1_because_.html
Words: 195
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: eating in

12/14/09 12:50 - 34ºF - ID#50550

It was so good that...

some people declared they could eat it at various intervals ranging from every second (of their lives? in hell? who knows?!) to every other day (in jail? on mars? in a geriatric ward?), and yet some others admitted to tossing 2/3rd of whatever they took discreetly into trash, and the rest were poisoned.

The point is, this recipe is not without its risks. With such variation in human reaction (and there were quite a variety of us at the potluck - from 7-ft palm trees to politically incorrect short pygmies to a graduate horticultural-establishment-management student from Cornell [who knew?!] - and of course the one normal person who threw 2/3rd in the trash, btw), there is a slim chance that you may meet some grotesque fate if you tried it.

Ah, disclaimer out of the way, time for the recipe. Really its just 5 steps.

1. Chop vegetables (Just pick something from across the colour spectrum and you will have a good mix. If you don't have a good knife, the acorn squash can turn into a hand-stuck-in-snowblower-like disaster.)


2. Toss in peanut oil, coarse ground cumin, salt and coconut shreds. Put into oven at around 150 - 175 degrees C (For you non-metric weirdos : - ) Wait for the onions to turn very very slightly caramelized at the tips. Don't let the veggies burn - keep a watch. Roast the garlic cloves whole. (What? You couldn't spot garlic in that picture? Look again!)

3. Chop a bunch of fresh coriander (Sorry, (e:Paul)!), smash the roasted garlic into it. Mix in garam masala (Dry-roasted and ground: 5 (coriander seeds): 2 (black peppercorns): 2 (cumin): 2-3 cloves: Dried red chillies to taste: 2 (unroasted cardamom): 1 (dried mango powder/amchur) Mix in chopped green onions, and cooked garbanzo beans (Canned garbanzo is just gooey - you need to go the dried-beans-soak-6hrs-and-cook way. I heard that some canned garbanzo packs come with an additional risk of botulin sometimes - so its up to you).

4. Mix it all in with the roasted vegetables and give it another go in the oven - same temperature, till onions are a bit more caramelized, maybe 10-15 more minutes (Or you could skip the roasting-again bit, because its really murdering the veggies a bit more at this point).

5. Sprinkle with a mixture of toasted nuts (peanuts and cashewnuts) and crispy potato shreds with red chillie powder and salt). Serve.

666. Step back and watch the ill-effects on your unsuspecting victims.

PS: Heh, yes, the garlic cloves were not really visible in that picture. I figured you deserved at least a nice headache for reading the recipe, especially considering the wealth of emotions the people at the party ended up with. You are welcome.

PPS: No, I am SO not sorry.
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Permalink: It_was_so_good_that_.html
Words: 467
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: science

12/11/09 04:08 - 20ºF - ID#50540

That whooshing sound from the piano!

I listen to a lot of classical piano, and I have always been bothered by that whooshing sound between keystrokes that I can always hear (but some of my friends and my brother can never hear!)

In a distracted moment today, I learned that it is the sound of the open strings vibrating against the soundboard of an acoustic piano. So, THAT'S where it comes from!


In some recordings, they specifically place the recording equipment close to the soundboard because it gives the richest sound output - however the drawback is the whooshing sound... which apparently, not many people can hear.

The frequency of this "whooshing" is very low - hovering around 20-25 Hz. Some human ears can't pick up sounds in this frequency and auditory scientists speculate that the range of frequency hearing is genetically determined.

Fascinating, huh?!

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Permalink: That_whooshing_sound_from_the_piano_.html
Words: 141
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: science

12/09/09 07:05 - 38ºF - ID#50517

SoyMilk Vs Fat-Free Milk: Nutrition Data

I keep thinking about getting another delicious carton of Soymilk ((e:tinypliny,50430)) but it is really just a very impractical and unwise obsession. The comparative nutrition charts show just why soymilk is not the rational choice.

Sunrich Soymilk 1 Serving.
It has added sugar (cane juice), vanilla flavour and carrageenan (a plant-based gum). I have never added these to my regular milk - why would I want to drink them now? Especially sugar?

Upstate Farms Fat-Free Milk 1 Serving.
Fat-free milk wins hands down in terms of higher quality of nutrients, clear-cut essential ingredients and no added sugar.

Take that, lizard brain.

PS: AAAAAAAargh. I still want it. This is getting so ridiculous! Anyone want to talk me out of this madness?!
PPS: Worse, I now want to get Biscoff Speculoos to dunk in them! Nice going. :/
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Permalink: SoyMilk_Vs_Fat_Free_Milk_Nutrition_Data.html
Words: 139
Location: Buffalo, NY



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