Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Oreo Truffles


Making Oreo Truffles with the Mrs before I head back to school tomorrow. Here are my wife's secrets to making perfect Oreo truffles


1 Package Oreos (brand name)

1 Brick Philadelphia Cream Cheese (brand name ONLY)

1 Bag (11.5oz) Hershey's Milk Chocolate Chips

1 Tsp Cooking Oil

Directions, Part I

Blend Oreos and cream cheese until completely black

Ball up into teaspoon size balls

Stick a toothpick in to each ball

Directions, Part II

Place in freezer until frozen all the way through (~30 minutes)

Melt Hershey's chocolate in a bowl

Add a little oil

Roll the truffle in the melted chocolate, using the toothpick as a handle

Placed the truffle on wax paper

Place in freezer for approximately 5 minutes

Remove truffles from freezer and remove toothpick

Use additional melted chocolate to cover the hole where the tooth pick was

Place back in freezer until chocolate hardens


Friday, December 26, 2014

A Sailor's Christmas

christmas0For most of my life, the Christmas season has been about exchanging gifts (and family, too!).  My perspective on Christmas shifted radically after the birth of my daughter, though, as I cared less about receiving gifts and just having a day off from work and being with my family.

Now as I celebrate this Christmas as a sailor in the US Navy, my perspective has been shifted even more radically. I was truly blessed to have this leave time where I could come home and be with all of my family. I know that this is a rare exception as I just graduated boot camp. This time next year I'll most likely be out to the fleet (depending on the length of my A school) and I'll inevitably be out on a deployment.

Whoever thought simply being home for the holidays would be considered a luxury?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Sandia Man Cave

This past Saturday my wife and my in laws decided to take a short trek up to the Sandia Man Cave. It's quite a coincidence as I recently asked my friends for some free or inexpensive things to do in the Albuquerque area and my good friend recommended I check out the Sandia Man Cave.
Inside the cave, looking out

I should warn those looking to make the trip that the caves are off NM-165 which is not a paved road. It's a dirt road which is pretty smooth in most areas, but there are some definite areas where I had to slow down to a crawl. We were driving my Ford Five Hundred and I didn't want to bottom out. So, heed with caution if you're in a low car or it's been raining.

Some websites say it's a .47 mile hike but it felt a little longer than a half mile. It's a gentle climb up to the cave and will give you some breath taking views of the surrounding area.

One thing my dear friend failed to mention is that upon arrival to the cave, you must go up a spiral staircase that actually hangs out over the ledge. There is nothing underneath you as you climb up the stairs except air. That being said, the staircase felt very sturdy and I just didn't look down as I went up the stairs.

Hopefully you enjoy my photos I snapped during my hike and if you're in the area, it's worth checking out. You will give some incredible vistas of the Sandia Mountains and Las Huertas Canyon. You can view more photo hosted on my other blog at!

Monday, October 13, 2014

7 days to boot camp

7 days until I ship out to Navy RTC in Great Lakes, IL. The reality is definitely starting to sink in. This morning I could feel some emotions welling up and my throat started to tighten up. This coming week I'm definitely going to be spending as much quality time with my wife and my daughter as possible!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Pueblo Home - Coronado Historic Site

This is a reconstruction of a traditional pueblo style home. This is part of an exhibit at the Coronado Historic Site in Bernalillo, NM.

You can see more photos of the Kuaua Ruins in my photo album on Google+, or view this photo full size on Flickr.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Day Trip Pt 1: Gilman Tunnels, Jemez Springs

Earlier in May my mother came to visit us here in New Mexico for the first time. We wanted to pack in as much fun and adventure as we could on a limited budget so we made good use of New Mexico's natural beauties.

We managed to make an entire day trip out of visiting the greater Jemez Springs area. The drive from the Rio Rancho area to Jemez Springs can be mundane in a few spots, but once you get close to Jemez, you enter the Santa Fe National Forest and the surroundings become saturated with beauty. As you travel through this area you can't help but feel as though you're on the set of a classic American western movie. It doesn't get any more authentic than this. Also, as you're driving through the Jemez Pueblo you can get a small glimpse into the Native American lifestyle which is interesting to see.

While in Jemez Springs we stopped by the Jemez Historic Monument which only takes about 30 - 45 minutes to walk through. I can't say there is anything too highly entertaining about this monument but it is always interesting to see historic ruins. For more information on the monument check out this website which gives a detailed history.

The last stop on this day trip was to Gilman Tunnels which were worth the drive just by themselves. While you're driving to the tunnels, which were blasted in the 1920s, you get a great view of the Jemez Mountains which you can see in my photos below. Once you actually reach the tunnels, you'll get a incredible view of the Guadelupe River which may induce vertigo if you're not comfortable with heights (the road is narrow and in some areas is a sheer drop off). You can learn more about the Gilman Tunnels here.

The following day brought us to Petroglyphs National Monument - or, specifically the inactive volcanoes that are responsible for the lava rock found in the surrounding areas. This portion will be coming up in part two of this post, so stay tuned!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Corrections is a thankless job

I was a corrections officer for almost two years and was never thanked for what I did. After enlisting in the Navy, several people have already thanked me for my service even though I haven't even left for boot camp yet. I wish COs would get the same recognition and respect that military members receive.

By the way - I'm not saying we as corrections officers *need* to be thanked or recognized for what we do... But it would be nice once in a while.

Friday, September 26, 2014

I'm not impressed by Ello or their "manifesto"

Today I've been seeing the term 'Ello' all over my Facebook feed, and I just discovered it's a new social network being touted as the "Anti-Facebook."

On their website, they list a manifesto (ooooooohhhh!) and declare their service "Simple, beautiful & ad-free." However, in 2010 MetaFilter user blue_beetle made a comment that would be literally be circulated around the Internet millions of times: "if you're not paying for something, you're not the customer; you're the product being sold." Think about it - how can a service as Tumblr or now Ello be completely no-cost and ad-free? Surprise! They sell your information to advertisers.

As for Ello, I don't think I'll be quick to register an account. It seems like a counter culture social network trying too hard to be or Tumblr - and what's with that hideous courier font? I'll pass.

These companies trying to reinvent the social network wheel are failing to realize one massive aspect of Facebook: Everyone and their mother are on Facebook. My 65 year old mother is active on Facebook and even uploads photos with witty comments from her iPhone. We have almost a decade of memories, photos, and stories on Facebook. Why would I throw all that a way for a new service which none of my family is using or will ever use?

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Panoramio Will Be Replaced By Google Maps Views

After starting several discussions in various Google Groups and pestering the devs on Twitter and Google+ (sorry guys!), I've finally gotten some clarification on what will be happening to Panoramio. Last week Google announced that they would be expanding the Maps Views service to include geotagged photos. This immediately made me wonder what would happen to Panoramio, a photo sharing and geotagging service acquired by Google in 2007.

Product manager Evan Rapoport recently posted in the Panoramio support forum, saying this:

Over the past year, we've developed a similar community in Views, which lets you publish geo-relevant content (photo spheres and traditional photography) on Google Maps. In the future, we plan to migrate Panoramio into Views, creating one destination where you can publish and peruse imagery from around the globe. Before migrating any imagery, we'll make sure that Views reaches a level of feature maturity that supports the needs of the community.

So, we will have to wait and see how this one plays out. I predict Google will continue to bolster Google Maps Views and will isolate Panoramio as a standalone service that may or may not die out some day.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Panoramio vs Google Maps Views

I just tried to start a discussion on the Google Maps Views community page:

So now that Google Maps / Views is displaying your public geotagged photos, it begs the question - what purpose does +Panoramio serve? Both services include your photos in Google Maps so what happens if you upload the same photo on Panoramio and Google Maps? Which photo does Google show?

AAHHH these are the questions that infuriate me. Why does Google have to have so many duplicate and/or overlapping services?

Note: I've tried posting this same question in many different arenas and have gotten no help whatsoever. Here are the links to those threads:

Panoramio Support Forum
Google Maps Support Forums
Google Maps Views Community
Google+ Support Community

I've even tweeted some of the developers behind Panoramio and Google Maps and have not gotten a reply from any of them.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Link: Misplaced fear about Facebook Messenger for Android

All of this hubbub over the new Facebook Messenger is not only hilarious, but it just shows how incredibly misinformed the average person is when it comes to technology. As the linked article points out, the permissions that the messenger app requests are completely normal and required by tens of thousands of other apps out there.

Now, let's not forget who Facebook is - and how they make their money. There's no doubt that one should worry about their privacy when using Facebook, but this whole conspiracy theory about the new Messenger is just outrageous.

From TechRepublic: Misplaced fear about Facebook Messenger for Android
With that said, don't be afraid to install the Facebook Messenger app and get your social media chat on. - Jack Wallen, TechRepublic

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Albuquerque Police Department Traffic Unit - Old Town, NM

Took a trip down to Old Town, Albuquerque earlier today with my family as we were already in the area for something else. I've been meaning to take some photos of Albuquerque police units as there currently aren't any photos online with a Creative Commons license.

While walking on San Felipe St I noticed this unit, which I believe is part of their traffic division, parked off to the side. It actually made for a really good photo opportunity although I noticed the unit is a bit dirty (oh well). Hopefully next time I'm in the ABQ area I'll see some more units I can take pictures of.

Note: These photos are licensed under the Creative Commons 3.0 license and are available in full resolution at the Wikimedia Commons: Picture 1 / Picture 2