Mon bon pain

The more Megan and I cooked at home, the more I wondered to myself what was possible. At my most naive, I searched online one morning for “pancakes from scratch”, and my mind was soon blown. For years, I had been buying boxed flour and baking soda.

At first, I felt cheated, but soon thereafter, I felt empowered. Armed with the Internet and a kitchen scale, I set out to truly learn some tasty recipes that we could con cot from the bare essentials. What else do we buy packaged that we can make from scratch? Turns out, pretty much everything. I’m happy to say that for almost the past four months Megan and I haven’t purchased a basic loaf of bread from the grocery store.

I’ll admit, the basis of this recipe came from Ratio, but I’ve put some slight variations onto it, and it’s become a very flexible dough for us, one that we find ourselves using for loaves, dinner rolls, and pizza.

15g yeast
300g water

20-30g lemon juice
5g sugar
10-15g salt

450g bread flour (we use King Arthurs)

  1. Let the yeast sit in the water until it’s been activated, and you’ve got a tan-milk-ish color, then add the salt, sugar, and lemon juice.
  2. Mix in the flour thoroughly. I let my dough hook run for about 5 minutes with this, while I use a spatula to scrape the insides of the bowl, ensuring everything mixes. If things start getting a little too sticky, I’ll sprinkle some flour to dry it up a little bit.
  3. After the mixing is done, take the lump of dough out and sprinkle more flour on it, until the dough can be handled without sticking to your hands.
  4. Knead the dough for a little bit longer, and then let it rest in a bowl or on the counter for 2-4 hours, depending on the temperature of the room.
  5. When the dough has doubled in size, take it out of it’s container, and shape it into the loaf that you want, and place it on a thoroughly floured surface to rise for another hour or so.
  6. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees, preferably with a baking stone inside.
  7. Cook the bread at 450 for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 375 for another 15 minutes.
  8. Take the bread out, and let it coli for about 30-45 minute before you serve. The gluten needs time to rest, and the flavors are still not fully formed yet.

For the nice ridges of the dough, I stole a trick that I’ve seen sushi chefs do, and wet a bread knife thoroughly before I make the cuts, rewetting it for each cut.

A simple recipe, but it has been our go to for some time now. I intend on buying some oatmeal flour in bulk soon, and seeing what we can do with that.

Redmine (with Subversion) on Dreamhost

I absolutely love Redmine. I’m not sure if it’s a textbook case of Stockholm syndrome, since it took it’s fair share of cursing and bellyaching before I got it running for a company I’m currently contracting for, but since I’ve been using it, it’s got every feature that I’ve needed in small projects to keep myself organized, and my team connected.

It’s got a Wiki, Task Management (to track both Bugs and Tasks), Time Management, Repository Integration, and strong Access Control, all of which are compartmentalized by Project (of which you can have an infinite amount). That’s just scratching the surface of the features, there’s so much more available if the team were to grow larger.

Dreamhost is a pretty good host too, for many reasons, (price, featureset. The speed hit from page loads is a bit frustrating at times, but I’ve yet to find someone on the east coast that can beat them out, feature for feature, so I continue to stay a customer of theirs. (Something like 6 years and counting…)

Now, it’s really best if you start this setup with a brand new account (with SSH enabled), or you’re prepared to move a bunch of files.

Case insensitive autocomplete in OSX terminal

I’ve been spending a bit more time in the OSX terminal, and one little annoyance is that the autocomplete is case sensitive. Since many folders are capitalized, it’s just not as fast as I’d want it to be when I’m trying to navigate through the folders.

Luckily, there’s an easy fix!

Open up your terminal, and throw in:
echo "set completion-ignore-case On" >> ~/.inputrc

Restart Terminal, and you’re set!


Emails of Note: Am I gaining weight?

I have decided to add another category to my blog to catalog some of my more “excessive” emails that I have sent to people from time to time.

I wrote this one to my wife one day, after I got to work and had noticed the lunch she had packed me. (It was her turn that morning.)

Subject: Am I gaining weight?
..because you rationed the hell out of my animal crackers this morning.

I’m no animal crackers connoisseur, but I do know that yesterday, when I gave you a small Tupperware container, I filled it to the brim.

This? This isn’t even a ration of animal crackers, it’s the severed legs and dismembered heads of the animal cracker bin. The “pet cemetery” of animal crackers, if you will. This amount of animal crackers couldn’t form a union, or start their own colony. There are so few animal crackers in this bin, if they tried to start a religion, it would die out before it even started!

Am I gaining weight? Is this a message you’re trying to send to me? I would have been less offended if you had placed a small note inside the container that said; “suck air, fatty!”, and somehow that note punched me in the gut right as I had finished reading it.

You know, I can’t even call these things crackers, they’re crumbs. Animal crumbs. Which make them sound even less appetizing. We grabbed these things because they had less fat than Oreos, and you know I love me some Oreos. But instead, we got animal crackers, and I somehow have inherited a very small amount of animal crumbs. As if crumbs were the currency, and my father was a small pauper in a feudal town, where we were destined to never climb the hierarchy, and the only thing he could leave me on his deathbed was a modest amount of animal crackers, which we spent no time going through, but couldn’t bring ourselves to finish the crumbs, in order to preserve what little legacy he left on the world.

But that isn’t the goddamn case, Dad’s alive and well, he sold his first company and is doing well for himself, we’re both employed, and somehow, I managed to get a fraction of a Tupperware container filled with animal crackers!!!

Am I gaining weight?!


PS. We’re running out of mayo.

My first game jam!

This weekend was an awesome experience for me. I have never done a game jam before, but jumped at the opportunity when told about it. A few people showed up to see what they can do, and I had the opportunity to team up with Adam White, who did some amazing art for our little game.

I had jumped into the jam knowing little of what I wanted to create, but knowing full well I wanted to have made something with flixel by the end of the weekend. Needless to say, I was incredibly impressed with how much I got done with the framework in such a short time.

Hello 2010! :)

I decided to start my year off on the right foot. I got married to an exceptional woman on January 2, 2010! Below is a picture of her wedding present, courtesy of the very talented Milo from Sack-Planet. (Working with him doesn’t hurt either!)

Geeky tidbit, 01022010 is a palindrome.

Line Length Guides in Visual Studio

Here’s yet another tip for Visual Studio 2005/2008 users. If your company enforces any sort of line limit, and you want to make yourself visually aware of when you may be approaching or dealing with that limit, add this key to your registry:

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\9.0\Text Editor]
(New String Value) "Guides"="RGB(192,192,192) 110"

110 Being your line limit, and 9.0 being the version of your VS. (2005 users should find 8.0)

Restart VS and you’re good to go.

Homework: Definition of Play

A coworker was kind enough to procure a copy of “The Game Design Reader: A Rules of Play Anthology” by the MIT Press. My intention was to flip around now and then, read and reflect.

The first entry I ended up jumping to seemed like an awesome start; “The Definition of Play and The Classification of Games” by Roger Caillios, 1958“. I was able to find the full version of the document, and uploaded it for reference, or the curiosity of others.

Important to note, games of chance are excluded. [This is a] discussion about games and rules when profit is not obtained, and it is merely the existence of the absence of reality. (p.124)

While it was not an article that redefined what I thought of “play” as a individual and social construct, it was interesting to see how the observations of a document in 1958 translates to electronic entertainment in the modern day.

Play is an occasion of pure waste: waste of time, energy, ingenuity, skill, and often money for the purchase of [gaming] equipment… (p.125)

The industry may not be so quick to agree, but this rings true if wasted time is seen as a reflection of not accruing income. However, most if not all would agree that if play results in some form of entertainment, time and money may have been well spent.

A game which one would be forced to play would at once cease being play. It would become constraint, drudgery from which one would strive to be freed. (p.125)

I found this quote quite humorous with regards to my job, and I know some QA testers that might agree, I can’t say I “strive to be freed” from the games I play at work. :)

“In fact, the game is no longer pleasing to one who, because he is too well trained or skillful, wins effortlessly and infallibly.”

(In classifying games of sport) The goal of the encounters is not for the antagonist to cause serious injury to his rival, but rather to demonstrate his own superiority. (p. 132)

Both of these remind me of what the inherent draws in competitive gaming that kept such a stranglehold on me.

“Industrial civilization has given birth to […] the hobby, a secondary and gratuitous activity, undertaken and pursued for pleasure, e.g. collecting, unique accomplishments, the pleasure in […] inventing gadgets…” (pg. 145)

Did he just predict Achievements and LittleBigPlanet? :)