Friday, June 27, 2014

Double Pi Day Shenanigans

[Food Day Friday ... where I show you what I've been tinkering with in the kitchen. Mr. Dude gets a lot of air time on here about some of the projects he's working on or the things he's reading or thinking about. But rest assured, my entire life does not revolve around Mr. Dude's nerdiness - so here's to the foodies!]

Can I please do some lamenting right now?

Food is really important at Casa de Larsen. Or at least to me. We tend to have a busy schedule, but we somehow usually find time to make and eat great meals as a family and with friends.

Tomorrow, Ladies and Gentlemen, we have an event of truly epic proportions that we can NOT attend and we can NOT do anything about, no matter how hard we try.

And it makes my little foodie heart so very sad.

Double Pi Day.

Ask any nerd, he'll say 3/14 is Pi Day, and pi day means pie. Ask any nerd who wants seconds, he'll just say multiply by 2. 6/28 is Double Pie Day. Double the pi, double the pie.

On June 28, come out to our place for some pie. Hors d'oeuvres will be provided, and don't worry about coming late—we'll have a fire out on the deck for some s'more pies.

Also—don't trust your pie buying or baking, abilities? Come with a bottle of wine, and we'll hook you up just the same. We'd rather have two buck chuck than a five dollar pie anyway.

Party starts at 6:30pm, pie judging at 8pm. Blood sugar testing available upon request.

Sigh … doesn’t that just sound heavenly?

I mean, nerdy implications aside, a get-together with friends that just features PIE?!?!?!

My mouth started salivating just from typing that.

And then my long time friend who majored in math reminded me that Tau is the proper term for 2π.

Potato, potahto. I just want the pi[e].

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

LOTR + Strawberries = Saturday Night Fun

Last weekend, Mr. Dude's mom called me up and invited me to go strawberry picking.

Mr. Dude was out with his own dad to celebrate Father's Day [something about a brewery tour and a viewing of Godzilla, neither of which I was interested in], and Little Guy and I were about ready to go on a run.

But strawberry picking?

I posed the question on that social network the all-knowing audience [aka, "Facebook"]
Exercise Option: Do you think I'll choose my normal run with a stop at a park to let Little Guy play, or going to pick strawberries with my mother in law where Little Guy can play in the mud with us?

I'll give you a hint: I'm a foodie who hates running, and a mom who doesn't mind dirt.
Bonus points if you got the right answer before I show you this:
Grandma had a fabulous time with Little Guy, showing him how to find the strawberries and pull them off the plants. I'm pretty sure her plan was to get time in with her grandson whilst her daughter-in-law did most of the picking.
Cute baby in a strawberry basket in the middle of a field. Ridiculously cute? I think so.

Also, there was a lot of dirt. C'est la vie. 

Once we got home, though, the real work began. Washing, slicing, sorting and freezing two whole flats of strawberries is no picnic, people! It called for a marathon of something to entertain my brain.

[Fellowship to the Rescue!!!]

It was rather odd to be slicing something so sweet and yummy whilst Ring Wraiths attacked poor Frodo at Weathertop, or whilst nine members of the Fellowship fought off hordes of angry goblins and a cave troll down in the Mines of Moria. But it was nice to have the distraction.

Mr. Dude came home from time with his dad and paused the movie to tell me about his day. I think he may live in the meme-world a little too often, because he stopped it right here:

["So I walk in the door and Steph had this going. It seems I paused it at EXACTLY the right moment. One does not simply pause a 3 hr movie at the opportune time."]

Seriously?!?! How does he do that?!?!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

White and Nerdy ... Strikes Again

All in favor of Weird Al videos, say, "Aye!"


Mr. Dude appreciates that I appreciate Weird Al. Of course, Mr. Dude has been listening to Weird Al's CDs since forever, whereas I just point out the fact that Al did most of a college education at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, near where I grew up.

It's not what you know, but who you know, people.

Or who's famous from your hometown.

But I digress.

Our favorite Weird Al video is "White and Nerdy".

Let's just say it's spot on for how I think of Mr. Dude, except that he's not quite that awkward.

Here, for your viewing pleasure, you should probably watch it, too. It'll make your day.

Why am I thinking of this?

Two reasons:

1. Mr. Dude sent me a new "Epic Rap Battles of History" video to watch, with Weird Al making a cameo as Sir Isaac Newton. Internet gold, I tell you. [And whist you're at it, go ahead and just watch everything in that series. Again, it'll make your day. And take up a lot of your time that you could be using on, you know, useful things in life. But again, I digress ... ]

2. I've been sitting on my own treasure trove of internet gold with footage of Mr. Dude and one of his fellow nerds attempting to play DDR. I'm not sure if the game had them attempting to do the same steps or not because I couldn't actually see the screen, but I'm pretty sure that makes it even better. So allow me to help you meet your laugh quota for the week:

God bless the nerds!

Excuse me while I go clean up the Tea. Earl Grey. Hot. that just spewed out of my mouth while I was laughing so hard ... 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Greek Shrimp Bruschetta ... Opa!

[Food Day Friday ... where I show you what I've been tinkering with in the kitchen. Mr. Dude gets a lot of air time on here about some of the projects he's working on or the things he's reading or thinking about. But rest assured, my entire life does not revolve around Mr. Dude's nerdiness - so here's to the foodies!]
Ever since the arrival of Little Guy, Mr. Dude and I have found that date nights at home are easy-peasy: no finding a babysitter, no prepping Little Guy to be with said babysitter, no rushing to get out the door on time to wherever we have reservations or tickets for ... not to say that we don't get out at all - it's just our M.O. to have "date night in". Heck, after our standard college $10 coffee date for so many years, eating a nice meal and sharing a bottle of wine feels extravagant!

On my selfish side, "date night in" gives me the chance to make food that's a little more elaborate or time-consuming. Sometimes it's more expensive than how we'd eat for the rest of the week. Usually it just requires a little more concentration to be sure I'm following the recipe as I should be.

That's difficult to do if you've got a munchkin attached to your jeans as you try to move around the kitchen.

Did we mention that Little Guy likes to be wherever we are? It can make simple house chores take at least 100 x as long as they should. Good thing he's cute!

But I digress ...

Where were we? Oh yeah. Date night.

This recipe isn't really difficult so much as it just feels fancy. Pair it with a good red, plate it well, and you feel like you're at happy hour at a nice neighborhood restaurant.

Greek Shrimp Bruschetta

Coastal Living July 2004
Yield: 2 Dozen [feeds 4-6]

1/3 cup olive oil, divided
3/4 pound small fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 large plum tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 cup sliced green onion
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
1 teaspoon Greek seasoning
1 French baguette, cut diagonally into 1/4 inch-thick slices

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté shrimp and garlic 3 to 4 minutes until shrimp are cooked.
  2. Transfer to a small bowl and chill.
  3. Combine tomatoes, 1 tablespoon olive oil and next 6 ingredients in a large bowl; stir in shrimp. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  4. Place bread slices on a baking sheet; brush bread with remaining olive oil. Bake at 375º for 8 minutes. Spoon 1 heaping tablespoon shrimp mixture onto each bread slice.
[Steph's Notes]
  1. I used the shrimp from Trader Joe's - no peeling or deveining! And I didn't have time to chill them in the fridge since I started dinner prep so late, so they sat in a bowl in the freezer whilst I prepped the veggies and bread. 
  2. Small sugar plum tomatoes took a little more work to de-seed, but were easier to dice into smaller pieces. And they had more flavor than large plum tomatoes, in my opinion. 
  3. Trader Joe's crumbled feta with herbs mixed in meant that I didn't worry about not having "Greek seasoning" on hand. Most companies use some combination of garlic, onion, oregano, mint, thyme and/or lemon. I'm cheap, so I buy all of those separately and then combine them as I need to. 
  4. We were both full after 3 of these [I put a very large heaping spoonful on our baguette slices], and the leftovers lasted for a couple of days. Bonus: we used a slice of toasted Dave's Killer bread when we ran out of baguette slices, and it was super tasty! 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Computer Thief ... Or, Why It's Helpful to Have Lots of Browsers

[We interrupt this broadcast to tell you about this awesomeness in a jar: Trader Joe's Lemon Curd. Put it on toast and enjoy with a cup of Tea. Earl Grey. Hot. Or drizzle over plain yogurt, then toss in some sliced almonds and dried cranberries. Better yet, put it on top of ice cream. Trust me, you'll be glad you spent the $3.99, and I'm not even getting paid to tell you that.] 
Look at me. The post hasn't even started and I'm already digressing.

If you've been paying attention, you've noticed that I'm somewhat addicted to having lots of internet browser tabs open. As a visual processor, it's just how I function, okay? I know that the browser tab's inherent "to do" item is completed when the tab is closed. Until then, it stays open. Deal with it.

So, some days the top of my browser may or may not look like this:

[Pay no attention to the fact that my arrow via Microsoft Paint is horrendous. I know that. If you'd like to get me a subscription to Adobe InDesign, then I'll make pretty graphics for you. Until then, you get the cheap stuff. Or you can pretend that Little Guy was helping me with the illustrations. :D]
[Also, you know you're married to a nerd when ... you see the Lifehacker tweet and exclaim to your husband, "You can randomize your MAC address?!?!" ... because you actually know what a MAC address is and some of what it's used for ... ]
But telling Mr. Dude that I need all those tabs open to work on my projects just makes him shake his head and sigh. It also makes him require that any machine we purchase for me needs to have as much RAM as possible. [I haven't maxed out the 12G of RAM on his super computer yet ... perhaps that should be a personal goal for the summer ... ]

Anyways, whenever he needs to use my computer, he's just learned to open a new browser. Not a new window for whatever browser I had open - no, a new browser entirely.


You're surprised that we'd have Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer all on one machine?

You must not know us very well.

So while Chrome chugged along with my 46 [!] and counting tabs, Mr. Dude pulled up Firefox to start Pandora since we had friends coming over for the evening.

As I was shutting down the computer for the night [and this is where I thank whoever had the brilliant idea to make browsers capable of resuming where you left off when you turn your machine back on again - hurray for saving all the tabs!], I noticed this video was the other tab he had opened up:

Surprising? Not in the least. It's one of his favorite franchises, all kinds of previews are coming out for games with E3 going on, and he's easily distracted. So of course he was watching that while pulling up Pandora.  

I right-clicked on the video to get the link so I could share it with all of you, and I started giggling. Bonus points if you see it in under 10 seconds: 

Did you get it? Oh, c'mon!

"Stats for Nerds". 


I have no idea what stats it pulls up - I was laughing too hard to bother looking. And I have no idea if that's a standard option on the right-click menu, if that's special to Chrome, or if Mr. Dude was messing with my machine again.

To be honest? It's getting hard to tell anymore.

In the meantime, I'm off to enjoy my toast and lemon curd with Tea. Earl Grey. Hot. while the Little Guy sleeps. And who knows? Perhaps I'll get enough done so there are only 30 Chrome tabs open at the end of the day.

Hey, it could happen!

Monday, June 9, 2014


[Near Gear Mondays. Where I tell you all about the random gear that Mr. Dude - or I - may or may not own. Or gear that we may or may not plan to own. Or gear that we may or may not find interesting. You're welcome.] 
Once upon a time, a long time ago, baby gear was all about what baby actually needed

And then along came things like dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, vacuum cleaners and electronic baby swings ... suddenly, people had time on their hands for more than the bare minimum. So they started coming up with things that would be cool for baby to have, which usually coincides with "things baby definitely doesn't need to have". 
[As a long time babysitter and nanny, I've seen my fair share of the ridiculous things that people could swear they "need" for their kid. Wipe warmers, anyone? But I digress.] 
There are some baby items which - admittedly - baby does not need

BUT! Mom and Dad find them cool. 

Bonus points if Dad finds them cool, because supposedly that makes Dad more interested in hanging out with baby ... or at least feeling like he has a say in some of the gear that you buy. [Let's be honest. Most dads don't care about decorating the nursery or picking out a diaper bag.]

Enter: Geek Teething Toys. 

God bless the Canadians on Etsy who designed this: 

Bonus Points: It's even made of maple. How very ... um ... Canadian of them, eh? 

Whenever Little Guy gets a Little Gal or a Littler Guy to teach about all things nerdy, I can almost guarantee you that we'll buy one as a teaching prop for him to use. You gotta equip the next generation, you know. 

Can you hear the conversation now? 
Little Guy: Here, baby. This button helps you jump and this one makes you go faster. This one helps you get the extra star ... No, no, no! You don't eat it! That will make Mario fall down and die!
Future Little Sibling: [blank stare, blink blink, continues chewing]
[Sigh. This is the part where I resign myself to my fate of always living in a house of nerds ... in case you hadn't caught on to that yet ...]

Friday, June 6, 2014

PAX Drama for the Mama

If you've been hiding under a rock, you may not have known that Mr. Dude is just slightly excited about PAX Prime.

And that he's had me on "PAX Alert" ever since PAX East 2014 ended about a decade ago.

Or maybe it just seems that long.

Tickets sell faster than lightning strikes, so he had me turn on notifications for @Official_PAX on Twitter. And he always made sure that at least one of my thousand open browser tabs was the registration site. And he was diligent in letting me know when his meetings at work would start and end so I'd know when I could talk to the love of my life during the day so I knew when I was responsible for dashing to the computer in a frenzy in case ticket sales went live.

It got to be rather ridiculous, actually.

And then there was that one morning nap time [for Little Guy, not me - unfortunattely] where a Twitter notification came through and Mr. Dude called all at the same time.

It. Was. Go Time.

Good thing the browser tab was already set to the all-important [I may or may not have just typed that out from memory. I think I'll plead the Fifth on that one.] so I could just click on the "Badge Sales" button without thinking too much.

Do you remember when you were a small child how tempting something became simply because it was forbidden?

You didn't actually want the cookie until mom said you couldn't have it. And you never really cared about your sister's doll until your dad said you couldn't take it. And you had never even thought that the movie would be cool to watch until your mom said you weren't allowed to go see it with your friends.

That's what PAX did to me and my "refresh" button.

Seriously?!?! NO refreshing the page? The page will redirect automatically and I just have to be patient?!?! 

But ... but ... but ... 

Somehow, I knew that if I followed directions, I'd be okay. But it certainly didn't feel like it. 

The tech gurus who ran the PAX website would know better than to tell a bunch of geeks that the page would automatically redirect if the page wasn't going to automatically redirect, wouldn't they? I mean, talk about the most embarrassing tech snafu you could imagine, right? Screwing up registration for a nerd convention? 

It still took everything I had in me to not hit that refresh button, though. 

I think I just didn't trust the nerds enough. 

Meanwhile, my adrenaline system was on high alert, shaking hands, shallow breathing, accelerated heart rate and all. 

Must. Get. Tickets. Must. Get. Tickets. MUST. GET. TICKETS

Mr. Dude got into the queue just before I did and managed to snag two each of the four single day passes. 

Success! Breathe! Relax! 

Wait. No four-day passes? 

Nope. They all sold out. In FIFTY SECONDS

[Can we just pause right here? ... What kind of crazy world do we live in where there are so many nerds desperate to get to a conference that they stalk a site so that over 80k tickets are gone within just a few hours? Not all of these people are the stereotypical kids-posing-as-adults living in mom's basement and playing WoW all day. Lots of them actually have families, really good jobs and friends. But I digress.]

So, if you want to know where Mr. Dude will be for all of Labor Day weekend, you've got your answer. If you actually want to see him that weekend, then you'd better have scored some PAX Prime tickets. If you're lucky, you'll be there the day that Mr. Dude, Little Guy and I all show up in our cosplay. More on that to come. 

Meanwhile, I think I need to go make myself a nice cup of tea to calm down again after reliving that harrowing experience. I'm getting too old for all these adrenaline highs. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

June Bugs*

In the computer world, "bug" is a bad, bad word. [This is where all the coders start shuddering.]

Within the confines of my house, "bug" means "pest that's only alive because the cat isn't doing her job or Mr. Dude hasn't killed it yet even though I asked a whole 2 seconds ago".

For my garden, "bug" means "that thing that's trying to eat all the plants!"

As far as my to do list is concerned, "bug" refers to the verb, as in - "I haven't done Item A [or Item B, or Item C, or Item D, or Item E ...] yet, and it's starting to bug me".

For the purposes of this blog, "bug" explains the content of this post, and I'm going to refer to all of the above.

Let's go in reverse order, shall we?

To Do List: Let's just say that mine has been rather long, without much progress and without enough coffee. [For the record, there's never enough coffee. You'll be my best friend if you bring me some good coffee. Promise.] We've had lots going on with Mr. Dude's work schedule, Little Guy's sleep schedule, and my manage-our-home-behind-the-scenes schedule. Thus, the blog fell off the "highest priority, must get something posted today" radar. Hard to blog about life when you're too busy living it, right? Don't worry - it gnawed at me. So we're back.

Garden: The bugs in the garden have been watching us pull up undergrowth, kill off the moss that was eating our lawns [oh, the joys of living in the PNW] and set up all kinds of accessories. Our backyard is now sporting some awesome garage sale finds and hand-me-downs: patio table and chairs, solar LED umbrella [oooh! blinky lights!], fire pit, and gas bbq grill. [Can you say "neighborhood cookout"?!]

If you thought Mr. Dude's only hobbies were building and modifying computers or finding random videos on YouTube featuring reviews of the Goat Simulator game given by a gal who just ate a habanero pepper stuffed with ghost chili pepper sauce, then you were mistaken.

He ALSO loves sprucing up a much-loved grill to make it shine like new and filling up the gargantuan yard waste can with vines and dandelions and blackberry bush clippings. Not the stereotypical nerd who never sees daylight, I tell you.

[Although, did I tell you about how he worked in the basement at our university's IT Help Desk, and they had pictures of windows overlooking sunny landscapes on their computer desktops in lieu of actual windows? Apparently the nerds thought their virtual UV rays were sufficient ...] 

But seriously, when he's not doing yardwork, he really is looking up Goat Simulator game reviews.

House: I've been doing my own geeking out over things like design, function and decorating. I may or may not have spent most of a sunny day outside, lounging in our new-to-us patio furniture and reading this:


Mr. Dude likes the "DIY" concept for building computers; I like it applied to cooking and decorating. Also, I appreciate bloggers with a sense of humor, so I follow them on Bloglovin'. [Note: You could follow The Almost Nerdy Wife on Bloglovin', too. Just sayin'. #shamelessselfpromotion #justkiddingIhateselfpromoting] 

The only downside is that I can't actually do most of the project ideas in here: we're waiting on even basic things like paint and hanging pictures until our walls are demolished and rebuilt. No, we're not knocking our entire house down. Yes, we have to redo most of our electrical work.

[1916 House 

Nerd with Excess of Electronic Devices 

Supply and Demand Imbalance]

Actually, we needed to do the update anyways [hellooooooo, knob and tube!], and I'm too lazy to paint walls that are just going to be torn up in a few months. But it's so much more fun to point out Mr. Dude's wattage consumption. He won't mind, though. He willingly measures how many watts his machines pull out anyways.

This is actually pretty low, especially after we had legit outlets installed downstairs, in addition to the lightbulb-to-outlet conversions he had done. Otherwise, he had a ridiculous number of devices daisy-chained to a single extension cord running off one outlet in the mudroom/pantry just up the stairs from his man cave and it was consistently up in the 400s. We really need to get the electricity finished, folks!

Where were we?

Oh yeah. Decorating. Or not. At least not until Mr. Dude's machines can't cause a shortage throughout our entire house and blow every fuse in the box with one fell swoop of overclocking.

Excuse me. I'm off to go stock up on batteries for the flashlight in case of Wattage-gate.

Maybe I'll buy a can of paint while I'm at it.

[*Bonus Points for those of you who ever watched the Cartoon Network "June Bugs" specials where they ran a marathon of Warner Brothers' Bugs Bunny cartoons. Ah, such wonderful childhood memories.]