Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Deb: The Boys. (Because I’ve gotten all excited about Idol now that the auditions are finally over!)

My faves?  Blake Lewis and Chris Sligh.  Which is odd, because Blake is so not my type.  I love his voice, though.  Very much.

I’m not feeling Chris Richardson at all, huge heaps of praise from the judges for him or no.

Sundance might have won my affection back if he’d done just about any other song.  I just didn’t think he was all that.

That bald fellow who seems to think that his pathetically long shot at a singing career is more important than the birth of his child can just fuck off.  I can’t wait until he has a week bad enough to sink him.  Soon, please, Idol Gods.  Please?

Eyebrow guy bores me.  The dude who thought he feelin’ it last night bores me.  Local boy really bores me, and loses ten points for doing a song I absolutely loathe.  And AJ?  Enh.

Which leaves Sanjaya, who won the super-creepy contest last night for extreme resemblence to Michael Jackson.  Eeeewww. 

Sanjaya should go, but I doubt he will.  Nick is done for, methinks.  Beyond that, I wouldn’t hazard a guess.

Hope the girls are a much better this week as they were last week…

09:05 PM | TV • (0) CommentsPermalink

Jay: It’s Very Sad

That Exchange Server 2003 downloading and installing itself an update should confuse Sybari Antigen & Spam Manager so much that the whole thing grinds to a halt, requiring Sybari to be removed, with far more difficulty than that should entail.

Now the question is whether reinstalling Sybari later will leave it all deconfused and functional, or whether the Exchange update will make it forever unhappy.

Why yes, both are Microsoft products.  Thus they always play well together…

04:49 PM | GeekeryServers & Networks • (0) CommentsPermalink

Deb: As long as I’m here, I might as well get all chatty.

Val had her 12 month well-baby visit on Monday, which was entertaining as always.  Poor kid got 3 shots and a rather prolonged finger-sticking battle, since it’s lead-test time for the good ol’ state of Insanity Massachusetts, which seems to be worried that the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on lead abatement accomplished nothing at all.  Also included, a random glucose and something or another else I don’t remember.  That’s a lot of holding a baby still while they milk her finger, folks.  Yikes.

Anyway, the Future-Supermodels-of-America trend is alive and well.  She’s at the 75th percentile for height and the 5th for weight.  Apparently all the butter we feed her goes straight into making her taller.  This is not a bad thing from my point of view, but it does trigger the automatic try-to-feed-her-more talk.  Heh.  She eats more than Sadie, most of the time.  I envy her metabolism.  Then again, I was a painfully skinny kid before puberty came along and ruined it all.  Sigh.

In any case, she’s all good to go for a while now.  Yay!

04:34 PM | Kids • (2) CommentsPermalink

Jay: Chris Sligh Fan Club Post

This is a cool video of Chris Sligh with Half Past Forever, the band he founded.  In the associated video links that will display on the page there is another one in which he talks about himself for four minutes, and it’s surprisingly interesting.  I can see how he landed a hot wife named Sarah.

02:19 PM | MusicTV • (0) CommentsPermalink

Jay: Blargh

We both developed unusually stuffy sinuses overnight, and I got the sore and constricted throat that feels like getting strep but is probably just drip from the aformentioned balloonish sinuses.  Ugh.

01:16 PM | Totally Random • (0) CommentsPermalink

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Deb: I hereby break my bloggy silence for this important announcement:

ANTM is back!

I am so ridiculously excited.  I love, love, love this show.

It’s almost enough to make up for the crazies at NBC pulling my Studio 60.  Speaking of the crazies at NBC, better watch Crossing Jordan while you can...I can’t think of anything more likely to kill it than a move to Wednesday nights at 9.  Gah.  Freaking NBC.

I’d like to point out, too, while I’m here, that it’s nice to be able to watch the Gilmore Girls again without wanting to throw things at the TV.


11:53 PM | TV • (1) CommentsPermalink

Jay: Val’s Birthday at Grandma’s

Since her birthday was a week ago (and these pics were the Sunday before that), I thought it was about time I posted Valerie’s birthday pictures, or started to anyway.

These are them at my grandmother’s house for dinner on the 18th, plus a picture of my mother with Valerie’s cake we had there.

02:14 PM | KidsPictures • (0) CommentsPermalink

Jay: Sadie the Camera Hog

01:50 AM | KidsPictures • (0) CommentsPermalink

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Jay: CotC Musings

I’m about to put together this week’s Carnival of the Capitalists.  This should be interesting.  There were 44 entries.  I went through almost as they arrived and labeled them Yes, No, or not at all if I was initially undecided.

It’s exactly 50/50, so CotC will have 22 entries.  Some of the ones left out are excellent posts, including a couple I have in mind to link here in different context.  It’s just that they aren’t all on topic.  Or they are some combination of poorly written, insubstantial, excessively quoted text or pointers elsewhere, extra from a blog that already entered, or off-topic.  I felt like Simon.  Well, except I let some stuff through that maybe should have been excluded because I wasn’t hard enough on the quality angle.  Hmmm… Maybe I’ll reconsider as I go through the yes pile.  Making the preliminary cuts was useful because it’s that many I needn’t even look at again while composing the post.

There’s an awful lot of personal finance advice, or just plain personal advice, and that’s not what one thinks of for this carnival.  That may be the single biggest reason entries were excluded as not quite on-topic, even if they were otherwise excellent.

One of the challenges of the CotC reboot is going to be ensuring that participants actually come to the site and see the guidelines.

Okay, on with the headphones and away with the keyboard....

08:15 PM | BloggingBusinessQuiz or Meme • (1) CommentsPermalink

Jay: Mmmm… Pork Chops

For supper last night I made a slightly modified version of these pork chops, which came out fantastic, but too salty.

I didn’t follow the recipe exactly.  Big surprise, eh?  My four chops had bones.  I don’t have rubbed sage, so used powdered.  I added a pinch of savory and a couple dashes of black pepper.  Soy milk?  None in this house.  I used a bit less than it said, whole milk instead, plus a glop of sour cream to make the gravy.  Also more butter than it says.

If you use the recipe, cut the salt.  3/4 Teaspoon could be fine at 1/4 instead, but even 1/2 would make it much better.  The pork was amazing, even salty.  The gravy didn’t benefit from the excess as much.  It was a good experiment, though; I’d never made gravy with milk before.  It came out almost pure white, which looked odd, but otherwise was much like the picture at the link.

We had leftover mashed potato, leftover rice, “freedom” style green beans, and fresh cauliflower.  That’s a first.  Deb picked it up for something different.  I’ve never bought it for myself, and when I was a kid it was one of the few things I didn’t eat.

It was tasty!  Probably the best cauliflower I’ve ever had.  It’s expensive, but we’ll definitely have it again once in a while.  Maybe next time the kids will even try it.  At least they thought the pork was one of the best things ever.  Between them they ate most of a pork chop before dinner was on the table.

That was so much food we didn’t have room to finish the leftover black beans Deb made Friday.  They were arguably the best yet.  Val in particular thought they were amazing.

So.  Good recipe.  Modify it though.  I’ll use it again, but experiment with the basic concept.

Speaking of spices, I cleaned out and organized the spice cabinet yesterday before I started cooking.  Maybe I’ll post the pictures I took, once they are off the camera.  We downloaded and cleared of fthe first 178 pictures and videos taken with the new camera Friday, so there are only a few yet.

Sadie helped me, and got to smell every one of the spices as I told her what they each were.  She especially liked the cinnamon sticks, allspice, nutmeg and Italian seasoning.  The last one made her look intrigued.

I organized from front to back and low to high in approximate smaller to larger and most to least used order.  Related things tend to be adjacent.  Where one is on top of another, mainly the half-sized containers, top is more and bottom is less frequently used, and there may be a relationship, like pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg and allspice.  On the other side, red pepper is at the front, behind it is the less frequently used paprika, and on top of that is the more frequently used cumin.  Any two or three of those are commonly used together and there they are.  It’s very pretty and OCD and stuff.

I also found that the ground cinnamon, cream of tarter, and some ancient roasted garlic from Trader Joe’s is all out of date.  As is the baking powder, by a small amount.  Which isn’t needed as long as we have cream of tarter and baking soda.

It’ll be great, next time I cook (all the spices for the pork weren’t in the cabinet, but on the rack or back of stove).  I had things in sort of an order, but not enough.

08:03 PM | Food & Cooking • (1) CommentsPermalink

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Jay: Unexpected Move

The upstairs neighbors are moving!  That’s a big surprise, as they have been here under a year, and the prior occupants lived there over five years.

We have mixed feelings.  They seem nice and unobtrusive enough.  At the same time, they fairly heavily smoke and it gets into our apartment - downward - severely enough to have made us ponder moving ourselves.  The smoke from the guy downstairs had become pretty minimal, enough to be more or less bearable, but that made it so my office could be unusable at times, and is what makes it so the plague that might have knocked me out for a week lasted a month or so.

We’d love to find a house to rent.  It would have to be big enough for me to close the office I’ve rented for eight years, preferably be in Middleboro, and be otherwise big enough for all of us.  And it would need to be significantly below the combined total for current apartment and office rents; maybe a couple hundred more than this apartment.  Which is $1050 plus utilities, while the office is $801.50 including utilities (which makes the office cheaper, as otherwise they’re similar per square foot).  Indeed, before we eat, buy gas, pay credit cards, or anything like that, we have to have something like $3100 a month net to cover the apartment, office, utilities, and health insurance.  I so wouldn’t mind cutting even $500 from that and being smoke-free, even at the challenge of truly working out of a home office.

But I digress.

Maybe they got a job opportunity that made moving imperative, though it appears they are moving local.  Which means more likely they got a house or a bigger apartment.

Poor landlord.  It was so hard to rent, and now he’ll have to do it again.  At least the sprucing up was done last time and it shouldn’t need much work this time.  I just hope he gets a non-smoker, no offense to my friends who smoke.  I just can’t handle living in it and being low grade sick at all times.

04:44 PM | Totally Random • (0) CommentsPermalink

Jay: Quick!  Ask Me a Question!

This is a light traffic place to mention it, so I’ll take the risk.  It might elicit something and it saves me the work of creating a mailing list of some of the CotC entrants.

As you know, I run Carnival of the Capitalists.  As of this week’s edition, it’s becoming more restrictive and has moved to a new home site,

James Pethokoukis of U.S. News & World Report blogs at Capital Commerce, covering mainly the nexus of politics with economics and business.

Coinciding with the January 26 Carnival of the Capitalists, we are having a CotC Q&A with James, in which CotC participants ask about economics or business issues and James answers on his U.S. News blog, with links to CotC and the blogs of those submitting the questions.  It’s a nice cross-promotion and very cool.

I e-mailed most of the previous CotC hosts, for starters, and then included it to the CotC mailing list.  This resulted in two (really good) submissions.  That seems rather slim, but I haven’t gotten around to trying to shake more out of people who have entered CotC over the course of time.

So I was thinking about entering one more myself, to round it out.  That has me trying to figure out what and how to phrase it.

That also made me think of posting about it here, to see if perhaps today someone else out there would send me a relevant question, CotC participant or not.  E-mail jay at bizosphere dot com or any of my regular addresses, and include your blog URL if you have one.

Things I was thinking of were the fallout from the ownership of congress by the consumer credit industry, where things are going with the popping of the housing bubble, the ongoing consequences of Sarbanes-Oxley and whether there might be backpedalling from it, that sort of thing.  Questions other people posed involve internet regulation and whether any of the candidates will or are likely to court small business.

Any other thoughts, or more specific angles on the three items I had in mind?  I’d love to have at least three items in the Q&A.  Which may or may not become a recurring event.  If it does, I’ll pointedly e-mail a master list of past CotC entrants.  It’s just that I have to create such a list first.  Which I should do anyway, to make sure people are fully and promptly aware of the new rules and location.

01:20 PM | BusinessNewsPoliticsQuiz or Meme • (0) CommentsPermalink

Jay: Happy Birthday

To my brother’s late ex-wife’s ex-husband, Martin.

Ironically this is also the birthday of a lawyer named Martin, better known as Marty, who used to work for my big client and left there to do sales for Westlaw, and has since gone into sales not legal industry relaty.  Great guy.

01:16 PM | Birthdays • (0) CommentsPermalink

Jay: Blogger Service Announcement

It’s jarring trying to read past incorrect language.  I’m trying to read one of the CotC entries this week and the first sentence starts:

“Back in August of last year, I posted a blog about...”

So instead of being able to read further, I grumbled snarkily to myself “no, you ‘posted about’ or you ‘blogged about’.”

Saying you “posted a blog” is like saying you “drove a road.” Or perhaps you “fired a deer” when you were out hunting.  A nice pointless buck.  Hey, let’s go “eat some refrigerator!” There’s some English in there I killed, skinned and butchered the other day.

A blog is where you post.

A post is on a blog.

Blogging is the act of writing any one or more post on a blog, and of generally authoring and maintaining a blog.

Saying you “posted a blog” is like saying you “wrote a magazine in Newsweek.” No, you didn’t.  You wrote an article in Newsweek.

You may be an amateur, as a blogger, but there’s no need to shout out your newbie cred for the world to disdain.

When I came to a screeching halt at that point, I found it impossible to ladder past it without being chuted unceremoniously back to the beginning.  Thus this therapeutic post.

03:12 AM | Blogging • (1) CommentsPermalink

Friday, February 23, 2007

Jay: You’d Think They Were Razor Blades

I bought a couple of tiny flashlights not long ago, newfangled LED ones that look like they’d hold a single AA battery.  They were under $3 each, which must have been a mistake because I have yet to find any similar ones for so little, and in fact LED flashlights have turned into a way of rejuvenating the market and making a premium.

The flaw is it’s too easy for the flashlight to switch itself on, so I ended up with a muted spot of light in my pants pocket many times without my noticing.  Until it died, all too soon.  It was handy while it lasted.  Subsequently I got some mini first aid kits in waterproof containers that have room to spare for a flashlight of that size or smaller, some matches, perhaps a small jackknife, and presumably some things like a bit of floss or other survival items of the smaller variety.  I haven’t fully equipped them, but in each vehicle is one with a flashlight.  But I digress.

I opened up the dead flashlight to replace the battery and to my surprise out came three alien batteries, tiny lithium disks.  These turned out to be newfangled “357” size batteries.  I saw them at Hannaford on a battery display, $8-something for three.  Ouch.  Then I saw them while passing by a similar display at Wal-Mart, $5-something for three.  I grabbed a pack and blessed the $3 discount that made it possible rather than absurd to keep the $2-something flashlight viable.  (Similar flashlights now run $5-something.)

We also have a book that takes batteries: The Moon In My Room.  It’s the one that we used to get Sadie into a bedtime ritual, with a moon nightlight built in.  The book goes for $9.95.

I assumed it took one or two of those batteries, and considered using the pack there instead of the flashlight.

It takes four.

Somehow in that little tiny compartment they squeezed four of these things, almost impossible to get out.  That’s $12 worth of batteries and sales tax in order to have four of them to replace in a $10 book.  Leaving a stray two not good for anything around here offhand.  Doh.

I find the price differential fascinating, like expensive blades for cheap razor handles, except the blades that come with the razor handles are effectively free.  I also find the package size versus the variable need to be a bit like hot dogs versus buns.  Heck, nevermind the differential in price.  The price in general is fascinating, if fascinating means absurdly high.  Yeesh.

03:23 PM | BooksBusinessTotally Random • (1) CommentsPermalink
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