[d3v0 lifeblog]

A blog of the newly hedonistic d3vo.

Busy Mondays

I seem to be having very busy mondays lately. Today was

7:30 get up and shower
7:55 get on bus
8:30 start work
12:30 consult on infrastructures issues over lunch
1:30 back to work
5:45 finish work
6:30 get home
6:35 start preparing dinner
7:00 fold washing, wash clothes, do dishes and install linux workstation
8:15 eat lasagna
8:30 sort recycle, put out with rubbish
8:40 start responding to urgent consulting related email
9:40 assess contract for infrastructure services
11:00 record timesheet entries for today
11:05 blog

I seem to have a habit of over front loading my week but I keep running low on time. Today was utterly jammed and I barely got through stuff. Nothing stressful here, but the only me time I get on Mondays is to listen to some music on the bus. My mondays have been developing like this all year. I'm not sure what happens next but I don't think Ill like it.

Tuesdays seem to work out better usually :)

All Is Well

I've been busy this week. I was skipped Sunday things at the Spa Palace because I was at dinner with my family. Was a good dinner.

On Monday I did some GST. Nice to have done that stuff, but more to do still.

On Tuesday I went for a run with fish. Her running has improved a lot. She will be canning 5k in no time.

On Wednesday I went to a beginners swing class after getting my hair cut.

On Thursday I went to foundation swing class after working late.

Tonight I hung with ms and mr_west_end. Was mellow. Had dinner earlier with ms_little_sister. We talked about mental framing, media and I tried to inform her how a car works.

I found my Fedora Core 5 DVD, I need to install linux on my workstation at home again so that I can do some serious programming for my next attempted business venture. At least I have some customers this time.

I'm wondering if I can go back and time and label my past posts.

Looks like I can, but it will take me a while.

I'm backing up my data from my workstation hard drive onto my internet server. There are several pieces of magic involved in this as I'm backing it up from under windows, but they all seem fine.

Working with windows at work, it is kind of getting to me. There is a lot of UI film grain that I have to put up with under windows, I'll enjoy the grease free, unhiccuped experience of linux again soon.

Blog Upgraded a little

I've done a little upgrade to my blog, but as I can't get at the raw HTML yet I'm not happy with it. More shuffle to come, I feel the need for more brackets.

How to Cook Rice

I was going to make this a comment on not-kate's blog, but it really deserves top level post status.

----

Most instructions on how to make rice are crap. I am a computer programmer. I know how to write instructions. I have written instructions for more than two decades. The instructions on rice packets are ambiguous, misleading, optimisitic and give no guides on external elements. From a Business Analysis point of view they do account for all the actors in the activity. They are missing entire swim lanes. From a use case perspective the rice instructions do not have any alternate scenarios or error scenarios.

The instructions do not give any instructions on critical elements such as pot selection, how the oven and the pot should interact or use of a lid. They are incomplete. All rice instruction writers are incompetive pedants.

These instructions do not apply to boil in bag, 5 minute special magically doesn't taste very good rice, rice not cooked on a stovetop, desert rice dish rice preparation, rice preparation for making sushi rice or cooking rice in a risotto.

Anyway. To cook rice of any amount start with a big pot. A pot with at least 8 inches of side to it. Yes, a really big one. Put the amount of rice you desire in the bottom. You need about 1/2 a cup per serve depending on how many boys or boy-sized-meal-eating-eaters you are serving. I use a giant pasta pot usually. Reduces boil overs. Damn the efficieny.

The you want to fill the pot with cold water. You do not need to wash the rice. Really. That is some joke that people thought was real. Get on with your life, have a conversation instead of washing the rice. Scratch your armpit, anything.

Fill the pot untill you can stick your finger tip on the rice, with your finger vertical, and the water covers past the first knuckle. You want more than an inch of water-above-rice coverage. This will be too much water for the rice, but only a little too much. It is desirable to have too much water so that you don't burn your rice through inattention. Also if you throw some water away at the end then that acts as a low grade kind of washing.

If you add some cheap table salt to the water it will increase the boiling point of the water a little, or at least retard the froth forming action a little. This is optionional. But you could long pour your salt into the rice to impress guests. Do not attempt to long pour your salt into the pot for the first time when guests arrive; this is hubris.

Put the pot on the stove with the lid on, but not on properly. Put the stove on max untill it starts to boil. It is imporant you stir it a couple of times before it gets to the boil. The rice will most likely stick before the water boils not after. When the water is boiling there will be convection currents in the water. These seem to reduce stickage. Pre boil you get no convection currents and more stickage.

So when the rice is boiling, turn the heat down quite a bit so that it is still boiling, but not boiling as fast as possible. Stir again but do not put the lid on tight as this causes the thing to boil over.

Cook the rice untill it is cooked. Test the cooked state of the rice by testing the rice. Test the rice by getting a spoon and pulling some rice out. Wait for that rice to cool. Expect to wait at least five seconds for the rice to cool. Put the rice in your mouth. Chew on the rice. If the rice is hard or chewey then it is not cooked. If the rice not hard or chewy then you can make a call on it's cooked state. Some people like their rice with more bite than other people. You can vary the cooked state of your rice as appropriate for the dish you are serving. A bit like pasta

I prefer to make rice with a little more bite when I serve rice with Green Tai Chicken Curry.

Do not assume that just because you have boiled the rice for 20 minutes and the rice packets instruction's say that is the cooking time that it means that rice packet knew about your particular rice cooking activity of the day and that the instructions were tailor made for you convenience right now. Do not do this. Test the rice instead.

If the rice is not cooked and you cannot see any water in the pot then you need to add more water immediately. If you add more water you will probably need to turn the heat of the element up briefly, and then turn it down when the rice is boiling. Failure to adjust the heat after adding water may result in stalling the rice cooking process and significantly extended the cooking time above the following guidelines.

You should have expectations of rice cooking times between about 15 minutes and 25 minutes for various white varieties and about 25 minutes and about 40 minutes for various brown varieties. If you have special rice that says 5 minutes then these instructions are void.

When the rice is cooked (because you have confirmed it's cooked state because you have tested the rice with a test) then you may need to drain any remaining water.

Even if you can't see any water you probably wan't to drain the rice anyway just in case there is water you cannot see. Undrained water may spoil other non-rice components of your meal when you serve the rice and the undrained water escapes across the plate. Why risk that horror?

Drain the rice by getting a drainer thingy OF SUFFICIENT SIZE and pouring the rice and possibly-extant-water into the drainer. Stir the rice gently in the drainer to aid the draining process. I suggest you do this over the sink, but it's your kitchen.

Now you can serve your confirmed-cooked-state-and-possibly-unnecessarily-drained rice. It will be edible rice. These instructions are repeatable. Enjoy.

Blogger Upgrade

If you have been living under an IT rock, as most of you are, you will have missed todays announcement that you can convert your blogger blog to the next version. It means getting a google account however.

There may be categories, I'd like to explore.

---

I've explored, there are categories but I need to ditch my current template and upgrade to a new template. Then edit the new template and put in my special sauces such as links with underlines and link to other peoples blogs. Will play with this Friday night while waiting for my house renovation paint/ plaster to dry.

Training Times

Hello my fellow triathlete and tramping bloglings.

I diegn the following training times:

Monday nights are for Cycling

I'll probably be cycling at the gym briefly on Monday nights for a little while. I've yet to organise a bike.


Tuesday nights are for running

Running from my place to Fishies place, then optionally back to my place. It's about 3 kms or 6kms.


Wednesday nights are for swimming

Swimming after work. The Huia pool is open late untill 8pm. Want to get an hour to a hour an 3/4 of swimming in.


Thursday nights are for knitting or dancing

Swing dancing in Petone or knitting at strongers knitting circle.


Friday nights are for gyming

I'll be frequenting the gym Friday nights, playing on an exercycle briefly.


Saturday mornings are for swimming

About 9:30 or so swimming laps at huia. Or at least until the sea warms up and I organise some sea swimming lessons. I have the numbers but not the wetsuit.

Sunday afternoons are for running or tramping or cycling
I need to do my long thing for the week on Sunday afternoons. Might be tramping, running or cycling but it has to be around 2 hours worth. Hills are good too.

Rimutaka Incline

I walked the Rimutaka incline yesterday. Was good, but more exposed than I though, could have done with gloves in a few places.




A bridge across a stream. The water flowing around the rocks was peaceful.




Mmm, nice tunnel. Boys like tunnels ;)



A bridge



A cute seat made out of railway sleepers.



A signpost. The back road to god knows where.



A cutting.

Early Drive Home (Monday)

I got up real early and drove home on Monday morning. Had some clients to see on Monday afternoon. Real early for a computer programmer like me is a 5:55. It is basically an indecent time of day. It is probably the earliest I have been awake this year.

So mr_mountain_barista got this great blurry shot of us at that time in the morning. Our weekend was fab, we were smiling lots for 6am monday morning.




If you click on it you get a bigger version, as with all my photos. The double focus thing seems particularly appropriate for how I feel most of the time when it is early morning.

I was driving for about half an hour before the sun came up. I drove from good weather in Taupo to bad weather in Welly but got through my business stuff without falling asleep :)

2006 Taupo Half Marathon (Sunday)

I ran the Taupo half on Sunday. The course had some undulations in it and a few kilometres through farmland. I did a 1.53 time. This is fairly good going as I had to stop and relieve myself.

The whole walking and running field got rained on as it rained steadily all day in Taupo. More than 4000 people took part, I understand. I'll stick up some photos when they are available.

Here is a picture I leached off the sports photo site. It is a good picture, I'll probably order a real photo of it for my mummy.



As you can see I ran with a snowboarding jacket. It isn't a very warm jacket but is keeps the rain on fairly well. I've got a camelback over the top. This was about 17 km in, only 4km to go! At this point I'm still fairly relaxed and my technique is ok. It tends to break down a little after the 17k mark.

There is this problem with sports pictures of running. The photographers crank up the shutter speed so they don't get a blurry photo, but this means that you loose any sense of speed or movement. In general this increases the gangle factor quite a bit. Everybody looks akward when you get them in freeze frame. The loose jacket seems to accentuate how thin my legs are, yesh!

So I've been practicing putting together a positive mental frame when I am running in events. The mental frame has me happy and relaxed. It also involves the finish line singing to me.

The singing is kind of like the ring on Lord Of The Rings, but happy instead of sinister. The finish line sings it's happy call and I am happy that I am running toward it.

The finish line definitely has a female voice, something like a collection of Alto's doing a happy chill out house impersonation, which says quite a bit about me. Think of the noise at the very begining of the Simpsons theme music, just before the word the Simpsons get sung. I think they are ha-ing.

Does the finish line sing to anyone else?

Friday, Driving Oakune to Taupo

Nice trees in the park at Oakune.



Breakfast at a greasy spoon. The toast was listed on the menu, but curiously the chips were not. The chips were like some kind of free deal sweatener. Or perhaps the waitress liked my hat.

I was hobling around pretty hardcore at this point. I had lots of coffee the night before. I think it contributed to the very bad cramp I got in my left calf that night. My entire calf muscle rigid and sore. Worst my calf has felt since I strained it playing gridiron with the slippery pig many years back in a schoolyard. Not my schoolyard though.

So Friday morning I was hobling round Oakune like a right proppa tourist wiff my camra, oblin and shufflin down the pavement tryin ta breave some life back inta ma calf.




I met Jeffery and Linley Cooper in the rest stop a little way into the Desert Road. They were at school at the same time as my mother. I'm not sure if she remembers them.

They offered me coffee and scones with jam. Brilliant.


Here is a pictue they took of me.






I like my picture of the mountain better however. I'm obscuring the power pylons by reflecting the shot of the roof of my car. I like the effect. Was a fab day for skiing and boarding, but I was saving my glycogen for Sunday.

Road Trip 1 (updated)

The begining of my weekend. Headed up country with mr_ou1, mr_flash, mr_d and mr_silver.

Thursday 3rd Aug



Big custom speakers at Toad Hall. They had a big sort of sound to them, hard to describe. The speakers were back ported. Apparently they are about 160kg each.





A quilt made of mens shirts. Very very cool. I like the geometric patterns a lot. We had soup, bread and listened to some tunes at Toad Hall. Nice quilts and music gear there, but watch out for the break knife!




A frenzy of activity before bed, blame it on the brownies, in the Big Carrot at this point. I think we got through about 2 litres of brownies at this point which isn't quite right for a thursday night.

Road Trip


Tomorrow straight after work I'm heading up country with a bunch of skiers. They are stopping at the mountain but I am going to Taupo. I need to pick up some coffe beans on the way.

I need to leave super early to get a park in town. But it means I get to go and flirt with a barista I'm friends with at a cafe in town before work. It's on the way between the parking building and where I'm working, so I'll drop here off some beans too, maybe even some milk.

Photos to follow, get to try out my new camera.

Speaking of which here is a picture of me about to head out the door before dancing. I'm taking the hat up north.