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Brooks

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This should be easier than this [13 Jul 2018|11:23pm]
[ mood | tired ]

A while ago, one of our bathroom over-sink light-fixture shades fell and cracked a hole in the ceramic sink. I put a temporary waterproof-tape patch on it, which was good for a while, and bought a replacement sink (conveniently, we knew the previous homeowners had bought everything from Home Depot, so I could find an identical one), but it took me a while to get around to actually doing the replacement.

A "yay" thing: I finally got around to starting on that this evening!

A "boo" thing: This is a sink that is basically glued to the underside of the countertop with caulk, rather than going in from the top. To assemble it in the first place, the factory assemblers (I'm pretty sure this was a pre-made unit) cut a hole in the plywood cabinet top just a bit bigger than the sink, and then screwed some plywood support blocks onto the bottom of it to make ledges for the lip of the sink to sit on. They then sat the sink on those ledges, which left the top of the sink about level with the top of the plywood, and glued the ceramic countertop to the plywood cabinet top, trapping the sink in between.

In a reasonable world, the plywood support blocks would have been screwed on from the underside, so I could have simply unscrewed them. However, they were screwed in from the top, which meant the screw heads were trapped between the plywood and the glued-on ceramic countertop.

A small "yay" thing: The screws were slightly longer than the two layers of plywood, so I could at least see where they were by the tips sticking out of the bottom layer.

A "yay" thing: The local Lowe's Hardware Store was open until 10pm, so I could go and buy a small hole-cutting saw (imagine a tube with saw teeth on the end, that goes into an electric drill), and I was able to use that to cut around the screws and get the support blocks out that way. I could then unscrew the remaining little cut-out plugs off the screws and break off the ends of the screws.

Another "yay" thing: I had been wondering how to do this without having the sink basically drop on my head when I removed the plywood support pieces -- and how to hold the new sink in place while the caulk dried. Conveniently, the internet provided an answer -- put a 2x4 scrap across the top of the opening, and drop a pipe clamp from there down through the hole in the sink to hold the sink up. This worked perfectly, at least for getting the old sink out, which is as far as I got.

A "boo" thing: It then took me a half-hour of looking to find my caulking gun, because my tools are currently in semi-packed-up disarray due to another project (namely, cleaning the space where they go and creating organizational stuff like pegboards so eventually I can find them all easily).

Another "boo" thing: Once I found the caulking gun, I discovered that my unopened-but-old container of silicone caulk had hardened in the tube.

So, tomorrow I go get more caulk, I guess, and see if I can get the new sink in place.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth (original here), with comment count unavailable comments. Comment here or there; comments here will eventually be duplicated to there.

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Five things, June 10th. [10 Jun 2018|11:16pm]
1.) T. had her second birthday party yesterday, and her actual birthday today. It was a fairly low-key party; the five of us plus the two kids, and another family from around the corner, went out to Happy Hollow Park and Zoo for the morning and had a picnic and the kids played on the playgrounds and rode the rides and peered at the meerkats and capybara and fed the goats. Much fun, and I took quite a lot of photos and discovered that my camera's autofocus cannot keep up with kids going around in circles on rides, and got rather a bit of a sunburn on my forehead. And I did get some in-focus photos on the rides by picking a spot, setting the focus there, and waiting until they came around to that point.

2.) Also from yesterday, I was amused by M.'s proclivity for making friends. One of the circular rides has bugs that bounce gently up and down and have forward-facing seats on the front and rearward-facing seats on the bug. Morgan struck up a conversation with a girl who was in the seat facing her and T., and by the end of that ride they wanted to go again sitting side-by-side, and they did that twice, and at that point they appeared to be best friends. (And were very sad when the other girl had to go off to the other birthday party she was there for.) I am rather inspired by how she does that.

3.) Last week I built a couple of hanging shelves in the garage, 8 feet long and 16 inches deep, sized to hold 32 (!) of the plastic boxes that I'm using for organizing tools and things. I was a little concerned about whether I'd need to be careful about putting heaving things on the shelves, since they hang from the ceiling but by the time they were done I realized that I could comfortably lean all of my weight on them to hammer in the last few nails, so I think they will do just fine. And this gives me space to put tools that is (a) easily accessible and organizable rather than just stacks of stuff, and (b) isn't in the office room in the house. So that will be very helpful. Right now, though, it's mostly full of boxes of tools-that-need-to-be-organized.

4.) I made chili -- or quasi-chili, depending on your opinions on what does or does not count as such -- for dinner tonight. It was simple and quite tasty -- one large onion, diced and sauteed in the soup pot, along with some chipotle powder and cumin powder. Then one large green pepper and two small orange peppers (cheaper than red peppers at the store this week), likewise diced, each put in once I got done dicing them. When those were nicely cooked, I added a 28-oz can of tomatoes, two 14-oz cans of black beans, and two 14-oz cans of pinto beans. That didn't look like enough tomatoes, so I added another 14-oz can of those. This then simmered for a half-hour or so, and somewhere in the middle I salted it to taste with soy sauce -- I've come to the conclusion that for many things of this sort, it greatly improves the flavor to use soy sauce rather than just salt. And it seemed to want something else, so I added a spoonful or so of dried marjoram, because it is tasty and we don't use it that often. It came out quite well.

5.) I found a laser barcode scanner in the personal-electronics-recycle bin at work last week. It's a proper professional one, with the laser line and a chirpy beep when it recognizes a barcode, and it has a USB plug and as far as the computer is concerned it's just a keyboard. And so now I have a question: Why is it that I now feel compelled to find things around the house with barcodes and scan them, and why is there such glee in scanning them and having this thing make its chirpy beep and seeing the numbers appear on screen? I feel sort of like a chipper mad scientist, wanting to go muah-ha-ha and shoot things with the laser and giggle. And it's not just me; [personal profile] suzannemoses also had this reaction to it....

Crossposted from Dreamwidth (original here), with comment count unavailable comments. Comment here or there; comments here will eventually be duplicated to there.
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In which T. is almost two. [10 Jun 2018|12:24am]
She will be two tomorrow. We had a small birthday party today, involving going to Happy Hollow Park and Zoo and having a picnic. I took many photographs, which I will need to sort through, but I wanted to go ahead and post this one:

She was only standing that way for a second, but even so! And this was without a parent nearby and the only encouragement being watching M. doing it a bit earlier.

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Today's installment of Excessively Thrifty Recipes [14 Apr 2018|01:32pm]
Step 1:

* When making fried eggs for 5-year-old who will only eat egg whites, separate the yolks into a small tupperware kept in the freezer.

Step 2:

* When making lasagna, thaw out the accumulated dozen-or-so yolks and add them (along with some dried basil) to the cottage cheese for the filling, thereby adding extra yummy richness.

Step 3:

* To make a nutritious breakfast from a mostly-emptied fridge, take leftover cottage cheese and egg yolk mixture that didn't fit into lasagna, and cook in a frying pan until it simmers, thereby making a thin cheese sauce. Place in a bowl, and let it cool somewhat. As it cools it will revert to a cottage-cheesy texture. Eat by dipping toast spears into it, like fondue.

Accompany with a ripe avocado from where someone didn't pick up their farmshare delivery at work. (Unclaimed bags are up for grabs after 8pm; this was two days later.)

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Today's random discovery [25 Jan 2018|02:03am]
"[In] Great Britain, many Victorian-era locomotives were specially equipped to prepare tea."

Because of course they were. You're driving a thing that is basically a large tea kettle, obviously you will want tea at some point, a convenient solution is obvious.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth (original here), with comment count unavailable comments. Comment here or there; comments here will eventually be duplicated to there.
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Random linkage [14 Jan 2018|09:16pm]
A costume designer who raises Monarch butterflies as a hobby uses a bit of rubber cement and spare butterfly wings to repair the wing of a butterfly that severely damaged its wings coming out of its chrysalis -- and it works.

I had no idea this was possible. Apparently neither did she until a friend sent her a video of someone else doing it, but now we know!

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So, those "Autumn Gold" appliances from the 1970s.... [11 Jan 2018|12:24am]
[ mood | amused ]

I know that we tend to mock them a bit (along with the Avocado Green ones), but I just came across a picture on Tumblr that shows some of them in context, and in context it's clearly the right color for them to be.

Actually, now that I think about it, it's possible that mocking Autumn Gold appliances was a 1990s thing and I'm just way out of date with it and they've now hit a point where they're alluringly retro instead. But anyway. I have to share, regardless, because this kitchen is so great and I love it.

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Quite a surfeit of turkey [25 Dec 2017|09:10pm]
[ mood | happy ]

We had a fairly large Christmas feast this evening -- it was going to be ten people (counting the two kids), but ended up with eleven at the last minute. And so I thought, "Aha! This would be a good time to use the turkey that I put in the deep freezer last Thanksgiving."

Last Thanksgiving, we had some last-minute uncertainty about whether we were having a large dinner or a small one, and there were other details and reasons that I don't entirely remember, but I think what happened is that I was doing last-day shopping and there were two turkeys left at the butcher shop and I took the larger one because the other person looking at them preferred the smaller one, and then I decided it was too large for the quantity of people we had then, and put it in the deep freezer and went to a different store to buy a smaller one, or something like that. As I say, the details are hazy. But the result is that there was a 26.8-pound turkey in our deep freezer, waiting for an appropriate opportunity.

I expected that there would be some leftovers. This turned out to be an understatement.

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I may not buy a similarly large turkey in the future. But at least if I do, my expectations are now suitably calibrated. And I now feel like we have a cultural-narrative-ly appropriate quantity of leftovers -- and it is pleasing to have gotten this much goodness out of making broth and such alongside the main cooking.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth (original here), with comment count unavailable comments. Comment here or there; comments here will eventually be duplicated to there.

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Counting for synchronization [16 Dec 2017|01:53pm]
I just overheard a snippet of a TV show where someone was doing the thing of counting to synchronize actions, and it sounded wrong to me. So, a quick poll to see if it's just me:

Beyond this one thing, I've been thinking about this a fair bit recently, because Morgan has been wanting to synchronize me turning off her bedroom light with her turning on her reading light, when I'm putting her to bed. And for a while she was mashing things together like "One, two, three, ready, set, go;" but now she's settled on a sort of four-line children's rhyme that ends with "Who's your girlfriend, I forgot; is it A, B, C, D, or E?" with the action synchronized with "E".

Crossposted from Dreamwidth (original here), with comment count unavailable comments. Comment here or there; comments here will eventually be duplicated to there.
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You know how the wisdom is "never read the comments"? [01 Dec 2017|05:23pm]
In this case, read the comments:

https://apracticalwedding.com/me-too-rape-culture-relationships/.

And admire the dedication of the site staff that makes that a possible thing to say, on an article like that. When we say "never read the comments", we are conceding unnecessary defeat on something we ought to be demanding our media sources fight for.

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So that bit about gluten sensitivity not scientifically being a thing? [28 Nov 2017|10:18pm]
This is an excellent example of why the all-too-common attitudes of "science says that there's no such thing as a non-celiac gluten sensitivity, so you much be misguided when you say eating a gluten-free diet helps you" are wrong. (Aside from the fact that those studies were only about digestive issues.)

It turns out that further scientific studies have now clearly shown that there are compounds that have higher concentrations in gluten-containing grains that cause digestive distress in a significant fraction of non-celiac people who report digestive distress correlated with gluten-containing foods.

Which is to say, yes, technically it's not the gluten per se, but "contains gluten" is an excellent proxy for containing the actual problematic compounds when one is eating commonly-available foods rather than highly-abnormal things created for scientific experiments. And "gluten-free" is also a good proxy for not containing those compounds in significant amounts.

Or, in small words, science just showed that eating normal food that contains gluten causes them to have problems.

I further note that this is something we already knew, except for the scientifically controlled study part of it. Because science is about improving theories until they match all of the relevant facts, not about discarding ones like "the person in front of me says that eating things with wheat flour or other gluten-containing stuff in it makes them sick" just because it's not conceptually convenient. The science part is that some scientists looked at the two facts of non-reaction to gluten in pure form in precise studies, and reported reaction to gluten-containing foods in people's normal lives, and said "there must be something interesting here," and found at least one piece of it.

As opposed to the unscientific people who assumed that the facts in the controlled studies must mean that the facts in normal lives were imaginary, and did nonconsensual experiments on their friends or family to "prove" that the latter facts were imaginary, after which their friends and family learned interesting and important things about these people's trustworthiness.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth (original here), with comment count unavailable comments. Comment here or there; comments here will eventually be duplicated to there.
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The difference between there and almost there.... [16 Nov 2017|10:54pm]
[ mood | damp ]

So it turns out that the difference between an electronics-enclosure rating of IP55 ("protected against harmful dust ingress and against being sprayed with jets of water") and "can leave it out in the rain today" is about a tablespoon of muddy water that poured out of my electric-car charger this evening when I opened it to see why the car wasn't charging.

Oops. Sigh.

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Fun with small appliances [15 Nov 2017|07:09pm]
[ mood | happy ]

So it turns out that the combination of a masticating juicer and a pasta extruder is kind of the best thing ever. (Though, whee, looking at the new prices on those, I'm glad I bought mine secondhand!)

I suggested to Morgan that she could help make pasta for dinner, and she demanded pink pasta. So, I peeled and loosely chopped a third of a beet and ran it through the juicer, and then helped her measure out two scoops of flour into the pasta-maker, and then turned it on and poured the beet juice and water in the top. She was fascinated watching it mix, and when it started extruding, although she didn't want to cut off the noodles herself, she told me when the noodles were long enough to cut.

And then we had sort of shockingly-pink very-slightly-beet-flavored pasta. It was a little less shockingly so once it was cooked, but still quite distinctly and pleasantly pink.

(I'm still pondering what's the best flour to use, though. This is clearly a case where the flavor of the flour comes through strongly, and differences will matter.)

Crossposted from Dreamwidth (original here), with comment count unavailable comments. Comment here or there; comments here will eventually be duplicated to there.

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A role-playing-game conundrum. [09 Nov 2017|12:35pm]
Short version: I and another player missed a gaming session (due to being out sick), and so the GM came up with a thing that involved the other characters going off on a side quest. That side quest lasted more than one session, so K and I created new characters to join the side quest. Now that the side quest has ended, I need to figure out which character to play in the next phase of the game.

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Some fascinating descriptions of studying Australian languages [30 Oct 2017|05:34pm]
I recently discovered this old set of posts on the LanguageHat blog, with excerpts from R.M.W. Dixon’s Searching for Aboriginal Languages: Memoirs of a Field Worker:

http://languagehat.com/memoirs-of-a-field-worker/
http://languagehat.com/dixon-the-word-for-dog/
http://languagehat.com/dixon-chloe-the-ideal-informant/
http://languagehat.com/dixon-mother-in-law-language-i/
http://languagehat.com/dixon-mother-in-law-language-ii/
http://languagehat.com/dixon-mother-in-law-language-iii/

This sounds like a really interesting book, both in the description of the fieldwork and in the description of the languages.

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So that's what a passion fruit is like.... [02 Oct 2017|11:06pm]
[ mood | pleasantly surprised ]

I've had passion fruit sorbet, and other things passion-fruit flavored, before. But until this evening I'd never actually had a passion fruit.

Thus, when I saw that Milk Pail Market had some in the exotic fruit section, I bought a couple. They're round smooth drab dark-purple-gray fruits, a bit smaller than a tennis ball, and these had a few small dents in them that looked sort of like dry spots or something. They seemed firm, about the texture of an apple, although not quite as dense.

When I was about to eat one this evening, I thought about doing a quick net-search to see what they were like and how one was supposed to eat them, but then I thought that would spoil the surprise. I'm glad I did.

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It tasted amazing, like the passion-fruit flavor I was expecting but incredibly intense and delicious. Yum!

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On digging of ditches [22 Sep 2017|11:01am]
There are a couple of young men (from a local plumbing company) in my front yard digging a ditch -- or approximately so; it might be more accurately described as an enlongated hole to access a sewer pipe that needs replacing.

They've been at it for a couple of hours, and have made vastly more progress than I was able to make in quite a few hours of manual digging. Part of this is that they've got a small electric jackhammer, but it's clear that a fair bit of this is simply that they're better at it than I was.

Which just goes to show that "unskilled labor" involves skills too.

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Anthology kickstarter recommendation. [19 Sep 2017|05:40pm]
For those of you who haven't heard of it, David Steffen has been doing an annual collection of short stories, novelettes, and novellas called The Long List Anthology, collecting stories from the Hugo "Long List" -- the stories that were nominated for the Hugo but didn't get quite enough nominations to make it into the small list that goes on the voting ballot.

There are lots of good SF stories being written these days, printed in a wide range of places, and the first two editions of this collection have been full of really good ones.

I mention this now because the Kickstarter for the third edition has just opened. You can get e-books of the first two editions there as well as ebook and print copies of the third edition.

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Tomorrow at the Santa Cruz County Fair [12 Sep 2017|09:42pm]
[personal profile] mrissa, the 4H shows and all that made me think of you, and of this story. ("Blue Ribbon," reprinted in Lightspeed Magazine. The rest of you should go read it, if you haven't already.)

But the thing I particularly have to share is that, tomorrow, on the Livestock Lawn between races by the All-Alaskan Racing Pigs, they are having a "kids pedal-tractor pull".

This sounds kind of amazing.

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Chaotic neutral [03 Sep 2017|10:16pm]
[ mood | amused ]

[personal profile] tiger_spot showed me a short clip of a man laughing maniacally and shooting his own socks off by shooting a bazooka into the air with the projectile tied to a string tied to the ends of his socks, with the caption saying something about how chaotic neutrals often do things not for good or evil ends, but just because they can.

I looked at the picture and said, "Ah, yes. Colin Furze."

[personal profile] tiger_spot said, with some concern, "You know this person?"

I don't actually know him, but I do recognize him from his YouTube channel. And so I had to show her this video, which I think pretty much perfectly captures the essence of being Colin Furze: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCsg5pQimWI

And so now I share it with you.

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