Work In Progress

After making my last post all of 15 minutes ago, I realized what I needed to do in order to energize myself about blogging regularly: chronicle what I am doing.

I know. Everyone does that. And honestly, this is no different than what is already being done, but we all have to start somewhere and I am starting with my own epiphany.

So what is the plan for today? Well, here is the laundry list:

  1. Submit talk(s) to B-Sides San Antonio (http://www.bsidessatx.com/).
  2. Update my website.
  3. Create a personal GitHub repo for storing docs and code.
  4. Create 3 unique tweets.

So, the first two are done. Sort of. I have submitted two talks for B-Sides. The first is Sacred Beavers which discusses those processes that people believe increase productivity but actually slow it down considerably. The second is called Get Angry and is similar but from a different perspective. It revolves around the idea that so many people in the tech industry accept hindrances as normal and never speak up about how it affects their work. The Call For Papers (CFP) ends today and hopefully I will hear something by May 1st.

As for the website, well, that is what I am doing right now. There are some under-the-hood projects that I need to start outlining, but for the most part I have got this site back up and running. Eventually, I would like to learn enough HTML and CSS to move off of WordPress and manage everything myself, but for now this is probably the best way to go.

Number 3 is not that hard to accomplish, but it is part of a larger project. I enjoy documenting processes. I have no idea why, but I like writing detailed methods for getting tasks done. Currently, I am trying to find the motivation to learn how to write in a language (Python, Go, Ruby, Pig Latin, anything) and then document the entire process in a method that makes it easy for others to learn. Yeah, rewriting the wheel, but I am hoping to get some practice AND learn how to code/program at the same time.

The fourth is probably the hardest for me. I know it shouldn’t be, but I feel I should have something important to say before I tweet it. I just don’t have that internal desire to tell everyone that I am going to store or I stubbed my toe. Finding that “mojo” that makes one want to use Twitter is what I have to dig down and search for within my own mind. Who knows? Maybe there is some deep thoughts I can impart with the world. Or just shout about random things.

I am starting to look into a community called Write The Docs ( http://www.writethedocs.org/) and if anyone knows more about them or is/has been involved with them, I am interested in talking to you. My email and Twitter handle are at the bottom of the page. Reach out to me!

Yelling Into The Abyss

Alright, so I am bad at this website thing. I am also bad at social media. Now that I have gotten that out of the way, let me explain why I am bad at these things.

I hate talking just to be talking. I like conversation. I have a genuine need to receive input back on what I say. So when I make a blog post or send a tweet, I feel as if I am just speaking into the wind, hoping someone hears the message. I don’t know how to handle this and so I simply stop doing anything.

This is a horrible approach to an issue, or to life in general. Therefore, I am back, making this short post asking for input. Does anyone else feel this nagging talon of give and take ripping into your side and if so, how to you deal with it? I have enabled comments on this site, but only get the expected spam. Obviously, I should tweet more if I want more people to talk to, but what do you say that inspires conversation?

I look forward to hearing your opinions and thoughts!

 

In the beginning…

So I have had the desire to create a website for some time now, but never really had a direction for it. Then, over a great dinner at Murphy’s Kitchen and Tap, I had a discussion with my girlfriend about doing a site discussing food, beer, bars, diners, and all the other objects of my attention.

Therefore, I have to say right off the top, Murphy’s was astounding. The food was solid. We had the Irish Nachos, Irish Stew and the Fish ‘n Chips all of which were devoured. The tartar sauce, which I normally can’t stand anywhere else, was amazing. I even went and had a discussion with the Executive Chef about what he does differently to create it. Definitely, if you are ever in Charlotte, go here at least once.

 

Fish ‘n Chips
Pesto Chicken Pasta

Now, for my first post I wanted to start in my own kitchen with a very humble and simple dinner. It was a Pesto Chicken Pasta and a beer. The pesto was made by hand from basil grown in my girlfriend’s garden using a mortar and pestle. I would say it was a decent 6 out of 10, losing points for the presentation because, well, I just dumped it into a bowl and topped it with cheese and diced tomatoes.

 

Here is the process:

First, I started with Mark Bittman’s  Pesto recipe from How to Cook Everything:

  1. ½ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted.
  2. ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil.
  3. 2 garlic cloves.
  4. 2 cups packed basil leaves (2 1/2 ounces/75 grams, from 1 big bunch or 2 small bunches)
  5. 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (3 ounces/85 grams)
  6. ½ teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste.

I took the pine nuts, garlic, basil and salt and crushed them into a pulp inside the mortar. A little at a time, I added the oil, blending it in with the pestle. Once all of the oil was added and the leaves had been pretty much reduced to a gooey, yummy spread, I moved the sauce into a small bowl and chilled it while I worked on the other portions of dinner. After roughly an hour, I whisked in the cheese. His recipe calls for Parmesan, which is traditional, but all I had was some Asiago so that is what I used.

Now, during the time that the sauce was chilling in the fridge, I chopped a handful of rosemary and thyme (also from the garden) and tossed it with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Then, I coated chicken thighs with the concoction and placed them on a sheet pan, cooking them for about 20 minutes at 450 degrees.  Afterwards, the thighs were sliced into 1/2 inch strips.

Gourmet Texas Pasta

While that was in the oven, I boiled the pasta (Gourmet Texas Pasta) and prepared some mushrooms and tomatoes that I had on hand. I started with putting the mushrooms in a small skillet with some olive oil and cooked out most of their moisture. Then I added diced tomatoes and cooked those down until everything started to thicken.

After removing the tomatoes and mushrooms from the heat, I added some freshly chopped rosemary and basil, along with some salt and pepper. I let this cool down to room temperature and then mixed with the finished pesto.

After the chicken and pasta were finished, both were tossed with the tomato/pesto sauce. Then, just because I love their taste, I tossed in a few pinenuts and topped it all off with some shredded Asiago cheese and diced tomatoes.

The beer in the pictures is Magic Hat’s Elder Betty. While not something I would normally pick for myself, preferring stouts and porters, it was really quite good. So, if you enjoy ales, this is definitely worth giving a try.

Magic Hat Elder Betty

You may have noticed that throughout this entire post I have provided links to what I have used. Understand that no one is paying for this site except me. These companies (and in the case of Mark Bittman, people) have not paid for any form of promotion. The views I have expressed are 100% my own. I want to share my experiences with you all and want you to know when I find something worth checking out for yourself.

That being said, if you have a bar you think I should check out or a product you want reviewed, please let me know. I am always open to suggestions. While I am in the Texas region (specifically, San Antonio), I do periodically venture outside my comfort-zone. Let me know what you would like to see on this site.