Monday, October 18, 2010

Best Chocolate

If you consider yourself a chocolate snob because you only eat the most expensive chocolate, then I surely hope you have tried chocolate from Taza. I was introduced to Taza chocolate through the book American Terroir by Rowan Jacobsen but finally purchased a bar yesterday at the Coop in Hanover. Here is the bar I purchased:

At first glance one sees that it is 80% dark chocolate, which might be a turn-off for most people due to the intense bitterness that dark chocolate usually brings. But this is no ordinary chocolate bar. The cocoa beans are direct from the grower who also takes the time to sun dry every single bean so that the full, robust flavor of the cocoa is achieved. What does this mean? No bitterness. None. Zip. You are first greeted by the gritty texture (do to stone grinding by Taza) and then a subtle nuttiness enters your palate; but not for long, as you are hit by a burst of fruity notes that flood your taste buds. It is one the most delicious chocolate bars you will ever taste, I kid you not. Why so great? They sun dry the beans and prepare them properly. That's why. For more information I encourage you to read American Terroir for Jacobsen can explain things much better than I.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Red Un-delicious

This thing claims to be a Red Delicious apple.

While it may be named a Red Delicious, despite being red, it is not even close to delicious. A single bite provides one with a mass of mushy crud slopping around in your mouth. Gross. Why apple growers still grow these things is beyond me... well, not entirely (more on this in a later post)... but to know whether or not an apple orchard is legit, look to see if they have red delicious. If they do, they are not worth going to. No self-respecting orchard produces this crap.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Home Improvement

I recently just moved into a new apartment, but, this apartment is also a fair bit smaller than the one I moved from. I have had to start being a bit more creative on how I organize my things. This past Sunday (that was yesterday), was deemed home improvement day at my new place in order to start to fulfil this creative calling. My mind was set to accomplish two tasks: create shelving in my closet to store boxes and to build a spice rack to store spices (of course).

After a dreadfully long trip to Home Depot (it takes forever to find things in that store!), I returned home with a saw, wood, sandpaper and wood glue. The shelves were easy since a couple 2x4s were already nailed up in the closet holding the hanger bar up. All I had to do was measure, cut and place. Done and done. The next task of building the spice rack was a nerve racking experience since I've never really built anything except for a birdhouse way back when. Here is the final product, with spices already in place. I am quite proud of myself, I think it turned out well.

and to "show off the detail", a side view:

After this positive construction experience, I think I am ready and willing to try my hand at building some other things when the time/need arises.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Utterly Contemptible

LA - First impression: the city is crowded, colorless (except for that of concrete and sand) and furious. People are high strung, loud and seemingly self-serving. Drive crazy - NH's worst on a grand scale. People I've met/seen seem fake, hard to tell who is genuine. Billboards and ads litter the surfaces of everything, from cars to buildings; the lack of billboards is something one tends not to notice in NH and VT. Their absence just seems right. The smog hangs over the city and the airport. We hear about the smog, but it's nothing until you see it. The Hollywood sign, an American icon, sits barely visible on the distant mountain, shaded grey. Even The Sign is suffocating.

The people are immersed in the consumer culture. Logos blazoned on everything they wear, prominently displayed for all to see and worship. Actors and actresses are frequently the topic of conversation along with their adulterous lives and their up coming films. Actual conversation is nothing more than a few words as they quickly check their phones for the latest gossip and entertainment news. A fifteen year old girl argues with her mother in the hotel lobby over the fact that she cannot get her own hotel room, only a cool $169 a night, because every upscale hotel in Pasadena is booked solid due to numerous goings on, including my conference. I smile and chuckle at her sorrows...

I must only be seeing the worst of the city. The run down houses next to the highway. This surely can't be a snapshot of life in LA. What is? The affluent homes on the mountain? I can't blame the people who live next to the highway; for all I know they don't have the means to live anywhere else among the over-inflated prices, over-taxed populous of this city.

My first glimpses of the city made me feel disgusted, appalled, and even a bit queasy... but this can probably be written off as an effect of all the exhaust fumes I inhaled on the 40 minute trip to my hotel. You've caught me by now. Call me out. I am an elitist from the Northeast taking my $25 shuttle ride to my hotel with 5 other people entering into a city that is presenting me with a wealth of options for entertainment and fun, if I'm willing to pay. I am the elitist who would rather canoe with a rented canoe on a lonesome lake or who would rather go for a hike, hell a walk, instead of paying some astronomical amount for a movie ticket for the privilege to lavish the Hollywood folk with praise; the elitist who would rather make a $5 dinner with food from the local market instead of indulging myself by dining at a $100+ restaurant the "stars" eat at. They probably shit in the bathroom too, see you there. Bring a quarter for admission. I'm the elitist?

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Physics Question #5

It has been a while since I've posted an interesting physics problem and I have been thinking that it would be good to post a new one. I just ran across this problem while familiarizing myself with the fundamentals of dynamo theory.

Imagine a copper disk rotating about its axis in a uniform magnetic field, H. The disk has a radius a and has a tangential velocity v at its periphery. A conducting brush is simply connected to the disk and the disks axis and has a negligible effect on the system. Will a current flow through the system? If so, what will be the value of this current?

Good luck and, as always, no searching Google or Wikipedia for the answer!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Let me first just clarify, no kids are on the way! No, in fact, the title refers to a freakish occurrence that took place last night. I have recently (in the past couple months) been playing in a mens league in the nearby town of Woodstock, VT and the games are, typically, later in the night. This means I generally do not get home until at least 10p and after an hour and a half of hockey, I am starving!

As one would imagine, not much is open at the 10p hour. Gas stations are either closed or have long since packed up their supply of gas station hot dogs. You know, the gross ones on the rollers that are just supremely delicious?! Take a moment... get your mouth to stop watering... and continue. Last night just happened to be hockey night in Woodstock and I found myself to be extremely hungry, post-hockey. First stop was the gas station, but nope, no hot dogs, darn. Continuing home I realized that eggs might be a good option for a post-game meal seeing as Teddy Grahams were not going to be substantial enough. "And you can have cheese!", exclaimed my better half. Good call! After some more discussion it was decided that I had all of the fixings (minus the sausage) for a breakfast burrito! What a delicious option!

Upon arriving at my apartment I began assembling the necessary things for a breakfast burrito (eggs, milk (for the eggs), cheese, salsa, tortilla) and threw the pan on the stove. Here is where the story gets interesting... the first egg went into the pan, no problem. The second egg went into the pan, no problem... waaaaaiiiiit a minute.... I put two eggs in the pan and there are three, yes THREE, yolks! Seriously!? Three!? Inspection of two of the yolks confirmed the hypothesis that two yolks came from one egg. I had not somehow pulled a fast one on myself and put three eggs in the pan, phew! They were slightly smaller than the single yolk from the other egg and were both sitting in the murky goop (is it the egg white at this point? Technically it's milky/clear). Twins. I'm about to eat chicken twins... or what would have been chicken twins. Really brought home the whole "life" thing and that, had this egg not been taken from it's Mama, there would have been twin chicks! Oh well. They were delicious. Great burrito. Thanks guys.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

RIP: Stitch the Fish

Won from gypsies at Harbor Fest: August 2006 - Died: January 2010.

Friday, January 15, 2010


I don't know about you, but I go through these phases every couple of weeks where I am totally hooked on something and then, for some unknown reason... possibly global warming or the presence of new sun spots, it changes abruptly and I find myself hooked on something else. I generally don't give this phenomenon any thought, so I won't. Here is a current list of things I am hooked on:

1) Price Chopper Crunchy Raisin Bran:

This has been more than a phase. In the past month I've gone through 7 boxes and it didn't just start a month or so ago, it has been going on since the summer, save a brief stint where Price Chopper didn't stock it, for some crazy reason! Also, I should note that due to reasons beyond our comprehension, they switched the color of the box from a dark purple to a light purple and then back again. I'm not going to analyze it. I'm just happy the dark purple is back and hopefully here to stay.

2) Cheesy Power Metal:

Notable bands making this list: DragonForce, Rhapsody, Avantasia, Dream Evil, etc. I have nothing against power metal and do quite often enjoy listening to it, but recently, I have been listening to DragonForce daily. I'm not their biggest fan, usually. I enjoy the speed, but it gets boring and tiring quickly and I cannot normally listen to them as much as I have been this past week. For some reason DragonForce makes doing Quantum homework easier.

This doesn't mean I'm exclusively listening to power metal. I still find time to enjoy other goodies like Cradle of Filth, 3 Inches of Blood, Nightwish, Therion, Sonata Arctica (still power metally), Fragments of Unbecoming, and many more, but overall, my headphones are pumping out solid, cheesy power metal.

3) Tea:

I drink about 3/4 of a pot of coffee a day. Not much by some people's standards, but I'm a coffee guy all the way. Still, a cup, or two, of tea has been a ritual at night before bed.

4) V8 Fusion:

Yeah, the fruit+vegetable drink. One or two bottles a week. Why? It's delicious.

5) Steep and Cheap:

WARNING: Click and you will get addicted. Don't blame me for the sudden drop in size of your bank account.