January 2010 Archives

Yadda yadda yadda…

I cook the occasional dinner or lunch around here — sometimes, for values of “cook” that involve the telephone and delivery people — but it’s unusual for me to spend an entire day cooking. This Sunday, however, that’s pretty much exactly what I did.

Motivated by a desire to take my lunch to work much more frequently, but realizing that the morning chaos isn’t going to get better anytime soon, and inspired by a couple three recent threads on ask.metafilter, I decided to whip up a batch of freezer burritos. I based things off this breakfast burrito recipe, but ended up making some substantial changes.

Obviously, I was looking for lunch burritos, not breakfast, so the eggs were right out. (Also, not a big fan of the egg in general…) Also, I knew that if I made 20 of the exact same thing, I was going to get bored before they were all gone — so I decided to mix it up a bit, and make some chicken, some steak, and some plain bean burritos, then freeze them all together (unlabeled). Now lunch is going to be an adventure every day!

First up, I got a medium-sized chicken (about 3.5 pounds) and roasted it, using this recipe (there is a recipe down there, under the rant). For the cavity, I used a quarter of a large white onion and about 6 smallish garlic cloves. Aside from peeling the outer layers off both, I didn’t do any additional prep there. Cooked for a little over an hour, and it turned out great — I think I’ll probably use this recipe again as the actual meal. This time, however, I pulled all the meat off the carcass, doing some random quality control inspection along the way. (TASTY!)

While the chicken was cooking, I started a skirt steak marinating. I was working off this recipe, but I rapidly went pretty far afield. I crushed 4 good sized garlic cloves, and then mixed in 3 tablespoons lime juice, 1/4 teaspoon cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to make a thin paste. Slathered that on both sides of the steak, and tossed it in the fridge for several hours. Took it out, brushed both sides with olive oil, grilled it for about 3-4 minutes on each side on a very hot skillet, and that was that.

I also whipped up a batch of white rice using a knock-off Chipotle rice recipe that TheWife found. This is really only meh; if and when I do this again, I need to find a better rice recipe (or improve my technique with this one, or something)…

The other component was a bunch of plain canned black beans, rinsed well and drained. Again, if and when I repeat this, I think I’ll take the trouble to start with dry beans and cook them up; it’ll give a bit more control over the spicing and flavor.

Anyway, once all the meat was prepped, actually making the burritos was pretty easy: slap down a spoon or two of beans, a spoon or two of rice, add the meat (or some salsa for the bean variety), add a handful of a shredded cheddar/jack mix, and wrap it up. Once I had a batch rolled, I wrapped each one in plastic wrap, tossed them all in a freezer bag, and slung that into the deep freeze.

I’ll try to report back in a week or two on how this is working out. I’ve also got my eye on a calzone recipe for the next round of mass cooking — maybe some time next month…

My friend Sweth doesn’t want to turn into a hermaphroditic frog, which I think is an entirely reasonable goal. If you click on that link, Sweth will explain something you can do to prevent this happening to him or you, and he’s a lot more entertaining and humorous about it than I would be. So click the link already. (thanks)

Couple of thoughts worth calling out from the Bradlands memorial thread on MetaTalk:

Previously if one was a writer or artist or scholar or otherwise historically/culturally significant, one would give one’s writings & ‘collection’ to a university library. What do we do with our websites & blogs past the time we can pay for them?

How can we know now what might be significant for study 100, 200, 500, 1200 years from now? How do we archive bytes?

Some folks are printing out their blogs to custom ordered books, but this is not necessarily the best solution, as what will the children or grandchildren of our friends and families do with those books? Will they end up at flea markets along with 78rpm acetate records? But maybe that is good, the randomness of the find.

By choosing to engage in the frontier online space, we have chosen to some degree to toss the long term to the wind. The suggestion of the Library of Congress, or other institutions that function as a cultural respository, may be a good bet for the long run in terms of keeping an archive of text|image|ephemera, as after 2 recessions, I don’t trust the market to keep a reliable archive.

If we can now register our copyright with the Library of Congress or the Copyright Libraries (such as Trinity, Oxford, etc), and we can get an ISBN or periodical number for our blogs, how do we start to archive the actual posts and images to a repository.

Do we lobby our congress|political critters to set aside resources for blogs that are periodicals to be archived [or] as Matthowie suggest do we donate to an institution such as the Archive.org foundation and make sure that it can function as a cultural archival NGO?



joeclark writes that “the earliest bloggers are old enough to die”, and the knock-on is that the earliest blogs are old enough to die with their creators, and not through graceful retirement. Reaching back to Brad and Rebecca and Derek doing Fray and Leslie doing Smug and so many others, they were all a kind of conversation that I followed from the periphery, and which mattered way more than the corporate webmonkeying I was doing in my spare time, because it was about what the web might be good for, if you cared about it enough.

Conversations are transient (though their products ought not to be) and social memory has its own big role to play, so I’m not a stickler for completeness, but it was always a writing and building both in the moment and for posterity, especially at that point when Blogger made it easy to keep the new stuff up front and preserve the archives. It’s just that there wasn’t quite the sense of what to do when posterity came around, and that’s what we face today, along with an apparent powerlessness to stop their vanishing.

As the New Year rolled in, Tom was calling blogs “the vinyl of social media”, and though I know he meant it with a smile, it reminds me now that vinyl isn’t just an old medium: it’s a repository of so much that never made it to digital.

I hadn’t visited Brad’s stuff regularly in years, though I passed by though the occasional link, and in nostalgic moments. It was good to see it still there, a prompt for those warm memories of someone at the heart of that weird new blogging thing. So, one last thought: if you were around ten years ago, maybe pay a visit to those places you used you cross off your daily list, just to see if they’re still around, and if they are, glance through what you’ve missed and say hello.


Lots of interesting fodder towards the bottom of that thread for webloggers of a certain age…

2009 Books

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I’m trying to come up with a better solution for tracking what I’ve read than what I used this year — a stack of index cards that I scribbled stuff on when I remembered to — but whether or not that happens, we’ll see… (Yes, I could use something like Goodreads, but they don’t really offer the sort of stat-based info I’d like to see…)

Anyway, the numbers for 2009:

Books read in 2009: 80

Books started in 2009, still being read: 3 (Getting Things Done, an annual re-read; Learn C On The Mac, a brain refresh (and not as platform-specific as I’d have liked); Keeping It Real, trashy fantasy)

Books started in 2009 and abandoned: 3 (Study War No More, a reread that I couldn’t get in to; Code Complete 2, had to leave it with $OLD_JOB when I quit; Dive Into Python, just couldn’t seem to push through it… again.)

Non-fiction/fiction split: 18/62 (22.5% non-fiction)

Library books/own books split: 15/65 (18.75% library books)

Reread/first read split: 33/47 (41.25% rereads — rather higher than normal, but I reread a lot of paperbacks this year prior to donating them)

Longest read: The Art of UNIX Programming, started 19 Feb; finished 21 May.

By month:


2010, ov vey…