Month: April 2007

Culinary Caberet

Hoyt has been making a lot of meals, so yesterday and today I put my hands to work. Wednesday I made ambrosia salad to get me kick started. Thursday's dinner consisted of sauteed boneless pork chops with apple pan sauce (the butcher at Whole Foods was excellent about this, unwrapping a pre-made set, cleaning it up, and removing the bone, go Whole Foods!) and two sides: acorn squash with browned butter, honey, and sage as well as buttered sweet corn. Mmmmm… I had never cooked squash halved before, but the sauce was excellent with it! Hoyt made a strawberry glace pie for dessert. He's more proficient with baking than I am, but I can whip up a batch of cookies pretty easily. 😉

Today I went for fish: apricot-balsamic-glazed salmon and mashed potatoes with apples and thyme (these are my favorite mashed potatoes, but I tried a rice alternative to normal sour cream and it isn't as tasty) as well as buttered asparagus pieces for side dishes. I have to admit, apricot and salmon complement each other very well, who would have thunk!!

All these recipes were found in my Cooking Pleasures magazine from October/November 2004. I used to be a member of the Cooking Club of America a while back, but lived by myself so didn't cook much. The recipes in the magazine are great though, easy enough but unique enough. I would love to rejoin, but waiting until Hoyt has a job before I start getting involved in things again. In the meantime, the CCOA has been digitizing their recipes (woohoo!), and can be found at:

Personal DNA

Saw this on BluePamphlet and was compelled to check it out. After taking the quiz, I realize that I have been quite pessimistic and touchy lately, so my new focus is on happiness. I think reading some happy news will relieve some of my frustrations with the heavier side of reality that I think keep pushing me down my rut. I am looking at either, http://www.happynews.com/, http://www.hyphon.com/, or http://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/. I do not think http://www.theonion.com/ counts as it is not real news, but it might be amusing if all else fails. Here are my results from the Personal DNA test (LiveJournal will not allow me to paste in the nifty script… yay…):

You are a Considerate Artist.

You are an Artist

  • Your appreciation of beauty, ability to think abstractly, and innovativeness make you an ARTIST.
  • Never one to be tied to a particular way of doing things, you let your imagination guide you in discovering different possibilities.
  • You would rather seek out new experiences than stick to your everyday habits, taking in as much of the world as possible.
  • Your eye for beauty and your willingness to consider different perspectives make your creative efforts interesting—even though you may not realize this yourself.
  • You prefer to think about things before voicing your opinion, considering a wide, diverse range of options.
  • While there are forms and styles that you prefer, you tend to keep an open mind when it comes to your artistic preferences.
  • You are curious about things, interested in the “why” more than the “how.”
  • You have an active imagination that leads you express yourself in a distinct way.

You are Considerate

  • You trust others, care about them, and are slow to judge them, making you CONSIDERATE.
  • You value your close relationships very much, and are more likely to spend time in small, tightly-knit groups of friends than in large crowds.
  • You enjoy exploring the world through observation, quietly watching others.
  • Relating to others so well, and understanding their emotions, leads you to trust people in general, even though you're somewhat shy and reserved at times.
  • Your belief that people are generally well-intentioned contributes to your sympathy regarding their problems.
  • Although you may not vocalize it often, you have an awareness of how society affects individuals, and you understand complex causes of people's behavior.
  • You like to look at all sides of a situation before making a judgment, particularly when that situation involves important things in other people's lives.
  • Your close friends know you as a good listener.

Is this accurate? Hmm…

The beauty of CSS

Still sick… with congested head, lots of coughing and sneezing, the runny nose, the exhaustion… and here I thought we would be exercising and doing lots of activities now that Hoyt is here again. Blah. But what I really want to mention is CSS. People keep questioning me why CSS is better. Better than what? The old way. Let me make a few points.

CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets. What this really means is it styles an HTML page (or (X)HTML elements).
CSS is not supported consistently across browsers. IE happens to fudge it up the most, giving me serious heart burn on site design. Good challenge though.
CSS is still a fledgling when it comes to layout (but is spectacular at basic styling of fonts, etc). You can do it, but it isn't as easy as it should be. This is being worked on with version 3.0 (it's currently at 2.1).

What many people do is transitional. They'll still use a table to make basic layout, but then integrate groovy XHTML and solid styling CSS (not the messy layout stuff). This is a great start, especially for people who don't want to muddle with all the crap between browsers (stupid IE…).

But why? Why bother? Take my motto. Life is change. And it be changing uber fast right now. Build with CSS, and you've got a lot more flexibility. It's similar to what happened in the Alps many years ago. The people built a railroad without having a train because they knew someday it would come. They paved the road. And the train came. CSS may not be the best thing ever invented yet, but it'll come. 😉

My main reason for using CSS is it separates content and presentation. HTML provides a basic document structure for content. CSS provides styles for the content. If I had it my way, I would break it down even further by having my content in XML, so it could be built using meaningful tags (XML provides rules but you get to make your own tags/elements, so instead of coding <h1>Huckleberry Finn</h1>, which could be your name or the name of a book, etc., XML allows you to put <booktitle>Huckleberry Finn</booktitle>, which clearly labels what that content is). Then from XML, we use XSL (XML Stylesheet) to tell it what HTML it is (<booktitle> is equal to <h1>) so our browsers understand how to display it in a document. Then we apply CSS to make the title purple, centered, and 14px tall. It's all about separating out content and style, making it easier to manipulate and change (remember, change is super fast right now).

An example: people don't tend to buy appliances that are combined. Take the microwave with toaster.

This is pretty neat. Saves on space and two for the price of one, right? What if you decide you need a four slice toaster…? You have to dump the whole unit and either find one that has four or buy them separately. Or what if the toaster broke? The whole unit goes in for repair (and you never know, fixing the toaster might break the microwave and back it goes…) or you dump it for a new one. Typically when they're together quality decreases as well. Because the manufacturer is not focused on making one technology work, but two in the same container, quality is compromised. It's just better to have two separate ones. Or a toaster oven.

In any case, separating them out make them easier to change. Then you're also using technology that was designed for that specific purpose. Sure, for those not ready to make that leap, using a transitional design isn't bad, but make sure you build it knowing the train will come someday.

LiveJournal apparently has issues with the <code> tag to which end I had to revise this post about three times. Looking forward to moving…

Welcome to puzumaki.com

I have been sick the past few days with some odd virus that has made me tired with a scratchy sore throat. Even odder, it hasn't made me miserable (outside of the uncomfortable sore throat), but I feel fairly content. Saturday night we saw John Pizzarelli. Terrific performance by Pizzarelli and the quartet. However, I wanted to walk out when he had his wife come out and sing a few songs with him. Her voice was very apparently stage, much too bright and loud for jazz, and shot from too many cigarettes (her coughing was consistent). I felt bad for the band; they were all terrific artists. Overall, if you have a chance to see Pizzarelli live, absolutely go! He is the most relaxed and humorous artist I have seen live, and his work is much much better out of the studio.

After much debate about building my own site, I have finally taken the first step and registered my domain. Because I'll be using software I haven't had the ability to use before, I am giving myself until the end of May to get it up. It will be at http://www.puzumaki.com/. The graphics are the easiest part of this project once I became inspired, now I just have to decide how much content to put on it and learn the software. :-p If it doesn't work out, well… let's think about that later. I'll be asking for critiques and suggestions (please don't be mean though! Criticisms are good only if provided in a helpful way, in my opinion. Unless you hate someone or something, then you just give criticisms out of spite. The latter are not welcome… :-p)