Monday, March 31, 2008

Like a Bat Outta...

This past week has been interesting. Two weeks ago I found myself in Baltimore, teaching a Linux fundamentals class. On the way back I got to connect in Atlanta, and my flight back into Salt Lake got in right around midnight. It took a little under an hour to get back home, but it would be my last hour-long trip to and from the airport. Around 6am, my wife and I arose and got to work. We still had a few boxes to pack, and help wasn't expected until around 8:30am. It was moving day.

We bought a house in Magna, which is only about 10 minutes away from the Salt Lake City airport, and perhaps 15 to 20 minutes from work. Considering how much I fly, the location was perfect. Well, almost perfect. I still would have liked downtown Salt Lake, but Magna will have to do for now.

Moving day was rough. We had family show up in the morning to help load the truck, and we expected to be on our way well before 11am. For that reason, I asked a handful of coworkers to meet us at the new house around noon. I finally left the old house just before noon, knowing that I was to meet with several impatient coworkers. Fortunately, they were all even later than I was.

Unpacking the truck wasn't much more fun than packing it. We finally got rid of it around 3:30. I think I almost killed at least one coworker, possibly two. Quite frankly, I don't know how I held up myself. It was a long day for everyone, especially those of us that started around 6am and other than much needed breaks, didn't stop until almost 10pm.

I took the entire week off of work. There were things to do. When I first scheduled the vacation time, I intended to use it to unpack. A week after moving day, and unpacking has barely started. My wife and I managed to get the master bedroom painted and get some furniture moved in. We managed to get almost all of the primer on the walls of the baby's bedroom before I had to fly out to San Jose again for work. At least we managed to finish the ceiling in there. My wife tells me that about half of the walls have now been painted yellow, and I'm sure she'll be done with the rest of it tomorrow. A couple of days to air out the paint fumes, and we can move the kid in. Then we can take the bedroom that her crib has been set up in temporarily and turn it into my study. I've always wanted a study.

Getting Internet access has been a pain. We decided that Qwest was less evil than Comcast (if only by a hair) and decided to get a data-only line from them with Xmission as our ISP. I made the first phone call to do this while I was in Baltimore. In subsequent verification calls that Qwest made back to me, I discovered that nothing was actually set up right. Most of the calls involved either switching from MSN to Xmission, and then to Xmission. Now I'm afraid to call and make any further changes, for fear that they might screw something else up.

We got DirecTV out on moving day, and they gave me a new dish and then aligned it for me. Unfortunately, all of the receivers were still packed. I asked them to leave me a few feet of cable, and I would do the internal wiring myself. So they left me a box of cable, and let me have at it. I didn't get a chance to do any of that until Thursday, and at the moment I still only have one set up. And it's in the wrong room. But at least my wife has something to watch while I'm out of town.

The kitchen is about half the size of the old one. But at least the stove and fridge were made this century, so it's already a little ahead in that respect. My brother in law wants to help me expand the kitchen, but I honestly don't think it's worth it. If I need to do any large-scale cooking, it's probably best for me to just quit the computer world and get my own professional kitchen. But since I love where I'm at, I don't think I'll be doing that anytime soon.

I've noticed a few differences between Magna and Orem, where we used to live. There's certainly less traffic in Magna. And people seem, for the most part, to watch where they're going. I'm not in constant fear of getting into an accident just because I drove down the street to get gas. Also, while Orem city officials seem to care for little other than themselves, Salt Lake County officials (Magna is an unincorporated township, not a city) seem to care for the environment, and we have recycling pickup every other week.

There are drawbacks. We no longer live across the street from a mall. Actually, I consider this largely a boon. I also like the fact that we no longer live dangerously close to a major university. University Parkway in Orem is a deathtrap. I won't miss it. Wait, wasn't I talking about drawbacks? Okay, Costco is no longer a 5 minute drive away. It's closer to 15 minutes. In fact, there really are no major stores in the area, unless you count the grocery store a mile away. This is both a pro and a con. On one hand I'll miss being able to drive 5 minutes to pick up music, but on the other hand, I won't miss excessive traffic one street over from our house.

All in all, we think it's a good move. We don't know how long we'll be in Magna, but it'll do for now. Maybe one day we'll have enough equity that we can actually afford to move downtown. But 15 minutes away isn't bad either.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Airline Food is Getting Better

I did something yesterday that I've never done before: I flew out of SLC on a Saturday. I usually fly out on Sunday mornings, but I had a 6-day class this week and had to head out a day early. I'd never seen the Salt Lake airport so full. It was worse than the last Saturday I spent at the Atlanta airport (which was only a week before, coincidentally). The plane was also packed full, and I found myself sitting in the exit row halfway though coach class.

The first thing I noticed was a menu. I knew that Delta had started passing out menus in coach class recently, but I hadn't seen one yet. This was likely because Delta seems to prefer that I fly on Skywest jets, and because the meals are only served on some Delta flights going east from the west coast (not from east to west). The food offered in the menu was not complimentary, of course. But it was nice to have something to choose from other than cheese and crackers, cookies, peanuts and granola bars.

The menu looked impressive. In addition to a fruit and cheese plate, Kashi cereal with fresh fruit, and a cinnamon raisin bagel, they also had "Todd English Selections" including a cheddar, turkey bacon and apple butter croissant, a chicken parmesan sandwich, a chicken bistro salad and hummus with veggies. I decided to try out the fruit and cheese plate, knowing in my mind that it would never be as fabulous and fresh and the beautiful photo in the menu.

Much to my surprise, when the flight attendant handed it to me, it was exactly the same as in the photo, except for being in a plastic container instead of on a pretty, white ceramic plate. It came with fresh grapes, dried apricots, pecan halves, crackers, and wedges of brie (still in the obligatory white mold rind), smoked gouda and what tasted like a medium cheddar. Each wedge of cheese was huge, at least in comparison to what I expected, and when I ran out of fruits, nuts and crackers, I still had cheese left. Fortunately, I still had half a bag of dried apricots left over from my previous trip, and it went nicely with the remainder of the cheese. All in all, it was well worth the $6 and more. I almost asked the flight attendant if I could buy another one.

Is this what we can come to expect in the future? It was a good little snack plate. In fact, I've had worse meals in first class. Perhaps Delta is finally stepping up the quality of their food to match the price of their airline tickets. It's a direction that I certainly hope Delta and other airlines continue in.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


I would like to make something very clear to certain people. Unless otherwise specified, the photos and content on this site are my work. I started this blog to share recipes with friends, and that is still my goal. But I can't tell you how disparaging it is to have my friends send me links from other pages that have posted copies of my work without giving me credit. While nobody seems to have personally taken credit for these images (at least not yet), none of them seem to be interested in telling the truth when others mistakenly give them credit. And because more people are interested in taking things at face value than properly researching the origins, the abusers get away with it.

United States copyright law currently states that as soon as somebody produces a work, they own the copyright, whether or not they register it. That means that I own the copyright on all of the articles and photos on my site, unless otherwise specified. But if I want to maintain that copyright, I need to enforce it. There's not a whole lot I can do here. It's not possible to track down every single misuse of my work. But I need to do something.

I don't mind if you make my recipes; that's why I post them. I think it's great when somebody looks at my instructions and decides to try and do what I did. I especially love it when they post what they did and link back to my original instructions. I don't even mind if they put a copy of my photos on their site, along with the link back to me. But I do want them to link back. All I want is a little credit where credit's due.

I am applying a license to the work on my site. This license applies retroactively to everything I have posted so far, and it applies to everything that I post in the future, unless otherwise specified. Because I want to encourage other people to use my content, I have decided to use the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States license. Posting copies of my work without giving me credit is a violation of this license.

I have spent countless hours producing the content on this site. Some of the projects that I have posted about and included pictures of have been the result of many hours and often days worth of work. At this time I do not make a living off of my site. There are adverts sprinkled throughout the site, but the revenue so far has been tiny. What I get out of it is a sense that I'm doing something that some people enjoy, and for the moment that's good enough for me. Again, all I really want beyond that is a little credit. Is that too much to ask?