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Prague - June 2014

1 min read

I just got back from a trip to Prague this past weekend.  It is a long story about why I went involving a piece of brand new equipment, power outages, and a fried motherboard.  Anyway, here's a link to the set on Flickr of the pictures I took (most of clouds) and below is a selection:

IMG_20140622_160109 IMG_20140624_174806
IMG_20140624_162125 IMG_20140622_160034

More Horse Meat

1 min read


The horse-meat saga continues.  Earlier this year, certain burger patties were found to contain 29% horse.  Today it was announced that Findus brand frozen lasagne contains up to 100% horse.  If you live in the UK and like to eat boxed Lasagne and don't like horse, then you should probably return your Findus brand frozen lasagne.

Image from s. bar via flickr

HOWTO -- Make Coffee in a French Press/Cafetiere

2 min read

In Serbia, I drank Turkish Coffee.  I learned to make it and wrote a howto on making turkish/serbian coffee.  Here in the UK, I have a filter coffee pot; however, before that I only had a french press (called a cafetiere--the french word for what Americans call a french press--here in the UK).  I like the taste of french press coffee better than filter so I've been drinking it in the mornings.  Here's how I do it.  Just for note, my thermos--called a flask here--is 750ml.  That makes my french press about 900ml or so (as I get a thermos + 1 cup from it).

If you want the details, read more....


Coffee in a French Press 1 You need hot water for this. Either fill your electric kettle up and put it on to heat or fill your tea kettle and put it on the stove.
Coffee in a French Press 2 Now take your press. You need to put coffee in it before you pour the water in.
Coffee in a French Press 3 Here's a picture showing the relative sizes of my press, my scoop, and coffee tin. I don't regularly use Costa brand coffee...I use the "regular" Tesco brand. My dad really likes 8 o'clock coffee. Try a few and use the one you like best.
Coffee in a French Press 4 I take two scoops. If I had to guess, I'd say my scoop holds 2Tbsp. Dump each one into the press.
Coffee in a French Press 5 Here's everything ready. The thermos is for the coffee after you've made it. The plunger thing is the "lid" and press for the press.
Coffee in a French Press 6 When the kettle boils....
Coffee in a French Press 7 Pour some into your thermos/flask. Remember to leave enough to make the coffee with. Experiment to find the right amount.
Coffee in a French Press 8 Pour the water into the press now.
Coffee in a French Press 9 Pour it fast. The grounds will swirl around and need for stirring.
Coffee in a French Press 10 I fill mine to the top. Again, you'll have to experiment to see the right amount of water/coffee/space to use.
Coffee in a French Press 11 Put the lid/plunger on it. Don't push the plunger down yet though. You are just doing this to keep the heat in.
Coffee in a French Press 12 Now set the timer for 3 minutes. At the end of three minutes, push the plunger down--moderately slowly. Once it is fully depressed, pour a cup, put the rest in the flask and enjoy.


1 min read

A blue lock for George

Technology is great.  It let's us talk to people faster and easier than we could even 10 years ago.  Computers are more powerful than ever, and we can get online from just about anywhere.  But sometimes there are things that just make me go "ARG!"  This is one of them.

We have some HP z210 workstations at work.  We also favor McAfee Endpoint Encryption for full disk encryption (in case of theft, etc...).  Well, in the case of the z210s, they have a brand-spankin-new UEFI bios-like bios.  They shipped with version 1.09.  The current version is now 1.35.  The only problem???  If the bios is upgraded....even a minor step...the computer will refuse to boot.  Thankfully, HP worked with us and told us how we can roll these computers back, but then we have to ensure they never get upgraded.  Again.

Oh, and did I mention that the computer may not want to boot even after you roll it back?  Yep.  We haven't figured out why, but in 1/2 the cases we've had, the computer refused to boot.  This means you've got to take great pains in the rollback process.


Image from darwin bell via flickr

Sloppy Joe Mix

1 min read

sloppy_joe_sauce_internalSloppy Joe mix.   I like the kind in a can; however, tomato sauce is easy to come by here so the powdered kind that takes up less space is just as good.

[Update 2012-12-26 10:17:29] I've come to really like the McCormic brand that I link to on Amazon.


3 min read

 Kvas Label from Serbia from Petrovic

I wrote yesterday about Cyndi trying Kvas for the first time.  Today, she pointed out that it looked like she was drinking beer and that I had better write something about it.  No, Cyndi hasn't turned into an alcoholic (nor have I).  No, we don't drink alcohol...or beer (Serbs seem to think of Alcoholic drinks only being hard liquor....for the most part, they don't seem to lump beer into that category.).  Firstly, our company forbids it and, secondly, we don't see how that honors Christ. Moving on....

I can't really describe how it tastes.  Kind of malty.  Kinda like a flat pop but with a bit of carbonation left.  Kida heavy.  Kinda bready.  It tastes about like it looks...very dark brown...darker than the bear in the picture above.  Almost black.  It has tons of vitamins and most people drink it like a vitamin supplement.  In fact, according to this article, the Russians--it's a Russian drink originally--used it exactly that way.  They would drink it in the winter when they couldn't get sufficient vitamins from their diet.

How does kvas compare with pop?  Well, let me say that I doubt in the US it will be a hit.  Well, let me take that back...perhaps it will be a hit with the healthfood nuts (the same people who brew twigs and dirt as some kind of coffee substitute).  However, with the huge sweet-tooth we have in the US, I doubt it will go anywhere.  But, this article talks about how the makers of Kvas made a comeback after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Here in Serbia, we have 1 choice for kvas.  However, according to the Wikipiedia article on Kvas, in Ukrane, they sell the stuff out of water buffalo type containers.  We have some friends there who have tried it and said they like it (although one of them falls into the health-food nut category.  I won't mention names, but they know who they are.).  They tell us that there is a wide range of kinds and flavors (probabaly depending on who made it, when, how they like it, what they think it should be like, etc....

Want to try your hand at making kvas.  Here's a recipe I found online.  I don't know what it tastes like or anything about it.  But, feel free to give it a go if you want to try it.

Full-disclosure:  I know that the wikipedia article says that kvas has alcohol.  If you do a generic search for kvas on the internet, you'll find about 1/2 of the articles saying it does...and 1/2 saying it doesn't.  Our supervisors have told us that it does not...and, everyone I've talked to here says it is alcohol free.  (Note from Cyndi...I just double-checked the label on the brand available here and it says "bezalkoholno"-which means without alcohol.)  Now, I understand that isn't a fool-proof test--see the discussion of the local view on beer above. This actually proposes an interesting question:  should we or shouldn't we drink kvas.  What do you think?  Leave a comment and we'll see where it goes.  Right now, I'm leaning towards the there's nothing wrong with it end of the spectrum; however, for anyone that knows me knows I am consistant.  What position do you think I ought to take on kvas?  Why?

Remember These Cars?

1 min read

Remember this post about the 4x4 cars I didn't know what they were?  Well, they are name brand Lada and are from the Soviet Union (now Russia).  Here are some links you might find interesting:

Wikipedia Article on Ladas
Lada Club Serbia

Here are some videos you may like:







Aaron...if you are out there, I think you need one of these.  It's much better than mudding in your van  :)

4x4 Car

1 min read

These cars are all over the place here.  They are 4 wheel drive (at least they have a sticker on the car that says so).  They look like they could climb a tree just sitting there.  I'd like one.  They have about 1.5-2 feet of ground clearance too!

[Update 09-20-2008 08:19:28] These cars are brand name LADA and come from the former Soviet Union/Russia.  Here is the wikipedia article.  Here is a link to a lada club in Serbia.

[Update 09-20-2008 08:37:20] Here is a new article about Ladas with some neat videos in it.

Wal Mart Thick and Creamy Mac and Cheese

1 min read

Sorry, I couldn't find a link for this.  It is the Wal Mart Brand Thick and Creamy mac and cheese.  If you can't find it, regular wal mart brand stuff (we think both are far superior to Kraft).

But, we have milk.  We have butter.  We have pasta.  All we need are the sauce packets.  Just get the stuff, open the box, and send us the sauce packets.  That's all we need.