Thursday, June 28, 2012

I am now dating a 30 year old man

Adam turned 30. Woah.

Adam at age 30
He cooked a traditional dinner recipe for a small group of friends. It was very tasty. He did it all by himself. Note the lovely collection of checkered napkins everyone has- a family friend made them and sent them to him just in time.
Adam & friends
Not only did he cook dinner (spaghetti carbonara), he also made quite a collection of desserts for larger party that followed. (chocolate cake, chocolate covered banana bread, rhubarb crisp, a tiny vegan rhubarb crisp, and he decorated with chocolate and raspberries two store-bought cheesecakes)
Adam's mad cooking skills
My contribution to the party was to make a "Pin the Beard on Adam" game. I think it went over well.
Pin the beard on Adam!

Good times here, in the SF Flat. Good times.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Aliens Dinner Experience

Usually I'm all talk. Usually.

My epic Aliens themed dinner was finally actualized several weekends ago. It must be said up front that extreme thanks goes to my friends Adam K & Nate F who both played the role of sous chef for the evening and who wound up doing a majority of the work day of. I am also very grateful for the GWS house for letting me hijack their most excellent kitchen and for all my friends who kindly consumed the food, said nice things about it, and were chill enough to sit back and let me freak out in the kitchen (mostly) by myself. Also, thanks to Jon for snapping the crazy awesome photos I include in this post. I have much love for his mad macro photo skills.

Course 1 : The Egg

Aliens Themed Dinner :  Egg stage
All good Aliens films start with an egg. It holds the promise of impending doom.
Steamed bun, stuffed with diced vegetables and a single whole cherry tomato.
Aliens Themed Dinner : Egg stage Aliens Themed Dinner : Egg stage

Course 2 : The Face Hugger

Aliens Themed Dinner : Facehugger stage
Such an iconic silhouet- the face hugger always immediately follows from an egg. Wicked is their grasp, and wicked is their acid blod.
Followers of the blog will recognize the cracker shape from when I initially made it. It is paired with an asparagus puree.
Aliens Themed Dinner : Facehugger stage Aliens Themed Dinner : Facehugger stage Aliens Themed Dinner : Facehugger stage

Course 3 : The Chest Burster

Aliens Themed Dinner : Chestburster stage
Dramatic, bloody, gory, and violent, the chestburster will eventually "arrive" and make a scene.
Beet leaf salad, roasted beets, vegetables, and egg that has been extruded through a syring into boiling water.
Aliens Themed Dinner : Chestburster stage Aliens Themed Dinner : Chestburster stage Aliens Themed Dinner : Chestburster stage

Course 4 : The Adult Alien

Aliens Themed Dinner : Adult stage
Black & chitinous. Slimy & evil. It's the point of it all, and what we love most.
Squid ink pasta and muscles. Diced parsley and a single cherry tomato. Side of freshly made squid ink bread.
Aliens Themed Dinner : Adult stage Aliens Themed Dinner : Adult stage Aliens Themed Dinner : Adult stage Aliens Themed Dinner : Adult stage Aliens Themed Dinner : Adult stage Aliens Themed Dinner : Adult stage

Course 5 : Androids

We can't talk about the Aliens francise without acknowledging the androids in that universe. Quirky, diverse, and always filled with a milky goo that will eventually get splattered everywhere before the film is over.
Aliens Themed Dinner : Adroid Aliens Themed Dinner : Android
Tapioca pudding with a hint of mint, served in a cleaned out eggshell.
Served after the viewing of Aliens

So, that all said, let me back up a bit...

It was some time around the New Years, I think. Maybe. A good while ago, at least. I was probably contemplating Aliens, as I am occasionally want to do, when a vision of an inky black meal just sort of blossomed in my mind's eye. This is after The Silence of the Lambs and lamb burgers dinner & movie pairing, so I on the lookout for another good match....

While the initial idea that struck me was that of the aliens' darkness, the driving concept behind the meal was the multiple stages of a xenomorph's life cycle. At this point I've typed up and deleted five different paragraphs. I have a lot to say about the meal, just ask me about it some time if you want to hear about it.

If you're interested in technical details or having the party yourself (recommended!) you can marvel at all the nerdy prep effort that went into it by checking out my cooking timeline, ingredient list, and recipe collection all bundled together in one helpful Google spreadsheet!

And final notes/comments/thoughts:

  • For the love of god, do NOT get 6 pounds of muscles!! We needed HALF of that, perhaps less.
  • Crumple tin foil under the face hugger crackers to get the "pounce" look
  • Forgot to dye the egg red before boiling it!! Lost some of it's "guts" look... but was still pleasantly gross enough
  • The beet leaves were used because the chest burster comes from the human? See? There's symbolism there! Don't you get it?!? ... in other news, apparently everyone but me hates the taste of beet leaves
  • Only needed 1.5 packages of pastas (had bought 3)
  • Used brown sugar for egg stage buns rather then the called for white. An improvement on the original recipe, some claim (not I)
  • There were 6 sit-down-only guests, 2 helpers who ate afterwards, and myself who could barely eat anything. It was a good number, 2 smaller then I originally planned... I think I could have handled the planned 2 more, but that definitely would have been max
  • I learned a lot about how much work goes into making a large meal for many people. Educational, fun, but a very stressful experience. Did I mention how grateful I was for my helpers?
  • Nerdy prep work is fun! I shopped at the grocery store with my laptop open in the shopping cart. It made me feel good.
  • YES, we did watch Aliens after the dinner. We watched the extended directors cut addition thing. Recommended for true/existing fans, but *not* recommended for casual or first-time viewings (there were actually several folks who had not seen this one before!) Bill Paxton is more awesome in it then you probably remember. Also- Ripley is the best role model ever in action films!
  • Formal cooking for friends is fun! I definitely hope to try it again some time (NOT any time soon!)
    Aliens Themed Dinner : Adult stage

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Little things

Aliens dinner party was last night. Am still recovering... more on that later when I get my hands on some photos....

Laptop Harness Finished up a minor project started before the east coast trip-- laptop sleeve harness thing! I now have a 15" laptop from work...turns out those 2 inches between 15 and 13 are a big deal, especially when lugging that thing to and from work once a week.

Didn't want to get a huge bag for the damn thing, but I couldn't lug it in my normal bag. Grabbed a laptop sleeve from Apple : sorta like, but not exactly like this Incase Nylon Protective Sleeve 15-Inch - Black (CL57480).

No harness = sadness Ever since high school, I've always carried too many things in my arms. Used to lug 3+ text books around every day in my arms or resting on my hip. Turns out carrying really expensive and heavy equipment around like that isn't as fun...

The harness is one big loop that makes up both handles and then a secondary loop crossing that, which holds the laptop in place. I was going to have a second secondary loop, but turned out to be unnecessary. The secondary loop is green on one side and red on the other, providing a delightful watermelon look and a versatile color pallet :)

Reversable laptop harness Improved!

It's easy to slip on and off and the primary loop is made up of 2 parallel cords (yay, more piping!) so it seems pretty damn secure/sturdy.
Reversable Laptop Harnsess
Yes, went a little photo happy... sorry.

Also made some strawberry bread and home-made butter for the first time. Crazy how it hits that magical point and goes THUD and near instantly separates out... crazy... The bread was tasty, fun to make, and educational. Big chunks of fruit = good. Fruit puree = waste of time. There was a LOT of strawberry in there, but only the chunks were taste-able. Maybe next time with a puree I'll add extra sugar... ?

Strawberry bread
Bubble gum? Cream -> Butter : 3 Cream -> Butter : 2 Cream -> Butter : 1

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Shhh! In-progress work

Efforts to sew were thwarted by a missing presser foot holder and then by my model for the next apron I'm sewing being off at a baseball game.

Spent a very dazed evening coding... several quick points:

  • My 13" Macbook Pro is so cute and tiny and doesn't BURN when I sit with it on my lap (see: work 15" Macbook Pro)
  • Coding at work and then coming home and coding some more = unhappy eyes and brain pan. I feel kinda dizzy and not-awesome. I also forgot to eat more then just an egg for dinner. Feels like college all over again.
  • Visual Design is hard. Haaaard. It's so easy to wave the data together but I don't know how to wave the user's brain into the system.
  • I tried to use Twitter Bootstrap, I really did... but those tables, they just solve all my problems...
Found out that I can host content from my DropBox! Oh joy! No idea what the bandwidth limits are like.... Will get the Stereogram project up soon.

Anyway! Ratio Recipe Manager

The page may look terrible, but I've been using a much simpler/stupid version of it for my last 4 loaves of bread (at least). I aspire to improve the saved-info functionality, and make adding ingredients easier. It would also be a nice challenge for myself to make it not look like ... like it does now.

MMMmMMmmmm.... Knockout.....

Monday, June 11, 2012

East Coast Travels

Hard to be crafty when not at home, as stated in previous post. Hard to be coding when you leave your god damn laptop at airport security on your way out of town! Doh! On the upside I had a severely Net-free vacation! (and the laptop was waiting for me when I got back in town)

Am still fighting myself on sleep though... had an aggressive first week back that was not aided by flying in at approx 2am and several late night movie showings: Snow White & the Huntsman, Moonrise Kingdom, and MIDNIGHT SHOWING of Prometheus!!! Ehm. That's for another blog post. This one is just gratuitous vacation photos and mutterings!

Our East Coast Vacation!!11!1! !

Pacific Ocean Sea CreaturesBefore heading out, we celebrated a friend's birthday. Part of this celebration involved jumping in the Pacific Ocean. Adam suited up quite awesomely while I opted to hop about in the waves in just my swim suit. Hooray for body fat being useful!

Sweet Sunsets! Adam & his beer

Red eye to Key Largo, Florida. Stayed at the Hilton there. Turns out red eyes work great when all you plan to do on that first day is lay on a beach. Adam and I had fun- one day we kayaked out to those little keys you can see. The food there was surprisingly good- had gator bites! And lots of fish! Did you know that Key Lime Pie comes from those keys? News to me...

Oh shit!
Our last day in Florida was spent exploring the Everglades. The swamp land is so bleak and... kinda' evil, it makes me meditative on the nature of national parks and our relationship to nature. I definitely recommend visiting it, if you can. It lacks the majesty of some parks- notably ones with mountain ranges in them- but it still is fascinating. We didn't have time (nor Adam the tolerance) to stop at the much advertised Alligator Park, but we did spot one in the wild which made us quite proud.
Adam! Alligator & Us
Good display layout
Adorable warthog After a brief, yet terrible flight north, we found ourselves in DC. I'm not sure how much I've conveyed it here, but I'm a huge science/nature museum fan. Big fan. Love 'em. I've been looking forward to the chance to visit the Smithsonian for ages and I was not let down. The Natural History Museum is fantastic- one of the best I've seen so far. Great exhibits, great taxidermy, great text. The only draw back was how flippen crowded it was... but who can actually resent school children going to a museum to learn? A free museum! Went back to the NHM a second day... We also visited the Air & Space museum which Adam was much more into. His dad used to work for Boeing and he was able to name several planes on sight.
Bones! ... ... ..
Awww, yeah. History! Oh, right... there was other stuff in DC as well... some buildings and stuff... not really my thing. We also visited Adams brother & his family! Very nice people. It's fun to watch children age... I remember seeing them when they were much smaller and much different. It's also crazy to observe family traits between generations...

And then we went to Maryland where a pair of very good friends became legally bound. The end! We were too caught up with the socializing to take any photos, alas. To see more photos of what was covered here, check out the Flickr Set Regular content relating to crafts and code to resume any day now... any day now...