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Gwynedd
Date: 2016-05-27 01:27
Subject: 50 Books 2016-28: The End of the Sentence
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Tags:50books
The End of the Sentence
by Maria Dahvana Headley & Kat Howard

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Gwynedd
Date: 2016-05-21 20:26
Subject: 50 Books 2016-27: Every Heart a Doorway
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Tags:50books
by Seanan McGuire

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Gwynedd
Date: 2016-05-20 19:14
Subject: Thermal decomposition of sugar (aka caramel)
Security: Public
Tags:baking, cooking, food science
I saw this article on Boing Boing three days ago and decided to give it a try, first preheating my oven to 300F* and spreading out about a quarter of a bag of sugar over a silicon liner on a cookie sheet, then baking the sugar for nearly five hours. (I found the "official" recipe after I'd started.)

I suspect my oven was a little below 300 and I could have gone a little bit longer without hitting the liquification point, but the experiment seems successful.

A couple of notes: the color change, especially for the first couple of hours, is very subtle, and, for me at least, best seen by comparing it to untoasted sugar. After than tthe overall color didn't darken a lot more, but the texture when I periodically stirred seemed more "crumbly" like brown sugar as the time increased. Just before five hours (by the clock) had passed, small clumps on the edge of liquifying seemed to be developing, which is when I decided to stop. I spread it as evenly as I could across the cookie sheet and left it alone for about twenty minutes.

As the caramel sugar cooled, it quickly became a hard loaf, but I was able to pound on it gently with a wooden spoon to break it up again while it was still warmish.

While toasting, the sugar had a faint, nearly subliminal, floral smell, reminiscent of cotton candy.

I think the granulated mouth-feel tends to disguise the flavor change if you are simply tasting it, though if I crunch it a bit while drawing air through my mouth (sort of like tasting wine), the caramel notes are certainly there.


*Having previously noticed that oven temperature goes high enough to char paper during pre-heating and not wanting to the sugar to deliquesce straight off by accident.

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Gwynedd
Date: 2016-05-20 18:32
Subject: 50 Books 2016-26: Roses and Rot
Security: Public
Tags:50books, faeries
by Kat Howard

This is a Tam-Lin story featuring two sisters who have used art (writing and dance respectively) to (mostly) escape their narcissist mother and are now in residence at an extraordinary artist colony.

Kat did a signing at the Toadstool in Milford last night before the SF Readers' Group -- it was great to meet her, I'm only sorry I hadn't somehow (through time travel, perhaps?) read the book first!

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Gwynedd
Date: 2016-04-25 21:01
Subject: 50 Books 2016-22 through 25 (more catching up)
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Tags:50books
2016-22
Crenshaw (unabridged audiobook)
by Katherine Applegate, read by Kirby Heyborne
A really good YA book about a boy whose family is on the verge of being homeless for a second time and the return of his imaginary friend, a large, black and white cat named Crenshaw.

2016-23:
3 Below (unabridged audiobook)
Floors Series, Book 2
by Patrick Carman, read by Jesse Bernstein

2016-24:
The Field of Wacky Inventions (unabridged audiobook)
Floors Series, Book 3
by Patrick Carman, read by Jesse Bernstein
I ended up finishing the series despite having numerous issues with it, chiefly that the fabulously wealthy, eccentric genius running things is rather too fey, despite some handwaving at the end about his level of supervision; the main antagonist's scene chewing; the number of sympathetic human female characters; some timeline/continuity wobbles; some klunky word choices; and a running gag involving burping that permeated the second book and had call backs in the third.

2016-25:
Wynonna Earp: Strange Inheritance (graphic novel)
by Beau Smith (Author), Enrique Villagran (Artist), Manual Vidal (Artist), Pat Lee (Artist), Carlos Ferreira (Artist), Luis Diaz (Artist), Joyce Chin (Artist)
I've been enjoying the tv series. It doesn't have a lot in common with its source material. I like the tv property more.

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Gwynedd
Date: 2016-04-20 17:52
Subject: 50 Books 2016-18 through 21 (catching up)
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Tags:50books
2016-18:
Dragonbreath
Dragonbreath #1
written and illustrated by Ursula Vernon
I'm reading these prior to handing them off to my six-year-old nephew. They are fun. I hope he likes them.

2016-19:
Floors (unabridged audiobook)
Floors Series, Book 1
by Patrick Carman, read by Jesse Bernstein
This is the first in a series. I'm not sure it manages to be whimsical enough in its wackiness for me, but it's probably a hit with younger readers. I started book two immediately after book one, but stalled out and switched to another audiobook.

2016-20:
Dragonbreath: Attack of the Ninja Frogs
Dragonbreath #2
written and illustrated by Ursula Vernon

2016-21:
Dragonbreath: Curse of the Were-wiener
Dragonbreath #3
written and illustrated by Ursula Vernon

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Gwynedd
Date: 2016-04-09 09:58
Subject: 50 Books 2016-17: The Hearts of Horses (unabridged audiobook)
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Tags:50books, audiobooks, fiction
The Hearts of Horses (unabridged audiobook)
by Molly Gloss, read by Rene Raudman

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Gwynedd
Date: 2016-03-31 23:54
Subject: 50 Books 2016-16: Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen
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Tags:50books
by Lois McMaster Bujold

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Gwynedd
Date: 2016-03-21 23:21
Subject: 50 Books 2016-12 through 15 (catching up)
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Tags:50books
2016-12:
Slaughterhouse Five (unabridged audiobook)
by Kurt Vonnegut, read by James Franco

2016-13:
Harriet the Invincible
Hamster Princess, book 1
by Ursula Vernon

2016-14:
Of Mice and Magic
Hamster Princess, book 2
by Ursula Vernon

2016-15:
Chaos Choreography
InCryptid, book 5
by Seanan McGuire

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Gwynedd
Date: 2016-03-09 06:00
Subject: Why?
Security: Public
Tags:stupid human tricks
Why does Dove soap think that I should be worried about my soap having soap in it? A recent commercial informs me with alarm that my body wash might -- horrors! -- have some of the same ingredients as my dish soap. Gosh!

(It's not as if we're cleaning our dishes with lye or other caustic cleansers: Palm Olive has been advertising itself as suitable for soaking hands in for something like forty years and everyone should know at this point that Dawn is the go-to-product for degreasing oil-fouled wildlife and deskunking pets which makes it practically the poster-soap for safe yet effective.)

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