Thursday, May 28, 2009

Little Rock

Well, instead of staying in New Mexico, I ended up going out to Little Rock to spend some time at the boyfriend's family's house. I tried (very unsuccessfully!) to shoot a round of skeet, and thoroughly enjoyed all the delicious food made for us - I came home with a delicious recipe for some low-fat, low-sugar 'icebox eclairs' the boyfriends mom made for us - they didn't taste low fat or low sugar at all! Here's the recipe:

1 box 14 oz. low-fat honey graham crackers
cooking spray
2 3.4 oz. boxes sugar-free (french) vanilla pudding mix
1 8 oz. package fat-free cream cheese
1 8 oz. light whipped topping, thawed
3.25 cups skim milk
2 tbsp. margarine, softened
2 tbsp. honey
2 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate*
1 cup sifted powdered sugar

*If you want to use white chocolate, don't use sugar or honey and only use 3 cups milk.

Arrange 7.5 graham cracker sheets in the bottom of a 13 x 9 baking dish coated with cooking spray
Combine 3 cups skim milk, pudding mix, and cream cheese in a large bowl - beat at a low speed until thick
Fold in whipped topping
Spread half of pudding mixture over graham crackers in dish, and top with another layer of 7.5 graham cracker sheets.
Repeat for a second layer of pudding and third layer of graham crackers.
Combine .25 cup skim milk,, margarine, honey, and chocolate in a medium bowl and beat well with a mixer.
Gradually add powdered sugar to chocolate mixture and beat well.
Spread chocolate glaze over the top layer of graham crackers.
Cover dessert, tenting with aluminum foul.
Chill for at least 4 hours (allthough its better if chilled longer - wait a couple days if you can!)
Serves about 18 - feel free to make a half serving in a bread loaf to make dessert for a smaller gathering.

Despite all the low-fat, low-sugar ingredients, this dessert was delicious. Let me know if you try it out!

(I'll add a picture soon)

I also took a series of panoramic photos I had taken in College Station (Simpson Drill Field) and made them into a panorama and then into a little planet (you can see the bell tower, Rudder tower, MSC, new life sciences building - click on the picture to see one with notes).

I think I'm going to try sewing myself a new neck strap for my Canon DSLR when I get back to New Mexico.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Leaving Monterey

It turned out to be a pretty stressful week, but I did learn some neat stuff. Monterey was also a great city. It turns out I can't start work this week like I thought - and its too bad I can't hang out in Monterey for a week instead of New Mexico. I never did find enough time to go to the aquarium - but my dad says he'll bring me some time. Two of my favorite things here: avocados and sea lions.

There's a sub place in Austin called thundercloud subs. I love it - partially because they're one of the only sub places I know of in Austin/College Station that has avocado - not guacamole with onions/peppers/etc. in it (which not many more places have). The main sub thundercloud sells with avocado is the California Club. Oddly enough, all the sandwich-type places I've been here have avocado (even the subway). And they were all scrumptious. Especially crepes - there is a Monterey Crepe Co - a creperie? Fantastic.

The picture isn't great - I just found it online.

I also went walking after class Thursday, and found lots of birds and sea lions. and a starfish, although those pictures didn't turn out so well.

There was just a long pier-type of thing with rocks full of sea lions all along one side. They were adorable, all though kind of stinky. Some of them were gigantic.

I also spent a while trying to take pictures of birds flying, which was more difficult. I managed a couple that I liked.

More pictures from Monterey here. Hopefully I'll find something entertaining to do in New Mexico until I get to start work - maybe I'll go check out another national park.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Nuclear Engineering is Fun!

The Monterey Institute course has been going pretty well - we had some interesting lectures today about safeguards technology and the cases of DPRK (North Korea) and Iraq from guys who were on the inspection teams there. The guy giving the safeguards technology talk repeatedly mentioned how fun it is being an engineer, especially compared to policy stuff or, gasp, physics.
I generally enjoy nuclear engineering cartoons. Note - you can click on the one above to make it larger. Things that say "nuclear engineering is fun!" are always great. What - that picture doesn't say that to you? Well, check out this video (and make sure your sound is on):

Also, I've been slowly putting some of the New Mexico pictures up on flickr - you can click on that new box in the top right to see them.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Monterey, California

Today, I flew out to Monterey, California. I'm attending a safeguards policy course at the Monterey Institute of International Studies - which should be a pretty different experience from the technical stuff I'm used to. I got here around 3PM today, so I went and walked around town some.

I have no idea what this flower is called, but I've never seen one like it.

First I found where the course will be held - which is only about a block from my hotel. On my way to the beach, I found a subway and a jamba juice also within a block of my hotel. I eventually got to the beach, and gathered a selection of shells and other interesting bits to bring home while watching kiddies and birds.

There weren't very many shells (especially along the section close to the parking lot where I guess the kiddies had already picked them all up). Maybe sea shells are less common on the west coast than they are on the east? There were, however, lots and lots of ladybugs (tiny red things below).

Its hard to tell there, but that's the part of the beach where its still wet, but most of the waves don't reach it. I didn't see any ladybugs on the dry sand (or in the ocean, for that matter), but there were tons of them along the edge of where the water reaches. There were also plenty of neat rocks with lots of very circular holes through them. I picked one of those up too, and will try to remember to put a picture of it up later.

This is the first time I can think of that I've walked around somewhere I was unfamiliar with bymyself. Maybe a little late for that - but I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was not terrified and in fact had a pretty enjoyable afternoon. Perhaps I will take a longer walk out to the aquarium tomorrow - they have penguins!