Monday, 25 February 2013

Stupid examples of how things are going right now

There's been a lot of grumbling at the stool house recently. The weather in Berlin has been spectacularly awful. The hairier half of us is currently unemployed (and none too pleased about it).
Both of our fantasy football teams have faded into obscurity. But since none of these topics make particularly interesting blog posts, I thought I'd try to find more internet-friendly examples of our
general discontent. Hey now, what's this...

On the left we have a super-duper, high-tech LED lightbulb. Guaranteed to last for 10 years! Warm, white light! The mere fact that this lightbulb possesses additional infrastructure (have you ever seen a lightbulb with an integrated plastic sheath? I suspect not), was more than enough to convince me to plop down 12 Euro for the promise of increased lumens for years to come. Needless to say, this story does not end well, but it definitely did end. After about 6 days and approximately 20 hours of use. Grumble.

On the right there is a gigantic novelty lighter. The tale surrounding this accessory is too long-winded for me to really get into, but I will say that it involves our pub quiz team (named the Electric Spanking of War Monkeys), three consecutive wins in said pub quiz, and a peculiar award system in which the winners have to choose from one of three boxes. One box contains a bottle of wine, one contains the cash prize (which rolls over from week to week), and one contains a "mystery prize". Can you guess which box we picked after win #3? In lieu of over 250 Euro in prize money? Oh yeh.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Lord Love Australia

We discovered this little gem yesterday, and Kate has been singing it incessantly.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Cycle of life, yada yada yada

For you diehard Stool fans who have been checking our blog with some regularity over the past two years, hoping against hope that something, anything might happen - well today is your day to rejoice. Oh yeh. Because it 's a brand new post. And given that I find myself in what can generously be referred to as a month long "career lull," I have a sneaking suspicion that there more be more of these here posts. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Instead, let's go back to those chili plants from two years ago - if you remember, several of our chilis suffered a grisly fate after a run-in with industrial strength fertilizer of death. However, since we here at Stool central are bonified scientists, we did what is known in some circles as a "control" - that is, not all of our plants were exposed to that noxious green stuff. The surviving plants went on to do quite well, and after some carefully tending, we did indeed reap what we sowed:

These red habanero chilis are dangerously delicious

 Hooray for growing things! Unfortunately, after our late summer harvest of 2011, we tried to put our beloved plants into hibernation phase over the winter. Which basically means pruning them back, and not giving them any water for a few months. This did not end well, and everything died. But hey, since the theme of this here post is new beginnings (or cycle of live, whatever), look what's going on in our kitchen as I write...
So wee

Coming soon - the mysteries of the Purple Tiger

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Many plants were harmed in the making of this post

I've tried to expand my sowing/growing repertoire this year. To supplement our random assortment of green, non-flowering plants, we brought back some chili seeds (habanero and something called ping - which I think should be referred to as ping! - a la stereolab) from australia.

It all started off very well. Seeds were germinated. Sprouts were transplanted into small pots. Then bigger pots. 10 ml plastic pipettes were appropriated from lab to stake up the rapidly growing stalks. Even Kate, who normally has zero interest in house plants, began to talk about harvesting home-grown chilis. The only hurdle was that no matter how big the plants became, there were no flowers. Thus, no chilis. Internet research revealed that something called "fertilizer" might induce this much-anticipated transition. As such, a large bottle of mysterious green liquid was obtained from the local garden shop.

At this point everything came crashing down. Rather than carefully reading the instructions (which smart people would normally do) I haphazardly mixed a big dollop of the green stuff with some water and started dousing the plants. With the following results:

The plant on the left avoided the first pass of the fertilizer=death express, and represents one of the few surviving chili plants we have left. The heap of rotting vegetable matter on the right now serves only as a cautionary tale against over-fertilization. Here's another view, which more accurately captures the swath of destruction brought about by my idiocy.


Next post: Tomatoes in peril!

Monday, 26 July 2010


I've obviously fallen off that "posting after every Indians wagon." Good timing too, since they just won 7 of their last 10 games.

Not much really to report. The Berlin Heat Wave of 2010 broke last week. Which was nice since it meant we could stop using our bathtub as soaking pool. And I could return to sleeping in the bedroom instead of on the spare mattress in the (much cooler) back room.
The flora in the apartment has started doing funny things. If I get around to it I'll snap some pictures tomorrowish.

The only thing that I really want to mention is that today is my little brother's birthday. Here's a relatively silly photo of him at the recent wedding. I think he's celebrating having ditched the newborn twins at home with Abu.

Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

In which i talk about computer crap...

I'm afraid to mention that with their win last night, the Cleveland Indians are a scant 2 points above .400. Terrifying. Curious to see if this trend continues after losing yet another starter to injury. choo down!

I got an ace new computer a few weeks ago (thanks mom and dad!), a nice little macbook pro, which is wicked cute and runs just as fast as the top-of-the-line desktop PC I bought a few years back. Crazy stuff this technology.

At any rate, I've been spending a bunch of time getting this little dood up and running, and decided to splurge on some cool new software i came across. One of the best parts about using macs is that people are writing really fun programs that are incredibly useful and don't cost that much money. First off, there's the folks at mekentosj, who are pretty focused on tools for researchers. Won't bore you guys with that - but trust me, they're pretty rad.

What I'm more fascinated with at the moment are the folks at Flying Meat, who have a nice little bundle containing two pieces of software - Voodoo Pad and FlySketch. Voodoo Pad lets you construct mini-wikis on your computer - you write out your plans/thoughts/whatever in one document, then link to other files on your computer that you can pull up pretty much instantaneously. Sounds complicated. but it's not. and very cool. The other one is FlySketch, which makes grabbing and modifying images from anywhere a total snap. Case in point:

While this is very lame, it took me about 15 seconds to do. I won't bore you poor blog readers with any further details, but trust me, it's the coolest thing since they started selling bacon packets with 15% more bacon.

I think it would be hilarious if the Dutch squad took to the pitch tonight wearing wooden shoes.

Monday, 5 July 2010


hi hi hi. So the Indians won on Saturday, but since yesterday was a Sunday (not to mention 4th of July, blah blah) I declared it to be a day of blog rest. Good thing too, because it remains stinky hot in Berlin, even with our new fan (I'm thinking of calling him Vince the Ventilator) installed. So stinky hot in fact, that for the first time in my life, I woke up this morning to find my sheets wet with sweat. Ick.

And yes, I'm aware that having spent quite a bit of time in Australia, the low 30's that we've been experiencing here (about 90 for you Fahrenheit folks) pales in comparison to the 40+ that we had over Christmas. There are, however, two important concepts to consider. First, air conditioning. Two, humidity. Nuff said.

Here's a picture. Graffiti is omnipresent here in Berlin. After a while, one ceases to even notice it. There are exceptions though. For example, here's a real cool snake cut-out that someone pasted next to our front door. Sssssssss...