Ace Fic Rec

I don’t really talk much about being asexual, mainly because it is such a non-issue in my life. But, I read a lot of fanfiction (like, a lot), and I really like reading ace fic. (And a lot of other kinds of fics.)

I read the first fic below, and I thought it was the best ace fic I’ve read. There are so many stories out there that are full of asexual angst: mostly the person is convinced they are broken until they find the ‘asexual’ label (and their tru wuv). Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy reading those fics, but even if I identify with certain aspects of the character, the angst just never resonates with my experience.

This Tony still doesn’t feel exactly the way I feel, but I love the way sexuality is approached here with humor. I love Tony’s disbelief and the way there is no huge earth-shattering, life-changing revelation.

The second fic is just as good, if not better. Where the first fic is short and sweet and mostly humor, the second is longer and much deeper. I love the story itself: the plot, the characters, the relationships. But in there is some great discussions about different types of attraction and different types of relationships (the big one is in chapter 16). In this chapter, Tony gets a bunch of the other characters together to try to help him understand different kinds of attraction. There’s a point in that conversation when Tony says “I’ve made more progress in the last fifteen minutes [of conversation] than I have in the six hours of research that I did yesterday”.

That echos a truth, that conversation, analogies, and stories speak to us in a way simple definitions and descriptions don’t.

(Did I mention that I figured out that I’m aromantic? It’s a label I’ve been playing around with for a while now, but this fic helped me settle it.)


But what even is sexual attraction? (1797 words) by TenSpencerRiedPlease
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Avengers (Marvel Movies)
Rating: Not Rated
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Steve Rogers/Tony Stark, Clint Barton/Natasha Romanov
Characters: Thor (Marvel), Tony Stark, Bruce Banner, Natasha Romanov, Clint Barton, James “Rhodey” Rhodes, Steve Rogers
Additional Tags: Asexual Tony Stark, Humor, Confused Steve Rogers, Clueless Tony, Crack Treated Seriously, Alternate Universe – Crack
Series: Part 1 of What’d I Miss?

Bruce sighs, “Everyone who experiences sexual attraction hands up,” he says and everyone in the room raises their hands.

“No, that’s not right,” Tony says, “I thought this was a joke or something, sexual attraction isn’t even a thing, it’s like a Hollywood invention or something, like Valentine’s Day. This… no, sexual attraction was invented by capitalism and patriarchy to exploit women and make money,” he says, flapping his hands around.

Steve pats his shoulder, “Tony no, sexual attraction was not invented by capitalism,” he says, laughing at Tony’s confusion.


For a Good Time Call… (98955 words) by TenSpencerRiedPlease
Chapters: 19/19
Fandom: The Avengers (Marvel Movies)
Rating: Not Rated
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Steve Rogers/Tony Stark, James “Bucky” Barnes/Natasha Romanov
Characters: Tony Stark, Peter Quill, James “Bucky” Barnes, James “Rhodey” Rhodes, Pepper Potts, Gamora (Marvel), Bruce Banner, Natasha Romanov, Sam Wilson (Marvel), Other Marvel Characters
Additional Tags: Alternate Universe – Modern Setting, Alternate Universe – College/University, Tropes, Pre-Serum Steve Rogers, Tony Stark Does What He Wants, Fluff and Humor, Love at First Sight, Basically, Artist Steve Rogers, Tags May Change, Protective Bucky Barnes, Natasha Is a Good Bro, not realistic, Aromantic Tony Stark, queer platonic relationship, Platonic Romance, if that makes sense

Tony has always wanted to try calling a number on the inside of a bathroom stall, just to see what happened. So when he sees ‘for a good time call…’ followed by a number while taking a shit he figures why the hell not? It wasn’t like he was known for being the most… rational person on the planet.

“Hello?” the voice on the other end says. Tony stares at it for a second in shock, “hello?” the person asks again.

“Uh, not gunna lie, I wasn’t expecting to get this far,” Tony says.

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How to Remove Command Strips

TL;DR: Use dental floss to remove command strips, by ‘flossing’ between the two bonded objects.

Now here’s something that’s really useful.

Command strips are supposed to be easy to remove – just pull down on the tab and the strip will stretch and come away. But, if you use a lot of command strips – you know this isn’t always the case. Especially if the strips are old or have been on the wall for a long time.

Sometimes, you start pulling on the tab, and it breaks. This used to be a disaster for me – I would pull really slowly, and adjust my grip so I’m holding it closer to the wall. And if it breaks anyway, I would get out a needle nose pliers to grip whatever bits of the strip was still accessible. And sometimes I would still be stuck trying to gently pry off the rest of the hook and inevitably end up pulling up a chip of paint.

It turns out, I was doing it wrong. There’s an easy way to remove stuck command strips: floss! Just get ordinary dental floss and floss behind your command hook (or whatever else you command stripped to the wall). It will cut the strip in half, and part of it will be stuck to the hook and part to the wall. The remnants are easy to scrape off – especially if you can get a grip on a corner and stretch it.


When I decorated my door for Christmas, I used a lot command hooks. When I removed the hooks, there were a bunch of strips that I had to use the floss trick on, and I think it actually took less time to use the floss than to remove them properly. (That includes removing the hooks and the residue from the door, but not the residue from the hooks. That part isn’t hard, just a little tedious.)



Posted in LifeHacks, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Chocolate Chip Almond Butter Cookies (Gluten Free)

Original recipe:


This is my new favorite cookie recipe! I made the original, peanut butter, recipe for Christmas and it was a huge hit with my family. I was really impressed at how perfect the texture was; I wouldn’t guess that they were gluten-free. I’m just not that into peanut butter cookies, so the flavor wasn’t my favorite. (Although, I did have people who swear they don’t usually like peanut butter cookies love these.)

The almond butter version are made of deliciousness. They don’t taste strongly of almond; the taste and texture are just like a normal chocolate chip cookie. They are crisp and chewy and sweet and chocolaty and perfect.


1 cup Almond Butter (the kind with almonds as the only ingredient)
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 large Egg
1 T Vanilla
1 t Baking Soda
100 g Dark Chocolate Chips (I use 60% cocoa bittersweet chips)

Mix all but chocolate chips together in a mixer, then stir in chocolate chips.
Form into balls, about 1 T each.
Refrigerate overnight.
Bake at 350° for 8-10 min.


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Twisted Bean

  • Caramel Toffee Crunch Frappe
    • “Loads of caramel, espresso, toffee, milk & ice blended – topped with whip cream & toffee bits
    • Coffee flavor is on the strong side for me
    • I feel like this has more caffeine than some others
    • small: 16 oz

Dunkin’ Donuts

  • Frozen Dunkaccino
    • “Treat yourself to the creamy, chocolatey, coffee indulgence of the Frozen Dunkaccino”
    • I love this
    • I’ve tried the Frozen Mocha Coffee Coolatta; I can’t really pin down the difference, but I like the dunkaccino better. It’s richer, or  chocolaty-er, or something.
    • Very mild coffee flavor
    • caffeine: 13mg in coffee coolatta, 56mg in 12 dunkaccino
    • small: 16 oz, 400 calories (300 cal/12 oz)

Cold Stone

  • Mocha
    • “An iced blended coffee drink with fudge and whipped topping”
    • Good, very rich
    • small: 427 g, 460 calories

Dairy Queen

  • Midnight Mocha Ultimate Frappe
    • “Coffee blended with ice, soft serve, cocoa fudge and choco chips with whipped topping and a garnish.”
    • I was hoping for more ice cream from Dairy Queen
    • The chocolate chips were good, more shavings that chips so they weren’t hard
      • maybe too many chocolate chips (blasphemy, I know – but there were a bunch left a the bottom of the cup, and they kept clogging my straw)
    • Barely taste the coffee
    • I think I’d go for this if I wanted chocolate chips, but not if I just wanted a drink
    • small: 12 oz, 490 calories
  • Oreo Cookie Ultimate Frappe
    • “Coffee blended with ice, soft serve and OREO® cookie pieces with whipped topping and a garnish.”
    • Very, very rich. Can really taste the oreo. Maybe too rich/sweet.
    • I just tasted it, I’m not sure I’d want to drink a whole serving
    • small: 12 oz, 490 calories
  • Mocha Moolatte
    • “Coffee and rich fudge blended with creamy DQ® vanilla soft serve and ice, and garnished with whipped topping and a chocolaty drizzle.”
    • Very rich. Almost too rich. I don’t think I’d order again.
    • It was less like a smoothie or milk shake, and more like melted ice cream with too much chocolate sauce
    • small: 12 oz, 460 calories, 35mg(16oz)

Mc Donald’s

  • McCafe Frappe Chocolate Chip
    • “Made with an indulgent blend of sweet caramel, chocolate chips and a hint of coffee. Topped with whipped topping and a double drizzle of chocolate and caramel.”
    • I’ll be honest, this is how I got started on frappes, and coffee drinks in general
    • The chocolate chips used to be awesome when they started, but now they just use regular mini chocolate chips
    • small: 500 calories
  • McCafe Frappe Mocha
    • “Made with rich chocolate flavor and a hint of coffee, our Frappé Mocha is blended with ice and covered with whipped topping and chocolately drizzle. Available in Small, Medium, and Large.”
    • Too strong coffee flavor
    • small: 420 calories
  • McCafe Frappe Caramel
    • “Made with rich caramel flavor and a hint of coffee, blended with ice, and topped with whipped topping and caramel drizzle. Available in Small, Medium, and Large.”
    • Not bad, I like the chocolate chip better
    • small: 420 calories


  • Frozen Mocha
    • “Chocolate and an icy coffee blend topped with whipped cream and chocolate sauce.”
    • Not bad. A bit more coffee flavor than I prefer.
    • 16 oz, 540 calories, 199mg caffeine


  • Patriot Blender
    • “Show your patriotism by savoring this caramel, white mocha, and mocha blender in pride. Bald Eagles may fly overhead while you sing “I’m Proud to be an American” in between sips.”
    • Stronger coffee flavor than I like, but that might be my fault – they asked if I want espresso and I said yes
    • small: 348 calories
  • I intend to try them again

Caribou Coffee

  • Chocolate Cooler
    • “Coffee blended with ice and premium chocolate – dark, milk or white. Topped with whipped cream and chocolate drizzle.”
    • I tried this once and I did not like it at all, way too strong coffee flavor, I didn’t even finish it.
    • small: 550 calories


  • S’more Frappuccino
    • “Returning favorite S’mores Frappuccino® Blended Beverage starts with marshmallow-infused whipped cream and a ribbon of milk chocolate fudge, and adds a creamy blend of milk chocolate, coffee, milk and ice. Finished off with more marshmallowy whipped cream and graham cracker crumbles. It’s yummy, marshmallowy and summery.”
    • Delicious, but insubstantial.
    • I love the flavor and the texture – it has a good balance of chocolate, graham cracker, and marshmallow without the weird texture drinks with graham crackers sometimes get.
    • The perfect amount of coffee flavor for me.
    • On the downside, the amount of fluff from the marshmallow makes the whole drink seem a bit insubstantial.
    • “Tall” 12 oz, 320 cal, 50mg caffeine
  • Midnight Mint Mocha
    • “The new Midnight Mint Mocha Frappuccino® Blended Beverage swirls extra dark cocoa with Frappuccino® Roast coffee, milk, ice, and cooling mint sugar crystals, and is cut with a layer of whipped cream. Topped with more whipped cream and a dark cocoa dusting. It’s bold, rich and refreshing.”
    • Confirmed: I do not like mint + coffee
    • “Tall” 12oz, 310 cal, 55mg caffeine
  • Caramel Frappuccino® Blended Coffee
    • “Buttery caramel syrup meets coffee, milk and ice for a rendezvous in the blender. Then whipped cream and caramel sauce layer the love on top.”
    • I’m not sure I really like the flavor. I would like it to be more caramel.
    • “Tall” 12 oz, 300 cal, 70mg caffeine
  • Mocha Frappuccino® Blended Coffee
    • “Mocha sauce, Frappuccino® roast coffee, milk and ice all come together for a mocha flavor that’ll leave you wanting more.”
    • I like it. Skirting the edge of too much coffee flavor; I think it would depend on my mood.
    • “Tall” 12 oz, 290cal, 75mg caffeine
  • Caramel Light Frappuccino® Blended Coffee
    • “Buttery caramel syrup is combined with Frappuccino® roast coffee and nonfat milk, then blended with ice. Sip up the same awesome taste, just with fewer calories.”
    • There was something weird about the taste. Not terrible, but I won’t get again.
    • “Tall” 12 oz, 100 cal, 65mg caffeine
  • Java Chip Frappuccino® Blended Coffee
    • “We blend mocha sauce and Frappuccino® chips with coffee and milk and ice, then top with whipped cream and mocha drizzle to bring you endless java joy.”
    • Tasted pretty good at the time, but there was a weird wax aftertaste
    • “Tall” 12 oz, 340 cal, 75mg caffeine
  • Caramel Cocoa Cluster Frappuccino
    • Toffee nut syrup, blended with coffee then topped with caramel sauce, whipped cream and a mocha drizzle. More than a classic flavor combo it’s a flavor collision of chocolate, nuts and caramel.
    • I love this
    • Strong toffee flavor – nutty and buttery
    • “Tall” 12 oz, 330 cal, 65mg caffeine
  • Mocha Light Frappuccino® Blended Coffee
    • Mocha sauce, coffee and nonfat milk is blended with ice. One sip and your tastebuds will do the mochamotion.
    • Weird, bitter aftertaste. Gets a bit better as I drink it.
    • “Tall” 12 oz, 110 cal, 70mg caffeine


  • Jamocha Shake
    • “Before Arby’s hand-crafted the Jamocha Shake, there were no other coffee and chocolate shakes in the world. And now, it’s drizzled with real Ghiradelli chocolate. Just another one of Arby’s many contributions to the world of indulgence. “
    • Delicious shake. Almost no coffee flavor.
    • Small 413g, 540 cal, 11.6mg caffeine (16 oz)

Cinnie Smith

(Iowa State Fair – between Little Hands on the Farm and the baby animal building)

  • “Iced Cappuccino” with real ice cream
  • It is a lot closer to a milk shake than a coffee drink – but that’s the way I like it.
  • The perfect amount of coffee flavor for me. Essentially, this is my ideal.
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Worm Bin

I made myself a worm bin!

It all started, many years ago, when my college roommate and I spent an unreasonable amount of time looking at worm bins at the state fair. We eventually made the wise decision that spending over a hundred dollars on a worm bin for our college dorm wasn’t the bestest idea ever.

Much more recently, I was browsing the internet looking at gardening things and wondering what the best medium would be to grow things in for my container garden. I would love to compost – but traditional composting isn’t really feasible in an apartment. But vermicomposting is!

I did a an excessive amount of research and decided to build my own bin instead of buying pre-made. Partially because of cost, partially because of custimizablity. Space is at a premium and I really wanted to make sure my bin could fit under my sink.

I took my measurements, and a measuring tape, and went shopping. I got two identical bins for under six dollars each. Opaque, because light is not good for worms.

I drilled some holes in the bottom of one bin for drainage and in one lid for air. The bin with the drainage holes nests inside the other one.



I prepared bedding for my worms by tearing up a bunch of newspaper and wetting it down. I also threw in a handful of dirt and some leaves fallen from my potted plants.


I ordered my worms online, and waited impatiently. The box my worms came in was kind of beat up, and I was a little worried about my poor worms, but they were just fine. When I opened the bag they were wriggling all over the place.

I dumped my worms into their new home, and added a bit more water to moisten their travel bedding.


Now I just have to let them settle in to their new home then I can start feeding them scraps!


About $12 for the bins, $36.94 for the worms, a borrowed drill, and shredded news paper. Overall, by worm bin cost me under $50.

Posted in Crafts, Plants, Worm Bin | 1 Comment

Cheap, Easy Drip Irrigation

Here’s a puzzle: Given a patio full of thirsty plants, how do I keep them all watered?

I started out the usual way, hauling buckets, and watering each plant.But, as the weather got hotter and the plants got bigger (and I kept adding more plants), they needed a lot of water. Eventually I was using two five-gallon pails each morning, and some of my plants were dry by evening. I didn’t even get a reprieve when the weather was wet; my patio has a full roof so the plants barely get any water from the rain.

I got tired if not being able to skip a day, and worried about my plants surviving if I was out of town for a few days.

I started looking into drip irrigation. The main problem here is that most of those systems hook up to a hose, and I don’t have an outdoor faucet. The systems I found with a reservoir required putting the water tank higher than the plants. That is difficult when the plants that dry out most quickly are hanging or on the patio rails. Even if I rigged something high enough and stable enough, I would still have trouble lifting buckets of water high enough to fill it.

Also, a lot of those systems are expensive.

I found some automatically watering examples where you put a reservoir higher than the plant, then run a cotton string from the water to the plant. I tried this a few places with mixed results. It worked a couple places, but usually the string would just dry out. I never managed to isolate the conditions that determined if it would work or fail.

I came across a few products that attach to the mouth of a bottle. You would fill the bottle, screw one of these on, then shove the bottle upside down in the pot. After looking into those, I realized that all they provided was a small hole for the water to drip out of. I have straight pins – I can make my own holes!

I could poke a hole in the lid of a bottle, but then I would have to pull the bottle out every time I needed to fill it. So, I poked a couple of holes in the bottom of the bottles, pressed them as far into the pots as I could, and filled them up with water. I found that if I left the lid on, I needed to also make a hole near the top of the bottle. Other than that, it worked beautifully.


In the beginning, I screwed the lids back on every bottle every time, to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in them. Eventually, I just left the lids off and let the run completely dry a couple times a week. With the lids off, it’s easy to fill the bottles with a watering can.

There were some pots where I couldn’t get the bottles down in far enough into the dirt to keep them from tipping over. For those I poked holes in the side of the bottles, kept the lid on, and set them in the pots sideways. I put two holes in the side facing the dirt and one on the side that would be facing up. Next year I will be incorporating the bottles into the soil as I fill the pots.

I had mixed results with half gallon milk jugs. When they worked they were great: good stability and good size. But, the holes tended to close up or get clogged more easily than other bottles.

Another thing that worked really well was plastic baggies. Fill with water, poke a hole in one of the sides, and set on the soil. It is a great short term solution, but long term the baggies got kind of gross, with stuff growing in them.


The biggest challenge was my topsy turvy planter. I especially wanted to set up the self watering for this, because I was having a hard time giving it the right amount of water. It was tricky, because there wasn’t enough open soil at the top to fit a water bottle. If I used a container that mostly set on the plastic, the hole wouldn’t touch the soil and it wouldn’t drip right.

So, I built a specially shaped water-er. I cut the top off of a party favor size bottle of bubble solution, cut a whole in the bottom of a plastic tub (it once held peanut butter), and attached them with plastic epoxy (noxious stuff, seriously only use it outside).


I found that it is important the the hole in the water container is in contact with the soil. If there is a gap, the water flows too quickly.

More photos:


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School Colors Knit Hats

School Color Hats

I have three cousins who are siblings who each went to a different one of the three state colleges in Iowa. This year I made them each a hat with the colors of their school.

Lion Hometown yarn. The yellow is Pittsburgh Yellow for each.

Size 11 needles

Knit in stockinet, my basic hat pattern (knit about 8 inches, decrease by 6 ( *k4, dec*, knit row, *k3, dec*, knit row, ect. until dec every stitch, cut yarn, pull through, seam)

Cyclone Hat

Tampa Spice (red)

CO 38
6 rows per stripe

Hawkeye Hat

Oakland Black

CO 44
6 rows per stripe


Portland Wine

CO 44
I tried uneven stripes. I wasn’t as pleased with the results as I hoped to be.


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