Thursday, August 31, 2006

File under: Products That Should Be, But Never Will

You've seen the Peach Phillies or the Strawberry Swisher Sweets. I say someone ought to make Cool Ranch flavored blunts. But they won't.


You know you're curious..

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Diablo Sandwich

This is a topic that's been discussed before, though I'm not sure whether in this forum or not. Short background. In "Smokey and the Bandit," Sheriff Buford T. Justice orders a "Diablo Sandwich and a Dr. Pepper, and make it fast I'm in a goddamn hurry!"

Fans of the movie wondered since then what a Diablo sandwich might be. The last time we researched it, it came back as some kind of spicy chicken sandwich. Other answers abound (how can a sausage be a sandwich? Mullarkey, I say!)

In the spirit of the internet (motto: "a misquote repeated often enough becomes truth"), I've decided to draw a line in the sand and define, once and for all, what a Diablo Sandwich is.

Burger King's Extreme Spicy Tendercrisp sandwich.

That's the short answer. For the uninitiated, let's build the sandwich:

Bun: soft kaiser, the kind with cornmeal on the crown (top). Toast it until it is lightly charred. Yes, a little blackness. It won't hurt. We're making the Devil's sandwich, after all.

Chicken breast: pounded to half thickness, cooked with chili powder and well seared. Again, charred, devil, etc. (Cook it hot and fast and let it sit for a few minutes, and you'll get the outside char, with inner tenderness and juciness.)

Sauce: Nominally, mayo with Louisana Hot Sauce in it. Experiment. If you're not a mayo person, go with just hot sauce. Or maybe Thousand Island with hot sauce in it??

Spicy jack cheese, Romaine lettuce, thin sliced red onions, tomato (if you must), and sliced jalapeno peppers. Like the kind you get on your nachos at the roller rink. Or pepperoncini/sport peppers. Any of your pickled pepper products.

And there you have it. It is written.


For the most ironic headline of the day.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Pure comedy gold

Comedy gold, and possibly cruel. But still funny.

(Cruel in the golden rule, Geneva convention sort of way, not in the does he deserve it kind of way.)

Sunday, August 27, 2006


Pete Coors got caught driving while overmedicated, and takes his medicine like a grownup. Good for him- set a good example.

Saturday, August 26, 2006


I spoke (wrote) earlier this year about cooking up a PC based PVR solution. I was leaning toward MythTV, because I like Linux and the idea of free software. Sadly, it just didn't seem to fit my needs. Mostly, I want the thing to just record programs to .mpg files, so that I can view them later on my computer. Myth uses some kind of weird format that seemed complicated. Thanks to a tout from MD, I tried BeyondTV.

Couldn't be happier. Well, I could if it was free. But the performance and feature set is all I could ask for. I bought a Hauppauge PVR 150 (low end hardware encoding TV tuner card) and put it into my livingroom PC, a 1.13gHz Pentium III. Took maybe a half hour to install (if you subtract out the time it took to install the stupid ATI Remote Wonder software), and in moments I was recording TV. It's got all the Tivo-like features, record every episode of something, or only new episodes, etc.

Caveat: it isn't perfect. There are minor picture quality issues and there is the occasional stutter when you choose a function. However, (and it's a big butt), these issues are identical to what you get with a Tivo. I can tweak this PC with more memory, faster hard drive, etc. And I am using some pretty cheap hardware, so the sky is the limit.

Summary: It's a 1.13gHz Compaq Deskpro with a 40gb drive and 256mb of RAM. (the neat thing about this particular form-factor (above) is that it's just the right width to fit in my media shelving unit, AND has various full-feature features. And dirt cheap on ebay). It uses about 60% of processor time when I'm recording one program and watching another. I'm going to add a second tuner card and see what happens. The software has facilities whereby you can buy client licenses for other networked PCs in the house, and view the programs from the main machine on the client machines. And it also handles digital/HD with the right hardware. Say, that's future-proof!

Color me pleased.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

It's about time

"Planet" Pluto is demoted. Never did anything for me anyway. And thank goodness they didn't promote some of the other glorified asteroids to planet status. Some people were even saying that some moons would qualify as planets, if a version of the rules-change passed. A planet orbits the sun, etc.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


McGriddle Fan Fiction.

Friday, August 18, 2006

The Shaving Experiment: Final Report

I'm going to turn conventional wisdom on end here.

These shaving geniuses musn't have much facial hair. They couldn't, or else they'd experience the horrifying pain I've experienced at their behest.

In no particular order:

  • "Single edge safety razors are best." Not in my experience. I tried two types of mechanisms, and three types of blades. Yeah, they're sharp. Yeah, they're adjustable. No, they don't work. In shaving, you're doing two opposing things while dragging the blade across the face: you're trying to slice the hairs off as close to your skin as possible, while trying not to remove said skin in the process. I've found that the old fashioned safety razor cuts that margin too closely, if not upending it. Sure I've gotten close shaves, but at the expense of my face. I've gotten the best results with disposible Gilette double edge razors.

  • "Get that beard nice and soft with hot towels and/or a hot shower before shaving." This one is the most appealing of the myths. Maybe my face is constructed differently than the rest of you, but I found that my skin became softer faster than my beard did. So it was easier to tear up my face and harder to get a clean cut on the hairs. I also theorize that is because the hair is moderately softer, so rather than standing up straight to the blade and getting chopped cleanly, the hair gives and rides under the blade, or is cut at an angle leaving stubble.

  • "Fancy gel shaving creams." Have you ever noticed that they aren't slippery? Shaving cream's only job in life is to lubricate the skin so that the blade rides over it rather than digging into it. To date, the best, cheapest option I've found is Dr. Bronners Magic bar soap. It's slippery as all get out. Just rub it into a lather. Neutrogena regular bar soap works OK, but it is a much harsher soap. (It's benefit is that it rinses very cleanly. Great for washing the hands before delicate work like inserting contact lenses.) Also good, but an expensive option is this stuff.

  • Technique. This is pretty much the same. For a pain-free shave, go with the grain of the hair. For a super close shave, go over it again against the grain, and one last time lightly with the grain for good measure. Properly soaped and with good technique, this too will be a pain free shave. The neck. Mine is the worst. Hairs growing in all different directions, and it gets torn up instantly in attempts to get a clean shave. The only tip I've found for this is to go lightly, and experiment with directions. I go in all four directions, and get pretty good results. My greatest discovery in the neck area, though, is to not stretch the skin tight before shaving, but to almost smush it out and go all jowly. I found that when I stuck my jaw up and shaved the regular way, my skin was going bumpy like goosebumps and getting torn up by the razor. By nodding down a bit, I found that I got a closer shave, and a more comfortable shave.

    And there it is.

  • Wednesday, August 16, 2006


    They caught the guy who killed Jon Benet Ramsey.
    "There are a lot of facts about her actual death that the public does not know." Schiller said. "If he did confess to some facts of the murder, to reveal those facts of the case, that would finish the puzzle."
    I have to admit I have karmic hit coming my way on this one: I thought for sure one of her parents killed the kid. Shows what happens when one makes judgements based on nothing.
    The attorney said the Ramseys learned about the suspect a least a month before Patsy Ramsey's death.
    Cold comfort.

    Tuesday, August 15, 2006


    I've introduced a new layout. I think I've got everything in there that's necessary (note to myself, put the muppet terror level thing in later). I used one of the standard templates, and spiced it up a little.

    I'd prefer it if the various boxes expanded and contracted to fit the browser window, but it seems to get the nice roundy corners (in this implementation), the widths are hard coded in. I'm sure there's some AJAX or Ruby on Rails kind of net-wizzardry to accomplish this, but I'll settle for my fixed size 2004-style curves.

    Let me know if I've overlooked something.

    Monday, August 14, 2006

    What's up with...

    What's up with the people using that service? Where's the benefit to anyone?

    Et! Cetera!

  • Welcome back to co and cso from their roadtrip/vacation!

  • What's up with this Skype thing? Now, I have the Vonage. And I love it, when I correct for its price. What I like about it is this: it is a real phone. You plug in your regular phone(s) into the phone adapter box, and off you go. What I don't get about this Skype (which I thought was just a toy for internet fan-bois, until I heard comericals for it on the local FreeFM) is that you need to have a computer to use it. And your computer needs to be running. Who is the actual customer of this product? What niche does it fill?

  • I read Jim Cramer's "Confessions of a Street Addict," and found it to be a fantastic autobiography. He is an excellent writer, and coherently tells the story of his life. If you've heard about him, or seen his radio or tv shows, you'd gather that he's quite a loudmouth and something of an egomaniac. You'd be right, I suspect, and this book is his catharsis. He admits to, and adds context to, much of his bad behavior, but I don't recall reading him making any excuses or trying to shirk blame. He brought the reader (me) into the story so well that I was simply unable to sleep after having read the first half of the book. It is both a dense read, and a fast read.

  • I'm now half way through Cramer's other book, "Jim Cramer's Real Money: Sane Investing in an Insane World." Not nearly as good. It's meant to be a primer on investing the Cramer way, but it jumps from topic to topic confusingly. It is very much a "hit the ground running" kind of book, it sort of reads like a compilation of transcripts from his radio shows. I'm sure by the end it will all make sense, but it is not going there in any kind straight line. Substantively: The investing advice makes sense to me, a complete novice.

  • I upgraded to "Feedreader 3.05" for my feedreading needs, and it seems to be working. It does the same stuff as the old one, just differently. I tried using google's service, and didn't like it.

  • Saturday, August 12, 2006

    The tube!

    Watch out, Musica Generica!

    (Contains pro-FUN-ity!) (And it's profane.)

    Wednesday, August 09, 2006

    Couldn't have happened to a nicer person...

    Congresswoman Haughty-Suckerpunch McKinney got her own smackdown in yesterday's runoff election. Unfortunately, this gives her credibility in the perpetual victim subculture.

    In other election news, Joe Lieberman got beat in his primary and will be running as an independent. I'd like to see that work.