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Sun, 29 Aug 2021

New Appreciation for Zippered Cases

I was gifted some leatherworking tools for my birthday (thanks Phil!), and thus begins the process of combining everything into bundles of “stuff” that each make sense. All the scissors/cutting tools in one bag, all the stitching/needles in another, all the punches/awls in yet another, yadda yadda.

What better way to get practice at using all these tools than to make cases for them? I made the above case “from scratch” using salvaged materials. Some leftover foam-board, denim from a pair of old pants, scavenged zipper from… something. Basically the rivets, washers, and elastic were “new”, but everything else was in various bags/buckets/boxes of scraps.

…but what’s in the case? Big, Chonky, Setup/Gauge Blocks! (seriously, this thing weighs ~3kg, ~6.5lbs!)

Why do you need 3kg of chunks of metal? Well… there was this technique that I saw which probably borrows quite a bit from machining (making things out of metal) where you use “known good 90-degree” objects and “very straight bars” to help make your various cuts quicker and more accurate.

The red ones are basic 90° brackets, and the big chunks of metal are called “3-2-1” blocks, each edge measuring exactly 3, 2 or 1 inches (to within some thousandths of an inch). Overkill on precision for general leatherworking, but because they weigh quite a bit you can use them to help in gluing, holding things in place, or guiding other “very straight” pieces of metal in the right direction.

The long bars are kindof cheating. They’re actually steel blanks for making your own drill bits turning stuff on a lathe, so they’re not truly “precision”, but they were 20cm long and 1cm cross-section and were an order of magnitude cheaper than actual “gauge bars” (especially at the longer lengths).

What do you use all this stuff for? Run the leather into the corner. Use the red 90 to consistently offset. Use the 10cm long bars as per-line spacers (and cheat again by using a two-prong pricker to nudge it up a little more). Basically, you get pretty good consistency and repeatability and have tons of options for squaring up your cuts or getting good measurements.

It took a few days to figure a good arrangement that would fit with the various scrap sizes and trying to protect the blocks as well as possible, but once it was started, it also took a few concentrated work sessions to finish.

What does it look like inside? All the metal is heavy and “precision” so I didn’t want it rattling around against each other in a box with all my other tools. Therefore: make a zippered container for it, with all the blocks held down by elastic.

Since the metal is “precision”, I also didn’t want the faces rubbing against each other while the case was closed so I “faced” the blocks with some protective leather. …and since the kit I got for my birthday had a letter punch kit (thanks again Phil!), I figured I’d put two quotes in there.

…so have you ever blunted the heck out of a hole-punch by using it backwards?

Stiching is all hand saddle-stitched (by eyeball on the zipper-denim seam)

…and some little leather details to keep the zipper from running off the edge.

All in all, I learned a lot, and have a new appreciation for what goes into a “simple” case like this.

22:30 CST | category / entries
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Fri, 23 Apr 2021

Cowboy Brownies

Line 9”x9” pan with foil and oil, set aside.

Preheat oven to 350F.

Lightly scramble eggs with vanilla, set aside.

Mix and sift dry ingredients, set aside.

In a saucepan, bring to gentle boil the butter, water, and sugar.

Remove from heat and add half the chocolate chips.

As chocolate chips are cooling, stir in eggs.

Incorporate the flour mixture by thirds.

Add remaining chocolate chips.

Bake 25-30min at 350F.

21:52 CST | category / entries / recipes
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Thu, 17 Sep 2020

Waffles (by weight)

Great waffle recipe, but measure everything “by weight” into two large bowls (dry, wet)

Measure the small amounts (less than 10g) very slowly, or by teaspoons.

Mix/sift dry ingredients.

Stir wet ingredients.

Gently fold dry into wet (do not overmix, should be like a fluffy cake batter)

Makes 4 waffles.

13:46 CST | category / entries / recipes
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Fri, 12 Jun 2020

Chili California Salsa

Boil, Blend, Strain.

Works especially well for “red” chilaquiles.

14:34 CST | category / entries / recipes
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Pan Cake Waffles



Barely mix into cake-like batter (fold, don’t whip)

Heat waffle iron (4-plate)

Spread batter/dough onto waffle iron.

Cook until crisp (I checked/re-placed around halfway through when it was steaming a lot)

Serve with butter and syrup

12:59 CST | category / entries / recipes
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Fri, 28 Feb 2020

Did You Know That `gofmt` Emits Tabs(?!)

For God so loved his children that we finally have a programming language that has solved the tabs v. spaces debate!

This is truly exciting news! In recent years, I’d resigned my position to “use spaces everywhere” because of two justifications:

However golang bucks tradition in a particularly compelling way: Tabs are indeed control characters (increasing indent for control-flow modification), and due to near-ubiquitous use of gofmt, it’s also near-impossible to mess up(!).

If you control exactly the language, the compiler, and the formatter, it’s an incredibly compelling simplification to use tabs. Most editors “support them as expected” such that backspace and tab are commutative. This is effectively an upgrade for a moderate amount of people who were stuck backspacing over spaces.

Any misbehaving editor or stubborn user who uses spaces instead will simply get processed through the mold of gofmt … their transgressions are short-lived and forgivable.

Small victories may lead to large victories… with the tabs v. spaces debate definitively settled, mayhaps we finally can move on to figuring out Elastic Tabstops.

00:47 CST | category / entries
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Sun, 30 Sep 2018

Really Good Baked Potato Soup

Cook potatoes until tender (recommend: properly microwave).

Dice potatoes into ~1/2 inch cubes.

Coat with salt, pepper, chicken bouillon powder, set aside.

Melt butter in soup pot, dice onions, vegetables, etc

Cook until onions are translucent, add garlic towards the end (so as not to burn)

Mix together vegetables and coated potatoes in the soup pot.

Add enough boiling water to barely cover / float potatoes, and simmer ~30 minutes.

In separate frying pan, melt butter and mix with flour to make a roux.

Temper in milk/cream, and herbs.

Transfer herbed milk roux to soup pot.

Blend ~50% of the soup to thicken.

Serve, top with bacon or croutons.

20:13 CST | category / entries / recipes
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Sun, 17 Jun 2018

Trompo de Pastor

Preheat oven to 300 degrees farenheit

Blend spices into slightly watery paste (using lime juice)

Slice meat into medallions, coat with paste in a bowl.

Refrigerate covered bowl for 30 minutes

Slice vegetables for fajita/veggie mixture into a bowl.

Coat vegetables with salt, peper, olive oil.

Slide meat onto skewers, use onion halves as base and skewers as the “trompo”

(Pierce skewers into onion, straight down, such that the meat is free-standing)

alternately, cook the meet on a wire rack with a pan to catch the drippings

Cook meat on skewers in 300 degree oven for 1.5 hrs

Remove meat, slice, dice, arrange on a baking tray beside coated and spiced vegetables.

Cover meat with a layer of tortillas and aluminum foil

Broil pan underneath broiler ~10-15m until veggies get sweated / roasted.

00:38 CST | category / entries / recipes
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Wed, 11 Oct 2017

What does #BleedPurple mean to you?

“What shirt should I wear to work today?” was my thought while standing in the closet, excited about our team’s new hire and some exciting news on the products our team works on.

My “” shirt, I thought. I want to be reminded of the potential. Not many people remember Upcoming, but it was a Yahoo! acquisition many years ago. Along with and Flickr it really defined Web2.0, moving from a web of documents to apps, UGC and crowd-sourcing.

Upcoming had a kickstarter (that’s where I got the shirt), trying to recapture the magic. The ghost of lives on- acquired by Yahoo!, spun-off, and re-acquired by a startup that was originally inspired by

I get compliments all the time about the quality of work and the quality of people at Yahoo! (with exclamation point #grump). It’s easy to forget that for years at Yahoo! we solved problems w/o thinking that eventually became startups!

When Hadoop was spun off and open-sourced, it started a wave of companies, big and small, that came together around “Big Data” which led to “Machine Learning” and quickly commoditizing into “Data Science”.

What will happen with Vespa? How will its ghost live on, what impact to the global economy will it have?

See more ...

11:31 CST | category / entries
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Thu, 10 Aug 2017

Ruth Woodard’s Spaghetti

* 1lb bacon, cooked, drained, and crumbled (reserve grease)

* 1 lb cheddar cheese, sharp

Cook bacon, drain and reserve grease

Heat bacon grease + flour until combined and slightly browned (do not burn)

Cook sliced onions in bacon grease w/ salt and pepper to taste

Add stewed tomatoes and oregano, simmer 30m

Cut or blend large tomato chunks

Add cheddar cheese, crumbled bacon, stir into cooked pasta

20:15 CST | category / entries / recipes
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