November 27, 2008

Hilton Head Island Reading

Filed under: literature,travel — origamifreak @ 2:10 pm

One of my sisters invited me to come to HHI with her, my brother-in-law, and his brother and sister-in-law. Having no experience of that part of the world, I of course turned to books. It is not easy to find a list of books about the area, but I think I have managed it, thanks to the search engines at Amazon and elsewhere:

It isn’t a book, but this newspaper article from last year mentions a tour that sounds like it would be really interesting, especially following the reading above.


November 21, 2008

Winter Solstice Quiz

Filed under: quizzes — origamifreak @ 5:15 pm
Tags: ,

Think you know your cultures and history? Are you good at Googling for information?

See if you can come up with the answers to this quiz I cooked up a few years ago.

Select the one BEST pairwise match between each culture and celebration. The clues are deliberately obscure, but there is always a single most appropriate answer.


  • Islam
  • Persia
  • Pagan Scandanavia
  • Pagan Slavs
  • Christianity
  • Ancient Incas
  • 20th Century Western Culture (NBC)
  • Ancient Greece
  • Ancient Rome
  • Judaism
  • Pan-Africa
  • Ancient Egypt
  • Druidism
  • China
  • Buddhism
  • Post-Gregorian Western Culture
  • Roman Empire, 274 ~ 400 AD


  1. “Feast of Dedication”
  2. Yule
  3. Eid-al-Adha
  4. Rohatsu
  5. Inti Raymi
  6. Festivus
  7. Shabe-Yalda
  8. Lenaea
  9. “First Fruits”
  10. Alban Arthuan
  11. Natalis Solis Invicti
  12. Saturnalia
  13. New Year’s Eve
  14. Cristes mæsse
  15. “The death of Wesir”
  16. Korochun
  17. “The Extreme of Winter”

Put your answer in the comments for this post. For bonus points, return your answers in chronological order (by century or year).

I will post the answers here on December 20 (which is the winter solstice).

Have fun! 😉

November 19, 2008

Water Footprint

Filed under: quizzes — origamifreak @ 8:37 pm

Your total household water use is approximately 1,143.67 gallons per day.

What’s your water footprint?

November 18, 2008

Slip-sliding away (Baby’s got a new set of shoes)*

Filed under: technology,transportation — origamifreak @ 10:41 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Winter has finally arrived, and I had my first opportunity this morning to see how the new car handles snow. The answer is, “not very well,” at least not with the Dunlop SP31s that came with it. Turns out I’m not the only one who found this out.

A trip to the local tire store resulted in the purchase and installation of a set of Kumho I’zen WX KW17s, which I was told would be much better. So far so good, and according to the weather forecast I’ll have plenty of opportunity to test them out the rest of the week.

*I guess this means I have to call the car “Baby.” It’s a stupid name, but that’s how this sort of thing goes… You use some silly phrase offhand and the sudden sinking feeling tells you that you’ve accidentally named your car, and it’s going to stick. *sigh*

November 15, 2008

Six of Four

Filed under: quizzes — origamifreak @ 7:33 am

In response to Lisa.

  1. Four places I frequently go: the bathroom, Geneva, Ithaca, Seneca Falls
  2. Four people who email me (regularly): CelebritySmile (Whiten your teeth 5 shades in only 1 hour!), Hot New Laptop (Tired of being tied to your desk? Get a new Laptop), AcaiCleanse (Acai Berry Boom! is here to boost your energy levels!), Smart Promotions (Congratulations: Claim Ur Sony Vaio aw series Titanuim Noteb k)
  3. Four of my favorite places to eat: Japan, Asolo, Ithaca Bakery, my house
  4. Four places I would rather be right now: asleep in bed, NZ, in my right mind, Cambridge
  5. Four people I think will respond: Deb, Deborah, Mrs. Miller, Isaac & Isabelle’s mom
  6. Four TV shows I like to watch: The Office, Firefly, Blackadder, Star Trek

November 10, 2008

Patchwork Nation

Filed under: quizzes — origamifreak @ 11:42 am

I’m posting this for those of my friends who live in counties that might not match their demographics…  🙂

Patchwork Nation consists of America’s 3,142 counties, divided into 11 community types on the basis of certain demographic characteristics, such as income level or racial composition. Learn which one best describes where you live.

Your zip code puts you in a county, which we’ve identified as Campus and Careers community type.

Based on your responses, you have a 97 % match with other people in your community type.

Which group is your best match?

Updated countries map

Filed under: quizzes,travel — origamifreak @ 12:08 am

It occurred to me, after reading a post from last year, that I needed to update this map.

November 9, 2008

Parsnip Update

Filed under: food — origamifreak @ 1:55 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The two parsnips on the left and all three of the celeriac, plus 4 onions from the CSA are now chopped up into little pieces and simmering in a pot with a pork loin end (bone in). It’s a lazy version of the flavors in a white mirepoix. Which seems appropriate, given that “pork is the other white meat,” right? 😉

Not sure what I’ll do with that last, Most Fearsome Parsnip, but it’s lurking in the fridge with the celeriac stems, awaiting its fate.

Incidentally, pork loin end is one of my new favorite economical stew-type cuts. It’s cheap and there’s a lot of meat in there, and so what if there’s that awkward bone – I usually cook it until the meat comes off by itself, anyway.

By the way, did you know that celeriac and parsnips are related? I think I did at one point, but I’d forgotten. They’re in the Apiaceae family (I was taught Umbelliferae, but I think that name is less popular, now):

  • Apium graveolens, celery, celeriac
  • Daucus carota, carrot
  • Pastinaca sativa, parsnip
  • Foeniuculum vulgare, fennel
  • Coriandrum sativum, coriander, cilantro
  • Caurm carvi, caraway
  • Anthriscus cerefolium, chervil
  • Pimpinella anisum, aniseed
  • Anethum graveolens, dill
  • Cuminum cyminum, cumin
  • Petroselinum crispum, parsley

I found a paper where they tried to figure out the evolutionary relationships among members of the family using chloroplast genes. Sadly they did not include cumin or parsley:


Still, I did learn some cool things, like fennel, dill, and celery are all closer to each other than they are to anise and chervil, which I might not have expected, given the similarity of flavor between anise, chervil, and fennel.

Also, carrots may be closer to chervil than they are to parsnips, which may be closer to coriander (depending on which gene you believe). So things grown for taproots aren’t necessarily close relatives, either.

Economic botany is so much fun.

November 5, 2008

Fearsome and Unnatural Parsnips

Filed under: food,literature — origamifreak @ 6:54 pm
Tags: , , ,

I just picked up the week’s vegetables, and after a discussion over at Dark Side of the Fridge about the relative scariness of parsnips versus celeriac, I decided to pick some up to illustrate why celeriac just looks so much tamer, when it comes to my own vegetable choices… 🙂

I submit to you Exhibit A, in which you can see both the parsnips and the celeriac I picked up today:


They’re very fresh, and I’m sure they will taste just delicious. However, the parsnips do fairly resemble something HP Lovecraft would invent!

In fact, here in Exhibit B, is something HP Lovecraft did invent:


And here is his description of it:

“If I say that my somewhat extravagant imagination yielded simultaneous pictures of an octopus, a dragon, and a human caricature, I shall not be unfaithful to the spirit of the thing. A pulpy, tentacled head surmounted a grotesque and scaly body with rudimentary wings… It represented a monster of vaguely anthropoid outline, but with an octopus-like head whose face was a mass of feelers, a scaly, rubbery-looking body, prodigious claws on hind and fore feet, and long, narrow wings behind. This thing, which seemed instinct with a fearsome and unnatural malignancy, was of a somewhat bloated corpulence…” (“The Call of Cthulhu”)

A little more Googling reveals that Lovecraft was none too fond of parsnips:

Of other vegetables I like peas & onions, can tolerate cabbage & turnips, am neutral toward cauliflower, have no deep enmity toward carrots, prefer to dodge parsnips & asparagus, shun string beans & brussel sprouts & abominate spinach. I like rhubarb—& am also really fond of baked beans prepared in the ancient New England way…” (to J. Vernon Shea, 30 October 1931)

Perhaps we now know why!

By the way, I’m not the only one who has noticed this resemblance:

…and so forth. Although I think my CSA parsnips are way scarier than that tame wimpy British one.

Just sayin’.

November 4, 2008

Well. That’s a relief.

Filed under: Uncategorized — origamifreak @ 11:20 pm

Election results

U.S. President – Electoral College

winner Obama (D) – 324
McCain (R) – 124

270 votes needed for presidency

Popular vote40 states reporting
Candidates % Votes
McCain (R) 48% 37,098,795
winnerObama (D) 51% 39,579,635
Barr (I) 0% 307,651
Nader (I) 0% 361,371

Maps here. And here.

Now, I wonder what will happen here?

24th Congressional District
Hanna (R) 49% 102,009
Arcuri (D) 51% 104,188
97% precincts reporting
(According to the Google map mashup, Arcuri only led in my county by 14 votes. I was one of them.)
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