How To Eat Candy Corn

For the 21st day of Inktober, I have a special treat: A guide on how to eat candy corn, and a reminder of the book giveaway that runs October 21-23!


Halloween is in the air. For me, that means an annual candy corn craving. Most people in the US are probably familiar with these fun little tri colored treats. Did you know there’s more than one way to eat them?

You can eat them by the bunch – good if you’re really hungry.

You can eat them by the piece – good if you want to make them last.

You can let them dissolve – good for long term flavor.

You can nibble them by the color – see if you can taste a difference.

You can break them into pieces and eat them in little heaps of each color – good for the obsessive people among us, like me.

You can let it dry out so it’s crunchy.

You can try different flavors too. I like Brach’s candy corn, because they use honey and I think that makes the flavor richer and more mellow.

Protip: Dollar store candy corn doesn’t taste as good – the flavor is weaker and it leaves an aftertaste. FIfty cents more gets you the good stuff.

Candy corn also comes in cappuchino, peanut butter, chocolate, caramel, and my favorite, pumpkin spice. In my opinion, pumpkin spice and candy corn flavor is a match made in heaven.

What’s your favorite way to eat candy corn? Any odd flavors I’ve missed?






Everything you eat is full of chemicals…

I fell off my chair laughing when I heard a friend talking about chemicals being in their food.

I have some breaking news for them! EVERYTHING is full of chemicals. Chemicals make up everything in the world. Chemistry is the study of how atoms build up into molecules, and how molecules interact. I know when people say “chemicals” they are usually thinking about artificially synthesized or manufactured substances.

That’s why it’s so funny when people say “I don’t want to eat something that’s full of chemicals.”

Here’s another phrase that makes me laugh.

“It’s all natural.”

I certainly agree that foods and products that are closer to their original source are better, and highly processed food is usually terrible for your body. “All natural” is usually just a marketing gimmick and doesn’t necessarily mean that a product is good for you! As most of you have seen, I am interested in health and medicine. And I see the push toward natural medicine all the time.

Natural medicine can be very helpful. That is, if you look at it with a clear mind and ignore the marketing. It just takes a little thought.

Natural herbs can be poisonous. Aminita mushrooms, cyanide, nightshade berries, botulism, scorpion venom are all natural. Conversely, synthesized medicine can save lives. We can take poisons and make wholesome remedies out of them. Like digitalis from foxglove for example. One concentration makes it a poison, but in a lesser amount it can help the heart.

Everything has its good sides and it’s bad. That’s why it’s great that we can take in information, see both sides of everything, take a deep breath, and choose the middle path.

In the meantime, drink your dihydrogen monoxide!

Guest Post: Tips for the Cat-Owned

Hi. I’m Nezumi, the Technical Supervisor and Mascot of this blog.

This blog is about improving yourself and enjoying life, and a lot of other things too, but I notice that the two-legged authoress has missed a few topics. She writes about health, and nature, and thoughts, and all manner of things. She writes about cooking, but has she ever written about the wonders of canned food?  How about pillows, petting gloves, or other things of interest to we Cats?

I don’t think so.  So I”m going to fix that!

Get a blender

I’ll have you know that for Cats with sore teeth, like I sometimes have, a great thing to do for your four legged monarch is to use a blender. It softens up the food, mixes it nicely, and makes it easy for us to eat. We also really like Kibble Stew, which is what you get when you pour water over kibble. Bonus points are in order if you put some crunchy treats in there too, to soften up nicely.

Try lettuce

If your fluffy queen or king likes grass but keeps eating all of their wheat grass, perhaps you should use your thumbs to get into the refrigerator and get them a nice leaf of Romaine lettuce. It tastes a lot like our favorite grasses, doesn’t make us puke, and lets us chew to our hearts content.


Also, many of us are tickled or irritated by brushes. So how about a petting glove? They make it feel even more like Mom is grooming us, and helps get rid of loose hair while we enjoy a full body massage. Every two legged should have at least three petting gloves.

Better pillows

I need to remember to tell my two legged that she needs to let me sleep on the keyboard more often. Or at least let me rest my head on the edge. The part where the control key is makes a good pillow. And computers are warm, just right for snuggling against on a cold day. But two leggeds should clean out the fans frequently, because my lovely hair clogs up computer vents and makes them overheat. People with thumbs can get rid of this easily.

Remember your history

In Egypt, Cats were sometimes worshipped as gods and goddesses.  Even when we weren’t, we were still valued members of the family.  In old Persia, we were highly regarded.  In Thailand, we are still known as temple Cats.  People have made us mayors, train stationmistresses, security officers, and even police.  So when you meet a Cat, treat them with respect!

What’s the password?

I might write more tips for people who are cat-owned, if I can figure out my two legged’s password. I’m sure she’s about to change it!

Hipsterism? OBviously.

Daily Prompt: Obvious

via Daily Prompt: Obvious


My tongue is most firmly in my cheek with this title.

It can be a real ego stroke to act like someone’s insight was the most OBVIOUS thing ever, and OF COURSE you knew that.  Or some fact that might not be known to everyone.  However, it’s not the nicest thing either… so why do we do it?  Maybe not all of us do this, however I know I have.  Superiority can be fun, even though that can be hard to admit.

Yes, I’ve reveled in my knowledge of something.  I’ve been the proverbial hipster about things.  I think we’ll all find that we do this less as our mastery of life grows, as we learn more, as we grow up, as we find out how little we really know.  I’m sure you know the old saying, that when you’re young, you think you know everything, and when you get older you realize how little you know.  That, and your parents suddenly become smarter.  Knowing how little we know is the beginning of wisdom after all.

But of course…

You knew that.


The really big bug


Tonight I decided to do laundry.  Normally this doesn’t involve any rescues or huge bugs, but tonight was different.  I was waiting for the washer to get done, when I heard some gasps and squeaks of fear and surprise come to me from over by the folding shelves.

There, lying on its back and struggling to get upright, was a truly HUGE beetle, about as long as my index finger not including the antennae, and shiny black.  Everyone was freaking out.  I watched it for a bit, saw it get to its feet, then sit there – barely moving.

One woman asked me to kill it.  I said “No way, then I’d have to deal with the body! ”  In truth, I neither had the implements nor the desire to squash this big bug, since it looked big enough to carve steaks off of.  I didn’t want to see bug guts in that quantity.

So I left it alone, where it sat there and did nothing while people around were wondering if it would attack them.  Finally a little Asian lady came in and asked “is that dangerous?” and I was driven to act.  Nobody else was, after all.

So I rummaged in a trash can, found a newspaper, tore off a couple big chunks, and gently prodded the beetle with one till he climbed onto the other.  He still was happy to hold still, so I took him outside well away from the light and left him on a bush.  All done, nobody hurt.  I went back in and finished the laundry, all the while thinking “wow, that’s the biggest bug I’ve ever seen!”


Upon further net research, I think the reason why it didn’t want to move is that it was a Palo Verde beetle, which is nocturnal and does much better in the dark.  It was probably disoriented in the bright lights of the laundromat.  Unfortunately, they aren’t the best of flyers and sometimes stray into areas where they didn’t intend to go.

Experimental College


What do red panties, Wrigley’s gum wrappers, typewriters, and a fish pond all have in common? Find out in this novel.

Experimental College is a cheerful, odd, and often surprising story about David Price, a Blind engineering student going to the University of Washington in the late 70s during one very special summer.. While he navigates his classes and degree program, he also meets several quirky companions, and discovers a lot about his own passions, both academic and romantic.

This story is a mix of gender role and sexual exploration combined with ruminations about life support systems, closed ecosystems, and physics. It is both cerebral and emotional and touches on some important points of psychology and sociology. It’s also a fascinating journey as young Dave Price learns more about who he really is. The story covers issues about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people in a sensitive, intriguing way, as it is also a snapshot of the world of the 1970s.

This is an excerpt from the rear jacket:

“Experimental College: My summer in Serendip” is a lighthearted comedy with tragic overtones, which asks some ominous questions. Aiming at your heart, it may unexpectedly grab at your crotch but hopes to offer something to your head.

I couldn’t have said it better myself. I enjoyed editing this story, and I think you’ll like reading it. The book is available at multiple outlets, $15.99 for print and $2.99 for EPUB, Mobipocket, or PDF.

Gay Doves

We were treated to an interesting sight today – two gay doves.  It all started with the first dove making mating displays.  He fanned his tail and wings, bobbed his head, and generally displayed all that he had to offer.  Soon another dove landed nearby and started making the same displays.

After a bit, the first dove who had been displaying got on top of the other dove – afterward there was much billing and cooing between the two.  Literally.  Then the second dove climbed on the first one.  They swapped positions back and forth for a while, all while exhibiting friendly, loving behavior to each other.

It wasn’t dominance behavior either because it was obviously consensual and unusual.  Maybe there’s a bit more going on inside their little bobble heads than I thought?  Either way, I thought that was pretty cool to see!  Besides, both doves were happy.

It seems to me that if two wild creatures in nature do something, that’s by definition natural…

The First Church of the Fourth Wall

When someone asks me whether I go to church, this is what I should say.


“Sure.  I’m an Atheist, but I go to the First Church of the Fourth Wall.”

They might say “what in the world is that?”

And I’d say, “We all believe that life is some form of fiction for someone else’s entertainment, so we believe that we need to live lives that are as entertaining and dramatic as possible.  We have three different sects at the moment, but because there aren’t that many of us we all still go to the same church.

“One sect  of this church believes that we’re all in a movie or a TV show.  Another says that we’re part of a webcomic or other type of serial graphic story.  The third, the one I’m part of, believes we’re all player characters in some giant role playing campaign, and I really want to have a word with my GM!”

The GM is not a god, by the way.  The Game Master, or Mistress, is very fallible, very human, often loses notes, and can occasionally be bribed to fudge die rolls with pizza.

A Tale of Two Bumpers



Once upon a time, I was driving home in my beloved Hyundai Elantra. I was sitting quietly in the turn lane, waiting for the green arrow, after dark.


I looked around, saw a large silver pickup behind me. I drove to the nearest parking lot, stopped, got out. The driver was a 16 year old girl in her dad’s pickup. “My foot slipped off the brake.” (Wouldn’t have happened if you were driving a standard, you ninny, because we were on flat ground!)

Fine. We exchanged insurance information. In the light of day I noticed a biiiig dent in the back bumper that I hadn’t seen at the parking lot. So I called their insurance for a claim. It was Geico. I have Progressive.

Geico says “fine, we’ll fix it or we’ll pay for it.” It sounded good. Now, a dent in a modern bumper involves replacing the shell that is over the real bumper. It’s about a thousand dollar repair, typically, if you use factory parts. Geico tried to tell me they could take the dent out by restretching the plastic. I talked to my mechanic, he said no, you need to replace the shell, because that area is going to be weak and you can’t just fix a dent in plastic. Not one like that, anyway.

More go-arounds between Geico and Progressive, and Progressive didn’t do squat to help me. I was being about $480 to pay for the repair. In the mean time, I was having to drive this modern Chevy rental while my car was in the shop, waiting to be fixed.

The Chevy was a whole other issue. The modern love of side impact air bags meant it had high doors, the car had a high stance, and the side posts were so thick it affected visibility. It had a million distractions and creature comforts inside but it drove and felt like a bubble.

The fight with Geico continued.  They kept wanting to only cover substandard repairs.  Eventually the claims adjuster became such a problem that my mechanic had to throw him off his lot – and Geico magnanimously offered a whole $90 extra… so I decided to give up the effort, turn the renal back in, and get my car back. I wanted to drive a real car again.

Now, I returned my carefully watched, pristine Chevy back to Enterprise. They did an inspection and found an almost invisible bit of spidering in the paint. The said I was liable for it – even though I hadn’t run into anything and had parked in protected areas. The said “oh, for damage like that, you have to replace the whole bumper cover, it’s a $1200 repair!”

Luckily, my partner kept at them till they agreed to look back at the last three renters of that car to see if any of them had reported damage. Eventually I got a letter back saying I was cleared of all liability.

I don’t want to deal with Geico again, they acted like crooks. Enterprise didn’t make me happy either. And I never, ever want to drive a modern Chevy again!

Give me my high performance, road hugging, good visibility, standard transmission, low distraction, 2006 Hyundai Elantra any day, dents or no. She’s tried and tested.

The Sneakernet of Things



You’ve probably heard of the Internet of Things.  Refrigerators that detect when you are out of groceries and order more.  Remotely operated home security systems, thermostats, nanny cams.  Home appliances that communicate with each other.

Amazon has a service called Amazon Dash.  You attach an electronic tag to your items that you buy frequently, like dish soap, zip-lock bags, moisturizer, etc.  You push the button when you run low, and it sends a signal to an app on your phone that orders the item.  This seems a little excessive to me.

Recently I developed a new, fresh, cutting edge way to handle my errands and household chores.  I call it “The Sneakernet of Things.”

It’s revolutionary.  Here’s how the system works for getting groceries, for example.  At the beginning of the week, I lay out a unit of this flattened, dried wood pulp product I have a large stock of.  I like to call it a “sheet of paper.”  As I use up each food item during the week, I enter the data using a tubular, refillable item called a PEN.  At the end of the week, when I go out of my house, I take along this very sheet of paper (foldable for easy storage) and I use it at the grocery store to make sure I get all my items.  It’s instant access, no shipping charges, no waiting time.  See?  Told you it was amazing.

I also do something called “airgapping my appliances.”  None of my household appliances talk to each other or have a data connection.  My house is completely proof against hacking, in fact.  The microwave won’t talk to the fridge, the thermostat doesn’t try to call my phone, my can opener has no cache files about what cans I’ve opened, and nobody on the internet knows exactly how bananas I eat.

The benefits of this Sneakernet of Things extends even to my vehicle.  It has no GPS, no hands free phone system, no ONSTAR, no tracking device, and no internet access of any kind.  It’s also a manual so I even shift my gears myself.  It won’t brake unless I press the pedal, it won’t accelerate unless I tell it to.  It won’t auto start either.  It won’t beep in my ear when I change lanes.  It can’t be hacked unless you plug something into the OBD port.  I use it to bring my groceries home.