…the web, NYC, the obvious…baking and some cows…

Belated Present Report

January 24th, 2008 by

I am a bad blogger. Very sorry, dear readers (if you are out there), I haven’t been in a HK bloggy mood lately.

To tide you over until I am inspired…

I received several Hello Kitty items for Christmas and my birthday, including plastic bowl/cup with Hello Kitty AND a castle on them, hairbrushes, toothbrush, earrings, a box picturing Kitty by a fountain, and others I’m forgetting. I think the best, though, are my new favorite pjs. They’re very comfy, and I’ve been pretty much living in them at home.

Hello Kitty Pajama Pants

Spirit Lifter

December 16th, 2007 by

When you are feeling blue - on a rainy day, no less - there is nothing like a chance HK find to brighten your day a teeny bit.

Kitty in the Sky

November 29th, 2007 by

I know this is probably posted everywhere on Sanrio-related blogs, but I feel I am required to make note of it, too!

Hello Kitty made her Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade debut this year.

I had a call from my mom when the balloon appeared on tv, “Just wanted to make sure you saw Hello Kitty. Ok, bye!”

Better Drinking Through Technology

November 16th, 2007 by

The design is awful, but I love the concept at (If the person who runs this happens to read this, why don’t you hire me?) I used it with some friends after a party left them with several odd leftover liquors, and we had a grand time with some interesting cocktails.

Using Webtender’s “In My Bar” app, you click off everything you have, and it tells you what you can create. I just picked out a few random ingredients, and got results such as Doug’s Modified Cement Mixer, Dr. Raspberry, and the Green Widow.

Dr. Raspberry is Chambord with Dr. Pepper over ice. As I tend to pour Chambord into lots of things–ice cream, champagne, bad white wine–and am a big DP fan, I’m pretty likely to try this one.

The below is not on that website, but I think it appropriate to share here:

Hello Kitty Martini

3 oz strawberry vodka
1/2 oz gin
1 1/2 oz peach schnapps

Shake, pour into a martini glass, and garnish with a strawberry.

Math Cab

October 8th, 2007 by

I was picked up by this cab one night in Brooklyn. I’d not ever heard of Oleg the “Human Computer” before, but it’s always fun to gain first-hand experience with NYC personalities. He did indeed correctly tell me the day of the week I was born (after giving him the date). Impressive… However, he was a bit overbearing - kind of didn’t want to let us out - and expected an extra-big-fat tip.

Taxi Guy


September 15th, 2007 by

It’s Hello Kitty Bubble Bath!

Now Rubber Ducky has someone to keep him company.

Adventures in Cake Decoration

September 11th, 2007 by

I often cooked sweets with my grandmothers as a child—pull taffy, baked custard, fudge, cakes, cookies—but I wouldn’t call myself any kind of expert on baking or cake decoration. So when I was tasked with making cakes for two birthday parties this weekend, I was not sure what would result.

I do usually bake cupcakes for July 4th every year. They’re always chocolate with vanilla icing, decorated with red and blue sprinkles or candies. Pretty simple… Slap a little icing on each one, sprinkle liberally with something like mini M&Ms in patriotic colors.

Cake #1

My friend’s girlfriend planned a loosely themed Formula 1 party for his 40th birthday. We were to dine at a French restaurant called Pit Stop, then to a bar for drinks and cake. And guess who got to make that cake?

A race track cake seemed the way to go, a car seemed way too complicated. I looked at some track pictures, found some cakes online, and eventually decided the easiest thing to do was a curve of track with some cars on it.

I got everything together and baked the cake itself the night before, then started decorating it a few hours before the party.

First I wanted black icing, so I tried to create it from my chocolate. I added tons of blue food coloring, a little red, and stirred, added more, stirred… I came out with an icky shade of grayish brownish something that ended up still looking like chocolate. I remembered this would be served in a dimly lit bar and decided it would do.

I drew a guide on the pan and cake and iced my track.


Several minutes of shaking with green food coloring in a ziplock turned my coconut into nice, green grass.


I used Strawberry Creme Savers to line the track, rather than ice teeny red and white stripes.


It was a little difficult to find appropriate cars to use. Nothing I saw were exactly like Formula 1 cars, but Hot Wheels had a couple to fit my needs (the “Preying Menace” and the “Tire Fryer”).



The birthday boy seemed to like it!


Cake #2

The second cake had a rather different theme. This one was for a birthday/surgery. My friend is having knee surgery soon to repair or remove the medial meniscus in his right knee. He requested a “Farewell Meniscus” cake, and I got the job.

I baked the cake in an angel food pan, then cut it in half and pieced together to mimic the disk of cartilage it was meant to represent.


A little emergency reconstruction was involved in the center, but icing can fix anything. (Too bad that won’t work on the real thing!)


I’d picked up a toy syringe and reflex hammer when I got the cars, and those worked nicely into the meniscus. He’d wanted surgical tools, but I did what I could.


Some “blood” rounded it out. I tried to make it a little gross without being too icky.


“Bye Meniscus!” all lit up…


Happy Birthday!


Grab It!

August 24th, 2007 by

Here is the most random Hello Kitty item I own. A co-worker saw this and picked it up for me a few years ago. Squeeze the handle, she’ll grab things for you!

Hk Grabber

Plus… What?

August 15th, 2007 by

Mm, Diet Coke! I often drink it for caffeine and the fact it is calorie-free. I realize it is probably rotting my teeth, the lining of my stomach, or gods know what else.

It might make sense if calcium were added to caffeinated beverages. Caffeine increase calcium loss, or so I hear. It’s a good reason to take your coffee with milk (cow or fortified soy). Our healthy friend spinach has calcium issues, too - it decreases its absorption - but luckily it has built in calcium, so maybe it evens out. Ok, so why not add vitamins and minerals to things like soda?

Enter Diet Coke Plus… It became available in the U.S. in April, and I first encountered it last week in a drugstore. I was tired and dehydrated and had forgotten to take my daily vitamin. I thought, “Why not?” and bought a bottle. It tasted like normal Diet Coke - empty sweetness - with an extra chemical punch that almost reminded me of vodka for a second.

Diet Coke Plus

So what’s in this stuff? According to, Diet Coke Plus is “everything you love about Diet Coke, plus several essential nutrients.” It includes B6, B12, niacin, zinc, and magnesium. No calcium, sorry. Take your supplements. (It’s only about 15% RDI of the above anyway.)

I’m not going to go so far as to say it’s good for me - in fact I’m pretty sure it is not - but if I’m drinking this stuff anyway, why not get the one with some vitamins?

Pepsi has one called Diet Pepsi Max, but it’s got ginseng and EXTRA caffeine instead. Wow. (I’ve not tried it.)

Maybe I’ll stick to, um, water.

I’m actually drinking less soda than I used to, generally opting for something juice-based with lunch. I go for some flavor of Vitamin Water (by Glaceau) almost daily. It’s probably a big scam, but it feels better than drinking the brown bubbly stuff.


August 14th, 2007 by

Social Networking has spread like the plague…and that’s sort of the point.

They are addictive, viral beasts, these websites. I was recently roped into FaceBook. I’m also on Friendster, MySpace, LinkedIn, and countless similar websites I can’t even remember. I’ll ignore them until someone adds me as a friend or sends me a message. Then I wake up and realize I’ve been browsing around for longer then I’d like to admit and remember I could actually do something like go outside during my free time. Seriously, the non-work time I have to myself is limited, why would I spend a second of it on MySpace?

Well, I actually have reconnected with old friends, some friends do have amusing profiles or even put up useful info like events, etc…. I get it. I’ve been sucked in like all the rest.

MySpace especially drives me crazy, though. I understand that it is fun to have the control to create something of your own with relative ease. But given the opportunity, countless seem to go for anything that blinks, clashes, or is visually painful in some way. It’s back to personal websites ca. 1997 or so.

MySpace screenshot

I mean, come on! (This one belongs to a woman claiming to be 35 years old, it’s not even a teenager’s.)

Ok, each to their own. I realize I’m saying this while I blog away on a Hello Kitty site. Who am I to talk?

What I really find interesting is the amazing marketing bonanza. The profile above has buttons for T.G.I. Fridays, eBay, and Wal-mart, among others. These are not ads but images the user herself has added. Thousands of start-ups these days are trying to think up more ways to exploit this potential, and I say go for it.

Millions of people use MySpace, advertisers love it. There are banner ads on every profile, or Google AdWords tied into - as far as I can tell - terms/phrases used on the profile you’re logged into. This is seriously brilliant. That’s not even including the ads on the homepage. Its background even sports the latest movie releases.

FaceBook is a little more subtle, one ad per page. I’m sure they make plenty of dough off that, especially since they opened things up to the general public. Friendster has an average of 2 ads a page, as does LinkedIn. But this is not shocking, the whole web is like that, we understand it and are used to it, just like network tv.

Hey, as I wrote above, go for it. I mind the ads less than what people willingly put on their pages. And I kind of can’t wait to see what they’ll try next.

Hm, what can I put on my MyFriendsterBookSpace profile next?

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