Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thursday: BBQ!

Other stuff happened, including what could plausibly count as "work."  Actually, a lot of this vacation could plausibly count as work.  I mean, I did get a poster 99% finished this week.  Besides, the telescope back home has been having repairs done, so it's not like I missed out on that much there.  That makes me wonder, exactly how long do we have to wait until every job is done remotely via telepresence?

Anyway, BBQ:
My photo using my phone.

Reverse angle by Julie, who insisted that her camera takes better photos, since it's "real" and "a gajillion dollars."
Rudy's has pretty good BBQ, and sells by weight using scales, which I really like.  In my photo, from the left, I have a half link of sausage, a third pound of moist brisket (the fattier, juicier, tastier cut), and a third pound of St. Louis style ribs.  Add some sauce and the requisite white bread, and I enjoyed the tasty meal.

And I don't think it really matters that my phone doesn't take magazine quality photos.  I also don't have to worry about carrying a camera or getting it dirty or anything like that.
"Who lumping cares if the photos are perfect, if you can see  what the food looks like? Oh. My. Glob."
Damn straight, Lumpy Space Princess.

Here's a picture of a monkey feeding a tiger:
Fine, chimps are technically apes, and therefore not monkeys.  Monkey is a funnier word.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wednesday: Two restaurant posts in one!

First restaurant post wasn't actually taken at the restaurant, as we got everything to go.  It turns out that we were a bit late at getting going today, and The Noble Pig closes at 3 during the week.  We also had the issue that the littlest one of the group isn't really into "sitting around" or "solid food," so to-go was probably the better option.

Sandwich 1:
 Half-eaten half tongue sandwich.  OMG, this was delicious.  Why don't people eat tongue more often?  It was cooked perfectly, with a delicate pot-roast texture, and a wonderful beefy flavor.

Sandwich 2:
 The namesake Noble Pig sandwich.  I got this last time, but wanted a back-up full sandwich in case the tongue (or, more likely, the pepper relish on the tongue) wasn't tasty.  I should have done the half-and-half, as I still have half of this sandwich in the fridge (making this three meals worth of leftovers I've brought back).

Let's look at the insides:
Beautiful tongue!

Lots of piggy between two slices of bread.

Dinner was at 24 Diner, which is always good.  Picture time:
Chili cheese fries.  Very meaty with a mild spice that doesn't get overpowering.
They have great mac & cheese.  I need to learn how to make it like this.  I think goat cheese is one of the ingredients.

Chicken and waffles.  #3 on the leftover list.  No cayenne, but cholula worked reasonably well.

Other people had food too.
Also, I saw a squirrel today!
Look next to the blue sign, on the curb.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tuesday: I did remember today, but needed a reminder

Stuffed french toast and bacon.  You can see the strawberry/cream cheese mix in the top right corner:
This was a very good idea (from Julie), and I'll have to remember that the easy way to do stuffed FT in the future is to get uncut buns, fill them like a doughnut, and then cook.  I think I'll try the Clara's style ham and cheese ones when I get home.

I did forget to take a picture of the Central Market burger I had for lunch.  It was pretty good, although they cooked it well done, which means most of the moisture was cooked out.  They have good fries though.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Monday: Why do I never remember to take food pictures on vacation?

I'll just have to insert other pictures instead.  Since today was Memorial Day, I did work to prepare for the telecon I'm not going to be attending tomorrow.  Yay?

I also had a pretzel from Auntie Anne's:
Totally not my picture, and it was not nearly this fancy.  Still, the main concepts are there.  Also: I've just made myself want another pretzel. With cheese. And mustard.
Dinner was an assortment of things that didn't really match, but still worked out to be tasty: sausage, mashed potatoes, and asparagus in chili sauce.  Hey, future me, remember to make this.  It's easy: asparagus, pan fried in some bacon grease (butter or oil would work equally well).  After the asparagus is mostly done, add some salt, sambal, and minced garlic.  Finish it with a bit of sesame oil.
This picture of a bacon pony is completely unrelated, but as I mentioned before, I didn't take any pictures when I should have.
  • Charizard is one of my favorites.
  • Is it just me, or is this "beefy nacho burrito" at Taco Bell just a naco from Kim Possible? The shape is different, but the concept seems to be the same.  Ron should probably make sure he gets his royalties from TBell.
  • It turns out that Mickey Rourke wasn't always a hideous freak.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sunday: Puppy Paparazzi!

Dinner was at BJ's, which is apparently run by the Cheesecake Factory people.  Similarly to CF, they tend to overuse the salt quite a bit.  My pot roast sandwich was kind of excessively so.  Had they just kept the salt to a reasonable level, it really would have been tasty.  More mushrooms would have helped too.  Partially because mushrooms in wine sauce = super delicious.

Sunday: Part 1 More links!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Saturday Part 2: Links

Also: "Pikachu."

Saturday: Technically this was from Friday as well

Seriously, it's been years since I saw Beauty and the Beast.

And in case you're wondering, I only do the odd numbered sudoku puzzles, so I can keep folding back pages easily.  Since I've had this book of 300 puzzles for years now and I'm only up to #91, this doesn't seem to be a problem.

Even though I'm not totally convinced I like mango and avocado, the cream looked pretty good.  Those two ingredients and red onion and some lime juice and stuff.  Kind of like a mango-guacamole.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday: Flying out

Since this is a travel post, I'm doing it in "handwritten scribbles in the sudoku book:"

My pizza.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Thursday: Packing

I always get excessively nervous when it's the day before a trip and I'm packing. No clue why, since there isn't really anything that can go wrong.  I did get kind of screwed by United's shitty new frequent flyer system, although barring a surprise rush on the return trip, I may be able to get an upgrade on that end.

One good thing is that at least I'm not this bad about packing:

At least the poster is looking decent. Now if I can just get the work I get paid for done before leaving tomorrow.  Yet again, I seem unable to deal with the recurring problem of "I have a polygon, and need to determine the overlap with another polygon."  Especially since these are all rectangles.  That should not be a difficult problem.  Oh well, let's try to get up early tomorrow and get it done! Plus, that'll get me on a un-jet-lagged schedule!

I received a letter from the MSU Department of Music:
 Tl;dr, they're having a sale on pianos, and if I just want to stop by and look, they're totally willing to make me a really good offer.  You'd think that they would notice that my address is in Hawaii, and save the postage.
"I choose you, Chewbacca-chu!"

Nothing worse than a giant explosion muffin.

"Pikachu is unable to battle! Someone is out of usable Pokemon! Someone blacked out!"
Yes, I did just make two Pikachu jokes.  I'm allowed to do that.  I'm a professional.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wednesday: Draw a Panda Day!

It's not all official, like the Draw a Dinosaur Day, but after that link yesterday, I really wanted to do one:
I'm putting this on my calendar right now, so I'll remember to draw another one next year.  If it's not a thing, I'll pretend it totally is until it catches on.

I went to the bookstore to see if I could find a book or three to read while travelling this next month.  I wanted to see if they had any new Martin Gardner books that I haven't bought yet, which led to yet another hunt through the bookstore to find the math section.  They must move it every month, because it's been in four different locations the last four times I've gone there.  I did eventually find it, discovered they had three of Gardner's books, but that I had them all (in one form or another).  Then, because some things simply infuriate me beyond reason, I sat down and reshelved half that shelf into proper alphabetical-by-author-then-by-title order.

I then found the new Castle book, which means this will be the third summer trip in three years in which I will be reading the new Castle book while travelling.  I guess it's a tradition now.  This led to the odd situation where the checkout lady began grilling me about the book:

"Do you watch the show?"
"Do you know who wrote this?"
"Um, what?"
"No, they have some other guy who actually writes the books (aside to self: he even has a twitter account where he posts things)."
"How much do I owe you, because I'd really just like to leave now."

I understand trying to make a connection to the customers, but this just came off as "slightly separated from reality."

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tuesday: Taco Tuesday

Mostly because I was incredibly tired when I got to the end of the day.  And tacos are fun!
Well, maybe not this much fun.
Let's see if I have anything good for today:
Cats are stupid.
I do need to sit down sometime this week and figure out if my eclipse viewer is going to be sufficient for the transit of Venus.  Since Venus is something like 1% the diameter of the Sun, and the eclipse was "10%" (I'm unclear if that's area or radius), Venus is going to be about 10x harder to see than the eclipse.  This suggests strongly that it's not going to be sufficient, but I think I can enlarge the hole and increase the focal length to help that.

  • I really like Art Deco's obsession with ancient Egypt.
  • Pikachu!
  • I think tomorrow I'm going to use this as a guide to draw a panda myself.
  • Stolen from Julie's tweet: school lunches.  I remember getting school lunches in elementary school when it was pizza Thursday.  Our pizza was similar to the slab shown in the article.  It was served with salad, but the salad was almost always brown and nasty looking, so I never ate it (possibly why I was so averse to salads until I was nearly 30).  I thought there was another side, since we had the standard  style trays, and pizza, salad, and milk leaves two slots open.  I know ice cream was popular, so maybe that took up one?  In any case, I think I stopped eating school lunches before I was 9, because it just kept getting crappier and crappier.  This was a longer story than I expected when I started.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday: I apparently spent all my good post material over the weekend.

So, instead, here's a list of things that do not belong on a patty melt.  I would even go so far as to suggest that adding them to a patty melt makes it not a patty melt, but rather a "patty melt style sandwich."

  • Bacon. Sorry. It's tasty, but no.
  • Mayo. WTF?
  • Fried egg. No. Why would you do that?
  • Two patties. It's "patty." Singular. "Patties melt" sounds like "attorneys general." Sure, that's syntactically correct, but it sounds silly.
  • Vegetables. Onions don't count, as they're clearly founding members of the sandwich.
  • Other sauces. Do you put mustard on a grilled cheese? If so, you're wrong. Stop that.

Seriously, I'm so out of stuff, I had to put in this terrible Brock pun.
  • I'm not kidding. Some sadists out there actually think that you can put mayo on a patty melt. Look at this shit. It's not even fucking toasted.
  • I mentioned this before, but I just love the "fuck you" of it so much, I had to post it again. Plus, if "low income" is $80k a year in this county, and people are worried about crime and drug dealers, then those same people probably need to punched in the face.  Elitist douchebags.
  • Ok, let's figure out what this meal includes. Pudding, salad, olives, juice? tomato soup?, coffee, shrimp fucking cocktail?, pot pie, mashed potatoes, peas, bread, butter, two crackers.  Two crackers? Cheapskates.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sunday: I want a patty melt

So I made one.  I'd read this article earlier in the week, and agreed with almost everything he said.  I did not toast the inside of the bread, because that's just a bit silly.  Here's my recipe:

  •  Rye bread. This was the only rye I could find after visiting three grocery stores.  I think it's essential that the rye bread have caraway seeds in it, as they give a spice that keeps the sandwich from just being flat.  I would have prefered a darker rye, and one with more caraway seeds.  This was passable, but I was a bit disappointed.
  • Onion.  I went with a simple white, because I don't really want this "caramel-y".
  • Cheese. The above article gets it: you need Swiss and American.  You can make a patty melt with just one, but the combination is far superior.
  • Butter. This requires quite a bit.
  • Beef.  I didn't weight my burger, but I would guess it was about a third of a pound.  I probably should have gone a bit lighter, as the burger was a bit thicker than I wanted.

 Step 1: Make a burger that's square-ish so it'll fit on the bread.  Round burgers leave too much grilled-cheese-edge.
 Step 2: You know, cook it.
 Step 3: Remove it to a plate.  I've not done this in the past, and I always end up with super messy burgers.  This little rest lets the juices sort themselves out, so they don't bleed all over your hand when you eat it.
 Step 4: I actually added the onions while the burger was finishing the second side. Another good tip from the article above is to periodically deglaze with a bit of water.  Since I was cooking these on a fairly high heat (unlike when I caramelize onions), the water helped keep the onions cooking without burning, and made sure that all the burger fond got sucked up into the onions.
 Step 5: While the onions were cooking, I par-grilled the two sides of the sandwich, which helped get the bread toasty and start the cheese melting.
 Step 6: this was the point that I called the onions done.  Then it was time to build the sandwich: Swiss side, onions, burger, onions, American side.
Step 7: Once it was assembled and squished down a bit to make sure the onions were in the half melted cheese, it was time to return it to the bread pan (I used separate meat and bread pans, as well as separate meat and bread spatulas).  You can see that it's partially grilled, but not completely done.
 Step 8: Unlike how it looks after a flip.  You can tell that the American isn't quite as melty as the Swiss, so maybe that means next time I should start the American side a bit earlier.
 Step 9: Sliced and ready to eat.  I just paired it with some chips, going with the standard diner style "chips are included, fries for $1.99 more" plating.  You can see that the burger is a bit too thick here.  I'd rather have it be about half as thick.  It also shrank a bit, so I should have smashed the patty a lot more before throwing it in the pan.  One issue with these thin burgers is that they tend to cup up on the second side.  Maybe I need to get one of those burger press things.
Oh, and I had this to drink.

"Wait, what?"

Yeah, so I was at Times, my third grocery store, reluctantly accepting the rye bread I was forced to take.  I wanted to get a cold cherry coke, but couldn't find a cold drink case anywhere.  I decided to just go down the pop aisle and see what they had.  As I was walking by, my eye caught something, rushed it to my brain, which stopped everything to parse this phrase: "MEDIO LITRO."

"Whoa, wait, that's half-liter in Spanish!"

"That's what Mexican Coke speaks!"
I tried to post this twitter with the comment "that's...unexpected."

Despite being in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Times carries Mexican Coke.  I don't really like Times, because their produce is sometimes a bit questionable.  I guess this means I should go there a bit more often.

Partial Eclipse!

You can check out my eclipse viewers here if you missed that blog post.
Kleenex box viewer, cell phone camera, more clouds than I would have liked. The X is there to help the autofocus 

Still Kleenex box, real camera, upside down because I was shooting left handed.  Clouds were better, as the small pinhole had a visible image.

Bookshelf box viewer, real camera, also upside down.  This shows the tradeoff between size and surface brightness.   I probably could have enlarged the hole more to get more light through it.

Toilet paper tube viewer, real camera.  Slight distortion due to the screen being off axis.

Still toilet paper tube viewer, real camera.  Again, you can pull back from the screen to enlarge the image size with some hit to the surface brightness.  Shows that it doesn't need to be something fancy to get a decent eclipse image.