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In-Flight Menagerie

'shame, shame, to have lived scenes from a woman"s magazine'

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Toothy Eggplant

Start with the following:

  • 3 thin eggplants (not the bulbous kind)
  • Chinese broccoli stems
  • 3 banana peppers
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 jumbo mild jalapenos
  • 1/3 lb. ground beef
  • fermented black beans
  • oyster sauce
  • bourbon
  • garlic
  • oils (sesame and vegetable)
  • rice vinegar
  • corn starch
  • sweet brown sugar
  • white pepper
  • bragg's (substitute soy sauce if not available)
  • corn starch
  • 2 cups Japanese rice

  • Put the Japanese rice in the rice cooker's pot with a lot of water. Slosh it around to rinse the rice. Drain the water. Repeat twice or until the water runs clear-ish. Then start the rice cooker with 1.75:1 water:rice.

    Strip the hot seeds from the jalapenos. Cut the eggplant into 1"-thick sections.

    Get the cast iron skillet our and get it hot. Once hot, in throw the ~50 black beans and chopped garlic. Add 2 tbsp vegetable oil. Saute.

    At the 1-minute mark, add the beef. Saute.

    At the 2-minute mark, add the jalapeno seeds. Saute in the oil and beef fat.

    At the 3-minute mark, add the eggplant.

    Once the eggplant's a little translucent, likely at the 7-minute mark, add the Chinese broccoli stems. The addition of the broccoli stems marks the transition from saute to cook-with-a-little-steam.

    At the 9-minute mark, add a shake of water, bragg's, and whiskey. The eggplant will sponge-up the whiskey flavor.

    At the 10-minute mark, add all the peppers. Add salt and white pepper to taste.

    At the 11-minute mark, put the sauce together. Dilute oyster sauce with water, add a LITTLE rice vinegar, and drop the mixture in the pan.

    Add the broccoli leaves when the time feels right.

    To finish, mix 1 tbsp corn starch with water and the brown sugar in a separate dish. Once that's homogenized, add it to the pan and stir it in.

    Serve with Japanese rice.

    Tuesday, November 20, 2007

    Chinese Chicken with Kale

    Start with the following:

  • 1 cup of Japanese rice
  • 2 defrosted pieces of chicken
  • can of baby corn
  • small (just bigger than a tuna can) of water chestnuts
  • 2 fist-fulls of coarse-chopped kale
  • 2 eggs
  • oils (sesame and vegetable)
  • 1 tbsp of cane sugar
  • 1/2 tsp of wonton soup mix
  • 2 dashes of soy sauce
  • 3 or 4 dashes of oyester sauce
  • 4 tbsp of preserved black beans
  • corn starch
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp Chiu Chow chile mix
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 2 shots Wild Turkey

  • Put the Japanese rice in the rice cooker, with less than a 2:1 of water. Do a 1.6:1 of water to rice. This will result in slightly hard rice.

    Get the bamboo steamer out. Put it on a pan of some water. Use enough water to make enough steam. Get a low ceramic bowl. Grease the bowl with sesame oil.

    Put the iron skillet on, and get the heat going.

    Break the two eggs into a bowl and whisk those eggs together with an equal amount of water. Add a dash (~1/2 teaspoon) of wonton soup mix. Pour the mixture into the sesame-greased bowl. Once the steam is going, put that bowl of sesame oil and eggs into the bamboo steamer. Cover the steamer. Set a timer for 7 minutes.

    The iron skillet should be hot now. Add a little vegetable oil.

    Cut the chicken into chop-stick-able hunks. Rub the chicken with corn starch. The corn starch will get the chicken to brown later.

    Add the chopped garlic to the hot iron skillet. Add the preserved black beans to the skillet too. Get it browning and stirring. Now add the chunks of chicken. Roll those around. Add the Chiu Chow chili oil to the pan. Stir it around. Let this cook for 3 minutes.

    Now add the baby corn to the iron skillet. Roll that around with the chicken for two minutes.

    Now add the kale and the water chestnuts to the iron skillet. On top of the kale, add the sugar, the salt, and the white pepper. Now stir the entire contents of the iron skillet for 1 minute.

    The heat is on high, right? You should be getting a little bit of burning and steam from the kale. Add a little water to keep the steam going and reduce burning. Mix up some corn starch and 3 oz. of water. Salt the dish lightly. Pour a little oyster and soy sauce. Roll the contents of the iron skillet around. Add the corn starch and water mixture. Let cook for 1 minute.

    Add the Wild Turkey and sesame oil for taste.

    The egg will be done now. Roll the iron skillet contents around until it looks done, which should be shortly.

    Serve with Japanese rice.

    Wednesday, July 20, 2005

    ME103 project pronto

    That ME103 project I spent so so much time on back in the day was really just a yoke, a clamp, and an arm.

    Kim spec'ed those parts out today off McMaster.

    Maybe get fancy and add a bronze bushing.

    Otherwise, use the SS tube bender, a McMaster yoke, and a McMaster SS clamp, and there's the ME103 project. Fin.


    Sunday, July 10, 2005

    home hipster shirts

    I got to reading Pre-Shrunk, a blog of some import, while I was in Nepal.

    I used to be into hipster irony t-shirts.

    I'm still into the idea of making these two shirts. The idea of an ecotourist wearing an olive-drab shirt that says ecotourist is incredibly funny to me. Even if someone is performing ecotourist, it seems like a label that would never be self-applied on a shirt, as is done in the genre of 'security' or 'event staff' shirts.

    I loved Hong Kong.

    I found a few resources on the internet about silk-screening at home. How hard could it be if small-time traveling rock bands do it themselves? Here are the links.

  • Craftgrrl - short on monochroming images, brief and definitive on budget elmer's glue method

  • long thread - usenet style

  • basic photo emulsion

  • blank shirts - great selection of blank anything, but I'm suspicious that it all seems too easy

  • the ink!

  • converting photos to monochrome - make your hipster picture

  • Monday, July 04, 2005

    Funicular Wind Tunnel

    I believe a funicular system can be physically modeled at a reduced scale, and that such a model would benefit EcoSystems and other suspended-cableway groups. Just as a wind tunnel attempts to match Reynolds numbers to create correlations to full-scale functionality, I believe the relevant variables of funicular systems could be matched in a scale model. Maybe we could even made some dimensionless numbers from empirical testing. I see a look-up table being created.

    I don't think this is a new idea. I read on the web - and can't recall now where it was - that Cathedral designers hundreds of years ago would hang weights from wires to estimate the shape their arches should take.

    The principle reference for this post is from brantacan.co.uk. It states that in a funicular system, "the relevant parameters are the length, diameter, density and Young's modulus of the material, and the curvature of the shape when hung."

    After reading the Brantacan web site, I got excited that a numerical model could be made in Matlab or Excel to model how variations in the EcoSystems design would affect cable tension. I ran into a roadblock as soon as I thought more about how trolley wheel size affects tension. A trolley wheel is not a point load, and the larger the wheel diameter, the more distributed are the forces. Maybe a parabolic distribution of force across the wheel diameter would be good - parabolic is in my mind from the pieces I've read about Hertzian Contact Stresses and how they distribute.

    I haven't thought a great deal on how to solve the wheel-force-distribution problem, because I don't think a numerical model is entirely necessary. EcoSystems already has bridges that work, and banana plantations have decades of overhead-cableway experience. What we're looking for are answers to how variations in the current funicular setup will affect tension.

    So if a small wire - say a guitar wire - were matched reasonably to a AISI 1045 11mm cables for [1] density and [2] Young's Modulus, and a sample span in the office had a comparable [A] length to [B] wire diameter ratio to a real bridge, then useful data could possibly occur.

    The extent to which AISI 1045 11mm cables deviate from 'the line of zero bending moment' in >40m spans, versus how much a guitar wire deviates from 'the line of zero bending moment' is a good question. I bet that if the wire looks long and skinny with a long span, we're doing well and can make the assumption our curve will follow 'the line of zero bending moment'.

    I think that if the reader [A] follows along with the Hanging With Galileo link to understand the angle of deflection of a cable is directly related to its tension, and [B] reads and understands the entire Brantacan series on funiculars, keeping in mind there is a continue button at the bottom of lots of the pages, then one could build a scale model bridge to experiment with configurations and limitations of EcoSystem's bridges.

    Sunday, July 03, 2005

    what to listen to

    Get listening to T-Rex again - Electric Warrior used to be the album that defined me as a person.

    Also get those shop CD's #4 and #5 together. You put the lists together in Nepal, so make it real. Maybe use iTunes.

    Maybe buy an iPod.

    Wednesday, June 29, 2005

    tahini and spinach pasta


  • chopped garlic, chopped onion, butter, oil for initial sautee
  • linguini [approx 1.3 standard bags makes a healthy looking big glass bowl]
  • tahini [approx 4-6 oz, stirred up well]
  • spinach [fresh is nice and probably necessary, but it takes a lot because it wilts]
  • white wine
  • whole kernel black pepper
  • herbs and spices as you see fit and will learn from

  • Start off with sautee'ing the garlic and onion in the 50% butter, 50% oil puddle. Do this not in a small sauce pan, but rather in a deep pan. Once that flavor has the kitchen smelling, you start justifying the deep pan by filling it with spinach. Stir it around to rub the oily garlic and onion all over the spinach. The spinach will wilt into a small mass. Add more spinach then. Once that second round is wilted, add more until it seems like the right amount. Now you have a lot of wilted spinach in a pan that needs to take some time. Instead of adding water and covering the pot with the lid slightly ajar, add wine and decrease the heat to just keep it steaming a bit.

    Now boil the pasta. I've been told that a bit of salt in the pasta water makes it boil sooner, and a bit of oil keeps the pasta from sticking together. Add both. Once that's done, drain it.

    Now add the tahini to the spinach mixture and get that all mixed up. The spinach will want to clump up so you may need two forks to keep it split up and mixing well with the tahini. Once it's folded together, put it over the pasta and mix that up.

    Add some fresh cilantro to the top. Serve.


    I titled beecherinnepal's last post 'out of asia, out of blogging'. Less than a month after closing beecherinnepal out, here I am again.

    beecherinnepal turned into my hobby in Nepal. That is, writing turned out to be my hobby. I read a lot of Kurt Vonnegut and exile.ru columnists Gary Brecher and Mark Ames.

    This blog is an internal reference - more so than beecherinnepal became. That blog ended up being around 40,000 words. From an engineer.

    I considered whether to include interesting tidbits from my life in the in-flight menagerie. Like this. Writing for an audience implies a commitment to write regularly for that audience. The audience infers as much, at the very least.

    It's been twenty-three days since I got back to the US. I have no great reflections, other than that living in America is hard and fast. Maybe it's the summer party house. I don't think it is entirely the summer party house. All the 'things I have to do' were harder in Nepal, all the 'things I have to think/worry/stay-up-late about' were so much simpler.