Friday, February 27, 2009

Activity Corner

Friday Game

Oh sure, these virtual jigsaw puzzles are easy at first. But they keep getting bigger, making them more complex. Easy, you say? Well, the trick with these jigsaw puzzles is that all the pieces are white. No picture, no pattern, just you and the pieces to figure out how they all go together.

Can you finish, or will you be stumped by brute-force pattern matching in White Jigsaw?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Snowing in Seattle, Redux

With all due respect to you people living in snowy climates, winter grabbed Seattle by the neck this morning and said, basically, "I'm not done with you yet! FEEL MY WHITE, VELVETY WRATH!"

Walking Seattle

"You're at the corner of WHAT?"
Oh Dear... born

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Light = Evil

Light = evil
It may be from Passive-Agressive, but it could be my window they're talking about. Raggs constantly gives me a hard time for torturing my plants with the prospect of sunlight.

Sorry, plants, light is the gamer's enemy.

Losing That Geeky Pallor

Geeks spend a lot of time inside at their computers, which isn't necessarily the best way to get that healthy, outdoorsy, tanned look.

Unless you start using your monitor to get a Computer Tan.

And, yes, I already have the iPhone app. Hey, it'll be spring soon!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The MacCheese Totserole

Time for another cooksperiment from the Nuclear Toast kitchen. I think you'll quickly see where the name comes from.

The ingredients are simple: one onion, 12oz ground "meat", frozen macaroni and cheese, and tater tots.
The raw materials

Pour out the tater tots to cover the bottom of a baking pan. (I started to smush the tots, but gave up after the first one. Too hard.)
The tot layer

While the tots are in the (preheated) oven browning, I diced the onion, carmelized it in a bit of EVOO, and tossed in the fake meat. Salt and pepper to taste.
Heatin' up the middle

Once the tots are browned, layer the meat/onion mixture over them.
The protein layer

Then add the mac-n-cheese... OH CRAP, it's still frozen! Oh well, only way to soften it up is to put it on top and back in the oven.
Brick o'maccheese

After about ten minutes or so, it was soft enough to break apart and spread around. Back in the oven, baby.
The cheesey layer

After about 15 minutes, I turned on the broiler to make the top nice and crispy.
Baked goodness

Let's eat! Hot sauce to taste.
Lookin' good

The lab notes:

  • Even though I'd had the mac-n-cheese in the fridge for a day and a half, it was still a brick. Plan ahead so it's thawed to spread more easily (and finish sooner).

  • I also had the tots in the refrigerator. They were pretty thawed but still took about the same amount of time to brown (following the package directions).

  • You can use ground beef, of course. Although the guys at work couldn't tell the difference, so using fake meat can alleviate part of the guilt of the tots-n-cheese.

  • Leftovers can be microwaved, although it comes out a bit mushy that way. Preheat the oven, microwave to take the chill off, then 15-20 minutes in the oven.

  • I set the oven to 450 for browning the tots, and just left it there for the whole thing. Also 450 for warming the leftovers.

  • This is filling but, as you might expect, awesome delicious.

The beauty of this recipe is you can put most anything you want in the middle layer. Experiment, and let me know how it works for you!

Dude, Where's My Bus?

Riding the bus is often fraught with uncertainty. Is the bus coming? Have I missed it? Is it running late?

Brian Ferris, a grad student at the University of Washington, has figured out (legally) how to access the King County Metro's own bus tracking system, and make it available to everyone. It lets you see if "your" bus is running on time, taking some of the guesswork out of waiting for public transportation.

Here's a screenshot from my iPhone of the bus routes serving a particular stop:

Where the busses are.

If you ride the bus in the Seattle area, you need this. Hook yourself up at One Bus Away.

Raining in Seattle

Yeah, big news, right? But it's been raining off and on for a few days, and you know what that means.

Worms on the sidewalk.

Don't forget to wipe your feet when you come in.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Caption Contest

Caption contest


The Compleat Pac-Man

Jamey Pittman is something of a Pac-Man scholar. And that's putting it mildly. He has created probably the most complete information about the game and how it works on the planet. (You'd probably be surprised to know that some people still play Pac-Man competitively.) If you've ever wanted to improve your game, or just marvel at how well-researched it is, you'll need to read The Pac-Man Dossier.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Caption Contest Winner

This week's winner by default is Hurley.

See the original image here.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Activity Corner

Friday Game

It took a few plays to get the hang of this game. You're trying to clear the spinning mass by making groups of three or more bubbles. Firing quickly helps. Also, you can bounce your shots off the walls and stick your bubbles to the side or bottom. And occasionally more bubbles will fly in and stick to the mass.

Can you get rid of them all in Bubble Spinner?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Walking Ballard

Seattle's Ballard neighborhood is no stranger to the music scene.

Anyone who's been in a band knows about these kinds of poles.
Flyer bones
You get a little more play if you can use a sticker instead.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Backwards Beatles

This isn't about playing Beatles songs backwards. Well, literally, anyway. One fan has decided, while deconstructing the 185 original songs of the Fab Four, to list them in order (as he ranks them) from worst to best. It's Playing The Beatles Backwards: The Ultimate Countdown.

Even if you're not a Beatles fan, you might enjoy the trivia and background information. Plus there are generally links to the songs, in case you don't know them (I hadn't heard a lot of them).

Of course, the comments are always a gold mine of second-guessing and indignation. Hey guys, it's one dude's opinion!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Living in the Past

Seen on the monitor of a coworker.

How floppy is it?
Internet Explorer 2.0? Ah, the good old days!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Caption Contest

Caption contest

Tag Cloud

The new 'net is all about tag clouds, or keywords that highlight key topics on web sites. But how do you do such a thing? By entering in a URL for any site and letting Wordle do all the work.

(Note: You need to have Java installed/enabled on your system for it to work.)

I, of course, entered in this here page, and was surprised to see "new" and "levels" were the biggest comparative tags.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Caption Contest Winner

This week's winner is Dhananjay!

See the original image here.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Activity Corner

Friday Game

Remember Totem Destroyer? I wished that game had a whole lot more than 25 levels.

Well, it's back, but this time there are new totems, new blocks, all new strategies, new achievements, and 50 levels. Solve the mysteries of Totem Destroyer 2. (It also lets you play the classic levels in the Levels screen.)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Traveler

Mr. Jefferson
Found in my pocket change. The stories this one could tell, eh?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Ice ice baby
It was cold this morning. So cold that this bike seat near my bus stop was frozen over. I tried to think of a word for it, and the best I could come up with was "crotchcicle".

Famous Tweets

If you know the net and social networking, then you know all about Twitter. But not just us ordinary people tweet, you know; famous people do it too. While you may not know how famous (or not) these people are, at least you know somebody is watching their feeds at Celebrity Tweet.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Browser Breakdown

Browser software
So with all the recent traffic that's been showing up for my awesome cooksperiments, I thought you netgeeks might be interested in seeing the breakdown of browser software all my visitors are sporting.

I know =I= was surprised.

Oh, Really?

"Sleep ROCKS, dude."

Text from my girlfriend.

The Couch is Lonely

Supply of spare batteries on top of the TV
My friends seriously need to look into getting a universal remote.

I think one of these is for their fireplace. I didn't even know it got cable!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Caption Contest

Caption contest

"Swim the Atlantic? Watch this..."

It's Still Winter

Snowy field
In a firm showing that she is still in control, Mother Nature reminded Seattleites this morning that it's still winter. Here's a picture I snapped of some brush on my walk from the bus to work.

Late-Night Laughs

"Strange de Jim" watches a lot of late-night TV talk shows. He hears a lot of great jokes that are too good to go to waste. So he records them for posterity.

Refamiliarize yourself with hot topics and news items of the day with Late-Night TV Zingers.

(It also reminds you how quickly some of these headlines fall out of our collective consciousness.)

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Caption Contest Winner

This week's winner is House of Mayhem!

See the original image here.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Activity Corner

Friday Game

Here's another great physics engine game that requires you to stack the different parts on each level so that they don't topple over. This goal, of course, gets harder and harder when you're trying to achieve Perfect Balance.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Going Viral

So I see a lot of the intartubes, right? When I see stuff I think you, my regular readers, would be interested in, I compile it in the weekly Activity Corner. So imagine my surprise when, a week ago, my inbox started overflowing with comments about my McPizza cooksperiment.

It turns out that someone pointed to that post on a popular social bookmarking site called StumbleUpon. See for yourself what happens when my daily average of around 45 visits is confronted by a deluge of new intarwebz viewers:

Kinda skews the graph a bit. But it looks like things are quickly returning to normal. Which is good, because I hate dressing up for company.

Galactic Conquest

Star Wars Risk

Yep, we're playing Risk at work again. But not just any Risk, oh no. This is the special Star Wars Original Trilogy Edition. Look upon its awesomeness and... do you feel that? It's probably jealousy.

If you like board games, I'd recommend this one. It's about one-tenth Risk and 90% Star Wars, and has great game mechanics. Plus, Rancors. You just can't beat frikkin Rancors.

Teh closeup!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009


Pity the poor safety graphic designer who has to design an iconic image that not only warns the user but informs them as well. They can range from the silly to the imaginative.

Theme blogs are all over the intartubes, but here's one that collects the graphics for us to see. Click on over to Safety Graphic Fun.

(I think it'd be even more fun to caption the images, but that's just me.)

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Gamer Census

Ok, so it came from gaming webcomic site Penny Arcade, but it's still pretty relevant, given that over 38,000 of us responded to the survey. If you're a gamer and interested in the breakdown, check out the results.

Coworker Roundup

More out-of-context quotes starring people I work with.

  • "I'm two days sober from WoW."

  • "Ok, elephant in the room. I just farted."

  • "I saw a Vespa yesterday with a ski and chains. How stupid is that? He wants to die under a car and I shamelessly want to see it."

  • "If I'm not bitching, I'm not happy."

  • "Dude, I am so damn jealous of your coconuts."

  • "That's just ricockulous!"

  • "Rate yourself on the scale from potato to platypus."
    "Definitely spiny echidna."

Monday, February 02, 2009

Wikipedia Pwnage

Like many here in the States, I watched the Super Bowl yesterday. During the halftime show, which featured Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, the Raggs and I were wondering just how old The Boss is. So, naturally, I jumped on wikipedia to check. This is the page that displayed.

Bruce is a what?
One minute later, the regular page was back. But I thought it was funny that 1) someone hack-edited the page right when it would be seen the most; 2) I managed to be there in that one-minute timespan; and 3) that someone on wikipedia is monitoring stuff like this.

I'm surprised the hack-editor didn't annotate his work with a "citation needed".

Caption Contest

Caption contest


Support Your Supervillain

So you're a henchman working for a supervillain with evil plans for world domination. But your To Do list is a mile long, and you still have to keep your boss happy. What you need is an internet tool that can help you keep an eye on things. Luckily, you can fire up the Henchman's Helper.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Caption Contest Winner

This week's winner is ParticleJam. Yet again. Good one!

See the original image here.