Hellgate London
Forenoon watch, 2 bells (9:29 am)

One more day…just one more day and it will be here.

Peanut Nougat
Posted in Recipes
First watch, 4 bells (10:07 pm)

Peanut Nougat

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1 large egg white, room temperature
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup peanut butter

Spray a 13x9x2 pan with cooking spray and set aside. Combine sugar, corn syrup, and water in a small saucepan. Use a candy thermometer to bring it up on medium heat to 275° F. While the syrup is heating, beat egg white and salt with a mixer until it forms stiff peaks. Remove syrup from heat when it hits 275° and add it 1 tablespoon at a time to the egg mixture until each tablespoon is completely mixed in. The whole process should take about 2 minutes. Continue to mix the nougat until it starts separating from the side of the mixing bowl. Use a greased spatula to mix in the peanut butter by hand, folding until it's evenly mixed. Immediately put into 13x9x2 pan and spread to desired thickness.

This recipe comes from the Holiday Snickles recipe.

Here are my tips:

  1. Use a hand mixer. It's tempting to use a KitchenAid stand mixer (that's what I just tried) and it doesn't get the edges or bottom very well (eg. at all).
  2. Don't pour the syrup down the edge of the bowl, it will immediately cool off and form a strong hard candy trail on the side of your bowl and not get mixed into the nougat
  3. Use a little bit less peanut butter, or alternately (I'm going to try this next time) use 1 tsp vanilla instead of peanut butter for non-peanut nougat


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Hellgate London
Posted in Reviews
Afternoon watch, 5 bells (2:57 pm)

I haven't played much by way of computer games for the last 2+ years, I really haven't had a lot of time, but Hellgate London is looking like it's going to pull me out of "game retirement"—I got the demo and man is it cool! It's going to be released on Hallowe'en.

It's a combination of an RPG like the Diablo series, but also has FPS elements with a little MMO stuff on the side. It looks like it will be a lot of fun.

Horrible Website Design
First dog watch, 1 bell (4:50 pm)

IMHO, this is a terrible website: www.housingzone.com.

I'm willing to bet they spend a pigu-load of time on getting the design right, too. What a mess!

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Found the Picture!
Forenoon watch, 6 bells (11:06 am)

I found the picture (finally) that Joel Spolsky used in his keynote:
It's dangerous to go alone! Take this. (Crazy kitten picture)

Happy Birthday, Lorien!
Posted in Warm and Fuzzy
Forenoon watch, 4 bells (10:07 am)

Today is my wife's birthday, happy birthday honey!

I bought her a bunch of books (always a perfect gift!) and hid them throughout the house so she would find them as she goes through her morning routine. It was very exciting for her to find all the books she really wanted but hadn't been able to get yet.

I just went down our BookMooch list looking for popular books and bought several for her. I ended up buying 6 hardbacks (our favorite for books we really love), one of which was really a set of 5 books (The Spiderwick Chronicles) in an external case.

Tonight after we go out to dinner we'll be heading to the theatre to see the Nightmare Before Christmas in 3D. Woohoo!

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Zero Bandwidth
Afternoon watch, 1 bell (12:41 pm)

I had a problem last night with a remote site, my T1 there went offline at the end of the day. I called XO's support to find out if there was an outage or something. Nothing.

I got a ticket created and they started working on it. I spoke to the tech several times on the phone between 6pm and 10. Around 10pm he called me one final time to tell me that he found out that the T1 circuit was down because they ordered it to be canceled. WTF??

They said it was because we upgraded it to 10Mb fiber.

That's what we did at our main office, but not at the address where the T1 is that was shut down! I have no idea how this happened, other than just plain old human error. I got a lot of apologetic phone calls this morning, but apparently disconnecting a T1 is a very simple process, but reconnecting it is going to take two days! (Okay, two days is exaggerating, it came up at 1:45 today).

I was very clear with them on the phone, and they acknowledged it, about which T1 was to be taken down. Heck, they could have looped the circuit or whatever it is they do and seen that the router is offline—that's the one to take down: the one that hasn't had even a kilobyte of traffic on it for weeks. Instead, they took down the T1 that was up, running, and transmitting data 24/7. A simple, cursory examination of our account and data T1's (we only have two, one at each location) would have been sufficient for any normal thinking homosapien to recognize and do the right thing. Apparently the cromagnons in Verizon's facilities don't have enough higher-order brain activity to notice problems like this.

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WordPress Plugin for Google Analytics
Posted in Code
Forenoon watch, 7 bells (11:42 am)

The WordPress plugin for Google Analytics by Rich Boakes works great except for one small part: it rewrites a link under comment_author_link and doesn't add a space between elements in the a tag, which causes a validation problem with XHTML.

It's simple to add a space on the proper line (272 in v0.68), but I created a diff file you can use to patch it. Hopefully the author updates the file and nobody else has to deal with this problem.

Get the diff file, copy it into your plugins directory where the googleanalytics.php file is, then run the following command:

patch -p1 < googleanalytics.diff

If this is too confusing for you, or you use Windows, change the line (272) from:

return $matches[1] . "\"" . $matches[2] . "\"" . $coolBit . $matches[3];


return $matches[1] . "\"" . $matches[2] . "\" " . $coolBit . $matches[3];
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Free Stuff
Posted in General
First dog watch, 2 bells (5:06 pm)

I got two free things today: a flu shot (hey, it was free) and a battery for my 2 year old Motorola Razr.

Free good. Not free bad.

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Homemade Candy Bars
Posted in Recipes
Forenoon watch, 3 bells (9:44 am)

I ran across a site that describes how to make your own candy bars:
Almond Jay
and my favorite, Peanut Butta Cups.


Happy Birthday, Mom!
Posted in Warm and Fuzzy
Last dog watch, 8 bells (8:03 pm)

Today's is my mom's birthday. I'm glad I didn't forget.

Happy birthday, mom!

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Posted in General
Last dog watch, 8 bells (8:06 pm)

I downloaded an album from Amazon's new mp3 download service by Chumbawamba. I'd heard a couple of songs from it and was quite surprised at how good they sounded. Like most people, my only exposure to them was their Tubthumping (I get knocked down, but I get up again; repeat ad nauseum) song. The album is called A Singsong and a Scrap, and I have to say I really enjoy listening to it. Quite unexpected, but a nice find. And here I thought they were a one-hit wonder…

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New Feature
Posted in Advice
First dog watch, 3 bells (5:30 pm)

I added Gravatars a couple minutes ago. It was real easy. If you have one, it will show up when you leave a comment. If you don't have one, you should register your Gravatar today.

For those of you more technically minded, a md5 sum of your email address is used to generate a request for an image to Gravatar's server. You register a picture with your email address on their server and it can be used globally. At least as globally as Gravatar is used, anyway. It's a neat idea, really.

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Old Cow Orkers
Posted in Warm and Fuzzy
Afternoon watch, 6 bells (3:10 pm)

I ran in to an old cow orker of mine from way back—more than ten years ago, before I was even working for the company I work for now…for.

Ronda and I used to work at a movie theatre back in the old days. She's now some kind of nurse at the hospital. My brother Jared and his wife have seen her several times, she helped deliver their last baby.

They never told me, though, so it was a pleasant surprise. It's always nice to run in to someone like that.

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Bubblehead Bob
Posted in General
Morning watch, 6 bells (7:14 am)

Well grandpa Bob is doing okay despite his nasty fall last night. He was helping my father-in-law with his roof even though everyone kept telling him to stay off (he is 80 years old, after all!). Apparently he slipped and broke a rib on one of the beams. This rib then ruptured his spleen, which caused him some internal nastiness.

Last night they had to operate and remove his spleen. The operation was quick and uneventful, and he was in recovery when we went back to the hospital and checked on him. They are keeping him there for the next couple of days to keep an eye on him (he's on a lot of heart and blood pressure medication). He was doing real good when we checked on him, though. The doctor even said he might not stay the night in ICU even though he originally thought he would be.

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