RIP Evel Knievel

Man, talk about a blast from my childhood. If my folks only knew how much time me and my friends spent on the playground emulating Evel Knievel...

The Web 2.0 way to track Santa

Well, not quite Web 2.0 until people start to create content for Santa's website, but it looks like Norad is updating its annual offering to include Google Maps and Google Earth. Cool


Well no duh

I caught parts of the second half of the CNN Republican debate last night (I record Glenn Beck every night and CNN Headline News ran the debate instead of GB). I won't bore everyone with the details, but CNN had 24 "undecided Republican voters" in a back room watching the debate and they provided feedback throughout via real-time dials that would rate what they were hearing on a scale from 1-10. Anyway, one of the hosts at the end of the show picks someone "random" out of the 24 and asks the lady if she was any more decided now than she was before the show. Her response? "Nope, in fact I'm going to vote for John Edwards!" After laughing out loud and realizing "wow, CNN must think we're all idiots if they think they can round out a bunch of Dems and cast them as undecided Repubs", I stopped the show right there, deleted it, and grabbed myself a diet Dew.

So I think it's kind of funny this morning to read about all the planted people in yesterday's debate. Sheesh, people, ya think? A left-wing cable network partnering with a left-leaning corporation (Google) for a right-wing debate? How can this be news or surprising? Get over it people.

FWIW, I have no problem with leftists asking questions at the debate - that's how it should be. Shouldn't matter what your ideology is to ask questions of people looking to be our next President. However, for those that think that "now we have questions from the people - how cool!", remember there were 5000 questions submitted. How do you think they were decided from? Yep, the same people that would normally create their own set of questions.

A cool feature from Google Mobile Maps

I use Google Mobile Maps quite a bit on my T-Mobile Wing. Mostly for traffic density checks, for which it is reasonably accurate. However, it always requires me to tell it where I am. And I have to do that by typing something in or dragging the map to where I want it. Which is a pain if you are driving... in fact I generally say the hell with it.

Yesterday Google announced a new feature called "My Location" where it gives a best guesstimate of where you are based on your cell location. This is cool. And it should be accurate enough for my primary purpose for using it (traffic).

I remember my Palm VII back in, oh, 2000-2001 had such a feature. I could browse the web and because it knew about where I was (it could guess the zip code accurately) it would show me relevant weather, news, and traffic data. So no reason this shouldn't work with Google. Looking forward to trying it tonight :)


My First Apple Cup

The Apple Cup is the yearly brawl between the two major state universities in Washington - University of Washington and Washington State University. Amy and I went this past weekend with friends of ours... and no kids - woo hoo! We had a great time tailgating and I really enjoyed the game.

As usual, we managed to bring way too much food. I don't know what it is about tailgating but man we always end up with 10x the food we need. Absolutely crazy.

I happened to be feeling under the weather Saturday morning. Apparently after drinking four of Amy's secret concoctions of orange juice, apple juice, vodka, and triple sec, any cold you might be feeling is cured. Who knows, maybe it cures cancer too. All I know is I've felt much better since then.

Once again we met a lot of interesting people, including someone well connected in the Purdue Athletic Department (used to work there) who is going to get us tickets to the Purdue-UW Women's game coming up in a few weeks. Also met a couple who's had Seahawks season tickets since the team was founded. Very cool. Listened to their story of the Seahawks gaining -12 yards on offense over an entire game. Ouch.

Got to see a great game, ripe with an opening kickoff for a touchdown, about four lead changes see-sawing back and forth, and a last minute victory for the out-of-towners. I had a good time, and we had the best seats I've ever had for a college football game. I've already put a deposit down on the Notre Dame game next year. POTFI.

Funny. Before the game I was asking the UW alums their take on Willingham, and all to a tee said "give him another year." After the game, all to a tee said "fire his ass!" But, that's the level of expectations that these institutions have brought on themselves. They pay coaches $1M+ year at the low end. They continue to jack up ticket prices, seat licenses, and booster club minimum donation requirements that outpace inflation, they continue to reduce benefits for said club members, etc. So why wouldn't people have high expectations for the programs they support? The schools put themselves in that position. And what's scary is that they can't get out. It's a vicious spiral of increasing revenue to increase performance.

Amy and I somewhat joke about how much we enjoyed Purdue football during the Colletto years. Free parking close to the stadium, pick any seat you want, and you still got to see a good football game. Not many Ws, mind you, but competitive football (seems that the Colletto years were more competitive game by game than the last three Tiller years, but I digress).

By the way, I heard that it was the 100th game between UW and WSU, and that it was also the 100th anniversary. Maybe I'm picky and detail-oriented, but it can't be both. Hint: the first game is not the first anniversary, the second game is.

How about that

Didn't see this over the weekend... but caught it on YouTube.


T-Mobile Wing Mobile Phone Review

I was picking up pizzas at Papa Murphy's in North Bend yesterday, when the teenagers working there gave me a "Cool! What's THAT?!?!" as I was banging away emails for work. I showed them the phone and realized a blog review was in order. I was kinda impressed that they didn't say "oh that's a phone for old people."

In August I was done with my two-year Blackberry experiment and found myself unimpressed. The email synchronization with my personal and work email worked flawlessly. However, I felt that was all it did - calendar syncing never worked right (just try to reschedule a meeting or accept a meeting update), and web browsing was horrible. Non-existent.

So I researched and looked for a new phone. And came up with the T-Mobile. Setting aside my numerous problems in trying to get the rebate on the phone (which I still haven't worked out), this has been a great purchase.

I did consider the iPhone. And I must be getting old. I don't get it. Wow, I can, like, call numbers with my fingers. Big deal. Been there done that for a number of devices over the past 10 years. A stylus really isn't that big of a deal (personally I prefer it), and when I type I prefer speed over coolness-ness.

So far I'm very happy with the Wing. Probably the first phone since my first StarTac I've actually enjoyed having. First off, it fixes the primary problem I had with my Blackberry - syncing the calendar correctly. I haven't had a single problem with the Outlook calendar keeping in sync with my work calendar. And I can schedule meetings, move meetings, and decline them without having to make a mental note to go back and check to make sure my work calendar is updated properly. Score one for Microsoft Windows Mobile 6, the phone OS that powers the Wing.

Second, I really like the the slide out keyboard. Very intuitive - I was able to use it out of the box without having to refer to the owner's manual (something I had to do with my old Blackberry). And the keys are the right size for fast typing. Again, score one for the Wing.

Finally, I can browse the web. This is partially due to many web sites, especially Google's properties, being set up to render Windows Mobile pages. Regardless of the primary reason, the fact is I can be productive with the Wing where I was not with the Blackberry.

The Wing has Wifi, so I turn it on when I am home and use my broadband connection when I am on conference calls (which is literally every night). I've never had a problem hearing through the connection; in fact T-Mobile's coverage in my area is a little weak so the Wifi serves to increase my call quality.

I also get Google Maps (with traffic) and Microsoft Live (again with traffic) on the phone. Way cool. Bluetooth is relatively responsive on it.

You can do music on the Wing, but I'm not big into music from my phone. That's what my iPod is for.

The down side is that I need to reboot the device every couple of days. Something is always stopping working on it, and a quick reboot is in order. This hasn't bothered me yet - it's about 30 seconds from the time I start holding the button down until I can start using it again, so I haven't, say, missed the start of a conference call because I was rebooting my phone. But it's still important to note.

A neighbor got the equivalent device from Sprint, and he loves his as well. And he works at Microsoft so he gives me productivity tips on it :)

So pick up a Wing, you won't be sorry. Assuming you can get your money from the rebate.


I think I found the secret to great deep-fried turkey

You deep-fry enough turkeys in your life, and eventually you'll figure out the secret to success.

Deep-frying turkeys has always been an interesting trial-and-error experience. While the meat always ends up juicy (not greasy, but truly juicy), I often lose a layer of meat because the outer eighth of an inch gets cooked to a crisp, literally. This happens because when I deep-fry I am often distracted and let the temperature get away from me. I've also been a little gunshy because early on in my experimentation with deep-frying turkeys twice I undercooked the bird. So I've been overcautious on making sure the poultry is done.

Our neighbors had a bunch of families over for Thanksgiving, and the Reagans were in charge of the bird, stuffing, and pumpkin squares. Due to the amount of people, we decided to drop two birds in the fryer (separately, of course). The first bird came out ok, but again with the burnt/ruined layer of meat. The second bird was magnifique.

So, here's what I am going to do next time (probably Easter):

  1. Heat the oil to 400 degrees. Yes, I know, that's way too high I've been told. Too bad.

  2. Drop the bird in, slowly. If I would have dunked it the entire pot would have probably exploded at that high of heat. So I lowered it in slowly over a few minutes.

  3. Cut the heat. I need the oil to get down to 350 as fast as possible. So cut the heat.

  4. Relight when down to 350.

  5. Cook three minutes per pound. I've heard anywhere between 3 and 3.5 minutes per pound. 3 minutes it is. Trust me.

  6. Keep at 350. This is hard. Or at least requires a lot of attention.

I really lucked out on the last step. I was carving the first bird while the second was cooking, and wasn't checking on the temperature as often as I should have been (at least every 5 minutes, in my experience, if not sooner). Amazingly enough, the temperature remained at 350 the entire time. Wow.

This watched pot boiled... and steamed in the 35 degree weather!

Teaching Spencer the tricks of the trade.



I hate being wrong

There was a time that no matter how bad the Lions were, they would emerge from the Thanksgiving Day game victorious. I remember the pathetic 80s (not to be confused with the pathetic 70s or the pathetic 00s) and them beating teams they weren't supposed to beat.

Seems like in recent years the Lions have lost that Thanksgiving pride. And that certainly seemed so today. Not to mention some dumb decisions by Kitna where he failed to avoid sacks in key situations.

While I didn't expect the Lions to finish 12-4, I did expect them to get off to a better start in the second half of the season than 0-3. These were three winnable games, and good teams need to win their winnable games.

Happy Thanksgiving

I am thankful for a lot of things, most of which is the freedom I enjoy such that I am not required to list them all in this post.


Mark my word

The Lions will beat the Packers tomorrow.


Why are they called protesters?

This is called sedition, isn't it? Or at least criminal. Youtube has a number of videos on these incidents over the last week. God Bless the Olympia police for their restraint and professionalism.

Side note, since it appears the, ahem, "protesters" are doing their damnedest to lure the police into brutality incidents, doesn't it occur them that the police/city would have eons of cameras rolling from every angle to document their behavior?

Thanks again, Michael Yon

Another great article from Iraq from Michael Yon. You've earned another donation from me :)

I am not alone

This is cool

No matter how the troops hear the music, Ondrasik said he hopes it “inspires, motivates, provides an avenue for reflection, or simply distracts you from a mission few can imagine, much less undertake,” he said.

“If anything, let each tune be a small piece of home to carry you forward,” he said to the troops. “Thank you for all you do, and feel free to shoot me an e-mail with requests for ‘CD for the Troops II.’”

I wonder if Amazon MP3 has these artists?


Guitar Hero III: Spencer Creation with legos

After watching me play Guitar Hero III for the last week or so Spencer created a Guitar Hero III stage out of legos. Very creative and very cool. Love the fire. Spencer tells me I'm the pasty white hick in the blue overalls. I'd rather be the dude in the cool shades.

A fun day hiking in the Cascades

Amy was out of town this weekend, so after a hearty Burger King breakfast at the boys' request we headed into the Cascades to find some areas we haven't been to yet. Spencer hadn't hiked up to the John Wayne Trail, so we went on a quick excursion there. The day was cloudy, damp, rainy at times, and fairly cold (about 40 degrees once you get up a ways). I tried to get some good pictures but the lack of light played havoc on me.

Later we took a forest road that we hadn't been on before and saw a couple new views and did some walking. And got the truck caked with mud. The kids love off roading :)

The gallery is here

Spencer under a rock formation we found. Looks like a good place for rock climbing, I will be back!

The boys found some rocks to rest on.

A view of the Cascades to the east, with the clouds down below and the snow line on the mountains.

Spencer at outpost number two.

Garrett enjoying the views.

Thank you to our veterans

Environmental Republican has an excellent post on this Veteran's Day.

I actually meant to post a thank you last Tuesday... election day. If it weren't for our veterans we likely wouldn't be holding free elections.


Spencer earns his blue belt

Very exciting night as Spencer earns his Tae Kwon Do blue belt. This time he had to do his test form with no help or leading from the instructor and all his at-home practice paid off as he passed with flying colors.

See the gallery for large pictures, but I've included some below. And I've already created the obligatory Animoto video in a separate post :)

And the obligatory Animoto


The Lions are Six and Two at the turn?

Looks like the positive play I witnessed and responded to last year is yielding results in the 2007 season. The Detroit Lions find themselves at the halfway point at 6-2 and a game out of first, controlling their own destiny as they play the Packers twice still this year.

And I love the way they dismantled Denver today. Starting off the game with 4-5 straight running plays to establish the run was impressive. And who doesn't love watching a 300 lb lineman rumbled 70 yards for a touchdown!

It's nice to watch a Lions team that looks like they belong in the NFL. Reminds me of the 90s.