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January 28, 2005

Hot Chocolate
life, thing

"Perfectly Chocolate" Hot Cocoa
1 Cup Milk, heated
2-3 tsp. Cocoa Powder
2 tbsp. Sugar
1/4 tsp. Vanilla Extract
Dash Salt

What with school being canceled repeatedly for delightful dustings of snow, creating our own mini-winter-break, it's the perfect weather for hot chocolate. Once more, however, we come to a dilemma. What kind of hot chocolate? Most brands have a basketful of flavors Swiss Miss's run the gamut from "Rich Chocolate" to "Chocolate Sensation". And then there's always the option of mixing it straight from the cocoa powder.

Taste-wise, I think from-cocoa rules supreme. Swiss Miss's varieties seem to have little more than an iota of difference between them, and their actual chocolatey taste is significantly less powerful than that of Hershey Cocoa's "Perfectly Chocolate" Hot Cocoa, even though their website claims that their hot chocolate mixes have "that real chocolate taste and flavor". From-cocoa is very hearty, and, moreover, can be customized precisely to one's tastebuds. Creamier? Just switch milks! More chocolatey (goodness! it's quite chocolatey already!)? Scoop more of that brown powder in there!

On the other hand, prepackaged does have that patent hot chocolate taste that you've always known, with the same balance every time, in addition to it's unique smell.

Milk does seem to take a good while longer to heat up than water the 45 seconds recommended by the Dairy Farmers of Manitoba only creates lukewarm milk, not particularly suitable for hot chocolate. In addition, the home-mixed concoction is best served with a spoon; over time, the ingredients seem to settle a little bit, an ailment largely avoided by the premixed solutions.

So, how does do-it-yourself stack up against pre-mixed varieties pricewise? Canisters of cocoa seem like they can go forever, and there must be an infinite quantity of "pinches" in a cylinder of salt, while pre-mixed only comes with around 9 packets of hot chocolate per box! At Food Lion, Chocolate Sensations and Rich Chocolate Swiss Miss are $.16 and $.13 per packet, respectively. (clearly we're being charged extra for the added Sensation)

As far as home-mixed goes, cocoa powder is $.04 per 3 tsp, imitation vanilla extract is $.01 per 1/4 tsp, Food Lion sugar is $.02 per 2 tbsps, and salt is less than $.01 per 1/8th of a teaspoon (there are 1248 "pinches" of this size in a 26oz. container). Moving on, however, milk is an entire $.23 per cup! The unbovinic components total to only $.08. but with milk included the homebrew costs a total of $.31. Well, alright you might say the prepackaged uses dried milk anyway. But dried milk costs $.37 per liquified cup! How do they get the milk for so cheap?

In summation, pre-mixed packets of Hot Chocolate offer a modicum more convenience than rolling your own, although with a spiffy set of measuring spoons you can plow right through a cup of home-mixed cocoa in no time, and the result is generally better, not to mention more hackable. Plus, the ingredients are easy to find in the average home's kitchen. However, despite the apparent cheap nature of the chocolatey home-brewed drink which had appealed to my frugalness, it seems that in reality powdered mixes win out by far in the economic war. Curse the costly bovines! (and curse the thesaurus; it neglects to display an entry for cow!)

Thus, in lack of any definitive answer having emerged from this research, I think I'll keep on as I've been doing: varying my hot chocolate intake, randomly switching from prepackaged to cocoa-based depending on how lazy I feel at any one moment.

Posted by Trevor Savage at 8:48 PM | Comments (0)

January 23, 2005

FrenchLookup: Cocoa Services
geekage, thing

"Three great virtues of programming are laziness, impatience, and hubris."
-Larry Wall

Being something of a francophile, I'll sometimes go surfing the web for french news or blogs or whatnot else to read, or try to tackle a bit of a text from Gutenburg. However, also being quite lazy, I certainly don't want to have to go to the trouble of looking up words that I don't know in an actual pulp-based bit of binding. Thankfully, there's a handy dandy online French dictionary, which has most words I need- the rest I can bear to lookup in the paperback. Even with this, however, it's a spot of an annoyance to copy 'n paste words into the dictionary's form.

So, I got the idea that I could automate the process. A contextual menu would have been best, but I don't know that such a global menu is possible in OSX. I then realized that, with a service doing the lookup on the selected word(s), I could have a global key command to bind to a mouse button!

Thanks to CocoaDev and a line or so of additional code it was soon working. Then, with some help from the handy dandy [NSString stringByAddingPercentEscapesUsingEncoding: NSISOLatin1StringEncoding] and some fixing of foolish but fun to solve problems, spread out over a few weeks, it no longer choked on accents and worked quite well. Yay for Cocoa! A few clicks about in the Logitech Con- eek. I think I'm out of buttons. I suppose I'd best cave in and get USB Overdrive (or maybe not- looks like it doesn't support nifty stuff like chording. cripes.).

While we're on the topic of services, if you have entries in your services menu from 5 different web browsers, 3 different text editors, and a myriad assortment of other programs, Service Manager is invaluable. It apparently just simply removes/modifies the services in the Info.plist files of the applications in question, but does so quite easily and quickly.

UPDATE: Another day, another browser. I realized that a two year old version of Firefox probably wasn't very representative of the browser, so I downloaded a new version. It's MUCH faster and prettier, and the selection of extensions is awesome. It's quite likely that DictionarySearch will become my new dictionary solution, and along with ForecastFox and the rest of Firefox's entourage, it's quite possible that Safari will be demoted to second in command.

Posted by Trevor Savage at 3:16 PM | Comments (0)

January 22, 2005

Poetry; it's fun!
life, thing

when feelings are intense
words come marching hence
arrayed in official attire
armed and ready to fire
standing in formation
they keep their muskets stationed
prepared to volley
at all who, in their folly, venture by

Back in October or so, I started becoming pushed to verse occasionally when struck by great emotion. Even at the time, though, I remained rather miffed as to why one would want to write a poem about some blasted flower or cloud. At some point I realized that poetry, besides being an alternative to prose, seems largely about capturing one's feelings and emotions at any given time.

Recently, I've stated taking it up in times of boredom, coming up with the words which would best fit. Nevertheless, the lines which simply jump into one's head while one ponders poetry seem to be the best in wording and the most accurate to one's feelings. Even when one simply desires to write a poem, the most effective topics seem to be those which one actually feels, as opposed to some random topic which you decide to put to verse. It's quite delightful to come up with these little bits of wordage which so succinctly express exactly what drives one to do what one does.

I think this enjoyment of the writing of poetry reflects one of the main things which I like about writing in general; expressing oneself. It's quite fulfilling to write and present to the world something which reflects one's conclusions and thoughts about life, with the hope that it will change the world for the better through those who read it either when someone finds out about a nifty website or activity which they go on to enjoy greatly, or when someone realizes that their way of thought may have been flawed, and that maybe we should just all get along and be happy.

Posted by Trevor Savage at 8:22 PM | Comments (0)

January 19, 2005

Snow!
life, log

SNOW! C'est beau! A physical manifestation of the yummlicious cold air, coating everything in a beautiful white icing and making me want to dance about in it whilst in good company! Alas, to home we went, to study for exams. No snow-dancing for us. We did sit outside during lunch, though, while the snow started it's descent, so not all is lost. The snow called out to me to photograph it, and I caved in when I got home and hopped around for a while; click the photo above to view some of the resulting pictures. It may seem that I'm getting a bit excited about a teeny bit of snow, but what can I say- I like precipitation.

And, speaking of snow, I hail all towtrucks! Saw three or so accidents on the way home, two of which had towtrucks working about. Although I have no idea where they come from, seeing as how this seems like a towtruck devoid rural area, thanks be to them and their drivers!

Exams and snow, snow and exams; others often express heated preferences as to when the school-halting snow comes, some preferring that it come during exams that they might have more time to study and others desiring that it come about afterwards, so that they won't have to worry about exams. As for me, as delightful as hoping is, I don't particularly care when it comes, as it'll come whenever it will and whenever it comes I'll be happy. Either way, though, when the snow gods take their tally for and against powdery precipitation, I certainly shout "Aie"!

Posted by Trevor Savage at 12:38 PM | Comments (0)

January 14, 2005

Jello
geekage, thing

jello, jello
such a naughty fellow

he sneezes and sleazes
and expels quite a bellow

jello, jello
foolish boy

don't you know that sneezing
when your mouth is full

is quite unkind,
even if you do taste mellow?

Googling for "Jello" is quite an adventure. First off, as one might expect, one encounters Kraft's official site; however, it'd seem that Google found it at a bad time, as it reads "Sorry, Page Not Found", leaving a bit of confusion as to whether it actually is the official page until one clicks through.

Secondly, one comes across a rather odd page full of seemingly random phrases and such about Jello. Some hilights of his page seem to be "Why is school not made of jello?", the delightful "Ode To Jello", the "key to sucess" and "But I HAVE to be Jello!".

Thirdly, we come across the webpage of The Jell-O Museum and Gallery, located in LeRoy, New York, where Jello evidently made it's debut.

Skipping along, we come to a page about dyeing with Jello, which introduces the strange yet intriguing idea of dyeing your various fibers in concoctions of prepackaged foodstuffs.

Next, we come across a quite interesting Jello fansite, which features some Jello poetry, including another "Ode To Jell-O", as well as pages entitled "The Happy Land of Grape Jello" and "Walkin' Jello".

Finally, we come across yet another Jello song (does Jello just call one to hail it in verse?), entitled The Jello On My Fork, which explores the delightful relationship between Jello and Forks, including a story of a piece of Jello which, although content, didn't quite fit on the fork it found itself.

Now I want some Jello...

Posted by Trevor Savage at 10:34 PM | Comments (0)

On Shampoo Selection
life, thing

cleansing goo
so good for you
green like grapes
creeps like cream
despite the sheen
it lathers and cleans

At first glance, tackling the giant shampoo aisles typically found in stores would seem a difficult task. What qualities are too be desired in shampoo, after all? How can they be metered? The amount of dirt gleaned from the bottom of a washtub and the overall look of the hair post-washing?

After a brief break from my randomly-selected official shampoo brand, however, I can attest that White Rain's cleansing goo seems superior. First off, it's consistency is easily the most attractive of the three hair improvement solutions which I had the pleasure to sample this last week. As is easily observable upon accidentally pouring out a handful from the "Family Sized" bottle, it almost has the feel of Jello, although, of course, it isn't as firm. This is a rather delightful feeling to sample with one's finger, although if your shampoo happens to be green and smell like apples, you might be tempted to sample it with your tasting apparatus as well. The bottle, however, warns that the product is for external use only.

White Rain's hair washing ability also stands above the crowd, leaving one's hair a fluid mass, easy to scrub about as one removes the massive quantities of foam from one's hair, unlike both Rave brand shampoo and the oh-so-formal yet handy in a tight spot bar 'o soap.

Next up in the spotlights we have Coast brand bar soap, perfect for those instances when you realize that you're all out of shampoo and that you forgot to do anything about getting some for the last 3 days. In the appearance field, it follows close behind the White Rain, being a delightful combination of white and blue, followed close behind by a delicious smell, best sampled by placing the bar in quite close proximity to one's nez as they say on their website, "One whiff can revive anyone.". The scent is easily missed if you don't smell carefully, however It took me about 10 years of use to notice it. They don't seem to warn against internal use.

Unlike White Rain, Coast doesn't hold up in the hair-treatment category. If you're not careful, it's easy to get odd lumps of soap in your hair, and the washing provided is clearly subpar, leaving, after a few days, a rather greasy feeling, although it's not immediately apparent. After washing, hair also has a tendency to want to cling to itself, making it difficult to move about.

Rave brand shampoo pulls in last in our contest, with it's unimpressive green bottle design and clearly soap-like appearance. Yellowish in color, much like antibacterial soap, it warns predators from afar of it's innutritious nature. It's scent is also rather clearly soapish, lending no fantasies that the product just might be edible.

In the cleansing competition, Rave only beats Coast by a modicum, finding within it's bottle some cleansing prowess. Like Coast, however, after washing your hair it has a tendency to cling together.

Despite having apparently pulled their plane jane model from the shelves, I am now once more a thoroughly random follower of White Rain, and I hereby hail it's charismatic washing ability.At first glance, tackling the giant shampoo aisles typically found in stores would seem a difficult task. What qualities are too be desired in shampoo, after all? How can they be metered? The amount of dirt gleaned from the bottom of a washtub and the overall look of the hair post-washing?

After a brief break from my randomly-selected official shampoo brand, however, I can attest that White Rain's cleansing goo seems superior. First off, it's consistency is easily the most attractive of the three hair improvement solutions which I had the pleasure to sample this last week. As is easily observable upon accidentally pouring out a handful from the "Family Sized" bottle, it almost has the feel of Jello, although, of course, it isn't as firm. This is a rather delightful feeling to sample with one's finger, although if your shampoo happens to be green and smell like apples, you might be tempted to sample it with your tasting apparatus as well. The bottle, however, warns that the product is for external use only.

White Rain's hair washing ability also stands above the crowd, leaving one's hair a fluid mass, easy to scrub about as one removes the massive quantities of foam from one's hair, unlike both Rave brand shampoo and the oh-so-formal yet handy in a tight spot bar 'o soap.

Next up in the spotlights we have Coast brand bar soap, perfect for those instances when you realize that you're all out of shampoo and that you forgot to do anything about getting some for the last 3 days. In the appearance field, it follows close behind the White Rain, being a delightful combination of white and blue, followed close behind by a delicious smell, best sampled by placing the bar in quite close proximity to one's nez as they say on their website, "One whiff can revive anyone.". The scent is easily missed if you don't smell carefully, however It took me about 10 years of use to notice it. They don't seem to warn against internal use.

Unlike White Rain, Coast doesn't hold up in the hair-treatment category. If you're not careful, it's easy to get odd lumps of soap in your hair, and the washing provided is clearly subpar, leaving, after a few days, a rather greasy feeling, although it's not immediately apparent. After washing, hair also has a tendency to want to cling to itself, making it difficult to move about.

Rave brand shampoo pulls in last in our contest, with it's unimpressive green bottle design and clearly soap-like appearance. Yellowish in color, much like antibacterial soap, it warns predators from afar of it's innutritious nature. It's scent is also rather clearly soapish, lending no fantasies that the product just might be edible.

In the cleansing competition, Rave only beats Coast by a modicum, finding within it's bottle some cleansing prowess. Like Coast, however, after washing your hair it has a tendency to cling together.

Despite having apparently pulled their plane jane model from the shelves, I am now once more a thoroughly random follower of White Rain, and I hereby hail it's charismatic washing ability.

Posted by Trevor Savage at 10:34 PM | Comments (0)

devlog: Mission Statement
geekage, thing

Greetings from Trevor, knitter, rower, dreamer and general geek. I welcome you to the newly christened ClosetPacifistic Devlog. Poke around if you will, but most of all, enjoy yourself.

The purpose of this blog is several fold. First off, it exists to log the development of my computer, mind, daily life, and yarn. Secondly, it exists to provide some entertainment or information to you, the as of yet ethereal readership. Finally, it exists as a scratch sheet for the exploration of my pen and satisfaction of my mouth. Here's to a successful run in this newly formed craft!

Posted by Trevor Savage at 5:16 PM | Comments (0)