Friday, September 30, 2011

Not Much News

I haven’t really had anything to blog about, so I haven’t posted in awhile. School is going pretty well. The worst class is my history class. That I have not been getting all A’s in, but at least this is not for lack of study. It is an extremely hard class. The teacher makes all the questions in such a way that it is impossible to find the answers quickly. The tests are open book, but that hasn’t helped one bit. The first exam had a two hour time limit, and I believe it had 75 questions. I wasn’t even able to finish the test before the time ran out. In most of my classes, (And I don’t say this to brag, it’s just a fact) I am almost always one of the top students, so If I wasn’t even able to finish it, I hate to think what the test might be like for all the other students. There’s another exam coming up this weekend, so you can pray about that if you think about it. For Joel too, as he is having the exact same problems as I.

Biology has been going pretty well. I did much better on the second test, an A. :) This week in lab we made yogurt. and then two days later we tried it.


It was nasty.


Painting class has been going well. I am loving it. No photos to share yet, but I’ll take some soon. This week we learned how to stretch our own canvases for our next project. A self portrait. Not really looking forward to that…

I’m having fun learning Photoshop. :) Here’s a picture that I decided to improve. :) It may end up on my photoblog in the future, but here’s a preview for now.

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Zoo7 294After














I was quite pleased with how it turned out. It really looks like it was taken out in the wild instead of an indoor jungle! :)

Tomorrow I have my monthly Photo Club meeting at the zoo, so I will be getting lots of new pictures to share. I actually still have a bunch from last month that I could post, but I haven’t found the time to go through and edit very many yet. Hopefully I find some time this month for my photo blog. I think I made only 7 posts this month, and two of them were yesterday!

Well, I’d better go for now, I need to get up early if I’m to make it to the meeting in Omaha by 9 in the morning!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Wheel of Color

One thing I have not been updating you on very well is my painting class. So far it is my most favorite class, though when we finally are able to move into the new computer lab at the art center, Digital Photography (Photoshop) could give it a run for its money.

Anyway, since starting Painting 1, we have done 3 paintings. 9 if you count each painting from the last two projects individually. I’ll explain in a moment. First of all, I will show you the very first painting I did. This was mainly an exercise in color, so we could get a feel for how to mix color well. We had to make exact measurements with a compass and ruler so that all our wheels were the same size. You’ll be able to faintly see my lines still, as the only thing we painted was the wheel and the tonal chart.

Color Wheel

The next two paintings were two series of four in one, which is why you could say I have done 9 paintings so far. 8 of them were just small paintings. The first four were paintings of an orange, first a regular orange, second an orange using complimentary colors, Third an orange using warm colors, and fourth an orange using cool colors.


As you can see, I thought a bit more “Outside the box” than most students, and painted extreme close-ups of oranges.

The painting we did last week I do not yet have a picture of. It was similar to this one, only I was painting a stool. I will post that when I have taken a picture of it. I always wait till the paint has dried. Tomorrow is our next class, so I should be able to get a picture then.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Garden Fresh Salsa

I could have posted this quite awhile ago, but I have been preoccupied with other things. See previous posts… Anyway, now that I am shifting my priorities, I am hoping that I will have more time to write and take pictures, as long as I’m caught up on school work of course. :)

I’ve posted a similar salsa recipe before, but I decided to do another one since it is that time of year when everyone is gathering in their crops, and they probably have a lot of produce to use.

Salsa is one of my favorite foods, and I came up with this recipe when I couldn’t find any really good salsas at the store. The best solution is to make your own.

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The great thing about this recipe is that you can change it really easily depending on how much produce you have on hand or how big a batch you want to make.

I usually make a pretty big batch of salsa so it’ll last me a whole week. I like having it on hand since it an easy way to get more vegetables in my diet, plus it just tastes so good! Here’s how I made mine, but feel free to take this recipe and change it to make a huge batch for a party, or just use  a couple vegetables for a small batch for one meal.

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Start with as much produce as you want. Tomatoes, Green Bell Peppers, Jalapeños, and Onions are the essentials. I used all garden fresh, both from our garden, and stuff dad brought home from his coworkers.

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Um, well, it wasn’t quite ALL garden fresh… The onion came from the store…

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I also added this thing. I’m not sure what kind of pepper it was, but I decided to use it in the salsa because dad brought it home in a bag of other vegetables, and I didn’t think anyone else was going to use it.

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Remove all the blemishes, which you will most likely have if you’re using garden fresh vegetables, and core and peel everything. The only exception would be the jalapeños if you like it hot. If you leave the seeds in them it will make your salsa a lot hotter. Chop everything up into whatever size you like for your vegetables. I like a bit larger chunks for mine, but the jalapeños I chop up really fine so the heat gets spread around more evenly.

The last ingredient is picante sauce.

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I use hot, but you can use mild or medium if you prefer.  Don’t add a whole lot if you’re making just a small batch, but if you’re making a lot you’ll want to add at least one jar, if not two, depending on just how big your batch is.

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Mix it all together and you have garden fresh salsa. So much better than the store bought variety.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Another Close Call

Last night I had another close call with neglected school work. I had not been paying very close attention to my online classes and I almost missed the deadline for an assignment in Geography class. Our teacher gave us a list of various cities from all all over the world and we were to look them all up in an atlas or on a globe. This was almost a very big problem, as I have no idea where our atlas is. As you probably know, our house was flooded last year, and pretty much everything in the basement was ruined or moved before it could get ruined. The atlas was on a shelf, so I’m sure it is fine, I just have no idea where it is. Joel didn’t either, but he borrowed one from our grandma, so we could do the assignment. If she hadn’t had one we’d have been in trouble.

The atlas was one from 1962, which worked out fine except for question 11 which asked for the location of Ho Chi Minh City. Ho Chi Minh City was not in the Atlas. When this particular atlas was published Ho Chi Minh City was called Cochin China, Thank goodness for Wikipedia. :) After I found this out, I easily found Cochin China. In case you’re wondering, it’s at 10°N 106°E. :) I submitted the assignment with minutes to spare before it would have been considered late. This is another example of why I needed to cut down on time-wasting things. If I’d have been paying more attention to due dates, I would have gotten the assignment done a long time ago. Procrastination never pays.

True to my word, I unsubscribed from a whole bunch of YouTube channels, and I deleted Northern Imagination. I did however, save a bunch of posts from the archive and I integrated them into this blog. They are mainly writing posts. I’ll link to a few of them here if you want to read any of them. Most of them are pretty funny.

This was my most recent post on my other blog. CLICK HERE. We had eggplant twice last week and it got me to thinking, why is it called an eggplant? It got me into one of my random humor moods, and I wrote a brief rant about how silly the name was, then I researched it and wrote what I found.

This was another example of my very random sense of humor. CLICK HERE. My random sense of humor is very easily fueled by randomness from outside sources. :)

This post started out as a comment on my cousin Shaina’s blog. CLICK HERE. She posted about coffee shops and how they were one of her favorite haunts. Of course this brought to my mind a very different kind of haunting, and I posted a comment in character as a ghost. I turned that comment into a whole blog post in itself. :)

This was a post about a terrifying sight at the Wellness Center one morning. CLICK HERE. Yes, this is hyperbole. :p

One post I did earlier this year was about a weird quiz on a cereal box. CLICK HERE. A while after I wrote it, I posted this follow up. CLICK HERE.

This post I wrote after seeing one too many guys in one day who had their ears pierced. Not just a regular little piercing but the big ugly kind that is pierced in such a way that they have a big metal hole in their ear. I saw so many in one day that the stupidity of how they looked overwhelmed me, and my snark came out. This was the result. CLICK HERE.

This post I wrote on my birthday. CLICK HERE.

All my old posts kept their original publishing dates and even their comments, so they blend into this blog quite well. This wasn’t all of them, so If you’re feeling adventurous you can find more of them. They’ll be in the post archives, between today and May.

As you can see I changed the background and color scheme of this blog. Since Fall is almost here, I thought it would be a good idea to have my blog match the season. I also redesigned my photo-blog again, and I have posted a 9/11 tribute picture there, as today is the 10 year anniversary of the terrorist attacks. You can find it by clicking HERE.

That picture did not always look as it does now. Joel and I have finally begun learning the basics of photoshop in our digital photography class, and thanks to Thursday’s lesson I was able to turn this:

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Into this:

I LOVE photoshop!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Bad Habits = Bad Grades

This week I got a terrible grade on my biology test. The grade I got was an 85. Some people would say that’s nothing to be ashamed of. An 85 is a B and is considered above average work! Yes, a B is a good grade, but it is not the grade I could have had if I had applied myself better, and actually, the grade could have been a lot worse. After I finished the test, I knew I had a very low grade. I was expecting a C at best. When I saw the 85 I was shocked. There had been two bonus questions worth 4 points, but I did not expect them to pull my grade up that much. As I suspected, the teacher had curved the grade. I wasn’t the only one who did terrible on the test, so she added 7 points to everyone’s score, bring up the student who had the highest grade to a 100. (This did not help some students, I think she said there were at least 6 people who failed, even with the grade curve and the bonus points.) I would have had a low C were it not for these circumstances.

So, in light of all that, we come to the reason that I am writing this blog post. I am giving up a lot of things that are wasting my time. I think that the B was a warning that I needed to cut down on the amount of time I waste with “Entertainment”.

The first thing I have decided to do is cut WAY back on YouTube. I’ll still watch things from a very select group of artists, MysteryGuitarMan, The Piano Guys, but I am going to go through and unsubscribe from almost all of what I watch. Anything that is mindless entertainment.

The second thing I’m going to do, is give up watching most of the TV shows that I download. Don’t worry Shaina, I’m not talking about any of the shows I watch with you. :)The ones I am getting rid of are any that are mainly just more mindless entertainment. Most of them sounded good, but really aren’t that great. I started them though, and I am mildly curious to see how things turn out so I keep watching.

Lastly, I have decided to get rid of my Northern Imagination blog. Lately it has become nothing more than a place where I share YouTube videos. Since I no longer will be watching much YouTube there is no reason for me to keep that blog running. If I ever do come across a great video, Facebook will have to suffice for my sharing impulses. Anything else I wrote on Northern Imagination, such as humorous pieces, silly rants, etc. will be perfectly fine here on My Random World. That’s where I started writing stuff like that to begin with, and given the infrequency in which I write them, they really do not warrant a second blog.

With giving up these time wasting activities I am going back to putting school first. I do not want a repeat of the last biology test. If I get a B in something, I want to get it knowing that I did my best. I don’t want a B knowing that I could have had an A.

I also hope to have more time now to work on my photography blog as I have been neglecting it lately. If I have time after homework and before I leave for work this afternoon, I am going to do some work there. I think I am going to go redesign it slightly. I don’t like having all my links down below the posts, so I am going to move everything to a sidebar. Unfortunately this means going back to a slightly smaller picture, but I’m keeping it wide enough that it will still be very large.

Anyway, thanks for reading. I felt like I needed to write this, because if I didn’t “Put it out there” so to speak, I would probably just revert back to wasting time again. This way I have a little more accountability, and am a lot less likely to go back to my bad habits. Now if you’ll excuse me, my history book is calling me.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Fact or Opinion?

September 001

Ahem! Initiate “Rant Mode.”

The other day I bought a box of crackers to take in my lunches. After I bought it, I started to read the box, and I started thinking about this little blurb on the front. At first glance it seems about the same as when a store brand compares their Sugar-Coated, Vaguely-Reminiscent-of-Fruit-Flavor, Corn Lumps to Froot Loops. But it really isn’t.

This box is claiming as fact that their crackers are better than another brand. Something about the way they’ve worded this really bugs me. The way they’ve used the “Trivia-Style” phrase, “Did You Know?” just seems tasteless and wrong. It’s one thing for me to buy these crackers and go tell a friend that they are WAY better than that other brand, as that is just my opinion. For the company to brazenly claim superiority using that language, just seems wrong.

I think it’s perfectly acceptable when a company says “According to a nationwide taste-test, 98% of consumers prefer our crackers to their crackers!” but when they just tell you, “Ours are better,” with no qualifiers, no explanation as to what makes them better, That just makes them seem full of themselves, and way too proud. And while it is true that they put a little asterisk at the end of the sentence, which leads you to some fine print at the bottom of the side panel which reads “According to independent taste tests,” that is not enough to remove the arrogant, boastful tone of the statement on the front.

These crackers are good, but I don’t think I’m going to be buying them again unless they either take that phrase off the box, or completely change it.

Rant over.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Saving Money–With Lunch!

Until last week, I always bought my meals at work. After all, Hy-Vee’s kitchen is basically a built in restaurant, and employees get a discount, so I figured I might as well take advantage of it. For the most part I haven’t been getting that many hours, so I usually was only buying a meal once a week, sometimes twice, but the last couple of weeks, I have been getting almost all the hours that I have requested, and that means I would be buying three meals a week. Five dollars isn’t a whole lot when that’s all you spend in a week, but I would end up spending 15 dollars a week if I did that every day I worked. So I decided to get a lunch cooler and a new water bottle.
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I love this water bottle. :D It’s Perry the Platypus from Phineas and Ferb. :)
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I also love that they didn’t just put his face on the front, they also put his tail on the back. :D
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Another great thing about this cooler is that it has a separate compartment for a container, which it came with. The only thing I didn’t like about this was that when I put the salad into the container I realized how cheap it was. This is no Rubbermaid or Tupperware. I don’t expect it to last very long. The lid doesn’t even stay on well. Ziplock and Gladware make better containers. But I didn’t buy this for the container, so I still love the cooler. :)
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This cooler will also now allow me to take something more than just granola bars to school, so it’s going to come in really handy this year.
This cooler will help me to start eating healthier too. Just about everything that Hy-Vee serves is fried, plus you get pop with the meal, so you’re talking quite a lot of calories per meal. This way, I’m drinking water, I can bring fresh fruit, and whatever else I bring is very unlikely to have as many calories as a hamburger or fried chicken.
I thought it was going to be an annoying hassle, but it’s fun to figure out what to bring and then make the food. If you don’t bring your own lunch to work, I highly recommend you start! :)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

2 Weeks…

Today Mom, Dad, and Jacob left for Montana, leaving Me, Joel and James home by ourselves. What will we do for two weeks without them?
If we were another, less responsible family we’d probably throw a party every night, but sadly we have too much school to do. James has now started college as well, and though he doesn’t drive to Council Bluffs with Joel and me, he still has a full load of classes to attend at the Harlan campus and on-line.
This week is Joel’s and my third week of school, and it’s getting a little better than the first week. I’m still not sure what I think of our teacher in Biology. She’s not the friendliest teacher in the world, but so far she’s not given me any more reason to dislike her.
Digital photography is still rather boring, as we so far haven’t really done much of anything. Despite the name of the class, it is more about learning how to use Photoshop than it is learning how to take pictures, and so far we haven’t even opened the Photoshop program. I hope the contractors get finished with the new section on the Art Center soon so we have somewhere to go…
Painting was a lot more fun the second week. We painted color wheels, which although not as exciting as a regular painting, was a good exercise in color mixing. It was still pretty fun.
Well, I think that wraps it up for now. I have a bunch of pictures I need to edit and when I get them done I’ll have posts of pictures from James’ graduation party, new pictures of our kittens, and a bunch of new pictures for my photoblog from the zoo.

Today’s Random Thought

Why are eggplants called eggplants?
I don’t want to hear that tired old excuse, “Oh, they’re called eggplants because they look like eggs! Tee-Hee!”
Puh – Leeze,
Have you EVER seen an egg that looks like that? If so, that would be the weirdest lookin’ egg that ever existed! I suppose I could accept that explanation if they’d been so named because they looked like Pterodactyl eggs, or Dodo eggs. There’s no way to prove that one way or the other. But no. We are just supposed to accept the fact that “They look like eggs.” No, no they don’t. Why didn’t they call the Zucchini “Eggplant”? Zucchini look as much like an egg as an eggplant does. Eggplants are not small oval spheres, they are large elongated purple fruits that look more like a cross between a squash and Barney the dinosaur. Maybe they look like Barney eggs? Wait, Barney is a boy. Never mind…

15 Minutes Later…

After doing a little research I have found the answer The eggplant’s actual name was the Aubergine, a word which refers to the color purple. Apparently it is only called eggplant in English speaking countries because there is a variety that is white or yellow and the person who coined the name thought it looked like an egg.
This is slightly more understandable. The poor soul who renamed the Aubergine must have been a blind hermit who couldn’t afford a good vision plan or even a pair of reading glasses. The poor man must also make the same mistake when he sees baseballs and tennis balls, as they are round and egg colored as well.
Well, that’s all I have to say on that topic. I don’t think that people are going to easily accept the name Aubergine, so I guess we’re all stuck using a ridiculous misnomer.

“But then why is it called the Incredibly Deadly Viper?”
Uncle Monty laughed again. “It’s a misnomer,” he said, using a word which here means “a very wrong name.”