May 26, 2015

Hell and/or High Water

Here's hoping Ubu Roi isn't being forced to demonstrate how well he can tread water!

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May 12, 2015

The things I dream

Last night I dreamed I was on Windows Update downloading the latest patches for King's magic spear.

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Sometimes I wonder about myself...

UPDATE: I could use a magic spear right now. I have long since disabled "Automatic update" on all my machines, and I routinely do manual updates on Tuesdays when MS releases the new ones.

I usually start with my tablet, since if it gets bricked I won't be damaged. If it survives I do all the others. Today it was weird: I had 14 important updates and 1 optional, so I let it go.

It took something like half an hour to check for updates and then to download them. Afterwards, it stopped with a message "15 updates unnecessary" (IIRC). So I rebooted the computer and tried again, and now it's actually installing them. Sheesh.

My Windows Home Server 2003 took nearly an hour to download and install its patches. It's rebooting now.

My torrent computer took something like 45 minutes to download and install the patches.

The ones that really took the time were security patches to .NET; must have been something pretty serious, you know?

Meanwhile, tracker.bakabt.me is responding to pings, a hopeful sign.

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May 06, 2015

Things I wonder about

If you took a cartoon of "Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough" ice cream, and carefully separated out the dough from the ice cream, could you bake it into reasonable cookies?

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April 22, 2015

Goslings

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April 21, 2015

It's definitely spring

I just saw the first batch of ducklings of the year. That's the unmistakeable sign.

I tossed out some bread in hopes they'd come over so I could get a picture, but Mama duck decided to go play at the other end of the yard.

Last year was a bad year for birds. Spring was really cold, so the insect bloom was delayed and never got very large. With food scarce, the bird population suffered. This spring started early and the insect bloom is already starting, and I expect it's going to be a great year for birds.

I dice up bread and put it on my deck for the song birds, and there's a bluejay that's been visiting me quite often, who I assume is taking bread back to feed hungry chicks. The bread is vanishing rapidly.

It's a bit earlier than usual for songbird chicks, but that's a good sign.

Must be Global Warming™.

UPDATE:

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Eat your heart out, Kansas!

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April 18, 2015

Annals of good and bad design

BAD: Just now I wanted to buy something from Office Depot to be delivered here. (I've done this five or six times before.) My bank thinks my billing address is my brother's place. The zipcode there used to be 97006, but recently the post office rototilled the zipcode assignments (because population in this area has risen a lot) and apparently now it's 97003.

Well, my bank doesn't know that. It still thinks it's 97006.

So I entered my billing address for my credit card on Office Depot's web site, and it overrode the zip code I entered (97006) changing it to 97003. And when it submitted the charge to my bank, it didn't match so my bank bounced it.

So I went back into the form and manually changed it to 97006 -- and they overrode it again, to 97003, and the charge bounced again. I'm not willing to mess with it any more; there's a risk the bank will lock my account. So Office Depot loses a sale today.

And the hell of it is that Office Depot is wrong. I just checked and his zipcode still is 97006. The change won't happen for a few months yet.

GOOD: I have a Sharp Microwave oven with a rotating platform inside. I noticed recently that it rotates exactly once every ten seconds. That means when I put a Pyrex measuring cup full of cold water in it and run it 2:30 to make a cup of coffee, when it's done the handle of the measuring cup is exactly where it was when I put it inside, so it's convenient to remove it.

Some nameless, faceless, engineer at Sharp really thought that through.

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March 31, 2015

April Fools Day

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Let's be careful out there!

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February 27, 2015

Wnter? What winter?

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That's my back yard this afternoon. The bugs have started to come out, and I've been seeing songbirds, and the yard guys have come to mow the lawn twice so far this year, and I think we're going to get an early spring.

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February 02, 2015

Bachelor Chef -- Pepper Cream Cheese

Alouette makes my favorite Garlic-and-Herb cream cheese. They used to make cream cheese flavored with black pepper, which was wonderful, but they don't any more. A couple of days ago it occurred to me that I could make it for myself, so today I tried it.

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It's easy to underestimate the amount of cheese and overestimate the amount of pepper, I found. I ended up adding pepper several times, ultimately about six times this much.

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After giving it a thorough mixing, put it in a plastic container and refrigerate for several hours. The flavor components that make fresh-ground black pepper taste so good are mostly oil-soluble, so it takes a while for them to leech out into the cheese. Over the course of several hours I mixed it up about three times, and the last time I added a bunch more pepper because it just didn't taste like enough.

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Serve on Ritz Crackers (the bachelor chef's best friend). And how did it taste? Excellent. The pepper flavor was distinct but didn't overpower the cheese flavor, and it left a nice mild burn in my mouth without making me scream in pain. This was ridiculously easy and the result was very tasty.

If I can do it, you can do it.

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December 18, 2014

Well, this should be fun...

US Weather Bureau is predicting 2-5 inches of rain for here Saturday night. That should be fun. (Also 5-8 inches in the Coast range.)

Where that won't be fun is if the Willamette goes out of its banks. It won't affect us here, but the creek ought to get pretty lively!

UPDATE: I wonder if this will be as bad as the Chrismas Flood? Probably not, but it may come close.

UPDATE: I was only 10 when the Christmas Flood happened, but it's got special meaning to me. It was the second part of a 1-2 punch to hit the Northwest, coming just about a year after what we call the Columbus Day Storm.

About 1961, my parents bought a lot in SW Portland, moved a trailer house onto it, and began building their dream house. Now when a lot of people say "We're building a house" they mean they hired a construction company. That's not what we did. My dad actually designed the place and drew all the blueprints, and worked on it evenings and weekends and vacations. My grandfather, who was a carpenter, came up to help as much as he could, and friends of my dad would sometimes come over and help. My brother, who was 12-13 years old at the time, did a lot of work and me, 8-9, I did as much as I could. We had the foundation poured and the basement covered by the main floor, and managed to put up all the outer walls and got the roof over it, and covered the whole roof with plywood. But there weren't yet any internal partitions by October, 1962.

And then we got the storm of the century, and it blew the house down. I was in the bathroom when it happened so I didn't see it go. But shortly thereafter my folks began to worry that the trailer might roll over in the wind, and so we walked to our neighbor's house and asked them to put us up for the night.

We spent a week living at my uncle's house in NE Portland because his electricity didn't go out. It took us several months to tear everything apart and restack all the lumber, and then to put the walls and roof back up again.

We were a lot further along by a year later when the second punch of the 1-2 whammy happened. It was bad for the state, but it didn't actually affect us at all. (Our lot was on the edge of the Tryon Creek Valley, so the water just ran off and we never saw anything.

But I remember in 1964 people beginning to wonder if we'd get slammed again. (We didn't.) By then we were living in the house and had sold the trailer.

UPDATE: Oh, boy; they've updated the forecast:

LATEST FORECASTS FOR FRIDAY NIGHT THROUGH MONDAY AFTERNOON BRING 8 TO 12 INCHES OF RAIN TO THE CASCADES AND FOOTHILLS...7 TO 11 INCHES FOR THE COAST RANGE...5 TO 7 INCHES ALONG THE IMMEDIATE COAST...AND 3 TO 4 INCHES ALONG THE I-5 CORRIDOR.

That last is me.

And if those estimates are even close to accurate, every river in the western third of this state is going to flood.

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