Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wednesday: My day was comparatively boring

Compared to this.

However, I did get to attend lots of telecons, and do lots of work today.  Woo.  I did get a fancy new mode for the spectrum code that solves and deblends and everything in a single pass.  The results look nice, too, although there are some bugs that need to be ironed out.

Let's see if I have any pictures for today:
What are you doing, duck? That isn't even a pond!
More fun with Picard.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tuesday: Why does it feel like it should be later in the week?

It doesn't help that I have to get up super early tomorrow to make it in to work for two telecons.  That also probably means I should go to bed soonish.  I also didn't take any pictures of the quesadilla I made for dinner.  It turns out that steak isn't the best option for that, because you have to be careful not to just pull the meat out entirely.

My only fun story today is how I almost ran over three Mormons.  They wander the neighborhood, attempting to convert people or something.  In any case, I was making a right turn, had checked that the crosswalk was clear, and was about to enter it when they suddenly darted off the curb right in front of me.  They had been talking to someone on the corner, but when they saw the crosswalk sign switch to "flashy hand," they decided to run.

Anyway, here are some random pictures:


Questioning puppy!

Basket of puppies!

"Cover your mouth when you yawn!"

Sticky tongue puppy!

Wait...they're the optimist club?  1954 must have sucked.
Not many links today either.
  • Just continued good thoughts for Julie. :)
  • And this was basically my thought when I read the editorial as well.  You can't suddenly say, "Oh, the Republican party is now suddenly crazy, and I didn't see it coming."  They've clearly been crazy for years, and you've been supporting that insanity as well, David Brooks.  It's great that you've come to the same conclusion, but seriously, they've not been sneaky.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday: leftover tacos aren't really like leftovers at all

I took some assembly pictures today.  Ingredients:
 I went with a McDLT style, putting the hot stuff (and cheese and avocado, because they're fatty and mix well) on one side, and then the cold veggies on the other.
 Then wrapping it up:

It turns out that I could eat two of these yesterday because I hadn't eaten anything all day.  I wrapped the second one from today in foil, and I'll eat it tomorrow.  I'm not completely sure how I'm going to do it, but I think if I pull out the veggie bits, and bake the rest in the oven for a few minutes, then add the veggies back in, it should work ok.

Of course, now I'm hungry again, so I'm eating an apple.  An Arkansas Black.  Not bad, this one is kind of somewhere on the softer side (but not as much as a golden delicious).  The flavor is good too, with a mild tartness.

I also had virgin lemonade with dinner, which confused me until I googled it.  It seems like they could have used a different description.  "Not shitty style lemonade" would be my suggestion.  "Lemonade like you'd make it, if you weren't too lazy to make lemonade" would also work.

Finally, I discovered a seriously annoying bug in the spectrum code, but luckily, I'll have time to fix it before anyone notices. :)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday: Delicious tacos I have any saved up pictures for the taco theme that I haven't used yet?
Apparently, but it's not very good.

Anyway, today was taco day.  Here are the ingredients for super delicious tacos:

Tomato, lettuce, shredded co-jack cheese, avocado, grilled onions, chipotle sauce (a can of chipotles, water, garlic and tomato paste, cooked until warm, then blitzed and strained), big hunk of beef flap steak cooked a bit rarer than it really should be.  I didn't take any pictures of the assembled product, but I should have, because these were super tasty.  It was hard to get a bite that had everything in it, but when I did, it was perfect.  Plus, since most of those ingredients are vegetables, they're even plausibly healthy.

And now, since I spent a while looking for taco pictures, other random pictures.
It's a cow-vasion!
Clearly, this is the best plan if you're going to kidnap a panda baby.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Saturday: Because cheese fries

It doesn't hurt that I've been watching episodes of this show on youtube, and they did a show about Teddy's.  They did kind of screw up my burger today, and I had to go back to the counter to ask about the onion rings that were supposed to be on it.  I got it "Kilauea Fire Style" which is pretty much the same as what I've gotten before (cheddar/bacon/onion rings) but with Kilauea Fire sauce instead of BBQ.  The sauce is basically just a spicy BBQ sauce, but it's tasty, and I think I'll have to go find a bottle.

It's good that I had this before going to get groceries, as it made sure that I was overfull, and stuck to my grocery list.  I think the plan for this week is going to be steak tacos, and then I'm going to steal Julie's idea of bacon/avacado/tomato sandwiches, and declare that instead of BAT sandwiches, I'm going to make BALTiC sandwiches: bacon/avacado/lettuce/tomato/cheese.  I wish I could figure out an 'i' ingredient to put in there to make the acronym work better.

Shame about the spelling error.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thursday: breakfast for dinner

Clockwise from 12:00: black forest bacon (which is super delicious, and also cut thinner than the regular bacon at WF), the poorly set but still set better than the other part quiche (made using the mushrooms from my leftover soup, and some of the gruyere), sriracha, fried potatoes, waffles (because waffles are yummy).  I put the rest of the quiche into the oven to finish, so I'll be redoing this tomorrow for dinner, I think.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wednesday: I have defeated linear algebra for today

Apparently they make the squirrels giant in India.
Although part of the problem involved the GSL LU-decomposition solver algorithm failing when LU is singular, when in previous editions it did not fail.  I wonder how the previous versions didn't fail, but I guess it doesn't really matter anymore.  SVD does the same thing, and has fewer restrictions on the inputs.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tuesday: I will find you, Linear Algebra. You can't hide forever.

Linear algebra and I are not friends today.

I really wish the day had naps built in, too.
  • Squirrel!
  • Puppy!
  • After reading this story about the crappy Republican presidential candidates, I started thinking.  If no sane Republican can ever run for president ever again, that suggests that the Democrats just need to run someone who isn't a lunatic to take the presidency pretty much forever (under the assumption that at least 50% of the country isn't utterly stupid).  However, the senate and house are elected from smaller local areas, where they can find a majority of people who will vote for a lunatic.  This suggests that the end result is a Republican majority in congress (with terrible approval ratings, as more than 50% of all voters disapprove of what they're doing) and a Democratic president (with an acceptable approval rating).  Therefore, the steady state solution for this system is a government that is largely unable to deal with any of the actual functions of government.
  • Then again, the Democrats could all vote for Kodos, and we end up with a super powerful executive.  Not sure this is much better, really.
  • Elsevier still sucks.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Monday: President's Day!

Which of course means that I get to sleep in and relax all day instead of doing regular Monday-grade work.  I did plan on working on the spectrum code a bit more today, but never really got around to it.  I'm doing this post now so I won't feel quite so lazy taking a nap.  Then I'll work on it (for realsies).

I woke up feeling like I wanted a burger.  Unfortunately, this led to the worst experience at Burgers on the Edge I've ever had.  First, they were out of regular fries, so I had to get the truffled waffle fries.  Then, after sitting down, one of the girls from the counter came out to tell me that I couldn't get the Parisian, as they were out of foie gras. Damn.  That meant I had to find out what else to get there, since I've never gotten anything else.  I built my own burger, only to find that it had to have turkey bacon, because they were out of regular proper piggy bacon.  Basically, the entire lunch was a disaster.
Also these people were there.  I wouldn't normally post a picture of some random tourist family, but this was one of the worst families I've ever seen.  I was annoyed at them because the mom had to basically approve everyone's meal while ordering, and had to ask the workers questions about every thing she ordered.  Ok, fine, that's not worthy of public shaming.  First note how they're eating outside.  Obviously, that means that the birds are around, hoping for food to fall.  Second, let's be kind and state that these weren't the most careful of eaters, so they had lots of crumbs left around after eating.  Still, not a big deal.  What is a big deal is the fact that the one daughter thought that a game of "try and kick the bird" was a suitable thing to do after throwing out trash.  This wasn't just walking through a pile of birds and watch them scatter.  She was smiling as she intentionally aimed kicks at the closest bird, making odd steps to get closer to them.  The mom wasn't any better, as they were sitting there after finishing, and a bird kept landing on the edge of the table.  She flailed at it with the same anger, as if the bird was trying to steal her keys or something.  Maybe you shouldn't eat like Cookie Monster, slobs.

Anyway, food.  Here's the burger I ended up getting:
Wheat bun, BBQ sauce, sauteed mushrooms, Kobe beef, cheddar cheese, the aforementioned bacon, stewed apples, crispy onion straws, top bun.  Plus the truffled waffle fries.  The BBQ sauce was a bit overpowering, but this was a very tasty burger.  This place really does make the best burgers in town, and even when everything goes wrong, they still make something more delicious than any other place I've been to.  So, disaster, but a wonderfully delicious disaster that still beats every other burger on the island.

Also, don't truffle waffle fries.  One fry grabs all the stuff, and the others feel sad and lonely.

The real goal of the day was to go pick up malasadas, since tomorrow is Fat Tuesday (right?  if not, come back and re-read this section when it is).  I went to the place famous for them, which is conveniently right across the street from the burger place:
They were super busy, and I think going today instead of the more traditional day (tomorrow) was a better idea.  Now I don't have to fight the crowds that I'm sure will be there all day.
I picked up eight, which is probably way more than I need.  Two regular sugar, two cinnamon sugar, two haupia (coconut), two dobash (chocolate).  I had to taste one, even though I was still full from lunch:
These are very similar to paczkis I used to get in EL, as they're the same concept (fatty lard cakes deep fried to use up sweet and fatty ingredients before Lent makes people not eat fun anymore).  Biting into it when it's still warm makes you think about biting into a fluffy cloud.  They're a bit eggier than I remember, but that's not a bad thing.  Even though I got a bunch of these, I figure it's not so bad since I don't ever buy these regularly.

Since it's President's Day, I figured I'd put up some related videos.  First was one that showed up in my youtube subscriptions from the Onion.  I'd vote for this president any day of the week:
Next, a somewhat inaccurate rap about George Washington:

Finally, today's links since I've already finished reading all my RSS feeds.
  • This is a great idea, and if I wasn't so full, I'd be craving pizza.
  • Baby bunnies!
  • Last week, Julie posted this link about glue, which made me remember something that I was going to comment on.  Then today, I saw this vintage ad about dairy, and it reminded me.  Here's the wikipedia article that discusses the main point:  Elsie the Cow was Borden's mascot, and her husband, Elmer, was  used by Borden's chemical division as the mascot for Elmer's glue.  So, that means that while Elsie was making milk for everybody to enjoy, her husband had been shipped off and rendered down into the glue the kids used in school.  I think I have a tag for this kind of point....

Sunday, February 19, 2012

links and pbj sundae

Clusterfluff and strawberry ice cream tastes like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  It is very tasty.

  • Somewhat interesting story discussing about how a certain church hierarchy doesn't really represent the beliefs of their followers.
  • This is by far the funniest story I've read on Cracked. Ever. And that includes all of Seanbaby's stuff.
  • I kind of want to try artichokes now.  I'm almost certainly not going to do something to make it not vegan.
  • Here's a dog.  I think it's actually a french bulldog, which makes me wonder exactly what makes a french bulldog different from a boston terrier.  There's the coloring thing, and the FBD has significantly derpier legs, but is that it?

Sunday: Six Mushroom Soup

"Only six mushrooms? Isn't that going to be kind of bland?"

Sunday: Six (Types of) Mushroom Soup

"Wow, you made six different soups?"

Sunday: Mushroom Soup: Fuck You Edition

Anyway, enough being silly. Mushroom soup.  Here is the line up:

  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Herbs: sage, thyme, rosemary, bay
  • Anchovies
  • Beef broth
  • Sherry (just a simple fino)
  • Ounce of dried chanterelles
  • Half ounce of dried morels
  • Ounce of dried porcini
  • Garlic
  • Half pound of crimini
  • Half pound of button
  • Three nice sized shiitake (I tend not to like these, so that's why so few)
  • A big yellow onion
  • Salt/pepper
  • Cream (unpictured)
Step one: reconstitute the dried mushrooms.  I put them in a sauce pan, covered them with water, and set it to boil.  At the same time, I sliced the onion and added some oil to get them to wilt and caramelize a bit.  My main goal was to make sure that nothing overwhelmed the mushroom flavor, so I wanted the onions to sweeten, with the same idea for the garlic.  For that, I wrapped it in some foil with a bit of oil, and then put it in the oven to roast.

Step two: when the onions were soft and slightly browning (about 45 minutes later), I moved on, and added three anchovies:

Step three: slice all the remaining mushrooms, and add them in.

Step four: look at that beautiful garlic:
 Well, maybe you don't actually need five cloves in the soup.

Step five: add worcestershire sauce and garlic to the pot, and then strain the mushroom broth in.  Since dried mushrooms can occasionally still be woody even after boiling for an hour, I chopped them a but to make sure there weren't any giant pieces.  I added these in, along with all the remaining ingredients (except cream).  The herbs were maybe a half teaspoon of each, and the sherry just a few quick glugs to add some depth of flavor. I let it stew for a bit, corrected the salt and pepper, and then added some cream.
I'm pretty sure this is before I added cream.
I wasn't completely sure about the cream, as my original plan was to plate this French Onion Soup style, with a large crouton and some cheese.  Julie thought this wasn't the best idea, and that I should go with a more customary cream of mushroom soup.  I added just enough cream to add some smoothness to the soup, but not so much that it became something thick.  This was probably best, although I'm still not sure if it would have been worthwhile to pass some of it through the stick blender.

The end result:
I still had the bread, so I toasted it a bit, and rubbed it with garlic.  A few slices of the very tasty gruyere, and some Westphalian ham to complete everything.  These matched well with the soup, as they all have rich earthy flavors, but are different enough to add some variety.

Sidenote:  As I was picking up the last of the dried mushrooms today at Foodland, I heard someone else order Westphalian ham.  I've been looking for this for years now, ever since I read about it in The Epicurean.  I'd largely assumed that this was something that wasn't available anymore, so to find it so easily was nice.  It has a distinct flavor, with the closest match being something like speck.

After spending an hour working on this post, I'm somewhat tempted to go get another bowl of this.  It's not extraordinarily filling, so I think I will have to pair it with other things for the rest of the week.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Saturday: There's a limit to how much fun you can have at the mall

I've been looking forward to the new Ghibli movie coming out for a while now, and so I wanted to make sure that I caught it when it opened.  While looking up show times earlier this week, I saw that the theater was showing a documentary about the National Gallery's Leonardo da Vinci exhibit, so I figured I catch that as well. The original plan was to start in the morning, but I went with the alternate plan of "sleeping in" instead.

That meant that I started with the Leonardo movie, and then had a two hour delay before Arrietty. This NYTimes review largely sums up my thoughts as well.  I'm glad I saw it, but there are some fairly major flaws that keep it from being what it could be.  Afterwards, I went to Kuru Kuru again, to finally get something to eat:
My favorites.
Next on the "waste two hours" schedule was the bookstore, but I think I might be reaching a saturation point with books.  It seems like a book has to be increasingly good or interesting looking for me to add it to the already giant pile of books I have.  This is probably a good thing, since I'm already seriously out of bookshelf space in my apartment.  I was a bit thirsty, so I figured I'd waste time at Jamba juice:

This confirmed what I've always thought about JJ: it's way too expensive and pretentious a place.  Still, it's next to a Starbucks, so it definitely tastes better than burnt coffee.  Had I actually been thinking, what I should have done was buy a new set of Set at the nerd toy store, and then grab a random table and played Set while waiting for the movie.  Hindsight, I guess.

Arrietty was as excellent as I was expecting.  Compared to the loud and crappy computer animation that gets churned out all the time now, this movie takes the time to capture how animation can be real art.  The goal of a cartoon shouldn't be to create a world of special effects that allows a lion to dance and sing and look realistic.  The goal should be to tell a good story with the help of beautiful pictures.  Like this one:

One interesting fact: the average age at Leonardo was probably around 55-60.  The average age at Arrietty was about 10.  The people at Leonardo had to rustle bags of food, talk to their friends, and send text messages throughout the entire film.  The kids at Arrietty sat quietly, with only the occasional, "what's that?" stage whispered to a parent.

After finishing the day of movies, I picked up groceries for the week.  I don't have a firm plan at the moment, but I bought a bunch of mushrooms.  I'm definitely on a soup binge right now, and so I think I'm going to use tomorrow to make a mushroom soup.  I also grabbed a flap steak, which I think I'm going to slice and quickly pan fry to go with the soup.  If nothing else, I can turn it into a beef and mushroom soup.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday: Success!

I am so happy that this finally works.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thursday: I just made a sandwich

It was a good sandwich, all toasty-crunchy on thick slices of wheaty hearty bread.  I bought grapes too, but I never got hungry enough for a snack, so I never had any.  I know, I'll pack some for lunch tomorrow and have a sweet healthy afternoon snack!

Because it's my blog and I can put up anything:
Hugh Laurie by a river.
Prints of various demons.  Probably taken from some edition of the Lesser Key of Solomon.
Invasion of the chipmunks!
  • Puppy!
  • You know, of all the places you probably should avoid getting into a hit-and-run, "leaving a drag show" is probably somewhere in the middle. Unless, of course, you happen to have a radio show about how much you hate gay people.
  • Japan gets all the cool things.  I want a rabbit cafe.
  • I was planning on going to go see this movie this weekend.  However, if you didn't know anything about the story or about the movie, I seriously doubt that this would be the most informative advertisement.
  • Baby squirrel!
  • Some people should not be allowed to have kids.
  • I know that last link was ambiguously vague.  But seriously, it's about douchebags who have to invent fancy names for milk so they can be pretentious fucktards when ordering at a coffee shop.  Just say, "a regular fucking coffee, and some fucking milk for my baby."  You don't have to invent imaginary words for everything.
  • Compared to this, my valentine's day menu wasn't that complicated at all.  Then again, I also don't have a fully staffed kitchen.  So, it's a tradeoff.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wednesday: Just links, I think

Ok, two pictures.
"America Can Do No Wrong"? Is that really what you wanted there?

Slide rules are cool, although some are a bit more morbid than others.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tuesday: How did I not take any pictures?

Crap. Anyway:

  • Vichyssoise. Super simple: chop up two cups of potatoes (twoish), same of the white parts of the leek (three, although four would have had fewer yellow-green bits), cup of chicken stock, two cups of water. Boil it for a half hour or so, then blitz it with the stick blender.  Add some salt and a bit of cream, notice that it's still lumpy, so blitz it again.  Serve chilled.
  • Truffled potatoes.  Steam some fingerling potatoes for about a half hour, then remove to a bowl with piles of grated Parmesan and some white truffle oil.  I probably should have pre-shredded the cheese, as it didn't melt as well as I'd hoped.  Also: completely forgot about the parsley I was going to mince and add to the mix.
  • Haricot vert. Once the potatoes are out of the steamer and covered, add in the beans and half a lemon.  Let steam until bright, remove, zest part of remaining half of lemon and add a bit of the juice.  Maybe some shallots next time?
  • Steak with foie gras. Salt and pepper both sides of filet, and sear over medium high heat.  When mostly cooked, remove to warm oven to finish.  Reduce heat of pan, and add foie gras slices.  Sear both sides, then remove.  Drain excess fat, deglaze with brandy, and add beef stock to form a sauce.  Add butter to finish sauce.  Plate by stacking foie gras over steak, and topping with sauce.  Serve with bread to soak (totally forgot to put the bread in the oven to warm, too.)
  • German chocolate brownies.  Wait, you can german chocolate brownies too?  That's a brilliant idea.  I wonder if you could do that to cookies somehow, too.  Or, like, that frosting + nutella + croissants. 


When I was moving to Hawaii, I looked up the crime statistics to make sure that I didn't get an apartment in Murderton (although Honolulu has a far lower rate compared to other cities of the same size).  Although I can't find it anymore, there was a nice table that split out the crime rates by age here, and I noticed an odd trend.  A large number of murders were committed by someone older than 65, as were a large number of the suicides.

"Elderly victims in murder-suicide identified"

Monday, February 13, 2012

Monday: Fine, phone camera, be that way

Pretend this is rotated.
I filled up my phone's memory card with pictures yesterday, and had to sync the old ones off it.  It turns out I've downloaded like 6GB of mp3s from amazon that I need to fold into the rest of my collection.  Anyway...

Today's dinner is basically the same as yesterday, but instead of smoked marlin, I had smoked opah.  The fish counter guy offered me a sample, and I was halfway to the checkout when I went back to get some.  This didn't work as well as the marlin did, because opah is a much firmer, less flaky fish.  It was also drier, almost getting a jerky texture.  Very tasty again, but I think I'll have to keep the texture in mind more next time.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sunday: The brilliant idea

So everyone knows bagels and lox.  After stopping at the fish market yesterday, I'd like to suggest a similarly wonderful thing:
Toasted baguette, a hunk of very goaty goat brie, a slab of smoked marlin.  Smear the brie, top with fish, nom, die from deliciousness.  I probably should have added a salad or something, but I'm more full than I expected now.  Maybe an apple later?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Wait, what?

Doesn't the Enterprise have fancy germ filters in the transporters that prevent them from getting things like Klingon Nose Plague?  Then how exactly do they have a medical emergency of everyone being infected with some sort of space flu?  Can't they just beam everybody from where they are on the ship to slightly to the left of where they are, but pull the space flu out of them all?

I mean, I know we needed a problem on board the ship while Riker and the gang fight the angry women of Angrywomenonia, but couldn't they come up with a better one than that?  How about a holodeck malfunction?  Those are dumb, too, but at least not immediately solvable by one of your main devices.

"Not likely"?  The virus is "not likely" to infect Data?  Good job, Beverly.  That's why you're the doctor.  Because you know that androids "likely" don't contract space flu.

Let's put all the funny Picard pictures here.