The Caffeinated Penguin

musings of a crackpot hacker

Update on the boys and other things.

| April 8, 2014

The boys continue to grow like crazy. Max has decided he likes things that he sits in (bouncy chairs, etc.) and Miles has decided that he likes laying on his back and hitting those types of things that dangle in front of your face. Both of them are over 13 lbs, with Max at nearly 14 lbs.

Anyway, I’ve added several more pictures spanning from the end of February to the end of March to The Max and Miles gallery (scroll down, they’re in chronological order, with the most at the bottom)

On the programming front, a friend of ours introduced us to Rockabye Baby! so we picked up some CD’s off of, and I ripped them to a USB stick so I can play it in the car. Of course, this brings up the age-old problem of there not being any decent .m3u playlist generators or synchronizers (or, at least, not any that I like). So, I wrote one. You can find it on one of my github repos. You’re looking for manage_playlists.

On the consumption of media front, I’ve finished Monster Hunter International, very good, highly recommended.

I’ve also been playing through X-Com: Enemy Unknown, which is also highly recommended. This is a bit different than the original, more streamlined. The key with this version of the game seems to be to drag it out so that your troops can gain experience and make scientific advancements. If you research the priority items too rapidly, the game progresses too rapidly and you get overwhelmed.

Additionally, I’ve been playing a little bit of Shadowrun Returns: Dragonfall, which I’ll likely be playing more of now that the manage playlist script is finished.

I also finally got to cooking up my hot sauce from the peppers for this year:

Hot sauce - peppers

Hot sauce – peppers

Hot sauce - blending

Hot sauce – blending

Hot sauce - straining

Hot sauce – straining

Hot sauce - done!

Hot sauce – done!

So, that’s about what’s been going on in my world.

Seekrit project

| June 19, 2011

So, I’ve been working on this for the past week.


  • An old swingset
  • A reciprocating saw with a metal blade
  • A couple cans of Rust-Oleum
  • Misc hardware

Cutting it down:

Chopped down swingset

Construction complete


Painted up

Painted up

Know what it is yet?

Here’s the burner (which I had already)

With burner

With burner

And a pot and pulley:

Pot and pulley

Pot and pulley

Anyone still not sure?

Turkey fryer pulley rig:

For the first cut, we used Alton’s Recipe for the brine, and the directions from the manufacturer for the cookery (350 degress for 3.5 minutes per pound, which ended up being 45 minutes). I felt it was a bit overdone. Alton’s recipe starts it at 250, waits for it to get up to 350, and then cooks it for 35 minutes. I think we’ll try that one next.

Happy Thanksgiving

| November 26, 2010

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving and got plenty to eat.

AB’s brined turkey recipe is quite good. The turkey was wonderfully seasoned and juicy.

His cranberry sauce, not so much. It’s okay, but the Ocean Spray canned stuff is better.

To go with it, we had stuffing doctored up with mushrooms and apples, garlic mashed potatoes, gravy, and baguettes.

This was the first major meal cooked in the new stove which, is finally in. Originally, we were supposed to get the gas lines run last Wednesday and do the hook up on Saturday (which, requires the gas company to pressure test the whole thing before they’ll unlock the tank). So, I was going to be home to take delivery of the stove, meet them for hookup, etc. I canceled gaming, and Liz went hunting. Of course, a plan is just a list of things which don’t happen, so they couldn’t do the hookup on Saturday for lack of staff. Thus, we pushed the whole affair back to the next Tuesday. I still leave gaming canceled, so Lizzy can go hunting, while wait for the stove. Once it arrives, I convert it over to LP, and the next few days we end up trying to use our other appliances to cook supper (lots of soup and things made with a contact grill).

Tuesday roll around and the gas man shows up after lunch. Of course, sales guys can never seem to fill out work orders correctly, so:

  • He doesn’t have enough gas line.
  • And, of course, what he doesn’t have enough of is too small So, very little happens while he waits for someone to come out from the home office and bring a couple of rolls of the proper line. I mean, we get the tank set up, some holes drilled, and the beginning of the line run (he had maybe 20 feet of the right size line, which got us in the house). A bit of work later (went pretty quickly with two people), and we’re in business. No leaks, gas on, stove works.

It’s pretty awesome. Two ovens, five burners, and it throws a lot more heat than the electric one did. This is the one.

In addition, we’ve gotten the house into something approaching clean, gotten our Warmachine figures varnished, and played a couple of games. I even won a game for once… and it’s only Friday. Most of the Christmas shopping is done as well. Tomorrow is “put the snowblower on the tractor” day, and we’ll likely go grocery shopping on Sunday.

Oh, and I’ve gotten an Amahi server set up and mostly configured. It’s pretty slick.

I think that’s it for now. I need to post pictures of the miniatures at some point, but I’m kozy and don’t feel like getting the camera.

Force carbonating soda at home

| January 31, 2010

These things are neat. The flavors pretty well suck, but using a fruit juice concentrate or some lime juice or something is quite nice.

More photos – Food

| October 9, 2009

This is a collection of food-related bits and bobs from the past couple of years – gardening things, hunting things, etc.


| July 6, 2009

Been busy, but still here.

I’ve updated the blog to WP 3.8.

I also had a bit of an overloaded meltdown a couple of weeks ago. Basically, the working theory was that we weren’t going to work on the house or do anything until after the potatoes went in (which happens about the second week of July). At least, this is what I thought. After the list got stupidly long, and it had to be done sooner, rather than later, I basically just stopped doing everything outside work, working on the house, and being a fire commissioner. This made Liz sad, because she was looking forward to brewing beer, and I had told her not to get me any brewing stuff for my birthday, since I would not have time to use it and it would just take up space. I think that put a bit of a point on it, so she agreed to let me set the pace of things, and not set deadlines, and try to slow down. So, theoretically, we’re actually going to be able to do things like brew beer and sit and read…

At least, once the peas are picked and the potatoes are in. We picked and processed about 4 gallons of peapods today, and we’ll do our first picking of garden peas later this week. The replacement tomato, pepper, squash, etc. plants are all in (next year we’ll wait until the second week of June to plant them).

Fire stuff continues to be stupidly busy, with 3 meetings last week, and while there right now aren’t any this week, I expect there to be 2 by the time the week is out.

As I mentioned, I’m basically not gaming. Essentially, I’m not going to schedule anything recurring until it’s been a year and I’ve actually had at least one night free a week for a year where I can just read and play video games. I’m still buying game books, as I tend to collect them, and like to just read them, etc.

I upgraded everything to Jaunty, fixing the XFCE bad window placement problem by giving new windows focus. While it is not ideal, I spent several days poking different window managers and basically being disappointed by them. KDE4 is too unstable, GNOME is not configurable enough, and FVWM would take too much work to make it not make my eyes bleed. E17 is too unstable (though I may try the official Jaunty builds)

There’s more, but I think I’m going to break here for tonight. I finished reading Watchmen (there’s a pile of other books I need to review, and will do once I unbury them in the mess which used to be my office), and am now on to V for Vendetta.

Oh, as of right now, I’m planning on hitting Carnage, and will likely be bringing some homebrew. Since it’s not a regularly schedule thing, I likely will be able to find the time. If anyone else is going, let me know – especially if you want me to run something.

An open letter to Kraft Foods

| July 6, 2009

Dear Kraft Foods:

I was going to submit comments or send an email via your website, but the “Contact Us” link brings me to a FAQ, with no discernible way to actually contact you. Therefore, you get a public letter which everyone can read.

I recently purchased one of your “Miracle Whip – All Out Squeeze” products, which feature a nonstick squeeze bottle in order to be able to get all of the dressing out of the container. I regret to inform you that I will no longer be purchasing this product, as I believe that the nonstick bottle coating is leeching into the product. Once consumed, the nonstick ingredient affects my bowels similar to the dressing.

I confirmed this by the following methodology:

Day 1: Turkey sandwich with Miracle Whip Result: Distress

Day 2: Ham sandwich with Miracle Whip Result: Distress.

Days 3 and 4: The same turkey and ham, but with no miracle whip. Result: Nothing abnormal.

Day 5: Turkey with Miracle Whip Result: Distress

I feel this to be pretty conclusive proof.

Further, since my local grocer no longer sells small containers of Miracle Whip save in squeeze bottles, I will no longer be purchasing this product.


Matthew Caron

The "Super Rapid" mode on the bread machine

| January 18, 2009

Actually produces quite a nice loaf – very soft on the inside (likely because there isn't time to develop all the gluten), but might be somewhat lacking in flavor depending on the recipe used. All of the ones I've used so far have had stuff in them – herbs, cheese, etc. but I'll have to try one without. I'll also try some of my favorite recipes on the “rapid” cycle. It's about twice as long as “super rapid”, but the only adjustment you need to make is to add a little more yeast. Perhaps this will also produce the softer texture, while keeping some more of the flavor.

It's not that any of this is critical or important, it is more of an exploration of the capabilities of the machine.

Breadmaker badassery

| January 13, 2009

So, when one is coming home and needing to make bread, one needs to make sure that one does it right away, because it takes 3 hours and 45 minutes.

And then I forget to do so until 9:30. Crap.

So, I do a quick page through the breadmaker manual, and I find the “Super Rapid” cycle. 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Now, I don't expect it to have quite the texture as one with a couple kneadings and a long, slow development of proteins, but it means that I will have a loaf of bread to make sandwiches for lunch tomorrow.


Aerobie AeroPress

| October 26, 2008

I updated my review here after using it for a few months.