Wednesday, January 26, 2011

From Pantera to chickens

Here's a story about Phil Anselmo, formerly of Pantera, turning his life around. Luverly pics of his chickens.

I'm tellin' ya, they're therapeutic.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Texas shortfalls and my reality

The shortfalls in the Texas budget directly affects all ISDs, which directly affects those of us doing our best to secure our first teaching jobs.

I haven't given up, but at some point a man has to start thinking in terms of an exit strategy. Maybe IT in an ISD? Since I'm already fingerprinted/backgrounded and employed by a couple of districts I'm hoping that makes me an easier hire than average Joe off the street.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Tweaks and new procedures

It is common to post one's New Year's resolutions but I will try something different. I will post some things I changed in 2010 that seem to be working out.

Google Chrome
I tried to go Chrome earlier, but the absence of two plugins (since developed, see below) allowed me to make the change. Multimedia is better on my linux boxen than with FF.

Stripping out javascript
I went to blogtalkradio to download an episode of a show, and there were javascript elements inlined from sixteen seperate domains. Seriously?

Block this crap (and allow exactly what you want) with Noscript for FF or NotScripts for Chrome.

Page hacking with Greasemonkey
Your favorite pages the way you want them. The analog for Chrome is tampermonkey. Get some.

Dunno about you, but I am trying to track way to many things at once. I was originally using tab group functionality in FF/Chrome to eyeball sites and check for changes, but Reader does this for you using RSS. Track blogs, craigslist searches, whatever. Greatness.

CR-V3 battery pack
I had a decent prior-generation Pentax digital camera with a weird quirk; the minimum voltage requirements were quite high. This meant it would not always work normally on NiMH batts. It sat around for about two years until I saw a reference to a lithium pack shaped like two AA that fits right in there. Got it for $6 (shipped!) off eBay and the little cam is hummin'. It's just perfect now. I'm so grateful.

DE Wetshaving
Sounds more exotic than it is. Basically it means using a double-edged safety razor like your grandparents did. I had some 50s and 60s Gillette DE razors in the house but didn't really know how to use them correctly. I liked them but didn't love them. Enter the shave den forum. Here are the basics that really helped me:

  • take your time
  • remove beard bit-by-bit instead of all at once. This gradual process is called using "beard reduction passes"
  • no pressure; let the weight of the razor provide all the necessary contact force. Seriously.
  • work the shaving soap in a seperate lathering bowl; it takes about 60secs of whisk-like motion
The payoff is a morning shave that is actually enjoyable. Not joking: I actually look forward to shaving.

Probably the best-known player in the microlending/microcredit arena. I add capital when I can, and roll over paid-off loans back into new ones.

Just like the process mentioned above makes shaving enjoyable, Kiva makes me more eager to share what I have. I fuh-reaking detest begging and storefront bell-ringing, but actively look forward to that time of the month when repaid Kiva funds hit my account and I can re-loan them.

Yardbirds eat bugs, provide hours of amusement, create fertilizer, and lay eggs. Perfection.

I edit documents in Google's cloud rather than on my machine for the most part. Doesn't work for everything but works for most things.

Google Voice
Same for Google Voice. Really helps me take control of my mobile phone.

That's it for now.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

This is how we roll on NYE

This is how we celebrate NYE at the maushaus:

Put the chickens to bed with a bit of extra scratch to ward off the cold. Dragged the chimenea into the middle of the yard and stocked it with chunks of wood from my father's land. (I was helping him stack some firewood and we'd throw the broken chunks and pieces/parts into the trunk of my car). Perfect night for it: ground damp, air cold, wind almost still.

Sat in front of the fire and stayed toasty as midnight approached and the temps dropped. I drank a homebrewed hefeweizen and Dear Wife and I talked for a few hours. Timed the fire stoking so that by midnight it would be just about done.
While the fire was still going strong we cooked some Jiffy Pop over the exhaust stack of the chimenea. We found that if you hover the Pop about 3" above the hot chimney it will be about right. Worked fine; 1 unpopped kernel and 3 partially-burned kernels. I will warn that the package warns specifically against this kind of off-label use of Jiffy Pop. You Have Been Warned.

Not much celebratory gunfire this year, for which I am grateful. A few rounds from what sounded like the Bowser / Belt Line area and maybe a few more from due east. Some fireworks complaints called in over the police radio but I didn't hear anyone complain of gunfire. Only saw one large bottlerocket type firework in our area.

After midnight we check to see the fire was out, then preheated the electric blanket. As Samuel Pepys would say: "And so to bed."

I hope everyone has a good 2011.