Thursday, April 28, 2005

Square foot gardening

I found this interesting article on square foot gardening. The basic idea is that you don't plant your vegetables in rows, but in 4' X 4' squares. The idea seems interesting. I'm trying a limited test this year. I didn't use the special soil they call for, just the dirt in my garden since I found out about it after I had already prepared my garden for the year.

One of the questions is "Why do you plant crops in rows?" Basically the answer was "Because that is the way we've always done it." That is why I planted in rows too. It doesn't make sense though for smaller gardens like most people plant today.

But how did it get started? I have a few ideas: 1) irrigation. It is easier to irrigate down straight rows, so if you are irrigating it make sense. 2) Plowing, straight lines would be more efficient.

Why plant more then thin? My guess is that if you are depending on the food to feed your family, you'd rather have too many plants than too few. Also, you don't know how good the seed is, so you'd rather overplant in case a lot of it doesn't come up.

fortunately for me, not sprouting doesn't seem to be a problem for me. My giant sunflowers seeded down last year and now I have 20 baby sunflowers growing. I'm going to have to start pulling them up soon. This is in addition to the lettuce and cillantro that seeded down.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Bankruptcies in Utah

I was reading this blog post here, talking about bankruptcies in Utah. I wonder if part of it might be from people having more children and giving away more money and still trying to live like everyone else who doesn't have those responsibilities. I also wonder if having larger families increases the chances someone in the family will have a large medical expense, since unexpected expenses are one of the reasons for bankruptcies.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Don't let the rain come in

Wednesday my roof started leaking. The roof had leaked before we bought the house, but the previous owner thought she had fixed it (not true). In her defense, the past few years we've been in a drought, so maybe the roof acted like it was fixed.

Apparently the wood was so badly rotted that it wouldn't hold a nail. My husband took a day off work and his dad and grandpa ripped off shingles and replaced a four foot wide section of the roof. They replaced it with new shingles and instead of tar paper used this really expensive stuff called weatherguard that should keep the water out. Saturday my husband will be putting the finishing touches on the roof and we should know if it worked by Sunday since another storm is coming.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Restaurant Review: Goodwood Barbecue Company

Restaurant Name: Goodwood Barbecue Company

Location: 777 E University Pkwy, Orem, UT 84097 - 7771

Average Price: nothing over $20. Large selection of sandwiches for around $7.50

Experience: Pretty good. Definitely get an appetizer here, they are VERY slow in bringing out your food. We got a chicken quesadilla, it was amazing. We ordered a pulled pork sandwich, the pitboss burger, and a beef brisquet(sp?) sandwich. All were very good. The pitboss burger was great and the pulled pork sandwich was amazingly tender. The brisquet was also good, but I've run out of adjectives.

Experience with kids: They had crayons and a kid's menu that my daughter could color on. The kid's meal cost $3.50 or so. They made a mistake in my daughter's order, bringing out a grilled cheese sandwich instead of a cheese burger, but they let us keep the mistaken meal and brought out a hamburger 6 minutes later (too late, my toddler was full of fries).

Verdict: Go, if you have time. I'd go again, but on a date with just my husband.

Mac attack

Are Macs really that cool?

I've been editing some video recently using Nero (not the best experience in the world). From what I've read, the best video editing software comes with a mac. I've been looking at the Mac Mini, priced at $500, although really it would cost around $750 since I'd want a DVD burner and a gig of RAM and a firewire harddrive enclosure for my spare harddrive. The real question is, is it worth it?

I'd have to learn a new interface. I've never had very good experience with Macs. The whole throwing a disk away to get it to eject is not intuitive. The last Mac I used had a power button right where the disk eject button would be on a PC; needless to say someone lost some work. I looked at a Mac at MacSomething and the interface drove me nuts, too many distracting animations, although that is all configurable. It reminded me of driving someone else's car, you assume the lights and windshield wipers will turn on somehow, but where is the stupid button?

I like the Mac Mini's design, size, and power consumption. The question is, it is hefty enough to do some light video editing (nothing over 2 hours long).

Since I won't start really looking until after April 26 when Tiger comes out, I guess I have plenty of time to figure it all out.

Sausage quesadilla

I made a really good, weird food combo:
shredded colby jack cheese
Bar-S smoked sausages

Put cheese on tortilla and cook in microwave until cheese is melted. Put sausage and salsa in middle of tortilla. Roll up and eat.

Warning: the sausage and salsa will tend to fall out, so don't hold it over your lap :)

My husband tried it and likes it too, so I'm not the only one.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Haven't croaked yet

I have finally decided what to put in my aquarium, African dwarf frogs. I have 2 small frogs. I've had them since Saturday. I got them from Wal-mart because they were inexpensive there and walmart has a 90 day warranty on their fish. I am feeding them freeze-dried bloodworms.

My daughter has named them Coqui and Coco. She got the name Coqui from a Dora the Explorer episode where Dora has to save a frog. I named the other one Coco because it's the co-coqui. (As a side note, I didn't know that a coqui was a real frog.) She was much more excited about a frog than a fish.

They are a little different from what I had expected. With fish, you see them swimming around a lot. With the frogs, they stay in one place, either floating on top of the water or sitting on the heater. They also blend in pretty well. I get to play the "where are the frogs" game every time I walk by the tank. Since I've read they are escape artists, I get a little worried sometimes when I can't find both of them. They also have the advantage that if they die I can make all kinds of bad jokes about them "croaking".

Not all its cracked up to be

I recently had my shareware network monitoring tool, PingerThinger, posted on It is getting more downloads than I had expected. I have 3 "versions" of PingerThinger, a free one that monitors up to 10 IPs, and two that cost money that monitor 100 IPs and an unlimited number of IPs.

I was watching the log for my website and noticed something interesting, a people were being referred to my site through sites I had never heard of. I took a look at a several of these sites and noticed a few things: 1) they were all in Chinese and 2) most of them were posting cracked versions of my software. Slate had a related article here. I felt slightly flattered because someone thought my software was worth cracking (although I suspect all the software on is cracked at these sites).

Mostly, however, I felt annoyed. I figure I'm not really loosing any money from it directly. I'd assume most people who would go to the crack sites wouldn't pay anyway, but it bothers me because I'm loosing bandwidth to people who are doing something unethical.

I guess I can be foolishly optimistic and hope they are using the cracked version to see if PingerThinger really can handle the number of IPs they have (it can, don't worry) and then they'll license it. Or maybe I'll say my software is leading network monitoring tool in China :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The radius of Neptune in furlongs

There are some phrases that you never expect to come up in normal conversation. "The radius of Neptune in furlongs" is a good example. How my husband came up with that I'm not sure. (It's 123,101.09 in case you are interested.)

Friday, April 08, 2005

Long distance woes

When I got my cell phone, it had a number local to Salt Lake City. I was glad to have a cell phone, but I thought it would be silly if I had to dial long distance from my house to reach my husband at the store less than a mile a way. Thus, I had the great idea of having the phone number changed. (Summary: Sprint has nice customer service people. Most customer service people do not know what they are doing. Given sufficient perseverance, you can get what you want.)

E-mail to Sprint: I e-mailed Sprint and they told me they could change the number, but not online, I'd need to call in.

Call #1: You need the account info and password for that.

I called my mother-in-law and got that information.

Call #2: Very nice woman. She had problems understanding that you could have the same area code and the call be long distance. She tried resetting something or other and told me to wait 4 hours. 4 hours later ... number still long distance

Call #3: Guy with an accent. You can't change that unless you are the policy holder.

Call mother-in-law and have her call Sprint on the cell phone and talk to me on the other phone.

Call #4: After being on hold for a very long time: This change should be possible, we don't understand why it isn't. It might have something to do with you changing your plan today. Call back tomorrow.

Call #5: Mother-in-law called Sprint. Instructions relayed through mother-in-law. Typed in long strings of numbers several times until one set of numbers worked. Got number changed. There was much rejoicing.

A quick sprint

I finally got a cell phone. My wonder mother-in-law got us one on her plan. She has Sprint. The coverage here is OK, not great. It is much better up in Salt Lake City. I get 200 minutes a month, free nights and weekends and all for around $20 a month. These family plans are the way to go.

Something Fishy

I'm thinking of getting a fish. We have a little 2 gallon tank from Wal-mart (I know, the smallest tank you should have is 10 gallons, but that isn't going to work right now) I got a cheap heater for it, but I think I'll end up returning the heater because you can't control the temperature on it. I figured it would pick a temperature and turn off when it hit it, but apparently not.

I'm thinking of getting either some feeder guppies or a beta. I've had good luck with feeder guppies in the past, so we'll see how things go and if I can find any. Most places seem to only carry feeder goldfish (these can't handle a small tank). Fancy guppies are pretty but delicate. Feeder guppies don't expect any favors. A beta might be a good choice, but the last one I had died quickly. Petco and Petsmart both have a 14 day guarantee that if the fish dies and it isn't your water, they'll replace it. I'm sure this doesn't apply to feeder guppies, with feeder guppies you buy more than you want and assume a few are going to pass on to the big fish bowl in the sky.

I can't decide, though, if I really want a fish or not. I have the tank all set up and I think it would be fun. But then I'd have to take care of the fish. I think my toddler would like to watch the fish, I'm just not sure if she'd like them too much. Hmm...I guess that would be another reason to get feeder guppies. Plus they have a short life span, so if I got sick of it, they'd die off soon anyway.

Monday, April 04, 2005

good pot stickers

My sister and I made the best pot stickers the other day. We followed this recipe (more or less), but used teriyaki sauce instead of soy sauce and put chicken bullion in the water we used to steam them. Very good.