Sunday, July 17, 2011


So I am going to brave the Arizona DMV (or MVD as they call it here) this week to register my car. I'm thinking about getting a personalized license plate. You know, to give my mode of transportation that added personal touch. Here are some ideas I have:

This one is self-explanitory

As is this one:

As in "May DAFORCE be with you." I am a nerd, its true...

I'd be worried that someone would think I'm a "do you want to see my rash" kind of a Dr. With this one...

A shortened form of my name. Well, with my pretend middle initial in the middle...

Maikar. As in not your car.

"KAREN" is taken. This one still gets the point across...

This one references the "Mistborn" trilogy by Brandon Sanderson. I'm a HUGE fan of his work.

Karen spelled backwards. Watcher in the woods, anyone?

This one is self-explanatory as well.

So what do you think?

If you think of a different one, you can check the availability here. Just leave a comment at the bottom of this post with your idea. I'm sure some of you will think of something awesome that I haven't.

I'll be going in Thursday or Friday, so make sure you pick something by then!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Fun with Ginger

Here is exhibit A:

Here is exhibit B:

I found a blog post on making your own Ginger Ale and had to try it. It turned out to be really easy.

You just get a few pieces of ginger root and a few lemons

You rough chop the ginger and grind it up in a food processor with some sugar

Until it makes a paste

You add some water, the lemon juice (and the zest if you want) and bring it to a boil. You let it simmer for a half-hour or so and then strain out the liquid. Add some of your ginger syrup to some carbonated water and enjoy!

It's pretty good. Sweet, yet kinda spicy from the ginger. I dig it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

"Winging It" and Caramel Don't Mix

When I went to Denver last month I had a cinnamon roll that was covered in caramel instead of frosting.

Blew my mind. It was A-Ma-Zing. I took it as a personal challenge.

The cinnamon rolls came out pretty well. The yeast didn't work quite as well as normal, but they still rose some. Good enough. Ive made these cinnamon rolls often enough that I don't read the recipe. I just kinda wing it.

I've made caramel before, so I just decided to kinda wing that one too. Bad idea. You see, to make caramel, you mix sugar and water and heat it. Once the water boils away the temperature starts to rise and the sugar starts to burn. Caramel is burned sugar. The color of the mixture starts to darken and the flavor of the caramel gets a bit stronger.

I thought I would just watch the color of the caramel and know when to pull it from the heat intuitively. Not so much. If the sugar gets too dark, it gets bitter and nasty. This batch got bitter and nasty.

Even though it was 10:30 in the PM, I decided to try it again. Since I had used most of my supplies, I had to go to the store and get more cream. I tried it again, this time using the correct equipment. That is to say, I used an actual thermometer to tell when the sugar had caramelized to the correct degree. But this time I stirred it to much and the sugar crystallized out. I wasn't prepared to accept failure this time. I added several cups of water and wisked the crap out of it until all of the little crystals dissolved. And then I re-boiled it (with a thermometer) to be able to pull it off at the correct temperature. It worked this time.

And it was good... See?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Only When I'm With Amy

So I'm not a girly girl. Most of you know this about me. I'm not little and cutesy, and that's ok. The aim of this post isn't to elicit sympathy or compliments or anything like that. I just need to establish a baseline for this post.

No matter where I am, I've usually had a friend or two who are little, or cute, or universally pretty. they are the ones that get noticed by the men-folk. Sometimes this results in them being asked out by a new guy every single week, sometimes it has allowed them to bat their eyes and get out of speeding tickets when they get pulled over, and sometimes this results in them getting stuff for free. I am not one of these people. Usually.

Once every blue moon or three, though...

There was this one time I was out with Amy for her birthday dinner. We went to The Trolley in Springville. I was on one that night, and giving the waiter a hard time the whole night. Well, at the end of the night, he asked if we wanted Amy's free birthday treat. We asked if we could have a piece of their famous carrot cake, because Amy and I had talked about how delicious it looked. He hesitated, saying that they normally only gave ice cream or something small, but then looked at me and said OK. This is the only time (that I can remember) flirting my way into something free. And, yes, the cake was delicious.

Fast forward to June of 2011. I went to Utah with the EVMCO (more about that later) and take some time to   visit my go to my favorite Italian deli in Salt Lake City. Once again, I was on one, but due to lack of sleep this time. I was joking around with the dude behind the counter as I was ordering. He was kinda cute, but I was skipping town the next day (yes, I did bring this up in conversation) and so chose to be more excited about the sandwich I was getting.

Amy and I sit down and enjoy the food and the conversation. When we were done, we went up to the counter to get something for our leftovers, and the guy (Doug) gets all smiley and asks me if I'm on Facebook. I say yes, so he hands me his card and says that I should look him up if I ever make it back up to Utah.

This is his card...

I thank him, and manage to make it all the way outside before Amy and I start into the giggling. It took me by surprise and left me wondering...

These things only seem to happen when I'm with Amy. I need to hang out with her more often.

Saturday, July 9, 2011


No, Its not something dirty. A Habob is a massive dust storm. One hit Phoenix last week. This one was somewhere between 3 and 5 thousand feet high. Ka-razy.

Here's a video someone put together. It's pretty scary looking!

I should have gone outside to check it out. I just heard the crazy wind, looked up from my book, and said "sounds windy" to my new roommate Wendy. She looked up from her book and said, "yup" and then we both went back to reading. We're an exciting bunch.

I had no idea what was happening, but this is what I saw when I went outside the next morning...

And here's a side view:

There is still dust blowing all over the place several days later. Such exciting weather!