Gastronautic Updates

I wrote about the caterpillar infecting fungus called cordyceps, right? Well I went to one of the herbalist shops on Avenue U and purchased $40 dollars worth. In fact that was the smallest amount I could buy since the damned fungi cost about $200 an ounce.
Here’s about a quarter of my haul:

They smell faintly of chocolate and dust. The caterpillar part tastes like cardboard and dust. The protruding fungus has a tingly – sour taste, not unpleasant at all. I did not notice any health effect.

Moving on. I also wrote about a corn infecting fungus that the Mexicans call Cuitlacoche. I ordered a can of Monteblanco brand Cuitlacoche through Amazon and Mexgrocer.

The giant fungus infected corn kernels have a texture similar to slippery jack mushrooms and a slightly smoky flavor. The ingredients include onions , jalapeno peppers and epazote ( Skunkweed aka Wormseed, aka Mexican tea aka West Indian goosefoot aka Jerusalem parsley aka Hedge mustard aka Sweet pigweed which supposedly has “antiflatulent powers” ) which kind of make it hard to say what it really tastes like on its own.

Is That A Genetically Engineered Banana Or Are You Just Glad To See Me?

Thank you for the link, raymondc_feed.

Quote from http://www.etichettando.com/uk/plu/plu.htm
“How to read a PLU code:
-For conventionally grown fruit, (grown with chemicals inputs), the PLU code on the sticker consists of four numbers.
– Organically grown fruit has a five-numeral PLU prefaced by the number 9.
– Genetically engineered (GM) fruit has a five-numeral PLU prefaced by the number 8.

Examples:
A conventionally grown banana would be:
4011
An organic banana would be:
94011
A genetically engineered (GE or GMO) banana would be:
84011 “

By the way, those genetically engineered fish are already on sale in Petland Discounts near me. Unfortunately I temporarily got rid of my aquarium (the fish are my father’s tank for now).

Two Cars in Every Garage, Three Eyes on Every Fish

Awesome! FDA decided not to mess with them, so genetically engineered zebra fish is going to become available beginning January 5, 2004 (well, at least according to their website). I am going to ask clerks at my local pet store if they could special order some for me.

Some interesting snippets from the website:

“GloFishâ„¢ fluorescent fish are beautiful and unique fish that were originally bred to help detect environmental pollutants. It was only recently that scientists realized the public’s interest in sharing the benefits of this research.”

“What if a fluorescent zebra fish is eaten?

Eating a fluorescent zebra fish is the same as eating any other zebra fish. Their fluorescence is derived from a naturally occurring gene and is completely safe for the environment. Just as eating a blue fish would not turn a predator blue, eating a fluorescent fish would not make a predator fluoresce.”

WML : How to Good-Bye Obesity: Heart Rate Training. Malarkey? or Effective Way?

I am a hardened veteran of the battle of the bulge. There are a lot of factors working against me — genetic predisposition, laziness, sedentary lifestyle. Yet still, from time to time I wage a war on fat, and often enough come out victorious. I despise people who say that you should like your body the way it is. Body image hate is A-Ok in my book.

Generally I spent most of my life in various states of obesity. But three times I managed to bring my weight down to normal. The first time was when my parents signed me up for summer gym classes. Calisthenics and running 5 times a week for a whole summer really slimmed me down. Unfortunately the very charismatic coach we had ended up getting drafted into the Soviet army, and without motivation I stopped exercising and started gaining weight again. Then my dad got me into a tennis class. I got in only because he was a chief engineer in charge of building the stadium which housed the tennis courts where we played. I sucked at playing tennis, but by the time I left the Soviet Union my weight was back to normal.

American food, stress and more stress took it’s toll during my high school years. Still, one summer I took a gym class during summer school and took to running 10-12 laps around the stadium every day. My weight was back to normal again. But then I’ve got a job at Nathan’s Famous and gained a lot of weight eating free hot dogs and fries.

I never had any luck with diets up until now. Surprisingly enough Atkins diet really works. But of course it’s not enough. In fact, I lost 30 pounds and stalled. But then suggested that I try heart rate training.

There’s this company called Polar. They make very accurate pulse rate monitors. These monitors consist of two parts: a transmitter strap that goes around your chest and a watch which picks up the wireless signal from the transmitter.

The device continuously monitors your pulse so that you can adjust your effort level to stay in the fat burning zone. Luckily treadmills in the gym that our corporate overlord and beloved billionaire tyrant built for us already have Polar receivers inside. And as it turned out the gym attendants have transmitters available on request. You just punch in the desired heart rate and the treadmill adjusts to you. It also accurately calculates calories burned. And the overhead monitors are tuned into various Fox channels. Simpsons while working out — what could be better?

Running with heart rate monitor is just amazing. You don’t get too tired, but you know that you are exerting yourself just enough to burn fat. It’s very motivating. To keep myself further motivated I think I’ll buy myself an iPod when I loose another 10 lb.

If you were wondering, the subject line is a reference to the title of this book.

Did I Mention that Purple is the Official Brooklyn College Color?

I wrote about Monk parakeets before.

Well, it looks like the Brooklyn College Environmental Education Science Masters Program. members are involved in some cutting edge research:

“On the athletic field we saw 5 birds perched on the lamp post on the right side. They were flying back and forth. While we watched their flight we viewed one of the birds relieving themselves. We approached the ramp and examined the droppings. We counted 11 droppings and saw a distinct color change in its appearance. This change was not the same as what we had previously viewed, it was purple in color.”

“On East 23 and Avenue J we saw three birds eating acorns and making a lot of noise. “

This reminded me:

Porgie and Bass

Went fishing on Pastime Princess. This time, besides a single skate and a few cunners I caught no throwback fish. I did catch three fat porgies and half a dozen sea bass. The one tog that I caught was short (under 14 inches) :(

What sucked, was that the captain had trouble positioning the ship over shipwrecks (that’s where all the fish are) all morning. Finally, in the very last hour he anchored the ship correctly and people were catching “double headers” (two fish at a time) , but then it was time to go.

And now it’s time for a game show! Let’s play “What the heck is this fish?”

Backwash

This morning I remembered a funny idiom that an Australian friend taught me – “backwash”. It the remainder of a soft drink left in a bottle or a can, presumably mixed with original drinker’s saliva. Used in a sentence: “I don’t want the rest of your soda, that’s just backwash.” There is no idiom like that in Russian, probably because sodas were not commonly sold in cans or individual sized bottles in USSR.

So, I decided to take a look on the web and see if that was a strictly Australian expression or not. What I found instead was “Backwash Magazine“. And there I found a link to a very cool book – “Found on Ebay“. Schweet.

I always wondered if Ebay preserves all the logs for their auctions. I wish they gave them all to Google – it would be a catalogue for everything. From a shuttle to raccoon penis bones.

By the way, I’ve read somewhere that Ebay used to be an abbreviation for “Echo Bay” (now it’s explained as “Electronic Bay”).