Carrot Cake Recipe : Alton Brown : Srsly Good Eats

Carrot Cake : Alton Brown

So this was the recipe that I started with to take to Mitch and Gloria’s on New Year’s Day. I originally thought I’d bake it as a bundt cake, but didn’t have a pan. However, I did have a springform pan, and I jazzed it up with some chopped pecans and a little orange juice/butter/rum sauce that I reduced down by half. I didn’t really have a recipe for the sauce, just started with about half and half rum and orange juice, with a couple of tablespoons (or more) of butter, with just a little orange zest. I reduced the sauce as long as I could stand it (it tasted really, really good but I didn’t want it to go too long and get bitter).

The cake was a dream to put together, because it all got done in the big food processor. First the carrots got grated in it and set aside, then the wet and dry stuff got mixed and then combined in a big bowl. It called for a 9 inch cake pan and the springform was a little more than 10 inches across, so it was shorter in the pan when it was baked, but it came out of the pan like a dream. I loaded it up with about a quarter of the sauce and wrapped it up in plastic for transport the next day (I put it together New Year’s Eve).

It has yogurt in it instead of sour cream, so it had a nice tartness and a rich mouthfeel. I had dressed it up with the chopped pecans around the top edge and down the sides, and then when we were ready for it, served it with a dab of the sauce down the side. Mmmm, yummy.

The End And The Beginning of My Virtual Life

My iPhone died today. I’m not sure why, but it couldn’t have been good when the speaker dock I’d been using started making more squawky noises than usual – sometimes with shocklingly loud humming and buzzing that came through the speakers. It somehow managed to charge the phone where my older docks did not, but it was never a happy marriage, and David had remarked that it was unshielded, so there’d always be interference. So he’d already found a little wireless speaker called “Mini Jambox” that would be my Hannumas present, and he’s getting a GoPro.

But the iPhone? It’s my life, or a big part of my virtual life. It’s constantly at hand, and being without it isn’t really an option, because all my calendar listings, notes, emails, and a ton of other stuff is on it.

iphone5c-selection-green-2013

Welp, since my iPhone gave up the ghost, refusing to power up via battery and unable to connect to wifi to be reset, off we went to the local AT&T store to get a replacement, as we figured it had finally gotten the shock of its life and gone poof. Alas, the bright guy at the AT&T store didn’t have any of the Chosen One (an iPhone 5C) in stock. We liked Glenn, he pounced on us very politely when we walked purposefully into the AT&T store, and if only things had gone otherwise, we wouldn’t have had an hour’s worth of woe and gnashing of teeth at Best Buy.

But off we went to the Best Buy, where at first things were off to an auspicious start: not only did they have the 32G 5c in stock, they had it in white AND blue AND green. Faced with an actual color choice other than the Model T (black) and the Model A (white), I froze all deerlike in the headlights and blurted out “Green!” Well, in retrospect, maybe the blue would have been the less neon-y choice, but the color is kind of minty and it’s growing on me, and it goes with my deep blue/purplish Hannemas present (but I’m getting ahead of myself).

Anyway, we started the process of de-commissioning the old phone off of our account and enabling the new, but Houston, we had a problem: the Best Buy tech person said that she’d typed my phone number in correctly (…) but they had de-commissioned David’s phone (and he had a conference call to take in less than an hour back home). The tech rushed to get this corrected, IMing the AT&T people frantically, and finally calling (on her own iPhone) to have them fix it.

Unfortunately, the fix meant somehow that both SIM cards (on David’s current phone, and on my erstwhile new phone) had been disabled. So she had to get two new SIM cards out, enable each and install each in the proper phone, and insure that the phones had the right phone number. While that was playing out and we were politely trying not to freak out too much, the tech had a floor runner fetch a green iPhone case and comped it to me for the trouble. Well, heck, I still could have had a blue case, it’s got holes in the back that would be like fun polka dots in the contrasting green. Anyway, eventually she got the SIM cards installed, David called my new phone, it worked, and we were good to go.

Back home again, I started rebuilding all my email passwords, swearing at Yahoo for making the “forgot my password” process such a nightmare (for various reasons, I have several Yahoo email accounts, to go with various social IDs). David had to step in and straighten that out.

I was relieved that my apps had made it through the ordeal, even though I hadn’t synched the old phone to iTunes since September. And now I see that a bunch of my songs didn’t stay in iTunes… there’s a lot more of them on my laptop, which I *thought* I had gotten to synch up to the desktop. I can see that the end is not in sight, but will try to get the old library to synch to the new one. I also still have the Gateway computer handy, which may have the synched library. It needs to be decommissioned, if not.

MiniJambox

David decided to give me my prezzie early, so I powered up the MiniJambox, installed the app that makes it easy to configure and paired it up via Bluetooth with the new iPhone. As an added bonus feature, it also acts as a speakerphone, and a full charge lasts 10 hours… AND it can get Siri talking, too. I started fooling with some of the other features, as it can connect to Spotify, Rdio, and something called Deezer through the app. It sounds terrific, it’s compact and nicely designed, and comes with a mini-USB charge/synch cable and an audio line in/line out double-ended cable (for those times when using Bluetooth to connect isn’t… what, necessary? It paired like a dream).

I signed up for the Spotify free trial and the Rdio free trial. Apparently some services on either will remain free, but playlists and albums are a subscription deal after the trials; I will pass on paying. After all, I still have bad vibes from when Last.fm, the original source of much scrobbling, took their free service to a subscription model, and I went in search of free internet radio apps that scrobbled to my blogs. While I’ve got the free trials, I’ll listen to as much stuff as I can.

HolidayMinionRush

My last big worry: did my Minion Rush game app survive and make the leap across the chasm, with more than 400,000 delicious bananas and quite a cache of game tokens, not to mention my level 26 ranking? Yes, thank goodness, it did – such a funny game – if I’d been reset to 0 loot, 0 tokens, 0 levels I’d have been pretty sad. And right after downloading the delightful Holiday Lab update, too! It’s so Christmassy (say that like “it’s so fluffy!” and you’ll have it right).

So the resurrection continues (it’s not blasphemy unless it’s capitalized, right? Right.). My work life will be full of music (and no more buzzing and crackling). And my play life will be renewed too, because we’re thinking this Jambox thing will be great to bring on future trips… more on “future trips” later.

My Husband The Action Figure. Complete With Redshirt And Tricorder

My friend Ellen in Germany saw a recent story about getting 3D printed action figures on her blog recently (see Creativ Zeit)

However, my brother-in-law Mitch and I had already conspired together to produce this masterpiece:

20130625-130331.jpg

This came about because Mitch found a website that with a few photos could generate a Star Trek action figure of your choice with your head or the head of a loved one on it. He also found a website that could generate .OBJ files, which can be opened in Blender.

So I told David I was working on a weird “art project” for Second Life in Blender and told him I needed him to take my picture “in the round” so I could see if I could generate a 3D head in Blender… and then added, “let me take your picture too, so I have a couple of things to work with.”

Worked like a charm.

I ended up taking a shit-ton of photos of David, as he rotated around in an unused office chair upstairs in the guest bedroom, and I have a similar number of photos that he took of me. The results were only sort of okay looking in Blender; David’s head was malformed due to the website software having trouble differentiating between the pale wall behind him and the pale reflected light on the side of his head.

My 3D head image came out a bit better, but had an odd cast in the eye.

Ginny360Head

David didn’t want his 360-degree head getting out there in the wild, but he really likes his action figure. For the record, he’s Engineering, not a “redshirt.” And Mitch and I agreed that the tricorder was the prop of choice.

Flickr: Love The New Look But Hate The New Hook

One of the Second Life blogs I read occasionally pointed me at something I hadn’t noticed in the golly-whillikers inducing change in the look of Flickr. They’ve gotten rid of Pro accounts, and once the paid subscriptions I have for myself, my church, and my Second Life accounts run out, I’m pretty sure I’m not going to renew all of them. Why should I, with prices like these just to avoid ads? Well, at least I’m grandfathered in as a current Pro member, I can renew for another two years for the current cost of a one year “Ad Free” account.

I guess I’d like to see what a free account with ads looks like – if it’s anything like what it looks like with the redesign (huge pictures, dark background) before you log in, they’re just banner images occasionally in the stream.

What’s the difference between a Free, Ad Free, and Doublr account?

There are three kinds of accounts to choose from at Flickr, and all of them are awesome in their own way.

Free:

  • 1 Terabyte of photo and video storage
  • Upload photos of up to 200MB per photo
  • Upload 1080p HD videos of up to 1GB each
  • Video playback of up to 3 minutes each
  • Upload and download in full original quality
  • Unlimited monthly bandwidth

Ad Free:

  • $49.99 per year
  • All the benefits of a free account
  • No ads in your browsing experience

Doublr:

  • $499.99 per year
  • 2 Terabytes of photo and video space
  • All the benefits of a free account

(it goes on to say…)

I’ve heard that Flickr Pro is no longer being offered. How does that affect me?

As of May 20, 2013, we are no longer offering Flickr Pro subscriptions to the majority of our members. Some things to be aware of (with more details below):

  • Recurring Pro members currently have the ability to continue renewing at the same price.
  • Eligible Pro members can get a prorated refund for a limited time.
  • Eligible non-recurring Pro members can purchase a recurring Pro subscription.
  • The “Gift of Pro” will no longer be available for purchase.
  • Pro users will no longer appear with a “Pro” badge beside their name or buddy icon

Your Pro pricing remains the same and your benefits have improved:

  • Those who remain Pro will retain all their original benefits.
  • The photo and video size limits will be upgraded to those offered with our new free account.
  • If you are on a recurring Pro subscription, your payments will remain as is. To see what your current subscription costs, see the previous payment on in your order history.
  • Pro members will never be automatically transitioned to an Ad Free or Doublr subscription.

If you’d like to switch to a free account:

  • Eligible Pro members who switch to a free account by August 20, 2013 can receive a prorated refund on their purchase and will lose their Pro benefits immediately.
  • Pro members who cancel Pro after August 20, 2013 will retain Pro benefits until their subscription expiration date.

If you’d like to keep your Pro membership:

  • Anyone who was Pro at 12:00 am (midnight) GMT on May 20, 2013, may be eligible to sign up for recurring Pro in order to extend their Pro membership beyond its expiration date.
  • This applies to:
    • those whose one-time or gift Pro memberships expired after 12:00 am GMT.
    • those who are on a gifted Pro account.
    • those who have purchased one-off Pro and are set to expire in the future.
  • To keep your Pro status by signing up for a recurring Pro subscription, visit the account order page.
  • If you cancel your recurring subscription or opt for the prorated refund, you will no longer have the option to sign up for a recurring subscription.
  • If your recurring subscription expires after May 20, 2013, due to a failed payment, please contact the billing team.

How to tell whether you are on a recurring payment plan:

  • Visit your account details page and look at “Your Flickr account”.
  • You are on a one-off or gift subscription if it says “It expires on [date].”
  • You are on a recurring subscription if it says “It will renew on [date].”
  • If your account has already expired you will not see a related date.

FlickrProStillRenewable

My own Flickr Pro account expires June 7 2014, so there’s a year to go. But according to the graphic, I get 2 years’ worth of “ad free” for the same cost, so I might renew…maybe. Not sure if I care enough about seeing ads or not, but it might be worth it. When I do upload to Flickr (I kind of miss the fun interactions I had when I was using it more), I upload a metric frackton at a time

My Second Life Pro account expires March 16 2014. Probably won’t renew. I don’t care if I see ads on that account, I don’t use it very often, but it’s handy for stashing photos I’ve shot “inworld.” I could probably get by with free.

The St Nicholas Episcopal church Pro account expires January 12th 2015(and I really have bunch of photos to upload, and need to take more, but we mostly use Facebook). I could probably get by for free here, too. A terabyte is upwards of 500,000 photos according to Flickr’s FAQ page, so no worries there.

Meh, I guess “hate” is too strong a word, but I’m still not used to the changes.

via Flickr: Help: Free Accounts, Upgrading and Gifts.

Flickr: Love The New Look But Hate The New Hook

One of the Second Life blogs I read occasionally pointed me at something I hadn’t noticed in the golly-whillikers inducing change in the look of Flickr. They’ve gotten rid of Pro accounts, and once the paid subscriptions I have for myself, my church, and my Second Life accounts run out, I’m pretty sure I’m not going to renew all of them. Why should I, with prices like these just to avoid ads? Well, at least I’m grandfathered in as a current Pro member, I can renew for another two years for the current cost of a one year “Ad Free” account.

I guess I’d like to see what a free account with ads looks like – if it’s anything like what it looks like with the redesign (huge pictures, dark background) before you log in, they’re just banner images occasionally in the stream.

What’s the difference between a Free, Ad Free, and Doublr account?

There are three kinds of accounts to choose from at Flickr, and all of them are awesome in their own way.

Free:

  • 1 Terabyte of photo and video storage
  • Upload photos of up to 200MB per photo
  • Upload 1080p HD videos of up to 1GB each
  • Video playback of up to 3 minutes each
  • Upload and download in full original quality
  • Unlimited monthly bandwidth

Ad Free:

  • $49.99 per year
  • All the benefits of a free account
  • No ads in your browsing experience

Doublr:

  • $499.99 per year
  • 2 Terabytes of photo and video space
  • All the benefits of a free account

(it goes on to say…)

I’ve heard that Flickr Pro is no longer being offered. How does that affect me?

As of May 20, 2013, we are no longer offering Flickr Pro subscriptions to the majority of our members. Some things to be aware of (with more details below):

  • Recurring Pro members currently have the ability to continue renewing at the same price.
  • Eligible Pro members can get a prorated refund for a limited time.
  • Eligible non-recurring Pro members can purchase a recurring Pro subscription.
  • The “Gift of Pro” will no longer be available for purchase.
  • Pro users will no longer appear with a “Pro” badge beside their name or buddy icon

Your Pro pricing remains the same and your benefits have improved:

  • Those who remain Pro will retain all their original benefits.
  • The photo and video size limits will be upgraded to those offered with our new free account.
  • If you are on a recurring Pro subscription, your payments will remain as is. To see what your current subscription costs, see the previous payment on in your order history.
  • Pro members will never be automatically transitioned to an Ad Free or Doublr subscription.

If you’d like to switch to a free account:

  • Eligible Pro members who switch to a free account by August 20, 2013 can receive a prorated refund on their purchase and will lose their Pro benefits immediately.
  • Pro members who cancel Pro after August 20, 2013 will retain Pro benefits until their subscription expiration date.

If you’d like to keep your Pro membership:

  • Anyone who was Pro at 12:00 am (midnight) GMT on May 20, 2013, may be eligible to sign up for recurring Pro in order to extend their Pro membership beyond its expiration date.
  • This applies to:
    • those whose one-time or gift Pro memberships expired after 12:00 am GMT.
    • those who are on a gifted Pro account.
    • those who have purchased one-off Pro and are set to expire in the future.
  • To keep your Pro status by signing up for a recurring Pro subscription, visit the account order page.
  • If you cancel your recurring subscription or opt for the prorated refund, you will no longer have the option to sign up for a recurring subscription.
  • If your recurring subscription expires after May 20, 2013, due to a failed payment, please contact the billing team.

How to tell whether you are on a recurring payment plan:

  • Visit your account details page and look at “Your Flickr account”.
  • You are on a one-off or gift subscription if it says “It expires on [date].”
  • You are on a recurring subscription if it says “It will renew on [date].”
  • If your account has already expired you will not see a related date.

FlickrProStillRenewable

My own Flickr Pro account expires June 7 2014, so there’s a year to go. But according to the graphic, I get 2 years’ worth of “ad free” for the same cost, so I might renew…maybe. Not sure if I care enough about seeing ads or not, but it might be worth it. When I do upload to Flickr (I kind of miss the fun interactions I had when I was using it more), I upload a metric frackton at a time

My Second Life Pro account expires March 16 2014. Probably won’t renew. I don’t care if I see ads on that account, I don’t use it very often, but it’s handy for stashing photos I’ve shot “inworld.” I could probably get by with free.

The St Nicholas Episcopal church Pro account expires January 12th 2015(and I really have bunch of photos to upload, and need to take more, but we mostly use Facebook). I could probably get by for free here, too. A terabyte is upwards of 500,000 photos according to Flickr’s FAQ page, so no worries there.

Meh, I guess “hate” is too strong a word, but I’m still not used to the changes.

via Flickr: Help: Free Accounts, Upgrading and Gifts.

Nerds Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Roman Numerals To Identify Star Trek Movies

My husband David and I were watching a cable rerun of one of the original-cast Star Trek movies last night, because we are nerds and thus we have no life. The official title of this movie is something long and involved: Star Trek (Insert Roman Numeral Here): The Search For Spock.

At least in our house, the official name of this movie is actually “Star Trek: You Klingon Bastard, You Killed My Son. You Klingon Bastard, You Killed My Son. YOU KLINGON BASTARD, YOU KILLED MY SON.

It takes place on the Genesis planet, immediately after the events in the previous movie, Star Trek: KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN! which of course was a sequel to the very first Star Trek classic-cast movie, Star Trek: VEEJUR NEEDS SPACE GUITARS.

In like fashion, the only way I can remember the Star Trek movie that follows ST: YKBYKMS is by calling it either “Star Trek: Double Dumbass On You,” or “Star Trek: Save The Damn Whales.” You may also remember it’s the one with the antique nuclear wessel.

The one after that is either “Star Trek: Oh, God!” or “Star Trek: Uhura’s Embarasssing Fan Dance,” and the one after that is generally “Star Trek: The Last Hurrah,” or “Star Trek: FFS, Let Picard Drive Next Time, Grandpa!”

And so on. The “Next Gen” installments, being more recent, have aged a little better for me. Some of them were excellent (“Star Trek: Very Manly! Lots of Testosterone!*“), and one or two of the later ones (“Star Trek: Sexy Bald Captain’s Clone”) were stinkbombs.

The new reboot was rousing, but inevitably, in my mind it has become both “Star Trek: You Romulan Bastard, You Blew Up My Vulcan!” and “Star Trek: Sector 90210.” The newest installment, which is still in “teaser mode” is likely to become Star Trek: Sexy Hot KHAAAAAAAAAAAAN!” if the hints and spoilers are accurate.

So anyway, in spite of some serious scenery noshing mostly by Shatner, we enjoyed watching “ST:YKBYKMS.” Our affection for the characters still overcomes our dislike of the hokey plot elements. Also, this movie is the one with Christopher Lloyd doing a little “Spaceman Jim” riff when he drops into laid-back English while using his communicator screen, instead of barking orders in monosyllabic Klingon. I started watching pretty early on; the makeup on the Klingons looked pretty bad and you could see where the prostheses began on the upper cheeks.

This is also the one where the mighty Enterprise is given the space-operatic version of a Viking funeral; since Starfleet wasn’t going to refit the old gal, it seemed fitting that Kirk destroy her (with the classic destruct sequence from the old series). That’s okay, they get a shiny new one in the next movie, but not before limping home (and back in time) in that creaky old Klingon Bird of Prey with the rather useful cloaking device. Oh, that reminds me; the next movie after this one also goes by “Star Trek: Everybody Remember Where We Parked The Car.”)

How do you remember multiple-installment genre movies? How the hell does anybody remember all the Friday the 13th and Halloween installments? My system works for me, but admittedly it worked better when there were Shatnerisms to play with.

*Before Star Trek: First Contact was released, I distinctly remember reading an interview somewhere with Jonathan Frakes, who directed in addition to playing Riker. The interview included a tease of Frakes directing Patrick Stewart hunting Borg survivors on the Enterprise armed with a prop plasma rifle. Frakes was shouting encouragement, such as “very manly! Lots of testosterone!,” and so that is how I will always remember this movie.

Still No Amazon Affiliates Love For Illinois

As a resident of Illinois, I can’t participate in the Amazon Affiliates program due to a law passed in the state awhile back that was supposed to protect brick-and-mortar businesses from online businesses that didn’t charge Illinois tax. I thought maybe that might have changed since there had been some stories about the law being ruled unconstitutional, but not according to this newly updated boilerplate from the Amazon Affiliates page. I still get their emails, I just have to keep hoping this will change someday.

In addition, if at any time following your enrollment in the Program you become a resident of Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, North Carolina, Rhode Island, or Connecticut, you will become ineligible to participate in the Program, and this Operating Agreement will automatically terminate, on the date you establish residency in that state. In addition, you must promptly notify us in writing of your Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, North Carolina, Rhode Island, or Connecticut residency, which you may do via the Contact Associates Customer Service form available here.

via Amazon.com Associates Central

Gobekli Tepe: Amazing 11,000-year-old site predates Stonehenge by thousands of years

I’m watching an H2 program called Civilization Lost, covering little-known sites that hint at entire civilizations that have been lost to history, the segment on the Turkish site Gobekli Tepe was striking to me. The History 2 channel seems to be slightly more “woo-woo ancient aliens!1!” than the regular History channel. Also covered: Varna, Tel Hamoukar, the Minoan culture, and others.

Six miles from Urfa, an ancient city in southeastern Turkey, Klaus Schmidt has made one of the most startling archaeological discoveries of our time: massive carved stones about 11,000 years old, crafted and arranged by prehistoric people who had not yet developed metal tools or even pottery. The megaliths predate Stonehenge by some 6,000 years. The place is called Gobekli Tepe, and Schmidt, a German archaeologist who has been working here more than a decade, is convinced its the site of the worlds oldest temple.

via Gobekli Tepe: The World’s First Temple? | History & Archaeology | Smithsonian Magazine

Gobekli Tepe: Amazing 11,000-year-old site predates Stonehenge by thousands of years

I’m watching an H2 program called Civilization Lost, covering little-known sites that hint at entire civilizations that have been lost to history, the segment on the Turkish site Gobekli Tepe was striking to me. The History 2 channel seems to be slightly more “woo-woo ancient aliens!1!” than the regular History channel. Also covered: Varna, Tel Hamoukar, the Minoan culture, and others.

Six miles from Urfa, an ancient city in southeastern Turkey, Klaus Schmidt has made one of the most startling archaeological discoveries of our time: massive carved stones about 11,000 years old, crafted and arranged by prehistoric people who had not yet developed metal tools or even pottery. The megaliths predate Stonehenge by some 6,000 years. The place is called Gobekli Tepe, and Schmidt, a German archaeologist who has been working here more than a decade, is convinced its the site of the worlds oldest temple.

via Gobekli Tepe: The World’s First Temple? | History & Archaeology | Smithsonian Magazine

Yahoo Ruining Flickr? Ach! SSS!! NOOOOOO!

Really hope this is nay-saying… I have 3 Flickr accounts, don’t relish moving them all to… where? Picasa Web Albums? Meh.

This is the story of a wonderful idea. Something that had never been done before, a moment of change that shaped the Internet we know today. This is the story of Flickr. And how Yahoo bought it and murdered it and screwed itself out of relevance along the way.

via How Yahoo Killed Flickr and Lost the Internet