Thursday, July 21, 2011

Beat the heat with RG's Purple Slush Drink

It's possible that you don't live in Ottawa, or you're reading this in December, or you're one of those people who goes from their air-conditioned house to their air-conditioned garage to their air-conditioned car to their air-conditioned office garage to their air-conditioned office (in which case, that's real weak). Otherwise, you'll likely know that it's fucking hot outside, like 37 degrees not counting the humidex.

During the previous heat wave, I had run out of my soft drink of choice, and either it was too late or hot or I was too lazy to go to Bridgehead for my favourite slush-based drink. It occurred to me that I had purple stuff mix of a certain vintage, allowing me to make the next best thing.

Here's what you need:

  • Drink Mix (can be Gatorade powder or sugary drink mix or try out something else--on a per-drink basis the stuff is dirt cheap)
  • Blender
  • Mason Jar, or County Fair Drinking Jar (with screw top)--I've seen them at Canadian Tire
  • Ice
  • straw (at least 0.5cm diameter; not pictured)
The amount of ice I used in this sample was not enough. It should come loosely to the shoulder of the jar, or about 3/4 full. Too much and there's no room for it to blend; too little and the drink is too watery.

Add the Purple Stuff mix (2 heaping tablespoons tingles my sweet tooth just right, though you might want less)

Add water to the shoulder of the jar. Again, this is a bit too low. You might want to put the water in first to make sure the mix doesn't stick to the bottom.

Unscrew the bottom of the blender jug and reattach it to the jar. This makes for one less thing to have to clean afterwards. Don't tighten it too much! If you do, it is a bitch to unscrew it. The rubber seal works well.

Put the jar with the blender attachment on the blender. Yes, it feels weird turning a container full of drink upside down. Get over it.

Once again, this doesn't have nearly enough inside to blend properly. Here's one I did during the last heat wave that blended much better:

I had to add more water to this one, which made for a poor ice-to-water ratio. This shouldn't have layers like this; it should be more homogeneous.

Either way, it's an iced drink, and if you used Gatorade powder, it has electrolytes too. Pop a straw in and drink! Drink it without a straw at your own risk!

So there you go. It's easy, cheap, and fast.

Unless, I guess, you don't have a blender or a compatible jar or glass. In that case, you'll probably have to buy air conditioning, which is probably not easy, cheap, or fast.

- RG>

Saturday, July 02, 2011

RG's Workshop: RG's Laptop Box

Last year, I bought a new laptop after the audio jack was irreparably damaged on my previous one from being bumped around in my bike panniers too much. (The one before that got a broken screen from the same thing)

Since I didn't want yet another laptop to start breaking up on me, I'd known before I even bought my current laptop that I wanted to build a box for it. So within days of receiving my laptop, I built myself a box, custom-sized for my brand new laptop:

I'd spent the previous few weeks keeping an eye out in trash piles for just the right type of particle board to use. I didn't want it to be too thick, but I wanted it to be strong enough to sit on. You see, the benches at Bridgehead are a couple too inches to comfortably use for typing or writing, and I'd wanted to build myself a laptop box to serve this alternate purpose. Knowing I'd be buying a new laptop soon, with different dimensions, I had to wait until I'd bought (and received) the new one. The old laptop was already busted, so why bother trying to protect it with a box?

I didn't take any photos of the initial construction, but it was almost entirely used materials, including these antique hinges from a cabinet door somebody was throwing out. The side pieces were cut from IKEA Lade bed boards (featured in the 90-minute glove rack) sliced down the middle. While attractive, functional, and perfectly sized, the hinges were a bit loose, especially since they were going in the end of the particle board. I glued the screws in to keep them tight:

The finish on the board I'd chosen had some water damage in some places and was peeling, but there was enough undamaged wood to use for the box.

This was a feature, not a bug, as I was able to use it to veneer the ends of the side boards.

The box was quite oversized for my panniers, threatening to rip them open, but inspiring further creativity in its repair (my 15" screen was a size or two too big with the box wrapped around it).

To economize on space, I cut a notch out of one of the side boards for the laptop's protruding battery case to slim down the box's profile. I also, unfortunately, had to angle the top ends of the side boards, cutting off the DIY veneer in the process. You'll also notice a little metal plug next to this notch (the kind used for adjustable shelving units), which keeps the top aligned and thus solves the loose hing e problem.

In addition to a laptop protective box and a booster seat, the box serves many other purposes. It provides a hard flat surface to rest your drink when lounging on a couch, a writing surface, and, shown here, a laptop lifter to bring the screen to a more comfortable viewing height when, say, watching videos of the masturbating Santa Claus:

A few months later, I calculated that a well-placed 1/2" hole...

...lets me plug in the laptop to charge it while still in its box.

It's the laptop box!

Want your own? Want the plans? Too bad. Figure it out and make your own fucking box!

- RG>