Starry Wisdom

Entropic Words from Neilathotep

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Tomato Sauce!

The CSA gave me 3 Roma tomatoes this week. What to do with them? Oh yeah, make a sauce. So I made a sauce, completely from scratch, with no real recipe, just riffing.

Neil’s Ersatz Roasted Tomato Sauce

  • 3-4 Roma tomatoes, peeled (see note at bottom)
  • 1 medium onion, sliced into half moons (there is a word for this, but I forget it)
  • 1 cup broth (I used vegetable, chicken would work, really whatever you have on hand, but Tetra Pak > can in my experience
  • 2-3 tablespoons redwine (I used some from a Merlot 1 hitter)
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped into thing strips
  • 6 cherry tomatoes
  • Red Pepper Flakes – to taste
  • Salt, Pepper
  • Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the tomatoes in half crosswise, and scoop out the seeds and juice (not so much in Romas, yay). You could probably strain this and use it later, but I didn’t think of it. Chop about 2 of the halfmoons of onion into dice. Put the tomatoes cut side up on an baking sheet (spray it with Pam first). Sprinkle with the chopped onion, and salt. Put the half moons down. Drizzle olive oil over all of this. Bake for about 1 hour or until the tomatoes are nice and soft, and the onions are carmelized.

Put the broth and wine in a medium sized pot (and the strain juices that were pulled out above, if you have it), and add the tomatoes and onion. Blend with an immersion blender (or in a regular blender). Add red pepper flakes and pepper to taste. Heat on medium heat until just simmering, then lower heat to maintain the simmer and reduce by about 25%. Meanwhile quarter the cherry tomatoes and slice the basil. Add to the pot and serve over pasta.

NOTE: To peel tomatoes, heat water to boiling in a pot, and put ice water in a seperate bowl. Cut a small x as lightly as possible through the skin on the bottom of the tomatoes. Place in boiling water for at most 30 seconds, or until the skin starts to peel away. Move immediately to the iced water. After a minute in the ice water, peel the skin from the tomatoes, which should be quite easy at this point. It will stick a bit to the stem, but you’re going to have to core them anyhow.

I added a bit more red pepper than I should have last night, but it was pretty good. Here is a picture of it served over penne:

posted by neil at 11:56 am
under cooking,food  

Friday, August 29, 2008

On This Day In 1936

John McCain was born.

Happy Birthday, McCain!

(I have to wonder if he picked his VP today to overshadow his 72nd birthday. Or is that too cynical?)

posted by neil at 11:33 am
under politics  

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Musical Interlude

4 years ago, before he was running for President, Barack Obama was running for Senate in Illinois. Here is a little song I found on his website back then. Enjoy.

Obama for Senate

posted by neil at 12:22 pm
under politics,rambling  

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Search terms

Here are the search terms which have lead people here in the past week:

  • digging at straws

That is all

posted by neil at 2:02 pm
under meta,rambling  

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Summer Sandwich Supper

A friend showed me an interesting blog last month, Not Eating Out In New York. This is a pretty interesting cooking blog. Anyway, the most recent post was this plum and feta panini which sounded good to me. Well, on my way home today, I picked up supplies to make one. Here is the result:

It was pretty good, actually. I might try it again with chevre instead of feta. Maybe.

Well, I was still hungry after finishing it, and not in the mood for more of the same, so I made a radish sandwich, which I guess is an old French thing that I learned about earlier this summer. Here is the recipe:

1 or more radishes (depending on the size)
Sturdy bread
Salt (optional)

Slice the radish(es) into thin slices. Butter the bread and sprinkle one with salt. Arrange the radish slices on the bread and close.

Looking back on it, the order should have been reversed, but it was still a good, seasonal dinner.

posted by neil at 7:36 pm
under cooking,food  

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Crowds For The Loss

I went to the SF Museum of Modern Art to see the Frida Kahlo exhibit with a friend Saturday. Sounds good right? It should have been, Kahlo was a great artist, and they have amassed a great collection for this exhibit. But, sadly, it is too popular for it’s own good.

They have timed tickets which are designed to keep the crowds down – you have a 20 minute window to enter (set 30 minutes apart) and most people spend 30-45 minutes in the exhibit. Of course there are also a bunch of people with the audio tour, more on them later. This is a good plan, except that it means that you have a huge cluster of people entering at the entry times (they try to meter it, but we’ve all seen the meters for highway entrances that seem to have no effect on traffic). So you have a big crowd in the exhibit, everyone trying to look at the same paintings, as you basically are railroaded in to a particular viewing pattern (which might be good, because they are chronological). And to make matters worse, about 10-20% of the people are on the audio tour, and oblivious to those around them. So, instead of being able to move between paintings at your own pace, you are railroaded to spend a long time at some paintings, because the guy in front of you is just standing there listening to his headphones, or people are discussing the next one.

My friend basically was done immediately, and I was soon overwhelmed by the crowd and lack of ability to see the exhibit in a reasonable way. I don’t really know of a better way to deal with this sort of exhibit, but it does make me sad that I couldn’t enjoy it properly, and I wonder how many other people are put off by things like this.

posted by neil at 11:54 pm
under daily tribulations,rambling  

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Donuts and a Bonus

Every Wednesday we get donuts from Krispy Kreme at work. Normally it’s just a regular variety, with a ton of original glazed, some filled, and some of the chocolate cakeish donuts that I actually like. However, near holidays and such, they often produce some interesting, special use, donuts. For instance, around Christmas we got cute snow men:

And around valentines, hearts. For July 4, there were donuts that had red white and blue “flags” glazed on them.

This is all well and good, but things have gone odd lately. For instance, last week we had these monstrosities:

I can only speculate this was related to national dog poop day. And then this week we had:

This is more appetizing, but I am not sure it is timed right. Aren’t there a couple of weeks still before football starts.

I am afraid of what will be there next Wednesday!


As a bonus, here are some bunnies I saw on the way to work this morning:

posted by neil at 4:27 pm
under Uncategorized  

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My Brain Is Still There

I got the report back on my 18 month MRI, aka my last MRI, today. Here it is:

Exam Date: 08/12/2008 	 
Examination: MR BRAIN 	 
Indication: Status post arterial venous malformation, 	 
parenchymal hemorrhage.  Status post resection. 	 
Technique: Sagittal T1.  Axial T1 pre-gadolinium, T1 	 
post-gadolinium, dual echo T2 and diffusion weighted EPI. 	 
Coronal T1 post-gadolinium fat saturation and FLAIR. 	 
Comparison: 07/2007, 04/2007 and 02/2007. 	 
Report: Previous right frontal craniotomy surgical 	 
changes again noted.  Beneath the craniotomy defect there is a 	 
focal area of encephalomalacia characterized by mild broadening 	 
of some of the local and cortical sulci of the right frontal 	 
temporal region surrounded by  areas of mixed signal intensity 	 
characterized by T2 prolongation and signal void outlining the 	 
grey/white junction and the encephalomalacia.  There is a linear 	 
irregular band of contrast enhancement soft tissue coursing 	 
through the area of encephalomalacia.  All of these changes are 	 
nearly identical to the study of July, 2007.  There is no 	 
restricted diffusion.  No new focal signal abnormality.  No 	 
midline shift or abnormal extracerebral fluid collections. 	 
Posterior fossa and brain stem normal.  Cortical sulci, 	 
ventricles and basal cistern anatomy normal.  Mild 	 
leptomeningeal enhancement beneath the craniotomy. Signal void 	 
depicted in the intracranial vessels at the skull base.  Orbits 	 
symmetric.  Small retention cyst or polyp, inferior right 	 
maxillary antrum, present previously.  Paranasal sinuses and 	 
mastoid air cells otherwise well aerated.  Corpus callosum fully 	 
formed. Sella turcica normal.  Cerebellar tonsils at a few 	 
millimeters below the foramen magnum but within normal range. 

Boring, but basically it says “everything is as normal as can be expected”.

posted by neil at 2:08 pm
under brain  

Monday, August 18, 2008

Plum Liqueur

Inspired by my friend joan, and a bunch of plums from my CSA, I have started up a batch of umeshu. Well, sort of umeshu, since these aren’t green plums, and since I couldn’t get rock sugar, I used evaporated cane juice. Oh well. Here is a picture of the jar of 1000g of plums, 1000g of sugar, and about 1.8L of shochu right after it was put together:

I need to keep shaking it daily for the next couple of weeks, and then let it rest for about 6 months before it will be ready to drink. Expect another post then!

posted by neil at 10:27 pm
under food,rambling  

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A tribute To My Cousin

My cousin Allan Goldberg passed away in June at age 40, from cancer. He survived cancer as a teen, against almost all the odds, and pretty much dedicated his life to living it to the fullest since then. Soon after graduating college and moving out to San Francisco he joined the non-profit world, and started to work for Camp Okizu, a summer camp for children with cancer and their siblings. It is designed to help them enjoy a more normal life. As their director of financial development he raised money for them at crucial times. Al had the ability to make things work, despite the long odds.

Eventually he decided that he wanted to go back to school, and got a Masters from Harvard. He then went on to work for the Lance Armstrong Foundation, and from there to become a director at First Descents, an organization for people in their 20s and 30s with cancer to experience outdoor adventures.

Through his work at these various foundations Al touched many lives in ways that I can’t even being to imagine. Yesterday there was a memorial for him at Crissy Field, attended by well over 100 people. My aunt and uncle and his one of his sisters and her husband came to town from the East Coast to attend, and I went to the memorial with them. Listening to a wide variety of people speak about him was very sad, and also very uplifting, because he made so many lives better.

The saddest part, for me, was that even though i had known him my entire life, and was a blood relative, people who had only known him for a couple of years knew him better than me. Obviously I can’t take all the blame for this, but I do feel sad about it. His death was tragic, but it was great to see the immense amount of good that came out of his life. I had last seen my aunt and uncle exactly one year ago for a memorial for my Grandmother, and my cousin, well, I don’t think I had seen her over 15 years, and I had never met her husband. It’s sad that it takes a tragedy for me to see my family.

Some articles about Al below, and a web search will reveal a lot more, including many blog tributes to him:

New story on his stretchathon
Chronicle tory about the memorial
Washington Post obituary

posted by neil at 8:17 pm
under emo,rambling,Uncategorized  
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