Maciek’s Notepad

Travel :: SW Essex Pub Quest: The Quays in Basildon

We arrive in Festival Leisure Park and struggle to pass through to the opposite end, to today’s venue. One road is blocked by a delivery truck, another has lots of cars parked alongside it, despite almost empty car parks next to Premier Inn, Holiday Inn and Travelodge. We eventually manage to get to the corner of the Park by A127, where, nestled between Premier Inn, lake with wakeboarding ramps and cables, skips and temporary fencing is the lunch haunt for today: The Quays. Not being in a particularly exploratory mood, we opted for another, after The Four Seasons, establishment in the Hungry Horse chain. Expected were rock-bottom prices, large portions, and questionable food quality. What did we find?

Technology :: Creating slide decks in Jupyter notebook

The great thing about using Jupyter for creating slide decks is that I could easily access all the data in the environment, in the way I am used to. For example, I wanted to make a plot of how the progress subject matter experts made on labelling the data over time. I could use pyspark SQL to query the relevant data and then matplotlib to output the plot. In theory tables are also easy to render with the use of Pandas, but I found that less useful in practice: in most cases I wanted to highlight particular cells to draw attention to certain aspects or better explain the data, which meant that I had to include the table in the static content and style it by hand.

Cooking :: Flooded Queensland Penne

January 2011 found us in eastern Australia, desperately trying to get to from Cairns to Sydney in time for our flight back home. Despite having a few weeks at our disposal, us reaching Sydney on time was far from certain, due to epic floods that affected much of coastal Queensland. So, we drove around trying to find a passable way South, coming across what looked like deserted towns, with empty shelves at grocery stores and rationed bread, as supplies could not be delivered due to flooded roads. Cooking on the road restricts one’s creativity in the best of times, and in crisis circumstances is positively challenging. It helps to have a few recipes ready that call for ingredients that are generally available.