Starry Wisdom

Entropic Words from Neilathotep

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Nephew Time

I’ve been traveling since last Saturday – first I was in the florida, with Mackenzie for her cousin’s wedding/a family get together. And then, Tuesday evening, I flew to Chicago to see my family.

Wednesday I spent time with my 94 year old grandma, and today I got to spend time with my 21 month old nephew, Milo. My brother brought him to my parents house, and then the five of us went to the Kohl Children’s Museum. The museum is full of things to entertain kids of various ages, and while Milo is a bit young for a lot of the things there, he still has fun. In particular he seems to be obsessed with the Potbelly Sandwich Works room, which is a food service simulation, where kids can make sandwiches from rubber food shapes, work fake cash registers with fake money, and etc. Milo adores putting the fake food in baskets and playing around the back of the counter. He actually kept himself entertained for a good 45 minutes or so there!

We left right around museum closing time, then brought in dinner to my parents house. Milo didn’t want to eat his dinner, while my dad and I were out getting food for the adults, but he shared his dad’s al pastor torta and rice. We then watched a bit of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, and then, since it was almost bed time, my brother put him into pajamas before taking him home.

posted by neil at 9:05 pm
under adventure  

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Movie Review: Mystery Team

I haven’t written a movie review in a while. Well, it’s time for one. Today’s movie is Mystery Team. The movie is by the comedy group Derrick Comedy, which is notable for their online comedy shorts such as “Bro Rape”. The most well known member of the troupe is Donal Glover, who you may know as Troy Barnes on the fantastic NBC Comedy show Community.

The group, which features 3 actors a director and a producer, self produced the movie on a tight budge – something you can notice if you look for it while you watch the movie, but it doesn’t distract from the story. The basic premise is that three friends were young neighborhood detectives (think Encyclopedia Brown) and have never group out of solving mysteries involving which kid stuck their finger in a cooling pie. They are ridiculed by the town, but when the opportunity to solve an actual mystery – the murder of the parents of a young girl who is new in town, at least of them jumps on the chance to prove their worth to the town. The fact that the little girl’s older sister is played by Parks and Recreation‘s adorable Aubrey Plaza doesn’t dissuade them in the least bit.

Mystery Team is currently available on Netflix streaming, and I recommend giving it a watch. The movie rates a full five out of five on the rabbit turd scale of yore!

In the meanwhile watch the trailer (the G rated version, you can fin the R rated version if you’d like.):

posted by neil at 10:07 pm
under movie review  

Monday, March 14, 2011

Wine Road Barrel Tasting

This weekend some I want barrel tasting in Sonoma County with some friends. Barrel tasting is where barrels are tapped before the wine has finished aging, usually somewhere between 6 months and 2.5 years after bottling, skewed more to the former. People can taste the wine early, and if they desire, purchase wine futures – the wine bottled, after aging is complete – at a discount.

We started off at Timber Creek Estate, which hosts tasting rooms for multiple wineries, as well as a local olive oil store. We tasted at the three wineries that had tastings on the weekend – Kokomo, Amphora and Papapietro (there was barrel tasting the previous weekend as well, with a different set of wineries). It started raining soon after we arrived, which pretty much set the pattern for the day, but it also likely helped to keep crowds at bay.

After we finished we headed to David Coffaro, where we were greeted with a tasty chicken and white bean cassoulet, as well as an incredibly cute and obviously underfed winery dog.

We visited a couple of more wineries, Bella, which has a fantastic cave

and Zichichi which has a cool name. By the time we were finished there it was 4pm, which was the end of the event. We headed back to San Francisco to have Chinese food in the Outer Richmond and calling it a day.

posted by neil at 9:41 pm
under adventure  

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Who the heck thought to eat this?

“What the heck is that thing? ”

I wouldn’t be surprised if you were asking that question. Well, it’s celeriac, or celery root, which evidently is not the root of a regular celery you eat, but a special sort grown for its root. It’s actually something I’ve been aware of for a while, but we didn’t get it in the CSA last year, so it wasn’t until this winter that I started to actually cook it. It turns out that, at least sauteed/braised and smashed, to be a lovely food. I’m sure there are other ways to eat it as well, but this is a good introduction. I have another celery root (I traded out a bag of miscellaneous “stir fry” greens in this weeks box for a second, orphaned celeriac).

Smashed Celeriac
From Happy Days with the Naked Chef by Jamie Oliver

Serves 2 generously

1 Celery Root
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup chicken stock or water
Salt and Pepper

  1. Peel the celeriac, which basically means cutting the outside and pithy layer off with a knife. Cut a small slice off one side to make it stable, then cut it into 1/2 inch cubes.
  2. Put the olive oil in a casserole, or saute pan, with a lid and heat at medium high for a few minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, and celeriac, stir to coat with oil, and saute for about five minutes until it is lightly browned.

  1. Put the heat to low, then add the water or stock to the pan. Stir quickly and put the lid on. Simmer for 25 minutes until tender. Adjust seasoning if needed. Smash the celeriac with a spoon. Serve

Do any of my small number of readers have any favorite celeriac recipes I should try? There is one in the fridge which will need to be used in the next couple of months…

posted by neil at 10:16 pm
under cooking  

Monday, March 7, 2011


Internet pals tell me that today is Casimir Pulaski day!

posted by neil at 10:19 pm
under Uncategorized  

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Coffee, YUM!

One month ago, I made a post about Coffee Making Technology. One of the things I spoke about was the mediocre, at best, quality of the coffee I was using. Well, I was pretty much out of the Kona roasted on some nondeterminate date in 2010, so yesterday I walked over to the Blue Bottle coffee kiosk nearby to buy some beans. ( For those that don’t know, Blue Bottle is a ‘microroaster’ of coffee. They roast their coffee across the bay in Oakland, and have several shops around San Francisco, including a funny little kiosk in a converted garage on an alley like street in my neighborhood. )

The coffee I bought, their Three Africans blend, was roasted on Friday (March 4, 2011) – so it’s about as fresh as you can expect coffee to be. I used it this morning to make coffee and I noticed that it bloomed phenomenally when I put the initial small but of water in it. I almost wish I had filmed it, so I could show the lovely swelling and bubbling of the grounds. The coffee it produced was very good, as well. I can help but think there is a lot I could do to improve my technique, and there are two accessories which I could get to improve it too. One is expensive (a good grinder) and one is probably cheap at the restaurant supply store (a long neck kettle). I think I’ll get the latter first, as controlling the pour seems to be important to the process, and my research says that for drip process like chemex, blade grind is usually ‘good enough’.

I’ll finish this post now since I finished my coffee, and it’s time to make some breakfast.

posted by neil at 10:37 am
under coffee  

Sunday, March 6, 2011


Well, I guess I owe the completion of the furnace story. They furnace company called me last night and said “we have your parts, can we come put them in tomorrow morning?” And of course I said yes. So they came this morning, put the new parts in, and now my furnace works again. Of course it was in the 60s outside today, so the heat wasn’t really necessary. But hey, at least it works again.

So yeah, that home warranty thing? Not bad at all – I am sure I saved a few hundred dollars because of it!

posted by neil at 12:47 am
under home ownership  

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Ankle Update

Today was my last day of Physical Therapy. My ankle works pretty well these days – it has about the right range of motion. Sometimes it hurts a bit after doing something like jogging around the neighborhood, but not too bad. The biggest thing left to do is recover strength in that leg. To do this, I think should start hopping on that one leg at all times! OK, not really, but I need to start not using the ankle as any sort of excuse – and start going to the gym.

posted by neil at 11:00 pm
under adventure  

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