Sunday, May 19, 2019

Vim, Vigor And Being My Age

     Or, what the dickens, being a bit younger.

     In our last exciting installment, Tamara and I got the yard mowed.  After that we bicycled a few miles for dinner and back home.

     We had plans to hit the five and dime and drugstore for various things, but I wanted to rest up.  I wenrt to my room and laid down, thinking I might look at televis...

     Out like a light.

     Woke up thirsty about an hour later, with Rannie Wu the cat curled up at my feet, using one of my ankles for a pillow.  Had a drink of water, thought I'd lay back down and maybe look at a little tele...

     Asleep before I even knew it.

     Woke up an hour and a half later.  Rannie was curled up next to me.  It was just about full dark.

     Not much else was going to get done.  Certainly no shopping.  I went to the office and finished up the writer's group stuff, puttering around with this and that until it was time to go to bed for the night.

     The exercise was good; I need to do more of it.  And when the energy's used up, there's no reserve.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Left-Over Chicken; Lawn Work

      Tam mowed the front yard this morning.  It turns out out that if you feed her well enough, The Tamara is all kinds of useful.

     Last night's supper was all manner of "enough."  I'd bought a whole baked chicken (garlic and herb butter) Thursday, along with good, old-fashioned vinegar/pepper coleslaw and elote corn salad.  We each had a drumstick and a little white meat, but there was plenty left; I wrapped it up and put it in the fridge.

     Friday, I picked up a box (oh, this modern packaging) of chicken-mushroom bone broth and a can of French vegetable soup on the way home from work.

     Got home, poured the broth into a saucepan to simmer, and cut up the chicken into it, skin and all, with special attention to all the hard-to-get-at meat.  Brought that up almost to a boil and added the corn salad, then the can of soup.

     I was wonderful!  There's just a little heat to the corn salad that helped out the soup; the broth was very rich and full of flavor (and meat!).  I think a little lemongrass might have made it even better but as it was, it was very good indeed.  Tam had a big bowl and a little more.  So did I.

     Full of vim and vigor (after sleeping in until 8:30 this morning!), I took a weed-eater to the back yard.  With the recent rain, it had gotten well beyond what the mower could handle.  It should be just fine for the mower by next weekend.  

Friday, May 17, 2019

No Hamvention This Year

     I had planned to be in Dayton -- well, Xenia -- for the Hamvention today.  As the date approached, my car was having issues; the air-conditioning isn't working and the last time it was in for service, they told me the water pump might fail soon.

     That was Strike One.

     Strike Two was the bill for my cardiac tress test.  My part of it came to over $2500!  I kind of have it, if I make only the minimum credit-card payment, watch my expenses and carry a kind of ugly balance for a few months, but I hadn't planned on it and Hamvention's not much fun if you're broke.  Plus, if my car did act up on the trip, that would push my finances right over the edge.

     Strike Three: Last year, the drive to and from and/or a minor slip while walking hurt my right knee badly enough that I was using a cane for a long time and had to have a couple of months of physical therapy, which took time and money I would have preferred to apply to other things.

     So, no Hamvention this year.  Maybe next year.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

"...Completely Predictable Machines..."

     If only we knew all the variables.  Maybe.  "Indistinguishable from magic," Arthur C. Clarke wrote of sufficiently advanced technology, and I've been thinking he meant the wonderfulness of it, producing marvels from thin air before our eyes -- but it can just as easily be taken to refer to the ill-understood incantations and rituals, the unpredictable results and the sometimes cruel or ironic misreading of commands one finds in stories about magic.  Possibly my chalk circle around the desktop had a gap in it.

     My Surface and the inexpensive Acer laptop that is its backup took the update fine, even though it was a pretty large pile of stuff.  The Surface actually did a stealth-update on me between uses at work!

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

So, That Windows Update?

     It updated.  Got home from work and my desktop was still hung.  Hit the ol' "developer switch" and when it came back up, it was happy.  Update all loaded, running okay. 

     So I'll give 'em a glitch.  Now to see about updating my Surface.

Thanks, Windows

     I'm on the "toy computer" (a Raspberry Pi B+) this morning, because at shutdown last night, my desktop offered "Update and shut down," "...and restart" and "...later" as options.  I'd read earlier that there are apparently some big, sneaky holes in the system architecture and Microsoft is frantic to patch them.

     Okay, then.  Has to be done.  But after this morning's boot-up, my desktop has spent the last ten minutes with the Window 10 "blue window" logo and a spinning wheel of dots on the screen.  It's lovely, Microsoft, but why didn't you do that last night?

     The Surface is probably going to want to do this today and unless the update has bricked my machine, I'll park it on a corner of my desk at work and let it get down with itself; and likewise my other backup, a skinny (and now outdated) Acer laptop that I picked up cheap a few years ago.

     If I didn't have the Pi and the very used MacBook,* this would be a lot more annoying!  As it is, well, Microsoft is going to make a Linux user out of me yet, and/or drive me into the arms of Big Brother Apple.

     ...And we're now at fifteen minutes of "I'm thinking about it" from the desktop -- if only it was as amusing as Milton Berle!
* I'd include the iPad, but I still haven't knuckled under and subscribed to Word for IOS.  You can't just buy it, as far as I know, and the monthly fee is slightly non-trivial.  Being able to hand off documents between platforms and edit them easily is a large part of the usefulness of my computers, though.  Like my desktop -- presently at the twenty minute mark without ETA! -- I'm still thinking about it.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Various Items

     - I'm pretty sure by the time of the 2020 conventions, every Democrat politician will have offered themselves up for their party's nomination.  Do they figure it will be a cakewalk for their side, or is it that Mr. Trump is so dire a menace that each and every one of them sees him- or herself as the One True Knight who is the only person who can vanquish the dragon?  Or is it just the old Will Rogers principle, "I don't belong to an organized political party.  I'm a Democrat," yet again?  I do think their convention's going to be interesting.  Possibly as in split-in-the-party interesting.

     - Don't count the GOP out for surprises in 2020, either.  Sure, it looks like a sure thing for the incumbent now, but you have to wonder who's waiting in the wings, waiting to swoop down and land with a thud.

     - Does it even matter what the Libertarians will be doing in 2020?  I'll probably vote for their candidate anyway. When the choices are Coke or Pepsi, I prefer Dr. Pepper.

     - Guess who didn't take her allergy medicine last night?  It was so cold and rainy, after all....  Yeah, that didn't make any difference and by this morning, I had to take it.

     - I had no idea we had done underground nuclear testing on a tectonically unstable Alaskan island, most recently in 1971.  It survived.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Oh, Monday

     My old nemesis!  Started out to write one thing, ran into Firefox slowness due to cookie overload, and had to clear up that before proceeding -- and ran out of time.

     It was a fairly moot rant anyway; the deal is all but done and downtown will be losing more parking -- in an expansion of facilities at the Fieldhouse intended to draw more people to downtown!  They say the project will include a plaza "bigger than Rockefeller Square."  You know what Manhattan has that Indianapolis doesn't?  An effective, extensively interconnected and widely-used public transit system! 

     The city's part of the deal will be paid for with an extension of the "innkeeper's tax," a few more pennies on the dollars that pay for hotel rooms.  'Cos what're visitors going to do if room rates go up, use some online service that presently doesn't pay that tax...?  Oh, that's right, they might just do that.  Better yet, local news sources are claiming "it won;t cost taxpayers a dime;" taxpayers who vote in Marion County, that is.

     They'll get their plaza -- with ice-skating in the winter, just like we used to have at the Soldiers and Sailors monument.  And I'm sure it will be a great triumph, just like the Union Station revamping into chic shops and the Circle Center Mall -- the one now an occasionally rented-out venue and the other fading like last decade's newspaper.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Corned Beef Hash, Semi-Homemade

     I think I have the canned corned beef and fresh potatoes version figured out.

     Cubed the potatoes and piled up the cubes in a bowl of cold water with some rosemary and parsley.  Poured off about half the water and warmed it in a big skillet until it was boiling; took away a little more water, added some freeze-dried onion and let it simmer while I cubed up the canned corned beef.

     The meat was Kroger's house brand.  It's all South American canned corned beef, in those trapezoidal cans, and the price was good.  (It also had an expiration date over four years in the future, so I'll be stocking a few cans of that stuff for rainy days.)

    Added the meat, mixed everything together, smoothed it with the back of the spoon and let it cook uncovered until it was about as dry as I wanted; covered it and let it cook awhile longer (and made myself a fried egg for on top, in a separate one-egg pan).  Cooked it uncovered just a bit more, so it would brown some on the bottom, then served it up.

     It was good.  Not too salty, which is always a concern with canned corned beef.  The potatoes did brown a little and they were well-cooked.

     So there's the trick.  Cook the potatoes by boiling first, don't add salt.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Almost Missed A Day

     Okay, look, I slept all day.  Some sort of awfulness has been making the rounds; Tam had it badly earlier in the week and I kind of just pushed through the same thing on Thursday and Friday. 

     Today was a day of recovering.

Friday, May 10, 2019

The Plants Are Goin' At It

     This year's pollen season is proving painful for me.  Sadly, when the plants are doing their thing outside your bedroom window, throwing a bucket of water on them doesn't stop them; quite the opposite, as the Spring rains are demonstrating.

     Three out of the last four mornings, I have woken up with intense sinus pain; the fourth morning was the same, only not as strong. And this despite over-the-counter allergy pills.  After the second time, I tried a sinus rinse.  That worked, at least it took the wosrt edge off -- and used up the last of the distilled water.  Tam picked up more yesterday, which I'm looking forward to using this morning.

     It might hurt, but at least the grass is green and lush, the trees are leafing out and there are flowers everywhere!  And no snow.  Yeah, kind of worth the tradeoff.  Maybe.

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Racing A Deadline

     It's no less a deadline for being self-imposed: manuscripts for the writer's group I'm in are due today.  I'm not quite a quarter of the way done with my project.  Finally -- barely! -- above the minimum word count but I'd like to hand the group a completed story. 

     It may not be possible.  Still, there's time left and I hope to make progress.

     If I can get this done, if it's not too clumsy, if I can slog through the formatting, I may try to release it via Amazon's "Kindle Direct Publishing."