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Dead People 101

Ahhh. Sigh. Here I am. You cannot kill Little Package. I don’t know yet what’s happening, but Blogger absolutely won’t work for me. It’s like it’s been hacked to death or something. Hopefully it fixes itself because I gave up changing settings and trying and trying and trying. I had to hand code this entry, and it’s not on my template, because it’s all I could manage and I actually got desperate feeling about posting. these last three days have been an emotional rollercoaster and crack high. Kid Amazing (John) stayed around for a few days and that was the best thing to happen to me in a while. It’s cheering to meet new people when they’re honest and open and shiny fresh cool. I thoroughly enjoyed his company Friday night coming home from work having someone to talk to and cook for (but I think I should have cooked… continue reading

Nelco Amica Sewing Machine

I am very excited about my luck thrift purchases, particularly my Nelco Amica sewing machine. Heck, I’m ecstatic about my sewing machine. It’s the first one I ever bought for myself and I wasn’t counting on it working when I chanced buying it. But not only does it work, but it’s a champ. Sews through anything without a complaint. Made in Italy, I’m guessing 1960s based on the instruction booklet art.

Nelco Amica Super Practical Sewing Machine

Update 1/2006: I no longer have this machine. Update 3/2013: You can now get the manual here:

A Recipe: Pumpkin-Cranberry Cookies

Recipe by Lucy Randall via Makes 3 dozen of the best cookies (that aren’t chocolate chip) EVER!


1/2 cup butter, softened 1 cup white sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 egg 1 cup solid pack pumpkin puree 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 cup cranberries 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 tablespoon orange zest (totally optional) 1/2 cup chopped walnuts


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla, egg and pumpkin. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon; stir into mixture until well blended. Cut the cranberries in half (this is easy to to if they’re frozen; sometimes I even cut them in thirds) and stir into mixture along with the… continue reading

A Recipe: Tiramisu

Carolina's Tiramisu

Caroline’s Tiramisu Recipe

First you gotta brew about 2 cups of super-strength espresso (or have a local cafe do it for you), then put in some rum to taste (super strong). Put that aside. Buy two angel food cakes (or make ’em!) and cut them into 1/2″ strips; toast/broil until golden. Put that aside to cool and harden. In one bowl, mix up a couple eggs (although sometimes I skip the eggs), 16oz Mascarpone cheeze, a touch of Grand Marnier liquor, some vanilla, some sugar until very smooth.

In another bowl, mix up some whipping cream with some brandy (careful not to denature the cream – go slow, add the brandy after the cream sets). Set aside. Grate or chop some dark (72-90% cocoa) chocolate and set aside.

Take a large 13×9″ casserole or baking dish and start layering the… continue reading

Breathing, Part I

You’ve probably noticed already that breathing and respiration have a lot to do with chemistry, and that because you’ve most likely taken it for granted, it is surprisingly complex, dynamic, and interesting… This website is an overview of what happens as you breathe, starting with some basic anatomy and working into chemical principles that govern every breath you take.

Take a look at this picture. A “conducting zone,” or pipeline consisting of the nose, pharynx, larynx, trachea, and bronchi, and terminal bronchioles, allows ventilation (facultated by the diaphragm) and a “respiratory zone,” consisting of respiratory bronchioles, aleolar ducts, and alveoli, permits gas exchanges essential to respiration.

lower respiratory system

Are they like empty balloons?

Maybe you never even thought about it before…

The lungs are very elastic, spongy, soft, organs made out of connective tissue. Together they weigh about 2.5… continue reading

Breathing, Part II

What makes lungs expand and contract? Are they muscles?

No, the lungs aren’t muscles. *Special* respiratory muscles “make” breathing happen. Normally an involuntary act, breathing can also be consciously controlled and altered, thank goodness. Although technically many muscles of the thorax can participate in breathing, any decent yogi will tell you that the diaphragm is the prime and proper breathing muscle (Vishnudevananda 235). Here’s how to do it:

thoracic diaphragm respirationRelaxed, the diaphragm is dome-shaped. Upon contraction it flattens inferiorly, expanding the thoracic cavity and lungs. This is inspiration. The muscles shown between the ribs in this illustration are the external intercostals; they aid inspiration by elevating the rib cage. In a full inspiration, the belly will protrude, the chest will expand up and out, and the shoulders may rise. The lungs expand as well, of course. Expiration is achieved… continue reading

Respiration, Part I

pulmonary and systemic circuitsBreathing and respiration aren’t the same thing, but they go hand in hand. Breathing is a simple mechanical process whereby air enters and exits the lungs due to volume and hence, pressure changes.

Respiration* is a more complex process of delivering oxygen to the tissues for cell metabolism and carbon dioxide to the lungs for removal. The image at left shows blood being oxygenated at the lungs (red) and traveling through the heart to the systemic circuit. The gas exchange at the alveoli/blood interface is called external respiration. Gas exchanges between blood and tissue cells is termed internal respiration. Deoxygenated blood (blue) flows from the tissues in the systemic circuit back to the heart, the lungs, and CO2 is exhaled. As seen in the illustration, the cardiovascular system (the heart and blood vessels) plays a mechanical role… continue reading

Respiration, Part II

We’ve explained why air enters the lungs, what components flow in/out and why, but we still haven’t discussed internal and external respiration!

exchange circuitsRegard the image at right. Find the sad face. Here the blood is CO2 rich (45 mm Hg) and low in oxygen (40 mm Hg). This sad blood is being delivered to the lungs, where the alveolar PO2 is 104 mm Hg and the PCO2 is 40 mm Hg. See? You probably know right away that fresh oxygen will rush across the respiratory membrane into the blood and refresh its supply to 104 mm Hg. But the gradient of PCO2 is only 5 mm Hg. It would seem then that carbon dioxide would have a lesser tendency to evacuate the blood, but it turns out that carbon dioxide is about 20 times more soluble in blood and alveolar… continue reading

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