Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Jay: Sadie Goes Treating

My office is in the building where the big client is, and they subsidize a daycare specifically for their employees.  Each Halloween or the relevant business day before, the kids costume up and parade through the firm - and to a couple of the other places in the building - collecting candy and goodies.

I brought Sadie to work today, wearing her orange shirt and black pants, but no costume.  She hung out in the doorway of the server room while I had yet another stern chat with the internet mail gateway, and got some attention and goodies already while there.

When I was possibly done there and it was approaching time for the parade, I brought her back down and after a few we grabbed the bag of candy I brought for the daycare kids.  Ended up running into the secretary/receptionist in the lobby from the solo law firm across the lobby on my floor.  She offered something for Sadie and turned back to her office, then found out from me that it was time for the kids to come around.  At that point they came down the hall, so I gave out candy in that attorney’s office and followed the parade around the building from there.

It took Sadie most of the way through before she would carry her own bag like the other kids, and she rushed into the thick of the other kids and parents, ahead of me, but was neglecting to collect loot.  I grabbed most of it for her.  Then when she was faced with the task, she’d be like “I don’t know which one I want” or “I’ll take all of it” or “I’ll take three and give you back one of mine.” And she would want to stop and socialize, or play with things.  We lost the parade halfway through and were waaaaaay behind the rest finishing the rounds.  Someone had a plastic pumpkin half full of Tootsie Pops, and she wanted to carry away the whole thing, so we got a loaner pumpkin she could carry off instead.

So she ended up with almost half a Wal-Mart bag of goodies, including a ton of lollipops, Doritos, cookies, and even some malted milk balls for her mother.  Between that and seeing the kids come to our door starting in… gee I should head home soon to man the door… I figure Sadie will have the concept down for future reference.

08:33 PM | Kids • (0) CommentsPermalink

Monday, October 30, 2006

Jay: Today’s Mystery

The year starts February 1st for insurance for the office.  It’s $500 for the year.

I sent them $200 barely in time to avoid being canceled.

Then I never received another bill, ever.

So during the summer I sent them $300 without benefit of a bill or formal remittance advice, to the appropriate address and with the relevant info.

I still never heard anything from them, which is fine, as long as the insurance is in force.  They’d notify me if it weren’t.  Figured I’d hear from CNA in January to do it all again, and if they thought I owed a late fee or something, they’d tack it on then.

Today I received a refund check for an overpayment of $191.

No explanation.  Just a number to call, which lets you look up info about your account the hard way.

Since I cannot possibly imagine our insurance on the office having reduced nearly 40% retroactively, or at all for that matter, it’s a huge mystery.  I guess I’m going to have to call again and hold for a real person, since the whole menu navigation thing isn’t working for me.  Either that or call my agent.

Weird.  Really weird.


It’s legit.  I’m paid until the new bill for next year in January, and I somehow overpaid.  I’m going to have to go back over the checkbook registers and see if I can find that, because I just don’t remember it at all.  Obviously, or I wouldn’t have sent extra.  She also told me the reason I didn’t get invoices was because I was paid ahead so none were generated.

Weird.  But I’ll take it!

06:19 PM | Business • (1) CommentsPermalink

Jay: How to Irritate Me

Go through the list of future hosts for Carnival of the Capitalists (which seems to be back to normal in Google; no idea what happened for a few days there), look at every blog until you find one that appears to be abandoned, then e-mail - worse, through the Blog Carnival form - volunteering to take over hosting for that edition.  Which I believe I already have covered, if not updated accordingly.

E-mail me through the Blog Carnival contact form, having made no effort to visit the actual Carnival of the Capitalists site, and volunteer eagerly to host the next available edition, making the assumption that the next one available is, say, the current one.  As opposed to looking at the host list and knowing that you’ll be volunteering for, say, January or February.

03:32 PM | Blogging • (0) CommentsPermalink

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Jay: What Brings Us Together Today

We have had exactly this discussion many times in our house, and could have written Den Beste’s post for him.  Thanks to Jay Tea for pointing it out and, naturally, being on the same page.

It’s about impatience.  The activists are so fired up they don’t see the impressive pace of social change and public perception unfolding before their very eyes.  Within another generation, they’d have what they want through the correct means, and most people won’t think twice about the concept.  There’s no reason for it to be particularly contentious.

Of course, then there’s the angle of “what does the government have to do with marriage anyway” as Deb and I have both written about for a long time.  Well, besides the provision of courts and enforcing of contracts and stuff.  But apart from that, social constructs and contracts are nobody’s business, whether you want to be gay or straight of polygamous or have our favorite idea, a line marriage.

02:32 PM | News • (0) CommentsPermalink

Jay: Rest In Peace

Red Auerbach has died.  89 Is a fine run, and to be so legendary that someone like me who “doesn’t do sports” takes notice is impressive.

12:28 PM | MassachusettsNews • (0) CommentsPermalink

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Jay: Videos! Pictures!  Even a Few Words!

Sadie holds imaginary conversations, mostly still babbling or using her own language.

One day Valerie sat there and participated with her, and Sadie taught Valerie how to say “blah.” That started Valerie regularly stringing together “blah blah blah” with various inflections, even as she also started using mama.  Prior to that it was pretty much raspberries, squeals, squeaks and screeches, however expressive.

And so it came to pass that we got an extremely funny video in which Valerie performed her blah blahs, then screamed at exactly the right comic time.

Blah Blah (Warning: 21.8 MB in size)

Shortly after, we got a followup video, ended by Valerie’s impatience to have a bath.

Blah Mom (Warning: 9.4 MB in size)

Hey, how about some pictures while I’m at it!  It’s been a while.  This is like… three weeks worth.  Sheesh.

For instance, here’s one that appropriately came off the camera on Friday the 13th:

And lots more, in a rough sort of chronological order…

Sadie in mid-jump from arm to seat of the recliner:

Valerie being a shower moth, wishing she could be in there too:

Fun with the mirror.  I couldn’t believe how well these came out:

Speaking of reflections, here’s Sadie’s first experience ever with Play-Doh, and the kitchen table proved surprisingly reflective.  Rather cool:

Sadie wound up getting Play-Doh because she got so into the modeling clay-like properties of rope caulk, removing it from where it had been applied in order to play with it, as necessary.

What a pair:

Sadie being goofy in an attempt to pose while enjoying spaghetti:

Valerie captured Sadie’s unfinished apple and made sure less of it went to waste.  It’s amazing how well she can eat something like this with gums and minimal teeth:

Valerie loves her baths:

Every kid likes to play with laundry baskets at some time.  Or at least they make good props:

The Dots were in with the metric ton of Halloween candy I brought home earlier this week, to be prepared for the big night.  Sadie prefers spice drops, which are $1 a bag at Wal-Mart and last for weeks, but the Dots will do:

Finally, a very happy mama’s girl and her mom unit:

06:55 PM | KidsPictures • (2) CommentsPermalink

Jay: Cranberry Pork Chops… And Pie!

Last night for supper I made a slight variant of this recipe, which looked like this when it came out of the oven:

One of the pork chops, plated along with sides:

It was astonishingly good.  The leftover chop made a yummy sandwich for supper tonight.  Definitely a keeper, but I’ll want to make some changes.  Note that in the top picture I had already cut two of the pork chops in half, knocking some of the fruit off the top, but it was still purty.

This was I believe the first time I have used the cast iron for baking (strike that; I made really awful cornbread in it once).  I needed a covered baking pan, which I lack otherwise.  Though foil probably would have worked.  It was cool, going straight from browning on the stove to baking in the oven with no change of pan.

Anyway, I think the chops may have been slightly smaller than the recipe writer envisioned.  The pan was perhaps smaller than they envisioned.

I browned them in the pan with olive oil, not shortening such as Crisco.

The onion was from the freezer, chopped fairly large I “thawed” it and was going to chop it finer, but it cooked and then chopping was more of a smooshing action.  Oh well.  I didn’t measure, but it was at most the 1/4 cup called for.

The poultry seasoning was homemade, and in reading a recipe for it I mixed up marjoram and thyme, so it was heavy on marjoram.  Then I added a dash of ginger and some extra sage and a little savory.  Savory is my most frequently heavy chicken spice, but the recipe for poultry seasoning only called for sage, pepper, thyme, marjoram, and optionally cloves, which I lack.  Except as a component of the pumpkin pie spice, and the pickling spice that came in my big rack.  I ended up using about twice what it called for.  The smell while it cooked was heavenly, so I guess I got it right.

Lacking chicken broth, I improvised with boullion cubes, dissolving two chicken and one beef in a cup of water heated in the microwave.  The beef to add deep flavor (it did wonders when I used it on a turkey) was a good idea, but overall it was too strong, and too much liquid for the size of the pan.  I’d consider the boullion again, but take it easier and use less water.

The apples were tiny, so I used two.  That probably made it slightly heavier than intended, but not by a huge amount.

By the time I was done tossing bad berries and cutting bad spots, I probably was a bit light on cranberries, which was my goal.

Obviously the recipe has room for variation, using some of the basic ideas.  I’ve been picturing what I might do with chicken breasts, for instance.  Perhaps cranberry and orange.  Perhaps vary the spices.

Highly recommended.  We had such good luck with the last big batch of thick boneless pork chops I got cheap, I decided to get some at BJ’s in Taunton while I was buying a giant pack of 90% hamburger and a 10 lb bag of frozen chicken breasts.  Sort of a “meat for the month” trip.  Except I got some nice looking steak tonight for $1.89 at Hannaford, too.  The beef prices there made it look like steer hunting season or something.  That’ll probably be burritos tomorrow night.

Speaking of cranberries, which I bought by the pound at the farm stand a few days ago, today Deb made this:

Cranberry pie recipe, the original post, and then the picture above is from this followup post.

Yum!  Not to mention a good excuse to use the oven, contributing to our “let’s not turn on the heat until November” project.

12:10 AM | Food & Cooking • (0) CommentsPermalink

Friday, October 27, 2006

Jay: Happy Birthday

To former former former blogger Donnie, most recently of Cadillac Tight.  No word on whether Bejus shares his birthday.

01:04 PM | Birthdays • (0) CommentsPermalink

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Jay: New Phones

So we ordered service and phones from T-Mobile.  Mine is a Blackberry.  So I can use it for e-mail, and get my e-mail anywhere.

In one tab of Firefox, I have the order confirmation page that says I will be paying $19.99 for unlimited Blackberry internet service.

In another tab of Firefox, I have a screen at T-Mobile that has checkboxes showing what services I have, allowing me to order changes.  The Blackberry service is not included.  The. Reason. For. Buying. A. Blackberry.  Not fucking included because someone had a brain fart when processing and packing the order.  Oh fucking yay.

This followed my attempt to call the customer care number in the manual for the T-Mobile Blackberry, only to find it is now a number for sales to business, but if you press 2 they will give you a number to call for customer care and then disconnect you before you have a chance to write it down or remember what it was.

At least the Nokia phones are nice.  And hey, the phone service to the Blackberry works.  Unless I turn the Blackberry off, in which case I have to reregister it on the network upon turning it back on.  But at least it has a really cool phone number.


I called T-Mobile and got Best Support Ever, and from someone who was still all excited about her own Blackberry.  She wondered who goofed up and where I ordered, and profusely apologized and had it working in minutes, then made sure stuff like e-mail was setup and all.  I think she appreciated having a geek on the phone, following along so closely or knowing where she was going with things.  I had already been into Host Routing Table in the options, for instance, so I knew where to go and was all excited that now there were entries there instead of it being blank.

I’m very pleased, and it’s so cool reading this site and opening other pages off of it on the Blackberry.

I even got the address I wanted at blackberry.net, when it was entirely possible it could have been taken.

So I still need to set some things up and get used to it, but I’m on my way.  And it really is a cool phone number.

02:49 PM | BusinessGeekery • (1) CommentsPermalink

Jay: Happy Birthday

Hillary Clinton, devil incarnate, consumate politician, radical centrist, carpetbagger, raw ambition epitomized, your description here, is 59 years old today.  Maybe Bill will jump out of a cake for her.

12:43 PM | Birthdays • (2) CommentsPermalink

Jay: Happy Birthday

To blogger and excellent if short-live talk show host Pat Sajak.

12:41 PM | Birthdays • (0) CommentsPermalink

Jay: Happy Birthday

To blogger Scott Kirwin.

12:13 PM | Birthdays • (0) CommentsPermalink

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Jay: Curious.  Perhaps Even Curiouser.

Over at thecotc.com I run the site that is the home of Carnival of the Capitalists.  It replaced a static page that had hosts and info, and a second static page that had previous locations, hosted on elhide.com.

For, well, ever, Googling CotC would get you the original page and the new CotC page on the first page of results, but never higher than about third because of other prominent users of said initials.

For, well, ever, Googling ”Carnival of the Capitalists,” ”carnival capitalists,” and even things like ”capitalist carnival”, varying depending with or without quotes, would get you top results of the original CotC page and the new CotC blog.  In fact, I recently found that the new CotC page finally flipped places and came in above the original, which just redirects to the newer one so doesn’t matter which people click.  I just thought it was cool that it finally came out right, and amazing it took so long.

I noticed the other day that Google wasn’t showing thecotc.com anywhere near the beginning of queries that should bring it up at the very least on the first page of results.

Now it’s also no longer showing the original Carnival of the Capitalists page in the top of the results.  By comparison, the same queries at ask.com give results similar to the former results Google gave.

What are people looking for when they query Carnival of the Capitalists?  They are looking for the home page, from which they can easily find the location of the next or most recent editions, etc.  They are not looking for editions of CotC that happened a year or two ago.

What’s really weird is thecotc.com does eventually show up… in the top 100 hits somewhere, and not a link to the main page, but to a post.  Yet the CotC page still appears to have a page rank of 6.  The nine year old business domain under which it is hosted also has a high page rank and has not changed in terms of search results.  Elhide.com still appears to have a page rank of 5 and CotC results there should also not be gone, except that IMHO they should because the page remaining there is nothing but a blank redirector.  But that’s an old concern that’s not really a concern.

So where did the results go so suddenly?

I always expect each edition of CotC to point to the Carnival of the Capitalists home page, but I have never enforced or explicitly made it a condition of hosting as perhaps I should have.  I always expect each interested, participating blog to blogroll the CotC home page, but have never stressed that.  In either case, many do, if not the number that should, and so there is every reason to expect that so many links to CotC and Carnival of the Capitalists exist out there that the home of Carnival of the Capitalists should be near or at the top, respectively.


And time to start emphasizing links from people to the home page.  Which I can encourage by improving it in all my spare time.  Speaking of time, it’s like Funnest Thing Ever waiting for Outlook to synchronize with the server when someone who won’t purge old e-mail has a 660 MB local data cache.  I wonder if it’s done yet…

07:48 PM | BloggingBusinessGeekery • (0) CommentsPermalink

Jay: Houston, We Have An Oven

That was easy!  Now I know what to try to fix the specific problem myself if I ever run into it again.  It was as simple as blowing out the holes nearest the coupler with compressed air.  The pilot leaves a white residue as it burns, and that can eventually clog.  Those first holes have to be able to ignite in order to heat the coupler enough to start the gas flow to the rest of the burner tube.

Yay for easy problems!

Now it’s like… what can I bake for supper?  Heh.

02:46 PM | Food & Cooking • (0) CommentsPermalink

Jay: Happy Birthday

To my niece Michelle, who is 14 today.

02:03 PM | Birthdays • (0) CommentsPermalink
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