Pew Pew Laser Blog

Code. Glass art. Games. Baking. Cats. From Seattle, Washington and various sundry satellite locations.

Past Blogs

Baking Times.


As an afterthought to Cookie Customizations, I would like to add that I follow the baking times like other folks follow speed limits. Baking times are a mere wisp of a suggestion; a rather general guideline to be adjusted wildly a conditions call demand.

I rarely bake cookies for the actual baking time. Preferring a soft cookie with a wee bit of a crust, I generally bake them for a few minutes less, and occasionally I bake them at 25° lower, than called or by the recipe.

Hence the test cookie. Your oven may be hotter or cooler than average. Your baking sheets may result in faster or slower browning of the cookies. But your cookies will be done when they are done, and they will be burnt mere moments later. So bake one single cookie at the start of your batch, and watch it like a hawk. When the test cookie is done to your satisfaction, bake the rest of the cookies at that time and temperature. (The remaining cookies may actually need just a wee bit more baking time due to the extra dough mass in the ove, but the test cookie data gives you an excellent starting point. )

DS Wednesday.


We played Nintendo DS during lunch again today. I won at Clubhouse Games Darts and MarioKart Balloon Battle, but lost at everything else. I'm not such a hot MarioKart racer, and you never know who's going to win Clubhouse Games Bowling, but the Tetris DS loss rankles a bit. My only defense is that it was a boss-based loss. The big boss was very excited with some kind of great news for the company while I was trying to concentrate down a rain of fire and blocks! Ah well. Guess I'll have to practice the Tetris.

The Market Chooses You.


When the husband and I were selling our house a couple years ago, we decided a fresh coat of paint would make it more appealing to buyers. We decided to paint the inside walls all white, so as to avoid offending any potential buyers with our own sense of style. Thinking back, I think we made the wrong call there.

Painting the walls white is the same dilemma faced by websites wanting to appeal to 'everybody'. By avoiding off putting potential customers with character or style, a site with minimal or bland styling can fail to appeal to anyone. Most websites need to help visitors feel that they've come to the right place with a reassuring look and feel. (Google's minimal styling works because Google's main function is provide content and send visitors on their way. It's deliberate and well-tested, I assure you.)

Any for-sale house doesn't need to appeal to absolutely everyone. In fact, it's targeting a very specific segment of the population - potential house buyers. More specifically, people considering living in your neighborhood, with a budget somewhat in the range of your asking price. Consult with your real estate agent if you must, but do paint those walls.

The 48 Hour Film.


I made cupcakes a couple of months ago to support the husband's efforts for Seattle's 48 Hour Film Festival. You can now see the results:

DS Wednesday.


It wasn't as epic as Burning Man's Tetris, but we got some great multi-player gaming in at work yesterday. I lost Clubhouse Games Bowling by 2 points, ruled all Tetris, and did about 50/50 in Mario Kart. It's so much fun to play with real people.

I may have overdone the smack talk just a wee little bit though. Next week we'll be playing all Mario Kart. While I have been playing Mario Kart for well over a decade, I'm not very familiar with the DS levels. I ought to practice.

jQuery - Vertical Show / Hide Issues.


The only trouble at all that I've encountered with jQuery is that if you study the page carefully as the show/hide animation works, you'll notice a big jump near the end of the animation. This jumpiness when using the slideToggle() function said to only occur when the animating elements have margin or padding.

Phooey, I say! I really dislike having to add extra elements to work around this issue. In my example below, I haven't got any margin or padding on the dt element. There must be something else at work here, and it's driving me nuts.

1 comment(s).

jQuery - Vertical Show / Hide.


Here's a definition list. Click on one of the baked goods below to reveal the description:

Bat Cupcakes
These are a simple chocolate cupcake, with a dusting of powdered sugar for a topping. The bat and ghost shapes were made by placing paper cut-outs over the cupcake before dusting on the powdered sugar.
Jam Cookies
Start with a tube of premade sugar cookie dough. Press a cookie-sized amount into mini-muffin pans and then bake as directed. Dust the cookie cups with powdered sugar. Microwave some jam (raspberry and mint) and spoon it into the cookie cups. Melted some chocolate chips, scoop them into a platic baggie, cut off the corner of the baggie, and drizzle the chocolate on the cookies.
Chocolate Sprinkle Cupcakes
These are chocolate cupcakes, with a cream-cheese frosting, and fall harvest leaf sprinkles.

Again, this is pretty dary simple to set up. Here's the jQuery code:


	// Hide all dds
	$("dl.v_show_hide dd").hide();

	//  When a dt is clicked, 
	$("dl.v_show_hide dt").click(function () {
	  //  Toggle the slideVisibility of the dd directly after the clicked dt
		//  And hide any dds that are siblings of that "just shown" dd.


jQuery - Tablesorter.


Check out this table. If you've got JavaScript enabled, you'll see a highlighted row when you move your mouse over it. This is courtesy of jQuery. You'll also be able to sort the columns by clicking on a header, and the alternate row coloring will match the sorted row ordering. These additions come from a jQuery plugin, tablesorter.

Customer Date City Store ID Amount
ASH (A) 5/03/2006 Bellvue 16 508.51
BARBUR (B) 7/26/2004 Portland 13 8512.91
COUCH (C) 07/04/2006 Seattle 23 -4118.45
DIVISION (D) 07/11/2006 Tacoma 12 89.32
FLANDERS (NE) 09/22/2004 Centralia 24 480.41
HOLGATE (H) 12/2/2005 Bellvue 11 -56.15
BURNSIDE (B) 09/14/2004 Portland 17 600.64

Pay attention Hollywood folks - this method of table sorting is much better than previous implementations. The jQuery/tablesorter method resolves spacing issues, and has TONS of extra abilities. Check out my jQuery tablesorter article for a detailed discussion of the code.

Iron DS Players.


I'm going to take a break from jQuery to state that I'm very pleased. Today I successfully cajoled some coworkers into playing Nintendo DS with me during lunch. Billy won some tightly fought Mario vs. Luigi battles in NSMB. But my Tetris skills still reign supreme in a 4 player battle. It was so much fun. I hope everyone comes back to play next week.

Also, the soup place at the bottom of my office building has left - they simply vacated over the long weekend. Bamph! Now I'll have to leave the building for a lazy person's lunch.

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