Sunday, August 2, 2015

Django Unchained. I finally watched it.

Why did it take me this long to watch it? I have two little kids and its NOT kid friendly nor short enough to watch during naps. Kind of obvious for a Tarantino film.

Note: Chrome's spell checked has Tarantino in the dictionary, interesting.

Today is Daddy's day off, they are with Mom and the pool and I'm getting some rest. Django has been staring at me on Netflix for awhile now. I turn up the volume and watch it. My movie review style is simple: short analysis (hopefully) summing up lots into little.

Quentin Tarantino has finally channeled his inner JJ Abrams re-imagining 'The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly'. Brilliantly.

Another film it reminded me of: O Brother, Where Art thou?' Replace Homer's Odyssey with Brunhilde.

Too obvious?

How about this take away.

Cinema has always had a ethos where it was okay to root for certain types of characters to be killed. Its morbid, but true since at least John Wayne was shooting people.

First it was American Indians. Then Nazis.

It's still Nazis (doubt that every gets old), but Tarantino has successfully added slave holders and their lackeys. I for one hope Dave Chappelle had a hand in this.

Windows 10. Am I the only one that liked Windows 8.1?

I just updated to Windows 10.

Where the hell are my programs I had nicely organized on the start menu as a whole screen thingy?

I click the magnifying glass (I assume that means search) and try to search for anything. I just want to type something and get a filtered list of my installed programs. there is no search, I type, and nothing. Its real easy to change the name of the "start screen" why would I want to do that? When I hit the Windows button before I saw my programs organized the way I organized them. Or I could just start typing and it would search for stuff. Sure it was slow and searched Bing (i guess) but it at least (eventually) found the program I recently installed and now need to run.

O look what I wanted was to hit the Windows button then scroll down further. There is the program I need. I prefer to search. Scrolling in a tiny popup is so not a good idea.

I guess I'll find out Monday if they murdered Visual Studio, too. Someone buy me a new MacBook. Please.

Monday, March 30, 2015

The role of STEM in American Education

From the Washington Post: Why America’s obsession with STEM education is dangerous

Fareed makes some very good points about over emphasizing STEM in the American education system. Especially about how the American economy has for long been powered by people 

However, I think this piece is best viewed as a long term warning then it is a current problem. Our education system is far from STEM dominated. The pendulum may be swinging away from humanities and towards STEM but its still heavily on the side of humanities. 

In my opinion we still need a stronger presence of math, science, and engineering (and foreign languages) and at younger ages. Its simply a matter of keeping up with the times. For example, a student passionate about creative writing benefits tremendously from having some knowledge and exposure to computer programming just as a writer 50 years ago would benefit from having some knowledge of the publishing industry.

The American education system has been stagnant for too long. We need to keep it current and diverse. This means retaining the framework of liberal education but increasing the array of skills being taught. Creative thinking and problem solving remain the cornerstones but they must be viewed through the lens of the internet and service based economy as opposed to a manufacturing economy. 

Some excepts:

“Is it a vital interest of the state to have more anthropologists?”asked Florida’s Gov. Rick Scott. “I don’t think so.” 
How can a Governor make such a prediction? There is no way to know where the next growth industry will come from, it could be anthropology students who found the next big thing. This is why a liberal education system is necessary, because we shouldn't be relying on top down decision making (somethign Rep. have always shunned). Instead, let the peoples own creativity loose.

Exposure to a variety of fields produces synergy and cross fertilization. Yes, science and technology are crucial components of this education, but so are English and philosophy.
In our modern economy synergy and cross fertilization happen on the internet one way or another and are driven by data - which requires statistical analysis to understand. Now more then ever math and science are needed for a liberal education system to succeed. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Better for you (slightly) Chocolate Chip Cookies: Spelt-Whole Wheat

Better for you (slightly) Chocolate Chip Cookies: Spelt-Whole Wheat

Basically the recipe on the back of chocolate chips except the the all purpose flour is replaced with an even divide of spelt flour and whole wheat flour which are better for you then regular flour (at least a little). I use a little extra vanilla and more brown sugar then granulated.

Wet team
  • dark brown sugar 200 g
  • granulated sugar 100 g
  • vanilla extract 1.5 tsp
  • unsalted butter 1 cup (2 sticks) softened
  • large eggs 2
Dry Team
  • baking soda 1 tsp
  • kosher salt 1.5 tsp
  • spelt flour 290 g (little more then 1 cup)
  • whole wheat flour 290 g (little more then 1 cup)
  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips 1 bag (2 cups)

Preheat oven to 375.

Mix the dry team in a bowl.

I used a stand mixer but a hand mixer should do fine.
Add the softened butter to the mixing brown with the sugars and vanilla. Beta on medium until combined. Add the eggs, whip until creamy like a frosting.

Turn mixer to low, slowly spoon in dry team until its all combined. Add chocolate chips until combined.

Line cookie pan with parchment paper. Spoon cookie dough onto pan. I used a melon baller.

Bake for about 11 minutes.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Why You Should Never Eat Vegetable Oil or Margarine

Why You Should Never Eat Vegetable Oil or Margarine: "Canola Oil
Corn Oil
Soybean Oil
“Vegetable” oil
Peanut Oil
Sunflower Oil
Safflower Oil
Cottonseed Oil
Grapeseed Oil
I Can’t Believe Its Not Butter (You better believe it!)
Smart Balance (Not a Smart idea!)
Any fake butter or vegetable oils products"

'via Blog this'

Agree or disagree? I think its a good guideline but personally follow the "eat everything in moderation" plan. Except trans fat, definitely avoid that completely and minimize sugar intake.

This article promotes these foods:

Coconut Oil



Organic Cream

Olive Oil

Palm Oil




Eat in Moderation:

Flaxseed Oil

Walnut Oil

Macadamia Nut Oil


Monday, January 6, 2014

Salted Paleo: Crunchy Butternut Squash Chips

Salted Paleo: Crunchy Butternut Squash Chips:

'via Blog this'

Fantastic recipe.  A bit time consuming for the amount of food, but a great healthy snack.

Seasoned some with paprika and garlic powder others with cumin and turmeric.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Sweet Potato Casserole Two Ways for the Holidays

This year I made sweet potato casserole for Thanksgiving. Several people have asked for the recipe so here you go.

First, the basic recipe is this one from my Aunt Nell who lived on the Eastern Shore of Virginia near Wallops Island. This is super southern and super sweet, I consider it a dessert.

Aunt Nell's Sweet Potato Casserole
3 cups sweet potatoes (probably canned)
2 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup butter

1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup butter
1 cup finely chopped pecans

Mix first five ingredients. Put in a 4-5 qt. casserole dish.
Mix sugar flour and pecans with melted butter, pour over casserole.
Bake at 350F 45 minutes to an hour.
I would cover with foil then remove for last 10 minutes.

This is not the recipe I made but the idea is the same.

My version is inspired by baby food. My 2 year old likes to eat mashed combinations of vegetables including sweet potato, rutabaga, butternut squash, parsnips, etc. So I made my casserole filling and toddler food at the same time!

The baby's portion gets removed from the mixer before all the spices go in or the bourbon goes on the pecans.

All the measurements are to taste because when using fresh vegetables its going to come out a little different every time. This amounts should do about a 9x13 casserole dish with about an inch of filling, maybe a bit more.

Sean's Root Vegetable Casserole with Bourbon Pecan Topping
For the filling
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, cleaned, diced
1 large rutabaga, peeled and diced
6 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 egg
1/4 cup brown sugar, the darker the better
1 tbs vanilla extract
2 sticks of butter, softened
Note: All these spices I did to taste, measurements are a best guess to show proportions
2 tbs kosher salt
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground all spice

Preheat oven to 200F.

Cook all the vegetables on a low boil until very soft, falling apart when a fork goes in. They can be stringy if you under cook. Rutabaga takes the longest, then potato, then squash so either add them at different times or dice them at different sized.

Drain and pour cooked vegetables into the casserole dish, sprinkle salt all over. Put casserole into the over for about 30 minutes to help dry everything out. The more you can spread out the vegetables the better.

I don't know how to explain what a 'dry' looks like but they shouldn't be roasting in there. When they are dry you can add more butter so it tastes better :)

Remove vegetables, crank over to 375F.

Put vegetables into your mixer with two sticks of butter, sugar, vanilla, and start mixing. Add the egg, beat until smooth. Add your spices and salt to taste, more sugar is desired.

Grease your casserole dish with butter and add your filling. After making the topping, add it to the dish, cover with foil, bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil, cook another 10 and your done.

Bourbon Pecan topping
1 pound pecans coarsely chopped. I just hit the unopened bag with a rolling pin a few times.
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 stick butter
tsp flout
little nutmeg
1/2 cup bourbon, Evan Williams is a good choice because its cheap but still decent quality

In a sauce pan on medium low, melt the butter, add the sugar and pecans, keep stirring until just bubbling. Add the bourbon, might want to kill the flame first so you don't flambe it, or flambe it might be better ;) Watc h your eyebrows. Let that reduce by half and stir in the flour and a bit of nutmeg.

Pour it over the casserole and bake it.

I did this once with cashews instead of pecans and it tasted fine but the pecans are a better texture.