Oh Facebook

I sometimes think that my blog secretly resents Facebook because so many thoughts which at one time would have been blog entries are now short Facebook status updates.

But plenty of thoughts have expired without making it to either site because I didn't want someone particular (usually a crush) to see my post.

Facebook has just unveiled some privacy updates which now allows hiding any posts on a user by user basis. So now if you don't see a post, you'll know that maybe I like you...

facebook privacy

Oh Amazon, how I love you

Amazon continues to amaze me!

First off for a while I've loved Amazon for the addition of their Prime membership program. I love being able to buy things and get them in the mail 2 days later.

And, now that I live in LA I regularly get packages a day earlier than promised. Recently I ordered a package at 1:18pm and received it the next day at 11am (having not paid for next day delivery!)

What's more they added the ability to filter to items that quality for prime shipping, which is usually exactly what I want!

But the biggest news is that this holiday season, they've continued to improve their Universal Wish List feature. I've been a proponent of Amazon's wish list for a while, and my only complaint had been than when folks bought something somewhere besides Amazon, that item remained on my list. Now Amazon has fixed that with the ability to let folks click a button to indicate an item was purchased.

amazon universal wish list

Thanks, Amazon!

Free Business Plan # 63

Product Disney Princess / Superhero babysitters
Service provided Parents hire their next babysitter based on their child's favorite animated hero. Trained babysitter comes in costume and in character. Sample range of characters include Disney princesses, Sesame Street characters and Pixar stars like Mr. Incredible.
Rationale Parent will pay a premium for a babysitter their child is excited to stay with. Characters provide parents a reason to choose this service over the neighborhood babysitter and other child care services.
Money potential
(scale of $ to $$$$$)

A cooking adventure

I guess it started when I couldn’t stop craving a pear cake I’d seen on a blog a friend sent me. A few days later and gave in and made the cake. (It was great. My only regret is that I ate almost half of it myself in about a day…)

As I started browsing (and subscribing to) more and more food blogs and found more and more recipes I wanted to try. My current process is to scan the food blogs I subscribe to and star those recipes that look interesting. (I try not to star many desserts since they always look good. I'm trying to find healthy options to try.) Then when I have time to cook or go shopping I scan the list and pick a few recipes to try.

My favorite part of the process is after cooking a recipe adding a link to the recipe and picture (from the recipe source) to my tumblr feed. (If you’re curious you can subscribe with this link)

I've learned a few things through this process:
  • Smitten Kitchen has the most amazing food photography (and great, illustrated recipes)
  • If a recipe mentions cilantro or garbanzo beans I’ll probably try it
  • I'm a little afraid of cooking meat besides ground beef.
  • I love my food processor
  • I really need a juicer
  • and a meat thermometer

    A few favorites:
    Smashed chickpea salad
    smashed chickpea salad

    Orange and apricot couscous
    Cooking Books: Orange and Apricot Couscous

    Cap'n Crunch French Toast
    Sunday Brunch: Cap’n Crunch French Toast

    (no subject)

    If you know me as a girl who loves magnets and mosaics, you won't be surprised that I am delighted by this new product!

    It's basically a bunch of mosaic magnets that you can arrange on your fridge in one of the designs they give you or into a design of your own.

    (I learned about this from RGS who is having a contest where you can win a free set.)

    Industrial Revolution

    Kris and I teamed up again (this time adding Hugo as well) and brought this year's design forward from last year’s 17th century Pirate ship. This year the pumpkin stayed on land as it competed Clay's annual pumpkin carving party.

    We had nine new categories to choose from:
  • Political Pumpkin Portrait
  • STYX!
  • Industrial Revolution
  • Unlikely Romance
  • As Seen on TV!
  • It’s a Small World
  • Anatomically Correct
  • Fantastical Beastie
  • Bone Chiller

    We were inspired by the Industrial Revolution category to create a working pumpkin machine. Turning a pumpkin-rind crank on the outside of the pumpkin turned gears on the inside of our pumpkin. The gears were supported by two dowel rods that ran through the pumpkin and could be seen by a window on the back. At one point during our work we had the gears set up to compete a circuit as they turned and light a string of light inside the pumpkin. Unfortunately in the minutes before judging one of the wires slipped out and we ripped out the wiring and lights.


    Watch it in action

    Re: Permit distribution

    Dear Park Rangers,

    First off I wanted to let you know that I totally understand the whole "only 20 permits a day" system -- if too many people trample all over nature we’ll ruin the very thing we're hiking to see. That said I had a few ideas of how to improve your current permit distribution system. Right now you allow me to either procure a permit 4 months in advance [which doesn’t work for me since I decided I wanted to go 5 days in advance] or enter a lottery the day before I want to go hiking [which creates a huge risk for me by driving hundreds and hundreds of miles to *maybe* go on this hike.] I mean, it’s great that you’re already catering to both plan-ahead and last-minute type hikers, it just that this isn’t fully addressing my needs which I assume is your second highest priority (after the not trampling nature thing.)

    I propose a permit system that allows 21 visitors per day (one more probably won’t hurt and the math is easier this way.) 7 of those permits will be given away in advance per the current system because if you somehow know what you’ll want to do 120 days in the future you should be rewarded. Another 7 of those permits should be given away the day of by lottery. This is similar to the current system only I made it same day because otherwise I’m stuck there for a whole day waiting for my hiking day. And let’s be honest here -- nature is kind of in the middle of nowhere. The final 7 permits will be given away 3 days in advance to the highest bidder via auction. This lets the park benefit from our free market economy which your current system, with its $7 permits, isn’t really doing. [Google for supply and demand and you’ll see that you’re really missing out on a huge payday!] This also provides me a way, with limited notice, to ensure my travel plans will be fruitful provided I’m willing to pony up the cash.

    Thank you for your time and consideration. See you this weekend.

    Remember, only you can prevent forest fires,

    Erin Dean


    While listening to This American Life recently, I came across the teachings of Rabbi Maimonides. One of his more famous teachings (and the one mentioned in the episode I was listening to) is the Ladder of Tzedakah (Charity.) In it he enumerates the levels charity from least to most preferred with the intention of encouraging more (and better) charity.

    Based on my own experiences with giving I feel like he has a few of these out of order. The anonymity of the gift seems like no big deal whereas the attitude shift between giving grudgingly to giving cheerfully seems like a much more central struggle. That said he's the Rabbi and I'm just the public radio listener...


    free business plan #58

    Product"Show me where it hurts" bodysuit bodysuit
    Concept Pull on this body suit and deduce which body part is causing discomfort.
    Rationale It can be hard to know if you’ve got a food poisoning or appendicitis when you don’t know where your appendix is. With this you can!! Also great for kids who don’t yet have the word to describe where it hurts. Now they can just point and be on their way to feeling better. It's educational too!
    Money potential
    (scale of $ to $$$$$)