Archive for desert

miei primi cannoli

Posted in Kids, pictures, Travel, Wines with tags , , , , , , on May 19, 2018 by xi'an

Cannoli are among my favourite pastries and one of the first things I try to eat while in Italy (if never in Sicily)… (Or in Boston!) Especially since they cannot travel. Hence, when my wife brought me cannoli baking tubs from Venezia, I took the hint and did not wait many days to make a first attempt at baking my own cannoli. Preparing the dough takes a little while, although it does not much differ from a rich shortcrust pastry (with a wee bit of Sicilian sweet wine). But baking the tubes is not that complicated, thanks to the tubes, and they remain crusty for several days, while mastering the ricotta cheese filling will require many attempts before reaching the right consistency… The more attempts the better!!!

kingdoms of dust [book review]

Posted in Books, Kids with tags , , , , , , on May 13, 2017 by xi'an

Kingdoms of Dust is the third (and last?) book in the Isyllt Iskaldur (Necromancer) series, written by Amanda Downum. I had enjoyed very much the previous two volumes and was not aware of the existence of a third one, existence I only realised a few weeks ago when I prepared a bulk amazon associate ordering for my trip to Harvard. While being reunited with several characters from the previous books made reading Kingdoms of Dust definitely enjoyable, I found the plot too dry [no pun intended!] and the civilisation exposed through the story fairly caricaturesque, an almost Disneyesque Arabian universe whose economics remain unspecified. Which seems to happen a lot these days with the theme of warrior desert tribes with proto-Muslim religion(s) taking a share of the fantasy literature (as in the Demon Cycle and the Godspeaker trilogy). What I appreciated more was the psychological evolution of the main character Iskaldur from depression to an almost Christ-esque role, liberating most of the other major characters in the story. And the feature that somewhow there was no superlatively evil enemy to defeat, but a conjunction of ill-timed events to unravel.

AISTAT 2013

Posted in Mountains, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , on March 9, 2013 by xi'an

In case you have missed the announcement, the AISTAT 2013 conference will take place in Phoenix, Arizona, on April 29-May 01, 2013.  This is the Sixteenth International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics. Registration and hotel reservation are now open. (Not that this is particularly relevant but I will attend the conference and give a lecture on, surprise, surprise!… ABC. Looking at the past location, it seems this is the first one not taking place on a beach, for which I am grateful! I am looking forward climbing near Phoenix, welcoming any suggestion to this effect.)