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From the outskirts of Chocolate City....



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Counting Full Circles

Posted by Kopaka's Ice Engineering , in Life in general Aug 07 2014 · 96 views
Life in general
I've been hit by the nostalgia bat recently. A few weeks ago, I was tagged (on the book of faces) in an 18-year-old photograph of my senior homecoming, well, a homecoming alternative put on by those of us (and our parents) at the church I attended at the time. I was about to turn 17 (if I wasn't already) at the time of the photograph, and I'm now more than twice as old as I was when that photo was taken.

Something else I saw on the book of faces recently: an update to something I posted 6 years ago. I got to reading the old entry, and I was struck as to what has changed in the past 6 years:
  • I have not worked at another MathCounts competition since then.
  • One of the other judges at that competition is now a co-worker.
  • I'm now considering sending my firstborn daughter to one of those three Lake Castle schools for pre-Kindergarten.
As for the funny email, well, it appears six years hasn't done too much to the running joke. I'm sure you've heard it before, but here it is to enjoy again. (Lines with no change have been greyed out.)

Why did the chicken cross the road?
Famous celebrities, politicians and big mouths help us out...

SARAH PALIN: The chicken crossed the road because, gosh-darn it, he's a maverick!

BARACK OBAMA: Let me be perfectly clear, if the chickens like their eggs they can keep their eggs. No chicken will be required to cross the road to surrender her eggs. Period.

JOHN McCAIN: My friends, the chicken crossed the road because he recognized the need to engage in cooperation and dialogue with all the chickens on the other side of the road.

HILLARY CLINTON: What difference at this point does it make why the chicken crossed the road?

GEORGE W. BUSH: We don't really care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to know if the chicken is on our side of the road or not. The chicken is either with us or against us. There is no middle ground here.

DICK CHENEY: Where's my gun?

BILL CLINTON: I did not cross the road with that chicken.

AL GORE: I invented the chicken.

JOHN KERRY: Although I voted to let the chicken cross the road, I am now against it! It was the wrong road to cross, and I was misled about the chicken's intentions. I am not for it now, and will remain against it.

AL SHARPTON: Why are all the chickens white?

DR. PHIL: The problem we have here is that this chicken won't realize that he must first deal with the problem on this side of the road before it goes after the problem on the other side of the road. What we need to do is help him realize how stupid he is acting by not taking on his current problems before adding any new problems.

OPRAH: Well, I understand that the chicken is having problems, which is why he wants to cross the road so badly. So instead of having the chicken learn from his mistakes and take falls, which is a part of life, I'm going to give this chicken a NEW CAR so that he can just drive across the road and not live his life like the rest of the chickens.

ANDERSON COOPER: We have reason to believe there is a chicken, but we have not yet been allowed to have access to the other side of the road.

NANCY GRACE: That chicken crossed the road because he's guilty! You can see it in his eyes and the way he walks.

PAT BUCHANAN: To steal the job of a decent, hardworking American.

MARTHA STEWART: No one called me to warn me which way the chicken was going. I had a standing order at the Farmer's Market to sell my eggs when the price dropped to a certain level. No little bird gave me any insider information.

DR SEUSS: Did the chicken cross the road? Did he cross it with a toad? Yes, the chicken crossed the road, but why it crossed I've not been told.

ERNEST HEMINGWAY: To die in the rain, alone.

GRANDPA: In my day we didn't ask why the chicken crossed the road. Somebody told us the chicken crossed the road, and that was good enough for us.


BARBARA WALTERS: Isn't that interesting? In a few moments, we will be listening to the chicken tell, for the first time, the heartwarming story of how it experienced a serious case of molting, and went on to accomplish its lifelong dream of crossing the road.

ARISTOTLE: It is the nature of chickens to cross the road.

BILL GATES: I have just released eChicken2014, which will not only cross roads, but will lay eggs, file your important documents and balance your checkbook. Internet Explorer is an integral part of eChicken2014. This new platform is much more stable and will never reboot.

ALBERT EINSTEIN: Did the chicken really cross the road, or did the road move beneath the chicken?

COLONEL SANDERS: Did I miss one?

Good comedy never gets old. Does this qualify as good comedy, though?

-KIE


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The Fall of Chocolate City

Posted by Kopaka's Ice Engineering , in Local Goings On (i.e. politics) Jul 09 2014 · 97 views

Behold, the end of C. Ray Nagin's trial on counts of bribery during his term as mayor of New Orleans.

NEW ORLEANS —Former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison. A recommendation was made to assign him to the federal penitentiary in Oakdale, La. with a report date of Sept. 8.
Nagin spoke briefly before he learned his fate, thanking the judge for her professionalism throughout his trial.
Nagin was accompanied by family members and by his attorney, Robert Jenkins, as he arrived at the courthouse Wednesday morning.
Those family members -- his wife, father, mother and sister -- left without comment. Nagin left from a rear exit and did not speak to reporters.
The primary prosecutors exited the courthouse at 10:30 a.m.
"A very significant, strong sentence -- strong message," Matt Coman said. "We'd like to thank the members of the community. They came forward and offered evidence and testimony.
"What Ray Nagin did was sell his office over and over and over again. The damage that Ray Nagin inflicted on this community is incalculable."
Follow developments on the WDSU Livewire
U.S. District Court Judge Ginger Berrigan passed sentence about 10:10 a.m. -- just 10 minutes after court convened. The sentence is below most expectations and is less than the sentence recommended by a sentencing commission.
In addition to Nagin's prison sentence, he must pay $84,264 in restitution. In May, Berrigan signed a preliminary order of forfeiture, granting forfeiture in the amount of $501,200.
Nagin is expected to appeal his conviction.
Nagin was convicted Feb. 12 of accepting bribes and payoffs from businessmen who wanted work from the city or Nagin's support for various projects. The bribes came in the form of money, free vacation trips and truckloads of free granite for his family business.

The 58-year-old Democrat had defiantly denied any wrongdoing after his 2013 indictment and during his February trial.
A media throng gathered at the courthouse early Wednesday to cover the sentencing proceedings.
Nagin is the first mayor of the city to be convicted on felony counts. He was expected to receive a prison sentence in excess of 15 years for crimes that include bribery and money laundering.
In one of the final developments before sentencing, Nagin's wife, Seletha, and his two sons sent letters to Berrigan professing his innocence. Seletha Nagin asked for sentencing to be put off until a federal report on misconduct within the local office of the U.S. Attorney is complete.
“Our elected officials are entrusted to place the interests of the citizens above their own,” stated U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite. “When they violate that trust and break the law, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will pursue them zealously and bring them to justice.”
“Today marks the end of a sad chapter for our city," New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said in a statement. "The people of New Orleans are turning the page and moving forward."

Read more: http://www.wdsu.com/...8#ixzz36zkqUqgS

...courtesy WDSU, NBC affiliate in New Orleans, LA (and whose offices are catercorner from my office (parking lots both open to Carondelet St)).

I've wanted to post about my computer for a few weeks now, but I haven't gotten around to it. This, this is something I couldn't delay in posting, not when I borrow one of his most famous lines to entitle my blog.

It would behoove me to learn more about this text editor, too, should time permit.
In the interim, I'll simply say that I'm not dead yet, and that two girls a wonderful, except when big sister acts out on little sister.

-KIE


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Vote for your candidate

Posted by Kopaka's Ice Engineering , in Local Goings On (i.e. politics) Nov 06 2012 · 176 views

Hello.

Remember me?

I used to be a moderator here on these boards, but life has happened over the past 7 years. If I hadn't rotated off the forum circuit by the time Katrina hit, I was awfully close to doing so. I'm thankful, however, for the time I've gotten to know people with color-shifty masks. I'm honored to have been one, and I do not regret the time spent, for more reasons than making friends scattered throughout North America and beyond.

Gee, it sounds like I'm leaving the site. I'm not leaving the site: it's just been 10 months since I've gotten around to posting anything of consequence. Maybe if I were more studious about posting, I wouldn't feel like I have to reintroduce myself each & every time I duck my head in the door.

"What has happened in the past 10 months?" you may wonder. Well, I live in the "country" now. My house is on an acre and a half, and the nearest full grocery store is some 10 miles away. My office in downtown New Orleans is 50 miles away from the carport. I spend about 2½ hours a day commuting. (What's more, the computer is usually reserved for my daughter to watch Jay Jay the Jet Plane episodes on a popular website for video in the evenings.) I find myself getting up at 5 AM to get to work, and am rarely home before 6:15 PM. I'm not complaining, per se: this is just where I am now.

Anyway, I have more to address than the two tanks of gas I buy in a week. No, today is an important day in the USA.
ELECTION DAY!


Forty-five months ago, I set forth an auspicious challenge. A vote is a grave matter, and not something I should have thrown around so haphazardly. Of course, I felt that I was shielded by the fact that it would take a southern Democrat (see: Carter, Clinton) for Louisiana to light up any color other than red on the map, regardless of my ballot. I made my gambit not having a clue what the next years would actually have in store.

And oh, did those next years have a curve ball.

I confess, I felt as though this criterion was open and shut within 3 months. The passage of the second half of the stimulus package was a big deal, and we at the Jefferson Parish Sewer Capital Program sought to put in on the money being made available. Not a one of our projects was selected, and I thought that this was going to be it for my January posting.

Then life happened.

Not 4 months after the wedding, I leave the Yenni Building and end up getting laid off after 4½ years at DEII. Miraculously, I am hired before my severance runs out, and a countdown clock of sorts starts: with this job, of which 60ish% of the funding is footed by the ARRA, I am going to have to move my wife & I to Illinois for almost 2 years. As the calendar switches from March 2010 to April, we're driving a UHaul north on I-55 (figuratively: a good chunk of it was I-57).

Not long after we leave, the Deepwater Horizon accident happens, and the Oval Office puts a moratorium on all deep water exploratory drilling. My father is laid off from Halliburton after 35 years, some 2 years away from his planned retirement. People in Illinois ask me what the big deal is, why drilling on the shelf alone isn't enough: I inform them that, by and large, the shelf is tapped out, and no one has expected to find anything new there for the past 15 years.

Over the course of two years, my wife & I acquire a set of close friends in Illinois. We learned who we are as a couple, independent of our respective families. We learned how much we can rely on the other, for there were times (before the friends) we had no other person there. We become parents to a wonderful, adorable little girl.

I say all this, needing to circle back around to the original question I posed myself forty-five months ago: are my life and surroundings better off than they were four years ago, and if so, are they a direct result of Barack Obama becoming president and his policies becoming law. To the first part, I say yes, absolutely. Certainly it is not in the manner I thought it would be "yes" when I typed that four years ago, but the fact remains: yes, despite my father losing his job, I and my family are better off. (I suppose there's a tangent here about when or where the definition of "family" shifted from "my parents & brother" to "my wife, and now daughter." Even though it doesn't seem to be long, I'm not going to chase it here.) To the second part, I credit my family's fortune to God's provision. However, I feel compelled to further elaborate. I'll save the full text of the story about God, the flood victim, the news, the boat & the helicopter and say that Divine Providence takes on many forms. It would be remiss of me to ignore the very real possibility that ARRA was God providing a way for me to provide for my family, even though none of it went to the sewer projects I helped submit for in the first place.

Is this two years of northern exposure mellowing out my hard right lean? (Maybe)
Is this all an exercise on how one shouldn't throw one's vote around? (Maybe)
Is this going to make a real, appreciable difference? (Not really. It wouldn't have made a difference if we weren't back from Illinois yet, either.)

Am I going to own up to my statements? (Yes)

From the outskirts of Chocolate City will vote for the following candidates for the Louisiana Electoral College for the November 6 election:

2012 Electoral College
  • Karen Carter Peterson
  • Shane Riddle
  • Gilda Warner Reed
  • Jay H. Banks
  • Diana Hamilton
  • Cedric Bradford Glover
  • Leslie Dandridge Durham
  • Kyle Gautreau
pledged to vote for Barack Obama of Illinois and Joe Biden of Delaware.

From the outskirts of Chocolate City endorses the following candidates and positions for the November 6 election.

United States Representative, First Congressional District of Louisiana
  • Steven Scalise (R)
Louisiana Constitutional Amendment #1
Medicaid Trust Fund for the Elderly
  • AGAINST
because we don't need to solve problems that don't exist

Louisiana Constitutional Amendment #2
Strict Scrutiny Review for Gun Laws
  • AGAINST
because we don't need to solve problems that don't exist (didn't I just say that?)

Louisiana Constitutional Amendment #3
Earlier Notice of Public Retirement Bills
  • AGAINST
not when the bills are going to get changed in the legislative process anyway.

Louisiana Constitutional Amendment #4
Homestead Exemption for Veterans' Spouses
  • AGAINST
not interested in changing the state Constitution for the benefit of less than 5 people.

Louisiana Constitutional Amendment #5
Forfeiture of Public Retirement Benefits
  • FOR
as toothless as this may be, since it's usually the USAO that prosecutes these

Louisiana Constitutional Amendment #6
Property Tax Exemption Authority for New Iberia
  • AGAINST
Nope. There are better ways to do this, City of New Iberia. If there aren't, you just got unlucky and are going to have to deal with it.

Louisiana Constitutional Amendment #7
Membership of Certain Boards and Commissions
  • FOR
because it won't make sense otherwise

Louisiana Constitutional Amendment #8
Non-Manufacturing Tax Exemption Program
  • AGAINST
because I honestly believe we have too many tax exemption programs out there now

Louisiana Constitutional Amendment #9
More Notice for Crime Prevention District Bills
  • FOR
...because nobody needs "concerned citizens" end-running around their neighbors. I mean, come on.

Local Option Vote #1
Term Limits for St Tammany Parish School Board Members
  • FOR
because incorporating new blood is important

My vote is my vote, not yours. That said, I am a registered Republican, and will remain a registered Republican. I would appreciate no further thoughts about, as a Republican, my supposed inability to empathize with views not my own. Bring back the melting pot: this composed salad bowl mentality isn't healthy for us as a nation.

-KIE


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Walking To New Orleans

Posted by Kopaka's Ice Engineering , in Lyrically Speaking Dec 20 2011 · 46 views

<image to be added at a later date>


This time I'm walking to New Orleans
I'm walking to New Orleans
I'm gonna need two pair o' shoes
when I get through walkin' these blues
When I get back to New Orleans

I got my suitcase in my hand
now ain't that a shame
I'm leavin' here today
yes, I'm going back home to stay

yes, I'm walkin' to New Orleans

you used to be my honey
'til you spent all my money
no use for you to cry
I'll see you by and by
'cause I'm walking to New Orleans

I've got no time for talkin'
I've got to keep on walkin'
New Orleans is my home
that's the reason why I'm goin'
yes, I'm walkin' to New Orleans

I'm walkin' to New Orleans

I'm walkin' to New Orleans

I'm walkin' to New Orleans




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Requiem For A Skillet

Posted by Kopaka's Ice Engineering , in from KIE's laboratory,er,... Dec 17 2011 · 40 views

Packing is a most arduous task with a 9-month-old in the house. One person must always be parted off to entertain the girl, and sometimes, one isn't enough. This is a new feature against the 3 previous moves in the past 7 years, and it's a bit of a trip.

One that has been constant through the past three moves has been a 10" non-stick skillet. A relatively heavy aluminum number done by Invitations, and I don't know if that's a store brand or what. All I know is that I've had it since my mom gave it to me when I moved out from under my parents' roof in February, 2005. It wasn't party to the first actual cooking I'd ever done. (That was trying to sliver in a clove of garlic into a raw, frozen chicken breast and cooking in the microwave. I ate a can of pasta that night instead.) However, it was my pan when I cooked chicken parmigiana the first time. It was my pan when I did extensive potato/onion experimentation in the art of the mixed hash browns. It was my pan when I first cooked for someone else. It has been my pan for so long, it's as though it's an extension of my cooking skills.

Sadly, I must part with it.

7 years of use have worn away at the non-stick coating to the point where aluminum flecks show through in the cooking surface. 7 years of poor cleaning skills have left a mahogany brown coating of oil & grease on the bottom of the pan. I can't clean this off, and I can't cook with it properly: it pains me, but I must retire this skillet. When we pack our belongings this weekend, the 10" Invitations will not be boxed, and will remain as an unannounced gift to the next owner or tenant of this house.

*21 cork salute*

-KIE


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Take Me Home

Posted by Kopaka's Ice Engineering , in Required Reading Dec 15 2011 · 66 views

I can't exactly say that I'm a fan of Semisonic, or any of the other bands who may have covered the song "Closing Time", although it is a very appropriate lyric at the moment.

We have just gotten back from a whirlwind trip to NOLA, only to be thrust into more acceleration. It is the endgame of my time in Morris. As of 12:30, my wife & I now own (well, mortgaged) a house outside Covington, Louisiana. Yesterday, the Army Corps of Engineers completed the dredging beneath the new bridge, widening the navigation channel by 150%.

In other words, we are done here. Not to sound overly cryptic or shifty with my words, but this is the end.

Morris is the past: when we arrived in Morris, I was met with McSkillet burritos at McDonald's, Italian Chicken Sandwiches at Burger King, homestyle fries at Arby's, and boysenberry syrup at IHOP. Things that had left my world before I had wanted them to leave.

Morris is the future: as we leave Illinois we will not be the two we were when we arrived. Indeed, we are now three, and even just the two of us aren't the same as we were almost two years ago.


While we've been up here, I've had the opportunity to download the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for the Virtual Console, and have played through it a few times. Forgive me if I hear Spirit Temple music in the background until we move next week.

-KIE, who won't be publishing his bowl picks this year: no time to transcribe them into a blog entry


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Blue Star

Posted by Kopaka's Ice Engineering , in Life in general Nov 30 2011 · 42 views

What do the Buffalo Sabres, Oakland Raiders, Silkeborg, UMass Minutemen, Lille, Αποελ Nicosia, LSU Tigers, the Ohio State/Michigan game, Mississippi State Bulldogs, and Maurice Jones-Drew have in common?

If you said "sports" or "athletics," you're about as close as I would expect anyone to get.

For the past two years, I've been playing a game called Streak for the Ca$h on ESPN. It's a simple little game: select one from a series of offered props on sporting events. Sometimes it's a simple as who will win; sometimes it's on an individual's performance. Sometimes, it's something even crazier.
However, not once have I ever strung together double-digit wins in this monthly game.

Not until this past Sunday.
Posted Image

I feel proud of myself, even if you don't. I may never win money with it, but I do feel quite the sense of accomplishment in achieving a blue star once.
Even if it took 2 years.

-KIE


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Tryptophantic Advent (2011 Edition)

Posted by Kopaka's Ice Engineering , Nov 23 2011 · 97 views
and 1 more...
Ever since I moved out from under my parents' roof in February 2005, Thanksgiving has involved traveling. I [and later Amanda] jumping in a car and driving an appropriate amount on I-10, I-20, I-55, or US 165 and arriving at my parents' [or her parents'] home for a Thanksgiving meal. (Except in 2007: that year we were on baby watch for Oliver in Baton Rouge.)

Not so this year.

For the first time, family is coming here for Thanksgiving dinner. Our cozy little house of 3 will become 11 in a few short hours, and cooking must be done.

Good Eats, don't fail me now.

I will be attempting to implement the Good Eats Nobel Prize Pending Roast Turkey recipe found from the 14th episode of the famed cooking show, named "Romancing the Bird." In the absence of time, I will refer you to the Food Network archive of said recipe, although a search of the episode's name will surely elicit 45ish minutes of high quality turkey talk. I will say that as my mother-in-law has an apparent allergy to sage, the sage will be replaced with garlic and/or bay leaves, in a quantity not yet determined.

As I have a bajillion other things to get done, both with cooking and with work, I will bid you, dear reader, adieu, and wish you the warmest and heartiest of Thanksgivings, even you Canadans who jumped the gun a month ago. Don't go dropping frozen turkeys into a too-full pot of hot oil.

-KIE


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Tossed Salad, Meet Scrambled Eggs

Posted by Kopaka's Ice Engineering , in Life in general Nov 05 2011 · 69 views
Life in general
Hello there. Have we met?

For the many here that don't know me, I go by KIE on these boards, which is short for Kopaka's Ice Engineering. I derived the name from the bridge Kopaka built at the end of the first BIONICLE comic so many years ago. I am a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Louisiana, though right now, I live and work in Illinois. Within the next two months, my family will be moving back to NOLA [greater New Orleans], more properly, the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain. Hence, I will retain the "Chocolate City" reference in my blog's title, even though we're far closer to the outskirts of Chicago right now.

I am 32 years old. I met the woman who would be my wife while we were summer missionaries some 10 years ago in northeast Ohio. It was there I discovered an Onua canister, and wondered aloud why LEGO Bricks weren't this cool when I was in the target age. I became an AFOL at that point, and have nestled into a no-longer-board-active role on staff here at BZPower.

I am a father. My daughter Bonnie is 7½ months old at this juncture, and she is just so precious. I must gush, for she is my first child, and we do get a share of comments from random people about how beautiful she is.

I like to play around in the kitchen. The 2011 edition of Tryptophantic Advent will include staying home instead of traveling. I'm roasting a turkey, too, this year. Wish me luck.

I've worked for the company I work for now for 2 years. They've been in the bridge business since 1893, and the name is synonymous with excellence in bridges. It's funny, though, since 25 months ago, I was laid off from 4+ years modeling and maintaining [in an office role] the sewer system of Jefferson Parish. Admittedly, that has nothing to do with bridges. BUT, it was a bridge design program about 20 years ago, when I was a participant in MATHCounts that led me to engineering, civil engineering even, in the first place. A long, circuitous route to come full circle.

I am also open to a line of questioning, if anyone cares to ask anything. If nothing else, expect more to filter in during the coming weeks as we move back south, out of winter's way. Seriously, why is it December outside the door already?

-KIE


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Dry Run #3

Posted by Kopaka's Ice Engineering , Oct 21 2011 · 44 views

My my, what have we here?

So much dust; so many events; so much life has happened here, I should think I ought take a moment to catch you all up.


However, that moment is not immediately. Expect more soon.






Chocolate City? Whu?

"Chocolate City" is not Hershey, PA, or Burlington, WI, but New Orleans, LA.
Don't worry if you're confused.

Referring to New Orleans (more commonly known as "The Big Easy" (for the laid back atmosphere) or "the Crescent City" (for the shape of the first buildup around the Mississippi River that became New Orleans)) as "Chocolate City" comes from a speech that Clarence Ray Nagin, then mayor of New Orleans, made on January 16, 2006, in response to concerns that, in the process of rebuilding and repopulating New Orleans post-Katrina (the huge hurricane that waylayed southeast Louisiana and the Mississippi Gulf coast in 2005), there would be an uncharacteristically high concentration of non-African-Americans that would come in, buy up land, and squeeze out what has long been an African-American population.

You could have read a local newspaper story about that speech here, but as of August 1, 2006, the Times-Picayune seems to have taken it down. In its stead, I offer the transcript and a CNN archive of the fallout over that speech. I'm not mad; I just think it's hilarious. And catchy.

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