May 27, 2004
Ten Years

Ten years ago today Michele and I stood under a canopy in Cincinnati and said "I do.".

Ten years has seen us all over the world from China to San Francisco to a Uhaul driving across the midwest.

Ten years has seen the birth of our daughters and the deaths of family members we grew up with.

Ten years has seen us go from a 1200 baud modem to broadband and from one Mac laptop to six PCs.

Ten years has seen us go from unruly to respectable and from young to 'aging well'.

Ten years of reading the newspaper together every morning.

Ten years of arguing the value of video games.

Ten years of arguing the value of art.

Ten years of gaining new friends and drifting from old ones.

Ten years of dealing with her endless bottles of 'product' in the bathroom.

Ten years of dealing with my endless numbers of t-shirts.

Ten years of unfunny fraternity jokes and confusing photography and quilting facts.

Ten years, and we still argue about how to organize the fridge.

Ten years and she still leaves the butter out till it melts.

Ten years and I still don't pick up my socks.

Ten years of love and happiness.

Ten years I wouldn't change.

Posted by michael at 04:15 PM
May 24, 2004

Today Michele and I saw a coyote.

Last night around four-something in the morning Michele heard sirens and cops and firemen show up behind our house. Behind our house is a power line right-of-way (think open space), and behind that is a small apartment building. Of course, I slept through this and only woke up when the turned on the friggin' chainsaw at about five.

We went outside to see what they were doing, but with my eyes, I couldn't see crap and went back to bed. Michele's conjecture was that they were removing a 800 lb. person from the apt. and were widening the door with the chainsaw. I asked, "Why would they do that at 5AM?", turned over and went back to sleep.

After taking the kids to school, we drove around back to see what had happened to the building. Evidently there had been a small fire and the firemen had been using the chainsaw in some fireman way.

I looked into the right-of-way and saw a coyote.

I tried to sneak closer for a better shot with the trust phonecam, but the coyote started to walk away. Immediately, I ran after the coyote. Don't know what I was doing by running after the coyote or what I would if I caught up to it...

Just something in the back of the brain saying strongly to me, "GET COYOTE NOW!!!". Instinct ranks high in my book and I tend to follow it. So there I was in my work clothes, running flat out after a coyote at 8:30 in the morning for no apparent reason.

Posted by michael at 09:55 AM
May 19, 2004
The D

Tonight I was folding laundry and watching my DVD of Tenacious D, the greatest band in the world.

Michele walked out of the bathroom and into the bedroom while the video for Tribute was playing. I said, "Shel, check it out, it's Tenacious D!" She watched the end of the video.

I said, "Do you want to watch a few of their short movies?", and I picked up the remote to play one. She said she just wanted to go to sleep. I replied, "But it's Tenacious D...".

Then she said, "Tenacious D sucks."

Anyone know a good divorce attorney?

UPDATE: Michele has responded...

Posted by michael at 09:40 PM
May 18, 2004
E3 2004 Pictures

I made a page of the photos I took at E3.

Photos of E3 2004

I also made a page with some of the E3 booth babes.

Hopefully you will enjoy them, I'm tired and heading to bed...

Posted by michael at 12:01 AM
May 17, 2004

Once again this week, Michele noticed that the Sopranos had not been recorded to Tivo on Sunday night. WTF? This happened two weeks ago as well and was a pain to get a copy.

We've been noticing that several shows that we have on Season Passes for are missing shows that should have been recorded. I was a bit baffled as to the problem and started checking the To Do List to ensure that everything was scheduled correctly.

This morning Michele and I realized what the trouble was. It's the kids.

We've known for a while that the girls can drive the Tivo remote like pros. What we've figured out is that the girls can be watching TV and the "Tivo wants to change the channel to record * " dialog box comes on screen. Since we have season passes to a variety of shows it's usually OK if an episode of Good Eats or The Saddle Club is missed. The trouble is that the girls are willing to cancel and kill any show that tries to get recorded when they are watching TV.

The girls also know how to record a show they are watching and are will to tell Tivo not to record the previously scheduled show. Damn smart kids...

I'm not sure how to deal with this situation, but I have named it.

Passkilling is when someone cancels a Tivo request to change channels and record a Season Pass show.

A Passkiller is someone who cancels an in-progress Season Pass recording or cancels a channel change request.

Can anyone else share passkilling stories? What essential TV have you missed due to passkillers?

Posted by michael at 05:54 PM
Pot & kettle

Michele calls me crazy...

I wonder if is taken?

Posted by michael at 03:21 PM
May 16, 2004
Sunday stuff

I still haven't finished my E3 stuff yet. I suck. I know.

Dad Stuff

Zoe and I went to a horse show where she won her event.

She's becoming quite the horsewoman.

Other stuff

My project for the day was making some pulled pork. I bought a pork shoulder at the supermaket. I had spoken to Martin about it previously and had my game plan laid out.

I put my smoke rub on the shoulder and got the smoker smoking.

This is what the shoulder looked like after eight hours in the smoker.

The pork fell apart in my hands and I was able to easily shred it and discard the bones. The fat had all melted away and the meat was easy to handle.

I made a BBQ sauce based on KC Masterpiece that I found on the net. The sauce was pretty good, but a little vinegary. Perhaps overnight in the fridge will mellow it a bit.

Posted by michael at 11:06 PM
May 15, 2004
E3 Video

On Friday I went to E3, the huge annual video gaming show. I'm still working on my write-up, but I did make little video of a few things I saw.

Enjoy my E3 2004 Video.

Hopefully I'll post my E3 notes tomorrow.

Posted by michael at 10:49 PM
May 14, 2004
Sanity from Hungary

Jay Allen makes clear and correct points about the MovableType furor.

I met Jay at SXSW and we hung for a while, drinking beers, talking about the blogosphere, and oogling women. He's a great guy and I'm glad he's one of the people talking cogently about MT. If anyone's got some street cred with the MT rabble, it's Jay, with his authorship of mt-blacklist.

Posted by michael at 07:51 PM
May 13, 2004
Whiny bloggers flip out

I read today that SixApart has finally announced a reasonable plan for licensing MovableType.

And now there’s a firestorm of indignant bloggers ranting up the blogosphere with outrage and bile.

How dare MovableType charge me for my blog?”, they whine. “Don’t they know that my blog is important to me and many others!?!?!”, they complain.

Let me lay it down clearly for you whiny bitches.

For years now, Ben & Mena had been providing a great product for free to people. I know for a fact that the vast majority of people that downloaded and use MovableType, didn’t give one penny to them as a donation for the software.

MovableType becomes the premier blogging tool in the blogosphere with power and flexibility that is barely matched by anything else out there. They innovate, they give, and the help foster the explosive growth of weblogging.

After a few years, Ben & Mena decide to make a business out of their skills and start SixApart. The incorporate, they get investors, they hire employees. Now they are going to make some money.

Let me go over that point again for those of you on the short bus, THEY ARE GOING TO MAKE SOME MONEY.

You see people, business are about making money. For a business to make money, you need to charge people for your products and services. This is not a hard concept to master. If you think very hard, you may realize that when you go to the grocery store, if you want to take stuff home, you have to give money to the person at the register. Or, when you bought your spiffy laptop, you had to pay someone before you walked off with the laptop.

I’ll go slow here, try to follow along.

If SixApart wants to make money, they need to charge for their products.

Now that wasn’t so tough, was it? What did you expect SixApart to do? Rely on donations? Please…

Of course they are making you pay for all the good stuff. It’s the same thing that every other business does. The better the stuff you get from them, the more you pay. Some people tried the ‘give it all away for free and make it up in volume’ business plan before. Remember that whole dotcom boom thing? Yeah, will amazingly it didn’t work to make everything free.

Some people are complaining that they expect more from MT 3.0 and for a lower price. I expect more from a BMW (where’s the friggin’ auto-shotgun that I saw in the James Bond movie?) and they should charge less for the car, like about $10,000. Do you think that ranting about BMW or buying a different make of car is going to change the costs that BMW incurs making a car? No.

SixApart is still going to provide a free version, but to many, that just isn't good enough. Imagine that, the free software isn't powerful enough for your, you want more features in the free version. Is that because those features have some real, additional value?

There are plenty of luxuries in life that people can’t do without and are willing to pay for happily. How many companies offer free cell phone service, netflix, broadband net access, PVR service, etc. Not many. It appears that most people are willing to pay for good things.

But SixApart announces their plan, and here come the posts by angry bloggers with their fists clenched over their spiffy Macs, sipping $4 lattes, flipping out that business dare intrude on their happy, happy, joy, joy world of free software. “I’m done with MT!1!!!1” they type. Enjoy the ride folks. Switch over to Blogger. Oh, wait, they charge for the good stuff. Then choose, Livejournal. Oh, dang, they charge too. Perhaps Radio then. Wait, they charge too!

OMFG, all the good weblogging stuff costs money. We’re doomed! Sure there are some good freeware blogging tools out there. Unfortunately, they have little support and little outside development at this time. For those with the skillz, they won’t have a problem, converting. But all you whiny, ungrateful types, might just have a problem with the conversion and editing that is required.

There are plenty of people that can and will switch. The people that can switch easily aren’t the ones complaining. They are smart enough to realize that good software is actually worth money.

Maybe your precious blog might actually be worth paying someone to get help with. I mean, you’re a busy person and you just want to focus on the blogging, not the software, right?

You might even consider paying SixApart to support you and your blog, since it’s such a fun part of your life. Perhaps things of value to you are worth spending money to have?

Naw, it’s much easier to bitch and moan that ‘you expected more from 3.0’ and ‘I’ll switch’ than admit that you are a cheap bastard.

P.S. The best post on the MT 3.0 announcement.

Posted by michael at 08:08 PM
May 12, 2004
Wish list

I just saw the new top item on my wish list.

It's a Tivoli Audio Model Three AM/FM Clock Radio.

My god it's sweet. Too bad my birthday isn't for a couple more months...

Posted by michael at 03:56 PM
May 11, 2004
Cargo Magazine

You know you've been looking at the cover, wondering what's inside.

You think, "I kinda want to buy it, but if I do, what will others think?" Aren't these 'lifestyle' magazines for women? Cosmo, Vogue, Glamour, etc. The list of magazines like this goes on and on, full of tampon ads, stinky perfume, quizes, and makeup tips. I can't go there, can I?

There are men's magazines like Maxim, FHM, and Playboy, but they aren't really the kind of thing that you can read at the kitchen table while the kids eat breakfast. GQ is a good magazine, but no geek I know wants the clothes and other stupid crap they advertise. GQ's idea of new technology is a digital watch.

At a glance, Cargo looks very appealing. But for a man to pick up a copy almost seems effeminate in some way. Would buying a 'lifestyle' magazine for men without nude photos make me less manly?

Men, I'm happy to report that it's OK. I'll be the first to admit that I picked up a copy of Cargo Magazine.

I too had looked at the cover longingly while waiting in the checkout line, wondering what could be inside. I mean, really, how interesting could it be to me? Anything in print must be way out of date to a person like me that mainlines the net about 18 hours per day.

Well, today I'm here to tell you that the Cargo magazine is all good. Nice little snippets of info. Plenty of stuff I hadn't seen before and I haven't even read the whole thing yet.

Yes, Cargo is the magazine for the mature geek. With a range of topics from six pages on MP3 players to razor burn lotion to booze, the magazine is tasty.

I give you all permission to go out a buy a copy, you know you want to...

If anyone asks you can always say, "Yeah, Mike said to go check it out, I wasn't going to until he recommended it."

Posted by michael at 08:56 AM
May 09, 2004

A couple weeks ago I finished my latest book, but never got around to writing about it. The book, is the sequel to NeoAddix, which I reviewed previously.

Both books are out of print novels by Jon Courtenay Grimwood. I really enjoy his writing. His mash up of pop culture, cyberpunk, and alternate history is interesting. After reading all four novels, they fit together much better. For example, the protaganist in the first novel is also a key player in the third novel. I read the third novel first and some of the nuances or her role were lost on me. Knowing the backstory makes things clearer and more cohesive.

In order, the books are NeoAddix, Lucifer's Dragon, Remix, and Redrobe.

Lucifer's Dragon - Jon Courtenay Grimwood

In the third novel in Grimwood's alternate future. Two stories are told, the founding of New Venice and the subsequent revolution over a hundred years later. A bit confusing until you get the characters under control in your mind, the story drifts from past to present to cyberspace easily.

The author takes a look at the changes to world power as technology advances to the point where anyone, with enough money, can defend themselves against the 'old powers' of the world. The story examines the founding of a new country as a result of the technological shift. The fate of the same country undergoing revolution later as technology shifts yet again is clear warning as to the fate of governments that try to defend against the old enemy and not look at the new ones.

The idea of a data haven is a little tired in the world of cyberpunk, but it suffices as a plot device in this novel. We have data havens today but they appear to be exceedingly dull places. My thoughts tend toward the hot, rogue places being those areas where genetic engineering takes place. When genetic engineering arrives, people are going to want it, regardless of what the law says. Illegality + technology = money + drama.

If you are interested in the cyberpunk genre, you won't be disappointed by these books.

Posted by michael at 03:21 PM

Today is Mother's Day, and per Michele's wish, we are having a quiet morning.

Yesterday, I had a little free time and tried out my new raviloi maker gear.

I made raviolis, spagetti, and some fettucine. Michele will have some pasta to cook for the girls this week.

Next week is E3. I'll be going on Friday. I look forward to E3 every year and am a bit disappointed that my brother Matt can't make it. He just started a new job and can't get away.

E3 portends to be drama filled with the hype over Half-life 2 and Doom ]|[ on display on the show floor. I don't think I'll take the laptop to blog from the floor, it's just too hectic. The camera will be snapping and I'll post them next weekend.

Posted by michael at 09:33 AM
May 07, 2004

Instead of watching Friends last night, I went to see Gwar. I tried and tried to get someone to go with me, but I couldn't scare up a brave enough soul to attend with me. No matter. You only live once, so I went alone. I met some guys in line and soon enough, we were drinking Crown Royal out of a bottle on the sidewalk while we waited to buy tickets.

Gwar hit the stage and said, "We are in town for two reasons, to play heavy metal and split some fucking skulls!" And with that, they began to rock.

It's hard to see since I was taking photos with my cameraphone. When I got closer to the stage, the shoving was so much I couldn't hold the cameraphone steady.

Everyone in the Gwar show is in costume and the stage performance is amazing. During the show, they killed Mike Tyson, Osama Bin Laden, George Bush, and the Pope on stage, covering the crowd in fake blood and other fluids. A large part of the show is the near continuous stream of colored liquid that Gwar sprays on the crowd. There are cannons of multi-color liquids sprayed on the crowd. Last night, the spray was reaching the balcony at the Whisky.

It may not seem like it makes a lot of sense, but once you go to a Gwar show, you understand. During the show, the crowd is united. We are in the thrall of Gwar. Arms raised in the air, mosh pit running, color everywhere, it is magnificent. Gwar takes control of the crowd and for the duration we are all mad for more blood, more killing, and digusting deaths on stage.

I couldn't stay till the end of the show, but I left happy.

A good time was had by all.

Here's what I looked like when I got home:

If Gwar comes to your town, you MUST GO SEE THEM.

Posted by michael at 07:20 PM
May 06, 2004

Stuck at my work desk
Surrounded by paper still
Outside, sunshine calls

Posted by michael at 09:46 AM
May 02, 2004
Box of Coffee

Many of you that visit Starbucks regularly have seen the Coffee Traveler, or as I refer to it, the Box of Coffee.

Last week, at the office, I wanted some coffee. So I walked down the first floor where we have a Starbucks in the building. I ordered a "Box of Coffee, please". The Starbucks people did a double take and said, "Seriously?" I confirmed I wanted a box and they brewed it up. The coffee cost $12.

You get a lot for your $12. In addition to the 96 oz. of coffee, you get a QUART of half and half, a stack of cups, and as many sweetener packets you can carry. What are people doing with quarts of half and half, I can't imagine.

The 96 oz. ( aka 3 quarts or 2.8 liters) of coffee is supposed to be split into twelve 8 oz. cups of coffee. Now a quart of half and half is 32 oz. Split that twelve ways and you get 2 2/3 oz. (better known as a 1/3 cup) per cup of coffee. Now, are people really dumping 1/3 cup of half and half into their coffee? I think their hearts would clench up from the fat entering their arteries in that amount.

Really now people, you gotta cut back on the dairy fats. Are you doing something else with the half and half I don't know about? Is there some secret Starbucks cereal dispenser somewhere that gives you something to do with a quart of fatty milk?

Cream issues aside, the box worked well and I gave out plenty of coffee to everyone I saw.

I took the box home to examine it in more detail. The cardboard box obviously came apart in some fashion.

I opened it up and saw that the Box of Coffee was actually the Mylar Bag of Coffee.

Unfurled, the bag seemed quite large. I thought it could hold more than the three quarts of coffee it held in the box.

I filled the bag with water until it was full. The bag holds a LOT Of water.

I got out a measuring cup and started pouring out the water. Amazingly, the bag will hold six quarts. SIX quarts.

Now you can use this bag several ways. Obivously, you can fill the bag with clean water and use the box as a simple water carrier for travel. Or you can put the water into the box and put it into the freezer. The bag has plenty of room for the water to expand as it freezes. Take the box with you outdoors where you need cold water, like the kid's soccer games, and viola! Cold water!

Even just leaving a box of water in the trunk would be useful for things like washing hands or washing the bird poop off you new car's paint.

Perhaps it would be most fun for parties where you could put mixed drinks in the box and the host could walk around pouring drinks to the guests. I'm thinking frozen daquiris and margaritas would be tasty. The possibilities are endless.

So get your thinking caps on folks. Those Boxes of Coffee should never be thrown away, they are too valuable!

Posted by michael at 09:50 PM
Smoke Rub

Yesterday, I decided to smoke a brisket for dinner. Looking in the fridge, I realized that I had to make more rub. A Dry Rub, or simply a Rub, is the spice mixture you can use to flavor meat when you smoke or grill it. Many people use sauces and marinades, but I prefer a dry rub.

Here is the recipe I use:

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup salt
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons red pepper
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespon ground celery seed
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard

This is based on the recipe that Martin gave me. I made a few changes. Martin's recipe called for ground celery, which is nearly impossible to find, so I switched it to celery seed. I added cayenne pepper for a little extra zang and mustard for fuller flavor.

In the picture you can see the old rub in a jar with holes punched in the top so it can be used as a shaker. On the left is a coffee grinder that I use to grind the spices. I grind the crushed red pepper and the celery seed in it. In the bowl are all the ingredients mixed together. I toss in the leftover old rub as well.

Here's the brisket. Note the rub shaker is full and ready for action.

"Cover liberally in rub" are the instructions and as you can see, I follow instructions. The brisket was then tossed into the smoker for about 9 hours. Low, slow heat does the trick.

Posted by michael at 12:42 PM