Commemorative Coins – Enough Already!

canadian commemorative quarterSomeone should start a campaign to put an end to commemorative coins from the Royal Canadian Mint, especially those useless quarters that most of us don’t notice until we try to use them in a payphone and the damn things don’t work. One look at the latest quarter they’ve put out and I know that thing will never work in a payphone or a vending machine.

We’ve got stamps for commemorating things — and there is no chance of a commemorative stamp not working. Why not just stick with stamps, or at least cut back on releasing so many useless coins? There seem to be a handful of new commemorative coins coming out every month, but does anyone who isn’t a coin collector even pay attention them? Do Canadian tax dollars pay for the production of all these commemorative coins? And if so, why? Do we really need so many commemorative coins? Is the Royal Canadian Mint just another make-work project? What’s wrong with the traditional quarter? If it’s not broke, why fix it? I’d be happy to see most of these commemorative coins disappear.

I say this after trying to call a cab from a downtown payphone last night and going through 5 quarters in my pocket before I found one the payphone would accept.

Making Blogging Easier For Phillip

Phillip emailed me the following:

i’m looking for a drag-and-drop method of adding images the swt image directory. or some way of selecting an image on the hard drive and uploading loading it without having to got through the hassle of opening filezilla and sorting through all the directories on the server.
how do you upload images?

I replied:

i use filezilla or worse
i’ll come up with something for you

“Worse” meaning for him, which is the command-line version of ftp.

I created a Windows batch file for Phillip that ftps all images in a folder to the server.

echo off
echo open > ftp.txt
echo username>> ftp.txt
echo password>> ftp.txt
echo cd website/images >> ftp.txt
echo bin >> ftp.txt
echo prompt >> ftp.txt
echo mput *.jpg >> ftp.txt
echo mput *.gif >> ftp.txt
echo bye >> ftp.txt
ftp -s:ftp.txt
del ftp.txt

But NOW he wants the program to copy the URL of the uploaded images to the clipboard, so he can just paste it into his post’s text. That can’t be done using standard Window’s commands, so I decided to create a program that does it. I started it today. It will ftp files AND copy the URL of those files to the clipboard or display them in a dialog so he can manually copy them. It should be done soon.

A programmer’s work is never done.

Hooray, no spam here!

no spam hereI just deleted the 4,000+ emails from my gmail Spam folder. I’m going to check how many spam I get around the same time every day and note it here.

You’re welcome.

(I’ll probably forget to do it after the second day.)

Day 1 (Sept 20): 186 spam in about 24 hours. At that rate I’ll have over 5000 spam in a month.

Day 2 (Sept 21): 354 spam. That’s about what I predicted. Thus ends this fascinating experiment.

Caught Speeding

speedingGondola Point Grand Prix posts photos of vehicles going over the residential speed limit (which is 50 km/hour) along with their recorded speed. The editor will remove the photos under specific conditions:

  • Voluntarily pay a speeding fine to the local police.
  • Donate to local charities.
  • Volunteer time to local charities.

I like this guy’s gumption. I’d do this for my area if I had a radar gun.

(via CBC News)

Easy Chicken Pot Pie Recipe

An easy chicken pie/stew recipe, ideal for leftovers. I’ve done this without the chicken, and it is just as good. It’s available via Google Docs, too.

There are two parts to this: the bottom and the top. The bottom is where the stew is, and the top is a biscuit-like crust. It’s baked in a casserole dish with no cover.

The Bottom Ingredients:

  1. 1 tbl. butter or olive oil (for frying onions in)
  2. 1 tbl. flour (for making roux)
  3. 1 chopped onion (and anything else that can be sautéed with it)
  4. 2 cups broth, water, whatever. I use those instant broth cubes dissolved in boiling water.
  5. 2 potatoes, diced
  6. 1 cup peas. The original recipe calls for 2 chopped carrots, but we never have them, so I use whatever else I have handy, which is usually peas or frozen mixed vegetables.
  7. 2 cups cooked chicken, chopped. I’ve never done it, but good beef probably be good, too.

The Bottom Directions:

  1. In a pot (I use a pot cause you don’t want a wide bottom), sauté your onions with the butter on medium until they’re translucent or tender. I usually throw in chopped garlic here, too, and some spices, like basil or tarragon.
  2. Ya gotta make the roux now. This ain’t hard. Before doing this, have your broth ready. Slowly stir the flour into the onions. Keep stirring so it won’t burn. Turn heat down if ya have to. All the butter and stuff will be soaked up by the flour, but ya gotta cook the flour a little bit. If it begins to burn, go to next step.
  3. Stir in the broth until well blended.
  4. Add potatoes, peas… everything else except the chicken, and bring to boil. I usually add lots of freshly ground pepper here, too.
  5. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are semi-tender and broth begins to thicken. Ya may want to turn the oven on 400 before this step is done since you’re gonna bake it soon. I usually prepare the Top (below) at this stage, too.
  6. If ya want, grease the casserole dish. I do, but I don’t know if ya have to.
  7. Pour the mixture into the dish along with the chicken. Mix it up to distribute the chicken.

The Top Ingredients:

  1. 3 tbl. butter (or shortening)
  2. 1 cup flour
  3. 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
  4. ½ tsp. salt
  5. ½ cup milk

The Top Directions:

  1. In small bowl combine butter, flour, baking powder and salt.
  2. Cut in butter until mixture resembles small crumbs. I use one of those pie pastry cutting things that look like something you’d torture somebody with. Just chop it up until the butter is in small pieces, well distributed.
  3. Stir in milk until dough forms.
  4. Drop dough by spoonfuls onto chicken mixture. You can make one big crust, but I never have. I just take chunks of the dough with my hand and lay them in different places on the top. It doesn’t have to cover the whole top – I never cover it completely.

Baking It
Bake at 400° F for 25-30 minutes, until the topping is golden brown.