Well, that was an ordeal!

I’ve been fighting with Cincinnati Bell for over a week and half now.

We ordered installation of FiOptics service (with a Static IP) to our home to get rid of Time Warner Cable and their dreadful Internet service. I’ve had Cincinnati Bell 5 installers in the house (including one confused tech that arrived {unannounced} this morning), countless hours on the phone with tech support in various countries, and loads of emails since the installation because the service simply. didn’t. work.

That all changed today, when I received a call from R (who asked me not to use his name, so just an initial will have to suffice) from Cincinnati Bell. He’s incredibly knowledgeable and was able to visualize my setup accurately to diagnose the problem. We spent 40 minutes diagnosing and fixing the problem (mostly fixed — I STILL cannot watch FiOptics TV on my Android or iPhone), and it’s working. I wish I could have had access to him, oh, 10 days ago!

Server Backed Up

Well, that feels good.

After running for a while (too long!) without a backup, I spent about 45 minutes today performing a full backup of this webserver. I used the excellent Clonezilla bootable CD package and an external USB Hard Drive to perform the backup. Clonezilla also verifies the backup, so I feel pretty confident that we’re covered in case something happens. Let’s hope it doesn’t!

CULINARY: Teaching Update

We’re heading toward the end of our BASIC COOKING 1 class at Cincinnati State Technical & Community College’s Midwest Culinary Institute… We just finished the 1st night of the 8th week (out of 9 weeks), which means we’ve got three more class meetings ahead of us before the end of the term.

Last night I lectured on Sandwiches (Chapter 22 in Gisslen’s PROFESSIONAL COOKING 6th Ed, for those of you following along at home) and we executed our labwork for that chapter as well. My students made Club, Hot Ham & Cheese, and Submarine sandwiches, and all of these sandwiches rated between “good” and “awesome”. The students continued their focus on presentation of their food with some nice presentations arriving at the chef’s table.

This Thursday, we’ll be performing a “dry run” of our practical final exam to get the students ready for that exam (which occurs a week from Thursday). During their “dry run”, I will also quiz them with questions to help them prepare for their written final (which happens next Tuesday).

This has been a good class because of the good people in it. Last night, they presented me with an engraved silver fork. There is a story behind this — in culinary school, we mandate the “two spoon tasting method” for tasting products. The explaination of the “two spoon” method is pretty simple… Imagine two spoons, one in your left hand and one in your right hand. The spoon in your right hand goes into the food being tasted and then carefully transfers the food to the spoon in your left hand, which goes in your mouth. This preserves the sanitation of the food items and minimizes use of tasting spoons.

Well, I understand the “two spoon” concept completely, but for some reason am unable to reliably coordinate my left & right hands, so I tend to (loudly) mess up and use the wrong spoon fairly often — grabbing food with the right spoon and putting it into my mouth, for example, much to the delight of my students. I jokingly said, “someone needs to get me a nice fork or spoon for tasting to help me remember”, and my students thoughtfully gave me the fork (which is engraved, “Yes Chef”) to help me remember them (and to properly execute the “two spoon method”). A very nice, thoughtful gift.

I will be teaching BASIC COOKING 1 again in the Spring term, and look forward to teaching BASIC COOKING 2 in the Summer term.

HAPPY MOUTH — December, 2007

On December 19, 2007, members of the Happy Mouth Supper Club, along with guests Julie, Terry, and Adam, dined at Zola’s in Covington. It was Ed’s month to pick, and we really enjoyed the convivial pub atomosphere of Zola’s. Comfortable, fun and unpretentious. The burgers are widely rumored to be the best in town, and based on what we ate, there is little reason to doubt that claim. We had the upstairs room pretty much to ourselves, and we made very merry indeed.