Dog Days

Been getting more sweat-inducing work recently. Long story, but good outcome.

We’re staging in our own implementation of zoned AC here at twc central, and my office hasn’t been put in the loop, yet. One-a these days… πŸ˜‰ But since I’ve been getting some serious shirt sleeve time in the humidity (though only upper 80s) outdoors for the past week or so, no AC with a room temp of 86F isn’t all that bad. Of course, that’s near the computers. The other side of the room’s only 82.4 right now. *heh* Balmy. Can’t wait to move my office to the basement…

Went shopping for a new dishwasher on my birthday. Going to wait on buying and having our selection installed until I can definitely schedule to be here for the installation, though. My schedule right now is too crazy. Maybe the end of June. Set the $$ aside and plan the work… And no, I’m not stupid enough to do the installation myself. Almost, but not quite. (I will pull the old one out, though. I can do something like that on one of those nights when sleep eludes me ;-))

As soon as I have my table saw back, I have several projects around the house to do this summer. Should be fun.

And then there are the lil compy projects I have on standby… While I really like various ‘nix distros, and for normal, everyday computing I think Linux or BSD are really quite easily Good Enough (and in many ways superior to Windows), I really have to stay current with M$ software, since that’s where folks need help. (Hmmm, seems there ought to be something to say there… ) Oh, my calls for help with Apple computers are about as great in terms of percentages of users *heh*, it’s just that there really aren’t very many Mac users in America’s Third World County and hereabouts.

And Linux users? The population is pretty much confined to a few geeks and some users I have switched over to Linux.

So, more Microsoft products to play with on twc central computers. I have several licensed copies/versions of XP and Windows 7, and even copies of Windows Server 2008(R2) and Windows Home Server to play around with this summer. Heck, if WHS is “Good Enough” I might just keep that around for other users here at twc central. Then there’re copies of Office 2007 (which I’ve been avoiding using) and 2010 I probably ought to install and noodle around with. If my schedule ever slows down enough, I think I can find things to keep busy.

Oh, this post is being written in a new WinXP64 VM session. No reason to have XP except for the fact that so many folks still use it. Nice the way Virtualbox runs just about any OS so very nicely in VMs. A full installation of XP in a Virtualbox session is MUCH better (more complete, “real”) than M$’s “XP Mode” available in Win7 Pro and up. Not that it’s all that great to begin with. I never warmed up to XP, so all I can say is, it works at least as well as XP on a physical machine.

(Rambling any? Tired and just… rambling.)

Quirky Day

As a result of beating back some locusts (and getting my lunch eaten by others *heh*), this turned out to be a mostly good, productive but kinda quirky day.

Man! Was I ever a chatty cathy during the time working on the tail end of flooring and other projects Down South. Motormouth city, fer shure. (And yeh, I coulda had a classic SM-58 in my hand doing a monologue, for all the running off… gottachucleatmyself… )

Learned something freaky deaky about OS X. Installing a new hard drive (in a Macbook) and using an OS X install CD apparently does NOT automagically bring up a prompt to initialize the new disk. Have to open Utilities… Disk Utility in the boot menu to force recognition and installation of the drive. Strange. I’ve not run into that in other OSes hardly at all in the last 10 years. I guess Apple only wants geeks to install new drives in their systems. Can’t give an average user any obvious help. *heh* That Apple: always looking out for the users to keep ’em from doing normal stuff. *LOL*

Anyway, boy did I feel like an idiot when I looked over instructions someone had printed out for transferring all his data and software from one Macbook drive to a new one. I never even thought the system wouldn’t tell him he needed to initialize the drive. Silly me. I acted like he was doing the install on a Windows, Linux or BSD system. Live and learn.

Man, sometimes getting old sucks swamp gas. (Yeh, the gas can be a problem too.) Now, my good knee and good hip (on opposite sides, no less… of course) are the ones talking to me. Figures. Just when I get used to the pain in the others… πŸ™‚

My Wonder Woman just got another rave review from her work for another course in her grad classes. Natch. She’s such a wiz! But heck, with a 3,000 word paper for her first month’s class and a ten page paper for this class, at this rate she should just have shot for a PhD, complete with thesis. *heh* Her EdLaw class has at least been pretty interesting. But it’ll be over by the end of this month, I think, and her next class doesn’t begin until April. Means she’ll have some “time out” (from course work, not from teaching) before Lovely Daughter’s wedding March 27. Nice.

Lovely Daughter home early tonight–by 8:00 or so. I guess she has a big day tomorrow between church and some sort of social activity tomorrow evening. Something about gathering to worship some really amazing pottery? I think she called it a “super bowl” or some such. I don’t get it. Seems like idolatry to me, but then I’m just an Olde Pharte.

Oh, well, I don’t suppose it’s much more idolatrous than what goes on in most churches on Sunday mornings.

Just hit my own personal wall. Going to hit the sheets before my head falls off my shoulders.

Snow

Well, America’s Third World County is just about exactly as white as snow… wherever the sand trucks haven’t been (which is everywhere except the one main highway).

Went out and about to see the crazies drive. They were out. And crazy. Went about 10 miles to get groceries (well, and beer; there is NO decent beer for sale in town–seriously–and I’m behind on brewing up more *sigh* Need to start some more, and some cider, this weekend). Saw 4 trucks from the highway department–3 plowing and one sanding–headed north as we were headed south. 30 minutes later, as we were headed back north, there was no real evidence they’d been by… and here they came on their southward trek on the same span of highway.

Cleaned cars off once today–about 4″. The 30 mins we were in buying groceries, another inch piled on. Back for a few hours. Another 4-5 inches on the car we drove out for groceries.

Add this to the earlier snow this month, and this is more snow than we’ve had in one January since we moved here 15 years ago. Must be global warming.

Oh. Well. At least my wonder Woman had the day off, as the back roads were impassable or unsafe for the buses. Meant she had more time to sleep in a bit and still have extra time to work on papers for a grad class. Good on her. I spent some time under the house beefing up some insulation around pipes. Never had a problem, but I had the wraps (and bought some more insulating foam-in-a-can while we were out), so I figured why not? Found a couple of cracks/seams I could foam and pack w/fiberglass. Little snugger is nice.

Kitchen Fan

I’m a fan of Wolfgang Puck’s kitchen wares. It started around seven years ago when I found a nice set of Puck-ish mixing bowls with lids. Mixing bowls are always an issue around here–having enough, appropriate sizes, etc. No more. That the set included some whisks and such and was at a “fell-off-the-truck” price was just lagniappe I couldn’t pass up.

Since then, various Puck-ish wares, such as his 10-cup rice cooker (ours is actually an older model, same essential features, though), have found their way into our kitchen and proved themselves useful, durable and versatile. The most recent addition came because of the ongoing deterioration of our once top o’ the line “waterless” cookware. Oh, the pots n pans are still in fine shape, but, over the past 30 years, the Bakelite handles have slowly gone the way of the dodo. Yes, I have tracked down a source for replacement handles (and lid knobs), but the total cost would’ve been around what it cost to buy this:

No, the set’s not “waterless” and only the bottoms of the pots n pans are multi-clad, but with very little adaptation of my cooking habits, the past six months’ use of them has been positive, without exception.

I saw a FB comment a while back panning *heh* the set because the user said the handles got too hot and the pans were not “no-stick”–even hard to clean. Bushwah. Someone didn’t RTM (“read the manual”–bowdlerized for those folks who’re too prissy for “RTFM” :-)). Instructions for the set say explicitly to use them on NO HIGHER than medium high heat. That and the old rule that any cook worth his salt knows for keeping pans “unsticky”–“hot pan, cold oil: food won’t stick”–has meant I have experienced neither of the issues the person who DIDN’T “READ THE MANUAL” had with the pans.

To be fair, after 30 years of using “waterless” cookware that was also designed for the same heat range as this set, that wasn’t an adjustment for me. But, no. Paying $100 for a bunch of pots n pans and then not even reading the little one-page instruction card that came with ’em is just stupid.

So, in a very, very (very) inexpensive set of pots n pans (with some nice lil tools as well–minimalist spats n spoons, useful meat fork, another nice whisk), I have found some surprisingly advanced features and decent build quality, and so I’m pleased. Heck, my cheapo set of six stock pots (found at another “fell-off-the-truck-pricing” store–six, admittedly cheap stock pots in graduated sizes for $25? Yeh, even for cheap stock pots, that’s really cheap) even has lids that can double up on some of the pots n pans when I do not want to use the glass lids, for whatever reason.

I have my eye out for more Puck-ish wares

Lil Kitchen Tip

While I have a wealth of cutting boards now, for quite some time we made do with a “practice” cutting board of mahogany that I’d made when I was in seventh grade (as a gift for my grandmother).

mahogany-pig

(Click to enbiggen the pic πŸ™‚ )

While using it exclusively for all our kitchen cutting n chopping, I devised a simple method that made things go a bit faster in the kitchen. When the pig’s facing right, cut veggies. When it’s facing left, cut meats. Sure, I still had to clean the pig–and the counter it was on–after use, but I didn’t have to clean it WHILE in use. No matter which I started cutting frirst, the veggies/meats were kept to different surfaces, as long as I cut all of either veggies or meats at once.

Later, our collection grew, of course (including the walnut/maple cutting board the mahogany one was practice for, as my mom had decided her “new”, smaller kitchen needed utensil/tools downsizing), but the habit’s remained and has continued to be a useful streamlining habit.

knives-n-pig

BTW, that’s my two fav chef’s knives shown. An older Chicago cutlery knife that’s still in very good condition and a newer (only about 20 years old, now) Sabatier-before-Sabatier-was-devalued-by-WallyWorld that was an anniversary present from my Wonder Woman to me. (Last year, when Sabatier was still seliling directly online, this model was priced at $107, but I’m sure she didn’t pay that much 20 years ago.) She knows I loves me knives. *arrgh!* πŸ™‚

I just have to get some new lines

So, my Wonder Woman picked up my coffee mug and took a sip. I sighed and said, “Now you’ve done it. Ruined another cuppa coffee… *sigh*”

“It’s too sweet, now?” she replied.

Yeh, I need new lines. Over the past 30-*mumble* years, I’ve become far too predictable.

Meandering Musings

So, North Korea has a popgun… sorta. But that’s not what disturbs me so. Subliterate dumbasses rule the Mass Media Podpeople Hivemind:

SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea’s rocket may have fallen into the sea, but military experts cautioned Monday against calling it a complete failure, noting that it traveled twice as far as any missile the country has launched.

What disturbs me is that I estimate that approaching 100% of politicians *spit*, Mass Media Podpeople and Academia Nut Fruitcakes, and at least 90% of the American public wouldn’t see anything wrong with the sentence above. *sigh* Expand β€œIn a democracy (”rule by mob”), those who refuse to learn from history are in the majority… ” to include people who can’t count or even think.

There’s nothing like a good crisis for effecting a political control of private resources, is there?

Obama Wants to Control the Banks
There’s a reason he refuses to accept repayment of TARP money…

…The chairman offers to write a check, now, with interest. He’s been sitting on the cash for months and has felt the dead hand of government threatening to run his business and dictate pay scales. He sees the writing on the wall and he wants out. But the Obama team says no, since unlike the smaller banks that gave their TARP money back, this bank is far more prominent. The bank has also been threatened with “adverse” consequences if its chairman persists. That’s politics talking, not economics.

Think about it: If Rick Wagoner can be fired and compact cars can be mandated, why can’t a bank with a vault full of TARP money be told where to lend? And since politics drives this administration, why can’t special loans and terms be offered to favored constituents, favored industries, or even favored regions? Our prosperity has never been based on the political allocation of credit — until now.

Meanwhile, The O! wants to put everything but hopenchange back into Pandora’s Box. (And stop the tide from coming in and turn everything he touches into gold and all other manner of mythical accomplishments.) Will the Republic survive The O!? Will the planet? Film at eleven (of The Beast in another ugly dress, posing as Jackie O.)

I don’t know which is worse, President “Fifi” Bush holding hands with a Saudi “Prince” (read “Thug” for “Prince”) or The O! bowing to a foreign potentate (thug). You make the call”

FILES-US-POLITICS-INAUGURATION-BUSH-LEGACY

Meanwhile, at least 31 States have introduced (and some have passed) bills affirming the 10th Amendment. Perhaps there is some small hope for The Founders’ Constitution still remaining.

The odious Senator Ted Stevens was apparently another easy target for federal persecutors’ implementation of the central principal of modern governance: anarcho-tyranny or, “going after a ‘safe criminal'”. Until–this time, finally–federal persecutors got caught cooking the evidence. What republic can long survive when its people rightly view its law enforcement as capricious at best, normally corrupt.

Hmmm… notalotta encouragement from what passes as news nowadays, eh? Some, but not much. And what there is of encouragement doesn’t seem to find its way into Mass Media Podpeople Hivemind “reportage”.


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Another Thing I Just Don’t Get

One of the few TV shows I really enjoy features a gal who helps folks deal with their problem dogs. Recently, I saw her deal with some serious problem owners who had let their dogs become grossly obese.

I just don’t get it. Overeating, under-exercised dogs? Who’s in charge? Our son’s “big boy” started gaining more weight than he ought to carry. Investigated. He was stealing the other dog’s food. Now, we simply supervise them at meal time. Big boy still wants more than we feed him, but all he gets is what we give him. So, for the past several years, both boys have been trim and fit. They pretty well take care of ther activity part, chasing squirrels, groundhogs, etc., out of the yard, running around barking at passers-by (yeh, they’re very “terrortorial” and I like that about them–a lot. Better than an alarm).

Still, taking one or the other out for a walk is a good way for me to get off my lazy butt. *heh*

But, fat dogs? I just don’t get it. Lazy, stupid owners are just about the only reason for fat dogs.

Coda: “taking one or the other out for a walk”–not both. One medium sized male dog, another large male dog (who really should be pulling a cart)? Walked at same time by me? Sure, they’re well-behaved. Sure, I could do it, but why? It’d mean one dog on each side, both hands occupied (I’d never walk two such dogs off one hand–just not smart). Nuh-uh. Not gonna happen. I’ll do it once a year taking ’em to the vet, but aside from that? Nope.

Just for Fun: pico-brewing

I bottle condition the beers I make using a small shot of sugar and/or (sometimes) some of the trub, cos that’s the only way I really have of ensuring a good carbonation in the final product. OK, it also helps the flavors mature just a tad, as well. But since I add a tad of sugar to each bottle for the conditioning process, it does mean I have a lil sediment in every bottle–some more, some less.

So, as a lil experiment, I’ve been saving the sediment in one (clean) bottle and now I’m making a “one boittle pico-brew” out of it. *heh*

Added about a tablespoon of molasses and warm water, shook. Roasted some pearled barley (cos it’s what I had) and ground it up really fine; added a little Malt-O-Meal to that and ground it up some more; funneled about a tablespoon of that into the bottle, filled it with warm water, gently rolled it around a bit to get that mixed well, then placed the lid of the swingtop bottle loosely on top. Placed the bottle in my conditioning drawer. Last I looked, the top was acting as a kinda one-way airlock letting carbon dioxide out, but seemed to settle back on down after each lil mini-burp. Nice floculant on top & I can see it actually brewing.

It may be a tad high in sugar content, what with the molasses and malted grains, but… oh, well. πŸ™‚

We’ll see how this turns out. Even though I used some trub-heavy sediment from the bottles, I don’t expect much in the way of hopsiness, and it’ll be REAL heavy on sediment (trub, in this case)… which I’ll save when I decant it into another bottle for further conditioning.

Heck. I just thought: shoulda added some coffee to it. *heh* Maybe next time, if this turns out at all well…

*heh*

Yeh, weird. And just for fun. Not going to count as one of my “real” brewing experiments, but might just turn out semi-drinkable anyway.

And the trub? Gonna make some bread. In fact, I have some I saved and dried just for that purpose. Think maybe I’ll make some “beer bread” tonight.


BTW, you know the oldest known beer recipe used bread to make the beer. In fact, it seems from the context of the Sumerian text that’s been translated that beer was thought of as something like liquid bread (as it appears some Medieval monastic orders also thought).