Archive for September, 2007

I’m pavement locked. I’m surrounded by a sprawling wasteland of pavement, condo’s, congestion, and trees that grow in a straight line. The vegetables at my local safeway/lucky/etc are horrible. I also have a strong history with food (and it shows in my waistline…). As soon as I could eat something other than breast milk, instead of buying baby food, my mom was pureeing vegetables from the garden. She was/is a dietitian (she now teaches at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo), and a firm believer in “good food”. That means good tasting food, with lots of seasonal variety. Our eggs came from the chickens in our barn. Every year a head of cattle would disappear, and a week or two later, the freezer in the garage was full of white packages. Apparently my parents once decided to butcher their own chicken. 26 years later their stories conflict, but someone didn’t have the heart to dispatch the chicken in traditional ways , so my dad shot it. With a 20 gauge. My mom picked buckshot from a chicken once, and from then on, the Peterson family chicken dinners came from the super market.

The result of these forming years of my life, is that I like good, fresh food. I am ALSO a firm believer in spending your money like you’re voting with it. So I do my best to buy locally. I’m not a zealot, or obsessive about this practice, but when its possible, I do my best. One way that I do this is by supporting my local farmer through their CSA (Community Support Agriculture) program.

Every week, I get a box full of organic seasonal fruits and vegetables . Strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, cauliflower, peas, carrots, onions, beets, squash, baby salads, big salads, spinach, potatoes, etc. Anything that grows in California between April and November. Its a great way to get fresh fruits and vegetables into my diet, which is obviously good for me. I send my check directly to the farmer, eliminating the middle man, which is good for the farmer. These types of programs are available all over the place. A good place to start your search is

Periodically Mariquita farms (half of two small farms), will have a U pick tomato day. For 50 cents a pound, you can pick all the tomatoes you can carry out of there. Its fabulous. You’re not limited to tomatoes either. Peppers, pumpkins, tomatillos, or anything else you can get your hands on is fair game. 50 cents a pound is great. But I’m a really inquisitive person, so to ME the best part is that you get to pick the farmers brain , and ask him all the dumb questions you want. He’s HAPPY to answer them! Its an excellent experience.

Mariquita is having one of these U Pick days tomorrow, Sunday September, 23rd. If you get a chance, its worth the drive. Just make sure you wear a good pair of boots, its going to be wet out there :)

Here are some pictures of my bounty from the last U Pick day.

Update: Heres my bounty from the second U Pick day :) Can you tell I like salsa? I preserved most of it for the winter :)

This is quite possibly the best pizza I’ve ever had. Its certainly the best pizza I’ve ever made, and I’ve made a lot of pizza :) I developed this during the summer when I quite literally cook every single meal except for breakfast on my grill outside.

Because the pizza isn’t sitting on a baking sheet, the crust gets nice and crispy on the bottom, while still being soft and doughy on top. That to me is the PERFECT combination.

Sprinkle your portable working surface with corn meal. The corn meal will help you slide the pizza dough from the working surface onto your grill. Make sure you use a flat working surface, so you can slide the dough instead of having to lift it. I use the bottom side of a baking sheet.

Turn the heat to Low directly underneath your crust, and high or medium/high near your crust, but not directly underneath it. Your pizza is going to be on the grill for a while, and you don’t want it to burn. I have a $59.95 several year old end of the summer super sale cheapo Gas grill. Your settings mileage may vary :)

While the lid is obviously open so I could take photographs, in general the idea is to leave the lid closed so the heat from the opposite side of the grill will heat the grill up like an oven.

Tip: You should try your best to get the dough flat onto the grill. Fixing a folded over pizza crust can be a challenge. Corn meal is your friend here. However, if you don’t get it placed perfectly the first time, and you wish it was in a different part of the grill, just let it cook for a few minutes until its a little firmer. The dough will not stick and will be easier to move around after its a little cooked.

You should pre cook as many of your toppings as possible. This will help cook the water out of your ingredients (mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, pineapple, etc). Moisture is a pizza killer. Warmer ingredients also help the pizza cook faster once you pile all your toppings on top.

The dough is ready to be topped when its puffed up and full of air. At this point, the bottom should be less than golden brown, but firm. The top should be soft, but cooked through.

Prep all your toppings, and put them on your hot dough. For this time around, I used mushrooms, feta, olives, onions, grilled peppers, sausage, basil, pepperoni, and mozzerella. Almost all of which were sitting in my refrigerator as left overs.

mmmmm this looks good. ready to go on the grill again. Remember, low heat underneath, and high or medium/high heat on the other side.

Lid closed for about 10-15 minutes. Let all those toppings heat up, and let your cheese melt. I usually rotate it at least once so that the one side of the pizza up against the high heat doesn’t burn.

I added some cilantro at the very end (again, left over)


I used Trader joes pizza crust for the above pictures, but pizza dough is really easy to make in a breadmaker if you have one. Sometimes I’ll use pesto instead of a tomato based sauce. Experiment with different cheeses too. I often use pizza as a repository for “left over bits and pieces of cheese” of all kinds.

Let me know if this inspires you to make grilled pizza! :)

If while installing oracle DB on linux, if you get the following two messages:

ORA-12154: TNS:could not resolve connect identifier specified

ORA-0107: invalid username/password; logon denied

It probably means that you have chosen A) to create a DB while installing oracle, and B) chosen not to read the full set of installation instructions(10gR2 on x64 Linux) available on oracles website. I was guilty of both a couple week ago, and when searching for those error messages together I didn’t find anything. I then went back and read through the entire documentation and found the following password recommendations tidbit, I had previously skipped over thinking “pshah! I know how to create a good password! I don’t need oracle telling ME how to create good passwords”. Oops.

Here is a link to oracles 10gR2 tech reference site, which contains lots of good reading material.

Here is a quote from the relevent section of the installation guide, but please read the whole thing.

Password recommendations

Apply the following guidelines when specifying passwords:

  • Passwords must be between 4 and 30 characters long.
  • Passwords must be from the database character set and can include the underscore (_), dollar ($), and pound sign (#) characters.
  • Passwords must not start with a numeral.
  • Passwords must not be the same as the user name.
  • Passwords must not be Oracle reserved words.
  • The SYS account password must not be change_on_install.
  • The SYSTEM account password must not be manager.
  • The SYSMAN account password must not be sysman.
  • The DBSNMP account password must not be dbsnmp.
  • If you choose to use the same password for all the accounts, then that password must not be change_on_install, manager, sysman, or dbsnmp.
  • Passwords should have at least 1 alphabetic, 1 numeric, and 1 punctuation mark character
  • Passwords should not be simple or obvious words, such as welcome, account, database, and user.

P.S. This problem is not unique to the installation of Oracle, but when I searched google I found several people complaining about this exact problem during installation, with no resolution. I’m hoping that an installation focused article will make its way to the top of the search results for people to find. If you are getting the above error messages when you run dbca, you have the same problem, since the install app, just calls dbca.

If you find this post useful, tell me! Thanks! :)

While troubleshooting a VOIP problem in one of my clients office environment, I decided I would install mrtg , allowing me to be up and running in 5 minutes, monitoring their network traffic.

Turns out it wasn’t that easy. Sure enough I got MRTG installed and reading data from the cisco ASA 5505 in short order. But shortly thereafter I noticed that the data just didn’t look right. All of the interfaces had almost identical data. The ifInOctets, and ifOutOctets were darn near the same across all three interfaces. Looking at the interface statistics from the CLI confirmed the strange numbers I was getting via SNMP were simply not valid.

Turns out there is a Bug (CSCsi15805) in the 7.2 OS which causes the SNMP iftable to return statistics for the total number of untagged vlan packets, instead of per vlan statistics.

The text of the bug is as follows:

ifTable byte and packet counters are incorrect.

SNMP query on 5505

Use “show interface” CLI command.

Further Problem Description:
SNMP doesn’t properly recognize the EtherSVI and a logical subinterface, so returns aggregate physical inteface stats.

The Fix? Upgrade to ASA OS 7.2.3 or Interim Release This is the first time I’ve ever used the SOHO version of the PIX/ASA, and so far I’m not impressed. I’ve already run into at least two disappointing features/bugs. Given the choice I’d buy a used 515 or 515E.

2 hours later, I’m where I thought I would be an hour and 55 minutes ago.

Cheers! If you find this useful, please let me know! :)