Friday, September 28, 2012

Foodie Friday: Caffe Bene and Grilled Cheese Social

I attempted the Caffe Bene garlic cheese bread I posted a couple of weeks ago. The final results were rather underwhelming so I'm not even going to bother posting it.

I realized about midway through that my idea was basically an inside-out grilled cheese sandwich. (I'm a bit slow on the uptake, sometimes.) What makes the Caffe Bene bread really good is the actual bread involved. It's a typical fluffy Korean dessert bread, which my "morning toast" bread from the grocery store couldn't quite replicate. I'm not going to even bother posting the recipe here because, well, it's grilled freaking cheese. However, mission not totally failed!

First of all, it was still delicious, even if different (and uglier) than the original. Second of all, prepping for it led to me cleaning out my refrigerator, which I desperately needed to do. Third of all, it reminded me that  Grilled Cheese Social exists.

I don't think I can properly articulate my love of grilled cheese, but it's safe to say that Mackenzie and I are probably on the same page. In retrospect, I realize it was really my undying love of grilled cheese that drove me to attempt to recreate this cheese bread in the first place. While I can't really try any of her  excellent recipes for a few more weeks (I need better bread), I scouted her archives for something approaching a grilled cheese version of the Caffe Bene bread. Lo and behold: Green Haze.

I will definitely be making this as soon as I get home to the land of delicious artisan breads. I love garlic, and I love gouda, although I won't be using her green pesto gouda, mostly because I stay away from anything pesto due to a pretty inconvenient pine allergy.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Project Rae Detour

I promised more meta hints and then failed to deliver. As my newspaper comics counterpart would say, "ACK!" However, instead of eating a pint of ice cream and talking to my dog, I'm going to show you guys what I've been doing.

This is 110% inspired by Rae and her associated (though different!) project. Drumroll, please!

full adder circuit bracelet geeky computer jewelry
Full Adder Circuit Bracelet

Wait, what the hell is that? you ask. At first glance, it seems to be a mostly-random jumbling of beads and chains in the haphazard multi-strand "boho chic" style or whatever that's so popular these days. Oh wait, there's more!

This bracelet is inspired by perhaps one of the most unlikeliest pieces of jewelry inspiration, a full adder diagram.

full adder truth table

This picture, rather, is a better help:

There are two AND gates, two XOR gates, and one OR gate. Each gate is represented by a different kind of bead. Seriously, go ahead and double-check! AND is mother-of-pearl, XOR is coral, and the lone OR gate is some kind of carved thing I assume to be plastic. The diagram Rae sent me for Project Rae had random values assigned (based on color distribution) so I just went with that, but as you can see there's a whole host of values to be used!

I really like how this came out. It's a nice change from pure beadery, and it also presents an interesting construction challenge. Overall I'm happy with how this "proof-of-concept" bracelet came out, but it's far from perfect. My method for this one (because I definitely want to make more!) needs some tweaking. Even though this is a pretty simple circuit, it took way longer than my numbers bracelets do! Someday I hope I can get this down to a science (pun intended) and bead up something like this:

What out-of-the-ordinary things inspire you?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Mom's Basement member Michelle just wrapped up a giveaway to celebrate 100 sales (congratulations!) and who has two thumbs and won? This girl!

It was hard to pick a ring, though, because she has lots of excellent stuff. I LOVE the cross-stitched and embroidered rings, they look so unique. They are definitely conversation starters.

Kawaii Cross Stitched Gimbap Ring by FunWithNeedles
While I'm still not a fan of straight-up kim (the black seaweed you use to wrap gimbap), I have become a grudging fan of gimbap. But this guy is just too cute to eat!

Embroidered Metroid Ring by FunWithNeedles
I'm not a fan of the FPS genre. I just can't get spatially immersed enough to be able navigate the world and always end up running off a cliff or over/under-jumping. Nonetheless, Metroid has a special place in my heart because SEAMUS!

Cross Stitched Dalek Ring by FunWithNeedles

Ultimately, though, I had to go with her miniature Companion Cube. Now I can take it with me wherever I go!

Cross Stitched Companion Cube Ring by FunWithNeedles

But rings aren't the only things Michelle has. If your walls are blank, she has most excellent pop-culture inspired cross stitches. I hope she gets around to selling patterns, because I want to try a hand at making one myself. I'm a big fan of the "English, motherfucker, do you speak it?" one in particular. Crafty Lawyer Mom used to cross-stitch way back when I was single digits in age, and she even taught me how. Somewhere there is the Last Project she's not yet finished that I remember helping her on.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Friday, September 21, 2012

Just sold!

green math jewelry pi
Pi in aventurine and mother-of-pearl

This little bit of math jewelry is going to a new home in Minnesota! Hurray! Godspeed, you little piece of pi.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Belated 101 in 1001 Update

I don't have a good reason at all for being late with this one. For shame!

Part of it was I just wasn't that productive. I did finish a whole slew of Talk To Me In Korean lessons, so that I'm much nearer my target goal of forty lessons finished. (1 - 5)

I also wrote a few more words in my ENG CRW project. (5 - 10)

Another weekly update (1 - 3) and comment (7 - 4).

I picked up The Poisonwood Bible. (3 - 3) It's pretty good so far, though I am a long way from finishing it.

I also finished—in a much shorter space of time—The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin. (9 - 2) This one warrants a review and reflection all of its own, but I did find it particularly relevant to what the stated purpose of 101 in 1001 is.

It's getting down to the crunch for this year's NaNoWriMo. I need to decide, soon, if I want to do it early (in October) or try to slog it out in November with everyone else while being a vagabond for my last month in Korea. Or, is it something that's not as important as everything else I want to do my last three months over here?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Friday, September 14, 2012

Foodie Friday: Caffe Bene Garlic Cheese Bread

"Breads" are a staple snack at coffee shops here in Korea. They're based on giant screw-off dessert breads, and then given some kind of obscenely delicious topping. My favorite one is the "Garlic Cheese Bread." It is divine.


It's my mission to figure out how to make a homemade version, because anything you can get get in a coffee shop can't be that complicated, right? Results forthcoming.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Music Monday: Doctor Who

Tim Minchin peforming the theme to Doctor Who. On a keytar. With a full orchestra. Wearing a Prince Charles mask.

You're welcome.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

101 in 1001 Update

This has not been the most productive of weeks. I did learn a few new Korean words, so that's 285 (that I've learned from my textbooks, obviously I had a working vocabulary before I picked them up). I'm over halfway to that goal! (1 - 4)

I also added a new goal (1 - 1): Get jeans hemmed (2 - 8). I have three decent pairs of jeans that are all too long for my stubby legs; I live down the block from a cheap dry cleaner's. This should be a no-brainer!

I also started on the "Marco Polo" story arc from the first season of Doctor Who. The original tapes were scrapped (or lost in a fire?), so it's a reconstruction: the audio played over a series of photographs from the filming. It's very reminiscent of elementary school slide shows. (5 - 13) I'm also eight episodes into the second season of Star Trek: TOS. (5 - 12)

I finished the Hypatia bracelet as well! (2 -3)

Friday, September 7, 2012

Foodie Friday: Peanut Butter Ramen

So remember last Foodie Friday, how I said I'd be trying a recipe I found calling for peanut butter + ramen?

I tried it.

It was delicious.

This is the cheapest faux-Thai food out there, and what's more, it's really filling. Granted, I may have added, oh, twice as much peanut butter as the recipe called for, but that's neither here nor there. Usually with Shin Ramen (my preferred brand: their circular ramen noodles fit perfectly in my bowl!) I'll still be hungry after all the noodles are gone, even though I typically load it up with cheese, peppers, and tofu. This time, by the time I was about halfway through, I was full.

Divorced and Homeless Ramen: Kokoba's Version


  • Preferred brand of spicy-flavored ramen (I like Shin Ramen)
  • Peanut butter (2 - 4 tbsp)
  • Your favorite veggies, sliced
  • 1 slice cheese (nothing here in Uijeongbu but American cheese)

  1. Nuke your ramen in plain water (you'll mix the packet in later). Chop veggies while you wait. I prefer bell peppers and onions.
  2. Drain the water so you have maybe a quarter to a half as much as you did when you started. It depends on if you like soupy, watery broth or thick, creamy broth.
  3. Add the ramen mix and the peanut butter. Add as much peanut butter as you want.
  4. Add one slice cheese. I guess this is optional, but based on the "peanut butter and cheese snack crackers" precedent, I say they go well together. Any extra protein can't hurt, right?
  5. Mix.
  6. Once mixed more or less to your satisfaction, add the veggies.
  7. Nuke again, for 30 seconds to a minute, to warm up the veggies and melt the peanut butter (and cheese).

This sounds absolutely vile, and it looks kind of awkward and unfortunate, but it is damn tasty. I'll definitely be making this again in the future. Try it and let me know what you think in the comments!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

MSOE Challenge: Hypatia!

The theme for the August-September challenge was "scientist," and Uli gave us a poll with too many good choices! Ultimately, Hypatia won. I've always thought she was one bad mother, so I had to make something for this challenge. And I did!

Hypatia math cuff bracelet pearl seashell jewelry
Root 2 Pearls and Seashells Cuff - Hypatia Inspired

Who was Hypatia? She was a Greek scientist, philosopher, and mathematician who lived in the third and fourth centuries of the common era in Roman Egypt. She was the last librarian of the Library of Alexandria, that fabled storehouse of knowledge lost forever to arson. Hypatia was also a world-class sassy, snarky lady:
She was so very beautiful and attractive that one of those who attended her lectures fell in love with her. He was not able to contain his desire, but he informed her of his condition. Ignorant reports say that Hypatia relieved him of his disease by music; but truth proclaims that music failed to have any effect. She brought some of her female rags[7] and threw them before him, showing him the signs of her unclean origin, and said, “You love this, O youth, and there is nothing beautiful about it.” His soul was turned away by shame and surprise at the unpleasant sight, and he was brought to his right mind. Such was Hypatia, both skillful and eloquent in words and prudent and civil in deeds.  
                                                                                                                                                    Suda On Line 

Unfortunately, Hypatia met an untimely end. In 415 C.E., aged anywhere between 45 - 65, she was murdered by a mob of rioting Christians who took her to be a godless pagan witch inciting religious turmoil. Or, as others suggest, her death was less a religious one and more the result of an ancient turf war. Either way, tragic.

Ancient Greek jewelry used a lot of metalsmithing techniques first developed in Mesopatamia and elsewhere. Metal wrist and arm cuffs were common, which is why I decided to go with a memory wire cuff. The Greeks would not have had memory wire, true, but the final look and structure of the product is similar:

Greek arm cuffs image courtesy of  Sarah Swell

A bracelet unearthed as part of the Olbia treasure
found in the Greek colony of Crimea. It dates to 100 BCE!

The beads I used are faux pearls and seashells, resembling exactly the kinds of stones the Greeks would have used in their jewelry. They also used amethyst, carnelian, and all other sorts of agates, as well as glass.

The number in this one is root 2, which is perhaps the Greekest of all the irrationals. Root 2 was discovered to be irrational by the ancient Greeks themselves, and the story goes the Greek academics wanted to keep it a secret—so much so that they reportedly killed the Greek Hippasus for revealing it to the masses!

To further celebrate Hypatia's life and deeds, I'll be settling down with the English-language Spanish-produced movie Agora this weekend. While not necessarily strictly historically accurate, it has some good reviews. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Music Monday: Johnny Cash

I guess I'm still in an "end of Korea" funk. This song's been in my head all weekend:

Sunday, September 2, 2012

101 in 1001

I finished one of my easier goals: I'm now caught up on The I.T. Crowd! (5 - 5) I also read a couple of books off the TIME Top 100 Novels list (3 -3): Martha Quest and Your Republic is Calling You.  Both of them were excellent; I really recommend them. I also watched a great 80s era Shaw Brothers flick, "Five Element Ninja." And I finished Stephen King's On Writing (9 - 2) as well as a few more Star Trek episodes (5 - 12).

I'm currently reading "Atonement," which is all right, but slow going.