Archive for category life

Stew Recipe


I know in a previous entry I spoke about making a metaphorical “stew.” But now, I will bestow upon you readers my new recipe for making a real stew — and a very tasty one at that. If you don’t have a crock pot, substitute it for a regular pot and just cook it in your oven at 200 degrees or so for 6-8 hours.

Ingredients

  • 2lb stew meat (I used pre-cut chuck stew meat from the grocery store)
  • 3 tbsp. olilve oil
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1 tsp. worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 4 carrots chopped to 1/2″ pcs.
  • 3 potatoes cubed appropriately
  • 2 onions also cut up as desired
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. rosemary

Mix flour, salt and pepper together in a bowl. Dredge beef in flour mixture and brown in a pan with olive oil (you’ll need to do this in two batches) for approximately 2-3 minutes each side over medium heat. Throw the beef and unused flour mixture into the crock pot. Put everything else into the crock pot as well, and mix it up to combine and fairly evenly coat. Cook on low for 10-12 hours, or on high for around 6 hours. When it’s done, let it cool at room temperature for an hour or so and then refrigerate. The stew is better after it’s had a chance to rest for a day. Feel free to skim fat off of the top, and/or thicken the stew if desired (I found very little fat, and a perfect consistency already). Makes ~4-6 servings. Yum.

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Some New Vocabulary


And now, some phrases that have crept into my vocabulary from either my own life experiences, my work, or my friends. Enjoy these shared bits of english-language awesomeness:

  • Schtonky: In some circumstances, anything that is cool/awesome can be referred to as schtonky. More specifically, schtonk is a measure of some mixture of class, formality, masculinity, and old-timeyness. For example, a fine tobacco pipe carries very high schtonk value, as would any wood-paneled room with a fireplace where leather-bound books are. Snoop-doggy-dog dressed up as a pimp driving around in a ’64 Impala is also quite schtonky, as is anything to do with Frank Sinatra, or the rat pack. Wal-Mart is not schtonky.
  • Janky: Something that is constantly near the boundry of working and being broken is janky. But being janky is more than that. Pretty much every one of the crazy electronic / audio / mechanical projects we built in college was janky. Something that is janky but still working carries with it a certain amount of pride and charm. At MIT, on 2ndwest at east campus, the PTZ Audio Network is decidedly janky — random bits of audio cable strewn between points on the hall tied in with various transformers and ancient audio amplifiers that sometimes work.
  • To have a stew going on / to be preparing a stew: A stew is a nice warm bowl of goodness. Metaphorically, for someone to have a stew on means that they are settling into and/or enjoying a bit of awesomeness. This is somewhat hard to define. An example would be hanging out with friends and enjoying several alcoholic beverages — you would say: “We’re hanging out here, there’s quite a stew going on.” Other activities, such as enjoying a day at the beach, taking a nice vacation, having a gourmet dinner, watching a marathon of your favorite TV show, going clubbing, etc. may also be considered “stew-like.”
  • Torqued up: This one’s fairly easy to understand. Anytime someone is stressed out about something, or getting worked up about anything, it’s like they are twisting themselves and building negative energy. This is much like when you twist a rubber band around itself, or any item that can store torque, so let’s call it being torqued up.
  • Degauss: If you’re torqued up about something, you need to degauss. Back in the day, we used to have CRT monitors with “de-gauss” buttons built in to allow us to somehow release magnetic energy or whatever. It made a satisfying “fwongggggggg!” noise when pressed. People can degauss in several ways. One good way to de-gauss would be to get a stew going (see above).
  • Cleaning the Basement: When you’re spending all sorts of time and energy doing unnecessary preparation work before starting on the thing you really need to be doing, that’s known as “cleaning the basement.” Back when I used to be a home-owner, I would insist on making sure the basement was clean and well-organized before dealing with clean-up projects on the main floor. Ostensibly, this was to make sure that anything that was going to be moved from the main floor down to the basement would go in a reasonable place and not just get thrown in a pile.
  • Bikeshedding / Painting the bike shed: When trying to solve a complex problem or deal with a crisis, it’s important to focus on what’s important. If you’re planning and building your dream estate, or remodeling your home, there’s no reason to waste too much time and energy deciding what color the bike shed is going to be and giving it several magnificent coats of paint. Bikeshedding is a popular activity in groups. When solving a problem, or working on a project, everyone will argue about what color the bike shed should be rather than directing focus on solving the problem at hand.

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One Thousand Gigabytes


So yesterday, I took a trip across the street, paid out around $180, and walked out with a single, small box capable of storing one terabyte of data.

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For those of you keeping count, that’s one thousand gigabytes, and that’s pretty amazing. It’s replacing a crusty and failing old LVM of three concatenated 250gb parallel ATA drives that have started suffering from some failed sectors of late. So, a terabyte should be enough storage for anyone for a long time, right? I remember saying the same thing in 1996 when the first one gigabyte drives were coming out. So, ten years from now, will we all have petabyte sized drives in our computers?

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Holiday Greetings


From the the part of the country where they refer to carbonated beverages as “pop”:
pop.jpg

(taken at a local grocery store earlier this afternoon)

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Clip Show


In honor and observance of the Writer’s Strike currently going on, here is my version of a “clip show.” This blog has over 175 entries now, some good, some bad, some awesome. I know there are several new readers here, and it’s a pain to sift through the entire blog to find the good nuggets. Here, in my opinion, are the 15 most worthy entries if you’re flipping through this place I like to call “Into the Weeds”:

  • yuck: Cold Stone Creamery Rant
  • The Soul of the Commuter: Commuting sucks. In very many ways. Here I get back to my urban studies roots.
  • UIUC Mail Server Disaster: A tale of sysadmin sorrow from 2002
  • Trivia: See if you can identify who all of these footnotes to history are.
  • The Cult of Scientology: Mini-rant and link to a freaking awesome article on scientolgy.
  • Longwood Towers: Rant about why the Longwood Towers Condominiums are some place you should not be thinking about living in.
  • Kozmo.com: : Classic tale of dot-bomb woe. Ever wonder what that “kozmo” box is that’s sitting in the kitchen lounge on second west?
  • Florence Co. ADMAX: Crazy terrorist prison in Colorado with all sorts of nasties inside.
  • New Apartment: Check out the awesome view from my living room.
  • Driving in Boston: A primer, with scary crazy maps of intersections.
  • Captain Al Haynes: The amazing story of Capt. Haynes and United flight 232.
  • Firefighting Mode: Some systems philosophy, and the condition of what things were like back when I worked at MIT IS&T.
  • The Switch: Mac vs. PC
  • Unofficial!!!!: The crazyness at UIUC known as “Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day” and why it is awesome and awesomely stupid at the same time.
  • Datacenter Transformer: A tale of woe from some crazy-ass electrical problem and superbad preparation and handling at MIT IS&T.

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Car Trip


Kristy was on call the day after thanksgiving, and I had the day off, so I decided it would be a good time to take a trip to Rochester and visit my mom. We had a mini post-thanksgiving dinner, and took the opportunity to dig through a storage locker and rescue a bunch of old pictures that I should probably have had all along.

It was a bit of a treasure trove. All sorts of old pictures. Like some from our crazy first apartment in Cambridge with the nautical themed wood paneling in the front room, and the goofy huge chandelier above the bed in the bedroom, and the humongous kitchen. And also, I found the long-lost pictures of the u-haul truck towing our car behind with every bit of our earthly possessions contained therein. Of course there were even older pictures, like from high school, and trips to Australia, New Zealand, and England, and my old modeling portfolio and pictures from some plays, musicals and dance recitals. Maybe if I can get my hands on a scanner I can get some of these digitized.

Is this what happened to everyones old pre-digital photos? I mean, it’s nice to actually have a physical picture — but they can be locked away in storage lockers, misplaced, damaged, and they can also be hard to copy and distribute without additional tools. Scottoway may disagree, and will most likely offer his own two cents on the situation.

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The Matrix


So, many of you readers will know that I never saw The Matrix. Yes, one of the defining movies of geek culture, and I never saw it. It was released while I was terribly busy with school, so I missed out on the initial hype for the first few years. After that, It almost became a bit of a point of pride that I had never seen this movie, but every one of my peers had.

Well, it all came to an end this past Wednesday night. After a long day of work (I’ll get to that in another entry, I suppose), I was spending the late hours of the evening on second west at MIT. I had decided not too long ago that at some point I was going to give in and watch the movie. Special thanks go out to Tammy for having the “let’s watch a movie” idea at around midnight, and to Marti for going down to the dorm desk to rent it.

So how was it? I thought it was pretty awesome. Somehow, I had escaped finding out too much about the plot, or any spoilers in the past 8 years or so — so I was able to mostly experience the movie in a pure, untainted way. But, I guess this is one less thing that I’ll be able to say I’ve never done.

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The Matrix


200px-The_Matrix_Poster.jpg

So, many of you readers will know that I never saw The Matrix. Yes, one of the defining movies of geek culture, and I never saw it. It was released while I was terribly busy with school, so I missed out on the initial hype for the first few years. After that, It almost became a bit of a point of pride that I had never seen this movie, but every one of my peers had.

Well, it all came to an end this past Wednesday night. After a long day of work (I’ll get to that in another entry, I suppose), I was spending the late hours of the evening on second west at MIT. I had decided not too long ago that at some point I was going to give in and watch the movie. Special thanks go out to Tammy for having the “let’s watch a movie” idea at around midnight, and to Marti for going down to the dorm desk to rent it.

So how was it? I thought it was pretty awesome. Somehow, I had escaped finding out too much about the plot, or any spoilers in the past 8 years or so — so I was able to mostly experience the movie in a pure, untainted way. But, I guess this is one less thing that I’ll be able to say I’ve never done.

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Argh


I guess I’ve been lax in my blogging duties lately, what with the new job and an extremely busy social calendar (har har har). This will be rectified soon.

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Boston, You’re My Home


After spending two weeks in San Francisco, visiting the headquarters of my new employer, Linden Lab, I am fully recovered from the jet lag, and back at home.

Unfortunately, the Red Sox are now down 1-2 in the ALCS vs. the Indians. The Rockies, on the other hand, are looking like a classic “Team of Destiny (TM).” When’s the last time they lost a game? How good was that one-game NL wild-card playoff?

Anyway, come on down to my place, good ‘ol apt. 1504 to help cheer on the Sox tonight as they battle the Indians (feather, not dot), for the privilege of meeting the Rockies in the 2007 fall classic. Refreshments and food will be provided. The fun starts at 6:30, when I get home from work. Game time is 8pm.

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