October 31, 2003

Ikea Serendipity

This was going to be a post about how good Ikea meatballs are. And how lucky I am that someone pointed out a coupon for free meatballs from Ikea for the month of October. I was afraid the coupon was too good to be true so, idiot that I am, I didn't bother going to check it out until yesterday. Ikea meatballs are still tasty, and the coupon does work. Quick, today's the last day and the cafeteria closes at 8PM!

But something so great happened yesterday, that it warrants a great big "Lucky chance!" (or "raki chansu").

I happened to stop by the scraps section to check things out even though last time it was full of overpriced crap. Stumbled onto a pile of good stuff that wasn't tagged, yet. Two tabletops and five 2'x2' real wood boards in excellent shape. I was stoked. I've been wanting to build a new desk and a new coffee table, and seeing real wood in Ikea warehouse of particle board nearly brought a tear to my eye. We asked a guy how much the pieces were and he said $9 each for the table tops and $3 each for the little boards. $9 sounded fair for the table tops, but $3 sounded a little steep for such a small piece.

I debated. In the time it took for me to decide, the guy that gave us the quote went to do something else and I asked a different guy to put prices on the stuff. I was going to take it all and I was expecting to pay $33. The guy priced the little boards at $1 each and the tabletops at $10 each. Overall savings of $7. Word. The first guy came back and saw the prices, but all he did was joke around with the other guy about the different quotes and he didn't raise a stink.

Going into the checkout line, I'm feeling pretty good about the $7 I just saved so I don't mind when a lady with a kid cuts in front of me. I look around and there's another line that is open so I go there. The lady's ringing the stuff up and points to the tabletops saying, "these are $10 each, right?" I confirm, notice a $2 show on the cash register display and decide to check out the receipt later. In fact, she must have rung up the pieces as $1 instead of $10 by accident. That makes $25 savings and $7 spent on two tabletops and five 2'x2' boards (the guy said they're hardwood).

Let's summarize the lucky coincidences:

  • went to Ikea because of impending expiration of meatball coupon
  • checked out scrap section even though it was crap last time
  • found good, untagged pieces
  • indecision led to the pieces being priced by a nicer guy who lowered the price on one kind from $3 to $1, and raised the other from $9 to $10 (wait, that's lucky? read on...)
  • had a lady cut in front of me and ended up in this particular lady's line
  • lady rang up $1 instead of $10 (see? if it had stayed $9, she prolly wouldn't have mis-typed)

Will post pics of the finished stuff when I'm done. Coffee table should be done pretty soon.

Posted by kstroke at 03:35 PM | Comments (19)

October 29, 2003

Windows 2000/NT Tab Completion

Summary: Registry (regedt32.exe) -> HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/Command Processor/CompletionChar = 9

Tab completion is key when you're a directory freak like me. Original MS article.

Posted by kstroke at 06:07 PM | Comments (16)

October 28, 2003

I Love Arby's

Heaven = an Arby's roast beef sandwich with 3 packets of Arby's sauce. And some curly fries. I'm so glad we live close to an Arby's. There aren't many around. The local grocery stores have Arby's coupons on the back of reciepts. Buy a meal, get a sandwich free. I got two of those on either end of one receipt today. It's obscene how giddy that made me. I even picked up someone else's discarded receipt in the parking lot. The fact that it had been driven over didn't bother me b/c there was another Arby's coupon looking up at me. I had forgot to get mustard so when I went back in I knew the receipt was going to be short and I probably wouldn't get another coupon, but I did. Four coupons in one grocery trip. What a great afternoon.

Posted by kstroke at 05:58 PM | Comments (25)

TV

I like TV. Even though 95% of the time there's nothing on but the most inane shows you can imagine, that last 5% is compelling enough to make me keep watching new shows in search of the next thing I can get into. Inevitably, even my favorite shows get boring and fall out of my favor until some time when I don't remember the formulas - Alias, Scrubs, Friends, etc. Here's what I'm watching now. I'll probably make this a permanent section on the site at some point.

Nip/Tuck (FX) - Wow. I was afriad it was going to be stupid like Breast Men (a bad HBO movie starring David Schwimmer about plastic surgeons in the early days of breast implants), but it's not - it's sooo good. Graphic scenes of surgery and sex (for basic cable, at least) and great material. Taboo* subject material brought to the fore (transgender, teen sex, three ways, child molestation victims) and given serious treatment. The graphic content works well the make the material real. Sure, the graphic nature is appealing on its own (especially to guys like me), but it's the mix of the content and it's presentation that kept me watching all the episodes that my Replay recorded during the recent marathon.

Speaking of which, monkey (my Replay's name is monkey), I know you can't hear me, but you piss me off when you get the schedule wrong and start recording late or cut off the end of shows (that's really bad). Cutting off the last bit of the season finale of Nip/Tuck so that I couldn't see what happened to Escobar almost made me very angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry. Good thing Al Gore invented the internet. Though even that almost didn't help. Billions and billions of pages, and only 3 said what happened in the finale.

*taboo meaning it'd never show in network programming unless as a vapid joke or an overly dramatic made-for-tv movie

7 Days (SpikeTV) - Surprise hit, in my book. I ignore most of what shows up in the Spike bar of monkey's channel guide - a philisophical decision*. In a desperate moment after days of searching for something good on in the middle of the day, I turned to Seven Days and now I'm hooked. It's about an NSA group that uses Roswell alien technology to go back in time to undo catastrophic events. It's got a little bit of sci-fi, a good bit of military action, and also a good measure of comedy via diamond-in-the-rough main character Frank Parker. There's a lot of things to work with and different episodes focus on different aspects. Some focus on sci-fi themes like parallel universes, and some focus on military themes like going back to give a spec-ops team updated intel to keep from screwing up.

*"The first network for men." How preposterous. I'm no TV historian, but my guess is something like The Playboy Channel or Spice owns that title. Even assuming that the subtext is "that you don't have to pretend you didn't order when your mom comes over and turns on the tv and it's tuned to us", TBS has a better claim. I remeber as a little kid thinking that TBS was always showing some Clint Eastwood or Death Wish or Rambo or Rocky flick. Always. But it doesn't show much in the way of skin. Ever, I think. FX could be considered a network for men. It's got shows with action, sci-fi, and loads of skin (at least in Nip/Tuck).

Good Eats (FoodTV) - Greatest show ever. It's going to get a special section or at least a permanent link on this site somewhere. Sure, I think shows like West Wing, X-Files, Alias, Scrubs, and Friends were really good shows, but they were all about being competent in producing shows around proven themes. It's like being told to make a meal out of some pasta, cheese, cream, and some spices. The creators of those shows made some really tasty mac and cheese and pasta alfredo. Alton Brown saw the same materials and built a space ship.

Imagine you're given the task of making a cooking show. How do you make a cooking show? How can you make the show appealing? On what aspect of meal preparation would you focus? If you're the Cajun Chef (thanks for the link, Toni!), you walk through a recipe for a dish or two (we'll call this format a "regular cooking show"), have the catch phrases "ah garontee" and "oooh, wee" (used when tasting), have a cajun accent, drink a lot of wine, and focus on cajun food. If you're Emeril Lagasse, you copy the cajun chef's show almost exactly, but you change the catch phrases to "kick it up a notch" and "bam" and move its usage from tasting to seasoning. And yell a lot. Wolfgang Puck came up with a regular cooking show with an Austrian accent. Rachael Ray came up with a regular cooking show, reality style. Everything done in real time, 30 minutes start to finish. Watching a regular cooking show means watching a lot of water boil, things fry, and stuff chopped. The only thing they offer over a recipe card is a visual presentation of the methods for those who aren't familiar with cooking lingo. Once you get familiar with that, you'd save a lot of time by sticking to recipe cards.

Alton Brown came up with the idea of making a cooking Show. That's show with a big "s"... and bold. What an amazing way of breaking down the question "How do you make a cooking show?" Instead of immediately jumping to "What can this cooking show focus on? (i.e. italian, quick preparation, elegant)", he asked "What is a show?". A show is a package of entertainment. For Good Eats, it's a package that's funny, lively, and educational. And it just happens to be about food. It's like the Simpsons (parodies of other shows, cultural icons are everywhere) mashed in with Bill Nye**. It's all sciency. It tells you why things happen and why certain processes/techniques are used and when they're important or just tradition and can be tossed out. Recipe cards would be hard pressed to serve as a substitute for this show.

**I liked his show and all, but it really is just Mr. Wizard's World with an MTV-idolizing production team. Mad props to Mr. Wizard. That link is a random one I found off a search. It seems like an official Mr. Wizard site, but an nslookup on the ip doesn't reveal anything so it's hard to tell if it's real or not. Can't seem to find Don Herbert's email (Mr. Wizard's secret identity, shh). I think he's still alive. If you know how I can send him a message lemme know. I'd really like to thank him for being an inspiration.

Martha Stewart Living (CBS), From Martha's Kitchen (FoodTV) - Martha's scary. Most of the recipes and craft ideas are ones I'm not interested in (but I'm not her target audience so that's ok), but there's the occassional gem. I'm big into doing/making things myself and segments on practical crafts go a long way with me*. Like the stuff the Shakers made. Yeah, the Shakers really ruled. I think they deserve more attention than they get. Their ingenuity makes me think of them as a community version of Thomas Edison.

*How come there isn't a good show dedicated to that? Another thing to add to my todo list...

Posted by kstroke at 01:42 PM | Comments (28)

October 25, 2003

Mad Modelling Skillz

Head on over to Cody's Coop to see some crazy modelling and painting skills. He is great at putting together, painting, and modifying models.

http://www.codyscoop.com/gk.shtml

Posted by kstroke at 11:10 PM | Comments (25)

October 22, 2003

Acrobat Update Makes Outlook Barf

Adobe Acrobat did its automatic check for updates thing. I installed. Then Outlook kept barfing up a "Compile error in hidden module: Autoexec" whenever I closed it. Supposedly this'll also make other Office programs like Word throw the same error.

Solution: Cut PDFMaker.dot from "c:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office10\Startup" and paste it into "My Documents". Word.

Update: Problems later found in Excel, too. Stupid incomplete article. Different article. Also move PDFMaker.xla from "c:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office10\XLStart" to "My Documents".

Posted by kstroke at 06:10 PM | Comments (113)

October 21, 2003

Funny Commercial

Wallace and Gromit rule in this Japanese commercial for a packaged pudding.

Posted by kstroke at 01:11 PM | Comments (22)

From Windows to Linux

Just figured out how to get files off a Windows 2000 box from a Linux box using Samba. Mount the directory using:
smbmount //server/share /mount-point -o username=foo,password=bar

If you get an error saying "smbmnt must be installed suid root for direct user mounts", superuser in, then run:
chmod u+s /usr/bin/smbmnt
or tack a 4 in front of the existing permissions like:
chmod 4755 /usr/bin/smbmnt
(this assumes smbmnt is in /usr/bin/smbmnt. if it's not there, run which smbmnt to find the directory)

Unmount with:
smbumount /mount-point
(permissions must be modified similarly to smbmount)

Posted by kstroke at 11:14 AM | Comments (23)

October 17, 2003

Replay Download

Rockin' Python based downloading tool for your ReplayTV. I've used it successfully on both my Windows and Linux boxes. Since downloading is all I want, makes more sense to me to use this than to use DVArchive (Java tool that allows you to do more, but it's not all in a cool little 52k file.)

http://www.flyingbuttmonkeys.com/replay/

Posted by kstroke at 05:23 PM | Comments (26)

October 16, 2003

Silicone Molds

Used the instructions from the TAP brochure for silicone mold making. For the cup that the mixed silicone drips from, try punching a half inch round hole. Tried half inch high thin rectangle (from knifing in and twisting a little), and the silicone would not come out fast enough. The thin stream seemed fine to me at first, but the TAP quick cure silicone (blue) was thickening and not coming out very well a third of the way through.

The slow cure silicone (green) should stay less viscous while pouring.

Be very mindful to have the stream drip into a corner. No air bubbles showed up in the mold where this process was followed (probably also because the mold was made when silicone was least viscous). Few small bubbles showed up when a few drips fell directly on mold but in a thin stream. Many big and little bubbles showed up when leftover thickening silicone was poured onto last mold.

Posted by kstroke at 09:56 PM | Comments (23)

October 15, 2003

On Moderating

Interesting site about moderating online communities. Looks like it started not too long ago. Deserves a more in-depth look later.

Posted by kstroke at 05:24 PM | Comments (26)

Ikea Meatballs

I really like Ikea's meatballs. If you can get to the Emeryville or Palo Alto Ikea before the end of October, use this for a free meatball plate. Thanks to Sprout.

Posted by kstroke at 05:10 PM | Comments (22)

It Lives!

My cast iron skillet was as good as dead. A bunch of gunk was stuck to it from the last time I cooked. I tried cleaning it using the salt and oil method Alton Brown recommends, but the gunk just would not come off. So I put it in a plastic bag and waited for my conscience to quit screaming that it was a waste to throw the skillet away.

Fast forward a few months, my conscience convinces me to give it one more go before tossing it, and magically almost all the stuck crud comes right off! Moral of the story - cast iron rocks.

Posted by kstroke at 04:30 PM | Comments (22)

English Tutorial for Japanese Speakers

Ha, ha! So funny. If they put up some more lessons, I'll move this over to Links.

Posted by kstroke at 04:17 PM | Comments (25)

October 14, 2003

Copper

Really well drawn. Sometimes funny, sometimes more serious. Updated monthly.

http://www.boltcity.net/copper_home.htm

Posted by kstroke at 10:20 PM | Comments (25)

October 13, 2003

Garden Patch Fence

To keep out the pooping cats and the sprout-eating squirrels: picture coming soon.

They could jump over it, but I'm betting that they'll just find an easier bathroom to use.

  • 1.3 hours
  • $0 in materials (hardware cloth leftover from chinnie cage project, wood leftover from makeshift shoe shelves)
  • $0 tools (already had a saw, wire snips, and a staple gun).
The posts are in about two inches in the dirt, and a couple of really motivated ants could probably knock each one down, but the hardware cloth gives a good bit of support. I'm confident this can withstand the occasional gardener, poopy cats, and hungry ninja squirrels.

Posted by kstroke at 07:07 PM | Comments (22)

Poker Stories

This American Life produced an interesting piece in 2001. Look under "Meet the Pros" and fast forward to about 21 minutes into the program. Ira also wrote a little extra something (the link there was broken but not impossible to guess) and there's also a link to an article by James McManus.

Posted by kstroke at 03:11 PM | Comments (26)

October 09, 2003

Food TV

The first place I usually go to look up recipes. It even has videos on how to do some things that recipes say to do that you might not know off-hand.

http://www.foodtv.com/

Posted by kstroke at 08:00 PM | Comments (22)

October 08, 2003

Cinema Saver 10

Cheap second run movie theatre in Milpitas, CA. $1.50/ticket on Tuesdays, $3.50/ticket all other days.

http://www.cineluxtheatres.com/theatres/cinemasaver10.html

Posted by kstroke at 11:17 AM | Comments (26)

Sony DVD C:13:00

My Sony dvd player showed this error yesterday and wouldn't play a particular dvd though it had no problems playing other dvds. Looked around and a lot of people were saying stuff about switching around components on the dvd player's circuit board. Since I didn't like that answer, I stuck my fingers in my ears saying, "nyah nyah nyah" and kept looking until I found an answer I liked. I did, and it worked.

Get a laser lens cleaner and let it work its magic.

Posted by kstroke at 10:58 AM | Comments (33)

October 07, 2003

Pride and Predjudice

The BBC production of Pride and Predjudice is great entertainment! Very well done. The costumes, settings, casting, and acting are all fantastic. I remember hating the book in high school. I thought it was an annoying piece of soap opera drivel, but the mini-series is really good.

Might even go back and read the book to see if I gave it a bum rap back when I was an ignorant child.

Posted by kstroke at 01:39 AM | Comments (26)

Scary Go Round

Funny British comic. Really quite funny.

http://www.scarygoround.com/

Posted by kstroke at 01:23 AM | Comments (25)

little gamers

Crass humor. Not for kiddies though it's drawn like it.

http://www.little-gamers.com/

Posted by kstroke at 01:13 AM | Comments (27)

Wigu

Weird. Funny. Sometimes more one that the other. I've read up through part of day four.

http://www.wigu.com/

Posted by kstroke at 01:01 AM | Comments (44)

Real Life

Good for a grin. Sometimes even a chuckle. Definitely worth a daily read.

http://www.reallifecomics.com/

Posted by kstroke at 12:50 AM | Comments (26)

Megatokyo

American Manga. Well drawn. First hundred or so are pretty good. The pacing has gotten pretty slow lately so I usually wait a while and read a couple of months worth in one go.

http://www.megatokyo.com/

Posted by kstroke at 12:47 AM | Comments (25)

PvP Online

Funnies. Family friendly. About a game review publishing company. Mostly not about games, though.

http://www.pvponline.com/

Posted by kstroke at 12:43 AM | Comments (24)

October 06, 2003

Penny Arcade

Hilarious. Largely revolves around gaming. Occasionally violent and crude. Always on point.

http://www.penny-arcade.com/

Posted by kstroke at 09:34 PM | Comments (22)

not martha

Cool crafts, useful soap links, and great name. She's also at Sew Wrong, another hilarious name.

http://megan.scatterbrain.org/notmartha/index.html

Posted by kstroke at 08:47 PM | Comments (43)

MovableType :: Entry If Comments

Stepan Riha has also created a most useful MT plugin. Directly available here. This plugin allows you to condition action based on the number of comments for an entry. It doesn't make as much sense as it could to say "1 comments".

Posted by kstroke at 04:45 PM | Comments (54)

MovableType :: If Empty Tags

Brad Choate has created a most useful MT plugin. The MTIfEmpty and MTIfNotEmpty tags allow for some programmatic control in template files using only MT-style tags.

Go to the discussion topic for details on how to use it. Some things aren't entirely apparent after reading only the readme.txt.

Posted by kstroke at 04:15 PM | Comments (59)

October 05, 2003

ljcblog

Funny. Great crafts ideas. Cute bunny.

http://www.ljcfyi.com/

Posted by kstroke at 11:31 PM | Comments (44)

October 04, 2003

School of Rock Rules!

If you're a fan of Jack Black, you'll enjoy this movie. Between the trailers and the music video, there are no surprises in the movie, but it's fun and entertaining and it plays it easy on the cheezy.

Posted by kstroke at 01:02 AM | Comments (43)

October 03, 2003

IE .hack

Getting back into the HTML saddle. Been messing around with CSS today. Man, it's come a long way since 1997. Apparently, Internet Explorer doesn't support 1px dotted borders. That took a little bit of messing around with to figure out. IE displays them as dashes instead. 2px dots, are rendered as dots, but they just don't seem right in the head.

One description and viable solution can be found at kalsey consulting group.

If you're looking at this site in IE, and it looks like everything's in dots rather than dashes, then I've probably taken their advice.

Posted by kstroke at 01:01 PM | Comments (40)