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I was clasping my hands together and on my other screen of my dual screen setup was the villain of Casino Royale. I could not help but notice that my hand positioning changed. I was at first clasped fingers intertwined, then connected by the fingertips. This was puzzling to me so I had to analyze it or else it would drive me nuts. I started to think about villains I know. I quickly thought of Mr. Burns from The Simpsons famous animated cartoon. He would say "Excellent and put only his fingertips together.

I thought it had to be deeper, it just has to be. It cannot be from just Mr. Burns or even if there were 20 other examples. If you take your index finger and point to the tip of your fingers you really do not feel too much sensation. You use your fingers daily to pick up keys to do menial everyday things. What I am saying is they should wear down sensitivity over time. However run your index finger along the outside of your thumb, in between your fingers or the outside of the pinky you will notice there is a lot more sensitivity. Could this be why people shake hands and why the heroes shake hands to show on even an unknown micro level they truly feel and care when the bad guys choose body language that never allow them to really feel at even a basic level?

This is something that is of interest to me. I have no idea if it has already been looked into. However if not this is what I will call micro body language. It has subliminal meaning and suggestion and can go a lot deeper than what I have presented today. Thank about situations or be aware of when this might be relevant and comment.

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I was speaking with an off duty police officer. I was curious to ask him about the body camera that he was wearing. A lot of advancements in technology have been placed in the responsibility of police officers. We know that the dashboard cameras are extremely valuable as evidence and as a tool utilized for review and training. The body cameras do take information to a whole new level. However what if any adverse effects may reside?

While the officer admitted the importance of the need, use, and actual application of the body camera. If there was a complaint it had nothing to do with its weight, the duration of charge, or the camera resolution. The one odd adverse result that may not be considered is the fact that these are recording at all times. We may think to ourselves that is the entire point of having the body cameras, but we are not the ones actually wearing them.

I know some people do not like police officers and some people love them. Regardless of your personal stance on the subject imagine if your job tomorrow said that you had to wear a body camera. In some situations it would be ok. However what about those times when someone stops by your cubicle to vent or how about when you use the restroom? It takes away the ability for people who rely on each other for a living to communicate to each other while in their place of business such as time in the squad car. They can't talk about their significant others because the tape may be selected at random for a review by their superior and possibly a third party who oversees the data and logs of the daily recordings of the body cameras.

We are all for having more transparency, but I do feel that everyone has to have their rights. I think perhaps they should be able to turn them off when sitting in the squad car together to discuss personal matters etc. There is some downtime and police have enough daily stresses to inhibit them from letting that out is almost a punishment. Is there another way?

#POLICE #Video #Dash #DashCam #Camera #Privacy #Public #USA

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I really have a hard time understanding why in the United States of America you cannot just go in and simply buy a car at a car dealership. It is almost as if you are a terrorist and instead of waterboarding you they try to circumnavigate your intellect with questions and try to wear you down by making you wait as they get up and walk away to what I assume is the Wizard of Oz? What if the grocery store worked like that? You would never be able to pick up milk you would have to say that you are willing to pay the $4 list price of the milk and then walk out of the store paying $20 all because you forgot about transportation of the milk, finders fee, certified that its pasteurized and the history report in the form of the "Sell by date" printed on the carton. I hope that analogy helps someone out there to understand my plight.

The salespeople work on commission so I do understand that everybody has to eat and they are just trying to make a living. The other half of that reality is well I am also trying to make a living and have a tight budget. I am not trying to negotiate a deal to get my rocks off. I am doing it because you happen to have a decent vehicle that I can use for about 3 years at 10K or under. You can find some really good deals on lets say a car three or four years old that are certified off of a lease for $10,750 which is a great deal if the Carfax history checks out and you like what you are getting. The problem is that a dealer doesn't give a damn about your needs what so ever so you will maybe get an initial offer of $10,500 which is only 250 less that the initial price you saw on the sticker. That doesn't seem like they are listening when you are saying the MAX you can go is $10,000 on the nose. They would make a sale right then and there, but try as you might you will not get that car. Why would they not want to get rid of a car and make a sale that car is worth less and has known defects and issues its a base model in this instance and still nothing!

It makes no sense that a business would refuse to unload unwanted inventory. They should not have an emotional attachment to the car so it should be easy enough to let go. Its truly annoying and sad to jump through hoops to purchase something that you want. You do not have to go through endurance testing to buy a Laptop on Amazon or Ebay why the song and dance here? In real estate they do not play these games and there is no predatory pricing to lure you in and then everything gets jacked up. I think it is time for the car dealerships to have more regulation and oversight. There is something fishy going on and it really needs to be looked at in my opinion. What do you think?

The video above goes over something that actually helps its www.edmunds.com and it is a great resource to use along with www.KBB.com for Kelly Blue Book pricing and information and definitely check out more. Be sure that you do your due diligence.

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Curry is delicious and I am starting to experiment more in the kitchen so I figured I would share my experience with making Red Curry Chicken!

The curry is a blend of spices there are many different types typically Yellow, Red, and Green but today I will focus on cooking with the Red Curry. I also add another spice blend that is amazing for this kind of meal called Garam Masala.

You will need:
- A Large White Onion (cut into slices)
- A Large Green Pepper (cut into slices)
- 2 Medium sized Carrots (cut into rounds)
- 3 or 4 cloves of Garlic (Minced)
- 1 lb of chicken thighs
- 3 medium sized red potatoes
- 2 Tablespoons of Red Curry Powder Mix
- 1 Teaspoon or less of Garam Masala Powder Mix
- Kosher Salt
- Fresh Peppercorn or Pepper
- Tomato Paste
- Can of coconut Milk
- Sriracha
- Chicken (I use skin on chicken thighs)

Tools utilized:
- Cutting board and knife
- Large Saucepan (something with high walls and a cover)
- Stirring spoon or Silicone Spatula
- Tongs for work with the chicken

Ok let's get started!
I am going to talk through as I would do it. Ok So I am going to prep all of my veggies while I have the cutting board out before the chicken will go on it. I am going to gram my onion, green pepper, garlic cloves, carrots, and red potatoes.

I now have all the veggies so I will peel the onion and place it aside, peel the garlic cloves too while you are at it. Then peel the carrots only before washing them. You are going to then clean the green pepper and red potatoes. Once this is done then you can slice the onion up and put it in a bowl just to have it out of the way. You can then mince the garlic and place that in a small container so that way everything is easy to grab and add to the meal when you are ready to cook. Slice up the green pepper into thin slices then you slice the carrot so that its a bunch of small wheels/circles. Lastly half and quarter the red potatoes.

Oil a pan medium/high heat and then add all of the onion slices. Let them cook down add some kosher salt and fresh ground peppercorn to taste just a little bit of each. After about 3-5 minutes then add the garlic let another minute go by lower the heat to medium and toss in everything else. Stir the pan a little let everything combine then you are going to add a can of Coconut Milk. This is some good stuff and makes for a creamy meal. There will be residue left in the can so fill half with water swirl it around and add to the pan. Bring this to a boil then add 2 tablespoons of red curry mix and the teaspoon or less of Garam Masala a little goes a long way. You need a little acid so toss in about a 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and a few drops of sriracha just to give it some heat but its not needed if you choose not to do so.

All that is left is the chicken preparation. You are going to let the red curry mix combine all of those delicious flavors on a low simmer being sure to stir it every 5 or so minutes. Take your chicken thighs wash them cut off excess fat or skin then pay down with a paper towel on both sides. Season with kosher salt and pepper on both sides. Then get the pan ready.

I chose a metal pan but you can use any pan that you feel comfortable with using. Coat the pan with oil but do not have too much. Turn to medium heat then place one at a time the chicken thighs skin down using the tongs. Once 3 or 4 of the chicken thighs are places in the pan you are going to turn up the heat a little bit from medium to medium/high to render the fat. You should see the color change after about 1-2 minutes then you lower the heat to medium and do not touch it at all for about 12-15 minutes. When you do go to check on it, use the tongs as you will slowly need to grab and peel back the chicken. When you slowly do this you will end up with a crispy seared delicious chicken skin.

I decide to play it extra safe and bake the chicken a little in the small electric oven before I place all the ingredients together in the red curry sauce pan that has been on a slow simmer. I add the chicken and turn the heat to medium I stir everything together making sure it all blends and infuses. Then I cover the pan and let the steam do its magic before the big final reveal. While this process is taking place I boil up some par-boiled instant Basmati Rice.

Once everything is don you will have a delicious meal that can serve up to 4 without issue. Place the chicken thigh on the plate and they lay out a bed of rice and then put the veggies and potatoes over the rice and enjoy!

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Original Tandoori Naan
Original Tandoori Naan

We often go to the frozen food section when we think of pizza made in the home. It is the quickest and easiest way to make a fast pizza. While it may win on time, frozen pizzas can be extremely high in salt and may contain artificial ingredients. Some people may buy frozen pizza dough but it just does not hold the same flavor and still takes some time. How about trying something new, naan pizza.

Naan is a thick flat bread that resembles a pita but is more doughy and buttery and tastes delicious all on its own. It is typically baked and then torn into strips to pick up Indian style foods. However if you leave it intact and treat like ready made pizza dough the results are fantastic.

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Much like regular dough you start with a marinara the only time that is taken other than the cooking is broken up into two areas. First the preparation of your fresh toppings and secondly the shredding of the cheese. You can go with your favorite cheese but I love mine with muenster, mozzarella, and sharp cheddar or a blend.  The oven time can take 10-18 minutes at 375 but keep an eye on it and it stay soft or become as crispy as you desire. Just be careful with the cheese do not keep it too close to the edges as it tends to bubble in the oven. We tend to eat it with a fork and knife which is against pizza eating etiquette, but this is not a typical pizza.

This is a quick and delicious pizza that you can easily throw together or skip the sauce all together and make some amazing cheesy bread for parties or as an appetizer the sky is the limit with the versatile naan.  Enjoy!

#Pizza, #Naan, #Bread, #Oven, #Food, #Sauce, #Cheese, #Frozen, #Fresh, #Baked

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Winter is finally upon us on the east coast. After experiencing a mild Christmas, it seems as though winter is making up for lost time. Whenever the temperatures drop it is important to stay warm. You can stay warm in a few ways both indoors and out. You can stay warm with seasonal clothing and celebrate the cold with delicious food and drink.

When dressing for the cold weather it is always important to layer. You can always take a layer off if needed. It would not be wise to wear less and get stuck out in the cold in the name of fashion. The layers do not have to be out of control either. An undershirt with a sweater or long sleeved shirt and jacket will serve you well. The wind is the true enemy when it is cold. If wind is troublesome be sure to get a set of gloves with a scarf. The most important is a winter hat as you loose a lot of your body heat through your head.

There is nothing better than a hearty meal when the cold weather hits. Its ok to eat during the winter its for survival not for looking amazing on the distant summer beaches. This is the time of year for grilled cheeses, soups, stews, meatloaf, lasagnas, and anything else that takes time to make and is savory, stick to your bones, good. If you are daring you can make some delicious chicken curry with coconut milk, veggies, potatoes over a bed of rice. If you are more into meat then try a new chili recipe with a new cheese blend or a new hot sauce. That will keep you warm and full which is important. We burn extra calories in the cold to regulate the bodies temperatures. More energy is exerted than realized especially if walking through snow.

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Staying warm with a beverage during the cold is all about personal preference. I feel it would be against convention to order a frozen drink during  the bitter cold of winter.  I feel the best choice would be a thick warm beverage such as a chai tea latte or a coffee latte. Both offer that cozy warm feeling that sort of sticks with you a bit longer than just a warm plain coffee or tea. If milk is not your style then a tea with honey would be in the same arena and a hot chocolate if coffee is not your bag. This is great inside or out because either way you warm up in preparation of going out or as a celebration for coming in from the cold.

Remember to seal up your windows in your house and be mindful of drafts. You do not want to cost yourself more money on your bills than you need to. Ensure that your windows are closed if you feel a draft you might want to use masking tape or place a towel down for the bottoms of doors not being used. It also helps to keep your children and/or pets that live closer to the ground warm to not have drafts. I hope these ideas help you stay warm this winter. Let me know what your favorite food/drink is that you will be staying warm with this winter 2016.

#Winter #Warm #Cozy #Food #Drink #2016 #Coffee #Tea #Latte #Chicken #Curry #Stew #Soup #Layers #Clothing

 

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package

The holidays are a season for giving, but for some it is a season for taking. Unfortunately some people fall on hard times or they simply have a propensity to do bad deeds instead of good this time of year. You want to think smart and not have the stress of wondering if your package is late or did someone take it from you. If it has not happened to you, it really can throw a cog in your otherwise well oiled gift giving plans. You can always hand make a gift to avoid this issue altogether, ETSY is popular now a days after all.

Technology can usually solve a lot of the worlds problems, however the world of mail and package delivery is still lagging way behind. The USPS and UPS along with other major carriers still have one major flaw, they rely on trust. In the United States of America trust is not something you can download on an app marketplace or purchase.  Trust much like common sense is a rare commodity in our modern era and something needs to change.

The internet of things has transitioned a lot of our purchases to the web. We rely on Ebay and Amazon along with major retailers to do the bulk of our holiday shopping. Online shopping comes with some great deals as well as the huge convenience factor, but when the holiday season rolls along people go into desperation mode. Desperation can lead people astray to do things they normally would not do and they may behave irrationally. This means that your packages have a large chance of being stolen from your doorstep especially during the holiday season, because chances are something with luster may reside in that boring outer package of cardboard.

What can people do about these types of thefts? It would be a logistical nightmare to have your package delivered at an exact time. While there are windows and text notifications the only thing you can really do is hope and pray that your package wont be swiped by a stranger or worse yet a neighbor. It really is a huge problem that rears its ugly head during the holiday season more than any other time of the year. You could get a large lockable box of some kind but for a once a year issue that seems a bit overboard.

A few suggestions would be to option your packages to be sent to a local sorting center, so that you can pick them up at your convenience and still enjoy online shopping and never have to worry about missing a delivery window for a signed package or having your items taken from you like the Grinch with sticky fingers. It may be a small annoyance but missing a package delivery or having it stolen is way more of a burden then taking a 10-20 min drive to your local UPS sorting center or USPS post office which would more or less be located in your very own town.

 

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Starbucks red cup

One change can make all the difference. Starbucks recently learned this lesson all too well when they released this years simple Starbucks red cups. Typically change is good and we usually think that less is in fact more, but not when it comes to the holidays. In every iteration of the red cup this year aside, the cups were adorned with snowflakes, snowmen, mittens and all things winter. These cups were unofficially known as the Starbucks Christmas cups.

Starbucks has never had a direct affiliation with any specific religion, but the Christmas holiday season is known for having the colors of red and white which remind people of Santa Claus and the holiday in general. The minimalist design of this years cup for some reason has resulted in some foamy attitudes towards the famed coffee brewer. There are those that are claiming it is a "War on Christmas" and that it is an outright attack on this nation that was founded on Christian values. Here I thought the Native Americans lived here first and were overtaken by Pilgrim puritans and Spanish conquistadors, but what do I know.

While the gradient red is a nice simple design people are a little outraged and feel as though they are not getting the warm sentimental feeling in their hearts that they deserve. While they do feel palpitations from their roasted arabica beans, they are just not feeling the holiday spirit from Starbucks this year.

I for one do not understand the outrage. These are the same people who are willing to pay about $5 for a sugary latte without any complaints. Do these Christians have any idea that the Starbucks symbol is a seductive nautical siren who has her mermaid legs in the air? This is what guides them on the journey towards holiday cheer?

I say that if you do not like it, then take action! Draw on your Starbucks red cup whatever you want and post it to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other social media that you desire. Take this opportunity not to complain, but to make this cup your very own. Since it is in fact a blank canvas utilize your creativity and make it anything that your red beating heart desires! There is no losing for Starbucks. This argument provides nothing but free publicity for them and either way they win in the end.

While I can understand peoples plight, I also think that you can create the change you want to see in the world. Sure we look forward to the holidays and the fun cups, but really at the end of the day this is just a cup of overpriced coffee. I am also sorry to break it to you but Jesus probably never drank one sip of coffee in his entire life. So go out there enjoy your caffeinated beverages and stop being so damn lazy. Draw a cup of your very own and take this opportunity to take the high ground, I mean road!

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Sandy Hook

We tend to look at the past and think of it with sentimental simplicity. Oh how great it must have been to live during the 1920's or 1950's! We have a tendency to glamorize the bits and pieces that we see in black and white photographs, or what we see in clips from Hollywood movies.  Life in reality has a texture, it has a weathered experience. It is not until we look towards the past and ask questions that we truly learn what life was really like. The best perspectives come not from books, but the ability to interview and/or speak with those people who lived the experiences first hand.

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Fort Hancock located on what is now known as Sandy Hook, NJ which includes recreational areas, beaches, bird sanctuaries, a visitors center, a lighthouse and sprinkled throughout the estimated 6 mile long barrier split are relics of a rich technological and mysterious military past for our nations Coastal Defense.  While it is now part of the Gateway National Recreation Area it used to be a strictly government owned U.S. Army post known as Fort Hancock. Many of the sites are open to the public but some are only available to view via tours. These tours if you are lucky enough are provided by service men and women who served either at Sandy Hook or were part of Coastal Defense for the East Coast of the United States during the Cold War. However, the site dates back to the Civil War as it was then a proving ground until 1919 when they moved those specific operations to Aberdeen, Maryland.

I frequent Sandy Hook and I can go at length about its history from the Proving Grounds to the second oldest operational lighthouse (Sandy Hook Lighthouse built in 1764), to one of the first telegraphs sent from nearby Navesink Twin Lighthouses, to the site of a Nike missile defense station and much more. There is so much rich history to extract from this one location that it warrants one visit if not many!

Missile Tour

Today I would like to focus on the Nike missile defense station. This is one of very few stations that survived and intact for the most part today. The guided tour we recently experienced was conducted by Cold War veteran who went by Jim, who was a battery control officer that enlisted at the age of 18. You not only hear his first person accounts, but you can also still see the missile firing platforms, the radar stations, and the trailers where they were asked to perform 24 hr shifts with 1960's computer technology.  Jim provided us with invaluable information about each component that comprised the Missile Defense station from the radar technology, to the amount of voltage needed to power the radar and the microwave technologies of the time. He even gave us a true understanding of the technological limitations of the era and the sensitivity of computers and their vacuum tubes. His first person accounts were very insightful for instance there was no air conditioning except for cooling down the computers so they would cool off by standing near the computer housing or in the winter would warm up near the computer vent.

He continues to work on projects as he is very mechanical by trade. He once owned a mechanic shop in Paterson, NJ for a time. He is currently working on refurbishing damaged Nike missile casings that were damaged during hurricane Sandy. He truly is a treasure trove of knowledge and first-hand experience. He answered any and all questions that our curious minds had and he never seemed impatient or unprepared to answer. He stands guard proudly over his craft and his life's work. While many things are beginning to fade either due to time or damage Jim's mind and recollections stay sharp. It would be amazing if they could get the funding they really need to restore the area and make it a living museum of a history that not too many people are knowledgeable about or are even aware exist. Jim is a rare breed and is simply awesome, he is pictured below:

Amazing Cold War Veteran Still standing guard at Sandy Hook.
Amazing Cold War Veteran Still standing guard at Sandy Hook.

 

For more information you can view an instructional video about the Nike Missile sites from YouTube below to gain a better visual understanding of Missile Command and our Coastal Defense utilizing Radar and Nike/Hercules Missiles:

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There are a lot of videos on the internet especially when it comes to YouTube.com. They have almost anything and everything available at the click of a button. It is amazing to me when one upload reaches a certain viewership. The following video "Ducklings vs. Stairs" was uploaded by me a few years back and the results have been nothing short of surprising.

Take a moment to watch:

The first time you view the 2:31 clip you may run through a few common emotions the first of which is obviously cute, then the onset of concern, sadness, hope, and finally triumph. It was interesting that over the span of two years this clip has been seen about 3 million times the world over. The top five views in terms of countries have come from:

  1. United States
  2. Taiwan
  3. Saudi Arabia
  4. South Korea
  5. Canada

Regardless of where it has been seen it has been a split of 58% males and 42% females, which I find fascinating. The stats show that more men than women have seen these cute little ducklings rise above adversity in the cutest of ways. Another striking stat is the positive amount of comments. Typically when you have a lot of comments on YouTube they can tend to lean towards the negative. This video goes against common conventions and has 17K likes and only 389 dislikes. That is by and far a race that is not even close by any measure.

Animals much like facial expressions seemingly have a universal response. What I mean by this is cute is cute in any language just as a smile is a smile and represents joy or happiness etc. This one video though has taken on various meanings to people depending on who is watching it. While they all agree at first is cute I have read articles about the video or have received comments that speak to the following topics.

Bravery: Some people relate to these seemingly powerless ducklings facing a man made obstacle much like we do as human in our daily lives. We tend to go against the tide daily but slowly navigate the murky waters of life and while it is hard we find ways to conquer it. Some of us will be first to finish but if we all work as a team even the runt of the litter can become a victorious hero.

Strength: We all have a hidden talent within us. It is not until we are pushed or driven with laser focus that those talents come out. Some say that competition breeds excellence and that when called upon even the weakest can surprise us and rise to the occasion. This is proof that hard work can pay off and if you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything!

Teamwork: There is a lot of cute chirps and tweets dished out by this family of ducklings and mother duck atop the stairs counting each one to ensure her family has made it before she continues on with their march through a busy downtown. They start off following the leader and they are all looking for the easier way out however there really is none. It is the perception of "If he can do it, so can I" and they all go above and beyond what initially they thought they could not accomplish.

Inspiration/Education: I have seen this video used as a training video. Especially in the call center environment. It actually makes a lot of sense. It helps build a belief around education and that if you buy into the system and the script some of the staff will be quick to sales while others may take more time to grasp the information they are presented in the training session and as time goes on they to will succeed. I do not fully agree with this use because there are other factors at play such as personality of the worker, tonality of their voice, and the fact that we all do not learn as quickly from memorization. What it does speak to in terms of education is that we all do learn differently. We do not all learn from seeing some of us learn from doing, learning from the faults of others and using that information to forge our own paths.

These are some lessons that I never thought would come from a simple video, however when you take the time in life to stop and look around you I feel that there are a lot of lessons that can be learned. We also have a lot to learn from animals and nature. We feel as though we are the smartest most intelligent beings on earth yet time and time again we learn life lessons from animals and nature. We learn a few lessons from this simple video. I can only imagine what we can learn from each other if we take the time out of our lives to slow down and observe. We could have walked right on by never seeing this event through, but my girlfriend took the time to notice the simplicity in life and to find solace in the fact that they all made it safely to their intended destination.

It reminds me of the Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986) Quote: "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't Stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it."