Blue Cat and the Birthday Cake

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It’s Blue Cat’s scribe’s birthday, and his family decided to bake him a cake. Everyone in the family likes the minions from Despicable Me, so they decided to make a cake-minion for the celebration. They started with a plan…

Everyone likes minions!

Everyone likes minions!

and the usual ingredients…

You can make lots of things with cake mix.

You can make lots of things with cake mix.

But how do you make a shaped cake without a mold? And how do you decorate a cake when you don’t have fancy frosting tools? Like many projects, this one seemed too hard. But Blue Cat’s family is smart and resourceful – and happened to have a bowl, a plastic bag and a pair of scissors. They used the bowl to bake a minion head, and the bag and scissors to make a frosting tool.

Frosting isn't that tricky...

Frosting isn’t that tricky…

And here’s the result!

Cake minion to the rescue!

Cake minion to the rescue!

The party was a great success, and it showed how you can get great results from mundane materials. So the next time you have a project that seems too hard, Blue Cat suggests you just look at what you’ve got and improvise. You’ll be glad you did!

© William P Doyle, Jr  2013  All Rights Reserved

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Blue Cat Wishes You a Happy Independence Day

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Today is Independence Day in the United States, and Blue Cat wanted to wish all of you a happy 4th of July.

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Most everyone knows that the 4th of July is a US federal holiday (no mail!) celebrating the adopton of the Declaration of Independence. But Blue Cat discovered that the oldest continuous Independence Day celebration is the parade held in Bristol, Rhode Island (since 1785!). He also found out that fireworks have been included in Independence Day celebrations from the beginning in 1777, and National Geographic reports that there are more than 14,000 fireworks displays every 4th of July. Blue Cat hopes he can see some from his house this year!

There is still a high danger of fire here in Colorado, so Blue Cat will not be setting off any fireworks in front of his house. (It’s not only illegal, but silly as well.) But he’s going to celebrate with a cook-out (on a propane grill) and a party (since it’s also his scribe’s daughter’s birthday today). And there will be cake!

Blue Cat realizes that this is very US-centric, and he doesn’t want any of his international readers to feel left out, so please leave him a comment telling him when your country’s national holiday is and he’ll celebrate it as well. He’s always looking for a reason for a party, and he’ll tell the world about it!

© William P Doyle, Jr  2013  All Rights Reserved

Blue Cat Plans to Influence a Judge

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Blue Cat’s scribe is testing for his 3rd degree black belt in Taekwondo, and he’s really worried that he might get a “down-check” at his recommendation test this weekend. Becoming a 3rd degree black belt is serious business, and there’s lots of curriculum he needs to know. But Blue Cat has a plan…

Blue Cat thinks that the judges on the panel might be a little easier on the candidates if they aren’t hungry. And so he has a secret weapon:

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They’re not quite Twinkies, but Blue Cat thinks they’ll do the job. Wouldn’t you be more favorable to giving a hard-working candidate a passing grade if you had one of these to calm your soul?

Blue Cat is also making his scribe study his curriculum, stay in good shape, and practice every day. So – knowledge, preparation, and practice – plus a secret weapon – should make it a successful test. What do you think?

(c) William P Doyle, Jr  2013  All Rights Reserved

Blue Cat and Recovering From Disaster

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According to some, the world ends (or at least experiences a major disaster) today. Blue Cat doesn’t think that’s going to happen, but he did experience a minor disaster and saw how improvising and being creative can help you when things don’t go the way you’ve planned.

Blue Cat’s creator is going to a party today and promised to bake a cake. She used a new recipe, but didn’t remember to adjust the recipe for high altitude baking. (Blue Cat lives in Colorado Springs at an altitude of over 6000 feet above sea level.) You may not know it, but you need to add more flour and liquid to recipes when you’re baking at altitudes higher than 3500 feet, or else your cake may not rise the way you’d like it to.

The cake ended up severely depressed (which, for a cake – a usually festive piece of food – is catastrophic). Instead of a fluffy center, there was a giant dip. And layering the cake didn’t help…

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The cake was depressed, but Blue Cat’s creator wasn’t…

Blue Cat’s creator didn’t panic – instead, she used the result to make an even cooler cake than she had planned. The depression became a crater, and she used materials from around the kitchen (including some cookie crumbs from another baking mishap) to create a semi-realistic meteor impact site (complete with high-temperature glass shards and a barely-surviving house). She took what could have been a baking nightmare and turned it into the perfect cake for a party on the last day of the Mayan calendar.

So the next time your plan doesn’t go as you had hoped, Blue Cat suggests you don’t give up. He says to use the situation to your advantage and see how it presents an opportunity to be successful in a different way.

Blue Cat also hopes there are some leftovers…

© William P Doyle, Jr  2012  All Rights Reserved

Blue Cat gets Overwhelmed with Options

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Blue Cat went to the dentist today. (Yes – he has teeth. He just doesn’t like to show them in public.) At the end of the visit, his dentist gave him some options for how to keep his teeth clean. Too many options…

Blue Cat and his Dental Care Options

Studies show that decision making is slowed down when there are too many options, and that we don’t always make the best decision if there are a lot of good things to choose from. Blue Cat has this problem – will he use floss, or soft-picks, or go-betweens, or the brush?  And what’s that lip balm for – he doesn’t even have lips! He’s in quite a quandary.

He really wants to keep his teeth clean, so he made a plan to make a good decision. What he did was to first limit his options to those that would work – get rid of the lip balm, and forego the toothbrush that’s waaaay to big for his mouth. He then comparde the remaining options two at a time (a “pairwise comparison), so each decision was simpler.

Blue Cat decided on the soft-picks – they fit his mouth and are the best to get at those hard-to-reach cake crumbs. But he’s keeping the brush in case he’s ever attacked by a set of wind-up chattering teeth.

© William P. Doyle, Jr  2012

Blue Cat and the Portal Cake

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Blue Cat was invited to a birthday party earlier in the month, and they served the cake from the video game Portal. The cake was not a lie (recipe from Food.com here), but it did teach Blue Cat a few things:

It looks good, but 737 calories and 63 grams of sugar per half-slice?

I’d eat more, but I’m stuffed…

Blue Cat made a new friend at the party – looks can be deceiving, but Blue Cat thinks his friend ate a whole slice of cake.

He may be small, but he’s a mighty eater…

There was a bit of cake left, and it was in the refrigerator for a little too long…

Sometime the cake takes on a life of its own…

and so Blue Cat had to take matters into his own hands…

Take that, cake!

(Yes, there is a bit of cake missing – Blue Cat suspects his sumo friend had a last nibble before the creature was dealt with.)

Blue Cat learned that you need to know what you’re getting into before you start a project, and what the results might be. We think a course in risk management is in order. And a lot of exercise.

© William P. Doyle, Jr.