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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Marcel the Shell

Doughnut Quest 2010 was awesome. We each tried 26 doughnuts, I think -- all were tasty, some were transcendent. But there are still numbers to crunch and pictures to upload, so I will delivery a full recap later this week.

In the meantime, I'd like the share this video, passed to me by Doug, via Amanda. It's Marcel the Shell introducing himself.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


I'm off to NYC for the weekend (for Doughnut Quest 2010), and haven't managed to get my vacation pictures uploaded yet. But in the meantime, here's something from a couple months ago:

My uncle Dick has been making metal sculpture professionally for many years, and I asked him a while back if he could make a sculpture for me. I had something simple in mind, and he suggested that I visit and help him make it (or at least watch him make it). While I was in Connecticut in June, I spent an afternoon at his backyard studio in New Haven. It was pretty cool -- I did some bending of metal, but Dick did all the welding, and a finished product emerged after a few hours of sparks flying. Check out a few pictures over at Flickr.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Rolling shutter

Check out this photo of a propeller seen out a plane window that I saw on a Flickr blog. It was taken with an iPhone, and the milliseconds it took the electronic shutter to capture the different parts of the image yielded a really cool effect with the prop.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Energy drinks

I'm back in DC after a wonderful vacation. I'll post a few pictures from my trip soon.

While in Minneapolis, Andrew steered me toward Longform.org. It's an edited compilation of links to interesting longer-format articles from a variety of sources; many are recent, but it also links to older stuff. (Andrew showed it to me in the course of seconding David's recommendation of Instapaper, which is a very snazzy way to keep track of and read written content from the web.)

Anyway, one of the articles I found through Longform is on the flavoring industry. It's a good read.

Other flavorists were perplexed by Red Bull, which was created in 1987. "Have you ever tasted such a crazy flavor?" Hagen said. "What is it? There is nothing like it, and every once in a while you come across a flavor that is not especially balanced but for some reason it takes off." Today, it is virtually impossible to market an energy drink that does not have the same unbalanced characteristics that Red Bull has. "It scores terribly when you put it in front of consumers who don't think it is an energy drink," a salesman for one of the top flavor houses told me. "But the spiky note in there now defines 'energy.' So when I build energy flavors with our client it has got to taste bad. If you give the consumer a great-tasting orange flavor for an energy drink, their liking drops way down, because it doesn't have that 'energy note' they expect."

Sunday, August 08, 2010


Seattle is lovely. Went for a bike ride with David and Sean -- we're presently on the water taxi heading back across to downtown Seattle.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

On the ferry

The tent-on-deck thing worked out. It's pretty cool. I've already taken a nap in it...

Ferry terminal, 4 AM

Ho boy, sure is early. I'm waiting to board a ferry that will take me for a two-day ride to Bellingham, WA. No cabin for this leg of the trip, I'll be setting up my tent on deck -- we'll see how that goes. (I can sleep in a chair inside if necessary.) I had a great time in Petersburg. A couple great hikes, a kayak daytrip to the Leconte Glacier, and hosting a country-folk show on the public radio station were some highlights. I'll write in a bit more detail later.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Raven's Roost

This is the view from the Raven's Roost trail, up the mountain behind Petersburg. The peak to the far left of the frame (shrouded in clouds) is where I was when I posted a picture on Saturday.