Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Bell Cannot Be Unrung

My Christmas present this year was a genetic phenotyping kit from 23andme. Before you do anything, they recommend that you register your kit (submit your name and a barcode number on the test tube you receive). Part of their terms of service:
You may learn information about yourself that you do not anticipate. Once you obtain your genetic information, the knowledge is irrevocable.
I wonder what kind of drama has happened that they felt the need to include something like this in their TOS.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Book Giveaway Update




Thanks to everyone who's stepped up for some free books and helped me clean out my library. I've mailed out a few books this week and I'll continue to mail them out through the holidays and into the new year. Going through my collection I realize there are still more I've overlooked in my zeal to get the list online; I'll be adding those shortly.

Books that have been claimed with an address have been deleted; struck through books have been claimed but without an address, so you might still have a chance to get them.

And most importantly, safe and warm wishes to you and yours this new year!



Art/Photography

Photoshop 7 For Dummies


Computer Science

C++ For the Absolute Beginner Taken!


History

Readings in World Politics.


Foreign Languages

Teach Yourself: Japanese Taken!


Literature

The Three Theban Plays: Antigone, Oedipus Rex, Oedipus at Colonus. Sophocles.


Just For Fun

Country and Blues Harmonica For the Musically Hopeless. KLUTZ publishers.

Dr. Laura. (Note: a trashy, unauthorized exposé biography.)

Assorted "lateral thinking" puzzle collections, four in all. Example of such a puzzle: One day, a man and his son are out for a drive. They're in a terrible accident that kills the father instantly and sends the son to the hospital for emergency surgery. Upon arrival, the surgeon says, "I can't operate on this boy, he's my son." How is this possible?


Humor

Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them. Al Franken

Worst Case Scenario: College.


Dilbert Gives You the Business. Scott Adams.

Bloom County: Loose Tails. Berke Breathed.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Books Giveaway Update!

Some have been claimed and mailed already; others have appeared from the dark recesses of...well, all over the house, really.

Ones I've already mailed have been deleted already. Ones struck through have been claimed but I don't have an address. If you want any of those, they're still around for the taking. Maybe. Never hurts to ask!



New Hotness
  • Teach Yourself: Japanese Taken!
  • Teach Yourself: Yoga Taken!
  • The Three Theban Plays: Antigone, Oedipus Rex, Oedipus at Colonus. Sophocles.
  • Dilbert Gives You the Business. Scott Adams.
  • Bloom County: Loose Tails. Berke Breathed.
Art/Photography

Photography. London, Uston, Stone, Kobré, Brill. (Note: this was my textbook from the photography class I took [and dropped out of] in college.) Taken! (Kyana)

Photography: A Practical Guide. McWhinnie & Andrews. Taken! (Nadine)

Learning to See Creatively. Peterson. Taken! (Amy)

Photoshop 7 For Dummies

Utopia & Reality: Modernity in Sweden, 1900 - 1960. (Note: this was a textbook for a Swedish Modernism class I took at Stockholms Universitet. It's in English.) Taken!

Berlin: Gestern und Heute. (Note: this is a coffee table book I picked up at a thrift store. It's in German.)


French

En bonne forme. (Note: textbook from AP French) Taken! (Nadine)

Sur le vif.  (Note: textbook from college French) Taken! (Nadine)

These are both intermediate level French textbooks.


Literature/Writing

Six Figure Freelancing Taken! (Emma)

Perrine's Literature, Sixth Edition (Note: textbook from AP Literature & Composition) Taken! (Amy)

The Norton Anthology of American Literature, Volume D: Between the Wars Taken! (fourthmonth)


Computer Science

SAMS Teach Yourself Visual Basic in 24 Hours Taken! (Katy)

C++ For the Absolute Beginner Taken!


History

Readings in World Politics.

The Great Depression and World War 2: Organizing America, 1933 - 1945. Gerald D. Nash Taken! (Amy)

Karl Marx. Sprigge. Taken! (ohhhitslove)


Soft Sciences

Basic Psychology. Gleitman. Taken! (Emma)

Sociological Footprints. Corgon & Ballantine. Taken! (Amy)


Just For Fun

The Pig That Wants to Be Eaten. (Note: a collection of assorted moral and ethical hypothetical situations, along with philosophical commentary.) Taken! (Katy)

Wittgenstein's Poker. (Edmonds & Eidinow) (Note: About the famed confrontation between Karl Popper and Ludwig Wittgenstein at Cambridge in 1946.) Taken!

Made in America. (Bill Bryson) (Note: About the differences between British English and American English.) Taken!

Fat Land. (Greg Critser) (Note: About high fructose corn syrup in American food.) Taken! (fourthmonth)

Country and Blues Harmonica For the Musically Hopeless. KLUTZ publishers.

Greasy Rider. (Melville) (Note: About two guys who drive across the country in a frying grease-powered Mercedes, and also about what people are doing about renewable energy all over the country.) Taken! (fourthmonth)

Dr. Laura. (Note: a trashy, unauthorized exposé biography.)

Assorted "lateral thinking" puzzle collections, four in all. Example of such a puzzle: One day, a man and his son are out for a drive. They're in a terrible accident that kills the father instantly and sends the son to the hospital for emergency surgery. Upon arrival, the surgeon says, "I can't operate on this boy, he's my son." How is this possible?


Humor

Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them. Al Franken

Worst Case Scenario: College.

Worst Case Scenario: Travel. Taken! (Kyana)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Full Adder Circuit Bracelet: In Detail

I had a request from a customer for a more detailed portrayal of the Full Adder Circuit Bracelet (an idea for which Rae really has the lion's share of the credit). Hopefully this image should about do it. I would like to note that, nerd as I am, I'm not so much of a hardware or electronics freak, so this is an area a bit outside the realm of my expertise. That is to say, I can only half understand circuit diagrams; the bracelet below is based on a schematic Rae sent me that she had adapted herself into a bead-friendly form. I'll need to pick Lawyer Mom's brain on it later so I can better articulate what it is that I'm doing.

geek electronics computer circuit jewelry
The Full Adder Circuit Bracelet, deconstructed*

 The bracelet, as pictured here, has had the clasp taken off so I could present a more organized, easy-to-see reference image. On the clasp end, you have the inputs: A, B, and Cin. On the opposite end, you have Cout and S. They connect to the different gates and, unlike a circuit diagram, I've shown the values between gates. When B (value of zero/off, represented by the cream-colored mookaite tube) and Cin (value of one/on, represented by the faux turquoise) input to the first XOR gate, it outputs one. And when the second XOR gate has two "on" inputs, it outputs zero/off. (These are all obviously very amateur terms; like I said, I'm not a hardware freak or an electrical engineer.)

Of course, it's hard to represent something that's flat, brittle, and broad in a medium that's curved, fluid(ish) and narrow. This is a piece whose nerdiness must needs be subtle. I dig it, though! I think the overall effect is quite stylish.



*At the time of this photographing, there was a small error; a chain had broken off at work and I reconnected it at the wrong place. It's fixed now, and all loops in all chains have been secured. :)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Foodie Friday: C is for Cookie...

This weekend is our church's annual Christmas cookie sale. Having nothing else to do during the day (minus a custom order I just received), I have been baking up a storm. Here are some recipes I've found—all off of Pinterest—that are stress-free in the kitchen and flaw-free in your mouth.

Nutella Cookies

Oh, you heard correctly! Nutella cookies. Two ingredient Nutella cookies.

One cup Nutella + one egg + 375 F for 8 to 10 minutes =


Bonus points: these are (obviously) gluten-free! If you are trying to bake around someone with special dietary needs this holiday season, put these cookies at the top of your list. And make a few batches because everyone will want these. Unless they are a weirdo who hates Nutella, like Lawyer Mom.

Mint Chocolate Cookies

"My kids are HUGE fans of mint chocolate ice cream." writes Crafty Girl. What a coincidence, so am I! As soon as I saw this photo on Pinterest, I knew I had to try them:


The green food coloring is just perfection; the mint extract in the dough is a nice touch that makes it very minty. Here, for the link phobic, is Crafty Girl's (sister's) Mint Chocolate Cookie recipe (it's a bit more involved than the Nutella cookies):

Ingredients.
  • 2 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (at room temperature) (Ed. note: I use salted and they came out just as fine)
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp mint extract
  • 15-20 drops green food coloring
  • 1 bag of Andes mints (chopped)
Directions
  • Preheat oven 375 degrees.  
  • Sift the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt) together and set aside.  
  • Solicit your kids to unwrap the Andes mints...or, for the childless, do it yourself. Then, chop them up.
  • In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. 
  • Beat in egg and mint extract. 
  • Gradually blend in the dry ingredients. Add green food coloring and mix until even colored.  
  • Last, but not least, fold in the chopped Andes mints.
  • Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls, flatten, and place onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes.  Let stand on cookie sheet for 2 minutes before moving them to wire racks to cool. 

Molasses Snickerdoodles

Much as I love chocolate, I figured the next batch should should be a touch less so. Just for variety's sake. Nothing can stop my incurable sweet tooth, however. NOTHING! So these snickerdoodles from Jen's Favorite Cookies are the next on my agenda today:


Ingredients
  • ¾ cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. cloves
  • ½ tsp. ginger
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 cups flour

Directions
  1. Cream shortening, sugar, molasses and egg.
  2. Sift dry ingredients together, then add to sugar mixture and mix until combined.
  3. Form into balls and roll in sugar. Place on baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 7-9 minutes.

So there you have it! These are going to be my cookies for the season. What are yours?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

What I'm Reading: Vodka Neat

Vodka Neat was one of two bagfuls of books I picked up at The Strand in NYC a couple of years ago. It was on their curbside discount shelving, full of ARCs from all the New York publishing houses, Dan Brown novels, and other literary dross no one ever wants. The title alone was enough to make me want it, and the price ($1) was equally encouraging. What sold me was the beginning of the dust jacket summary:
HER MOTTO:
COURAGE WITHOUT EQUAL
TRUTH WITHOUT BULLSHIT
VODKA WITHOUT TONIC
How could I say no to that? Vodka Neat went home with me and stayed on my shelf for the next two years. I didn't start reading it until yesterday. One of my goals on my 101 in 1001 list is to read at least three books I've owned for over a year but haven't finished yet, and this seemed as good a place to start as any.

Blundy's writing is surprisingly crisp and to the point. Truth without bullshit indeed! Coming off the heels of some misadventures into chick lit, I was surprised at how fun and readable this was.

Vodka Neat is marketed as a thriller, which is not a genre I usually read. I don't know how to compare to others of the genre, but it isn't particularly thrilling. Yet. (After only four chapters.) Which isn't to say it isn't good, because it is, but so far it seems like "mystery" might be a better fit. I've been picking it up and putting it down periodically. It's not really action-packed enough for it to be a real page-turner; it's more a pleasant diversion. My only real complaint is that sometimes the timeline is disorienting; Faith (the protagonist) slips into flashbacks pretty readily and it's hard to get a sense of exactly how long ago these things happened.

Faith was in Moscow in 1989, age 19, with her Russian husband Dmitri. After a drunken night out, she stumbles home and catches sight of a crime scene, a gruesome ax-wielded double-homocide. Her husband leaves her, and Faith leaves Russia.

Fifteen years later, Faith is a foreign news correspondent on assignment to Moscow. Immediately upon arrival she's hauled off by police who claim she's their number one suspect in this Cold War-era crime. Let go after a brief questioning, she sets off to find her now-committed husband and figure out just what happened.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Book Giveaway: Round 1

Now that I'm back from Korea, it's time for me to get ready to move to Sweden. (I can just never stay still, can I?) It'll be a while before I have enough shelf space in Sweden to accommodate my library here in the States; plus, the less I have to ship over, the better.

I have a lot of books to give away!

This is the grand list for Round 1 (my reference/non-fiction collection). If you see anything you need/want here, please send me an email (gmail, kokoba) with the word BOOKS in the title, and include what you want and where I should send it.

That's it. There's no contest, no rules, I just want to send my books to a good home.

Everything is first come first serve. I'll post periodic updates about what's left. Whatever's left by February 1st will end up at a local library. Then comes Round 2: Fiction.

The good stuff!

Art/Photography

Photography. London, Uston, Stone, Kobré, Brill. (Note: this was my textbook from the photography class I took [and dropped out of] in college.)

Photography: A Practical Guide. McWhinnie & Andrews.

Learning to See Creatively. Peterson.

Photoshop 7 For Dummies

Utopia & Reality: Modernity in Sweden, 1900 - 1960. (Note: this was a textbook for a Swedish Modernism class I took at Stockholms Universitet. It's in English.) Taken!

Berlin: Gestern und Heute. (Note: this is a coffee table book I picked up at a thrift store. It's in German.)


French

En bonne forme. (Note: textbook from AP French)

Sur le vif.  (Note: textbook from college French)

These are both intermediate level French textbooks.


Literature/Writing

Leonard Cohen Selected Poems

Six Figure Freelancing

Perrine's Literature, Sixth Edition (Note: textbook from AP Literature & Composition)

The Norton Anthology of American Literature, Volume D: Between the Wars


Computer Science

SAMS Teach Yourself Visual Basic in 24 Hours

C++ For the Absolute Beginner Taken!


History

Greek Ways. Edith Thornton. Taken!

Readings in World Politics.

The Great Depression and World War 2: Organizing America, 1933 - 1945. Gerald D. Nash

Karl Marx. Sprigge.


Soft Sciences

Basic Psychology. Gleitman.

Sociological Footprints. Corgon & Ballantine.


Just For Fun

The Pig That Wants to Be Eaten. (Note: a collection of assorted moral and ethical hypothetical situations, along with philosophical commentary.)

Wittgenstein's Poker. (Edmonds & Eidinow) (Note: About the famed confrontation between Karl Popper and Ludwig Wittgenstein at Cambridge in 1946.)

Made in America. (Bill Bryson) (Note: About the differences between British English and American English.)

Fat Land. (Greg Critser) (Note: About high fructose corn syrup in American food.)

Country and Blues Harmonica For the Musically Hopeless. KLUTZ publishers.

Greasy Rider. (Melville)

Dr. Laura. (Note: a trashy, unauthorized exposé biography.)

Assorted "lateral thinking" puzzle collections, four in all. Example of such a puzzle: One day, a man and his son are out for a drive. They're in a terrible accident that kills the father instantly and sends the son to the hospital for emergency surgery. Upon arrival, the surgeon says, "I can't operate on this boy, he's my son." How is this possible?


Humor

Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them. Al Franken

Worst Case Scenario: College.

Worst Case Scenario: Travel.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

101 in 1001: Update


Wow, I've neglected to update about this here! I've been so caught up in my vacation and leaving Korea, I guess. Well, now I'm home, so there's no excuse.

In progress:

I finished a book from the TIME Top 100 list, Lucky Jim. (3 - 3) It was pretty good, though not the most mind-blowing thing I've read on the list so far. On the other hand, definitely not the worst. I also started reading Cry, The Beloved Country.

I also emailed my grandmother for Thanksgiving. (4 - 2)

I watched a North Korean "documentary" on Western propaganda. I use the word documentary very loosely, but they still make some unsettling points. Of course, whether or not it's actually North Korean can't really be verified, but I'm still going to count it both as a documentary and as a foreign movie. (9 - 5) (9 - 6)

Completed:

I sent my moderately-sized pile of money home, including my pension. (2 - 6) (2 - 7)

As you've seen from my posts and pictures, I also went to Gwangju. (3 - 6)

I went to the dentist and got a few cavities filled. (6 - 8)



Failed:

None since the last update.

21 / 101 completed!

1 / 101 failed!