Theory and Practice

Sunday, July 08, 2012
In theory, practice follows theory. In pratice, it doesn't. -One of the extended Murphy's laws

Categories: Things to learn


Monday, May 21, 2012

In May blocks of time dissolve; each one affords too little before it is gone. Hurry. Small seams swell large into looming grout rough ridges--a divide between the diminishing now and the next; repeating until all that is left is obstacles. --Robert Utke


Programming Today

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning.

-Rick Cook, The Wizardry Compiled

Categories: Things to learn


Saturday, May 05, 2012

My fiancé Patti is on what I call an Atkins friendly diet, and she's really avoiding wheat flour. I'm trying to do a DASH oriented diet, so I need low salt and low fat. Her son, Nick, is an ovo-lacto vegetarian. So the challenge has been to come up with recipes that we can all end. This one doesn't work for Nick, but it does for Patti and I. And it happenes to tast very good, especially in terms of moistness.

This takes about 1/2 hour total time spread out over an hour to prep and 45 mins to cook.

  • 2 lbs of ground meat. My personal favoriate is ground turkey breast and some ground lamb. You can adjust the mix as you like to manipulate the fat content, but keep in mind that this recipe doesn't render out much liquid.
  • 1 egg
  • 2 regular packages of mushrooms, creminis work well, but buttons are good, too.
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 bell pepper, red if you want more sweetness.
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 2-3 celery stalks
  • 1-3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 dash of 'shire sauce or fish sauce.
  • olive oil

Herbs, whatever you like. The combination I tend to use is 1 tsp each of dried thyme, rosemary, and parsley (or 2-3x if you're using fresh herbs). Or you can add home made chili powder and tumeric. Paul Prudhomme's magic salt-free seasoning mix is also very good, I add two to three teaspoons to pretty much any recipe for extra depth.

Very roughly chop the carrot, pepper, onion, celery and garlic. Then run them in small batches through a food processor, until they are finely chopped. Heat a large flat pan to med, a 14" cast iron skillet is what I use. Coat lightly with the olive oil, and put all the veggies in the pan and a dash or two of salt. The idea is to cook these down to get rid of much of the water, let it cook down for about 20 minutes stirring occaisionally. What you're looking for is a paste, when you get there take it out and press it around a large bowl so it can cool.

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.

After it cools down enough for you to handle it, add the rest of the ingredients and mix by hand. Once it's mixed, form it up as a ball in the bowl. Then put a thin coat of oil on some aluminium foil on flat sheet pan, and turn up the edges to catch what liquid leaks out (if you're keeping the meat mix on the lean side it won't be much). Turn out the ball of mix and form into a loaf, mine usually are about 3" tall and 5" wide. You could sprinkle some additional chopped herbs and pat lightly.

Put it in the oven for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325 degrees for about 30 minutes. You can cook it less if you poke it or probe it to make sure it's done, but I usually just let it run out the clock. Pull it, cover with a tent of foil, parchment or a bowl and let it rest for about 10-15 minutes. Cut with a sharp knife into about 3/4"-1" slices (thinner crumble if it's still hot, and you can cut them in half width wise if you want smaller portions). Patti likes it with ketchup or marinara. It's really good with some pureed cauliflower done up like mashed potatoes, that hits the traditional north american home comfort food button nicely. Or you could saute some mushrooms, add 1/4 cup each chicken broth and white, reduce and use that as a sauce. But I don't put anything on it--the nice thing about this recipe is that the veggies keep the meat from squeezing out much liquid as it cooks, so it come out really moist.

After it has had a chance to cool down in the fridge, the next day it makes for a nice sandwich on toasted bread with some brown mustard, lettuce and a thin slice of tomato.

Categories: Recipes

Russell's Rules of Teaching

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.

Do not think it worth while to proceed by concealing evidence, for the evidence is sure to come to light.

Never try to discourage thinking for you are sure to succeed.

When you meet with opposition, even if it should be from your husband or your children, endeavor to overcome it by argument and not by authority, for a victory dependent upon authority is unreal and illusory.

Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.

Do not use power to suppress opinions you think pernicious, for if you do the opinions will suppress you.

Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.

Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent than in passive agreement, for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a deeper agreement than the latter.

Be scrupulously truthful, even if the truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.

Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live in a fool’s paradise, for only a fool will think that it is happiness.

From Brainpickings via This isn't Happiness 

Categories: Things to learn

Apt assesment from Alan Moore

Friday, February 10, 2012

Our present financial ethos no longer even resembles conventional capitalism, which at least implies a brutal Darwinian free-for-all, however one-sided and unfair. Instead, we have a situation where the banks seem to be an untouchable monarchy beyond the reach of governmental restraint, much like the profligate court of Charles I.

Then, a depraved neglect of the poor and the "squeezed middle" led inexorably to an unanticipated reaction in the horrific form of Oliver Cromwell and the English Civil War which, as it happens, was bloodily concluded in Northamptonshire.

Today's response to similar oppressions seems to be one that is intelligent, constantly evolving and considerably more humane, and yet our character's borrowed Catholic revolutionary visage and his incongruously Puritan apparel are perhaps a reminder that unjust institutions may always be haunted by volatile 17th century spectres, even if today's uprisings are fuelled more by social networks than by gunpowder.

--Alan Moore in BBC News via Boing Boing

Categories: Things to learn

Some Tea Cup Gin videos

Friday, February 03, 2012

Since I was up here fixing some links to my fiancée's band, I thought I'd add a link to some videos from early 2011....

Some Tea Cup Gin videos 

Categories: Music

Hybrid Malware

Monday, January 30, 2012

And so it begins: 

Really, this make sense, but I wonder what it does to disrupt signatures in anti-malware.

Categories: Things to learn

One Percent of the One Percent

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

This kind of this is the best argument for how we've strayed from respresentation of the people into a policitical oligarcy:

Categories: Rants, Things to learn


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Today I posted a note to a local list and misspelled "upgrade" as "ungrade". Todd Lewis, an excellent fellow all around whom I have known for too many years to think about, commented in a reply to my message:

Hey, Bil! I know it was a typo, but I really like the word: ungrade.
Because until a few days after it's done, you don't really know if it was an upgrade, downgrade, degrade, retrograde, or what. "Ungrade" sounds like you're stepping off into an unknown state, which is exactly what's happening.

He's exactly right, and I wish I had thought of it. For example, I recently thought I was upgrading my workstation from Snow Leopard to Lion, but I decided I couldn't stand Lion yet. As as aside, I have about decided that you should only do one major system upgrade on mac hardware, since I often have problem with the second major rev, but in fairness, I'm pretty hard on the software. But I digress. I lived with Lion for a week or so, decided to go back, and found it a difficult process involving blanking drives and mounting machines in target disk mode. So it wasn't an upgrade, clearly, nor a downgrade, since the downgrade was going back to Snow. Ungrade suits perfectly, and it will the next time I try Lion as I'll have a cold ball of concern in my soul as I start the installer.

Categories: Rants, Things to learn