Studio711

Chicken Carbonara

My standard cooking schedule for the week is to make something on Sunday that takes a little longer and gives us leftovers for a couple nights. Then on Tuesday or Wednesday, I make something quick in 20-30 minutes. It’s hard finding great recipes that only take that long, but I recently found this one and it quickly got added to our list. Deeeelicious and easy.

Ingredients
• 1 package (7 ounces) spaghetti
• 3/4 pound of bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
• 1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
• 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
• 2 cups cut-up cooked chicken
• 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
• 1/2 cup whipping (heavy) cream

 

Directions
1. Cook and drain spaghetti as directed on package.
2. Cook chicken.
3. While spaghetti is cooking, cook bacon in 3-quart saucepan over low heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until crisp. Remove bacon from saucepan with slotted spoon; drain. Drain fat from saucepan, reserving 1 tablespoon in saucepan.
4. Cook onion and garlic in bacon fat over medium heat about 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until onion is tender.
5. Stir in spaghetti, chicken, cheese and whipping cream.
6. Cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Toss with bacon.

Delicious Bookmarks

For the last 11 years, I’ve been storing all of my internet bookmarks on a site called delicious.com. When you save a bookmark, you associate a bunch of words (tags) with it and then you can easily search for bookmarks via the tags again later. For example, if I want to see all the bookmarks that I tagged with “map”, I just go to https://del.icio.us/bwmartens/map.

Unfortunately the site seems to be dying. Yahoo acquired it in 2005 and it was doing very well until Yahoo went down the tubes. Ownership has changed a few times since 2011 and I’m worried that some day soon it’s just going to disappear. They got rid of the delicious.com domain and are now only available under their original domain: del.icio.us. That broke a lot of the apps and extensions that had been built up around the site.

The biggest concern to me was that their export functionality was gone. So the 2600+ bookmarks I had saved there were in a black hole. I need very few of those but I regularly use it to pull up old bookmarks with solutions to various problems, especially for issues I encounter at work. So I set off on a journey to figure out how to get the bookmarks exported by myself. That proved to be tricky because their API is now shut down. I couldn’t even write my own app to export the bookmarks.

I came up with two ideas:

  1. The pages of bookmarks are easily accessible via this URL format: https://del.icio.us/bwmartens?&page=2 so I could download each page and then write a program that would convert the raw HTML of the bookmark list into something readable by another app. I actually did download all the pages since it was pretty simple. curl.exe is a great command line tool for downloading HTML and I quickly wrote a batch file that downloaded all 200+ pages of HTML. At least I had something in case it died the next day.
  2. I eventually found a Chrome browser extension (Delicious Bookmark Bar Sync 1.1) that still worked and would let me export my bookmarks. It ended up saving them into the Chrome bookmark list (each tag becomes a folder) which isn’t ideal, but it is possible to export bookmarks from Chrome so again, at least I have something.

Now that I know I have a fairly easy way to export my bookmarks periodically, I’m still using Chrome. This doesn’t seem to be a very popular product category anymore so I haven’t found a lot of other options. Google Bookmarks is a similar service but they don’t allow you to bulk import bookmarks. That’s such an obvious feature that it makes me wonder if Google is going to kill off that product some day too.

If you have a good bookmark tagging solution, please shoot me a note!

New Media

I probably get 3/4 of my video entertainment from YouTube. There is so much incredible content being produced. Not only is it a great way to learn stuff and be entertained, but it’s fun to be able to interact with the content producers too. When is the last time your favorite TV star replied to your tweet, liked your Instagram photo, thanked you by name in their book or sent you a t-shirt in the mail? All of those things have happened to me in the last couple months from content producers on YouTube.

The latest one is a t-shirt that Bob Claggett from I Like To Make Stuff sent to thank me for my support. Well thank YOU Bob! It’s so much fun to interact with the same people who are providing my evening entertainment, and it feels much more rewarding to support these people than to give money to random Hollywood people.

I’m not saying that everybody should stop watching standard TV/movies and watch YouTube creators, but if you are at all interested in doing some of that, there is a LOT of good stuff to watch. Here are some of my favorites:

If you like a YouTube creator, one of the best things you can do to help them out is clicking that Subscribe button! And most of these people have Patreon accounts too if you want to contribute a buck or two directly to them every month.

2016 Fantasy Stats

I’m a data nerd and I love to dig into the fantasy stats a little deeper. Here are some records and stats from this season:

  • Austin had the most points this season from players that he drafted (1608.14). Tim had the least (1055.46).
  • Tim had the most points from players acquired after the draft (627.62). Luke had the least (76.1).
  • Logan made the most roster moves (37) and ended up first. Luke made the least (2) and ended up last. Hmm… the 37 roster moves by Logan were the most we’ve ever seen in one season. And the 2 moves by Luke were the least we’ve ever seen.

I did a quick calculation to see if the number of roster moves is correlated with your finishing rank. It isn’t correlated, but the average number of roster moves for teams that finish in 1st place (16) is slightly higher than the average (13) over all our previous seasons combined.

Dad asked for a rundown of our average finishes. I went back through 2012 which is when we started having the current group of teams and here’s what I came up with.

Team Average Finish Worst Finish Best Finish
Logan 2.4 6 1
Ben 3.2 4 1
Austin 3.8 8 1
Andy 4.2 7 2
Jim 5 8 2
Tim 5.2 7 3
Dad 6 8 3
Luke 6.2 8 5

And finally, here are the top players in the league for each position:

Player Position Points Owner
Aaron Rodgers QB 460.02 Ben
Matt Ryan QB 423.46 Ben
Drew Brees QB 406.32 Austin
Antonio Brown WR 258.96 Logan
Jordy Nelson WR 256.2 Andy
Mike Evans WR 256.1 Dad
David Johnson RB 367.8 Andy
Ezekiel Elliott RB 309.4 Ben
Le’Veon Bell RB 279.9 Austin
Travis Kelce TE 180.5 Luke
Kyle Rudolph TE 167.5 Tim
Greg Olsen TE 167.3 Andy
Matt Bryant K 178 Free agent
Justin Tucker K 175 Logan
Caleb Sturgis K 149 Free agent
Kansas City DEF 207.86 Austin
Minnesota DEF 193.89 Free agent
Philadelphia DEF 177.34 Dad

 

Wooden Blocks

Tyla found some big wooden blocks and thought it might be fun for Elijah’s Christmas list. I balked at the $130 price tag and said “That’s ridiculous. I could build that for $30.” I now suspect that I fell right into her trap. Well played.

I found a “unit block” standard size of wood blocks that dates back to the early 1900s. That seemed good enough for me. As that Wikipedia link will tell you, “A unit block is 5.5 inches long, 2.75 inches wide, and 1.375 inches thick.” I used that as my base and made a couple variations on that block size. Figuring out how much wood to buy turned into a bit of a mind bender, but I ended up with the following block dimensions: 4x2x1, 2x2x2, 2x2x1 and 8x2x1 (where 1 = 1.375″).

I wanted to use cheap wood but I decided to get poplar from the wood dealer instead of using pine from Home Depot. The prices are about the same, but the poplar is a lot more stable than the wet/warped pine boards at Home Depot. I bought a lot of 6/4 (1.5″ thick) wood for most of the blocks and then a couple feet of 12/4 (3″ thick) for the cubes.

After doing this project, I actually recommend it if you are just getting started with milling your own lumber. Getting all of the blocks to be exactly the same size is a great challenge.

That part went pretty quickly and then it was a LOT of time at the sander. I already have 80 grit paper for my stationary belt sander, but I also picked up 150 grit. That sped up the process quite a bit.

If I ever do this again, I’ll do a couple things differently:

  • If I was really shooting for those exact final dimensions as specified in the standard, I should have made the blocks SLIGHTLY thicker when I was cutting them to account for the losses during sanding. Poplar is pretty soft wood so it sands easily.
  • I ran everything through a round over bit between cutting the blocks and sanding them. That was a waste of time as the sanding removed most of the roundover. I should have either just done it by hand with the sander or maybe used the roundover bit at the very end (with more touchup sanding on the edges after the router bit was done.)

Because I cut things a little too closely when trying to figure out which boards would give me the least amount of waste, I didn’t end up with as many blocks as I planned, but Elijah couldn’t care less. He loves these and they’ve been getting regular use.