Mar 21, 2010

The Cat-Lady Makes Breakfast

This "Apple Pancake" was just a few raisins short of being Apple Strudel -- but I'm not complaining.  The photo was taken before the powdered sugar was applied.

Mar 16, 2010

Happy Birthday, Jack

Last week would have been Jack Kerouac's birthday.  I read "On The Road" many years ago and was a bit disappointed.  I just didn't see what the big deal was.  After listening to a radio program over the weekend I realized what the big deal was -- or more accurately -- why I didn't see the what the big deal was before.

The book "On The Road" was published before I was born, and it chronicled his doings from years before that -- life and road trips starting in the late 1940s and extending into the 1950s.  By the time I read this book much of that radicalism had been main-streamed into our lives.  Reading about Kerouac "living" the 1960's just didn't seem so cool when I read about it in the 1980's.  That is until I looked at it from the perspective of  post-war America in the 1940's and 50's, which is when he was actually doing it.

No MSG for me...

There is a very interesting article on MSG over at the Huffington Post.

Mar 4, 2010

Cold-Brew Coffee

Of course I was intrigued when my local bashful-beatnik sent over a link for a new device that claims to: 1) make the best coffee,  2) make coffee with 70% less acid and 3) work without power.

The device doesn't brew in the true sense of the word.  You actually steep the (coarse ground) beans in water for 24 hours to make a high octane "extract" that can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.  To make hot coffee you mix some of the extract with hot water and there you go -- the best, lowest acid coffee ever. Right?

I took a look at the pictures of the $80 contraption and immediately saw about 3 or 4 other ways you could steep the beans with equipment you already have. I chose one method and 24 hours later tested some of the extract. Man, if I had spent $80 I would have been pissed disappointed. At least it doesn't require power -- (except to make the hot water you could have used to make drip coffee in the first place).

I may repeat the experiment one more time using beans coarse ground at the store (which uses a burr grinder) rather than use my home grinder (which uses a spinning blade). But the results will have to be much better just to equal the coffee I make the usual way.

Mar 2, 2010

An ounce of prevention

In our rather large home-office network I have been using an old PC running IPCOP (Linux-based firewall distribution) as a firewall.  And by "old" I really mean OLD.  Since it had been running 24x7 for many years I decided to build up (add 3 network cards, etc) a "newer" old PC as a replacement.  The plan also called for refurbishing the old firewall as a back-up to the new firewall.

It all went according to plan but, about a week after the new firewall was in place it experienced a memory error -- which results in a kernel panic and a system halt.  If I didn't have the old firewall still sitting nearby this would have meant a day or more of no internet access, several websites unavailable to the outside world and probably other network problems as well, since the firewall is also a DHCP server.

For sure I will be building up back-up machines for the web-server, the file-server and might even pick-up some other spare network components as well.

Quoting John Kerry

About two years ago I removed every "political" post from my blog thinking that commentary just didn't belong here.  A few years before that, the Democrats held the minority position in both houses.  At that time, the main stream media were calling out every parliamentary maneuver as "obstruction" and actually using the word "filibuster".  On the other hand, yesterday the media reported Senator Bunning's outlandish obstructionism only as "Senate Gridlock".  The following is a snippet of a post by Senator Kerry in the blog Talking Points Memo:

In the last Congress, the Republican minority more than doubled the previous record for filibusters, and they are on a pace to challenge or surpass that "accomplishment" this Congress as well. And filibusters are only the most obvious part of it.

On issue after issue, votes large and small, the strategy from the GOP at the highest levels has been the same: exploiting every Senate rule, playing every trick to try to slow things down. They put holds on bills that later pass by 90 votes, filibuster things they later vote for, block things they previously proposed. They used the filibuster to shoot down a debt commission that they themselves called on President Obama to implement! They block completely uncontroversial nominees and cause days of delays on the most critical of legislation. They even stalled on money for our troops last year, just to try to delay debate on health care reform.