Friday, October 28, 2011

Eagle Owl, Slow Motion Attack

One beautiful bird but I would surely not want those feet anywhere near me.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Layered Multiple Box Shadows

A box-shadow declaration may contain numerous values, in the following order: h-shadow v-shadow blur spread color & inset

h-shadow (required)
Horizontal shadow, the higher the value used the farther to the right the shadow is positioned. Negative values position it left.
v-shadow (required)
Vertical shadow, the higher the value used, the farther upward the shadow is positioned. Negative values position it down.
blur (optional)
Blur is the part of the shadow which fades from solid color to opaque, the edge of the shadow. The higher the value used, the larger the blurred area will be.
spread (optional)
Spread refers to the width of the solid part of the shadow, before it starts to blur. The higher the value, the larger the solid portion will be.
color (optional)
Color is self explanatory, the color of the shadow
inset (optional)
Inset, when used, locates the shadow inside the border instead of outside. This one may confuse you, because the positioning behaves opposite of how you'd expect. Shifting the shadow up and right actually displays it on the left and bottom because it is <b>inside</b> the box.

While playing around with box-shadow I accidentally discovered that multiple box shadows can be used for the same selector, and layered one above the other. Below are examples showing two different border shadows. In all six examples both the horizontal and vertical value is set to 0 which distributes the shadow equally behind all four sides of each box. The first shadow is styled with a 10px blur and a 1px spread, the second is styled with the same 10px blur but a spread of 5px so the blur doesn't start until 4px farther out than the blur of the shadow on top of it, making it spread out farther.

Red over Blue

box-shadow:0px 0px 10px 1px red, 0px 0px 10px 5px blue;

 Blue over Red inset

box-shadow:0px 0px 10px 1px blue ;inset, 0px 0px 10px 5px red inset;

 Yellow over Red

box-shadow:0px 0px 10px 1px yellow, 0px 0px 10px 5px red;

 Red over Yellow inset

box-shadow:0px 0px 10px 1px red inset, 0px 0px 10px 5px yellow inset;

 Blue over Yellow

box-shadow:0px 0px 10px 1px blue, 0px 0px 10px 5px yellow;

 Yellow over Blue inset

box-shadow:0px 0px 10px 1px yellow inset, 0px 0px 10px 5px blue inset;

In the following examples you can see how the horizontal and vertical values affect box-shadow, and how using an inset border changes the way you'd position them to the opposite of how they are positioned normally.

box-shadow:5px 5px 5px;
box-shadow:-5px -5px 5px inset
box-shadow:-5px -5px 5px;
box-shadow:5px 5px 5px inset
box-shadow:0px 0px 10px;
box-shadow:0px 0px 10px inset

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Arm & Hammer Essentials - Clumping Cat Litter

A natural product I tried as part of my ongoing quest to reduce my impact on what's left of our environment. This is a corn based product, a fact I'm not overly crazy about, so it weighs half of what comparable uses of typical clay based clumping litters weigh.

Overall first impression was good. Zeus was right in it, no problems there. It seemed to work well and there were no unpleasant odors from the litter box even at close proximity, Until I was halfway through the second bag. Now my opinion has changed.

  • Price: about $8 - $9 for a 10.5 lb bag.
  • Clumping Ability: This litter has weak clumps which fall apart easily, leaving used litter behind in the box after cleaning unless you take excessive time to clean the box using a scoop with very small holes. Even the cat's digging breaks them up, significantly.
  • Odor Control: The ammonia odor of cat urine is now quite strong when cleaning the box and the litter is considerably darker in color. This is most likely due to the weak clumps disintegrating, leaving urine soaked litter behind when cleaning the box.
  • Tracking: Possibly due to the sheer size of Zeus's giant hairy feet, this stuff is everywhere. Its light weight may also be a contributing factor. Through the laundry room, through a large kitchen and across the living room, this stuff literally gets eveywhere. You'll become very familiar with your vacuum.

Overall I'm very disappointed, this isn't the quality I'd expect from this brand. Poor odor control due to weak clumping ability mean that you'll need to completely replace the litter more frequently than with other clumping litters. This defeats the whole purpose of clumping litter and makes it a more expensive option in the long run. I'll be trying a different brand next time.

Oatier Oatmeal Cookies

These have ore oats than typical recipes, and rum-soaked raisins add an extra kick. What you'll need:

  • 1 lb rolled oats
  • 10 oz unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 oz dark brown sugar
  • 3 1/2 oz sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • kosher salt
  • 4 oz raisins (optional but recommended) soaked overnight in dark rum

How to proceed once you've got all your ingredients:

  1. Spread oats evenly on a sheet pan, bake at 375° for 20 minutes or until lightly toasted.
  2. Place half of toasted oats into food processor, process until reduced to a fine powder.
  3. Combine both sugars and the butter in mixer, beat at medium speed for 3 minutes, umtil smooth.
  4. Reduce mixer speed, add egg and vanilla. Mix thoroughly.
  5. Add cinnamon, baking soda, and a pinch of kosher salt to the powdered oat mixture. Mix thoroughly.
  6. Slowly add powdered oat mixture to butter/sugar mixture while mixing. Mix until incorporated then mix in raisins and the other half of the oats. Mix a few minutes until fully combined into smooth batter.
  7. Place 1 1/2 oz scoops of batter on pan lined with parchment paper. Bake at 375° for 12- 14 minutes until edges are brown, rotating halfway through.
  8. Cool on pan for 2 minutes, then move to rack.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever

A few twists in the typical recipe put these over the top. The instructions below will produce 16 large cookies. The photo is 10 of them on a standard size dinner plate (roughly 10").

  • More brown sugar than white sugar adds extra chewiness
  • Melting the butter first and browning a portion of it adds a little extra nutty flavor
  • Two egg yolks but only one egg white makes them less cake-like and more moist
  • Allowing the sugar to dissolve improves the texture
  • Skipping the cheaper household standard name brand chips in favor of good chocolate makes a huge difference. Use either Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips or, if you can't find them, Hershey's Special Dark Mildly Sweet Chocolate Chips will suffice.