The Giraffe Riddle, A Spoiler, and a Hoax

I will put the spoiler at the bottom in case you’re curious…

We have all seen it by now, or at least those of us who have Facebook up and running.   The riddle is asked, you answer, and if you get it wrong you’re supposed to change your picture to a giraffe for three days.

Ok, all in good fun, but No, even if I HAD gotten it wrong, I wouldn’t do the picture thing.   I’m tall enough as it is, and a little better looking than a giraffe.

Just a little.

Now, the hoax that is going around is some misinformation.  There used to be bugs in Windows that would allow a picture file (.JPG) to hold a virus in it.  Not any more, that’s been fixed.  You can pass messages stuffed in pictures in the background labels in the picture, you can pass the location of the place the picture was taken, and other random information.   That is part of the “EXIF” Header, and perfectly safe.  In fact there are programs that take advantage of it.  The process is called “Steganography” and sounds like a tyrannosaurus mated with a Polaroid camera and had a picture as a baby.  

You can read the whole story about the hoax on this link to a handy security blog site.

Now, the spoiler.

I read the riddle and immediately thought of the answer.  Followed by the typical “Oh gees how could they miss it?”.   Yeah and I was good at Trivial Pursuit too.  Everyone who was got a little smug collecting those plastic cheese wedges but hey, it’s all in good fun.

The answer?   Follow this link to CNN.   Gotcha!

Firefox 25 is Here

Getting caught up this morning I spotted an article speaking about how Firefox has been updated.

The short of it is that it’s more stable because they patched some internal stuff.

Internal stuff like memory problems and stability issues.  This is for Windows, Mac, Linux and probably iOS and Android too, but I haven’t gotten to the last two yet.

I was finding that Firefox 24 would simply pause.  Since I have on any given moment about 30 to 150 tabs open, that’s kind of scary.  Most of what I was doing would just… pause.  Pause for a couple minutes, so I was losing a fair amount of time when it would happen about once an hour.

Upgrading is pretty painless.  I clicked on Help, and About, and found the picture you see above.  Didn’t even have to click on a button until it was done.   When done the “Applying Updates” message changed to a button saying Restart. 

Now I’m on Firefox 25.  Whether other bugs will show up, I don’t know.  I do know it hasn’t locked on me in 3 hours of surfing about 200 web pages in tabs.

Since that’s done, I can get back to developing web pages, search engine optimization, and other “web development tasks”.

If you want all the deep and dirty info, here’s the article that I found that told me to check.

More Monarchs In The Goldenrod

After Mr Dog got used to the trippy wonderfulness of having Monarch Butterflies flutter around us as an orange and black cloud, I was able to get back to my Amateur Photography.

Not having The Right Equipment forces you to get creative.  My camera is better than your average phone camera, but not as versatile as a Digital SLR.  You know those big bulky cameras with a removable lens?

It’s not that I can justify having one either.  The next penny I earn from the blog or my photography will be the first. 

So make do and mend as the British said during the Austerity period.

That camera is why I can still justify buying a Junk Box or Random Box of Crap when I come across them.  It was one of seven items that I bought for $3 with $5 shipping.   Yes, a camera that cost me $1.17.  No, I won’t tell you how to find one either.  It was Random, and it reminds me I have to look into those sites again.

But when you have a willing subject, take advantage of it.

I stepped into our little park and spotted this beauty.  He was standing on the goldenrod, at least I think it’s a goldenrod, having a meal in the Golden Hour Sun.  Rack had wandered in with me and was doing his business – sniffing a clump of that purple ornamental grass and enjoying the scene.  He’s a patient soul, allowing me at that time to get this in focus.  At least he is patient when one of his canine friends isn’t about.  It was one of those times I didn’t have to take a dozen pictures for one good one since all lined up just right for me.

Butterflies and Bubbles Turn My Dog Into Jeff Spicoli

I guess in a way I’m fortunate.   I have this little park near the house.  It’s planted cheek-to-jowl with native flowering species.  If you wanted to know what a South Florida Meadow could possibly look like, you would walk into M.E. DePalma Park, put yourself on a giant copper green colored butterfly bench and take it all in.

It is something of an exception in suburbia.  Unless your neighbors are making an effort to plant “Butterfly Plants”, you won’t see a lot of butterflies float by on the breeze.  We do, and the park does, so we have these gentle creatures all year around.

It is a rare day that I don’t see a Swallowtail or a Monarch in my yard.  They leave me with a sense of wonder and I know that I am not alone.  Walking around my backyard “Cement Pond” with Rack, my McNab Dog, I was going through my morning introspective inspection.  Coffee in hand, dog at my side, I was checking the row of pots on the East side of the pool and noticed that my Mexican Milkweed had been chewed down to green sticks.  That meant that another wave of Monarchs had arrived a few days back and visited.  The cold weather up North means that we get their grandchildren here.

This sort of Snowbird I don’t mind.  Finding some jade green jewels hanging under the remaining leaves of the plants, I vowed to find my leftover seeds and scatter them in the yard.

Yes, I am Billy Milkweed-Seed.   If you live on my Island, and you have Milkweed in the yard, I may have had something to do with it.

Straightening myself out, I noticed a floating Monarch in his black and orange colors.  It had just left the Bougainvillea, finished his meal, and was patrolling the yard like I was.  Rack saw him too.  He stopped what he was doing and sat down on the ground and watched the insect glide on the morning air.  His brown eyes got as large as saucers and I almost could hear him say “Whoa Duuuuude!  Awesome, Man!” as the Monarch came within a few inches of his nose to land on the Lemon tree in the pot.

My dog acts like a stoner whenever he sees these creatures.  I guess I can’t complain, it’s entertaining.  Watching my fearful dog go from noticing the sounds of the trucks a couple blocks away in mild fear to total fascination due to this floating orange and black pair of wings.

Awesome, dude, totally awesome!

Padding back into the house, Rack seemed to be in a mellow mood.  Butterflies would do that and the yellow and black Swallowtail that was searching for my Lemon tree to turn it into a snack seemed to help. 

I walked into the kitchen and spotted a pile of trinkets.  Hoping to entertain Mr Dog a bit more, I grabbed a bottle of soap bubbles I keep for this purpose.  Lettie used to attack them.  She would get one in ten, pop the thing and had a great time chasing the bubbles.   She was an alpha dog, anything that I did was great but it had to be in it’s place.  Bubbles didn’t stay in their place so they had to be nipped at to get them there.  One pop and she’d move on.

Rack is a much more laid back soul, dude. 

I picked up the little plastic bottle, pulled up the wand and gave it a puff of breath.  There was a cloud of bubbles that came forth.  Cause and effect being what it was, Rack sat down.  Brown eyes got wide as the bubbles settled gently on the drafts around him. 

Whoa, Dude, Awesome! 

The construction of the swimming pool across the street didn’t matter, the airplanes overhead flying into FLL were irrelevant, my dog’s world had spun down to a shimmering, gossamer sphere of water, soap, and glycerine slowly settling on the breeze.  Dude.

Where most dogs would have made a token effort to round up the bubbles, my Rack simply sat and stared at them as one landed on his nose.   Yes, now I had a cross-eyed dog sitting in my dining room staring at the tip of his nose watching the colors shimmer in the compact florescent lights. 

He’s an amazingly intelligent dog.  Things he never showed any interest in doing with me, he retained from the first few months of his life when he lived with the people up in Rome, Georgia who turned him into an Owner Surrender.  He “spontaneously” gave a high-five to my neighbor Bill when he came over for a visit the other day.  But bubbles?  I guess he just never saw them.

Cool, Dude.  Bubbles!

Church Whisper and A Great Surprise – Humor

Church Whisper

A mother took her little boy to church. While in church the little boy said, “Mommy, I have to pee.”

The mother said to the little boy, “It’s not appropriate to say the word ‘pee’ in church. So, from now on whenever you have to ‘pee’ just tell me that you have to ‘whisper’.”

The following Sunday, the little boy went to church with his father and during the service said to his father, “Daddy, I have to whisper.“

The father looked at him and said, “Okay, just whisper in my ear.”

A Great Surprise

Peter walked up to the sales lady in the clothing store “I would like to buy my wife a pretty sweater. ”
 “Oh that’s so cute” exclaimed the sales lady, ”sounds like it’s going to be a great surprise.”
 “It sure is” said John “she’s expecting a new diamond ring!”

Ugly People – Humor

Ugly People

So there is this bus full of ugly people, the lowest of the low, people who you would not let your grandma kiss, driving along a cliff and the bus crashes and falls off. All of the people end up going to heaven and

God feels so sorry for them being ugly that he grants each of them one wish.

All of them get in line to tell their wish to God. The first guy says, “I want to be gorgeous.”
The next lass goes, “I want to stunning.”

Until halfway through the line, God sees this guy at the end of the line chuckling his ass off.

God ignores him and people keep saying they want to be “beautiful” or “stunning”, until God reaches the last guy and asks him his wish.

He says, “Make them all ugly again.”

Playing with Coffee Roasting Isn’t What It Seems – Pictures

Want a good dark cup of coffee because you’re feeling tired?  Need a jolt of Caffeine?  Don’t get the dark roast then, you will need more grounds than usual.

It’s backwards.  The darker roasts like an Espresso Roast or a French Roast have a much stronger flavor than the lighter “American style” roasts.  On the other hand, the American Style roasts have much more caffeine in them even if they are harsher and more bitter.

There is a reason for it.  Basic Science.

Ok, don’t switch off on me now, I won’t throw numbers at you. 

You see the longer your roast your beans, the hotter the beans get.  The hotter the beans get, the more likely the caffeine will break down.   The flavor you love in the coffee is really the flavor of the sugars breaking down, the coffee oil getting forced out, and the basic “roasting” of the bean.   Caffeine is bitter, so if you actually like that taste, you will have a harsher brew.

That’s it in a nut shell.

I did some experiments. 

The picture is “Green Coffee”.  It was 1/3 regular beans, 2/3 decaf beans.   Completely unroasted.  It’s what people call “White Coffee” when brewed.   Not an unpleasant taste, a bit grassy, but the result?  That “Third Caff” coffee was probably the strongest coffee I have ever had, and that includes the syrup that they call Cafe Cubano here. 

How strong was it?


It was like Mr Sandman stood behind me pounding my head with a giant rubber squeaky mallet and screaming in my ears “WAKE UP!!!!“.

Get the picture?   It was pure jet fuel.

So I decided to take it back a step.

I roasted this lighter brown brew that you see in the jar.   Next to it is my regular dark roast in a spoon.  The science content for a fellow roaster is simple.  I stopped roasting the lighter coffee at First Crack, the darker roast was at Second Crack.

Coffee being a solid bean will crack twice during roast.  The Second Crack is what you get in a better coffee house since it’s got a full and complex flavor, smooth as silk.   First Crack is what your parents drank – bitter but chock full of caffeine.   First Crack coffee has a much less complex flavor because the coffee oils have not been “forced out” of the beans yet.   A Second Crack coffee will have a sheen of oil on the outside promising full and “Balanced” flavor.   This is what I send to friends and I always get reports back how smooth and wonderful it tastes.

I’m used to drinking Third Caff coffee.   When I tried some of the First Crack coffee, it was a bitter experience, and I felt that Jolt of coffee right away.  Even in Third Caff, I felt the difference.  The thought I had was that since First Crack American Style coffee takes so much less time to roast, they had to do it in order to make more and lower costs at the expense of a better brew.   Naughty, Naughty Roasters.  Be ashamed.

So the rule is Darker is Tastier but weaker coffee.   If you really need to wake up, I suggest getting to bed an hour later and having the darker coffee since life is too short to drink “bad” coffee.

If you’ll excuse me, all this talking about Roast Times and Caffeine has me wanting some Espresso.   Just remember not to pack the grounds too tightly or you’ll get a sour brew.   The grounds need room to “breathe” but that’s a story for a different day.

Oh and it will be Decaf.   Yes, Decaf Espresso.  I see you over there, smirking.  Don’t judge me, you don’t want to see someone as tall as I am bouncing off walls, it isn’t as entertaining as you might think.

You do want to see that?   Not today my friend, not today.