Monday, October 3, 2011

Now to create some controversy...and possibly delicious baking

A friend of mine requested the recipe that I use for scones. I make a much more buttery version than the type one usually finds in North American coffee shops. Having never had authentic British scones, I cannot speak for authenticity. All I know is that I like them better, and more butter never hurts when baking.

Also, my favorite accompaniment for these scones is clotted/devon cream. It's ridiculously hard to find in the US/Canada. I've only found it at specialty British shops and Whole Foods. But buy it, it's definitely worth it. If you don't have clotted cream, then butter (yes, more butter) goes quite well with scones. For additional deliciousness, toss on some jam for good measure. I particularly like marmalade, peach preserves, or strawberry jam.

A final note - there is some controversy about the proper pronunciation of scones. The way I say it is with a short o, sc-aw-ns. Others say it with a long o, sc-oh-ns. But Monty Python is on my side! Go to 00:53 and you'll hear Michael Palin say it my way!

Aaaaand without further ado, the recipe.

Scones (adapted from the Robin Hood Cookbook) 
2 cups flour (at least, you'll need more)
1/4 cup sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/3 cup butter/shortening at room temp (this is 5 and a bit tablespoons of butter for those using sticks)
1/4 cup currants (you can sub in raisins if you want)
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs

PREHEAT YOUR OVEN TO 425F. I always forget to do this, so I'm making this the first step. Actual prep time is really short, and if you forget you need to wait forever for your oven to get hot enough.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.

Cut in the butter. The recipe I have recommends a pastry blender, but I just use my hands. Just work the butter in until there are no large chunks of butter and the mixture resembles a coarse meal.

Mix in the currants. Again, I just use my hands.

Make a well in the center. Add milk, 1 whole egg, and 1 egg yolk (reserve the white for the glaze). Stir with a fork and add more flour until a moist dough is formed. I suspect the original recipe used smaller eggs and thus less flour was needed to form the dough.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead roughly 20 times, working in more flour as you go.

Roll the dough out to approximately 1/2" thick. If you want a few wedge-shaped scones, make a large circle. For smaller, rectangular/square scones, try to make the dough uniformly flat while making it somewhat rectangular.

Now get the egg white you saved and beat in a spoonful of sugar. It will look a bit foamy. This is good. Get a pastry brush and brush it all over your dough. This gives your scone a nice glaze while it bakes.

Cut into either wedges or squares and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes. They'll be slightly browned on top.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

It's that time of year again!

Back to school after a nice long break.

But what did I do with my time? Judging from my previous posts, a lot of gaming. Which is very true... I played tons of Left 4 Dead, Left 4 Dead 2, Assassin's Creed, and Portal 2. My most recent acquisition is Bioshock, and I am permanently petrified while playing. Everything is trying to kill me. And they're all creepy-scary.

Bioshock, while terrifying, is really fun! And it has a very interesting storyline and backstory. My sister purchased Bioshock: Rapture, which is a prequel to Bioshock and expands on the origins of Rapture. It's very well written and I highly recommend it. You get to see Rapture in its heyday and witness its slow descent into madness. You get to know the people that you only hear from through audio diaries in the game.

BUT I WAS USEFUL TOO! I took a bio course, did an unpaid internship, and took the MCAT.

That's right folks, the Chanster will soon* be Dr. Chanster! I spent most of my time at my internship studying like mad for the MCAT. It truly is a thinking test rather than a knowledge test.

On a final note to everyone as they are getting back into the swing of things, BE SAFE! And enjoy this Songs to Wear Pants To video.

*If by soon you mean in many years after I slog through med school. First I need to get that pesky application done.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Assassin's Creed

I am completely obsessed with this series. I'm continuously blown away by how they improve on the series with each game. I recently finished Brotherhood and am now working on getting 100% synchronization. But a friend of mine visits and she plays AC:1 and I still enjoy watching it. Admittedly, the first game had a number of flaws, but it just makes me appreciate the improvements even more.

And now Revelations is the last one. I've been so very tempted to pre-order, but I just need to remind myself that I won't be anywhere near my Xbox when the game comes out.

EDIT: I figured what was up, I just needed to update Flash. Here are the literal trailers in all their glory.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Turret Opera...and how I've been spending my time lately.

Finished Portal 2, Assassin's Creed, and Assassin's Creed 2 storylines. Great games all around.

Yeah, that's what I've been doing in the long hiatus from blogging.

Here's the turret opera from Portal 2. I've been obsessed with it.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Eclipse- Live Tweets

I watched Twilight:Eclipse with my housemate after she killed her brain with an all-nighter then an exam. It was an okay movie, but Taylor Lautner got some excellent one-liners. Otherwise a pretty drivelly movie. I also liked getting some background on the Cullen Clan and the wolf pack. Those were actually more interesting than the main plot.

Anyways, without further ado, here are the live tweets.

And heeeere we go!

K: Shitty weather for a shitty movie. Apropos, no?


Run pretty boy, run!

Run fail. Now you writhe in pain. Good set up. Please, let the rest of the movie compare.

Bella Swan - most emotionless voice over ever. I care not for your...angst? Happiness?

He's SO SPARKLY! And you can only bask in his sparkles.

Annnd my movie just paused. My PS2 refuses to play this movie.

Alright, technical difficulties over. Back to high school.

I spoke too soon. It just restarted again. It's not the disc (no scratches/smudges). WTF?

Alright, take three. Here we go.

Party? Fun? That's what you said last time. Way to be a downer, Bella.

Oooh, the plot thickens. Disappearances? Volturi? Could get dicey!

Oh Charlie, you're so oblivious. Poor man.

No, Bella, it's a present. Act happy! I know it's a stretch, but please.

It's blue and dark. Creepiness factor: Through the roof.

Epic chase scene!

Culminating in some epic fail.

Oh man, Taylor Lautner + Awesome music = BAMF.

Oh teenage drama. Etc., etc.

Oh the pack. And not a shirt to be seen.

Gee Jacob, you're just scoring SO many points with Bella. Badmouthing her bf and his family. Her life choices. GOOD JOB.

Oh hello pretty boy, you're being a huge creeper right now.

I take it back, Edward's a much bigger creeper.

Please boys, stop comparing and focus on your mission. Protect Bella. She's Switzerland, ja?

Doesn't he own a shirt? LOL. You're just jealous because when you shed your shirt, you're a DIAMOND CUPCAKE!


Bella and Edward are still the most awkward kissers. Not much has changed since the last movie.

Jacob, you have emo hair. *twitch twitch*

Bella just punched Jacob. It was great.

Yay Charlie. Stepping in like a boss. Breaking up fights. Like a boss.
 ...And she broke her hand...punching my face.
Total misunderstanding.
See Bella? Your life isn't as bad as Rosalie's was.
Graduation! Everyone's so full of possibilities!
And now we PARTY!
Or not. An army of newborns are coming. Time to plan and strategize.
Training montage!
Ooh, deep dark secrets revealed. Backstories are a win for this movie.
Eau de wolf coming up! Oh, this is so very funny.
You know, with all this planning and strategery, I'm wondering what they've told Bella's dad.
Oh wait, nevermind. They just gave the cover story.
Oh this just turned into the birds and the bees talk. Awkward.
And another awkward talk. This time with her bf. Bella, I believe you need some practice in non-awkward topics.
OH GOD HORNY TEENAGERS. And the boy is being the sensible one in this instance.
D'aww marriage proposal.
The subtle manipulation of her puppet by the redhead is just SO subtle. Way to go scriptwriters.
Epic music for an epic buildup to a fight scene!
Um, way to go Edward. Worst possible spot for a camp.
Oh god the one-liners out of Jacob's mouth. "I am hotter than you." Bahahaha.
And Edward stares impotently across the tent.
Aw, and now you two are having a heart-to-heart talk.
And more drama. Great.
KISS ME JACOB! Because that'll solve all your problems, miss engaged to edward.
Yes battle scene. Finally a distraction from this lovey-dovey drama.
Breaking vampires kind of sounds like loose change.
Think fast bella! How can you be of help in a vampire fight? The answer? CUT YOURSELF! Blood distraction!
Ah, Jacob, one last try? I suppose you must.
Angsty introspection. Yay.
NO EDWARD, NOT EVERYTHING'S ABOUT YOU. It's all about Bella, you know that.
Oh gee, Charlie's going to flip his lid.
FIN. It wasn't a horrible movie, not great. Kristen Stewart has one face, but Taylor Lautner's one-liners made it pretty great.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Time travel and Alternate Realities - A rant

I just had a long rant to my housemate and thought it would be interesting to just put it out there. If you, dear reader, have any thoughts, please comment below.

The instigator for this rant was me going to see Source Code, as I mentioned in the previous post.
In Source Code, the entire movie is Jake Gyllenhaal in a machine that has him live the last 8 minutes of another person's life before he dies. This is to investigate the bombing of a train and to find the perpetrator before he sets off a dirty bomb in a major city. That's all fine and well.


However, the explanation given by the inventor is that these aren't just memories, they're alternate realities. Jake's actually displacing the man and is, for all intents and purposes, that man in that reality. This usually wouldn't matter since he dies one way or another after 8 minutes. At the ending of the movie, Jake insists on going in one last time before they pull the plug on him in his original reality and he dies. This is to save everyone on the train, including Michelle Monaghan, with whom he's fallen in love. After saving everyone, he sees the clock count down his last few seconds, and he prepares to die. Presumably the original man will reappear, somewhat confused, be a hero and get the girl.

But that's not the end. Oh no, that would be too sad. Instead, to Jake's surprise, he's still alive and goes on to, presumably, live happily ever after as the man he displaced.


He's not himself in this new reality. He's a history teacher. What happened to the original person? He's been completely replaced by Jake. Is he dead? Also, Jake now has to fake being someone else. Someone with different memories, a different personality, different skill set. How can he pass himself off as a stranger? The girl he's in love with is in love with the original person. She'll eventually realize he's essentially a different person from the man she used to know. Etc, etc.

This has been bothering me for the last week.


I love time travel and alternate realities. I think they're awesome, but I am very wary when they're used as plot devices.

If the entire premise of the TV show/movie/book hinges on time travel/alternate realities then the mechanics and rules should be well thought out. Admittedly, a bit of hand-waving is necessary, but there should be a consistent set of rules with loop holes thought of in advance. For example, in Quantum Leap, Sam Beckett displaces people much like Jake Gyllenhaal does in Source Code. However, they explain that the person who is displaced appears in the "waiting room" in the present day and is returned once Sam leaps out of their life. Quantum Leap was not completely perfect, but gave a reasonable explanation for what happens to the poor sod who's replaced.

Another inconsistency that's been bothering me takes place in my beloved time travel series, Doctor Who. In the revived series, in the first season, they establish an important rule. You may exist in the same time as a previous version of yourself, but can never have physical contact. This creates a paradox that the time-space continuum really hates and creates rips in the fabric of reality. This formed the entire basis of an episode.

Fast-forward to the end of the latest season. As reality is collapsing on itself, Amy Pond is sealed in the Pandorica until approximately 1997, and subsequently interacts with and physically touches the 1997 incarnation of herself. This may be acceptable since the Amy in the Pandorica and the young Amy are not precisely the same person, due to the collapse of reality.

However, the most recent Christmas Special does infringe upon this rule. It's the Doctor Who version of a Christmas Carol and the Doctor is playing with a Scrooge's past selves to make him into a nicer person. It nearly works, but doesn't quite until the Doctor brings the child version of the Scrooge into the present day and horrifies him with the nasty man he will/has become. This finally softens the old Scrooge's heart. And he hugs his past self.

This blatantly disregards the previously established rule. And this is the same individual, not going through the collapse of reality loophole, otherwise the Doctor's scheme would not work.

Basically, time travel and alternate realities are fantastic devices, but my plea to writers is this: Think of the rules and stick to them. No more, no less.
And I didn't even mention Back to the Future

Sunday, April 17, 2011

I'm not dead yet.

I haven't posted in a while, and for that I apologize.

Life happened. Last two weeks of class were just an avalanche of design projects. And I wasn't even the worst off since I'm not taking any electives. Everyone in my class was pulling late nights in the computer cluster. I also was busy assisting other groups along with my own group. Somehow, I ended up as one of the people with a better handle on the projects we were assigned.

I also discovered that Excel really doesn't like having too many rows. One spreadsheet ended up having over 10,000 rows, and Excel was not happy about it. I asked it to graph 10,000 data points and it froze. I felt really bad. I apologized profusely. I imagined an anthropomorphic Excel huddled in a corner, with 10,000 data points running in front of its eyes. I felt horrible after imagining that.

On a bright point, I managed to finish most of my work before the ChemEngChem End-of-Year Banquet, which was a fantastic time. Good food, good wine, and good friends.

So thus ended classes, with frazzled nerves and lack of sleep. I saw Source Code with my friends to celebrate not having any work to do. Choir and orchestra concerts happened and were very fun and very successful. Then I go some pretty bad news.

My grandfather was in a car accident. He wasn't egregiously injured, but he did break his leg. I went back to Toronto to help my grandmother out whilst he was in the hospital. Just driving her around and helping around the house. It was stressful since my grandfather didn't take the anesthesia well. Seeing my grandmother stressed made me pretty darn stressed. But he pulled through and my dad came back up to help with all the paperwork, so that worked out well.

So now I'm back in Kingston and am cracking down to study. Two(!) exams and then headed home.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Honey Cake

My gosh, I just made an amazing cake.

I have the BBC as my homepage and I perused through their cake recipes yesterday. One cake caught my eye: Honey Cake.



I grabbed a few more ingredients and made it. It was super easy, basically honey, flour, sugar, and eggs. If you want to recreate this easy recipe, just click here.

If you're wondering, I used light brown sugar where it calls for muscovado sugar, and flour with a teaspoon of baking powder for every cup in place of self-raising flour. A bit of conversion in order to get grams into cups is needed, but nothing the internet can't handle.

It won't survive the night.

Friday, March 18, 2011

On Friday, we shall have a post about "Friday"

This is a terrible song. But the girl is not the worst singer...just the autotuning made it worse. Also, the songwriter must have failed grammar in elementary school.

"We so excited"

Really? That makes no sense whatsoever.

Everything else I could possibly say is said much better by this video (some NSFW language).


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Yes BriTANick is back!

Love these guys.

I laughed for a full two minutes the first time I watched and still giggle a lot during subsequent viewings.

Friday, February 18, 2011

I did it.

I made the red velvet cake.


I also remembered to take pictures before it was devoured!
Cream cheese icing. Yum.

It sat there a few days barely touched (which had me slightly worried) and then BOOM. It disappeared. I think everyone was working up the nerve to tackle it.


You may have noticed that it's a bit pink. Funny story.
I had all the ingredients except for the red food coloring. Just, you know, the iconic part of the red velvet cake. So I ran out to Food Basics. No food coloring, period. Same story at the Shoppers Drug Mart down the road. I finally take the trek all the way out to Loblaws and they are COMPLETELY out of red food coloring. Both by itself and in the little 4-pack of colors. All that's left are the NEON colors.

So I grab the neon colors and purchase them. Once I'm home, I open them up and test a drop of the red in some milk. It turns NEON RED. So red it necessitates capital letters.

But, beggars can't be choosers. I whip up the rest of the cake and the time comes to add the food coloring. I finally throw in only a quarter of the recommended amount of food coloring and make up the rest in vegetable oil.

I'm quite happy with the result. A bit more Valentines-y than the deep red.

I still have leftover cream cheese icing and will make cupcakes since I'm now prepping for reading week and need to use it up.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

That day with all the red associated with it is coming up...

Hearts. Yeah, that sounds about right. Valentine's Day. 'Tis soon. And I've created a new mission for myself.


With cream cheese frosting. Completely made from scratch.


A test cake shall be made this weekend since the paper I'm currently procrastinating on will be handed in.


I found my Valentine's Day cards. Courtesy of Johnny Wander's John, who kind of embodies my internal monologue.

Upper and bottom right, especially.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

It snowed. This is my day so far.

And there was still class.

The other college in Kingston was closed.


Woke up, shoveled 6 inches of snow from my steps/walk. Trudged my way to class on the road since the sidewalks weren't cleared yet. At 11 in the morning.

Class happened. Nothing special to report.

It's still snowing.

I looked out the window of my last class. Decided to bus it home.

I love Kingston transit. It's warm. And free. And right in front of my house.

Thank you bus driver who drove me home.

I am warm now. My housemate booked me a massage/mani later today.

Before anyone gets ideas, I want the mani to help me stop biting my nails. My health and safety is at stake since I regularly handle things that can kill me in the chem labs.

How I feel now.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Rumblings in Egypt

One of my friends from Elementary/middle school who I fell out of touch with, but am still facebook friends with, posted a plea for attention on the protests in Egypt.

What did I think? I didn't even know what she was talking about. I was safe in my lovely bubble at university where the outside world just falls away.

Read her post here. It's very well written and you should all research what is going on in Egypt. Here's an excellent article by Al-Jazeera that sums up the events quite well. The clashes with the authorities have already claimed three lives. Let the awareness of the unrest spread and international pressure come.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Whoa, it's a bit different around here...

Hey all and welcome to the new year! Or I would be welcoming you if I hadn't procrastinated for the past two weeks and am now lamely posting in the middle of January.

Speaking of which, the middle of January has awful weather. It's really really cold. It's the kind of cold where it hurts to breathe. Absotively awful. It's also snowed an absurd amount since I've returned to university. I spend most of my time looking like a hatted ninja using a balaclava and a hat with ear flaps. Ridiculous, but warm.
Kind of like this.

So I decided that a New Year meant I should get a New Look! I changed up the design and put a spiffy twitter gadget off the the side ---->

Now you can see my tweets on my blog! So I'll be blogging whilst tweeting! O. M. G.

So if you read this, you should totally follow me on twitter. I mostly use twitter to stalk my favorite celebrities. My favorites are Grant Imahara from Mythbusters and Stephen Fry. Both are great. Grant's adorably geeky and Stephen is just full of win.

Finally, I have done more culinary shenanigans. First, I made pizza with my housemate. From scratch. Okay, not completely (the sauce was from a can), but we did make our own dough! It was amazing. The crust was so delicious that I could just eat it by itself. There would be pics, but my housemate took them and I haven't stolen them yet. I will add them. Eventually.

Okay, fine don't hold your breath.

I also attempted to make fudge, in order to give my candy thermometer a test drive. It ended up being more of a caramel-toffee type thing, but still delicious.

Right then. Off to go do some actual work. Or make a cup of tea. And perhaps some culinary shenanigans. And work. Eventually.