On (Mini) Tour

Zoe has a couple of gigs in the south of England (lowest point is Cornwall which is pretty far South). Her gig buddy Tom will be there for both performances but has to be back around Manchester in between so there was a free slot in a car.

Dear reader, I took that slot.

At the moment, I don’t have a driver’s license in any country. Zoe has the packing and gear management down. So, I am merely ornamental.

In the early days I did a fair bit of roadie and groupie work…which very helpful to early career musicians. These days, not so much. Most of the big tours over the past 10 years have been in the US which is challenging for me and until now, the UK side was rather quiet. This year, following on from Small Brown Birds, Zoe (with Tom) got serious about UK booking and they’ve had a busy lineup.

But it’s more efficient for them to take one car so no real room for me. Fortuitous stars for this nostalgia trip!

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Still No Good OWL Viz

And maybe there will never be.

My student asked me if I knew how to render an OWL ontology as a UML class diagram “like all the pattern papers do”. My answer was “No, but there’s probably a plug in for Protege or I vaguely remember tools…Visio plugin…some website…hey is that my ear bleeding?!”

We couldn’t find such a tool. But then, after too long, I asked: “wait, why do you want this?”

He has a presentation to fellow PhD students and he wanted something that wouldn’t turn them off the way logic does.

He was surprised to find out that UML was not universally loved or even…known.

We solved the presentation problem by thinking about better ways to grab their attention. That is, by focusing on the actual problem.

Sunday Baking: Bread, Cake, and Thou

This 1 hour bread recipe is working out great. This week, I shifted to 3 cups brown, 2.5 cups white bread flour and threw in some extra gluten. I also super proofed the yeast. And I shaped rolls instead of big loaves.

These were amazing fresh out of the oven. Crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside.

The crumb is quite good. The crust has softened some but still remains nice. I did the water in the catch pan trick.

I also made a pineapple upside cake for a student’s birthday:

They are so easy and yummy I don’t know why I don’t make them more often. I use a cast iron frying pan which is hard for me to flip, but I don’t like my other pans. Maybe my no hole springform would work.

I was gonna bake two or three other things but I’m sick and super tired. So that’s enough!

Maya Angelou’s “Letter to My Daughter”

Get it. Read it. Better year, listen to her read it. It’s so amazingly funny you’ll find yourself laughing like crazy. It’s everything else you’d expect: wry, witty, touching, strangely lyric, intelligent, etc but above all, for me, joyfully funny.

At some point I’ll pull together all the literary references to yellow pads, but the one in this book is memorable.

Sunday Baking: Bread, cake, and bars

The holidays are waning so time to try to get back on a routine. As I don’t have a dough going in the fridge (we needed the room for Noruz), I tried another 1 hr bread. This one is half whole wheat with seeds.

These recipes generate such giant loaves! I need to make small loaves. The result is rather nice. I ran it with the dough hook for a while and the rise was more than 20 minutes. (The recipe used the microwave steam box method.)

Crumb was ok and chewy. I forgot the water to crisp up the crust. It’s been holding up pretty well.

I also made an angel food cake:

That’s a yummy lemon glaze on top. Still don’t have a clue how to make the one I want.

And yesterday I made a pumpkin chia oatmeal bar:

Why, you may ask? Well I’m supposed to get more Omega 3s and chia is a dubious way to do so. They are also high in protein and fibre which I’m trying to up. Also, every now and again I get on a 70s style, diet for a small planet, health food kick. These taste quite alright and have a decent texture. They don’t need to be this sweet and could use some nuts. I might play around some more with the recipe.

Sunday Baking: Baklava and other Noruz treats

The Iranian New Year (Noruz) is the first day of spring (i.e. the spring equinox, which makes a heck of a lot more sense than not-the-winter-solstice). That was Tues. We generally have a party and since we live in the UK where, strangely, Noruz is not recognised as a national holiday, we generally throw our party on the weekend.

We make a lot of food.

We also put up a haft sin:

I made two kinds of baklava, one with homemade dough:

And one with filo (so as to be vegan):

We also made rice flour and chickpea flour cookies:

And general are a lot:

Lots of friends came and we all had, I believe, a great time. Some made music:

Happy new year!