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Brooks

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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.)

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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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The good with the bad.... [29 Aug 2017|12:31pm]
The bad: The hot water heater (a tankless unit on the side of the garage) had an error code again (per Amazon reviews, this is a thing this model does. A lot.) and I had to go tiptoeing barefoot out into the backyard to reset it when I expected to be starting my shower this morning.

The good: I discovered that the squirrels have not denuded our backyard fig tree of figs this year, and so it has quite a few very ripe ones, and they are oh so good.

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A couple of solar eclipse photos [21 Aug 2017|10:16pm]
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Gleefulness! [22 Jul 2017|11:16pm]
[ mood | very amused ]

I just looked at the Schlock Mercenary comic for tomorrow, and the sound effect for firing the Very Large Gun that was introduced a storyline or two ago is making my vibrate and clap my hands with utter glee.

It works well as a standalone strip even if you're not familiar with the comic, too, so I'm going to make you click through to see it rather than spoiling it.

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Breakfast meat? Why choose? [08 Jul 2017|06:07pm]
A Dittmer's Wursthaus today, I discovered a thing they call a Hannover wurst.

Hannover wurst appears to be what happens is when you have the question of whether to have sausage or bacon with your breakfast, and you make the obvious-in-retrospect choice of "Both! At the same time!" and make sausage in part out of bacon.

Needless to say, it is delicious.

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Today's dinner came out quite well, I thought. [18 Apr 2017|08:49pm]
This wasn't really planned; it was just a "what have I got in the fridge?" day that happened to come out exceptionally well.

Sweet Potatoes

These were simple. Three small white sweet potatoes, sliced into quarter-inch slices, put into a glass bowl with a chunk of butter on top of the potatoes and a plate on top of the bowl to hold the steam in. Microwaved for 5 minutes, until potatoes are soft, and tossed with the butter. And that's all.

Red Chard

I had a bunch of chard that had been forgotten from the farmshare that shares pickup space with our community-supported-fishing share, which needed to be cooked. Also we had some red onions, so I chopped up a couple of small ones of those and sauteed them while prepping the chard. Then I put in the chard stems, also chopped, and cooked those for a while.

One of the things that I find less than ideal about the chard I've been cooking (especially red chard) is that it has a little bit of bitter flavor that needs something to offset it, and using vinegar seems too sour. So, I tried experimenting with sweet, and put in a tablespoon or so of dried currants. I also put in a third of a cup or so of red wine, and cooked that down.

The other thing that I find often happens with chard, and with other greens that I saute with onions, is that they don't end up mixing very well. This time, I chopped the green parts of the chard a little smaller than usual, and then I tried the same trick I use to make roux-based sauces not go lumpy: I put in a small handful of the greens, mixed them in well, added some more, mixed, and repeated -- so that I wasn't trying to mix it all at once.

Both experiments turned out to work beautifully: The dish was quite evenly mixed, and the sweetness was exactly what it needed.

Ridgeback Shrimp

These were this week's delivery from the fish share, and like the chard, were needing to be cooked very soon. A ridgeback shrimp is notably reddish -- they color the rinse water and dry-towels red, though it's just on the surface, not in the meat -- and also notably sweet. These were also relatively large -- 2 inches or so. And in the shells; most of the prep time for all of dinner was de-shelling the shrimp.

To cook these, I melted some butter in a pan, and put in the shrimp once it was all melted and bubbling. When the shrimp were done, I took them out, put a third of a cup of white wine and juice of half a lime in the pan, and cooked it down to a reduced sauce to spoon over the shrimp. It came out just as tasty as I was hoping it would.

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[russian spam was here] [24 Dec 2016|03:18pm]
(And here. Argh!)
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On incorrect morals. [11 Dec 2016|11:28pm]
[ mood | random ]

For want of a nail, the horseshoe was lost.
For want of a horseshoe, the horse was lost.
For want of a horse, the wagon was lost.
For want of a wagon, the supplies were lost.
For want of supplies, the outpost was lost.
For want of an outpost, the expedition was lost.

This is usually read as a parable about the importance of horseshoe nails.

This is incorrect. This is a parable about the importance of safety factors at all levels of one's supply chain.

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Out-of-context quote of the day [18 Sep 2016|06:55pm]
"Wow, look at those goalposts go! Zoom, zoom!"

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Chronicles of Cal the Bard, pt 4ish. [07 Sep 2016|11:07pm]
[ mood | smug ]

I'd like to write up session summaries of the 13th Age game I've started playing in (and, given that I'm playing a bard, it seems appropriate), but I get home from the games about 11:00, so I'm not sure whether that's likely to ever happen regularly. Anyway, this was the 4th session that I've been to, I think -- and, rather than trying to start at the beginning and catch up, here are some highlights from today's session. Because today we learned that my character is kind of a badass when he wants to be.

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Today I learned.... [05 Sep 2016|03:47pm]
One of the things about home construction projects is that there are quite a number of thingummies that one knows the existence of (or, often, doesn't know the existence of, until one discovers them and realizes that they are exactly what one needed), but one doesn't know what they are called.

Sometimes these names are rather ... evocative.

Today I learned that the thingummy that I was looking for is called a "cable gland".

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An observation on tomatoes [19 Aug 2016|02:21pm]
The benefits of keeping up the volunteer tomato plants that show up in one's garden (or front flowerbed!) from the homemade compost are that many of them are cheerful and hardy and they take very little effort other than staking them up.

This has, however, led to the observation that while standard bulk-handling-resilient grocery-store Roma tomatoes are passably tasty, they don't actually taste much better when homegrown than they do from the store.

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