Archive of Posts from June 2007

My Singluarity is Near, and Catching Up

I've been silent on this blog lately, and it's only been alive thanks to the steady drip of my del.icio.us links that are posted automatically with a Perl script. I was joking around on Twitter the other day that I'm having a blogdentity crisis (ugh, sorry) and it's definitely true.

The last burst of activity here was in February when I did a series of posts about Going Off the Flickr Grid. I haven't done much since then with the project, beyond another implementation of the code (with heavy modifications for group posting and commenting) over at ORblogs: ORblogs Photos. (By the way, ORblogs turned four years old yesterday.) I still have a long to-do list for OTFG, but now that the code is working well enough for me to share photos here, I'm not as motivated to continue developing it.

At the beginning of May I started more sustained work behind the scenes at Metafilter, and that's going well. I don't want to blog about all of the nitty-gritty details of what I'm doing there, so I haven't been posting about that. But in the past month I've been able to help build some new features for the site, and I've learned more about ColdFusion than I ever thought I would. I still have to look up little syntax things, but I noticed the other day that I'm thinking in CF first.

The real reason this site has been so quiet is that sk and I are morphing from normal people to parents. Our due date is in October, and I've been working on Figuring Everything Out before then. I'm not going to turn onfocus into a parenting blog, or even an expecting-parent blog, so I'm afraid the silence will continue for a while. I'm reading/learning about pregnancy and birth with its own vocabulary, culture, and mountain of knowledge to absorb. And looking ahead to post-birth has me re-evaluating myself, the world, and my relationship with everything in it—not the kind of stuff that's easy to convey in the short space of weblog posts.

So even though things are quiet here, this is an exciting time for both me and sk. And I'm sure I'll be able to blend my new parenting role with my old (ugh) blogdentity eventually. It'll just take some time.

My Smoothie Technique is Unstoppable

I have a smoothie for breakfast every morning. I've been making them for years, and I've had a chance to hone the recipe to perfection over that time. I don't measure anything anymore, I just dump stuff into the blender. But I thought I should share my recipe titled My Smoothie Technique is Unstoppable. Here are the basics with approximate measurements:
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 6 oz. vanilla yogurt
  • 1 banana
Throw into a blender and blend. Of course the quality of the smoothie is completely dependent on the quality of the ingredients. Here are my choices for ingredients:

Stahlbush Island Farms Frozen Strawberries, a local Corvallis company, great strawberries. They're not certified organic, but they have a lot of text on the package about no pesticide residue. Frozen strawberries are expensive—especially in the winter—but you can't skimp on these if you want your smoothie to be unstoppable. If I'm having a strawberry emergency and I can't get to the Corvallis Co-op, I'll pick up Safeway Organics strawberries. (But I don't feel as good about it.)

Columbia Gorge Orange Juice, from another local company (Hood River, OR). I used Odwalla Orange Juice for several years until I tried this brighter, happier orange juice. Like Odwalla, this isn't cheap OJ. I buy the 1/2 gallon size at the co-op and it's even a bit more expensive than Odwalla. But remember the goal: unstoppable.

Tillamook Vanilla Bean Yogurt from Tillamook, OR. Yogurt is the real x-factor in this smoothie, and I've tried a bunch. This yogurt has sugar and corn syrup, so it's definitely not "pure" in the healthy, unrefined sugar sense. But it does have live cultures, so I get the beneficial bacteria. This isn't a creamy, European style yogurt—it has some heft to it. So if you don't have Tillamook where you are, you might look for a heftier yogurt to bulk things up. This yogurt also makes the smoothie insanely sweet, and I'm all for that.

Finally, organic bananas. I don't sweat the brand too much, I just pick up what I can find.

My blending technique is probably stoppable, but there is a knack to it. I have a Braun blender, I dump in everything in the order I've listed, and I start at 1. Once the strawberries are chopped up I crank up the speed. It's key that you don't stop the blending process until you're at the consistency you want. Stopping and starting will throw smoothie all over the sides of the blender, wasting precious expensive ingredients.

The quantities I've mentioned here fill up one of my glasses perfectly, sometimes with a little extra. But no bit of smoothie is wasted in my house. I stopped drinking all caffeinated beverages last February, and I find if I don't have this sugar jolt every morning I'll be dragging by ten o'clock, barely able to function. I also try to eat a piece of toast with peanut butter with my smoothie—the protein helps slow the absorption of this massive sugar hit into my blood. Anyway, this smoothie gives me pretty sustained energy in the morning.

In the end I get a smoothie that is the sum of its parts, no one ingredient overpowering the others. Probably more than you wanted to know about my breakfast habits, but I take my smoothies very seriously.