Monday, November 22, 2010

Remembering Nashville

I was getting ready to load my podcasts onto an SD card and guess what I found. Long lost pictures of our Nashville trip.

Of course we ate at Jack’s. How could we not? They had flying pigs. It was pretty good barbeque. We also visited a few fun shops with all kinds of souvenir kitsch. I thought the street grates with treble clefs were a nice touch to the city. It’s also nice that they had trees growing out of them.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Cats Like General Conference Too

IMG_0448IMG_0449While folding laundry (one of Paprika’s favorite activities) I decided to watch General Conference. Paprika watched General Conference with me. She especially liked our prophet. Watching and listening to him just wasn’t enough for her. She had to reach out and touch him too. She stroked the screen a couple times, but it apparently didn’t add to the experience and she soon gave up.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

We Really Got Hail

Rainbow Before the StormIMG_0431I was out driving around when the hail started Tuesday. It didn’t start with small bits or heavy rain; it went strait from light sprinkle to huge heavy hail that made me fear for my windows. I quickly felt like I was being pelted by a machine gun of hail. I pulled over next to a particularly tall bougainvillea bush that I thought might at least give my car some modicum of help. This was not effective.

Next, I decided I had to find some real cover. I soon found an empty carport where I was able to wait out the hail. Afterward I saw that some of the hail in the road were ping pong ball size. Now my car looks like a red golf ball.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Looking at Some Fruit in a Bowl

Fruit in a bowl. Which is more beautiful?

There is something very homey and comforting about fruit in a bowl. I feel almost like I’m creating a work of art every time I dump a bag of fruit into whatever bowl I use. I think this is because so many paintings are made of fruit on a table &c.

To be honest, the real reason I took this picture was because I have a new monopod. For many years I’ve wanted a good monopod and I finally found one that was tall enough and cheap enough that I felt like I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity. It’s even made by Vivitar.

Why would anyone want a monopod instead of a tripod, you ask? Hah! I know the answer to that. See, a tripod doesn’t usually fit in a backpack and is generally just awkward to carry around. It’s kind of a lot of commitment to even use. That’s why I normally only use a tripod around the house even though pictures out and about would benefit from a tripod. Enter: the monopod. It fits in my backpack. It could strap to my belt. It hides in the car easily. I can whip it out when I need it. Besides, there is only one leg to extend instead of three and it screws into the camera more easily.

If I had known how happy I would be with my monopod, I might have looked harder for one long ago.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Ideas for Sale: Free to a Good Home

Tamara and I went to the Home and Landscape Show for our date tonight. We were mostly there to see landscape ideas and dream, but there was one indoor idea that I really liked. One display had a tv surrounded by a picture frame. I thought that just made the tv so much less intrusive. We expect to see picture frames on the walls – even big ones. Tamara and I thought that when the tv were off, there could be a family portrait printed on canvas that could be pulled down from inside the top portion of the frame to cover up the tv screen in much the same way as the mini-blinds that are built right into some windows. Alternatively, the tv could just remain on and display family portraits when not in use; it would be a large digital picture frame.

I did a quick search for ‘television in a frame,’ and it turns out that someone else has already had this idea and made a company out of it. I bet I could make one myself a bit cheaper though.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Grampa’s Dog Damien


When Damien was a puppy, he learned the joys of sitting in someone’s lap. This is something he never grew out of, even as he grew larger than 100 lbs. Unfortunately for him, most people didn’t want him to sit on their lap. I was the only one small enough that he could knock me over and sit in my lap. See how happy he is?

I visited Grampa Slim this past weekend and he gave me this picture. We had a good time.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Rice, Rice, & Coconut Cream

Who ever knew that coconut milk separates into milk and cream just like cow’s milk does?20100913 095

Today I made rice balls with General Tso beef inside them. The black rice speckled balls are no different from the white balls; they just have added black rice for fanciness. These turned out really well. All you do is make Onigiri like I’ve posted the recipe for before and form the ball in a mug so you can make a hole for the meat before putting in the last of the rice and closing up the ball. Then dump into your hand and shape it. It really is sticky when you’re done. It might be best to grill it afterward or just plan on eating it with utensils.

The black rice desert with coconut cream turned out ok, but I would do it more traditionally next time. I just used the first recipe I found and didn’t do enough research. It would have tasted better. I’ll post the recipe the way I would make it next time.

I ended up spending hours in the kitchen, but that’s because I wasn’t so organized and I was doing other things in the middle, like dishes. In the future, it won’t take me so long to make these things.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Rock Climbing with an Owl

2010-09-04 08.38.52

Pictured on the right are my friends John and Jardan. John is clinging to the cliff for dear life while Jardan belays for him. I did the lead climbing, which means I got to go up the face of the mountain and attach the rope to eyelets every few feet until I got to the top and attached the rope there. I didn’t fall while I was lead climbing but I did fall on my second time going up. I try riskier holds when I’m only going to fall a few inches instead of falling a few feet past my last eyelet.

You might remember our friend the owl who used to visit sometimes when Tamara and I lived in an apartment a few miles south of this mountain. He was hanging out in the hollow of a rock watching us climb. I only had my phone and not my camera, so I didn’t get a very good picture of him. The guys said that he was peeking out of his hollow trying to figure out what I was doing when I went up the first time.

Below the ledge where we belay, there is a lot of gravel and loose rocks down the slope. I decided to go down there to pick up a water bottle we had dropped, but the closer I got the fa

rther it slid down the gravel. Soon I was riding a rock slide down the side of the mountain in pursuit of this bottle. I did grab the bottle and a couple of other pieces of trash besides, but by that point it was much easier to go down the mountain to the next trail than to fight a rock slide up to our trail. Resume the rock slide ride.

At one point I lost my balance. You know there might be something wrong with you if while losing your balance in a rock slide your first thought is, “Oh no! My trash…” I fell on my trash, but I wasn’t hurt. Neither was it, though it was soon to be thrown away. I slid to the trail after that without further incident.

These are my pictures of the owl. He’s near the upper-center of the picture, just to the right of where we were climbing.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Podcast Delight

rss_drop   Me: podcast junkie. Well, that might be a little strong, but I really did develop a penchant for podcasts back when I had a physical job that only required two of my nine neurons to perform. The other seven rebelled at the thought of atrophy resultant from repetition of a two-hour track of canned music played night after night. Hence the cerebral seven proceeded to produce my proclivity for podcast listening. I have changed or reinstalled podcatchers quite several times and been thankful for a good .opml file to transfer my subscritions from one catcher to another, but some inferior podcatchers I’ve tried don’t accept .OPMLs. Hence I decided to make a list of my favorite podcasts.

  The list will be in order of alphabetization as determined by gPodder, my current and favorite podcatcher. Lots of people love iTunes. Tried it. Used it with an iPod Touch. Did not like. It wasn’t compatible with me. gPodder is super-great and includes mandatory features not found elsewhere, but I wish that it were developed more for the use of mid-level windows users like myself. It’s really a Linux program at heart. Still searching for a podcatcher to enamor and enchant my power-customizing, ease-of-use-loving heart, perhaps one that will synch my computer, mp3 player, and phone. Please?


The 90-Second Naturalist
A Way with Words*
The Absolute Peach
Dan Carlin’s hardcore history*
Future Tense
Grammar Girl Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing
New BYU Speeches
NPR: Science Friday
NPR: Sunday Puzzle
NPR: Your Health
Podictionary – for Word Lovers
Quirks & Quarks
Science Thursday
Search Engine from CBC Radio
Spark from CBC Radio*
This Week in Science*

Uncommon Knowledge
* means Top Five

I am also trying out:

Android Phone Fans
Buzz Out Loud
Common Sense with Dan Carlin
Cranky Geeks
Friday Night Comedy from BBC 4
Linux Outlaws
Meet the GIMP
NPR: On Science
NPR: Technology
Shot of Jaq
This Week in Mormons

   Ok. This list really does show what a geek I am on the inside (in case there is anyone who didn’t already know.) I’m not embarrassed. If there is a really great podcast I’m missing out on, let me know.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Jack of All Inboxes


  • Eliminate spam completely
  • Partially typo-proof your email address
  • Create yourself new email addresses on the fly – no messing with settings or accounts involved
  • Experience increased email security – never share your sign in name
  • Avoid annoying anonymous email services
  • Use your favorite mail client like you’ve always done

I doubt I'm the first one to think of this, but I've never heard of someone doing it before.

I've always tried to be judicious about where I stick my email address, especially my primary email address, but somehow I still get spam and I don't know where it comes from. New idea: enter stage left. One inbox to rule them all! or more specifically, one inbox with unlimited email addresses.

Here's how it works.

When you buy a domain name from Google (or probably from anyone else for all I know) there is an option to direct any emails that are sent to the domain with a nonexistent recipient to a ‘catch all’ account, as I call it. For example, if someone meant to send me an email and they sent it to instead of then that email would be directed to the ‘catch all’ inbox instead of my own inbox and instead of being rejected as undeliverable. You can set your own inbox as the ‘catch all’ account, or you can have an account set up just for the purpose of catching these. We can use this to our advantage.

Say you want to sign up for service on the internet, but they require you to click a link in a confirmation email and you suspect that the site will then spam you and distribute your email address to other spam engines. Suppose this service is offered by You can go ahead and sign up for this service with the email address of and the email will come to your ‘catch all’ account. If does start spamming you- even if they try to hide it by sending you spam from all kinds of deceptive sender addresses- then you’ll know it’s from them (or their associates) because it’s being sent TO Then you can easily filter into oblivion any emails sent to that address. Although it is better to unsubscribe, this is a method that will work even on email without an unsubscribe link. I use this even for reputable looking sites because there will inevitably be a time when a site fails to be as reputable as they seem and they end up giving my email address to a spam engine.

If there are multiple people on your domain who want to use this method, that should be no problem. Suppose that Jane and Tarzan are married and have email addresses and The administrator can set up a ‘catch all’ account with filters that forward all mail that comes with Tar.* to and all mail that comes in to grape.* can be forwarded to You probably didn’t realize how much Jane loves grapes until now. Now Jane can sign up for an account at using the address without fearing spam. Infinite obfuscation engenders ultimate security!

Speaking of COMSEC, Tarzan and Jane have a son, Jehoshaphat, who is a site security administrator and doesn’t have an account at all. His personal email address is something similar to He has emails forwarded to his preferred email service when they are addressed to fat.* The email address he gives out to his friends is A few of them have tried all kinds of hacks to sign into with all variations of the user name fat.KingOfTheWorld, without success.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Computer! Why hast thou thus dealt with me?

I wouldn't have bothered with individual window captures if I hadn't found Screen Hunter.I feed thee thy favorite 60Hz 120V. I speak kindly to thee  and tap lovingly thy keys. Thy bloatware I do remove and I keep thee inoculated with thy favorite Avast! antivirus. Even do I go above and beyond the care that most owners give by eliminating thy unnecessary startup processes and services in msconfig. Thy files I do back up and even I reloaded thee with a fresh operating system install not two weeks past. Wherefore then didst thou withdraw into thyself and repudiate thy connection with the Internet?

AAAArghhhh! I was so frustrated that I wanted to talk like a pirate. Everything was proceeding beautifully after my fresh install of windows xp and I was pounding away at augmenting my webfu until for no apparent reason, my computer suddenly stopped seeing the wireless network at all and although it could see the Ethernet connection, it didn’t receive any bits at all from the Ethernet. The problem was clearly in my computer, not the network, because my phone could still see the wireless network and although I could get some internet connection via my tethered phone, it was only a partial connection. Some things worked; others didn’t.

Picture captured with Screen Hunter.

I restored my computer to a previous point with system restore. I re-enabled all of the unnecessary processes and services in case I had inadvertently messed up something. I almost considered re-installing boatware.

Fail.  X-|

Finally, I called a hotel Wi-Fi help line and it was able to lead me to the arcane, counterintuitive solution (pictured at right.) I didn’t know that there was a button in the advanced tab of the wireless properties window that could turn off my wireless connection. I’ve never turned it off there, but somehow it did turn off. I don’t know why this also disabled my Ethernet, which is not wireless. I don’t know why turning the wireless back on from this window fixed all my problems (…well, the connection problems anyway.)

p.s. I did finally have a really good swim today. What a relief! Honestly.

Sub-Par Results

There are times when I’m smarter than myself, e.g., I know I’m likely to forget my security badge on Monday,  so I put it in my blue uniform Friday evening. That way when I get to work on Monday and suddenly realize that I forgot to bring my badge with me, it’s already taken care of because I was prepared in advance.

Today I was not smarter than myself. This morning, while I was thinking clearly, I planned on leaving work by 3:30 so I could go swim and be done before the 4:15 water aerobics class starts. Around 3:00 I realized that the I didn’t have to leave work until around 4:30 and I could still be done swimming by 5:15. That was great becaus e I was busy getting stuff done and I wasn’t ready to leave. So, I followed my new plan, went to the gym at 4:30, changed into my swimsuit, took a pre-swim shower. While I was showering, I heard some continuous, muffled, cheerful shouting. This is not normal in a gym unless some exercise class is happennnniiinnnggg…. OH NO!!!! Water Aerobics starts at 4:15 and here I am ready to swim before it’s halfway done!

At this point I was wet, soapy, and disappointed. I didn’t want to finish my shower, go work out in the base gym which I don’t care for, and then shower again, so I felt the fool, but I just came home. It was an exercise in futility at the gym. Now I’m going to do push ups in my room. That’s almost a workout. 

image photo by Jack Turner 2010

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Why is it so hard to go back to the gym after only a week off?

I almost didn’t go to the gym today. This morning I planned on going to the gym right after work.When the time came, I thought I’d rather go work on my webfu, and besides, I was hungry. My principle reason for sticking to the plan was to develop self discipline. So I went to the gym, but in the parking lot I discovered that I didn’t bring a pair of jeans to change into afterward. There’s my excuse! I can go home now.

That’s a lame excuse. There’s no valid reason that I couldn’t just wear my ABU (Airman Battle Uniform, read:camo) pants home from the gym. It’s mildly embarrassing, but no one would say anything. My main goal for this excursion was to go swimming. Water Aerobics class ends at 5:00 and the pool closes at 6:00, and the time was 4:50. I decided to not lift weights and just take my time getting to the pool so the class would hopefully be empty by the time I get there.

No such luck was to be had. It turned out that Water Aerobics class lasts until 5:15. That’s ok.I can wait, but if I had known that I would have lifted weights real quick and done some pull ups. I sat in a chair to wait, and the instructor let me know there was a cover charge for watching :-D I probably should have just joined in but I really was only there to swim laps. And then I had time to contemplate how good I felt about actually being there and how much I was going to enjoy swimming laps and pushing myself to the limit etc. By the time that class was over I had meditated myself into feeling really good about life.

Now I’m home and I want to continue studying CSS. If I knew CSS better I could have had my caption without having to put naughty layout tables into by blog post, but there’s so much to learn and I haven’t found a resource that’s a happy medium between a trickle and a tsunami of knowledge.

photo by Emily Saunders and taken without permission from this site

Update: the CSS experts say that one disadvantage of using tables to control layout is that they don’t always render well on a phone. I’m pretty impressed with my Android browser. It rendered this post very logically such that you wouldn’t even think that it must have been laid out with a table instead of CSS.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

CSS Success and How I Conquered my Blog as a Monkey

I’ve been annoyed that HTML code showed up in my title. The template I used placed the title on the left of the page and I wanted it centered. I knew the HTML code for centering text but nothing about CSS at the time. Thus <center> showed up in my title on email notifications etc. for months.

Today I learned a little bit about CSS and when I saw this problem show up, it occurred to me that the answer might be solved in the template itself with some CSS coding. I’m a mediocre code monkey at best, but I thought I could at least look around in the template and see what occurred to me. What did I find? Google was a step ahead of me and had a CSS tutorial to help users adjust their templates. The first issue discussed: centering the title. I couldn’t be more pleased or surprised.

I also hope that I solved the problem of double-tweeting the new blog post notification.

Update: It looks like I did fix the doubletweet issue. I hope that adding this update doesn't send out another tweet because that would make it look like I was wrong and didn't get that solved after all.

Tethered Success!


After hours of diligently banging my head on the keyboard, I have tethered my Samsung Moment to my Windows XP laptop! Countless forums and web pages were filled with posts from other Moment users who said that all they had to do was follow the instructions and everything worked. I followed the instructions from PdaNet and from EasyTether, but to no avail. My computer refused to install drivers for my phone when USB debugging was activated. With USB debugging inactivated I had no problem. I downloaded Samsung PC Studio, and installed it: no help.

Finally, I found a site that looked slightly dodgy and the drivers it offered didn’t even look like they were specifically for the Moment, but I installed them anyway against my better judgment. Half-way through I was filled with doubt and remorse, but it was too late. The deed was done and the least I could do is see if it worked. AND IT DID!!!1 All of a sudden, my computer thought I had four Android devices connected where before it had only ever seen two.

I unplugged the Ethernet cable from the wall and lo! I was able to continue using the internet via my phone’s USB connection. I must have invested over four hours on this problem a few weeks ago and almost three hours today. Now if only this were one of the tasks on my to-do list, then I could have the added satisfaction of a checkmark in a box.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tall Desk


IMG_0212[4]Our friend, who stayed with us until he graduated, was an artist. He brought a tall graffiti desk with him and left it behind. I’m so happy to have a tall  desk, but solid color is more my style.

See the spray paint at the bottom of the picture? Tamara was so nice and painted the desk for me. She also took the picture.

Good idea at the time.


Why do we do Ants on a Log with green celery and big raisins when we could do it with little currents on red chard? Wouldn’t that look so much better?

The chard was just too fibrous and kind of tough.  It’s  a great substitute for celery when its cut into small pieces for a salad. Not as good for this.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Grammar Hammer

A preposition is something that you should not end a sentence in. And you should not start a sentence with a conjunction. However, some words may only start a sentence under certain conditions. I notice all of these tiny grammatical errors, and sometimes make the same errors myself knowingly, but I usually don’t worry about it because in the words of one of my favorite podcasters, “This is the kind of pedantry up with which we shall not put!”

One of the finer points of grammar that I notice being violated most often is the use of were and was. I think that most people just don’t really know the difference. All the time, I hear people say “If I was… I would…”

Here’s a chart of correct uses.

Were vs. Was Possible Contrary to the fact (correct grammatically)
Present If I am a rich man, I don’t have to work hard. If I WERE a rich man, I wouldn’t have to work hard.
Past If I WAS a rich man, I didn’t have to work hard. If I WERE a rich man, I wouldn’t have had to work hard.
If I had been a rich man, I wouldn’t have had to work hard.

Sorry to those of you who got a ton of tweets about this post because I keep editing it.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year


Here’s to a happy new year. Tamara and I enjoyed an evening of games and cleaning. We got the Christmas ornaments packed up and broke out the goblets to bring in the new year.

  • Earlier in the day I got a lot of work done around the house:
  • Repaired a door knob
  • installed 2 light sensors
  • cleaned floors
  • 2 loads laundry
  • dishes
  • beat Tamara at 5 Crowns
  • beat Tamara at Yahtzee
  • got beat by Tamara at Blink
  • replaced shingles that blew off in a storm

Shingling shed