I’m a fan of convection ovens

No doubt most of the U.S. is tired of turkey by now — I’ve had turkey at least once a day since Thursday and confess to being well over it — but I want to document how I cooked our family turkey this year because it was fantastic, and I want to remember to cook it exactly this way from now on. Continue reading “I’m a fan of convection ovens”

An unexpected journey into the making of a major feature film

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Caves

I know a lot goes into the making of a major film; and even more goes into a film with state-of-the-art effects; and yet more into a film shot in 3D; and still more when it’s not one but three films being shot simultaneously.

But not until I watched the behind-the-scenes filming and production video diaries for The Hobbit did I start to have a sense of the enormity of this production, the unrelenting attention to detail, and the amazing number of people, hours, and money that are going into it.

You can find all 9 (so far) of the Hobbit production video diaries on Peter Jackson’s YouTube Channel.  Continue reading “An unexpected journey into the making of a major feature film”

Dust to dust

Where does dust come from? 

I thought it was mostly bits of skin and bugs and whatnot. But if that were the case, then when I’m away from my house for days in a row, there should be a lot less “new” dust than there is when I’m here a lot. 

Tonight I vacuumed the house (What a sexy way to spend Friday night, you’re thinking, I want to party with this chick!) and I saw no difference in dust accumulation, despite my being here almost not at all for the past many weeks.  Continue reading “Dust to dust”

American spirits

Here’s a very American cocktail for your Thanksgiving holiday weekend: the Marconi Wireless.

Marconi Wireless cocktail

It’s pretty much a Manhattan but with applejack instead of bourbon. The applejack is what makes it American, and seasonal to boot. Find the recipe here, in a post by Paul Clarke all the way back in 2007. Fortunately, good drinks never go out of style.

This is a delicious cocktail. The applejack is a little sweeter than bourbon usually is, and the orange bitters complement it wonderfully. As I do when making a Manhattan, I use only a little sweet vermouth rather than the ounce the recipe suggests — I use maybe 1/8th of an ounce. And I double the orange bitters. A twist of orange or lemon peel would be a lovely garnish, but since I have neither, an apple seemed appropriate.

I think one or two of these will provide a pleasant diversion while I’m cooking our family turkey tomorrow. Probably not more than two though, or I might forget the turkey altogether.

The act you’ve known for all these years

My brother Jude and I attended the Classical Mystery Tour performance at the PSO Friday night, and you can read my blog post about it on the Pittsburgh Symphony Blogs: “The act you’ve known for all these years.”

Something I forgot to mention in that post: They played part of the side 2 medley from Abbey Road, “Golden Slumbers,” “Carry That Weight,” and “The End.” In the Beatles recording of “The End,” the guitar solo is really three guitar solos, with John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison each taking a few bars in turns, and each playing in a distinct style. (I learned this only a few years ago, thanks to the Beatles edition of the Rock Band video game.)

When Twist and Shout started to play, I was interested to see how each member might handle his solo. But they didn’t play it that way. Instead, the George Harrison fellow played all three parts, using effects on his guitar to create the different Beatles’ guitar sounds and changing his style to match their styles. It was impressive, but I was a wee bit sad not to see the band recreate the mini-guitar duel from the recording.

Pittsburgh event: Doing Good at the PPT

An interesting event Monday night (tomorrow) at the Pittsburgh Public Theater, complete with complimentary refreshments and interesting ideas:

Pittsburgh Public Theater’s Town Hall Project Presents
Doing Good

Locals talk about causes that moved them to take action plus a non-profit showcase and refreshments sponsored by Yelp Helps. Continue reading “Pittsburgh event: Doing Good at the PPT”