Turkey

Every year around this time, I get the urge to roast a turkey.

I’m not sure why it is, but I can guess. I do all the cooking around the house and I can probably be described as a bit of a hobbyist. I particularly like to make Mediterranean, Indian, African (Ethiopian in particular) and occasionally Chinese food. I’ve got books on Southeast Asian and Japanese cooking, but these books are so far unused despite the fact the Japanese cookbook actually includes directions for sushi.

I love sushi, but I’m not yet confident enough of the freshness of fish in my area to try to serve it raw.

Actually, I’ve also got a few vegetarian cookbooks. It’s not because I’m a vegetarian, but rather because the lack of meat in the meals pushes vegetarian cooks to try interesting things. And also because I don’t believe eating meat on a daily basis is necessary.

So anyway, I made a turkey.

I got it for about a dollar a pound, making it rather cheap–$11.87. That’s still more turkey that we can eat, but it was the cheapest (and smallest) one I could find. I saw $45 turkeys in the freezer.

I hadn’t realized just how long it takes one of those suckers to thaw. Two days for the smaller ones. According to the label you could make it thaw in 19 hours if you let it thaw on the counter for 7 hours and then inside the fridge for another 12.

I tried that. It didn’t work. The outside was a little soft but the inside body cavities were like rock. So after calling my mom and younger brother Derek (both of whom had made turkey before), I put the turkey in the cooler with cold water and kept it there for an hour and half. In an effort to avoid disease, I changed the water every half hour, pouring it into the sink.

This is more of a pain than it sounds because it takes time to fill up the cooler with water, the cooler is a bulky object, and you pretty much have to wash your hands each time you touch the turkey.

Why would you touch the turkey? Because you want to get all the water out and you don’t want to have the turkey fall into the sink while you do it.

Also, we have 5 cats. So while I could have placed the turkey on a plate while pouring out the water, I didn’t want it out of my sight. It did thaw eventually though. It was juicy despite having the temperature go up past the maximum on the thermometer (190).

Not that Abby and Rebecca (my daughters, both under 3) ate any. When they noticed we had mashed potatoes, they refused to eat anything else (unless you count gravy).

And so, I now have at least 5 pounds of leftover turkey.

Anyone like turkey sandwiches?

Distributed Computing

Had class tonight.

This is, as always, a good thing. This semester I’m taking the last of three classes in the distributed computing series and the first of the classes in the database series. As a result, I’m probably going to be writing a lot more about distributed computing than databases. Advanced topics in distributed computing are likely to be much more interesting than the basics of database design.

At any rate, tonight was the distributed computing class. We’ll be graded for two things in this class: A project (60%) and readings and discussion (40%).

As you might guess, the project is the main point of the class. We’re supposed to create a distributed system. What’s a distributed system? Basically a system that allows multiple computers to access services.

The internet is one example. Napster is another.

The team I’m on is considering creating a file sharing program. We’re trying to figure out how to make it both scalable and decentralized (ala Gnutella). We’d also like to make it impossible for people to figure out exactly what sort of files your sharing–but that’s something we’ll implement only if we have time.

Trying to figure out the basic system will be complicated enough.

Blogging

I’m struggling to come up with an exciting first entry for this blog and to be honest, it’s not happening. In an ideal world, I’d write something really cool. In this world you’re going to have to be content with a list.

Here are the some topics I hope to hit:

1. My ever unfinished novel “The Interurban Electric Band”–currently stalled due to graduate school.
That being said, I am on the third draft. I hope to get back to it this semester. Unfortunately, I say this at the beginning of every semester.
2. Graduate School: I’m currently nearing the end of a masters in Information Systems. I’m pretty strongly interested in distributed computing, databases and (in particular) data mining. Look forward to reading about my thesis when I figure out what it will be on.
3. Sociology: I’ve got a masters in sociology. I’ve got to do something with it.
4. Religion: I’ve got a BA in religion and attended seminary for 2 years. See above.
5. Storytelling: Particularly as it applies to movies, books, comics and role playing games.
6. Life in General: I’m married, have 2 daughters and 5 cats. Also, I work for 2 cash-strapped non-profits (non-profits are cash strapped by definition). There’s got to be some material there.
7. Music: When I have time (i.e. not recently) I play bass guitar, trumpet and sing (I have a few years of voice training/choral experience).
8. Politics, economics, philosophy, history and a bunch of other areas in which my opinions are unconstrained by actual knowlege.
9. Progress in my goal to find a full time, decently-paid job before I finish my degree.

Despite the numbers, I don’t plan to pursue these topics in any particular order.

Also, for the benefit of those readers who happen to be my wife, I’d like to indicate that the numbers don’t indicate the relative importance of any particular topic.