Welcome to this annotated introduction to You Look Nice Today, A Journal of Emotional Hygiene.
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It’s a start.
I’m almost done customizing and theming the new Octopress blog, but I have decided that I will most likely push out the blog using the stock look-and-feel, since it really isn’t that terrible and there are definitely high-profile bloggers using it to great aplomb right now. Then, when I wrap up the theme, I’ll push it out.
So here’s what you need to know to make it through the transition:RSS:
As my RSS feed is served up by Feedburner, anyone that is already subscribed via RSS (there’s a small handful of you out there, somewhere) will not need to make any adjustments. If you want to add me to your feed reader of choice, you can do so now using the link at the top. If, for some reason, you need to know my Feedburner URI directly, you can find it at http://feeds.feedburner.com/Mild-manneredCanadianFury.The New Domain Name:
I don’t know what it is yet, and this is the biggest thing holding me back from moving right this instant. Obviously, mildmanneredcanadianfury.com is about as shitty of a URL as you can possibly get. I’m leaning towards canadian-fury.com. I may also use dougstephenjr.com, which I originally acquired to use as a portfolio, but that may be a fallback. Suggestions for new URL’s are welcome, and I intend to hold on to the name Mild-Mannered Canadian Fury for my writing.Content:
After moving to Octopress, you can probably expect a slight content shift, if only because I will be existing outside of the Tumblr ecosystem; less reblogging and silly .gifs. I want to focus more on writing, about Apple, about science, about technology and programming.What’s Happening To This Tumblr?
My Tumblr will still be here. I will probably follow a similar model to that of Marco Arment after he switched to a self-hosted platform; I will use my Tumblr as a linklog pointing back to all of my new posts on my new site. I will also continue to use Tumblr to reblog goofy shit and be less formal and make dick jokes. But it will no longer be a clearing house for any of my content. I will be using the OS X Tumblr Backup Tool to pull down all of my past posts, and I will be porting over a small handful of the more popular posts that are indicative of the new content direction I want to go in.
Snippet of the day.
I installed Ruby on Rails ages ago, with the intention of working on a project, and it got derailed. I’m ready to start working again so I wanted to update my Rails environment1. I’m going to preface all of this by saying that I know very little about Rails and gem, so I might be horribly confused, but I don’t care.
rbenv and ruby-build were both installed via Homebrew, and when I initially set my system up with Homebrew this was long before Apple had released the Xcode Command Line tools; as such, the Homebrew folks required the old OS X GCC Installer package2. At this point, I now begin to speculate about my woes. It seems that the old Installer placed the gcc command line tool at /usr/bin/gcc-4.2. But the new Xcode installer puts gcc at /usr/bin/gcc and I have since switched to this version of the command line tools. That’s fine and dandy, but for whatever reason any gem components that need native extensions are still looking for gcc in the old directory. Since I’m still learning my way around Rails, this is my solution to the problem. If you’re having the same problem, this can fix it for you, and if you’re smarter than me you can maybe drop me a line and tell me a less hacky way of getting this to work right. Either way, the json gem finally compiles, so I don’t really care.
For the curious, I use rbenv over rvm because sticking shims in to your PATH is infinitely better than hijacking the shell’s behavior in my opinion. Also, rbenv + ruby-build does just one thing; manages Ruby installations. It doesn’t give a fuck about gem profiles. One Thing Well. Bundler is your friend if managing gem sets is your thing. ↩
Don’t use this package anymore. Apple has released their own set of standalone command line tools as an answer to this project; they did so after reaching out to the guy who created it. You can read his account of the whole thing and find links to the tools here on his blog post about it. This basically exists for Homebrew users, so it’s kinda a nice thing that Apple did. It is available as either a standalone package, or an add-on to Xcode. If you want to run the tool in parallel with the Xcode IDE, then you need to make sure that either the old or current standalone version isn’t installed before installing Xcode. ↩
Alright, I’m finally jumping on this “Draw Something” bandwagon.
My username is dljsjr.
Let’s get it on.
The NY Times Magazine asked readers to make a case for why it’s ethically ok to eat meat.
It’s a good question.
You often hear people say why it’s not ok to eat meat.
I pose the question to you too:
Why is it ethically OK to eat meat?
Because it tastes so good.
Because there are there are two separate ethical standards at play here? Animals kill and eat each other all the TIME. And they’re not always evenly matched. Natural systems have a way of self-regulating, so that one animal doesn’t drive another to extinction (though not always).
The problem is that we, as humans, have found so many ways AROUND those natural systems- we subvert nature. That’s why we need game seasons and selective harvest laws. There’s just too many of us and too relatively few of them. It’s also why we have factory farms.
But I truly believe that I have a carnivorous legacy, that I am taking part in the natural order of things when I kill something and eat it. Am I perfect? Of course not. I eat a shitty delicious factory burger from time to time. I also vote with my wallet when it comes to supporting small farms and local harvest.
These are the things I feel. I can’t judge the ethics of a vegetarian. I’m not one.
Also, meat is delicious, and nothing that never had blood running through its veins even comes close.
Last time on let’s talk coffee, we talked about the process of harvesting and processing coffee beans, as well as the effects of geography, environment, and cultivar on flavor profiles. Today, we’re going to talk about…Roasting
After beans are processed and separated from the fruit, they need to be roasted.
From left to right, unroasted green coffee beans to dark roasted coffee beans.
One thing that many people don’t realize about coffee is that in spite of it being a “dried good” it does have a short shelf life for quality. Coffee beans emit CO2 after being roasted. This is why many whole-bean coffee bags have a one-way valve on them; to allow for off-gassing. This is only a prevalent interaction for a few days after roasting, but continues for weeks. The displacement of the gasses contained in the beans allow for oxygen to enter the bean. Oxidation of the oils and aromatics lead to the coffee becoming stale, and when the complex flavors of the bean have died you are left with the bitter, chalkboard coffee that so many people dread. Worse than stale beans are pre-ground beans. Once a bean is ground, the increased surface area leads to an almost immediate off-gassing of all the CO2 and the oxidation process beings immediately; no amount of freezing or packaging can keep ground coffee from going stale.Roasting, Caffeine, & Flavor
Lighter and medium roasts tend to preserve more of the flavor profile of the bean as it has inherited from its sourcing. This leads to a tastier cup of coffee, but also a more fickle cup of coffee that takes more effort to brew well. Darker roasts tend to develop flavors that are characteristic of the roasting process and not the bean themselves; these flavors present consistently across brews, but many coffee “snobs” tend to prefer the flavors of the bean over the flavors of the roast. Because extremely dark roasts have flavors that are more characteristic of the roast and not the bean, dark roasts are often used commercially to make a product that doesn’t taste shitty when it gets too old or is brewed using drip machines and such. This is Starbuck’s secret to success; they go nuclear on their beans and mostly eradicate the profiles of the beans in favor of a consistent roast that they can sling out in their giant perc-o-vats. I’d even make the argument that objectively, Starbucks blatantly over-roasts their beans beyond recognition.
Roasting also has an impact on the caffeine content of the bean. Darker roasts contain less caffeine. This flies in the face of the common convention that espresso has more caffein than traditional coffee. First and foremost, there is no such thing as an espresso roast. Espresso refers to name of a drink that is created by a specific brew and extraction method. Most beans prepared for espresso tend to be of a very dark roast. As such, there is actually less caffeine in a dark roast bean than in a light roast bean; the high caffeine content in a shot of espresso comes from the fact that the espresso is a concentrated extraction. Taking an off-the-shelf “espresso roast” from the grocery store and brewing a regular cup of coffee from it will yield a lower caffeine cup than a lighter roast.Home Roasting
Because green coffee beans can stay fresh for years but roasted beans can lose their characteristic flavors in a matter of weeks or months (especially lighter roasts), some people choose to undertake the process of coffee roasting at home to ensure that they get the freshest tasting coffee possible, preserving as many of the complex aromatics and essential oils with a light roast without worrying about the age of the beans compromising these flavors. It also allows a coffee lover to buy green coffee beans and then roast small volumes at a time so that every batch of coffee is fresh and tasty.
Home roasting can be done simply in a frying pan, or using more complicating setups including a rotating drum over a heating source. Stovetop roasting is imprecise, since its difficult to evenly roast all of the beans just through the process of “jumping” the pan or stirring with a utensil. Most coffee roasting machines use some sort of indirect heat or mechanical mechanism like a spinning drum to more evenly roast the beans. The particular point in time in the roasting process is often gauged by “cracks”, that is to say cracking noises made by the beans similar to popcorn. “First crack” occurs at the beginning of the light roast spectrum, and “Second crack” refers to the beginning of the medium roast spectrum. Roasting also produces a lot of smoke and whatnot, and needs excellent ventilation. Precise environmental factors, specific temperatures, and other factors all have an effect on the flavor imparted by the roast. It isn’t easy, and it isn’t a hobby that I’ve picked up yet, but it’s something that I look forward to trying out one day soon when I get around to building an outdoor coffee roaster.I’m Not About To Start Roasting My Own Coffee…
Nobody expects you to, but you should definitely take the effects of roasting and staling in to consideration if you want the best cup of coffee you can get. Try to locate a local coffee roaster where you can get fresh roasted beans so you can ensure that they are young enough to not have oxidized too much. I’ve frequently heard the rule of thumb to be that grean coffee is good for 2 years, roasted beans for 2 weeks, and ground beans for 2 hours. Here in Northwest Florida and Lower Alabama, Keen’s Beans is a good source of fresh roasted, single-origin Costa Rican Arabica beans that are dry-processed in the sun. They sell grean beans, and fresh beans that are roasted immediately prior to shipping; this is why they only serve Florida and Alabama (freshness, remember!). You can buy them all over Pensacola; I stock up on beans every time I snag groceries at Apple Market. It’s not the greatest choice for beans without roasting yourself, but it’s still miles ahead of any cruft I could pick up (whole bean or not) from Publix.
Intelligentsia also does a good job of roasting beans immediately before shipping if you don’t have a roaster near you, and they serve the entire US. They carefully schedule the roasting and production of their coffee so that it gets to you as fresh as possible. But it’s still no substitute for a local roaster. Remember, a roaster can source their green coffee beans from nearly anywhere so you don’t need to be around a huge operation to get high quality beans. Take some time to do some research, and you won’t be disappointed.
Next time on Let’s Talk Coffee: Brewing and Extraction!
Tweaked the new theme so that block quotes would have a visual identifier (a solid left border), the text “captions” in non-text-type posts would no longer be hidden until hover, and unordered lists will now have proper bullets and bottom margins.
This is, I believe, a theme for photography portfolios, so it needed a little tweaking to meet my needs. But I think it’s almost there. And I think it looks great for non-photography blogs as well. Let me know if you see something else that looks… ugly, so I can know if I broke something. This is going to be a jumping off point for the new blog when it launches on Octopress, I really like the styling of this theme.
According to 9to5Mac, some anonymous Samsung exec claims that Apple is going to jack up their parts order this year by supplementing their existing chips and screens order with a bunch of 7.85” screens. Specifically the contract is “expected to rise” to somewhere around $11 billion dollars because Apple is going to release a smaller iPad with a screen that is “probably” 7.85”. So it really sounds like this guy knows a whole lot of nothing.
I find this to be incredibly unlikely, but, I have been thinking about the “idea” of a smaller “tablet”-like device for a while now, and I’m ready to share my thoughts on Apple releasing a product like this.The Short Version:
If Apple releases something in the 5” - 7” form factor, it won’t be an iPhone or an iPad.The Long Version:
There is a market for devices in this form factor, but they aren’t phones or “proper” iPad caliber tablets; they’re media devices. Specifically, the most successful devices to ever enter in to this role have been eBook readers, and most specifically the Kindle. Devices of this nature make sense at this size because they spend most of their time being used passively instead of actively. Another way of putting it is that they are meant for consumption. Despite the claims of many so-called tech “pundits” that the iPad is a device for consumption, the truth is that it is much, much more than that. This has been proved time and again by the wild success of so many different apps that can be used to actually do things on the iPad. Hell, David Sparks has formed an entire book around the idea that the iPad can be used to get work done. This isn’t some sort of happy coincidence; the iPad wasn’t designed as a device for fiddling around watching cat videos with this whole app ecosystem cropping up around it as an accident. It’s why Steve Jobs famously made the remark,
“This size isn’t sufficient to create great tablet apps, in our opinion. While one could increase the resolution of the display to make up for some of the difference, it is meaningless unless your tablet also includes sandpaper, so that the user can sand down their fingers to around one quarter of their present size.”
when addressing the original 7” Samsung Galaxy Tab. I used a 7” Galaxy Tab and a 10.1” Motorola Xoom extensively when I was still working in the defense sector, designing apps that were going to be used to communicate with UAV auto pilot software. And the 7” form factor does a really terrible job of stradling the line between portability and usability. While the iPhone and iPod Touch are obviously much smaller, they are also designed to fill a different role, with apps that are tailored to the device as such. Truly great tablet class applications are excellent at attacking a whole superset of the tasks that modern smartphones address; there is an overlap, but there is also a distinct domain that Tablets excel at. The 5-7” form factor attempts to shoehorn devices that are exceptionally tailored to work on problems in a smaller form-factor domain in to working with larger form factor problems. Think about reading; I love to read on my iPhone. Instapaper, Reeder, Twitter, Reddit. All delightful things to do on my iPhone, and I frequently wind down by doing those things in bed or start my day by doing them first thing in the morning. The iPad is also an exceptional tool for accomplishing those tasks. But so many other tasks, such as mind-mapping, writing and text composition, creative pursuits, and so many other working tasks that have lent themselves so well to the touch interaction model need that little bit of extra room to breathe. And 7” tables just don’t cut it.
But tasks that don’t require a lot of interaction, like reading, viewing movies, listening to music… the superiority of a device in working with these jobs scales up with screen size no matter the dimensions. Apple has already begun to kick off their disruption of the textbook industry and they have a strong content delivery mechanism in place their subscription service backend, iCloud, iBooks, and Newsstand Kit API’s. If there is a possibility of Apple releasing a 7” device, then I think we’d be looking at a piece of hardware whose intention is to compete not in the tablet space, but rather directly against the Kindle Fire and other competing devices of the same ilk. It could run a stripped down version of iOS tuned specifically for media in the same way that the Apple TV runs a stripped down version of iOS tuned specifically for video content. I could see it running the entire gamut of stock iOS apps like Mail, Messages, a Browser. It would also come with iBooks and Newsstand. It would not, however, have an App Store (or at least I don’t think it should, if it’s even real). It would most likely have a high-ish DPI screen from the get-go, and it would compete at the $250 Kindle Fire price point. It would be an entirely distinct device from the iPad, and would most certainly not bare a name that reflected the idea that it was in the same device family as our beloved 9.7” iPad.
Personally, I think that a device of this nature would be phenomenal, and I’d probably buy one instead of buying a Kindle. But at the end of the day, I don’t think that Apple has any plans to release a 7” device any time soon, iPad or not.
In April, we will be having another Fake Criterions Double Fakeout month.
What is this?
Movies that are mentioned/made in other works of fiction. Fake movies. Fake covers for fake movies. Double Fakeout.
See if you can find mine from last year.
eskimosunkist replied to your link: Debt Free by Thirty: Not Buying It: Chocolate Syrup→
verrry nice. homemade syrup is where it’s at. egg cream sounds horrendous, but i can’t judge
The Egg Cream was actually really tasty. But it tasted a little off, and at first I thought I had put too much vanilla extract in the chocolate syrup (that alcohol taste can be awful).
Turns out, the previous owner of the SodaStream had used the soda syrups that came with the kit to make beverages, but he had made the colas inside the bottle. You’re supposed to pour the seltzer in to a glass with syrup in them, because the plastic carbonation bottles can’t be put in the dishwasher; the heating element will degrade the plastic.
Long story short, dude had made Red Bull-flavored beverage inside the carbonation bottle, and even though I rinsed the bejeesus out of it with soapy water when I got it home, I’m probably going to have to buy a baby bottle brush to clean the thing out.
It’s because I’ve disabled dashboard notifications, at least for a little while. My Big Lebowski Photoshop for You Look Nice Today/Razzledazzle got slapped with a “Gaming” tag by someone (I’m guessing because of the 20-sided die) and then featured by Tumblr in the Gaming category, and the volume of notifications was making my dashboard nearly unusable.
First world problems.
Anyway. That’s that.
cbuck replied to your photo: Said SodaStream. Alongside a nice cold glass of…
yeah… just had to make myself an egg cream from your last Soda Stream post. Tasty.
It’s so good. You say Egg Cream to a southerner though and they look at you like a crazy person. Mostly because they think there’s egg in it.
I’m going to be real with you here for a minute. You’ve probably never had a proper cup of coffee. Let’s make a list.
- If you drink coffee from a drip machine
- If you buy your coffee pre-ground
- If you buy whole bean coffee but it’s from a super market
- If you get your coffee fix from Starbuck’s
These are probably the most common vectors for getting coffee in to your body in exchange for money, and they’re all wrong. Don’t get me wrong, a great deal of the time the caffeine intake is more important to me than beverage perfection, and I drink the industrial carafe swill at work all the time. But given a choice or an opportunity, I will always make my own coffee at home with my own gear, and it will taste damn good.
Why? Because science. That’s why. There are a great deal of factors when it comes to brewing a cup of coffee, and all of these can be quantified and repeated to create the perfect brew every time. So if you think you like coffee, or even if you don’t but you drink it to get through the day, I’m going to pass on some of the knowledge I’ve gained over the years to help you get started on the path to caffeinated bliss.
This will be a 5 part series, taking you through the coffee production process from harvesting to brewing, in order to educate you on just how badly you’ve been doing everything wrong your entire life.What is a Coffee Bean?
Coffea (with an a) is a flowering plant that usually grows as a some sort of shrub or small tree. The trees fruit, producing a small cherry-like berry with a pair of large pit seeds1. These pits are what are commonly referred to as coffee “beans”, and a single bean is in fact the two stones still attached to each other. Unlike many fruiting plants, coffee berries don’t ripen all at once. For this reason, coffee berries are hand harvested.
After the berries are harvested, they have to be processed to get the beans out, roasted, and in to hot water somewhere else in the world. After the stones are removed from the flesh of the fruit, they are either soaked (and fermented) for a few days or dried in the sun or a drying machine for a few days to remove any remaining pulp. Wet processing is typically used for higher quality beans, whereas dry processing is often used on lower quality beans. Central American coffees are frequently wet processed, South American coffees are frequently dry processed. This is obviously not a hard and fast rule.
After processing, the husk is removed from the stones and they are roasted. But there are still many factors that happen before and after roasting that can tweak the taste of the final cup of joe. Among these factors include variety, roasting time, age, and brewing methods.Coffee Varieties
The flavor profile of a coffee bean can range drastically, and much like wine it would be nearly impossible to talk about all of these different nuances all in one place. But I can gloss over the different coffee varieties, albeit briefly. The most common way of differentiating coffees outside of regions and brands are by their variety (sometimes people use the wine-snob borrow word varietal). The two main species of coffea tree are Coffea arabica and Coffea robusta. Many times, cheaper coffees can be produced from a blend of beans that come from different geographic locations, different species of tree, and many other mixed factors. The classic example is the “Breakfast Blend”, often sourced from several different locations to mellow out the flavor. Because factors like climate, soil, and other environmental factors can alter the flavor of coffee, coffees from the same species can have different flavors when they come from different places in the world. A packaging of beans that all originate from the same geographic location is identified by the “single-origin” designation. Learning about all of these nuances takes an investment in to the culture, much like any other epicurean undertaking, so I’ll just gloss over the broad-strokes differences by talking about the different species of Coffea.C. Arabica
C. Arabica is probably the most common and varied specie of Coffea and includes such mainstays as a traditional Columbian brew, as well as famous coffees like Hawaiian Kona and — one of my all time favorite coffees — Jamaican Blue Mountain. The flavor of C. Arabica is often considered to be “richer” than that of C. Robusta. This is due to the fact that C. Arabica beans tend to contain more oils and aromatic compounds than C. Robusta beans. This has several effects on the flavor profile and also has impacts on the complex chemical interactions that take place during different types of brewing. C. Arabica is considered the purists bean for shots of espresso, for reasons I’ll go in to later.
C. Arabica grows in a band along the tropics at high altitudes. It is a little more labor intensive to cultivate, as ripe berries will fall from the tree and spoil, so they have to be tended to rather frequently. These factors all contribute to the rich, flavorful beans that the tree produces.C. Robusta
C. Robusta grows all over the place in the eastern hemisphere, at low altitudes. While C. Robusta is often considered “lesser” and cheaper, it is more appropriately just “different” from C. Arabica. The rarest and most famous coffee in the world, Kopi Luwak, is produced from C. Robusta beans. The most expensive coffee in the world, it is a biproduct of the Palm Civet, a small animal that eats fleshy fruits (like Coffea berries), and then expels the stones in its droppings. The digestive process of the Civet imparts a unique flavor to the beans, which are harvested and cleaned before being roasted.
I have never tasted Kopi Luwak coffee.Just The Beginning
As I’ve already mentioned, there is still a lot more to the origin of a bean than simply its cultivar. There are plenty of other, less common species of the Coffea tree, and lots of different flavor profiles to explore. In addition, the roasting, brewing, and freshness all have a great impact on the final product. I’ll cover the rest of this throughout the week, it’d be way too much to take in all at once. But hopefully at the end of this you’ll have enough information to transform your morning joe experience in to the best it can be.
Next time on Let’s Talk Coffee: Coffee Roasting!
Some berries only have one seed in them. These seeds are called peaberries and are often sold separately. Peaberry beans are round because there is no 2nd bean to flatten them, and so they roast differently. This is why they are separated from the rest of the beans. Some people claim that peaberry coffee roasts more evenly and produces a better flavor, but I’ve never tasted it myself so I can’t speak for it. ↩
And the sweet tea I made with vanilla sugar simple syrup washes it down nicely.
… is that they practically make their own sauce. Sautee a little garlic, add some sliced, soaked mushrooms, let all of their retained fluids out and start to reduce. Add a little of the mushroom water from the soak, a little starchy water from the pasta you cooked along side it, and a little cream. Season very liberally with black pepper (quite honestly, the most perfect seasoning for a mushroom possible) and some salt (I use very salty fleur de sel). Let it reduce to a nice, thick, creamy sauce. Toss some pasta in it. Takes like 15 minutes, tops, pasta and sauce finish at pretty much the same time, super simple, super delicious.