Saturday, June 19, 2010


I am feeling a bit better today, but not enough to actually want to do anything of any great energy output.
I did go out and start cutting back this ground crawling plant - whatever it is - that was growing over the top of other plants.  It will snuff out the life of other plants if you don't keep it in check, it simply keeps growing away from the center of the plant without limits, apparently. 

The Mobile Mexican Dinnermobile - what I call it anyway, happened to be coming by while I was out there. This is a person pushing a cart on wheels with all kinds of different Mexican delicacies on it - well,l just plain stuff that you would find anywhere in Mexico.  Yes, I've been to Mexico - hundreds of times actually, all over the nation, I am not speaking out of guessing or ignorance. 

Well, they have this stuff called elote.  Spanish for corn on the cob, basically.  They slather some kind of sauce on it, cover it with paremsan cheese and cover that with chili powder.  Oh, I have developed a taste for both the American version AND the real Mexican version of Mexican food over the last 3 decades.  Well, aging myself, getting closer to 4 decades now.  REAL Mexican food as served by those living in shacks, huts and what-not over there is very plain yet very delicious. 

Whatever.  I couldn't resist.  My appetite is almost non-existent - being sick and the heat are appetite killers.  I bought 2 of them anyway.  It was $3 for 2 very large ears of corn.  Normally, I could scarf 2 of them down and think nothing of it. I was struggling after the first one - attempting to save it in the refrig wouldn't work too well, so I downed the other as well.  Stuffed off of 2 ears of corn.  Interesting.  My diet is also to blame.  I am not eating much.  I am sick of being overweight, even if it isn't that far overweight.  I hate it and I don't want to be at this point, I am going to the OB in getting my weight down into the 180's range. 

I have serious doubts I will eat anything else today, which is also interesting, because I bought all the ingredients to make an "interesting" dish that I haven't tried. Nothing far out, pretty basic, really, but it looked good.  Take chunks of beef (whatever you can get - I got the manager's special, almost half price since the meat will expire in 2 days), cut them into small pieces; pearl onions; cherry tomatoes and portabello mushrooms.

Pearl onions are frozen - and cheap.  Mushrooms? I caught by a fluke several packages that were also manager specials.  I rarely catch mushrooms at that steep of a discount (so I don't buy them very often).  Marinate everything in balsamic vinegar.  This recipe calls to have some sort of basket that goes over a BBQ grill - wish I had one, the basket that is, cause' I definitely have the grill and yes, it has propane in it.  Well, it will work over the stove and it will taste good, so whatever. 

You put the steak; onions and mushrooms in the basket and fry - well I"m frying cause' I ain't got no basket (although I don't wonder if the $1 store might have something that would work).  After it's about half done or so, you put the tomatoes in.  Well, probably more like 3/4's done - tomatoes don't take long to "cook" - heat them and they soften nicely.  Toss and serve with whatever else you like.  In my case - probably just plain ole' french fries, and that for the boys.  I haven't checked the fat, sodium or caloric content of french fries lately - I did a while back and I don't remember the stats.  If it's not too bad, then I'll eat a small portion as well.

However, it won't happen until tomorrow.  I'm stuff off of ear corn!!  It will be too late to eat again when I get hungry again. And it dawned on me as I was sitting outside, in whatever hell heat it was, sitting next to my ponds, that tomorrow is father's day!!  Hey, dudes, I'm going to treat myself to that stuff tomorrow, not today!!  I am also going to go buy a cigar and smoke one of them suckers as well.  Total Wine actually has a HUGE walk-in humidor in it, and their cigar prices are WAY better than anything I've found anywhere else.  I have cut back cigar smoking substantially - it's been a couple of months since my last stogie.  But, I think, a nice cigar on dad's day is cool.

Anyway, the pic of the recipe mentioned above look totally scrumptious, it couldn't possibly be BAD, I like ALL of those ingredients so what's the problem?  None.  None. 

The green pond? Is turning clear.  The UV sterilizer is working magnificently.  It is working WELL beyond my expectations.  I had NO expectation that it would clear the green out of it as much as it has.  I'm very satisfied with my purchase on eBay of such.  The water in the big pond is COOL, still, as well. It is subjected to direct sunlight 2/3rd's of daylight hours, that is a pretty good deal to have cool water in 107 degree heat - where the direct sunlight is shining make it MUCH warmer.  The direct sunlight also creates massive algae conditions, again, the algae is being checked by the sterilizer.

Look, these things are exactly the reason I went for small, preformed ponds before getting into a much larger pond.  200 gallons versus 2,000.  Learn about the first - get some experience, find out the pros and cons, learn how to deal with problems on a small scale and then, only then after much research, THEN think about moving up to a much larger setup.  I do not have the money for a larger setup now.  Even if I did, I would have still started small at first to try and figure this stuff out.  When I get to the point where I have a very good grasp of what's going on, I will be writing up my complete version of ponds and ponding. 

The detailed information I have scoured for all over the net is not there.  I have read site after site about pond information.  None of it is complete.  Bits and pieces.  You get tired of looking and you just do whatever and try stuff out until you find something that works.  I will do the same as I am doing with Cafe World on here.  In fact, I am definitely going to put up a post about my success with a UV sterilizer here today or in the next few days.   I'm a newbie to the world of ponding, who cares. 

So, it's a nice indoor Saturday.  I was outside for about an hour.  I can't STAND being indoors even if sick.  If MORBIDLY sick, that means I am in bed and in such bad conditiion that getting out of bed is a sickening event in itself.  Obviously, I am not that bad.  I sat by the pond for the most part, I love listening to the sounds of the water gushing over the rocks and out of the waterfall and I just like to look and stare.  The fish are fun to watch as well.  They are very active - which is always a relieving sign for me, means they are healthy enough that they are moving all over the place versus sitting still and ---- dying. 

BTW, today's sitting next to the pond was a "learning" experience in itself.  I was thinking about how it is so nice to have the thing sitting above ground so that I could sit in a chair and see up close without straining - which made me think that an "upper" pond in my eventual pond setup will be sitting around half out of the water.  I am not sold on the construction of it yet, but brick looks nice.  That pond could feed into a bog, into another stream, into the large pond.  I have a lot of time to ponder how I would like to build the thing - there is no money for such and just paying bills right now is enough.  I'm very happy, in reality, to have what I currently have and will be content with it. 

Of course, my outing today was followed by dogs.  3 of them at first, 2 of them for the long run.  Coco - the Catahoula/Dane mix will follow me anywhere and everywhere, she doesn't CARE how hot it is out there. Prince, the black Dane, will mostly do the same.  So, I have the blankets I acquired 2 years ago for my plants during any freeze that might harm them.  I lay a couple of them over the landscaping rock so they can lay next to me.  Yes, in some ways, you could say I spoil them, but really, what animal is going to want to lay on sharp, hard rocks?  Not many, not any that I can think of.  The fish are apparently becoming less fearful of me - they come right up and wait for the food.  Fortunately, a $6 can of food has lasted as long as I have had them and there is still enough in there to last a couple of weeks anyway. 

That's it for this one.


Cafe World Tips - 18: Zynga Is FINALLY Stopping The Cheating!!!

Hiya fellow chefs!  Some time ago, I started reporting cheaters on Cafe World.  These are people that are using bots and programs to hack into the game and "modify" it to allow them to do all kinds of things to increase gold coins, cafe points and food without having to DO anything.

My biggest complaint were some of my neighbors that are using Cheat Engine 5.5 to hack into the Cafe World program and create a setup where your dishes automatically prepare and cook themselves.  Known as a Cafe Clicker, the program is the ultimate in gaining HUGE Cafe points in a very short period of time. Of course it can do that, it's a computer software system, far more effective than any human can ever even think of playing the game.

I removed several neighbors that were using this cheat.  One of them went from level 44 to level 173 in about 2 months.  Just go ahead and try to do that on that game without cheating, GOOD LUCK.  I started searching the net for answers to how this guy could possibly be gaining that many points without cheating and ran into the Cheat Engine program.  I filled out a complaint form 4 separate times to Zynga - this cheating was making the game not much fun.  I don't like to cheat to beat other players, why should these people be allowed to engage in such?

Well, here's Zynga's statement concerning this - they FINALLY are effectively addressing the problem:

Cafe World Unfair Play Deterrent!


Hiya chefs,

In an effort to clean up some issues affecting the performance of our game servers we detected several programs or sources trying to access the application to change the normal game play experience. These programs, modifiers, bots, cheats, hacks, etc. are a violation to Zynga’s Terms of Service, see Usage Rules, and have been affecting all users ability to connect to our servers.

We have implemented code to detect users enhancing their game experience by using programs of this type. Once an account has been detected it will be disabled until the end user contacts our Customer Support team. Accounts disabled may be reset to “normal” game play conditions and be noted for potential suspension if other violations occur.

Our intention is to keep our game world clean of modifiers and enhancement programs as well as optimize the performance for all of our café owners. If you experience any trouble with your Café World account and need assistance please contact our Customer Support team.

Our desire is that everyone that plays Café World have an enjoyable experience and we thank you for your continued support.

The Café World Team
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ _ _ _ _ __  _ __ _ _ __ _ _

Okay, well I just stumbled upon that, however, I then looked at the date on that statement.  It was made January 6th of this year.  That was 6 months ago!!  So what's the answer here?  People are still cheating, obviously.  I can confidently say that because all of these cheaters I have removed as neighbors were ALL AFTER that statement was made by Cafe World/Zynga.  Either their detection software isn't working too welll - or more likely - there are TOO many people cheating for them to keep up with it. 

I simply advise you that if you see a neighbor cheating, turn them in!!  Complain loudly and often to Zynga.  The guy that went up to level 173?  His account has been removed from Cafe World entirely.  The others?  I haven't checked on them recently - they are still Facebook neighbors so I can still look at their cafe points and see what is going on with them. 

Look, any of us can engage in cheating.  It's easy.  It's the easy way to win, right?  What's the point?  It only serves to make the people that are haivng some fun playing the game to make them/me mad.  I hate cheating.  How can you tell if a neighbor is heating?  One obvious sign is that they were way behind you and all of the sudden in a week's time they have not only caught up to you, but passed you waving bye-bye in terms of Cafe points.  Go to their restaurant.  Do you see hamburgers cookings, but no hamburgers on their counters?  Good sign there.  One guy had NO dishes on his counters, yet he was racking up huge Cafe points every day! How do you cook massive amounts of food but have no food on the counters?  By cheating, of course!

That guy had all of his stoves set up to cheat, not everyone does that, so they will still have food on their counters.  They might set up 4 or 5 or however many stoves to do the cheat and still play the game normally on the rest of their stoves.  One woman was doing that - a former neighbor I should say - I just took her off of my neighbors but occasionally look to see how far ahead she is.  I reported her, so perhaps today I will go see if all that nonsense has stopped. 

Anyway, to all the honest chefs out there, happy cooking!

Decatur, Alabama. Got there last night - decided I didn't have enough hours to offload - about an hour and 15 minutes on the clock, tak...