… and then I assembled it all together with more ingredients:
Round Three. (Continuing the work of the night before… (click images for larger view.))
So here is another group of ingredients. These are largely the vegetables that will accompany the polenta and the salsa roja I made the night before. Notice that the polenta has been sliced into 24 triangles, ready for the next step. Those are red bell pepper choppings in front, along with majoram and cilantro. Mushrooms being suatéed in olive oil- what a lovely smell that always produces! After some minutes, half of the garlic is added, and then after another 5 minutes or so I put everything aside in a bowl. Then on to the zucchini (or “courgette” – I used half a yellow and half a green, for variety), suatéing again for about five minutes with the remaining garlic Continue reading ‘Thanksgiving Offering’
Last night, after a long day and some time recovering from it on the sofa, I got up and went back to the kitchen. It was time to prepare some of the food I would need in order to assemble the dish I am taking to some friends’ gathering for Thanksgiving dinner. It was very nice of them to invite me and so I am making something special to take along to contribute. It has been a busy semester, so it is nice to put aside a bit of time to do some slightly more elaborate culinary endeavours than normal. (Click any photo for a larger view.)
First off was a preparation of a salsa roja, which I prefer to make from scratch and have a fresh warm flavour to it. You can see in the photograph most of my ingredients laid out, ready to go for quick assembly. This is all about intense flavours combining together and letting each other shine through, and not making something that is overwhelming in one aspect, like too much of one type of pepper or another. I’ve ground some cinnamon (actually, cassia bark – see recent post) to simmer into it as well, which I think will help the salsa bring a lovely component to the whole dish once it is assembled later today. One starts with sautéing of the onions for a while (in olive oil), later adding the salt, cumin, cinnamon, and so forth. Then once that’s all nicely Continue reading ‘Thanksgiving Preparation’
Many people have found the Physics Nobel Prize (see here and here) this year quite remarkable, and mostly for positive reasons. It was given to innovative, young researchers Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov for work on a material that is remarkable for scientific and engineering reasons alike, and both theoretical and experimental. All good. Others have been a bit concerned about how very soon the prize was given for this work, and in other cases there has been some annoyance about how work on graphene has been attributed (a lot of people seem to be under the impression they discovered graphene, for example, which is not the case).
Well, it seems that there are quite a few strong words being written about the issue at very high levels. I was sent* a Nature News article (by Eugenie Samuel Reich) a day or two ago on the matter Continue reading ‘Nobel Scrutiny’
Well, it is a bit after midnight, and I’ve a long day tomorrow, but somehow instead of going to sleep, what am I doing? Taking pictures of tree bark and blogging. The things I do for you, Dear Reader …
Let me explain. I learned something the other day that sort of clears up a little mystery that has not really been at the front of my mind, to be honest, but just sort of off to the side, if you know what it mean. It has to do with one of my favorite spices, cinnamon. While it has been a bit of time since I’ve done an Asymptotia Goes To The Kitchen sort of post (which reminds me, I did almost do one about six weeks ago, and took photos and everything, but somehow it did not get written), you will surely have noticed that cinnamon is a spice that gets featured a lot in my culinary endeavours. I had, I am sure, noticed that cinnamon seems to vary a bit in its appearance and texture depending upon where I am, by which I mean that the type I recall in the UK is a bit different from what I get in the USA, (well, maybe slightly), and certainly different from the softer, flakier sort I remember from the Caribbean. But I never really tried to make something of this. It is just one of those things you notice but don’t really get bothered by enough to want to dig further.
Well, I accidentally found out that the reason they are different is because Continue reading ‘On Bark and Bite’
K. C. Cole has another interesting Categorically Not! for you tomorrow. It is all about distillation, and you can read more about it here, along with information about past events. Here are her words about the event:
Continue reading ‘Categorically Not! – Distillation’
Jacques Distler pointed out that ALICE has just published their first paper, only a little over a week after the beginning of the heavy ion phase of the LHC at CERN! Moreover, they are way ahead in energy of the previous heavy ion collision experiment (RHIC) and have verified “elliptic flow” (the main sign that the quark-gluon plasma behaves like a strongly coupled fluid, the big experimental surprise of some years back, with properties of a type that can be nicely captured using string theory models). Have a look at Jacques’ post here, and go directly to the paper of ALICE here.
Please see my post from last week (“Experimental Excitement” was the apt title) about why I’m excited about all this!
…But then I feel bad about it at times, especially when there are good people involved. I was contacted on Thursday by a producer I know (I’ve worked with her before) about contributing to a TV show on a certain topic. They wanted to shoot this week. I was to talk in very specific terms about one issue, but it would be then fit into a larger topic that the whole episode is about, and the big theme of the whole series. It turned out that I also had worked with the filmmaker (writer-director) for the episode as well, on various things for the series The Universe on the History Channel that, as you know, I contribute to a lot. (See here.)
So all seemed fine. My concerns about the topic and how my contribution might be edited began to fall away, since these are good people… I spoke on the phone about some of the ideas I could bring up, and how I might try to frame things, and maybe we’d talk again about days of the week to set up the shoot, and so forth. But I asked if I could see other examples of episodes from the series, just to make sure that I was ok with it all.
It turned out that they could show me them since they were online. I looked at them Continue reading ‘Tales from the Industry XXXIII: Sometimes I Say No’
On Sunday I went to the Monster Drawing Rally. You may recall the huge fun I had last time I went (2008), which involved watching a lot of drawing in action, and then a bidding war for one of the pieces at the end. See the post I did on it here. Well, I went again this year. It was in Eagle Rock this time, instead of Altadena, with a slightly smaller (I think) space, but still good. [I was not there for as long as I originally intended, unfortunately, as there was a rather good birthday party the night before that kept me out until after 3:00am on account of lots of dancing and people singing around the piano (these people were good, so I stayed an observer). An early afternoon nap was therefore necessary, given that I had a dinner appointment later.] I got there at just before 4:30pm and there was a very friendly atmosphere and again a wide variety of people and approaches (and still nobody drawing monsters… ) to the idea of just having lots of artists drawing in a five and a half hour long event. I trust you can read the earlier post for more detail on the organization of the event, or you can go to the site of the organizers, the Outpost for Contemporary Art, who put on the whole thing and who, once again, deserve a round Continue reading ‘Monster Mash’
“…and then three come along at once.”
So, as usual, all of a sudden lots of things that I want to go to occur on the same week or so, and I find myself dazed and confused. Here are just a few of them (I’ll spare you the rest):
Last Wednesday saw me dashing off to the West Side after a late meeting on campus to get to UCLA’s Royce Hall to see Ornette Coleman in the UCLA Live series. It was not a bad show, although about 1/3 of the way through I realized why it all felt familiar. I’d been to see him in exactly the same series in a similar seat in the same hall some years back and decided then (but obviously forgot) that I really would not see him in such a space again. It is the usual Los Angeles Jazz problem. Rather than come to a small(ish) club and be resident for a few days, the mode for LA seems to be to try to pack a big audience into one night. This misses a huge point of the whole intimacy and communication of jazz that is more prevalent in a small space. But LA audiences and concert organizers seem to miss this fact and Jazz limps along lamely in this city, time and again, because nobody seems to want to support the smaller club model much. (Yes, there are one or two small clubs where the touring players come Continue reading ‘Buika, Cassandra, Ornette, and More’
Well, this week is a big week, in some ways. The Large Hadron Collider has gone into a new phase! For a while, the experiment has turned aside from the task of searching for the origin of mass (the Higgs Particle, or whatever it is that mediates the generation of the masses of elementary particles – see earlier posts, and features like this, etc) and is turning to heavy ion collisions. Rather than studying processes in which only a few particles at a time are interacting at super-duper-uber-high energies, the experiment will instead collide together the nuclei of lead atoms, so that you get lots of particles colliding together and creating a messy “soup” of high energy stuff all together. The goal is to understand the constituent nuclear particles (quarks and gluons) working collectively at high temperature (and low to moderate density), instead of focusing on issues concerning individual fundamental particles. Today (starting late yesterday, actually) is an exciting day because it marks the first step on the journey to probe deeper into this physics. The ALICE experiment has started looking at these collisions. See top right for some screen-shots of the mess of particle tracks that are left after the soup flies apart. The trick is to analyze all these tracks from millions of such collisions to work out the properties of the soup.
As you perhaps know from reading this blog, while of course I’m interested in the behaviour of fundamental particles and the origin of mass, and so on and so forth, I’m very interested in this nuclear issue too. Some of the most interesting work that Continue reading ‘Experimental Excitement!’
You might not know the name Maurice Murphy, but I am certain that you are likely to know – and maybe even be very familiar with – his work. His is the principal trumpet playing the lead themes in very many films with music by John Williams. I have for a long time been very impressed with how so many of those themes trip so easily off the tongue (physical or mental) and seem to fit together so well (just hum the Star Wars theme, and then follow it by the Superman theme, then the Indiana Jones theme, and so on). A lot of this is due to the fact that Williams (like most good composers) is a master at recycling and modifying, creating a cluster of much loved (deservedly) themes that accompany some of our favourite movie-going memories, but I now think that the other reason is that you’re hearing them all played by the same voice! That voice is the playing of Maurice Murphy, the truly wonderful trumpeter who Williams would specifically request to play the lead on recordings of his film music. Murphy died recently, and you can dig a bit more about him and explore what I’ve been telling you further by going to the London Symphony Orchestra’s site devoted to him Continue reading ‘Passing Star People’
During idle moments, when nobody is looking, we professors of the Dark Arts are known to practice various techniques. Just for fun, and to stay sharp, you understand. This was during the wait for the USC Presidential inauguration march to begin a couple of weeks ago. (See posts here and here.) As you can see, Nick Warner (right) and I (middle) are engaged in trying different approaches to a remote influence technique as Krzysztof Pilch (left) looks on at the results, somewhat amused. (Click for slightly larger view.)
All in good fun.
The midterm elections are being held across the USA today, and I am sitting on the sofa at home having a late dinner after giving the second midterm to my large physics class, but the title of this post refers to midterm feelings of mine that have to do with being in the middle of the semester. I realized the other day that I’ve been feeling like all of a sudden I was hugely busy with lots of things, feeling rather drained of energy on some days, and generally feeling pulled apart by doing too many things, helping out on too many tasks, and writing reports and letters and so forth. Then I checked the blog from around this time from last year and discovered that in fact I was having the same sorts of feelings last year at around the same time. So I think there is maybe something about the Fall semester that means that by the middle of it one is (or at least feels) enmeshed in a near-quagmire. Perhaps. Anyway, part of my response to all that was to be quiet the last few days and take it easy on the running around. So that meant I did not go off to the West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval*, nor did I do a bunch of other things going on over the weekend. Instead, I worked quietly at home on the Project and made some pleasing progress, with only the odd trip out now and again, mostly centered around shopping for groceries, fresh fruit and vegetables from the farmer’s market, and so on. Good Times.
The Project. Yes, I keep mentioning it but not talking about it and again I Continue reading ‘Midterm Matters’