Just Another Blog
Tuesday, February 25, 2003
Hot Chocolate

Here's everything that you ever wanted to know about the history of hot chocolate as well as where to get a good cup in New York. Have any of you ever tried the Mexican version? I had no idea there was spicy hot chocolate. I am quite intrigued. I guess I should be able to find some in my neighborhood.

Thursday, February 20, 2003

We ate dinner last night at the Brickyard Barbeque which just opened about two months ago in our north Denver neighborhood. It is a small place with a southern, blue-collar feel that is notably demonstrated by the paper towel holders on each table crafted from a brick a length of iron pipe. As you reach the door, the smell of the smoke and the sauce lets you know that you're in the right place for barbeque. The menu is typical barbeque joint: half slab, full slab, pulled pork, beef brisket, potato salad, baked beans, and corn. The ribs come brushed with sauce and accompanied by plastic ketchup bottles half-full of more original or the spicy sauce. The sauces had a nice smokey flavor which was lacking from the meat itself. Five of us shared a slab and a half of the ribs plus four sides though we surely could have eaten two and a half slabs.

I think everyone liked the food without being blown away. The corn was a bit soft and watery. The baked beans had a hint of sweet barbeque flavor which was excellent. The ribs pulled apart easily but the meat seemed dry even next to the bone. The original sauce was good. The spicy could have been a notch or two spicier. All in all, it was good but not great. I kept comparing it to Brothers Bbq and to my brother's rotisserie ribs and the Brickyard kept coming up a little short.

After last night's dinner, I was quite happy to stumble across (via Arts and Letters Daily) this article on barbeque. The article talks about regional styles, the etymology of the word, barbeque festivals, and a few noteworthy barbeque joints around the country. Keep reading through to find out why Brothers here in Denver is described as "digital" barbeque. The hot links that Brothers serves are mentioned and are worth mentioning again. Those things are heartburn quick-starters, but if you like pork and you like spicy, I don't know how you could not love them.

Finally, if any of you have a George Foreman rotisserie (or other similar device) I strongly recommend that you give rotisserie ribs a try. Boil the ribs for about 20 minutes. Then let them marinate for about 20 minutes in a sauce of your choosing. For this step, something a little less thick than barbeque sauce is recommended so that it can really soak into the meat. A mesquite-style marinade from the grocery store with a squeez of lime and dash of white pepper or maybe an extra little touch of honey works great. Let the ribs cool down and soak for about 30 minutes. Then take the ribs and slather them with a thick coat of your favorite barbeque sauce and stick them in the rotisserie. At this point the ribs are basically cooked, and it is just a matter of finishing them off. As the ribs roll round and round, a lot of the sauce will be lost to the drip tray. Don't worry. Enough will stick and in combination with the other drippings that never quite fall from the slowly spinning meat will be enough to create a bit of a glaze all over the meat and exposed bone. Go ahead and serve these with extra sauce on the side, but you probably won't need it.

Ok. That's enough on barbeque. I have to go find some food.

Thursday, February 13, 2003
Battle of the Mighty Swedes

No, not Swen and Lileks. Rather it is Forsberg versus Naslund as the Avs have their last head-to-head with the division leading Canucks tonight. The article says that it may be one of the best games of the regular season in all the NHL. I'll have to turn on NHL Radio and listen to the game. I don't think I've seen Vancouver play this year. I'll be interested to see how good they look.

Many people have attributed the recent outstanding play by Roy to some sort of change that occurred after Ray Bourque came back to Denver a few weeks ago for a little one-on-one chat with Patrick. I am most curious as to what Bourque said. Whatever it was, it seems to be working thus far.

Wednesday, February 12, 2003
Movin' on Up

The Avs are now just one point behind the Red Wings for the fourth playoff spot and six points behind the Canucks for the lead in the northwest division. Both teams have played one game more than the Avs. Roy and the Forsberg line are playing amazingly well. Morris got a goal in his first game back after getting his ass kicked. And all of this is being done without the help of Joe Sakic. They're a one-line team right now, but when Sakic returns, it will give them a lot more possibilities in terms of spreading talent among the lines. It should only help their special teams play as well. Still, in the west, Dallas will be awfully tough to beat. Of course, with about 27 games to go before the grueling playoffs even begin, there's plenty of time for hot streaks, cold streaks, and injuries to take their toll on any of the teams. Things could be very tight and interesting by March 15 when the Avs have to go back to the Joe.

Tuesday, February 11, 2003
Archives Fixed

Cool. I finally fixed my archives problem. Basically, in the left hand column, it previously just stopped after September 2002. All I had to do was to follow this post. It's easy. After following the directions, just republish all on the archive page. This also seems to get rid of the 503 error code that I was getting every time I hit publish. Swen and Graeme this looks like it's probably the fix you need too, and you both may want to switch to monthly archives just so the list takes up less room on your page.


Deepest condolences to Tanya whose father died this morning. Stop by and leave a note if you have a minute.

Cheaper Gaming Systems

Microsoft is cutting prices on Xbox games in response to Nintendo's new prices. On Sunday, I saw that factory refurbished Xbox's were available now for $149.99. I'm tempted. Very tempted. I wish I knew whether the Xbox was going to be a long term player or whether I'd be better off with a Playstation 2 or whether I should just wait around for the Playstation 3.

Friday, February 07, 2003

Aimee Deep, who I suspect did better on her SAT's than Mary Kate and Ashley points to this pic of Courtney Love and notes that, "See-through ingerie is like free music -- it only makes you want it more." Yep. Now where are those lingerie pics of you Aimee? After this shot, you have us all waiting anxiously.

Too Much, Too Far

I think the Republicans may be going too far with the second Patriot Act bill. There are a shit-ton of libertarian-minded folk out here who found the Republicans the lesser of two evils the last time out. This is just the kind of thing to swing votes back to the Dems. All of the time in the blogosphere we hear accusations of libertarian bloggers supporting the right wing. This bill could be the end of those accusations.

It pisses me off that the Republicans are flaunting their successes by far over-reaching what the people have asked. In a lot of areas, I am conservative beyond what is acceptable in polite society. But when the Republicans seek to abolish privacy at any and all levels of society, it makes me want to look elsewhere for my elected leaders.

Earlier, I had planned to post a note saying that I respected the hell out of Senator Edwards for announcing his candidacy at a Confederate landmark, but that regardless I would never vote for him as I was supporting the Bush team. I'm not sure I can say that anymore.

The safety of the United States is tenuous on a day-to-day basis at a community level. Bombs will eventually explode here: here in Denver or here in Chicago or here in Louisville or here in Washington or here again in New York. We just cannot catch all of the bad guys. But as a whole, the United States is invincible on a global scale. And --- and this is the key --- that is not dependent upon who controls the House or the Senate or the White House or the Supreme Court.

The leaders we create and vet and elect are deserving (with a few limited exceptions) to lead this country. The checks and balances currently in place help to ensure that all of our leaders are ultimately on the same side. Some may emphasize things domestic over things international, and some may emphasize things international over things domestic, but none ignore either.

If it comes down to supporting a just war and an unjust domestic monitoring policy versus a weak foreign policy and a robust defense of individual rights, I will support minding my own business. The biggest problem though may be that both parties seek to screw us. Is now the time to get an ACLU card?

A Bit More Hockey

I don't really know anything about this Brad Ference kid but if he can goad Lemieux into his first fighting major in 16 6 years, I think he's great. And it wasn't just a fighting major. It was apparently 29 minutes worth of penalities including a game misconduct. On Lemieux. Mario Lemieux. I hope NHL.com or some Pittsburgh tv station puts it all up on the web tomorrow.

Update: My source from last night had a typo. It's only been six years since Mario was hit with a fighting major. The NHL site had video of all 6 goals by Florida, but didn't show the fight.

Thursday, February 06, 2003

Wednesday, February 05, 2003
Christian Rock that Really Rocks! (and I'm only being a little facetious)

I downloaded some songs by Swingset Champion, because I saw them in somebody's collection on Kazaa, and the music type was labeled as punk, and I thought they had a cool name. The ID3 tags on the songs had me confused. The songs were clearly named with the moniker Swingset Champion, but the tags showed the artist as Kid Blink. So I started doing a little research to find out what I had really downloaded. I listened to the music in the background and thought that it was ok and actually rather enjoyed the song Wall of Flames. I quickly discovered that Kid Blink changed their name to Swingset Champion, which, I want to reiterate, I think is a great name for a band. So I cruise along their website to find out that you can download their stuff here, and they have their lyrics to some songs here, and they are absolute and complete Jesus freaks here. I went through and updated the tags as christian rock instead of punk. I still kind of like the Wall of Flames song the lyrics to which are at least more subtle than the other, but I don't think I'll be going out and buying their albums.

Comments Are Crazy

There's something weird going on with Haloscan. Two posts down, Vince had left a comment that has disappeared. Over at Graeme's I've been trying to leave a comment since last night. A couple of times the comments link just isn't there, and at other times the small window launches but can't connect to Haloscan. I suspect that the same things happen here when they happen there. I guess if I would just move over to Moveable Type, that problem would go away. I have about a month until I have to move my other domain or re-up with CI Host (which I will definitely not be doing). Hopefully shortly after I take care of that process, I will be able to successfully install MT. Then I'll have a bit more freedom in terms of layout and design. I'll probably end up doing something along the lines of Missy or Tanya but with a bit more -- uhhhh -- Jonathan to the layout. You know: vodka and wine and vain pictures of myself and that sort of thing. Until then, I'm glad to have you here where everything is free but doesn't always work.

Career Search

I got my 1099-G in the mail yesterday. It's the second to last piece that I need before I can file my taxes. I am still waiting on my 1099-MISC from the Fairness Project. IRS rules say I was supposed to have it by 2/1, but I don't. Anyway, after getting my 1099-G I figured I would start looking at some of the tax forms and the instructions that I am going to need to file my taxes. I decided to start with Publication 17 which is a 288 page guide to tax filing for individuals. About two hours later, it struck me that there probably aren't a whole lot of people who just sit around and read IRS tax instructions in their spare time. (Of course, not a lot of people have as much spare time as I.|)

This isn't the first time I've spent my time in such a manner. When I was preparing for the Series 7 a few years ago, I read the 1933 and 1934 securities acts most of the way through. Before they simplified mandatory retirement distributions, I read the IRS instructions for those. When Merrill Lynch rolled out their online trading accounts, I read all of the small print in the account agreements that no one else did. I have read a couple other IRS publications on retirement savings plan rules whose numbers I do not now recall. Last night I downloaded Publications 505 and 533 to read in the near future.

In the midst of all of this tax goodness, it struck me that perhaps the IRS might be interested in hiring a fellow like me: someone with not much of an accounting background but a great understanding of the big picture and - more importantly - an eye for the minutiae that make up that picture. I jumped to the careers portion of their website and found that the department was going to be at CU today for a recruiting session. Unfortunately, no further details such as time or exact location were disclosed. The CU site, thankfully, had plenty more information. There was a job fair at the Tivoli from ten until three. Strange, I thought that I should stumble across a job fair at my alma mater the day before it happens through a link on the IRS website. I thought that I had better go.

I used to get a bit nervous before job fairs and interviews, but in the past couple of years that feeling has faded. I think that came from my experience of being on the interviewer side of the table. While at Merrill, I had the opportunity to sit in on or conduct a dozen or more interviews. Since then, for whatever reason, I have become a whole lot more comfortable with the process regardless of which side I am on. Part of it too is that I know I will do a better job then any other applicant if I can convince someone to hire me. My experience spectrum is bright in all of the wrong places, but give me a chance and I'll run circles around anyone else in the same position.

Talking to the IRS agent in attendance, I found out that I am well qualified for some jobs that will be posted in about ten days but lack the accounting experience for the current openings. The rep from the city of Denver told me a similar story, but I eventually convinced her to take my resume and pass it to her boss for a senior accountant position that doesn't require a whole lot of accounting background. Nearly all employers now require supplicants to submit their applications online, so I'll have to deal with that, but they both seemed genuinely interested.

In the private sector, things also went well. I only spoke with Northwest Mutual Financial Group and Mutual of Omaha. In both cases after establishing that they were primarily interested in salesmen, I explained that that was not the route I was interested in following. After explaining my experience in financial services, disdain for sales, and interest in the compliance side of the business each company asked me to please leave a resume as they might have opportunities available. I think that a big part of it may have been that at a university sponsored job fair, I was probably one of only a few applicants with a couple of years experience under thier belts post-MBA. Whatever the reason, it sure felt good to have them ask for a copy of my resume.

It felt good to get up, put on a suit, and talk about careers today. I think I'm about ready to go back to a real, full-time job with a (hopefully) decent salary and benefits. I am optimistic that I'll at least get one call out of today's work. Who knows. Perhaps nothing will come of today, but I feel better about my prospects now than I have in ages. We'll see. In the mean time, Vail has had nine, three, and seven inches in the past three days. Breckenridge has had seven, one, and six, and A-basin has had something like four, four, and four. There's fun stuff to do until the work comes.

Monday, February 03, 2003
About the Powder

Cold Morning at Breck.By the time we drank our coffee, filled up the gas tank, and negotiated the slushy roads, it was just past noon by the time we reached the parking lot at Breckenridge. We came out of the Eisenhower Tunnel and looked down onto a huge, grey cloud covering all of Silverthorne, Dillon, and Breckenridge. It was cold and blowing, and as the picture shows we thought it best not to leave any skin exposed. But it wasn't long until the sun came out and everything warmed up. We spent a lot of time skiing in the new area that Breckenridge opened up this year. There are some great tree areas that easily rival the Outback at Keystone - at least on powder days. We took one run down from the t-bar lift. At the very top it was blowing so hard that you had to pole your way even down hill. At it was really, really cold. But after we made it along the ridge and dropped into the fields of powder, we agreed that it was worth it. Then it was back to the trees where there was still more unskied powder. There was powder, powder everywhere. It was one of those days that reminds you why people skip work on powder days. Wish you all were here!

Powder Day

As the picture from my front porch indicates, we got about six inches in the city overnight. Breckenridge got about seven. So, with that, I'm off. Yeah, we're getting a late start, but it should be a pretty quiet day up there, so we'll have our chances to ski fresh powder. Did I mention that it was 73 here on Saturday? Man, I love the weather in Colorado!

6 inches on 2/3/03

Saturday, February 01, 2003

Something's not quite right in the world. It's the first weekend in February, and it is 73 degrees in Denver while Florida is hosting the NHL all-star game. I don't quite get it. So I'm off to the store so I can make some hearty split-pea soup to help me stand the inclement weather. Then it's off to the DU - Wisconsin hockey game with Vince.

God's Vengeance?

You want vengeance? Man, I can't wait for war. We'll show you fucking vengeance then, my muslim brother.

Space Shuttle Disaster

Right now, Fox News has some pretty classy coverage focusing on those lost. The main links at the top of the page are to the news of the disaster. The rest of the page is links to the biographies of the seven deceased astronauts.

Colonel Ilan Ramon

Commander Doctor Laurel Clark

Commander Colonel Rick Husband

Pilot Captain David Brown

Doctor Kapana Chawla

Lieutenant Colonel Michael Anderson

Pilot Commander William McCool

Looking at the home movies that are being played on NBC, I bet that we will find out that the crew had plenty of time to realize what was happening to them. The bulk of the spacecraft looks to have stayed intact long after things began going wrong. A lot of the talk about the crew has been of their professionalism and of how much better they are than everyone else in terms of how courageous, smart, daring, and valiant they were.

That leaves me wondering what goes through the heads of the smartest people in the world when they know they are about to die. Do they keep pushing buttons and flipping switches trying to right a situation that has already doomed them? Do they stop and take one last look out the window? Do they try one last time communicate with their families or the outside world? Do they pray to their gods? Do they immediately realize their certain doom?

What will your thoughts be when catastrophe comes?