General Archive

Friday, May 8, 2015

Traveling Bad Luck Trifecta

Bad Luck TrifectaI had a trifecta of bad luck traveling back from a conference yesterday (at least they were all minor instances of bad luck, and nothing horrible).

First, the flight was full, so I had to check my carry on bag instead of putting it in the overhead bin. It wouldn't have been a huge deal, but my flight wasn't scheduled to get into DFW airport until 10:00 pm, and I had a 2 hour drive to get back to Wichita Falls. I was hoping for as few delays as possible to getting on the road.

Second, once our plane was getting close to DFW, we had to go into a holding pattern. There had been a lot of thunderstorms in the area, shutting down the airport for a time, so there were a lot of delayed planes trying to make it in, and we were at the end of the line. Eventually the plane landed, when the flight attendant came on over the speaker system and said that it looked an awful lot like Houston out there. I think most people thought he was joking about the hazy weather, but I jumped right on my phone to pull up the maps, and sure enough, we were in Houston. Eventually the pilots came on to explain the situation - we'd been in the holding pattern too long and ran low on fuel. We had to divert to Houston to refuel, and to wait on the situation in DFW for the pilots to decide what to do. After an hour or so sitting in Houston, they refueled the plane and we flew on to Dallas.

After waiting longer than I wanted to at the baggage claim, I got my suit case and went off to the parking garage to get into my car, when this happened. I'd noticed a lot of traffic on the way to my car, but I chalked it up to all the construction going on at that terminal, and was even thinking to myself that I was glad the exit from the garage would bypass most of that traffic. I had no idea that the one road leading out of the terminal was flooded under two feet of water. Traffic was backed up all the way into the parking garage, and I think I sat for nearly an hour just in the garage before the water receded enough to where cars could start making their way through. After that, it was probably another good 20 minutes feeding into the main road to get out, and I didn't actually leave the airport till around 3:00 am. By the time I got to where the flooding had been the worst, it looked just about like this:

DFW Flooding
Image Source: CBS

Luckily for me, I have family down in the area, so I crashed at my brother-in-law's place (brother's-in-law?), and drove back this morning in daylight. It was a bit more eventful of a trip than I'd have liked, but in the big picture, I suppose it wasn't really all that bad. Even with the delays, it took less time than it would have taken to drive it.

Horseshoe Image Source: Wikimedia Commons, edited by me

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Pysanky Easter Eggs

For a while now, I'd been wanting to try to make Pysanky eggs for Easter, but every year I'd thought about it too late to get anything delivered in time, and none of the local hobby stores sold the right supplies. Well this year, I finally remembered to order a Traditional Ukrainian Egg Decorating Kit
from Amazon a few weeks before Easter, and my daughter and I decorated a few eggs. I only had enough time to do one, and the result isn't worth showing here. But my daughter does pretty good at these types of things, and she had enough time to decorate three eggs. Here are the results:

Pysanky Easter Eggs

We'd originally figured that our first attempts wouldn't be worth saving, so we started off on hard boiled eggs that we'd turn into the traditional Easter deviled eggs. And while that prediction was true enough for me, it was a bit off for my daughter. Still, she ended up decorating two hard boiled eggs before she went the more traditional route of blowing out the yolk and white of a raw egg to decorate an empty shell.

In case you've ever wanted to try this and wondered about the cheaper more traditional styluses vs. the electric ones, the cheap ones worked just fine for us after a few minutes of figuring out how to get them to work properly. You'll need a candle, but once you melt the wax in the reservoir, you can 'write' for a decent amount of time before having to re-heat the stylus. It wasn't really a pain at all to keep putting the stylus back into the flame.

Anyway, it was fun, and I think the results turned out pretty good (for my daughter at least). I'm pretty sure we'll try the same thing again next year.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Happy Easter!

I don't normally just post webcomics, but this one fits in perfectly with the normal themes of this website and the upcoming holiday. Click on the comic to go to the source.

Jesus n Mo Comic

Oh well, I guess since I've already started this post, I might as well link to a few Easter-themed pages on this site.

  • No More Easter Bunny - an entry I wrote shortly after my daughter figured out the Easter Bunny wasn't real, pondering why we trick our kids with holiday myths
  • Random Thoughts After a Night at Mass - just some musings I had after one of my first times back in church after becoming an atheist (which just happened to be over Easter weekend)
  • Easter Bread Recipe - nothing skeptical or atheism related about this, just a traditional recipe for Easter bread that my mom always made when I was growing up, and that I now make with my daughter every year

And here's an article in The Guardian, The pagan roots of Easter, which describes just what the title says it does (though I'll be honest and admit I'm not sure of all the claims in that article).

Happy Eostre everyone!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Chick-Fil-A Tastes a Little Less Like Bigotry

Chick-Fil-AIf you've followed this site, you might remember my entry from a few years ago, Chick-Fil-A, Bigotry, and Rights, where I partly described Chick-Fil-A's policy of donating to hate groups and other anti-gay groups (nearly $2 million in 2010). And I also went on to say how I was boycotting the restaurant in response, because I didn't want any of my money going to support such odious causes.

Well, I'm about a year late in describing this, but it looks like Chick-Fil-A has changed their ways. According to an article in Think Progress, Chick-fil-A's Foundations Dramatically Reduce Anti-LGBT Giving (Updated), the company has reduced its donations to anti-LGBT groups by 99.2%.

Now, I'm still not a fan of Dan Cathy, and don't think I would like him if I met him personally, but like I wrote in the original entry, "if we limited our patronage only to those businesses run by people that we agreed with on every issue, there wouldn't be many businesses we could go to," and my boycott of Chick-Fil-A was largely because of their financial contributions to hate groups. Now that those financial contributions have basically ended, I don't feel as bad eating their chicken sandwiches (even if I still think they're lazy for shutting down entirely for a full day every week).

Friday, March 13, 2015

New Blueberry Muffin Recipe

Blueberry MuffinI've just posted a new recipe to the How To & Recipes portion of my site, Blueberry Muffins.

To describe this reciple, I'll just quote what I put on that page, "Usually when making a staple like muffins, I'll just go to the Joy of Cooking (or the 1975 Edition) and follow the recipe there. But for the first time ever, after dozens and dozens of successful recipes, the Joy of Cooking let me down a bit. The muffins were only okay. So, we tweaked the recipe - a bit more leavening agent, a bit more sugar, and some raw sugar sprinkled on the tops, and the modified muffins came out much better. We've also had a head-to-head competition in the kitchen between these muffins and ready made mixes (just add water and fresh blueberries), and these muffins were the winner."

In fact, my wife took a few to work the other day, and one of her co-workers said it was the best blueberry muffin she'd ever had. I suspect she might have just been hungry.

I'll add a special note on the image source here. Usually it's just a small note at the end of the entry, but I stole this image from another site with their own blueberry muffin recipe, Diva Entertains - Best Blueberry Muffins, so I felt like I had to give a little more of a call out here. Her recipe does in fact look very good - a bit more complicated than mine, perhaps, but good. I think I might actually give it a try the next weekend we get a bunch of blueberries.

Image Source: Diva Entertains


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