rockwood: (Smile)
Having been recently experimenting with a cake/bread recipe that calls for a box of instant pudding, I decided I wanted to bake the same thing but sans all the chemicals and artificial stuff from the pre-made pudding mixes. As a result, a little research and experimentation turned up the following recipe for instant pudding!

Actually, it's not QUITE instant pudding--it still requires heating in a saucepan, but it's really super-fast. Though I must admit I haven't yet tried mixing it straight with cold milk; that might work too.

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup nonfat dry milk
1/4 tsp salt

Mix all the ingredients thoroughly and store them in an airtight container until you want to make pudding.

To use, heat 2 cups milk in a saucepan over low/medium-low heat. As it begins heating, add 1/2 cup of the pudding powder mix and any flavoring you might like:

Super-Chocolate: 4 tbs Hershey's special dark unsweetened cocoa powder. (1/2 tsp of orange extract, vanilla extract, or mint extract might make good additions to this!)
Vanilla Cinnamon: 1 tsp vanilla extract, 2 tsp powdered cinnamon.
Lemon: 1 tsp lemon extract.

Heat the mixture, stirring constantly with a squiggly plastic device (technical term, that) until it begins to thicken; be sure to scrape at the bottom to prevent layering. When you can lift a bit out and drip it back and still see the wrinkles it creates for a few seconds, the pudding is done!

Transfer the pudding to a heat-proof bowl and place in fridge (optionally, you can cover it with plastic wrap). Allow it to cool; it will almost certainly develop a thick skin on top as the surface dries out a bit, but that's okay, and the skin is perfectly edible (on chocolate pudding, it will be quite dark, almost black).

Suggested serving size is about half a cup of prepared pudding.

Blessed be,
rockwood: (Tome)
Well, I'm not sure about the crossposting deal, but I'm testing out my new DreamWidth account.

Testing... testing....

Blessed be,
rockwood: (Smile)
Stand back, Scientology; you've got competition in the I-can't-believe-it's-not-dismissed category. Though, I must admit, I think this one is funnier; there are fewer potential evils here, and no brain-washing scam that I can detect thus far.

According to the BBC, the Czech Wallachian Kingdom is under attack.

Founded in 1997 in a mountainous area in southeast Moravia, Wallachia is a real place with a real hat. It also has real restaurants, hotels, and a traditional plum brandy. However, the the currency (the Jurovalsar), the University of the Wallachian Kingdom, and the passports are NOT real.

As Tomas Harabis, creator (co-creator, really) and foreign minister of Wallachia says of the passports, "They are fake. But I did get into Alaska with one."

Apparently, 90,000 people have such passports.

Unfortunately, a clown (literally, actual clown) had himself crowned "Wallachian King, Boleslav I the Gracious, Forever" on his TV show in 1993, four years PRIOR to the creation of the kingdom. At first there was a successful relationship between the two, with King Boleslav being crowned, his signature appearing on passports, and similar---but when he decided to try and control the financial aspects of the kingdom, Harabis declared a 'Palace Coup' and installed a Queen Mother instead.

The clown-king sued the kingdom, and lost, in 2007; the Czech court in Olomouc is now ruling on the final verdict of an appeal. King Boleslav wants the copyright to the Kingdom of Wallachia....

And in the meantime, I appeal to all good people of Wallachia and holders of Wallachian passports: GO TO ALASKA. PLEASE. And then appear on American talkshows and discuss Palin's border security.

Blessed be,

rockwood: (Smile)
Well, with my midterm for one class fully completed, I spent some time poking around online and stumbled across an hilarious holiday carol by the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society

The lyrics are behind the cut, to save space.  )

Incidentally, the HPLHS seem to have a new Mythoscope movie coming out, The Whisperer in Darkness; unlike their Mythoscope version of the The Call of Cthulhu, this one is a Fully Speaking Film! The trailer looks excellent. I'll have to read that story next.

Blessed be,

rockwood: (Default)
One of my friends linked me to these photos this morning; they're a bunch of shots to do with Russia's space program and the city of Baikonur in Kazakhstan, which is "an entire Kazakh city, rented and administered by Russia."

Some of them (especially picture 1) have a cool steampunk look, which increases if you pretend the thing is meant to stay on the railroad tracks :-)

However, 21-23 make me think: Fallout! It's like the old saying goes. "Live in Russia instead of playing post-apocalyptic RPGs."

Also, there's one great comment in reference to picture 22, which shows cows on the launchpad. There's a bunch of jokes in the comments, of course, but...a picture of cows in a spacesport? "the herd shot 'round the world!" (thanks to the commenter identified as Ellen).

And go coordinate a group project at the university library...hooboy.

Blessed be,

rockwood: (Default)
This post is only vaguely gaming-related, and strays into general life content very quickly (although that part is, perforce, extremely geeky); fair warning. I'm leaving it unlocked since I welcome any thoughts or commentary, from friends and fellow gamers alike, on my attempt at nerdish wisdom.

"What happens next?" is a line from the movie The Gamers: Dorkness Rising. It's one of my favorite lines (and moments) in the movie because of the circumstances surrounding the quote, but I won't spoil anything here; I can instead say I like that question because it really represents one good attitude towards gaming. Sometimes asking "What happens next?" is a lot more appropriate than asking "Do I win?"

Which, I think, is a generally healthy attitude, even beyond the realm of gaming. Considering that almost no one ever gets what they want, at least immediately or without compromise, it's a lot less stressful to think about life in terms of what I should do next, and what I should be trying to do considering the evolving circumstances of life, rather than to try and twist things around until I get what I wanted initially. There's a whole lot of traditional sayings about this, especially the 'closes a door/opens a window' one, but those don't really work for me. I'm a geek; what can I say? I like "What happens next?"

I've been thinking about this a lot lately, partly because I've seen Dorkness Rising several times recently, but also because I've been trying to come to terms with a lot of stuff I don't like about life in general. The way the world works, in many ways, just doesn't jive with what I want out of life. And I really, really hate just letting go of what I think is important; I don't like ruling out my goals, since it makes me feel like a sell-out, and guilty, and pretty damn stupid.

But I can shift them to a back burner, reevaluate the current situation, and ask myself, "Alright, Nathan, that's how it is. What happens next?"

Blessed be,

rockwood: (Smile)
When the computer network goes down, any class called "Internet for Teachers" pretty much HAS to call it quits.

Hopefully I'd saved my powerpoint before the actual death of the network, but if not...meh, I couldn't have lost much, since I didn't actually add a whole ton.

So overall, a pretty good evening. I wasn't really counting on getting a lot of surprise early dismissals in grad school, but I'll take 'em when they come!

Blessed be,
rockwood: (Default)
I spent part of today rooting through some of the drawers in my old desk---the OLD old one, a wooden writing desk my parents got me in the fifth grade. Today's goal was to clear out the junk and salvage what I might want to keep; no small task, considering the strata of faded movie stubs and stale cough drops.

Unsurprisingly, a lot of the junk was related to writing in some way. Dozens of broken pencils and empty pens, half-used notepads, ancient homemade business cards....the detritus of a childhood spent daydreaming novels with half-plagiarized plots and shallow characters. But some of it was much more bizarre. Highlights include:

--A packet of 8 bee's-wax candles, one of which is slightly used.
--200+ prize tickets from the arcade at the old mall (you know, those tickets you can spend on junky plastic toys?).*
--A keychain shaped like a gecko, and another with smiley face.
--A half-sized velcro wallet with dinosaurs on it.
--The torn-off-and-saved pages of two calenders, with Dilbert and Garfield comics.
--A melted candy-cane

And my favorite:
An old pencil case containing a paper towel wrapped around several small pieces of wax; specifically, the kind of wax that those mini cheese-wheels are wrapped in. I was a strange kid. Am a strange kid, really, unless you believe all these people who say I'm an adult.

I did find some things worth keeping, notably a bunch of my old buttons. They have slogans like "To Save Time, Let's Just Assume that I Know Everything," "Paranoia is the Delusion that your Enemies are Organized," and "I don't go Postal; I get Medieval."

I guess my family's pack-rat tendencies show themselves in ways like this. However, despite the fact that I'm glad to be getting rid of the stuff I'll never really use, I did enjoy looking through the drawers and sorting the items. Some of them brought back memories. Mostly they were things I'd never have remembered otherwise, and which weren't important, but I'm glad they all got one more moment in the light before I let them go. And I'm glad the junk got saved until now. It needs to be cleared out to make room for MORE junk, but having a physical record to prompt sudden recollections---sights seen, ideas fostered, old friends who disappeared into the aether---makes sense to me.

Maybe I'll find a use for some of these memories in one of my stories.  Maybe in one of my games (some of the notes I threw out were equipment lists for RPGs; what'd you expect from a middle-schooler Nathan, emo poetry?**). But whatever else they've done, they've reminded why I like to be a pack-rat.

Except for the cheese-wax. That just reminded me not to be a moron about pack-ratting.

*I think the arcade, Boardwalk Boulevard, closed a while ago. Darn!
**Okay, there was ONE emo poem I found. But there were a lot more game design notes. :-)

Blessed be,
rockwood: (Default)
Ok, I don't normally post this many times in one day, but....well, this is just too good.

As breaks between sessions of writing, I've been watching bits and pieces of The Da Vinci Code. The disc is perfectly clean and free of scratches, but the thing has been stuttering on and off the whole time. And don't look at me like that; I had to see what the story is at SOME point after all that fuss about it.

Finally, though, I'm reaching the end---or, at least, the big reveal. And the main character says, at one point, "Jesus Christ!" (with the exclamation---it gets said before that point without the exclamation).

And the DVD crashes.

Upon reload, that same spot glitches out again. Trying other DVD players, I find that none of them work at all. The whole DVD refuses to play, skipping over one track to the next and bringing me back to the menu. Ok, I think, it's the copy protection and maybe one invisible scratch. I load it up again in the first player and skip a minute of track, hopefully bypassing the error. And it works

20 minutes later, the main character turns to the leading lady and says, "Godspeed!"

Down it goes again, right on cue.

I'm tempted to try other movies to confirm this apparent evidence, but I'm not willing to watch The Passion. Maybe I'll break out the Cadfael DVDs.

Blessed be,
rockwood: (Default)
To those who celebrate it, have an excellent summer solstice.

I'll probably make an effort to be outside today, taking a walk or doing necessary yard work. It looks to be a beautiful day here, as I hope it is for you.

Blessed be,
rockwood: (Default)
Maybe this looks better now?

Having finally gotten around to exploring the customization features LJ offers, I've fiddled around with my page a bit and made the theme (hopefully) both interesting and more thiefy. If anyone has any comments or advice on how it looks, how readable/useful it is, or similar, please let me know! I like the new terms I use for the Archive, my Friends' Page, current location, etc, but I don't want to be too confusing.

Blessed be,
rockwood: (Smile)
Tooting my own horn a bit, here---fair warning!
Much to my surprise, the little play-by-post I'm running (a Call of Cthulhu mystery/horror adventure, entitled "You Can't Take it With You")  at PbP House (link to their 'what is this?' FAQ) attracted the notice of the moderators, who named my game this month's "High-Caliber PbP" winner!

The post I wrote, and their explanation of why it was selected, can be found at the bottom of this index page. It doesn't come with a cash reward, but I decided to take them at their word about the bragging rights and post here in a celebratory fashion. Considering that the mods, players, and GMs at PbPHouse are generally pretty skilled writers, I'm quite pleased I wrote something they thought was deserving of the mention.

By the way, the top of that index page also includes a pretty good explanation of what the site is. I highly recommend the place to anyone interested in play-by-post roleplaying---it's a good way to get in some games despite having little time to organize one in real life, and the people there are a fun crowd.

Blessed be,
rockwood: (Default)
Well. Here I am.

With no idea what I'm doing here.

I can't really get my mind around posting on Livejournal. I'm not particularly the blogging type---at least, not so far---and I feel like posting about anything going on in my life would be tantamount to the most epic whining/bragging ever seen by man. I mean, even if I set an entry to Private, it's going to be saved to a finitely secure server and transfered electronically, which leaves it open to all sorts of snooping and potentially viewable by the entire planet. Nothing really important can go here, and I don't think I'm likely to be using it to hold conversations over the internet---that's what email is for.

Ah, well. Perhaps I'll get used to it. Treat it like one of the forums I skulk on, and see how far that takes me.

One possibility, at least: I may journal for a character here. Not sure that's a great idea, but we'll see. Or I may be using this to supplement my Larcenous Design webspace at, since their blogging features are limited. If I go that route, this may actually see a lot of use. Time will tell.

Blessed be,


rockwood: (Default)

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