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Drat this working for a living all to heck.

Nov. 12th, 2014

07:32 pm - How much my Grama would have loved the internet.

One of the best things about the internet is people posting tutorials on how to
      peel a pomegranite
      shoot water filled milk jugs with a 22 at various ranges
      roll your hair up in a bun with a cut off sock ankle
      use a clothing steamer to make no discernable difference to already wrinkle-free clothes


     knit and crochet!

I am not very manually deft, but even *I* can crochet a crocodile stitch after watching the following video four times.  :)

I love that not only can you find someone who has carefully filmed ssk and other arcane stitches - but several people have, and they all do it differently, so you'll eventually find a technique that works with your dexterity (think: unable to hit floor with hat).

Grama?  Grama knew how to knit & crochet skillfully. *She* would have been deep in one of the Fandoms, giving people hell in no uncertain terms.


02:00 pm - I fell on my nose today ...

... on my way to work.  I was 15 steps from the door way and tripped over the edge where the (flat) pavement meets the (flat) concrete apron in front of the business next door.

It was one of the least stressful fall overs I've ever had.  I did actually hit my nose - & I felt my forehead touch.  But other than a slight bleeding nose that didn't even bleed enough to drip on my lip, no marks.

Edited 13Nov14 to add - and today I have very few bruises, and no marks on my face, and no pains anywhere.  Even though my face actually hit the ground yesterday, the word "hit" is not actually accurate - it was like the touch of a feather (okay my nose is slightly sore - but not bruised).  I doubt that I could lay down on the ground and touch my face down with as few marks.

If that's the kind of falling down I have in store for me, I'll accept it gratefully (if not gracefully).  :)

Nov. 2nd, 2014

12:06 pm - Roasting Vegetables in the Oven

One of my frivolous uses of LJ is to record recipes that I will no doubt lose if I put them anywhere else.

So.  One can't roast all the vegetables for the same amount of time, or some are undercooked and some are burnt.  So, here is my rough and ready rule: roast them as you chop.  The expanded version is to then chop them in the longest-to-cook to shortest-to-cook order.  In general, each batch of veggies spends at least 10 mins in the oven before the next batch is added.

So.  Start with your emply pan in a 400 F oven.

Scrub your veggies and dry them.

Chop any of: potatoes, beets, parsnips, carrots, pearl onions, and hardskinned squash like acorn or butternut.  I peel my squashes because I can't digest their skins, but other people leave them on - let your tummy be your guide.  I don't peel anything else (okay: I peel the onions, fiddly things that they are).  (I may break this veggie group into two, just for ease of oil coating.)

Chuck them in a bowl with a dollop of olive oil plus your preferred herbs (see below), and stir until thoroughly coated.

Throw them into the hot pan, and put the pan back in the oven.

Chop any of: sweet peppers, cherry tomatoes, cauliflower.  Roll in herby oil & fling in pan & return pan to oven.

Chop brussel sprouts.  Oil, pan, oven.

Chop mushrooms.  Oil, pan, oven.

After the last addition, keep in oven for an additional 20 to 30 mins (or longer, as needed).

Serve with a creamy cheese like cream cheese or goat cheese.  And bread for sopping up the juices.


I use different herbs in each oil bath, depending on the veggie.

Potato + rosemary
Tomato + basil
Onions + parsley
Beets + marjoram or dill
Carrots + savoury
Parsnips + savoury
Butternut or acorn squash + ginger or cumin
Cauliflower + cumin or paprika & turmeric or paprika & chili powder
Sweet pepper + oregano
Brussel sprouts + nutmeg
Mushrooms + thyme

Oh yes: I salt & pepper every oil bath.

I confess that I haven't used potatoes yet because even only one each (except onions, brussel sprouts, & mushrooms) fills your pan pretty quickly.  I make a big pan on Sunday & we use it for lunches throughout the week.

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Oct. 4th, 2014

10:47 am - Proposing a "Read and enjoyed; thanks." response to grease the wheels of Livejournal.

Here is a comment that I just made somewhere else, which I think is such a good idea that I think you should know about it too.

"The other part of Livejournal is that, to reward the poster for posting something interesting, one can't just go *LIKE* with a single click. And usenet etiquette, which mostly pertains here, says that it is gauche to post just a smirkee or a me too. But sometimes one doesn't have anything useful to contribute other than "how very interesting" so one does nothing and the Livejournal poster feels that they are just shouting into an empty echo-ey tunnel - and they stop posting.

So maybe, while we are all getting back up to speed with Livejournal use, it will be okay to simply post this reply:

Read and enjoyed; thanks."

Sep. 7th, 2014

11:48 am - TV is crap no matter what age you are.

So, Andrew Drucker suggested that those of us die hard LiveJournal users should band together and read each other, so I started reading him.  And one of the things he does daily is list with links the interesting things he's read, like today:

And one of today's links is TV is For Old People at the Washington Post:

This may be true, but I don't think the trend is driven by demographics, as such, but rather by seriously crapatastic programming.  The demographic component is that I (one of the older TV viewing persisters) developed my leisure habits when the delights of the internet were not an option.  I wanted the internet from my teens, before it was called that, as described in my science fiction (& I have always read more than I have watched TV), and continued to want it when it was so expensively in its infancy (our first computer cost one tenth of our combined yearly income, and fees for dial-up were pretty off-putting especially when you didn't know what you were going to get), but we didn't get it until I was nearly 40 (& SOGP older).  So, in the meantme, we watched TV.  And there were some reasonably decent things to watch. (Although, when I returned to finish my degree, and we scaled back our expenses and gave up cable, *and* just happened to live in a broadcast shadow so we didn't get the local free channels, we relied on video for movies and taped TV shows, and didn't miss the current shows.  When we went back to TV it was because I had been given a coupon to save the installation fee [1/3 our rent] for high-speed internet, which came with TV bundled.)

So. Where am I going with this?  Well, we're accustomed to sitting together after dinner and watching something together.  TV is still a family activity.  But often we are reduced to watching The Weather Network (, which repeats its daily programming in one hour blocks.  We can't stand the natter, so we have it on without sound.  Or we will "watch" the pretty picture channel, The Frame (  We are usually reading at each other while watching these - but we are together, and the TV is on.

SOGP will watch a program through the net: a favorite show, or soccer (he likes the extra replay or view from another angle options). We both watch various YouTuby things: CGP Grey ( Posh Nosh ( Annie Lennox ( and like that.

But, there are a lot of rinky dinky little irritants that get in the way of me trading up to only onlne viewing.  We have a crappy chair at the desktop system.  I can't sit there for an entire program viewing.  I hate the weight of the headphone on my head, and having the sound drilled into my ears (on that last Annie Lennox video I can't turn the headphones low enough for comfort).  By the time I have watched a 30 minute program I have such a stiff neck.  The cat can't sit in my lap while I view.  And like that.

So,  I could buy an internet service for my tablet and watch on that, in any comfy chair at any time.  Well, the fees for those plans are too much.  But really the problem is the teeny tiny screen.  As the eyeballs age, bigger screens become necessary - hence plasma TVs and High Def programming become more enticing.

But really: what is there to watch?  Reality TV with idiots.  "Documentaries" with breathless overwrought narration and a story-recap after every commercial and commercials more frequent than eyeblinks.  Any time there might be a program one might grow to like ( ( (, predictably, the network loses its nerve.

So, yeah we're still watching ("watching") TV.  And SOGP just gave in to a phone offer of 6 months reduced rate for High Def TV(new cable box, free access to all channels, blah de blah de blah).  And we still automatically turn on the TV in the evening.

But, you know what?  It's such crap.

I have asked the retired SOGP to investigate the funnelling of the internet through the plasma TV (there are some menu options which suggest it may be possible).  If I never have to choose between old wannabee frontiersmen shooting endangered mammals or young no-other-option fishermen being maimed while dragnetting endangered crustaceans, I won't miss it even once.

So.  TV viewing may be customary in my demographic, but it is riding on habit and inertia.  And because TV & high speed internet are still bundled (can't get high speed without some rudimentary TV attached), it's still so easy to just attach the connection to the plasma.  But, seriously?, if ESPN president John Skipper expects younger people to "trade up" to the crap available, I suggest that ESPN stockholders might want to sell their shares.

Aug. 13th, 2014

12:22 pm - These things need to be known - forwarding another's information.

Originally posted by fengi at post

I'm interupting my Livejournal hiatus because the FAA declared Ferguson, Missouri a no fly zone, effective August 12 to August 18.

The FAA rarely takes such action for reasons other than giant fires and public appearances of high risk people like the president. Here, a predominantly black suburb is declared no fly for six days: "TO PROVIDE A SAFE ENVIRONMENT FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ACTIVITIES". A six day flight ban in response to looting after massive peaceful demonstrations were dispersed by heavily armed riot police. The media has made much of the destruction, rarely mentioning it involved small groups in a small area, and was actively denounced and cleaned up by other residents and protesters.

Ferguson, Missouri is an American suburb in which some people broke windows and torched a building. It's not fucking Ukraine. There is no flight risk.

There are bullshit stories about someone firing a gun into the air, but Think Progress spoke to a helicopter dispatcher at the St. Louis County Police Department who said, “It’s just for a no fly zone because we have multiple helicopters maneuvering in the area and we were having some problems with news aircrafts flying around there”. A six day flight ban to limit news coverage is considered "a safe environment for law enforcement".

The cops are acting like a military occupation, one actually telling a reporter from the Riverfront Times, "You guys are in the middle of a war zone...You guys are going to have to roll out." It's not a goddamn war zone. It's a suburb with understandably upset American citizens and a very few who flipped out. It's a extreme display of force and intimidation which assumes the worst about people who aren't a threat, and clearly further provoked the few who lost their shit. One would call it ridiculously insulting were it not so terrifying.

The use of disproportionate force against protesters is widespread, but when some white dudes break shit, entire cities are not locked down by pseudo-military barricades. Because there is an ability to see those acting out as apart from the rest. Every year, Chicago police set up a containment zone around the Humboldt park neighborhood after the Puerto Rican Pride Parade, shutting down major streets to traffic going out until late at night (the parade is a two p.m.). This goes without comment - it's a given. Imagine them respond to St. Patrick's day by setting up a parameter around Beverley until midnight. Treating entire populaces as a contaminated risk zone is for people of color. For now, at least.

Monday night, parts of Ferguson were locked down with all roads, sidewalks and points of access closed by heavily armed cops. Armored vehicles ordered people to go indoors, while simultaneously blocking some from going home. Protesters were sprayed with tear gas and shot with "safe" rubber and wooden bullets. One resident had a tear gas canister fired at his head while protesting in his own backyard. He was holding his hands over his head.

At this point, the investigation won't even say how many times Michael Brown was shot, or how long he was left lying in the street afterwards.

Ferguson's population is 67% African American, but they account for 94% of arrests, 92% of searches, and 86% of vehicular stops.

I'm insulated by distance and social privilege and I've got little standing to have opinions about this, but it bothers me deeply.

When I was a kid in Florida, four white cops in Miami beat Arthur McDuffie to death after a high speed chase. They then tried to make it look like an accident. After they were acquitted by an all white jury, a protest evolved into a three day riot, the worst in Florida history. The national guard was called in and flights were rerouted to other cities. Supposedly this was a wakeup call about an unjust system which treated people of color like garbage.

11 years later, an all white jury acquitted the cops in the Rodney King beating trial. I said there might be riots and friends, none who remembered Miami, were amazed by my analysis.

In 2003, Deadend Margo and I stopped in Saint Joseph and Benton Harbor during a road trip. Both towns seemed quaint but the racial and economic divide - actual white and black sides of a river - was so obvious one might consider a preachy cliche were it fiction. It's what we whites pretend is unreal. A few days later a black motorcyclist being chased by the cops crashed and died in Benton Harbor, and small riots occurred over two days until 300 state troopers occupied the town. In 2010 the state replaced Benton Harbor's government with an unelected city manager who ruled for until April 2014, though most operations will be controlled by an unelected transition commission plus a city manager who appears to be a permanent appointed position. Across the river, majority white St. Joseph enjoyed representative government and stable budgets without interruption.

Shortly after I moved to Chicago, a scandal broke about District 2 where white cops regularly tortured confessions from black prisoners. It took 21 years before Burge was finally convicted of minor charges and sentenced to 4 years. He still gets to keep his pension.

In 2012 in Chicago, Rekia Boyd was shot by a white off duty cop who fired into a crowd of unarmed African Americans, apparently after he mistook a cell phone for a gun. He has been charged with manslaughter but the trial is still pending.

What's striking to me is community reactions to this shit has gotten increasingly peaceful over time. People are angry, but the idea they reflexively riot is bullshit. The majority are enraged but not out of control, just like any group of people, despite the continual shocks.

For my entire life there have been undeniable reminders we exist in a racist system which regularly uses brutality to perpetuate white supremacy, but in a way which ultimately serves the ruling class. I have little standing to offer conclusions on this issue. But I suspect it will continue until the privileged admit all rights must be respected or they no longer exist. Alas this will likely only happen after the majority are on the wrong side of the cop army, at which point any change in thought won't matter.

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Aug. 11th, 2014

11:05 am - stele3:Ferguson Police have dogs and shotguns. The unarmed...

Originally posted by aquarionics at stele3:

Ferguson Police have dogs and shotguns. The unarmed...


Ferguson Police have dogs and shotguns. The unarmed crowd is raising their hands.

For anyone not following the Mike Brown story on Twitter: a 17 year old black boy named Mike Brown, who was supposed to start college tomorrow, was shot to death in Ferguson, Missouri by police while jaywalking. He was unarmed. He was shot 9 times.

Initial media reports claimed that an 18 year old black man had been shot and killed while fleeing police after shoplifting.

People in the neighborhood, including members of Mike Brown’s family, came out of their homes and began to protest, shouting “no justice, no peace,” and keeping their hands in the air.

Media reports claimed that a violent mob quickly formed around the shooting location shouting “kill the police.”

Spread this. Tell the truth about what happened to this boy. Tell the truth about what is happening NOW. The police and the mainstream media is painting him as a criminal, and his community as a violent mob.

SPREAD THIS. Don’t let them lie.

Jun. 28th, 2014

11:15 am - 16 C = 61 F

Or at least close enough for most cases where one needs a quick mental comparison.

This isn't in relation to anything in particular - other than that I was taught fahrenheit and then we changed to celsius, and I'm still mostly confused about how warm a celsius feels.  I do know that I like an 18 C room for living, with a 16 to 17 room for sleeping, and both my work office and our bedroom have been relentlessly 25 C for the last few days and nights.  Ugh.

But, depending on the cloud cover and the wind, 16 C is light jacket weather (&, if you want to aggravate the kids, socks in your birkenstocks weather).


Jun. 19th, 2014

03:23 pm - I mean: because then there is this:

A report on child miners:

So, an multinational mining company wouldn't be buying pepper-spraying drones for altruistic purposes, would they.  Argh.


02:33 pm - Pepper Spray Drones - argh

I am seriously freaked out about this:

I tried to post it on Facebook, but it doesn't seem to be landing on people's feeds.  This is really really creepy.

I know this is lame, but I don't know how to embed the story so the graphics show:

Skunk Drone also fires plastic bullets BBC News Tech 19Jun14


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