Since I don't use one of those auto-relay things that proves that I don't actually read LJ any more (since I do):
The PROPER Presidential response to the #TortureReport is to say "And there's more where that came from if you don't quit this shit."
You say Torture doesn't work. I say Mr. Drill here can get me your ATM PIN. How many holes in your kneecap do you think you can take?
Fine, I didn't want to go out today anyway. Four inches of very soggy white stuff isn't a factor.
Unrelated. My toilets are now DISTURBINGLY clean. When you've been in one place long enough, the little defects become part of the scenery, the cut in the linoleum where you dropped the knife, that screw hole from the towel rack you forgot to paint after you patched it....
The toilets had a ring of mineral build up that nothing would budge, and in the very bottom of the drain, where the scrub brush wouldn't reach, another bit of dark impenetrable build up. I have been known to use things like drain-o in the toilets to clean them, and it does normally work very well, except for those aforementioned "Permanent" features. But a few weeks ago at WalMart, I spotted a different product.
Now most drain cleaners are lye-based, and that works very well on grease, and fairly well on hair. But this stuff... "Liquid Lightning" was pretty much undiluted sulfuric acid, the kind Muslims like to throw in the faces of women they don't like. I put it to better use. Pouring an ounce or two into the toilets and letting it sit did unbelievable things.
Make no mistake, this is some scary shit. I used to soak the nozzle of my spot lifter in a little tub of drain cleaner to get the cat hair that wedged itself unremovably in the crevices of it. I tried it with this stuff and we're talking no soaking required. Unfortunately it was so strong it completely clouded the clear plastic and ruined the built-in brush. Highly diluted next time, for sure.
So one of the toilets actually took two treatments, but the results were astounding. The drain isn't a dark cave any more, it's now as pristine white as the toilets were twenty years ago when they were installed. For a couple of days flakes of something from further down the trap were settling to the bottom.
It's disturbing because it looks so unfamiliar. It's all just pure white porcelain.
Now if there were a way to make it foam so it would stick under the rim....
Some time ago Maggie linked to a random (to me) Wordpress blog with a recipe that I finally had an opportunity to try out three years later (yeah, it's been sitting in my bookmarks that long). All you need is some leftover rice (as long as it's not dried out and crunchy), about a cup and a half, and a couple of eggs.
Scramble the eggs, add your preferred seasonings, stir in the rice, and plop it in an oiled frying pan. Presto, rice egg fritters.
Looks Nummy, eh?
Now in my case, I first made them according to her loose recipe. Nice, but a little bland. The second time around I added a lot more salt and pepper than I would to eggs, considering that the rice will bring up the volume by about 4 times. A little garlic powder, and then, the key change, some shredded cheese.
I have one of those infrared thermometers, which I find indispensable in the kitchen. I mean, what the heck temperature is "4"? So I can tell when my cast iron frying pan is at say, 350°, which is a perfect egg cooking heat. I doled out the mixture into three roughly equal masses, and pressed them with a spatula to be maybe 5/8" thick. It took about 5 minutes per side, giving it a nice, slightly crispy exterior.
I suppose you could add just about anything to these, maybe some veggies, or finely diced ham. Bacon, naturally. I've even read comments on the blog entry about someone using brown rice and peanut butter.
In any case, I will definitely be making more of these in the future.
(The fact that I have a little rice cooker makes this much more convenient. But if you order out Chinese, and they give you white rice that you don't eat, it would make a perfect breakfast treat.)
Net Neutrality is about BANDWIDTH not CONTENT! For fuck's sake! Stop talking about the fucking "Fairness Doctrine for the Internet". ISPS are already fucking with people's connections on the basis of content. All Net Neutrality means is that if you pay for X Megabits/sec, you GET X Megabits/sec, regardless of who you are connecting to.
I will never forgive Glenn Beck for confusing the two and making so many people stupidly misinformed on the issue.
And don't get me started on "NetFlix uses so much, they should pay for it." No, the CUSTOMERS have already paid for that bandwidth.
This weekend, I got a dashcam.
Frankly, I'm amazed by the technology, it's so frigging small, but shoots 1080p, and with a 32 gig MicroSD card (it comes with an 8, but I bought one so that I could get the adapters for it.) I think the smallest mode can go around 8 hours. It has a still picture feature, but since it's so hard to hold steady, that's not too useful. It has a built in battery, but that's just to tide it over in the event of power interruptions (like an accident). It records in a loop, producing files between 1 and 10 minutes long (user selectable) and if you push a button, or if the internal G-sensor detects an sudden jolt, it will automatically protect the current file from being overwritten. It also has motion detection, so I'm curious about what it would do with an external power supply. (Connected to a computer, it acts like a USB drive, or it can act like a USB webcam, but I haven't tried that yet). It also auto-starts recording when it detects power from the cigarette lighter cord.
The only thing it doesn't come with is a mini HDMI to HDMI cable, but yes, it can talk to a TV in 1080p or 720p modes, but other than that lack, it comes ready to use out of the box.
I don't really have any amazing videos to share, just my commute to and from work. And hopefully I never will. But considering all the crazy dashcam videos you get coming out of Russia, you can see the logic behind my title.
Here's a link Cobra CDR820 Dashcam.
Update: I bought a MiniHDMI/HDMI cable for too much at WalMart (but the cost of gas for a trip to Fry's and the opportunity cost of waiting made it worth it) and hooked up the Dashcam to my TV. Although they don't say much in the manual to document it, this feature works VERY well if you don't have a computer to play the files from.
I also bought a little portable power source/USB charger thingy, and that also makes the dashcam happy. The thing can charge from USB or plug directly into a lighter socket, has 1450 mAh of capacity, and can function as a car USB power supply without involving its battery. Plus it has a built-in flashlight. I want to try hooking the cam up to the battery, put the cam in motion detect mode, and see if the cats can set it off.
I have a box fan I rather like. It's quiet, without rattling or humming.
Recently I noticed it was a lot quieter, running very slowly, until it finally wouldn't start.
But, I'm a Man, and I have tools, and this fan isn't new enough to have been made tamper-proof!
So I removed all the plastic bits (the fan blade was really dirty, so I cleaned that up too) and took it down into the shop, where I hit it with some engine cleaning spray, and then washed it out. Then I blew it dry with compressed air. It was still very hard to rotate, but it turned out to be easy to disassemble the motor - a mere two bolts held the covers on.
With the front cover off, it was easy to remove the rotor. The obvious problem was that the lubrication was gone from the bushings. I buffed out the shaft of the rotor where it goes into the bushings, lubed them up, and reassembled the motor. It ran much better, although it took a little nudging to get the floating bushings to really self-align.
After I reassembled it, I set it up, and it worked great. I was quite proud of myself.
Then a few minutes later, it suddenly slowed way down and I smelled a smell that reminded me of my BattleBots days. The lacquer on motor magnet wire has a very distinctive smell when it overheats. The motor had a short in it. I might not have noticed it before, because it was running slower then the speed it slowed down to before, or maybe the cleaner attacked the windings (oops.) but in any case, it's now an ex-fan.
A shame, I liked it.
I pulled another fan out of the basement. This one rattles. It should know better, I still have a screwdriver, and I've killed before....
Warning, contains language guaranteed to cause knotted panties.
Saw this on Twitter, and was just blown away by the deployment of yet another Hiroshima Cluehammer. Anyone who made the original argument and sticks to it after seeing this is an imbecile.
So just to test out the KDP Select promotional tools, I've set it up so that one can get Kiwi for free on August 1st and 2nd.
Remember, you don't need a Kindle to read eBooks, you can do it on phones, tablets, PC's, whatever. Amazon has free reader programs for them all.
So mark your calendar and go to Kiwi
(Long-ass link because I'm getting into the Amazon Affiliate program now too).
Or you could go now and spend a buck, I won't mind.
Self-serve Kiosk at Home Depot. $21 with tax. A bit more than refilling at the Co-op store, but they aren't open at 2AM.
Also, stuck with an out-of-date cylinder? Trade it in at the self-service station. They get to re-certify or junk it. Probably why it's not as cheap. Although somehow I got an expired cylinder this trip. I also got one made in 2012. That one I'll keep.
That part with the big 9 on it? I put that on.
(I also had to tear the left side of it open to replace one tiny nutplate, but it's fine now.)
It's amazing how maneuverable an empty airliner is. They REALLY should do a repeat of the 707 Barrel Roll.
Anyway, it LOOKS marvelous.
While preparing to book my hotel for the Reno Air Races, I thought I'd look to see if there were any "Coupon Codes" posted online to get a lower rate. Google reveals a lot of outdated ones. But I found one current one that would save a lot of money. However, it's one for the Sport Class Pilots.
On the one hand, they posted it in the clear on their website.
On the other, clearly it's meant for the pilots.
On the first hand again, if the code doesn't cost the organization anything per user, just the hotel, does it harm the organization?
On the other hand, if they did kick in something to get that discount, that would harm them.
Back to the first hand, if the hotel is willing to rent that room on the same day for half the cost, why pay the full price?
On the other hand, it would be dishonest to misrepresent oneself. (And what happens if they later want proof that you qualify?)
What would you do?
And is it cheaper to book by phone? By Web? By third party site?
In a discussion on a writer's blog I participate on, Sarah Hoyt (yes, THAT Sarah Hoyt) said to me:
If it's 14k words put it at 2.99 or I'll come through the screen and beat you.
Also, write the next one. It's the best way to raise your sales.
I'm not quite sure I have that kind of confidence, but the discussion pointed out that the .99 cent price point is considered the bottom of the barrel. Sure, some people buy there, but I'm only getting one or two a month.
So I said I'd do it, but that I'd run an experiment, bumping it up 50 cents at a time every couple of months to see what it does.
So the Kiwi ebook is now $1.49, or the equivalent in other currencies. Find it here: Kiwi
Get it within the next two months if you want to beat the next hike.
And remember, you don't NEED a Kindle to read eBooks, Amazon has free reader programs for virtually every platform, and free cloud storage of your books.
As for the next thing, I just finished the first draft of my entry into the Baen Fantasy short story contest. I have another month before the deadline to futz around with it, but I am very pleased. I don't expect to win, considering some of the heavy-hitters who have mentioned they are doing it too, but hey, once it's over in August, I'll have a new story all ready to post.
(p.s. I've got a line-numbered PDF available for beta-readers, as long as you're not involved in the contest at all).
(Update: I gave up on the idea and went back to 99 cents)
Inexplicable K-pop animated video: (in real life, the girls are pretty hot, like any other pre-fab four, but this is totally NOT my kind of music.)
It does have some really good bits, my favorite being at 1:54. And the hints of one girl kinda falling for the bad guy, like in the preview frame.
(How on earth did I find this? It was the follow-up to some very odd J-pop video that was in some article Instapundit linked to, so I blame Glenn Reynolds.)
Wow, 4.8 pounds of apples dries into a mere 8.9 ounces of dried apple slices. Anyone think I should put up a picture?
Takes a while though.
I always dry a couple cans worth of pineapple chunks at the same time, because if you dip the apple slices into pineapple juice, they don't turn brown. The pineapple itself takes even longer to dry, mainly because it hold a lot of moisture, but also because the high sugar content keeps that moisture in.
One nice thing about having a meat slicer, you can slice meat with it. By that I mean, you can slice meat really thin, as opposed to say carving off thick hunks with a Chef's knife.
A week or so ago, I had the urge to have a roast beef sandwich, and it stayed with me for a while. So, the next time I went shopping, I picked up an Eye of Round roast, and was suddenly confronted with the fact that I'd never roasted a roast before, other than making pot roast in the Crock Pot. Fortunately, I have a Betty Crocker cookbook (although not one as fantastic as my Mom's old one), and the chapter on meat laid it out pretty simply - put it on a rack over a pan and roast it. I have a nice digital meat thermometer that can alarm at a certain temperature, And thus I stuck the roast in the oven at 325° and it took around an hour or so to get to an internal temperature of 135°, at which point I pulled it out, wrapped it in foil, and let it "coast" to 140°. Except it overshot, so the next time I stopped at 130°, but I'm getting ahead of myself.
It's been a while since I baked bread, but I had some hamburger buns in the pantry, and so, equipped with fresh roast beef, sliced thinly, a bun, and some mustard, I satisfied that Roast Beef Sandwich urge. Over and over until I ran out of beef and buns.
This week I made another roast, although this time I liberally coated the roast with my favorite spice blend, McCormick "Montreal Steak". And fresh after "resting" in foil, the smell was so tempting, I first sliced off a big hunk to eat plain. It was exquisite. Seriously, it was a foodgasm. I had to cut the other end off the roast and eat that too, it was so good.
Tonight, I took the remaining two thirds of that roast and put it in the freezer long enough to firm it up for slicing, and rendered it lunchmeat. Hamburger buns were procured, and I repeated the meal, and now I'm a happy Mauser.
My last order from Amazon included one of these: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004NPM3NU/
It's a little device that's probably been around for a century that peels, slices, and cores apples in one go. You stab an apple onto the prongs on the end of the screw, and turn the screw, which spins the apple under the peeling blade, forces it to spiral through the slicing blade, and cuts the core out as it forces the apple through a ring blade in the middle.
It took some fiddling with the get it into serviceable condition, the blades needed better sharpening, and some alignment, but for $13 and coming from somewhere in Asia, I'm not going to complain - much. I'm sure the antique versions would be much heavier duty, made of cast iron, and have a huge crank and a c-clamp to attach it to the table. I prefer the suction cup.
It's not perfect, since apples aren't perfect, but it does what it says on the tin (box, whatever). I sliced up a bunch of apples for the dehydrator in a fraction of the time it would take normally, and they came out much more even, which is important for drying. It would be awesome for doing an apple pie.
You can peel potatoes with it if you really want to. Although it makes no sense to core a potato. For that you can take the coring blade off.
One of the big things making the rounds is r/K theory and how these evolutionary strategies are reflected in political ideology. Bill Whittle discusses it in one episode of his roughly weekly show The Stratosphere Lounge (If the offset link doesn't work, jump to 0:58. Hmmm, offsets don't work in the embeds, so pure link.):http://youtu.be/kxvi4T1WMxg?t=58m
The book is offered on Kindle, and occasionally it's set to free, like it is today. (And remember, you don't need a Kindle to read kindle books, Amazon has a free reader for almost every platform)
It's interesting to read the negative reviews from Liberals who haven't read the book, because the anonymous author comes in and explains how they are wrong with passages from the book, and it's absolutely devastating. Although frankly, folks who go around posting negative reviews of conservative books they haven't read are not typically the brightest curly-bulbs in the shed.
I just got it, and haven't read it, so I'm NOT going to post a review yet.
Got another review. Yay! Three stars. Boo. But any review is a good thing really, right?
The guy says the main character is a Jerk. Yeah, he's supposed to be, He says the plot depends on the captors not telling him something (He doesn't say what he thinks they should have told him, which is okay, so it's not spoilery) but what those two THINK they want him to do is NOT necessarily what they want him to do, that all came from Aniti (which is explicitly mentioned). It's also possible to surmise that they don't tell him to do that because that would make them complicit, and it's bad enough they engineered the situation.
Still pondering the whole "You shouldn't answer reviews" thing.
The latest episode of Marvel's Agents of Shield for a moment had me going. You see, there's a classic gun-handling mistake you see in movies. One of the best examples of which was Stallone in Demolition Man.
In the climactic shootout, after shooting loads and loads of bullets, for dramatic purposes Stallone's gun finally runs out, and the slide locks back. This is normal. He then drops the empty magazine out of the gun, inserts a fresh one, and releases the slide. This action will take the first bullet off the magazine and load it into the chamber. At this point, the gun is ready to fire. But that's not dramatic enough, so after closing the slide, Stallone grabs the slide and yanks it back and lets it close again. You can see that first unfired bullet go flying away, wasted.
In this week's episode, an agent is being attacked by a cyborg, and after shooting him half a dozen times, the agent takes cover, pulls the magazine from his gun (Which already struck me as odd, since he should have had shots left, and the gun hadn't locked back) puts in a new magazine, and racks the slide, wasting the bullet currently in the chamber. He fires one more time before getting clobbered by the cyborg.
At first, I thought they were repeating the classic mistake, BUT, in a later scene, it's revealed that the second magazine had bullets that actually contained tracking devices. Suddenly, the gun-handling makes sense. He switched to trackers, and needed to get rid of the unneeded regular round.
About the only weak point is they seemed to be confused about the number of rounds fired and the number of rounds missing from the magazine, they either didn't account for the round wasted, or if he had "One up the spout" when he started.