Archive | September, 2015

Preventing imminent destruction one old cell phone battery at a time

29 Sep
On Saturday I was going through a drawer full of junk and found my old non-smart (dumb?) phone that I used (embarrassingly) up until the end of 2013. I was curious if the sim card was still active, so I removed the back of the phone and took out the battery. When I tried to put the battery back in, I noticed it was slightly warped.

“Does this battery look weird to you?” I asked Stephen.

“That’s going to explode!” he replied.

And so during the course of one afternoon my old phone went from just taking up space at the bottom of a drawer to being a ticking time bomb.

“What do I do with it?!” I asked, panicked. Just seconds ago I was trying to jam it back into the phone and now I was afraid to touch it.

“Just throw it away.” I showed him the explicit “do not throw away” picture on the battery.

“You want me to just put this bomb in the trash can on top of the egg shells so we can throw carrot shavings and moon cake wrappers on top of it?!”

“Uh… yeah. It’s not going to explore right now… probably.”

You know how when you google some minor health symptom and come away convinced you have cancer and 6 months to live? After 10 minutes of googling “swollen battery” I was convinced my whole building was going to burn down and it was going to be my old cell phone battery’s fault.

I tried to focus on work (and Facebook), but I couldn’t stop researching swollen batteries. I should check my Fitbit heart rate stats for that time, because I’m sure it was through the roof.

I couldn’t just sit around with the battery lying idle in the other room. I had to take care of it. With the precision of a bomb defuser, I taped the end of the battery. Then I placed it in a plastic shopping bag and proceeded to carry it with one finger extended away from me like it was full of fresh dog poo. I took the lift (not the stairs like I usually do) so as not to agitate my battery/bomb/poo and slowly walked to the recycling bins near the Tube station. I’m sure anyone who saw me wondered why this visibly rattled girl threw a bag of dog doodie in the small electronics and batteries recycling bin, but I didn’t care. I could finally breathe, knowing that there was no longer a ticking time bomb at the bottom of my drawer.

“It’s been taken care of,” I told Stephen when I got back.

“I didn’t mean it was going to explore right now,” he replied. “It just might explode one day. You know, like how we’re all gonna die one day.”

expressionless-faceAt least it’s one less thing to worry about until then.

The time I lost my super power

8 Sep

So far I’ve gone through life thinking I have a magical super power. I thought I had magical DNA worthy of study that somehow made me resistant to a scourge that has plagued humanity for millennia. I laughed when I saw the products invented to ease the condition I was somehow immune to. I almost used it as my fun party trick fact: I can curl my tongue, crush a pop can between my shoulder blades and cut onions without crying.

Until today.

When I was back at my parents’ house in May, I was inspired to make caramelized onions. I wasted an hour of my life stirring onions on the stove-top, only to end up with charred onion crisps. But this week onions were one of Aldi’s Super 6 (1 kg for 39p!) and Stephen is traveling, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to consume copious amounts of onions and make my flat smell like a White Castle. (You’re welcome, neighbors). But this time I was going to do it the fool-proof way: in the slow cooker.

The recipe was easy: chop up onions, toss with melted butter, then set it and forget it (and stir it once or twice). Since I wanted to use the caramelized onions on my salad for dinner, I started chopping them right after breakfast so they could cook throughout the whole day. After I sliced the first one, I started to feel a burning in my eyes. This was unfamiliar. Was it allergies? Dust? Surely it wasn’t the onion, because I have a super power. By the fourth onion when tears were streaming down my burning eyes, I finally came to grips that my super power was no more. The pain was unreal. Even when I finished chopping the onions and they were on their way to caramelization, just walking into the kitchen made my eyes burn. Was the syn-propanethial-S-oxide airborne?!

The tears and burning eventually subsided and I was left wondering what happened. Why has an onion never affected me like this before? Was it because I usually cut onions at my parents’ house, where they’re often refrigerated and I’m wearing contacts, not my glasses? Are room-temperature cheapo Aldi onions particularly high in syn-propanethial-S-oxide in September? Is it because I rarely cut onions anymore? (Because I’m lazy and Stephen doesn’t like them, so I don’t often cook with them). And depending on how good these crockpot caramelized onions turn out, should I invest in these?