Jan 31, 2010

Jan 29, 2010

a developer flatters da vinci in the most sincere way possible

48 points by edw519 9 hours ago | link | parent

If it worked for Leonardo da Vinci, maybe it could work for me. The next time I'm looking for a job, I'll try this:

"Most Illustrious Proprietor, Having now sufficiently considered the specimens of all those who proclaim themselves skilled developers of applications of business, and that the invention and operation of the said programs are nothing different from those in common use: I shall endeavor, without prejudice to any one else, to explain myself to your Company, showing your Management my secret, and then offering them to your best pleasure and approbation to work with effect at opportune moments on all those things which, in part, shall be briefly noted below.

1. I have a sort of extremely light and strong functions and modules, adapted to be most easily ftp'd, and with them you may pursue, and at any time combine them with others, secure and indestructible by standard mean time to failure of hardware and denial of service, easy and convenient to compile and catalog. Also methods of unzipping and storing the data of the customers.

2. I know how, when a website is besieged, to shard data onto the cloud, and make endless variety of mirrors, and fault tolerant disks and RAIDs, and other machines pertaining to such concerns.

3. If, by reason of the volume of the data, or the structure of the btrees and its indexes, it is impossible, when conducting a search, to avail oneself of sub-second response time, I have methods for benchmarking every process or other function, even if it were interpreted, etc.

4. Again, I have kinds of functions; most convenient and easy to ftp; and with these I can spawn lots of data almost resembling a torrent; and with the download of these cause great terror to the competitor, to his great detriment and confusion.

5. And if the processing should be on the desktop I have apps of many machines most efficient for data entry and reporting; and utilities which will satisfy the needs of the most demanding customers and users and consumers.

6. I have means by secret and tortuous scripts and modules, made without leaving tracks, to generate source code, even if it were needed to run on a client or a server.

7. I will make secure firewalls, safe and unattackable, which, entering among the hackers with their utilities, there is no body of crackers so great but they would break them. And behind these, software could run quite unhurt and without any hindrance.

8. In case of need I will make big properties, methods, and collections and useful forms, out of the common type.

9. Where the operation of compiling might fail, I would contrive scripts, functions, routines, and other parameter driven processes of marvellous efficacy and not in common use. And in short, according to the variety of cases, I can contrive various and endless means of data entry, reporting, and storage.

10. In times of low revenue I believe I can give perfect satisfaction and to the equal of any other in maintenance and the refactoring of code public and private; and in guiding data from one warehouse to another.

11. I can carry out code in Javascript, PHP, or C, and also I can do in network administration whatever may be done, as well as any other, be he who he may.

Again, the intranet app may be taken in hand, which is to be to the immortal glory and eternal honor of all your customers of happy memory, and of the illustrious house of Google.

And if any of the above-named things seem to anyone to be impossible or not feasible, I am most ready to make the experiment in your data center, or in whatever place may please your Businessperson - to whom I commend myself with the utmost humility, etc."

(for context, see da vinci's resume)

Posted via web from flavourcountry


"Seymour once said to me – in a crosstown bus, of all places – that all legitimate religious study must lead to unlearning the differences, the illusory differences, between boys and girls, animals and stones, day and night, heat and cold."
j.d salinger, franny and zooey
[thx mrm]

Jan 28, 2010

david maisel

american mine (carlin, nv 1), from the mining project.

Jan 23, 2010

francisco migoya

francisco migoya is an amusing individual.

One of the strangest desserts I've had was simply a long rectangle of meringue with the name of an island stenciled on it (I think it was Tahiti). I didn't get it. Was it supposed to be white like the sand of an island, hence I am eating the island? I thought for many days after eating this meringue about its meaning.
We had made this ganache before to fill large Valentine's Day chocolate hearts, using not only cream that was steeped with bacon, but we also dehydrated bacon, pulverized it and added it to the mix. The flavor in the heavy cream alone does not add enough flavor, you have to add actual bacon. Why fill hearts with bacon ganache? Because bacon = love.

We were talking about these guys in Spain who were making something called foams. The notion was so novel and exciting we just had to try it and we did. And it was fun because it worked and it was easy and you could do all sorts of funky flavors and combinations. We used it a lot. Too much maybe. And then the world was drowned in foam. But what I have also come to realize is that there hasn't been that much going on when it comes to bread.

Jan 22, 2010

ground meat

seems to be a theme around these parts. observations from repeated attempts at cooking the same thing:

  1. meat cooks faster and tastier on a very hot skillet,
  2. ground meat patties plump up in the middle when they are cooked to medium-rare, then flatten out again past medium (though the plumping-up and deflation happens quickly, so can be easy to miss),
  3. patties are tastiest when medium rare and allowed to rest for a few minutes off the heat.
ergo: watching like an eagle, cook patties in a very hot skillet til they're plump, then rest them off the heat.

Jan 20, 2010


i got a text message from ike this afternoon, midway through a day spent in tantalizing proximity to, but not actually in the presence of, natural light: am i interested in a spanish wine educational seminar? what i know about spanish wines fits comfortably in a small glass, but amor sciendi, etc. so evening falls and a table of eight assembles at taberna de haro. deborah hansen, who knows her spanish wines, is doing another one in her occasional series of seminars about the wines of spain. so much of the pleasure of learning about things is acquiring the stories that form the fine texture of knowledge around facts (which are useful, admittedly, when playing trivial pursuit). we got some of that tonight. the five riojas, in order:

2007 arbanta from bodegas biurko gorri ($11-ish). this is a style of wine intended to be drunk young. herbaceous (like patience gray's bitter greens), brisk with a bit of a salt, still fruity but dry in the mouth, and clean while still full-bodied. apart from the taste and aroma, the seasonality of the wine is appealing--it was meant to be drunk within the year, then replaced by a new year's wine.

2006 crianza from vina real ($14-ish). a middle of the road glass about which i have neither notes nor a taste memory. i found it unobjectionable in every way though everyone else hated on it. at $14, i probably wouldn't buy it.

2004 reserva from marques de murrieta ($22-ish). this one was neat. it had a light body without being lightweight, dry in the mouth, yet with enough acid to be refreshing and crisp. a sense of lightness. if it was a wood, it would be pennsylvania black cherry.

1998 gran reserva from ramirez de la piscina ($35-ish). "velvet" is what i scribbled down. for a wine that i enjoyed a lot in the glass, i have almost no memory of it.

2005 lanzaga from compania de telmo rodriguez (google failed me on price and availability). this was the weirdest one, but i liked it a lot--maybe i even liked it the most of the lot. it had the scent of a well-made cup of matcha, or some other tea that has been panfried rather than allowed to fully ferment. at the back of the mouth, it turned into alcohol fumes, but not in a bad way. it was dense. i think it may also be relatively inexpensive, which would be nice.
so, the wines were tasty. these riojas did not make me think of any identifiable fruit; in every instance, the flavours (separately from the aromas) didn't make me think "plums" or "cherries" or whatever, only "fruity" or "not so fruity." instead, it was the bouquet that was, in two cases, both arresting at the time and memorable after. i like herbaceous, astringent reds and alcohols, and the lanzaga and arbanta are the only two inexpensive reds i've ever run across that have the type of aromatic complexity analogous to that in cooked alkaloid-filled vegetables (like tea and bitter greens).

but what was outstanding was the care taken in putting the tasting list together. my big beef with many tasting menus is that whoever is putting the menu together is usually good at showing off the kitchen's technique and access to expensive ingredients in individual dishes but not so good at assembling the dishes into a coherent progression in which each course has a logical relationship with the whole and with the other parts. the latter, it seems to me, is the only acceptable logical reason (lack of imagination does not count) to surrender all choice in your dining experience. there have been few exceptions to my lacklustre track record with tasting menus; most of these isolated bright spots have been in kaiseki restaurants and one, memorably, was at quince.) in any case, this was a carefully thought-out lineup that demonstrated variation in styles, production, composition, and price. a fine evening.

(the lamb chops were stunningly good. smoky, and perfectly grilled.)

Jan 19, 2010

beverages and a discovery

beverages: several weeks ago, hh was passing through on his way back to the exotic orient. we managed to get drinks at drink late in the afternoon. a dry pegu club, an excellent daiquiri (with barbancourt rum and a lot of lime), and a nightcap (lillet, gin, and aperol).

a discovery: every banh mi place in boston closes abruptly at 7. deciding to delay gratification, i went in to the grocery store to get some chinese chives at 6.55, paused imprudently for a jar of ovaltine, and emerged to darkness, shutters, and disappointment.

the average masses of eggs, whites, yolks

for general purposes, the egg consists of shell, whites, and yolk (by mass, approximately 10%, 59%, and 31% respectively). the average mass of an intact USDA-graded extra-large egg is 63g, of an intact USDA-graded large egg is 56g (sources disagree).

the approximate masses of whites and yolks for extra-large and large eggs: 37g/19.5g and 33g/17.5g.

this information is surprisingly difficult to discover on the internet. i know that you stay up at night wondering about these things.

Jan 18, 2010


browsershots will use a network of distributed computers running various browsers on different operating systems to do cross-browser testing of your website. a nifty idea.

Posted via web from flavourcountry

Jan 17, 2010

found at the dollar store

ben's new year's resolution is to smell better.

caleb charland

caleb charland at the stone crop gallery.

Jan 15, 2010

the peyote dance

[The Tarahumara] know that every step forward, every convenience
acquired through the mastery of a purely physical civilization, also
implies a loss, a regression.
antonin artaud, the peyote dance.

Jan 12, 2010

the glass bead game

by hermann hesse, is seemingly endlessly quotable. he also seems to enjoy the use of parenthetical dashes as much as i do. hesse, some book history, a means of purchase, and some select extracts:

on edges, boundaries, and polarities, the music master to joseph knecht:

"... our mission is to recognize contraries for what they are: first of all as contraries, but then as opposite poles of a unity. Such is the nature of the Glass Bead Game. The artistically inclined delight in the Game because it provides opportunities for improvisation and fantasy. The strict scholars and scientists despite it—and so do some musicians also—because, they say, it lacks that degree of strictness which their specialties can achieve. Well and good, you will encounter these antinomies, and in time you will discover that they are subjective, not objective—that, for example, a fancy-free artist avoids pure mathematics of logic not because he understands them and could say something about them if he wished, but because he instinctively inclines toward other things. Such instinctive and violent inclinations and disinclinations are signs by which you can recognize the pettier souls. In great souls and superior minds, these passions are not found. Each of us is merely one human being, merely an experiment, a way station. But each of us should be striving to reach the center, not the periphery ..."
on amorphous boundaries and their effects on internal composition, in reference to the waldzell circle of glass bead game players:
For there he was part of an officially nonexistent but very sharply defined circle, or class, the finest elite among the candidates and tutors of the Glass Bead Game. ... They knew one another thoroughly; they had no almost no illusions about talents, characters, and achievements. And precisely because among these initiates and aspirants for the highest dignities each one was preeminent, each of the very first rank in performance, knowledge, and academic record—precisely for that reasons those traits and nuances of character which predestined a candidate for leadership and success inevitably counted for a great deal and were closely observed.
on intersubjectivity and language, joseph knecht to carlo designori:
"Of course two peoples and two languages will never be able to communicate with each other so intimately as two individuals who belong to the same nation and speak the same language. But that is no reason to forgo the effort at communication. Within nations there are also barriers which stand in the way of complete communication and complete mutual understanding, barriers of culture, education, talent, individuality. It might be asserted that every human being on earth can fundamentally hold a dialogue with every other human being, and it might also be asserted there are no two persons in the world between whom genuine, whole, intimate understanding is possible—the one statement is as true as the other. It is Yin and Yang, day and night; both are right and at times we have to be reminded of both."

carl sagan's apple pie

via flickr.

Jan 10, 2010

pork belly and fat elvis

what, you ask, is this slightly out-of-focus cube of meat? it is the brain child of kevin rafferty and mimi rancatore: a block of pork belly cooked in a low oven for many hours, crosshatched (alas, not visible here), then crisped on a hot griddle, and served with a hash of fingerling potatoes and sundried tomatoes, a poached egg, and chimichurri sauce. the photo is out of focus due to low light and the minor vibrations occasioned by the proximity of intense deliciousness. since it is now sunday night, you have missed the opportunity to satisfy your weekly saturated fat quota at toscanini's. there's always next weekend.

they may also have available the fat elvis ice cream flavour: peanut butter, cashew butter, almond butter, and butter-caramelised bananas that i may or may not have helped to peel.

i understand from people who know these things that excessively high cholesterol levels can be addressed with the judicious application of aerobic exercise and orally-administered statins.

inadvertent gelatin clarification

long, slow cooking has many virtues, not the least of which is gelatin extraction. having accidentally left a pot of assorted chicken bones on the flame for many hours, i came back not to smoking ruin and insurance claims but to a large quantity of stock. i put this in a large ball jar, then into the freezer, with predictable results. the next morning, the stock had frozen and expanded, rending the jar in twain. it didn't look like there were glass shards embedded anywhere, but i left the frozen stock in a sieve to gradually defrost anyway, just in case. many hours later, there was a mass of deflated still-icy gelatin in the sieve, grey with trapped particulates, fat, and other untasty things. in the bowl below, an intensely-flavoured and pellucid stock. not complicated at all (on this matter, also see the cooking issues primer)

Jan 9, 2010


there are few things better than a broth made of long-simmered meat of quality. whole foods has a special on large pieces of shoulder steak that are indivisible because ludicrously inexpensive. at $2.99 a pound, this stuff is cheaper than strawberries--which is wrong on many levels but ultimately quite nice for me. i cut it into large chunks so that it would stay intact, discarded the first boil to remove assorted bad-tasting impurities that are the legacy of a fleshly existence, covered it in water again, then started cooking it in a tightly covered le creuset last night at 6.30pm on the lowest flame the stove will sustain without going out (not a bubble broke the surface, and the thermometer read 200F).

risking asphyxiation and household catastrophe, i left the thing going overnight. i was careful to put the battery back into our over-eager smoke detector before going back to bed. when i woke up this morning, the tiny flame was still burning, the building had not burned down, and the beef fell apart at the mildest provocation. the broth, which is perhaps the more important part (like the scabbard, which was worth ten of the etc) was limpid, pearled with fat, and the gold of an aged tequila. the late-stage contribution of large carrot batons (chamfered at the edges to preserve clarity) and quartered vidalia onions must also be acknowledged.

Jan 7, 2010

lentils of generosity and contentment

in the atlantic food channel today, a slightly modified version of the first recipe for the best lentils in the world. the full story here.

and, previously, a short ramble on kaiseki.

a cambridge and boston food map

a work in progress, but currently not so bad.

View Good Eats, Greater Boston (but mostly Cambridge) in a larger map

Jan 5, 2010

tequilabot x fishburger

Posted via web from flavourcountry

huang shan

from 21st editions. huang shan is an illustrated book of tang poems and platinum prints in a limited edition, designed by mike russem at kat ran press. yours for a mere $8500.

Jan 4, 2010


the city block that makes you either yearn to live in ny or run screaming from it

a happy new year to you. the inbox is back down to fewer than 10 emails and i am wearing a clean shirt. these two are not insignificant achievements.
  1. new year's resolution: spend holidays doing only uninteresting and restful things. the presence of small animals and spirituous beverages of high quality are permitted.
  2. jewish weddings: congratulations to the kaplammers, and particularly to david hammer for using the word oikos in his tisch lecture! the wedding involved plenty of food and dancing in circles. the renegade california contingent (table 2) tried and failed to introduce hexagonality into the proceedings.
  3. the best sandwich of recent months: the restaurant school special at koch's deli, just down the street and around the corner from julian's house in philadelphia. corned beef, honey turkey, brisket of beef, hot pepper cheese, cole slaw and russian dressing or mustard on a hoagie roll. an unholy combination of many meats and cole slaw (which i had previously avoided in sandwiches for introducing unnecessary and unemulsified liquid). no photo, as it was consumed too quickly. perhaps the pulled roast pork sandwich with garlicky greens at dinic's (also in phl) would have been even better, but dinic's was sold out and the comparison thus awaits a future visit.
  4. single malt scotch: a stellar glass at zuni cafe in 2005 converted me to calvados. julian's ardbeg 10 year did me for single malts. these tasting notes seem to me wildly off-base: this stuff has the scent of syrup made of rock sugar and pandanus leaves.
  5. old friends: are the easiest ones to grouse with. helps if they have good scotch and live close to a great deli. [thx julian]
  6. eating prodigiously: i ate with the alpha hound in jackson heights a few days ago. the experience left me nearly prostrate, but also happily stuffed with fried watercress, fresh korean tofu, fenugreek paratha, russian milk chocolate, and a pint of guinness, among many others. the food was good, the conversation was better. this is his contribution to the art of rating food (i think the inclusion of reference OJ is what tips it into brilliance).
  7. banh mi: have i complained before that cambridge has no (not one) vietnamese sandwich provider? not long ago, there was a small cafe on massachusetts avenue just south of porter which had a beautiful, minimal banh mi for $2.50. i went there once before it closed, to be replaced by a bakery selling undistinguished and overly-sweet cakes and pastries. while in the big apple, i loaded the nyt banh mi map onto my phone* and finally made it to baoguette on murray hill. for $5, the cilantro was wilted, the daikon and carrot pickles were limp, the bread was not crusty, and there was too much stuff inside it. crushed, i slunk back to boston where, at the tail end of a grocery run in chinatown, i accidentally picked up the best banh mi i've had in years: cilantro leaves plucked off the stems, a freshly-toasted baguette with an open crumb, a thin smear of pate and a shaving of ham, crisp pickles, and a scattering of finely-chopped hot chilies ($3 at lu's sandwich shop, on knapp st in boston. you can buy a bangle or some gold bars in the attached jewelers should the mood strike).
  8. the shake shack: was closed when i went by on new year's eve. smart people. their frozen custard is a riff on ted drewes from st louis, which sometimes i dream about (part 3 of my encounter with ted drewes, part 2 and part 1 are the preamble). this is the shake shack custard calendar: M gianduja, T blood orange, W salted caramel, Th roasted peanut, F carrot cake, Sa mint chocolate chip, Su cinnamon toast. i would go back every day.
  9. pourovers: newly possessed of a hario burr grinder and pourover cone, and a bag of barismo kagumoini, i fabricated a canvas filter with some scrap #10 and bookbinder's linen this morning and am anticipating good things tomorrow. apparently barismo has become one of the new epicenters of the artisanal coffee roasting movement. this is unsurprising but pleasant.
  10. precipitation: there is nothing like a persistent snowfall to make you feel good about having lots of oranges in the house, a large mug of coffee, and 200 pages of hermann hesse to go.

* why does the iphone not have native mymaps support?

Jan 3, 2010

to-fu + 1

tofu guy found a new buddy.

Jan 2, 2010