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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Pan Fried salmon with Blueberry-maple sauce

I love playing with my food, and today I came up with something worth sharing: Pan fried salmon with blueberry-maple sauce. The ingredients:

  • Salmon Fillet - big enough for two

  • one tablespoon of corn oil

  • about a quarter cup of blueberries

  • one tablespoon of maple syrup

  • one teaspoon of soy sauce (Dark)

  • one half teaspoon of sesame oil

  • a piece of fresh ginger

It's a simple recipe, really. Use the table spoon of corn oil to coat the bottom of a pan. Put it aside. Prepare the fresh ginger (it should be a reasonable size - maybe 1-2cm^3) by chopping it finely. Throw it in the food processor, along with the blueberries, maple syrup, soy sauce and sesame oil. Blend it for a couple seconds, till it forms a smooth sauce.

Next, preheat the frying pan (with the oil in it) over medium heat. Once the oil is warm, and covers the bottom of the pan, throw in the salmon, and spread a tablespoon of the blueberry mixture over the top - try not to get any onto the bottom of the frying pan, though - it'll burn. Cook covered for about 8 minutes - depending on the thickness of the fillet. Once it's done, serve the fish hot, and spoon the remaining blueberry mixture over top.

Voila, a fresh summer recipe! For a nice alternative, you could do the same recipe on the BBQ.

I had to make it again, but with a few changes. Replace the Sesame oil with Cherry-Balsamic Glaze, and it gives it a lighter and fruitier flavour.

Yes, dinner at my house always looks this good:


Thursday, July 26, 2007


Tonight was the first installment of the HSBC Celebration of Light. Instead of the usual trek down to Kitsilano beach, where I usually go, I headed up to 8th and Trimble, well away from the fireworks. I'd heard before that that was a decent place to be. Alas, I went up there, and couldn't really find a great place to sit, but I didn't want to head back to kits beach - so we staked out a spot and got ready to be disappointed.

In fact, once the fireworks started, I was pleasantly surprised. The combination of my zoom lens and some good dumb luck had me clicking away from start to end. Out of about 250 pictures I took, nearly 200 of them "turned out". An unheard of ratio, for me.

This one isn't the best - but it's one of them. Click on the picture to check out the whole gallery.

EDIT: Sorry - I've moved my galleries around, and this one is no longer available.


Monday, July 23, 2007

Evening Moon

Thought I had to share an image I took this evening...


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Installing trac on Ubuntu

I have a relatively geeky post today. I've been playing with trac, for the past few days, trying to get it installed. I just thought I'd post a few of the errors that I had, and the solutions.
Failed to create environment. 'ascii' codec can't encode character u'\xa8' in position 6: ordinal not in range(128)

My personal favorite. I had created a password with a ! and a % in it. Apparently, that's a no-no. Mysql didn't like it, and I had to change the password in mysql to fix it. After logging into mysql, I used the usual:
UPDATE mysql.user SET Password=PASSWORD('newpassword') WHERE User='username';

Naturally, that was only partially successful. After changing a password in mysql, you still need to flush the settings, and have them reloaded. This can be accomplished with:

If you don't, calling "sudo trac-admin /usr/trac/projectname/ initenv" will give you an error that looks like:
OperationalError: (1045, "Access denied for user 'username'@'localhost' (using password: YES)")

That's just mysql's way of telling you that it's still using the old password, and that you may have changed the table, but the software is running with the old parameters.
Moving along, I should also mention that, if you've tried this before, and trac gives you the error:
Initenv for '/usr/trac/projectname' failed.
Does an environment already exist?

there is an easy solution. Go into the directory /usr/trac/projectname, and delete everything in there (sudo rm -rf *), with, of course, the usual caveat that you should make sure you're in the right directory when you execute that! (Doing that in the wrong place will naturally delete your entire hard drive. You've been warned.)
Good luck with the rest of your install.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Trains travel 5x faster than you think...

I often wonder how people come up with commercials. I just heard a great line:
Trains travel a lot faster than you think... Five times faster!

I love math - and logic - defying adds.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Why Fedex Sucks.

Alright - I usually try to refrain from ranting, but I have a rant. I ordered some documents for my upcoming trip to the UK, and put in the ship to location as my home address. That should be ok, except they decided to ship fedex, which I wasn't aware of. That was problem number one. Problem number two was that they split up my order, so it comes in two sets.

So far so good. Unfortunately, Fedex ground can't even ball park when they'll be by to deliver the packages. I took a morning off of work to get the first one, which wasn't too bad. The fist time they tried to deliver it was around 11:00am, so I figured that if I stayed home for a morning, it'd work. More or less, it did. I got the package around noon, and then went in for the afternoon.

The second one, though, came a week later at 3:30pm. Not a problem. I ran out of work at 3:00 today, to catch their second attempt to deliver the package. Oops! They came at 2:20pm - I missed them by an hour. So, thinking I could still salvage this, I called Fedex. Unfortunately - and this is the real source of their suckyness - not only can I not redirect the package, I can't get a time, and if I want to pick it up myself, I have to go all the way to Richmond to get it.

So, the point of the story is that I have to take a whole freaking day off of work and stay at home to get my package. By the way, the package consists of a bunch of passes for the tube for london. If I couldn't work from home tomorrow, whatever money I'm saving by ordering the passes ahead of time, I'd have lost by taking a day off to have them delivered. Thank you Fedex!

Update: It turns out I was wrong on the two packages coming from the same source. They're actually supplied by different people, so I have to forgive the two separate deliveries. However, the rest stands.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Hawk and Handsaw

There's a line in Hamlet (Yes, the Shakespeare play) where Hamlet himself states
I am but mad north-northeast; when the wind is southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw.

I've heard all sorts of explanations for this metaphore, but I figured I'd throw out one of my own.

If Shakespeare really didn't mean to compare a hawk to a heronsaw (a bird, which seems to be the going theory) - later corrupted to handsaw - I propose instead that perhaps he really did intend Hamlet to say "a hawk from a handsaw". (Crazy, no?) Although things may have changed in the last 600 years or so, last time I checked, Hawks have always been known for their sharp eyes, while handsaws are known for their sharp teeth. Thus, I propose that Hamlet can tell those who are his friends (watching out for him), from those who are posed to do him (and his family) harm, with a sharp bite.

Proof? Actually, I have none, but I think it's an interesting alternative interpretation. Too bad we can't knock on William's door and ask what he was really thinking. There must be equally good, or likely better, explanations. Anyone care to propose any others?


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Dog Photography

Time for another photoblog entry - This time with a little more news. I mentioned the other day that I thought I'd found a good business opportunity in my neighborhood, and that I'd say a bit more about it in a day or two. Well, it's been a bit over a week, but I've procrastinated long enough: Dog photography!

Ok, after the title of the post was dog photography, it probably doesn't have as much of a punch as if I'd been a bit quieter about it, but there it is.

As part of my service, you get:
  • A half hour of my time in the location of your choice

  • A CD of all the pictures taken of your pet - High-resolution JPGs

  • A public web page of your pet to share with your friends (apx 4x6 size, hosted for one year)

  • 10 free 4x6 prints of your choice

  • Unlimited "at-cost" prints

And how much does this service cost? Only $50.00

Since I promised this would be a photoblog entry, here's a picture of Libby, taken this evening at the park.


Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Data is a gas...

As a chemist and a computer geek, it was inevitable that I'm going to write that down at some point. My data expands to fill the space available, regardless of how much there is.

I discovered that one of the software packages I'm using to process data can generate anywhere from 200k to 17Gb of data per run. That's a frightening amount of data. I guess it has to be taken into account that it's processing a couple Megs to a couple Gigs of data to start with. Still, I remember a time when my father upgraded our 10 Megabyte hard drive to a 40Megabyte hard drive, and proclaimed we'd never be able to fill it up.

Still, this whole process is interesting. The Solexa machines are generating so much data that we have to seriously question how we're using space, and how we work. I had a great discussion this afternoon with a co-worker about how infrastructure is becoming more and more important, in a way that just wasn't there before this technology came on line.

And that ties in with the one key piece about a paradigm change: you have to re-evaluate all of your basic assumptions and "rules of thumb", because they may no longer be valid once your paradigm changing technology starts ramping up.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Photo Blog

I have two things to say today. The first is that I'm thinking of doing some free-lance Photography in the Kitsilano/Granville area, as I've found an interesting business opportunity. I'll blog a bit more about that in the next few days.

The other thing is that I'm going to start doing more photo-blogging. As a first step, This is a picture I took this morning. Enjoy.