Joe Abbott's Weblog

Letters home to mom

This and that

Posted by joeabbott on December 9, 2013

Today is my first full week off from work and guess what I’m doing today and tomorrow: going back in to work.


A fair response but extenuating circumstances will explain all: today I get to enjoy a “talk” from someone I wouldn’t normally get to see talk, and tomorrow I have a class. First up today is Nathan Myhrvold.

imageMyhrvold may not be a household name but he’s rather well known in wider circles than, say, I am. A visionary technology and business leader, Myhrvold worked for Microsoft for 13 years and established MSR, our massive Research business. He left Microsoft to pursue venture capitalism, date Martha Stewart (or so I heard) and pursue cooking. It’s the cooking part that will be the focus of today’s talk. Or more specifically, discussing the photography behind the cooking.

Probably another what?! coming from a few of you.

In 2011 Myhrvold published Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking that my wife grabbed onto. While not actually, the book retails for a lofty sum around $450, she cleaved to the ideals and philosophy and we’ve had nary a box of mac&cheese since. While the ideals behind cooking were almost revolutionary for the average kitchen, the photography accompanying the cookbook were equally impactful.

Novel techniques, exquisite composition, and perfect execution made for tremendous results. A quick taste (pun intended) of the talk is here in the TED talk clip: Nathan Myhrvold: Cooking as never seen before. And so that’s why I’m going into work today: to hear Myhrvold talk for an hour and a half on cooking, learn about the exceptional techniques required to capture the images, and to see beautiful pictures. I’m happy to return to campus for that!

Tomorrow I’m heading back to campus to take a class. Yup, a few months back I signed up for a class and while I tried to get an earlier timeslot than 12/10, it was all they had. Alas. I shall be smarter for it and while I’m happy to return, I wish I didn’t have to. To sweeten the deal, I plan on dropping by my sister-in-law’s home to pay a social visit, drop off a few goodies, and perhaps help them with a computer problem.

imageA quick recap on yesterday is in order!

Rather than attend our local Y for another cycling workout, Suzy and I walked to the train which dropped us off in Seattle. From there we took a short mile walk to our downtown REI (the flagship store) and I talked skis and skiing with folks, read a few pages from various books, and realized I don’t know enough about what sort of skiing I want to do to make any sort of purchase. And so I have settled on the idea of renting some backcountry skis and will find a few days for doing that sort of exercise some day in the next few weeks.

imageFrom there we walked back into downtown proper, visited a glassblowing shop to see if they might have something for a holiday present ($150 glass snowmen were out of our budget), and then we dropped by a Top Pot doughnut shop for a quick bite. We then dropped by the West Lake Center carousel to enjoy some holiday cheer (as observers, not riders) before grabbing the train back to our neck of the woods.

The train was packed but we had seats and so I dozed a bit, jostled by the undulating train ride, wearied by a day of walking in the chill air. It was nice.

At home we tag-teamed to print out our holiday address labels and then enjoyed a pasta dinner before finishing off the last of the Lord of the Rings: Return of the King movie. A rather grand tradition but that’s a lot of movie watching for us.

I hope you’re getting out or staying in as your holidays and interest allow. Stay warm and thanks for dropping by!


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