Diary of a Network Geek

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


Blink! – Hurricane Ike Part 3

Filed under: Calamity, Cataclysm, and Catastrophe,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,News and Current Events,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dog which is in the evening time or 8:11 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

At 8:03pm, we had the first power blip.

It was little more than a blink, but it made the TV and the cable box bounce.  Though, it wasn’t off long enough for the cable box to reset to the default, power-on channel.  And, it didn’t reset the microwave or the coffee maker.  Still, it was enough to remind me that it got dark much too early and that Hurricane Ike is the reason.  He may be a blow-hard, but Ike’s blowing hard in my direction!
No rain yet.

I think I’m going to make the bed, now that my laundry is done and before the power goes out.  Then, a big bowl of ice cream, before the power goes out and it melts. 🙂  And, finally, run the dishwasher!

If you’re in Houston still, stay safe!


Review: A Taste of Thai, Peanut Noodles

Filed under: By Bread Alone,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Red Herrings,Review — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:17 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

A Taste of Thai Peanut NoodlesYummy noodles!

So, Thursday, after skipping lunch due to the indigestion that I always get from the barium, I thought I’d treat myself with something fast, easy, and that I didn’t have to really think about. But, frankly, ramen noodles just weren’t going to cut it, so, instead, I made Peanut Noodles from A Taste of Thai. These guys have been around for quite some time, but their “quick meals” are something new and they’re damn good.

At least, the Peanut Noodles I had Thursday were fabulous. Under other circumstances, I’d probably add meat of some kind, and I suppose that vegans could add nice, firm tofu, but I was in a hurry, and my stomach wasn’t quite up to anything too fancy. Besides, I’m not a giant fan of tofu.
The package is also the microwave-safe container to cook the noodles in, so there’s no need to dirty a dish. And, in four minutes, plus a little time to stir and add a light dusting of peanuts, you can have what is, in my personal estimation, the peak of Southeast Asian cuisine, noodles with Thai peanut sauce.

Now, I found mine in the ethnic food aisle at my regular Kroger, but you can hit their website to find the store closest to you, if you want to try this almost instant culinary delight for yourself.

Oh, and my appointment to get the results got moved from Thursday to Monday, so I’ll find out what all the radioactive isotopes and gastrointestinal distress have told the doctors about my lymphoma.  Or, hopefully, my lack of lymphoma.


Super Sauce!

Filed under: By Bread Alone,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun,NaNoWriMo,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 6:20 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

I can cook, damn it!

Okay, mixing a sauce together may not constitute actual cooking, but I did put it over asparagus.
Remember two weeks ago, I mentioned the Men’s Health Grocery List? Well, last week Thursday I finally got around to shopping and I got most of the things on the list. Since that included asparagus, that meant I had very limited time to cook it before it went bad. Today was pretty much the limit, even if I wasn’t all that interested in cooking tonight. In any case, I made a quick sauce with stuff from the List that turned out quite well.

Uncle Jim’s Super Easy Quick Sauce:
Combine three heaping teaspoons of reduced fat mayo with two heaping teaspoons of dijon mustard and a single heaping teaspoon of horseradish sauce, for kick. Blend in an exotic spice in the cabinet that smells good with what you have so far. (I used the McCormick’s Gourmet Collection Szechwan Seasoning because it was there and, honestly, had the right color to it.)

I spooned that over the asparagus tips that I steamed in the microwave and added my left-over chicken and rice from the weekend. I was so pleased with myself that I even lit candles!  Oh, and that sauce?  To die for!
Ah, well, now it’s back to the writing. I have to figure out how to get my characters out of the room they’re in and the conversation/interview they’ve been having.
Pray for me.



Family Update and Pictures

Filed under: Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Dog and Pony Shows,Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Personal,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 7:34 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

My sister and nephew were here this weekend.

My sister and her son should be home by now. Their flight for Chicago left this afternoon and everything was on time. They got in Thursday and stayed with me and Hilda while they were here. It was sort of nice having visitors, even relatives. I thought I’d be glad to see them go, so I could get my house back, but, honestly, until they left, I had no idea how much I missed having people around. I think Hilda misses having a younger person around to shower her with attention, too.
In any case, Friday we went to the Downtown Aquarium. It was okay, but, well, I think it was geared more toward small kids and families. There weren’t a lot of exhibits and there was a fair amount of “touristy” stuff. Still, the exhibits there were good. They were clean, the animals were healthy and active, and pretty much everything worked. Besides, in spite of feeling relatively good and strong, I’m still recovering from having cancer and the treatment, so a little less to do on that first day was probably for the best.

Saturday we just hung around the house. Though, we did run out to the office to look for a cable for their camera and to try a Vietnamese noodle shop. The night before, we hit my new favorite Thai restaurant, which was fairly brave of them, considering how much Asian food they get in their small, rural hometown.
Saturday night we went to church, where they got to meet a bunch of my friends. I hope it wasn’t too overwhelming for them. Either my family or my friends! After church, I was forced to choose the restaurant, so we all went out for Mexican. Also, not an option they normally get. At least, not authentic Mexican.

Sunday, it was off to the Houston Zoo. Again, we got there early and spent quite a bit of time, which was nice, but tiring on these old bones. I haven’t been to the zoo in ages, so I had a good time. And, because the weather was a bit dicey, the crowds were light. Luckily, the weather held and we had a good time. We left a bit early for dinner, but we stopped by Goode Company and got some “to go”. It was great, even warmed up in the microwave. And, I got to show them a great taste of Houston to boot.

Since I know you all have been wondering what I look like without hair, or with my hair growing back, I got my nephew to take a couple of pictures. I’ve got them here, below, so you can see them. I’m also asking you all to vote on them, so I know which one to use to update my Match.com profile with my new “look”.

This is sort of mugshot looking to me, and a little out of focus, but it’s a simple shot. I hope I don’t look too scary with such short hair! It does kind of look like an ID photo, though, doesn’t it? I don’t know, I guess the full on portrait is always a kind of classic.
This is an attempt at a “candid” shot. Naturally, I’m sitting in front of a laptop. What else would a professional computer geek and hopeful author be doing? Right? And, maybe that’s also its weakest point. It shows me in my natural environment just a little too much.

And here is a close-up version of that last shot. I don’t know… Do I look too serious? Ha, if you know me in RealLife, you’d know that I’m almost never serious! Ah, well, it is a pretty good picture, I think. Still, do you think it makes me look too grim? Like I’d be no fun on a date? I only get one chance at a first impression you know!

And, finally, a shot from the other side. And a little smile, which I think is better. Oh, these shots show off my new glasses, too! (So, tell me, you totally want to rub my short hair to see how it feels, don’t you?)
Okay, so, make sure to vote for you favorite picture!


Some Homey Links

Filed under: Art,By Bread Alone,Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:51 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

So, today, my Friday Fun Links have a theme.

I’m not sure if it was the cleaning this week or what, but I’ve been feeling very, well, um, “domestic”.  So, my fun links this week pretty much all have to do with things around the house, or housing itself.
Okay, so let’s start from the outside and work our way in.  First, I have a link to some interesting plans for an 11 foot by 7 foot flat in London.  Apparently inspired by a janitor’s closet with a bathroom that sold for £170,000 in London’s upmarket Chelsea, the plan is really quite ingeneous.
Now, let’s talk furnishings…  If you’ve just spent $335,000 on a large broom closet, you probably don’t have much left over for furnature, so it’ll be IKEA for you.  No worries, though, thanks to the IKEA Hacker blog.  Yes, the stuff on that blog all started life as humble IKEA flatpack that got modified into something wonderful.  I especially like the breakfast nook for two.
But, you’ll need light for this tiny hovel, right?  Well, thanks to Gizmodo, you can light your flat with the coolest, freakiest science-fiction lamps ever.  Also, you can use the coolest, hippest, most radically arty light switches ever to turn the lights on.  I thought the pool ball switch was cool for the mini-flat, since it was described as being about the size of a billards table.
But, wait!  There’s more!  Since this flat would be so totally strapped for space, there’d be no room for a rack of cookbooks in the kitchen, er, make that, by the tiny hotplate and microwave.  So, instead, use the coo.boo Digital Cookbook that’s the size and shape of a spatula!
And, finally, in a barely related story, if you can squeeze into the fridge, get out some Ben and Jerry’s Steven Colbert’s Americone Dream ice cream.  No, I’m not making that up, but, also no, it’s not quite available yet.  Yet.

So, there you have it, a geek getting domestic and working on too little sleep.  Enjoy your links and your Friday!
Oh, and don’t forget to vote in the poll!!


Treasure Hunt

Filed under: By Bread Alone,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal,Red Herrings,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:39 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Cleaning my house has become a treasure hunt.

Saturday, I was looking for something in the kitchen and found a large quantity of popcorn. Not microwave popcorn, all done up in nice, portioned packages, but two jars and a large bag of popcorn kernels. I stood and just starred at it for a few minutes before the implication sank in that somewhere, most likely in the kitchen, I must have a hot-air popcorn popper. So, naturally, I started rooting in odd, hard-to-reach corners of the kitchen cabinets finding, among other things, an EasyBake oven, a rock tumbler and an ice-cream maker. Oh, yes, and the much desired, though slightly antiquated, Poppery II hot-air popcorn popper by West Bend. I cleaned it, because, well, as I didn’t know I owned it I also had no idea at all where it had been in its travels. Cleaning seemed a rather prudent step, even for a half-mad bachelor with a goat-like stomach who’s favorite kitchen phrase is “Well, it doesn’t smell bad yet…”

Then, however, the question of proper and safe usage began to worry me, so I Googled the Poppery II hoping to find manuals in PDF format on the web. Sadly, none were to be had, but I did stumble across a rather interesting community of home coffee roasters, to whom, the Poppery II seemed to represent a kind of Holy Grail. And, while that might be dreadfully useful and fascinating information for another time, it got me no closer to popped popcorn. So, in the end, I simply plugged it in, filled the scoop-like lid and, praying that I started only a small fire, dumped the popcorn of unknown vintage in.

At first, there was nothing but a loud whirring sound as the hot air spun round and round, then, as if by magic, I was rewarded with an explosive pop. This was quickly followed by another and another. Victory! Then, it became quickly apparent that I had chosen a slightly inadequate bowl as the popcorn overflowed the counter and started to spill on the floor. A minor setback! I had achieved fresh, unsalted, no-butter popcorn! Hmm, that seemed more exciting at the time. In any case, I have quite a supply of popcorn now and I can melt as much, or as little, butter as I’d like. I can also salt as much, or as little, as I’d like. Why, I could even add other flavors! I could douse my hot popcorn in Tabasco, if the mood should strike me! Though, frankly, I’m not sure what could move me to do such a thing to popcorn. Still, when I started cleaning in the kitchen, I certainly didn’t expect to find that.
Not to mention the rock tumbler…


About Last Night…

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Dog and Pony Shows,Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Monkey which is mid-afternoon or 4:00 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

I love that movie.
I actually don’t care much for Rob Lowe or Demi Moore, but that movie, set in Chicago, always reminds me of what I’d hoped life would be like in my late twenties. Ah, well, maybe in my next life.

Anyway, dinner last night went well. My friend Steve’s timing was perfect and he got here just as I was sautéing the onions to go with my Chicken Masala. Here’s how the food preparation went, and notice that I don’t feel guilty at all for the cheating involved. First, I cut up the chicken and the onions and put them in separate bowls. Next, I set up the rice in the rice cooker, but didn’t start it. Per the instructions on the jar of India Chef brand biryani masala sauce, I sautéed the chicken in a little vegetable oil, then added the whole jar of sauce and put the lid on the pan. While that was cooking, I started the rice and chopped the cilantro. Then, I set the table with my every-day, white dishes and flatware, but the better, clear glasses. As a jokey flourish, I folded the white paper-towel “napkins” into squares and put them into the glasses. After a quick check on the chicken, which had already started to smell delicious, I made a pitcher of instant, peach-flavored ice tea and set up the music. (The music, incidentally, was, in play order, Level 42, Level Best, then a mix CD that Steve himself had made and given me the year before, followed by Roy Orbison, Super Hits, and finally ending with The Very Best of the Doors, because that’s about the best way to end anything, I think.) By this time, the chicken was done, so I put it into a casserole dish with the rice, again, per the instructions, and added some other spices and a few onions. That popped into the oven and I started the broccoli. After that, I started the onions with a little extra vegetable oil, some garam masala spices and a pat of butter. While that got going, I lit the candles on the mantle and the kitchen table, including all my Saint Jude santos candles, and started the music. Shortly into the second song on Level Best, Steve arrived with a blueberry pie. Yum!
I knew I’d done well when Steve’s first comment on entering the house was “Oh, what smells so good!?” After I’d reminded him I was doing Indian, and he made appropriate “yummy” sounds, he saw the table. Now, in all modesty, I didn’t really do much there, but when a gay guy tells you how nice your presentation at the table is, you know it’s been done just right. So, while I finished up the onions and took the chicken out of the oven, Steve checked some voice-mail he’d gotten on the way over. By the time he was done, I had all the food on the table and was ready to go. As I mentioned, perfect timing!

So, we had a lovely dinner, scintillating conversation, and a grand time spoiling Hilda. You see, Steve is not only a “dog-person”, but also a keeper in the bird section of the Houston Zoo. He’s eicked smart and knows more about animals than anyone I’ve ever known. Oh, the stories he tells about things that happen at the zoo! “When miniature ducks attack!” I made a pot of coffee to go with the pie, which was also breakfast this morning, and we talked all the way into the first CD of The Very Best of the Doors. It was a very good time.

Today, after cleaning up what was left from last night and starting laundry, I set up a chunk of catfish for tonight’s dinner and prepped the last of the uncooked chicken to do up at the same time. Then, I can microwave that later in the week for a quick dinner. The catfish was already spiced, but I added a slice of fresh orange to cut the “fishy” taste. The chicken got liberally dosed with nearly random spices and the rest of the orange. Actually, that’s often how I cook. No recipie at all, but simply spices that smell good together on meat, sometimes mixed with something fruity, like apple, or orange or other citrus. My ex-wife was always afraid that it wouldn’t turn out well, but I’ve never had anyone be dissapointed in what I made. So, that, with some of the left-over rice and veges will make a lovely dinner several times this week.
Hey, you know, I like this part of being single again! I love cooking like this. Sass, you’re right, I did win in the end!


The End of the World!

Filed under: Geek Work,News and Current Events — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:19 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

If you’re a tech head, like me…

That’s what this new bomb they’ve developed would be. According to this article in the IEEE Spectrum, they’re real and ready for the real world. Or, pretty darn close. Of course, the threat of an EMP (Electro Magnetic Pulse) weapon has been around for quite some time, but this is a little different. First, they’ve changed the name. Now they’re called high-power microwave (HPM) weapons. And, they’re portable and, it seems, reusable. So, if you’re not familiar with this, what happens is it blasts out a huge amount of magnetic radiation, or in this case microwave radiation, that cripples electronics. The idea being that you could, say, take out an enemy’s infrastructure while leaving the physical structures intact. Picture this at, oh, I dunno’, a great big airport somewhere. Imagine the chaos as, suddenly, no on can talk to each other via radio. Okay, now, imagine terrorists with this bad-boy out on the streets. Scary, huh?

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