Monthly Archives: December, 2007

Happy Holidays

We here at wish you and yours a happy & safe holiday season.

Also our good friends1 over at Aperature Science wish you a Happy <Holiday Name Here>.

The video currently playing over at Aperature Science is a nice holiday gesture and heavily loaded with easter eggs. The ones I noticed were:

  • The presents under the Christmas tree are all orange boxes.
  • The gnome on the fireplace is from Half-Life2.
  • There’s a crowbar leaning up against the fireplace.
  • There’s a turret from Portal lurking in the shadows.
  • The “boxes” on the right are all ammo boxes from Half-Life.
  • The stockings hanging from the fireplace all have logos from various games by Valve.
  • The ornaments on the tree are characters from Team Fortress 2.
  • The sign above the fireplace is a parody of the signs in Portal.

And that’s all I noticed, leave a comment if you find more. 🙂

1 No, I don’t personally know anybody who works for Valve Software. I just really enjoyed playing Portal.

Ice Storm Photos

Ice Coated Plants
Frozen in Amber | (via Flickr)

11 Dec 2007. Iowa. Cedar Rapids. The weather did suck. Mightly. 12 Dec 2007 everything was coated in a beautiful1 layer of ice. Fortunately my employer allows me to work from home and I did so yesterday. I still went outside, cleared off the cars and moved them to the other side of the street. Just in case the plows decided to make another pass at cleaning up our street. It wasn’t too bad out but I had a blazing headache, plus work to do and all. I took my camera outside with me and snapped a few hurried photos before rushing back inside to the warmth. Then I spent the day fighting my headache and trying to get some work done. But you don’t care about my suffering, you want pretty pictures. So go look at them already!

1 Beautiful provided you didn’t have to clear it off your car and try heading into work.

Chocolate Covered Cherries Plus!

This recipe is based on the Easy Chocolate Covered Cherries recipe from the National Cherry Growers & Industries Foundation. My wife and I spotted the recipe in the December 2007 issue of Everyday Food. We did go for an optional variant of the recipe that they mentioned and increased the size. We made this for a holiday get together with some friends and I have to say: “This was a triumph. I’m making a note here: huge success. It’s hard to overstate my satisfaction.”1


  • 4 – 10oz bottles of maraschino cherries
  • 1 – 750 ml bottle of vanilla vodka2
  • 24 oz chocolate chips


  1. Drain all the juice from the jars of cherries.
  2. Pour in the vodka over the cherries.
  3. Allow cherries to soak overnight or up to a week3.
  4. Drain the vodka.
  5. Pat the cherries down with a paper towel to dry them completely.
  6. Melt the chocolate chips over low heat in a medium sauce pan. Take care not to burn the chocolate.
  7. Once the chocolate is fully melted, dip the cherries into the chocolate.
  8. Swirl the cherries in the chocolate to get a good coating.
  9. Place the covered cherries onto a wax-paper covered cookie sheet.
  10. Refrigerate until the chocolate sets.
  11. Share and enjoy!

1 Portal rocks!
2 We used Smirnoff’s Twisted Vanilla.
3 Our cherries soaked in the vodka for approximately 12 hours and had a nice zing to them when we ate them.

WordPress Plugins: PHPInfo and PluginsUsedPlugin

I’ve been working on some stuff behind the scenes here at with the intention of eventually upgrading the site’s backend and developing a new theme for the site. In the process of doing all this behind the scenes works, I’ve been trying out new plugins and wanted a quick way to check my server’s setup without putting a page for just anybody to view (e.g. creating my own phpinfo page). I found this a plugin by Designpraxis which basically adds the output from phpinfo to WordPress’s admin panel. Unfortunately, it buries the page/info under the Options panel. So I hacked it up to move the output under the Dashboard panel. Then I thought, it would be great if it could also list off all the plugins my site uses and what version of those plugins. I already have the pluginsUsedPlugin installed but it didn’t support plain-text output. So I hacked it up to output in plain-text, hacked up Phpinfo to include that plain-text output and then there was much rejoicing.

I thought it only fair to share my hacks, so enjoy or not as you choose. I’m sure there’s a more elegant way to code these changes, but I am not a programmer so if you use these and don’t like how I changed them… Well, you just have to suffer then. :p Feel free to ask questions but keep in mind:

  • I’m not a programmer.
  • These plugins aren’t originally mine. I don’t know much about how they work. I only know enough to hack together my changes.
  • If my hacked versions don’t work for you, try the originals before asking me for help. The people who made the originals should have a better idea of why things work/don’t work.

CoffeeBear’s Hacked Plugins

Reading List

If you hop over to my library page, you’ll notice my reading list has grown considerably. That’s because I just added in all the books we bought at the annual book sale held by our local public library. There’s far too many for me to finish them all this year, but I hope to have read them all by the end of next year.

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