Tuesday, January 31, 2012

PCB Conversation

Just a look into a typical conversation between engineers...

Penga finds a cool shirt and emails it to Sak and Friend E.
Penga: I might need to buy this...

Friend E: Oh yes...I'm definitely getting one.

Sak: This is not a properly laid out design...This isn't even an improperly laid out design...Must have been done by a CS [computer science] major :P


Friend E: Those silly CS majors and their shenanigans...they should stick to software. Assume it's not using high frequency and it's fine =P

I'm gonna mod it to have an LED for when I want to blow up planets!

Sak: This falls under the same category as a movie that shows people driving across the golden gate bridge to go from SF to Oakland. No self respecting bay area resident can accept that...

However it's not like I can wear t-shirts to work so I suppose it's ok.

Friend E: It's obviously using QFNs on the other side, those are all blind vias.

Sak: Of course. All that extra routing is either:

1. an RF antenna
2. a radio harvesting circuit for power

"cleverly designed" to look like a deathstar...

Friend E: It's for heat dissipation. That's why it glows...

In the end, I'm the only one who bought one, even though I have nothing to do with printed circuit boards (PCBs) whatsoever. That's what happen when one spends too much time analyzing and explaining things rather than getting things done before the deadline (one of those daily tee deals).  Mmm-hmmm.  Maybe I'll wear it as a lucky-shirt to the Professional Engineer exam in April.

Monday, January 30, 2012

DIY Area Rug: Beginnings!

So I think this may be the record for my most annoying project plan yet.  A fully customized, hand-made rug!

And not just a rug, but a BIG rug! Big enough to cover this living room of ours.
The plan is for a tri-colored, 10' x 6' rug.

I'll need four of these rug forms:
Though we've only purchased one so far since they are $10 each at Joann's and I only buy with 40% off coupons.  Each one is 3'x5' though, so they are already fairly large!
We spent nearly an hour at Michael's deciding on yarn.  Color, thickness, softness - it's all important!  We settled on trying out this dark red, brown and beige combo:
Which, randomly enough, perfectly matched our dining table/chair/tablecloth. I am not even kidding, I did not plan it that way.  My subconscious scares me sometimes.
Anyway, we're going to latch hook this rug! And it's going to take...forever!
One hour later..hopefully it gets faster as you go?

But when we finish, it will be awesome, and custom, and hopefully cost-effective (though I'm not holding my breath, we need over 9 miles of yarn according to Sak's calculations).
I'll share more details on pattern and exact measurements later depending on how this goes! Wish me luck!

Have you ever latch-hooked before? It's my first time!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Egg Drop Soup

Egg drop soup looks pretty impressive, but is actually quite easy to make! It's also one of Sak's favorites, and the protein from the egg makes it a very hearty, filling soup.

I started with this recipe, though I mixed it up a bit and made enough to fill my giant stock pot with to save for work lunches!


12 cups chicken broth
1 tsp grated ginger
4.5 tbsp cornstarch
6 eggs
2 celery sticks, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 package shiitake mushrooms, sliced
several green onions, chopped

Start heating the chicken broth to a boil, and cut up all your veggies.
Off to the side, mix a little of the chicken stock with the cornstarch.
Boil the veggies and ginger in the chicken stock.
Stir in the mixed constarch, and make sure the whole pot of soup is up to a good boil.  Now the fun part! Eggs!
Whisk the eggs together well, then slowly drip the mixture into the pot of boiling soup with a fork.  It should cook on contact!

And then you're done! Tasty egg drop soup!
If you're going for a more health-conscious approach, you could also just use egg whites instead of the whole egg. And add in practically any vegetable you like! I think bamboo shoots would have worked nicely. Next time!

I feel like I've been cooking a lot more lately. Must be the cold weather, I've been craving so many comfort foods!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

DIY Haramaki (Stomach Warmer)

I apologize profusely to Sak in advance of this post.

The other day I was reading a manga called Kimi Ne Todoke, and the heroine knits her boyfriend a hat for Christmas, and makes her Dad a stomach warmer.  Except her dad finds the hat, and thinks it's for him, so she ends up having to give the stomach warmer to her boyfriend.  She's super embarrassed about it, since it's uncool and meant to keep the internal organs of her old man warm, but her boyfriend (being the stereotypical caring and kind shoujo man he is) not only says he loves it, but wears it even!

First, I wanted to know what a stomach warmer was.  It's called haramaki, and is traditionally part of samurai garb.  Nowadays they are worn either for function (internal organ warmth) or fashion. Or for pregnant women.  I think it's the same as a belly band?
For fashion (source)
Sadly, I have never been very fashionable, and also have no problems keeping my stummy warm (hellooo flab!)

But Sak on the other hand...he has zero bodyfat! Surely he could use a warm belly.  Plus I was imagining him romantically accepting a gifted haramaki like the boy in the manga (bad idea #1).

Off I went to find some of my scrap fleece.
Though I would have liked it a bit wider, I worked with what I had and measured it out around Sak's waist while he was playing videogames and not paying attention in the least.
Some velcro, in case I ever want to wear it and need to adjust the size..:P
Sew it on securely since velcro sees a lot of action!

Next, I wanted to add a pocket.  Sak's Dad had sent us a packet of Japanese hand warmers (slow reacting iron dust inside), and since the boy in the manga also had a pocket for warming pads, Sak needed one too!
The seal kills me with its cuteness. These things stay warm FOREVER too.
That would be a shirt sleeve. I had a scrap shirt that I've slowly been dissecting bit by bit for the fabric, and it made a perfect pocket.
I sewed it on, and added a bit of velcro to keep the pocket shut.
And then, bad idea #2 - I added some eyeballs!
Toothless Domo?
Eats a warming pad!

And then I gave it to Sak. Who was, as you might imagine, not at all excited about wearing a toothless-Domo around his waist.  Especially not every morning to work, as I had envisioned.  So it didn't quite play out like my shoujo manga story. Le sigh.

At least he let me take these headless pictures...

After much convincing from me, he did actually wear it to work the following day.  Over his undershirt and under his button-up work shirt.  As long as it's not a white button-up work shirt, it should be invisible! And more importantly, warm!

Though we're not going to mention that pin I accidently left in the pocket. Heeeh.

Would you wear a haramaki? Maybe a fashionable one and not a domo-faced one?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Filipino Spaghetti

One dish I ate and loved back in my hometown was Filipino-style spaghetti.  On the surface it looked like normal spaghetti, but it was sweet, and bright red, and amazing!

I got a craving for it, and having no Jollibee's or Filipino friend nearby, decided to unravel the mystery behind the delicious sweet spaghetti via the internet and Friend E.

Amazingly enough, the secret ingredient is banana sauce! Banana sauce makes everything better.

I used this recipe, though slightly modified since exact amounts aren't really given for everything.

Filipino Spaghetti Sauce Ingredients (what I used anyway)

2 - 12 oz. bottles of banana sauce
2 - 15 oz. cans of tomato sauce
1 - 6 oz. can of tomato paste
2 cloves minced garlic
4 sliced turkey hotdogs
1 lb ground turkey 
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 onion, diced

Makes one giant pot full of sauce. Probably at least 8 servings worth?

First, saute your onion and garlic.
Then cook your ground meat, and add in sliced hot dogs after the meat has browned. If you can find the red-colored Filipino hot dogs, then you can add +2 to your authenticity score. Hehe.
Next, add your tomato sauce and paste.
As well as the secret ingredient, banana sauce!
And simmer it all together.
Add brown sugar to find your favorite level of sweetness!
Serve over spaghetti noodles with some shredded cheese of your choice. (I used provolone since that's all I had at the time.)
Yummm. Though these "finished" photos are a little off with the sauce-ratio.  There should be more spaghetti noodles than spaghetti sauce, since this sauce is really, really strong on flavor.  So a little sauce goes a long way!
This recipe definitely hit the nostalgia spot for me, and it's a good thing there's so much sauce left! I can save some for more nostalgia later!

Monday, January 23, 2012

DIY Eraser Rubber Stamps

I bought some of these giant blue erasers from my second home, Daiso.
They are meant for carving into stamps!  Though it's just a normal eraser (and any rubber eraser would work), this particular eraser has a thin blue layer on top of the white layer as a carving aid.

I wanted to make some stamps for Cousin T, and I wanted to start out easy, so first let's try a monogram.
I just drew onto the blue side with a pencil, completely forgetting that all letters should be mirror-reversed! Oh well, let's continue.
First cut away all the easy stuff, like the corners.  I cut at an angle so that there'd still be some stamp left to hold at the end!
Next, start whittling away at the blue layer, remembering to keep the Xacto knife blade at a angle away from the traced lines as much as possible.
I found it easier if I cut out small circles at a time, since circles are easy to cut out.  Just press the knife in (at an angle) and swirl it around. Though you may have to take a few hand-crap breaks, eventually you'll finish!
Next stamp it several times on some paper to test the stamp.  If there's crude or eraser edges showing up, go back and keep carving at your stamp until it's just how you want it.
The "&" sign is backwards, but not bad!
I got a little more ambitious for the next stamps, and this time I was smart enough to draw the design out on paper first (with pencil).
Cousin T and her fiance, M!
Rub the image onto the blue eraser until the picture transfers.
Then carve, carve, carve!
So fun!
They kind of have a wood-block vibe to them, yeah?

Since I practice-stamped with washable ink, I was able to clean them off a bit to give to Cousin T.   She also got her own giant blue eraser to make custom stamps with too!

Anyway, definitely try this stamp-making method out if you need a quick, custom stamp. It's pretty easy, and all you need is a knife and some erasers!