LOLCat Generator

lolcatgraph.pngWhoa, that's some crazy growth.

I launched LOLCatGenerator.com earlier this week and the growth rate is crazy. So far I've got just over 200 cat pictures up and ready for captions.

More features should follow this weekend and next week as I get time to work on them.

Yummy Rice Pudding from Scratch

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Before you start, this is not a quick recipe, expect to spend the better part of an hour near the stove.

  • 3/4 or 1 cup uncooked white rice.
  • 2 cups milk (split, 1 1/2 now, 1/2 later)
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1-2 eggs beaten
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Cook the Rice:
Skip this step and use some left over rice if you have it. About 2-3 cups is good.
Boil twice the water as you have rice (2 cups of water for 1 cup rice). Add uncooked rice to the boiling water and stir. Reduce heat, cover and simmer til done. Stir occasionally and don't let it burn. The rice is done when all the water is absorbed (about 20 minutes).

Making the Custard:
Combine rice, 1 1/2 cups milk, sugar and salt in a sauce pan. Cook over medium heat until thick and creamy (15-20 mins, maybe more). Be very careful with the heat, you want to just barely scald the milk, but not make it taste bad. It's important that you stir frequently and don't let anything stick to the pan. Near the end you should stir continuously.

Test the mix by wiping the back of the spoon with your finger. If the line holds well (doesn't run) then you can proceed, if not cook a bit longer. This is a good time to taste it also.

Stir in the remaining milk and beaten egg[s]. Cook for a few more minutes, stirring continuously. Take it off the stove and stir the vanilla.

Serving:
You can spoon into single serving bowls or a large dish. Serve warm or cold with a dash of cinnamon and cream or whipped cream if you like.

Options:
Use two eggs for a thicker pudding. Use other spices, nutmeg or anything else that you like. Some people (not me) like raisins in their pudding.

Our Chili Recipe

At work we recently had a Chili cook-off (no voting, just eating) and I had promised to share the recipe. Here it is:

  • #10 Can of tomatoes. This is the large "economy size".
  • #10 Can of Kidney beans. If you can't find that, 4 of the next largest cans works well.
  • 5 lbs of burger. Beef, turkey, sausage, whatever you can get cheap. I like half beef and turkey.
  • One each, Red, Yellow, and Green bell peppers (or more)
  • One (or two) Poblano peppers roasted (or not)
  • One Red Onion
  • 8 oz Chili powder (or more)
  • Garlic - Fresh or Powdered, to taste.
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Cumin, Smoked Paprika, or similar to taste.

The exact amounts aren't so important. This isn't rocket science and you can adjust the proportions to taste and according to what you have on hand.

Toss the tomatoes in a large stock pot and squish them with your hands. Some people like to use a spoon or potato masher to break them up but I find it great fun to squish between my fingers. Sitr in the beans and and powdered spices. Leave on low heat, stir occasionally.

Brown the burger in a couple of large frying pans. Salt and pepper to taste. While the meat is cooking, chop up the veggies (don't forget to stir the meat). When the meat is done, drain it and add to the stock pot.

Throw the veggies into the frying pan(s) and soften them up a little. You can use the hamburger grease, or discard it and use olive oil, they both taste good. I prefer to saute the onions first til they are clear, then add the peppers for a few minutes. Don't cook them too much or they will turn to mush. Add all the veggies to the stock pot and stir well.

Simmer the chili on low heat for an hour, then add salt and pepper to taste. If you want to spice it up a lot, take the meat of a habiñero pepper (just the meat, not any seeds) and puree it with a cup of the chili juice.

Let the whole mess cook on low (just barely bubbling) for a few hours. Stir occasionally. If some sticks to the bottom of the pan leave it there. Scraping it up could add a burnt flavor to the chili that isn't good. Serve when you can't resist the smell anymore. Chili gets better with age and it's at it's peak about 3-4 days later after it's been reheated a few times.

First SA Show N Tell Party

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Mark and I hosted the first ever San Antonio Show N Tell party last night at his apartment. Picking the guest list was difficult while we tried to find a good mix of people that wouldn't all know each other. As it was just shy of half the attendees work at Rackspace.

Mark started off with a very nice description of what we want to accomplish with the group and a bit of the reasons why and how it all got started. It's all summed up well on the About page of SA Show N Tell.com. Just don't mind the design, I'm working on something a bit more kitschy.

We started off with a supper of home made flautas, refried beans, guacamole, fresh tomatillo salsa, and queso fresca. For dessert I made a crazy looking rice pudding with dyed tapioca pearls, chocolate and mint. I'll post the recipe sometime tomorrow.

The shows for the evening included music, jewelery, knitting, poetry, photography, spinning (yarn), carpentry, gaming and memory books.

Aside from the people I knew from work, I invited a friend whom I'd met on Flickr and her husband. Amber and Danny attend the same church that Deb and I do, but somehow we'd not met until I posted some pictures near the church and Amber commented on them.

I know many of the guests were a bit apprehensive about showing off their talents or performing in front of the group but everyone was well received.

My favorites were Kim's poetry (spoken word, not rhyming), Amber's cabinetry and Danny's MAME cabinet. David showed off his knitting, including the shift socks and an absolutely beautiful candle flame shawl that he'd made for his grandmother. Michael sung a moving song about a poor country man from China who tried to make a go of it in the city. Nachyelli showed off some cool jewelery. Bronwyn demonstrated spinning silk into lace weight yarn with a drop spindle. Monsyne showed off some sketches and a poem he write. Virginia passed around a memory book that she created, and I showed off my time-lapse contraption and the resulting video as well as my kayaks (thanks Flickr for bringing them to Mark's place).

Mark's photo booth setup was a great hit, you can see some of the photos here. I'm hoping that we can refine this idea some and keep it as a re-occuring feature of future events.

Everyone had a great time and I'm sure we'll be doing more of these in coming months. Hopefully with slightly larger venues so we can reach out through these people to find more interesting and talented people to meet.
As David so nicely put it: "I really think this might be the start of something cool."

Import Thunderbird Contacts Into GMail

It's easy to use the "cut" command to convert your Thunderbird contacts into a format that GMail is happy to import.

Start out in Thunderbird, click Tools, Address Book. Once the Address Book pops up click Tools, Export. A save dialog should popup asking you to for a filename and folder. Look down by the save button, change the format dropdown from LDIF to CSV, name the file myExport.csv and click Save. The default of the home dir should be fine.

All of your T-Bird contacts are now in the CSV file, but GMail won't appreciate the extra columns and lack of headers. We can fix that easily from the command line. Open a shell and change to the directory where you saved your CSV. Run the following command:

echo First Name,Last Name,Email Address > toImport.csv ; cat myExport.csv |cut -d"," -f1,2,5 >>toImport.csv

Now head over to your gmail account and import the csv. The Import link is on the "Contacts" page near the top right.

GMail should report success once it's done processing the file and tell you how many contacts it imported.