General Archive

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Updated Casio EX-F1 Review

Okay, it's only a small update, but I've embedded YouTube versions of all the videos in my old entry, Casio EX-F1 - First Impression of the High Speed Video. I added links to all the quicktime files so that readers could still see the original videos, but the YouTube versions make it easier to review. And if you're not really interested in purchasing the camera, I'd still recommend going to that page just to watch the videos, because slow motion is just cool.

I put a comment in my update note that I'll repeat here. I'm shocked that this camera is still the best option out there for budget high speed video 6 years after it was first introduced, and indeed, after it was discontinued by Casio. I would have thought that surely, somebody would have come out with a better $1000 camera by now, or a cheaper camera that does what this one does. But alas, Casio's new high speed options aren't even as good as this, and no other manufacturer has stepped up to the plate. You'd think the fact that people are paying full price and higher for used versions of this camera, or even up to $2500 for new ones still in the box, would be enough evidence of demand that some manufacturer somewhere would start making a camera with this capability.

Actually, to give a taste of what you'll find on that page, here's my favorite of the videos, lighting a match, recorded at 1200 frames per second, slowed down 40 times for playback.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Pet Peeve - Articles Aren't Blogs

Angry Penguin, Source: WikimediaI only have a short entry for today, to complain about a pet peeve. It's something I've seen many places, but it was prompted by an e-mail from my Congressman which began with:

Dear Friend:

I want to share with you a blog that I wrote about Tax Day.

The body of the e-mail you shared with me isn't 'a blog'. To quote Wikipedia, "A blog (a truncation of the expression web log) is a discussion or informational site published on the World Wide Web and consisting of discrete entries ("posts") typically displayed in reverse chronological order (the most recent post appears first)." What you shared is one entry or post, or maybe even an article if you want to sound more formal. It was not 'a blog'.

I don't know why it irritates me so much, but it just bothers the hell out of me to see people refer to single blog entries as blogs themselves. Maybe it's because of the word's origin from log, and the silliness of thinking that one entry could constitute a log.

Oh well, his misuse of Internet vocabulary is probably the least irritating thing about this Congressman - far less irritating than the actual content of the message (Do away with income taxes? Really?). I suppose I should just chalk this instance up to an ignorant out of touch politician, but I wish more people would try to understand what words mean before using them.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Car Ride

Here's a stop motion animation my daughter made today. She calls it, The Car Ride.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

National Essential Tremor Awareness Month 2014

March is National Essential Tremor Awareness Month

March is National Essential Tremor Awareness Month. Essential tremor is also referred to as familial tremor, benign essential tremor, or hereditary tremor. If you are unaware of this disorder, here is a description from a recent press release from the International Essential Tremor Foundation (IETF).

Essential tremor is a neurological condition that causes shaking of the head, hands and voice. An estimated 10 million people in the United States have essential tremor (ET). While not life threatening, ET is a serious and progressive condition that can significantly affect a person's quality of life - socially, professionally and emotionally. People with ET often have difficulty with everyday activities such as getting dressed, eating, drinking, speaking or writing. And despite the large number of people directly affected by ET there is still very little awareness of the disorder.

While ET is most prevalent in people in their 60s and older, it can occur at any age, even in newborns. And despite being the most common movement disorder, existing medications are only effective in about 60% of people who suffer from the disorder.

If you would like to help or learn more about essential tremor, below are several links to more information on the IETF website.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Happy Fastnach Day 2014

Happy Fastnacht Day! My daughter and I woke up before dawn this morning to make our fastnachts this year, and you can see the results below.

Our 2017 Fastnachts - A Double Batch

I usually try to put these posts up before Fastnacht Day to remind people to make them this morning, but I forgot this year. Still, if you stop by the grocery store on your way home today to pick up buttermilk and maybe a few other ingredients you might not have, you can still make them tonight in time for the holiday. If you don't know what fastnachts are, read on. (As a quick note, since there's not much to change in these entries from year to year, this entry is just a slightly reworked version from years past.)

Depending on where you are in the world, you may call today something else, like Mardi Gras, Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Day. But from where I'm from in Pennsylvania, it's called Fastnacht Day (here's a link to the Wikipedia article). Traditionally, you make potato based donuts, called fastnachts, on the morning of Fastnacht Day, supposedly as a way to empty your larder of all the fatty, sugary foods in preparation for the Lenten fast. My elementary school even used to give out donuts with the lunches on this day. In celebration of Fastnacht Day, and so others can join in, here's my family's recipe for making them:

You're supposed to wake up early to make the fastnachts on Tuesday morning (they're freshest that way), but a few times I've made them the night before, and they're still okay. They keep pretty well in a brown paper lunch bag. I also like to put a little bit of powdered sugar into a ziploc bag, and a mix of granulated sugar and cinnamon into another one, to coat the fastnachts just before eating them.

To see just how popular fastnachts are back up in Pennsylvania, go have a look at this article, Fastnacht reminder -- order yours before Tuesday, with a photo showing some of the 2800 fastnachts that a local church made, or this article, Frying fastnachts for pre-Lenten splurge, about a fire company that made 42,000 of them for a rundraiser. Here's an article from this year, Fastnacht day is here!, with a few more pictures showing different ways of making fastnachts, including a church with a rolling fastnacht cutter to cut dozens at once (we use pint glasses and shot glasses).

I took a few pictures last year while we were making the fastnachts (the only picture I got this year is the one up above after they were done). The first one below is my daughter rolling out the dough to cut more fastnachts. The second is the first batch frying up in the pan. The scene this morning was pretty much the same. Like last year, we doubled the recipe again this year, so the picture up top is twice as much as what you'd normally get from my family's recipe. But all three of us (my wife, daughter, and I) take them in with us to work/school to share them, so the double batch still goes quickly.

Alex Rolling Out the Fastnacht Dough Frying the Fastnachts

A guy I worked with from Chicago mentioned a similar tradition up there - paczkis, from the Polish immigrants. But instead of a hole in the middle like my family's fastnachts (not all fastnachts have the hole), they have a filling, usually jelly or creme. I guess lots of groups have invented traditions to allow indulgence before a 40 day fast.

Archives

Selling Out