Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Only one more hour!

Only one more hour!

New Year's Eve

Which, of course, means that this terrible horrible year is nearly over.

I have my AAS slides nearly done, and I can easily get my KITP slides done next week, since I should have a good amount of time in the evenings.

I still don't know who's driving me to the airport on Sunday, or who will be looking after my apartment. That's a bit of a concern.

I have an interview lined up for AAS, and it's for a job that I'm fairly interested in, because it'll be doing similar things to what I've done in the past. Hopefully that means I'll have a job this year.

I think the main problem with all this, is that within a week, I'll be out of Lansing for the longest period of time in eleven years. Beyond that, I'll probably have moved out of town by summer. This drastic change is causing a low lying level of dread that I expect will just grow as it gets closer.

We'll just have to see what the New Year brings.

Monday, December 29, 2008

WTF? One Week?

In one week, I'll be in Long Beach, and will have attended the pre-conference banquet.

For some reason, that's terrifying. Maybe it's the fact that next Tuesday, I'll be giving a talk in front of a hostile audience about how maybe all of them need to go back to photometry school and learn how to do it (also, a good background in math and statistics wouldn't be a bad thing, if they're in the mood for suggestions).

And a week from then, I'll have to give a talk about all my research to a group of people who will actually know if I'm bullshitting them. That's not fun either. I'm confident that I've done things correctly, but I don't think I give super great talks.

Oh well. New Year's, Airports, Hotels, then Talks (and more Airports, Hotels, Rental Housing, Public Transits, Conferences, Talks, Conferences, and then Bizarro Workshop thingies). Let's all celebrate when we get to Valentine's day. Maybe I'll even go out by myself and celebrate not dying through all this. Hey, if I'm lucky, I'll have a job by then.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Working at dinner

Nom nom nom.

The pizza was good, as were the boneless hot wings, I got a lot done, and everything went well.

Except for the stupid ice that formed on the inside of my windshield.

DIAF, ice that formed on the inside of my windshield.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Death is a futon

I received notice yesterday that someone in Japan is now following me on twitter. I decide to back-follow, or return-follow, or whatever the word is, after seeing that they seem to be astronomy related. Plus, cute bunny sketch.

The problem of course, is that I don't read or write Japanese. So when I saw a tweet today that was in Japanese, I went to google to get a translation. This reminded me of playing Translation Tennis, something we used to do way back in undergrad. One of the people I knew at the time wrote a perl script to automate the process with AltaVista. Google makes it easy with a convenient "swap languages" feature. The result:

Initial post: 寒っ。布団から出ると死ぬ
Going cold. Die and get out of the futon

Tennis results:
  • 寒っ。布団から出ると死ぬ
  • Going cold. Die and get out of the futon
  • 風邪だ。死ぬと、布団から抜け出す
  • is cold. And die, get out of bedding
  • 寒いです。そして、布団から抜け出す死ぬ
  • It's cold. The escape from death futon
  • 寒いね。死布団からの脱出
  • It's cold. Escape from death futon
  • 寒いね。布団から脱出死
  • It's cold. Escape death from the futon
  • 寒いね。布団からの脱出死
  • It's cold. Death out of the futon
  • 寒いね。死には、布団の
  • It's cold. Death is the futon
  • 寒いね。死は、布団です
  • It's cold. Death is a futon
  • 寒いね。死布団です
  • It's cold. Death is a futon
And it's over. Still, nine iterations before convergence isn't bad. Plus: "Death is a futon." That's great.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Summary and recap

I guess I've drunk all my cognac, so I have to go with the backup of Laphroig.

Thinking back, this is probably the best Christmas I've had since 2005. I fucked up 2006 pretty badly, and 2007 was just a disappointment of parents and depression. If I can get a job this year, then I'm pretty sure that Christmas 2009 will be even better. :)

My cooking was good, and I'm pretty happy with all that. Having good food on Christmas is about the most important thing, I think, after maybe having friends and loved ones around. I guess I'll take what I can get.

We're a week off from New Year's. Hopefully 2009 will be better than 2008 was.



It's gooey.

Puff Pastry with chocolate ganache and sliced half-macerated strawberries. Drink: Vodka and cranberry juice.

I think I needed to precook the strawberries to pull out some of the liquid. Alternatively, I could have cooked it longer at a lower temperature. There's just too much liquid, and it's kept the pastry from puffing the way it wanted to.

The taste is good, but it's a bit of a disappointment after the rest of the meal.

Second course

I sent this picture to Julie, and she hates me now. :)

Beef Wellington a la Gordon Ramsey. The rest of that shit didn't get eaten, because it's like eating cardboard next to the wellington. There's garlic/thyme mash potatoes and green been casserole with some tasty american cheddar. Didn't matter.
I paired it with the "Montgomery Cheddar" from Zingerman's, which Cheese Girl assured me was their best cheddar. It was very good, and gave a nice complement to the Wellington. The drink pair was a Jeffrey Rowland (vodka and bourbon over ice).

It's good that I had that salad before, otherwise I'd have just eaten more Wellington.

Holy crap That's a lot of wellington

It was only a 1.5lb roast, but since it's the loin, there's no waste. It's all good. I think if I slice, and individually wrap the slices, that'll work best. This is definitely a ~6+ person recipe.

Edit after slicing: Including the one I ate, I have 5 inch+ish slices, plus two end bits that just have the duxelle/prosciutto wrap. So yeah, cutting it reasonably would give you 6 servings.

$16 Chateaubriand
$5 Puff Pastry
$3 Mushrooms
$7 Prosciutto
~$2 Mustard
$33 / 6 person Wellington = $5.50 per person.

At that price, how can you not make this everyday? That's cheaper than eating McDonalds. Sure, there's a lot of work involved, but still. CHEAPER than FUCKING McDONALDS!

First course

Cross section of heart of romaine with walnuts and balsamic vinaigrette. Decorated with slivers of Comte cheese.

Drink pairing: Martini.

Very good. If I make it again, I'll slice the romaine one more time, and balance the top on the bottom with the Comte in the middle. The pieces of lettuce were a bit large and hard to eat.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I Believe in Father Christmas

They said there'll be snow at Christmas.
They said there'll be peace on earth
But instead it just kept on raining
A veil of tears for the virgin birth.
I remember one Christmas morning
A winter's light and a distant choir
And the peal of a bell and that Christmas tree smell
And their eyes full of tinsel and fire.

They sold me a dream of Christmas
They sold me a silent night,
And they told me a fairy story
Till I believed in the Israelite.
And I believed in father Christmas,
And I looked at the sky with excited eyes,
Till I woke with a yawn in the first light of dawn,
And I saw him and through his disguise.

I wish you a hopeful Christmas.
I wish you a brave New Year.
All anguish, pain, and sadness
Leave your heart and let your road be clear.
They said there'll be snow at Christmas
They said there'll be peace on earth.
Hallelujah noel be it heaven or hell
The Christmas we get we deserve.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas lights

Driving around past fancy houses.

Today was not very "worky," but was quite a bit of fun. Julie and Colby stopped by ostensibly to grab Omi for a late lunch. It quickly degenerated to a full fledged all day thing, with a trip to the bank for them, the comic book store for me, and then back to my apartment to burn a linux install disk for Julie's new computer. Once that was done, there were thoughts of more food, which led to dinner at Old Chicago.

This wasn't my original plan for the day (which included taking out the trash and vacuuming and generally picking up my apartment), but was certainly more fun. After dinner, I took a drive around the various subdivisions where the faculty live to look at Christmas lights. This year is probably the worst I've seen in a long time, probably due to the general economic malaise. Still, it's nice to see that the crazy people in the house above are still decorating (here's what it looked like two years ago).

Monday, December 22, 2008

Hiding in my apartment until the holidays are over

The downside of living right next to the mall is that the traffic this time of year is hard to deal with. I ran effectively all my remaining errands today. I picked up the last few things I need from the office to work from home, got lots and lots of groceries, and even went out to pick up a scarf (the downside of losing like a foot of hair is that you get cold a lot easier).

I'm slowly zeroing in on a final Christmas menu. The Wellington looks easy enough (Goodrich's had no foie gras, so I'm going with prociutto). I've made garlic mash and green bean casserole enough times I could probably do them in my sleep. I'm thinking I'll do a salad (I picked up some romaine today) as well, just because GBC doesn't seem like a veggie to me.

Dessert will be an assortment, as I plan on making magic cookie bars, rum balls, and spiced nuts tomorrow or wednesday. I also got some fruit (including "holy crap $6?" strawberries. They look good, and have a nice smell, so it'll be worth it), so I might use leftover puff paste to make some sort of tarts.

I did forget to grab cream while I was out, so I'll have to pick up some soon to make sure the mash tastes right.

And I have no idea why, but I'm pretty jazzed about this scarf. It seems snuggly and warm.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Went to Zingerman's today with Julie and Colby. It was as delicious as ever, and I totally made a pig of myself with sandwich (the pastrami and corned beef combo one), knish (fried in oil that was clearly not hot enough, as it was greasy and not cooked correctly), mac and cheese (om nom nom nom nom nom nom), pop (cane sugar black cherry since their fountain was broken), and gelato (gianduia + dulce de leche, all words that blogger thinks I've spelled wrong). It makes me wish I could convince myself to drive to Ann Arbor by myself to eat this tasty stuff.

I also picked up mustard (the fancy Violette stuff), pastrami (the fatty kind, because duh), and some cheese (comte and cheddar) to cover what I need for christmas dinner.

My current menu plan for that includes:
  • Beef Wellington (using the Gordon Ramsey recipe, I'm thinking)
  • Mashed Potatoes (with garlic of course)
  • Green Bean Casserole?
  • Some Rolls? (although Julie still has my baking book, and I think I might have given it to her as a gift Friday night while drunk off my ass)
  • Some sort of Baked Apple Dessert Thing.
  • Possibly a Spinach Salad, because it Sounds Good.
  • Corn Chowder? I kind of want to make a soup or something.
The cheddar was important, as I want something to snack on with the Wellington, and a proper English cheddar seemed most appropriate (Stilton would probably be better, but I hate Stilton). The mustard fills the place in Ramsey's recipe, although it's totally a French mustard. Sorry, Gordon. Take this as me rebelling against you being such a total prick on all your television shows. I'm also thinking I'm going to replace the prosciutto with foie gras, depending on it's availability at Goodrich's.

All in all, I expect it will be an enjoyable Solstice/Saturnalia/Mithras-tide/Sol Invictus/Christmas, if not due to food, then definitely due to drink.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Not mine, of course.

Julie was beautiful in her dress, Colby was calm and confident, and it all went well. Assuming you're willing to overlook the foot of snow that dumped itself all around the state. I stayed in the area instead of driving home, so I didn't get back until today.

I'm glad for them, because they work so well together. Congratulations, Julie and Colby. You have many years of happiness ahead of you.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It was snowy today

I took a short walk around campus after doing some shopping on Grand River. Since I'll be spending six months in California during the best part of winter, I wanted to make sure I got the most out of the winter I have.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Some people are dumb

party woo!

Although in hindsight, it wasn't so much a party, as me joining people who still follow semesters, and used that break as a reason for drinking. I brought good gin (Beefeater), because I was concerned that there'd only be beer and bad liquor (so I'm an alcohol snob, whatever).

Basically a fun time, and it's moderately disconcerting to notice how much lower other people's tolerances are. It's sad, really.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The 5 year isn't significantly better than the 2

Andrew asked me today if we were having an astro Christmas party. I guess this is the problem with arranging things in the past: everyone expects you to continue to arrange things. I had originally planned on doing so, but with Charles's thing yesterday, and me being generally lazy, I never did anything. I suggested that we could do something next week, and that in any case, the PA full department party was tomorrow at 2. Andrew countered that he was gone next week to work in Ohio (with collaborators, I assume), and in any case, Astro only parties are always better than PA full department parties. Because, as is a well known fact, physicists are generally lame.

So, while driving home today (in what could be a blog post in itself), I decided to stop and get stuff at L&L for rumballs. If we weren't going to have a party, I could at least add some sort of cheer for the last day of fall semester. L&L keeps all the liquor behind the service counter, to make you wait in line with Lotto Larry and Smoky Sally.

I checked when I first arrived that they had the rum I wanted, and was initially disappointed. They had a thousand different types of Captain Fucking Morgan, but no Cruzan. As I was about to give up the whole plan, the girl behind the counter said, "oh wait," moved her stool, revealing the line of Cruzan rums. However, once you exclude the flavored crap, they only the the black label 5 year at (750ml for $19). I usually buy the red label 2 year (at 1l for $13ish).

The 5 year is noticably smoother. The main flavors are the same, but the sharp alcohol bite is missing from the 5 year. It's definitely a better rum, but I can't claim that it's significantly better given the price differential. Hence the title of today's post. I also seem to think that the rumballs are better with the 2 year, as that sharp alcohol bite cuts through the chocolate more. We'll see tomorrow.

The title picture today comes courtesy of Julie, who sent it while I was writing this post. It wins the "most cutest squirrel picture evars" or at least the secondary prize of "most cutest squirrel picture today."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pokemon Christmas Bash

The lamb came out wonderfully. Despite my new probe thermometer periodically freaking out and claiming the lamb was 300 degrees. The recipe I used is a bizarre combination of Alton Brown, Julie Child, Betty Crocker, and the old school stuff from my Ranhofer book:

1 leg of lamb (about 6 pounds) boned (yielding something like 4.something) and with silverskin and excess fat trimmed (so like 4 pounds usable)
5 Tbs "Strong Mustard" (so not French's yellow. I mixed like 1 part Grey Poupon to 2 parts grainy stone ground)
~6 cloves garlic
~2 nice sized shallots
1Tbs brown sugar
1Tbs kosher salt
2tsp black pepper
2Tsp olive oil
some mint (1/2 tsp?)
some rosemary (1 tsp? )
some sage, coriander, thyme (you know, to taste)
a few pounds red skin potatoes (enough to cover pan bottom)
a leak (cleaned and chopped into two large chunks)
head of garlic (cut in half)
vermouth (just bring the bottle)

Combine the sauce in the food processor, and mix until smoothish.

Bone and butterfly the leg of lamb (it's not that hard, just kind of zen it), and then clean off excess fat and silverskin (it's the tough outer membrane of the muscles. It doesn't dissolve into gelatin, so it needs to be removed. I usually leave a decent slice of fat on the outside part of the leg. That's the side without the ball visible.). Rub the sauce all over the inside of the leg, and then roll up into the best roast you can (good luck!) and then tie with twine.

Heat some olive oil in the pan (I used my fancy Martha Stewart pan, but a roaster would work fine), and then sear the outside of the roast. When browned, pull the roast, put the potatoes in (in hindsight, these should be rubbed down with olive oil and salt first), place herbs in the center, put roast on top, and then put the leak and garlic around the outside edge. Add some vermouth around everything (for funsies), and chuck in the oven.

Now, Alton uses a grill, Betty says 325, Julia says 350, and Charles wants us to use a spit and roaring fire. Hmm....Let's go with Julia on this one. It's probably going to run about 1.75 to 2.0 hours to cook, and if your thermometer doesn't fight you, you'll want to cook it until the temperature reads 130.

At this point, I had to drive over to Charles, so counting on the MS pan to stay a billion degrees, I dumped in more vermouth, put the lid on tight, and drove. On arrival, I put it on the stovetop (covered) until the liquid simmered, to let it braise for the 30 minutes or so until everyone arrived and was ready for food.

The party consisted of:

Me: Roast Lamb
Charles: Ham
Catherine: Green Bean Casserole
Dave: Cookies
Eric + family: Pies
Carolyn: ?
Phil: Noodles with cheesy, bacon-y, tasty sauce
1st-year Grad Girl: Hummus
1st-year Grad Boy A: croquettes? latkes? They were good.
1st-year Grad Boy B: chips?

So, no bread. :( Everything was pretty good, and my lamb seemed to go over pretty well (Catherine's comment was "the only time I eat lamb is when you make it."). The movie list was "Home Alone," "Dinner for One" (A German short Phil brought), "Grinch," "Garfield Christmas," and "Snoopy Christmas." All in all a good thing.

The picture above is all that's left of the roast. I picked up a can of chicken broth at QD (they don't sell beef? WTF?), and it's all on the stove right now slowly being converted to stew.

Last tip on the lamb: Don't leave you oven set to 350 while you go to a party. Probably not the best strategy.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Rain, Snow, and Ice

So I took this picture, planning on continuing my posts from last month about the Dread Pirate Fuzzbottom. However, he was clearly having a bad day. His fur was all puffed out to try to stay warm and dry, since it was raining all day long, with occasional bursts of snow and ice pellets. Those are the worst, because they sting when they hit your face. I'll put out some nuts for him tomorrow so he stays fat and happy.

I'm thinking that tomorrow is a work from home day. I can't justify driving in to work just to leave early so I can roast a leg of lamb. I just made the mustard sauce, so it'll have a night to blend and mellow. I thought about boning the lamb as well tonight, but I think I'll wait until tomorrow afternoon for that. If I think this through correctly, I probably will need to roast it for like an hour and a half. Given the expected time to drive over, I'll probably have to start prep and cooking between 4 and 5. It always takes longer to do the butchering than I expect. I'm thinking I'm going to try to slice the muscles enough such that it's "flat" in some fashion. Then the old sear, roast, rest, nom routine.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Martha Stewart and French Toast

I've been looking at enamel cast iron pans for years now. The big problem with them is that they tend to cost a bajillion dollars. I decided that since I make the big money, I should probably get myself something fancy for Christmas. After looking around online and debating things back and forth, I finally decided on the Martha Stewart one from Macy's. The main component of this decision was the fact that Macy's has them on sale, so the 7qt round dutch oven I bought was only $80. That puts it at some crazy 43% off, and moves it from "excessive" to "good deal." Amazon has it cheaper, but I wanted it now.

The reason for that is that I think it's probably the best way to cook the lamb I'm making for the Astro Christmas Bash this Wednesday. The strategy now is to line the bottom of the pan with red skin potatoes, and use them as a "roasting rack," and have them cook in the drippings from the lamb. If it works, they should be super tasty.

As a test run, I decided to make French Toast, using the tasty Challah bread I got at the store. I used a simple modified version of the Betty Crocker recipe (it was the easiest cookbook to find):

2 eggs
1/2 c milk
2tsp sugar
some vanilla
some cinnamon
4 thick cut slices of challah
butter (of course)

Throw butter in the pan, and make it all bubble-tastic. Beat everything else together, and then dip bread in the mix, and throw into the butter. Fry about 5 minutes per side.

I fried up some sausage ("Dr. Beef's Sausage I Had in My Freezer") first, and then covered the French Toast in the maple syrup I bought at the Apple Butter Festival. Finish off with some apple cider, and nom nom nom.

Who's been stealing apples?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

blah christmas

Julie calling asking for ingredients for spinach artichoke dip reminded me of two things. One, getting a phone call from Julie is always like walking in on the middle of a conversation. She's already gone over the introduction and explanation before calling, so you're just going to have to learn to catch up quickly.

Two, Charles is having a Christmas party on Wednesday, and I offered to make roast leg of lamb. I haven't decided on a recipe yet, because Greek style and BBQ style don't seem to match well with "Christmas." The complication is that I probably have to cook it nearly all the way on Tuesday, stick it in the fridge, and then warm it up on Wednesday. That's going to be tricky to keep moist. Alternatively, I can just skip out that day, and cook it all at once. That still doesn't answer what flavor to do. I'm kind of thinking of knocking together a Moroccan style thing. That's totally in the spirit of the season. Morocco is like Christmas central, right?

Friday, December 5, 2008


Son of a bitch.


You know they'd be delicious.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

My back hurts,

and it has hurt all day long. I do not know why this is the case, as I have not done anything in the past forever to hurt it. I'm hoping it gets better tomorrow, because it sucks when you can't twist or bend at all.

It's been a week since Thanksgiving, and I still haven't written up my review of everything. I guess this is as good a time as any.
  • Thanksgiving kitchens need doors or gates or something. It's hard to accomplish things when people wandering in and out. I think that the first step for this would be to put drinks out in the people-zone, and get them out of the food-zone.
  • Probe thermometers are super important for roasts. The turkey was a bit dry, which was my fault (I kept it in after I decided it was probably done, because I figured poisoning a dozen people wasn't a great plan). Had my probe thermometer not decided to just make up numbers, I would have known when it was done, and could have pulled it appropriately.
  • Electric knives are cool, and make carving easy.
  • My next apple pie will have bacon on it
I thought there was more, but I can't think of it now. All in all, it was a success, and I totally enjoyed myself. We'll have to see what next year brings, I guess.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


I saw this in the grad student office today. I have no idea who owns it, or why they felt it necessary to bring it to the office to listen to. Wouldn't music like this be less conspicuous as mp3s? You could name them like "Totally Awesome Cool Music: Track 1" or something.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Monday, December 1, 2008


Finally back home. Today's travel stuff was probably set up the best, given the circumstances. The security line at Austin was about a half hour long, because of all the people returning from Thanksgiving. I guess I wasn't the only one with that idea. This didn't complicate anything, as pretty much all the flights out of Austin this morning were at least an hour delayed.

The flight to Minneapolis was largely uneventful, and I spent it in some mix of "sleeping" and "totally passed out." My trip had a 2.5 hour layover scheduled, so the flight delay didn't really hurt anything. I got to sit next to two kids on the flight to Detroit, which was fine up until the one sitting next to me spilled his pop. How does that even happen, Captain Spazz? They make those cups nearly spherical for a reason.

I didn't feel that hungry when I got to Detroit (I'd had a burger at Disappointment King in Minneapolis. It was, as you'd expect, disappointing.), so I just got a hot fudge sundae at Coney. Nom nom nom.

The return trip of the Michigan Flyer was late, which meant I got to sit in the fumes section of the airport for an extra half hour. Yay! Still, taking the bus was the correct choice. It snowed the entire way back, and when I got back to East Lansing, all the roads were slushy and slick. I had originally planned on getting a pizza at Pizza House, but switched over to just picking up a Hot-n-Ready. My car was happy and warm sitting in the new ramp on campus, at least until I made it drive back to my apartment and sit in the parking lot. I'm probably going to be pissed at the amount of snow I need to scrape off it tomorrow.

coney not coney

Already started eating.

Bear paws



Not as blue in real life.

Holy crap security line!

I thought today would be better.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

History Eraser Button

Since I've fallen behind, I've gone back through and edited time stamps on old posts from this week, mostly to put them onto the day and approximate time that they were taken. I prefer to look at this less as altering events to match my view of them (a la Soviet propaganda), but rather changing the published record to more accurately reflect reality (sort of like post archaeology, if you will).

I'm going to try to get around to writing some sort of a Thanksgiving recap at some point today, too, since tomorrow is another day of travel (with the associated random pictures uploaded).

Friday, November 28, 2008

Sad pigeon

His one leg is gimpy.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Day Filler

See this for details. I'm too tired to write things up today. :(

Omg robots!

mini or not

Monday, November 24, 2008

Busy day

I've spent today rushing around trying to get last minute things organized before leaving for Thanksgiving. I'm most of the way to having my AAS flight booked, I sorted through some job stuff (I'll mail my people tomorrow), I stared at my paper without successfully writing anything, I organized a Thesis Dinner, I sorted out everything that needs to be paid while I'm gone. Blah.

Dinner was about as successful as I had hoped. Phil gave his Master's defense, and since I hadn't heard anything about it, I sent out emails to make sure something was going to happen. Emi suggested P.F. Chang's, and then had Judo to go to instead of dinner. Still, we were able to muster 7 people, which isn't bad for a last minute thing.

Phil also wins the best comment of the day. A Certain Physics Professor was commenting about how Phil still needed to pass his StatMech class. Phil countered that he'd already passed all his classes in Germany, and even if he didn't pass here, he'd covered all the requirements there, so he was pretty secure either way. The CPP countered that he was bigger than the people in Germany. (Best. Comeback. Evar!)

Once my dryer finishes, I can finish packing, go to bed, and wake up early tomorrow to catch the bus to a plane to another plane to a car to an apartment to Julie's Thanksgiving-type Theatrical Hybrid Event.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sundays too

Blah blah, sleep sleep.

I did sit down and try to figure out what I need to accomplish before I leave town for Thanksgiving. The answer is "not actually that much," given that I should be able to get a decent amount of work done while gone.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I should just sleep through saturdays

I mean, I do already anyway. Part of the problem is that after waking up and reading webpages for a bit, this Pokemon movie started. I've seen this one like three times before, and I never actually got out of bed, so I kind of just drifted in and out of consciousness while watching. It's a pretty good one, I mean they dress up Pikachu in renaissance style clothes. I wonder if the Poke-world had a similar renaissance.

Also: thanks a lot, intertron, for making like half the images in the search results for "lucario" porn. Good job on being creepy fucks, creepy fucks.

Friday, November 21, 2008

When one kind word meant more to me...

I don't really have anything today. I pretty much sucked at doing work this week, which makes me feel bad. Unfortunately, I'm not as depressed as usual, so I don't have any good lyrics for this Friday.

I guess the most exciting thing that happened to me today actually happened to Julie (she'll tell you about it at some point). Congratulations on getting married and having your life in order and all that!


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hello Kitty

I parked next to this car today. Hello Kitty seat covers and steering wheel cover. I also chose correctly, because I parked in the ramp, and it snowed.

Today was the kind of day where I probably could have slept all day and still accomplished about the same amount of stuff. I tried to get my AAS flight stuff organized, but my boss didn't know which grant number to use for that until the end of the day. I spent an hour tracking down my KITP information so I could figure out how the reimbursement works for that. I paid the registration fee for the conference, so I don't have to worry about the rate increase in December. Just as I was sitting down to start my rewrites, Ken returned from the wilds of Canada. I spent about an hour talking to him about Canada, dynamical friction, and the effects of supermassive black holes on their host galaxies. That was interrupted by Charles stopping by noting that there was a planetarium talk and that it was time to organize dinner. That was basically when I gave up on things for the day.

Dinner was a bit of a fiasco, as we had to wait for Carolyn and New Grad Student Girl Who Probably has a Shorter Name. They were TAing, and unwilling to kick people out 45 minutes after class ended. The talk was by Ed Brown, about the wonders of pulsars (spoiler: neutron stars are dense, and pretty boring when you get down to it) (second spoiler: some people don't spell check their slides).

I then spent two hours when I got home trying to write code to use libfann, which apparently has three versions: 1.0.0 which doesn't do much, 2.0.0 which does more, and X.X.X which the documentation is based on. It's always great when you directly follow code snippets from the documentation and get compiler errors. I wrote my own implementation of the missing utilities, which is retarded. I shouldn't need to write code to make the library work from arrays. There should be more options than "read from a file formatted exactly like this."

Ok, cookie time!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


In preparation for Thanksgiving, I spent the evening making four varieties of stuffing, in the convenient muffin style popularized by Rachel Ray. The basic recipe was:

9c cubed bread (roughly half and half pumpernickel and challah)
1 onion, choppity choppity
2 stalks celery, choppitied as well
salt, pepper, thyme, sage
lots of butter, most of a can of chicken broth

Fry up the onion and celery in the butter. I them took them out (leaving behind as much butter as possible), put the bread back in the pan with the broth, and brought it up to temperature. Mix mix mix everything together. This is the normal batch, with the three other varieties including one of the following:

1 link andouille sausage
5(ish?) mushrooms (there was some added butter here)
1 apple

I sauteed the shrooms, set them aside, and did the same to the sausage. I should have done the same to the apple, as it ended up a bit mushy.

The results?

Normal: Not bad. I should have put more herbs in, as it was a bit flat. Carrots would probably work too, as long as they didn't overpower. I needed to chop everything a bit more, as it was kind of lumpy.

Mushroom: Probably the best of the set. There was a lot of water still in the shrooms after sauteing, so it was a bit gummy. I used about twice the recommended amount of mushrooms, which I'd probably dial back to 1.5ish to help with this.

Andouille: A close second. The added oil helped the outside get a nice crust. The sausage had an excellent spicy hint, which helped perk up things. This was close to 4 times the recommended sausage content, but I think it was about right (something like a pound for a full batch).

Apple: I've had good apple stuffing before, and this wasn't it. Since I didn't cook them first, the muffins didn't set because there was too much moisture. It also had too sweet of a flavor, which a bit of carmelization would have helped.

Conclusion: It's easier to make stuffing when you're already making a bunch of stuff for thanksgiving. Mushrooms are good to add, as is sausage. Google will totally let you convert 6 tablespoons into quarter cups (1.5), and won't judge you at all for using retarded units. Don't eat four stuffin' muffins, as you'll feel like you're going to die.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My Suspect

Given the total lack of evidence at the scene of the crime, I must assume that the culprit was that most excellent and crafty pirate, Mr. Reginald P. Fuzzbottom, shown here during his last raid of Tortuga. I have seen him around the neighborhood recently, but assumed that he would be moving on with the change in weather. I see now that my sunflowers were just another treasure for him to pillage.

We will meet again, Mr. Fuzzbottom. And when we do, you will answer for my sunflowers.


Someone destroyed the sunflowers that I've had hanging up drying. Unfortunately, no clues were left behind other than the few remaining seeds on the sidewalk. There were no other remnants, suggesting that they were not just knocked over by the wind, but that they were certainly stolen.

Monday, November 17, 2008

oops forgot

I forgot about this today. :(

Things I learned today:

1) I hate manually recalculating numbers. I'm now pretty sure they're correct, though, so that's good. This should be the last time I do that.

2) Fish sticks are tasty. I've never had them before, and now I know.

3) Adult Swim thinks it's funny to put the new episodes of Moral Orel on random days.

4) Broken Twitter helped me fix a typo in a tweet before it was published.

5) That's a $63 steak. It's 28oz. That's a big steak.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I should have eaten out yesterday

because today my car was covered in two inches of snow/ice pellets/miscellaneous frozen stuff. I also figured out I probably have two errors in my mass loss relations. Crap-tastic. I guess I'll be fixing that stuff tomorrow, and recalculating values for the hundred trillionth time.

It's also disappointing that the only place that makes patty melts now is IHOP.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Waste of a day

I spent today sleeping. Followed by a healthy dose of "thinking about going out to get food." Which I gave up on. So, the most successful day possible. I'll probably do something tomorrow. I have some work stuff I want to finish then.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Changed my mind

If I could see the sky above
And my mind could be set free
As wild white horses reached the shore
I’d stand alone and oversee

And if the bush before me burns
Should I turn my eyes away
And still the voices I can hear
As clear to me as the light of day

I believed in my dreams
Nothing could change my mind
Now I know what they mean
How could I be so blind

Cold sands of time
(winds that blow as cold as ice
Sounds that come in the night)
Shall hide what is left of me
(come from paradise)

I’ve been through times when no one cared
(words that were mine)
I’ve clouds in empty skies
When one kind word meant more to me
(shall last as a memory)
Than all the love in paradise

I believed in my dreams
Nothing could change my mind
Till I found what they mean
Nothing can save me now

Friday...same as always

I saw two squirrels this morning.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

James Bond

Wow good job dressing up for the movie, douchebags.

(Post movie edit: and I'm not just calling them douchebags because they dressed up for the movie. They had the popped collars and had to play with their cellphones throughout the entire movie.

I also got to play the fun game of, "I'm totally following you, Car in Front of Me." I didn't really intend to, but I wanted a milkshake, and figured that McDonalds was probably still open. This led me to a number of last minute decisions to turn where the other car was turning, and things like that. They eventually turned into a middle school, so unless they just wanted to check on their grades, I'm pretty sure I freaked them out.

And no, McDonalds was not still open, and Steak and Shake is gone, so I had to go to Quality Dairy to get milkshake ingredients. I asked if they made them (they have an ice cream counter), but the girl looked at me like she had never heard of this "milk-shake" I spoke of.

Nom nom, chocolate milkshake. With like brownie and candy pieces or something like that.)


Since there's a big James Bond movie shindig happening tonight, I'm just going to punt on this today, and take a nap instead.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Not thick

I have no idea what a "Thin Sliced Thin" is, or why you'd be so obsessive to require that your thins be sliced even thinner than they started with.

I'm currently plotting out a course to Nap-Town, because I'm hungry, and my chicken is still frozen. This means that my kung pao chicken will not be ready until 11 at the earliest. :( I also nearly ran over two people and a biker today, mostly because they think it's cool to completely ignore posted signs, traffic regulations, and common sense.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Despite my twitter threat that people may have to be burned (possibly to ash), bowling went over just as well as usual. I was "Venkman" in the above summary, as our theme was "Ghostbusters characters." Yay Bowling.

Ok, time to watch the new Moral Orel.

(I totally changed the post date and time on this! Ha ha!)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Stupid parking

Since it was cold today, and there was snow on the ground, all the people who had been biking in to work all drove. I drove around for a half hour looking for a parking space before deciding that it just wasn't worth it, opting instead to work from home. Part of this decision was me driving behind one of the physics professors, who is about the worst driver I've ever seen. Turning a corner never requires you to completely stop your car three times. Almost being hit by two different "girl in a giant SUV talking on her cellphone" didn't help either. I had to get groceries first, as I've been out of lunch stuff for a week.

I did see my squirrel friend when I was on my way to my car. I gave him some nuts from my lunch, but he was too scared to be hand fed. Oh well.

Ok, time to think more about globular cluster orbits. I think I've about solved one problem. Unfortunately, it wasn't the one I had intended to solve, but rather the one I was going to solve in Santa Barbara next January. Oops.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Dining out

I decided that I was done with crappy fast food. My plan was to go get something tasty at Pizza House while reading papers. Of course, I walk outside to see that my car is covered in "ice pellets." Not quite as bad as the six inches of snow that will be there in a month, but it's still depressing to see when you just want food.

I still don't like eating out at restaurants alone, but at least it was tasty. Boneless hot wings and BBQ bacon burger. Yes, I realize eating not pizza at a "Pizza House" may be a bit silly, but I wasn't really in the mood for pizza. Besides, I don't think I've ever had something there I didn't like.

And I learned that other people just generally ignore orbital effects for globular cluster evolution. Which doesn't really help me sort out how to proceed with relating my orbit simulations to my observations. Stupid universe, with your stupid three spatial dimensions. You just complicate things, dummy!

Friday, November 7, 2008

The sad song

The Sad Song

Right now is the saddest I've ever been,
(until now)

Sad, sad, sadder than sad,
I'm sadder with each passing moment,
I'm much sadder now than a second ago,
And sadly even sadder now still.

I look back at life twenty seconds ago,
When first I sang of my sorrow,
Twas a happier time,
Than I'm living through now,
Which is bliss compared with what's to follow.

Sad, sad, sadder than sad,
I'm sadder with each passing moment,
I'm much sadder now than a second ago,
And sadly even sadder now still.

Once my heart was filled with gloom and despair,
But those carefree days are over,
A bottomless pit
Of black hopeless dread,
Oh but that's when I was in the clover.

Sad, sad, sadder than sad,
I'm sadder with each passing moment,
I'm much sadder now than a second ago,
And sadly even sadder now still.

I'm sad, sad, sad.

DIAF, Comcast

I came home yesterday to find this tag on my door. Given that comcast keeps advertising about how, "cable customers are safe from the digital transition," I'm guessing this is just "Janine's" way of trying to scam me into upgrading to digital cable. Unfortunately, I've had digital cable before, and don't really feel like paying an extra fifty dollars for channels I used to get for free.

And I don't even think I know anyone with a home phone anymore. What is this, 1950?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Story of my life

see this is why this isn't going to work

because I really don't do enough exciting things to justify posting every day.

I spent today writing and rewriting an orbit calculator. Not really the most exciting thing ever. Blah.

Instead, I'll post these: