Monthly Archives: July 2007

Strawberry Jam Forever!

Every Sunday morning I go to the Sunnyvale Farmer’s Market.

My wife, fresh off her triumphant manufacture of plum jam, remarked that I could get any fruit I wanted to turn into jam, and she would do her magic.

I asked: How much fruit should I get?

And she replied: Whatever you think is appropriate.

You would think that after 9 years of living together she would know better. I bought 12 pounds of strawberries. Yes, 12 pounds. Why? Because I am Greek male, and that makes me incapable of buying the right quantity of anything unless someone tells me exactly what to do.

After an hour of cutting, followed by 10 minutes of stirring, we had a pot full of proto-strawberry jam stewing over a simmering fire.

My poor abused wife sat and slaved over a hot fire

( okay, she’s not that abused


to produce an excellent jam

that she then put into plastic containers

to be eaten over the winter.

Plum Jam!

The folks we bought our house from had a plum tree in their backyard.

One of the problems with a plum tree is that they produce a lot of plums.

And if you’re not careful you end up with plum jam on the ground.

Which inspired my wife to make plum jam in a jar.

First she had to pluck the plums from the tree using her professional plum picker made from a Brown University coffee mug and a stick.


Then combine equal amounts of sugar and plum.

Boil and stir (that’s my wife stirring)

until you get the right consistency and color.


When it’s all done you end up with lots of tasty jam in lots of tasty containers


to remind you of the fact that next year you have to do this all over again :-).

Barcelona: Cal Pep

One of the extraordinary experiences I had in Barcelona was eating tapas at Cal Pep.

Cal Pep is a small hole in the wall:

with a genuine Pep

This restaurant has a backroom that you can make a reservation for, but the real experience is had by sitting at the bar.

The restaurant has a fixed menu of tapas as well as an a la carte offering. My wife and I went with the fixed menu.

The menu began with a tomato, olive-oil and bread appetizer:

Then we were presented with a variety of fish and shell fish dishes:

That were followed by a series of dishes

and and

and ended with two sublime deserts:


If you are ever in Barcelona, go to Cal Pep you will not be disappointed.

Tour de Tricheurs: Yellow Jersey is Doped

Does it ever, ever, ever end?

The NY Times reported today that Michael Rasmussen failed to show up for a drug test twice. This is unbelievable. Why are they allowed to compete if they fail to show up?

MONPELLIER, France, July 20 — Michael Rasmussen, the current leader of the Tour de France, raced in the 12th stage today despite the disclosure on Thursday that he has missed two drug tests since the beginning of May and has received a warning that he could be suspended from the sport if he misses another.

The drug tests were missed on May 8 and June 28, at a time when anti-doping officials sought to contact Rasmussen but discovered that he had not informed them of his whereabouts.

The stupidity of this line of reasoning is awe inspiring. Let me get this straight:

  1. Michael Rasmussen is a high profile professional athlete.
  2. Michael Rasmussen has an employer.
  3. Michael Rasmussen has a family.
  4. Michael Rasmussen has friends.

And no one could find him? And no-one could set up a meeting with him?

If the anti-doping agency is that incompetent, of course there is cheating in cycling and sports.




Barcelona: La Boqueria

Over the July 4th weekend, my wife and I went to Barcelona, Spain. She was attending a conference. I was the spouse.

We stayed at Hotel Turin, a fine little hotel located near La Rambla.

But what made Hotel Turin special was it’s proximity to La Boqueria.


I love food. But what I really, really love to do is buy the ingredients of what makes a great meal. I’ve been to farmer’s markets in California, but nothing prepared me for La Boqueria.

The entrance is unassuming enough.

But once you step inside you realize you are in a completely different world.

The fruit:

And the meat:

And the eggs:

When was the last time you ever photographed eggs and put them in your blog? One of the cool things about this vendor is that he sells First Eggs. What’s a first egg? Why the first egg a chicken lays. Seems it’s tastier than normal eggs.

And the charcuterie:

But what made Hotel Turn and La Boqueria special was that bceause of the proximity of the two, I had some extraordinarily tasty breakfasts:


Personal Frustrations

So of course it would be great if I had one of these tools that actually worked.

Currently WB Editor is leading the pack because of its rather nifty UI. However, when it comes to publishing images into my blog I am less impressed.

Furthermore, I must admit that the user interface leaves something to be desired. Also the fact that I must run the spell check after the fact is also irritating.

Me thinks me needs to wait for MS Word 2007 to see what the folks in Redmond did before I pass final judgement on the various tools out there.

WB Editor 3

Two years of struggling with the WordPress editor and I could have been using all of these cool new toys.

One thing that is troublesome is that I can not seem to figure out how to set cateogries.

Oops just figured it out. Turns out you need to set the blog you are using.

Now I am impressed.

Here’s what the UI looks like before I pick the blog


Now after I pick the blog, it truly gives me the WYSIWYG experience.


Now why didn’t the folks at ecto think about this?

Trying out weblog tools

After I finally got OPML to work,  I started to wonder if there are better tools out there.

OPML is great but if I have to do things with images, links, formatting, things get very, very, very painful very, very, very quickly.

I know I could probably modify the source, but I am looking for a tool to use today! Not a tool that I might use in the future.

One thing that pissed me off with OPML was the inability to load pictures…


Whatdya know…

The other thing that pissed me off was the lack of a spell checker.

Whatdya know there exist better tools. So i’ll try ecto for a bit and if I am still using it I suppose I might even buy it…