Saturday, May 29, 2010

A family secret revealed...

My Super Easy Flan Recipe...for Dummies


3 Eggs
1 Cup Sugar
2 splashes of Vanilla (extract)
1 Can Condensed Milk
Whole Milk (same amount as condensed milk)
Teaspoon Corn Starch (optional if you want the flan
to be more compact...otherwise it'll be more spongey)

1. In a deep metal bowl that will fit into the Pressure Cooker, add the Sugar and heat over medium high heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar melts and gets very liquidy. Take the bowl off the heat and with Oven Mitts turn the bowl around and around so that the liquidy sugar covers every inch of the sides of bowl. Continue doing this until the Sugar sets and stops running. Set the bowl aside to cool.

2. In a blender, combine all other ingredients. The amount of Whole Milk used should be the exact amount as the condensed milk, so just use the can of condensed milk as your measurer. Blend well until frothy. Pour into the sugar prepped bowl.

3. Add about an inch of water to the bottom of the pressure cooker. Cover the top of metal bowl with either aluminum foil or wax paper. With wax paper you'll have to tie a string around it to keep it in place. I think it comes out better with wax paper, but aluminum foil works too. Place inside pressure cooker, and heat pressure cooker on stovetop on medium heat. Once the pressure cooker starts "whistling", leave for 15 to 20 minutes (17 is a happy medium that I always do). THE FOLLOWING STEP IS IMPORTANT! After the 15 to 20 minutes, turn off the heat, but LEAVE pressure cooker on the burner for another 10 minutes (it will continue to cook very slowly). Then take pressure cooker off stove, let cool, take metal bowl out of pressure cooker and let cool. It'll need to cool to set before you can flip it over onto a plate, otherwise it'll fall apart when you do this.

4. Put in fridge. Serve cool. Voila! A perfect flan! Enjoy!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Out of all the religious philosophies in the world...this is one of them

July 25th, 2008

(I found the following joke on p. 23 of Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein's book "Plato and a Platypus Walk into a bar..." This book tries to explain many of the world's philosophies in terms people like me can understand...mainly with jokes. This is my favorite one in the book.)

Alvin is working in his store when he hears a booming voice from above that says, "Alvin, sell your business!" He ignores it. The voice goes on for days saying, "Alvin, sell your business for three million dollars!" After weeks of this, he relents and sells his store.

The voice says, "Alvin, go to Las Vegas!"

Alvin asks why.

"Alvin, just take the three million dollars and go to Las Vegas."

Alvin obeys, goes to Las Vegas, and visits a casino.

The voice says, "Alvin, go to the blackjack table and put it all down on one hand!"

Alvin hesitates but gives in. He's dealt an eighteen. The dealer has a six showing.

"Alvin, take a card!"

"What? The dealer has..."

"Take a card!"

Alvin tells the dealer to hit him, and gets an ace. Nineteen. He breathes easy.

"Alvin, take another card."



Alvin asks for another card. It's another ace. He has twenty.

"Alvin, take another card!" the voice commands.

"I have twenty!" Alvin shouts.

"TAKE ANOTHER CARD!" booms the voice.

"Hit me!" Alvin says. He gets another ace. Twenty-one!

And the booming voice says, "Un-fucking-believable!"

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

somebody stole my brother's lunch

August 22nd, 2007

I received this email from my brother, and it made me laugh:

It's 2:00 pm. My stomach is rumbling, but at last I have some time to enjoy my meager lunch. And meager it is, consisting of a lean pocket (to keep me lean and pocketed), but lunch is lunch. The freezer is so far away. But that's where my lunch is, so I know I must drag myself out of my comfortable chair and 10 paces to the kitchen. Ah...lots of people seem to be using the freezer. There's some ice cream, a few frozen dinners. And down at the bottom, my half-used box of lean pockets. Ham and cheddar lean pockets. Half-used because I already used half. I know that 1 lean pocket awaits its fate at the bottom of my stomach. But wait. The box. It feels light. Surely the lean pocket can't be that lean. I look inside the box. My stomach growls angrily! It's empty! Surely no one in this building is evil enough to eat a lunch that doesn't belong to them and leave the empty box behind to not arouse suspicion. I must be delirious with hunger. Blink, man, blink. I blink. The box is empty. Stupid coworkers ate my lunch.

I will have my revenge.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Bird Poop and Luck: The Myth

July 19th, 2007

Poop. Pronunciation: [poop]
- noun
1. excrement
-verb (used without object)
2. to defecate

[Origin: it seems to have appeared in its current form in 1735, and was developed from the word "powpen" or "popen", which meant to blow or sound a horn.]

Bird. Pronunciation: [burd]
1. any warm-blooded vertebrate of the class Aves, having a body covered with feathers, forelimbs modified into wings, scaly legs, a beak, and no teeth, and bearing young in a hard-shelled egg.
2. a fowl or game bird

[Origin: appeared before 900 AD as "byrd" and "bryd"]

Understanding these simple definitions is crucial to getting to the heart of one of the most ridiculous, mind boggling, irrational myths of all time.

The Myth: Getting pooped on by a bird is good luck.

Extensive research (lots of google-ing) has led me to one important conclusion.

The amount of luck present in any particular poop is directly influenced by the type of bird doing the pooping.

A. The Raven

The Raven is generally considered good luck because of its high intelligence. The larger the quantity of Ravens that poop on you at one time, the larger the amount of your luck. If a person gets pooped on by Seven Ravens or more, that person should be jumping up and down in glee...a great day! Getting pooped on by only one Raven, on the other hand, is not so lucky. This is all apparent in the following Folklore Rhyme:

“One Raven for sorrow, Two for joy, Three Ravens for a girl, Four for a boy, Five Ravens for silver, Six for gold, Seven Ravens for a secret never to be told.”

Another variation of this rhyme continues past Seven: "Eight for a Wish, Nine for a Kiss, Ten for a Time, of Joyous Bliss"

The Raven's good luck image comes partly from it's association with Heaven. Looking Ahead Under "Riddled Avians", It Says "Heaven Offers Truth". In Beowulf, the Raven is proclaimed as having communication with the Heavens: "They slept until the black raven, the blithe hearted proclaimed the joy of heaven."

(it should be noted, however, that I have no clue what "Blithe" means)

On the other hand, seeing a Raven isn't always considered good luck. It really all depends on the circumstances. As any person may correctly assume, seeing a bird suddenly fall dead from mid-air is a very ominous sign. This is especially true when it concerns the Raven. In Babylon, in 323 AD, it is said that as soon as Alexander the Great stepped foot into the city, a flock of Ravens fell dead from the sky. A few weeks later, Alexander, predictably, was dead. Coincidence? I think not.

But don't go hating the Raven for causing the death of Alexander the Great. These same Ravens were also the cause of prolonging his life! It is said that Alexander was guided through a desert by two Ravens sent from Heaven.

There are many more Raven myths and rhymes: If the Ravens ever leave the Tower of London (the tower houses over 900 of them), England shall fall...the government actually keeps tame Ravens on the ground of the Tower just in case! If a Raven's eggs are stolen, a baby will die. In Wales, a family will prosper if a Raven perches on their roof. In Scotland, a Raven circling a house predicts the death of someone within (obviously). In a Native American Legend, the Raven is depicted as the creator of living creatures by dropping pebbles into the ocean. The Legendary Arthur of Camelot is said to have turned into one. In Western England, some locals used to tip their hats to Ravens in order not to offend them.

B. The Owl

Despite the Owl's modern image of an astute and extremely wise creature, most myths associated with the Owl concern Evil tidings.

Some North American tribes believed that witches could assume the bodies of owls and fly around at night. In Africa, owls were thought to kill for witch doctors. In Celtic myth, the Owl was considered a bird of Darkness...or the "Corpse Bird". In Vedic legend, the god of the dead (Yama) used the owl as a messenger. The Aborigines in Australia believe the Owl is a messenger of the evil god Muurup, who eats children.

But don't worry if an owl has pooped on your head. There are a few...granted, only a very few...myths that depict the owl in a positive light. In Greek Myth, the Owl is said to be a husband of the goddess of wisdom, Athena. Who wouldn't wanna be pooped on by Athena's man!?! Also, if you know someone who has a problem with problem! Just offer them a few Owl eggs on a plate. Owl eggs were believed to be a cure for alcoholism in some parts of Europe.

C and D: The Crow and the Magpie

The two birds that you DO NOT wanna be pooped on by, are the Crow and the Magpie. These are bad, bad, bad birds!

A French saying states that evil priests became crows, and bad nuns became magpies. There is an ominous rhyme that goes: "A crow on the thatch, soon death lifts the latch." This rhyme came into effect if you saw a single crow perched on your roof. Much like the "black cat superstition", to have a single crow cross the path before you was bad luck. However, if you saw another, then the bad luck was canceled out: "Two crows I see, good luck to me." The Greeks used to say, "Go to the Crows!" much the same way that we say "Go to Hell!"

Magpies are ominous birds that foretell the future, according to the size of the group that they travel in. Magpies are believe to be cursed by God for not mourning properly and not wearing all black during the Crucifixion. In Scotland, Magpies are thought to be so evil that each has a drop of the devil's blood under its tongue.

Here are some helpful tips on how to protect against crows and magpies:

1. if you are unlucky enough to see a crow or magpie on the road, all is not lost. All you have to do is cross yourself, raise your hat to the bird, spit three times over your right shoulder, and proclaim "Devil, Devil, I defy you!". Of course, if you don't have a hat, then your out of luck.

2. if you live in an area were magpies are common, it would be best for you to carry an onion with you at all times.

In Summary, getting pooped on by a bird does not necessarily mean good luck. It's very important to look up and see what kind of bird has left you this present. A Raven or an Owl is more often than not a good sign. Magpies and Crows, on the other hand...just remember the onion.

If you get pooped on by a just means that you've been pooped on by a sparrow.

Monday, December 11, 2006

My brother poses a few questions...

December 11th, 2006

If you haven't visited my brother's blog, you should. He is a funny man, and I'm not just talking about his face. My brother's blog:

Anyway, in his latest entry he asks me several questions concerning concert attendance etiquette. Here is the excerpt from his blog:

...and Gus, you would be so proud of me, I can hear and distinguish the french horns! So now some questions:

Why does the conductor leave, and then come back? We have to clap when he leaves, and clap again when he comes back. Does he need a potty break? Is it an ego thing?

Why can’t we clap after the end of every song? Are we supposed to clap after a song that contains mainly a solo performance?

Is a violin player considered better if he doesn’t sway and make faces while playing?

Where can I get a harp and/or harp lessons?

Speaking of harps, the conductor had this gem when introducing the harp. "...And here is an instrument that we all aspire to play someday….maybe not in this world..." Are composers now moonlighting as comedians?

I responded in this way, and posted it on this blog in case some of you non-existing readers out there have similar queries:

Answers. Answers to your questions.

1) Conductors are generally pretty old, so their prostate is commonly swollen. This causes conductors to have a hard time peeing...and they have to go try to pee often. So yes, it is true: conductors leave after each piece to go tinkle. We applaude as they leave the stage in order to encourage them and pump them up for their task, and we applaude when they come back as if to say, "Job Well Done, Sir!" Of course, if it's a female conductor, they leave to make a phone call.

2) When concert goers arrive at concerts, they are usually pretty tired from a long day in their unfortunate non-musician lives. Not clapping after every movement is a courtesy to those who fall asleep. How would you like to be woken up every 10 minutes? You'd be much happier if you could sleep for 30 to 45 minutes without being woken up by a bunch of wild people hitting their hands together like apes.

3) When a violin player sways and makes faces, it is because they are possessed. A concert is a type of modernized demon exorcism. Next time you go to a concert, watch for the "full head swivel" which signifies a very successful exorcism.

4a) It's easy to find a harp teacher. Open up your local newspaper and turn it to the obituaries section. Find one that reads, "...died of unknown and mysterious causes." Then contact their family. They should be able to set you up with a seance appointment. Be sure to buy yourself a $3.00 harp on Ebay. They're the best!

b) Actually, it's the other way around. Comedians are moonlighting as composers because THEY don't get paid enough.

Hope that helps!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Sleep really IS important!

November 30th, 2006

The following is a true story. And it is funny.

Last night I slept for a grand total of ZERO seconds because I was completing my Bibliography paper and presentation.

That's not the funny part.

Here's the funny part.

After my presentation I was driving home, and decided to stop by the drive-through of Wienerschnitzel to get some extremely non-nutritious, yet extremely tasty, hot dogs. As I got to the drive-through intercom and was asked what I wanted by a Gilbert Gottfried-like voice, I said:

"Hi. Uh, I'd like four chili cheese dogs please."

There was a moment of silence on the other end of the intercom.

"What was that again?" Gilbert Gottfried said.

"Uh. Four chili cheese dogs please?"

More silence.

Then with a rude tone, "What else do you want?"

I have no problems with rude tones at fast food restaurants. It's expected. They are working at Wienerschnitzel for five dollars and change an hour, after all (what's the minimum wage nowadays anyway?).

"I'd also like a large Sprite."

More silence. It seemed like whoever was taking the order was confused. This is also expected. They are working at Wienerschnitzel for five dollars and change an hour, after all.

Then, "Sir, we don't sell [garble garble garble]."

They don't sell what? I thought. They don't sell Sprite? I was about to tell them that whatever the equivalent of Sprite was, that would be fine, when Gilbert Gottfried said something that blew my mind.

"Sir. This is McDonalds."

Five seconds of utter confusion followed from my end. I looked around, and indeed, Gilbert Gottfried was correct. I was, in fact, at the McDonald's drive-through and not Wienerschnitzel's. Wienerschnitzel was about 50 yards farther down the street.

"Oh. Oh! Sorry! I'm just gonna...err...leave then." I we todd did. I sofa king we todd did.

I'm sure Gilbert Gottfried thought I was a complete moron. He shouldn't have been too surprised. I'm sure he meets people like me all the time. It's expected. He is working at Wienerschnitzel for five dollars and change an hour, after all.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Chapter 199

October 24th, 2006

The following is an excerpt from the book titled "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time", which details life as seen through the point of view of a 15 year old autistic boy.

"People believe in God because the world is very complicated and they think it is very unlikely that anything as complicated as a flying squirrel or the human eye or a brain could happen by chance. But they should think logically and if they thought logically they would see that they can only ask this question because it has already happened and they exist. And there are billions of planets where there is no life, but there is no one on those planets with brains to notice. And it is like if everyone in the world was tossing coins eventually someone would get 5,698 heads in a row and they would think they were very special. But they wouldn't be because there would be millions of people who didn't get 5,698 heads.

And there is life on earth because of an accident. But it is a very special kind of accident. And for this accident to happen in this special way, there have to be 3 conditions. And these are:

1. Things have to make copies of themselves (this is called Replication)
2. They have to make small mistakes when they do this (this is called Mutation)
3. These mistakes have to be the same in their copies (this is called Heritability)

And these conditions are very rare, but they are possible, and they cause life. And it just happens. But it doesn't have to end up with rhinoceroses and human beings and whales. It could end up with anything.

And, for example, some people say how can an eye happen by accident? Because an eye has to evolve from something else very like an eye and it doesn't just happen because of a genetic mistake, and what is the use of half an eye? But half an eye is very useful beause half an eye means that an animal can se half of an animal that wants to eat it and get out of the way, and it will eat the animal that only has a third of an eye or 49% of an eye instead because it hasn't got out of the way quick enough, and the animal that is eaten won't have babies because it is dead. And 1% of an eye is better than no eye.

And people who believe in God think God has put human beins on the earth because they think human beings are the best animal, but human beings are just an animal and they will evolve into another animal, and that animal will be cleverer and it will put human beings into a zoo, like we put chimpanzees and gorillas into a zoo. Or human beings will all catch a disease and die out or they will make too much pollution and kill themselves, and then there will only be insects in the world and they will be the best animal. "