Back From the Grave…

I just spent the better part of the last week bringing Erik’s… Hmm.. back from the grave. However, I’m not sure how long this blog had been dead. The last post was about where to eat BBQ in Texas, from the summer of 2017. Some time after that my web host was hacked and prior to that the site had been overridden with spam comments. My web host alerted me to the hack and with personal disgust I just deleted the WP instance without understanding how it occured.

Back to the digital resurrection… It was a multi-step process. First I had to install a new WordPress instance and choose a new theme. Then I had to go find my content. The content revival was a lot harder then getting WordPress installed because I didn’t have a good backup.

Eventually, I got my WP posts loaded, but I was missing some of my more interesting, and earlier posts, from when I used Movable Type. Those posts represented my first 3+ years blogging and had some extremely memorable content. I eventually found an old backup with that content and was able to get it loaded into the MySql db used by my WP instance. Victory!

The victory of getting all my content back on-line was sweet, but that wasn’t the end of the story. I’ve now spent the better part of the week reviewing every post and every comment. Wanting to ensure the hackers hadn’t left behind any land mines you might stumble upon. That process, while lengthy and monotonous, was highly enjoyable. I re-experienced new friendships forged online, as well as relived fun memories I’d blogged about (I’ll write a follow-up with some of my favorite old posts).

This screenshot I grabbed from my WP Dashboard says it all…

Erik's... Hmm... Blog Stats
Erik’s… Hmm… Blog Stats

Lots of good stuff in this blog over the last 17 years and I’m happy to have gotten it back online. Enjoy websurfers. All 2-3 of you wasting time here. Maybe I’ll convince my kids to go back and read some of the nice/funny stuff I had to say about them (first birthdays, diapers, little league sports, etc.).


Where to eat BBQ in Texas

I love BBQ and so do most Texans. That’s why Texas Monthly publishes an annual list of the Top 50 BBQ joints in Texas. I always jump to read the article and see who made the list, which restaurants I’ve been too, and start thinking about how I can TRY ALL OF THEM!

I keep the Texas Monthly article bookmarked and try to remember to call it up while I’m traveling. One issue I have with our great big STATE is struggling to know every city (how the article lists the BBQ joints) and where they are in relation to other cities. My solution to this problem was to create a Google Map that lays them all out for me. Added benefit was playing with a new Google Maps feature I hadn’t used, building custom maps.

Feel free to use the map to plan your attack at conquering all 50. And don’t hesitate to leave a comment below on where I should be going for BBQ that is or isn’t covered on the list!


My boys are now programmers… Proud Dad

With summer coming (and now here) I wanted something to keep the boy’s brains working. Knowing it will take a lot to keep them from video games, the pool, and general tomfoolery I wanted to get them each a programming book that would engross them and keep them going well into the summer.

With Noah (having just finished 5th grade and a huge fan of Minecraft) the decision was easy. My favorite technical book publisher, the Pragmatic Bookshelf, had recently put out a book that teaches Java programming with a focus on Minecraft. I bought him, “Learn to Program with Minecraft Plugins: Create Flying Creepers and Flaming Cows in Java“. I knew he would love it and figured I’d enjoy reading it too. 😉

Deciding what to buy Zach was a tougher decision. Zach just finished 3rd grade and is much different than Noah. He’s not really into video games. He’s an unique / strange / awesome combination of bookworm and athlete. He absolutely loves reading *and* sports. Considering how much he likes reading, I wanted to get him something that would really be fun to read, and didn’t have to be read in front of a computer.

I decided on something from my second favorite tech book publisher, the people behind the Head First series. Their books do an amazing job of teaching all kinds of highly technical subjects (e.g., Java, C#, Physics, etc.). I got Zach a new edition of a book I read probably 10 years ago, Head First HTML and CSS.

So now having had their books for a couple days, Zach keeps showing me “websites” he’s built and Noah is becoming a cmd-line guru *and* learning Java. I’m proud of these boys and can’t wait to see what they’ve done by the end of the summer.

Noah and Zach showing off their new programming books
Noah and Zach showing off their new programming books
Noah the Java guy
Noah is busy at work learning Java and having fun!

Zach dared me to do this

My third grader (one week away from a 4th grader), Zach, has been talking about building a website. He was asking what he should call it, and various other questions. I told him to call it “Zach’s Website”. He said that doesn’t sound cool… I was like, *hello*, your dad’s site is called, Erik’s Hmm…, and I think that it’s a cool name. 😉

Anyhow, that led to him wanting to see Erik’s Hmm… and then he asked how long it’s been since I updated it. That led to the shame of me showing him Dec, 2013. He wanted to know why so long. That led to questions and me being busy, etc., etc. And finally him wanting me to show him how to update it. Hence this post…

More to come as I talk about the two beginner programming books I got the boys (Noah finishing 5th grade and Zach finishing 3rd).


Reading Machine…

I’m not sure what’s gotten into me, but I’ve been reading a lot more books then I normally do. I normally read technical blog posts, articles, whitepapers and too much garbage from twitter. Occasionally, taking the time to read a tech book from cover-to-cover.

Anyhow, not only am I reading more, but I’ve also got stuck in the middle of multiple books at one time. The brain isn’t multi-threaded, and juggling these books all at once is a challenge but I’m having fun with it. Reading some in the morning before work (the Bible), audio book on the way to/from work (Defending the Free Market). And the others in the evenings.

Here is the list:

And just for grins, for those keeping score. Here are the books I’ve just recently finished:

  • The Racketeer – 1/8/13 – I read all of Grisham’s books. Each one makes me wish I was a lawyer.
  • Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot – 1/6/13 – Great book. Learned a ton about Kennedy. He made Bill Clinton look like a saint. Repeatedly cheated on his wife. Got a lot of people killed over his bad decisions in the Bay of Pigs,  Cuba. Solid job getting us through the Cuban Missile Crisis… Lots of enemies.

Testing Twitter Integration

Sorry for some good, old production testing… Trying to get my blog to tweet when I write a new blog post. I’ll further try my Selective Twitter hack for pushing a tweet into Facebook as a Status Update.


Not making New Year’s Resolutions, but…

I am going to set some goals for the year. 🙂

The first thing I plan to do is cut another 10 pounds this year. Last year, with a very weak effort of eating/living the Paleo Diet I went from 210 down to 200 lbs. I figure with a bit more dedication I should be able to get down to 190 by end-of-year. If I don’t look better come December, please take some shots at me for being a bit pudgy.

Next up on the list is the generic, “Exercise more,” goal. I started working on this one on 12/30. I’m being a bit more serious on this one, getting a 2-day head-start. 😉 Anyhow, I’ve logged 5 workouts over an 8 day period. Some a bit easier than others, but this is a plan for the year, not an overnight crash-course in health.

The third personal goal is running  a 10 K. Back in high school I ran the mile and 2-mile, among the other sports I did. I have run on and off since high school. And have run a few 10 milers, so a 10K isn’t a distance record for me. It’s a distance record since I was introduced to beer and rare steaks, and I’ve had a lot of both since I used to run a lot.

I began my training today by hauling-off and running a 5K around our neighborhood. I haven’t run a 5K in a few years. The longest distance I’ve jogged the last couple of years has been 2 miles. Anyhow, I took it really easy today and finished in 37 minutes (here is the proof).

Please feel free to keep me honest. Ask me if I’ve been exercising (I plan to do it before work a few days a week and once on the weekend). Ask how I’m progressing on the 10K. Ask if I’ve signed up for one (anyone interested?). And lastly, be nice about it, but ask if I’ve lost any weight. 😉


Dang You, Taunting Me Old Blog…

I catch a good amount of crap from good friends about this old, dusty blog of mine. One guy in particular, not naming names, but he sits right next to me at work 😉 , likes to make fun of me when I say stuff like, “I need to write a blog post about that,” or even worse, “I am going to write a blog post about that” (because I never get around to it). For you history buffs, I’d like to brag that I “birthed” Erik’s Hmm… almost nine years ago with this gem of a post.

Anyhow, the reason I don’t write those posts that I want to, even plan to, is simple. It’s Twitter. I love Twitter. It lets me say what I want, quickly and easily. It forces me to be concise, 140 short characters, concise. Which is definitely one of my biggest struggles when trying to make a point. So Twitter is perfect for me. I can quickly say something, or retweet somebody else that has said what I want to say. I get my point “out there”. You know what I think, what stance I’m taking (Obama sucks, the Aggies will dominate the SEC, the Cubs are pathetic, Grails is the one web framework to rule them all, etc.). It’s why I went as far as posting my tweets on this blog. The tweets were replacing my posts so I wanted them here.

Well, the urge to blog has been too strong lately and the 140 char wall has been to limiting. I’m gonna try to be more regular here. However, I’m going to be raw and unpolished. I’m just gonna type an entry and publish. Plan on lots of grammar issues, misspellings, half-baked thoughts, but best of all you will get my hand-crafted, hot-sports opinions, which is why the four of you line up to read this. 🙂


Shannon Hoon

Wow… The whole Amy Winehouse death, at the age of 27, freaked me out. Two of my favorite musicians died at 27, Kurt Cobain and Shannon Hoon. Both dudes were way messed up with drugs and lost control. Both killed themselves. One with a shotgun blast to the head and the other with a dipshit drug overdose. Their deaths both upset me for awhile and then left me pissed off. I loved their music, still do.

Anyhow, I’ve been disappointed that I haven’t seen Shannon Hoon’s name in any of the stupid comparisson articles with the “27 club“. He belongs in that list, so I felt like calling that out here. Google Shannon Hoon, or Blind Melon and then listen to some of his stuff. He died eight weeks after their second album came out. I love it and still listen to it all the time. I hate thinking about the music he never got to write and preform.  I’m sure it would have been awesome.

Enjoy this video if you miss Shannon Hoon’s music or want to see why I bothered writing this post…

Blind Melon – Change

The weird thing about that video was that Blind Melon performed that song on Letterman the day Kurt Cobain was found dead.  And Hoon makes a clear statement, even says it during the song, that he doesn’t want to die.  Yet he kills himself the next year.  Bummer.  Drugs mess people up…


This blog is back from the dead…

Did you ever think I’d fire this bad boy up and start blogging again?  I didn’t.  I got hooked on twitter back in 2008 and haven’t looked back, or at this blog.  😉  Anyhow, I’ve got the “itch” and will probably start blogging here more regularly.  No promises but I’m guessing you’ll see me chiming in every once in awhile.  I think I have a plugin installed that will tweet when I blog something, too.  Since most people have probably dropped this from their feed readers.

Also, for my *old* readers/followers….  I’ve purged all the old posts that were just regurgitating my tweets here, to make me feel like I was still blogging. So this blog is back to a blog, and it may even get some new content.