3DFood

Dinner Matrix

Everyone has their go-to meals; those quick easy dishes that you fall back on week after week. For Jen and me it’s Zucchini Pasta, chicken tacos, and cashew chicken stirfry. But as someone who loves to try new dishes, I want to make sure that sprinkled in between these sustenance staples is some culinary creativity.

But Wait! How do we choose what to eat each week? For us it’s mostly random, perhaps influenced slightly by the weekly sales circular. This doesn’t seem right to me. We need a more strategic approach.

Enter Excel.

Jen and I made a list of all the dishes that we frequently duplicate. Not just our go-to’s but all of our favorites. We then rated each across three criteria: Ease, Health, and Deliciousness

I charted these on a 3-Axis chart (z-axis is deliciousness rated from 1-3)

Honestly, not too many surprises here. We don’t bother making really complicated food unless it’s delicious. And the more delicious the food the higher tendency for an unhealthy experience.

While this chart in itself is not a solution to perfect planning, it allows us to balance a week of dinner choices across this scale. We next have to create a series of constraints.

1. Weekday eating shouldn’t be more complicated than ‘tricky’ 2. Only 10% of meals can fall into the unhealthy or fatty range 3. No dish can be made more than once per week 4. Deliciousness must be maximized

I was working on a linear program for a bit, trying to have Excel’s solver define for us the best dinner solution. But for the life of me I couldn’t quite get the constraints right.

I’m losing my touch.

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Sander on Literature

This week, during our carpool to work, NPR was talking about banned books.

Sander: “I agree that some books should be banned.”

Mike D: “…”

Sander: “For example: all those books that they make you read in high school. I think Ethan Frome should be banned. Literacy would skyrocket by 80% if that no one had to read Ethan Frome.”

Mike D: “ha! That is actually an excellent example. I hated that book. Though I don’t remember much about it. Something about a sled accident.”

Sander: “A guy is sad in the winter for 230 pages.”

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Good Ole Fashion Books

This weekend Jen and I swung through the local Library to grab some fall reading material. I tend to switch back and forth between science fiction/fantasy and non-fiction. And since my most recent book was all about the design and construction of Brunelleschi’s dome in Florence, it was time for me to blissfully surrender to fiction literature.

But I needed a recommendation. So I decided to start crawling through the unread books on this NPR ‘your choice’ list.

Here’s the start of the list:

NOTE: the formatting is way easier to read if you open the ‘read more’ link below.

Lord of the Rings: Yes Hitchikers Guide: Nope Ender’s Game: Yup Dune: Yes A song of Ice and Fire: Negative 1984: Yes FahrenHeit 451: No Foundation Trilogy: Yes Brave New World: Yup American Gods: Yes (didn’t like it) Princess Bride: Saw the Movie – didn’t know it was a book Wheel of Time: No. Animal Farm: Surprisingly not Neuromancer: nope Watchmen: yes iRobot: yes Stranger in a strange land: Reading it now!! Kingkiller Chronicles: Yes

and then after these first 18, with the exception of Stardust and the Time Traveler’s Wife, I haven’t read any! That gives me a paltry record of: 13 out of 100. 13%… Terrible.

What’s your science fantasy literacy rate?

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Castle

Gillette’s Castle

Long before Benedict Cumberbatch, Actor William Gillette made famous the world of Sherlock Holmes through his theatrical depictions. Quite a bit different from King Camp Gillette, creator of the face shaving razor of fame, William Gillette built a weird-sauce castle in CT made of fieldstone and eccentricity.

For years the external appearance of the castle turned me off. Frankly, it’s ugly. The fieldstone is quirky beyond my comfort level. Still, it’s considered a major CT tourist spot so I’ve had it on my list as something to see.

IT WAS AMAZING.

Honestly, the fieldstone facade was a major distraction from the real awesomeness: the beautifully carved wooden mechanisms that filled the house and the picturesque landscape spooning the Connecticut river.

All of the light switches, doors, door handles, etc were designed by Gillette and carved by his master woodworkers. No mechanism was duplicated, every one was unique and filled the house with a playful atmosphere. The tour guides were more than willing to demonstrate the operation of the mechanisms and the engineer in me loved it. Each new room had me on a scavenger hunt searching for clever mechanisms.

Unlike the external face of the castle most of the interior was wood, accented with stone set in colored grout. The attention to detail was obvious. Each component of the house had purpose from the uneven stonework of the chimney column (for planters) to the hanging decorative edging of the table designed as a playtoy for Gillette’s cats.

The Castle sits on a huge plot of land full of hiking trails. Gillette had a affinity for railroads so he built his own mini-railroad. The rails are mostly gone off the property but the retired rail passes make for wonderful trails including a train tunnel.

I strongly recommend checking out the castle if you’re in the area.

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NewLook2

Another different look?

Okay. Theme attempt #2. I like the structure of this one a bit more, but I don’t think it’s as pleasing to look at. The fact that the comment count shows along with each full blog post (less photos) is kinda nice. I could toggle back so that each featured area only shows a snippet… the jury’s still out.

Also nice about this one is that the Favicon finally works (thank you Shamus).

So far, which one do you prefer?

If you didn’t get to see one or the other, let me know and I can switch back and forth between them.

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SChips

AMERICA!

This morning America slapped me in the face with freedom. First as I drove to work a Bald Eagle swooped over the highway leaving behind jet trails of liberty. And then when I got to work? Boxes of free Sun Chips for all the employees.

Nothing says America like soaring eagles and free Sun Chips.

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Anewlook

A new look?

The recent trouble I had with MikeDiDonato.com was caused by a database issue. I exceeded the size of my database for what was allowable with the newest version of WordPress (4.0).

The frustrations surrounding this incident also led me to the realization that I’m well overdue for a new website theme.

Thus begins my experimentation with a few new themes. Please feel free to provide your feedback!

Woo!

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