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April 8, 2012

Use your microwave as a kitchen timer


Last night I was getting ready to heat up a slice of Christian's pizza (capers, onions, basil, fresh tomatoes, and mozzarella, since you asked) I brought home after yesterday's half marathon.

When you tell him you're going to heat it up at home, instead of finishing it in his own oven, he puts it in a box and tells you to preheat your oven to 450°, then put the pizza in for 3.5 minutes.

All well and good but what if you don't have a dedicated kitchen timer?

And what if your GE electric oven dates from 1967 when your house was built, and long ago stopped doing anything but heating up, with all other functions, dials, and settings frozen in time forever?

Though the oven is remarkably accurate — considering its 45 years of service — when tested with an oven thermometer, maybe 5°–10° off.

Sure, you can look at a digital clock or use a digital watch's stopwatch function but then you have to pay attention.

Or you can use a minutes-only timer, a number of which I have scattered around the house.

But that won't give you the 30 seconds.

I invoked Edwin H. Land's invaluable dictum: "Solve the problem with what's in the room."

Lo and behold, there not four feet away from the oven was the solution: the microwave, with its easy-to-set digital dial.

3:30 and Bob's your uncle and man was that pizza good.

Full disclosure: the photo up shows the slice of Christian's pizza (bacon and mushrooms) I had yesterday in the downtown mall restaurant after the half marathon.

It was even better than it looks.

April 8, 2012 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

What is it?


Answer here this time tomorrow.

Hint: smaller than a bread box.

Another: not edible.

That's obvious?

Fair enough, one more: weighs 4–5 pounds.

April 8, 2012 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Big Energy Coffee — "Naturally enhanced with ginseng, guarana and vitamin B-12"




As seen yesterday on my way home from the Charlottesville Half-Marathon.

April 8, 2012 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Digits — "Stay warm, stay connected"


An alternative to gloves with integrated conducting pads.

From the website:



Don’t let the cold keep you from your connections.

Digits are mini conductive pins that attach to the gloves you already have so you can use electronic touch screen devices — like smartphones and MP3 players — even when it's below zero.

How to attach:

1. Using the included intra-finger insertion tool (below),


place the back (with post) side of the Digit inside the fingertip of the glove and push it through.

2. Twist the other side of the Digit onto the post (below).


3. Attach Digits to as many fingers on the glove(s) as desired.


Digits are made of conductive silicone with a metal pin on the back for attaching to your glove.



Pack of four: $11.99 (gloves not included).

April 8, 2012 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Rope Sculpture by Mozart Guerra


The Brazilian artist 




realistic 3-D models


of animal and


human heads,


then wraps them


with nylon rope.


[via Toxel]

April 8, 2012 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Rubber Band Hooks


Rubber elastic






polypropylene hook.


Set of 10: $9.99.

April 8, 2012 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Saveur Best Food Blog Award Finalists


Long story short: The magazine received nearly 40,000 [!!] submisssions in 16 categories for this year's (the third annual) Best Food Blog Awards.

Wrote the editors, "We clicked on every link, scrolled through thousands of pages, and read posts sweet, silly, weird, and wonderful. Sometimes we were moved to tears, sometimes we laughed out loud,— and sometimes we couldn't close the browser window fast enough. Based on your nominations, we've narrowed the field to six in each of our 16 categories."

Fair warning: there goes the day.

April 8, 2012 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

It's past time people were able to live comfortably in their cars


In the U.S., many people can't afford a house or get a home loan but most people who want to own a car are able to do so.


Well, then, why isn't it possible to transform your car into a residence suitable not only for an odd night in the middle of nowhere or after a breakdown but, rather, somewhere you could live comfortably for an extended period of time?

Screen Shot 2012-04-07 at 3.29.11 PM

I've long been baffled that no one has come up with a solution but reader Alan Fick just sent me news of the Swiss Room Box, which promises to liberate the vehicle owner from overpriced hotels, sleeping bags in the forest, and their ilk forever.

Here's what Kevin Kelly had to say about the Swiss Room Box in the latest edition of Cool Tools:

We have not tried this set-up, so cannot vouch for whether it is a cool tool. It is a new modular household that unfolds from the back of a SUV, rover, or car with hatchback. See the website for a full explanation.

The feature set is a great idea for certain kinds of travel: what is not clear is how well the set-up is executed, and whether it is worth the price of at least $4,000. But for some excursions, the arrangement and design might be ideal. It is cheaper than buying an RV. There is at least one installation of the larger version being tried on a pan-African expedition. You'd have an mobile kitchen, bedroom, and shower all in one system, packed in a standard van or SUV, instead of an RV. You would still have daily disassembly, but you would gain in fuel efficiency, maneuverability, and cheaper cost of the vehicle.

The manufacturer is currently offering two versions: a full heavy-duty outfit (about $8,000) and a smaller compact version, which is shown above.

If someone uses this, please let us know how well it works. Also, there are competitors, such as Yatoo and Westfalia. I'd be interested in a review of any of these systems if someone recommends them.

Want to learn more?

Watch the video.

Apply to Swiss Room Box within.

April 8, 2012 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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