Kettle Corn

Ever see those people at Farmer’s Markets or Carnivals cooking up huge batches of Kettle Corn in those large iron cauldrons?  Those guys are more than happy to charge you some ridiculous amount of money for what essentially amounts to pennies’ worth of ingredients.

Here’s how to make your own:


  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 pinches of salt (more if you like your kettle corn more salty)


  1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add three kernels of popcorn.  Cover with a splatter guard.
  3. When they pop, add the rest of the popcorn.
  4. When the first kernels pop, add the sugar and salt.
  5. Shake vigorously until popping stops.

Pizza Monkey Bread

I found this fantastic recipe for Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread, and decided to make it my own.  Charlene has really been craving pizza lately, so I figured this might be a decent answer to her hunger pangs.  The biggest difference between the recipe above and mine is that I didn’t use pepperoni–Charlene prefers mushrooms, and I got my dough from Trader Joe’s.  To make preparation easier, I also used string cheese, and cut it into small pieces, rather than getting a big block of mozzarella.

Here’s what they looked like up close:

Fire Containment

August typically marks the beginning of California’s Fire Season. When reporters talk about forest fires, they always comment on the Percent Contained. I always wondered what that meant. In case you were wondering, here’s how it’s defined:

Percent Contained is the ratio of “fire line” length to the fire’s circumference.

Fire line is either dug or created by firefighters, or a naturally occurring landscape feature like a cliff or a body of water. In other words, if the fire is 100 miles in circumference, and there are 50 miles of fire line, then the fire is 50% contained.

Interesting, huh?

For further reading:


I went to Costco today and bought over eighty pounds of meat for a friend’s wedding.  About 56 lbs of tri-tip, and 26 lbs of chicken.  Sorry, there’s no pictures of the chicken, but they would have been boring anyways.

56 pounds of tri-tip is by far the most tri-tip I’ve ever bought.  I look forward to breaking that personal record one day.  Here’s what 56 lbs of tri-tip looks like:

Four 15 pound-ish cryovac bags with tri-tip inside…mmm

This is what they call a "case" it doesn't look as big as I'd imagine it, but they're 60-80 lbs of tri-tip

Four 15 pound-ish cryovac bags with tri-tip inside...mmm

Waldo ain’t got nuthin’ on this guy

Liu Bolin is a Chinese artist who has seemingly perfected the art of disappearing into the background.  I think my favorite is the first one in front of the soda aisle.  But I think he blends in the best with the dump truck.  I didn’t even know he was in the picture at first glance; it was his hair that gave it away.  It needed to be more orange.

According to the NY Times article, it takes several hours to setup a shot, and they use paint and makeup to blend him in on site. I can’t imagine standing still that long, especially in the heat and humidity of Beijing.  Hope he does his shots in the winter.

Mpix Magnet Prints now has magnet prints.  Looks like the perfect vehicle for sending save the dates, graduation announcements, engagement announcements, baby announcements, etc. They probably wouldn’t make bad Christmas cards either.

And they’re priced fairly reasonably, starting at $34.50 for twenty-five 4″x5.5″ and going down as you order more.  They even include the envelopes!

I also love the fact that the tool used to create them comes with some pre-defined templates to help you get started, or you can just upload an image of the correct dimensions, and create the card from that.

DNG Codec

If you don’t mind “beta” software, are a Windows 7 user, and you convert your camera’s RAW files to the Adobe DNG format, then this “release candidate” DNG Codec is for you.

According to Adobe:

The DNG Codec provides a method for Windows 7 customers to view DNG files in the Windows Explorer and Photo Gallery.

The biggest downside, in my opinion, is that it doesn’t offer support for OSes prior to Windows 7. Then again this is 2011; I suppose we should all be on the latest and greatest OS, unless you count this one.