Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas BBQ

This was actually my second plate. Actually, it was my daughters plate. She had taken too much beef, so I put on some more potatoes, and slaw and had that for seconds. We were so full, my dinner, at 7 PM, was an apple and a roll.
I really wasn't hungry for breakfast either......

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Beef - It's whats for Christmas

We often have family over for Christmas. We eat a noonish time meal. For about five years, we'd get a honey baked ham. But then I noticed that we had about three members, who refused to eat it. One, even turned down honey baked ham, in favor of State Fair corny dogs. Three years back, we had one guest eating corny dogs and fries, one eating fish sticks and one is a vegetarian. My dad, also must avoid salt and honey ham has a lot in it. On top of that, where my wife used to get the ham, the smallest ham they sold, was something like eight pounds. I ate ham for a week and finally threw the rest away. $60 ham and about one-third of our guest, wouldn't/couldn't eat it.
So last year, I decided to just pick up BBQ. And not just any BBQ.
They opened in 1958. The year I was born and probably about the year my dad found out about them. He was a USAF fighter pilot and they used to actually divert into Carswell AFB in Fort Worth, land, grab a staff car, drive over to Angelo's and eat. Then, proceed on to Dallas to visit his parents. I remember eating in Angelo's in about 1964. They used to keep sawdust on the floor. It absorbed the juice and grease. They fought with the health department for years, until they finally had to ditch the saw dust. They have expanded the place a few times, but it is still great food, and interesting vibe in the place, and some of the coldest beer in town. Ice floating off the glasses cold.
So, last year, I decided to get four pounds of sliced beef. The two visiting college kids still wanted corny dogs, fish sticks and fries. We told their mom to fix it. Basically, I got tired of running a restaurant on Christmas for people who were pretty much unpleaseable.
The best part of it, is I drive over on Christmas eve, eat a half-plate of sliced beef, pick up the take out and head home. I get some great BBQ, two days in a row. This year, the wife decided that their cole slaw is some of the best she has ever had, so we got some of that also.
When a friend and I head into Fort Worth for the big All Ford Show, we time it to have BBQ at Angelo's.
That photo at the top, was taken on Christmas eve, at about 11:15 in the morning. 15 minutes after they had opened. I'm in the bigger of their two parking lots. The front lot was full and two rows in the bigger lot. About half the people were eating and the other half were picking up meat for the next day. I did both. Jason, grandson of the founder, sliced my beef for me.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Festivus - For the rest of us.

December 23rd

The 5 parts of Festivus:

Festivus Pole

Festivus Dinner

Airing of Grievances

Feats of Strength

Festivus Miracles

I wish everyone a very happy Festivus.

Monday, December 22, 2008

our PC's new best friend

Our vintage HP desktop is about on it's final boot up. We bought it about 2000, maybe 2001. I think the C drive is about to die. That won't be good, as the C drive is all the applications. There is a separate D drive, with all the data. So about two weeks back I call up to Dell and buy a new Inspiron 530. I spent this past weekend, installing our few programs onto the new computer. I attempted to remove the old D drive, but it isn't compatible with the new hardware! I talked over some options with a friend of mine who does desktop support for a living. He thought there was probably some wire connections to install the vintage D drive, into the new computer.

I decided to use a service that we were already paying for. Carbonite. I'd signed us up about a year back. What it does, is back up the files and folders to the Carbonite off site storage. So once I got the software installed, I hooked up the new PC to the Internet. I downloaded more programs and fixes and patches. Then, I went to the Carbonite site and logged on. I then told it "this is now my machine". Carbonite then walked me through the steps to recover all our data from their back up site! I didn't choose the "do it all" option, as I wanted to control which files were downloaded and where they were placed. Mainly because I knew it would run a while and the D drive, didn't exist on the new VISTA machine. Saturday I did all the small files and folders. Saturday evening, I let it do all our documents. Saturday night, I let it do our photos. It was done when I got up Sunday morning. Sunday evening, I let it do our largest file, the My Music. Something over 13 GB. It was done when I got up this morning.

I've only got a few new issues to deal with.
1) figuring out how to get the new printer shared, so our work laptops can print at home.
2) I messed around with a file after I recovered it. I can't see it now, but the computer knows it is there someplace..... When I try to copy it back off my flash-drive, the new PC informs me that it already exist and do I want to over lay it.
3) ITunes. About 113 songs were "protected" on the old machine. The new Itunes didn't want to "convert" those. I've done some searching and have a few tips to try and get those songs into the new machine. Worse case sounds like "burn them to a CD on the old machine, and then slam them into the new one".

Anyway, Carbonite worked just great and copied all our data down. Get Carbonite on your desktop.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Get into that Christmas mood!!!

Well, not really.  Have a listen, at your own risk.  This has been around in cyber-space for years. The lip-sync version....

Monday, December 15, 2008

Another lost weekend

Working in data processing, you occasionally have lost periods of time. Nights, weekends, entire days. This past weekend was one of those. The company I contract at, one of the largest snack food producers in the world, schedule to test their computer systems disaster recovery. Usually, they start those test in November, and on a Tuesday through a Thursday. My job usually starts about 1o to 15 hours into it. Which means I usually pull an all night shift at IBM's disaster recovery site. Thankfully, it isn't too far from where we live. This year, the schedule started at noon on a Friday! And went 56 hours. Let's do the math. Yes, completing at 8 PM Sunday night. I lucked out a bit this year. My supervisor volunteered for the night shift! He reported about 9 PM Friday night. I attempted to relive him at 8 AM Saturday morning. Except he was so far along, he said he'd stay and together we'd be done by noon. That suited me, as our fourteen year old's birthday party was that afternoon. Since we were done so early, that shortened up my 8 AM to 8 PM shift and eliminated his 8 PM to 8 AM shift. Trouble was, all the other systems were not going to complete until about 5 AM Sunday morning. Translation: Thanks for doing all this, we will start checking it out tomorrow!

There was on NTOA meet Saturday, which I'd bowed out of.
I was asked to play drums for church on Sunday, but had bowed out due to the scheduled work.
That was a good thing, as my cell phone started going off on the way home from 9 AM church. I would work 10 minutes to fix a problem, or an hour. Then go try and do some leaf raking or some other weekend chore. The cell phone would go off again and I'd go back to fixing the next problem. The fun part, was they give us all-powerfull logon ID's. So we can do most anything we want. IBM also allows us to remotely connect. At least we didn't have to go back in. The bad part of that, is that while you are connected to IBM, you can't be connected to much of anything else. I'd get a call, they tell me they were sending an email or IM. You had to be "on work" connection. Then, disconnect, reconnect to IBM. Evaluate and solve the problem. Log back off, back on, call back, email back. ETC.

On TOP of all that, due to that I also support the payroll system, I had to work on an emergency-for-year-end-or-2007-taxes-are-toast project!

Short story, about 20 hours work over the Saturday and Sunday.
My cell phone, had a fully charged battery on Sunday morning. By 7 PM, it was flashing "low batt" at me.

But I still managed to be at daughters birthday and also rake up 11 bags of leaves.

Friday, December 12, 2008

That’s a relief

Our oldest daughter is a fantastic artist. She is also way, way smart. Twenty-fifth in her class of something like seven hundred students. One of those kids with a 4.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale. She was interested in college at Southern Methodist University (SMU) and University of North Texas (UNT). UNT seems to have won out. She applied and was accepted this past Tuesday. She plans on studying graphic/commercial/marketing type art.

Yesterday afternoon, wife and I planned on trying to get our three mile walk in, from 4:45 to 5:45. I had to do some work for work, at 6 PM. Wife ran a bit late in getting home, so I’d done most of the mail and had gotten my walking clothes on before she got home. We get so much mail from colleges right now, I don’t bother to open it. I just lay it on the daughters bed or leave on ours. So while waiting for wife to get her walking clothes on, I headed out to my shop to drop off some tools that I’d had inside the house. As I go to exit my shop, I start hearing a bunch of screaming and yelling, and my name is included. I figured someone was injured badly. No, one of those letters from UNT, was a scholarship!!! Daughter just got handed about 70 percent of her four year degree, paid for!

I need to get with our financial advisor next week. We might have enough saved up to put her all the way through school.

While sitting and discussing college, we also totaled up her college hours she has completed or tested out of by taking Advanced Placement courses. Seems she has 21 hours of college credit done and she is still a senior in high school!

Look out world. She is a quiet, unassuming, WORLD BEATER!

Her middle school sister, upon hearing the amount, commented “Cool. We can go shopping with that!!!”
Priorities. It’s usually about Priorities!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

What if? Starting to get into that Christmas spirit.

Elvis and Led Zeppelin collided with a reggie band?  Yes, Dread Zeppelin

Pretty neat when Plant digs on it

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What message did you send there mom?

This past Monday night, our middle school daughter was involved in a choir show. The program was sponsored by our middle school, but two of the elementary schools were there, plus another middle school and even the high school boy’s choir. What they showed, was how the elementary music program fed into the middle schools and eventually into the high school. Our middle school opened, and then all the other schools took turns. This happened at the high school auditorium and almost every seat was taken. About 800 people came to hear the kids and support the schools. My parents even came down to hear their granddaughter’s choir. I saved them seats.

Next to my mom, sat a lady who got there early, like we all did. She pulled out some knitting to occupy herself. We assumed that she would stop her frantic knitting when the program began. Nope! She kept right on knitting during the entire first half of the program. Never stopped knitting, never clapped for the kids. Bumping her elbow into my poor mother, who was trying to watch and listen to the choirs. Next to this woman, sat what I assumed were her parents. They did the exact same thing, but no knitting. They sat and whispered back and forth. They didn’t seem to pay any attention to the program, never clapped.

Intermission came and my mom decided to try and move down towards the front and away from the knitting machine. By then, one of the elementary school had finished and people had started to leave, so some seats were available. I was glad that the people had waited for the intermission to head home. During the intermission, the knitter put up her knitting and engaged in conversation with her parents.

The second half of the program opened with another elementary school. It seems that her kid must have been in that choir, as she attentively listened and clapped wildly when they finished. As that school exited the stage, the high school men’s choir came out for their last two numbers. During this, the knitter picked up her bag of knitting and she and her parents exited. DURING the show! “Excuse me…pardon…, sorry to block your view, sorry to bang into your knee…..”

What was sad is to see the progression. Her parents didn’t knit, but they also didn’t clap for any of the choirs but their own. The mom did the same. AND, she had another child with her, who has now learned that you only show up for the part of the program that you are interested in, you don’t pay any attention to the other parts of the show, and you bolt for the door as fast as you can. You also don’t be aware of how your actions are affecting the people around you. No, it’s all about you…..and your knitting.

We’d wished they had just stayed home.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Twelve days of Christmas - from 1998 and Indiana U's, Straight No Chaser group.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I'm dead....

I work in data processing. We are on call all the time. Last night, we got to bed around 11:30 PM. The phone rang at 1:35 AM. Operations had an analyst needing database help from me. Except she is from India. I caught about every third word. She told me she was "Quaker". So I logged onto the Quaker Oats systems. No job could be found. I kept repeating the name of the job. Finally, the operator told me it was on Frito Lay and NOT Quaker! I finally got it fixed and was back in bed at 2:45 AM. At 3:35 AM, shes back on the line with a similar problem. Except she has no idea that Frito is so massive, that they have two production systems. Again, the kind operator pointed me to the correct system. Back in bed at 4 AM. Alarm goes off at 6:01 AM. I hit snooze twice, but then was too awake so just went on in. My boss shooed me home during a 2 PM phone conference, but then I didn't nap!
At 4 PM, I headed out and walked 4 miles. With a North Texas cold front moving in, the wind was gusting to 25 MPH and the temp dropped quick! But it was still better than trucking out at 8 PM! Which is my normal time to walk.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Next stop, easy street

I eat Pop Tarts. But not for breakfast, for a desert with my at-my-desk lunch at work. I get the Low-Fat Frosted Cinnamon ones. I also keep them in the refrigerator. They are great hot and cold, but not so great at room temperature. So, at work last week, I open up my packet and take a bite and something is very different! Seems they have strawberry filling in this box full! Notice in the photo, the pink filling? It is supposed to be brown.

I was totally traumatized. I've had trouble sleeping. I've become very nervous about this.

I plan to sue. I've sent an email to John Edwards. He made zillions as a trial lawyer and probably needs some cash about now.

Unfortunately, all I have left is this photo. I ate the evidence.