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Lego Keychains: Stormtrooper

Lego Storm Trooper Keychain
Lego Storm Trooper Keychain

It's been a while since I visited Lego.com, or any Lego related website, for that matter.   I subscribe to Lego magazine and I will occasionally browse over to the Lego blogs via other blogs.

I'm not into building Legos like I was as a child, or even in High School (Geek-cred: I did a presentation in class with my Lego models as a visual aid) but that doesn't mean they don't have a special place in my heart.

I remember the days of Lego City and Octane and Space and the first years of the Technic line.   Now, there's Star Wars and Batman and Indiana Jones and anime inspired minifigs and so much more.   I can't wait for the day when I hand Izzy-monster her first blue bin.   But that's neither here nor there.

Last week I got a holiday shopping catalog and it had all the new sets that the Lego-sphere has been going crazy with.   The Taj Mahal, for example, is the largest set (piece count) in Lego history and is especially popular with the Lego bloggers.

One item that got my attention was the Stormtrooper minifig key chain.   Since I don't build anymore, I only read about Lego's for sentimental reasons.   When I saw the line of key chains, I thought they would be perfect for the retired Lego builder- dangling off a key chain as a reminder of the good ol' days where imagination and inspiration ran free.   Sigh.   Yup.   Simpler times....   Aaanyyway, don't get me goin' down that route...

What I'm trying to get at is that these little dudes are a sign of every geek's past and make a perfect "whenever" gift for either the retired Lego-ist, or the active builders.   It's a gift that really does say "I love my geek."   I will add this little guy to my wishlist in case anybody feels the need to say... well, you know.   If you want to support The Guamaso and want to pick up some keychains follow this link to my Amazon Store.

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Cake Mix Hack: Rocky Road Cookies

As the resident stay at home parent, I am now in charge of many house duties.   Fixing the bed?   Me.   Cleaning? Always has been me.   Animal caretaker?   Me.   Cooking?   Me.   (I'm so gonna get hell for that second one.)   I don't mind these responsibilities, as a matter of fact, I enjoy most of them.   Especially cooking.   I'm not sure what it is, probably something to do with my geekyness, but I have so much fun creating meals from ingredients.

Rocky Road Cookie

I do have to admit that cooking over a stove is an animal, but baking is a true beast!   Some would say the stove is a bit more difficult, but I say the oven is unforgiving.

I am starting with easy recipes.   A couple of weeks ago I tried some cookies by using a cake mix.   The recipe was on the box and I kick myself for not copying it down.   The cookies turned out great, a little overcooked - which is why I said "unforgiving" - but still yummy.   I could have used the recipe today, but since I didn't keep it, I had to result to the internet.

I found a recipe that sounded about right and went to work.   First I made a batch without mushrooms marshmallows since Ciri doesn't care for them. Side note: I must have some sort of dyslexia because everytime I want to say marshmallows, I say mushrooms instead.   It also seems to extend into my typing.   Not good.

Anyway, so the first batch came out a bit cakey; very soft.   I followed the recipe, but for some reason the cookies came out like cookie-shaped cake.   Although, after they had time to cool down, they did harden a bit.

My second batch included the marshmallows.   This is where I say the oven is unforgiving.   The mallows overcooked, lost too much moisture and became rock hard.   I tried to cook them longer so that they would come out like cookies and not cake.

Afterward, I met with my personal chef trainer - the wife.   She advised me that I should try heavy cream instead of milk and maybe use two eggs instead of one.   I made them for her so we could have a pizookie for desert tonight and I am just glad they were edible.

My next baking attempt will be homemade granola.   Stay tuned for that disaster.   *snicker*   I need to give myself more credit.   Oy.

Here's the recipe, be warned: they may come out like cake-ookies.   I got it from Cooks dot com.

1 pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 c. walnuts or pecans
1/2 c. oatmeal
1 egg
1/3 c. milk
1 (2 layer size) cake mix, white for reg. cookies or chocolate for chocolate chocolate chip.

Get the rest of it at cooks dot com.

UPDATE: I had some cookies yesterday from this batch and they were exceptional.   I take everything bad back about this recipe- it doesn't need to be changed.   I do remember having to cook them a little longer though.   Marshmallows are still a No-go.

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New web software helps students escape their childhood problems.

Flickr User: Mangee
Flickr User: Mangee

A new web 2.0-esque website offers a messaging service for schools that allow students and parents to send in alerts of possible bully problems.   Students or parents can go online and send out an email (or text message) to their school authorities explaining their situation.   The system requires registration, but the message is anonymous - which sounds like a flaw to me since we're dealing with adolescents here.   It's a great idea right?   Ever heard of "treating the symptom?"

I detest bullies. That said, some of my own childhood bullies turned out to be ok-ish human beings.   Becoming a bully seems to be the way of life for children that grow up in some pretty nasty family situations.   They turn out to be fairly upstanding citizens later in life and I'm sure they look back and feel remorse for the things they did.

On the other hand, some children have some tough lives but never turn to that life of bully-hood.   My best friend lost his father at a very young age.   Today, he cherishes every moment he spends with his own son, and works hard to provide for him.   He's not a bully, he's not a vagrant, he has not one malicious bone in his body.   Ok.   Maybe one.   Like a femur or something.   The point is, bullies are a product of different things: their environment, their family, and their own thoughts.   Ultimately, they all have the ability to rationalize and make their own decisions.   Either way you look at it, they need guidance.   Is this the guidance they need?