Sunday, September 24, 2006

The return of moblogging

When Blooger went beta, moblogging was a feature that was lost. Recently they announced that it was back. This is the test of its return.

It will be nice to post (and pics, too!) from my phone again


Mobile Email from a Cingular Wireless Customer

Edit: Um, I got burned by the fact that my Razr will make a long message into two text messages. Unfortuantely blogger only recieves it as one message. I had to edit this post and retype about half of it. Oh, well. It is still good for a pic and brief text!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Resurrection Weekends

Those that know me really know I like to listen to music.

Back in college, when I was going to sleep earlier than my room mate, the music would still be going. I'd fall asleep to KMFDM's Money that I'm afraid it might trigger that same response today. I don't own that album out of that fear.

We would also set one particular track of the Warlock Pinchers on repeat and head down to the Dining Commons. We lived on the eighth floor and you could hear it from the bottom. We were some of those people that contribute to people wanting to leave the dorms.

I've been using a computer for years and when streaming audio first came out, I couldn't understand why someone would want to listen to music on their computer - they should be listening on their stereo. Better amplification and speakers and all that.

Then, I started working and bandwidth (in the Army) was precious, so they encouraged us to not use streaming media. I started then to rip music to my computer. Not alot, but enough to keep me satisfied during the day.

When I first worked for Dreyer's, my cinderblock office had no windows and no radio reception. As I write this, I also recall that my office had a lake (the Clean Out of Place room shared a wall with me and on Wednesday mornings, it would leak under the wall into my office). My Army experience came in handy here, I would deftly mop it up... But back to music. At Dreyer's I started to rip more and more music. Then things like mp3 players started coming out.

Now a days, my entire music collection is digital. Everything has been moved to computer (able to stream to the stereo) and I'm a big iTunes/iPod fan (even being a Windoze user). My iPod holds my entire collection (and there is still about 20GB free for future additions) and I buy all my music on iTunes now.

It is rare that I go someplace without my iPod. I've got iPod integration (ice>Link Plus) in my MINI, I've got iPod speakers on my desk and a docking station to run it through my home audio system.

I hardly listen to broadcast radio any more. Except for Saturdays. The local alternative (or whatever the genre is called), The End, has resurrection weekends.

This morning, I've heard 88 Lines about 44 Women, Dancing with Myself, Holiday in Cambodia, Never Say Never. The Smiths, They Might Be Giants, Blondie. Just great music. A lot of the music lives on my iPod, but just the weekend's show putting it all in one place makes listening to the DJ's blather and the ads worth it.

Friday, September 22, 2006

It's a new season!

The weather is changing in Seattle. It has cooled off and has rained for most of the week. But that isn't the season I'm talking about. Plus, it looks like it will be nicer this weekend.

The new Fall TV season kicked off this week.

So far, there are really only two shows that I want to watch: Robot Chicken on Adult Swim and my guilty pleasure of Desperate Housewives. I might watch Gray's Anatomy, too, as long as it isn't on too late (like it was last season).

In previous years there have been more good TV shows. Alias (with the exception of the last season), X Files (with the exception of th last season) come to mind. I'm glad that there are fewer this season, because the time investement will be less.

And thank goodness for Tivo, I can watch it when I want.

If anybody has suggestions on what I should watch, comment here!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

My pirate name

Yesterday was International Talk Like a Pirate Day. It took a while to find a good name, but here it is.

Some of the name sites were just plain dumb. This one took an indepth look at your personality and gave you a name.

My pirate name is:

Iron Roger Bonney

A pirate's life isn't easy; it takes a tough person. That's okay with you, though, since you a tough person. You can be a little bit unpredictable, but a pirate's life is far from full of certainties, so that fits in pretty well. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from
part of the network

It worked!

On Sunday I posted about tracking a friend of mine down. It worked. On Monday, I got a response.

I need to do a better job keeping up with people. Writing a note once every ten years just doesn't cut it.

So here is to breaking the cycle - I wrote him last night!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Today was International Talk Like A Pirate Day

Ahoy, mateys.

Shiver me skivvies, this posting is a bit late, but just the same.

Today was International Talk Like A Pirate Day.

Pirates are cool. I hope ye were able to work some of the old pirate lingo into your day today.

Check out the official site here and make sure you mark it on your calendar for next year, September 19th, you scallywag, lest I make you walk the plank.

It's a good thing I can touch type, it is hard to see wearing an eye patch.

Mint Chip Ice Cream

A while back, I got an ice cream maker and I've been slowly trying out some recipes.

Vanilla - two thumbs up
Guiness Stout - thumbs down, bad recipe
Lime and Mint sorbet - okay (much better with rum)

On Sunday, I made Mint Chocolate Chip with a Williams-Sonoma recipe that I got from the Contra Costa times. The recipe was pretty specific about how to know when the milk and cream had been warmed enough (small bubbles forming around the edge and ripples in the middle of the pot). The recipe called for a cup (that is a lot) of mint leaves and when my wife saw the bunch of mint I had cut she asked if I was cutting back the mint to prevent it overrunning our garden.

Last night, I got around to eating some. The little tastes I while I prepared it were nice, but it didn't seem anything special. When I scooped it, I actually said out loud (I was alone), "This is different." Most of the other homemade ice cream gets really hard, this still had the soft, creamy texture of real ice cream. It did melt a little faster, but when I tasted it, OMG, it was really good. The mint taste was quite nice. It was a little sweet because I think the newspaper has some problems transcribing fractions on to the web ( -1/3 really means 1/3, don't assume the 1 got lost from 1-1/3).

I melted chocolate chips and let them harden about 1/8 inch thick and cut it into chunks for my inclusion. Heather said that she really liked them and they had a Ben and Jerry's feel to them. It really was a comment, although I had to take it in context, being a Dreyer's employee.

I learned some great methods with this and for recipes that require egg yolks, I'll most probably repeat it.

Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream is in no danger, but over the life time of my ice cream maker, I've packed out 2 gallons.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Getting back in touch

This morning, I was making blueberry muffins and my mind wandered back to college days. I do know why, the recipe I was using was given to me in college by a friend of my mom's. My roommates and I put together a recipe book and most of the time, we cooked dinner together.

I keep in touch, loosely, with Erik (one of those roommates), but kind of lost track of the other, Alex.

I decided that I would track him down...

It was much easier than I thought, because he has published a few academic papers, so a Google search on his name turned up him and somebody in Austin. It was easy to figure out which one was the right one and I sent him an email.

I told him some of the things I had been doing, told him about my MINI, told him about my blog. I stopped, because it began to sound like a personal ad and I'm already taken and not looking.

So, yes, Alex, if you check, this blog entry is about you.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Hey, we went there!

An article from today's Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Borracchini's Bakery robbed

This is where we went to enjoy cake with some of Heather's friends for her birthday. I'm sorry to hear about this kind of a situation, although it is neat to read that 4 hostages escaped.

It seems that the world, even close to home, is getting more violent.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

S'mores, in the microwave?

I was doubtful, but it really did work! I had proposed ice cream for dessert and it was soundly decried, being "too cold." So, we were thinking of other ideas and Heather came up with s'mores.

We only had mini-marshmallows, so they weren't going to be roasted on any skewers (maybe toothpicks, but there would be roasted fingers, too). And, however blasphemous it may be, the only chocolate we had were chocolate chips.

Heather came up with the idea of making them in a microwave. I was dubious, but we tried it out. Since we were playing it all by ear, Heather asked the kids how long they thought it would take and their estimates ranged from 30 seconds to 1 minute. 18 seconds is all it takes!

They ended up quite yummy and so I decided I would capture the method here. Who needs a campfire when you go camping now! Just bring a microwave. Who needs a s'more maker at a girl scout meeting. Just bring a microwave.

Step by step instructions

  1. Take a graham cracker and break it in half and place it on a microwave safeplate.
  2. Arrange mini-marshmallows on one half of the broken graham cracker.
  3. Arange chocolate chips on top of the marshmallows. I maintain that the expanding marshmallows help melt the chocolate chips. I tried to make sure that I get chocolate chips between the marshmallows.
  4. Microwave for 18 seconds. Your time might vary depending upon your microwaves power rating. Observe it so that the marshmallows don't over expand and make a mess. I perfer a crisper graham cracker, so don't microwave it. They become more chewy if you do microwave the cracker.

  5. As soon as the microwave is done, place the top graham cracker on. The marshmallows cool quickly, so they won't be as melty.
  6. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

ZUG: TSA and security checks

This whole site is really funny, but here is a funny article (if you can call it that) about the TSA and Security Checks.

This guy has got gumption!

And the toll road one is funny too!

Friday, September 01, 2006

High Performance Driving Course

This Monday, I spent the day at the tracks. No, I wasn't gambling away my hard earned ducats on the greyhounds or the thoroughbreds, it was high performance driving. Not racing, mind you, but a great educational experience in a controlled environment.

Pacific Raceways, in Kent, is home to the ProFormance Racing School. There a talented staff, under Don Kitch Jr., teaches people the fine art of "driving a car, not just to be passengers in a motor vehicle." Being a member of the local MINI owner's club, Puget Sound MINI, I was able to participate in a club event at the school. Sure, we got a great deal -thanks to North West MINI, the local deal, but the event was MINI's only. There were 28 MINIs and that was a blast to be with that many other owners.

The morning was spent learning the capabilities of our MINIs and commit some actions to muscle memory, so that, in an emergency situation, we can react, just the way we've been trained. We did several exercises to learn High Vision (to see both the near and the far) and how the car handles under ABS braking conditions. The slalom and ABS braking aren't something that you get to practice every day, but man, do these cars handle well and stop quickly. There was another exercise where we were supposed to use the anti-lock brakes and avoid a cone in the roadway. It was funny to hear the instructors say, "These cars can just avoid the cone at these speeds," (60mph).

We then spent some time practicing emergency avoidance through lane changes and coming off the shoulder and another exericse of braking into a turn. Both of these are scenarios that you could find your self in just while driving around town.

The morning was great and we walked away with a better understanding of how our cars react and how to keep them under our control.

The afternoon was even more fun. We were paired up with an instructor and he drove two laps around the track, describing the reference points, the braking and turning points and the apexes of the curves. We then switched and I drove, at a low speed, around the track while the instructor provided more instruction. We were in two groups and the instructor then went in another car while we visualized the track.

Then we got out and drove. This time, we were wearing helmets with mic and headphones so we could stil talk to each other. First was a lower speed and all the while, the instructor was giving feedback. It was so much fun, just driving as fast as I could. Keeping to the line makes such a difference, because how fast you get on the straightaways is directly related to how fast you exit the curve.

We did 3 of these lapping sessions and it was so much fun! The fastest I saw I was going was 110mph and I passed several other drivers. I got passed, too, so it all evens out in the end. It was great working the shifter as low as 2nd in turn 3 and up to 5th coming out of turn nine. I never made it into 6th gear. Passing was only allowed on the straight aways and only when an instructor waved us past - all in controlled situations.

It was such a blast. I don't look at turns the same way anymore and I know I'm a much more competant and comfortable with the way my car handles.

I'd recommend the ProFormance Racing School. It was a fun learning experience (any count of how many times I said fun?).

My 6 year old daughter thought I went to a race and she asked, "Did you win your race?" The youth soccer coach in me came and my answer was, "I learned a lot and had a whole lot of fun." "When are you going back." "Soon."