Today I had my toothpaste confiscated from the airline security people as I went through. They said my toothpaste tube was too big. I pointed out that it was 90% empty, and only a few CCs of product remained in this flattened tube, but they were convinced that this dangerous piece of contraband was too risky.

We live in a very strange world where toothpaste and shampoo are not allowed on airplanes. I already had to take off my jacket, my coat, my belt, and my damn shoes. Now they deny me the ability to conduct basic personal hygiene. Flying is now an exercise in abject humiliation. Being rushed through the line while you fumble for your flight pass and try to get your laptop computer out while throngs of stressed out and impatient travelers and DHS employees watch you practically strip to your underwear. Imagine how much money is spent on placebo airport security. In some sense here, the terrorists have won, because I’m sure they are laughing their asses off at us every time we disrobe at the airport.

GF Beer Taste-Off

Let the games begin.

Redbridge vs. Dragon's GoldTonight I compare two leading American gluten-free brews.

I have already posted a small tidbit on Ramapo Honey Beer. I’m not going to review that one here, because it tastes more like mead than beer to me, and it is not in my opinion nearly as tasty as the two varieties that we’re going to compare here.

The two beers we are going to investigate are:

  • Bard’s Tale’s “Dragon’s Gold”
  • Anheuser-Busch’s “Redbridge”

First the Bard’s Tale:

Pours as a nice amber color, with plenty of carbonation and not too much of a head. First taste is cold. Hops seem to be there, but not as prominent as I’d like. I’m comparing this to my first GF beer experience, which was Ramapo Valley’s Honey Beer, and that has almost no hops burst at all. Continuing on with the glass, I find this to have a bit of an almost spicy, hard mouthfeel, with a slightly sweet aftertaste. It is highly drinkable and the flavor of the grain is well brought out in this brew. Oh my god – it tastes like beer! Has notes of buckwheat, honey, and roasted grain. I’ve had this one for a while now, but I’ll repeat that this is a highly drinkable, tasty beer. Reminds me a bit of the M√rzen from Gordon Biersch.

Next the Redbridge:

Redbridge vs. Dragon's GoldPours with a color almost equal to the Bard’s Tale. Carbonation seems about the same, but the bubbles are finer. Taste: Ello govna… Oh my god – yes, yes I think we have the burst effect of real hops. Yes, Hops. Plenty of it. Thank you. A swoop of this beer goes down easier than the Bard’s Tale, with a slightly smoother mouthfeel and an absolutely wonderful flavor. What is shocking to me is the fact that I’m saying this about a beer from Anheuser-Busch, but this is a fine-tasting and hoppy craft brew that I think any beer lover would enjoy.

The summary:

These are both fine beers, and I’d take either one. My nod has to go to Redbridge for the abundant hops flavor and the fact that it really stands it’s own ground against any craft brew out there. And certainly AB has placed an enormous amount of validation into both the gluten-free beer and the craft brew markets by creating this brew.


Entity Relationship Modeling Tools for Mac OS X

In my Database class this evening we were watching the instructor do some database modeling using Visio. I was playing along using Omnigraffle, but after a while it didn’t go as far as Visio did in terms of automatically creating relationships, foreign keys, and that sort of thing. I wanted something more developer oriented. So I did some quick research on what is available:

MySQL Workbench

Supports MySQL, obviously. I might wind up using this just because I almost entirely deal with MySQL. The only variable in that is my forays into Oracle lately.

Aquafold Data Studio

Supports Oracle, DB2, SQL Server, Sybase, Informix, PostgreSQL, MySQL – code generation looks powerful.
Free version 4.7, 6.0 costs $399. 4.7 looks dated compared to the 6.0 version, but man the price jump!

Visual Paradigm

Many interesting and compelling variations. Community Edition is free. This one looks pretty nice to me – my cup of tea. Lots of related products and editions, so there are options for most modeling needs, budgets, and scopes.

ConceptDraw VI Pro

Standard $149, Pro $299

So far I’ve cracked open MySQL Workbench and Visual Paradigm for UML Community Edition. I am only at the beginning of exploring these tools, so I’ll let you know how it turns out.

GF Chili con Carne

I don’t have much time to cook, which sucks when you’re a celiac, but once in a while I get inspired.

Today I was craving some chili, but most stuff you get at the store is contaminated with gluten, usually due to modified food starch or some other thickening agent. So I made some with the ingredients at hand.

Chili con CarneThe original idea of chili is to put so much sauce and flavor into it that it masks the flavor of bad meat. And one of the worst grades of meat I can think of is the Kirkland canned beef from Costco. It is tough, stringy, and seems dry even though it is sitting in beef broth. But it shreds nicely and has a long shelf life, and for those that like their chili a bit on the chewy side, this is perfect stuff. Typically, if I have nothing else to eat (like today), there will be a can of this stuff in the pantry. However, please feel free to substitute leftover bistec, ground beef, grilled ribeye, chicken, carnitas, salmon, or baked tofu.

  • 12 oz. cooked shredded beef or substitute chopped meat or tofu of choice
  • 1/4 cup beef or vegetable broth
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • cup chili powder
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • dash Tabasco sauce
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 1 tbsp butter, margarine, or olive oil
  • Ω tsp black pepper
  • tsp sea salt
  • pinch cilantro
  • pinch grated Parmesan cheese
  • cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 green onion, sliced into small discs
  • Tortilla chips (Trader Joe’s white corn tortilla chips and Tostitos are GF)

Throw the meat, broth, diced onion, tomato, chili powder, half of the garlic, Tabasco, butter, pepper, and salt into a pot and bring it to a boil. Stir on high heat for about 5 minutes to get everything together. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for Ω hour. Add remaining garlic, Parmesan cheese, and salt to taste, and boil again for about 2 minutes. Simmer again for 15 minutes and serve in a bowl. Garnish plate with green onion, cilantro, and cheddar cheese. Eat with a spoon or tortilla chips. Serves two.

Options: Add a tiny amount of finely chopped haba√eros at the beginning and some sliced jalape√os towards the end for an extra kick.

And always remember: A=r≤.

Up in smoke

The original power supply for my October 2004 12″ PowerBook caught on fire last night. It was pretty interesting. First I smelled a bit of smoke and wondered where the hell that could be coming from. Then I saw the crackling where the cable joined the power converter unit. Apparently all that movement over the years had worn out this stress point, and it shorted out. It made a little puff of smoke and a minor flame before I quickly unplugged it.

The power supply I’m using now is Yingwen’s – this one has survived many abuses from the kids, but still sort of fits in the socket.

Boy a new MagSafe-enabled MacBook sounds nice…