With a fairly common first name such as Charles, I’m surprised that I haven’t been in more situations in my post-college years in which there have been more than one Charles in a given context in which I was present (before I actually started going by Charles / Charlie, I did work with a “Charlie” at my first job out of college, but I’m not going to count that). That changed with my second job at Cequint when there was another developer namedCharles who worked out of the Florida office (I think that it was in Fort Lauderdale); this Charles was something of an expert when it came to the Splunk Operational Intelligence Platform, so, our email addresses only being separated by an entire last name, it was inevitable that I would come to field Splunk-related questions from auto-complete dependent developers and managers. It got to the point that, shortly before leaving the company, I would take pains to differentiate myself from the other Charles by calling myself “Charles ‘not Splunk’ Burrell”; when I sent out my goodbye letter to the company, the other Charles responded to this by calling himself “Charles ‘Splunk’ W****”. He linked up with me on LinkedIn, and recently gave me an endorsement for Agile Methodologies, which is something that I honestly had not been exposed to in any great capacity (but had wanted to be) prior to working for Expedia. Interestingly enough, I now know at least a little about Splunk, since I have to use it at least once a week in the course of my work.

Notes:

  1. There are two people in my group now who are named “Charles” and who have the “III” numerical appellation. The other one goes by “Chip” and has named his firstborn after him, making his eldest son the Fourth. I just decided to stop this convention right here :)
  2. When I was growing up, and pretty much until I was in my thirties, I went by a version of my middle name, “Tony”; while at my first company, Varolii (previously Par3, now a part of Nuance Communication), I worked alongside another “Tony”, but by that time I was no longer going by that name.
  3. Speaking of “Tony”, when I was in the Navy one of my shopmates was a woman named “Toni”. The name “Anthony” in my family actually comes from my great-great grandmother, whose name was “Antonia”, and not a male predecessor, which fact I find to be kinda cool!

During the fall and the winter, we like to prepare Alton Brown’s delicious 40 Cloves and Chicken for Sunday nights. It’s cheap, easy, tastes great, and, along with thick slices of some nice crusty bread and a good salad, makes for a very tasty meal. As easy as it is to make, however, the baseline variant that we use does take quite a bit of mis en place in that you usually have to

  1. peel 40 individual cloves of garlic, and,
  2. break down an entire whole chicken

It can be a mess to make inside, since you need to sear each of the chicken pieces, and it does take a bit of planning if you are planning on eating it that day, since the recipe requires 90 minutes of roasting time in the oven.

However, I had a recent opportunity to discover a few workarounds (I believe the modern parlance for this would be “hacks”, which usage, as a software developer, annoys me to no end, but that’s perhaps for another day); I signed up to provide a main dish for a team birthday potluck at Expedia. Wanting to come up with something quick and easy to make that would taste good, I opted to bring along a variant of 40 Cloves. Wanting neither to make a mess nor spend a lot of time in prepwork, I did the following:

  1. Bought a package of pre-peeled garlic cloves from PCC;
  2. Bought a pack each of thighs and drumsticks from Red Apple;and
  3. Seared the chicken pieces in an iron skillet on an outdoor cookstove

Instead of dirtying out trusty red enameled pot for the roast, I threw the seared chicken and garlic into a crockpot and took this into work. Once there, I turned the crockpot onto high, poured in a couple tablespoons of olive oil, a cup of salty water, and allowed the chicken to slow cook for the better part of four hours. I did check in from time to time to make rotate out some of the bottom pieces to the top, but that was it as far as intervention on my part went; four hours later, there was a nice, succulent dish waiting to be consumed as part of the birthday feast.

In doing the dish in the crockpot for four hours around 150° instead of an enameled pot in the oven at 350° for ninety minutes, I essentially switched out roasting for a slow braise; I traded the more succulent umami that would have attached to the roasted chicken with slightly sweeter flavor. The garlic cloves had broken down to a paste with this method, but the paste was a bit sharper in flavor than it would have been otherwise. Lastly, the fatty chicken skin itself didn’t render nearly as nicely as it would have had I roasted the dish. Lastly, the jus did not reduce nearly as much in the crockpot as it does via roasting in the oven, and I did not notice that more pronounced garlic flavor with this preparation. All in all though, I think that doing this dish in a slow cooker with precut ingredients is a good alternative method that produces different, but still very nice, results.

This week has seen the bottling of beer as well as many hours spent outside going to a local parade (Saturday, in Columbia City) and music festival (Sunday, in Othello). It’s at times like this that I truly appreciate living in a diverse place such as South Seattle, with its mishmash of cultures and ethnicities. I truly hope that living here will be a source of many positive memories for Gabe and Ollie as they grow into their own individuals.

Contenders:

  • Smashing Pumpkins: Oceanea
  • Patty Griffin: No Bad News
  • Green Day: She’s A Rebel
  • Dean Gray: Ashanti’s Letterbomb
  • STS9: GLOgli

Winner:
This week, I’m choosing the laid-back groove of GLOgli, by STS9.

It can be difficult to extract a theme from several randomly drawn elements, which is why I either don’t randomly draw songs or don’t even try to launch into a thematic exposition when I do. For instance, consider the following songs:

  • Pharrell Williams: Gust of Wind
  • Public Enemy: She Watch Channel Zero?!
  • The Police: Synchronicity I
  • Pharrell Williams: Happy
  • Midnight Oil: Read About It

How could I possibly tie all of these together? While Pharrell Williams appears more than once, his are not the only entries on this list. Genre is out as a possible unifying theme, since this selection spans the gamut from Hip Hop to R&B to New Wave to Hard Rock. Nationality is also a non-starter, since British, American and Australian artists are present. As a matter of fact, the only things that ties all of these songs together is that (1) they are present within my collection, and (2), I’ve chosen to present them here in this blog entry.

Isn’t that enough, though? :)

This week, I chose She Watch Channel Zero?!,by Public Enemy. I remember being very impressed by how PE, back in the 80’s, melded thrash and hip-hop to create this classic listing. For an additional treat, check out Joan as Police Woman’s cheeky cover here.

I’ve been meaning to make this post for a while, but I’m just now getting around to doing so. I’ve been pretty hard at work on my own open source project, and am quite happy to announce a 2.0 release :) Among the many changes that have been made:

  1. Included the following modules:
    1. FlywayEnabled This module provides a single point of contact for using the Java Flyway DB migration framework.
    2. EventLogger This module provides a single point of contact for logging specific events or even just plain messages in a unified format.
    3. EncryptionEnabled This module provides an easy way to mark String fields as being Encrypted and encrypt them using the decorator pattern.
  2. Added getting string version of GUID (hashed and unhashed)
  3. Added Http-based utilities in Common

If you are interested in seeing more, please take a look at my repository on GitHub.

Last week was my Birthday week! As much as I would have liked to take a day off from work and laze about, scheduling demands intervened :(

Here are a few songs that I listened to in ushering the beginning of my 47th year here on this Earth :)

  • Pharrell Williams: It Girl
  • Steve Windwood: Higher Love
  • NoneParliament FunkadelicGive Up The Funk
  • Husker Du: Standing In The Rain
  • Public Image Limited: Disappointed

Winner: It Girl, by Pharrell Willaims.

Finally! Carrie and I are back from a pleasant weekend in Manzanita, Oregon. We stayed at a cabin there about six blocks from the stunning Oregon coastline, ate some delicious food at Blackbird, spent some time in a sauna and hot tub, and made a very nice dinner from local ingredients obtained (except for the wine) from the Farmer’s Market that we just happened to arrive just in time for. We are eagerly awaiting the arrival of our kids (and their grandparents), the celebration of birthdays, and the return to normalcy of life.

It’s been a whirlwind of a summer so far, and I cannot believe that (as of the time of this writing) it’s almost August. We still have a more to look forward to, particularly a camping trip that will be occurring very soon. After that- Gabe and Ollie will be attending their very first week of Kindergarten.

Did I say “it’s been a whirlwind of a summer”? I’d best change that to “…past five years…”!

This week’s songs:

  • Nouvelle Vague: Dancing With Myself
  • Ladytron: Tomorrow
  • Marc Antoine: Mediterraneo
  • Pharrell Williams: Happy
  • Marc Antoine: Sunland
  • Dream Catch: Find my way home

The Winner:

Find my way home, by Dream Catcha.

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