Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Hott! Work-Historical Shirt

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

Production University Tools Seminar

Originally uploaded by Norm Walsh

Loved this shirt. Blogged longer about it at History Repeats: Teaching Publishers Markup.

Hiding Complexity

Saturday, April 7th, 2007

I just started reading the second edition of The Ruby Way by Hal Fulton and came across this gem:

We can’t avoid complexity, but we can push it around. We can bury it out of sight. This is the old “black box” principle at work; a black box performs a complex task, but it possesses simplicity on the outside.

This idea of managing complexity is one of the classic commandments of programming, of course, and a core theme of Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs, but this was a nice restatement.

It looks like this edition (in all it’s 800+ page glory) will be quite a treat.


Saturday, December 24th, 2005

Ben said:

I am in colorado and I’m bored [….] please send me lengthy updates on your lives, situations, problems, joys, sorrows, aspirations, favorite kinds of cheese (melted and non-melted), etc.

Then, after I didn’t respond, he said:

btw you’re not off the hook for emailing me a rundown of your life and favorite types of cheese, ESPECIALLY the cheese thing because I got a $25 gift certificate to a famous cheese store for christmas.

So, now I feel pretty compelled to actually tell him my feelings on cheese. So be it. Here are the ones that I can actually remember anything about:

British Cheeses

I like British cheeses a lot, especially Cotswold and Double Glouchester (which are almost completely the same, see below), but find that the American versions are often too snooty for my taste. Here’s the problem: European cheese manufacturers feel that the equivalent to Kroger cheddar isn’t good enough to export, so the only stuff they send to America is Snooty-McSnootSnoot Super-Sharp Double Cheddar, which is a bummer, because sometimes the less sharp & lower quality stuff (esp Dbl Gl.) is better tasting.

This is the cheese that Grommit likes. I don’t, because it’s a bit crubmly and I find the flavor off-putting
If I’m remembering correctly, I don’t like this one because it’s moist and flaky. Moist–yech.
Irish Cheddar
I enjoyed Irish cheddar quite a bit when I lived in York. It’s usually available in pretty sharp varieties and is a pretty refined cheddar (at least the ones I got were). It reminds me, to some extent, of Vermont cheddar
Double Glouchester
This used to be my favorite cheese after my first visit to England. It’s since been replaced by its cousin, Cotswold (though I’ve also become less definitive about my favorite after not having much luck finding good Cotswold in Boston). It’s a creamy cheese like Cheddar with just a bit more richness and is rarely made as sharp as cheddar.
Cotswold is just Double Glouchester with chopped onions and chives incorporated into the cheese. I find this cuts through the creamyness of the base, providing a nice juxtaposition that is easier to eat more of without getting overwhelmed; think straight peanut butter versus peanut butter cut with jelly. Cotswold makes a magnificent sandwhich cheese but doesn’t melt particularly well.


I’ll agree with most people and say that I find French cheese the best on average in the world. I used to not enjoy some of the softer cheese and some of the stinky cheeses, but have come to appreciate both types, and in so doing, greatly increase my appreciation of French cheese.
Brie and friends
The story goes that Peter got addicted to Brie when he and my parents bicycled through Brittany in the early 80s. He’s certainly the one who pushed me to start trying this stuff enough to like it. In that, I consider it a bit of an aquired taste, like coffee or beer. If you sort of like these cheeses but not completely, try experimenting with cooling the brie before eating it–it’ll take most of the runniness away. Once you’re cool, let it get warmer and warmer to appreciate more of the beautiful flavor. Brie, of course, is the perfect pair with good baguette.


You know about American cheeses, so I’m not going to bore you with a further description here.


Parmesean is the only Italian cheese that I can really pretend to have any familiarity with. E and I use it quite liberally in cooking now that we have discovered that spending more upfront on the real, good stuff, is worth it. Because it’s such a hard cheese, blocks of this keep in the fridge for months.


Gruyere has a nutty, partly swiss-like flavor. It’s strong flavor characteristics and harder texture make it the perfect cooking cheese, and that’s why it’s the standard for Chicken Cordon Bleu and a good melted ham and cheese sandwhich.
Another swiss-like cheese that’s just a bit more refined. Perfect for crackers.

Other places I can’t be bothered to determine

Havarti is a perennial favorite snooty-yet-still-likeable cheese that often shows up at cheesy functions, and for good reason: it’s subtle flavor and creamy texture will win over everyone’s hearts while the lacy structure crushes their hopes and dreams–perfect party cheese.
Goat Cheese
I like good goat cheese, but usually in moderation or paired with a food (pears can actually be quite good with it, for example). The texture is, of course, quite different from a cow’s milk cheese and I don’t always like the tangyness/bitterness of some goat cheeses.
Honorable mention
Gouda, Smoked Gouda (better), Feta (only good if still in liquid)

Well, I hope that provides some utility. I’ll try to update it if anybody leaves comments below or I think of more things.