Creamsicle Cupcakes

I was stumbling around the web when I came upon this recipe from Cake Events.  After looking it over and then getting the urge to bake from a friend, I decided to make them.

I also decided it was time to do a photoblog entry about baking, so I have pictures!

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Dear Congress

Dear elected people (Republicans and Democrats, senators and representatives),

I am a television reporter in Seattle. I know we’re a long way from the seat of power back there on the banks of the mighty Potomac, but we’re still part of the Republic and do take an interest in how you are handling the very difficult work we ask (and pay) you to do.

I just thought I should let you know about an informal poll I took today. Nothing scientific or comprehensive, mind you. I have a staff of one and a tight deadline.

I asked people about you … about how this whole payroll tax-cut extension/unemployment benefits/Medicare/oil pipeline fracas is playing out. Actually, the poll asked a very simple question: “Is Congress doing its job right now?”

“Yes,” “no” and “other” were the only choices that the respondents could pick. Like I noted already, I have a deadline and not much time in the middle of the day for long, nuanced answers and meditations on the vagaries of representative democracy or arguments about how that question is unfair because the issues are too complicated.

I admit that I expected some angst and frustration, but I got some very curt answers. You might call most of them “emphatic,” some of them nasty, and a few I really don’t want to write out in plain English (and certainly not in print with my name attached to them).

Anyway, I asked 100 people my question, and a grand total of four think you’re doing your job right now. Now I know we out here in plain-old reality-land don’t really understand the demands of your job and the backroom battles that go on and the pressures you face from so many angles, but it seems that whatever you’re doing and however you’re getting things done (when you do get things done) isn’t resonating with Bill and Betty Fenske down in Kent. (I made them up by the way, Bill and Betty. They’re my metaphorical “Regular Folks,” an old writer’s trick).

All that aside, I thought you might want to know that you should crank up the PR machine and try to get the message out that you’re on the ball, getting things done, working around the clock to solve difficult problems, answer the tough questions and move America forward to a brighter day. Isn’t that what you’re doing back there? Because 84 of my peeps (unscientifically and informally, of course) say otherwise. They’re not happy. Frustration is trending. Man were my ears burning!

Oh, there were 13 who answered “other.” One of those was the 101st person I spoke with, who told me that what you’re up to in Washington is just what politics in America looks like and if people don’t like what they’re seeing they can always vote new people into office.

Thanks for your time. I hope you have a nice holiday season. Please give my best to your families.

Yours,

Allen Schauffler, KING 5 News

 

http://www.king5.com/news/politics/A-KING-reporter-open-letter-to-Congress-135967683.html Retrieved 12/20/2011

Comcast ConstantGuard Emails

OK, I’m not one to complain about Comcast (in writing :) ) but this is bullshit.  The primary email account on my connection is constantly receiving the following emails:

 

From: “Comcast Security Assurance” <CSA-...@comcast.net>
To:
Sent: Saturday, August 27, 2011 5:22:02 PM
Subject: Constant Guard Security Notice

Comcast Customer Security Assurance Notice

Dear Comcast Customer,

Your immediate attention is required. Constant Guard™ has identified that one or more of your computers may be infected with a “Bot”.We strongly recommend that you visit the Comcast Constant Guard Center athttps://constantguard.comcast.net for important information on how to remove malicious software from your computer(s).

A “Bot” is a malicious software or malware that is used to gain control over your computer, typically without your knowledge. Online criminals can use Bots to collect your personal and private data, such as Social Security numbers, bank account information and credit card numbers by monitoring your keystrokes. This can lead to identity theft and fraud.

We appreciate your prompt attention to this important online security notice.

 

Sincerely,

Comcast Customer Security Assurance

From: “Comcast Customer Central” <online.communications@alerts.comcast.net>
To:
Sent: Thursday, September 22, 2011 7:43:45 PM
Subject: Comcast Security Notice

Xfinity
Constant Guard™ Alert
Dear XFINITY Customer,
Your immediate attention is required.
Constant Guard from XFINITY identified that one or more of your computers may be infected with a bot. A bot is a malicious form of software that is used to send spam, host a phishing site, or steal your identity by monitoring your keystrokes without your knowledge. It may be possible you are unaware that your computer is infected with a bot.
We strongly recommend you visit XFINITY.com/BotAssistance for important information on how to remove malicious software from your computer(s).
We appreciate your prompt attention to this important security notice.
Sincerely,
Constant Guard from XFINITY
This is a service-related email. Comcast will occasionally send you service-related emails to inform you of service upgrades or new benefits to your Comcast High-Speed Internet service.Copyright 2011. Comcast. All other trademarks are properties of their respective owners.Comcast respects your privacy. For a complete description of our privacy policy, click here.Comcast
One Comcast Center, 10th Floor
1701 JFK Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19103-2838

So what do I do? I called Comcast on 8/27 at 1-800-COMCAST to get some information as to what to look for to fix the issue.  They told me to call 888-565-4329 because apparently normal tech support can’t deal with an alert email.

Well, I forgot to follow up (took me 20 minutes on hold to get to the 3 minute conversation and I had to go to work) until today (9/23) when I got the 2nd email.  I call the special phone number that was given to me before and after another 10 minutes on hold, I was basically told that their system has no way of telling me what traffic to look for. HUH?

I’ve run all the virus scans and my IDS is in full swing.  If they want my help, they’re going to have to provide a LITTLE information…

Disney Movies!

Time for a little randomness.  I’ve decided that I’d like a DVD copy of every Disney Animated Feature film and Disney/Pixar Animated film.  This list is to keep track of which ones I’ve gotten/received.  Preferring the Bluray/DVD combo, but at least the DVD versions :)

Updated: 5/14/2012


Disney Animated Features
# Film Have It?
1 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
2 Pinocchio
3 Fantasia Yes
4 Dumbo Yes
5 Bambi Yes
6 Saludos Amigos
7 The Three Caballeros
8 Make Mine Music  Yes
9 Fun and Fancy Free
10 Melody Time
11 The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad Yes
12 Cinderella
13 Alice in Wonderland Yes
14 Peter Pan Yes
15 Lady and the Tramp Yes
16 Sleeping Beauty
17 One Hundred and One Dalmatians Yes
18 The Sword in the Stone Yes
19 The Jungle Book
20 The Aristocats Yes
21 Robin Hood Yes
22 The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
23 The Rescuers  Yes
24 The Fox and the Hound Yes
25 The Black Cauldron Yes
26 The Great Mouse Detective Yes
27 Oliver & Company Yes
28 The Little Mermaid Fall 2013
29 The Rescuers Down Under Yes
30 Beauty and the Beast Yes
31 Aladdin
32 The Lion King Yes
33 Pocahontas Yes
34 The Hunchback of Notre Dame  Yes
35 Hercules Yes
36 Mulan Yes
37 Tarzan Yes
38 Fantasia 2000 Yes
39 Dinosaur Yes
40 The Emperor’s New Groove Yes
41 Atlantis: The Lost Empire Yes
42 Lilo & Stitch Yes
43 Treasure Planet Yes
44 Brother Bear Yes
45 Home on the Range Yes
46 Chicken Little Yes
47 Meet the Robinsons Yes
48 Bolt  Yes
49 The Princess and the Frog Yes
50 Tangled Yes
51 Winnie the Pooh Yes
52 Wreck-it Ralph Yes
53 King of the Elves
Disney/Pixar
# Film Have It?
1 Toy Story Yes
2 A Bug’s Life Yes
3 Toy Story 2 Yes
4 Monsters, Inc. Yes
5 Finding Nemo Yes
6 The Incredibles Yes
7 Cars Yes
8 Ratatouille Yes
9 WALL-E Yes
10 Up Yes
11 Toy Story 3 Yes
12 Cars 2 Yes
13 Brave Yes
14 Monsters University

Upcoming Holiday

I’m caught thinking about the upcoming holiday and what it means to people in the United States. For the youngsters, it means a day out of school. For the government workers, it means a day off of work. For many, many people but never enough of them, it is a day of remembrence. We live in a country that allows us to be free to express ourselves in any way, shape or form we prefer. Our ideas are not censored simply because they contradict the government’s ideology. I am free to discover my true passions.

Freedom is hard fought, but came quickly once the idea was introduced to a modern society. Consider this: in 2000 BC, many of our ancestors were still ruled by a greedy monarchy in Egypt or part of a war-torn Orient. We even may have been on North America but in so few numbers that it seems almost insignificant. 2000 years later, we are writing and recording thoughts and stories throughout the Middle East. Religions have developed and flourished throughout the land. 1400 years after that, we have horses, carts and roads. We’re traveling vast distances and trading with other nations across the planet. 100 years go by and we’re on almost every continent of the world. Suddenly the gigantic world isn’t so gigantic. 200 years later our forefathers are starting to get upset with the English monarchy.

300 years. In the last 300 years, the United States of America has grown from a simple seceded union to one of the most powerful nations in the world. 70 years, Declaration of Independence. 90 years, civil war. 40 years, World War I. 25 years, WWII.

In the last 100 years, the United States has fought in so many wars that they have started to meld together. From the advancements in World War I to the devastation and pain caused by war in Iraq and Afghanistan, our Veterans fought for nothing less than equal liberty for peoples of the world. I know it’s a cliché but freedom really isn’t free. Honor those who have served, those who have fought and those who have died for the freedom and security of our country. Whether you agree with the war or with why we started fighting just remember that every person who has fought and died, died to protect your right to agree or disagree and to express that opinion.

OK, enough of the serious stuff! It’s 23:45 and I’m almost done with work! (Yes, I wrote that whole thing *between* calls)

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Dargus is a computer geek in Seattle that plays Guild Wars, enjoys Star Wars, board games and scifi in general. The one question that you must ask yourself is this: What games are you playing?