Category Archives: Cool

Geeky Jerseys

I dream of making a team the wore these jerseys

I wish I were rich. I’d buy every damn one of these things.


Geeky Jerseys

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A Week’s Worth of Groceries

Ever since taking a serious look at my own diet, I’ve been curious just how differently folks in other countries eat compared to ours. Just how bad are we? And conversely, how good are the eating habits of people other countries?

This sequence of photographs feature a family and an arrangement of food that represents what they consume in one week. I think it provides a really interesting insight into the question.


What A Week Of Groceries Looks Like Around The World

Cleaning Teva Sandals

Last year for Father’s Day, my wife gave me a pair of Teva Zilch Sandals, and I think they’re great. It’s like being barefoot without the excruciating pain and embarrassment of walking on rocks or glass or dog shit. Easily the most comfortable pair of sandals (and perhaps shoes) I’ve ever owned.

But all that goodness comes with a price. And that price is stickiness.

They get stinky after a few days of wear, especially in the warm summers we have here in Minnesota. Shocked-looks-from-guys-in-the-locker-room stinky. And that’s a problem that needs solving.

So here are some cleaning instructions that I found here, purportedly to be directly from Teva. They’re inline with other common de-stinkifying methods that you’ll find out there.

Teva Footwear Cleaning Instructions:

We foremost recommend using a mild soap and water and hand wash, please do not machine wash.

Also try scrubbing the top sole with a soft bristled brush while cleaning and gently bending the sandal from heel to toe under water pressure so that any dirt in the grooves of the top sole will wash away.

Another option for killing bacteria is to place the sandals in a sealable freezer back and freeze them overnight.

Other options:

Mix 1 cup of Listerine (or any antibacterial mouth wash) to 2 cups of water. Soak for 15 minutes and scrub with a bristled brush. Let air dry.

Put sandals in a pool with chlorine for 15–20 minutes. Scrub with a hard bristled brush. Rinse. Air dry.

Wash them in the shower with Shampoo.

Please allow your sandals to dry in an open, well ventilated area – but not directly in sunlight.

How often:

We recommend washing your sandals every two to four weeks, depending on use.

I used the soap and bristle brush method and it seems to work pretty well.

I’m curious about freezing them, just for the science experiment angle, but I’m not sure if the wife’ll like seeing my sandals next to our food.


Cleaning Teva Sandals

Teva Zilch Sandals (Amazon affiliate link)


  1. I’m looking at you, Stephen King, you and your book On Writing. Makes me so angry.  ↩

Gin, Citrus, and a Sweetness

In the last few weeks, I have become an avid consumer of gin-based cocktails.

As with most things of interest, this one has a bit of a convoluted origin.

Over the course of the last year or two, I’ve changed my eating habits to a somewhat (meaning ‘mostly’) bastardized version of a Paleo diet. In a nut, I avoid processed foods, legumes and grains. I try my best to avoid sugar, but fail daily. And I do partake of cream in my coffee, some cheese and greek yogurt, and ice cream.

But that’s about eating. This post is about drinking.

What I like to drink

I like beer, but try not to drink too much more than a bottle or two a month. I’ve already got a serious aversion to brown liquors due to a profound falling out with Captain Morgan while in college.

For a while, cider was an alternative that I made use of, but the high sugar content and the high cost always caused me a bit of a problem.

What I was really looking for was a sipping drink that was relatively in line with the dietary goals I’ve set for myself.

I’d heard that tequila fits that bill, but I don’t like bad tequila and I don’t want to pay for good tequila.

So I’d resigned myself to never really being able to enjoy alcoholic drinks for one reason or another. And life went on.

Found Bounty

One afternoon, I was wandering around my kitchen nosing through the cupboards and putting together a grocery list and noticed a half-full bottle of gin from a party that my wife had thrown years before. And that got me thinking about drinking again.

Didn’t gin go well with citrus juices? I had citrus juices. Lemon. Lime. So I consulted the internet, pursuing a gin drink that used citrus juice. And I discovered a terrific bounty of ideas.

There is a rule of thumb, a time of day, a chronological threshold that once crossed makes it it acceptable to start drinking. That threshold had not been crossed when I made my first gimlet. But I was too excited to be limited to those conventions of polite society.

Simple and Lazy

I’m a simple man. And lazy. And I place a premium on maximum efficiency with minimum of effort.

So it was no surprise that he recipes that caught my eye were the simple ones.

Three ingredients:

  1. Gin
  2. Citrus, whether lime juice or lemon.
  3. A sweetener

Most recipes called for a simple syrup. Sugar and water, brought together and heated on a stove.

No. I wasn’t going to involve a stove in my drink preparation. Any forethought required that went beyond having gin in my cupboard and juice in my fridge was already too much.

I dug further. I discovered a technique of mixing a simple syrup by dumping sugar and hot water in a bottle and shaking it until the sugar dissolved, and I found that acceptable. A few minutes of shaking a bottle of water was acceptable.

For a week, this was the method I used to create my gimlets and sours.

I had heard of Rose’s Lime Juice, but dismissed it because of the ingredients. Dyes, corn syrup, and other undesirables. But I also read that a true gimlet required the use of this product. And I needed to know what it was like. The simplicity requirement was met by simply having an existing bottle of the juice in the fridge that provided both the citrus and the sweetness, it was too much to resist.

But the taste of product itself reflected the less natural ingredients. I didn’t like the taste. Too sweet. Too sour. Too artificial.

I finished the Rose’s off, despite my dissatisfaction, not to avoid throwing it away, but for the use of the bottle. Because I had already stumbled upon a better sweetener.

I began to think about a way to avoid the sugars and the corn syrups and still have a sweet gimlet or sour. And then inspiration struck one morning while I was making my son’s lunch.

My son is a regular consumer of honey, so there is always a bottle of it on our cupboard shelves. And honey is an accepted source of sweetness, since it is a naturally occurring substance and is not processed overly much in its journey from hive to store.

Was it possible to put honey into a gin drink? I took to the internet. What I found was the Bee’s Knees.

Where’s my honey?

Adding honey to a cold drink is problematic. Much stirring is required to avoid ending up with a worm of gold at the bottom of the glass.

However, honey dissolves quickly in warm water, creating what is called a honey syrup, a product that is comparable in sweetness to a simple syrup, but adds a very interesting layer of flavor to the drink it’s added to.

I had a recently emptied resealable glass bottle which once contained the Rose’s Lime Juice. I simply peeled off the label and began to prepare my first batch of honey syrup.

Here’s how I did it:

  1. I poured a finger of honey into the bottle.
  2. I poured five fingers of hot water into the bottle.
  3. I shook it up. About 1 minute of shaking or less. Easy.
  4. I made a drink.

Astoundingly simple. Fast. Tasty.

Works well with lemon or lime.

Works well with a cold drink or hot drink.

The Recipes

Here’s my recipe for a Gimlet[1] :

  1. 2 oz. in (I use Gordon’s because it’s of decent quality and price. I can get 1.5L for $17)
  2. 1 oz. Lime juice (I use the bottled stuff because I’m lazy)
  3. 1 oz. Honey syrup

Here’s my recipe for a Gin Sour:

  1. 2 oz. Gin
  2. 1.5 oz lemon juice (the bottled lemon juice seems weaker than the lime juice, hence the extra .5 oz.)
  3. 1 oz. Honey syrup

I shake both of these drinks with ice, and then pour them into tumblers full of ice. Makes very tasty drinks.

Sometimes, for variety, I put the drinks in a pint glass filled with ice and then top off whatever space in the glass with carbonated water. H2Oh! Because I have it on hand. Sometimes I use unflavored, sometimes lemon-lime, sometimes Orange. Adds some bulk to the drink and some fizz. It does mellow out the flavor, but it doesn’t make it too watery.


  1. Also, I’ve heard the lemon variation called the Bee’s Knees, and the lime version called The Business.  ↩

The Friday Cool: KK.org’s collected ‘The best articles ever’ for you to read

You must check out this collection of links to what’s touted as the best articles ever written. From kk.org:

This is a work in progress. It is a on-going list of suggestions collectively made by readers of this post. At this point the list has not been vetted or selected by me. In fact, other than the original five items I suggested, all of the articles mentioned here have been recommended by someone other than me. (Although I used to edit Wired magazine none of the article from Wired were suggested by me or anyone who worked at Wired. I also did not suggest my own pieces.)

I forget who pointed me here, and I only just got around to taking a look at some of the linked magazine articles here, but I think this is a text-book definition of ‘goldmine’ for wannabe writers looking for samples and examples of top-shelf writing.

These are big, meaty chunks of non-fiction from well known magazines ranging from the ’60s to the ’10s.

My Instapaper account is going to be filling up pretty quick here.

LINKS

Cool Tools – The Best Magazine Articles Ever