Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Dormitory Apple Pie


1 granny smith apple
4 sheets filo dough (by which I mean a massive package or two of filo dough that you will be eating every day for the next few weeks to avoid being wasteful)
Excessive amounts of butter
Cheddar cheese (sharp is best)
Brown sugar
1 roll aluminum foil
A knife
1 washcloth (optional)

1. Pile ingredients into a precarious stack and carry them down 3 floors to the kitchenette. Run back upstairs as necessary for whatever you forget.

2. Wipe mysterious substances off kitchenette countertops and lay down a sheet of foil.

3. Fail to preheat oven. If oven is occupied by an abandoned cake, hope that someone comes back for it.

4. Slice and core the apple, aiming for a largish surface to volume ratio.

5. Construct a tray from aluminum foil to hold apples and bake them at whatever temperature. Hint: pinch the corners of the foil tray in to increase structural integrity and make it possible to retrieve apples.

6. Construct a small aluminum foil bowl with handle in which to melt butter. Put on a burner set to medium to high heat. Switch to a burner that doesn't smoke when turned on.

7. Lay out a sheet of filo dough and brush with butter. By brush, I mean drizzle a bit on and spread around with the knife used to cut apples. Repeat for about 4 layers, give or take.

8. Remember that the apples are still in the oven and pull them out with the washcloth (if available) or very gingerly with ones fingers or corner of clothing. Turn the temperature to 400 degrees F if you haven't already.

9. Eavesdrop on people coming in to wash dishes.

10. Place apples in the center of the filo dough, sprinkle with cinnamon and a small amount of sugar, and slice a thin layer of cheddar cheese over the whole business. Add some butter for good measure. At some point, realize that the apple to dough ratio is off and set aside excess ingredients for later culinary experimentation.

11. Fold the filo dough around the apples and try and get it to stay in place. If it rips, cuss at it and cover over the hole with a new layer of filo dough.

12. Construct a foil tray and carefully transfer the pastry to it.

13. Put it in the oven.

14. Wait a few seconds, then reopen the oven and put some butter and, if desired, sugar and cinnamon on top.

15. While the pie bakes, use combine remaining ingredients as your fancy strikes, construct trays for them from foil, and put them in the oven, too.

16. Stare in the oven window until the pie is golden brown. Remove from oven using washcloth or ill-advised combination of fingers and clothing

17. Eat the pie using the knife while sitting on the floor staring in the oven window at the stuff that is still cooking until that, too, is golden brown. Try to remember to turn off the oven and burner.

18. Hide the remaining results of your cooking from prying eyes and carry it all back up to your room. Eat it before someone asks what it is and you feel obligated to offer them some.

19. Update your facebook status to reflect the deliciousness of the resulting pastry.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Practical Demonology

I absolutely adore The Lesser Key of Solomon (free online here: http://www.sacred-texts.com/grim/lks/index.htm), a 17th century grimoire detailing "the ceremonial art of commanding spirits both good and evil."

The book is surprisingly readable and fun - it combines the absurdly bizarre statements and absurdly mundane. The spirit Agares takes the form of "a fair Old man riding upon a Crocodill, very mildly" and Gusion takes that of a Xenophilus (obviously). But their powers, while often dramatic and supernatural, also cover friendship counseling and help with geometry homework.

So I've compiled a quick and easy list of which demons to call to solve your daily problems (the parenthetical numbers indicate the order in which they appear in the book, for your convenience). Cross reference with the helpful details provided here: http://www.sacred-texts.com/grim/lks/lks05.htm

Do you need.....

General advice?
Talk to Marbas (5), Gusion (11), Purson (20), Berith (28), or Asmoday (32)

Help with friends?
Try Amon (7), Barbatos (8), Botis (17), Glasya-Labolas (25), or Forneus (30)

Tutoring in...
Arithmetic? Ask Asmoday (32)
Mechanical engineering? Marbas (5)
Philosophy? Buer (10)
Astronomy? Morax (21)
Geometry? Asmoday (32)
English? Bune (26)

Demonology: not just for historical esoteric crazies anymore!

Friday, May 15, 2009

iChat Skills You Probably Shouldn't Have

Altering iChat logs is actually really easy.

The top is a copy of the original conversation, unaltered besides the name blotched out, and the following ones are some different ways I altered it.

I used my trusty hex editor. I can't make any one piece of dialogue longer (although I'm sure that there is a way), but to make it shorter, I just replaced letters with spaces that ichat ignored.

Should I make a tutorial or something?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Drink-Climate Equation

I have a fairly accurate (if approximate) sense of the outdoor temperature when I'm at work (making espresso drinks), despite not being able to see outside. The more iced drinks, the warmer it is, and an increase blended drinks (like those rather questionable smoothies-from-a-box) only really begin to sell when it gets into the 70s (Fahrenheit).

So far, I haven't been able to get hard data on the correlation between the proportion of cold drink sales and the outdoor temperature, so this formula is entirely hypothetical, based on my general impression rather than any comprehensive study of sales. Oddly enough, I actually have other things to do when at work... I suspect that k might vary by location - the Seattle standard for a hot day, I've found, isn't quite the same as that of Los Angeles.


d=total drinks
c=cold drinks
s=smoothies and blended drinks
k=the drink-climate constant
t=outdoor temperature

And now I know the whole internet is just frantic to go get me a bulk of cafe sales data. Right? Right?