Maciek’s Notepad

Travel :: SW Essex Pub Quest: The Boar’s Head in Herongate

A bonus pub visit this week. On the hottest day of the year so far, we went to Thorndon Country Park. It is a lovely area, where one can walk for hours among ancient woodland, dense rhododendron groves, forest clearings and meadows, or just lie down on a grass and read a book (which we did). There are two entrances and car parks, the northern one, from the Brentwood side, which is where we usually go, and the southern one, by A127. This time we used the latter, and while the park grounds were spectacular, the proximity of a busy dual carriageway and, perhaps more importantly, a function venue blaring dance music, made the visit less enjoyable than it would have been in quieter circumstances. In the future we will stick to the North.

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.