Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Watermelon Carving

I love watermelon, I love creative video, and I love danger.  This video combines all of those into something pretty cool.  Okay, I can admit that the knife that is being used in this video isn’t exactly “dangerous”, but I think the high creativity content makes up for the low danger factor.  Check it out!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Where Americans Are Moving

I love graphic displays of complex information that can effectively and accurately convey meaning in a method that is easier to understand than just text or numbers.  Forbes Magazine has done this on their website as they have a tool that can display information that the IRS collected in 2008 on residential movement between counties in the US.

The image below is a graphic of the movement to (in black) and from (in red) Loudoun County, VA.

 2-6-2011 1-59-45 AM

If you want to take a look at the trends from your county (including the number of people and average annual income of each line), you can access this tool at Forbes.com.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

“The afterlife is a tasty cup of awesome”

While browsing the web tonight, I came across the story of comedian Carla Zilber-Smith.  She was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease in 2007 and passed away a few weeks ago at age 47.  Shortly before leaving this earth, Zilber-Smith recorded a goodbye video which she requested to have screened at her memorial.  That video is below.

There is some strong language in it, so throw on some headphones is you are going to watch this at work or around little ones.

I hadn’t heard of Carla Zilber-Smith before seeing this video, but after watching it I wish I had.  In some ways I feel that the sentiments she was expressing were very similar to those that my grandmother prepared for her own funeral earlier this year.

This video touched lots of emotions for Barbie and I, but we also both realized that we need to stop our crazy lives every once in a while to appreciate, acknowledge and love the things that surround us.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Glazing Cupcakes with Fondant

For the last few weeks I have been developing a strategy for making a few hundred cupcakes for a friend’s wedding reception.  During that time I have been trying mini batches of cupcake batter, baking techniques and icing methods.  About a week ago I saw some videos online describing how to use a softened marshmallow fondant to ice cupcakes by dipping the cake into a bowl of the fondant.

I modified this technique by using a traditional fondant, and played with some food coloring to see how well the color would integrate with the base.  The video below captures the first few cupcakes as I dipped them in the fondant.

After the sitting for less than an hour, the fondant cooled and began to harden.  As that took place, the cupcakes began to look like they were topped with glass.  That was something that neither Zack, nor I expected and we both thought it looked very cool.  Below is a picture that shows this.

I still have a couple of weeks for more cupcake research before the wedding is here, so that will be plenty of time to refine the coloring technique and scale the process to account for several hundred to be made.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Oil Spill Hit’s A Little Too Close To Home…

Like so many other people in the world, we are actively watching the progress of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  Each day we hope for some sign that this disaster will stop expanding.  Today I saw a web-site that was created to help people understand exactly how large the oil spill is today by overlaying it on an area of your choosing on Google Maps.  Below is the image that I saw when I placed the oil spill on Washington, DC.

DC-Oil

If you would like to see how large this disaster would look if it happened where you live, take a look at IfItWasMyHome.com.