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Hank Green Ruined My Bunny Slippers

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If you’re anything like me, well first off, I’m so, so sorry. But if you’re like me you appreciate sparkling water, especially now that it comes in a plethora of delicious artificial flavors. I’m not a snob, either. I like the LaCroix, the Bubly, StoreBrandica — it’s all delicious.

But, it’s also a bit spendy. It hurts me every time I spend $6.99 for a pack of (8) 12oz cans of water. Yes, they are usually painted in pretty colors, and come with pre-dissolved carbon dioxide and 3 drops of chemical flavoring; but it still feels like I’m paying a lot for something so very simple. (If you add the 10 cents per can for the Michigan deposit, it’s even worse, because I’m nowhere near responsible enough to take my empties back to the store. Seriously, if you’re a Boy Scout troop or a Little League team doing a fundraiser, stop at our house. We have 537 bags of empty cans piled in the back room.)

So anyway, in an attempt to Hackzor The Planet, I bought a Soda Stream machine (The “Source” if it matters, but I think they’re all exactly the same thing, I’m not sure why they have so many models. THEY DO ONE THING.) I figured if I could make my OWN bubbly water, I might be able to find flavors and stick it to man! Actually, I don’t know if a man owns LaCroix and/or Bubly. But saying, “stick it to the person” seems less revolutionary and more pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey. But yeah, I bought a Soda Stream machine and a set of (3) reusable bottles. Because I love the planet. Of course those bottles are made of plastic, so maybe I hate the planet and just want to save money? I dunno, it failed anyway (he foreshadows like a BOSS).

I tried to find “flavor drops” that would make my homemade bubble water taste like something other than salty fizz. (Also why does carbonated water taste salty? There’s no salt… There’s carbonic acid, but why does that taste like salt? Shouldn’t it taste… acid-y? Or carbonic-y?)

So, flavor drops. The only thing I could find was some co-branded thick goo from the Bubly company, which you add a surprisingly large amount of to your freshly carboned water. It’s supposed to be just like the cans you buy at the store, and with the cost of those little bottles of goo, it certainly should taste like Bubly, because it costs just as much. Also, they only come in the lamest of flavors. And I didn’t want Bubly, I wanted something different. And cheaper.

Then I found these Capella brand drops, which come in a crazy variety of flavors. They seem perfect, so I bought a LOT of them. If you go directly to their website (instead of that Amazon affiliate link), they have even more flavors. Some sound better than they taste, and some taste exactly like you’d expect. My favorites are the gummy bear flavor and the Swedish Fish flavor. (I think they’re called something similar to the brand name, but not exactly so they don’t get sued — but that Swedish Fish flavor is pretty gnarly to drink in bubbly water.)

Unfortunately, every flavor adds a sort of “waxy” flavor to the water. Waxy might not be the right word, but they don’t seem to have the same sort of delicious flavor that store-bought cans have. I know they’re artificial, but the store brand flavors seem more “real” somehow.

And that’s when Hank Green ruined my bunny slippers.

I’m a fan of John & Hank Green. That’s no secret. Anyone in Nerdfighteria worth their salt is familiar with the podcast they do together, “Dear Hank & John.” I’m even a $5 Patreon supporter, so I get a *bonus* podcast every time they record an episode. Totally worth the price on the tin. Anyway, during one of the episodes, Hank was talking about how he also enjoys LaCroix-ish things. Like me, he has tried to make his own concoctions from home. (OMG we’re so alike, we should totally be BFFs… just sayin) During one of the episodes, Hank said that he adds some orange juice concentrate to his SodaStreamed tap water. Now don’t get me wrong, I know that fruit juice of any kind is just sugar water, and it’s not, “good for you” in any significant way. But still, it sounded like a pretty great idea.

And so I bought some orange juice concentrate. And I did it with aforethought, y’all. I got pulp-free, because while Fizzy Floaters might be a great band name, chunky bubble water sounds pretty gross. I also bought the kind that comes in a plastic container. Not because I hate the planet (although we established above that maybe I do…), but because I didn’t want the cardboard to get weird and soggy. Anyway, I put the plastic, pulp-free concentrate container in the fridge so that it would be pourable. The next day, along with my cup of coffee, I decided to prepare an all-natural carbonated bottle of slightly orange-y water. Unfortunately, Hank did not specify how much concentrate he adds to how much water — but I thought this was a, “less is more” kind of situation. I didn’t want carbonated orange juice, I wanted carbonated water with a refreshing hint of citrus. So after making a bottle of plain bubble water, I slowly poured a tiny bit of the concentrate into the bottle.

Now, I’m not sure if you know how science works. I thought I did. And Hank is “The Science One” when it comes to the Green brothers. But in some sort of Mark Rober inspired reaction, my innocent bottle of sparkling water turned into a fountain of citrus and shame that makes Mentos and Diet Coke look about as exciting as those weird ash-snake firework things that come in the cheap 4th of July fireworks packs. The explosion that took place on my counter hit the kitchen ceiling. Much like an untethered rocket ship, the bottle of fury fueled by some sort of zero-point energy launched its frothy exhaust into my pouring hand, which shot the mostly full container of concentrate against the side wall of the kitchen. It had enough force behind it that it bounced off the wall, and came back (still about half full) to hit me square in the chest and get further accelerated by the now spinning bottle of fury on the counter.

Further experimentation should be done, because I think the OJ concentrate combine with the freshly carbonated water created some sort of Jesus-level loaves and fish situation. That single 20oz bottle of water somehow left about 5 inches of angry standing water in our entire kitchen. The rest of the orange juice concentrate dumped directly on my slippers and my cup of coffee somehow poured itself *into* one of my slippers during the 7 seconds of chaos.

So yeah. That’s how Hank Green ruined my bunny slippers. And I have no idea if his Molotov Cocktail of Doom actually tastes good, because all of the ingredients were now a permanent part of my kitchen decor.

The moral of the story? Um… I dunno. Stock up on LaCroix when it goes on sale?

The Great Pie Fundraiser of 2012


My kids are selling pies for a school fundraiser for their choir/vocal class. (My two oldest are in choir, and are amazing, thanks for asking!) The cool part is, after orders are taken, the kids MAKE the pies themselves! What a neat idea, hats off to Hopkins Schools for a cool fundraiser.

If you want to buy one, we’ll do our best to get it to you. If you’re nearby, we’ll just deliver it. The further away you are, the more challenging delivery gets. If it requires freezing and dry ice to ship, we might have to share the shipping expenses. πŸ™‚ (Note: I freely offer my pie eating services for those needing such services)

Anyway, the Apple Pie is $9, and the Blueberry Pie is $10. Β Here are paypal links to send the money:

NOTE: I’m a moron and can’t make the paypal links work. If you want to use paypal, just send the money to with a link and a note as to which kind and what type you want. πŸ™‚

Here is the official information:

Shawn’s Amazing and Simple Iced Tea Recipe

It’s simple, it’s delicious, it has the perfect amount of everything — and in some circles it’s sorta famous. Here is my iced tea recipe. You can substitute other teas, but I’ve tried MANY others, and PG Tips has just the right amount of tannin and a nice red color. Obviously you can tweak it if you want to (you know, if you like cruddy iced tea or something), but this is exactly how I do it:

Shawn’s Super Yummy Iced Tea

5 PG Tips teabags (On Amazon if you can’t find them elsewhere)
1 Quart mason jar (for steeping)
2 Quart glass pitcher
1/8 Cup sugar

* Fill quart size mason jar almost to the top with boiling water.
* Put all 5 teabags into water
* Steep for 10 minutes or so, tea should be very strong
* Remove teabags
* Mix 1/8 cup of sugar into hot tea until it’s dissolved
* Fill 2 quart pitcher 2/3 full of ice
* Pour tea over ice, stirring briskly so ice doesn’t clump
* Serve and enjoy!

The Plight of the Soupless

I’m currently sitting in a restaurant with my extended family, as one often does during the holiday season. They’re all eating. It’s not rude of them to be eating while I sit and stare at my empty placemat, because you see, they ordered soup and salad bar with their meal. I, did not.

It’s quite unsettling to have everyone else eating while I sip my ice water. Sure, I could snitch a crouton or two, but really it’s not the same. I could make a pterodactyl out of my placemat. Really. I make a mean paper pterodactyl. I worry it would be considered rude to start a craft project during the meal though. So, here I sit, blogging on my phone. It could be worse.

Here’s my holiday tip for those of you frequenting restaurants with your family: Order the salad bar. Really. Everyone else will, and you’ll be like me, alone with your phone. You’ll hope your meal comes soon, but you’ll realize the kitchen put your order on hold because everyone is eating salad. Happy Holidays everyone. May your weekend be full of food, and not paper pterodactyls. πŸ˜‰

UPDATE: This blog post was eaten TWICE by the WordPress application for Android. Yes, I’m an idiot for expecting something different the second time I typed it on my phone…

7 Weight Loss Tips From Shawn

I’ve lost weight before. Lots of weight. In fact, over about 6 months, I lost 60 pounds. It was impressive. I felt great, looked great, and had the willpower of a hunk of granite.

This time, I’m not so great with the willpower. So I’ll give you some of the things I do to help curb my appetite. It’s not a diet plan, it’s not a 12 step program, just some things I do that help me lose weight.

Tip 1: Have Snacks

When you eat a giant salad for lunch, you WILL be hungry at 2PM. You will NOT want more salad, and you’ll probably cave into bad snacks unless you have some good ones readily available. Have apples available. Or preferably, vegetables. Carrots are great. Yes, they are one of those “bad veggies” that are high in sugar, blah blah blah. You’ll never meet a person that is fat from carrot intake, trust me.

If plain carrots don’t light your fire, try dipping them in hummus. Hummus is magical food. It’s really great. I’d suggest making your own though, because the store bought stuff if loaded with olive oil. You can make it really low fat, and add stuff like taco seasoning for a really yummy carrot dip.

Tip 2: V-8 is Great

Yes, it’s terribly high in sodium. It’s not really cheap. For some reason, however, this low calorie drink seems to satisfy a “food” craving for me. Plus, if you get the spicy kind, it leaves your mouth feeling all hot and bothered, which makes other food not sound as appealing. If you are hungry for food, a small glass of warm or cold V-8 might make things all better for about 50 calories. It’s a caloric bargain.

Tip 3: Have Thirds

This tip is often titled “eat smaller portions”, but I like my way better. Use a small plate, and allow yourself to go back for more. I like to use a really small plate (saucer size), and go back a couple times. I don’t feel guilty getting more food, and the time it takes to go back and forth allows your body to realize it’s full. Small plates are awesome.

Tip 4: Eat Frozen Veggies. Lots of Them.

Frozen veggies are often more healthy than fresh. I’m not making that up, it’s really true. If you eat green veggies (I like broccoli and peas) in mass quantities, it will fill you up with very little caloric regret. Plus there’s lots of fiber. I think that’s supposed to be good too. Be careful you don’t get frozen veggies with sauce already built in though. Like adding a bunch of salad dressing to a salad makes it unhealthy, sauces or butter on veggies negates the “low calorie” thing. I like to microwave an entire bag of frozen broccoli, put some seasonings on it (dry, no calorie), and eat the entire thing. Sometimes I’ll chase that with a half bag of frozen peas as well.

Tip 5: Drink Water

Another staple in diet tips, this one, for me, is simply a matter of physics. Drink a lot of water before eating, and you can’t cram as much stuff in. Yes, the water “goes away” quickly, but usually we overeat because we don’t give our bodies time to feel full. This helps a little. (It’s not magic though, I mean, it’s water, not food. Don’t expect too much.)

Tip 6: Beer and Wine are not Beverages

OK, they are. But pretend they’re not. If you like beer or wine (or hard liquor I guess), treat them like desserts, not beverages. If you by a 30 pack of Bud, and chug ’em down like water — you will get a beer gut. “Beer gut” isn’t a metaphor, it’s a huge belly from drinking too much beer. πŸ™‚ Just because it’s not sweet doesn’t mean it’s not loaded with carbs. If you really like beer, get some expensive imports, so drinking one costs like $5-$6. You won’t chug 10 of them in a row, trust me. Same goes with wine. Sure, you can drink it with dinner, but don’t think of it as something you wash your food down with — think of it as a spice or something that adds to a meal. Have a glass of water on the table if you get thirsty, don’t gulp your wine.

Tip 7: Don’t Worry About Thanksgiving

It’s one day. Anyone that has tried to eat smart on Thanksgiving knows, it sucks. Enjoy yourself. If you want to try to be smart, eat slow. You’ll know when you’re stuffed before you have to unbutton your pants!

So there you go, Shawn’s tips for losing weight. Ask me in about 6 months if it worked again. I need to lose about 50 pounds this time, and I don’t have nearly the will power I did before. πŸ™‚