Archives for: July 2005

from my forthcoming work of genius

posted by ben on 05.07.30 at 18:50, null, on writing, Leave a comment Permalink

“Self deprecation is one of your least attractive traits.”
“But it’s the only thing that makes me funny.”
“You aren’t funny.”
“I know.”

Bootstrapping Training Data

posted by ben on 05.07.30 at 17:06, null, math, math, Leave a comment Permalink

Have any of you seen anything like this?

I'm thinking it'd be cool to take a supervised set (indicators and labels) and an unsupervised set (indicators) and try to generate a larger supervised set by clustering. It seems really easy, but I can't find any papers. Clearly there are overfitting issues, so maybe the value added isn't that great... but if you could use independent algorithms maybe you could get a boosting effect and drive the misclassified bootstrapped examples to zero... yes? maybe?

Get Rich Slow Schemes

posted by ben on 05.07.29 at 17:42, null, null, math, 1 comment Permalink
Phone Browser Portal

It could run on server end or could function as a portal to garner traffic. It would store cookies for different devices. For simple phone browsers, it'd be easiest to strip out all the tags and pictures. For real browsers, it would be good to resize the page to the browser windows. If the browser supports horizontal scrolling, it might be best to keep the page at 800 or 1024. Surely this already exists... right?

Time Series Stock Analysis

Pick a stock with a steady mean but high variance over a small period. First, do the math to see if given trade times and overhead, it's even possible to make this work. If so, throw all the weka stuff at random walks, biased random walks, data, new data and finally the real world. I need a book on time series. SVM regression is for sisses.

Network Flow

latency is a function of bandwidth, latency-1 and load. There is a vicious cycle in that as load increases with a constant bandwidth, latency goes to infinity... assuming multiple entry points. Of course, I'm picturing this on a highway, not a LAN, so the wired metaphor may mean nothing.

As traffic increases, the speed at which it travles must increase to hold the time to arrival constant... or something close to that. I need a book on network flow.

Comment from: ben [Member] Email · http://ben.nonplatonic.com
What I was trying to say:

As traffic increases, the throughput must increase to hold travel time constant. But, the system resolves the stress by stopping moving, not correcting.

Usually systems react to stress in a way that reduces said stress. A rubber band distributes load in this way. With the traffic, however, the opposite happens. The systems reacts to the stress in a way that increases the stress.
Permalink 07/30/05 @ 19:06

Hmmm...

posted by collin on 05.07.28 at 12:53, nonsense, random, Leave a comment Permalink

Do I need an EEG? Right now it's only $50 (and yes I saw it on boingboing).

Amabuddy

posted by collin on 05.07.24 at 21:21, nonsense, random, 1 comment Permalink

Snip...

You are in a bookshop or a record shop. You find something that interests you. You can't decide whether to buy it now or online later. What you need is a price check and a quick review, perhaps some ideas of something similar that others might recommend. Amabuddy can help! Grab a book off your shelf and try it!

To use amabuddy first locate the ISBN number on the back of the book or inside the book on first few pages.

With CDs the number is on the back above the barcode. Next, dial the above number, and follow instructions. To enter 'X' in an ISBN number use the # key.

You can return to this site at any time, and enter your phone number and get bookmarks of what you looked at whilst in the shop. Add Amabuddy to your phonebook, and never pay too much for books or music again!

The only part that bothers me is the last part, since there's no password involved. But besides that it's a very cool and free service.

Comment from: Alex Choo [Visitor] Email · http://www.tictap.com
Please try TicTap as well. http://www.tictap.com

TicTap searches by SMS, so the information is stored in your phone. We are not limited to just ISBN and UPC, try keywords too. But try to be descriptive with the words.

You can visit the website later to review all your SMS searches. Or just grab the RSS feed.

TicTap also has web-based search. You can also find top-selling, most-gifted, most-wished, and newly-released products. You can even SMS price information for a product to your cell phone from the web site!

We also have a Konfabulator widget for download.

http://www.tictap.com/downloads/TicTap.widget
Permalink 08/03/05 @ 00:58

RMS

posted by collin on 05.07.12 at 17:15, nonsense, random, 1 comment Permalink
Comment from: graham [Member] Email · http://nonplatonic.com/index.php/graham
Now this would be a worthy cafepress design.
Permalink 07/19/05 @ 01:34

Crazy Japanese Tourists...

posted by collin on 05.07.11 at 16:12, nonsense, random, Leave a comment Permalink

Just overhead on NPR...

posted by collin on 05.07.11 at 15:53, nonsense, news, news, rant, random, rant, Leave a comment Permalink

"To quote Bob Dylan, 'You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.' And Bill Moyer's show is liberal advocacy journalism."

That was Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, Republican head of the CPB (I think I got the quote right, but it might not be). Seriously my head exploded. Socially conservative Republicans are quoting Dylan, it's a sign of the apocolypse.

From an AP article.

Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, a Republican, has come under fire in recent months for complaining about "Now with Bill Moyers" - saying the television show's "left-wing bias" was unhealthy and jeopardized support for public broadcasting. Moyers has since left the show.

Tomlinson's hiring of GOP lobbyists and a consultant to track the political leaning of guests on Moyers' show also has raised the ire of Democratic lawmakers and public-interest groups, and it is the subject of an investigation by the corporation's inspector general.

Free as in Gawker

posted by ben on 05.07.11 at 12:13, null, technology, boston, Leave a comment Permalink

I was just incredibly rude to Stallman. He was sitting outside 1369 where he was jealously protecting a swarm of unoccupied chairs. He was wearing glasses, so I thought he was merely a Stallman lookalike, someone with the character of Gimli, not the warrior prince himself.
“Can I have that chair?”
“No, I’m saving it for them.” He points at two women who appear totally uninterested in RMS.
“Of course you are.” And I stalked off to sit on a bus bench next to the lunatics.

Later a chair freed up, but it was near him. I sat anyway and endured the chatter sarcastically.
“You copy recipes to index cards and then use them. Sometimes you change the recipes and sometimes you even write those changes down. If you have a good one, you might pass it to a friend. They can change it and pass it on again. This is how software should be…”

This elicits blank stares from his followers. They seem to be law students and journalism majors. I think I’m the only one in listening range who knows what he’s getting at.

“The four freedoms… real free software obeys the four freedoms… blah blah blah.” It’s about this time the sinking feeling sets in. I’m thinking thoughts like: “Maybe he’s a professional Stallman impersonator. Professional Stallman impersonator? Elvis maybe, but who going to go to Vegas to see Stallman live… shit… I was rude to Stallman… shit.

And later, with Collin, we’ve got three freedoms:
1: Free as in beer.
2: Free as in speech.
3: Free as in bikes.

RMS pauses a bit to let his wisdom seep in. Then he starts again…
“There’re a lot of free software licenses out there.”
“There’re called copyleft, right?” says a foolish law student.
“The only truly free one is the one I wrote, called the GPL.”

With this my heart sinks. Shit. It is Stallman. He takes off his glasses and I go shit again. He is fucking Stallman. Then the bastard pivots his head like that girl in that horror movie and smirks blindly at me. Crap. I was rude to Stallman.

RMS empties a shopping bag of pulp sci fi onto the table and I go off to get some mango juice…

Spinach, Goat Cheese and Shallot Quiche

posted by ben on 05.07.10 at 01:38, null, food, Leave a comment Permalink

Collin made the quiche, I did the crust.

There are 2. Each one has:
~1/3 a stick of butter
~1 cup of heavy cream
1.5 eggs
~1/4 stick of chevre

Artichoke with Spinach Souffle

posted by ben on 05.07.08 at 18:59, null, food, Leave a comment Permalink

It rose. It just wanted to be in an artichoke.

Project

posted by graham on 05.07.08 at 14:17, null, Ideas, 4 comments Permalink

Does anyone have any portable CD players they don't want anymore? I need at least one for an idea I've been contemplating. Actually there are two things I want to try. The only requirement is that they work. Oh, and it would help if you don't want money for them.

Comment from: ben [Member] Email · http://ben.nonplatonic.com
Could you use computer cd drives instead? What is this for?
Permalink 07/08/05 @ 18:32
Comment from: graham [Member] Email · http://nonplatonic.com/index.php/graham
They need the clip on spindle thing, not a tray. And normal 1/8" audio and power jacks would make things easier. I want to make a cd player smaller. Here's a crappy picture I whipped up:

The large red circle is the spindle, the small cirle is the laser, and the green line is whatever it slides on. I didn't put the motor or batteries in. Damn I need AutoCAD on my laptop...
Permalink 07/09/05 @ 12:50
Comment from: ben [Member] Email · http://ben.nonplatonic.com
I've wondered about doing that before. It seems like that'd be really cool for laptops where you rarely use the cd player, so the inconvenience of a deadly piece of spinning plastic wouldn't be terrible.

Oohhh.. They should put those on iShuffles. Stick a cd on your spindle thing and rip it in a few seconds... That'd be so cool.

What's the second thing?

Permalink 07/09/05 @ 13:24
Comment from: graham [Member] Email · http://nonplatonic.com/index.php/graham
Homebrew B&O-style wallmount cd changer. Only it would be ghetto-rigged so you plug the audio jack into the player holding the cd you want to listen to.
Permalink 07/09/05 @ 14:28

I want to go to Chez Panisse

posted by ben on 05.07.07 at 22:27, null, food, Leave a comment Permalink

And not one of them could cook a fucking vegetable.

Fergus Henderson, the grand master of blood and guts cookery, shows more respect for the simple side of sauteed baby spinach on some of his plates than any of these deluded vegans showed me in ten elaborate courses. Green salads were dressed hours before being served, ensuring that they had wilted into nutrition-free sludge. The knife work - even from the cooking teachers present - was clumsy and inept, resembling the lesser efforts of younger members of the Barney Rubble clan. The vegetables - every time - were uniformly overcooked, underseasoned, nearly colorless, and abused, any flavor, texture, and lingering vitamin content leeched out. Painstaking re-creations of 'cheese', 'yogurt' and 'cream' made from various unearthly soy products tasted, invariably, like caulking compound, and my hosts, though good-humored and friendly to the hostile stranger in their midst, seemed terrified, even angry, about something nebulous in their pasts. Every time I asked on of them how and when exactly they had decided to forgo all animal products, the answer always seemed to involve a personal tragey or disappointment unrelated to food.

-Anthony Bourdain, A Cook's Tour, pg. 239

Taco Pie with Inferior Quality Shrimp Paste

posted by ben on 05.07.07 at 22:00, null, food, pizza, Leave a comment Permalink

Blanch the tomatoes. So much less wasteful...

frisco

posted by ben on 05.07.07 at 21:58, art, books, art, books, Leave a comment Permalink

I am thinking of moving my commune to Siberia. We will invite Wallace and his new girlfriend, Delia. She is from Alaska and probably knows everything about wild cold and wilderness situations. Wallace and Delia could figure out how to make iced coffee igloos for us to live in. We'll call them "coffeegloos." Everbody might have a hard time sleeping because the coffeegloos' walls give of a ceffeine-laced aura, so we could tell ghost stories. We'd listen to the wind whir and the coyotes howl and wear those cool fur hats with the flaps on the ears. Probably Wallace and Shrimp will have to learn to ice fish even though they're vegetarians. Survival is key. They will sit at the hole in the ice for hours and hours, not talking but most likely communicating telepathically. Delia and I will dance around the coffeegloos while they are gone and listen to our voices echo at the crests of the plains. I'm fairly sure no one else I know will want to visit my commune in Siberia, but that will give us a chance to get to know the natives better. They will teach us how to make borscht and tell us about the olden days, when Siberia housed Stalin's prison camps. We won't be scared.

-Rachel Cohn, Gingerbread, pg. 36

Is honey vegan?

posted by ben on 05.07.07 at 21:40, null, food, Leave a comment Permalink

Vegans are funny:

Honey was prohibited for use by vegans according to the 1944 manifesto of the British Vegan Society (veganism's founding organization), a position consistent with the requirement for full (vegan) membership in the American Vegan Society since its inception in 1960.

-Jo Stepaniak, Grassroots Veganism

the razor's edge

posted by ben on 05.07.07 at 21:10, null, food, pizza, Leave a comment Permalink

Turns out the tip of the knife is good for scoring the bottoms of tomatoes before you blanch them. I just added inferior quality shrimp paste to my marinara...

mmm

posted by ben on 05.07.07 at 15:50, rant, rant, rave, Leave a comment Permalink

Somewhere in Big Sur, or maybe north of Marin, there’s a mission enjoying a brief respite from its journey to dust. It might even be in Mexico. Really, I’m only sure it’s on the Pacific Coast.

Down a quarter mile path, the ocean beats at the shore. At low tide, the bohemians come out. They poke around the tide pools barefoot, skipping over barnacles, their feet bleeding slightly on the sand. When the water moves in, they leave.

The mission is littered with books and manuscripts on yellow legal pads and composition notebooks. At least a hundred blue bic pens litter the main rooms. The collected work of Brautigan is underneath a pile of IEEE transactions. Jacques Pepin is balanced on top of Elliot, Woolf and some topo maps of Yosemite. Someone lost an obsessively sharpened Henkel in the mess. The 15 foot long blackboard says “beware of the knife,” scrawled over some exercise in homological algebras. In the corner is a haiku written in Thai about fire hydrants.

I walk down the hall. The distinct smell of burning silicon is coming from a closet. Opening the door gives a blast of warm air, followed by a barrage of blinking lights and twisted cat-5 held together with zip ties and gaffer’s tape. Toward the bottom, the power light on a box is blinking on and off. I throw the scavenged AT switch and leave it to cool.

I pass three bedrooms. Each has a king sized futon and a lamp fashioned from a piece of rusted something. Each has a pile of books, printouts and pamphlets characteristic of a certain unique liberalism. One has two naked bodies, backs visible, with an arm thrown across a torso. The sun is making its way toward his nose. When it gets there, he’ll make dinner… which is good, because the bohemians are back with buckets of oysters. The kitchen is alive with wine bottles, beer bottles, and a hand juicer making wheatgrass.

I peer in the kitchen at the arguing hordes, then out again, barefoot in drawstring linen pants. I lean against the wall, sitting in a futon, pick up a random book and drift off. When I wake up, she’s next to me reading. I lean over and give her an expectant look. She wraps one arm around me and begins reading out loud…

Bram had one good idea, then much stupidity.

posted by ben on 05.07.07 at 12:52, null, technology, 2 comments Permalink

I’m staring at 3 dead torrents. The liveliest of the three is toast at 2.8%. I think part of the problem is that seeding a video torrent is expensive, at least on a laptop. These are all in the 5-10gig range, so I delete them as I watch.

There has to be a better way to do this.

Azereus allows some granularity in how the downloads go. The stupid thing is that when you open a torrent, it claims disk space for the full size of all the files. So now I have a bunch of 350mb files sitting on my drive with maybe 2mb (apparently a torrent block size) of data in each. Some have nothing. And I’m thinking this is really stupid… but easy to fix. In fact, the crap crippled default torrent client allocates disk space as it needs it.

So, that would help… but still not fix the toasted torrents issue.

Here’s my stupid, ill-conceived idea: many different torrent files passed around for the same torrent. The really naïve way to do this would be a header with the torrent information and then a block or two of actual data. But, then you’d need a few thousand people on your network to put together a file.

What if you hash the file a bunch of different ways? Could you compress the mess in such a way that it could be put together from a bunch of different pieces?

First hash it like this:
f(file, 0) = t_0
f(file, 1) = t_1
f(file, 2) = t_2

But, construct the hash in such a way that you only need two pieces. Something like avalanche.
g(t_0, t_1) = file
g(t_1, t_2) = file
g(t_0, t_2) = file

Of course, it'd be even cooler if the torrent took advantage of audio/video compression. As you collect more pieces, you get a better version:
g(t_0) = low resolution file
g(t_0, t_1) = file

It’s like an error correcting code, but cool. You still need a whole bunch of peers, but if a single piece dies, you’re no longer screwed. Seeders could select how much space they wanted to devote to seeding. The more space, the quicker they could reconstruct the whole if they want it.

This solves two problems. First, the issue of small parts of a file going out of print is no longer crippling. Second, I don’t have to devote 8gig to storage space.

Comment from: graham [Member] Email · http://nonplatonic.com/index.php/graham
This sounds basically the same as the system of parity files newsgroup distrobutions used to (and maybe still do?) use.

I don't think this would be a good enough solution to the problem of people not seeding long enough. I imagine people would just download enough of the pieces to create a complete file, and hop off the torrent then.
Permalink 07/07/05 @ 14:47
Comment from: ben [Member] Email · http://ben.nonplatonic.com
It's kind of like a RAID style parity check. One difference is you want to generate new blocks on the fly (probably with some information theoretic motivation)... something like avalanche's linear combinations... The other difference is that you want to be able to get different quality versions of the file depending on how much information you have.

It would help with the bad seeder problem somewhat, because individual pieces of data wouldn't be scarce. Right now they try to combat that by transferring the rarest piece, but you could do better by synthesizing a rarer piece to get the most bang for your bit.

If people download more than they upload, P2P can't work. The idea with this would be to minimize what someone needs to upload.
Permalink 07/07/05 @ 14:57

spinach

posted by ben on 05.07.06 at 23:42, null, food, Leave a comment Permalink

You smell like a spinach souffle. You even taste like one. Why won't you rise like one too?

Using baking soda would be cheating, right?

spit on a stranger

posted by ben on 05.07.06 at 15:48, null, null, Leave a comment Permalink

If you find yourself on the fourth floor of an apartment building with your head sticking out a window and a mouth full of water, I suggest you spit. You will be rewarded for your efforts with a collection of rapidly receding droplets moving away at expedientially increasing velocity.

Chocolate Hazelnut Meringue Souffle

posted by ben on 05.07.06 at 13:19, null, food, Leave a comment Permalink

Like a cupcake, only it tastes good...

Goat Cheese Gnocchi, Artichoke

posted by ben on 05.07.06 at 13:13, null, food, Leave a comment Permalink

Whole Wheat Pizza, Shallots, Wine...

posted by ben on 05.07.06 at 13:12, null, food, pizza, 2 comments Permalink

Comment from: graham [Member] Email · http://nonplatonic.com/index.php/graham
It looks like a taco pie, back before they were outlawed.
Permalink 07/06/05 @ 17:11
Comment from: ben [Member] Email · http://ben.nonplatonic.com
I think I'm happy I don't know what that is. Because the idiot monkey children had flooded the basement, I was late getting this out of the oven and it burned... It still tasted good though...
Permalink 07/06/05 @ 17:24

Whole Wheat Tortillas, Salsa, Potato, Avacado...

posted by ben on 05.07.06 at 13:11, null, food, Leave a comment Permalink


Chocolate Hazelnut Meringue Tart Thing

posted by ben on 05.07.06 at 13:10, null, food, Leave a comment Permalink

Teh Future

posted by ben on 05.07.05 at 17:09, null, rant, technology, 4 comments Permalink

Maybe this is obvious...

In the future my hard drive will have a bunch of torrents. It will have the media I am currently looking at and some rare favorites. It will all be shared and when I'm done, I'll delete it knowing that I can find it again when I need it. As connections get faster, I won't need 30gig of music to entertain myself. Maybe a 2 or 3 gig buffer in a state of constant flux...

Comment from: graham [Member] Email · http://nonplatonic.com/index.php/graham
In teh future, all of my music will fit on one 8-layer, 200 gb bluray disc.
Either that or gmail will have unlimited storage space and connections will actually be fast enough to stream anything you want.
Permalink 07/06/05 @ 00:48
Comment from: ben [Member] Email · http://ben.nonplatonic.com
That way you only get 200gb of music. And if you store it on google, they end up keeping multiple copies for different users, and that's kind of stupid... and then there's the whole trusting google not to be evil issue. If they ever do anything useful with media sharing, they're going to go the way of Napster.

Instead, you could store a few hundred gigs of torrents, touching them whenever you want their contents.

I suspect data requirements will continue to outpace optical media. The instant I have a 200gb disk, I'll want to store terabytes of video, or maybe interactive 3dness or something still larger.

Give me more.
Permalink 07/06/05 @ 12:13
Comment from: graham [Member] Email · http://nonplatonic.com/index.php/graham
When gmail first came out I heard of people sharing media though it. I don't know how it worked... maybe they attached the stuff to messages sent to themselves, then forwarded the message to anyone that requested it.
1gb isn't much by itself (now up to 2.3), but considering that only one copy would have to be uploaded, it's not bad.
I just tried it, and the downloads are speedy.
Permalink 07/07/05 @ 15:09
Comment from: ben [Member] Email · http://ben.nonplatonic.com
There're a few problems with that. Your one copy isn't accessible in a nice way. Worse, if something horrible happens to that one copy, it's gone, or being served by other people. The nice thing about the torrents is that they provide a single interface to a robustly stored file... what is essentially a very robust filesystem.

I think with static content, it'd be better to distribute it as widely as possible. On the other hand, things like this blog should be served centrally because they're always changing.
Permalink 07/07/05 @ 15:15

pad thai

posted by ben on 05.07.05 at 15:31, null, food, Leave a comment Permalink

I came so close to getting the rice stick noodles for pad thai right... and then I burned them. The trick: don't soak them in hot water for 8-12 minutes like the directions say. Soak them in warmish water for maybe 5 minutes, then put them in a pan with a whole bunch of chili oil so they don't stick together. Then don't burn them.

razor

posted by ben on 05.07.05 at 14:44, null, on writing, boston, Leave a comment Permalink

"I see you all the time. I saw you twice last week at Harell's."
"That's because I live..."

And she was off, before I could finish speaking. I only had time to look up from my beloved Amis, stare in awe at her all white clothing, thinking this is someone I could get along with, before she was gone. I'll sit hopefully at Harell's until the end of time.

Why did she run off? Were my eyes sizing her up too harshly? Did I not speak with the hipster groan I've been working on? Were my teeth too stained with coffee or did my beard-thing look too scary up close?

Later the regret started to sink in. A week of Allston coffee shop culture and all I have is this pile of unfinished novels, unstarted novels and oblique Amis references.

The only person I've formed a lasting bond with is some obese, insane, and possibly homeless woman who spent an hour folding and unfolding a girl scout uniform, before leveling her ass at me. She farted at me, then went back to setting the brown uniform out and refolding it.

7 billion crabs brand fish sauce

posted by ben on 05.07.04 at 18:19, food, boston, 1 comment Permalink

Maybe I should have realized when I couldn’t find any curry other than a bottle labeled “Curry Powder, product of China” and another label “Madras Curry, product of China” in the entire fucking supermarket. But no, I kept looking. Gave up on the curry, bought a bottle of inferior quality pad thai sauce… also a product of China… some inferior shrimp paste, chili oil and even some fish sauce that doesn’t seem right. I was given the choice between two and three crabs brands. I chose three because increased multiplicity in crabs is desirable.

Several tablespoons of pad thai sauce later I have something that tastes vaguely of tamarind. For once I can taste the tamarind, probably because the sauce has nothing else in it. Adding shrimp paste does nothing. I try a bit of shrimp paste alone. It tastes like corn oil. A sniff of my inferior brand chili oil gives the same result.

Not being able to say for sure, I suspect the Super 88 is a Chinese supermarket masquerading as an Asian supermarket… There doesn’t seem to be a sashimi section. The extreme lack of curry options, or the usual varied selection of pad thai sauces… only one kind of frozen shumai… The only mochi are filled with jelly… picture me looking sadly, rather like something lost and cuddly, at a mere shelf of mochi covered products.

I got pocky. I’m going to eat an entire package, well packet, alone. I’ll perch on the roof while the idiot monkey children set the world on fire.

Comment from: Jennifer lopez [Visitor] Email · http://jennifer-lopez.astromarv.com/jennifer-lopez-online.html
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Permalink 07/11/05 @ 00:21

McSweeney's on the 1812 Overture

posted by ben on 05.07.04 at 00:21, music, music, Leave a comment Permalink

And you are left, spent, sweating, lying on the floor of your apartment with a pain in your shoulder from conducting just a little too vigorously during the last cannon part. But it was worth it. And now, of course, there are no fireworks, but you can still feel the breeze from that hillside and imagine that your parents are just yards away, packing up their instruments and jingling the car keys to say, let's go home.

-Whitney Pastorek, "Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture"

unholy amounts of garlic

posted by ben on 05.07.03 at 23:48, puppies, rant, boston, Leave a comment Permalink

The idiot monkey children have been quiet lately. Turns out they were planning their latest endeavor, flooding the laundry room to form a bubbly swamp. Wading toward my damp (and bubbly) laundry, I could hear them shrieking with delight, punctuated by the soft thuds as they threw their feces at each other…

It’s quieter here on weekends. The idiot monkey children go get peshed. If they manage to find their way home, and their keys, and the door, they’re too wasted to make much noise… other than soothing gurgle sounds as they drown in their own vomit… until they tip over and it spills onto the floor, burning a hole to the apartment below… good thing I’m on the top floor.

In the morning it’s quiet until at least noon. Occasionally there’re shrieks of surprise earlier, but only in extreme cases… late night drunken amputation… that sort of thing.

on the fundamental properties of pizza

posted by ben on 05.07.03 at 23:31, null, null, food, pizza, Leave a comment Permalink

Let the yeast rise... still they rise... kill the little bastards before they eat everything tasty in the dough.

Roast the garlic. Then you can get away with putting nearly as much garlic in as tomato...

Even a really crappy bottle of cabernet goes a long way toward saving an ineptly created sauce... and you get 2 bottles for $12... A little for the sauce...

Fresh mozzarella, shallots. Well, maybe shallots don't belong on pizza, but I've been converted.

David Bowie in Portuguese and singing along to songs about a middle aged gay man's love life and clowns... verb. clause. stuff.

You can choose to be assimilated.

posted by ben on 05.07.03 at 21:29, hci, rant, Leave a comment Permalink

There's a discussion (if it can be called that) going on over at slashdot about some comment Gates made. Apparently he doesn't want to be a cyborg. The slashdot crowd is reading this as fear buggy windows software will crash people. No one is thinking about the much simpler explanation: maybe Gates likes his humanity just the way it is. Things are going pretty well for him, so he probably doesn't feel the need to plug in and drop out. Hell... maybe augmented reality won't make supermen, just more mockeries of human nature crouching in neon lit boxes.

I must fight the urge to look at the comments. I foolishly tried to comment, but my slashdot account (from maybe 5 years ago) seems to be gone. It's sad too, I bet I had a respectable ID.

like butter

posted by ben on 05.07.03 at 17:39, null, food, Leave a comment Permalink

I'm nearing a universal theory of food. Brownies are not all that unlike pudding, or pizza for that matter. Add eggs, remove flour, replace yeast with baking soda... slight modifications to the fundamental recipe of all cooking... give all food. First, a unifying theory of things that go in the oven. Second: Unifying theory of the oven, refrigerator, and freezer. Finally: A grand unified theory of food, unifying the fundamental forces of heated and cooled food, range food, fresh food, and fermented food.

Also, brownies are odd when the have several times a suggestible amount of baking powder in them... but they come out fine after baking. I made meringue.

Where North Beach is North End

posted by ben on 05.07.03 at 17:37, null, food, boston, 2 comments Permalink

There are cafes here, but they're the sit with friends (who are in Boulder or don't answer their phones) and talk variety, as opposed to the sit alone and meet people variety, as opposed to the sit alone at your laptop variety. There's cannoli, pizza, gelato, espresso, and probably some decent pasta too.

How has no one mentioned this before? You all suck. Oohh Oooh, let's all eat at some food court in the Prudential Center... yay! Also, there's nothing in the financial district... except for the Quincy Market... minor consideration that it is.

Comment from: anwar [Member] Email · http://nonplatonic.com/index.php/anwar
Yeah, The Financial District sucks ass - nothing to do. Quincy Market, my god, you're scraping the bottom of the barrel if you end up there..ugh.
Permalink 07/05/05 @ 11:39
Comment from: ben [Member] Email · http://ben.nonplatonic.com
They had $1 pineapples.
Permalink 07/05/05 @ 11:48

MBA

posted by ben on 05.07.02 at 01:11, null, food, Leave a comment Permalink

I remember something in Bicycling or maybe Mountain Bike Action rating bike mechanics on the quantity of bike parts destroyed beyond repair by attempted repairs. I think the worst I've ever done is destroy a piece of housing or explode a tube if you exclude things we pulled from the garbage and then cut apart... maybe I'm forgetting something... I think you can do a similar thing with food... only thing is flour, eggs and sugar are all cheap and I have yet to destroy a $30 steak, though give me time and I'll do in a nice piece of salmon...

the young plastic woman

posted by ben on 05.07.02 at 00:59, books, books, Leave a comment Permalink

Why is it harder to leave a loveless marriage than a loving one? Because a loveless marriage is born of desperation, while a loving one is born of choice...

-Erica Jong, How to Save Your Own Life, pg. 5

faulknerian

posted by ben on 05.07.02 at 00:57, puppies, rant, rant, rave, Leave a comment Permalink

The man-children are setting off fireworks in the street again... screaming when they start their clothing on fire... Just so you know...

not great, but good

posted by ben on 05.07.02 at 00:54, books, books, Leave a comment Permalink
I Sleep With

I sleep with double pillows since you're gone.
Is one of them for you--or is it you?
My bed is heaped with books of poetry.
I fall asleep on yellow legal pads.

Oh the orgies in stationery stores!
The love of printer's ink & thick new pads!
A poet has to fall in love to write.
Her bed is heaped with papers, or with men.

I keep your pillow pressed down with my books.
They leave an indentation like your head.
If I can't have you here, I'll take cold type--
& words: the warmest things there are--
but you.


      -Erica Jong, How to Save Your Own Life, pg. 294

chaplinesque

posted by nate on 05.07.01 at 23:31, technology, Leave a comment Permalink

I welcome myself and link to myself, shamefully.

"But, shouldn't music be enjoyable?"
-Ben

Also, to satisfy our growing readership's thirst for the useless but O!-so portable:

Pass over it in silence on the go.

the way of commercial mixing

posted by ben on 05.07.01 at 23:21, null, food, 4 comments Permalink
       
Comment from: graham [Member] Email · http://nonplatonic.com/index.php/graham
The one on the left. The flip up motor version is all-around easier to use than the fixed motor, up/down bowl style, in my experience. However there may be some benefit to having a moving bowl that I am unaware of.
Permalink 07/01/05 @ 23:37
Comment from: ben [Member] Email · http://ben.nonplatonic.com
...but the handheld ones can mix 200 quarts...
Permalink 07/02/05 @ 00:10
Comment from: graham [Member] Email · http://nonplatonic.com/index.php/graham
That's 50 gallons if my memory serves me. I'll remember that next time I need to mix up my barrel of mocha from Paris on the Platte. (oh shit, how many shots are in that?!)
Permalink 07/02/05 @ 00:22
Comment from: ben [Member] Email · http://ben.nonplatonic.com
(2 pints = 1 quart) => (400 pints = 200 quarts)

2 shots to a pint means 800 shots.

10 grams of caffeine is supposed to be lethal. According to the owner of Vivace, there are 280mg in a shot. So, the barrel of coffee has 224g. Assuming you could somehow down the barrel of mocha, it would kill you 22 times over.

Yay for arithmetic!
Permalink 07/02/05 @ 00:32

Meringue

posted by ben on 05.07.01 at 23:16, null, food, Leave a comment Permalink

It's very hard to make meringue by hand. I may forgo the luddite route and get an electric mixer... of course, then I'd want a cool one, so maybe not.

I made chocolate hazelnut pudding. Adding thickening agents is a bad idea... best to let it do its own thing.

I now understand why you poach meringue. If you put meringue on top of your pudding and then put that in the oven, the pudding turns to soup. This can be problematic.

I'm almost done with London Fields. Unrelatedly, I think my hands are going to be sticky until the end of time. Why, oh why won't someone hurry up and give me a job?

All things are impermanent

posted by anwar on 05.07.01 at 11:09, Economics, null, Leave a comment Permalink

Perhaps one day even the butterflies will make it to the top of Samanala Kanda.

BTW. He'll get to appoint 2.

Koch Messer

posted by ben on 05.07.01 at 00:21, null, food, Leave a comment Permalink

I've been obsessing over Kitchen Confidential lately.

There's no steel here to make the crap knives deadly sharp. Instead, I've been rubbing them together like the butcher in Delicatessen. I've been rewarded for my diligence. While drying the undersized chef's knife, it cut a hole in a dishtowel. The edge isn't smooth, but it's sharp.

What does it mean?

posted by ben on 05.07.01 at 00:02, music, music, Leave a comment Permalink
Looking for Astronauts

We're out looking for astronauts, looking for astronauts
We're out looking for astronauts, looking for astronauts
It's a little too late, too late, too late for this
Isn't it a little too late for this
Little too late, too late for this
Isn't it a little too late for this
-The National

"The Fire Show" and then "The Arcade Fire..." stupid indie hipster people can't come up with novel band names...

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