Trivial Web2.0 Thought of the Day

Posted in technology, web at 5:33 pm by wingerz


If I see another Web2.0 site name that ends in [^aieou]r that isn’t associated with flickr, I’m going to vomit. Today, seeing weekendr pushed me over the edge, and I’m not even going to dignify it with a link.

Heartbreak at Shea

Posted in baseball, personal, sports at 9:59 am by wingerz


With Lee‘s blessing, I adopted the Mets as my team at the beginning of the postseason, even rooting for them against my hometown Dodgers. I had been following them pretty closely all year, and I was fortunate enough to be invited along to a Mets game earlier this season at Shea during a Zuckerman family outing.

Last night I watched the game over at Lee’s, with along Jeff, Dodzie, and Vanessa. The top of the 9th home run hit us like a forceful blow to the stomach. I can’t even begin to imagine what Mets fans are feeling as they wake up this morning.

I take some consolation in the fact that I witnessed one of the most incredible baseball plays ever: Endy Chavez’s catch at the wall to preserve a 1-1 tie. I didn’t think that they would lose after something so remarkable. But they did.

And now there is a new season to look forward to.


Morning Stroll Along the Charles

Posted in personal, photos at 12:03 am by wingerz


The nice thing about dropping Jen off at Sloan every morning is that I get to drive along Memorial Drive on the way to work. Yesterday the water was so calm that I parked my car at the office and took a walk along the river, snapping some photos along the way.


Leaf-peeping in Wachusett

Posted in personal, photos at 7:58 pm by wingerz


Two Mondays ago, Lee, Lynn, and I ventured out of Boston to enjoy some beautiful fall foliage. We ended up taking a scenic, roundabout route to Wachusett, where we hiked up to the summit. It was very nice, though the actual summit was quite ugly and crowded. The trails are of various lengths and very well-marked so it’s a pretty non-intimidating place to go for a walk in the woods. Check our pictures.

[Edit: Changed the wording on behalf of the nitpicker below.]


Burger Time

Posted in food, home cooking, photos at 8:56 pm by wingerz


Yesterday I got a terrible craving for hamburgers. I considered getting McDonald’s for dinner but decided instead to consult my trusty grill book. Later in the evening, we ended up with some delicious grilled burgers.

The 6-ounce patties were formed from a mixture of the following proportions: 1 1/2 lb ground beef (80% lean chuck preferred), 1/2 tsp salt, some ground pepper, and 1/2 oz of dried porcini mushrooms (which were placed in a bowl with warm water and microwaved for 30 seconds). I mixed it by hand and tried to not mix it too much. Grilled on high for 2 1/2 minutes on the first side before flipping and grilling until done. Served with fresh tomatoes and lettuce from the farmer’s market.

Lithion-ion Battery Public Service Announcement

Posted in personal at 8:25 pm by wingerz


For a very long time, I’ve been letting my batteries run out to near empty before recharging them. It’s probably because many years ago I was warned that charging the cordless phone too frequently would drastically shorten the battery life. I recently read that most rechargeable battery packs (like the ones found in my camera, phone, and DS) are lithium-ion, which prefer shallow, frequent charges. Not sure if this is common knowledge or not.


Orange-Soda-Can Chicken

Posted in food, home cooking, photos at 1:58 am by wingerz


Potlucks are a tricky beast. Usually I try to make something not too labor-intensive, affordable, plentiful, portable, and tasty at room temperature – after all, if I’m going to go to all of that effort, I want a lot of people to be able to try it and to think that it tastes good. Jess and Cy hosted another potluck tonight, and my contribution was orange-soda-can chicken.

A few days ago Jess asked me whether I had tried the beer-can chicken from my grill book. I had not, but it sounded intriguing. The basic idea is to cram a mostly-full beer can into the cavity of a chicken (with the chicken and beer can in an upright position). I’m not exactly sure why it’s supposed to be so effective as a means of cooking delicious, juicy chicken but it probably has to do with moisture and heat distribution inside the cavity; maybe it cooks more evenly. In any case, I quickly realized that grilling was out of the question – our Weber Q was not tall enough for a chicken to sit up straight inside of it (Note to self: Add “Tall enough to house standing chicken” to checklist for next grill).

I made a quick run to the grocery store this morning and picked up two chickens, one 3.5 lb and one 4 lb. After all, why [make] one when you can have two at twice the price?. This is what happens when I don’t have Lee to keep an eye on me. I read that lemonade was a reasonable substitute, but I saw the orange soda first. I could have bought a 6-pack of cheap beer, but I’m much more likely to drink orange soda.

I brined the chickens in a gallon of water with a cup of salt and a cup of sugar (All of these measurements are for two chickens). Patted them dry and rubbed them with a mixture of 4 tbsp cumin, 4 tbsp chili powder, 2 tbsp ground black pepper, 2 tbsp paprika, 2 tbsp allspice, 2 tsp cinnamon (loosely based on the “Pantry Rub” from the grill book). I made sure to rub the inside of the cavity and to lift up the breast skin to rub the meat directly. I opened the soda cans, poured out about 1/4 cup of soda from each, punched two additional holes in the top of the can with a church key, and spooned in some of the remaining rub. Once that was done, I plopped each chicken on its can.

I set both chickens facing each other (more for comedic value and good pictures than anything else) on the roaster, put them into the oven, at 350, checking every 15 minutes after first hour. The thigh temperature was about 170 when I took it out. I tented them with foil for 10 minutes afterwards. I removed them from the roaster and used the drippings to make a giblet-mushroom gravy. Finally, I carved the chickens the way Jess taught me to do it: with sharp kitchen shears and an intimidating cleaver.

I snuck a few bites in while carving the chicken. The meat was extremely fragrant, juicy, and delicious. Even though we left early, I wasn’t above sneaking a few pieces home for us to eat tomorrow. I’d definitely make this again, and I’d definitely try to serve it in front of people. A lot of the articles I found online about beer-can chicken start off talking about how it’s a great show piece for a dinner party.

Overall the food at the potluck was wonderful tonight.

[The linked images are stored in Gallery, another Dreamhost one-click install that I’ve been playing around with recently in trying to find a good home for my pictures. But that’s for another post.]


Wii Dev Tool Simplifies Gesture Recognition

Posted in games at 11:15 pm by wingerz


In honor of Gamestop/EBGames’ Wii pre-order day, here’s an article about AiLive, a development tool for programming gestures for the Wii remote. It features a great video showing how easy it is to program using gestures – the demo-er starts recording input from the controller, repeats an action several times, and gives the gesture a label. It’ll be a great tool, especially for the smaller development studios. This should make things easier for players too – hopefully developers of gesture-based games will expose this functionality to users so that they can record some of their own custom gestures.

I didn’t pre-order today; hopefully there’s enough supply for me to swing by a store in the suburbs to grab one around launch day. Just about a month to go!


Newest member of the family

Posted in equipment, food at 9:50 pm by wingerz


We’ve owned a cute little Weber Q for two summers now, and it’s been great (Though our next grill will be bigger and have two sets of burners and an exterior thermometer). The only problem is that it uses tiny little propane tanks that have a tendency to run out in the middle of cooking a meal – and if stuff has been dripping through the grate onto the burner, the only way to re-light it is to remove the grate (and all the food). Needless to say, this got extremely annoying so I finally purchased an adapter hose and a tank of propane. I should have done this a long time ago. If you get one and want to keep it outside, be careful: one reviewer reports: “Squirrels destroyed mine.”

Recently Dugg on the Sidebar

Posted in amusing, blog, development, technology at 6:45 pm by wingerz


Digg is not the best source of news, but it certainly is amusing. Lots of fun YouTube videos and an occasional interesting blog post or article. Comments are usually good for a laugh too. Users submit links and other users digg it up or bury it down. For the most part I only monitor the popular stories.

I threw together a quick-and-dirty WordPress plugin to show the last 10 things that I dugg in the sidebar. You can do it by sourcing some Javascript from digg (it just does document.write()s – no JSON). Rather than rely on that, I curl it every few minutes and source the local copy instead.

A quick scan of the current headlines makes me quite happy.

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