What Made You Happy Today?


Viking can haz “friends with benefits”.
Viking iz much happy.


I have no idea what a Caram Bar is or if they’re even sold in the UK at all, but sweet Jeebus Haitch Crimbotree the Caram Bar Tassimo cartridges make a damn fine hot chocolate!


I used to have a Tassimo machine! Way before Keurig came out. Someone gave it to me. It worked well, and most of the coffees & hot chocolate concoctions were great, but the pucks/disks were too difficult to find in stores. I can’t really gripe too much about the pucks being expensive - they were in line with K-cups, more or less - but it was definitely more costly to operate than a regular drip coffee maker. The cost of convenience. On the rare occasion when I found a coffee variety that I liked, the Tassimo had the capability to make a way better cup of coffee than the Keurig. The key is the barcode that tells the Tassimo the recipe - pump water to presoak the coffee grounds, let it soak, pump water at this rate for this time. So different coffees, or lattes, or toppings, or hot chocolate-type drinks all got different treatment. Very groovy.


Old Job had ‘Flavia’ machines which were little packets. Apparently the “big thing” for Flavia was brewing and such occurred in the packet, so you didn’t have any common ‘tubing’ past the hot water feed. I remember reading the K-cup soups had an issue in that the soup tended to be coffee-flavored (or your coffee would get soup-flavored) as the same channel was used from the pod to the spout.

Flavia did different treatments, too. Watching it do some of the complicated drinks was amusing, as you’d have to load a coffee pack, a hot chocolate pack, etc. for some more complex drinks. Hot chocolate wasn’t bad as I remember.


We too have a Flavia at work. Hot chocolate and tomato soup are the best things that come out of it. Yes, each brewed item has its own filter. (Others, like cocoa and soup, just kind of puff open at the bottom, and the powder mostly drops into the cup.) But much like the Tassimo, most of the available flavors are not to my liking. Some are downright wretched. If you like horribly dark, strong blends, you’re probably ok using a Flavia. My boss uses it but he is an old cop… he could probably drink coffee if it was brewed with turpentine instead of water.
Keurig does have a tube thingy with a sharp end that pierces the K-cups to drain, and yes, if you don’t rinse (run it empty) before switching, you can get some flavor crossover… tea with a hint of Colombian blend is not a winner, and unintentionally mocha cocoa is no better.

That reminds me! If your family enjoys coffee after dinner, here’s a hint for the holidays… After the family feast (I’m thinking Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner), put a tea bag in with the coffee grounds in the basket* to make coffee with a little extra flavor. You can start with a Lipton’s generic tea bag, or go bolder and use a blend from like Twinnings or Stash or whatever is available. Earl Gray may be a bit bold but still nice (goes over will with my family), but is probably too much for anything less than a ten cup pot. Lady Gray, or any of the breakfast or afternoon blends are usually received well.

*This assumes you are brewing a full size pot in an ordinary automatic drip coffee maker. I’ve never tried it in anything else.


Rain, rain lovely rain.

Got two 1000l tanks connected up to the gutter system, have collected 400l of rainwater at this stage. Good going.


We could really use some rain today.

The college is waaaaay to close to that, so it’s closed.


My buddy in Wisconsin got the book I sent him via Amazon.


I spent last week in Houston doing messy work with Team Rubicon. Made some friends, learned some things, helped some people.

Today I had a conversation with the colonel, the gist of which is that if I choose to pursue becoming a warrant officer (or competing for promotion to First Sergeant), I still have a full-time job. We’re a budget-based program within the National Guard, so they don’t have to keep me if I make myself too expensive, but they plan to.

Also, this weekend is my first drill since coming back from the desert, and I’m back in my old unit as a platoon sergeant, which is basically the best job in the Army.


Dude! If I had known you were here, I would have wanted to say howdy, maybe bought you a beer or something! But, I’m guessing you were plenty busy.


Not Always Right is celebrating their 10th Anniversary. The top-voted story is called “That Is ‘Pretty’ Awesome” and it’s about a photographer who goes out of his way to take pictures of a very sick girl and helps her look like a princess.

They gave it the royal treatment and got it drawn as a comic strip. I think it works even better in that format.


I salute that photographer, as he went above and beyond his call of duty. It made me cry.


Couple of weeks ago we got a secondhand 4-stroke lawnmower due to ours getting blagged couple of months ago.

So… the thing still runs and all that. But it needed some TLC.

Front wheels was loose. This got fixed with some proper metal plates instead of plastic (which just broke off) and a couple of pop rivets.

Carb was a big mess. Cleaned it outside and inside, all is OK.

Spark plug was fouled due to leaking piston rings. Got a new spark plug.

This weekend I’ll check the piston by taking the head off, as I need to know what shape the piston is in. If it is well within tolerance, I can just get a set of new piston rings, but if it is outside tolerance, a plan need to be made.

Engine is a Briggs and Stratton. Simple engines, but they last, no matter what you throw at them.

Want to teach my son simple mechanical skills while I do the head.

Will try to post some pichsers.


Me too. Great story.


I spent last week with my SQLFamily at our annual gathering in Seattle. Saw old friends, met lots of new ones, and got to spread the word about an open source project I’m involved with.

Also, got to log a webcam geocache that’s eluded me on my previous two trips to Seattle.


Visited a zoo today and spotted a mouse hopping around the sidewalk before it zipped into its burrow. I thought it was funny that this was just outside the tiger exhibit.


Financial data getting recovered from a dead server FTMW.


Makes me wish I was still in, almost.

“We are very cautious of the fact that we change uniforms; we are very cautious of the fact that this cost taxpayers dollars and that is why we are being very deliberate on communicating this to the American public, to soldiers, to Congress and asking everybody – is this the right thing to do?” he said.

But this is just a disconnect. The major portion of the expense will be born by the soldiers. From sunk costs into upgraded old uniforms that are no longer any use, those black patent leather shoes are now a door stopper, to the Joe that has to have two or three to make it through a week, and only gets one from the service. If I remember correctly my uniform allowance was enough to get one and a half pairs of BDUs, without insignia, or tags. Considering one training mission could easily eat two uniforms, usually not, but it happened, and t-shirts and socks were constantly wearing out, it was a joke. I usually spent mine on socks and t-shirts, and just bought uniforms as I needed them.

In addition, there is also talk of an optional brown leather bomber jacket from WWII," which soldiers love," he said.

If you are a recruiter and you don’t get this jacket in areas anywhere near where there is weather cold enough for it, you are insane.


Deep fried battered bacon.


Dear sweet Jesus. So much grease.
Thankfully, they included a little tub of maple syrup which makes it much healthier.