November 30, 2003
The problem with Tivo

Tivo is a great thing, but there is one problem. I never know when new shows are coming.

Since I tend to fast forward through the commercial breaks, I miss the promos for new shows as well. In the last couple days I've realized that there are several things I have not heard about, yet want to watch. I like both Jeremiah and Horatio Hornblower, yet I was unaware that new episodes were coming. Luckily with Hornblower, I found out today, two days in advance. Unluckily with Jeremiah, I've already missed the first two episodes.

Tivo suggestions is good but I rarely check it, but there needs to be a companion web site that emails you info on recommended upcoming shows.

This is a symptom of the bigger problem the PVR is bringing to Television. When people stop watching promos, it's going to be much, MUCH harder to get them to watch new things. I'm not sure what going to happen, but the way television is promoted is going to change.

Posted by michael at 01:35 PM

Since Thanksgiving, I've been doing a little cleaning around the house. In the study here, there is a closet which is the closest thing I have to a private space in the house. That's where I keep tools, computer bits, empty boxes, and anything else I don't want the girls into. Over that last few months it had become full to the brim.

I cleaned it out. Below you can see all the trash I pulled out.

The old computer stuff I gave away to a bunch of people I know online from Genmay. The closet is remarkably empty now and Michele is quite happy.

On Saturday I continued to clean my desk and found even more stuff to toss out. The girls went to play at the Andersen's during the day and Michele and I went to go see Kill Bill. Her first time, my second. Let me again stress how good this film is. Tarantino is hitting on all cylinders with this one and I eagerly await Vol. 2.


I was happy to see that The Golden Transcendence by John C. Wright is now in-print. Obviously I ordered it immediately and anxiously await it's arrival. I'm currently reading Quicksilver and I'm now getting into the flow of the book. Good thing I'm going on a business trip to Orlando this week or I might be forced to choose between the two.

Posted by michael at 12:49 PM
November 28, 2003
Doodah Parade 2003

I finally put together a page on the Doodah Parade that I went with the kids last weekend.

Enjoy -> Doodah Parade 2003

Next year, I want you all to be in the parade with me.

Posted by michael at 09:42 PM
Smoking a turkey

After a bit of work, I compiled the pictures into my typical story about cooking the turkey in my homemade electric smoker.

Take a gander at How to Smoke a Turkey.

Before I do this agan next year, I need to think about a better way. This works, but it's a lot of work and I'm a lazy guy.

Posted by michael at 07:36 PM
November 27, 2003
Why am I still up?

Because I'm so effing good at Call of Duty...

Posted by michael at 05:22 AM
Part one done

The briskets look good and are in the oven now.

The turkey is now in the smoker. Once I'm sure that the smoke and heat get going again, I can go back to bed.

My throat hurts.

Posted by michael at 04:17 AM
The smoker is in effect

The two briskets have just been placed in the smoker. I need to stay awake until the smoke and heat gets rolling before I can grab a little shut eye.

The rub smells great and the briskets are HUGE. Pics to follow.

Posted by michael at 01:17 AM
November 26, 2003

I took today off from work, and it's a good thing I did. I feel like crap. Sore throat and a headache. Trudging through a day of meetings, email and phone calls would have crushed me.

Instead, I prepared for the holiday. First thing, I wrapped the smoker in insulation to try to keep the temperature up. I used special water heater wrap, so it should stand up to the heat. Take a gander.

Since I was at the hardware store, a few other things around the house got done. A broken dimmer switch, an old water filter, a broken ceiling light fixture, and two pull chains all got repaired today. Go me.

In other Thanksgiving news, Heidi's with the brining program and has a funny post.

I forgot to post a few goodies, so take a look at Brad's post about a rainbow near work a few days ago. The pictures (thanks to Mr. P) don't do it justice. It was the most amazing rainbow I've ever seen.

Being Daddy posted about the Breakup of the Wiggles. Now remeber, I work at the Disney Channel and we make and air the Wiggles. I emailed the link to our President of Entertainment, and he liked it. It's hi-larious!

Posted by michael at 08:19 PM
November 25, 2003

Thursday is Thanksgiving and I have the task of smoking the turkey and the briskets. I picked up the meat this morning and put it in the fridge.

Smoking the food takes time and I need to plan ahead to make sure it's ready on time. The meat needs to be done at 2:30 PM on Thursday so we can hit the road and be at my parent's house around 3:30 PM.

I just so happen to be learning to use Microsoft Project at work and came up with this:

So, it looks like I'll be up in the wee hours before Thanksgiving to get everything in order. I hope my Mom has the coffee ready when I arrive.

Posted by michael at 04:41 PM
November 24, 2003
The Traditional Apple Thread

(I posted this elsewhere, but thought you all might enjoy it)

Poster: There's a problem with an Apple Product
Mac Lover: No there's not.
Mac Hater: Yes, there is. [insert details]
Mac Lover: That's a feature, not a problem
Mac Hater: It's a big problem [expand Apple complaint]
Mac Lover: OK, it's a problem, but I've never seen it.
Mac Hater: [Anecdotely evidence of problems]
Mac Lover: [detailed rebuttal]
Mac Hater: [counter rebuttal]
---> [rebuttal cycle continues 5-6 times]
Mac Lover: Regardless, Apple is wonderful.
Mac Hater: Apple is a cold hearted evil empire after your cash.
Mac Lover: Hater!
Mac Hater: Cultist!
Mac Lover: [leaves in a huff to go have a smoke]
Mac Hater: [leaves in a huff to go suck down caffiene]

Posted by michael at 05:07 PM
November 23, 2003

I'm finally back to do a weblogging. My trip to Las Vegas, coupled with computer trouble & upgrades led me to some blog downtime.

I took the girls to the Doo Dah Parade today and we had a good time. I took a bunch of pictures, but haven't made a page of them yet. Perhaps I'll finally break down and use a album program to make the HTML.

Work will be busy this week in prep for my trip to Orlando for even more meetings next week. I am looking forward to Thanksgiving. I am going to smoke both a turkey and a few briskets for the meal. It's gunna be an allnighter, but it will be worth it.

Posted by michael at 11:25 PM
November 16, 2003

After spending some time on Saturday getting a new motherboard installed, I thought everything was going smoothly. The new motherboard was working fine and I was happy.

About an hour ago, the computer refused to boot. It went through POST fine, but after seeing all that it just hangs. I can't get it to boot.

After popping off the case cover, I got the slight whiff of electrical smoke.

I fear the worst. After a day of service, my motherboard has been struck down with infant mortality.

I'm leaving for Comdex in 15 minutes and will be gone until Tuesday. Unless magic eleves fix it while I'm away, it looks like I'll be spending part of Wednesday, exchanging a motherboard at Fry's. Heaven help me.

Posted by michael at 06:46 PM
November 15, 2003

I think I broke my motherboard.

A few days ago I had to replaced a fan on my motherboard. The replacement was a bit loud, so I ordered a quiet one. This morning I did the swap.

The heatsink/fan didn't use screw to attach, it used plastic anchors. I simply pulled the anchors out with a bit of force. I guess it was too much force, because when I tried to boot I got an error.

I must have cracked the board a lost a few traces since the mobo doesn't see my RAM any more.

Looks like a trip to Fry's. I'm probably going to pick up an Abit NF7-S.

Posted by michael at 01:50 PM
November 12, 2003
Best. Email. Evar.

I am quite proud of my daughter Zoe. Being a bit of a geek, I like to see Zoe head down the l33t path, not the newb path.

Zoe likes to visit the Homestarrunner site and particularly likes to read the Strongbad emails.

This morning, I glance over at her screen and see her writing an email to Strong bad. I heart soared with pride!

Here is the verbatium text of the email:

Email to Strongbad

My best translation is: "Strongbad, why do want to be a movie star? Strongbad, you are freaky and scary. From, Your Friend"

Posted by michael at 09:03 AM
November 09, 2003

Earlier in the week, one of the fans in my computer started to go bad. The offending fan started to make a noise and pin slowly. I knew I'd have to replace it or the BIOS chip would burn up in short order.

I went to the hellhole known as Fry's and found a fan that would work, but was not an exact replacement. Close enough till I could pull the original and get a proper replacement.

With the case covers off and a flashlight pointed inside, I saw the usual dust accumulation on the cooling fans. I got a small brush to clean things up. Mira was hovering, as see does any time I puli out tools to work on things. She asked if she could help.

Why the hell not? I gave her the brush and her to clean the dust off.

Mira earning her keep as a tech

I ordered the correct replacement fan and few other cools things. Arrival next week some time.


The smoking of the brisket went well. The meat was most tasty and made for an enjoyable dinner. Michele made mashed potatoes and buttered carrots to go along with the brisket. De-lic-ious.

If you want to see pictures and read a bit more story, hit the MORE link.

As I mentioned yesterday, I decided to smoke a three pound brisket. The recipe calls for 2+ hours in the smoker and 8+ hours in the oven.

The brisket has the rub on it and the wood chips are soaking in water

After two hours in the smoker, I brought the brisket inside,
after only 2 hours the meat is 140°+

After 8 hours in the oven at 225° the brisket comes out
The dark liquid is an amazingly strong flavored mixture made of fat and the essence of the dry rub.
The liquid will make the basis of an excellent BBQ sauce.

The brisket was cooked perfectly. I was able to pull it apart lightly with a fork. The flavor was heavenly.

Mr. Diggs, you miss out on yet another perk of Cali life by being in Jayhawk country...

Posted by michael at 11:43 AM
November 08, 2003
I liked the Matrix

On Wednesday, I saw Matrix Revolutions with a group from work.

Seeing the movie on opening night went smoothly to planning and line waiting by Mr. P, Travis and Chuck.

I liked the movie. The action was superb, the effects inventive, and the story did get wrapped up. I agree that they left a lot of questions unanswered, but it didn't bother me much. The movie was a comic book, not a philosphy text. People expecting big concepts aren't going to find them here. It's pop science fiction, not a documentary or Tolkein.


Currently in the oven is a three pound brisket. I woke at 6AM to start the smoker to cook this evening's meat. At 9AM I moved the meat into the oven inside at 225°. Martin says it's supposed to stay in there for EIGHT hours. I think he's torturing me.

Posted by michael at 02:51 PM
November 05, 2003
Plan for the Martix

Tonight at 6:30PM I'm seeing Matrix: Revolutions. The always thinking Mr. P has come up with this plan for seating at the theater.

Please study the attached attack plan. It is the key to us getting good seating for the movie this evening.

When the doors open at 1800 hours, Mike Pusateri will create a diversion by shouting "hey, is that KEANU REEVES?!" During the ensuing chaos, Pat Bryant will move into position to block access to the theater entrance. Travis and I will proceed inside. I will take the near side while Travis will run around the far side. We will proceed up to the Stadium section and enter rows from opposite sides, converging at seats 9 through 13.

Gentlemen, I won't lie to you. It's a risky mission, and some of us may not return. But it is our only hope. Good luck to us all!

This is how true geeks plan a trip to the movies.

Posted by michael at 12:09 PM
What Pinging does for Weblogs

Many people seem a little confused about what exactly the connection between 'pinging' and weblogs is all about.

I wrote up a page on How Pinging Works to help people understand.

It's a little MovableType focused, but it still trys to explain the concept to everyone.

Posted by michael at 12:52 AM
November 04, 2003
Good Stuff

On Sunday, the girls and I decided to go to the local Japanese supermarket, Mitsuwa. I love non-American markets since they expose me to so much cool stuff I never see at Vons or Ralph's.

The stated task was to buy a new rice cooker. Our old Hitachi rice cooker had served well for 10 years, but the feet were coming off and the bottom was beginning to rust. Michele's two stated feature request in a new unit was non-stick coating and 'keep warm' mode.

If you don't have a rice cooker and you eat rice, you NEED to buy a rice cooker. Perfect rice, every time. And it's the simplest gadget around. Dump in rice, dump in water, push button, done.

Of course, we bought a ton of snacks and other treats while at the store.

The good stuff from Mitsuwa

I was happy to find the new Roots line of iced coffee. I had never tried them before. Jake up at 8bitjoystick had tried them, and I was jealous.

Currently I am drinking Roots Aroma Black, which Jake descibes as "the black tar heroin of the canned Japanese coffee". He's right. Only a true iced coffee addict could stomach this.

The can has the following quote: " The Waist-Wave Can provides optimum heat control combined with the HTST PROCESS in the pursuit of the authentic coffee flavor". I think HTST mean High Temperature Short Time. I don't know how it relates to iced coffee, but it sure makes it strong.

You can see the Sanyo rice cooker to the right. I gave it a test run and it was perfect. Maybe tonight I will make some curry and test it on a bigger batch.

I also picked a pack of Black Black gum. It's not the same as licorice Blackjack gum, in fact I'm not sure what it tastes like.

Posted by michael at 12:46 PM
November 03, 2003
Halloween Stats

Being Daddy has a great post on Trick or Treaters.

I like his idea of stats on the costumes of those that appear at the door. Next year, I'm all over this plan.

His plan for a sign that says "No Costume, No Candy" is also great, and I will be copying that as well next year.

On a different note, my brother Matt, went from being the hero of the neighborhood to "that grumpy guy who isn't giving out any candy"

Posted by michael at 10:51 AM
November 02, 2003
Call of Duty

After playing the demos, I bought Call of Duty last Thursday night. Saturday night, I finished the single player game. Absolutely kick ass.

After the first night of playing, I was impressed, but not amazed. After moving deep into the game, I am amazed. The game is fantastic and a must have for any FPS player. This is the first single player game I've finished in years.

The game takes you into World War II as one of the Allies. You play scenarios from the American, British, and Russian vantages. The Russian scenario is the longest and the best, taking you from Stalingrad to Berlin. There are several different types of missions including simple assualts, commando raids, even tank battles. The V2 level was the hardest & funniest one for me to finish. I consider myself a good FPS player, but the V2 level was HARD. The spy mission on the Battleship Dornitz is also superb.

The goal of reaching the Reichstag (German Parliment) is palpable after going through all three missions and I could feel my heart racing as I burst into the main hall of the building.

Inside the Reichstag, the final battle.

Victorious over the Third Reich, waving the flag in the heart of Berlin.

I haven't played the Multiplayer yet, but there looks to be several game modes that don't involve pure deatmathc style carnage, more like RtCW with team objectives. I'll give it a try and report back.

Technically, the game is perfection. Based on the Quake 3 engine, the game is fluid and smooth with clean animation. The weapons are fairly balanced, but the sniper rifle is a bit too precise of a shot. I could hit targets with the scope at a distance and never miss. A little more weave would make it more challenging. The sounds are fantastic and add to the immersiveness of the game. I wouldn't suggest playing with the speakers up or the neighbors will be calling the police. The first Stalingrad level is utter madness and the sound brings the chaos over the top.

I anxiously look forward to any expansion packs for Call of Duty. Too bad it will be months before I see them.

Posted by michael at 10:25 AM
Mainstream Weblogging

I'm one of the rare people my age that still reads the newspaper every morning. Michele and I get two papers and read them front to back most days. There's never usually a suprise due to the internet, but the depth and images are something that the net news doesn't have down yet.

I was flipping through the USA Weekend 'magazine' and spotted an article on weblogs.

It's a light piece on what they are and kinda makes them out to be diaries of a sort. They mention a way that bloggers could get paid on Blogging Network, so expect a flood of craptastic blogs there.

The real issue is that the knowledge and mindshare of weblogging is making it's way into the mainstream of America.

Posted by michael at 08:53 AM