Geeky Decor in Honor “The Hobbit” 2 in Theaters

Almost a month later than the premiere, but my intentions still good!

I was able to watch “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” opening weekend in December before my work site-shutdown. In honor of the premiere, I wanted to share my own geeky decor found in the living room of my apartment 🙂

  • First, above the entrance to my apartment is the following quote. I found an easy, cheap, and simple way to decorate is to take a quote you really like, print it on normal paper, and put it in a cool frame. I got this mirror-like, marbled Celtic themed frame from Khol’s on sale for $5. I like seeing the quote before I leave as inspiration for the day.

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“The road goes ever on and on…” — Bilbo Baggins, “The Hobbit” (book)

For more info on this quote and where it’s references throughout Tolkien’s works: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Road_Goes_Ever_On_(song)

  • Second, a poster map of Middle Earth, thanks to Naomi! I simply bought a poster frame from Walmart for $8 and hung it up on the wall. You can also see my Final Fantasy X inspired key decor on the left.

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For more info on the FFX key decor, go here: https://chubbyriceball.wordpress.com/2013/09/02/final-fantasy-x-inspired-home-decor/

Hope this helps you think of your own apartment decoration ideas!

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Could the Beatles have sang “Scrambled Eggs” instead of “Yesterday”?

I was watching a compilation of some of Jimmy Fallon’s best moments on his night talk show. One of those moments was singing along with the one and only Paul McCartney of The Beatles! McCartney said that he had a tune for “Yesterday” before he had the lyrics to the song set. To remember the melody, he put in place the following:

Placeholder lyrics: “Scrambled eggs, oh baby how I love your legs…”

instead of how we know the song today:

Released song lyrics: “Yesterday, all my troubles seems so far away…”

I think it’s safe to assume that after the first line, the rest of the song was made as a joke for a musical skit. Regardless, I had a really good laugh.

“Yesterday” is one of my favorite Beatles songs. Whenever I hear it, I feel  pretty nostalgic and reflective. It might be hard to feel the same way after hearing the version from this skit haha.

“Breaking Bad” Alternative Ending

This alternative ending is available on the “Breaking Bad” extras DVD on the complete series collection. Love Bryan Cranston as both Hal from “Malcom in the Middle” and Walt from “Breaking Bad?” This video is for you. Holy crossing of TV universes!

hal and walt

Figure. Is Bryan Cranston better as Walt or Hal? Maybe he’s both at the same time…

Stumbled upon this while scrolling through my Facebook feed. Apparently the video has been removed by Sony from YouTube, but BuzzFeed was able to upload it before the link was gone.

Video link and Buzzfeed article: http://www.buzzfeed.com/jacelacob/this-breaking-bad-alternate-ending-must-be-seen-to-be-believ

While I usually hate endings that cop out and say “IT WAS ALL A DREAM,” this is just a fun little extra that I think any “Breaking” fan would get a good kick out of. And, can’t get enough of Walt vs. Hal? Take this quiz testing how well you know these quotable characters.

who said it hal walt

Figure. Another Walter White vs. Malcom’s Dad face-off.

Another Buzzfeed link: http://www.buzzfeed.com/jenlewis/who-said-it-walter-white-or-malcolms-dad

And to finish off this post:

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Figure. This meme seemed appropriate. 

“Breaking Bad,” I miss you so much.

Faceoff Episode “Flights of Fantasy” Thoughts

I was waiting for the Faceoff Season Finale for the Vets vs. Rookies season when my friend Megan started talking to me online. She sent me a pic of what she thought Laura’s bird-human hybrid looked like.

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Top pic: Laura’s interpretation of an elderly umbrella cockatoo beginning to lose feathers and molt.

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Bottom pic:  Nigel, the Sulfur crested cockatoo villain from the movie “Rio.” (Wiki)

Now, I cannot stop laughing during the judging in this episode because I cannot un-see it. Especially if you have seen Rio, you know Nigel has some molting moments himself.  I hope this gives you as good a laugh as it gave me.

Why Are Commercials So LOUD?

Now that I’m a full-fledged working lady, I can actually afford cable now. I’ve been watching an hour or two of TV every night after work/gym, but I noticed how much I absolutely HATE how the volume jacks up super loud whenever commercials come on. I have to mute the TV sometimes because of how alarming the noise is. So I had to ask:

Why are commercials so much louder than movies/TV shows being broadcast?

My sister so happened to be visiting and within earshot range of my complaining and actually shared with me a rather shocking answer.

Commercials are in fact not allowed to be louder than TV programs. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 2011 passed regulations stating that commercials must have the same average volume as broadcast programs.

The reason commercials seem to be jarring and so loud is because their sound is held constantly at the maximum decibel limit. TV programs, on the other hand, tend to fluctuate between patterns of high and low noise.

As this article says “High levels of sound for a sustained duration comes across to the ear as louder than for short duration.”

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Figure. Sums up the traumatic commercial experience. It happens regardless if you are watching on a TV or on the computer. 

And just in case you are wondering what “CILLIT BANG” is, it’s a commercial for a UK universal cleaner, apparently.

Sources:

http://articles.latimes.com/2012/dec/13/entertainment/la-et-ct-calm-law-goes-into-effect-20121212

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/media/story/2011-12-12/fcc-loud-commercials/51848692/1

Breaking Bad Cupcakes

A quick baking project in honor of the premiere of the final 7 episodes of Breaking Bad on AMC! I just thought of doing this last minute, but it only took me about 30 minutes to make. I really wanted to make cupcakes with shards of blue on it, resembling the infamous Blue Sky crystal meth that Walt and Jessie cook in the show.

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Figure. Image source of awesome poster: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/25/breaking-bad-poster-walter-white_n_3497339.html

Step 1: GATHER THE SUPPLIES!

The the things I used: Red Velvet cake mix, some cake liners, a normal pan with foil, a cake pan, some blue Jolly Ranchers, and cream cheese frosting.

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Figure. My lab equipment for the night.

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Figure. I cannot believe this is all the blue I found in this family pack of Jolly Ranchers.

After separating all the blueberry blue ones, I smashed up those candies and placed them on that foil covered baking pan. They were in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 5 minutes since I didn’t have much to work with.

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Figure.Science at work: the phase change from solid to liquid. Not as complicated as drug making, but at least it’s pretty

The easy part! Mix and bake some lovely red cupcakes. Box, eggs, oil, and water is all you need.

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Figure. Godbless cake mix.

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Figure. YUM. Pre-decor. 

Why red cupcakes? Let me answer with a Breaking Bad’s premiere episode tonight: “BLOOD MONEY.”

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Figure. My final “product” haha, get it?

I’m not entirely sure how I will eat these, but I will say this quote is appropriate: “TREAD LIGHTLY.”

Hope you guys enjoyed my little creation. And even more importantly, hopefully you are all up to date on Breaking Bad! I am so excited to see what is in store for the season finale.

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P.S. Here is a cool name generator from the show: https://www.facebook.com/BreakingBad/app_541868445869371

Dragon Ball Z Creme Brulee Cakeballs

Introduction:

It’s been such a long time since I have baked anything! To get back into my baker’s groove, I decided to try out the Dragon Ball Z creme brulee cakeballs recipe by Ro Pansino from the awesome YouTube show NERDY NUMMIES! It’s a rather long process, but I needed a fun project to keep me awake as I try to adjust my sleep schedule for my graveyard shifts. Plus, it’s always been my dream to gather the DRAGON BALLS to save Earth!

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Figure. Wish-granting dragon time!

I followed the video pretty much step by step without any deviations, but Ro makes everything look so easy! Maybe I’m rusty from my pro-baking days, but I had a few problems, which I will be sure to highlight just in case anyone else needs a bit of help.

Working Notes:

Part I – Making the Creme Brulee

I thought making the creme brulee would be the hardest and most stressful part! People would think otherwise, with such simple ingredients, including cream, vanilla, sugar, and egg yolks, and a name literally translating to “burnt cream,” you would think it would be so easy and effortless to make!

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Figure. My almost curdled creme brulee in the bain marie. This type of set-up according to Wiki is also used for science experiments!

Ro teaches you set up a “bain marie.” You just put your liquid creme brulee in it’s cooking bowl. Then, lay a towel down in a baking pan and fill halfway with hot water that had previously been boiling. Finally, you put the entire thing in the oven to bake.

The key to good creme brulee is making sure that it doesn’t curdle, which  can be difficult.

curdle: (verb) to form a coagulated layer

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/curdle

A curdled creme brulee can be denoted by bubbles forming on the top while baking in the oven, and sometimes some brown spots. It can be caused by a couple of things.

  1. Adding the hot cream mixture to the egg yolks and sugar too quickly
    Not allowing the temperatures to adjust or “temper” ends up cooking the eggs and creating a non-homogenous mixture. So you may have a firm layer on top, but liquid past that top layer when you are done cooking.
  2. Cooking it too quickly in the oven.
    This almost happened to me. This is the first time I am baking in my new apartment, and I did not realize that my electric oven heats up much more quickly and aggressively than previous gas ovens that I have had in the past. Luckily, I was able to get away with just a few bubbles on the top of my creme brulee. Cooking too quickly can be caused by too high baking heat or the water being too hot for the bain marie (believe it or not).

Part II – Making cakepop mix!

I haven’t used a cake mix in a box in YEARS. I had been exploring from scratch recipes since for the past few years that I almost forgot how awesome and convenient these cake mixes are, especially when you want to save some time so that you can experiment on non-traditional things, like this one!

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Figure. My slightly browned and lop-sided insta-cake!

After the cake is made, all you have to do is crumble it up with your creme brulee.  Ro had said to not worry about making perfect circles because after freezing you can reshape them. I sorta agree with this, but I found that removing wrinkles is pretty hard when they are frozen.

Part III – Sugar Dip!

Making caramel is pretty easy, but it took me three tries to do it right!  I almost gave up and was going to buy chocolate melts to eat the rest of the cake balls before they went bad, but I was determined to succeed!

First attempt: overboiled/burnt caramel and almost set a fire alarm off at 3am when it started to smoke

Second attempt: made caramel fine, but it was too viscous! Also, I was dumb and put them on a plate to dry, and of course they got stuck. Then when trying to remove caramel covered cakeballs, I smashed the coating and cut multiple fingers with the sharp caramel shards. My right thumb is still upset with the gash I got. Plus my kitchen floor was sticky for days.

Third attempt: FINAL ATTEMPT.

Things I have learned about caramel making:

  • Make sure sugar is dissolved before allowing mixture to go to a boil.
  • A pain to clean later, but try to ocassionally mix the caramel as it cooks so you can evenly see the brown color (your indicator to stop cooking it and throw it into an ice bath).
  • Be patient and keep your eye on it! It too me way longer than 10 minutes of boiling, which the video instructed.
  • If I were to make this entire recipe of cakeballs in one sitting, I would probably need to multiple the recipe by 1.5 to get good dipping stuff.

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Figures. Making caramel!

Just in case you care curious about this awesome color change of sugar as it’s heated, here is a bit of science:

Like all things, sugar is made up of elements: Carbon, Hydrogen, and Oxygen to be exact. When heat is applied, a reaction occurs where the sugar grabs and combines with oxygen in the air. This is is an exothermic reaction where heat is released, and the result is a color change from white to black.

A great link for this science experiment in action: http://www.education.com/science-fair/article/heating-sugar/

Back to the recipe!

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Figure. My cake balls ready to be frozen!

Things I have learned about dipping:

  • Try to have the balls frozen when you dip! I had a lot of casualties fall of their sticks. Unfortunately, frozen cake balls will probably form little bubbles in the caramel coat. Also, as the cake balls thaw, they will pull away from their pretty caramel coat.
  • I didn’t have styrofoam when I did my final try of this recipe (when I did have styrofoam, it fell over form the weight of the cake balls). I was able to get away with using some tall mugs and empty pasta jars!
  • Also, I decided to get extra long sticks. I was going to originally cut them in half, but then after almost burning myself with caramel during the unsuccessful attempts, I decided to take advantage of the length!

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Figure. My creative solution for allowing my caramel to harden, undisturbed.

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Figure. Lol you could tell that was the last one. I was getting impatient and my caramel was hardening 😦 If this happens to you but you still have to cover some cake balls, remember you can always throw the dip on low heat to get it all liquid-y again!

Part IV – Decoration!

I found this groovy multi-sprinkle dispensing device at Walmart for $5.

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Figure. All I wanted was the red stars, but I guess I had to get them all!

And the final product!

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Figure. TA-DAAAAAAAA!

And, if you are not a fan of Dragon Ball Z, this type of baking project could probably be applied to other things. Like if you were to have a Jurassic Park themed party, why not use this to make the fossilized amber? Just a thought!

Conclusion:

Overall, this was a fun experiment, but I don’t know if I will do this again unless someone willingly asks me too haha. To be honest, I don’t even like caramel that much. And if I am going to eat creme brulee, I’d rather have it as a potent custard 🙂

Still, Ro is awesome for coming up with this video, and I had a lot of fun. She must also have an amazing dentist and some hard teeth because she was able to chomp right into those caramel covered cake balls. I have to flip them to the underside where the stick used to be  (the most vulnerable spot!) and smack it with a spoon so it can explode into bite sized pieces (as if dismantling a hard shelled beetle. EW).

Anyways, go and start your YouTube Geek Week right and try some Nerdy Nummies recipes!

References & Troubleshooting:

Baking idea: 

http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjwmbv6NE4mOh8Z8VhPUx1Q

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrKjIvuDEOM

Creme Brulee:

http://indirectheat.blogspot.com/2009/11/creme-brulee.html

http://www.cheftalk.com/t/38412/creme-brulee-help

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bain-marie

Caramel Dip:

http://www.wikihow.com/Caramelize-Sugar

http://www.dominosugar.com/bakers-circle/newsletter-archive/sugar-heat-caramel