Saturday, August 27, 2011

I'd rather be hated for who I am...

Must-see video of the week - an animation of the sheet music for Miles Davis' So What.

Too big? source
Marc Andreessen, the Netscape guy, thinks software is eating the world and offers as proof Apple (largest market cap, more cash than the U.S. of  A.), a 40x growth in broadband usage over the past decade, 5 billion people with smart phones, Amazon v. Borders, e-books, Netflix, Pandora, Zynga, Foursquare, Skype, and the computerization of traditional businesses like automobiles, healthcare, investing, and more.  Andreessen identifies three challenges we face before these software-centric businesses mature.  First, it's hard to build and grow a company of any kind in the current economic environment.  Second, too many people lack the education to participate.  Third, all these software-based businesses need to prove that they're not another

Games like Curvy drive me nuts.  I don't know why I bother.
The scourge of online collections continues with vintage bottle caps and chrome logos.

I've mentioned before that I enjoy the movie The Fifth Element.  One scene in the film features an operatic alien being performing an aria.  The filmmakers had a real opera singer record the song for the actor to lip-synch.  Supposedly, the singer was initially astonished by the score because it was unsingable because of the range.  Here's a video with part of that aria being sung.  I would like to think it's real.

How well do you know the layout of the Linux file system

The popularity of beer and wine in the U.S. seem to be converging in this poll.  When asked what they drink most often, 36% say beer (a decrease) and 35% say wine (an increase).  This continues a trend since 1992 when beer bested wine 47% to 27%.  (64% of U.S. adults drink alcohol.)

Learn to code the fun and easy way with Code Academy.

Bob Parsons, the Go Daddy guy, has 16 rules.  I'd quote one of them here but they come with a copyright provision that I can't be bothered with.  So I'll just say there's nothing profound here.  On the other hand, Bob did somehow manage to hire all them Go Daddy girls.

The geometric-inspired work of Andy Gilmore.
Beloit College, the Mindset List guys, have published their annual list of things to be aware of in the mindset of incoming college freshmen, the class of 2015.  For example, #37 Music has always been available via free downloads. Ignoring the "free", that means they probably have no experience with compact discs let alone LPs.

Math controversy! What does 00 (zero raised to the zeroth power) equal?
  • 1
  • 0
  • undefined
It's been a while without any new NYAN CATs so check out this smooth jazz Nyan Cat.

Video of pistols being fired underwater.  What's next, running a lawnmower in the Sahara?  Implanting a TV in your stomach? Installing an air conditioner in a fish tank?

The Inception of reading lists: The Top 10 "Top 10" lists for entrepreneurs.

From the movies I've watched more than once department, Ridley Scott is supposedly going to direct a new installment of Blade Runner.  In the same news story, it's said that he has finished a prequel to the Alien franchise called Prometheus, due out in summer 2012.

I wanted a Shakespeare brain (powerful writing can literally change the way we think - pun not mine) but got this one instead.  image source  (Don't be put off by the picture - read the Shakespeare article.) (Damn, putting a disclaimer on a joke.)  (Or is it an apology?)
I didn't know beer had any secrets but apparently scientists have only just discovered a species of wild yeast that makes lager beer possible.  Somehow this yeast from Argentina made it's way to Germany where it hybridized with a local yeast and voila - Budweiser. 

It's never too early to start making websites: HTML for Babies.

If vim is your editor, you might also like Vimium - an extension for Google Chrome that lets you browse the web in a vim-like way.

I've never been in any of the world's 18 strangest elevators.  We have an elevator in our 2-story office and the ride, frankly, isn't that great.  It's kinda hot and smells funny.  I think the strangest elevator I've ever been on is the one in the St. Louis Arch.

Self explanatory: public toilet survival kit. Me?  I'd just get the pee towel. (And you can get one too from Etsy.)

I don't drink diet soda and don't use margarine so I'm not sure how I feel about fake barf.  And I wonder what would happen, god forbid, if one of their workers got sick on the job.

Check out this robot-inspired print called Where's WALL-E?  Can you name all these robots from sci-fi?  They say posters will be available soon.
I'm gonna live to be 90, or so I'm told by the Lifespan Calculator.  Yee haw, 41 more years of Horse Bits.

I may have mentioned before that the music to be played at my funeral is Jean Sibelius' The Swan of Tuonela.  (Tell everyone to shut up, play the tune once, send everyone home.)  Here's a thought-provoking article about Sibelius including this observation: "His work is strikingly architectural, rather than paralleling in music the syntax, semantics, and grammar of language."

Check out these NASA blueprints of a Saturn V, Hubble, Apollo, Mercury and more.

No time to get to Dayton? Take a virtual tour of the National Museum of the Air Force.  Go straight to the R&D wing and lay eyes on the XB-70. 

What about Vegas? If your travels take you to Las Vegas later this year, visit the Chuck Jones Experience in Circus Circus.  It's an interactive and historical exhibit centered around the legendary animator and his work including Wile E. Coyote and The Roadrunner.

...than loved for who am I not.  ~Kurt Cobain

And experience indicates that I'm getting my wish.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

All men's miseries derive from...

Another book vs. e-reader article that makes the case that books are more than words on a screen.  Tru dat.

Only the truly demented will watch the Planet of the Apes Party Fun Time video all the way through.  But if you do, you will be happy and demented.

Pretty amazing when you think about it.  NASA's Dawn probe is orbiting the 330 mile wide asteroid Vesta. Be sure to click through and watch the video.
Several years ago a Keurig coffee machine was the perfect addition to our kitchen.  When we were both around, my wife and I could never agree on the style of coffee.  I liked mine strong while she liked hers a bit milder and less bold.  On weekdays when I'd have my coffee at work, she'd be stuck trying to get the water and grounds mix just right so Mr. Coffee would create a single cup.  The Keurig, a cup-at-a-time device what uses single-use pods of ground coffee saved the day.  She could have her favorite and I could have mine, whether that was 1 cup or 10.  Now I see Keurig machines in homes and waiting rooms all over the place.  According to The Buzz Machine, a story about the rise of the Keurig company, 13% of workplaces have one and 25% of all coffee makers sold last Xmas was a Keurig.  It's nice to be on the leading edge of a trend for once.  And all the credit goes to my wife for finding this device.  Plus, now that I've switched from coffee to green tea the Keurig meets that need too because there are over 200 varieties of "K-Cups" from coffee to tea and everything between.  (We order ours from Big Cat Coffee.) I will admit, however, that the coffee isn't quite as good as you can get from doing your own fresh grinding and using an espresso machine.  But I've never seen the fascination of Starbuck's and its ilk so the Keurig works for me.

Damn, the forehead support apparatus is already patented. 

A man photographs a water droplet falling in front of an M.C. Escher poster and the resulting photo is amazing.  Equally amazing is this M.C. Escher-like tribute to bacon.  Bacon itself is so amazing someone made a statue.

This taxes even my ideas about abstract and minimalist art.  Joan Miro's Painting on a White Background 1968.
The top answer at OnStartups to the question "Why do techies avoid salespeople?" seems more like one person's vendetta than useful advice.  "The mean IQ of good coders is higher than the mean IQ of salespeople."  I've known stupid sales people and I've known stupid developers.  I've known intelligent sales people and intelligent developers.  The interaction between sales and tech is no different than the interaction between any two other pairs of professionals.

Check out Huy Lam's art in which creates paintings using the printed word.  Be sure to see Genius, his homage to Van Gogh.

I'm not mocking Huy Lam's work by posting this image made using
Use to listen to almost any airport's air traffic control.  (I write "almost" because they don't have Meacham KFTW so I listened to KDFW.)

What do Shakespear, Nikola Tesla, and J.J. Abrams have in common?  They all appear on Circles of Influence, a graphic illustrating influence between figures in the arts and sciences.  If you prefer your circles to be more geometric, check out this Venn diagram of authors, head, mouth and heart.

Who are the top earning authors?  The first name that popped into my head was J.K. Rowling.  But you, like me, may be surprised to find out where she ranks.

When do employee perks cross the line from awesome to pandering?  Rock climbing wall, dog-friendly office (don't get me started), and a $10,000 office setup budget.  Sure, a lot of the perks listed in this article are nice but honestly, some point to excess discretionary cash.

Next time you're stuck in a boring meeting, pull up the Meeting Ticker on your smartphone and see how much the meeting is costing you.

Duck with a WHAT?

For my programming friends, the 6 books every programmer should own.  I own none, but that train left the station a long time ago.

Wired presents ten winning scientific videos from SciDAC's Visualization Night competition including three fluid dynamics examples for blood flow, shock compression of carbon dioxide (this one is really cool), and a wind turbine farm.

Why should John Cleese have all the fun?  Introducing the Ministry of Alien Silly Walks.
Boo hoo. Why are engineering students so unhappy?

Boo hoo too.  Why is engineering management hard?  Summarizing: management is hard because humans didn't evolve to be managed.  And managing engineers is only slightly harder because engineers tend to be introverted (I'd like to see the Meyers-Briggs to back that up), a trait that is a barrier to being managed.  (A joke: How can you tell the difference between an introverted and extroverted engineer?  The extrovert looks at your shoes when he's talking to you.)

It's a shame that Charley's Hamburgers didn't win the judges votes in the 2011 Burger Battle but at least they won the reader's poll.  Read about their last victory in the battle versus M&O Grill.  Mmmmm.  The Greatburger (aka the Barnyard Burger because it has a piece of every animal you'd find in a barnyard.  Just wish it had an egg.) is my favorite.

This is really all I'm doing.
According to this article, Twitter has 27 laws.  Who knew?  How many have I broken?  Well, the first one is "Don't swear" so my track record only goes down from there. You can visualize your tweets (or anyone's) using Visible Tweets.  And, to find out where your followers are, try Twocation.

How to write a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad blog post.  I take that as a challenge.

Despite knowing that a reader (Surprise!  I have a reader!) is not a fan of business books, here's Time's list of the 25 most influential business books.  I think I've read 2 or 4 of them (sad that I can't remember).  But Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People from 1936 makes yet another "top" list.  Perhaps it's time to add it to my reading list.

Time also shares with us the 50 Best Websites of 2011 (hey, the year's not over yet!).   By the time I got to the 10th site I was so bored there's nothing to say.

I don't know what's more amazing about this video.  The fact that it's a machine that turns shredded office paper into toilet paper or the fact that it's named White Goat.  Viva la innovacion! Watch out for the staples!

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Like Mondrian?  Like fractals?  Try this video animation of the Mondrian fractal.
In case you haven't seen this yet, Warren Buffet, investment guru and super rich guy, tells Washington in a NY Times Op-Ed piece to tax him more.  Specifically, he thinks we should immediately raise taxes on those making more than $1,000,000 per year.  That's about a quarter million households.

Top Gun IRL - a one minute video of aircraft operations aboard the Ike in the Arabian Gulf.

Derek Sivers, founder of, spoke at last year's Business of Software Conference and will be speaking this year too.  Check out the video of his talk about how and why he sold CDBaby.

Hot shuttle on shuttle action.

Returning college students must be thinking about their upcoming career fairs because Forbes is writing about the 10 toughest interview questions.  Why are manhole covers round?  (Everyone should know this by now.)  How do you measure 4 gallons of water with only 3 gallon and 5 gallon jugs.  (Didn't everyone watch Die Hard 3?)  I'll take a shot at their #3: What would the person who likes you least in the world say about you?  He's an arrogant, stupid, selfish, insipid dullard with delusions of adequacy.  And he smells funny.

Make your own music from the decay of radioactive isotopes with the Radioactive Orchestra.

I'm willing to try this trick to make a WiFi booster out of a beer can.  As it is, I can't play Words with Friends when I'm upstairs.  Now someone will tell me why this won't work.
I dare my beer friends to make, drink, and blog about a Michelada.  Or maybe try this personal brewery.  Or try one of the world's most expensive beers.  ($100 for a Sam Adams?)

From SIGGRAPH 2011, this video shows how the Kinect can be used to map a room in 3D in real time, something they call KinectFusion.

I wish I had the time and ability to do the kind of crazy web tricks they do at Paper.js.  Or these.

OMG, teh interwebs knows where I'm at - the IP address locater.

Avatar Portraits lets you have a little fun with your Twitter avatar.
How fast can you tranquilize sheep?  I'm a bobcat.  Or do you prefer the classic shell game?

A good portion of my summer meandering up and down the beach was spent hunting sea glass.  At the end of the week we had collectively found about a dozen pieces.  Seems like futility when you see pictures of California's glass beach.

In closing, I leave you with something truly bizarre: Bill vs. Betty.

Maybe that was a little too harsh for a goodbye.

the quiet place

...not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.  ~Blaise Pascal

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Wild Fire by Nelson DeMille

I listen to enough audio books that I sometimes forget whether I've listened to one before.  That's what happened when I checked out Nelson DeMille's Wild Fire from the public library.  Chapter one didn't play too long before I realized I'd done it again.  But, because I'm too lazy to return it and get another and because the plot involves nukes and because it had been several years since my first listening, I kept it.

Former NYPD detective and supreme smart ass John Corey now works for the federal government's Anti-Terrorism Task Force.  When a colleague goes missing on a stakeout of an oil billionaire John and his FBI agent wife pledge to get to the bottom of things.  What they don't know (but their bosses might) is that the billionaire has hatched a plan to rid the world of Islamist terror once and for all.  His thinking is something like this: if he destroys an American city or two with nuclear weapons and makes it look like a terrorist plot, the U.S. government will enact a secret protocol called Wild Fire to deal with the Islamists.

DeMille tells a pretty good story and the fact that his lead character, Corey, is such a wise guy keeps things interesting.  Moreover, you're told exactly what the bad guy is planning very early in the book and the rest of the story is the good guys trying to figure it out before it's too late. A friend of mine prefers DeMille to Vince Flynn, another thriller author whom I like for more reasons other than the fact that his lead character is a graduate of my alma mater, Syracuse University.  All in all, not a bad story even for the second time around.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

I Like the Swiftpoint Mouse

I've been using the Swiftpoint wireless laptop mouse for quite some time now with my netbook and it's a pretty handy device.  I'm not coordinated enough to use a touchpad well so I was searching for an alternative and came across the Swiftpoint.

As you can see from the photo it's got a unique design where you grab the red part with your thumb, put your middle finger on the other side, and work the buttons and wheel with your index finger.  The wheel on the right can be flipped with your index finger or the whole device picked up and run alongside whatever surface you're using.  And speaking of surfaces, you can use just about anything.  I've used a conventional desktop, an armchair, carpet and the mouse works great each time.  Also, if you look closely in the photo you can see some damage where I dropped it about 6 feet onto a tile floor and it kept on working.

You can also see in the photo the Swiftpoint's charging station sticking out just a bit from a USB port.  The station is magnetic and attaches to a recess on the bottom of the mouse so you can carry around the netbook with the mouse attached - very convenient.

If you're looking for a highly portable mouse for your netbook or laptop, give the Swiftpoint a chance.  Check out the videos on their website at

My month's old Swiftpoint in action.
I received no compensation of any kind for this review.

Something's wrong when comedians are taken seriously...

Google employee #16 shares her eight pillars of innovationAnd I comment on them.
  1. Have a mission that matters.  I think so.
  2. Think big but start small.  Two ways to look at this.  Big ideas and big operations.  We got a late start on the latter.
  3. Strive for continual innovation, not perfection. Agree.  Get a little better each day.  But I can also be a prick and make perfection look like a bad thing.
  4. Look for ideas everywhere.  She doesn't mean what you think.  Inspiration is everywhere.  But the ideas she's talking about are more like being ready to brainstorm at the office.
  5. Share everything.  We try.
  6. Spark with imagination, fuel with data.  She's partly touting Google's famous "20 percent time."  But she's also saying that you need to be able to quantify and measure things so you know you're doing the right thing.
  7. Be a platform.  Here she touts openness, something we're doing better each day.
  8. Never fail to fail.  No problem here.  If only I had a dollar for every one of my screw-ups and bad decisions.
I think this sums it up rather nicely.  source
Examples of unusual musical notation.  Of course, Eno is included in this gallery.

A bibliophile says it's time for book publishers to stop playing the role of the 90 pound weakling getting sand kicked in its face by the new boss of the beach, e-books.  Imagine an ad campaign centered around concepts like "You can't give a signed first edition of an e-book to your grandchildren." or "A paperback has no DRM." or "No one wants to see your e-reader on a shelf." or "A good read shouldn't need a battery." or "A good e-book is just an e-book but a good book is a read." You have any ideas?

Success seems so simple when you consider this definitive list of the three ways to grow your business.  When you look at it this way, #2 seems like the easiest way to go.
  1. Make the market bigger by attracting customers who weren't using anything in your product category before.  I think this is the "rising tide lifts all boats" approach.  But it tends to maintain the status quo.  In other words, you don't catch up to your competitors.
  2. Get your existing customers to buy more.
  3. Take customers from your competitors.  This is difficult because getting customers to switch is a huge hurdle to overcome, not just because you have to demonstrate why you're better but you have to help the customer rebuild their infrastructure around your product.
Here are 101 common-sense rules for leaders.  I think rule #1 should be "Don't have 101 rules."  And they aren't kidding when they call them common sense.  For example, "Keep your promises."

Simon Schama's documentary Power of Art - Rothko begins with the artist's Seagram murals.  After watching it I feel compelled to re-read Rothko's book The Artist's Reality.
This week's post is flush with commodes.  (Sorry.  Had to be said.)

First, a (serious) video about the design of "the world's most advanced toilet" done using PTC's Creo.  Why would you need it to warm your feet?  Circulatory issues? Plus, I'm not certain he should've used the phrase "biggest product splashes."  Maybe their throne has a gizmo to handle that scenario too.

Proof that innovation isn't dead #422: the Adjustable Advantage Toilet Seat.  Only in America. It's worth the click-thru just to watch the animation although I'd prefer it have a soundtrack.  Maybe a seat like this would keep your feet from going cold, numb, and tingly.

And just so you don't think I'm the only person attuned to number two, here's another blogger posting about the AMDM IntelliSeat electronic toilet seat (with remote control!).  What I actually found funniest was that the previous post on his blog is "Cilantro-pistachio pesto, rice and beans."  Coincidence?

Are you man enough to click poo-nami?  It really doesn't work that way.  Who in the hell changes a diaper with the baby on its stomach?  However, I have seen something similar from a child lying on his back and regurgitating.

After all that you might want to read about the science of disgust.  Interesting: "Unlike other emotions, like fear and anger, which make your heartbeat speed up, disgust makes your heartbeat slow down a bit."

Maybe you prefer your science more existential and in that case check out this 3 minute video illustrating how the universe appeared from nothing that ends with the almost philosophical statement that "something and nothing may well be the same thing."   (I could use this to explain my lack of productivity at work.)

Here's a nice collection of movie title stills from 1900 to 2010.  I read an interview with David Lynch about Eraserhead.  He had a bunch of scene ideas but no overall concept for how to turn them into a film.  He was reading the Bible, came across a passage that gave him a Eureka moment, and finished the film.  To this day he's never said what passage it was.
Someone created an on-line shrine to 2001: A Space Odyssey.  That movie is both great and sleep-inducing.

I didn't bother to check how accurate this is, but here's the script from The Fifth Element. I really like that movie.  It's nicely paced, the soundtrack is really well integrated into the film, the Mondoshawan aliens are super, and of course Gary Oldman's performance is excellent.  

The provocatively titled Your Meetings Suck is a brief promo for Al Pittampali's book Read This Before Our Next Meeting.  I have not read this book.  My reference for business meetings is Patrick Lencioni's Death by Meeting.  I do not share, however, the post's premise that perhaps the best place to get work done is on an airplane or in a hotel.  I can't think of a worse places to work.  To paraphrase Lencioni, for those of us who aren't directly involved anymore in the daily production and delivery of a product (can you say unnecessary?), meetings are our work product.  They serve a valuable purpose if run properly.

Did you know the moon is lopsided?  That might be due to the big splat, the relatively low-speed collision of two moons leaving us with the lovingly crooked orb we have today.  Also explains why the dark side is so different from the front.

Terry Gilliam, the only yank in Monty Python and the man responsible for their signature cut-out animations, is featured in this 15 minute video where he describes his technique.  We have a couple practitioners of that art form in our office.  Trust me - don't leave your passport photo lying around.

Photo highlights from a visit to the Russian Air Force Museum at Monino.
И шондер иф Чорсе Битс ис популар ин Руссиа?  That little bit of Cyrillic brought to you by TypeIt and their tool for typing Russian (and other letters) with a regular keyboard.  Speaking of our (former) communist friends, what's most remarkable about these photos from inside North Korea are that even though a lot was orchestrated by the photographer's minders, the photos are still creepy enough to make the former Soviet Union look like South Beach by comparison.

Back here in the gold ol' U.S. of A. we're free (free as long as we don't mind getting to second base with a random TSA agent including a photo to commemorate the occasion) to fly all over the country as this video of a typical day in America's airspace shows.  Or you can watch a time-lapse video of a Boeing 777 being assembled.

If you owned a company, sold it, and walked away with a check with a lot of zeros what would you buy?  The guy who sold SonicNet to MTV tells us what he did.  First he paid mom's bills.  Then he reverted back to childhood and bought a bunch of Matchbox cars.

Nicely done: periodic table of Heavy Metals, now available as a limited edition, signed and numbered print.

I bet we all know someone who could use these. source
Tickle these virtual ivories on the HTML5 Piano.  Speaking of keys, test your typing speed and accuracy at  (I got lucky and scored an 84 with 0 errors but otherwise scored around 60.)  If typing speed is too 1950s for you, learn the digits of pi with pi-trainer.  (I only know six digits after the decimal point.)

I'm not certain why you'd want to make big, full-screen messages.  But if you do, try gzaas.

The term "documentary reality series" is a euphemism for "reality TV."  However, I've marked my calendar to checkout the premier of the TechStars series on Bloomberg beginning 13 September in which they follow early stage startup businesses.

The article three categories of television food show pulls no punches.  I watch a lot of food TV shows but don't cook making those shows the equivalent of porn.  Things I liked in the article are the picture of Mr. Creosote, the gluttonous food critic from Monty Python's Meaning of Life, the opinion that Rachel Ray "quickly half-asses it through uninteresting recipes that sound like they came from an intern's aunt," and this about Guy Fieri: "...Dumb Gluttony credentials became bona fide when he starred in a ubiquitous series of commercials for the repulsive [emphasis mine] restaurant chain TGI Fridays..."  I can't stand Fridays either. Thankfully they didn't trash Giada, whom I watch each weekday while eating lunch.  Given the porn analogy I just made, that's kinda creepy.

If you don't know the song, forget about it.  From the article How does a programmer become a brogrammer?
For my beer drinking friends, here are 10 breweries with brilliant beer packaging.  They're nice, but even I know Lagunitas should have been included.

Someone compiled a list of ten websites that make you say huh (like you need another one).  Some I've linked to before, and some are new to me.  If my gibberish doesn't make your head spin, the revolving internet will.

...and politicians are treated like a joke.  ~Will Rogers (paraphrased)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Linguine and Dirty Martinis Make A Great Meal

I never liked dirty martinis.  Why pollute a perfectly good vodka martini with all that olive juice?  (My preference was Hangar One (or similar), very dry, on the rocks with a twist.)  But this post's title is not exactly what it means.  I recently had the pleasure of enjoying a meal prepared by Chef Callie Salls, professional chef, cooking instructor, and proprietor of Linguine and Dirty Martinis, a private chef service.  The experience was so exceptional I thought I'd brag about it share it with you.

Caveat: When reading my descriptions, keep in mind that if culinary knowledge were electricity mine could lightly toast white bread.

For a salad course Callie prepared a tropical fruit salad with chili-encrusted scallops and avocado.  The scallops were liberally coated top and bottom with chili powder and lightly but nicely seared.  They sat atop sliced avocado that had been drizzled with a freshly prepared dressing olive oil dressing (honey, garlic, zest).  The scallops and the avocado would have been sufficient unto themselves with the firm flesh of the scallop, the wallop of the chilis, and the creaminess of the avocado all bound together by the dressing.  But in addition to all of this, the salad was topped with sliced kiwi, diced mango, and pucks of pineapple.  While normally I revolt at fruit in a salad the sweetness further complemented the chili.  And to tie it all together in some kind of moebius strip of taste, the chili rub also included cinnamon.  For a little kick, a few sliced scallions and serrano chilis were sprinkled on the plate. Truth be told, this was my favorite course and I could've stopped eating at this point.

Good thing I didn't actually stop eating. The main course was roasted shrimp with summer squash ratatouille and mascarpone.  This was a study in contrast.  The ratatouille was fresh and rich and the dollop of mascarpone gave it a luxurious feel.  This base contrasted with the shrimp which were simply roasted to a snappy firmness.  Wonderfully done.  I could've eaten just the ratatouille as the whole meal (and I did with the leftovers the following night).

In keeping with her goals of using fresh, in-season ingredients, Callie prepared a fresh peach tart with almond creme anglaise for desert.  The dough was unsweetened letting the sliced peaches carry the burden of the dessert.   But what made this dish for me was the almond creme anglaise.  As you can see from the photo, there wasn't very much creme, but in small quantities it was the perfect creamy, sweet complement for the tart peaches.

Because she's a food instructor, Callie is very comfortable in the kitchen talking about food whether that's giving a little lesson on how to prepare something in particular or talking about the Fort Worth food scene.  We had a blast while she prepared the meal and I promised not to mention the almonds.  What's amazing is that she and I shared similar thoughts about many things related to food, although she found some of my food quirks to be politely eccentric.

Next time you're having friends over and want someone to do the cooking for you, give Callie a call.  In the meantime, be sure to follow her blog at