9to5 (otp300) try 2

This morning, I ended up waiting a bit to pay my bill at the coffee shop. So I took the opportunity to take a panorama at the counter.  By the way, Publicus does serve some good espressos.  Eric knows what he’s doing.

9to5 (otp300)

The assignment this week was 9 to 5.  And while I couldn’t think of anything particularly cool beyond shots of my office, last night I saw was an impressive looking automated delivery tower at the front of the Walmart at Fort Apache and Tropicana.  Its pretty cool, but in an ominous dystopian way also.

bad retouching (otp299)

Due to the recent meme, the guys decided to throw up a fun counter intuitive assignment.  This saturday I came across a case of bad retouching by my daughter at a nature walk, which I then tried to make worse with a filter, worse cropping, and even worse manual adjustments.

I thought I’d have a second shot at the assignment when she started trying to trace my mother in law’s handwriting, but it was just too sweet a moment to mess up gratuitously.

Mental Reset Days

This lifehacker article about Personal Inventory Day makes a bit of sense.  The gist is to take a week every month to reset and make sure things are going in the right direction.

I’m not sure formalize it this myself, but I do make a point to get an espresso on Friday mornings to square up and make sure things are pointing in the right direction for the last workday of the week and the weekend.  Maybe I should also use it to just assess things in general.

That Bread!

I got out of Berkeley at the bottom of the dot com bust so I ended up working as a landscaping laborer. As could be expected I had a pretty hefty caloric demand but was light on cash. Furthermore our lunch breaks were also quite short (we bundled our paid breaks into a paid 30 minute lunch).

So my solution was to bring loaf of bread with meat in a can, usually Vienna sausage but anything would do. I tried to upscale this simple menu by baking my own bread. But I didn’t know what I was doing and had very little luck, though I did end up making a sourdough starter that made some awesome pancakes for a while.

Earlier this year, Jing read about sourdough pancakes in the New York Times.  The thought of sourdough rekindled the old nostalgia and so Dara and I made a sourdough starter, which then lead to the old bread baking thing getting fired up again. In the intervening years the whole hipster artisan bread baking fad had started including the major innovation of baking in a Dutch oven.  Conveniently we had acquired one on sale from the back of an Ace Hardware on Westheimer in Houston, even though it was used only once in the intervening eight years. Along with internet content, the library had Jim Lahey’s My Bread and Ken Forkish’s excellent Flour Water Salt Yeast cookbooks.

It took a week of baking every day to accidentally make a decent loaf that wasn’t hard as a rock. We danced around the kitchen that evening. And then two more weeks of baking every day to start doing it consistently. Over the past eight months I’ve been banging out lean breads about once a week – water salt flour (and accents like raisins and walnuts) – hearty stuff with a hard crust and varying crumb cause I’m just aight. But after she started buying bread (hint, hint) I broke down and decided to make an enriched bread this weekend.

Actually I forgot I was going to try an enriched bread yesterday morning until after the initial mix. But after all these other experiments and reading Ruhlman’s Ratio and Robertson’s Tartine books I’ve come to realize it’s all fairly improvisational once you got a feel for the basics so I threw in a little extra flour, milk, sugar, and butter. And after letting the guy proof all day I baked it at a nice sedate 350.

I woke this morning and tried a slice. And well here it is. The bread I dreamed about making 16 years ago.