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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Optical Options: Part 2

Years ago I created a post about online options for those of us whose eyesight is less than perfect. Well, I have a couple more entries, and a few updates.

The glasses are great. The website is well designed and easy to navigate. Also, it's one of the easiest to find exactly what I was looking for. The prescription quality is top-notch - easily on par with They've got a different sort of selection, which is greatly appreciated. The frame quality varies with style. I chose a frame without spring hinges, but other options include them. Shipping was extremely fast, especially so since these were shipped from China. I'm estimating that from the time of order to the time the UPS man stopped by to drop them off, maybe a week had passed -- I wasn't expecting them to show for a few more weeks! Packaging was good, and I was especially happy with the case. It's much more solid than with some other companies. Overall, Firmoo gives Coastal a run for its money. Its pricing is on par with other companies, though you can usually find a great deal if you search for promotional codes. Selection is great. And the prescription quality is awesome.

A couple months ago I started to realize that my regular pair of glasses (ie. my "work" pair) were starting to get seriously scratched up -- if I didn't have them pressed to oculars every day I'm sure they wouldn't have been in such sad shape. So I decided it was probably time to find another cheap backup pair of glasses. I searched for discount glasses and came to The selection they offer is great, and you're likely to find a new style to try. The pair I found was one of the least expensive, but had an interesting look to them. I wasn't expecting much, because they were so cheap, but I was pleasantly surprised when they arrived. They're single hinge (no surprise there,) and incredibly light. So far I can't attest to the durability of the frames, but they definitely feel solid enough. The prescription was very slightly off, but not enough to warrant any major complaints. It just takes less than a second for my eyes to adjust. Overall, eyebuydirect is a great place to find yourself a new look or a new backup pair of glasses for super cheap.

Update: I ordered two more pairs of glasses from Goggles4u and was happy with what I received. I don't think you can find a better price than what they offer, (be sure to look for promo codes.) Both pairs were what I expected from my previous experience. A great place to buy for those 'just-in-case' pairs.

Update: I did go ahead and ordered another pair from Just like the original I ordered, these ended up beating my expectations. They're stylish and good quality. The prescription is very good, and the prices are pretty good, too.

Under the Copper Tree Presents: Recipe Calculator Manager Thing v1.0


So R's been busy with some things.. work, classes, baking... mostly baking. And so to help her out with her recipes, (keeping them organized, calculating weights, approximating costs, etc.,) I've come up with a nifty Excel spreadsheet. It allows her to enter any recipe in more or less any measure, recalculates and converts to US and metric units, scales for batch size, and semi-automatically calculates costs, ("semi" meaning you still may need to enter in a few price details if it's not already included in the list I have set up). This is still far from perfect, but it works for our needs, even if we still have to fudge some information around.

I've tried to make this as easy to use as possible, but I'm pretty sure it's still going to give some folks a headache. Being such, I've locked the worksheets to prevent any accidental additions, deletions, or general tomfoolery. If you'd like to unlock and add your own customized additions, just send an email to and we'll gladly oblige. Also, this is a macro-enabled worksheet that uses Visual Basic scripting, so you'll need to enable content and macros to be able to easily add recipes. I promise there's no malicious software or coding that's included, and I won't be able to peer through your webcam and see what's happening in the privacy of your living room.. (P.S. Dan, put a shirt on.)

Fields that you can select you can edit. This includes the 'Recipe Name', 'Ingredients', measurements (except for calculated measurements), instruction areas, batch size, yield, and 'Ingredient List'. If an ingredient is added that is found in the 'Ingredient List', pricing information is automatically calculated and scaled to the amount called for in the recipe. Price of ingredient used will automatically appear to the left of the name, and the total cost of the recipe will be updated. If an ingredient is not found in the 'Ingredient List', you can enter or update the information as required. Names must match exactly (ie. "egg" is not equal to "eggs"), though you can create multiple entries to account for this. Cost will be calculated using the calculated measurements, so it won't matter if you buy N oz of a certain ingredient but need X cups -- it will give you a price regardless. Since '#' is not a quantifiable unit of measure, a value for '#' will need to be entered in the 'Ingredient List' to calculate cost per item.

To add a recipe, simply click the Add button. This will copy your recipe to a new worksheet, named via the 'Recipe Name' field. Be careful though, this new recipe will be shown in the newly focused window. You will need to click on the "Add New Recipe" tab again, (which will still be populated with the recipe you just added), and hit the Reset button to clear the fields and ready the worksheet for another new recipe. .. Like I said, this is a work in progress.

Anyway, if you'd like to try it out you can download it from here. I'd love your input, questions, comments, suggestions, large sums of money, etc. Leave a comment or email

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Problem With Spring Semester

Being in the Northeast, snow is expected. So we have our shovels and salt ready. We have our warm clothing and waterproof outerwear to deal with the low temperatures. And we expect things to keep going.

But then there's a snow day. I don't get these days anymore, but I used to. When I was in grade school, and even then it was only for extreme conditions. If our elders marched through blizzards, then we could put up with a few inches and go to class.

But things have changed. Global warming... lack of salt... things. Since I've been upstate I've noticed it more. When I went to UAlbany, we had one snow day, and they it was for afternoon classes. Still had to trudge out to my morning classes. This season... heck the last two weeks alone they've had what... two? Three?


Or are they? I only say this because I am having the same problems at SCCC. These winter storms have been hitting early in the week, cancelling either one of the classes I am taking this semester. Cake Decorating has been dealt the worst of it - we've only had ONE class so far - and that was the "first day." I have that in quotation marks because technically the real first day of classes was a holiday so of course no class.

Plain bad luck.

How will they make this up? Two labs now we've missed and they're the foundation classes for the rest of the semester. Sure, I may have a leg up because it's piping and frostings which I have plenty of experience with, but it's sucks for those who don't. So we have to do it on our own at home, and I guess they'll have to cram the rest in the remaining weeks.

Still sucks.

And I am pretty sure there are a few people in my class that will be demanding a refund.

Okay, rambling post somewhat food related done. Time for lunch.

Oh, and I do have Food Prep tonight. We make soups tonight. Excited!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Coffee Run

Yeah, so I took a screenshot of my Instagram feed. But I hit up Fairway Market, my go-to coffee shop. They must have roasted recently because man oh man... ever so fragrant. I have been living on Trader Joe's coffee, which is fine. It just isn't the same. Look at their layout. All those beans!

The guy who ground my coffee thought I bought too much, but he doesn't know just how important coffee is to me. Tell me what you think, was this too much?

All were ground at setting 13 (percolator/urn/French press)

1 pound Mocha Java (M's favorite, medium body)
1 pound Brooklyn (my favorite, low acidity)
0.5 pound French Roast (because why not)

There were a few others I wanted to try, but I am supposed to be back next weekend. So I can wait. I didn't even buy cheese... what is wrong with me?!?

Friday, January 02, 2015

Late Morning/Early Afternoon Musings

Sick day today. Probably for the best, because I don't want to be the person my co-workers blame when they get sick. It's going around the hospital... completely out of my hands. I'm on my fourth day of this sickness and I am totally over it. I have been taking DayQuil and NyQuil around the clock, which helps temporarily but does not kick it to the curb. I admit I should drink more fluids other than coffee, but because of the congestion whatever I drink quickly evaporates because of the mouth breathing.

Yeah, you probably didn't want to hear about that. 

Back to the Future Part II is playing on ABC Family. And of course it is on, I love that trilogy. And I cannot wait for those fashions this year. And the Cubs winning the World Series. I'm putting my money on the Cubbies, baby!

Leftover New Years Day ham and freshly cooked rice. Can't beat that.

Some other gifts I received yesterday - a bracelet from my aunt, and my dad's Canon 7D. The last one I was surprised about. We were taking family photos when my dad asked me to get the camera from his room. I had to dig around, but I found it. By the time I got back downstairs, the picture taking was over.

"You know what, I'm just going to give that to you."
"Yes. Just buy a good lens for it, okay?"
"Are you sure about this?"

That was pretty awesome of him to do that, but immediately worst case scenarios popped into my head - the giving away of possessions - had me thinking red flags. Which of course made go down the list of signs to look out for. I talked to M about it.

"Well, he hasn't used it in a long time."
"Yeah, but he was just talking to me last week about buying a new lens for it."
"Well maybe he gave you the camera because you were talking about buying a new one."
"It just seems weird."

Maybe his ultimate plan is to get a newer, lighter camera. Or maybe he knows it will more likely be used by me. Still, I am looking out for red flags.


My dad asked for food from Tropical Grille. Food combo with soup and fried fish. Unfortunately they were closed today, so we got fried Whiting from Patnmark. I uses it's his backup fried fish option. I also scored a bunch of quick sale produce that looked completely fine. Four packages of fresh herbs for less than a dollar? Hell yes. Baby zucchini, limes, plum tomatoes, and plantains for great prices.

Bought the family combo pack from McDo. And the only one in the family who really ate it was me. I regret that purchase. I think I need to just stick to their coffee and fries.

The day has flown by and now it's time for me to go back. Until next time.