Archives for 2005

Jerry's Bars

Posted on 12/20/2005 to Eats and Drinks

My mom started making these for my uncle when he went away to college. Approximately 40 years later, she still makes them every year for his birthday.

2 tbsp butter
1 c brown sugar
1 c pecans, chopped
5-6 tbsp flour
1/8 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
Powdered Sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in 9x9 (13x9 if doubling) baking pan (in oven while preheating -- 2-3 minutes). Mix brown sugar, pecans, flour, and baking soda in bowl.

Beat eggs. Add brown sugar mixture and vanilla to eggs and stir to mix. Pour in the center of the baking pan. Do not stir.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Sprinkle powdered sugar on top using a strainer.

Inside the Green Room at Billy Bob's

Posted on 12/10/2005 to Entertainment

Went with a large group of Julie's friends to see the Eli Young Band at Billy Bob's last night. I really like their music, and this was my first chance to see them live -- they did not disappoint. One of Julie's friends is the bass players sister, and that allowed us to go backstage after the show to the Green Room -- that room is way cool! Many performers have signed the walls.


Posted on 11/30/2005 to Family & Friends

I had the boys for the week of Thanksgiving, and we had a great time. Thanksgiving Day was spent at my dad's house and then we dropped in on my mom's side of the family in the evening. The week ended with a trip to Krispy Kreme and a little hiking at the Fort Worth Nature Center.


Posted on 10/19/2005 to Sports

With all this three-peat talk, I'd just like to point out the fact that LSU, not USC, was the BCS Champion two years ago. So when talking of USC going for three championships in a row, let's be clear and say that they are gunning for their 3rd AP championship in as many seasons, but only their second BCS title in the last 3 years.

Officiating Fiasco in South Bend

Posted on 10/16/2005 to Sports

Can you believe this?

"I used all 200 pounds of my body to push Matt in," said Bush, who ran for 160 yards on 15 carries with three touchdowns.

CBS Article

Man, are those guys lucky! First, to have your QB fumble the ball out of bounds at the 1-yard line, stopping the clock, when had he held on to it and gone down, time would've expired, and then to try a QB sneak from the 1, get stopped, and then have your RB help push the QB into the endzone, without the officials seeing it, or at least without them caring. Isn't that supposed to be a 15 yard penalty?

4:30 PM And ou Sucks!

Posted on 10/8/2005 to Sports

What a day! For the first time in since before Jacob was born (2000), my Texas Longhorns have beaten ou in football (final score: 45-12). This has been such a long time coming, and how sweet it is. I am not sure what I feel more right now -- relief or joy. Certainly, I am happy for the win, but this year has a feeling like there is so much more -- this is not so much a season about a single win over a hated rival, as it is a season about every game being as big and as important as the next on the road to reaching the team's goals -- Big 12 South title, Big 12 Champion, and (fingers crossed) a Rose Bowl berth and victory. What a great day, Texas wins, but now it is time to focus on next week -- Colorado.

Hook'Em Horns!

Some Catching Up

Posted on 5/26/2005 to Family & Friends

I haven't posted in some time...let's see, March? Wow. Anyway, I guess that I've been pretty busy, though with what I am not sure. We did take a couple of days off back in early April to go camping at Inks Lake State Park with some friends (no kids).

I love camping, and had a lot of fun at Inks Lake. We hiked, canoed, hiked some more, stayed up late talking around the campfire, roasted marshmallows, toured a winery, saw a bald eagle, and just relaxed. I'll get some pictures up soon. I also went camping a couple of weeks later with Jacob. It was his first camping trip, so it was nothing fancy, just one night out with the same friends that went with us to Inks Lake (their kids were included this time as well). For this one night trip, we went to Lake Ray Roberts, just north of D/FW. No hiking, no canoeing, just hanging out, playing with the kids, and of course roasting marshmallows.

Other than the camping trips, it's pretty much been business as usual at both home and work. Oh, I nearly forgot, I bought a bbq smoker. Already my smoked briskets are a huge hit. I've even done a couple for a party at work, and now I have people asking to be notified of the smoking schedule so that they can bring me some meat to smoke. I'll get some pictures of it up soon.

"Volcanoe's" to be shown after outrage"

Posted on 3/24/2005 to In General

According to a Fort Worth Star-Telegram article, the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History has decided to show the IMAX film Volcanoes of the Deep Sea.

Museum Director Van Romans, with the blessing of the board of directors, reversed the museum's decision and said the film will open in Fort Worth "before summer." The film is already being promoted on the museum's Web site.

"We're going to show things that have scientific credibility, and people can make their own decisions," Romans said Wednesday. "That's a very personal choice. But we are a science and history institution. We have a responsibility to the public to share with them."

Volcanoes, Evolution, and Censorship

Posted on 3/23/2005 to In General

Carol Murray, director of marketing for the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, said the museum decided not to offer the movie after showing it to a sample audience, a practice often followed by managers of Imax theaters. Ms. Murray said 137 people participated in the survey, and while some thought it was well done, "some people said it was blasphemous." In their written comments, she explained, they made statements like "I really hate it when the theory of evolution is presented as fact," or "I don't agree with their presentation of human existence."

I heard about this for the first time on my drive to work this morning. I quickly found a New York Times article on the subject, which is where the text above came from.

In all honesty, I was not likely to see this film, even if it was shown in Fort Worth. The fact that now I can't see it locally, due to the narrow minded views of some, really burns me up. The increasing power of religious fundamentalists scares me.

I am disappointed in the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, and I am embarrassed to live in such a narrow-minded community.

As I come across them, I will post additional links on this subject:
Imax Theaters Reject Movies Containing Evolution

My First Attempt at Making Chicken Piccata

Posted on 3/8/2005 to Eats and Drinks

I am a longtime fan of the magazine "Cook's Illustrated," as well as the accompanying television show, "America's Test Kitchen," and a recent subscriber to their website -- As such, I get the occasional email offer from them, usually for a new cookbook. In a recent email offer for their "Italian Classics" cookbook, they included a recipe for Chicken Piccata. I love chicken piccata, and have always wanted to fix it myself. I decided that this evening was as good a time as any to try it out.

After a quick trip to the store, I began my prep work. There really wasn't much to it -- minced a shallot and some parsley, sliced and juiced a couple of lemons, and rinsed off some capers. Then it was time to season and flour the thinly sliced chicken and cook it. About 15 minutes later it was ready, sauce and all. It was good, but a bit salty (probably my fault, but could be from the capers or the chicken broth). The family liked it, including my 4-year old (always a good sign).

If you're still reading, you're probably interested in the recipe. Unfortunately, I don't have a link to the recipe, but I'd be happy to forward the email with it to whoever wants it. Here it is: (might require free registration).

Comment Notification Turned Off

Posted on 3/8/2005 to Site Information

For the few of you that have commented on something here, you should know that I have turned off the notification mechanism that sends out an email whenever someone leaves a new comment for a post that you've commented on. I need to clean up the email message and make the notification opt-in, rather than on by default with no way to opt-out. That's all.

New Coffee Maker

Posted on 3/6/2005 to Eats and Drinks

For quite some time, I've been looking at French Press coffee makers. I'd heard from many people that when done right, they make the best cup of coffee. Before I could take the plunge and put Mr. Coffee away for good, I had to overcome a few hurdles. Laziness, no tea kettle, no burr grinder, and of course no French Press.

There's no getting around my laziness, it is what it is. I figured I must simply bite the bullet, and see if French Press made coffee is worth the little bit of extra work. Today, I overcame the remaining hurdles and bought a tea kettle, a burr grinder, and a French Press. After getting home and washing everything, I set off on my coffee adventure.

The first step was bringing some water to a boil. With a tea kettle, this is trivial, and suprisingly fast. While the water was coming to a boil, I used my new burr grinder to grind some coffee beans into a nice coarse grind. This was trivial as well. The grinder that I got has a coarseness setting, as well as a capacity setting...I simply set those to things and press "Start" -- no holding down a button, and counting. By now the tea kettle was whistling, so I took it off the burner briefly while I measured the ground coffee into the French Press. (You want the water to be just south of it's boiling point). I then poured in the water and stirred, put the French Press lid on, making sure that the spout was not open, and let it brew for about 4 minutes. After four minutes of brewing, I pressed plunger down, filtering out the grounds, and poured the coffee into my favorite mug. That's it. The coffee was ready in around 10 minutes.

Now for the important question -- how's the coffee taste? In a word, delicious. It was worth the little bit of extra effort, and honestly, my laziness didn't even come into play. I've now put the Mr. Coffee away. I am sure it will make an appearance from time to time, but not often.

Chili Cook-off

Posted on 3/2/2005 to Eats and Drinks

At 4 PM yesterday afternoon, I decided to enter a chili cook-off that my department's social committee had organized as part of a Texas Independence Day themed pot-luck. Short notice, I know, but I knew I could work some magic in the kitchen. With such a short time-frame to work with, I didn't want to go the normal route of winging it completely, so I found a nice base recipe and then went to work.

The end result was nothing short of phenomenal. I let myself start thinking about winning the cook-off (though winning was not the goal when I entered, I am way too competitive to keep it from becoming THE goal). As the other entries arrived, and people in the department began sampling, my confidence grew. The feedback was excellent. Then came time for the judging.

There were three judges, and as far as I could tell, only one had any previous experience at doing this. Finally, the moment we had all been waiting for arrived. There was only to be the announcement of a winner -- no 2nd or 3rd place awards. However, the judges deviated from the rules and announced an honorable mention. This chili was voted #1 by one judge, while the eventual winner was tops with the other two. Mine was the honorable mention.

Disappointed? Yes, but I could live with it. I figured the winning chili must be pretty damned good. Wrong! I tasted it and had to choke it down. A coworker spit it out. Others mentioned it as having an "almost rancid" taste. How does this happen? How does one chili win out with 2 out of 3 judges, while losing out with nearly everyone else? I demand a recount, an investigation, bribes must've been handed out, favors had to have been called in, the winner must've had dirt on two of the judges! For the record, it was the judge with previous judging experience that picked mine as #1.

In the end, it was all good. My coworkers loved my chili. Who cares about the judges anyway. It isn't like there was some huge award for 1st place. My prize was a near perfect bowl of red, and the satisfaction of knowing my peers enjoyed it too.

Before I forget, I want to thank my kitchen staff. Without you, I might have won...just kidding.

Too Much Stuff

Posted on 2/24/2005 to Site Information

I've decided that I've got too much stuff here on my know, Bryan's Weblog of Stuff? Anyway, it is time to shed some of it. Too many categories, too many links, too many arch...well, I guess the archives should stay. Perhaps I should create an archives page that lists all of the months, and then on the main page only show the last 12 months, with a link to "more..." Decisions, decisions.

Another TiVoToGo Web Server Url

Posted on 2/11/2005 to Technology

The following Url provides a bunch of details on a specific recording:


xxxxxx is the id of the recording you want information on.

TiVoToGo Webserver Url's

Posted on 1/29/2005 to Technology

Here are some of the known Url's for accessing content on your TiVo. (This only applies to TiVo's with the TiVoToGo update.):
  • https://<TIVO-IP-ADDR>/nowplaying/index.html (username:tivo password:<your media access key>)
  • http://<TIVO-IP-ADDR>/TiVoConnect?Command=QueryContainer
  • https://<TIVO-IP-ADDR>/TiVoConnect?Command=QueryContainer&Container=%2FNowPlaying
That's it for now.


Posted on 1/29/2005 to Technology

Well it's about damn time! Last night, both of my TiVos finally got the service update for TiVoToGo. Let's see, I only signed up on the priority list 4 weeks ago.

So now that I have it, what should I do with it? The obvious answer is transfer some shows from TiVo to my computer, which I started doing last night (Texas vs. Michigan in the Rose Bowl, if you must know). However, I hear that this update added a web server to TiVo, and that there are Urls to get at Xml feeds of the data. I say that it's time to start playing around with that. How about an RSS feed of what's on my TiVo? Ok, so maybe you don't care about what's on mine...

I'll let you know what I come up with.

More Gmail Invites

Posted on 1/28/2005 to Cool Stuff

Google has once again graced me with Gmail invites. If you are still in need, let me know.


Posted on 1/26/2005 to Entertainment

I found a nice surprise waiting for me in my inbox last night. It was an email from MusicMatch letting me know that they had discontinued their Radio Platinum Subscription service. Sounds like bad news? Nah. The email went on to say that as a loyal Radio Platinum subscriber, I would be upgraded at no charge to their MusicMatch On Demand service.

  • Play: Instantly stream more than 800,000 songs
  • Discover: Browse popular tracks, and recommendations
  • Search: Power-search by genre, artist, album or track
  • Mix: Create playlists with MP3s, WMAs and On Demand tracks
  • Spin: Automatically build the ultimate playlist with AutoDJ
  • Save: Bookmark On Demand tracks in your library
  • Access: Tap in to the entire On Demand catalog from any PC
  • Share: Email playlists to friends so they can listen too - for FREE!

Lost in Translation

Posted on 1/21/2005 to In General

Looks like folks in Norway view the "Hook'em Horns" sign a little differently than us.

Saluting the Longhorns, or satan?

ou fans

Posted on 1/3/2005 to Sports

I was watching one of the many College Gameday segments that's been on the last few days, and saw a shot from Miami. It was a horde of ou fans, with a number of them with their horns down.

Their team is in the national title game against USC, and yet they still do the horns down? Is this just because they have no sign of their own so they adopt a modified version of their hated rivals sign?  Or is it because even after 5 straight wins against Texas (mind you, Texas still leads the overall series by double digits), they still feel like they're fans of a second rate school, and are absolutely obsessed with Texas? It's almost cute, kind of like a little brother who is always trying to get the attention of their big brother.

I'd think that they'd be thinking of how close they are to a national title, and focusing their energy on the opponent still standing in their way.

I can never root for ou. Even last year, when a win by ou in the Big 12 Title Game would've likely put Texas in it's first BCS game, I found myself rooting for Kansas State. This season, I found myself being ok with not rooting for anyone in the title game, and just hoping for a good game, while wishing the best for all Big 12 schools. However, after seeing the idiot ou fans, I think that I might have to pull for USC.

Elliptical Cross Trainers

Posted on 1/3/2005 to Health and Fitness

I am thinking of getting an elliptical cross trainer. Recommendations? Thinks to look out for?

Currently, I am looking at one of the models from Octane Fitness. Anyone else out there have experience with their products?