Archive for November, 2005

Williamsburger Maps, V2.7
Wednesday, November 23rd, 2005

Version 2.7 of Williamsburger Maps replaces the buggy, slow, memory-leaking OpenRico effects code with script.aculo.us widgets, as well as includes a minor data model change on the backend to support international locations.

Bug Fixes

  • With the removal of OpenRico, the grab and drag functionality of the map has been finally restored in Firefox. I’ve also been able to remove a few extra methods I’d made to wrap exactly what’s done in the script.aculo.us Effect.BlindUp / Effect.BlindDown functions.
  • Increased the width of the map panel popups to avoid 75-pixel line wrapping

New Bugs Noticed

  • Since I’m using Firefox 1.5 now, it’s picking up on a few other CSS and JavaScript warnings; I’ll try to figure those out in a future version. The oddest is a complaint about parsing a z-index CSS property, but I don’t define z-index in any of my own files. It may be coming from an external JavaScript file, but that’s not clear from the error message.
Marks & Spencer: Lamb Chump & Potato Salad
Monday, November 21st, 2005
Lamb Chump & Potato Salad Fighting jet lag, yet reluctant to begin spending huge amounts of money in London restaurants, we make a trip to the local Marks & Spencer supermarket section for some quick & easy prepared food options. After a wide-eyed browsing session, we decide on two lamb chump rounds, and a container of potato salad.

A half hour later (and after discovering our oven is off by 40-50 degrees Celsius), we’re ready to eat what turns out to be in all aspects a very satisfying meal. For the price (£5.99 for the lamb and £1.50 for the potato salad), the quality of the ingredients far surpasses expectations. The tender, juicy lamb has a smokiness rarely if ever found in American commercial meat, and the bold Devonshire cheddar & Tewkesbury mustard crust pairs with it wonderfully. The potato salad, in a mix of mayonnaise, creme fraiche, and mustard, flavored with spring onion and mint, provides a cool complement to the savory lamb.

Add to this a glass or two of completely acceptable (and £2.70 a bottle) Tesco brand claret, and a few slices of organic butter-topped miche from the bakery down the block, and we receive a welcoming introduction to ready-made British supermarket fare.

A few early observations on London supermarkets: chicken appears to be heavily promoted with 2 for 1 offers in display cases. A symptom of wariness of the bird flu, or is chicken just not as popular here as in the states? There’s a much greater focus on organic here as well, even in the Tesco / Sainsbury’s / M & S store generic brands. The prepared meal we’ve purchased proudly exclaims that it’s additive free, which goes a ways to explaining how much we end up enjoying it.

What Did You Read Five Years Ago?
Tuesday, November 15th, 2005

Continuing a meme begun 2 weeks ago on Unto.net, I’d like to take a step back and analyze my own web behavior with respect to bookmarks, site visitation patterns, search engine usage, and dynamic content.

WSO Portal Page, 2000.08.08

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GoodHemp T-Shirts
Thursday, November 10th, 2005

GoodHemp Men's T-Shirt, Sand

Back in April, based on an endorsement from Goto Reviews (née MetaEfficient), I purchased a hemp & cotton t-shirt from GoodHemp. My shirt (I chose the “sand” colored one) arrived in the mail a few days later, and after 6 months of wear, I can confidently claim it’s the most comfortable piece of clothing I own. I haven’t taken a flight in the last 6 months without wearing this wonderfully soft shirt.

It is a bit better in cold weather than warm, as the hemp and cotton blend holds in a comfortable amount of body heat. The fabric also holds up triumphantly through multiple washes, only getting softer with age.

My only complaint is that the shirt is larger than originally expected; I purchased a medium, and it felt bulky on me, who frequently wears large shirts. Fortunately, GoodHemp recognizes the flaw in the design, and they’re planning to introduce a new (more accurately) sized style of tee in the very near future.

There’s a load of socially conscious intent with this company as well, with organic cotton, eco-friendly dyes, and fair trade practices, which is an added bonus when buying an inexpensive, comfortable, high quality tee. Add in all the myriad benefits of hemp as a fabric, and this is a very nice — if not particularly hip — shirt for daily wear.

If all that weren’t enough to convince me to get another, today’s mail brings a promotion for 10% off the already affordable $9.95. It only runs for the next week or so, presumably to run down their older stock at the beginning of the X-Mas season.

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Brazilian Chicken And Orzo With Olives
Monday, November 7th, 2005
Brazilian Chicken & Orzo
  • 2/3 cup orzo
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup water
  • salt
  • cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2/3 lb boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 3 very large garlic cloves
  • 6-7 pours of olive oil
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • 10 medium black olives
  1. Cut chicken into small pieces, salt and liberally pepper.
  2. Heat oil over medium high burner.
  3. Brown chicken, garlic and orange zest and a little salt for a few minutes.
  4. Add water and orange juice, bring to a boil.
  5. Add orzo, spices, (drained) olives.
  6. Return to a boil.
  7. Over low heat, simmer covered for 20 minutes until water is absorbed.
  8. Chop cilantro.
  9. Remove pan from heat, stir in cilantro, let sit covered for 10 minutes.

This was amazingly good and very easy to make. The orange & garlic blended wonderfully, and the chicken thighs imparted a strong chicken flavor not possible with the usual breast meat. I’m definitely a convert to thigh meat now; I’m looking forward to using it in chicken soup this coming winter.

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