Thursday, December 23, 2010

Buy Buy Buy Ay Ay Ay

Only another couple of shopping days left! My blog article can serve as a mini-shopping list if you're getting really pressed for time. Read the entire article at and comment there, please.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Convenient Ganachey Icing

My convenient recipe is for making a ganachey icing—-two ingredients, like a regular ganache recipe, but much easier and more flexible for flavors. I also point to a couple of recipes that emulate Hostess cupcakes and list other convenient baking recipes. (How convenient for the year-end holidays!) Read the entire article at and comment there, please.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Post-TDay Travel--Part 3 of 3

YouTube playlists for this article (1, 2),
playlist compilation article

This article is the third of three parts of the Thanksgiving week travel theme. In the first article, I wrote about songs about planes, trains, and cars, based on the movie title Trains, Planes, and Automobiles. Part 2 is about water travel songs—boats, surfboards, submarines, ….

This article covers the rest of the travel modes I can think of. I've listed songs, artists, lyrics sites, and video sites (if possible). Take another trip down memory lane with the third batch of songs I’ve compiled. Read the entire article at and comment there, please.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Post-TDay Travel--Water Water Everywhere

YouTube playlists for this article (1, 2),
playlist compilation article

This article is the second of three parts about songs and travel, originally based on the movie title Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. Take a trip down memory lane with songs I’ve compiled that feature travel and water, one major travel method not in the movie title. Read the entire article at and comment there, please.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Turkey Week Travel--Planes, Trains N Cars

YouTube playlists for this article (1, 2),
playlist compilation article

Planes, Trains & Automobiles, which came out in 1987, stars Steve Martin and John Candy. Take a trip down memory lane with songs I’ve compiled that feature the movie's travel means. Read the entire article at and comment there, please.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Q4 Lights N Decor, Halloween Sights N More

More and more, appearances by outdoor lights and decorations have been creeping backward and forward in the calendar in the 4th quarter. In my full article (among related holiday thoughts), I muse about the following:

  • 4th quarter outdoor lights and decorations

  • a lights gadget that could be programmable for single- or combination-color and motion

  • inflatable lawn decorations that could wear swappable holiday-themed velcro-fastener outfits

Read the entire article at and comment there, please.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

DIY Bizcards and Name Tag

Attending meetups and attaching sticky-back name tags that you print or write your name on? Attending meetups and NOT having any name tags at all? Prepare for the next event by making your own tag and also having your own DIY business cards. Visit, download my Word file, and modify it using instructions in the full article.

Read the entire article at and comment there, please.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

PDF2W--Converting PDF to Word-recognizable Format

You have a PDF file that you would like to convert to .doc or .rtf and you don't have access to an Adobe Acrobat version that will. How to convert for cheap? Even better, how about for free? Try two free online converters—Free File Converter (.pdf to .doc) and PDF Online (.pdf to .rtf). I have tried both procedures using an experimental PDF file, listed results for both tools, and discussed the results.

Read the entire article at and comment there, please.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Moe-SKI-Toe--I've Got Me Under Your Skin

YouTube playlist for this article,
playlist compilation article

An event that featured a song "I've Got You Under My Skin" prompted me to parody it with a mosquito version titled "I've Got Me Under Your Skin". Read on and click to links to mosquitoes, images, and various versions of the original song. (Techies will appreciate the link to a detailed mosquito diagram with terms.)
Read the entire article at and comment there, please.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Inventions Running Around the Blockhead

This article is about some inventions I've thought about lately—ones that are real, and ones I'd like to see become real. Maybe other people can think of inventions they'd like to see in the marketplace, or ones they'd like to create themselves.

Read the entire article at and comment there, please.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Rearview Mirroring TX Towns

Every 10 years, Texas school district boundaries require verification, for which Texas Education Agency (TEA) is in charge of delineating the borders. I looked back at eye-catching town names I had run across while having worked as a “mapping technician”. Information came from Texas' 254 counties and approximately 1030 school districts.

Read the entire article at and comment there, please.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Rear-viewing Year of Blogging

Looking back over a year of blogging (36 articles), with details of the journey and stats of my compilation table.

Read the entire article at and comment there, please.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Convenient Triple-dose Pnutty Butter Cooky Batch

Another convenient cooky recipe—this one using a peanut butter cooky mix. I turbocharged the recipe by adding chopped peanuts and chopped Wilton peanut butter flavored candies. (This article is tech on-topic for my opening paragraph about AHOT, an organization for printed circuit board design professionals, which recently held its annual Vendor Day.)

Read the entire article at and comment there, please.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Fish Fries Telephone

My article combines a mini-lesson about commas and an abbreviated parody of Lady Gaga and Beyonce's "Telephone" song. I also include a small nudge to visit "Bad-Prose Rants from Lady Wawa”, my abbreviated parody of "Bad Romance".

Read the entire article at and comment there, please.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Vocabs of Steel

Crunch up those vocabs! This article provides suggestions for those who want to solidify and expand their word power. Make use of dictionaries (definitions, etymology, synonyms), thesauruses, Google lookups, crossword puzzles (printable, online), and other types of word puzzles. …

Read the entire article at and comment there, please.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Book Review: Sisters, Strangers and Starting Over

Go to "Sisters, Strangers, and Starting Over (A Quinceañera Club Novel)" pageSisters, Strangers and Starting Over is the second book by Belinda Acosta, in the Quinceañera Club Novel series. Incidentally, the Quinceañera Club Novel series subtitle does not accurately portray the complexities on the pages between the covers. Sisters, Strangers and Starting Over is part family drama, part coming-of-age story, part culture-war and part mystery.

This second Quinceañera Club Novel centers on Beatriz Sanchez-Milligan, a happily married college administrator, and her family’s reaction to the sudden appearance of a mysterious relative. The relative is fourteen-year-old Celeste, daughter of Beatriz’s long-lost and newly deceased baby sister, Perla. Years earlier, while in graduate school, Beatriz turned troubled Perla away to save her burgeoning relationship. Beatriz is intent not to make the same mistake again; this raises ire from several family members including, Larry, her husband of twenty-five years.

Upon first meeting Celeste, Beatriz overwhelms the teen with ceaseless chatter and extravagant gifts. Unable to make a personal connection with the girl, Beatriz fears Celeste hates her. Luckily, Beatriz has friend Ana Ruiz, the focus of the first Quinceañera Club Novel, to give her advice and Celeste a quiet moment to process her new life.

As is to be expected in a Quinceañera Club Novel, a birthday party in honor of a girl’s fifteenth birthday occurs. For the uninitiated, a Quinceañera is a Hispanic/Latin coming-of-age ceremony held on a girl's fifteenth birthday, comparable to a Sweet Sixteen or Bat Mitzvah. Origins of the Quinceañera are often attributed to the ancient customs of the Aztecs, but the Incas, the Mayans and the Toltecs are all known to have had coming-of-age rituals for girls before Spain's exploration of the Western Hemisphere. The celebration, as we know it in the United States, became popular in the 1930s with a recent millennial resurgence.

Acosta’s novel should be noted for showcasing a longtime and happily married couple with strong family ties and well-behaved children. Humor is found in the ordinary, such as Beatriz and Larry’s game-changing fight spoken in sweet words over beer and bourbon in the family kitchen. If you are looking for a robust but not bloated summer read, I recommend Sisters, Strangers and Starting Over by Belinda Acosta.

Sisters, Strangers and Starting Over was released on July 20. In May, Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz, the first Quinceañera Club Novel, received the Mariposa Prize at the Annual International Latino Book Awards. If you need more incentive to read Acosta’s latest novel, she will do a live reading tonight (July 23, 2010) at BookPeople at 7 PM. Her special guest will be singer/songwriter Myrna Cabello.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Ailing Fridge and DIY Door-open Alert Unit

This article is about addressing a refrigerator that wasn't optimally turning on and off and a gadget that sounds off to help prevent at least one possible reason. … The refrigerator part of this article discusses assessing for and resolving for ice inside the walls—defrosting the entire unit and cleaning it during the process. The gadget part (DIY door-open alert unit) of this article discusses the project.

Read the entire article at and comment there, please.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Greater Less Fewer More Thans--More or Less

I've written thoughts on "greater than", "less than", "fewer than", "more than", more or less. Please read the entire article at and comment there. Thanks.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A Convenient Veggie Lentil Soup

My veggie lentil soup is about as convenient as can be—three or four ingredients, depending on whether the fluid is all water or part water and part soup stock/reconstituted bouillon. Read the entire article at

Thursday, June 10, 2010


This year, I used SurveyMonkey for the first time. This article is about my experience using it to conduct the STC Austin salary survey for 2010. I also include survey resources and Excel formulas I used. Read the entire article at

Monday, May 24, 2010

Pixstrips in Blog Articles

My convenient-recipe blog articles show series of progressive pictures at the top, from start to finish of each recipe. Each recipe pixstrip (the assembled image) contains eight images except for one that has nine. Clicking a pixstrip opens a new window with an enlargement. Nice of Blogspot to have that easy-access feature.

This article describes the process—staging the shots, processing the individual pictures, assembling them into a pixstrip, and uploading it into the article. The settings I use (outlined with red rectangles) appear in the image above. …

[Read entire article at]

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Tooling A Round

I have run across several tools I use often, sometimes in spurts. Some are online calculators; some are downloadable tools to be installed on the computer. …

[Read entire article at]

Monday, May 3, 2010

Wanted Unholed Lotta Bagel

The first time I'd become aware of bagels was about the early 90s. Oh, I'd encountered "bagels and lox" in books occasionally, but never gave them much thought. Seems when I read about them and saw pictures, they mystified me. They looked like doughnuts. …

[Read entire article at]

Monday, April 26, 2010

Bad-Prose Rants from Lady Wawa

This is my technical communicator parody (abbreviated) of Lady Gaga’s monster hit “Bad Romance”. Her Youtube video is approaching 200,000,000 views. For related videos and lyrics, do Google searches. Note: Lyrics accuracy varies among sites., which I used for most of my research and initial lyrics, had the best accuracy contrasted with other lyrics sites.

Bad-Prose Rants from Lady Wawa

Uh oh uh oh oh oh no no no no no no,
Your doc seems pretty poor.

[Read entire article at]

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Rich Man Poor Man

YouTube playlist for this article,
playlist compilation article

Rich man. Poor man. Beggar man. Thief. Doctor. Lawyer. Indian chief. From my recollection, these occupations/titles were designators in a child's poem for buttons that would foretell the clothing-wearer's fate. (Never mind that people don't wear only one article of clothing for life.) …

[Read entire article at]

Thursday, April 8, 2010

52-week Year As 13 Months

Instead of the current calendar that has the inconsistent spread over 28, 29, 30, and 31 days—depending on leap year, leap century, or regular year numbers, it'd be dandy to divvy up the 52 weeks differently. How about 13 months of four weeks each, with the leftover one or two days as bonus day(s) for the 13th month of the year? A year has 365 days in a normal year. Using 13 as the divisor, the quotient winds up as 28 (four exact weeks), with one day left over—two if 366-day year. …

[Read entire article at]

Friday, April 2, 2010

[Two] Name Game

I recently and inadvertently coined a phrase. I was asked a simple question: “How do you know she’s Southern?" I weighed my potentially loaded answer. Finally, I shyly admitted, “Because she’s one of those two-name girls.” The room erupted in laughter. Apparently my hypothesis was an astute one

What or whom is a two-name girl? A two-name girl is a female whose spoken name consists of two distinct names. According to sources, the two-name or double name practice is a way for parents to honor family members in a non-traditional way. Ironically, this naming system has become so prevalent in the Southern region of the United States, it is no longer unique. According to Lee Pederson, specialist in Southern dialects, this occurred because of the “much longer tradition in the South of passing on language through speech, rather than . . . written English."

There are no hard-and-fast rules concerning the structure or rhythm of said monikers. Hyphenated, two names scrunched together into one (a frankenword) or two distinct nom de plumes with a space between are typical written variations. Some names are more lyrical than others (Georgia-Marlane vs. Curly Sue). Some are succinct (MaryJo), and others are lung-capacity challenging (Alexandria Josephine).

Whether she is an icon’s daughter, tycoon’s wife, entrepreneur, artist or fire chief , two things are true of all two-name girls:
1) She is Southern born or the progeny of Southerners
2) She will never allow you to refer to her by merely one of her two names
Furthermore, bearers of double derivative names – male or female – have a harder time and less fun playing . . . “The Name Game.”

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Convenient Cake Mix Cooky Batch--Easter

This article is a sibling recipe to my Valentine cooky recipe. This simple recipe requires only 4 ingredients:

  • 1 box vanilla or otherwise light-color cake mix
  • 1/3 cup of oil
  • 2 eggs
  • various-color sugars

[Read entire article at]

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pronunciations Heck with Hermione and Homage

As my occupation (technical writing) is more involved with the written rather than spoken word, I often trip over pronunciations of words that I read rather than speak, particularly non-English names. But even with a name common in England consciousness, one gives me problems in particular—Hermione …

[Read entire article at]

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Technical Communications Means

YouTube playlist for this article,
playlist compilation article

Telephone and mail correspondence—mostly referenced in songs, movies, and a few TV shows are the technical communications means I'm talking about. At the time of those media release, they reflected the prevailing technology for non-f2f interactions. Back then, letters did not reach recipients within seconds, older phone calls person-to-person required manual dialing on a rotary dial (woe if numbers were 8s, 9s, or zeros and your dialing finger slipped), and there was no Caller ID nor answering machine. Cheap mass mailing? Fuggedaboutit!…
  • Songs that Feature Letters
  • Songs that Feature Phones
  • Movies that Feature Phones and Letters
  • TV Shows that Feature Phones
[Read entire article at]

Saturday, February 27, 2010

My Blog Article Methodology Inception2finish

My article is intended for beginning bloggers, would-be bloggers, and sporadic bloggers. I have been blogging since September 2009, inspired by TheWriteJob clublet to explore my inner creative writing. After awhile, I noticed a pattern emerging on how I generate a blog article. Recently, I made a presentation to the clublet regarding my process …

[Read entire article at]

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Convenient Cake Mix Cooky Batch

Make the cookies with a basic recipe using cake mix, eggs, and oil. I timed this article for making red, heart-shaped cookies for Valentine's Day. (Combining Red Velvet and strawberry flavors results in a nice red color—not too dark, and not pink.) The resultant chocolaty and strawberry flavors are a bonus. This simple recipe requires …

[Read entire article at]

Friday, February 5, 2010

Body Parts Express

Earlier this week, I heard Huey Lewis' "Hip to be Square"—a song I hadn't heard on the radio for a long time. It struck me this time about "hip" as a body part. I find it odd to think of a body part having a positive connotation as "hip" seems to have. Sure, in the context of the song, hip is a desirable attribute. Soooo, I decided to hop on the hip (no hip-hop or hippity-hoppity) train and mentally wander from cowcatcher to caboose and back and forth to collect tidbits and tidbytes for this article.

I started to think about other hip uses and also other body parts. …

[Read entire article at]

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Convenient Spinach-Cheese Taco

In November, I had written about a convenient quiche that required only five ingredients. The convenient food item this time around is a spinach-cheese taco that requires only three items—really convenient and inexpensive for road warriors, vacationers, other travelers, relocatees, and folks at home. The only items required are …

[Read entire article at]

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Create Monthly Calendars for the Year

Did you get a 2010 calendar recently? Get one for a Christmas gift? Buy one for yourself? Bank give you one? Some other business give you one? Calendars used to be assumed freebies, which seemed to be in short supply this season. The other day, I asked a bank teller about calendars. She pointed out a small stack of pocketbook-sized ones. Well, it’s adequate for viewing month to month, but the cells measure only 1.2" wide by 1" high.

I decided to visit an online calendar utility for viewing and creating custom calendars. I wound up creating and printing out all 12 months for the year in landscape orientation, double-side printing them …

[Read entire article at]

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Sew What

I occasionally sew, although much less than I used to. (I mostly repair items or shorten overly long t-shirts for myself.) I assess if it's worthwhile to pull out the sewing machine and set up the spool and bobbin. If the job's too small, or if I feel I might risk mangling the fabric by using the sewing machine, I'll hand-stitch the item. Often, when I sew or think about sewing, I think about the term for someone or something who/that sews. I wonder why a person is not a thought of as a "sewer", but a "seamstress" or …

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