Saturday, February 07, 2009

2261 Movie Night; Chocolate Cake for One

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Man and I had a movie night last night. He had discovered that I'd never seen "Monty Python and the Holy Grail", and he decided that my geekiness needed some education. So he brought his DVD.

I discovered that he'd never seen "The Princess Bride". His geekhood needed some updating too. So I took my DVD.

We watched both.

It was a very nice evening. I do seem to have a very positive reaction to him every time I see him. First glance does it. It's very hard to reconcile that with my annoyance with him between times. First glance, and all is forgiven, all is forgotten. Do they call that chemistry?


I found this on a Mensa group site:


4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
a small splash of vanilla extract
1 large coffee mug

Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly. Pour in the milk and oil and mix well. Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla extract, and mix again.

Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts (high). The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed! Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.

EAT! (This can serve 2 if you want to feel slightly more virtuous).

Friday, February 06, 2009

2260 City folk worry about maple scent?

Friday, February 6, 2009

From "Newsdroppings", in the Shoebox blog:
"They found the source of the mysterious maple syrup smell in New York City. Turned out to be a seed-processing plant over in Jersey. So now New Yorkers can get back to the good old urine smell."

I'm having trouble imagining why people would call complaining about a maple syrup smell. I guess that's my "mountain girl" persona showing.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

2259 Ukelele

"While My Guitar Gently Weeps", by George Harrison, on a ukelele in Central Park. This guy's GOOD!


2258 Enough Already!

My thoughts on winter.

2257 The Doctors

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I just got back from the doctor's office. I got a scolding for not having had a mammogram in like 10 years. (Correction - last one was 2004.) I am scheduled for a mammogram and ultrasound tomorrow. They seemed to consider it an emergency - they called four places to find one that could fit me in.

Isn't that interesting.

The mammo is in the morning, and the ultrasound is at 1:30 pm. Awkward. Jasper's vet appointment is at 1:30, and he really needs to go in because I think his problem is only slightly better.

So I stopped off at the vet's office. Today is the vet's day off, but the nurse is there anyway because there are animals in the back. Now I'm going to take Jasper in early in tomorrow morning, but I won't be able to pick him up tomorrow evening because I'm going to New Jersey, and I really don't want to cancel this particular trip. He'll have to stay there until Monday, but that might be best anyway, since that way they can monitor his fluid intake. He loves to play in water, but I'm not sure how much he actually drinks.

The pace is picking up around here, and I don't like it. I'd rather stay in hibernation.


Later - the place I had my previous mammograms has gone out of business, and I have no idea what they may have done with my films. The doctor was a little concerned about that. She wanted previous exams for comparison. However, when Jay was sick, one thing we learned is that you get your own second copies of all MRIs, xrays, blood tests, everything!, so you can carry them around with you. It saves a lot of time, and nothing gets lost.

So, I have copies of my last two mammograms here, in the den, and (it surprised me!) I was able to locate them easily. So, I'm all set.

2256 Disaster Map

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I found this entirely by accident. It's a map showing all current disasters and potential disasters around the world, including storms, earthquakes, epidemics, erupting volcanos, radiation exposures, and I don't know what all else.

There's a map at the top, and hovering over a marker will give details. Then there's further info lower down on the screen. Fascinating. I haven't had time to explore fully, but plan to later this evening.

It's at

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

2255 Nine questions

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Glenn Beck, a radio talk show host (I think, I don't know, the closest I get to talk radio is "Car Talk") has put out a list of nine questions, and has asked that if you agree with at least seven of them, that you send your photo (and those of any of your children, spouse, friends who also agree) to him. It's the February 4 post at his website, the story with "surround" in the title. The reason: "When one caller said he was ready to unplug because he was so frustrated, Glenn asked him to give him a few weeks to prove that he wasn't alone."


I agree with at most four of them, maybe only three if I thought about them harder. My reasons for disagreement with the others might be considered picky, so let's take the most obvious one: Question #4, about the family, that ends with "I answer to God", the implication being that where the family is concerned, the parents should not have to answer to anyone else, including the government.

I cannot agree with that, because there are parents who think that they have the right and duty to beat the living crap out of their kids to keep them in line, to put fear of authority and instant obedience into them. There are parents who torture, imprison, and starve children, "for their own good", who marry off 13-year-old girls to old men. I damn well do think that "answering to God" is insufficient!

Too many people interpret God's will to fit their own beliefs.

So, ok, maybe what he is really referring to is things like schooling requirements, vaccinations, medical choices, and so on. But that's not what the statement says, and I'd have a serious problem with anyone who agrees with it blindly just because it sounds nice.

I know too much about the history NOT taught in school to agree with #1.

What's with the last phrase in #2? Read the old book - God never was all sweetness and light.

Isn't #8 in direct conflict with the first amendment? It is not un-American to disagree with anything, including the Constitution and interpretations thereof. In fact, it's almost one's patriotic duty to at least question. (Who wrote #8? Cheney?) If you agree with this one, then women should not be allowed to vote. That certainly was not in the founders' plans. Every one of those amendments, including the first 10, came from someone objecting and raising "un-American" hell.

Laws are government, so #9 conflicts with #5.

...And so on.

I don't understand.

I also find it annoying that he wants to hear only from those who agree with at least seven. Not that any of it really has any meaning. Every person who sends a photo is admitting to an inability to think critically. It's not a proof or demonstration of anything positive. It's an indictment.

2254 Not going well at all.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Hunk came by this morning and showed me how to set and hook up the charger, so Suzy got her restart. Her clock now insists it's 18:88 o'clock, and the outside temperature is -188, and I don't have the faintest idea how to fix that. I drove her around a bit, and dared to actually turn her off at the post office, and she did start again, so I hope she's ok now.

Before he left, the Hunk told me that the battery may not charge to 100%, it might go to 80% and then not charge further, but that's ok. Suzy got to 72% very quickly, but then it wouldn't go any higher. I guess she's going to need a heart transplant soon.

I spent the afternoon sorting papers, trying to pull together everything I need for taxes. There's a lot of pieces of paper that I don't know what to do with. Like companies I had stock in that went under or were bought out. I have the stubs from checks they sent me, but shouldn't there be some kind of 1099? Oh, well. Unfortunately they never tell what the basis is, so I have to figure that out.

I discovered a small problem today, and called my doctor's office to make an appointment, a half-hour before they closed. I haven't been there in three years (I didn't realize that!), so they are considering me a new patient. And yet, when I told her what was wrong, she scheduled me for 3:30 tomorrow. Now I'm worried. But only a little. I don't think it's what she is thinking.

Oh, and it WAS the ceiling light left on that caused Suzy's collapse. I wasn't tall enough to see it, but the Hunk laughed at the melt dimple in the snow on her roof, right over the light.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

2253 Not going well....

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I guess I left the ceiling light on in Suzy yesterday morning. She wouldn't start this afternoon. The Hairless Hunk will be here tomorrow morning to teach me how to use the charger. IF he can make it up the driveway?

I didn't try the charger myself because the "dusting" of snow we were supposed to get this morning turned into a few inches, and it was still coming down at 4 pm, when Suzy crapped out, and I wasn't sure I could use the charger when it's precipitating.

So I walked two miles round trip, in the snow and wind, to take care of some business. Remember I lost my warm gloves (well, one of them)? The fancy "name" replacements left my fingers frozen. I had to buy a pair of work gloves in the deli to put on over the stupid fancy ones to walk home.

And for some reason my water isn't working right. I turn on the faucet and get a trickle. I don't know whether it's the well pump, or that the filter is clogged. I don't think it's a leak anywhere, because when I rest my ear on the faucet, I don't hear water running. I'm afraid to go down to the basement.

Jasper has been taking the medicine for a week now, and he feels better, I guess, because he's more playful, but he's still searching for piddle-places that work better, still piddling often, small amounts. I remember now this is why almost all my cats have been spayed females. The boys seem to have a lot of piddle problems. I'm running out of dry spots to sleep on my bed. Amazing how the piddle dries quickly (I discover it by the smell, and the ring) but the treated spots take forever to dry. If this doesn't stop I may have to cage him.

Today has not been a good day.

Oh, yeah, almost forgot. More language confusion from the internet professional writers:
and the ever-popular its/it's.

Not a good day at all.

2252 I got rooked.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

You know those converters you have to buy for analog TVs? The one where the government (or somebody) offered $40 off coupons, maximum two per household?

Well, "they" were saying that a limited number of those coupons would be available. Two of my TV sets are analog, so back in May I sent away for two coupons, and when the envelope arrived I put it away, unopened, until I needed them.

Today I opened the envelope. The enclosed letter cautions that they expire 90 days after they're mailed. Mine expired on 8/13/08.

In all those TV announcements, they couldn't find 3 seconds to say there's an expiration date?

I'm out $80, and I'm angry.

Monday, February 02, 2009

2251 Blogging is a lot like sex....

Monday, February 2, 2009

From The Great Geek Manual:
    13. At first, you’re just blogging once every week or two, but it’s not long before you’re doing it a couple of times a day.

    12. A lot of kids fool around with blogs in high school but the serious blogging doesn’t start until college.

    11. People really only have one good entry at a time, but will often fake multiple entries because they think it makes their readers happy.

    10. It hurts when you’ve blogged and the next day your readers pretend like it never happened.

    09. You know better than to blog when you’re drunk, but it’s just more fun, even if you do it with topics you wouldn’t have touched when you were sober.

    08. The day after you’ve blogged drunk, you’ve got a lot of explaining to do to your regular readers.

    07. Men blog like they’ve got an audience, but women like to keep it intimate.

    06. You have to vary your technique once in a while, otherwise your readers will loose [sic] [And if you know me it was "sic" enough to make me want to throw up. ~~Silk] interest and you’ll drift apart.

    05. When you first start to blog, you don’t ever have any long term readers but all you can ever think about is blogging. After a while, you do find some regular readers, but then blogging becomes a chore and you start to feel guilty if it’s been a while.

    04. Most people blog at night, in the privacy of their own homes, but there’s always some jackass strutting around bragging that he prefers to blog in the office at lunch or at the local park…

    03. Everyone knows that if he ever did in fact blog in his office or in the park, he was alone and just blogging into his palm.

    02. If you haven’t blogged in a while, you reeeaaally start to miss it.

    01. And finally, blogging is like sex because it’s incredibly embarrassing when you get caught.

“Blogging is like Sex” was written by Pipedreamergrey and originally posted to The Great Geek Manual. It may be reposted so long as this notice remains intact. Copyright 2006 Pipedreamergrey.

2250 Has "black" become the new n-word?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Catch this:

Officials at Cuba-Rushford Central School, in Cuba, N.Y., have told a senior that she cannot refer to herself as "black" in the personal memories of her yearbook page because some people might find it offensive. Note that they are not objecting to what she had to say about being black, only the use of that word itself. The principal has suggested that she use the word "unique" instead.



I don't understand.

2249 Something New

Monday, February 2, 2009

I suppose if I had thought about the subject at all, I'd wouldn't be surprised by this. We all know that drug companies run clinical trials. Jay was in several for his brain cancer. I didn't realize that American pharmaceutical companies ran clinical trials in other countries - especially what are considered "third world" countries. Of course, if I'd thought about it....

In the U.S., patients and families get a lot of detailed information on the medication or treatment on trial, including possible side effects, no matter how rare. If a new, unexpected, side effect shows up, the entire trial is halted because it can run only under the original terms that the patients had agreed to. And if it becomes apparent that the new treatment is not as least as effective as the current standard treatment for this phase of the illness, the trial is halted (which is why for many trials, a patient is not accepted if the standard treatment is working).

I can't help wondering if the above requirements are upheld in the other countries that the pharmaceutical companies select for clinical trials.

This synopsis from the Wall Street Journal outlines a complaint filed by 88 Nigerian families against Pfizer, that the company had tested a new drug on their children without their knowledge or permission.

In the ruling, the majority and dissent, notes the NYLJ, differed over whether the families’ claims that their children had been subjected to medical experimentation without their consent fell within the Alien Tort Statute, the 1789 law that gives foreigners the right to raise tort claims in federal court to vindicate violations of “the laws of nations.”

In a statement, Pfizer said its 1996 clinical study was conducted with the consent of the children’s parents and “was consistent with both international and Nigerian laws.” Any deaths or injuries were “the direct result of the illness, and not the treatment provided to patients in the Pfizer study,” the company stated.

That "any deaths or injuries ... direct result of the illness" bit bothers me. If the new antibiotic didn't work, then the children died of the meningitis. Yeah. But if they would not have died had they gotten the standard treatment, then maybe they didn't die from the new meds, but they certainly died of the trial.

I need to know what Pfizer considers informed consent, and whether such consent takes into consideration issues of the consenting parties' sophistication and willingness to accept the dictates of authority figures.

Or maybe I just have an overdeveloped suspicion of authority figures.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

2248 More eBay Seller Advice

Sunday, February 1, 2009

As we all know, S-M-L as sizing doesn't have a lot of meaning unless you already know the brand well, or unless it's very stretchy fabric. Most eBay sellers know that they have to actually measure clothing (bust, waist, hips, length) and put those numbers in the description. I won't buy anything without the measurements.

However, there's one thing many people seem to forget - or maybe they're not aware of it.

The distance from the shoulder to under the bust (down the front) is a LOT longer on a 40" than on a 32". If it's like 10" for a 32 then it would be like 14" for a 40, because the 40 sticks out more. Common geometry. So when you measure a fitted top, and you get 41" around, that does NOT necessarily mean it will fit a 40" bust! You need that shoulder to underbust measurement, too.

I've been lengthening the straps and shoulder pieces on a lot of fitted-top nighties lately, to drop that underseam. The sellers claimed things would fit me, but the bottom bust seam comes right across the middle, not under the bottom. Yeah, I can button the front buttons, but only if I boost the girls up until they're bumping my chin. They're too old for that kind of foolishness. Blech!

Well, at least I know what additional question to ask now.