2007-12-31

Car Wash

I took Maxwell to a car wash today.

Many people might not understand what that means to me and how hard it was to do. I'm a hand-washer. I always have been and would prefer to die that way. However, thanks to our level four drought response declaration I no longer have a choice. I finally decided (after months of not washing my car) to head down to my local Carnett's. One of the few things that I could imagine being worse than this is dropping you child off for daycare for the first time. It was awful.

Anyway, the folks at Carnett's are super-nice and helped guide me through the process of getting what I wanted done. I basically wanted a thorough wash, NO waxes or sealers, and a hand dry. That's pretty much the "Full Service" wash package. They took Maxwell away, vacuumed his innards and then into the tunnel he went.



It must have been two minutes of hell in the tunnel but it seemed like ten.



In any case, the machines did a pretty reasonable job. At first I thought they had scratched the finish on the back of the car, but then I realized it really just didn't get all the dirt off the boot. I can't really fault the machine, I'm sure is geared more toward the average sedan. The back of a MINI accumulates more road grime than any car I've ever had. It's insane. It will be dirty tomorrow after I go to the store to buy a chicken.

I cleaned the boot by hand manually with a spray bottle and a microfiber towel. It came out pretty well. I then went all around with a coat of Z-5 and then a coast of Z-2 with Z-6 in-between all applications (Zaino is LOVE BTW.) Then the seats got some Z-9 and Z-10 and the tires a nice coat of Z-16. The only thing better would be some sort of dirt-repelling force-field.

Then I topped it off with a shiny new NASCAR sticker.



All-in-all it turned out pretty well. I think next time I'll try Carnett's Indian Trail location which is a hand-wash only facility. That might do a better job on the boot. My other option would be to just let Sweating The Details come do the whole thing... Zaino and all. I'm not quite there yet... I still like doing some of it myself.

2007-12-28

Guthrie's

Auburn introduced me to a place called Guthrie's. Guthrie's became my definition of "chicken fingers."

A while back I discovered Zaxby's. Zaxby's did not fill the hole that Guthrie's left but it was fairly close and... it's all we had (stay away from their wings BTW... not pretty.)

A genuin Guthris opened up a while back off Chamblee Dunwoody Rd. not too far from work. Today I figured I'd give them a try for lunch.



It's pretty much what I remember. Limited menu. Good stuff. I even got an extra Guthrie's sauce. I was thinking Zax sauce was pretty similar... it's not even close.

Info from a coworker and a little poking around on the net say this is what's in the sauce:
1/2 cup mayo
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
lots of black pepper
I'll have to try this for a sauce to go with my fake-chicken nuggets I sometimes make at home.

2007-12-21

Behold! The Christmas Eve Buffet!

Yes. The Foodarama cookbook strikes again.



Who can't get enough of the "creamed diced ham, oysters and mushrooms?"

The mustard salad molds speak for themselves.

I'd probably try the pie.

2007-12-17

2007-12-11

Come on in and stand a spell

Today we added some new seating.... umm.. I mean standing to our office. Meet the Stand-In.



My parents got this "chair" at an auction back in '83. I spent my high-school years with this thing in the dining room. It's in our office now for the comfort and pleasure of our visitors.

Here's a little background info on it:



I've done a little poking around and it looks like a Westnofa still exists. They make foam mattresses now but it sounds like they may be related. I also found some stuff on the net that claimed Westnofa was a marketing firm as was also responsible for getting Ekornes over to the US. This makes sense to me. I actually have an Ekornes couch at home. It one of the few you can find that has three separate reclining sections.

2007-12-07

NASCAR Withdrawal

Thanks to Sean at Double Crown for pointing this one out to me.





I'll watch it a few times this weekend and all will be well.

2007-12-05

Spin Cycle

My old washer died Sunday morning. I probably could have had it fixed... maybe. It was born in 1992 or so. I did some poking around and that seemed to be a reasonable age for such an appliance to start failing. We went out Sunday afternoon and settled on some new LG units. The washer is one of those new front-loading ones. It uses half as much water as a traditional toploader and a lot less energy too. Maybe our water savings will help keep some water in Lake Lanier.




I used to just set the size, water temp, cycle and then push the button. Now I have to turn it on (causing it to play you happy little greeting) then set a cycle, adjust water temp, soil level, spin speed and 3-4 other settings I haven't learned how to use yet, then push "play."

I watched a whole 20 minute "speed-wash" cycle this morning. It starts out with a few casual spins to determine the size of the load. The manual says it's "weighing" the load so it can adjust accordingly. I'm guessing it's doing some sort of rotational speed sensing after giving it a spin to get started and then it figures out something from there. Then it starts adding a little water... blasting it through the soap dispenser to add the detergent. Then it gets on with the washing. The machine uses a direct drive motor and is incredibly quiet. Even when spinning at 1000+ RPM it's still almost silent. It bugs me that there no agitator to beat up the clothes and slosh things around. It just rotates one way and dumps the clothes into the water, then the other way. Repeat. Does it work as well as an agitator? I don't know. We'll see.

Once it's done it plays another happy little song (I'll try to record it later) and you start a similar process with the dryer.

What these things really need is a wired or wireless network connection and a web-based monitoring application that simply shows you the data on the machines' displays. That would be really handy for when you can't hear the happy songs. Maybe I can install a webcam on my local network. I'd be able to at least see what they're doing.

Coming up: HE Detergent

2007-11-24

Cold but Pretty

It's a cold but pretty day down by the carillon at Stone Mountain right
now. It's a full house too as there were 7 people around the console
just before noon. Ms. Mabel had already switched to Christmas tunes
which fits in perfectly with the chilly weather (which we have now
determined is brought to us by a visitor from Wisconsin... who brought
us that cold snap last Easter too.) I'm freezing down by the water...
better go find a place in the sun.

2007-11-23

Chumby Time

Here's my Chumby:




I think I'm going to make my n800 be a Virtual Chumby Viewer for when it's just sitting around not doing anything else (passive utility.)

2007-11-19

Sorghum Beer

I picked up a six-pack of Redbridge beer today. I've seen it around but never tried it.



It's an OK offering from AB aimed at the gluten intolerant celiac crowd. It's brewed from sorghum instead of wheat and barley. Unfortunately the audience for this type of thing is larger than we might expect. It's nice that AB is making an effort to market something for this problem as well as bring some public awareness to it.

It's a lager. Doesn't have much of a nose... nor much of a hoppy bite. It does have a pleasantly sweet taste (not too over the top) with hints of molasses. The aftertaste is a bit too astringent though... enough to make me probably not buy it again. Not bad. Nothing special to me.

In the picture you'll also see a nifty pirate skull mug and lunchbox that some friends brought back from the Pirate House (I think that's the right place) from a recent trip to Hilton Head. It's my only skull mug. :)

Yarrrrrrrrrrrr!

Cranberry _________ ?

It's that time of the year again... seems about the only time we think of them.



Time for cranberries.

For quite some time now I've been making a hot cranberry-apple salad for Thanksgiving dinner. It's a recipe I got from my Grandmother and it's awesome. One of the best things about it is that it also make a great dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. However, I'm not making it this year. Our Thanksgiving celebration coincides with a birthday and we're having cake so we don't really need another super-sweet thing like dessert.

I'm still going for something cranberry but I don't know what yet. A relish on the side or something. Something to mix in to give stuff that cranberry zing. I only have two days to figure it out. I'm leaning toward a cranberry-orange relish or spiced cranberries (clove, cinnamon, brown sugar sauce.) Maybe I'll make two. Just some things that will hang up on the side of the plate next to the turkey or dressing for you to dab in to when you want to mix it up a bit.

If you have any suggestions please post them in comments or drop me a line.

2007-11-09

I Speak:

Your Linguistic Profile:

55% General American English

30% Dixie

10% Yankee

0% Midwestern

0% Upper Midwestern
What Kind of American English Do You Speak?


And I guess 5% something else?

2007-11-07

All Hail Crisco!

I put fbreader on the n800 yesterday so I could add some reading to my evening streaming. Then I headed over to Project Gutenberg to find some old yet interesting things to read. So far my favorite is The Story of Crisco from 1916 or so.

After making it through the introduction it's evident that Crisco is the best thing that has ever happened to society. Yes, that's right... better than the iPhone in fact. It is the definition of purity, the perfect fat, and the most economical substance ever invented. It's a wonder anyone can digest food without it.
Equip your children with good stomachs by giving them wholesome Crisco foods—foods which digest with ease. (pg. 15)
I'm definitely going to pick up and extra can this weekend and start plowing through all these recipes. I might start with Meat Cakes. Yum.

2007-11-04

n800 Tunes

I'm still liking my little Nokia n800. The other morning I installed a port of streamtuner on it. It makes find something on SHOUTcast and some of the other severs out there pretty easy. Just search and click... Good tunes. I often go to sleep with the radio on so I figured I'd try it with the n800. There was only one problem... there's no "sleep timer" to turn it off after 30-60 minutes or so. Bummer. :(

Hey, wait! It's a linux box. Open Xterm, get root, shutdown -hP 60. Done.
Elegant? No. Functional? Yes.

If you're in need of some tunes to stream I suggest:

2007-11-01

Digital Cameras and Megapixels

Why can't you get a good name-brand 3-4MP camera for cheap? I don't need 7, 8, 10MP or more. I just want a small camera that's 3MP or so, 3x optical zoom ("digital zoom" is not zoom) for $50-$70 or so. I used to have a little 2MP Minolta DiMAGE X20 that was awesome but it finally went nuts after serving me well for a few years. I have a newer Panasonic that I actually like but it's a little to big to carry around in a pocket (unless I get some really BIG baggy pants.)



I think the camera people are in cahoots with the flash memory people and the hard drive people. They just want us to use more and more and more memory to store everything. It's just not necessary to have 10MP for making a 4x6 print or taking a snappy for the blog. And yeah you can set a more expensive 10MP camera to take 4MP pics but you've still got to pay for the 10MP price tag. I guess maybe there's a technical reason and perhaps they don't make the lower MP electronics any more... all the new sensors are probably the higher resolution ones. Hmmmph.

2007-10-25

One Down

It took a lot of beatings.



But the rubber bands finally won out.



Guess we'll put up a new one.

2007-10-21

N800: iPhone envy?

I've been an Apple user since 1983 or so. I still have my Apple //e. I don't stay on the cutting edge of Apple technology, I run a little behind. I bought my first Mac (a 512K e w/SCSI) used. I bought my Newton OMP when the 110 came out. I bought my G4 on closeout and my first generation 5G iPod refurbished when the next generation came out.

Well... now the iPhone is out. I've played with it and it's slick. In traditional Apple fashion it's has a user interface that's a joy to use. It's also a bit expensive and I have at least a year left on my current T-mobile contract. It's also a closed interface that you can't really expand or add anything to unless you hack it and then you've got to deal with Apple "fixing" it on each new release and then you have to wait for someone to figure out how to break it again.

I also considered the new iPod Touch. It's an iPhone without the phone but it still has WiFi capabilities. However you're still in the same boat as you are with the iPhone when it comes you doing your own thing with it.

So I looked around and ended up getting a Nokia N800. The N770 had been taunting me on and off for a while with low low pricetags so when the N800 dropped to $230 or so I snapped one up.



It's a slick little device. Not as small as something like an iPhone/Touch but definitely more more portable than a lappy. It runs linux and is pretty quick. There's all sorts of ongoing development going on for it through the Maemo development environment. It's a snap to jump on a WiFi network, browse the web, watch a YouTube video, stream from Shoutcast etc. I've already had to figure out how to install ntpdate, get root access and set the clock on it. I guess that part of it appeals the my inner-geek. The new 2008 OS is out any day now... so this should hold me for a while.

The Dish Ran Away With The Spoon



Dave and Danielle came through with another amazing tiki find from last weekend's garage sales. It's a pretty nifty hand carved tiki-fork. At over 28 inches long it dwarfs my existing tiki-carved fork and spoon set. What's odd to me as that it didn't have its matching spoon. I've seen bunches of similar carved fork and spoon combos at yard sales, Goodwill etc. and they always come in pairs. Dave said they asked about the spoon and got two different answers: 1. "It already sold.", and 2. "There never was a spoon."

I guess the dish ran away with it.

It has no markings that I can make out but is about 28" x 4.5" x 1". If you happen to spot the matching spoon somewhere, let me know.

I've never seen a set with a knife... but I've heard they are out there.

Scariest Sight Known to Cable Customers



If you see something like this at your house and you haven't called... expect your cable TV or internet to be out for 3-4 days (when you can get them back out to fix the problems that they've caused.)

2007-10-16

There's a Moon in the Sky

(it's called the moon)

Today was a really crummy looking day. I went out to the Apple Store at lunch with some of my coworkers. I've been an Apple user since 1983 or so but I've never been to an Apple Store. I was less than impressed but I guess maybe I expected something more. I was also disappointed that they wouldn't replace my friend's broken iPhone holster because it has been "more than 14 days." I'll just stick with mail order. It's less personal but you expect that.

In any case the day cleared up a bit and by evening things were looking much nicer.



Nifty clouds.



Here's the moon.



All in all a better day than it looked like at lunchtime.

I'm behind on blogs entries and such. Dave & family found me a cool tiki fork over the weekend that's bigger than any of my current tiki forks. I'll post something about it soon.

Tonight's featured beer: BridgePort Black Strap Stout
I kind of like this one despite it not being as sweet as I normally like a stout to be (I like sweet stouts.) I thought it would be as it was talking about black strap molasses and all. I sometimes forget that it's the lactose that makes a sweet stout and there's not much of that in molasses. It all ferments out. It does leave a nice hint that something really sweet used to be in here though. It smells wonderful.

2007-10-08

Welcome back to Xenon!

I have a small town called Xenon that lives in my Nintendo DS. I hadn't visited my town since last December. I went by for a visit late last week and found that my house was full of roaches and the town was chock full of weeds. I spent a few days cleaning up and all is well.



Seems like the townfolk haven't forgotten me at all. I'm not sure if that's good or bad.

Pisco Sour

I finally picked up a bottle of pisco a couple of weekends ago.



Pisco is a fairly clear brandy made from various type of grapes in Chile and Peru. The history of it is pretty interesting as both countries claim to be the origin of the beverage and both seem to claim it as their national drink. The Alto del Carmen that I picked up is from Chile (as the person who introduced me to pisco was also from Chile.) This one has the faint aroma of a light rum and the taste of a really mild brandy. It's a little bit slippery too.

It seems that the most popular drink to use pisco in is the pisco sour , made with lemons or limes and sugar. Most of the more traditional recipes also call for some egg white and a dash of bitters. I made mine with lemon juice and some simple syrup that I had previously made from turbinado sugar. I totally forgot about the bitters and didn't feel like buying a bunch of eggs just for a drink (though I think doing so would really add to the body of this one and make it something special.) If you want a traditional one, go look it up. Otherwise feel free to try mine:
Grant's Pisco Sour
  • 3 oz. Chilean pisco
  • 1 oz. lemon juice (fresh squeezed)
  • 1 oz. simple syrup (turbinado)
Shake all in cocktail shaker and pour in tall glass over lots of ice. Good times.
I'll go back and try this with the bitters at some point. I'll probably also give it a shot with lime or a mixture of lemon and lime. Who knows... I might even use some egg white if I have some handy one day. Maybe I'll also get a bottle of Peruvian pisco and see what the deal with that is.

Thanks Maribel and Barbar!

Update 10/13/07:
I just made the the above with lime instead of lemon. I think I like this better. I keep forgetting the bitters... I'll have to try harder.

On the other hand...

Same hand actually. Different room.

2007-09-28

Ow that hurts. I can't wash my car. There are still tikis.

I hope my recent pictures from my Las Vegas trip weren't too boring. I was too busy to say very much and never hit the internet with the laptop... just my phone. So you go what you got. At least I made out about $25 ahead from the Tiki Torch slot machine at Bally's. I generally only play slots with tikis or Martians on them. This usually works out well for me.

Today after lunch I got an MRI done of my wrist. I figured they'd want to inject something but I didn't really think about how much or where. They put my hand under the x-ray machine and went at it for maybe all of 3-5 minutes yet it seemed like 20. They only made 3 insertions but kept turning my hand to do different ways inside each insertions. I guess they had to get into all the nooks and crannies. It hurt like heck. At least they didn't leave many marks.



After that it was just 20 minutes of laying outstretched on the MRI machine's table with my hand out in front of me. Not exactly comfortable but better than being stabbed to death repeatedly with a needle. Maybe I can find out what's wrong with my wrist next week. I really miss foosball.

On the way home I found out that all outdoor water usage in our area has now been banned. I'm one of the few people left on the planet that still washes their own car. I don't do it very often but I do a good job and prefer to do it myself. I don't trust automatic car washes at all and don't want to pay someone I don;t know to do it by hand. I'm annoyed. My car is very dirty and I was planning on washing it this weekend. I guess I'll try to go to one of the DIY carwashes and try to do the best i can.

Undercover Funny sent me a picture to cheer me up:



I hope to go there soon. We shall see. He also got stuck on Space Mountain today. I hear they were giving pony rides.

Overall I'm very grumpy right now. I'm going to Rocco's to have some chili and see/hear Cry in the Sun. Maybe that will make me a better person. If not, the worst it should be able to do is give me heartburn.

2007-09-22

New View Review

The roof and the parking deck look spectacular this morning. On the
bright side I'm up $8.10.

2007-09-20

Phones and Internet

Wow. Look at the technology they have in the airport these days. You can
get yor email with Discover, MasterCard, Visa AND American Express.

Wow.

2007-09-18

And a Barrel O' Rum

Shiver me timbers! September 19th in me sights.
Be it International Talk Like Pirate Day already?



Avast ye landlubbers & mateys and take a gander at this mighty fine specimen of me Barrel O' Rum mug from me hearty hangout in Tampa that be ye ol' Hawaiian Village.

Quite a find sh' be many a voyages 'go in the vast sea of junktique.

Yarrrr!!!!

2007-09-14

Tiki ABC's & More

I ordered my first "stuffs" from Etsy last week and they came today:



Three nifty little handmade tiki books by Jennifer Menken. Who ever knew tikis could be so athletic? The extra super bonus Tiki Alphabet is also very cool (though I do with it were a bit bigger to make it easier to share with the little ones.) They will go on the shelf with other fine works by Shag, Trader Vic, and The Bum. Jennifer also has some neat tiki paintings available too.

Go check her stuff out at: wildcargo.

Hand Doctor

You know you're seeing the hand doctor when you see art like this on the
wall.

2007-09-13

Fry's Math

I had to stop by Fry's this afternoon to pick up some stuff we needed for work next week. This involved video cable with BNC connectors and some little BNC inline splicers to connect several cables together.



I found a pack of 10 inline splices. The only one. However it had been opened and someone had taken 3 of them. I needed them anyway so I asked the guy in the electronics aisle if they'd knock them down a bit since there were only 7 of 10 left. He said they could give me 5% off but I'd have to go back up front to the customer service counter. I asked him why not 30% off since 3 out of 10 is 30% and he said he didn't know but that's what they could do.

So... I went back up front to the customer service counter and started over again. My request for 30% off were met with blank stares and my inquiries as to why they could only do %5 off remained unanswered. Then after we got "manager approval" to do the %5 reduction I was told "the amount is too low and the department will have to do the markdown."

I'm at "The" Customer Service Counter for the whole freaking store and they can't do this markdown? The electronics department has a superpower that "The" Customer Service Counter does not? Wow.

So I had the guy from "The" Customer Service Counter walk me back to the electronics department so I wouldn't be sent back a second time. I figured as long as I was now there I'd go through my whole "3 is 30% of 10" thing again with the manager there and see if he could get it but alas I admitted defeat and took my 5%.

I got $13.19 marked down a whole $0.66.

In Fry's Math: (3/10)*100% = 5%
This could probably be further simplified to (X/Y)*100% = 5% for any values of X and Y.

Fry's might as well have their store run by robots... or maybe even Daleks. They'd spend a little more on 3-in-One but they save tons in labor cost.

That being said, I like Fry's and will go there again. Their lack of Customer Service is not enough to scare me away. It makes me think twice before going there first though.

2007-09-10

Yertle

I ran across this little guy on the walkway down by the carillon tower weekend before last. At first I thought it was a nutshell or something.



Nope. It's Yertle.



He's a long way away from where he came in...



This appears to be a "Who you lookin' at?" type of look.

We all left Yertle alone. I hope he made it back safely.

This Guy



I think it's a fireplug gnome.

2007-09-06

Bowling '71



My Mom is second from the left. Looks like a varied and dangerous bunch to me. Mostly likely they played at Lenox Square way back when they had a bowling alley, Colonial grocery store, and a Kresge.

2007-09-04

Please move to the center of the vehicle and away from the doors

This weekend I made a visit to the Southeastern Railway Museum in Duluth. In addition to the expected trains, they had, tractors, buses, and other vehicles that complimented the rail system including a Westinghouse C-100 Automated People Mover.



This was pretty cool because I'd never seen one of these cars outside of the Atlanta Airport terminals and you don't ever get to see the outside because you're always inside. The museum says they have #1 and #53. Since there's only one sitting out there right now and I don't see any numbers on it, I don't know which one this is. I'll guess #53 since there's an empty space in front of it. I believe all the C-100's were replaced with the Bombardier CX-100 back in 2001 or so.

As long as we're in that mode, watch this Servotron video for the song People Mover:



Servotron is the best robot band ever. Ever. I dearly miss them almost as much as I do Man or Astro-man? I saw Servotron once at the 40 Watt in Athens. Nothing can compare. Nothing will. Ever.

Not open...

It's only 5:50 though.

2007-09-03

Texas Caviar

Posted by request:



Posted by request:

There are thousands of recipes for "Texas Caviar" out there. They're all a little different but seem to revolve somewhat around black-eyed peas. I don't even make it the same way every time but here's my general attack plan:

Texas Caviar

Ingredients:
  • 2 15 OZ cans of black-eyed peas
  • 1 11 OZ can white shoepeg corn
  • 1 11 OZ can yellow shoepeg corn
  • 1 can Rotel dice tomatoes with green chilies
  • 1/2 onion, (finely chopped)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 8 OZ of Italian salad dressing
  • cilantro
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions:
Put everything (except cilantro) in a bowl. Add salad dressing. Salt & pepper to taste. Cover and put the bowl in the fridge overnight. Stir every once in a while if you want to let it all marinate. Add some fresh chopped cilantro before serving.

This works great as a bean dip for little tortilla "scoop" chips or just regular tortilla chips. It could also work as a cold side dish I guess but I stick with chips.

Do what you want with it. Add some black beans, or red onions. Perhaps skip the Italian dressing and make your own with vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, and maybe some cumin and cayenne pepper. Or do what I do... go to the internet, read 10-20 recipes for it... then just do what you want.