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By Heather Honig

Nothing matched the bufriedo. A deep-fried bean burrito, the bufriedo proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that frying always improves a food.”

If you’ve read John Green’s Looking for Alaska, you are no stranger to the infamous bufriedo, a dish often prepared by the school’s cafeteria lady, Maureen. As a huge fan of the book, I thought I’d try to recreate this dish.

Ingredients:

  • burrito (you can make your own or just buy one if you’re lazy)
  • canola oil (any kind of oil would probably work, but that’s what I used)

Materials:

  • small saucepan
  • tongs
  • paper towel

So this recipe is relatively simple, you just have to be quick so you don’t overcook your bufriedo. First of all, you need to make/buy your burrito. It’s up to you what to put in it, but if you want to be totally true to the book, go for a plain bean burrito.

Pour the oil into the pan about 1/3 full, or enough to partially submerge the bufriedo. Turn the stove on medium-high heat and use the tongs to place the burrito in the pan when the oil is hot enough. (you will be able to tell when you place your hand above the pan and it feels hot; it does not need to be bubbling) When you are at this part you have to flip the burrito over fairly quickly. I left it in for no more that 20 seconds and it was already pretty dark. (img. 1) Also, it is helpful to use the tongs to help keep the burrito closed when you first put it in the oil.

Keep rotating your bufriedo until it looks nice and crispy (so probably a bit lighter than mine) and then use the tongs to remove your bufriedo. Dry it off with a paper towel and you’re done! (img. 2)

IMPORTANT NOTE: When disposing of any remaining oil, do not pour it down the drain, as it will clog. Pour it into a glass container where it will harden and you can later throw away.

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February 1st will be the first issue of the magazine Let’s Talk Nerd Culture.  Let’s talk and explore nerd culture with stories every month about music, history, science, cooking, film, books, and TV shows. With 8 writers, and all of them having different topics, the arrangement of writing styles and tastes leaves something for everyone.

Click here to learn more about the writers. 

A Whole New World: Web Series on the Rise

By: Maddie Field

If you are reading this article, I don’t need to tell you what an incredible tool the internet has become for the expression of creativity.  The online generation does not perceive boundaries – if we can imagine it, and it doesn’t break any laws of physics, there’s a pretty good chance we are going to try and make it a reality. This enthusiasm is not unwarranted, because when millions of like-minded people are only a click away, creative projects that once seemed impossible are now beautifully, amazingly, possible.

Take, for example, a group of writers and actors with a brilliant idea for a TV show – but lacking the budget and connections to put it on the air. Instead of letting the creative spark sputter and die, innovative creators have turned to YouTube to bring their visions to life. The ability to post and view HD video, at no cost on either end, means that with a little inspiration, a lot of talent, and a ton of hard work, these stories can reach a massive audience.

If you haven’t yet checked out any web series, I’m going to list some of my favourites below. But I’m sure there are tons of stories being told that I’m not aware of – so feel free to reblog and let me know which web series you are loving right now.

Squaresville

This show centres on best friends Esther and Zelda, suburban teens who are trying to figure out life, love and high school. They’re not sure if they want to fit in or stand out – but who is? The smart and sarcastic writing blends with excellent performances to create wonderfully believable teenagers. Squaresville is currently in its second season, and I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us.

YouTube

Website

Job Hunters

Taking inspiration from The Hunger Games, Job Hunters portrays a dystopic future where a group of graduates must battle to the death each day for a chance at employment, but get along as roommates when they’re off the clock. This show is funny and fast-paced, and the existing six episodes will definitely leave you begging for season two.

YouTube

Website

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

Playing on another popular YouTube trend, this show is a re-telling of Jane Austen’s classic novel Pride and Prejudice, with the main character keeping a vlog instead of a diary. The show’s creators have really gone the extra mile, creating active social media accounts for their characters – the interactions on these sites form an extension of the plotline happening in the episodes. In the relatively new world of web series, the Lizzie Bennet Diaries is changing the relationship we have with our shows, and it’s something you really won’t want to miss out on.

YouTube

Website

Chronicles of Syntax

The Fallen Angel Network must track down a select group of people whose DNA contains information that could save the world – but not all of them want to help. All around, a war is brewing, and everyone must eventually choose a side. Fans of Doctor Who and other sci-fi shows will definitely want to check this one out. While it is only on episode two, I am really looking forward to seeing where this show goes.

YouTube

Website

School of Thrones

Looking ahead, here is a web series that I’m sure a lot of you will be excited about. An adaptation of the Game of Thrones series set in a modern-day high school, it is set to premiere March 10th. In the meantime, you can check out their facebook page for behind the scenes photos.

YouTube

Facebook

Don’t forget to reblog and share your favourite web series, so we can all keep discovering and supporting this exciting new genre.

How To: French Macarons

I have been obsessed with making these macarons lately, because despite what you might have heard, they’re incredibly easy, and rewarding to look at and enjoy. I’m going to show you how to make a chocolate macaron with a nutella filling, but you can use whatever filling you want, and instead of cocoa powder use whatever flavour you want (tea is a great example.)

Let’s get started!

Ingredients:

2 egg whites at room temperature
5tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 cup ground almonds (I found this at Bulk Barn in Ontario)
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp cocoa powder
Nutella

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(This recipe makes about 15 completed macarons, you can double it if you’d like more)

1. Sift your almond flour with your powdered sugar. Important: The almond flour must be sifted to remove any lumps. Discard remaining lumps. Set aside.

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2. Beat your egg whites until frothy (bubbles appearing around the edges.) Once this happens, slowly start adding your sugar. Beat until you have stiff peaks.

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Not quite stiff peaks! ^

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And we have stiff peaks! ^ Looks beautiful!

3. Pour in 1/3 of your dry mixture to the egg whites and fold in. Do not stir, you must carefully fold to ensure you don’t flatten the egg whites. Do this two more times until you have done about 60 folds. The mixture should be fully incorporated and flowing like lava off the spatula.

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(It’s so hard to get a picture of it flowing like lava…)

4. Into a piping bag (or ziploc bag, whatever works for you) pour your mixture. Pipe 1” circles onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Do not pipe directly onto the baking sheet or they will stick.

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(I ended up cutting a bit more off the end of the piping bag) ^


5. You can put these fairly close together as they will not spread very much.

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6. Once you’ve piped all of your batter on your sheets, take the baking sheets and tap them on the counter firmly a few times to let the air bubbles rise to the surface. Let them sit for about 30-40 minutes on your counter, uncovered. This is vital to the macarons, as they will form a shell over the top of them. This is to help avoid cracking, and also it will help form the little feet at the bottom.

7. Once they are ready, you’ll know because when you touch the top of one lightly, it will not feel tacky and won’t stick to your fingers.

8. I usually preheat my oven when the macarons have 10 minutes of drying left. Preheat to 300F.

9. Once preheated, put them in for about 10-15 minutes. They should look like they have little bubbles on the bottom and they are ever so slightly brown around the edges. (Note: mine cracked because I was impatient and being goofy. I lifted the pan to see if they would fall off and the sheet folded in on itself. Don’t do this if you want pretty macarons.)

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10. Let them cool for about 15 minutes on the tray, then carefully transfer them to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

11. Sandwich two together with the filling of your choice, and enjoy! These cookies taste their absolute best 1-2 days after filling, when the filling can kind of absorb into the cookies, but they also taste great straight away.

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12. To store these, leave them in an airtight container on the counter, or store unfilled macarons in the freezer for up to two months.

Notes: You can dye the batter any colour you want, as well. I have dyed them green and pink and red for christmas, but you can do whatever makes you happy!
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By: Heather Honig

Makes about two dozen cupcakes.

Ingredients (for cupcakes):

  • 3 c. flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 c. unsalted butter
  • 2 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 c. milk
  • 8 egg whites
  • blue food coloring

Ingredients (for frosting):

  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 4 c. confectioners sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 tbsp. heavy cream or milk

Materials:

  • measuring cups and spoons
  • muffin tin
  • cupcake liners
  • 2 large mixing bowls
  • small mixing bowl
  • electric mixer
  • rubber spatula

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.  Then, you will start by mixing together the flour, baking powder, and salt in the large mixing bowl.  In another bowl, mix together the butter, vanilla, and 2 cups of sugar with the electric mixer.  Gradually add in the flour mixture and milk.  Set this mixture aside.  In another bowl, whisk the egg whites (it’s easier to use the electric mixer) until foamy.  Then add in the last 1/4 cup of sugar.  Once this mixture is thick, add it to the other mixture.  Then you will add the blue food coloring until it looks similar to picture one.  Spoon the batter into the muffin tray and put it in the oven for 20-25 minutes.  When they’re done, they should look like picture two.

To make the frosting, mix together the butter, sugar, milk, and vanilla with the electric mixer.  Here you can kind of play around with the recipe.  To make it thicker, add more sugar.  To make the frosting thinner, add more milk.  Continue adding until you have enough to cover all of your cupcakes. (img. 3)  It’s a good idea to put it in the refrigerator before you put it on the cupcakes.

When everything’s all done it should look like picture 4.  You can add blue sprinkles if you’d like.  Enjoy!

Hello there! I hope you all liked this second issue of the Let’s Talk Nerd Culture magazine. I’d like to remind you all that our ask box is always open for questions, requests, or just general comments. 

And we also have Facebook and Twitter to make sure you don’t miss anything!

Here are all of the posts that were part of issue #2 of the Let’s Talk Nerd Culture magazine:

How To Make Mini Apple Pies by Heather Honig

Artist Trading by Joshua Beaulne 

A Whole New World: Web Series on the Rise by Maddie Field

Killer Asteroids and What To Do About Them by Mustapha (Cupcake) Khamissa

Book Review by Isabel Rae: The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman 

Birthdays: To Celebrate Or Not To Celebrate That Is The Question by SophieSchneider

King Richard III and Why He Wasn’t That Bad by Carolyn Ford

YouTube Gamer Spotlight: SSoHPKC by Carrie

Monsters University: Prequel to Monsters Inc by Grace McIntee

YouTube Gamer Spotlight: SSoHPKC

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By: Carrie

SSoHPKC is a gaming channel on YouTube made by Seamus O’Doherty. Seamus is a part of a gaming group called The Creatures and is considered one of the main members of this group. 

Seamus is known for his abundant amount of uploaded videos, sarcastic humor, and playing style in games, which is running about levels with no strategy whatsoever expecting to finish them that way.

A typical SSoHPKC gaming commentary plays out like this: Seamus starts the game and doesn’t usually have much trouble getting past the beginning. As the game gets progressively more difficult, Seamus uses more sarcasm and rages a bit. Once he gets towards the end, he’ll get better at the game, but he’ll be more angry if he dies or fails to do something. This continues on for the rest of the playthrough. It’s usually filled with sarcasm, jokes, and a general hilarity.

Seamus usually has around 10 playthroughs going on at once with quite a bit of variety. A few games he’s playing right now are Metal Gears Rising, Dead Space 3, Crysis 3, and Assassins Creed 3.

On YouTube, Seamus currently has over 820,000 subscribers and over 10,000 videos with over 400 million views. Each video gets about 20,000 views within the first week of being uploaded. He is partnered with Machinima along with the rest of The Creatures.

In real life, Seamus is a 24 year old who lives with some of The Creatures in The Creature House which is located in Littleton, Colorado. Seamus also has a girlfriend who is also a YouTuber named AshhBearr and they’ve been reportedly dating since February 4th, 2012. Additionally, Seamus owns a cat named Mr. Meowgi, despite the fact that the cat is a girl.

Seamus maintains a good relationship with his viewers by having inside jokes related to his viewers and making a real life video as an update every once in a while.

Seamus is one of my very favorite gaming youtubers out there. When I’m having a bad day, I like to go to YouTube and see if Seamus has uploaded any new videos that I’d be interested in watching. His commentary takes my mind off of life for a little while, even if it’s only for 15 minutes.

All in all, SSoHPKC is a quality gaming channel. If you enjoy gaming commentaries and lots of sarcasm, you should go subscribe to Seamus.

Check out Seamus’s channel: here

Hello readers! Our third issue of Let’s Talk Nerd Culture magazine is now posted and available for your reading pleasure. Links to all of the articles are posted below for your convenience. Feel free to leave any comments, questions, or requests in our ask box.

Just a reminder that we have a Facebook and Twitter for you to like/follow as to make sure you don’t miss anything!

Now, here are all the articles that make up Issue #3 of Let’s Talk Nerd Culture:

On Location Vacations: For All Your Star Stalking Needs by Grace McIntee

We Will Not Be Silent by Carolyn Ford

The Thigh Gap by Sophie Schneider

March-April Album Reviews by Joshua Beaulne

Doctor Who: The Bells of St. John Review by Maddie Field

Broadening Perspectives: Why Book Banning is Wrong by Isabel Rae

Top 3 Upcoming Games of 2013 by Tyler Back

How to Make TARDIS Blue Cupcakes by Heather Honig

The Thigh Gap

By: Sophie Schneider

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Teen girls are hungry for thigh gaps, that is, the space between a female’s unrealistic super skinny upper legs, that don’t touch. The “thigh gap” is a trend, recently brought into the spotlight for the female youth population. Glamourized and glorified, teens are copying thigh gaps sported by skinny fashion models and celebrities, by dieting, exercising and outright starving themselves so their thighs don’t touch. In reality, hipbones are part of our genetic make up and whether some of us like it or not, hipbones affects your ability to have a thigh gap at all.

Personally, I’m disgusted by this trend. It’s so cliché, that girls want to starve themselves to look a certain way, but the fact is, this is a reality. We are told of the serious issue of eating disorders and self-image growing up, and everyone swears they are comfortable in their own skin, but I’m watching the teen girls around me, all of the sudden wanting to look a certain way now that they have reached a certain age. It’s come to the point where girls are willing to destroy their health to do that.

I’m not going to say “All that matters how you look like on the inside” because that phrase goes over our heads these days. Have our lives really come to a point that beauty is defined by the space between your thighs? It’s like saying the amount lines on your pointer finger knuckle is beauty; it’s just really silly. Instead, think of the space between your ears. As humans, we have the gift of intelligence that can surpass the beauty of any air particles between your femurs.

Please, support your friends and bring light to this issue. It’s really important that our generation of youth understands the morals of not destroying our body, our health and even our lives for the sake of brainwashed beauty. We need to send the message that girls are worth more than the circumference of our thighs.

Birthdays: To Celebrate Or Not To Celebrate That Is The Question

By: Sophie Schneider

This past week, I celebrated my 15th birthday. Although I was very appreciative of all the presents and attention I received, I was reminded of the fact that I hate birthdays. I hate the feeling that you’re having a celebration that you haven’t worked to achieve.  But none the less, birthdays continue to be celebrated. The question is, why?

So I was at a restaurant for my birthday with my family, and my despite persistent requests not to, I was sung happy birthday to.  I plastered a smile on my face, because it’s a nice thought, but I also looked at the people around us. They all turned to stare, not to smile and admire thinking “Look at that young girl celebrating her birthday isn’t that a lovely thing”, but just…stared. If you have ever been looked at by 20 people with the “Why are you disturbing my dinner, yeah it’s your birthday but I’d like to eat in peace thank you very much” face then you know the feeling. To put it into perspective, I have witnessed at least five children crying at this moment of embarrassment, creating even more awkward birthday tension.

I find you can’t tell people it’s your birthday. You can’t go up to people at school and say “It’s my birthday, celebrate bitch” but somehow they seem genuinely upset that you never brought it up.  I also find presents incredibly awkward. Christmas is nice, because everyone gets presents, and it’s a sharing moment, but at birthdays, you feel selfish because you’re the only one receiving. Don’t get me wrong, I love presents, free stuff, nice gestures and all that jazz, but I constantly question why I deserve it. My mother is the one who had to go through hours of labour and work on this day, I just showed up.

Upon wondering the purpose of birthdays, I asked an adult.  Birthdays were put on the opposite spectrum for me. I discovered that when you’re older, birthdays are celebrated because it’s another year of living, and another year of experiencing life. I never thought of this, because when you’re young, birthdays just the day where you get do whatever you want for no legitimate reason. When you get asked the question “How does it feel to be a year older?” no one replies “I feel like a complete different person like in Every Day by David Leviathan or Freaky Friday and I just woke up in a different body!”  No, you reply that you feel the same. But as an adult, they do feel different. The wise Urban Dictionary defines birthdays as  “A day to celebrate that you haven’t died in the last year.” I really think that that point has been lost, and it should be the real reason to be celebrating.

 

So next time your birthday comes around, and you feel social awkwardness coming at you like tears after a season finale, celebrate that you’ve lived another year, and how great life itself is.

Don't Starve Game Review

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By: Carrie

You don’t know what starving really is until you play this game. Don’t Starve is a wilderness survival game produced by Klei Entertainment Incorporated.

When you first start playing the game, your character is Wilson, an adventurous scientist “who has been trapped by a demon and transported to a mysterious wilderness world.” You survive by picking up various supplies from nature and using them to create tools to better your chances. As you level up, you can unlock more characters to play in the game. This game lets you play your way, as there is no tutorial or explanation on what to do once you start.

In my experience with this game, I didn’t do very well the first time around. I had no idea what I was doing. Apparently, hitting a bee’s nest causes a bunch of bees to get angry and sends them on the warpath. I got through about a day and a half before I died. All I really did that’s worth notifying was make a backpack and survive through a night with my campfire made from logs, twigs, and grass.

All in all, the game was pretty fun and has potential to be amazing. I would give this game 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend anyone who likes point-and-click and survival games to try it for themselves.

Don’t Starve is currently in the development stage, but if you pre-order the game you can play the game and have Early-Access Beta. This means you can start playing the game right away once you pay for it. For more information on this game, click here.

Introducing Kailey - our new Fan Fiction writer

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Hello! My name is Kailey. I’m 19 years old, and living in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada. I’m heading into my second year as a theatre major at Brock University. I’m a cosplayer based mostly in the Greater Toronto Area, and a member of the Brock Improv Club.

I started writing fanfiction at the age of 8 (trust me, it was bad) and have never really stopped. I started with Harry Potter and branched, and branched, and branched, and branched out a little more. I have taken to dabbling with ideas for most of the major fandoms of Tumblr, and hope to continue to find more!

Changes and Family Marriages

Changes are always difficult, but a lot of the time they’re good. Two months ago my brother got married, and today my mom got married. Those are both huge changes in my life. My brother moving out permanently, and my soon to be step dad moving in slowly (I say soon to be because I’m writing this the night before the wedding). One big thing I’ve noticed about this wedding planning stuff is that it seems impossible to get through without a fight, but at least the drama makes it interesting. And I that’s good, because wedding planning is a boring affair.

The most common question I get when I tell someone that my mom’s getting married is “do you like him?” and usually I say yeah, but sometimes I say that he buys me food, and that’s really the only reason I need to like someone. But changes like these shape the landscape of my life, and sometimes I end up with a never ending mountain to climb, but usually I end up on a nice little hill that when I get to the top it rewards me with happiness.

I suppose this is all over the place, but I have no intention to fix that, because this is opinions, and in my opinion, the opinion topic should be written how it’s thought.

I’ve learnt a lot about myself from these weddings, and I’ve learnt how much my family values me. I’ve also learnt that I’m damn good at speeches and I’m over proud of my successes.

Over all, I think change is good. I remember once my mom wanted a change in my life and she took my favourite Mickey Mouse curtain and cut it up into this cool pattern. I cried for a week, until I pulled the whole curtain rod off. I was an adorable child.

Lack of Fanfiction? It's a Problem!

By: Kailey Brown

One of the worst things about entering a fandom for the first time is trying to figure out where most of the fandom is located. As is common on the internet, there are a lot of very small fandoms who don’t frequent the regular Fanfiction.Net, or AO3.

They have their own community sites where they post fanfiction or fanart. Or alternatively the fandom is so small that there is almost no fanfiction available (see some musical theatre fandoms where you’re lucky to find one fanfiction let alone two). This can become quite the problem, and I have some quick little hints and tips for how to get around this, though it may take a bit of time.

1. Learn the tag on Tumblr for the fandom, set up a contest with a prompt of your choice, offering up one of your fan skills in exchange.

2. Create a kink meme, or just a prompt fulfillment blog which centres around that fanfiction, send the link to friends in that fandom.

3. Google, Google, and more Googling. Remember to search multiple characters, and or pairings if it doesn’t come up with the movie/book/play/manga/etc name, and search far back into the pages in hopes you’ll find something, you never know there may be a Deviantart story from 7 years ago.

4. The hardest one, and the one I personally dislike the most. Write your own, whether it’s a quick drabble or a novella length, get those ideas down on paper.

5. Always remember that if something exists there will be fan creations for it, even if it’s just Rule 34 (If it exists there is smut), something will be out there!

My recommendations for this month are three of my favourite independent fanfiction sites.

Harry Potter

Doctor Who

Red Vs. Blue