Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Dain Bramaged

I've had something like 60 job screening or interview phone calls, several in person interviews, and now several offers, in the last few weeks. 

I've got several long term background contracts and slow burn projects going on as well. Some stuff which should be really interesting over time. 

My ISC(2) course description (warning, PDF link) for the security congress is up finally, and they've asked me to redevelop and become a trainer for two more courses.

Oh and there's the office cleanout, the garage organization, the woodworking and shelving projects to support those... 

Basically, I've been running at 100mph since we got here, May 11th...

Damn, was that 5 weeks ago?

All work and no play makes Chris a DAMNED TIRED BOY...

I'm gonna go fall over now for like... the rest of the week. I may have to travel next week, and I need the brain rest. 

Say good night Gracie... Good night Gracie. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

"Uh... dude... look at your tire"

So, heading out the door to do some errands Saturday and look what we see...

Well... That's not good...

Let's get a better look...

Yeah... that's pretty bad actually...

Quote from the tire guy "Good thing you guys buy heavy duty commercial truck tires... I've never seen a sidewall fail that bad and hold together. If that was a normal consumer light truck tire it would have exploded. It was a time bomb".


Obviously, we had to grab two new tires on Saturday (the other two were replaced a few months back). Heavy duty commercial truck tires again, because yeah. They're not cheap, but they're worth it.

We were planning on replacing them this week anyway... we just moved our timeline up a few days.

Oh and this time we got the E rated load range. We tried last time but they were back ordered six weeks, so settled for the D rated. They DID last us 50,000+ miles of VERY hard use, from desert to mountains, to blizzard, to ice, and back again; at high speeds and heavy loads before they failed.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Stroms in Toyland

REALLY miss my V-strom...

I've GOT TO get back on a bike soon. It's early summer and I've ridden precisely ONCE since November, and that was for like 10 minutes.

Not sure I'd want to fly back to AZ, unload and prep ( it's a 1,000 with full hard bags) for a 2100 mile road trip, and then ride it from AZ to FL in the height of the summer rains on the Gulf Coast...

On the other hand... I AM sure I don't want to be without a Motorcycle much longer.

Perhaps one of these outstanding job prospects will resolve itself into an offer with relocation, or sufficiently decent offer, that I can just pay to have the trailer fixed and hauled out to me.

Perhaps even so good that even after digging out of our current hole I will have enough left over to acquire another low cost motorcycle.

One advantage to our current location... We are in heaven for purchasers of used second, toy, fun and recreation vehicles like motorcycles, boats, RV's etc...

When you say "full" and "busy"... what exactly do you mean by that?

So, it's another one of those 68 hours awake nights... unintentional for much of it... a combination of insomnia, and just working my ass off, round the clock, the last few days.

In the first 55 of those hours I had NINE different job interviews, or prospect calls, or negotiation sessions, plus a couple extended email exchanges... seemingly all of which are likely to result in final job offers (9, possibly 10 different jobs prospects working, all of them good, a few full time, a few contract).

Plus I'm working on an actual short term contract.

Plus we are working on shutting down a friends old business, so he can move on with his new business; which today involved me mostly carrying a 9 foot couch down 3 split flights of stairs (6 runs plus landings), literally carrying it on my back (which worked out very well, and was much faster and easier than we expected.

Plus working with my friend to try to get his NEW company to understand that they have a critical need for an enterprise, infrastructure, and security architect (or two of us, or possibly three), at least on a contract basis for a few months... and really, they do (to be fair, most organizations could stand with some work in those areas, particularly most startups)... In the process making HIS life easier, improving outcomes for him and his new company, AND giving me a solid source of ongoing revenue while we deal with other opportunities.

Plus cleaning, organizing, and building organizational systems and infrastructure (for example I'm fabricating a custom shelving system for the garage, making use of every inch of wall space for either shelves, a server rack, or workbenches) for the house, garage, lab, and other stuff we require to recondition the large amount of gear left over from the previous business, and ready it for sale, reclamation, recycling, or donation... as well as have an actually usable garage/shop, and some storage space available back in the house.

When I say the garage is full... I mean that it's total volume (it's a two plus sized garage), and entire floor space has been taken up from ground level to chest height... Mostly with servers, networking gear, and assorted other IT crap; some with tools... only a tiny bit with normal "garage stuff"....

... Of course, for geeks like us... this IS normal garage crap.

Plus... you know... rebuilding our life which kinda blew into little pieces a while back...

The one legged man won the ass kicking contest a while back, then hopped across the Boston marathon finish line in under 2:05, hopped across the continental united states, swum the pacific ocean, and is currently engaged in attempting to face kick every taekwondoin in Korea.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Re-writing history to fit his personal racial narrative preferences....

This is one of the stupidest and most offensive things I've read in some time... and I don't LIKE the "religious right".

"The REAL Origins of the Religious Right" 

"In fact, it wasn’t until 1979—a full six years after Roe—that evangelical leaders, at the behest of conservative activist Paul Weyrich, seized on abortion not for moral reasons, but as a rallying-cry to deny President Jimmy Carter a second term. Why? Because the anti-abortion crusade was more palatable than the religious right’s real motive: protecting segregated schools."

Uhh... no... not even close...

The ACTUAL "real" origins of the "religious right" go much farther back first of all.

It started with the "aftereffects" of the second great awakening, and the fundamentalist-modernist/reformist controversy and schism of the late 1890s through 1920s.

This was the separation of "mainline" protestantism, and evangelical/fundamental protestantism; as well as the marking of wholesale entry of organized fundamentalist church groups aggregating into larger political blocs and attempting to act on a regional and national basis.

It's got NOTHING to do with racism or race... Mostly in fact, the issues they advocated for, were economic and social justice issues.

Mainline protestantism mostly aligned strongly on the right economically but were socially moderate, and evangelical/fundamentalist protestantism mostly aligned strongly on the left economically (particularly with the rise of "farm progressives" and later the "new deal"), while being strongly socially conservative or reactionary.

What BEGAN to establish religious groups as right wing in the fundamentalist and evangelical branches, was in fact largely postwar anti-communism/anti-socialism.

From the 1920s, the evangelical churches that were active in issues of race, were strongly economically leftist and STAUNCH democrats.

It was the LATER response to changing social conditions and the rise of race based social change in the south that roused the more reactionary elements...

But that was NOT a factor of the "religious right"...

In fact that was STILL mostly among democrats and those who were moderate leftists economically, but "social conservatives" (who were not in fact conservatives, they were reactionaries).

It wasn't even until the 1980s that the majority of evangelicals identified at Republican or right wing, primarily transitioning with Carter and Reagan.

Through at least the early 80s, evangelicals and other fundamentalists were the strong core of southern, and midwestern democrats.

Ascribing the rise of the "religious right" to race is... ridiculous, short sighted, and bigoted.

...Though unsurprising...

Bergdahl... Policy Fail, Strategy Fail, Tactics Fail... PR win?

Ok... Something that some folks don't seem to understand... and thus do not understand why conservatives, and in particular why current and former servicemembers are extremely upset about... the Bergdahl issue (never mind how he got there in the first place).

Many seem to be mystified why conservatives, and in particular servicemembers, do not seem to be happy about "getting Bergdahl home at least", regardless of what they may think of Bergdahl personally.

They are ascribing this to nothing but reflexive Obama hate... That we hate Obama so much, we'd rather a servicemember remain a prisoner of the Taliban than allow the administration a PR victory.

That's not it. At least not for those who actually understand what has gone on here.

The so called "prisoner exchange" of 5 Taliban terrorists for Bowe Bergdahl was in fact NOT a "prisoner exchange", it was in fact "negotiating with terrorists".

This is against U.S. law in most circumstances, however the president can issue a "finding" that says that doing so is in the national security interest of the united states, or that not doing to presents a clear and present danger to the national security interests of the united states. Such a finding would make the action legal (mostly, under most circumstances, with caveats etc... etc...).

It is not clear whether this was done or not... therefore it is not clear if the law has been broken or not.

What IS clear however, is that "Prisoner Exchange" with non-state actors is not prisoner exchange, it is bribing terrorists. It is DANEGELD, and once you have paid the danegeld, you never get rid of the Dane.

That is WHY we have a policy of not negotiating with terrorists.

Whether this is illegal or not, is irrelevant...

Whether Bergdahl is a hero, or a deserter, or something in between is irrelevant....

What IS relevant, is that the actions taken to "get him home" are guaranteed to harm the national security of the United States, and to put our people at greater risks.

These actions are GUARANTEED to increase the kidnapping, torture, and ransoming of our servicemembers, diplomatic corps, and citizens.

THAT is what so many of us are upset about.

Mostly Untrue.... How to Lie with Facts part whatever...

A couple months back I wrote a few posts in a row about how we are lied to using common misunderstandings about science, basic facts, statistics, percentages and the like...

Time to address another one...

So, popular facebook meme:

True or Not?

MOSTLY untrue...

The first part of it being mostly untrue, is that McDonalds has announced that it already does not use "mechanically separated and recovered beef slurry" in most of their patties in most of their locations; and that for those who do, they will cease doing so.

For the other part of it being mostly untrue... that's where we get into lying with science, and misapplication and overgeneralization etc...

Its a semantic issue, and a matter of lying using the facts without context.

Yes, every major food processors lower cost frozen beef patties are made at least in part, with mechanically separated and recovered beef (the same is true of chicken patties and nuggets).

First thing there is, mechanically separated beef IS "real" beef. It just looks gross and has no texture.

Now... Some of it, from some processors, is cleansed with ammonia, from others it isn't.

However, in either case, it is generally cleansed, neutralized, flushed and rinsed with either saline solution or pure distilled water, and only trace amounts of ammonia remain.

Also, this is a standard technique... in fact, sometimes an FDA MANDATED technique... for maintaining sanitation in all processed meats including ground beef and beef that has been broken down into primals and subprimals at a processing facility (i.e. anything smaller than a side of beef that gets shipped to your supermarket for their own butchers to break down... which means almost all beef sold in the U.S. today; generally referred to as "boxed beef").

In any case, what remains in the food product prior to shipment is so low as to require a lab to detect it... Lower than the levels likely to be present in your own kitchen.

Mechanically separated meat is indistinguishable in lab tests from other meat except in that when handled properly it actually has LESS chemical trace AND less pathogen trace, than most ground beef.

Further, it has been in used for over 100 years, and it does NOT cause cancer.

Nor does ammonia in the extremely tiny amounts remaining in any food product. If it did, we would all get cancer from the trace amounts of ammonia left in our kitchens from using windex.

So.. you can't say it's absolutely 100% false... and some of the bare facts are at least in part correct... But basically the graphic is a lie.

The meme itself by the way was created by an anti-meat raw food advocacy group, who run the website "".

Let's all get screwed over JUST A LITTLE BIT LESS

This... in it's entirety. Not one single word said here is incorrect in any way.

This is not a left, right, or libertarian issue... it's an EVERYONE GETTING SCREWED MORE issue.

Let's all try to get screwed JUST A LITTLE BIT LESS people.

It's a Typical American Phenomenon...

Self identified "Conservatives", and particularly those who identify with the "tea party" (whatever that means at this point... not very much)...

...and who, again mostly are not in fact conservatives, mostly they are reactionary right wing populists...

...are up in arms... again... about the possibility that Republicans might actually work with Democrats on some nebulous form of "Immigration Reform".

Outside the Beltway: House Republicans To Move Forward On Immigration Reform This Summer?

So... To be clear...

U.S. Immigration laws, regulations, and policies are universally recognized by all parties, regardless of politics, in and out of the U.S.; as stupid, wrongheaded, ineffective, and in fact damaging to both the nation, and to those who seek to immigrate here.

We are very effective at keeping the people out who we actually want here.  We are absolutely ineffective at keeping out the people we want out.

There are many reasons for this, but they pretty much all come down to the laws, regulations, and processes being completely wrong and stupid...


The current disagreement is in theory based on the idea that we should go about fixing these problems in a slightly different order, or with slightly different priorities.

From the politicians side of things (and yes, they are their own side here, and they're all on the same side... the one that obtains and retains greater power for them) the dispute is ACTUALLY about who gets to score what points, with what voting and donor blocs, and what media organizations.

From the PEOPLES standpoint, the dispute is ACTUALLY about the fact the "sides" don't trust each other not to use the issue to deliberately screw over the "other side"...

... and of course about ingroup identification and social signalling, because this is a "wedge issue".

And mostly, the people doing the "arguing", are the vocal morons who have no clue what is actually going on, or why, or even what the laws, regulations, and processes ARE... Never mind what they should be...

... or the people who are USING THOSE PEOPLE... to whatever their particular ends may be.

So really... it's a fairly typical "wedge issue" in American politics today, more about "identity" than about the actual issue.

See "entitlement reform"

See "Tax Reform"

See "Environmental Policy"

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Another not QUITE a Recipe for REAL Men - Sacrilicious Experiment

So, I had a thought...


Hummus used as a dip for pork rinds...

Low-ish carb (not atkins low, but low), ultra low glycemic index and load, ultra high protein, EXTREME flavor...

...and given the cultural background of hummus, vaguely sacrilicious.

What's not to like?

Maybe crumble some bacon on the top? Some feta?

Oh yeah... and hot sauce...

That's the stuff man


Oh and as a second tip...

For my fellow foodies who like neither mayonnaise nor guacamole (and in general I don't care for sour cream either), there IS a wonderful substitute available for you.

Try a schmear of hummus.

I find it particularly complements grilled chicken... especially with some bacon. Hummus will substitute for both mayonnaise, AND a slice of cheese, in your grilled chicken sandwich.

I've got to try that with my next bacon cheeseburger as well...

Not QUITE a recipe for REAL men - LOTS and LOTS of Butter Chicken

So, Mel and I LOVE indian food. Most of our marriage however, we have lived in places where getting GOOD Indian (or good British Indian), has been difficult; so, we tend to do it for ourselves a lot.

As it happens, for dinner tonight, Mel and I just made about the best butter chicken (Chicken Makhani) that any of us have ever had.

It's been requested that I post the recipe... But I don't really use recipes for this sort of thing.

It's not so much a recipe as a technique which I tweak based on what I have available, the exact flavor profile I'd like etc...

However, I can describe the technique and give a roughish recipe.

The first thing is we're using a prepared Garam Masala powder from india. I prefer toasting, grinding and mixing my own, but it wasn't convenient to do so at this time.

For appx 4 pounds of chicken, we used:

Appx 4tblsp garam masala powder (which includes some chili powder)
Appx 1tblsp of a mild mustard powder (mostly for emulsification)
Appx 1tblsp of garlic powder
Appx 1tblsp ground black pepper
Appx 1tblsp ground fenugreek
Appx 1tsp cumin (the garam masala had cumin as well)
Appx 1tsp paprika
Appx 2tblsp salt

Cube 4lb of BSB, and thoroughly rub the spice mixture into the cubed chicken.

Mix the spiced chicken together with appx 8oz of drained greek style yogurt, and 1/2 cup of buttermilk. I also add a couple teaspoons of soy, a couple teaspoons of franks redhot, a couple teaspoons of lemon juice, and a few dashes of worcestershire sauce.

Let sit for at least 2 hours.

For this step, you can start with clarified butter... but I actually prefer to use a brown butter preparation. I like the flavor... you just have to be more careful to avoid burning the butter solids.

Pull the chicken out of the marinade and remove as much as possible, shaking it off into a bowl to save... it will be the basis of the sauce.

You will get your best results with this using a very heavy enameled cast iron pan or dutch oven, on medium to medium low heat... just enough to really keep a sautee going. It will allow you to have a stable heat, and avoid scorching.

Gently brown 1/4lb of butter in a flavorful oil (olive, peanut, whatever you like) to a nutty brown color, aroma, and flavor.

I prefer to sautee some fresh garlic in the mix here, but we were out this time, so the only garlic was from the spice powder mix.

Sautee the chicken in small batches in the butter. Add more butter and oil, and brown it as necessary between batches, taking care not to scorch or burn the butter of the remainders of the yogurt from the chicken. You don't want the chicken fully cooked here, just MOSTLY cooked.

You will eventually use 1/2lb of butter or more in this recipe, depending on your butter, and the moisture content of your yogurt and chicken.

Add all the chicken back into the pan, along with the saved off yogurt marinade from before, and a 6oz can of tomato paste. Cook fully with high heat, making sure to reach a high simmer or sautee (depending on the fat and moisture content of the mix it might sautee, but most likely this is going to be too wet) for at least 4 minutes, stirring constantly to avoid scorching.

This is a very important step, for food safety as well as flavor.

At this point you want to add about 4 more ounces of yogurt. Keep another 4oz of yogurt handy to adjust the final texture and flavor.

Gently simmer the chicken in the yogurt sauce until it is fully cooked but tender, then remove from the heat and let stand. If the sauce breaks, vigorously stir in some more yogurt.

Serve over steamed basmati rice, or with a pilau or jasmine rice, with or without vegetables; and of course, naan.

At your option you may add onions, peppers, carrots, or peas, either raw or sauteed.