November 26, 2008

Let's make like a tree and leave


Let's make like a tree and leave, originally uploaded by Carlos del Vaca.

Foolin' around with the Flickr-to-blog interface. Happy Thanksgiving, evry'buddy.

Posted by Carl at 02:21 PM | Comments (0)

November 25, 2008

What I cooked this weekend

Saturday afternoon we made soft pretzels. Not that difficult, fun to make, and tasty good.

How come cookbooks don't issue on-line corrections? I got the original recipe from Real Beer and Good Eats, but I was puzzled by the ingredients listing: "1 package (1 ounce) active dried yeast," when all my yeast packages are a quarter-ounce, and "1/2 cups [sic] warm milk," which didn't seem like nearly enough liquid for three and a half cups of flour. Fortunately I found the recipe elsewhere online with the correct numbers. But I'll be damned if I could find anything saying there were typos in the original recipe, not on Aidells' site, Knopf, anywhere. I went through the same thing recently with a recipe from Corinne Trang's Big Book of Asian Cooking that just seemed wrong wrong wrong, 2 ounces of noodles where she surely meant 12, but no one seems to acknowledge this.

Moving on. Saturday night: Pan-fried fish, oven-roasted taters, and a quick and easy cole slaw. I used tilapia rather than the specified halibut. Everything was tasty good, especially the potatoes which could not be easier.

Sunday night: Indian food.

Indian food

Chicken with cashews and coconut (I believe it's "murgh kaju"), store-bought naan, lentils, spinach with potatoes, and cucumber raita. Twelve different spices went into this meal. From the ever enjoyable Indian Home Cooking by Suvir Saran.

Posted by Carl at 11:24 AM | Comments (0)

November 24, 2008

Linking Fool Friday (Monday edition)

I would not expect a LFF this coming Friday if I were you.

I don't know enough to comment competently on the proposed automaker bailout. It makes sense to me that "Let them die out!" isn't much of a strategy--given the already crappy economic climate, allowing a supply chain with up to a million jobs go belly-up probably isn't a good idea. But I sure hope it's not just a lump of cash to keep doing what they've been doing. It's an opportunity to get them to make more fuel-efficient cars, and otherwise persuade them to do things they've claimed are impossible for decades, while Japanese and German automakers went out and did them.

By now everyone has seen Sarah Palin's interview in front of a turkey slaughtering operation.

Agreed: a documentary you must watch.

Posted by Carl at 12:41 PM | Comments (0)

November 15, 2008

Mascots Gone Wild

Meet the only dudes in America who really understand what I do.

Posted by Carl at 10:37 PM | Comments (0)

November 14, 2008

Linking Fool Friday

This is the only post of the week?!? What the hell? Yeah, it's like that.

Another edition of What Digby Said: I'd like for Obama to "have their backs" only so long as the weren't doing things that were grossly illegal, immoral, and counter-productive.

Did you know the Phillies won the World Series this year? Enrico's right, this stuff isn't going to get tiresome any time soon, not for me anyway.

Speaking of Philly, I wish I'd have had this cheesesteak locator site a long time ago. A bit dated, but still useful.

Didn't see Cloverfield? This map pretty well covers it.

Intriguing: The Brief Exhibition of Invisible Games.

Posted by Carl at 02:22 PM | Comments (0)

November 07, 2008

Linking Fool Friday

Inspirational Obama-tacularness: At the Election Eve rally in Manassas. Also, I like the cut of this Alan Grayson fellow's jib.

Post-election whiny crap: Ol' Instapundit calls for an Army of John Galts to quit workin' so hard so they don't have to give more of their income to the big mean Obama-led super-taxin' government. What a bunch of selfish assholes. Especially considering that they probably helped make the nation shitty enough to finally make social progress to begin with. I certainly don't make $250K, but if I ever do, I'll be happy to do my part, thank you.

Expect Seymour Hersh to bring out some veeeeerrry intesting stories starting round about late January.

Tear-inducing inspirational story: Bernard Hopkins and Shaun Negler.

Lastly, friend of the FoolBlog Rocco reports a disturbing attack on an old friend of his working in Afghanistan. Stop by and throw in a few bucks if you can.

Posted by Carl at 02:59 PM | Comments (0)

Get Off Your Ass and Serve

I'm never quite sure how much to pay attention to the ravings of Outer Wingnuttia, but as has been documented quite well, right-wing attacks and radical ideology kind of bubble up there, then get spread to the mainstream once they figure out what works.

Anyway, you may have heard that change.gov, the Obama transition web site, is up. A lot of your smaller, crazier right-wing blogs are seizing on this passage:

The Obama Administration will call on Americans to serve in order to meet the nationís challenges. President-Elect Obama will expand national service programs like AmeriCorps and Peace Corps and will create a new Classroom Corps to help teachers in underserved schools, as well as a new Health Corps, Clean Energy Corps, and Veterans Corps. Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by developing a plan to require 50 hours of community service in middle school and high school and 100 hours of community service in college every year. Obama will encourage retiring Americans to serve by improving programs available for individuals over age 55, while at the same time promoting youth programs such as Youth Build and Head Start.

Their reaction? SLAVERY! SOCIALISM! OBAMA-STALINESQUE WORK CORPS! THEY'RE COMING FOR YOUR CHILDREN! OMG!

I think this kind of program is long overdue, but then I'm a crazy-ass liberal. And obviously there's a lot of details to be worked out in this program--how mandatory is the requirement, what one's options will be, etc.

I find it particularly interesting that, as much as they glorify military service, when someone suggests civilian service, all of a sudden it's a gross violation of their rights, and they are astonishingly unwilling to try to help make their country a better place. As with the military, I suspect they believe service is fine and dandy... as long as someone else is doing it.

Posted by Carl at 12:37 PM | Comments (0)

November 05, 2008

A Good Start

I've tried to contain my enthusiasm about this election. There's a lot of damage to be repaired, a lot of inertia to overcome. While McCain's concession speech was very gracious, I can't say I expect the rest of the Republican party to be all that cooperative for the next four years. They will tell us that a 51-48 popular vote victory isn't that convincing, and our lame-ass press corps will probably help them (never mind that similar numbers for Bush somehow translated into a huge mandate). The Democratic Senate leadership needs to actually force the Republicans to filibuster those things they threaten to filibuster, and make it clear who the obstructionists are. There's all manner of corporate and special interest money and power that will try to stop progress in health care, alternative energy, food policy, and defense spending. Last night was a good start, but only that, a start.

Fortunately, Obama realizes this, and he acknowledged it in his acceptance speech. It is no small thing that we elected an African-American to the Presidency; the phrase "not in my lifetime" has been thrown around a lot. But he emphasized to his supporters that the work is just beginning. And watching that speech right around midnight, I did allow myself to get caught up in it a little bit. It'll be hard, but maybe... no, yes. Yes we can. The politics of fear and division failed this time, and now it's time for the politics of hope and cooperation to start making America great again.

And this morning, I find myself wishing I'd been downtown to celebrate. Maybe we'll make it to the Inauguration this year, after skipping 2004 and almost getting arrested in 2000.

My favorite thing of all last night: Obama's youngest daughter when they came out on stage. The whole family looked great, but the little one in particular was all smiling and waving, and you know she's thinking "My daddy's gonna be President!" and is just proud as all get out. You go, Sasha. We're proud too.

Posted by Carl at 11:19 AM | Comments (0)

Mid-Week Cookie Break

C'mon, Ernie, what did you expect? We're talking about Cookie Monster here.

Posted by Carl at 10:35 AM | Comments (0)

November 04, 2008

Rules of Engagement

I am feeling cranky today, especially with regards to a violation of rule #1 below. So here's how I operate.

1. If it's important enough that you're calling me, it's important enough for you to leave a voice mail if I don't answer. The only time I find it acceptable to not leave a message is if you're going to hang up and try me on another number, say my cell after not finding me at the office. Whatever your final option is, you'd best leave a voice mail on the last one. I will not call you back just because I see your number in the call history.

2. When you leave that voice mail, tell me what the hell you want so I can be prepared. If you just say "Call me," I guess I'll call you back, but I'll be pissed off and disinclined to help you.

3. Please do not send large e-mail attachments unnecessarily, especially when they are only cosmetic, cutesy little graphics and such. If you want me to see a file that's over 5 MB, park it on a server and send me the path or the URL. And learn to use "Reply without attachments."

4. Did you know that when you cut and paste a graphic into a Word document, it's pasted as a bitmap? Which is one of the most inefficient graphic formats there is? That's why your 10-page document has ballooned to like 6 MB. Learn to use a screen-capture app like Gadwin PrintScreen, save your screenshots as PNGs, then use Insert --> Picture --> From File.

5. Everyone has accidentally hit "Reply All" at some point. I don't get too bent about that; stuff happens. What does annoy me is the person who sent the announcement in the first place, with the whole office in the To field, making the inadvertent Reply All possible. How about sending it to yourself, then using BCC for your mailing list.

6. No, we don't have to spell out every single acronym the first time it appears in the document. Really, we don't. That shit is overrated. If you insist on spelling out long-established technical terms like "SQL" and "FTP," you will actually confuse more people than you help. And if the client doesn't know the acronym for their own agency, department, or company, they have bigger problems.

7. If you want to put a flyer for your kid's school fundraiser in the office kitchen, I am totally cool with that. That way, those who are interested can seek you out or otherwise sign up. However, I am NOT cool with you going door-to-door to everyone's office asking them to buy crap, so we feel like dicks if we want to say no. Not cool at all. So, like, don't do that.

Posted by Carl at 12:27 PM | Comments (0)

November 03, 2008

Swedish Food Monday

Posted by Carl at 03:39 PM | Comments (0)

World Series notes I didn't post last week

So, about that suspended game. First off, Bud Selig's suggestion that they could not possibly have anticipated the weather conditions is total crap. Once the game started, yeah, they did just about the only thing they could do. The real best course of action would have been to move the start of the game up to 7 PM, but of course having sold their soul to Fox Sports, that wasn't an option for MLB. I sure don't get the start times of World Series games; I suppose there's something to having the game start during prime time, but how many people on the east coast actually watch the end? Does your total viewership, over the full three hours plus, really look that much better for an 8:30 start as opposed to 7:00? I don't know, but MLB really should negotiate more flexibility into their next national TV deal, even if it costs them a million or two. I'm not holding my breath though.

The two days of waiting for that suspended game were just about the most anxious time in my lifetime of sports fandom. I didn't get all the Philly doom 'n' gloom, and baseball punditry stating the momentum now belonged to the Rays. For starters, the Phils had one more turn at bat coming to them than the Rays, no small thing in a shortened game. Furthermore, the Phils had a pinch-hitter, then the top of the order due up, which turned out to be a good thing. With the bullpen rested (and there had been some concern about Madson's ability to pitch in game 5), I thought one run was going to be enough. In fact my prediction was a Pat Burrell home run, since he was the only position player who hadn't really contributed anything. Turned out they needed two runs, and Pat's double would have been a homer if the wind hadn't been blowing in. But close enough.

Lastly, if the Yankees had won the World Series despite going 2 for eight million with runners in scoring position, we'd have Yankee fans and sports pundits telling us the Yankees "just know how to win." Oddly enough I didn't hear this about the Phils. I think this reflects on just how much "just knowing how to win" is a buncha crap.

Plenty of Series celebration at The 700 Level and The Good Phight.

Posted by Carl at 03:34 PM | Comments (0)

Linking Fool Friday (Monday edition)

LFF delayed on account of I was busy, and also because I suck.

I am as sick of election coverage as you are, but one more to throw out there. I find it extremely tiresome when politicians bash programs they don't understand by boiling them down to simple terms, especially when these programs actually produce useful results and don't really cost that much in the grand scheme of things, espcially when compared to defense programs which cost billions and no one dares to question. It's not unlike the calls for tort reform--you can make perfectly reasonable cases sound extremely silly if you leave out any and all key details.

Hey look! My alma mater made a top 25 list! I am so proud. Can't wait to send my kids there.

Hey look! That's my congressman! I am so proud.

Once again, I made a long-delayed stop at Epcot 82, to find some good new posts. The theme is almost always the same, but the folks at Disney's theme parks division would do very well to come in and read the whole thing.

Via a link I followed in a comment thread at Epcot 82: The Customer is Not Always Right. So true.

Lastly, I hope this code made your Halloween night more productive.

Posted by Carl at 10:59 AM | Comments (0)