Thanksgiving Cold Front

Is this global warming? This is wacked “this mornings low 67°, which is 20° warmer than the norm and only 2° cooler than the normal daytime high.”

Our local news station weather blog Tracking a Thanksgiving Cold Front:

National Weather Forecast Map November 23, 2010
National Weather Forecast Map November 23, 2010

Its lunchtime across the Brazos Valley this 22nd day of November…and the temperature outside is 78°.  No need to rub your eyes, that’s right…it’s 78°.  Needless to say, both overnight lows and daytime highs are running about 10 – 20 degrees above where they should be for this time of the year.  In fact, this mornings low only made it down to 67°, which is 20° warmer than the norm and only 2° cooler than the normal daytime high.

We’ll have to deal with this warm, muggy, breezy and cloudy weather for the next couple of days as we gear up for the beginning of the holiday season and head towards Thanksgiving Day.  But changes are on the horizon…

You are looking at the temperatures from 7am Monday morning.  Sharp, cold Canadian air is locked up beind the jetstream and is trying to work its way toward Texas and the Brazos Valley.  And it does look like it will get here…it will just take a few more days.  Its arrival? Welp…it looks like Thanksgiving day.

It’s Turkey Time

It’s that time of the year when the leaves turn colors, and the wind blows, and the drizzling rain starts on Friday and ends on Sunday. It’s Fall in Texas. It’s time to cook turkey! It’s Thanksgiving, or, at least it’s one week until Thanksgiving, and I bought a turkey fryer from Academy (COOKOUT SUPPLY COMPANY ELECTRIC TURKEY FRYER BY CAJUN INJECTOR) to make deep-fried Thanksgiving dinner.

The last thing I wanted to do was cook Thanksgiving dinner with an untested method on one of the most important meals we have all year. So, I got a sacrificial chicken and I fried it with the fryer a week in advance. It came out pretty good, but I learned something. Don’t be timid when injecting the bird. Don’t be afraid of tearing the flesh as this will leave holes for hot oil to seep in to and cook the hard to reach parts (near the leg joints). Anyway, here is a video of the chicken. Come back after Thanksgiving to see the real challenge.


I did a little research to find the best oil to cook with. The “All About Cooking Oils” page from was helpful. I don’t know how old that page is or how long it will stay up so I made a copy of it in PDF form.

My 40th birthday bucket list

I have 365 days until my 40th birthday. I’ve done a lot in 39 years – some good, some bad, most I remember, some I’ve forgotten. I thought it would be fun to make a 40th birthday bucket list of things I could do in the next 365 days – before I turn 40.

  • drive a fast car: Camaro, Challenger, Ferrari, Lamborghini
  • fire a Barrett rifle (50 caliber sniper rifle)
  • ride a hot-air balloon

HighEdWeb 2010 Wrap Up

I know it’s a month late, but here’s my wrap-up of High Ed Web 2010.

Conference Links

Post-conference Links

Last year I wrapped up HighEdWeb 2009 with this thought:

We have something to think about for next year. In this age of transparency you must “know thyself” and be an expert in your area – experience and ignorance shine equally through the window of our minds. We are people in higher education with limited budgets that come together to live, laugh, learn, and we express ourselves using the technology we help to create – the web.

Sea of Hands at HighEdWeb 2010 Opening Session

So, did we learn our lessons? Did we know ourselves? Did we become experts? The simple answer is “yes.”

There was only one keynote this year, by Steve Krug, author of “Don’t Make Me Think.” While I think the keynote wasn’t a failure, I expected more. I expected Steve to be a more engaging speaker. I’m glad he was the keynote. He did what he said he does in the book: he gave a quick accessibility test using a member of the audience.

I think the biggest difference this year was the comfort level. Being around so many people with the same job as me was comfortable. I think that was due in part because I was returning to many of the same people, but also because we had shared our lives on Twitter throughout the past year. I felt like I knew them.

Worldle of this blog for HighEdWeb

What did I learn?

HTML5 and CSS3 were topics I wanted to learn about. I learned some of the the pros and cons of HTML5, and I got a lot of links to good resources. I got enough CSS3 before the conference and after the conference to keep me occupied for the next year. Bonus, those of us in attendance at the CSS…In 3D! workshop got a free copy of Christopher Schmitt’s book, CSS Cookbook.

But, aside from these few technical topics, I felt 2010 was a little disappointing. Last year I had a similar feeling; however, last year was my first time going and I was a little overwhelmed.

Tweetups, After Darks and more

I met a lot more new folks and followed them on Twitter. We had a lot of shared experiences at this year’s conference as well. Starting the night I arrived, through the night before I left, my circle of friends expanded.

Saturday night was dinner with the guys from A&M at O’Maley’s in the Alley, followed by a tweetup at Madonna’s Bar & Grill.

Sunday night was the “Welcome Reception” at the Contemporary Arts Center, followed by “Party Like It’s 10-10-10” back at the Hilton, followed by the Hilton bar.

Monday night was sushi at Benihana (sponsored in part by nuCloud) with about 30 people. That was followed by the HighEdWeb After Dark mini pub crawl with stops at Madonna’s, Nicholson’s GastropubBartini’s, and the Cadillac Ranch.

Karaoke Plane
"I can not wait to ride the #karaokeplane tonight." @mikepetroff

Tuesday night we started at the Newport Aquarium with hot hors d’oeuvres with the fishes. That was followed by the Hofbräuhaus for dunkelbier (dark beer), bratwursts, pretzels, fried sauerkraut and fried pickles. Of course there was lots of accordion-playing and yodeling and prosting (toasting). I have to say it was almost as good as the one in Munich, but it felt American-ized.

Since Newport, Kentucky is on the other side of the Ohio River from Cincinnati, we were bussed over there. After Hofbräuhaus we took the bus back to the Hilton, but we didn’t stop there. We topped off the night with a ride on the “Karaoke Plane” – straight to Hamburger Mary’s. Mary’s a mixed gay-straight bar and they probably had the best night of there lives because we showed up by the bus-load. I’d say at least 100 people were there drinking, singing, dancing, and of course playing pool.

Wednesday night we took it easy with the guys from A&M and dinner at Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery.

Next year

What are the lessons for next year? High Ed Web 2011 will be in Austin, Texas. We should be able to send two people next year. I’ll go out on a limb and predict the hot topics next year. Semantic content (Web 3.0) for mobile, desktop, vehicles, televisions, toasters, etc. (We can make content inter-operable; maybe using a CMS.) Location-based (geo-loco) applications with a side of augmented reality or geo-fencing. (Facebook Places exploded this year. Foursquare has the most users, for now. Gowalla is based in Austin.) HTML5 and CSS3 are growing, even if at a slow pace. (The W3C made an announcement about holding off deploying HTML5.)