Pizza Dough


  • 1 cup hot water 
  • 1/2 tsp granulated sugar 
  • 1/2 tsp quick rise yeast (any yeast will do) 
  • 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups flour (depends on consistency of dough needed) 
  • 1 tsp of salt (to taste) 
  • 1/2 to 1 tbsp of oil (olive oil makes the dough heavier)  

Method and Notes  

I am not 100% sure of the quantities above but that is pretty much how I do it... 

When it comes to flour I go by the dough consistency. I want a nice, soft dough I can spread out and work with... Softer and easier to work than bread dough. 

Mix water, sugar, yeast and let the yeast sit until it is bubbling. 

Mix flour salt and oil in a mixing bowl or mixer. 

Slowly add wet ingredients to dry, mixing/kneading until fully incorporated. Add flour as needed until the dough is sticky but not wet to the touch; reserve some flour for kneading (you can add more, just don't add too much or the dough will get too stiff). 

Knead until the dough is soft and elastic (a mixer with a dough paddle is best for this). 

Place the dough into a floured bowl and coat generously with flour all over, leaving some in the bottom of the bowl for use later when you form the pizza. Cover the bowl with saran. 

Allow the dough to rise in a warm place. 

To prepare the pizza, roll the dough out (using the flour in the bowl) to a circular shape or form it over a closed fist and throw it into the air, spinning it, to form a circular shape. Make the dough as thin or thick as you would like. 

If you prefer a thick, doughy crust allow the dough to rise a second time on the pan. 

Brush a pan with olive oil (seasoned oil works well, e.g. rosemary and garlic, or a spicy oil) and place the dough on the pan. 

Preheat an oven to 500. 

Brush the pizza dough with olive oil and top with salt, pepper, and any spices you would like to flavour the crust with. 

Bake in the oven until the dough is lightly browned. 

Remove from the oven and top with tomato sauce (or pesto, etc). 

In a bowl, mix your other toppings with grated/chopped cheese and distribute evenly over the sauce. 

Bake again until the cheese is melted and brown. 

When you remove the pizza from the oven the final time a nice touch is to brush the exposed crust with garlic butter and sprinkle fresh grated parmesan cheese over the hot pizza and some fresh ground black pepper.



Gcal/Gmail Mashup with Web Clips

Want to have some Web Clips in your gmail that remind you of important things, display your favorite sites, scroll witty quips, or what have you but don't have any easy way of publishing and maintaining an RSS feed? Simply create one or more Google Calendar and enter the items (they show up with the clip name as the calendar name and the calendar event title as the text of the clip) to be displayed as you wish. None of the data other than the calendar name and event title are displayed so if you date/time reminders you should create events with titles containing the date and time of the event. Some links to figure out how to order/constrain the XML feed: You could also publish/consume public calendars for this purpose. Anyway, enjoy.

Memory Foam Pillow

I recently purchased a memory foam pillow at Canadian Tire on a whim while we were browsing for other stuff. My sleep has improved somewhat. It is just super-comfortable and is "smooshy". A smooshy pillow can be formed into various shapes to support your head for different things. I got the non-contoured model and now want to get a contoured one to try it out. Some common pillow actions:
  • stacking: it doesn't stack well with other pillows because it is quite thick and is meant to conform to your head which requires it to be flat on the bed in my opinion, but that's ok.
  • use with "the wedge": I have a foam wedge made for people with health issues that require them to be propped up in bed; I use it to watch TV and read as well as sleeping propped up when my back is bugging me -- the pillow works well with the wedge.
  • sleeping positions: worked well when laying on my side, back, etc... I was even able to get it under my shoulders and it settled down to contour to them as well as my head (head was still comfortable).
Overall rating: get one.



Energy is a funny thing. I have trouble sleeping through the night so I know all about energy highs and lows. Unlike a sound sleeper each day presents a new challenge for me. Sometimes I am well-rested and full of energy, alert, and responsive. Other days I am exhausted and spaced out (and ineffective). I have tried many things to get a good night's sleep but nothing seems to work. Even sleeping pills don't do much. I'll take them one night and get a good sleep, the next night, I'll wake in the middle of the night and other than being groggy it's like I didn't take anything. Ideally, I would have a job where I could nap, work when rested, etc. I actually do have a job like that but my lifestyle doesn't really allow me that freedom... I guess one day I'll figure it all out. The latest thing I'm trying is going to the gym and doing cardio/fat-burning exercises on the machines. Hopefully, this will exhaust me into sleeping through the night. I'm not holding my breath. One last thing: chemical alertness is not really useful to me. If I chug various stimulants (tea, energy drinks) I just get more scatter brained and restless. I have energy but it isn't focused. Life goes on. How do you get enough sleep?

Velocity Trap (1997)

Velocity Trap (1997) was interesting but bad... :) SciFi B movie, for sure. I wanted to see the whole thing but fell asleep (it was on at like 2AM). I plan to try to see it again as it was very intriguing and had great atmosphere. A SciFi movie that was believable (the universe was, the plot wasn't so much). There were some funny scenes when one of the characters goes through an extended period of isolation from other people. Worth watching if you are alone and love SciFi.



Daily Weight

Update - 2007-08-27 - After abandoning weight loss this summer for logistical reasons (long story), I am back on track (and 10 lbs heavier) and starting again. Using Physics Diet to track my weight loss (see my public profile: http://physicsdiet.com/Public.aspx?u=macdonaldster@gmail.com).

Old Info:

View the entire spreadsheet or:


Energy Drinks

Update - 2007-08-27 - Superstore is now selling a case of 24 Red Rain for $27 + deposit. Nice. My most significant food discovery lately has been Energy Drinks. I thought these were for frat boys and steroid junkies for the longest time but, during an extended period of "working late", learned they were good for me as well. See, I recently learned I could no longer drink coffee and never really found it very good for staying up late, anyway. Late night work and driving are the two times I really can't afford to be drowsy and I was telling a friend this, when then said "we get Red Bull free at work" and told me it helped them get through all-nighters. I tried a can of Red Bull on my next road trip and it worked. It worked really well. The drowsiness (and fear that I would fall asleep at the wheel) were gone. I soon began drinking them as needed (not very often). Anyway, now that I have established that these are used by me as needed and I am not hooked or anything (really) here are the ones I have tried ranked by how much I liked them:
Red Rain (Superstore)My fav... all the juice of Red Bull at half the price.
RedFire (Sobey's)Similar (same?) as Red Rain.
Red BullWorks well but it is pricey.
Beaver BuzzTastes like it has maple syrup in it... doesn't seem to give me the same quality of alertness... I have had one and remained drowsy on two occasions.
Sobe Arush This one is rapidly becoming a favourite and may move to the top of the list. The price is right and it works like a charm. I find the "energy" curve is more leveled off so it isn't like you get a burst then slow down.
...lost (large) Flavour is sweet, almost like cotton candy... Contains lots of "energy" but I am not sure I like the cloyingly sweet taste. I just really need to drink one right now.
My general comment on all of them is that they don't taste great. There is some citrus masking and light carbonation. When I am driving or working I just chug them back as fast as possible. If I am at home I might mix one with ginger ale or orange pop and some ice and drink a little slower. :) Benefits over coffee: they don't seem to dehydrate but I could be wrong, you don't drink much volume so you aren't pulling over 30 minutes later if you need to stay alert while driving, and if you are like me and coffee "doesn't agree with you" it can save the day when drowsiness strikes on the road or at the office.



The Drive Home

Did about 5.5h of highway driving today from NB to NS. Saw a panel truck almost almost run a car off the road while it merged in, couple of people barely squeezing in a pass before oncoming traffic nailed them, and lots of speeding... About 20 km/h faster than posted for most drivers, I'd say.

First Post!

After a long period without a blog I have given up on building and hosting my blog on my home network (for various reasons, hopefully to be detailed below) I am moving onto Google... It'll be interesting to try out their system.