11 August 2010

Operation Gummy Abomination

So some of you have asked (okay, nobody has) how I accomplished such a daring feat of science as to create giant gummy bears that weigh in at 3/4 of a pound each. Well, it's surprisingly simple!

  1. Get Lots of Gummy Bears: Brand name probably doesn't matter much, but it should follow that a better quality bear will lead to a better end product. I should note that you don't *have* to use Bears, but they tend to be more prevalent in bulk. You could use any gelatin-based candy, like worms, swedish fish, probably even Sour-Patch Kids, but the choice is really up to you.
  2. Get Some Molds: Just like with Jello, chocolate, or any other substance that can be melted and reformed - anything can be a mold. The obvious choice here was a bear shape, and the easiest mold to use was a plastic honey bear. No, I didn't empty out dozens of honey bear bottles for use in my little scheme. A simple Google search turned up a few sites that sell the bottles in bulk, and relatively cheap. I got mine (8oz LDPE bottles) from Wasserstrom Restaurant Supply. The bottles were $0.45 each plus shipping. Whatever you choose, just make sure you have an exit strategy for the finished product - see below.
  3. Sort it All Out: This is technically an optional step, but you can have some fun with it. If you melt unsorted bears you'll end up with a funky brown color with a very mixed fruit flavor. But you can mix and match to get a color or flavor combination that you want - cherry & orange, lemon & whatever the clear bears are, etc.
  4. Prep The Mold: One thing I found is that molten gummy is possibly one of the stickiest substances on earth; it even made a good show of clinging to a nonstick pot. Cooled off, it can usually be peeled off whatever surface it adhered to, but it's best to give yourself some insurance and aid in extraction by giving the bears a spritz of nonstick cooking spray, or shaking in a few drops of vegetable oil (neutral flavor here is best). Let the bears drain over a paper towel after you've lubed them up to let keep the excess from pooling up in the bottom.
  5. The Melting: Now, I am not the first person to attempt this horrid experiment. But I'd like to think I refined the process a bit. My first two attempts at melting the gummies were in a small pot on the stove over low heat. While they did end up melting, it took incredibly long at a safe temperature, and at higher temps introduced bubbles into the gummy. After a little experimentation I found that you can melt them in the microwave. I almost filled a 2-cup Pyrex measuring cup with gummies and put in the nuker for 2 minutes at 50% power and got great results. If you're worried about air bubbles you can pack the gummies into the cup, but most of the bubbles will get drawn out after you...
  6. Pour: CAREFULLY. I cannot emphasize this enough. Molten gummy is not only extremely sticky it also gets very hot - not a good combination, as there's the potential for burns if you mess up and get a good amount on your skin. This highlights another advantage of using the microwave and a measuring cup - you get a lot better precision in pouring. The bears I poured using stove-melted gummy had globs going everywhere when I missed the mouth of the bottle or it poured too fast.
  7. Cool: Where you do this is up to you. The gummy will solidify at room temperature, but will take a good amount of time to do so. Once the bottles are warm enough to handle, you can stick them in the fridge and they'll be ready for extraction much sooner. I'd recommend putting the caps on as well just to keep them from picking up any funky fridge flavors floating around.
  8. Extract: Once the bears are cooled, time to contemplate how to get them out of the mold. Now, gummy is pretty resilient stuff, so score marks will rebound for the most part. I used a clean X-acto knife to slice down the back of the bear from the neck of the bottle to the base, and then pulled the bears out of the slit. Once I pulled them, I rinsed them under cold water briefly and then dried them off with paper towels to get any lingering oil off of them.
  9. Enjoy!
Of course you can fix any imperfections you want - I cut off the "crew-cuts" they had from the bottle necks with a knife, which left some score marks on the head. You can experiment with whatever looks good for you.

So how do you eat one? Any way you can! My best advice is to take a bite and pull. I think you'll find that the finished gummy will actually taste better than the original "raw" gummy bears did!

Happy melting!

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05 February 2009

Long time no post...

There must be a phrase, meme, jargon, something that can truly express your level of connectedness to the digital social network. Maybe some unit of measurement of your onlineosity? There's potential here, I think...a whole new lexicon to help describe your shareable 1s and 0s and everyone's interactions with said bits.

I wonder because when I hit "Publish" on this, within an hour or so, twitterfeed will scrape this post from the RSS feed for this little corner (niche? crevice?) of the blogosphere, and put up an announcement on my very own (and ever-so-slightly more popular) Twitter feed. This will then be sucked from Twitter and broadcast to all my friends on Facebook via the twitter FB app. I'm sure there are more iterations of broadcasting things out to even more networks (if I were so inclined to use them), but to be honest, I'm kind of babystepping into this realm. How very ungeeky of me.

22 January 2006

New clicks and music!

Couple of quickies:  Added a link to my flickr stream (with images!  Pretty!)  You can also follow this link to go to this site.  If you’re a friend or family member, email me (link anonymized – add the appropriate symbols post-clickage) and I’ll send you an invite to the super-secret backroom photos.

Also, I’m on a TMBG kick lately, recalling the halcyon days of my youth…or, you know, some of them at least.  They’ve got almost their entire catalog available for download at their e-commerce site for $0.99 a song, or about $9.99 an album.  Notable exceptions are “Flood” and “Apollo 18”.  Wonder if Elektra still holds the distribution rights to them.  Anyways, they’re good quality 256kbps MP3s (which is better quality than I usually rip at) and also have live recordings from every one of their stops on their last tour!  So, yeah!

Photos and phunny.  I mean funny.

15 January 2006

Iran is (developing) da Bomb!

Hmm…Sen. Lott(R) and Sen. Layh (D), both of the Senate Intelligence Committee on CNN talking with the inestimable Wolf Blitzer in a segment regarding a nuclear capable Iran.  Hmm.  Ooh!  And a poll!  What’s the best way to deal with Iran’s nuclear decision?  

  1. Diplomacy

  2. Sanctions

  3. Military Action

Guess I better start learning Farsi…might come in handy on my next deployment.

(Disclaimer:  My observations and comments do not reflect official government policy or planning, but rather just my own morbid, cynical attitude.  Mr. Stewart would be proud.)

11 January 2006


Some links worth following, in my estimation:

  • Tell your congressman to block Judge Alito’s nomination – Our country deserves better

  • Feeling guilty about driving a tank to work?  Help clean the air, get a Terrapass for your particle mode of vehicular pollution.  The purchase price goes to help fund clean-air energy technologies and reduce the overall amount of carbon emissions nation-wide.

  • Rants, raves, and more importantly good information on the progressive movement in American politics:  Daily Kos

  • On the materialistic tip:  Amazon’s got the wishlist game down to a science these days.  But TheThingsIWant let’s you make a wishlist from any item you find on any webpage in a couple of clicks.  Create a wishlist for yourself, or an “I gotta get that for them!” list for your friends and family.

That’s all for now…laters…

What is the (new) Matrix?

What does it say about how much time I have on my hands when I end up pulling a Diesel Sweeties reading marathon?  All almost 1400 strips – I’m beginning to see things all…pixelly…Add to that the fact that I pitched in a transcribed a bunch of them, as per Emperor r. stevens’ edict, and I’m a virtual font of DS knowledge!  Heck, I even felt the need to edit the wikipedia entry for the site!  (How could they not include the venerable Shockwave in the list of guest characters?!?)

On another tangent, I’m all for this Web 2.0 thing everyone is clamoring about.  I have no idea what’s going on, but I’m excited!  What I’ve managed to distill out of the various references to said phenomenon is that Web 2.0 is about information convergence and interconnectedness.  The importance of Web 1.0 (if we can call it such) was information access and openness.  All of a sudden, with the public explosion of internet access, the world all of a sudden (relatively speaking, of course – Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the LoC wasn’t digitized overnight) the world had nearly every piece of information at their fingertips.  The Dot Com days (or, what could be called Web 1.5) gave people interaction with that information.  Not only could you see Domino’s menu, but you could order a pizza to boot!

But all the information in the world is a useless distraction if you have no meaningful way to interpret it.  The true meaning of a piece of information relies on its interconnections and relations, and being able to see and understand those connections.  To see what I mean, try a little experiment in learning.  Go to wikipedia and pull up any random article until you come up with something you have no familiarity with – the more obtuse the better (it shouldn’t be difficult, there’s a large amount of very in depth and technical content there).  Start surfing back through the reference links in the article, again especially the obscure ones, and eventually you will find an article that fits within your frame of reference.  Once you’ve read up on that subject, you’ll be able to make your way back to the previous topic with your comprehension thus expanded.  Continue this process ad nausea (or ad completion – whatever the Latin is for that) and eventually you will have an understanding of the original subject.  

Now, what does that mean for Web 2.0?  Well, it’s about being able to form those frame of reference expanding links, but about any piece of data you can put your hands on and finding out what else you can accomplish with it.  Upload a photo to flickr, tag it with a keyword, use those tags to find similar images, which in turn link to a blog, which links to a service, which sells copies of that very piece of sculpture or art you photographed in the first place.  Now this sounds like a lot of work, but the real breakthroughs behind Web 2.0 is not the links themselves, but how they are engineered and created.  Web technologies such as web syndication, open source communications protocols, and AJAX have opened up new means for web-based groups to provide access.  Previously access to certain types of information was limited to what you could read in a browser or download via a specialized program to pull and process specialized information from the internet .  More and more that functionality is being made available on webpages.  A case in point would be web-based email.  Early incarnations were little more than a series of text boxes, where a user could only punch in plaintext email, and maybe upload a file to attach.  Later versions allowed users to use HTML tags to spruce up their email or add links.  Now, webmail programs such as gmail put that functionality directly into a point and click interface, making typing a richly-formatted email nearly as simple as using a word processor.

So, before I continue to ramble on incoherently, that’s my take on Web 2.0.  Enjoy!

01 January 2006


While I realize there's about, oh...zero readership out there (certain individuals excepted, of course...hi, honey!), in an attempt to clear out the crap comments (spam) from actual intentioned messages, I turned on the word verification. Bots-be-damned!

My thanks for your patience.

The Golden Goulds

Found a great chestnut over at The Daily Kos with some laughable (and frighteningly enough, real) arguments against evolution. Some highlights:

  • Fossils are made of tar in factories in China
  • There's no way a fish could've evolved lungs before it died on open land
  • Let's have a discussion about this, but you have no proof and I'm not going to listen to you
  • Terrorists teach evolution in their "madroseos"
  • "Most mammals contain DNA similaities because mammals eat other mammals. "

It boggles the mind, really that...k, I got nothing, my mind is too boggled right now.

Of note, this comment, presumably by a former colleague of Stephen Jay Gould. A perfect example of a responsible politician.

25 December 2005

To all those who wish well...

To all those who wish well, welcome.

Just a quicky…it’s now officially Christmas day over the continental United States – wanted to wish everyone a happy and safe Holiday season, and want to thank all my friends and family for their support and well wishes.