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Strange things occur when things are suddenly switched on or off. It happens in signal processing all the time. The sudden application or removal of a signal sends shockwaves of infinite frequency through the system. Similarly, abrupt behavioral transitions during winter months can generate reverberations in our lives. More »

Snapped a bunch of photos this evening. More »

Two blizzards hit the east coast, days apart. I’ve only been into work once this week; it was closed on Monday from the weekend snow. On Tuesday, I went in, but they sent out an email saying they’re preemptively closing for Wednesday. And today, Thursday, they’re closed and assessing the aftermath.

Myself? Car shoveled anew, I’ll be trekking down to North Carolina in an hour or two to spend Valentine’s weekend with Linda. Hopefully the roads are in some state of sanity, but I doubt it. A co-worker told me that Maryland’s already over it’s snow-budget, which, according to this article, happened back before the New Year — explaining the terrible conditions the roads were in on Tuesday as I drove into work: three-lane highways were reduced to one, lanes would suddenly disappear, and random patches of uncleared snow would suddenly appear (How’s that for a run-on sentence?).

Speaking of snow, I’d just like to say that people who live in apartments ought to learn some manners. If someone spent a lot of time clearing off a spot for themselves, don’t just take it. That being said, since I’ll be gone, I’m sure someone will take my spot. I just hope it’s not whichever neighbor that’s been smoking in their apartment, wafting carcinogens to my own.

2009 went out with a bang.

Above was our final dinner for 2009: split-pea soup, tenderloin steak, broccoli, and tomatoes. I’m no chef. Yet our dinner banter led us to critique the meal as if we were in a restaurant; and oh was it painful. The soup wasn’t smooth — mostly because I got impatient waiting for the peas to completely soften since they’d been on the stove for over an hour. The steak was dry — a rookie mistake to be sure, but in my defense I haven’t cooked steak in a long time. And the broccoli and tomatoes were just an afterthought — the broccoli itself was just steamed and pretty boring, and the tomatoes were raw, again, because of impatience and wanting to eat. Yet if you throw a little parmesan and garnish around, all of it doesn’t look half bad. In conclusion, while this was a totally edible meal, I don’t think I could cut it as a chef.

The wine was a Malbec. We’ve had an interesting relationship with Malbecs. The first time we tried one, it had these wonderful fruity notes of strawberry and raspberry. Ever since then it’s been a search for another Malbec that could do the same. 3 or 4 bottles later and nothing has come close — the one pictured was no different. Uninspiring is a good word for it. It wasn’t bad wine, per say, it just wasn’t anything like our first.

For dessert, a fruit tart. I didn’t arrange the fruit, I just cut and washed everything earlier so that we could put it together, together. This is dessert in its simplest form; a ready-made pie crust, cool-whip, fruit, and a lemon glaze from the New York Times. Unfortunately, cutting the tart proved difficult due to the fact that the crust was pretty cheap and crumbled on us. Regardless, the crumbled mixture of fruit, cool-whip, and graham cracker crust, while not pretty on our individual plates, was tasty.

I always knew physicists were hypocrites.

Oh, and unrelated to xkcd, happy December!

It’s strange to think that it’s already December and that Christmas and the New Year are within sight. Christmas trees, ornaments, and colored lights are starting to crop up everywhere I go. It’s a strange phenomenon that occurs after every Thanksgiving; this sudden sprouting of all things Christmas. What’s odd is that I even started playing Christmas music a few weeks before Thanksgiving, yet I still feel unprepared by all the Christmas paraphernalia. It’s strange, but soon enough New Years will pass and we’ll be in drab ol’ January.

With that in mind, I think I’ll just keep my chin up and let the Christmas spirit flow. Happy Holidays!

Well, Thanksgiving’s tomorrow, here’s what’s on the list of stuff to cook. Can’t go wrong with Alton Brown’s Turkey nor Ina Garten’s stuffing. Best wishes to all those out there in the Blogosphere.

Turkey

For the brine:

  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 gallon vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger
  • 1 gallon heavily iced water

For the aromatics:

  • 1 red apple, sliced
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 6 leaves sage
  • Canola oil

Stuffing

  • 16 cups 1-inch bread cubes, white or sourdough (1 1/2 pound loaf)
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups medium-diced yellow onion (2 onions)
  • 1 cup medium-diced celery (2 stalks)
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, unpeeled, cored and large-diced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 pound sweet or spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

Vegetables

  • Green Beans or Asparagus
  • Mushrooms
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

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