Wednesday, September 26, 2012

She's baaaack!

Well folks, needless to say, I'm back. A gazillion things have happened since I last posted, including:
I graduated with my Master's degree!
I moved across the country (again)!
I lost 3% body fat!
I quit smoking!
I planned a wedding!
I got married!

But the most important thing that has happened to me deserves more at the moment than a quick bullet point mention (although be prepared for a bit more elaboration on my !marriage! later on). The most important thing that happened to me this past year is my salvation. I was saved! A year ago in October I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. Considering my background of Eastern philosophies, this came as an astounding change in my life - one that even I wasn't expecting or anticipating. But He is greater than I, and He chose me as His, and my life has truly changed ever since. I feel Him in every aspect of my life (and with His help I am on the path of quitting smoking permanently). I don't know His purpose for me yet, but I pray that every endeavor in my life, including this blog, will bring Him honor.

With all of this having gone on, I have had little time to write...and boy my fingers are just itching. I imagine it's like being a pianist who hasn't played her piano in over a year. As a (eek! non-)writer, I am feeling dull and a bit boring. And that's going to change right now!

Ladies & gents, I'm back.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Troubleshooting a Wii - Netflix Connection

In my opinion, one of the best advancements in recent technology has been the ability to stream movies and television shows through a Netflix channel on the Wii. Seriously, instant watch is incredible. I've discovered some of my all time favorite TV shows via this service: Doctor Who, Lost, Better Off Ted, X-Men Animated Series... In fact I was in the middle of Doctor Who marathon, trying to catch up to season 6 which resumed on air last Saturday, when suddenly my Netflix channel stopped working properly. The "retrieving" bar took a stroke and the constant error messages halfway gave me one. Let me tell you, "Cannot connect to Netflix. Please try again later. If the problem persists, please visit on your computer" is not a sexy sentence.

So I've put together this troubleshooting guide for you, my reader, compiled from various tech forums on the Internet, for that instance when you happen to be in the middle of your favorite series and your Wii-Netflix connection cuts out halfway through a character's sentence (like in my case). Stay calm, don't curse, don't get angry, and don't start randomly hitting buttons hoping it'll come back (like I initially did). Follow these steps, and you should be up and running again in no time.

(These solutions are gathered from various tech-forums on the Internet and put together by the Jabbercookie. I am by no means a techie, just a googler ;) If you know of any more solutions, please leave a comment.)
  • Check your physical Internet connection - check your modem and router are functioning properly, booting the machines down and then back on if necessary. Also, find out if there is an issue going on with your Internet provider; if it's on their end, you'll have to wait until it's resolved. If you are able to connect to the Internet on your computer, but not on the Wii, move on to the next step.

  • Check the time settings on your Wii - synchronize the date/time feature in Wii Settings with the time displaying on your computer.  

      *This was the solution that solved my particular problem; my Wii time was off by about 6 minutes and adjusting it got Netflix working next thing.

      • Check your Internet settings on your Wii are correct - reset or reconnect if necessary (may require entering your router password again).

      • Check there are no magnetic or metal objects near your electronics messing up signals.

      • Check your Netflix account is paid and account status is active.

      • Uninstall and re-download Netflix - this is a three-step process and will require Internet access on both a computer and the Wii system:

        • Wii Settings -> Data Management -> Save Data -> Delete Netflix Completely (if there is more than one Netflix file for any reason, delete them all)

        • Wii Settings -> Data Management -> Channels -> Delete the Netflix Channel

        • Go to Wii Shop channel and re-download Neflix. You will receive a new activation code. Sign into Netflix on your computer and enter the code at their Netflix Ready Devices page. Follow any subsequent Netflix directions to get you up and running.

      • Lastly, if none of the above solutions work for you, please call Nintendo or Netflix customer service help lines for professional help.

      Hope that helps! Now I'll go back to watching the Doctor and his TARDIS spin round and round. =)

      Friday, September 2, 2011

      Spicy Chicken and Bean Stew

      I recently connected my blog and google reader to my smart phone. Smart phones are, like, the best thing ever. I scoff at my former ignorance, having once thought my prehistoric, hot pink Motorola flip phone was cool. No, this Android thing is cool. With my newly downloaded apps, I felt so savvy and in-tune with the Interverse I browsed a bit and added a few new food blogs to my newsfeed: BBC GoodFood, SmittenKitchen, and Love & Olive Oil. The first recipe to show up on my phone had the words "spicy" and "stew" in the title, and I felt that the Interverse had come full circle, and I was happy.

      This stew is hearty and light at the same time. Much of its flavor comes from the delightful brown bits from the chicken, so be sure to scrape those up and mix them into the veggies. It's got a kick of spice from the serrano peppers and chili powder, but the beans really help mellow it out. And by removing the chicken skin, it's not oily even though you are using dark meat. Quite a delightful stew for any time of year. I am adding it to my weekly menu rounds.

      Spicy Chicken and Bean Stew (*Printable recipe*)
      Kitchen Tested, Adapted, and Approved by the Jabbercookie
      Inspired by a BBC GoodFood recipe

      Serving Size: 4 Servings
      Difficulty: Easy
      Prep Time: approx 15 minutes to chop veggies, de-skin chicken, and open cans.
      Active Cook Time: approx 15-20 minutes to sautée chicken and veggies
      Inactive Cook Time: 2-3 hours

      Cooking Tools:
      1 crock pot with sautée feature or,
      1 non-stick skillet
      1 cutting board
      2 knives (one for veg, the other to deskin chicken)
      1 plate
      1 wooden spoon
      1 pair of tongs
      Paper towels

      2.5 lbs chicken thighs or drumsticks, bone-in, de-skinned
      1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
      2 small onions, diced & sliced mix
      1 tsp. garlic, minced
      2 serrano peppers, diced (deseed & derib if you don't like it too spicy)
      8 oz. frozen bell peppers, defrosted
      1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
      1 14 oz. can red kidney beans, drained
      1 14 oz. can lima beans, drained
      2 cups chicken stock
      1/2 tsp. chili powder

      Small bunch cilantro, chopped (amount per taste)

      Tasty Accompaniments:
      Steamed rice
      Crusty bread or biscuits for sopping

      Prep & cut onions, serrano peppers, and garlic and set aside. Then remove skin from chicken and discard (or set aside in a freezer-safe bag to make homemade chicken stock later). Dry chicken with paper towel.

      Heat the extra virgin olive oil using the sautée feature of your crock pot, or in the non-stick skillet. Place patted-dry chicken in oil and brown on all sides. Remove the browned chicken to plate with tongs.

      Add onions, serrano peppers, and garlic to the oil and fry for 5 minutes. Scrape up all of the brown bits from the bottom of the pan with spoon and keep stirring the mixture to avoid burning the garlic.

      Make sure to scrape up all of those delicious brown bits. It will enhance the flavor of this dish immensely.

      If using a skillet, move mixture to crock pot. Add frozen bell peppers, diced tomatoes with juice, drained beans, chicken stock, and chili powder and mix together. Put chicken and any accumulated juices back into the pot, set to "slow cook," and let it go for 2-3 hours. Adjust seasoning with salt & pepper to taste.

      Sprinkle stew with chopped cilantro.
      Serve in a bowl over steamed rice with a side of bread. Enjoy!

      Wednesday, August 31, 2011

      First Day of the Last Semester

      Yesterday afternoon, the University's bell tower rang 4 o'clock, marking with sweet, melodic chimes the beginning of my last semester of school. Perhaps not forever, but at least for a good, extensive moment. And I declare, "It's grand!"

      Oh, I will miss the perks of being a student: a free checking and savings account from banks, the complimentary Student Prime status on with free 2-day shipping, the good student discount on insurance, access to super cheap AdobeCS programs, discounts on movie tickets, etc. But, on the other hand, life goes on and I will be free to pursue the next thing.

      By the time I graduate in December of this year, I will have been a student for 21 straight years. TWENTY-ONE YEARS! Out of a possible total of 25, 21 is a heck of a long time to be doing the same thing. 84% of my life has been spent as a student. A good student at that (my GPA has consistently been over 3.5 since time began; right now I think it's somewhere around 3.7). After all of these years and tuition monies spent on my education, I'm now ready to take the reins of my life in my own hands. I'm ready to assign myself books to read, projects to work on, interests to develop. I'm ready to step away from "student mode," away from the professor and his or her syllabus. And with soon-to-be two college diplomas hanging on my wall with gold thumb tacks, I am ready to kick this semester in the boot and start fresh.

      ...but, that will have to wait a few more months 'til after I tackle this pile of books and write several thousand words about them.
      My brain just went *splat* ;)