I Made My Own Pickles!

I love dill pickles and snack on them several times a week, so I decided to try making my own back in September. I watched a bunch of videos and read a bunch of articles, and one of my mom’s friends has made her own, so I got some info from her. With all the tools and ingredients gathered, I, with the help of my mother who is much more kitchen-savvy than I am, gave it a go. I wanted to blog about the experience way back when we did it (early September) but we did run into a few issues, and I didn’t want to advertise what we did/the method until I could guarantee they turned out edible.

Pickle gif.
Me at any given moment, thinking about eating pickles

Basically, everything had gone according to plan until it got to the sealing part. We boiled the can lids but we did it too early, so by the time the brine was in the jars, they weren’t as hot as they should have been. That was our first goof. The second goof was that we were using tall 1L jars, so even my mother’s biggest pot was too short for us to bathe the jars upright (a common thing done when canning food). So we bathed them sideways. This worked well enough, but one of the jars wasn’t sealed perfectly so some brine leaked out.

After we bathed the first four jars sideways, we paused to consult my mother’s friend on if we should continue them sideways. Said friend answered that she didn’t bathe her pickles at all, she just heats the jars before they’re filled and ensures the lids pop. So we debated not bathing the remaining six, or doing them upright or even upsidedown. My mother went into full parental mode and started worrying about bacteria and what ingredients could go bad over the several months they sit if they’re not boiled and properly sealed (she did not like my comment of “if I die because of a bad pickle, that’d be a decent way to go.”) In the end, we bathed five more sideways, and left one out as per Mom’s friend’s method. Some of the lids took a while to pop (signaling that they’re sealed), but luckily, we heard the last one pop during dinner, and let me tell you, the Beetlejuice musical got it wrong, because those pops are in fact the most beautiful sound.

listening gif.
Listening for the pops

So here we are in November, and we’ve opened two jars (the unbathed one [no one died!] and one of the regular ones) and things weren’t perfect. The pickles in the unbathed jar were a little too tough and tasted a bit too cucumbery, but I quickly got used to it and came to enjoy them. The pickles in the bathed jar weren’t as crunchy as I would have liked, so I’m kind of disappointed with that. My father thinks we shouldn’t have bathed them for 10 minutes, but literally every pickle recipe online involving bathing says 10-15 minutes, so I’m not sure what I could have done differently. Maybe only 5 minutes would have sufficed.

I didn’t use a fancy recipe, so if you want to do your own pickling, anything you find online will be fine. The only changes I made were that in one jar, I added a tiny bit of my father’s ghost pepper, and in another jar I added thyme. We’ve yet to try those ones, though.

Here are some pictures of my process. (Click them to enlarge)

The experience was harder than I thought it would be, and I’m very glad I had my mom there to help because the process took longer than I anticipated, and as I mentioned, there were some roadblocks, so having her to talk things through with was great. But it was really fun to do, and if you like pickles and want to try, I suggest it! It’s not expensive, and as long as you trust kids around knives and boiling water, they can help too!

It sucks that they didn’t turn out perfectly crunchy, but they’re still edible, and I look forward to trying it all again next year and improving!

pickle jar gif.

That’s all for now!

 

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We Don’t Need To Cancel ‘Cancel Culture’

For anyone older than around thirty years old, you may not be familiar with “cancelling” or “cancel culture.” They’re internet terms used to discuss problematic ‘famous’ people or things online. If an influencer or celebrity or company says or does something rude/inappropriate/wrong, it’s common for people, fans or not, to ‘cancel’ them, meaning that they’re cutting off support for said person/company.

Cancel culture gif.

Of course, it’s not as simple as ‘I don’t like Kanye West so I’m not going to listen to his music.’ No, cancel culture has evolved into harsh, life-ruining online bullying. Cancelled people may or may not get a chance to explain or apologize, and overnight, they could lose brand deals, money, followers, and more because people online get so angry and vicious and loud, and it becomes this mob-mentality of hate and rudeness. And while sometimes the offender did do something so bad it’s worthy of the treatment (Harvey Weinstein, for example, got cancelled by basically everyone on the planet) but often it’s smaller actions like an old racist tweet or a misinterpreted interview comment that are still bad but maybe not worth losing livelihoods over. As popular as cancel culture is, it’s also incredibly harmful, and a lot of people know this, but in a lot of internet communities, it’s very prevalent.

Parks And Rec Complete Buffoonery gif.

I like to keep up with YouTube drama. It’s mindless and I don’t really care for any YouTubers/Beauty Gurus, so I really am just there to keep up with pop culture and the nonsense. There have been many, many, many small scandals over the years, but there have also been a few larger events that really rocked YouTube. Through it all, cancel culture runs the most rampant because no one is there to police it, really. We have some entitled YouTubers doing dumb/awful/rude things because they can or don’t know better, drama channels/social media reporting it all and making it into A Big Deal, and impressionable fans cancelling left and right, forcing YouTubers to lose a lot and ‘go to a really dark place.’ It’s not a perfect system, but it is one that is kind of needed.

One drama/makeup YouTuber I watch occasionally wisely said in a recent video about MannyMUA’s cancelling experience that a lot of the times, it’s not ‘cancel culture’, it is ‘holding you accountable culture.’ The people being cancelled usually did do something we can mostly agree is bad, and they, as a public figure making money off our views/purchases, need to know when they messed up and why people are unhappy about it. They need consequences and they need to know that they could be completely cancelled if they don’t learn. The problem is that the immediate cancelling is often done in a harsh way. There are (surprise, surprise) people who can’t just express their disappointment/thoughts or desire to no longer support someone in a mature way. And it’s these awful people who ruin cancel culture for the rest because they can’t just go about their lives actually not giving attention to the cancelled person. The other problem is that the event/allegations may not be true, yet the public may not have that info or even want to consider it because they’re ready to cancel anyone.

when will you learn that your actions have consequences gif.

People online have a lot of power when they come together, and I do think it’s good that the power is often being used to call out wrongdoings. That’s why cancel culture doesn’t need to end. It just needs to be done in a different, more productive way. Less for entertainment and meanness and more for informing and learning. If you have ever on social media of some sort expressed a ‘cancelling’ (because even I have) and think you will again, maybe consider how harsh you may be and how productive doing so is. Make your activism count. And I know it can be hard to decide when to not support someone after a cancel-worthy event. This is the world we’re in.

What are your thoughts on cancel culture? How do you think the internet should handle problematic people?

That’s all for now!

 

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Monthly Look Ahead: November 2019

Happy Halloween, friends! Peep my Instagram later today to see this year’s pumpkin carving!

November came faster than I anticipated. Like it or not, it’s here. And while I’m not fond of the incoming cold, I am fond of the holidays! In Canada, Christmas basically starts in November. This month doesn’t look awful for me, and in related news, I’ve been looking into seasonal retail work that will hopefully tide me over a little until job opportunities pick up in the new year. Anyway, here’s what I’m looking forward to in November, and as always, I encourage you to make a MLA post of your own!

monthly look ahead logo

  • PBS is airing full, pro-shot musicals again, and there are two this month that I am very much looking forward to watching. The first is The King And I on Nov 8th. I’ve never seen this show, so I’m glad I can have this chance. I know Kelli O’Hara won a Tony for this show, and this recording is of her and Ken Watanabi, so that’s cool. The other show PBS is showing is Kinky Boots on the 29th, which is a favourite of mine, so I can’t wait to rewatch it. If you can access PBS on your TV or even online, I highly recommend tuning in to it. There are a few other shows (one other musical and some plays) also to be aired on PBS, so get more info on those here.
  • There’s a movie called Last Christmas that is coming out on the 8th, and it looks interesting. The trailer makes it seem like a cute, simple, Christmas rom-com, and I am down for that, especially with great leads like Emilia Clarke and Henry Goulding, but I’ve also seen some theories online that say the trailer revealed almost too much, so there must be some other element we don’t know about, like that the guy is a ghost or something. Either way, I’m interested.
  • Another movie I’ll probably see at some point is Frozen 2. I liked the first Frozen movie, and based on the trailers, this second one seems decent, as far as sequels go.
  • Christmas music starts on the radio! Jingle all way to my ears, please! Also Christmas movies start. I love those cheesy, cute, made-for-TV films. I watch dozens every year.
  • The third musical I’m seeing live downtown as part of the subscription I bought is Piaf/Deitrich. I honestly don’t know too much about it, and I know even less about the ladies, but I’m looking forward to it. It got a good review in the newspaper.
  • I don’t know what it means, but Neon Trees, a favourite band of mine, tweeted this.

    My fingers are very, very crossed that it’s (finally) new music from them. It’s been so long since we had new tunes.

That’s my November! Just a bunch of musicals and movies, really. It’s ideal. I hope your November is great. Anyone starting holiday shopping early?

 

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3 Dances If I Could Dance

I don’t dance. Very occasionally do I go to a club, but I wouldn’t say that the jumping/swaying that goes on there is dancing. It’s rhythmic bouncing, and it’s certainly not attractive. I haven’t done a choreographed dance since elementary school when it was part of our phys ed grade. Unless you count the ‘Cha-Cha Slide’ and I do not because that is such an annoying routine that I will almost always partake in.

But I am a human being with eyes and as much as I don’t dance and have no plans to, I for some reason have a small running list of my favourite dance routines. The ones that I’d, in theory, love to know and be able to do, if I was dedicated and flexible. But I’m content to just watch them, really.

And I figured I’d share them. Because why not. Because it’s my blog and I can do what I want. So here are 3 dances that are on this list. Feast your eyes on some fantastic footwork:

1. The dance at the end of the ‘Stage Fright’ video

One hit wonder Blake McGrath released this bop eight years ago, and in the video, for like twenty seconds at the end, there’s this dance routine that I always liked watching. It’s quick but fun and simple, and I like her shiny dress. I wish it were longer.

2. The whole dance sequence in ‘King Of New York’

Newsies has so many wonderful dance numbers but ‘King Of New York’ is a favourite of mine. Something about Katherine hiking up her skirt and joining in an amazing tap dance number with the boys always gets me going.

3. The dance break in ‘Days Of Summer’ from A Very Potter Sequel

As an amateur production, the choreography of this show wasn’t anything thrilling, but I loved the fun simplicity of this dance in the middle of such a fun and heartwarming song.

 

I like dance numbers where everyone is doing the same steps. The synchronicity is always so pleasing to watch. It’s why I always like when there are big dance numbers in musicals. It should be a rule that every musical has to have at least one.

What are some dances you like to watch? I realize you probably don’t have a list like I do, but take a second and think about it and then let me know because I’m always ready to watch some cool dancing.

Andy Bernard from The Office dancing gif.

That’s all for now!

 

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Dealing With Apple Has And Continues To Be A Pain

You probably heard a while back that Apple was shutting down iTunes. I’m conflicted about that. One one hand, if iTunes was a person, I’d probably be in jail for murder. On the other hand, it was free and I knew how to use it.

I got an iPod Shuffle at the height of their popularity a decade ago. I still have it. A few years after I got it, though, I upgraded to an iPod Touch, and then eventually to an iPhone, and now here I am with an iPhone 6, and this is where I’ll stay because I am literally attached to the headphone jack. Over the years, I have become an outstanding problem-solver. I was appointed the Apple expert of the family so it was my job to put music onto my devices as well as the various devices of family members. No one else dares to touch the archaic laptop we now call The iTunes Laptop (because its sole function is to house music and sync devices). This sounds simple enough but I’ve had problem after problem after problem, and I grow weary of the stress that comes with it.

i am fed up gif.
Me every time there’s a new issue

Of course, I/we have brought some of these problems onto ourselves because of the 800+ songs on my phone, maybe 15 of them are ones legally purchased from Apple. Another 100-ish are ripped from CD’s I borrowed from the library (and this was a feature Apple allowed us, so it’s technically legal too). All the others are MP3’s I’ve ripped from various places. I saved myself close to a thousand dollars in song download money, but I have to deal with Apple strict laws on data and a variety of other issues like storage space on the computer or the transferring of MP3’s.

My brother has Apple Music. He has a student plan. I know lots of other people who have it too. The problem with this is that you can download as much music as you want while you have it, but if you ever end your subscription or switch to an Android or something, that music is gone. And I like having my music. It’s organized. I couldn’t imagine losing it all. What if ten years in the future a new phone company is thriving and people want to switch to that? An Apple Music subscription to me is like signing away my life to Apple, and I hate them far too much to do that. I think I trust and like Spotify more, but even that is not music I own, and I didn’t just spend a decade dealing with Apple just to throw it all away for Spotify.

you have no idea what i've been through gif.

So I’m left with a huge number of MP3’s and a stubborn determination to manage it the best I can. The iTunes Laptop is currently struggling with storage issues despite the fact that I’ve deleted so much from it. A good chunk of the big files on it are randomly named imported music files from my Shuffle when I moved the music to the laptop from the basement desktop (because Apple only allows one computer to be authorized for music management) and I don’t know if I can safely delete them or not. I want to try and authorize a newer laptop so I can at least be free of the storage issue for a while.

Is this post a way of procrastinating dealing with it all? Yep, sure is. But I think this week I’ll sit down and try and come up with some solution. I feel like every second that ticks by past iTunes’ death will make things worse to deal with. I just hate how Apple has such a monopoly on our tech. Part of me never wants to touch an iPhone again, but I also know how easy it is and how great some of its features are, like iMessage, so I stay. It’s a toxic relationship.

I’d ask for solutions from y’all, but I doubt you have similar problems. I played myself. So I guess just pray for me. I’ve dealt with a lot of computer/Apple issues over the years, but this one seems the most daunting. I can feel the stress dreams coming on again.

i will survive gif.

That’s all for now.

 

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