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Hot Snail-on-Snail Action!

Posted 2009.08.29 22.36 in Aquaria by Stephanie

That’s right, it’s Snail Pr0n! Just before lights-out tonight, I noticed Little Buddy had crawled ontop of Big Blue and was getting, shall we say, amourous with her.

Snail Pr0n!

Snail Pr0n!

A few days ago I spotted Little Buddy having his way with Speed Racer (whom I thought was a male…) Clearly there’s no question about Little Buddy being a bloke (maybe I should have named him Randy!) but until there are some eggs, I just don’t know for sure about the others.

Why they call it a Hot Shoe

Posted 2009.08.13 10.18 in Photography, Pointless Blather by Stephanie

I never really thought about it before – but the bit where a flash attaches to the top of a camera? They call that the Hot Shoe. It’s one of those things that you just sort of accept. Like apertures and diopters and f-stops – they’re just words and you learn the words and that’s that.

Camera's Hot Shoe

The Hot Shoe

But in fact there’s a reason that they call it a “hot shoe” – as opposed to just “shoe”, for example.

I discovered this while playing with an external flash. The bottom (“foot”) of the flash has little metal contacts that connect to the contacts on the camera’s hot shoe. When you push the shutter release, a connection is made internally that tells the flash to fire. So far, so good.

What makes it “hot” is that on some / many flashes, the entire electrical charge goes through there! Honestly, I never would have guessed that. I just figured there’d be a small, low-voltage signal that triggered the flash to fire. Nope! When the flash is charged, there could be 250 volts or more, waiting around the big pin in the foot of the flash.

Remember when I said I was playing with a flash? The flash had been charged up but then I opened it and took the batteries out. And at one point, the way I was holding it, my hand happened to be touching the “foot” when a finger brushed against one of the battery contacts (the ground contact of course).


It bit me! Before that moment, I simply never would have imagined that a flash would run the full charge down and out the foot, into the camera, then back up into the flash.

That’s why they call it a “hot shoe”!

Flash Foot

Homemade Hard Candy

Posted 2006.07.19 0.00 in Pointless Blather by Stephanie

You know the hard sweet candies you sometimes see in a jar where they’re all welded together into a solid mass? The kind that you have to suck on for a long time because if you crunch them, the bits adhere to your teeth, and if you try to pry them loose with your tongue you cut your tongue to shreds on the sharp edges? Yeah, that’s the stuff I am talking about.

Recently I was at Golda’s Kitchen with my sister, and I picked up a couple Hard Candy kits, some flavour oils, and some colouring.

Making hard candy at home was an interesting experience. Basically, for only about twice the cost of buying hard candy at a shop, you can enjoy all the fun and excitement of dealing with a hot stove, a pot of boiling sugar, super-hot molten candy which is incredibly similar in every way to molten glass, then the super-happy-fun cleanup afterwards, and at long last, candy hunks with razor-sharp edges from being shattered apart with heavy tools. The package makes it sound fun and easy to make the candy mix, and depicts a woman and child enjoying the finished product. Do not let this trick you into thinking that the woman and child should enjoy making the candy together. I would not want to have a kid in the same kitchen, while making hard candy. Think, sweet tasty yummy delicious, boiling molten sticky danger.

If I sound like I’m being a jerky smart-ass, that’s because I am.

In fact, I really enjoyed making hard candy! I don’t have any kids around here to worry about (my house is not kid-safe, it is in fact a very dangerous place for the younger crowd) and it turns out the clean-up works best the way I like to clean up: Leave it soaking in the sink.

And with so many flavours and colours to chose from, you can have a lot of kooky fun. I control the Flavour! I control the Colour! (I also control the vertical and the horizontal, so watch out!)

The blue ones are cherry, green ones are banana, pink ones are sassafras, and purple ones are tutti-frutti. Tee-hee.

Hard Candy Crunch
(the white stuff is icing sugar to keep them from sticking together)