Avoid using your ISP provided email

My internet and cable provider is Time Warner Cable and has been for about 8 years.  Over that time I have used my email address provided by them to sign in to various websites and used for communication for various services.  This is all well and good except when you which to change cable providers.  When you switch, that old email address goes away and you no longer have a connection with that website or service.

Knowing and remembering where that old email is tied can be a nightmare.

I have a few tips.  First, stop using your ISP provided email address as your primary account.  Sign up with Google Mail or some other free web based email.  I prefer Gmail because Google is not evil and it integrates with my delightful Android phone(s).

Second, keep track of anywhere online you have an account and databank that info somewhere (paper, or whatever).  I have fallen in love with a little app called “LastPass”.  It can be used to house your online accounts and used to auto login.  It has a browser plugin, phone app, etc.  Its great.

I am considering switching to either Dish or U-verse and have to go back and untie some old websites/services from my old account before making that switch.  A great example is iTunes.  Something that gets used weekly if not daily.

Using LastPass, it made it easier.  I could search my LastPass vault for my old email and see where I have used that address.  Perfect!

Moving on…

 

Bluetooth Audio

I was tired of wires from headphones.  I listen to podcasts almost all day long and tugging my phone all over the place.  Wires wires wires.

There exists bluetooth headphones and headsets but I didn’t want something large and bulky.  I wanted to avoid the DJ look.

Instead I went for the Ohura look (Star Trek reference).  BTW, Google (images) “Ohura” and you will get a pleasant busty surprise.  I digress.

I found a simple Samsung bluetooth earpiece for $20.  I figured it was a Samsung and I have a Samsung Galaxy S2 it would all work together.

Well it didn’t.  I could pair it up and make calls like expected, but no music audio.

Google Google Google, found the answer.

There is an app in the Play store called BTMono that did the trick.  It’s free and easy.  Blam!  Listening now.

Fixing Education is Simple yet Difficult.

Students need inspiration and aspirations.  Teachers provide most of this and do a great job educating those students are engaged.

The bottom scoring students are largely from households where poverty and chaos rule the roost and aspiration takes a back seat to survival.

Why would a student give a crap about homework and grades when they have to deal with the instability that may be happening at home?  You can’t blame teachers in this scenario.

It’s a difficult fix.  It’s a fix that requires leadership from the community.  It’s a fix that can’t be attained by throwing money at it.

We need to help parents be more supportive of their children/students.  It’s not hopeless.  This can be fixed but it will require the entire community to open eyes and identify the problem.

Parents, help your kids with homework.  Tell your kids that getting an education is necessary to move onward and upward in life.  Tell your child/students to behave appropriately and listen to the teachers and faculty.  Parents, by all means meet your teacher and attend the parent/teacher conferences.  If you find this difficult and continue to claim to be a victim, you better overcome it because you will always be stuck in victimhood and run the risk of continuing the negative cycle.

So… legislators and politicians.  Don’t blame unions.  Don’t try to scapegoat bad teachers.  Start helping parents and craft your policy accordingly.  Offer incentives to families (not school districts) for good grades and test results.  Leverage fishing and hunting permits (discounts etc), car insurance rates, grocery gift cards, clothing gift cards, sports tickets.  Be creative.  You can do it.

We can do it.

Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala

This recipe is worth the effort.  It is a great dish leftover so make a double or triple batch.  My wife and I love Indian food, but never attempted to cook at home.  It always seemed somewhat of an alchemist endeavor to get it correct.  I found this recipe and modified based on some comments that it had from users on the posted recipe.  If you are unable to find garam masala spice at your market (I found it at Target) or area indian markets, you can try to make your own.  See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garam_masala

Marinade for the chicken

1 cup yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (or 1 tsp of garam masala <– preferred)
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces.  Thighs work just as well.  You can also keep bone in if desired.
4 long skewers

(note: if you don’t want to skewer, cut chicken breasts into strips and grill)

Masala
1 tablespoon butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
3 Teaspsoons of garam masala
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
1.5 cup heavy cream (or coconut milk)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

 

Directions

In a large bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, ginger, and 4 teaspoons salt. Stir in chicken, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Grill

Preheat a grill for high heat.
Thread chicken onto skewers (or simply grill your chicken in “strip” form), and discard marinade. Grill until juices run clear, about 5 minutes on each side.  Note: avoid cooking the chicken breasts whole.  You want to maximize surface area of the marinate and grilling.

Masala

Melt butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic and jalapeno for 1 minute. Season with 2 teaspoons cumin, paprika, and 3 teaspoons salt. Stir in tomato sauce and coconut milk/cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Add grilled chicken, and simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, and garnish with fresh cilantro.

Serve with Rice and/or Naan, depending on your North India / South India preference.

I Love Google…

Google is like Jarvis is to Tony Stark.  …except you have to type (mostly).

I have an old 13 inch TV in my office and the cable signal is straight out of the wall (no box etc).  I don’t watch it much but some channels have a black box that appears and takes up most of the screen.

I never knew what it was.  So… I was watching the Chiefs, black box comes on, I got irritated.  So I googled it.

Turns out it was the Closed Captioning (CC) setting.  It was set to some odd setting.  Turned it off and BAM!  Now I can watch the dismal Chiefs lose another game.

Wahoo the game

Really? This was a game? Oh, yes it was.  A fun game I might add.

The object of the game is to move your marbles from your home spot to the safe teepee.  The adventure gets difficult with others who land on your piece and send you back to the beginning (sound familiar?).  The board is decorated with Native American pictures and symbols.

Completely politically incorrect in 2012.

But don’t feel too bad, since the replacement game is called Sorry!.