Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.


Random Stay-At-Home Resources

Filed under: Fun,Hoffman's Home for Wayward Boys,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Photography,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:30 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

This may become a theme while we all wait out this COVID-19 virus.

This week, I finally got everyone else at work all set to work from home, if at all possible, and started working from home myself. I was surprised how much of my work is often determined by people in the office having problems. I shouldn’t be, though, considering how many times I tell fellow techs that the only reason we have jobs is because other people have problems.
In any case, I have a couple of links that I hope will help you solve some of the unusual problems you may be running into at home these days, thanks to the quarantine. Some may be more fun than others!
First, if you’re like us, you’ve been eating a little differently than normal. My wife is pretty incredible about coming up with meals that use whatever she happens to have on the shelf or in the freezer, but thinking of delicious meals with limited resources can be a huge challenger right now. Thankfully, BoingBoing pointed me to SuperCook! It’s a free website that will help you find recipes from the most popular cooking websites that use whatever ingredients you select. It’s pretty amazing, and it’s got some great suggestions that, I hope, will break up the monotony of cooking at home, when it’s a challenge to eat out. There’s also an iPhone and an Android app for you, if that’s what you prefer. (Links are on the website.)
But, if you’re willing to risk the delivery schedules, and want to add something more interesting, or exotic, or just plain fancy, you can try one of these mail-order food sites, reviewed by Esquire. They might get a little pricey, but you’ll definitely be getting unique and interesting ingredients to, if you’ll pardon the pun, “spice up” your regular, day-to-day meal and flavor options.

On a somewhat lighter note, while we’re talking about groceries, you may have had some “experiences” trying to get things at grocery stores recently. In particular, for some reason, people have been panic buying toilet paper. Well, I can’t help you get any of the desperately desired commodity, but, thanks to BoingBoing, I can share a video that explains the phenomena of panic buying. It’s actually a pretty good look at why, of all things, toilet paper, is in short supply lately.

And, this week, I’ve got two links for the grown-ups who have gotten bored and want to finally get some use out of that expensive camera they got for Christmas. The first of these two links is geared toward the potential professional photographer; Professional Photographers of America more than 1100 online photo classes for free. Of course, we don’t know how long they’ll offer these free, but if you’ve got a camera and internet access, you can take some classes and either develop a “side hustle”, or maybe even a new career, if you’re afraid of being laid off. And, that’s assuming you haven’t been already due to either the economic fall out of COVID-19 or the disastrously low price of oil.
The other link for photographers is a little more fun. 7 Photo Challenges for Photographers Who Are Stuck at Home. Amateur or pro, there’s nothing like a good challenge to keep the skills sharp.

So, there you have it. Some links to help you get through the next week. No telling how long we’ll all be locked down, so there’s no telling what I’ll post for you next week. The longer I’m home, though, the stranger things are likely to get.
Stay safe! Stay home! Wash your hands!

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words!


DIY Nutrition Labels

Filed under: Fun,Personal Care — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:30 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a New Moon

Just like at the factory farm.

I was going to just gloss over why I was looking for this and get right to the fun, but, let’s face it; at this point I’m pretty much writing this blog for myself. So, my blushing bride was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome a couple weeks ago and she read that one thing which might help is going to basically a ketogenic diet. That led me to look for some DIY keto-friendly energy bars, which I were shelf stable and I could seal up in a small food vacuum storage bag. (You can find my latest recipe discoveries on my Pinterest Recipies and Cooking board.) And, all that led me to think it would be fun to put a nutrition label on my creations.
So, first, I’d need to break down the ingredients in the recipe so I could enter it into the label. After searching around, I found two that analyze the recipe and generate the label. First, there’s cleverly named recipenutrition.com. It’s really simple to use and free. Then, there’s the even more user friendly Very Well Fit site’s Recipe Nutrition Analyzer. Both are free and give you a basic nutrition label.
Finally, if you want to take the output from those labels and make something that’s a little fancier, you can grab your info and head to the Nutrition Label Generator at OnlineLabels.com. Also free, but you’re got to have your data already worked out.
And, while these look like great labels, I’d make sure they were up to FDA standards before using them on a commercial product. Can’t be too safe!

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words!
(Gee, I miss the plugin that used to cross post and attribute for me.  I know I ought to write one, but who has the time?)


Eau De BBQ

Filed under: Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:11 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Did you know that they make “musk” from pig testicles?

For real.
So, you know, if you’re a manly man out there trying to attract a future mate, why not skip the “middle man” and just wear a little Barbeque Cologne Que?!
No, seriously.  It’s cologne that smells like fresh bacon and barbeque.  For real!  Frankly, it sounds delicious!  Though, it does kind of sound like it might be more attractive to guys than to girls.
Also?  You may want to make sure when you wear it that the girl you’re about to hit on isn’t a vegetarian!


Thanksgiving Recipes

Filed under: By Bread Alone,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Hoffman's Home for Wayward Boys,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:57 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Full Moon

Now is the time, gentle readers, to help your Uncle Jim out.

So, Thanksgiving is at my house this year. Maybe this will be the start of a new tradition, who knows? In any case, this year, I’m bringing the joy of the season to my house. Only, now, I have a small problem. Outside of making the turkey, which is frightening enough, I don’t have any simple, traditional, passed-down-from-grandma recipes that are easy enough for me to do. So, give me yours.

No, seriously. Look, I’ve invited a lot of people and, while I’ve gotten some polite refusals from some of them, many more have either said yes, or are waiting until the last minute to confirm. What’s more is that I’ve told several of them not to worry about bringing anything, lest that hold them back from coming. All of which means, I have an unknown number of people coming, some of whom aren’t bringing anything and may show up at the last minute. And, now, I sort of feel obliged to, you know, feed them and stuff. Except, I’m a fairly inept cook. Truly. So, I need your help. Kat has already sent me a brilliant and easy corn pudding recipe, which I’ll share in just a minute, but I need more. I especially need a good, simple, but interesting stuffing recipe. Most of you have my e-mail, so if you want to share privately, you can, otherwise, just leave them in the comments. At some point, I’ll collect them all and share them, and let you know which ones I actually try.

So, while you ponder that, here’s Kat’s Best-Friend’s Cousin’s Corn Pudding:
Fold in this order: 1 can drained corn, 1 can creamed corn, 1 stick melted butter, 8 oz. sour cream, 1 box jiffy corn mix. Bake at 325 for an hour to an hour and a half (should be the consistency of pudding in the middle). You can also add shredded cheese and jalapeno if you like.

Now, Kat knows me well, so she’s got a handle on the “keep is simple for the kitchen dunce” vibe that I need. Let that be your model and your guide.
Help me cook to fill stomachs, hearts and souls with warmth and joy.
But, keep it simple.


Fix My Kitchen

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Bavarian Death Cake of Love,By Bread Alone,Life Goals,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 4:56 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a New Moon

hummus bread with eggs

Originally uploaded by carmen maria

You know what I want to ask LK?

Why didn’t you ever fix my kitchen? You were going to make my kitchen efficient and work better, in some way that you never were able to explain to me. I was always secretly hoping that you would find a way to fix my kitchen and, by so doing, somehow, fix me.

I wanted to be a good cook, you know. I wanted to be the kind of man that Padma Lakshmi apparently pines for, one who would cook for her. I have to admit that cooking for a food person like LK was very, very intimidating and, well, I did a poor job of it. It’s funny, though, because she wanted a man to cook for her. I think I won her over by making macaroni and cheese. LK, that is, not Padma.

And, I do like to cook, most of the time. Though, I have to admit, I really do think it would go better if I had a more efficiently arranged kitchen. I mean, I might actually accomplish more and finish more of the strange culinary experiments I try.
The picture that I’ve sneaked from Flickr, which inspired this post, has toasted hummus bread in it. And eggs. I think it would be rather perfect if it included bacon. But, whatever hummus bread really is, and really tastes like, it sounds like an adventure to me. Something to challenge and excite the taste buds. And, of course, I love bread. And toast.

But, I need someone to fix my kitchen.

Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Character may be manifested in the great moments, but it is made in the small ones."
   --Phillips Brooks


Men’s Health Cooking

Filed under: By Bread Alone,Personal,Review,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dog which is in the evening time or 8:43 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

I love Men’s Health cooking recipes.

I got a book some weeks ago titled A Man, A Can, A Plan, A Second Helping. I meant to get the first one, but, somehow, I got the second one. It doesn’t matter, because the recipes are still great and still from Men’s Health.
The premise is simple, all the main ingredients for the recipes are things in cans that can stay on the shelf for a long time. This is the perfect cookbook for men, or women, on the go who don’t have time to go grocery shopping every single week. With this cookbook, you can plan ahead and get cans of ingredients and leave them on the shelf for weeks until you need them.

Tonight, I made my first recipe from A Man, A Can, A Plan, A Second Helping. I made Black Gold Burritos. Since this book is still available and in print, I don’t feel right listing the recipe, but, hopefully, the link to Amazon will show you what I made.
Naturally, I had a few substitutions. First, I thought I had a can of corn in the cupboard, but it turns out I had creamed corn. I drained it and used it anyway. Also, I didn’t have a full cup of red peppers, so I diced up a yellow pepper and made a cup of peppers with red and yellow combined. It turned out quite well indeed. I made three burritos to eat, and three for another time, but I ran out of wheat tortillas, so I had “stuff” left over. More than enough for two more burritos, making the eight that the recipe claims to create. Either my tortillas were smaller than theirs, or they’re making really huge portions that, somehow, don’t spill out. Mine spilled all over the plate, but Hilda seemed to like helping me clean up, so it was all good. And, take it from me, it really was ALL good! The burritos were quick, at less than an hour to prepare and cook, and very tasty!
If the original A Man, A Can, A Plan is half as good as this one, I heartily recommend them both.


Beer cooking!

Filed under: Fun,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:29 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Now, this is my kind of gourmet!

Cooking with beer on MSN House and Home sounds like my kind of cooking! Not only do they give you a rundown of the glorious history of beer, but Emeril gives you three beer-centric recipies. There’s even one for Guiness Ice Cream! Oh, man, there goes my diet!!
Allright, I admit that I don’t drink beer as much as I used to, and my diet isn’t as harsh as I make out, but, well, if I didn’t exaggerate some, I wouldn’t have anything to say about the article!

Anyway, it’s Friday, so go read up on how to cook with beer. And, lift one for me, okay?

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