Life Lessons from the PSAT

1. The Harry Potter fandom will never be truly satisfied

2. Always ask about the spiritual importance of the calligraphy

3. Children are like dolphins

4. Don’t try to do things simultaneously at the same time

5. The Grand Canyon does not have a fixed value P

6. Make sure you don’t use your calculator to cheat at English

7. Don’t get sick or they will DESTROY your answer sheet

8. Grain mills are really important

9. Don’t talk about the test *

* indicates that rule is optional

That’s the seven-story ConAgra grain mill, and it was detonated by 7-year-old Make-A-Wish kid named Max. Make-A-Wish flew Max and his family from California to the small town of Huron, Ohio, just so he could push the big, red button. And that was only the culmination of days filled with explosive fun, because Max also prepared for the demolition by watching tons of videos of buildings being destroyed, helped place the dynamite into the building’s support columns, and even got to take the local bomb squad’s remote-controlled robot for a spin, yelling, “Fire in the hole!” before remotely shotgunning a root beer bottle.

About 30,000 locals showed up to watch the explosion, because what else is there to do in Huron, Ohio? Oh, and apparently some believe that the ConAgra building was haunted, so it’s possible that meddling Max blew up a ghost.

When Sick Kids Who Don’t Give A F#@% Get A Make-A-Wish Wish

Silence, Through Silently | Tristan Hutchinson

Shot over 2013 and 2014, the images seek to portray a journey through the quiet solitude of small midwestern towns.

With no particular route in mind, as soon as something piqued my interest or caught my attention, I stopped and took a picture. Through the edit, various themes and motifs appeared which run through the work like a spine, such as the varying degrees of encroaching industry on the landscape, the solitude of quiet midwestern suburbia, shopping malls, thrift shops, kids on bikes and animals in cars.

The lure of being an alien in these parts comes from the feeling of traversing totally new and unknown landscapes that feel strangely familiar through universally recognizable symbols such as the grain mills, flags, burger restaurants, vintage cars and manicured gardens. I have envisioned these places in my mind through popular culture, books and songs.




All images & text © Tristan Hutchinson

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My New Favorite Kitchen Toy

One of my favorite Xmas gifts came in the form of the attachment for my Kitchen Aid Artisan mixer.  Can anyone guess what it was?  No, not the pasta maker I already mentioned…Give up?  It was a grain mill!

One of the things that has been a painful realization the past few months is exactly how much all of this GF stuff costs.  I mean seriously - it is practically 50c an ounce for flour mixes!  That is sooooo much more than a 5lb bag of flour costs!  And of course, now that I can’t have traditional bread stuffs, I have been craving baked goods - hence, my purchase of GF flour stuffs. 

I initially started buying the pre-blended flour mixes (Bob’s Red Mill, etc.).  However, the new cookbooks I have been working through (another xmas gift from my DH) mentioned that there is no truly great pre-blended flour - that flours should be altered based on what you are cooking.  I don’t know if I totally believe it (laziness will always win in the end), but I am willing to try making my own flour blends (mostly because of the costs, as I mentioned previously).  So, after I ran out of the pre-blended flour, I bought bags of individual blend components - rice flour, tapioca flour, potato starch, buckwheat flour, teff flour, almond flour…I am sure I am missing a few components there… You know all that room I had in my pantry from cleaning out the gluten free stuff?  It has now been filled.  (And so has my fridge, in which I am also keeping GF flour mix stuffs.) 

Each of the flour blends in my cookbooks makes about 10 cups or so of flour, and practically uses a whole 22oz bag of rice flour.  So, after I had gone through a couple of bags of rice flour (and tried to much avail to find pre-ground millet flour in my local stores), I decided I was going to take the next step and get a grain mill (which was actually given to me by my parents - how thoughtful of them)! 

This week, I have been putting my new favorite kitchen toy through its paces.  I started by grinding millet flour - which turned out perhaps to be not the best grain to grind first.  For those of you unfamiliar with millet, it is very small, very hard little grains, which take forever to grind in the grain mill.  But my awesome mixer pulled through (with multiple breaks and ample time to avoid overheating the motor), and I now have a quart sized bag of millet flour I consider millet gold - I mean, it is golden in color after all. 

I have subsequently started grinding rice - I bought an entire 5 lb bag of rice at the grocery store for this exact purpose.  Let me be the first to say that grinding rice is much easier than grinding millet!  My awesome mixer can plow through a hopper of rice in about 10 minutes!  I am on my second quart size bag of rice flour, and have been grinding a little every evening this week in anticipation of refilling my now empty container of rice flour blend A (as my cookbook calls it). 

[The picture below shows the grain mill at work, grinding rice.  My engineering mind was curious that the rice flour is not evenly distributed throughout the chute, but instead comes out on either side (which you probably can’t very well see since the image isn’t totally in focus).]