Friday, November 26, 2004


What do you get when you combine a turkey with a duck and a chicken? Give up? OK, what about when you stick a chicken inside of a duck, and then stick the duck inside of a turkey, and then cook it? You get a Turducken.

And Turducken is good.

We went to Alex's house last night for our thanksgiving feast. Now cooking and eating is a competitive thing within our group. We are always trying to improve upon previous years' attempts and each year we take it to a new level. Two years ago, we did the deep fried turkey thing in our back yard. It was very simple and also very good. Last year was the Thompson's Turkey which took something like 8 hours to cook since you need to basically keep coating the turkey with an egg based paste of some sort. This year was the turducken and it is the most involved of the preparations to date.

Alex and Kat spent four hours (!) deboning a turkey and a duck and a chicken. Then they made a variety of stuffings, one from Andouille sausage, another with shrimp, and stuffed the birds with stuffing, then stuffing the birds with the other birds. Then the cooking begins. Now a turducken is a meal in itself but we didn't stop there. We had mashed potatoes where the quantity of butter in them may well have exceeded the quantity of potato in them. An amazing sweet potato au gratin that made a return appearance from last year and some of the best macaroni and cheese I've had (hint... bacon makes things better). 3 Pork Surprise where I think the surprise was finding out there are 3 kinds of pork, though Walter suggested that the surprise would come much later when we all caught on to the fact that Alex only has one meat thermometer and it was in the turducken. And of course, it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without having both types of cranberry sauce, the one with the berries and the one with the flavo-ridges™.

Then there were the desserts. Leslie made pumpkin cheesecake and an Apple Cranberry Ginger pie that more than one person there thought was the best pie they had ever eaten.

So how was the Turducken? In a word, fantastic. Tender and delicious. All of the birds came across well and the stuffings were great as well. I would rate it the highest of our past 3 attempts, but then I didn't have to spend 4 hours deboning three birds either. The general consensus was that the best flavor for amount of work award goes to the deep fried turkey, as long as you don't burn your house down in the process.

So how do we out do our selves next year? I was thinking that the Turducken concept could still be taken a bit farther. There is certainly room for a quail inside of the chicken. And maybe a sparrow inside of the quail. And the whole thing could be put inside of a nice sized ostrich. So perhaps next year we'll have Osturduckenailow?

Mmmm, I can't wait!

The Turducken

A cross section view

Hillel can't get enough of those Flavo-Ridges™

Thursday, November 25, 2004

3 rounds - Golf @ Willlows Run, Bear Creek and Trilogy

Yeah, technically this should be 3 different entries but let's face it. No one really wants that much detail about three rounds over three consecutive days where I pretty much played the same way each day. So nyeah.

Paul, Rick, Dave and I started out at Willows on Monday (gotta love the holiday weeks...) Rick let me borrow his 10.5° 410cc Nike Ignite driver since mine wasn't helping me much over the past few weeks -- at least not reliably. I think this really is the key to these three rounds. The driver worked great (or I worked pretty damn well with it). I was hitting long drives straight down the fairway most of the time. In fact, I think the most remarkable thing about Monday's round was that I out drove Paul 4 times when we were both hitting drivers. This has never happened before. Ever. Not even once. OK, maybe once if Paul like missed the ball entirely and I didn't but if that ever happened, I don't remember. Ordinarily, that might upset Paul, but not today since he was really on, ending up even for the round. His quote was, "You can outdrive me all day as long and as long as I end up even for the round, I'll be happy." My irons and short game did pretty well on Monday and the only thing that didn't really work was the long irons and fairway woods. I parred all four of the par 3 holes and birdied 18 for a final score of 81. As a follow up to my best round ever at the plateau, this one came in second place.

The next day, Dave and I played at Bear Creek. The driver was still on. I used it on just about any hole I could and while it wasn't foolproof, it was in good shape most of the time. I had a few more irons issues that day and my fairway woods still didn't help me much, but it was a good round again. The most interesting shot was on 16 when my drive was a bit right and my second shot was about 120 yards uphill to a plateau green but there was a tree blocking my shot. I figured that if I could get the ball up fast enough, it might make it. I took my 9 iron, added a bit o' loft to it and took a good swing at it. I made good contact, but I had absolutely no idea where it went. I didn't see it in front of me, didn't see or hear it land, but on the good side, I didn't hear and trees being hit either. I'm relatively certain that my ball left our dimension and went to ancient Rome for a little while. Fortunately, when it returned it dropped about 2 yards short of the green in the fringe leaving me a pretty easy chip towards the hole. Phew! My final score at Bear Creek was 88 which was 2 strokes better than my previous best there.

Finally, Rick, Paul, Doug and I reunited from our Pebble Beach adventure last January to take on Trilogy. Just to make it fun, we dialed in 15-30 MPH gusts of wind and a bit of rain to make it more interesting. We weren't sure we were actually going to get the round in, but I figured that this is the way golf was intended to be played, so out we went. It took me a couple of holes to get used to the conditions, but once I did, I was playing very well. Between the 7th and 15th holes I had 6 pars and the rest were bogies so I was feeling pretty good about that. Unfortunately, 16 and 17 were both doubles, and while my final score of 86 won't even figure into my handicap calculations (even if we were still officially counting) it was still a good solid round. I didn't hit as many fairways, but most of that was related to the high winds grabbing my tee shots.

The strongest point was clearly the 10.5° 410cc stiff Ignite. Looks like I'm a gonna need me one of those. But for now, I'll just keep borrowing Rick's. Do you think he'll notice?

Duffergeek Stat Zone:
Willows Run Eagle's Talon
Score: 81 (10.161 round rating)
Putts: 32
GIRs: 8
Fairways: 9/14
Interesting stat: Second round rating score ever for me, outdrove Paul 4 times.

Bear Creek
Score: 88 (13.064 round rating)
Putts: 30
GIRs: 4
Fairways: 9/14
Interesting stat: Best round at Bear Creek

Score: 86 (14.883 round rating)
Putts: 31
GIRs: 5
Fairways: 6/14
Interesting stat: Um... It was so wet, I fell on my ass twice while walking down hills.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Pictures from Dublin

I was in Dublin for a visit to our localization team last week with some people from our team. We didn't have nearly as much time to get out and take pictures as we did in Germany, but we did have about an hour on the morning before we flew home.

Flowers at a market

That's an ambulance whizzing by

Trinity College Panorama

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Oh, Grow Up

According to the Seattle Times, President Bush refuses to accept repeated congratulatory phone calls from Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. Reportedly, this is because the administration is still mad at them for pulling out of Iraq last April.

I've also heard that Bush isn't inviting Spain to his birthday party and has scribbled "dumm meanie!" all over Zapatero's yearbook picture.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Calculus lesson

It has been over 20 years since my last calculus class. Remember limits, derivatives, integrals and and calculating the area under a curve? If I remember correctly, limits were a particular pain, yet were fundamental to the understanding of calculus. Textbooks always gave definitions that were...well...too mathematical for my liking. Here's an example:

DEFINITION: (Graphical idea of a limit) A limit of a function f is the y-value approached by f as x approaches some fixed point. In particular:
(i) limx->a+ f(x) is the y-value that f approaches as x approaches a from the right.
(ii) limx->a− f(x) is the y-value that f approaches as x approaches a from the left.
(iii) If limx->a− f(x) = limx->a+ f(x), then we define limx->a f(x) to be their common value.
(iv) If limx->a− f(x) 6= limx->a+ f(x), then we say that limx->a f(x) does not exist.

uh... yeah...

Here is a better way to describe limits and it can be summed up in on very simple statement.

Eventually, it never gets there.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Election Map Revisited

There is an interesting site here that takes the same election map I referenced earlier and tried to show what the distribution of voters is really like by scaling the regions based on population.

This is the original map.

And this is the revised map that looks like I felt after the election...

On a related note, I am currently in Dublin, Ireland with some people from my team and quite a few people have come up to us and asked us what the hell America was thinking by re-electing President Bush. I can only sigh and say I don't know. I wish I had one of these shirts.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Best Round Ever! - Golf @ Plateau

Combine the best parts of the last two rounds, and make the wedges work, and you have today's round at the Plateau Club.

Dave, Rick, Paul and I went out this morning at around 8:30. The weather was good, the course was a bit wet but otherwise it was a nice day for a round of golf. Once again, I kept the Cleveland TA5s in my bag this week. I started out bogeying the first four holes, which wasn't a bad way to go particularly given some bad breaks like hitting a tree branch on my second shot on 1 and having my second shot on 3 go so far right it was nearly on the tee box for 4, but some well placed wedge shots got me close enough to make bogeys. Then on 5, my second shot stopped just 5 feet from the hole and while I was unable to make any of the 3-4 putts for birdie today, it was good to at least have a chance at it and all of them ended up being easy pars. I finished out the front 9 at 41, just 5 over par and headed to the back where the hits just kept on coming.

My driving was much better than last week, I hit 9 of 14 fairways and missed a couple of them by only a little bit. My wedged were quite good and even when I missed greens for one reason or another, I frequently hit it close enough that I could one putt to save par. On 15, my tee shot was a little left but landed softly on the green. 2 putts later I had a par. On 16 -- my nemesis hole -- I hit a great drive that went straight as can be and landed at the top of the hill about 200 yards from the hole. Just getting to that point is a major victory for me since that hole and 18 have ruined so many good rounds.

I finshed out 18 with an 83. Beating my best round at the Plateau Club by three strokes and when you take into consideration the difficulty of the Plat vs Bellevue, this was a much better score than my 79 there last January. I think I can chalk most of this up to being relaxed. Even though my shoulder was pretty tight, I just made sure that I was not tense during the swing and it really made a big difference.

Duffergeek Stat Zone:
Score: 83 (9.588 round rating)
Putts: 32
GIRs: 4
Fairways: 9/14
Interesting stat: Lowest round rating score ever for me.

Election map

This map shows the distribution of democrat vs republican districts based on the presential vote last Tuesday. Here's what I've learned:

1) Democrats like water.
2) There is a remarkable correlation between the populations of Republicans and cows.

While we're at it, here's an interesting table from my 3d website. Not surprisingly, a conservative site claims to have debunked it though since truth is no longer an absolute, I think they're on crack.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Quotes of the day

"President Bush is unredefeated"

"I can't believe I actually disagree with 59 million people about something"

"When the Roman Empire fell, was it as obvious as what happened yesterday?"

"Secession is the new black."

Though I think the image that best sums it up is at the Leslie Show