Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Eric Snider's Blackjack

I finally finished my Blackjack game for Palm OS devices. It's the best looking Sniderware game yet. Karen Paluska did all the artwork except for the cards and the casino shoe (That weird thing that holds the cards).

Anyway, if you want Jonah to go to college then please buy a couple copies. :-) If you're not sure yet then download the free 7-day trial. It's fun. You'll see.

Other Sniderware Games

On the off chance you haven't already played the other Sniderware games...

Eric Snider's Solitaire - 10 games, lots of backgrounds and you can even throw the cards!

Eric Snider's Video Poker - Your choice of Jacks or Better and Deuces Wild. Detailed statistics, cool animation and more.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Back from Jolly (Merry?) old(e) England

It's 2:29pm. We're in an MLM (Multi-level marketing?) shuttle van going to San Jose from SFO airport.

We found the van at 2:15pm and waited for more passengers. :-) The good news is that the driver says the tire with a leak will probably make it to San Jose where we live. A college kid pointed out the leak.

2:44 dropped off first passengers. 2 more and then us.

4:18pm OK, we're home. We got here at 3:45pm. There are diapers out front and mail. The diapers were supposedly on hold. Nice. The newspaper and the vegetable delivery were both held successfully though. So 2 out of 3 is pretty good. I can type now instead of using graffiti on my Palm OS device. Jonah is very sleepy but hasn't gone to sleep yet. I guess the cats are glad we're home. But I can't say they were excited.

Also. Jonah officially says his first word now. "Agua" Kind of like "Ahhhhwaaaah". He's going to speak Spanish with a Peruvian accent!

I better see what Kelly and Jonah are doing so they'll keep loving me!

OK, everything is good. I went out to get groceries so we won't starve. And especially so there's milk for Jonah.

I'm gonna go watch TV and program. I've gotta add 5-way keypad control to Blackjack for Palm OS so people can play on their Treo cell phones without using a stylus.

p.s. We stayed with Dan & Allison (& Alex & Emily) at their house and it was great!

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

I made a Dutch baby. Literally.

So there's a type of pancake called a "Dutch Baby." Look, I don't know why it's called that. It's got nothing to do with babies. Apparently the Dutch brought the recipe to America, but American pancake chefs weren't keen about the competition. So there was a law where serving or making foreign pancakes became illegal. Just like prohibition. So you'd go to a pancake speakeasy and order what was referred to as a "Dutch Baby." That way anyone listening wouldn't know you were ordering a foreign pancake.

Anyway, I've been making nearly every kind of pancake described in Joy of Cooking in the past couple months. Most of 'em are really good. (Cottage cheese pancakes are our favorite, but they're not as fast to make as this one.) By the way if you don't have Joy of Cooking it's awesome. It covers everything you'd want to know about cooking in detail. Say you want to make a cake, or cook an artichoke, or skin a squirrel. It's all in there. (Note: The squirrel skinnin' directions, with illustrations, are only in the older versions).

I've made this so many times I've memorized the recipe. It's easy. Here's how you can make a Dutch Baby too...


  • 1/2 Cup Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Milk
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar
  • 2 Eggs (room temperature)
  • 4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter (1/2 a stick) DO NOT USE BUTTER THAT HAS SALT IN IT It'll be SUPER salty tasting. Also. Feel free to use less butter. I've been making these with 2 Tablespoons of UNSALTED butter and that works great.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix the flour, milk, sugar and eggs together with a whisk in a medium-sized bowl until smooth. Melt the butter in an iron skillet over medium heat. Tilt the pan so the butter coats the bottom and sides. Pour the batter into the pan and cook for 1 minute. Then bake for 12-15 minutes until the top is golden brown.

It's surprising how much it gains in volume once it's done. It'll start deflating as soon as you take it out of the oven. So serve it right away. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top or serve with some kind of really good jam. Serves 2 in our house...

Friday, November 05, 2004

Why it's good to have a back-up snuggly

Jonah's favorite thing, his snuggly, is "Cow." He loves Cow.

Cow is a wind-up musical box sort-of-stuffed animal. She (it?) was a gift from Timmer and Alisa. Beautifully it plays "Mary Had a Little Lamb" instead of say... a song that has something to do with cows.

The thing about Cow is that there is only one. (Sort of a Highlander movie reference for you geeks out there.) We've looked for a back-up online but to no avail. So we don't have a backup Cow if something goes wrong. For example if the nanny decided to throw Cow in the washing machine and dryer we would be out of luck...

I know what you're wondering. What happens to a music box when it's gone through the wash? Right. I know, because I've seen it twice now. What happens is that the music box stops working. And if it's inside a stuffed animal then you have to do stuffed animal surgery to extract it, repair it, and then sew it all up.

Sure, sure, why not explain to the nanny something like "Hey, don't ever wash Cow again. Ever." I thought I had, but her English isn't great, and my Spanish isn't as good as I thought. But also she really likes to keep things clean. And Cow does get pretty grubby over time. So the 2nd time she didn't put Cow in the washer. Kelly figured out later that, in fact, she had hand-washed Cow. But she put Cow in the dryer. Yeah, that was plenty enough centripetal force to screw up the music box again.

When Jonah was younger he didn't notice when we fixed Cow. Or maybe he was napping? But this time he was right there. And let me tell you, he did not like to see me cutting Cow open. Our nanny tried to distract him but mostly he cried the whole time. That's a lot of pressure when you're doing surgery. You know, when the family member is right next to you crying and grabbing at the patient.

My advice to anyone who wrangles babies is that you want to have two (2) of whatever weird toy your baby loves. Just in case. And it's good to rotate between them because the babies are smart. And have secret baby senses. And if you try to replace their well worn bear with a brand new one they will cry. And blame you. And wonder if you're smoking crack because it's so obviously not their bear.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

I signed up for freeipods.com

I reread the Wired Magazine article and decided to give it a shot. So I signed up for freeipods.com.

After giving them my name and email address they put me through a "short survey." It was 20 yes/no questions like "Do you want to answer surveys for money?" and "Would you like a FREE phone from T-Mobile?" "Are you SURE you don't want to answer surveys for money?" I clicked "No" 20 times and was done.

Then I signed up for the Sunday New York Times for $3.90 a week. Theoretically I'll cancel it in a couple days once I get credit on freeipods.com. It looks like the deal is that you have to sign up for one of the offers (of about 10) and you need to refer 5 people to the site who also complete their first offer.

If you want to give it a shot, you can sign up here and know you're helpin' me out. It's important to turn off pop-up blockers when you do stuff with their web site. Also... you may want to create a throw away email address to use with them. I didn't, but maybe I should have in case they send spam that gets through Yahoo's spam filter.

Free iPod?

So is it wrong if I'm considering trying out this whole www.freeipods.com thing?

Here's a Wired Magazine article about it. The basic deal is if you sign up for a promotion (like subscribe to Blockbuster's DVD rental-by-mail) and sign up 5 more people on freeipods.com you get a free iPod. Apparently the companies with the promotions pay high enough bounties to the people who run freeipods.com that it ends up being worthwhile for them. Plus there is a lot of publicity about it just because the whole thing sounds so crazy.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

I voted

Weeks ago Kelly and I signed up to permanently be absentee voters. So we can just vote at home and mail it in. Kelly's ballot never came. But she helped me go over the issues while I filled mine out.

At one point we were talking about some local voting item, say #67. And she looked it up in our voting guide and started to say "67 Yes..." so I marked in Yes. Whoops. She was just reading the beginning of a paragraph like this:

What voting on #67 means:
  • 67 Yes - This means you are voting for something that is really very bad. You should not vote yes on this unless you are a bad person.
  • 67 No - This is the right way to vote. If you have even a shred of decency then you should vote "No."
What? You voted "Yes?"
Well, yeah, you said to.
No! I was just starting to read it...

So yesterday we drove to the registrar of voters here. You're supposed to get a replacement ballot if you mess yours up. Once they called my number I asked for a new ballot. The lady said "Here" and gave me a white-out tape thing to correct my ballot. Even though the instructions specifically said not to do that. Great. They told me they were low on ballots so they changed the rule. Or at least that lady did, I guess.

I hope my vote gets counted. We're in California so no matter what Kerry will win here, but I'd like to think my votes for all the other things will get counted too. Those local things are bound to have a bigger effect on me than who the President is.

My prediction:

Three states will be so close that there will be recounts and it will drag out for 3 weeks.

Don't forget to vote!