Smoked Pepper Vodka

    Use this file Immature jalapeno capsicum annuum var annuum
CC BY-SA 3.0 –

Wash 6 plump, firm, smooth-skinned Jalapenos or other similar peppers, then cut them in half lengthwise. Remove ribs and seeds. You might want to wear rubber gloves for this!

For a gas stove, use metal tongs and cook the Jalapenos skin-side down over a medium flame until well blackened. For an electric stove, set a wire cooling rack over a burner on high and set them skin-side down until well charred.  If your stove hood vents outside, set it to high, otherwise open your windows. A grill also works well.

Immediately after blackening, put them in a covered dish until cool. Rinse under cool water & rub the black skins off.

Slice thinly, put them in a quart mason jar, and cover w. vodka. Age in the fridge for about two weeks, shaking now and then.

After two weeks, decant the Vodka into decorative bottles w. a few pieces of Jalapeno for decoration.

I have generally used Tito’s vodka, but anything in the $15-25 range should be OK.

Welcome to Portland

Crossing the Buckman Bridge
Crossing the Buckman Bridge. It’s windy.

The past few  weeks have been a bit of a blur. My good lady wife Rachel and I decided last year that we should move to Portland (PDX) from Raleigh-Durham (RDU) for several excellent reasons, to wit:

  • The weather in RDU is overbearingly hot and sweaty in the Summer, a period that spans Apr-Oct, roughly.
  • I’ve suffered constant flu-like allergies every year I’ve lived in the state, mostly due to ragweed pollen.
  • We’d like to downsize our lives as much as possible, but that’s not really an option in a city where two cars are more or less mandatory due to sprawl and poor public transportation.
  • My wife would like to start her business in a location that has a good blend of tech and a strong independent art/comics scene.

Portland really seems to fill all of our requirements, and then some – the cost of living in a high-density urban location is about the same as RDU suburbs, with lower costs for food and transportation.

Continue reading Welcome to Portland

2013 in Review

All in all, an excellent year.

  • Did the Run Free marathon in Feb with excellent friends.
  • Finished the house renovations.
  • Really dug in at work and loved it. Did the font-end development for several cool websites, and blogged about it.
  • Went to Berlin with my Good Lady Wife and had a lovely time.
  • Successfully avoided most relatives and their attached drama for the entire year.
  • Ran regularly, getting up to 12 miles in Summer.
  • Managed to keep my weight under control (+/- 5lb).
  • Learned to cook Indian food.
  • Reduced my personal possessions down to what will fit in a storage/moving pod.
  • Spent the week of Christmas in Philly with my lovely wife and some very cool friends.

Best of all, I had my fantastic and brilliant wife (and best friend) Rachel to share it with. :-)

I’m looking forward to many exciting challenges in the New Year, since we’re starting 2014 by selling our house and moving to Portland, OR.

I think I shall write more in the New Year, and perhaps do more cartooning.

See you in Portland!

~Joe K

Enhance Your Profile

A little over a year ago, I switched from PC-based front end development, to Apple/Mac based development. I had been doing Mac and PC desktop support in my previous job, so I was used to OSX, the Mac OS. However, the switch also required me to upgrade the tools I use on a daily basis, including my source code editor and web server platform. It also (finally!) got me working with the Git version-control software on a daily basis, something I had been looking forward to (all the cool kids use Git. Also, no more lost code.).

The best thing (to me) about using Git is that it has me using a Bash shell again, which means I can tweak out my .profile. What’s that you might ask? Why, let me show you!

Continue reading Enhance Your Profile

Wild in Kentucky

Web development is a great field to work in for a lot of reasons, but for me the best reason is the variety. One day you’ll be adding a guest editor to a high-volume cooking website, the next day you’re adjusting the responsive menu on a drug-culture magazine, and the day after that you’ll be tweaking the careers page on a material handling solutions company’s site — it never gets boring.

Continue reading Wild in Kentucky

Front-end Developer Employer Questions

The Front-end Job Interview Questions list ( is pretty awesome–if you’re an employer. It gave me the idea to have a list of questions for front-end developers to ask prospective employers.

These questions cover employers who are large enough to have a dedicated development team. It should work reasonably well for both agencies and companies that are working on internal projects.

Interviews usually happen with both Managers and Team Members, so I’ve split the questions into those two general categories.

Continue reading Front-end Developer Employer Questions

Opacity in decimal, then Hex

If you’ve ever set CSS background colors to semi-transparent, you’ve had to make the cross-browser compatible. Here’s the basic code:

  background: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8);
  filter: progid:DXImageTransform.Microsoft.BasicImage(rotation=1);
  filter:progid:DXImageTransform.Microsoft.gradient(startColorstr=#cc0E212A, endColorstr=#cc0E212A);
  -ms-filter: "progid:DXImageTransform.Microsoft.gradient(startColorstr=#cc0E212A, endColorstr=#cc0E212A)";

The first line is for all the modern browsers, the next three for MSIE varients (IE7, IE8, etc). Important to note – don’t have a solid color declaration or it will override the filters in IE.

Also, and most annoying, the IE opacity is in HEX, not decimal. (That’s the first two digits of the #cc0E212A string). It’s oddly difficult to find cheat sheets, so here’s one:

10% = 19
20% = 33
30% = 4c
40% = 66
50% = 80
60% = 99
70% = b2
80% = cc
90% = e6

Mostly, this is for my own reference.

Why I Went to Urgent Care on Annual Review Day

Inmage: Stanley FatMax!
It's a Really Good Knife

It really looked to be a fun day. I had two major things on my agenda – pack up my former boss’ office computer (she has moved to Canada to work remotely), and go to lunch with my current boss for my annual review.

My former boss is the office Art Director, and has a dual-monitor Mac Pro. I was to break it down and pack it up to arrive in Toronto in a week or so.  I had ordered her Mac Pro and wisely kept the original box. No problem there. However, the monitors were older and had no boxes. I had similar monitor boxes though, and could easily modify them for my purpose. After all, I am a handy man with a tool!

Continue reading Why I Went to Urgent Care on Annual Review Day

Earl is coming – are you ready?

Now that hurricane season is finally here, and we’ve got a good sized storm headed our way on Thursday evening, it might be a good idea to run over some basic storm prep.

When Fran hit Raleigh in 1996, many folks were unprepared for the blocked roads and 3-5 day power outages. There are a lot of simple things you can do to prepare for a big storm. You’ve got about three days to prepare!

  • Make sure you have all of your prescriptions filled.
  • Fill your car(s) with gas.
  • Charge your cell phones.
  • Get some cash from the ATM.
  • Make sure you have a portable radio and flashlights.

Go to the grocery store, and make sure you have the following:

  • Fresh batteries for your flashlights and portable radio.
  • Water – at least 1 gallon daily per person for 3 to 5 days. (depending on how far from town you live). Don’t forget pets!
  • Food – non-refrigerated/frozen, at least enough for 3 to 5 days.
  • Non-perishable packaged or canned food / juices.
  • Foods for infants or the elderly.
  • Non-electric can opener.
  • Propane/charcoal for the grill
  • Paper plates / plastic utensils / trash bags
  • Pet food/litter.

There are a lot more things you can do, depending on your level of comfort/crazy, but those things cover the most of it. For way more info, you can go to the national Hurricane Center disaster prep website.

Stay safe y’all!

Code, Essays, and other thoughts by Joe K~