Hobnobbing With Home-Baked Hobnobs

I have a lazy and ridiculous fantasy of picking up cookbooks at the library and handing them off to a personal chef to cook from. That will not and should never happen. That doesn’t stop me from impulse checkouts when I’m near the Central Library’s exit. Such was the case when I picked up Milk Bar All About Cookies by Christina Tosi when I really should have check out something more healthy.

Using the excuse of having a friend over for drinks, I baked Tosi’s Chocolate Toffee Hobnobs, an improved version of the popular UK biscuit. I screwed up the toffee topping but substituted a chopped up Heath Bar. If I had to quibble I’d say the toffee making instructions could have been a bit more detailed. That said, this book will make you very popular around the holidays if not sooner. Most of the recipes, including the one for these Hobnobs, seem doable and a step above the usual cookie. A lot involve ironic takes on commercial products or make use of things like Ritz crackers and Cookie Crisp cereal.

You can find Tosi’s hobnob recipe online here. Now off to find a salad cookbook and take off a few pounds.

Flushed with Criticism: Four Stalls of Bathroom Tech

Toilet seat with handle

Handle It
Does this handle thingy do anything in terms of cleanliness? I’m gonna take a bold guess and say no. Seems like the dreaded “fecal plume” triggered by flushing would grace both the underside of the lid and this handle. But does it spark joy? You decide.

The Slammer
Thou shalt not have “soft-close” (a.k.a. “slow-close” or “no-slam”) and regular toilet seats in the same household. Why? You will forget and slam the trad seats in the rest of the house. In general I’m not in favor of the slow-close seat as why would I want to introduce a point of failure in a simple device that might otherwise last decades all for just a minor, lazy convenience?

Ghosts in the Machine
Motion activated faucets, towel dispensers and hand dryers in public restrooms don’t work half the time in my experience. When, despite waving my hands back and forth, I fail to activate these things I feel like the main character in the 1962 cult film Carnival of Souls who wanders Salt Lake City before we all realize she’s a ghost. But maybe ghosts would more easily trigger these damn things?

Fecal Plume: Electric Boogaloo
Hot air hand dryers are bullshit. There, I said it.

Fritoheimer’s Miscellany

When I’m having a spat with the Muses, I tend to write long, ponderous and negative blog posts that, mercifully, never leave unpublished draft status. Inspired by the literary form of the miscellany, a type of grab bag of short, random articles popular from the Middle Ages to 18th century, I hope to, periodically, drop some short anecdotes on this blog that, if I were hip and younger, I might make a TikTok about. In the hopes of better relations with the Muses, I’ll start with a shameless Oppenheimer tie-in in lieu of links.

I went with family this week to the always fun Balboa Theater that was showing both Barbie and Oppenheimer. A lot of people there were, in fact, doing a double feature Barbenheimer. To save you the trip to the theater, I thought Oppenheimer was confusing and pretentious but maybe I’d think otherwise had I done the Barbenheimer thing enhanced with a few beers and edibles like many of my theater companions.

During one of the Oppenheimer great-man-doing-physics-in-his-brain sequences, I remembered witnessing some cold war shenanigans on a Center for Land Use Interpretation tour of the perimeter of the Nellis Range in Nevada many years ago.

Towards the end of the tour we were on a freeway in sight of a very sensitive facility where nuclear weapons are stored in bunkers. Off in the distance we saw a Frito Lay delivery truck winding its way though those heavily secured bunkers. It was at that point when the entire busload of folks realized that, apparently, our government moves nukes in Fritos delivery trucks because I can guarantee you that there’s no Fritos vending machine or liquor store amongst those bunkers.

If you think about it this makes a certain amount of sense. I mean, you wouldn’t want to move nukes in a vehicle labeled “nukes”. But ever since, every time I see a Frito Lay truck, I think it might just have a very large bomb in it.


Vincent Woo surreptitiously stuck a GoPro to the front of a BART train to make this magical film, Tunnel Vision. An SF Gate reporter described the vibe in the sold out theater where it screened this month:

The best part of the experience was not the surreal footage but the chance to share it with an enthusiastic audience. The crowd was peppered with San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency merchandise: Muni hoodies and BART beanies and Christmas sweaters. When the train pulled into a station, the audience sometimes clapped and cheered. (16th and Mission got the most cheers. I tried to start a round of applause at Powell Street, but it didn’t catch on.) A man sitting in front of me began headbanging to the chime of the closing doors.

Woo has generously uploaded Tunnel Vision for us all to enjoy.