Fish Fry Update

Well, fish fry season is now over for the year.  The next fish fries won’t be around until next February, with Ash Wednesday being on February 13, 2013.  Last night, I went to the Holy Name fish fry, and I learned that they now charge for beer refills.  They used to hand out pitchers in previous years, but apparently only the first beer in the cafeteria is the only free one you can get.  Otherwise, it was a great season.  I ended up going to 6 of them in a row overall.


A Tale of Two Fish Fries

Today is the last day of fish fries for the Lenten season.  In Omaha, the two major fish fries that get the most attention are those from Holy Name Catholic Church and Mary Our Queen Catholic church.  There are many others in the area, but these two seem to have a rivalry with each other.  Each have their own pluses and minuses, and I am going to briefly review both of them.  Before I do, one thing to understand is that both involve standing in long lines that can last at least two hours before you pay for your food and actually eat anything, and both involve the consumption of alcohol.

The first fish fry in Omaha is the Holy Name fish fry.  It usually opens up the week before Lent actually starts, so it has the advantage of being the first to open each season as well as historically.  In this fish fry, you stand outside most of the time and then the line snakes its way down an old tunnel and then up into the cafeteria.  In this fish fry, you bring your own beer of choice while waiting in line.  Many people bring their coolers and slide them alongside the line for the evening.  If the weather is nice outside, the line is longer, but there is usually a live band playing out in the parking lot to entertain the crowd.  It is nothing too edgy, though.  It is usually consisting of a small drum set, a banjo, and an accordion, but it is just right for the environment.  You cannot bring your beer into the cafeteria, so before you enter the cafeteria, you have to check your cooler at the entrance.  They check for IDs at this point, and if you are old enough, they will hand you one of their beers.  After that checkpoint, you pass a table that sells raffle tickets for things, and then you pass another table where you pay the $10.00 for all you can eat fish.  You take your ticket and exchange it for a styrofoam plate at the front of the cafeteria, and then find a place for you and your entourage to sit and eat.  The food consists of deep fried fish nuggets, coleslaw, fries, and your choice of white or wheat bread.  There is a bar on the side that sells wine, or gives out free beer and free O’douls for the designated driver.  Soft serve ice cream is for sale for $1.00, but they shut it down around 9:00 PM, so if you get late, you are out of luck.  Sundaes are about another dollar extra.  One thing about the Holy Name fish fry is that it is located in an older, run-down part of town, so you may have to park your car in front of an abandoned house, but the whole experience is worth it.  See below:

The second fish fry is located across town at Mary Our Queen Catholic church.  Unlike Holy Name, it is situated in a more suburban setting.  In this fish fry, you cannot bring your own beer.  Instead, they sell beer in the hallway of the school, which is where the line is formed.  You enter the school and are asked for your ID immediately, and then they give you a wristband once verified.  The line at Mary Our Queen takes about an hour longer than with Holy Name.  However, this is the fish fry to go to if it is cold outside or if you like more variety in your meal.  The cost of the meal here is $8.00, which is also all you can eat.  The meal includes your choice of fried fish fillets and/or baked fish fillets, your choice of french fries or deep fried mashed potatoes (be sure to try them if you have not had them already), coleslaw, and Macaroni with Cheese.  You can also choose to have white or wheat bread.  When getting seconds, you ask the mom at the rear entrance of the kitchen for what seconds you want, and they give it to you.  This has more of a family vibe than Holy Name.


The important thing to note are the organizations running each fish fry.  At Holy Name, it is the church’s Men’s Club, and at Mary Our Queen, it is the Knights of Columbus.  Tonight, you have an important decision to make.  I hope this helps.




How not to film something…

…is to use the wrong camera angle.  For example, filming something from the side, where the person’s hands is blocking all of the action as in the video below.


APS Mica Modification Protocol


I made an instructional video on how to modify your mica surface with APS.  It is relatively straightforward.

Here are the steps:

A strip of mica freshly cleaved from both sides is immersed into the APS water solution for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, a strip is washed with AquaMax purified water and is dried with the argon.

The dried APS modified mica strip can be kept in argon filled cuvette for at least a week.

A small, leveld table is needed for the sample preparation procedure.

A Piece of mica from the modified strip is cut and sample is deposited on the surface for 2 minutes.

After 2 minutes, the sample is washed away with AquaMax purified water and dried with argon gas.

The sample deposited will be attached to either a glass slide with glue or a metal disc with double stick tape, depending on the type of AFM used.

Another additional 30-40 min drying in vacuum is recommended after that sample is ready for imaging.

The dried sample can be rescanned within several months after the initial preparation.



How to Get a Free Pair of Eyeglasses (Limited Time)

Coastal contacts is having a promotion to lure in new customers.  This promotion is for people who want to order eyeglasses online on their site for the first time.  If you have your prescription and your pupillary distance (PD), you can find an eligible frame, enter your prescription, pick out lens options (may cost extra), add frames to cart, and then checkout.  When checking out, enter the following code: “FIRSTPAIRFREE”, and you will only be charged for shipping costs.  They seem to have a good selection even for this promotion, as there was a choice of at least 300 frames for men, but there are even more choices for women.  This is a really good promotion, making Stanton Optical’s two pairs for $20.00 look terrible by comparison due to the extremely limited choices available.

Be sure to visit, to pick up your free pair.  I did, and I will write a review on my experience when my free pair arrives.


iPhone Battery Problem, Part 2

One thing that drains battery life is when multiple apps are running.  Even if the app is not currently on the screen, it is still running.  Even when you power off the iPhone and turn it back on, the apps are still running.  Each app that runs is draining the battery, especially ones that use a 3G signal or wi-fi, which is at least 90% of all apps.  However, you can close the apps that are running in the background, but the process is not as straightforward as it should be.

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First, press the black square button twice in quick succession, similar to how you would when double clicking a mouse button.  A toolbar of running apps will show up at the bottom of the screen.  Touch one of the apps on the corner of the icon and attempt to drag it.  The icons should start wobbling and a red circle will appear on the icons.  Press the red circle of each icon to close all apps.  That will close them and preserve battery life.  It is kind of a hassle the way it is currently laid out, but that is effective for freeing up battery life for your iPhone 4S.  I tried showing this to a friend who has an older iPhone, but it did not work for them.



iPhone Battery Problem, Part 1

When you see this screen on your iPhone, it is never a good sign.


Yesterday morning, while getting ready to go to work, I saw the dreaded screen above on my iPhone, which usually means that the battery is empty and/or dead.  I had a similar problem with a free iPod that I had won in a drawing after having it for two years.  In that case, I could not revive it, no matter how much I charged it.  So, I was sort of in a rough spot as my iPhone is the only personal phone line that I have.  I was afraid that my battery was dead and I would have to replace my phone.  First, I went to my cell phone provider to look into getting a possible replacement or repair, but they would have to ship it to me, which would take about a week.  I did not want that option because I like to have a phone around me in case of an emergency (how did people survive emergencies before cell phones? I guess there used to be pay phones, but before that, forget it).  My other option was to drive across town to the only Apple store that exists in the state of Nebraska, so that’s what I did.  This was my first time in an Apple store, and it was very crowded for a weekday morning.  I got some help, and I realized my mistake.  The good news is that it was possible to revive my iPhone.  I also learned of a trick that can help preserve life to an extent on the iPhone 4s, which will be mentioned in a step-by-step guide in part 2.