October 14, 2016

Board up the windows, 'cause they's a storm coming!

Or so they're saying. The remnants of a typhoon which hit the western Pacific circled up and came all the way over here and it supposed to hit us tomorrow. We've had a bit of strange weather already; a tornado touched down in a town on the coast doing minor damage. We had a forecast for high winds a couple of days ago but I didn't notice anything.

The warning was for the entire PNW, so it doesn't necessarily apply invariantly to the entire area. And the prediction is for high winds tomorrow night, mainly on the coast.

I just received an email from XFinity, my internet provider, saying we may get outages but they're ready to work 24-hours to get it fixed, in case. (Xfinity? I thought my provider was Comcast. Oh, well. Maybe we got sold, the way my landline phone provider got sold, or maybe Comcast just changed brand names.)

Regardless, it's possible I'll be out of contact for some period over the weekend


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October 07, 2016

A milestone

For the first time in my life, I have added hot sauce to my food.

In our family growing up, food was hot if it just came from the stove or oven. We didn't use any kind of thing that made food the other kind of hot. So it wasn't until I was out of college and started experimenting with kinds of food I had never eaten in my life (such as Mexican) that I started experimenting with chemical hotness. But I've always been a lightweight.

It's possible to build up a tolerance to the chemicals that do that to your tongue. I worked with a guy originally from Korea, and his mother spiced everything up to the ceiling, and as a result his tolerance for hot food was legendary. When we'd go out to lunch at an Indian place, the waiter would ask "How hot do you want it, 1-10?" and he'd say "20". And they'd make it, and he'd eat it, with no sign of distress. I never had the nerve to try to taste it because I knew I'd be in pain the entire rest of the day.

Over time I have built up the slightest bit of tolerance, I tell myself, to the point where I really do like a bit of pepper in my Mexican food. Which brings us up to today.

I make taco meat a pound at a time. I put it in ice cube trays and freeze it, then transfer the hard cubes into a freezer bag. When I want to make something with taco meat (for instance, a quesadilla) I put a few cubes into a micro-wave safe bowl and nuke them.

The taco sauce I've been using is really tasty but it's labelled "Mild" which means "safe for Anglo Methodists". Today I put 12 dashes of Tobasco sauce in with the rest. I did it in stages; 4 dashes, stir and taste it, then another 4, and I probably could have stood another 4 or 8 beyond what I did.

12 dashes isn't really a lot; the batch turned out to be 23 cubes of meat.

But it really tasted good, and I could feel the heat, just a bit. It's in the ice cube trays freezing now, and I might have it for dinner tomorrow. If this is a success I'll try using even more next time.

UPDATE: And I decided to have that meat for dinner tonight. And it tasted great. It wasn't outrageously hot, especially since I ate it covered in melted cheese.

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October 05, 2016

Good Heavens!

Someone on Metafilter linked to Chizumatic! I wonder if he knows I'm persona non grata? (under my real name. Metafilter is the only site on the web where I use a pseudonym, because there are still people who carry a grudge against me from 14 years ago, and would stalk me if they knew.)

As to the question itself, I don't remember any cases of anime in Japanese with Japanese subtitles. The only times I remember seeing Japanese subtitles it was because the audio language was something else, like English or German.

Which wouldn't help this questioner, who apparently wants to listen to Japanese and read it simultaneously.

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October 03, 2016

Perils of the Web

I've been having bad luck with web-based purchases this year.

A few months ago I put in an order to NewEgg for a couple of 256G flash drives, about $500 worth. Well, they shipped (they say) and Fedex delivered (they say) and I never saw them. So I put in a complaint and it was "investigated" and in the end NewEgg kept my money and Fedex said that they were sure it was delivered, and I ended up with nothing.

There are three likely possibilities here. First, Fedex delivered to the wrong address. Second, they did deliver here and one of my neighbors took it. (The package was shipped without "signature required".) Third, from their point of view: I actually did receive the package and am trying to rip them off.

That last one is wrong, but I'm sure it's happened other times, probably quite a lot.

So I'd like to get more of those flash drives but NewEgg is off my list now.

There are certain OTC pharmaceuticals I use pretty regularly, and I've been getting them from drugstore.com. Once in a while I put in a huge order, and when I get low weeks or months later I put in another one. Like last Thursday.

Well, like a lot of places like that they have multiple warehouses and it turned out one of the things I wanted shipped from Nevada and the rest shipped from Illinois. All of them shipped Friday afternoon by Fedex overnight. Or so they said. I got tracking numbers and everything.

Well, the one from Illinois was delivered today, right on schedule. ("Overnight" means "over a weekend" if one gets in the way.) The Fedex status for the other one suggests that they did the computer stuff with Fedex to get a delivery number, but Fedex never received it. And neither did I.

So back on the web to file a complaint. But not gonna happen. Turns out that drugstore.com got acquired and last Friday was its last day in business. The web site redirects to Walgreen's now, and my login doesn't work on the Walgreen's web site.

I'm a victim of short-timer syndrome, I suspect. Last day of work forever for an employee in Nevada, who said, "Fuck it" and didn't finish the order to ship it. Probably closing time came and the manager said, "No overtime!" and chased everyone out even though there were still orders to finish.

I've been buying stuff through the web for 20 years and this is the first (and second) time I've ever had problems. This second time wasn't as expensive; the order that didn't ship was about $30. All I can do is sit here and seethe. Fortunately, the stuff I needed most was in the box that did ship which I did receive.

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September 02, 2016

Potassium Chloride

I've had a problem with my potassium level being low. This is quite common for Americans. When it gets like that, I start getting leg cramps, which I think isn't quite as common. All of a sudden one or the other of my calf muscles will clench hard, and it really hurts. (It's known as a "Charley Horse".)

I've been putting up with them most of my life, and then I read somewhere that it was caused by low potassium, and the solution was "eat bananas". And it works, too, except that I really hate bananas. I always have; I don't like how they taste. So when I have cramps I will buy bananas, eat a couple of them, and the rest rot on top of my refrigerator. And maybe the cramps go away and maybe they don't.

There has to be a better way. I wondered if there was a pill I could take, a potassium supplement, and indeed they sell such a thing. But what they contain is Potassium Gluconate, and it's only 17% potassium. The rest is essentially sugar.

Apparently the recommended daily intake of potassium is 4700 mg. One of those Gluconate pills contains 99 mg of potassium, which makes it pretty much useless, not to mention ridiculously expensive: 100 pills costs like $6.

My mind doesn't work very fast these days, and about a week ago I remembered that when I was a kid they used to sell something called "salt substitute", for people who back then tried to follow medical advice to drastically reduce their sodium intake. (Which was SCIENCE! back then but is kind of out of favor now.) Salt Substitute was potassium chloride, where table salt was sodium chloride.

I wondered whether they still sell it, so when I put in my most recent order for groceries from Safeway, I checked. And they do; Morton (the salt people) also sell this. So I bought a package.

Just now I had a TV dinner for my evening meal. This was meat loaf, and I always add butter and salt to the veggies and the potatoes. Otherwise they don't taste like anything. This time I added butter and salt substitute, and I was a bit apprehensive about how it might taste. But it was good. The interesting thing is that it does taste almost the same as salt. I shook a bit onto my palm and licked it, and it was nearly the same. If anything it seems to be a slightly stronger flavor.

I hope it makes my leg cramps go away.

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August 20, 2016

Attack of the Ice Giants

And my ice was again delivered early, much to my happiness. Both yesterday and today I signed up for a delivery window of 10-12, and both days they showed up at 9:45. Which was FINE with me.

They did run out of block ice, so per my instructions I got bags of cubes instead. It was still 10 units, though, so it meant I got 70 pounds of ice instead of 100. But it looks like that will be enough to get me through.

I wasn't sure whether I should open the bags or leave them closed. I decided to try it closed to begin with, and it's worked fine. Again I'm very comfortable, not sweaty at all, even though it's above 95 out.

And tomorrow the prediction is 80, so looks like I'm clear. This is probably the last ridiculously hot weather we'll get this summer.

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August 18, 2016

Think ice

Well, "Think snow" didn't have any effect, but "Think 100 pounds of ice" has worked beautifully. I don't have a thermometer but I was very comfortable all day and never broke a sweat at all. It's about 9PM now and there's about 10 pounds of ice left, so I kind of got too much.

Of course, too much is better than not enough. So I've got an order in for another 100 pounds (about 45 kilograms) for tomorrow morning.

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August 17, 2016

I take it back!



UPDATE: Think Snow!




(Somehow I don't think this will work.)

UPDATE: I ordered 100 pounds of ice to be delivered tomorrow morning. That will probably work a lot better.

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August 08, 2016

And now it's Autumn

At the end of July we had one week of pretty toasty weather (mid 90's) and then it got cold again. Right now it's overcast and we've had rain and it's cold, and it feels like September.

I dunno; maybe it'll get warm again at least once. They're predicting another 90 degree day for later this week. But the damage has already been done.

Our entire Spring was terribly cold, and as a result we didn't get an insect bloom this year. Usually on a warm day I look outside and I can see loads of bugs floating around, which get inside my apartment if I leave a door open for more than 20 seconds (like when my groceries are delivered) but not this year.

And that means there hasn't been any food for the song birds. I cube up bread and leave it on my deck and most years I get lots of visits by wrens, sparrows, and jays. This year, hardly any. Usually the bread vanishes rapidly, especially during nesting season, but it didn't happen. There's a pile of bread out there now that I put out three weeks ago and it's hardly been touched. And the only birds singing is crows making a racket.

I wonder if the song birds decamped to elsewhere due to the lack of food? Or did they all (or mostly) just die?

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July 20, 2016

Heck of a good question!


When I was a kid, I thought there would be some point where a gong would sound, and a switch would throw, and suddenly I'd be an adult and I'd know it.

I'm 62 and I'm still waiting. Somehow nothing like that ever happened. I've come to the conclusion that this old saw was actually the truth:

The only difference,
between men and boys
is the size of their lies
and the price of their toys.

The only real change, and I suppose it was a good one, was when I left home to go to college. After that I could decide to do things without having to ask permission from my mother. (My dad died a week before I entered college.)

All my life, deep down I had this irrational fear that someone was going to walk up to me someday and say, Nope, nope, it was all a mistake. We've decided you don't get to be an adult after all. You have to get back in the cage again and let other people run your life.

And now I'm facing that as a real possibility. I may have to enter a nursing home, and the prospect fills me with abject terror. I got two and a half weeks of that in November 2012 after my stroke when I was in the rehab hospital, and after one week I was ready to go home, at least mentally. (I sure wasn't physically, though.)

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