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Archive for January, 2005

An offer I couldn’t refuse

Last Thursday was extra special for Elise and me. We went to the Y Bar and Grill for a nice dinner where John and Christine asked us to be Jack’s Godparents. We gratefully accepted the offer.

John and I go way back. We’ve spent countless hours talking, lauging, crying and spilling our guts to one another. We’ve done good things, bad things and things we still haven’t figured out. I feel as if we became family the day that we met.

Since Christine came into John’s life and Elise into mine, our family has become tighter. With the addition of Jack, that bond has grown exponentially.

Elise and I are looking forward to many, many more years with John, Christine and Jack in our lives!

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Second Mom gives props

“Mmmmm. Thank you. I consider myself a good cook, but I have to admit I still can learn from you.”

– Joanne Boeckman (AKA My 2nd Mom)

Now that’s a pretty cool message to get from my mom-in-law (aside from the undying love I get from the both of them!) And Joanne is a damn good cook!

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Making a recipe your own

“If you change three ingredients in a recipe, you can call it yours”

– Jeff Blank

I did just that when I made chicken enchiladas with a fiery Godiva mole. I’ve tried making mole in the past… not so good. It was so bad that my friend Victor couldn’t even eat it.

Mole is a complicated sauce that has endless varieties. I made mine with some awesome Sandia peppers that I picked up at the Austin hot sauce festival. I also used anchos, garlic, cumin, chili powder, cinnamon, brown sugar, jalapenos, carrots, celery, Godiva chocolate, Vidalia onions, tomatoes, yadah, yadah and a lot of love. The best enchiladas I think I’ve ever had (but I’m biased). The mole was spicier than I expected but Elise and I can handle the heat.

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29

I reached the age of 29 this afternoon at 2:51. I’ve realized a few things. It’s scary to find myself saying things like “Gosh, I remember 20 years ago when…” I’ve realized that things like tattoos, piercings, leopard spotted hair bleach treatments and funky clothes don’t suit me as well any more. I’ve realized that I don’t mind when the girl at Supercuts trims my ear hair without asking. I’ve realized that Profit & Loss statments, property taxes and fiber mean more to me than I thought they ever would.

But the most important thing that I’ve realized is that I don’t care. I’m not going to worry about how old I am. I’m happy with who I am and what I’ve accomplished in life so far. I know that I’m a good person and I have hopes and dreams that get me up in the morning.

I also have a wife that’s older than me. I’ll let her take care of getting old.

I treated myself to sleeping in this morning. It didn’t help that Elise and I stayed up until after 1 a.m. watching Metallica’s Some Kind of Monster DVD.

I got to work at 10 a.m. and met with my boss for two hours. I know he didn’t mind me showing up late because he knew of the shitty day I had yesterday. He and I went over outside sales stuff and other business. Kevin bought the office lunch from Russo’s and a bottle of Dewar’s for your humble narrator.

Later this afternoon our DHL guy showed up for his daily pick up and also had a package for me. Mom & Dad Boeckman sent me a sweet card, the American Chopper: At Full Throttle book and a bottle of Mr. Moto motorcycle cleaner. A very cool themed birthday present. I’m looking forward to reading the book and using the Mr. Moto to get the trusty Shadow spiffy for this Spring.

Yesterday I received one of my Mom’s signature customized birthday cards along with some cashola that I’m going to put away for Elise’s and my eventual trip to Prague.

This morning I woke up to a sweet card from Elise along with a box of Haribo gummi bears (I’m very particular about my gummi bears). This past weekend she bought me a Turtle Beach Video Advantage PCI capture card.

Unfortunately aforementioned wife has to work all night. I’m going to cuddle up with my bottle of Dewar’s and watch American Idol. See, when you’re 29, pop television becomes mainstay. As does fiber.

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Gettin’ better

Just when I thought today couldn’t get any worse – it did. I answered one of our phone lines this afternoon because the girls were all busy putting away inventory.

“Hi, this is Josh, can I help you?”
“Uhhh, Josh, I’d like to place an order…”
“Okay, which pharmacy?”
“Actually, can I put my order in with someone else?”
“Uhhhh… sure. May I ask why?”
“Do you really want to know?”
“Yes.”
“Because last time I called to place an order, you took it and it was a confusing ordeal.”

That pissed me off and heightened my bad mood.

After work I went to TKD. Clyde and I sparred pretty hard. Now I feel better

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If it hurts, it’s good for you

Every once in a while my job really sucks. Today was one of those once in a whiles. Being in management sometimes makes me miss the days when I squeezed dog butts for a living.

A customer called and chewed me a new asshole. The gloves came off and I was made to feel like I was an inch tall. No punches were pulled.

It was one of those calls where you try every friendly customer service rebuttal but you might as well just say “Yes, yes, you’re right, I suck.”

So, being the person that I am (still 1 inch in stature) I have to look at this as a learning experience and generate an action plan. That’s business talk for crawl into bed with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and cry.

But really – I handled the call as best I could and took the exchange as constructive criticism.

My original Tae Kwon Do instructor always told me: “You never learn by winning all the time.” Meaning: when you get your ass kicked, learn how to prevent it next time.

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Man crush

I hate reading other peoples’ blogs – well, unless they’re someone that I know personally.

Elise has pointed out that I have a man crush on Andy Rutledge. I found Andy’s site after Googling “thunderbird drag and drop attachments“.

So I found a personal website that I’ll take the time to check regularly. Elise will probably start checking my Trapper Keeper for doodles of “Josh + Andy”.

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Johnny Beans BBQ Chicken

I usually come up with my best recipes somewhere between the time that I go to sleep and the time that I actually start cooking. It’s a very complicated process.

On Sunday I woke up and announced to my wife and the slumbering cats that I was going to barbeque chicken. I did just that and I must admit, I did (I think) an awesome job.

For my sauce I reduced 24 oz. of Coke to ~ 5 oz. I then added 12 oz. of crushed tomatoes, sauteed onions and garlic, then some Worchestershire, Soy, Thai chilies, chipotles, a Cab Sav reduction, a splash of Dr. Pepper, another splash of beer, paprika and chili powder, salt and pepper. I let the sauce slow cook for a couple hours and then took the trusty boat motor to it.

I rubbed an organic whole chicken with 1/4 c. Johnny Beans coffee, salt, pepper, chili powder, paprika and thyme. I slow grilled it with a makeshift smoker (oak chips wrapped in foil) for ~ an hour.

I tossed a couple cans of pork ‘n bean in a pot with some sweated vidalias and brown sugar.

All made for an awesome BBQ chicken dinner and some good NFL playoff games. I wish I had written down my recipe for the sauce. Oh well… I’ll figure it out again (and hopefully make it better)

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Johnny Beans BBQ Chicken

I usually come up with my best recipes somewhere between the time that I go to sleep and the time that I actually start cooking. It’s a very complicated process.

On Sunday I woke up and announced to my wife and the slumbering cats that I was going to barbeque chicken.

For my sauce I reduced 24 oz. of Coke to ~ 5 oz. I then added 12 oz. of crushed tomatoes, sauteed onions and garlic, then some Worchestershire, Soy, Thai chilies, chipotles, a Cab Sav reduction, a splash of Dr. Pepper, another splash of beer, paprika and chili powder, salt and pepper. I let the sauce slow cook for a couple hours and then took the trusty boat motor to it.

I rubbed an organic whole chicken with 1/4 c. Johnny Beans coffee, salt, pepper, chili powder, paprika and thyme. I slow grilled it with a makeshift smoker (oak chips wrapped in foil) for ~ an hour.

I tossed a couple cans of pork ‘n bean in a pot with some sweated vidalias and brown sugar.

All made for an awesome BBQ chicken dinner and some good NFL playoff games. I wish I had written down my recipe for the sauce.

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Johnny Carson

Johnny Carson was one of my idols. Every once in a while I like to try to convince myself that I’m funny. I attribute that to paternal geneology and Johnny Carson. I remember when I was a little boy – Shirley Clutter introduced me to Johnny Carson. She thought that he was the funniest man alive. I soon shared in Shirley’s adoration for Johnny.

I’m sad. Life is much too short and, really, not that serious.

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Last Ice Bats game for the season

Elise and I met up with Philip, Rob, Dave and Shannon last night to watch the Ice Bats beat the Loredo Bucks 5-3 in their last game of the season. Bonus: Pushmonkey (local band that Elise and I really like) performed after the game.

Going to Ice Bats game has been a tradition for Elise and me since we’ve been together. We go, sneak in a pint of Jack Daniels (sorry, I’m not paying $5 for a beer), make some noise, watch some fights, chant “Go Ice Bats” and Elise has to re-explain the rules of hockey (Northern folk understand ice hockey. Most Texans just go for the fights and to revel at the notion of a large platform of ice on which to skate).

The game was awesome. It was also good to catch up with the boys. Two weeks ago I gave a lot of business to the company that Rob works for. I found out last night that Shannon works for a competing vendor that I’ve used in the past. Rob and Shannon are neighbors. I handed them both my business card and told both of them to call me Monday morning. That was hilarious. I kept my mouth shut and laughed as the two of them starting fighting (in a neighborly/friendly way) for my business.

After the game we all went our separate ways. Elise and I came home and looked at old pictures and watched the video from our trip to Galveston for New Years 2000.

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Dinner at Chez Zee

Elise and I went on a dinner date last night. I chose Chez Zee. If it weren’t for the atmosphere and the borderline overly-friendly and mildly entertaining maitre d, we would have walked out.

First off, our waiter was horrible. He didn’t introduce himself, ask us how we were doing and taking our drink orders seemed like a chore for him. I watched our waiter throughout the evening. He had five tables. He wasn’t too busy to be more attentive to us. I saw him and two other waiters playing catch with a pack of cigarettes in the alley of the kitchen.

Elise had a chardonnay. I had a J&B on the rocks.

Dear Chez Zee bartender,

On the rocks = don’t float the ice. (Thanks Doug Paul)

Champion de Marlboro Wimbledon then took the food order of a four top that was seated after us.

Said waiter then took our order after putting the four top’s order into the POS. Ten minutes later, as he was walking by, asked “Oh, did y’all want some bread?”

I thought about saying “Oh, is that what the bread plates are for?” I bit my tongue.

Elise and I both struggled with finding something on the menu that brought taste buds to attention. I was quick to notice that most menu items were chicken entrees. I wasn’t really in the mood for chicken, nor was Elise. Elise thought the Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing and Pecan Chicken sounded good, but didn’t want to pay $15 for a salad.

She ordered the Oriental Ginger Stir Fry. I had the Chicken Gorgonzola Pizza (from the appetizer menu). My pizza was very good – very flavorful and plenty of food for half the price of an entree. We both agreed that the stir-fry wasn’t much better than a frozen boxed dinner. It was very bland with no hint of ginger. The fried wonton bowl was also more oily than she would have liked.

Chez Zee is well known for desserts. We didn’t want to stick around any longer than necessary. No dessert for us.

I thought about stiffing the waiter on gratuity. I’ve spent many years in the restaurant industry and know that that makes for bad ju ju. So I left our waiter a little less than a 10% tip. He was terrible.

People will always be people and mostly strange at that. Representing a restaurant well as a server is critical if that restaurant wants repeat business – and what restaurant doesn’t want that? I took a comment card home with me and planning on filling it out and attaching a short letter recounting our recent visit to Chez Zee.

One bad apple can spoil a nice, Friday night dinner date with my wife…

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Netgear WGR614 v2 WPA and AirPort Express

Wireless security. Two words that have had me pulling my hair out. There are many wireless networks in my neighborhood. I became paranoid. I have sensitive data on all three of our computers and I wanted to protect it (as well as keep people from stealing my high speed access.

I use a Netgear WGR614 v2 802.11g wireless router. I have a G4 iBook with an AirPort Extreme card and a HP dv1040 XP laptop with an 802.11g card. I also have an AirPort Express base station that serves swingin’ sexy sounds to the stereo in the living room.

My initial attempt at wireless security was to enable MAC address access control. A valiant effort but not enough (so I’ve read). I’ve also learned of WEP (Wired Equivalency Protection) and WPA-PSK (Wi-Fi Protected Access Pre-Shared Key) – the latter offering greater wireless security.

Here’s how I did it (I’m writing this in hopes that it will help someone else as it took me what seemed like forever to figure this shit out.)

Disable WEP or WPA.

Open AirPort Admin Utility (Applications > Utilities)
Hit the ‘configure’ button
Click the ‘Security Options’ button at the bottom.
Select WPA Personal (make sure you have the most recent firmware from Apple’s website)
Click ‘Update’
I got some message saying this isn’t supported by this network… save anyway.
Now configure your router to use WPA.
Create your password (or keyphrase as they like to call it).
Your AirPort Express should be solid green now.
Enter the same password on any laptops.

A relatively quick and painless task if you figure out how to do things in order!

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