Does this guy remind you of anyone?

February 18, 2010 at 9:55 pm (question, random)

They say that it’s Jeremy Abbott, and Mark has been in NYC all week, so I guess that means Mark’s not secretly the U.S. national champion in figure skating.

This week has been busy – trying to balance crazy research times with preparing for interviews (yay! and yikes!  More on that if things turn out well.).  And at the same time, I’m trying to squeeze in some Winter Olympics.   My father, or actually, just his rear end, fell through a ceiling so that we could watch the Olympics.  That’s how you know watching the Olympics is really important.

While we’re on the subject of Mark’s doppelgangers, I did some Google image searching.

Some guy in Provincetown suggested Ron Howard.  But he was quick to point out that he was talking about a young Ron Howard.  I didn’t see it at first, but then I looked up some photos:

This is Juanita’s suggestion: Peter Krause, who was in Sports Night, Six Feet Under, and Dirty Sexy Money.  I’ve never seen any of these shows.  She claims that he sounds like Mark too.  I think the hat in this photo helps:

Mark has also heard JFK, not sure from whom.  Probably some female with some romantic interest in Mark.

There’s also some guy walking behind Musharraf on the campus of Brown.  This is from the alumni magazine.  In addition to having the right hair, face shape, nose, chin and jaw, he’s got the walk and posture down perfectly:

Note about photo selection methodology: Except for the guy walking behind Musharraf, I looked at a bunch of photos of each person and picked the photo that showed the highest level of resemblance to our dear study subject.

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Some quick reviews

August 2, 2008 at 11:37 am (books, dessert, education, food, ice cream, international, question, restaurants, review, san francisco)

Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace… One School at a Time – This guy, Greg Mortenson, is doing great things and building lots of schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan.  And doing it with sheer will and good-naturedness and open-mindedness.  I found this to be very inspiring.  It made me more confident that I am taking the best next step for my career.  The writing is a little clunky at times, but the story and lessons are still really good.  Here’s the link to Amazon.  On Amazon, they appear to have pages for this book title as well as the old rejected title… “One Man’s Mission to Fight Terrorism and Build Nations… One School at a Time.”  The rejected title sounds like something Karl Rove would have chosen for the title.  It looks like the terrorism version is hardcover and the peace version is paperback.  Maybe Amazon thinks that people who buy hardcover books would prefer to see what Mortenson is doing as fighting terrorism and building nations while people who buy paperback books prefer to see this mission as promoting peace?

The Soul of a Chef: The Journey to Perfection – Sequel to The Making of a Chef.  Very interesting insights about cooking and chefhood.  The first section is about the certified master chef exam.  The second is about a chef from Cleveland, Michael Symon.  And the last section is about Thomas Keller and the French Laundry.  I’m finding the section on the French Laundry to be particularly interesting.  Hearing Thomas Keller explain his insights and thinking to the author really fits with how, not reading this philosophy beforehand, I responded to the French Laundry experience.  They really spent the time to balance the flavors and portion sizes, and they took great care and effort to get the most flavor and color out of every ingredient, and that really came through when the plates arrived at the table.  I talked about “magic” in my French Laundry reports, but it turns out that it’s not magic.  It’s chilling the vegetables before blanching and then chilling them right away.  It’s straining sauces 20 times so that they’re incredibly smooth.  It’s washing bones before roasting them for a stock.  One thing that really impressed me is that they realize that a lot of effort and sacrifice goes into the raw ingredients – both with meat and vegetables.  And fungi as well?  So because of that, they treat the ingredients with as much care and respect as possible.  And they are careful to use every last bit of every ingredient.  But then again, they do talk about how if something isn’t blanched right or isn’t chopped right, it has to be tossed.  So that’s a bit of a contradiction.  But I guess if you just always do it right the first time, then there’s no need to waste the food?

Range – This last one is a restaurant.  I was pretty impressed and if I weren’t moving to NYC soon, I’d probably go back.  There were some really good items that we ate, and there were some things that really made me say “wow.”  For example, it turns out that lime and chive are a really good combination and really made the goat cheese and sorrel stuffed ravioli with lime butter and chives appetizer really pop.  Other highlight dishes included the

  • puree of squash soup with sour cream and dill – This soup had a really nice kicky flavor.
  • roasted chicken with a broccoli rabe, toasted almond and sausage bread salad – different from Zuni’s version; equally good, but in different ways.  Zuni’s version has really tasty big pieces of bread.  And a few other ingredients, but it’s mostly bread.  Range’s had vegetables, lots of nuts, and sausage, so there was more variety for your bites.  And I liked the lemony-ness.  Chicken was impeccably done.  One thing that could have been improved was that the veggies in the salad were too salty.  But overall, I enjoyed the dish.  It also makes really yummy leftovers – I tossed my leftovers with some extra bread, tomatoes, and some of the dressing that I had made for my tomato bread salad and it was a spectacularly delicious lunch.
  • cornmeal crepes with blackberries and wildflower honey gelato – the cornmeal crepes were so delicately flavored and textured.  Really yummy.  I expected the wildflower honey gelato to be delicate as well, but it was more like “pow!”
  • bittersweet chocolate and armagnac souffle – Pretty perfectly done souffle.

I also tried one of their cocktails.  I had heard that they were supposed to be good.  And when we arrived in the restaurant, the air smelled like fresh citrus.  Figuring that the citrus smell was from all the drink preparation, I decided that since the air smelled so good, the drinks must be good too.  So I tried the sungold zinger which is 209 gin, sungold tomatoes, agave nectar, and lemon.  I love sungold tomatoes.  It turned out to be much more lemony (Meyer lemony) than sungold tomatoey.  So it was good, but it was not what I was expecting, so that was disappointing.  If you call it a sungold zinger and not a Meyer lemon zinger, I’m going to expect more sungold tomato flavor.

One last thing – I saw balut eggs being sold at the egg stand today.  If you don’t know what balut is and you want to find out, you’re going to have to do your own google or google image search.  I don’t want to put in links or images and then be responsible for grossing someone out.  But my question is if I buy balut eggs from the egg guy at the market, can I incubate it and get a duckling?

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What I ate for dinner last night

June 14, 2008 at 9:55 am (food, question, recipes)

Chinese-style pancakes with squash

squash pancakes

These aren’t like scallion pancakes that require you to make a flour-water dough and then roll the dough out and then roll it up to roll it out again. Lots of rolling. That’s how you get the layers. If I make that sometime, I’ll write a post about it w/ photos.

But we’re not talking about those kinds of pancakes. These are just eggs, flour, water, salt, white pepper. I don’t really measure anything – I just play with the ratios until I get a consistency that I like, that is a little runnier than a typical American pancake batter.  I threw in some grated white zucchini (I first salted it, let it sit, and then squeezed excess water out – it helps me control the moisture in the final batter). You can also use scallions, carrots, and other things that grate easily and that cook pretty fast. Then you just cook them up like American pancakes.

They come out really soft and tender, with crispy edges.

I also made a dipping sauce – soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, red pepper flakes, sugar.

Our fridge is too cold (maybe that’s related to the ant story). So we had some strawberries that got frozen. Any suggestions for what I can do with them? Jam? Sauce? Something else?

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Have you ever had a stalker?

June 10, 2008 at 11:28 am (question, random)

Or had someone act in a stalkerish way?

My sister has had a few stalkers. Or at least, a few people who have behaved in a fairly stalkerish way. She thinks this is normal. I, on the other hand, think this sort of thing is pretty unusual – she is one of two people that I knew who have had stalkers. She thinks that maybe the people I know do have stalkers and they just haven’t told me. So, now I’m asking… has anyone had a stalker?

This exercise will either prove my point or it will bring out entertaining stories that people are hiding away.

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What kind of posts do people like?

May 9, 2008 at 11:53 am (question)

Here’s a request from all my buddies who use this blog to keep from being too bored and to see what I’m up to. What kind of posts do you like the most? So far, I’ve been writing whatever comes to mind. But if there are ones that are more entertaining or more useful or more interesting, I’m happy to adjust the balance of the types of posts that I write.

I’m actually asking because I was about to write a post (probably on the long side) about some conversations I had with scientists and people in industry about translating academic research into products that can be brought to market to improve public health and where to find funding for that. That’s where it would start and it would have covered some other ground like how law and the financial sector influence the academic/industry dynamic. And then following the path of the conversation I had with my advisor, it would have gone onto improving public health through exercise and education and then to agriculture and agribusiness and subsidies and government policies. And then eventually wind up in education. See, that would be a really long post. And there would be some punchline that I won’t reveal now. And even though I find all that interesting, maybe other people don’t. So that’s why I decided to find out what kind of posts people like before I write this huge manifesto.

Actually, while I wait for responses to this post, I’ll work on a post about some ice cream that I made for my cardamom colleague. You’ll see that soon.

Also, Simona, there’s a post coming up soon that will be about six random things.

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