Sandwich Cookie Showdown

scs jacob start scs mee up next

It’s well known among our readers that we are, in fact, a couple of nerds. Being nerds, we like to apply science wherever we can. Tonight, we used science to finally answer a question that has long plagued mankind: Are Oreo brand cookies really better than their store-brand equivalent?

scs the competetors
scs cookies3 scs cookies 2 scs cookies1

Here we present our methods and our findings for peer review.

Our experiment was conceived when Marcia (hereafter known as “Subject B”) acquired a package of Oreo cookies as “payment” for babysitting the daughter of some friends while they went roller skating. Since we usually purchase the store brand cookie from Wal-Mart (because it is less expensive), we began to wonder if there was really a significant difference between the two products. We devised an experiment where each of us would sample different cookies blindly, in a random order, and rank them on flavor.

The materials for our experiment were as follows:

  • Two Oreo brand sandwich cookies
  • Two Wal-Mart “Great Value” brand sandwich cookies
  • Two Hy-Vee “Dunkster” sandwich cookies
  • One black sleep mask
  • Water
  • Digital Camera
  • Paper plates

scs before start

Subject A (AKA Jacob) was the first to undergo the rigorous test. He put on the sleep mask and then took a small drink of water to clear his palette. One of each type of cookie was placed on a paper plate. When Subject A was ready, he was given the first cookie. After taking one bite of the cookie, he took another drink of water, and then repeated the process with each cookie, until he had sampled each one.

scs jacob eats

scs jacob tastes

scs jacob drinks

Subject A then wrote his results down and hid them, so that he would not influence any other subjects.

The experiment was then repeated with Subject B, who also wrote her results without influence from any other subjects.

scs mee tastes

scs mee chews

scs mee contemplates

scs mee drinks

The subjects sampled their cookies in the following order:

Subject A Subject B
1. Great Value Oreo
2. Dunkster Great Value
3. Oreo Dunkster

scs judgement time

When the subject’s results were compared, they ranked the cookies in the following order, from best to worst:

Subject A Subject B
1. Oreo Oreo
2. Great Value Great Value
3. Dunkster Dunkster

scs bitten samples

Each of the subjects independently ranked the cookies in the same order, with the Oreo cookie best, the Great Value cookie second, and the Dunkster cookie third. When the subjects’ notes were compared, each agreed that the Oreo was the best cookie, and the Great Value cookie was a very close second. The flavor of the Oreo and Great Value cookies was nearly identical, but the Oreo cookie prevailed in texture and “mouth feel.” The Great Value cookie was drier and harder than the Oreo. The Dunkster cookie’s flavor was less sweet, one subject described it as “more like baking chocolate.” The texture of the Dunkster cookie was described as “almost stale-like” and “waxy or greasy.”

The bottom line:

All subjects agreed that when a sandwich cookie craving needs filling, the Great Value cookie is an excellent choice for its relative price and flavor, but when the full sandwich cookie experience is of the utmost importance, the Oreo brand cookie is an absolute necessity.

Some people’s children

We had to run to the store for some items, and while we were waiting to check out the line got really long. I am talking there were 11 carts/baskets in line, counting the person at the check out.  That person was splitting the order on 3 tickets.  WIC, foodstamps, and check.  I have no problem with the programs, they are there for people who need them, I only mention them so you know how long it took, because there is paperwork involved.  There was only one cash register open.

Here is the point of this post.  As the lady is making her purchase, the kid with her was looking at the “impulse buy” items.  No big deal, I do it too.  That kid was probably about 15 years old.  The item he seemed to enjoy most was a laser pointer.  He would look around to see if anyone was watching, cover the pointer so people “couldn’t see what it was” and hold it up to his eye and push the button.  He did this a few times and then switched eyes.  Each time he grimaced in pain, then continued.  He ended up walking out of the store holding his eye in pain.

Do people not realize that a laser can be very bad for the eyes?  It even has warnings written on the product and the packaging.

This is not what I first typed!

So I had this good post about my root canal yesterday, but the internet said “no” so this is what you get.

Later:  I found it!  Originally this was titled “My brain is broken” because I was totally scatter-brained.  And this was the content of the post:

Yesterday I had a root canal performed.  I have curved roots on that tooth, so I had the privilage of going to a specialist.  Meaning it cost more money.  But it is nice to have it done.  He took the pain out of my tooth, and he was not hard on the eyes either.  Can I say that?  I am married, but I think he is too.  Any how, I am on my way to a happier mouth (read: healthier).  In the next couple weeks I will get a crown on that tooth, then I can tell people that I have a “royal” mouth!

In seriousness though, it was not that bad.  I had one done in Chile, and had no problems with it, though I think I must have blocked out some of the recovery experiences of it.  This time I want to remember.  It burns a LOT when the anesthisia wears off.  It is a really odd feeling when half of your ear goes numb.  This morning I felt what they were talking about with the whole “you will hurt for a while,” my jaw aches from being held open for an hour (half hour less than was expected!), it aches more on the left than the right, the proceedure was on the left side.  My head and neck ache too.  Other than that, I feel pretty good.

Dead and Deader

Last Friday (June 12), I went out for an afternoon bike ride, and when I got home, the monitors connected to my main work computer were dark. I wiggled the mouse to bring them back to life, but they did not revive. The computer had crashed.

While such a thing had never happened with this particular computer before, we’ve all seen random system crashes, and I didn’t think anything of it. I had saved all my files before going out the door, after all.  I pushed the power button on the computer case to shut off the machine and reboot it…

…And nothing happened. The case LEDs were still on, keyboard LEDs still glowing. The machine had all the appearances of being alive, but was dead. I tried again. Held the power button down for 15 (it should turn off after 10), 20, 30 seconds. No response. It wouldn’t turn off.

Hmm. This is strange.

I flipped the rocker switch on the power supply and the machine shut off instantly. After a short wait, I flipped it back on and pressed the power button.

Nothing happened.

Again, I pressed and held the power button. No case LEDs, no keyboard lights, no fans spinning up, nothing. Great.

I love the small town where we live, but one of its downsides is that there’s no decent place to buy computer parts in a pinch. Thankfully, there’s a big internet electronics warehouse store that’s located such that when we order things with the cheapest UPS ground shipping, we almost always get them the next day. But, it being late Friday afternoon, I knew anything I ordered wouldn’t actually ship until Monday, so I wouldn’t get it until Tuesday. Oh well, at least I still have the laptop to keep me on top of things.

I decided that the power supply was fried, so I ordered a new one, which arrived tuesday afternoon, just as expected. Tuesday evening, I sat down with the ailing computer and swapped out power supplies. I got it all plugged in and put together, and hit the power button.

Nothing, again.

Dangit! For those of you lucky enough to have never had a computer die, here’s a hint: When you have a computer that’s just dead, the culprit is almost always either the motherboard or the power supply. In this case, I had good reason to believe the power supply was the problem. Apparently it wasn’t (or at least it wasn’t the ONLY problem). Now I need to order a new motherboard.

Again, it’s after shipping time, so anything I order will ship Wednesday and arrive Thursday. Fine. I ordered a new motherboard, and went back to work on the laptop (which, by the way, is a Mac, and doesn’t have all the Windows software I need to work on my main business projects). The new motherboard arrived Thursday afternoon, and went easily into the computer case

Cross fingers. Say a prayer. Do a rain dance. Push the power button.

It booted right up. No other hardware damage, no data loss.

The rest of Thursday was spend installing new drivers for the new chipset and audio all that stuff that comes with a new motherboard, and Friday I was finally back in action. A full week without my main computer was quite a bit of lost work, and put me behind schedule, but I’m catching up quickly.

The moral of the story: While I didn’t lose any data, it made me take a good look at my backup strategies. While the source code that keeps my business running was always backed up in two different places, other things (like iPhone app sales records) were not. If there had been a hard drive problem, some important things could have been lost.

So please take this opportunity to review your backup strategy and make sure that everything important is backed up and will survive a hardware failure or worse (Question: what would happen if your house burned down while you weren’t home? Would you still have your precious data intact?). We work way too hard on creating our digital lives to have them vanish at the whim of a few faulty bits of silicon. Be careful!

Blame Drew’s Cancer

“On May 20th, 2009, Drew Olanoff was diagnosed with cancer: Hodgkins Lymphoma.

“Ever since that day, Drew has blamed everything on his cancer. Losing his keys, misplacing his wallet, Twitter being slow, the Phillies losing, etc.

“Why? Because you have to beat up on Cancer to win… and you can help out.

“Blame Drew’s Cancer for everything you want….”

It takes a strong guy to take his cancer diagnosis and turn it into a viral internet phenomenon. People by the thousands are using twitter to blame Drew’s cancer for their problems, and we can see them all at  They’re hoping that some nice companies will donate a dollar for every person that blames something on Drew’s cancer to the American Cancer Society or the Make a Wish Foundation. Sounds like a bit of fun and potentially a good cause….

Marcia blames Drew’s cancer for the squirrels that keep attacking our garden, and I blame Drew’s cancer for every software bug I’ve fixed since May 20th.

Thankfully, Hodgkins Lymphoma is one of the most curable kinds of cancer, with a 90%+ remission rate. Still, Drew will have a tough road ahead, and we wish him the best.

So if you use Twitter, go and #BlameDrewsCancer for something.  Then watch for yours to pop up (mine took about 10 minutes to show).

I guess it is sort of an on-going project

As I sit on my porch, admiring the garden I have been working on, I figure I had better post pictures of the garden as much as I have.

Picture heavy!

View of front of house.  I like to sit in those chairs and enjoy the warmth, and try to catch glimpses of the birds.


Here is from the west.  The edges here are rain gutters that were taken off the house(they have been sitting on the ground for quite a while so I figured I can use them).  I cut them and buried them as borders.


Same section, different view.


East section.


Sunflower-this is the first I had seen of it above dirt, it grows fast.  These are the Mammoth Gray variety and will get heads about 20 inches wide and we will be able to eat the seeds, if the birds don’t get them first.


It is really cool-I think-to see the ground split from the pressure of the plants growing and breaking through.


Here are the beets once they broke through. I had to put the beets in a bigger pot, not pictured.


Here are blooms on the tomato plant (there are two opened, more not yet, one may be harder to see).


There was a furry creature that dug up in this flower pot.  I think it must have a death wish!


Then I saw that it was digging up the pot where I had planted carrot seeds!


And if that wasn’t enough, it decided to dig into the unopened bags of soil that I hadn’t gotten to yet.


This picture was taken through the window.  The birds like the food I put out, but must not be comfortable around me yet, because if I am on the porch they tend to stay away.  Or if they do approach, they fly when they notice the camera.


However I was able to finally capture a few birds. Here is a sparrow.


And here is a Cardinal, we think he is still young and growing his red feathers yet.


We have beets, carrots, green bell peppers, big hamburger tomatoes, roma tomatoes, sun flowers, potatoes (white and red), and some strictly decorative flowers.

I started this post Sunday, so it gets that date, however I did finish it on Monday.

I did a risky thing

I bought black mulch.  I think I will like it, but with out the finished product, one can never really know.  It was not much more than the boring, cheep, no color kind, and all the colors cost the same.  Every one in town, it seems, uses red.  Everyone knows I have to be different.  So I picked black.  The house is white, so black mulch ought to be a good contrast, and it won’t clash with any color of flowers I will put out there, so I bought it.  I am not done because I had to go off to a “meeting” for camp.  It was very informal, and catch the girls as they come in and out from the fund raiser.  I love the young women.  They are young and fun!  Oh, back on topic.  Pictures are forthcoming as soon as I finish the project.

Another reason for a post, is that I feel a little queasy looking at that mouse every time I get on here.  I know, I put it on here.  But yuck!

A new quiz will return next week.  I know there are so many of you sitting on the edge of your seats waiting for a new one.  Since I think there are only about up to 10 people who read this.  I could be wrong, If you read this feel free to leave me a word in the comments.  Though I do ask that it not be a word I can/should not repeat to my friends’ kids.  I am not picky about who reads it, I am just curious.

I need a dress with a zipper

I am totally convinced that I must be a “trophy wife” because he certainly did not marry my for my mind.

Last night I had to run to the store to pick up some “stuff.”  I was really excited because the self-check-outs were open.  I then realized I was missing something.  Something important.  My wallet.

I really do think about using a purse.  I’m just not that kind of girl.  I don’t know quite what that means, but I know that if I used a purse, it would be harder to not have my wallet on me.

I am just glad I was never pulled over.  I certainly do not need a ticket for driving with out a license.

And then upon returning home for real, I closed the car door on my leg.

I’m going to go hang my head in shame now. Again.

On a great note, my blood pressure was 131/80 last night!  Much better than back in August, or was it September?

Three points to whomever can correctly identify the whole quote the title came from, and where I heard it.  Other than Jacob, and any one ought to be able to get it, it is not an inside joke, necessarily.

Dear Insurance Companies

Dear Insurance Companies,

If I wanted to talk to your salesman on the phone, I would have called you. Instead, I went looking for information online, because I wanted to get the information, you know, ONLINE.

Oh, and since you have my address along with my phone number, I would expect that you would figure out that your particular insurance company doesn’t insure ANYTHING in my area before you call me and try to sell me insurance I can’t possibly use.


Preschool Brings Out My Creative Side

So, we were cutting and gluing and coloring and I made a new book.  The process was somewhat fun.  The children helped me know what pictures to cut out of magazines.  I glued them on the pages.  Then the story-line came. . . . Enjoy!

tth-page-1 tth-page2 tth-page-3 tth-page-4 tth-page-5 tth-page-6

I felt the need to add the “THE END” on the last page right above where it is written because it is hard to see.