Monday, May 16, 2011


2 carrots, 1 tomato, asian pear, and a banana.  There's only salt, balsamic, and olive oil on the tomato.

Sub Bros Foodtruck

There's a new foodtruck in Montgomery County, Sub Bros.  This was a very tasty sandwich and I'd get food from them again.

Bethesda park

Outside of Original Pancake House. 

Monday, May 02, 2011

My Less Than Inspiring Interaction With Tmobile Customer Care Via Chat

I've been having intermittent 3G problems for the last few weeks and finally had time to web chat with Tmobile about it. This is an exchange around 5:30pm EST today.

Please wait while we find an agent to assist you...
You have been connected to _Francisco M.

ME: I live in Bethesda, MD, USA, zip code 20814. My 3G connection lately often does not work since I upgraded my touch 3g slide to the latest radio firmware, I was a few miles away from home all morning today using the 3G heavily for hours and it was fine. I believe there is a problem with tmobiles network local to 20814.

_Francisco M: Hi James , welcome to T-Mobile live Chat. I’m _Francisco and I will be happy to assist you. Please give me a moment to review your question.

ME: Hi Francisco, thank you.

_Francisco M: One moment.
_Francisco M: Can I have the address to check for outages?

ME: yes, I am at ***

_Francisco M: Thank you.
_Francisco M: One moment.
_Francisco M: Is that ***?

ME: yes

_Francisco M: Okay.
_Francisco M: I see an outage 3 miles away that could be causing your issue.

ME: oh ok, would the effect of that outtage be intermittent connectivity? or no connectivity at all?

_Francisco M: It could be either.

ME: ok. is it an outage with a tower or some network equipment? I ask because I doubt my phone is connecting to a tower 3 miles away.

_Francisco M: The phone is connecting to it, we dont have a tower every mile.

ME: ok, is there an ETR for that issue?

_Francisco M: At the moment, we do not have any estimated time of resolution for this issue.

ME: hm, ok. Could I get a credit on my account then since I'm not getting the service I'm paying for?

_Francisco M: I would advise contacting customer care when the issue is resolved for that.

ME: How will I know when the issue is resolved? Will someone contact me since I've reported it?

_Francisco M: When your service starts working.

ME: I'm not satisfied with that response.

_Francisco M: What do you mean?

ME: It isn't customer friendly at all. Tmobile has no ETR for an outage that is affecting me and _ I _ am supposed to follow up them to credit my account when it's clear I'm affected? That is piss poor customer service.

_Francisco M: Unfortunately, that is what must be done.

ME: I understand you may not be in a position to do more, could you refer to me to someone who may be able to handle it for me?

_Francisco M: We need to wait until the issue is resolved. We don't have an estimated time because it is an unexpected outage.

ME: ok, could I have the issue id or ticket number associated with the outage?

_Francisco M: Let me see if they have one there.

_Francisco M: They don't have a ticket number since the engineers are working on this.

ME: That doesn't make sense to me. The engineers work isn't being tracked by a ticket? That means no work at all is being done.

_Francisco M: They update the status on our network.

ME: The status of what? I'm asking these questions because I need something I can tell the TMO CS to reference when I call in again to have my account credited.

_Francisco M: The status of the outage. They can see it by tracking your address.

ME: But they won't see it once it's resolved, correct? Therefore I need a ticket number or issue id (or whatever is tracking this work) to give them to reference.

_Francisco M: It will show as resolved.

ME: what will show as resolved? that is what i need, that ticket number or whatever identifier you are referencing.

_Francisco M: There is no ticket number, it just shows the outage and that they are working on it.

ME: so there's no identifying information for this outage? I cannot believe that.

_Francisco M: No, we do not have any tracking number, case I.D. or anything like that.

ME: is there a tower ID or location ID or anything that would actually identify this outage? It is completely nonsensical that there is no way to track an outage.

_Francisco M: They can track it with your address. Like I said, we do not have any tracking number, case I.D. or anything like that.

_Francisco M: Is there anything else we can assist you with today?

ME: I'm afraid not, you haven't been able to assist me at all I'm sad to say.

_Francisco M: Thank you for contacting T-Mobile Chat, have a great day!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Week of April 17 2011

Read chapter 4 in Darwinizing Culture.

German 1, Unit 3, Lesson 2, module 5

Read more Excalibur.

Finished Book 1, Chapter 1 and started Book 1, Chapter 2 in Managing Your Money All-In-One for Dummies.

Week of April 10 2011

I've read through chapter 3 in 'Darwinizing Culture', progressed to German 1 Unit 2 Lesson 3 Module 5, read some more Excaliber, and found some interesting sounding sci-fi films.

I did my taxes on Tuesday and the question about opening an IRA made me remember I intended to start retirement savings up again this year.  My understanding is rusty after a few years so I've found several books I'll read/skim to make the best choices.

I was also looking at the NIH calendar of events. It is presentations open to the public.  There are a few I'd be interested in hearing.  May see if the rest of the new group at work would like to too.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Weekend reading

Read the next chapter ( 2 ) in Darwinizing Culture.

Have read 'Pragmatic Thinking and Learning' in the last few months as well as a few research papers on UIMA, 'The God Delusion', 'Bitter Seeds' by Ian Tregillis, and about 30 issues of Excaliber V1.

Have also completed German 1 Unit 1 ( out of 4 ) and am starting Unit 2.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Barking Dog

Mmmm corn hole.

my girlfriend's self-view video

Please download and watch my girlfriend's self-view video

Friday, August 27, 2010


Heaven is Makers Mark on ice and a Guiness.  I decided to try something different tonight and go out for a drink without my coworkers.  I ended up at Union Jacks and sat outside and read 'Engaging the muslim world' for a bit.  It was enjoyable as the early evening came and the sun set.

Suicide bomber soon?

It sucks to have to wonder about this but how long until some crazy religious extremist decides to suicide bomb this place?

Filter coffee house

I decided to go down to Dupont and have a coffee at Filter.  Its such a cute little place and I was able to sit at a table instead of the bar and read a bit.  The flat white was tasty and so was the carrot maple bread.

Dupont circle fountain

Was out for a coffee in dupont and the fountain was on. Always picture worthy.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Fungus roundup

These are from a few days ago.   Now the fungus is destroyed and laying in pieces on the roots and sidewalk.  I'm not sure if it exploded or was done in by a human.

Vegan sloppy joe!

And salad.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Sandwich for lunch

Oiled/salted/broiled challah, yogurt onion spread, tomato, spinach, canadian bacon.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Fungus update

Still pretty but I think it might be nearly done.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Fungus 2

Fungus in the neighborhood

Its been raining quite a bit lately and this fungus has started growing over the last week in front of my place.  Beautiful.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Its been on my mind since January when I moved to make spanakopita.  I don't know why, but I finally got around to it.  I've never made it before and I'm delighted it was so easy and turned out so well.  I looked at a lot of recipes online and just about the only commonality was that they called for spinach.  The variety of ingredients and amounts was surprising but encouraging.  I figured I could pretty much do anything and it should taste pretty good.

This is the recipe I made up informed by many I had read.

Spanakopita triangles

2 10 oz frozen spinach
1 large yellow onion
Olive oil
3 tablespoons of butter
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
8-10 oz of feta
2 eggs
1 package of phyllo

Put the phyllo and spinach in the refridgerator the night before to thaw.

Squeeze the water out of the spinach and put it in a large bowl.  Add 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and mix well, breaking the spinach up.

Sautee/sweat the diced yellow onion in olive oil with salt, pepper, and the other 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg.

Add onion to spinach, mix.

Add crumbled feta to spinach and onion, mix.

Beat 2 eggs in a small bowl and add to spinach, mix well.

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a small dish and have a pastry brush ready.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Cut the phyllo into thirds and keep all phyllo under a damp cloth until you use it.  Spoon a large tablespoon (or more) on the lower left corner and fold to make a triangle.  Place on the baking sheet last fold down, brush top with butter.

Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown or until a toothpick in the center is clean.  The only goal is to set the egg and brown the phyllo.

Let them sit for 10 minutes, then eat.

Mine came out a little pale and soft but I still ate them and enjoyed them.  I decided to put them under the broiler for 2-3 minutes and that crisped them up nicely.

I had intended on putting garlic in them too but forgot.

They turned out really well for a first stab at a recipe and I very happily ate 4 of them for dinner.  

Spinach salad for dinner a few days

I've gotten into the habit of making spinach salad for dinner when I want something really tasty and fast. 


Juice of 1 lemon
Splash of balsamic (to taste)
Salt and pepper
Garlic (to taste)
Spicey mustard (to taste)
Equal amount of olive oil to liquid in the bowl

Whisk to combine and it should thicken and become opaque almost immediately.


Sliced quartered red onion (to taste)
Lots of baby spinach

Put the red onion in the dressing and let it marinate for 10 minutes.  Add the baby spinach and carefully mix to coat the spinach, let it sit 10 mins.

You can add anything else you like:
Toasted nuts

In this picture I added some leftover mozzerella and toasted pecans.

A friend had asked to take a pic of the sink after dinner preparation, so here it is.  Very few dirty dishes with a meal like this.

Oh I also tore up some challah and had it with the salad.

Saturday, August 07, 2010


Decided to make my own pizza dough with a quick recipe that only takes 10 minutes to whip up and top it with andouille and red onion.


Monday, August 02, 2010

Veggie sloppy joe

I've been wanting sloppy joe for awhile but I don't cook meat in my home so it seemed undoable.  While I was in the grocery I noticed Gimme Lean 'ground beef' style TVP.  After a couple of weeks I decided to give it a try.

It turned out surprisingly good.  All the familiar flavor notes are there that I remember from childhood, black pepper, onion, green pepper, and mustard.  The Gimme Lean even has a slight meaty flavor and texture but you'd never mistake it for real meat.  I wonder if a little cumin or a complex flavor like worcester sauce might add another meaty flavor aspect?

These sloppy joe are practically fat free thanks to the Gimme Lean, the only fat being from the olive oil everything was cooked in.  In that regard they are superior to the original recipe.

Veggie Sloppy Joe

1 pound Gimme Lean 'ground beef' style TVP
1 yellow onion
1 green pepper
Black pepper (I like using quite a bit in this recipe)
Olive Oil
1 can Hunts tomato sauce

Slice the onion and quarter it. Slice the green pepper into strips.  Saute the onion, green pepper, salt, and black pepper in olive oil until the peppers begin to soften.  Add the Gimme Lean and break it up into reasonable sized pieces, saute until the Gimme Lean is hot.  Add the Hunts tomato sauce and stir until its evenly distributed, lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

I like to serve it on a soft hamburger bun I can easily cut with a fork (recreating childhood experience here), but a firmer bun is great too, and add plenty of spicy mustard.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Axis Salon on Dupont

QR Code apalooza!  I wonder if they are coupons?

Breakfast at 1pm at La Madeleine

Delicious country french breakfast when I finally showered and got out of the apt after sleeping in til 11am.


Was at relic on Wednesday to get shitfaced with coworkers, I mean, have a few drinks.   Relic is a cute bar in bethesda with an odd theme.  Its alternately 18th century period?, cowboy, and allusions to fetish.  Yes, it is a confused little bar and the music is always out of joint with the decor, but they have neat chairs and good happy hour deals.