Saturday, October 29, 2016

Homemade PSLs For the Win

While I'm not a Starbucks regular, I definitely indulged at least once a month when we lived on the mainland and during budget season, it was more like once a week. Well, I have a news flash for you:  Starbucks in Hawaii is EXPENSIVE. I'm serious.  A couple of tall lattes will set you back 10 bucks.  Fancy beverages for three (grande size) is over 20 bucks.  Frankly, I can't afford it on my paradise-taxed salary.  And, thanks to Google, that no longer makes me feel sad. I do use the Starbucks app and get email notifications of sales.  A couple of weeks ago, Sbucks ran a $3 Grande Pumpkin Spice Latte sale.  That's half off.  Yeah, we went.  We actually could have three drinks for less than 10 bucks. But no worries no more.

Homemade PSL Recipe (serves 2)

2 cups milk (take your choice: cow, almond, hemp, hazelnut, whatever)

1.5 Tablespoons sugar (this is for a less sweet drink -- feel free to add more)

1/2 Teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

3 Tablespoons pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)

1 Cup coffee (or two shots espresso)

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract (not a typo)

Whipped cream (optional)

Put the milk, sugar, pumpkin puree and spice in a pan.  Heat on the stove to hot, but not boiling.  Remoe from stove and mix in the vanilla and coffee.  Serve in two mugs with whipped cream on top.  Enjoy.

Let me know if you try it!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Joan

This is Joan
 
This is Joan the hen.  We first met her several months ago when she was shopping the neighborhood for a new place to hatch chicks.  She raised four babies (three are still around) and brought them by twice a day for months for breakfast and an early dinner.
 
Such a sweet hen, but let me tell you, nobody messes with Joan.  As soon as she was within 15 feet of the feeders in the carport, any other chickens would scatter with great speed.  Anybody not paying attention was immediately schooled by Joan.  She makes this chicken growl that is deep, throaty, and very threatening -- which I, of course find endearing.  And she's fast, chasing off any other chickens that get too close.
 
I don't always pay attention to my "chicken cam" these days as I am busy at work, but I did notice yesterday afternoon that the "wee babs", who are no longer wee, strapped on the old feedbag without Joan.  I must say, I was a little concerned, but didn't pay too much attention (hoping for the best).
 
The other day we had our first sunny weekend day in a few weeks so I was doing my best to enjoy it by sitting out on the porch knitting.  I love to watch the birds, so my eyes stray from the yarn in my lap regularly.  My eyes caught some movement across the street in the neighbor's yard and it was Joan.  I watched her as she made only what I can describe as an "overly casual not to draw anyone's attention" meander across the street to the back side of our house.  Sure enough, she came by for a solo meal then headed back across the street bobbing and weaving as she quietly headed back under some bushes on the other side of our neighbor's house.
 
Joan, do you have another nest?  I think you do.
 
I cannot wait to see her new babies and am so glad she picked our neighborhood again to raise her babies.
 
My fingers are crossed it will be a smooth incubation and delivery.
 

Monday, October 24, 2016

Book Recommendations

I haven't been doing too much reading lately (see recent posts regarding knitting and podcasts) but I have been gathering a list of books to read. Most recently I'e been reading the Fox and O'Hare series by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg.  I find them light and funny to read.  I think I'm on the 5th book and I'm sure there will be more in the series.  It's about a female FBI agent and a con man.  Definitely enjoyable and I'd recommend them for light reading. Here are some other titles that have come up recently as good books to read.  I don't know too much about any one of them, but check them out, there might be something good in there for you:
  • Once Taken by Emma Cline.  This book has actually been recommended to me twice.  It is a fictional tale about a cult and a 14 year old girl -- in Sonoma County, I believe.
  • I Let You Go by Claire Mackintosh.  A thriller in the same mold as Girl on a Train and Gone Girl.
  • All is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker. Also a thriller.  Amazon best book of July 2016
  • Books by JT Ellison.  I want to say these are thrillers, too.  Have you read any of them?
All of these will be on my 'to read' this winter.  Might even switch to audio books until this knitting itch settles down (probably not soon).
 
What have you read lately?  What do you recommend?

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Knitting & Podcasts

 I'm spending most of my free time knitting and watching video podcasts about (mostly) knitting.  There are so many to watch.  Not all are my particular cup of tea, but many of them are lively and funny to watch.  It's also fun to see what other people are knitting. I is also interesting to see what trends in knitting have changed over the years.  I've been a knitter for about 30 years now...a hardcore knitter, which to me means I've had sometthing "on my needles" nearly that entire 30 years.  I would say I am an advanced knitter who can pretty much tackle any project, but I choose the projects I want to knit, mostlly picking projects based on what interests me over any particular skill reqirement needed to complete the pattern.   Living in Hawaii, there is some need for knitted items.  I find mostly accessories: shawls, hats, and socks are best for this weather.  It can be a little cool in the morning and air conditioning can be chilly.  Also, shoes are required at many jobs, therefore socks also are mostly required.  I could even imagine a sweater made out of cotton or linen.  Back to watching podcasts.  Watching knitters (often younger than me), it is interesting to see what discoveries are made these days.  So many things that were discoverred in the 1990's seem to be new ideas again in the 2010's.  I think what has happened in the past is that many "new" techniques were published in books in the 1990's that are no longer in print.  Basic sock knitting techniques, for example, are beiing discussed as new ideas or "solutions" to knitting challenges.  One example of this is the 'afterthought heel', which was a concept written about by Elizabeth Zimmerman in the late 1960's, rediscussed in the 1990's, seems to be a completely new concept in the 2010's.  Now, you don't need to know what that means...simply know that a tremendous amount of information about so many things must be lost every generation. I wonder if the internet will help us remember ideas and techniques or if we will be doomed to discover, forget, and rediscover things throughout time. I'd be willing to forgive humanity for forgetting te small things as long as we don't forget the big ones. On Weekend Edition (on NPR), I listed to an interview with Dorothy Lipstadt regarding the holocaust deniers and the 1990's trial.  The interview (7 minutes long) can be heard here.  It is chilling to think so many conspiracy therorists are jumping on the bandwagon with so many people that spout absolute drivel and lies and NO ONE SEEMS TO FACT CHECK THEM.  I won't go on a rant, but as Dorothy states in the interview, it is absolutely necessary to fact check these people and keep on doing it. Sometimes it is about the big things...

Monday, October 17, 2016

The Durrells in Corfu

The Durrells in Corfu on Masterpiece Theater

 

I just started watching the first episode and I had to pause it 15 minutes in to type this post.  I want to make sure you know about it asap.  I laughed out loud twice already.  Please do yourself a favor and watch this series.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Lightning iPhone Cables (Charging Cables)

If you have ever owned an iPhone, I am sure you have experienced the crappiness that is the charging cable.  They are so poorly designed, they self destruct typically in a year to eighteen months.  The weakest point is the part of the cord right behind the part that plugs into the phone.  If you kink it at all, it tends to fray rapidly and become unuseable in a very short time.  They also have issues with overheating.  Even if you don't have a problem with your cable, they turn a gross yellowish color over time.  I finally had enough and set out to find a suitable replacement.  I am glad to report I have one.  In fact, I have a solution for charging cables for any type of phone and as a real plus, the cables I found are attractive and a pleasure to use. Here they are:  Anker cables  
It comes in a few colors, so don't be afraid of the pretty pink color (although) I do have a pink one and love it.  I also have a space grey one and love that, too.  The cables can be found in 3', 6', and 10' lengths, possibly more.  I use an 8' one by my bedside to charge my phone and iPad.  I carry a 3' one in my everyday bag.  I have been using them for over three months and am over the moon with the quality of these cables. AND THEY ARE CHEAPER THAN THE REPLACEMENT CABLES APPLE SELLS!!!!! So feel free to order yourself a safe, new certified charging cable for your devices.  Be sure to purchase the proper one for your phone (iPhone, Samsung, etc.).  You will not be sorry. Have a great day!
 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Netflix in October

A brand new month means a review of what's coming out on Netflix in October.  It also means that everyone's Netflix bill is increasing to  $9.99 a month, if it hasn't already. Below is what's new in October. Here are my notable notes:
  • Gentlemen's Agreement.  Stars Gregory Peck.  Was nomintated for many awards and won the Academy Award for Best Picture (in 1947, I think).  Directed by Elia Kazan.  Worth watching.  Addresses racism in mid-20th century.
  • Ferris Bueller's Day Off.  John Hughes.  A 1980's classic.  So worthy of watching again.
  • Dazed and Confused.  I'm going to watch this one again (if I can stop watching podcasts on youtube).  A 1990's classic movie about 20-somethings' ennui.
  • Grizzly Man.  I am going to caution you to think twice about whatching this chilling documentary.  A Werner Herzog film.   You do watch his films, don't you?  I cannot think of a single thing he's done that isn't amazing (go google him reading Curious George on youtube).  Grizzly Man is about a man who when to Alaska to be with grizzly bears.  It is shocking and will not leave your brain for a long time.  It is, however, extremely well done and I highly recommend it.  Just don't watch it on a night when you have to be up early the next morning because your brain will not let it go.
  • Three Kings.  I haven't seen this film in years.  George Clooney and well done.  Worth watching.  I guess you would call it an action movie, but it is so much more than that.
  • American Horror Story season 5 Hotel.  I loved the first season.  I could not get into the second or third season at all.  Maybe this season for me?  Hardcore horror.  May or may not be the show for you.
  • The Fall, Grinders, and Dark Matter will be shows I will look into two watch.  I think I've seen season one and two of The Fall and if I remember correctly, I liked it.  The other two sound familiar but I know nothing about them.  
Do you have any Netflix recommendations?  Let me know in the comments.  I love to watch and knit!
 
Have a great day!
 

October 1

  • A Cinderella Story
  • Barbershop 2: Back in Business
  • Blue Streak
  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s
  • Dazed and Confused
  • Dr. Dolittle: Tail to the Chief
  • Fairy Tale: A True Story
  • Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
  • Gentleman’s Agreement
  • Ghost Town
  • Grizzly Man
  • How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
  • Millennium
  • Murder Maps: Season 2
  • My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Legend of Everfree
  • Once Upon a Time in the West
  • Oriented
  • Patton
  • Picture This!
  • Pooh’s Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin
  • The Queen of the Damned
  • Quiz Show
  • Robotech
  • RV
  • Saving Mr. Wu
  • Snake Eyes
  • Snow Day
  • Sphere
  • Three Kings
  • Titanic
  • Unforgiven
  • The Univited
  • Unsealed: Alien Files (Season 4)
  • Without a Paddle

October 3

  • Dheepan

October 4

  • American Horror Story: Hotel (Season 5)
  • Chevalier
  • Dartmoor Killing
  • The Flash (Season 2)
  • The Grinder (Season 1)

October 5

  • Arrow (Season 4)

October 6

  • iZombie (Season 2)

October 7

  • 13TH
  • Dinotrux (Season 3)
  • The Ranch (Season 1, Part 2)
  • Russell Peters: Almost Famous
  • The Siege of Jadotville
  • Supernatural (Season 11)

October 8

  • The Originals (Season 3)
  • Vampire Diaries (Season 7)

October 10

  • Koromukuro (Season 2)
  • Love Between the Covers

October 12

  • Justin Timberlake + The Tennessee Kids

October 13

  • DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (Season 1)
  • Mascots

October 14

  • Haters Back Off! (Season 1)
  • Project MC2 (Season 3)
  • Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang

October 15

  • Being George Clooney
  • Chapo: el escape del siglo
  • Glitch (Season 1)
  • Power Rangers Dino Super Charge (Season 1, Part 1)

October 16

  • Dark Matter (Season 2)

October 21

  • Black Mirror (Season 3, Part 1)
  • Containment (Season 1)
  • Joe Rogan: Triggered
  • Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories
  • The Mr. Peabody and Sherman Show (Season 3)
  • Word Party (Season 2)

October 24

  • Doctor Foster (Season 1)

October 25

  • Big Eyes

October 26

  • Jesus Camp
  • Kung Fu Panda 3

October  28

  • 7 años
  • I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House
  • Into the Inferno
  • Skylanders Academy (Season 1)
  • Trailer Park Boys — Out of the Park: Europe

October 29

  • The Fall (Season 3)

October 31

  • Chewing Gum (Season 1)
 
 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Ken Burns' Latest Documentary


I just started watching Ken Burns' latest documentary called "Defying the Nazis: The Sharps' War".

I am looking forward to watching it.  Right now you can stream it on PBS, but if you miss it, I am sure it will be on Netflix in a few months.

Ken Burns has developed a clear style to his documentaries and I must say I enjoy them.  Tom Hanks is once again on board with narration duties.  I so enjoy his voice.  It's that kernel of youthfulness that shines through.  There will always be a little kid inside Tom Hanks and I hope it always shows through.

The back story to this documentary is an interesting one.  Here's where I read about it first:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/the-risked-their-lives-to-rescue-hundreds-from-the-nazis-but-no-one-knew-their-story--until-now/2016/09/19/1d9a0d84-79b9-11e6-beac-57a4a412e93a_story.html

Perhaps no one would have heard about this story if it weren't for their grandson and papers that were found after the death of the Sharps.

It leads me to wonder how many other stories like this exist.

I hope you get a chance to see this while it is on PBS.  I have noticed they have cut back on the amount of time they leave content up on their streaming site.  Now, in order to see more content, you need to donate at least $60 annually to your local PBS station.  Well, you can hardly blame them, can you?

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

It's a Circle of Life Thing

Not my mongoose

I just watched a mongoose scuttle across the yard, grab a dove, and run back off toward the corner of the house.  God, I hope it didn't go under the house.

Yeah, it's a circle of life thing, but seriously, mongoose aren't that fast and doves have wings so what's up with that?  The dove was nearly as big as the mongoose.  The doves are clearly getting fat and lazy eating the chicken food we leave out.

I haven't seen but one mongoose in our neighborhood until recent weeks.

But I did see one on my way to work yesterday run across the street down by chickenland.  Maybe it's the same one?  In that case, I'm glad he's eating the doves rather than the chickens.

Mongoose were imported to Hawaii to combat the rat problem (which were also imported to Hawaii).  Apparently the idea looked good on paper.  Funny thing though, mongoose are active during the day and rats are active at night. So Hawaii ended up with both a rat problem and a mongoose problem.  And that is one of the many ironies that is Hawaii.  If it bugs you, don't move here. Seriously.

Oh yeah, and they have red eyes.  Evil glowing red eyes.