Friday, October 31, 2014

Friday Round Up

Yep, it's Halloween today! I must confess, I have not felt very Halloween-y this year. Truth be told, I am not a huge Halloween person to begin with, really. Yes, I did the whole trick-or-treat thing as a child and all of that, but I've only gone to a handful of Halloween parties past childhood, probably the most fun one I've been to having been back in the ole college days. Anyway, I have seen some fun holiday-themed treats around the web this week, but probably my favorite one has to be these Sugar Skull Cake Pops from Bakerella. Obviously they are more Day of the Dead than your typical Halloween, but that's what I like about them. They're so cute and fun! Also, for those of you who are Supernatural fans, you should probably recognize that pumpkin I featured above with the woman on fire on the ceiling shadowed onto the wall. Pretty cool effect.

On to other things! Some of you may know that Daniel Radcliffe is stepping out of Harry Potter's shoes a bit this weekend with his new movie, Horns. What you may not have known, is that he can rap! What? Apparently he's really into rap and even performed a fairly complicated song on The Tonight Show the other night. Impressive!

I don't know about those of you that read this here blog, but myself? I am a rather shy person in real life. Always have been, suspect I always will be. Yeah, I was the little girl hiding behind her mom's leg. Sometimes shyness can make life difficult when you're in the workplace, as our communication style is not quite the same as the more gregarious coworkers. This article talks about how managers should work with shy employees, and I was thinking a whole lot of "yes!" while I was reading it.

As if we needed one more thing to worry about, but apparently science is now linking the number of eggs a woman has to her chances of having a heart attack. What the heck! It has to do with the whole estrogen balance and aging in general, it sounds like, than more specifically the actual eggs themselves. But some women do go through menopause earlier than others, and they are more at risk for these types of diseases and such.

Have a Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Supernatural 10x04 "Paper Moon"

Supernatural 10x04 "Paper Moon"It was no ruse last week, Dean is back to being Dean again. No more demon, but he does still have the Mark of Cain. But for now, the boys decide to take a bit of a breather, some "we" time, as it Dean called it. But, Dean's feeling a bit ants-in-the-pantsy, and would rather get back to the grind than sit around drudging in his crap. So he and Sam head off to check out some strange deaths, and we head straight into a classic Supernatural episode.

Even more classic than early season episodes, as this one brings back someone we met in an earlier season, the newly-turned werewolf Kate, from back in season eight. Of course, they don't know it's her at first, just that there's some werewolf in town killing people and eating their hearts, but eventually they track her down. But, despite them trying to ruse us into think she's been doing some heart-eating, it's not true. It turns out, she turned her sister Tasha (she was going to die, so that makes it okay), who doesn't share quite the same no human eating mentality. Kate thinks she can save her, which is why this episode is happening. You know, for some brother symmetry action.

Supernatural 10x04 "Paper Moon"The rest of the episode is pretty straightforward, really. Not a lot of twists and turns into one to go over, but here's the haps. They track Kate down and Dean lies that they now have a cure for werewolves. At first I was thinking what, since when? But then yes, he was just lying to get Kate to lead them to Tasha, which she does so happily, hoping they can get a cure and be sisters again. Alas, it is not meant to be. Particularly since Tasha has truly gone off the deep end. She's even turned a couple burly dudes herself to join her new pack. While they take on Sam and Dean (to no avail, duh), Kate ends up having to kill her sister herself, which everyone should've seen coming a mile away once she revealed she had a silver dagger earlier on. But obviously this is a parallel to the whole Sam and Dean deal, as clearly Sam never would've killed Dean despite him being a demon. Does that make him stronger or weaker or what? Who knows.

Anyhow, Kate escapes off into the great unknown. So long as she can keep from eating people, the brothers Winchester will leave her be. But the real meat of the episode was in the stuff going on between Sam and Dean. Sam doesn't think Dean is really ready to be back hunting after what happened. But Dean is also wondering if Sam isn't quite ready either, considering he helped a human sell his soul, which is obviously a big hunter no-no. But in their patented end of episode brothers in or near the Impala chat, Dean says that he needs to keep working in order to not just be stewing indefinitely. So it's back to hunting for now. Until they get a lead on what to do about the Mark of Cain, obvs.

Random Thoughts:

- "No Hunting" sign in the opening scene. Har har.

- I know they were trying to fake us into thinking Kate did the killing by showing that friendship bracelet a few times, but I feel like I've seen that fake out a bajillion times before at this point.

- Although this episode was fairly simple, I did enjoy it getting back to the saving people, hunting things, the family business that is the backbone of the show. It was definitely more of a classic episode in that sense, and although dealing with werewolves, which obviously we've seen a few times, had a nice twist on the whole thing with the sisters.

- Next week is the 200th episode! Can you believe that? 200 episodes! And, there will be singing. Oh gosh. I hope that turns out well, because a lot of times when shows do a musical episode (apart from Buffy) it turns out to be a train wreck.

- They're making an awfully big deal about "what Sam did" while trying to find Dean, but I have to say I'm kind of on Sam's side here. He wasn't really trying to get that guy to sell his soul, he was just trying to lure a demon. And to what lengths would Dean have gone to? I mean, he basically made Sam give himself over to an angel to save him, and Sam didn't even know that was going on. Apples and oranges, I guess, but still. I'm not sure Sam really "went dark" as much as they are trying to push that he did.


Dean: That sling come with a slice of crybaby pie along the side?

Sam: Or she likes bad boys.
Dean: Well, wait 'til she gets a load of us.

Dean: All right, so what, you want to nuance this thing?

Dean: You're a regular psycho Brady Bunch.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Friday Round Up

For a while now, I've been feeling like I want to give this here blog a makeover. So, last weekend I worked on creating a more streamlined look for it. I was getting a bit sick of the purple background. I also updated the background logo with the pie inside of the TV, as my old logo was a more old-style television, because back when I started this, LCD TVs were only just barely starting to become a thing. Yep, that's how long I've been blogging in this little corner of the interwebs. It's hard to believe sometimes that I've been doing it for so long. Honestly, sometimes I wonder if anyone even really reads it. Lately it seems hard to get any traction, not that anyone reading this actually cares about any of that, or wants to hear about it. But sometimes it does feel a bit like talking into a void.

Anyway! Let's move on. Have you all seen this spinning disk thing? When you stare at the moving lines, you start to see colors inside the middle lines. But the interesting part? Everyone sees different colors in it! What colors do you see? The first time I looked at it, I saw a mix of red and tan, with one eye seeing more red than the other. Now when I look at it, I only see the tan in both eyes. Is that weird or what? Seriously though, let me know what colors you see! Fascinating.

I'm sure most of you have done the Myers-Briggs personality test at some point in your life that describes your particular personality type. There was a new quiz floating around the web this week featuring a similar test, with far less questions to go through to get your result. I seem to vary in these things a little bit, but this time around I got ISTJ, Introverted Sensing Thinking Judging or "The Duty-Fulfiller." Sometimes I will get an N or an F in the middle bit, but I do always get the I and J portions. What type are you?

In keeping with my astronomy-related news in these round ups, I have another one for you today. Apparently scientists have found a signal coming from the sun that could be dark matter. You know, dark matter? That stuff that apparently makes up most of the universe but thus far has been impossible to detect? Yeah, it's a bit of a weird concept. Basically, there must be some other matter we can't see making up a huge portion of the known universe to make things work the way they do, otherwise things wouldn't make sense. I mean, when you think about how astronomers used to think that the Earth was the center of the universe, it's amazing to think what else we could discover. If only the government wasn't limiting NASA funding, though. Boo.

Speaking of the government, have you ever wondered what it would be like to be President of the US? Personally, I would never want the job. And apparently it really does take its toll on those who have been in office. Check out these portraits of presidents at the start and end of their terms. It does age them quite a lot, right? Although the FDR one isn't necessarily as fair considering he was president for twelve years rather than only eight.

That's it for this week! BTW, if any of you are so inclined, do me a favor and like my Facebook page? It's at I also just set up a Bloglovin account thing, which seems much more involved than Feedly, which I've been using as a blog reader up until now (you know, since Google Reader went kaput, sniff). Anyhow, you can follow my blog on bloglovin here if you are into that!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Brioche Buns

Homemade bread is not always the easiest beast to tackle, and certainly not for those who lean impatient. When you have to wait at least two hours before the stuff is even in the oven, that takes some patience and dedication. The recipe isn't really that difficult, though, so at least there's that! And after all of the waiting, the end result is definitely just what we were hoping for, for once. Let that dough rise, and rise, and rise, seriously! You want it to be nice and light and full of air pockets, right? Right!

Ours also took longer because we had put all 8 rolls on one pan initially, which would've meant they baked into each other rather than forming nice separate buns, and separating them onto two pans meant they got deflated, so we had to let them rise again! Yes, lots of rising time for us. I put in my instructions to separate them onto two pans, but if you don't care about them touching, go ahead and leave them on one pan.

These buns are ostensibly meant for burgers, which you can see a photo of below, but I will say we definitely ate some straight out of the oven (after cooling, duh), and they were bready goodness. Of course, I love myself a good bread, so you will be hard-pressed to find me turning down any kind of bread product. Anyway, yes, slice them up and turn them into burgers, or BLTs, or perhaps even just a nice turkey sandwich. The burger below has a beef patty, bacon, cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, romaine lettuce, a mayo/ketchup sauce, and it would have had pickles as well, but apparently we got a bottle that was not properly sealed so.. no pickles for us. But still, this burger was rich and, dare I say, decadent, in no small part to the addition of the homemade bun. I mean, SO much better than one you just buy at the store in a plastic bag.

What I really discovered in the making of these buns was the power of the dough scraper. I got one last Christmas and I'm not sure if I've used it since then, but I can tell you it was definitely a lifesaver with these buns! The initial recipe didn't say to spray the bowl before putting your dough back in to rise, and it would've been a sticky issue if not for the power of the dough scraper. Super handy! You can also use it to help in your kneading process as well, by scraping any sticky bits off your counter/cutting board/whatever you use and then slapping that dough back onto it. That way, you don't have to add quite as much flour, which is important. I would also recommend getting a good thermometer for when you put your yeast in the "warm" milk/water situation. Ours took a bit longer to foam up, but I'm not sure if it's because the liquid was too hot or too cold. So temperamental, that yeast!

Brioche Buns

  • 3 Tablespoons warm milk
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • sesame seeds (optional)
Cooking Directions
  1. In a glass measuring cup, or a bowl, combine one cup warm water, the milk, yeast and sugar, and let stand for about five minutes, until foamy. While that's going on, beat one egg. It's best if warm = 105-110F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together your flours and salt. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingers, making crumbs. Using a dough scraper (your new best friend), stir in the yeast mixture and beaten egg until your dough forms. Scrape that out onto a clean, well-floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. The dough is going to be pretty sticky and messy, but try not to add too much extra flour or your buns won't be quite as light. Some is fine, just not a lot.
  3. Shape the dough into a ball and return it to the bowl. You can always spray your bowl with some non-stick spray to prevent it sticking to the sides here as well. Cover that with some plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size, which can take one to two hours. Some tips on rising below.*
  4. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Using your handy dandy dough scraper, divide the dough into 8 equal parts. Gently roll each into a ball and arrange on your baking sheets, 4 to a sheet, so they can be 2-3 inches apart. Cover loosely with plastic wrap coated in non-stick spray and let those rise in a warm place again for another one to two hours.
  5. Set a large shallow pan of water on your oven floor (this helps to keep the buns from getting too hard on the outside, I suspect). Preheat your oven to 400F with your rack in the center. Beat the remaining egg with one tablespoon of water and brush that on your buns. You can sprinkle with sesame seeds here, if you so desire. Bake, turning your sheet halfway through baking, until the tops are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. You can do one pan at a time here, as it's ok to let your second pan keep rising in the meantime.
*Okay, if you are having trouble with getting your dough to rise, here are a couple tips. One, you can try turning on your oven to its lowest temperature for a few minutes, then stick your dough in there. That may start to cook it just a little, so if you don't want to do that, another tip is to heat up some water in a saucepan, and stick that along with your dough in the oven. That gives it a little extra heat/moisture to get the rising process going.

Recipe courtesy of Smitten Kitchen

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Supernatural 10x03 "Soul Survivor"

How long until his arm is okay?
Well, that was quick. For being touted as the "Year of the Deanmon," Dean sure wasn't a demon for very long. Oh, sorry, am I giving the end away? But let's be honest, we all knew Dean wouldn't stay a demon, it was just a question of how long it would take until he was turned back. The answer? Three episodes. I know everyone was wanting Dean to get back to his old self, but the whole demon storyline feels like a bit of a waste so far. Hopefully it will have more resonance as the season continues, but who the heck knows. This show doesn't always excel in resonance.

Anywayz, let's get down to business. As you may recall from the last episode, Sam managed to get Dean back to the Men of Letters bunker, thanks to Crowley basically turning him over. Sam is determined to use the demon cure on him, which is basically just shooting him up full of human blood. I think it has to be blessed blood or something? I am not so much on the up and up on the whole demon purification process. The point is, Sam starts sticking Dean with human blood, Dean does a lot of yapping about how Sam isn't as innocent as he seems (it turns out Sam was the one who led the dude from last week to sell his soul to a demon, in order to get information on Dean's whereabouts), blah blah.

Down in Hell, Crowley is rather bored at doing his job, which is basically trying demons for treason and killing them. The demons are getting rather annoyed at his lack of fatherly compassion, leading to one even dousing himself with lighter fluid (or is it the holy oil stuff?) and setting himself on fire. For some reason, this makes Crowley want to help Castiel, which we'll get to in a moment.
As has become tradition, Jensen directed this episode.

Meanwhile, Castiel is trying to reach the bunker to help Sam. He is looking pretty worse for wear, though. He and Hannah stop at a gas station, only to be jumped by the angel Adina, whose angel bestie/lovah they killed last week or the week before or whenever it was. She manages to somehow wallop Hannah with some massive punch that leaves her moaning on the ground while she can get to beating down Cas. But, Crowley comes just in time to save the day. He steals Adina's grace and gives it to Cas. So that problem is temporarily solved.

Which is good timing for Sam, because back at the bunker, Dean has gotten free. Apparently he had enough of the human blood working in him that the special cuffs and the devil's trap didn't work on him anymore. However, he is still feeling the demon spirit, so he goes hunting after Sam. Sam uses his wits to try to keep one step ahead of Dean, which only results in Dean nearly slamming his head in with a hammer, and Sam having to put the special demon-killing knife to Dean's throat. Of course, Sam could never kill his brother, so he's lucky that Cas shows up just in time to help him out.

And, together, they manage to finish the blood purification ritual, and return Dean back to his human self. Except there is still the whole Mark of Cain thing to deal with, but for now Sam just wants to get Dean some cholesterol and get drunk. As I'm sure most people would. Dean seems rather wary of the whole situation when he talks with Cas, but it's hard to tell just what he is thinking or feeling at this point.

That's... pretty much it. Oh, except for this ending bit. Cas basically tells Dean to take it easy as things are pretty quiet at the moment, only for the show to end on a red-headed woman in a room, drinking some kind of brown alcohol, with two men impaled on the ceiling above her. The new big bad, we presume.

Random Thoughts:

- What exactly is Crowley's goal anymore? He doesn't seem to care about Hell, really. He decided to save Castiel, but for what purpose? It's hard to say if Crowley is really "evil," though I suppose that is kind of the appeal of his character.

- Castiel basically shut down Hannah on the romantic front before anything could even get started. I confess, I actually like the prospect of a romance between them, particularly since the show is so starved for any kind of genuine romance ever. It's not just some girl introduced who automatically has a history with one of the boys, but rather someone introduced over time. Much better.

- Could Dean go demon again? Just from lack of killing with the Blade or only if he were killed again? Obviously they have to deal with getting rid of the Mark as well, but I'm sure that will come in time.

- Next week's episode really just looks like it could come from any season anywhere. Hopefully this is not the case, but it does feel a little jarring to have a monster of the week episode right now. Though, I'm not sure what else they could do. Hmm. It just makes the last three episodes feel a little superfluous. I mean, am I wrong?


Dean: Sammy, you know I hate shots.
Sam: I hate demons.

Crowley: It's Hell. You wait. It's what you do.

Hannah: Castiel, if these are metaphors and you're attempting some kind of human communication, it's not working.

Crowley: Why can't you people just sit on clouds and play the harp like you're supposed to?

Dean: What does Sam say? Does he want a divorce?

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