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John's · LiveJournal


Resistentialism Incarnate

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I heard an interesting thing on the radio earlier about someone trying out different pickle recipes with a variety of vinegars, and it occurred to me -- why not sushi with different vinegars? I bet unagi would be pretty damn tasty with a malt vinegar sushi, or maybe even small pieces of tempura haddock. Red wine vinegar might add an interesting dimension to something mild like yellowtail. Cider vinegar might stand up a little better to salmon. I'm not talking a 1:1 substitution, of course, the stronger vinegar would need to be watered down or cut with rice wine vinegar, but I think their flavors would still come through fine.
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I fail at ad-blocking software. I compulsively click the little icon that indicates a blocked flash thingie. Not even to see what I’m missing, just because it’s there.
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It was the damn pine nuts. Seriously, this has been freaking me out for the last few days. (Yup, symptoms started the day after I made a chicken tagine on top of which I sprinkled pine nuts)
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Just posted on the subject of nut flours on my other blog; Do any of you have experience with using them? (Nut flours, not nut meal -- usually the leftovers from pressing nuts for oil. they tend to be dryer and much lower fat, and so apparently have different properties from nutmeal, and are cheaper to boot)
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Is anyone else playing Legends of Zork? It's... interesting. Rather like Kingdom of Loathing, and having some teething problems, I think, but certainly enjoyable.
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Ah, April 2nd, my yearly "catch up on what was actually true on the internet yesterday" day.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the jokes, and I think that the world needs a periodic reminder that it's really easy for their sources of information to totally bullshit them. But I always have other things going on on the 1st, and rarely have the chance to see the jokes, so it's easier for me to skip the internet entirely for a day then come back later.

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I'm meeting a friend for a drink tonight and actually found myself thinking, "It's a nice night, I should walk." It's 40 degrees out. For comparison, the inside of your refrigerator is probably only a few degrees cooler.
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Have any of you tried receiving digital broadcast television yet?
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Maybe commenting on it will just jinx it, but we've just had one week of warm weather* and are scheduled to have another. Maybe that robin I saw actually did foretell spring? Or maybe (dare I hope it) someone got the message and ate the groundhog?

* Keep in mind that this is New Hampshire, and when I saw "warm" I mean "warm for New Hampshire in February. Which is not warm. But the sun has been out and the ice has been melting and I haven't had to spend more than five minutes scraping my windshield in two weeks. Of course, this is also the time of year in which it is not unusual to have a 50 degree (F) temperature swing over the course of a week, as happened in January. That would be like having a week that starts at the freezing point and ends at 80.

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I caved and got a Keurig machine. One of the big things that persuaded me to get over the wastefulness is that frequently if I don't have the time/energy/brain to make myself coffee at home in the morning, I will instead buy a cup at the Co-op or business school cafeteria... in a great big paper-and-plastic cup. I have a travel mug now that I often remember, but still. The other thing is that compared to the wastefulness of roasting and brewing small batches of coffee shipped to me from California, this is not especially wasteful.

But really, I decided many years ago when I was totally broke that coffee would be my one luxury. If I could afford nothing else, I would at least take the time and spend the money to drink good coffee. I can do without going out to eat. I can do without beer, I have done without internet access and still do not have cable. But coffee, I promised, I would not skimp on that. Yet, especially now that I have to get up earlier than I prefer and leave the house not long thereafter in order to find parking several days a week, the answer is nearly always to do without my morning cup and if I really need it to take time out from my work morning and go buy a cup to drink at my desk. This is not enjoyment of a luxury, this is consumption of a commodity.

Now that the beast is sitting on the countertop, glowing blue and wondering why I stopped at just one cup (of a reasonably tasty Italian roast blend) I'll have to see what this does to/for my coffee habits. In the meantime, I will ponder just how notorious and wealthy I could become by designing a system like this for heroin.
Current Music:
Take Five - The Dave Brubeck Quartet
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I managed to fight my way back home through the snowstorm in time to have lunch and finish my work here. I probably should not have driven in to work in the first place. I need a better working space outside the office for days like these: surely this will not be the last snowstorm of the season that I will want to sit out.
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I've struggled for a while to come up with anything interesting to say about today. Bush is out, Obama is in. Millions today are feeling and expressing a lot of the same hope that very different millions expressed eight years ago today. Those same people for far too long were not willing to admit when "their guy" did something wrong. I don't know whether it was post-purchase rationalization, a Machiavellian sense that all the bad things were worth their handful of victories, or simple loyalty. Regardless, a lot of people stood quiet who could have spoken out, and it frustrated the hell out of me. It was like they wore blinders, refused to see any evidence against him.

And it so it seems that the best thing that I can do today, is to pledge my disloyalty to the new President, and encourage others to do the same. It's nothing personal, Mr. Obama, but if this country can't afford more Bush, it also can't afford more of the Bush-blinders. And I don't mean just giving the new President crap when he's being ideologically incorrect -- there's far too much of that already. I mean being willing to say he's doing the wrong thing even if it happens to generally fit into one's own ideology. And anyone who is incapable of realizing when their own ideas would do or are doing more harm than good, is no better than Bush.
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I've been going to a gym for a while, and have managed to get back into some reasonable semblance of shape. It is, however, the New Year, which means that the gym will be much busier than usual for a month or two before settling back to normal. While this makes me a little happy -- they are, after all, subsidizing my own membership -- it means that I'm spending much more time on the treadmill, that neglected exercise stepchild, than usual. And I've had ample opportunity to discover that my gym shoes are not nearly as good as they could be. When I run, my feet hurt. This is a vast improvement over, say, a few months ago, when if I ran my everything would hurt, but I would like to further improve the situation by buying new shoes.

Here's where the runners in the audience come in, because I really have no idea what to look for in shoes. I know that I should go shopping near the end of the day and look for something comfortable, but that's about the end of my knowledge. I've gritted my teeth and accepted that I could well spend $100 on a pair, but if it gets me comfortable enough running that I can go jogging in the spring, I'd be happy with that.

Any thoughts?
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Ever suspect you're not getting your fair share of pizza when you split with a friend? Never fear -- a strategy has been devised to make sure that you get yours. (Of course, if you let your friend cut, then "yours" is a scant 4/9ths of the pizza...)
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I finished reading The Callahan Chronicles (collected short stories by Spider Robinson) -- great stuff, even if Robinson is obviously a much bigger Heinlein fan than I ever was (it comes out the most in the last story, which just leaves me cold). Great material, awesome puns, well worth reading if you haven't.
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To whom it may concern: I now have a quite attractive bonsai juniper plant in my south-facing window. I'm not sure which is the nicer gesture, the thoughtful gift, or the implied belief that I am capable of keeping a houseplant alive. Naturally I will try to reward that confidence!
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I've done a fair bit of reading and game-playing over the past couple weeks. Now that the season's coming to a close, I figured I'd share some of my favorites.Collapse )
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For those of you who listen to audiobooks, I highly recommend the Agatha Christie books read by David Suchet. I listened to Murder on the Orient Express over the holiday, and it was really well done. Not a bad price on iTunes, either.
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"The Gift of the Magi" doesn't really survive well in the credit card era, does it?
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I honestly can't speak to this at all -- I just don't like coleslaw, so I'd never ask for it to find out. I always thought of it as a generic mid-west thing, though. The rest of it, though, does describe my preferences: mustard, chili sauce, and chopped onions all sound really good. I'd just substitute a sour relish.
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This is going to prove to be a turning point in Chinese foreign policy, I think.
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I'm pretty sure that last Hanjie puzzle I did was a mushroom cloud. The back of the book claims "lamp" but I don't buy it.
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One thing really bothers me about the news feeds I read -- mixed in with the global news events, the arts news, the tech news, and the (tedious but understandable) sports news, there's an awful lot of celebrity gossip. Why the hell is the BBC reporting on Britney Spears or Amy Winehouse? I resent knowing as much as I do about these peoples' lives just from reading headlines. I'd ask, "who cares?" but the point is that way too many people care -- sometimes I feel like our generation was brought up to peep through keyholes. Because we want to know, and (thanks to telephoto lenses and bribeable "friends") we can know, does it follow that we should know all these private details about peoples' lives? I wish there were a filter on these RSS feeds so that at least I don't have to be exposed to it, feel like I need to wash my hands just because I skimmed through the day's headlines.
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If any of you happen to use python on Mac OS, and want to use MySQL-python, I recommend taking a look at the directions here. In the most recent version, it looks like the types.h error has been fixed, so it's a step shorter than he suggests.
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Like many other people on the Internet, I periodically see heartfelt pleas to raise money for someone's burned-down house or dying pet or enormous goiter. I too have a cynically exploitative dream that relies on the collective good will of the web not being completely tapped out: I want to be the next Senator of Illinois. I don't live there, I've never been there, and I'm not entirely sure where it is, but I think that this small achievement is within my grasp, if only the internets can come through for me. I know you won't let me down! [[ insert picture of crying puppy or baby giraffe or something. ]]

It'll be a little while before I can set up a donation box, in the meantime, please post your pledges in the comments below. Every little bit helps! Every non-trivial contribution helps!

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I enjoy the Dresden Files -- I've polished off the entire series so far on my Kindle. But, as I finish #10, I really wonder whether it hasn't so much jumped the shark, as rather that it exists by jumping from the back of one shark to that of progressively bigger ones. Of course, I'm looking forward to the next one.
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I've decided not to finish NaNoWriMo. While I am having writer's block issues, my problem is actually that I think my idea is too good. Besides, my problem has never been verbosity: I can churn out verbiage like nobody's business. There is far more art in being succinct, and that is what I would prefer to hone.

In a way, I achieved my aim anyway -- I'm enjoying writing again. After the miserable experience of a 400-page PhD thesis, that's something.

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I just bet $50 that a) Congress will bail out the country's auto makers (however undeservingly), b) they will merge or be purchased, or c) they will miraculously pull themselves out of it.

In other news, I'm finding stock trading way too interesting. I thought that the ground rules I laid for myself would be enough to curb a tendency to get too into stuff like this: purchases only, no more than $50 per trade, no short-selling, no sales of stock for a year. They still might, but I should probably be a little more careful. Don't get me wrong, I do actually think that Ford is undervalued at $1.50 a share (3.5B market cap). ... but maybe I should have convinced myself of that *before* putting in the trade order, rather than after...

Edit: A few weeks on, I've just about doubled my money. I doubt it will go much further, though, and if they accept aid, they won't be allowed to issue dividends. Hmmm...

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Fascinating. I'm now suddenly seeing advertising on my friends page, where it oh-so-helpfully blocks some of the content.
Edit: Ah, I was logged out.
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