Friday, December 31, 2010

Let your kids watch YouTube too much & they'll try to copy what they see *gasp!*

Let your kids watch YouTube too much...

But that's not necessarily a bad thing. After watching Numa Numa Lego more times than I care to count, LilGirl decided "I could do that!" and is now making her own Lego stop-motion movie.

Once she's done, I'll post the video. I love it when she gets these ideas and acts on them.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New York Blizzard time-lapse video

Wow. I've got to give kudos to the photographer. When we have a blizzard, my instinct is definitely NOT to keep digging a clock out of a snowdrift, even in order to create something so cool.


December 2010 Blizzard Timelapse from Michael Black on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Did you get an e-reader for Christmas?

Amazon Kindle eBook Reader

Whether you got a Kindle, or one of the other e-readers, or even an iPod, iPhone, iPad or an Android device, you probably want to start filling it with books. I don't have an e-reader, but I've put the free e-reader apps on every compatible device I've got, and I found Books on The Knob to be very helpful in finding free and bargain books to (over)fill my virtual TBR pile.

Just pay attention to which format the book is free for - sometimes it's free for one type of reader, but not another (e.g. free at B&N, but not at Amazon) or sometimes it's only free in a certain country. And she usually updates when something she listed is no longer free, but I've missed it & accidentally paid for a book before (Darn 1-click! My husband just nods and goes "Yeah, 'accidentally,' suuuure"), so there's that to look out for.

I love finding free books. I've found some great stories through BoTK I wouldn't have picked up otherwise. I've also grabbed one or two which I didn't care for and then removed from my collection, but since they were free I was only out some time, not cash.

Photo by goXunuReviews

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Countdown: Story of the Nativity 2.0

My friend Cheryl posted this on her blog the other day. I have to wonder how Joseph has time to play Farmville, but then, I wonder that about everybody...


Story of the Nativity 2.0 - Inspirational Videos - GodTube

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Countdown: Why we put an angel on top of the tree

Vintage Christmas Postcard      Santa and Angel
Another funny story that finds its way to my email every year:

When four of Santa's elves got sick, the trainee elves did not produce toys as fast as the regular ones, and Santa began to feel the pre-Christmas pressure. Then Mrs Claus told Santa her Mother was coming to visit, which  stressed Santa even more.

When he went to harness the reindeer, he found that three of them were about to give birth and two others had jumped the fence and were out, Heaven knows where.

Then when he began to load the sleigh, one of the floorboards cracked, the toy bag fell to the ground and all the toys were scattered. So, frustrated, Santa went in the house for a cup of apple cider and a shot of rum.

When he went to the cupboard, he discovered the elves had drank all the cider and hidden the liquor. In his frustration, he accidentally dropped the cider jug, and it broke into hundreds of little glass pieces all over the kitchen floor. He went to get the broom and found the mice had eaten all the straw off the end of the broom.

Just then the doorbell rang, and irritated Santa marched to the door,  yanked it open, and there stood a little angel with a great big Christmas tree. The angel said very cheerfully, "Merry Christmas, Santa. Isn't this a lovely day? I have a beautiful tree for you. Where would you like me to stick it?"

And so began the tradition of the little angel on top of the Christmas tree.



Try your hand at making electronic snowflakes!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

All I want for Christmas is a Cr-48...and, look, Christmas came early! #ChromeOS

Remember how I said I was getting off my Google fangirl soapbox in yesterday's post? I had no idea how fangirly I would be by the end of the day...

Cr-48 box

My 6-year-old hand-me-down laptop died the day before Thanksgiving. It's not in the budget to buy a new one right now, and anyway, all the post-holiday (or even post-CES) sales are coming up later, so I've been biding my time with our little netbook (which is difficult to type on) and hubby's desktop computer (which has its own obvious time-sharing issues). I was still sniffing around for a replacement (read "hand-me-down") laptop when Google came along with their Chrome OS Pilot Program on December 7th.

For those who don't know, Chrome OS is Google's (until last week) mythical operating system. It basically looks like the Chrome browser, but it's your operating system, like Windows or OSX. Beta testers in the pilot program receive a free laptop, the CR-48, in exchange for "kicking all the tires you can find" and sending feedback to Google. Before the live-streamed announcement was even over, the moment Google revealed the site to apply for their pilot program, I clicked over and filled out the form...and did it wrong.

When I'm over-excited, I don't follow directions well (who does?), plus I took a phone call halfway through. After I clicked send, I IM'd hubby to see if he'd applied and when he mentioned the 140-character limit for the answer to "What would make you a unique Pilot user?" I just about fell over. 140 characters? The length of a tweet? I had completely ignored that bit of the instructions and written a four-sentence paragraph the length of about five tweets! Gah! I quickly went back to the page, re-did my application and hit send once more, but with little hope. In a last-ditch effort, I visited the Google Chrome fan page at Facebook and filled out the survey there which would also enter my name in the running. Feeling I'd done the best damage control I could, I sat back to wait (and drool) and wait.

By Friday, reports that some people had received their Cr-48 via FedEx excited me. I came home, eagerly looking at the front step for a box. THERE WAS A BOX ON THE FRONT STEP! Alas, it was not from Google. Expecting a mostly unexpected package turns out to be extra torture when we're in the only time of year we regularly receive boxes on the front step (we do most of our Christmas shopping online).

The weekend passed. I checked the front step on Saturday, despite being almost certain FedEx doesn't deliver on Saturdays (I did keep myself from actually checking that fact) and despite not hearing the doorbell even though we were home the entire day. No box. The mistake in my application haunted me.

On Monday, I looked when I got home. No box.

Tuesday, no box.

Sometime on Wednesday something happened without my really noticing. I accepted that I would not be getting a Cr-48. I'm not really sure when that came to be, but it was sometime before This Week in Google started at 3pm. As I listened to the show, it hurt a little when the hosts discussed their Cr-48s, but looking for a box on the front step when I got home later didn't even cross my mind.

I had to run an errand on the way home, so hubby picked up LilGirl and was home before me. The latest storm was on the verge of hitting us (in a matter of minutes, it turned out), so I didn't think much of it when hubby texted me to ask where I was. I stopped for the mail on the way up our street (another box, not from Google) and got home just after the storm hit (nasty little ice pellets, not even snow).

When I got inside, hubby was cleaning the stove, which seemed a little weird, since I knew he wouldn't be cooking - we had an entire leftover pizza in the fridge from the night before (now I realize he was just keeping himself distracted). Hubby sat down to go through the mail and asked me to turn on the Christmas tree lights. I did, and came back (in hindsight, I can only imagine now how frustrating this little action must have been for him) and we had the following conversation:

Hubby: I should call [my friend] & see if he's still coming to pick up [his daughter]'s gift.

Me: He doesn't need to come in this weather. Don't worry about it.

Hubby: But it's getting crowded under the tree.

Me: Crowded? There are two presents under there.

Hubby: Didn't you see that there are more now? Go look.

I looked and found a shipping box with a curly ribbon stuck to it, shoved behind the other two presents (I was supposed to see that?). Figuring it was something he'd ordered for my birthday (after all, it wasn't even a Christmas ribbon) I lifted an eyebrow, shrugged and headed back to the kitchen.

Hubby: Aren't you even curious what it is?

Me: I can wait.

Hubby: You need to look more closely at that box.

I went back to the tree, picked up the box, and realized the shipping label had my name on it, not hubby's. Odd. The name on the return address was someone I'd never heard of, in Kentucky, and it came via UPS. Even more odd. I hadn't ordered anything that I could think of.

A bit of hope sparked back to life. The box was the right size...It was about the right weight...

Me: Nooooo [in a long, disbelieving gasp]

Hubby: [chuckling]

I pulled open the box. Inside was another box featuring a design I'd grown painfully familiar with through the many social media posts I'd seen over the last few days (that's the box at the top of this post).

Google, how could I ever have doubted you?

Oh, @Google, you DO love me!! #ChromeOS

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Countdown: Broken Glass Jello

Once again, as I do every year, I was having little panic attack about what to bring for the staff holiday lunch/meeting (as I do for every party where I'm supposed to bring food). Here's where you get my usual disclaimer of "I am not a cook!" (Can you hear the Nixon impersonation?) Luckily, Monday morning I popped into Google Reader and someone had shared an entry from The Food Librarian with instructions for Christmas Broken Glass Jello and I thought "This, I can do!"

First, I'd like to show you that, yes, I did manage to make something that looks good as well as tastes good, and I even put a little thought into presentation (though not up to Martha Stewart's standards, I'm sure, but I was also limited by the fact that I have to be able to walk about a block with this dish, presents and my purse, so it needed to be in something sturdy and not too elaborate or unwieldy). I hope it goes over well at the lunch today.

From Mary's Ramble

Second, I would like to point out how much I looove Google Reader. The recipe came from a blog I didn't even know existed, but because Google Reader has a sharing option, a librarian hundreds of miles away who does read The Food Librarian saw the post, thought it was cool, shared it, and I saw it just when I needed it. If you're looking for a good RSS reader, I don't think you can do much better. Okay, off my Google fangirl soapbox for the day...I'm off to lunch!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Countdown: I'm Dreaming of Christmas Music

I tend to forget the existence of The Rat Pack and their ilk the rest of the year, but it just isn't Christmas without them. I need Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Nat King Cole (those three at least!) or something is just off about the season.

Here's one of my favorite Christmas songs, and it's just not right unless Bing sings it:



What's your favorite Christmas song, or which song is it just not Christmas without?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Countdown: Carols for the psychologically challenged

Another email. This one seems to be all over the internet, but I couldn't figure out where it originated:

  1. Schizophrenia: Do You Hear What I Hear, the Voices, the Voices?
  2. Amnesia: I Don't Remember If I'll be Home for Christmas
  3. Narcissistic: Hark the Herald Angels Sing about Me
  4. Manic: Deck the Halls and Walls and House and Lawn and Streets and Stores and Office and Town and Cars and Buses and Trucks and Trees and Fire Hydrants And...
  5. Multiple Personality Disorder: We Three Queens Disoriented Are
  6. Paranoid: Santa Claus Is Coming To Get Us
  7. Borderline Personality Disorder: You Better Watch Out, You Better not Shout, I'm Gonna Cry, and I'll not Tell You Why 
  8. Full Personality Disorder: Thoughts of Roasting You On an Open Fire
  9. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells 
  10. Agoraphobia: I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day But Wouldn't Leave My House
  11. Senile Dementia: Walking In a Winter Wonderland Miles from My House in My Slippers and Robe
  12. Oppositional Defiant Disorder: I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus So I Burned Down the House 
  13. Social Anxiety Disorder: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas While I Sit Here and Hyperventilate
  14. Attention Deficit Disorder: We Wish You..... Hey Look!! It's Snowing 

And to one and all, a very Merry . . . wow! It IS snowing!!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Countdown: Doggy ornaments

Missy & Quinn

I hadn't planned on buying any new ornaments this year, but when we found these two together (and half price, to boot!) we had to get them. They're a Pomeranian and Dachshund, just like our dogs.

How I spent my afternoon

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Christmas Countdown: Fruit Cake recipe

Here's another recipe someone emailed to me. I think I sense a theme here...

Fruitcake
Photo by Matthew Bietz 
  • One cup water
  • One cup sugar
  • Four large eggs
  • Two cups dried fruit
  • One teaspoon baking soda
  • One teaspoon salt
  • One cup brown sugar
  • Lemon juice
  • Nuts
  • One bottle whisky

Sample the whisky to check for quality. Take a large bowl. Check the whisky again. To be sure it is the highest quality, pour one level cup and drink. Repeat. Turn on the electric mixer, beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl. Add one teaspoon of sugar and beat again.

Make sure the whisky is still okay. Cry another tup. Turn off the mixer. Break two leggs and add one to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit. Mix on the turner. If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaterers pry it loose with a drewscriver.

Sample the whisky to check for tonsisticity. Next, sift two cup of salt. Or something. Who cares? Check the whisky. Now sift the lemon juice and strain your nuts. Add one table. Spoon. Of sugar or something. Whatever you can find.

Grease the oven. Turn the cake tin to 350 degrees. Don’t forget to beat off the turner. Throw the bowl out of the window, check the whisky again and go to bed.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Christmas Countdown: Crown Royal Christmas Cookie Recipe

Here's another item someone emailed me sometime or another. I don't cook much, but I do enjoy baking cookies. I think I'll especially like trying these.


Cookies!

1 cup of water
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup of brown sugar
lemon juice
4 large eggs
1 cup nuts
2 cups of dried fruit
1 bottle Crown Royal

  • Sample the Crown Royal to check quality.
  • Take a large bowl, check the Crown Royal again, to be sure it is of the highest quality, pour one level cup and drink.
  • Turn on the electric mixer...Beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl.
  • Add one teaspoon of sugar...Beat again.
  • At this point it's best to make sure the Crown Royal is still OK, try another cup.. just in case.
  • Turn off the mixer thingy.
  • Break 2 leggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit.
  • Pick the frigging fruit off floor...
  • Mix on the turner.
  • If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaterers just pry it loose with a dewscriver.
  • Sample the Crown Royal to check for tonsisticity.
  • Next, sift two cups of salt, or something.... who giveshz a sheet.
  • Check the Crown Royal.
  • Now shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts.
  • Add one table.
  • Add a spoon of ar, or somefink.... whatever you can find.
  • Greash the oven.
  • Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over.
  • Don't forget to beat off the turner.
  • Finally, throw the bowl through the window.
  • Finish the bottle of Crown Royal.
  • Make sure to put the stove in the dishwasher.
Cherry Mistmas!

Monday, December 06, 2010

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Christmas Countdown: "Phew! It took all weekend, but I got the tree up!"


I can't help but think this must look amazing lit up at night! Of course, the person who set his up probably got pretty "lit up" in the process, as well. :-)


This picture seems to keep floating around via email and pops up all over the internet (with the caption in the title of this post), but I can't figure out who took it. The url in the bottom right seems to be the same everywhere I look, but I couldn't actually find this picture on that site (and I doubt it originated there anyway). Oh well, enjoy.