Mon, 26 Nov 2007

Mushroom Stew

I finally had gone long enough in life without owning a crockpot, so off to the store I went last night, picking up a six quart unit (when I cook, I cook large, and freeze up a weeks worth of lunches). This was inspired by reading a recipe for mushroom stew.

I made the recipe pretty much as noted, although I didn't have any portobella mushrooms, and I was kinda free handed with the amount of ingredients. For my size crock pot, I'd probably up the amount of the sauce by half — I added a bit of water to it, which cooked off, but the stew was slightly too thick. More sauce would fix that, I believe. I also used the hand blender to blend the sauce stuff until the little tapioca balls were mostly broken up — you probably don't need to do that, I'd guess.

It turned out very tasty. The best part, however, is if you follow the instructions and put a thick layer (I mean thick) of onions on the bottom of the crock pot, and do not disturb them at all. I only poked a bit at the ingredients when I added the liquids, just to make sure everything got in. When I got up this morning (I was late in getting everything together, so I just let it stew while I slept, and man, was that great to wake up too) I turned it off, let it cool while getting ready for work, scooped some out of the top for lunch and put the rest in the fridge. It wasn't until tonight, when I put the rest in containers and put some over some leftover couscous for dinner, that I discovered the hidden treasure.

That thick layer of onions basically turned into a camelized layer of pure TASTY. Seriously, so good. So, I highly recommend this recipe, crock pots in general, and I'm also sitting here trying to come up with a good French onion soup recipe that can use this carmelized onion process to good effect.

Posted at: 23:29 | category: /food | Link

Sat, 24 Nov 2007

The booklet style and pagespersignature

I use the LaTeX booklet style often to make folio-size booklets — for example, Haiku a Day has used it since it started, and so when working on a longer zine I turned to it.

The booklet style has the concept of signatures, essentially a logical grouping of pages. In actual printing it defines how many pages are printed on a large sheet of paper, which is then folded and cut in various ways to make a grouping of pages. If you look at a quality hardback book, you'll see a number of signatures that have been bound together to make your book.

The default number of pages per signature in booklet is 32, which never affected me while making Haiku a Day, which only has eight pages. The newest zine has thirty-six pages, though. It's a multiple of four so it should fit just perfectly in my layout, but I kept running into the problem where the last four pages where off grouped by themselves. This caused no end of frustration very early one morning, until I found the pagespersignature option (documentation, how wonderful). Cranking that up to forty make the new zine come out as I expected it.

Posted at: 20:03 | category: /computers/latex | Link

Mon, 19 Nov 2007

Salvage, Me Pretties!

Last Tuesday my colo provider knocked the powercord from my machine there whilst doing some power work. Since then, although I didn't make the connection until just now, my nightly afs backups were taking much much longer than usual. Since I was also running out of space on the disk at home that holds one copy of the dumps, I just turned off backups until I could look at it tonight.

In investigation tonight I noticed that the BosConfig file was gibberish, and by looking in backups, I could tell it got messed up the day my machine fell over. I also had noticed that in the VolserLog there were a bunch of "trans X on volume Y is older than Z seconds", particularly on the volumes that change the most each day. A tiny voice in my head whispered " I bet I have a bunch of volumes that need salvaging.". Fortunately, at home a complete salvage of a fileserver takes less than a minute (unlike at work, where it takes a couple hours at minimum). It's only incidental evidence, but the making of the clone volume to back up my web page volume took a split second, instead of several seconds when I tried it earlier this evening.

So, in closing:

Posted at: 19:32 | category: /computers/afs/2007/11 | Link

Sun, 18 Nov 2007

Ann Arbor Cranksgiving

Cranksgiving was held this year the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Over thirty finishers raced to six Ann Arbor area food stores, purchased items, and raced back to Bandemere Park, where the food was given to Food Gatherers. I believe I heard that over three hundred pounds of food was collected. I rode over to the park to help out as I usually do.

The weather was pretty cooperative for the race, dry, probably around 40ish when the race started (and clocking it at just above 30 when I made it home just before 8). I managed to stay pretty warm just layering stuff on, although I wish I knew what I did with my full length gloves, and I wish I had a pair of those arm warmers.

Adding to my fun, at least, is that during Night of the Living Tread II I busted the left pedal on the Zephyr, and in futzing around with the Croque Monsieur's shifter took all the springy out of the spring that holds the shifter in a particular gear. A shim made of aluminum foil and a velcro cable tie worked well to hold it in second gear, so I really didn't have much of a problem riding my now ersatz single speed.

Photos from the event can be found here.

Posted at: 20:49 | category: /bicycle/2007/11 | Link

Sat, 17 Nov 2007

Making a small network with Parallels

I broke down and purchased a copy of Paralells Desktop for Mac several months ago. It's very useful when I want to have a local NetBSD system to work on (typically because the network at my Designated Local Coffee Shop is sucking hardcore).

I've got a fairly nice setup with OpenVPN, and have it set up so that the parallels virtual machine has its own little network that can reach (and be reached) by my entire network, as well as get to the rest of the Intertoobes. I messed up something since the last time I used the virtual machine, so I decided to document how I did the setup so I can set it up the next time I screw things up....

OpenVPN setup: I've chosen the network to be the small network that Parallels machines will use. On the appropriate OpenVPN server, enter this in the configuration file:
This tells the OpenVPN server that when it starts up it should tell the machine it is on that it routes this network. I have a ccd file for my laptop, in it appears:
This tells the OpenVPN server that once it actually gets a packet for that network, this is the client to send it to.

Parallels Setup: In the configuration editor for this virtual machine, create a network device with "Host-only networking".

OS X Setup: When you install Parallels, in your Network Preferences a device will show up called "Parallels Host-Guest". This is the other end of a virtual ethernet cable that connects OS X to your virtual machine's ethernet interface. This device should be configured with the address of whatever you have picked as your default gateway on this network — I'm using, remember, and I picked to be the gateway for this network. Therefore I configured the Parallels Host-Guest interface like this:
IP Address:
Subnet Mask:
Finally, you will want to configure NAT on your machine — as it stands, your virtual machine can reach everything on your VPN network, but can't reach the rest of the net. My head is pretty much stuck full of PF and I didn't want to learn IPFW, so I simply downloaded WaterRoof. Click on NAT Setup, chose as the NAT Interface (WAN) whatever device happens to be how you get to the rest of the net (since I'm using wireless I chose en1, the name of my airport interface). Click on Start NAT and you're ready to go.

Guest OS Setup: configure its network device with some address on your little network (I chose for mine), and make its default gateway what you configured on the OS X machine in the previous step (so,

Posted at: 18:15 | category: /computers/parallels | Link

Thu, 15 Nov 2007

They Might Be Giants at the Michigan Theater

My second favorite band ever is on tour and came through my part of the world, playing at the incredibly wonderful Michigan Theater in a little suburb of Ypsilanti I like to call Ann Arbor. The show was, as I usually expect from TMBG, excellent.

Opening for them was a duo from Belfast, Ireland called Oppenhemier. Poppy, synthesizers (and they must have had a sequencer in there somewhere, because there was more music than two guys could play). They were pretty good, and I'm not just saying that because they had a air horn solo during one of the songs. I picked up their CD after the show, and look forward to giving it a good listening soon.

TMBG did a nice set with three encores, a mix of stuff from their new album The Else and other stuff. They pulled out, as they put it, "some old chestnuts&uot;, so we got to hear stuff like XTC vs. Adam Ant and Spy. A feature new to this tour is "Jerry Orbach from Beyond the Grave", which reminds me that I should have a Jerry Orbach movie night. The best part of the show, in my opinion, was the third encore (Istanbul, Not Constantinople), especially the opening guitar solo done by Dan Miller. Acoustic, started off sounding almost classical and working up to a frenzy before opening the song.

Random photos from the show (and damn, I forgot to take a picture of the Michigan Theater Marquee after I left) can be found here. Not bad, considering I was taking them from the balcony.

Posted at: 00:00 | category: /music/2007/11 | Link

Tue, 13 Nov 2007

Blog? What blog?

I got an e-mail from my friend Nick [1] today, in which he was probably the dozenth person to ask me if I had a blog. I'm a curmudgeon when it comes to things like that, but I've finally broken down and called this thing a blog, for what it is worth. There's no comments because I'm too lazy — strike that, because I make things too complicated to set up something like that without months of work — most of what is here already is either computer arcana or random food tidbits I don't want to forget, and I can't promise I'll update it with any regularity, but here it is. Enjoy.

At least I don't have a MySpace page, although people keep asking me about that too.

[1]: My friend Nick formerly of Ames who is a bastard because he's currently in France teaching English, which apparently entails working for a few weeks and then getting a huge vacation; and not my friend Nick of Oregon, who is a bastard because he works for a board game importer which randomly decides he needs to spend time in Germany.

Posted at: 22:00 | category: /musings/2007/11 | Link