Friday, April 30, 2010


I missed Boobquake.


Guess I'll console myself with humor.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Intel Humor

(Yeah, I know. I liked it anyway.)


I'm always intrigued by the Young Me/Old Me site, where people match up pictures taken of them when they were younger with recreations made just for that matching purpose. Sometimes they're hokey, sometimes funny. Either way, they're real, and I like them.

But I have to say, I never expected this.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

There's Charity, And Then There's...

Is this a great country, or what?


Apparently, I ought to learn how to use a pastry bag. With just a scoop, these suckers come out big. Easy enough to make, though.

Espresso Chip Meringues
* 3 egg whites, at room temperature
* Pinch fine sea salt
* 3/4 cup superfine baker's sugar*
* 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
* 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
* 2/3 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips


*Can be found at specialty cooking stores

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and salt until frothy, about 1 minute. With the machine on medium-high speed, gradually add the sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time. Add the cream of tartar, vanilla extract, and espresso powder. Increase the speed to high and beat until the mixture is thick and holds stiff peaks, about 3 to 5 minutes. Using a spatula, fold in the chocolate chips. Drop 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 30 minutes. Rotate the pan and bake for another 30 minutes. Turn off the oven and allow the meringues to cool completely while still in the oven, about 2 hours.

Store airtight in a plastic container for up to 4 days.

Cook's Note: The meringue mixture can also be placed in a pasty bag fitted with a large, plain tip (recommended: Ateco # 9808) and piped onto the baking sheet.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010


I just took my daughter to Karate. She'd been teasing me about moving slowly, so I walked very slowly down the stairs...across the garage...cliiiimbed into the van....stopped for a breath... By this time, she was stamping her feet in agitation.

On the way, she told me about something dumb that someone in one of her classes had said. But that's the thing, she went on. Most of the people in that class are dumb. I thought about that for a moment. If they're mostly dumb, I asked, why aren't you a stellar student in that class? Because you're clearly not dumb. She paused. Not being dumb doesn't mean doing well. I'm doing better than other people in the class. And there are people who do better than me. Its just that there are more dumb people than not. Well, I replied, the teacher should be able to handle that. You saw how flabbergasted your mother and I got when your biology teacher said that the average for his course was a C. Our feeling is that C means 'has a general idea of the information, but not much of a grasp on it'. We know, in a tough course a C can be considered good, but this is a basic Biology course, not an advanced one. WHen I hear a teacher say that, I think Then they're not very good, if they can't get the average student up to a B. Unless the materials particularly difficult, or the kids not very bright, or with a poor background -- and even then, the job of a teacher is to TEACH. If they're not getting the material across to a basic level of understanding most of the time, to what we see as a B level, then to me something's wrong, and, most likely, they're not doing their job.

I hestitated. I am sure that teachers wouldn't agree, I added.

The rest of the trip was in silence.


Melanie Reid

...may not be a remarkable person, but I think she is, if only for this:


I believe that the phrase which comes to mind is You Wish!


The look on this fellow's face, at the end, is priceless.


Sometimes it seems that we aren't sure how to react to events.

I've been trying to get implants done and done for a little over two years now. It seems that everything that could slow down the process, has. Snowstorms. Surprise vacations. Problems with the actual implants. Problems with the temporary device.

Now, the dentist who's supposed to put in the final device, and whom I had to call to remind that I was still waiting, and who then immediately scheduled an appointment for two weeks later, which is to say, tomorrow ....has had a heart attack. They rescheduled, but they're not sure he's even coming back to work, at all.

And the first thing I think of is what happens to the money I paid him for this thing? Who's going to put the damn thing in my mouth?

Only later do I think geez, poor guy....

I'm not shallow, honest. At least, I don't think I am.


Last night, as part of my dream I got to visit my mother. She was living in the apartment that I grew up in. Still on the feeble side, but not doing too badly.

That was nice.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Wood: Good

The guys at BP Custom Woodworks have a great idea -- polished, gleaming enclosures for electronic equipment.

Man... very cool.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

At The Core

"Mr Prahalad’s core competence lay in big ideas rather than in dotting the “i”s and crossing the “t”s. He taught the world’s biggest companies to think of themselves anew, as a “portfolio of competencies” rather than as a “portfolio of businesses”.
- The Economist: The Guru At The Bottom Of The Pyramid

Too bad that most companies that adopted the words couldn't figure out how to implement the concepts - and of those who thought they could, the tool of choice was the bludgeon rather than the scalpel.

Yes But No

An article in The Economist, titled Not Only Politicians Fudge The Issues, points out that respondents tended to reduce the level of their support for concepts when the downsides of that support are pointed out. The respondents in this case are British, but the results are instructive no matter your nationality.

For example, 83% supported the idea that the British military ought to have better equipment, but that support dropped to 46% when it was pointed out that, other things being equal, this would mean that less money would be available for domestic programs. (Should I have said 'programmes'?) Similarly, support for local control of domestic initiatives, which was at 54% of responses, dropped to 29% when it was pointed out that this would likely mean that programs were implemented differently in different places. The only places where this shading did not occur was relative to the taxing of alcohol -- users supported the use of taxes to limit the consumption of alcohol, even when they acknowledged that this meant they'd pay more for a drink -- and relative to support for efforts regarding climate change.

An episode of West Wing had the political people in the White House deciding to produce political ads that were issue-oriented, saying "Here's the facts; here's why we believe as we do". In the show, it was seen as a way to demonstrate their intelligence and forthrightness, to which the electorate would respond. In the real world, where certain parties feel free to make up their own facts and interpretations, this might not work so cleanly, but the concept of political ads that state the pros and cons of stances on certain issues still -- to me, at least -- has a compelling appeal.

Idle Thoughts

We're thinking of spending a couple of days in DC after dropping our daughter off at Dulles for her trip to France. I am sure -- I would bet money on it -- that the technology exists to search for 'Small-to-moderate size hotel, elegant boutique, near Metro, near bookstores, less than $350 a night' -- but do I know where it exists? No, I do not. Fer shure, Google can't.

We had a neighbor over for brunch. It was fun. Now the china, which we don't use enough, is soaking in the sink, and I think: why isn't there a 'jacuzzi' option for sinks so that the soaking dishes get gently vibrated? Say, an 'ultrasonic cleaning option'?

We finally got a replacement for our 10 inch frying pan. Although now I learn that the pans with the vertical sizes are saute pans; the ones with the sloped sides are the fry pans. But we bought one, came home, held it to our existing pan. Noticably smaller. The top of this pan was the size of the bottom of the old one. Back to the damn store to get one size larger. When did they change what gets measured? Is it like PCs, where they measure whatever sounds the most impressive?

I'm getting used to reading the Washington Post on the PC. I kind of like it. Perhaps I will pursue getting the electronic version for the Economist, when and if I renew that.

Everybody Draw Mohammed Day. Hmm... I don't like the idea of dissing the Muslim religion. But I like the idea even less so of zealots. Pissing some of them off might be fun. If possibly hazardous to your health.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Yes, I Believe That

Found at The Oatmeal.

Incident Pit

I came across the phrase "incident pit" in a science fiction novel, Pushing Ice, and was startled that I'd never heard of it before. It's a divers' term, referring to a situation where things slowly get worse, then more rapidly. Here's the definition from the linked site:

In essence, the incident pit is something that you gradually fall into. One small thing might not initially go to plan or a relatively minor piece of equipment might break down or get left at home; when this happens you have put your first foot into the incident pit. Initially it is not a problem, but then something else goes wrong - that is another step into the pit. The challenge with the incident pit is that with each step, not only do you get closer and closer to the bottom of the pit and a serious incident, but with each step the sides of the pit get steeper and steeper. It gets more and more difficult to get out the further into the pit you go.

That sounds so familiar!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Scotus and Potus

I was reading an article in the Economist the other day about the process of picking the next Supreme Court justice. Most of it was predictable, but one part, titled "Americans Need Protection, But From Whom?", gave me pause.

It made the point that Democrats think that people need to be protected from big corporations, while Republicans think they need to be protected from big government. It went on to say " For example, Democrats deride the court for ruling that companies may spend as much money as they like on political ads at election time. This will allow the likes of Exxon Mobil to drown out the voices of ordinary citizens, they say. Many Republicans, in contrast, applaud the court for stopping incumbent politicians using campaign-finance laws to silence critical speech about themselves."Well, gee, I think that both of those are worthy. I don't see where agreement with one prohibits or constrains agreement with the other.

The article goes on to say that Americans fear big government more than big business, and think that government is getting too big, too costly, and too intrusive. That sounds right to me. I don't like agreeing with that last part, because I think there's good reasons for big government (but this big? this intrusive?), but it sounds right.

The very last part is what got me:

"Mr. Obama once said that his ideal judge would show 'empathy' for the poor. Polls suggest that most Americans would rather their judges upheld the law dispassionately."

I think that most Americans do feel that way, but only in the abstract. When they put a face on it, when it's someone they know or someone they see, someone they can identify with, then I think they would prefer that empathy.

Or am I projecting?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I Love You Guys!

From time to time, I muse about the concept of motivation and kids. Usually, it's sparked by wondering how I can motivate my mento; less often, by wondering how I can motivate my daughter. I usually come to the conclusion that I have no idea. Let alone having a magic bullet, I sometimes feel that I don't even have a gun. So I do what parents have done since time immemorial -- nag the kid, asking if you've done this paper, studied for that test, is that the best that you can do. It's what my parents did, somewhat, and I think that for the vast majority of kids, it's what their parents do, too. Undoubtedly there are professionals who have theories about the best way, the best ideas, and all of that, but those theories, if they do exist, never seem to percolate out to the general public. This is how it worked in the laboratory, but out in the real world? Your mileage may vary.

This evening, I got a different perspective on the question. It didn't give me any answers, but it gave me something to think about.

It was the occasion of the annual end of year banquet for the color guards at my daughter's high school. As is traditional, there was much giving of gifts, making of teary speeches (on the part of the girls, for the most part, and parents, on occasion). Again and again, I heard girls say you guys are my family...when I hated it, when I wanted to quit, when I was sure that I just couldn't do it, couldn't master that spin, couldn't practice for another minute let alone another hour, when I thought nobody liked me, you helped me deal with it. You listened to me and cried with me. I couldn't have done it without you, and I'm glad that I've been in color guard. I love you guys!

How, I wondered, and why, do they continue with something that causes them so much pain and grief? What motivates them, keeps them going?

Which leads me to my new thought. Perhaps motivation to press on, to just try, starts with, consists entirely of, encouragement, unconditional encouragement, from someone you trust. As I write that, I think well, surely there must be more than that, that's just the I'm OK- You're OK philosophy. Surely there must be direction, guidance, goals? And perhaps there is. But the core of it, the foundation, the part that stands alone -- perhaps that's simply encouragement from someone you trust. Someone who will listen to you. Someone who cares. Perhaps that's what gives the willingness to try. Which to me is the core of motivation. Could that be it?

Maybe? Maybe.

Update: I posited this to my daughter. She didn't think much of it. She said that the memory of past successes carries you through the pain of getting better, makes you willing to endure it. And the sensation of accomplishment wipes out the memory of the pain. Hmm.... Sounds kind of like pressure makes diamonds. What do you do if you don't have those successes? Rationally, I think, accept smaller ones, but where do you find them? What if the kid doesn't seem to have any?

Guess the question's not answered yet.

I Thought Those Eggs Looked Odd

Found here, from National Geographic Unique Moments collection.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Eh, Jean Luc?


La Vida Vica is a pretty interesting blog. Even if she no longer accepts either comments or emails, which tends to knock out the possibility of community. (I'd link to it, but I can't quite figure out why my 'create a link' from that site doesn't work. Ah, well.)

Prickly Tea

I think this says it pretty well, for both sides.


This is how wierd I can be.

I heard the phrase Lorentzian Wormhole, from the remake of The Andromeda Strain, and I smiled. I don't know what it means -- it just sounds cool.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


It occurred to me, a little bit ago, that I haven't really posted anything today. I did put up a copy of an article I found elsewhere, but I didn't write anything. I thought that perhaps I should.

Then I thought well, why? It's not as if people are clamoring for it. And that's true. I enjoy the comments and responses I get, but I doubt anyone comes here, says Well, damn, nothing new? My day is ruined. If there's nothing new, then there's nothing new.

Certainly, there are some things I could write about, like that maniac GOP senator who said today that Wall Street ought not to be regulated because it's the source of funds for Main Street. Guess he wasn't around for the last eight to twelve months when that particular regulatory philosophy was demonstrated to be, shall we say, shaky. But I don't have anything particularly insightful, even in my own eyes, to say about that. Pointing out the inadequacies of politicians -- why, anyone could do it. No trick there.

So, basically, I have nothing to say. So, know what?

I won't.


This is from The Daily WTF. As a former performance guy, I love it.

"And this is Colossus," Eric said with a dramatic sweep of his hand.

It was an impressive sight. The PDP-11/70 was a beast of a machine: one megabyte of memory, up to 63 concurrent jobs, and a control panel straight out of straight out of Star Trek.

Sadly, Kevin wasn't properly impressed. Kevin was Eric's new boss, whose main qualification was that he and the VP of Finance played squash together. Kevin knew nothing about PDP systems or RSTS/E, the OS it ran. It fell to Eric to train his new boss how to do his job, and the slack-jaw dangling from Kevin's face didn't bode well.

A few days into Kevin's reign, accounting called. Their complaint, the same complaint they had last month, and the month before that, was that the accounts payable job took too long to run.

"Well, what can we do about it?" Kevin asked.

"What? Nothing, really. It's a big job. It takes a long time," Eric said.

"Can't you boost the priority?"

Eric raised an eyebrow at that; "priority" was likely on Kevin's "Tech Word a Day" calendar today. The short answer was, "Yes, but it won't do anything." Eric proceeded to explain, in small words, that the bottleneck in their environment was disk I/O. The large accounting files couldn't be cached in memory, so accounting jobs spent most of their time trying to get data off of the disk. Even at peak load, the CPU was idle 70% of the time. "Changing the priority only gives them more CPU, which they don't need."

Kevin nodded along, like he understood, and then said, "Great, so we'll boost the priority then. Show me how."

Eric did. When he actually timed the process, it took just as long. But Kevin and the VP of Finance agreed that everything was much faster now, so Eric kept his mouth shut.

Happy VPs mean happy budgets, and they found themselves with a significant hardware upgrade. Two shiny 250mb hard disks ($15,000 each), one disk controller ($15,000), and a second megabyte memory upgrade ($10,000).

The new toys were freed of their packing material and installed. In-memory disk caching was enabled and performance… didn't change at all. Eric, a stalwart veteran of 15 months at this time, couldn't accept that. After some research, he found a patch that altered the disk caching behavior. Instead of trying to explain the details of the RSTS/E caching system to Kevin, Eric simply installed it without permission after everyone else went home.

The next day, the system flew. That 2mb of memory was used to store commonly used data, the I/O bottleneck vanished, and the CPU spent most of its time near 100%.

With this change, Kevin's knowledge became dangerous. Now, when he altered the priority of accounting jobs, he swallowed the entire CPU and blocked anything else from running.

Eric explained the technical problem, this time using carefully selected mono-syllables. "So stop adjusting the priority. You don't need to, it's fast enough for everyone."

"Accounting needs their jobs to run faster. If engineering can't make vectors or flipjacks or whatever they do, too bad."

Eric returned to his desk and scowled at RSTS/E's UTILITY.BAS file, which contained the source code for a variety of system commands, like SET QUEUE, which controlled the priority. It took moments to alter SET QUEUE to ignore attempts to change priority. A quick recompile and Kevin was rendered harmless, again.

This lasted for months, until Kevin learned to read the process report, which was roughly like a lemur discovering fire. "What's wrong with the priority settings?" Kevin demanded, red faced. "Accounting needs their data! Fix it now!"

Eric knew there was no point in explaining things. "I'll look into it." As soon as Kevin turned away, Eric opened up UTILITY.BAS, and this time jumped down to the SHOW QUEUE command. In five minutes, he added logic to make all of the accounting jobs to look like they had a higher priority than they actually did.

Anyone who knew their way around RSTS/E would notice something was amiss..... which meant Eric never had to worry about Kevin noticing.

Monday, April 19, 2010


My wife has been using the FitDay web site, on advice from a 'health coach' at her insurance company, for about three months. Its primary function is to track what you eat, and what the caloric and other effects are. I despise doing things like that (as does she). But - she's lost several pounds. Part of that is getting a little bit more exercise. But part of it is just knowing the effect of what she eats.

So I'm going to give it a try. What the hell, its free. And I have to admit: seeing the effect of just putting in what we had for dinner made me say OMG...


This brief article, from the Atlantic, is several months old, and the topic's no longer urgent, but the underlying concept, which is 'how can a civilian evaluate the news feeds on a given topic d'jour', is interesting.

Wall Writings

Found at BaconBabble, here.

Friends don’t let friends take home ugly men.
Women’s restroom, Starboard, Dewey Beach, DE

Make love, not war.-Hell, do both, get married!
Women’s restroom, The Filling Station, Bozeman, Montana

Express Lane: Five beers or less
Sign over one of the urinals, Ed Debevic’s, Beverly Hills, CA

You’re too good for him.
Sign over mirror in Women’s restroom, Ed Debevics, Beverly Hills

No wonder you always go home alone.
Sign over mirror in Men’s restroom, Ed Debevic’s, Beverly Hills

Beauty is only a light switch away.
Perkins Library, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina.

Heisenberg may have slept here.
In the men’s room in the Physics building at Rice University.


I love this.

Note From Todd

I got a nice little note from Todd Platts, my district's delegate to the House of Representatives, in response to my call to his office urging him to vote for the Health Care Bill. He said "Bite me."

Okay, not in so many words. He's a nice guy, and he is a politician, so Every Vote Counts, though, since I'm a Democrat in a heavily Republican area, Not So Much. But when I opened up the two page note (franked for free, of course), the first phrase that struck me was "..should have enacted a reasonable health care bill....", at which point, I uttered an Anglo-Saxon word of praise and put the letter down. I actually do intend to read it, though I may scrounge through the cupboards and refrigerator for something alcoholic, I mean, sedative-like, before I do. Because if stupid people can have decent ideas, then it's not out of the question for a politician, even a Republican politician, to have one. Damned unlikely, but possible.

I wonder if its time to switch back to the Republican party, just so I can vote against this joker in the primaries?


At our wedding reception, we had an Italian Rum cake. It was quite good.

Lately, though, I've wondered if another type might have been better.

American Fanatics

The 'conservatives' are starting to seriously scare me.

"Tea Party" people want to severely restrict the size of government, and to pay less taxes, perhaps none at all. Not willing to give up the functions of government that help them, though, even when they don't realize it IS the government doing it. ("Keep government's hands off my Medicare!") I suppose 'Have police when I need them, but don't expect me to pay for their salaries or equipment", is coming. Second Amendment freaks believe they should bring loaded weapons to political rallies, well known for being bastions of reason and cool intellect. I wonder when we're going to realize the insanity of allowing that to occur. Perhaps when the first one shoots a cop? Assassinates a candidate? Throws a firebomb through the window of a political party it doesn't like? Holds a rally where armed fanatics stampede through ethnic areas? And then there's Sarah Palin, and the type of people she attracks.

How far do we let these crackpots go?

I'm beginning to get the feeling that I'm losing my country to the intolerant fanatics, and it worries me. I think it's time, and more than time, to find ways to rein these hotheads in, to quit being so willing to let them have their way in all things. And hope that one of them -- it only takes one -- doesn't shoot me in the process. I'm not quite to the point of wanting to be armed, myself, but as I watch these people, the concept of being a liberal who's opposed to people wanting unrestrained liberties is slowly coming to seem less strange.

(On this general topic, this makes interesting reading.)

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Just spent an hour with my daughter helping her write a quick paper for school. She was in meltdown mode because what she wrote yesterday didn't sound right.

Most of the hour was iterations of

Let me try to write's that?
Good, but its not what I would say.
Well, then, what do you want to say?
I don't KNOW!!!

It doesn't help that I'm a pretty facile writer.

Eventually, we got it done.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


tell me that this is real.


Reading an article in the consumer newsletter about house insurance to my wife , I told her that people with homes that had had defective Chinese-made drywall sometimes found that the insurance company either didn't pay up, citing exclusions to the policy due to defective building material, or dropped their policy on the grounds that the homeowners now had unexpected financial burdens that made them unacceptable risks.

What, my wife said, now the house can't have pre-existing conditions?


Oh Ma Gami

I'm not very good at origami, but I like it.

Especially this.

Country Driving

I am surprised at how much I am enjoying Country Driving, which is subtitled A Journey From Farm to Factory.

I had known the book was based in China, and I thought it was literally a description of how things got from their farms to their factories, or something along those lines. Once I started reading it, I found that it was much more than that -- it's a travelogue, a panorama of modern China (in the cities) and historical China (in the towns and villages). Its how people live with the cadres and the Communist Party, working it to their advantage when they can, dodging it when they can. It's the people of China, and their attitudes towards everything from whether its better to sell buttons or bra rings (rings, by far; higher cost of entry bars competitors) to whether the Party Secretary is to be trusted (used to be, implicitly, now, not so much) to which cigarettes should you offer to a potential trading partner(Red Plums are always good).

It's their attitudes toward life, and it's fascinating.


Any breakfast period where -

- your daughter joins you in singing about how it's going to be so great once we attach the paraglider wings to the cat and toss her out into the winds so that she can have her way with those damn birds, once and for all

- your daughter tells you that we need a new DVD player because she's really enjoying watching reruns of West Wing, but they're not playing right, and she really wants to watch them

- your daughter not only remembers the punch line to the joke about the Green Hornet and December 8 1941, but tells it better than you do

=== well, that's gonna be a good breakfast.


Friday, April 16, 2010

Push Here

This evening, my wife and I were talking about education, and pushing your children.

The source of the topic was my daughter (what a surprise) who was irritated that we've been pushing her to complete her various Final Assessment Projects, some of which are due next week, and some of which are not due until May -- and who was not pleased when we pointed out that May was two weeks away. You're always pushing me, reminding me, making it sound like such a big deal! she stormed, before leaving the room. We looked at each other with the same well, I guess my work is done here look. I offered the opinion that she's tense about getting it done, and nervous about how it'll be finished. She's also likely not entirely sure how she'll get it done, and so she took it out on us. I didn't mind. It meant that she was thinking about it, and that's a good thing.

I told my wife that I didn't recall my parents ever pushing me to do better in school. Even when it must have been apparent to them that I was doing poorly, they never pushed. Likely, they didn't know what they could do to help, even though I'm sure that they wanted to. My wife said that her father had done poorly in school, and never felt, as a result, that he had the right to push her or her sisters. I didn't do well, either, I replied, but I feel as if I do have the right, and the responsibility, to push her further than she would be willing to go on her own.

I don't think I'm pushing too hard, but I'm sure that it's harder than she'd like.

Yeah, Right

So I just tried getting on my bike, which was difficult to do last year, what with the results of breaking my hip, and I think that it's even harder this year. I'm thinking that some kind of recurring exercise would be a good thing, but nothing sounds right -- these people all assume that you're basically limber, and I'm not. Absolutely not.

So I do a web search for 'hip flexibility exercise', and the first site has this picture:

How much of that site do you think I read?

Cut to the Chase

I occasionally wonder if Bill Gates watches DVDs that have been cleansed of all of the crap that lesser mortals have to wade through when they watch. Probably he has a staff member who ensures that the process is elegant and whisper-quiet. We're cursing the ads, and he's halfway through the first scene. Must be nice, right?

We might be able to do it, too. Remember stop-drop-roll? Now there's this.

Stop - Stop - Play.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


I told my daughter that the store where we buy the nail covers for our cat seems to be not carrying them anymore, so I looked on the web, and I found them in pink.

PINK!!! She shouted, and ran down the hall to tell her mother. You have to buy this in pink! Pink would be epically awesome! Pink! Pink! Pink!

I think she liked the idea.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


I was talking with the rep from the company that redid our downstairs bath, telling him what we want priced for the upstairs hall one.

"Oh, and we want to see about getting a really bright light over the tub, bright enough so that we can use it to read."

He blinked. "A reading light for a tub. Never heard that before."

Seems reasonable to me!


I have a small pin with the number 5 on it. Black enamel on a violet enamel background. At one time, it meant a great deal to me.

When I was in missiles, we had to take an evaluation every so often. I don't recall how often, but 'twice a year' sounds about right. Evaluations were usually tense affairs, because they cut you no slack. You had to get it exactly right, or the specific event or task being graded didn't count. Just about everyone passed evaluations, though, in SAC tradition, it was possible to pass an evaluation with a low enough score that, if you got it again, they considered you unqualified. Go figure. Most people got a Qualified rating -- oh, great, I get to be on alert some more -- and every so often, someone got a Highly Qualified rating. Sometimes, this was because the script was easy; usually, it was because the crew really knew what they were doing, and they worked well together.

After I got busted from commander back to deputy as a result of the screwup with the launch interrogations during an ORI, I had to take an evaluation. Up to then, I had four HQs. In that evaluation, I got a Highly Qualified. This made five. Wearing a five pin was a Big Deal, because not that many people got that many HQs. I went over to the evaluation offices afterward and they gave me the pin. I put it on my uniform scarf. Shortly thereafter, my squadron commander, after seeing the pin, told me that they were revoking the HQ rating because it wasn't a 'real' evaluation, it was a recertification. No easier than a 'real' one, but, they said, it didn't count. My hunch was that he just didn't like someone getting visible recognition for excellence after being busted for, you know, not. His little pound of flesh, as it were.

At that point, it was an easy decision to leave SAC at the end of my term. I kept the pin, just as a reminder of why.


Made pza tonight, from a recipe I found today and wanted to try. It wasn't bad. I've learned to bake it on parchment paper, which makes transfer to the baking stone much easier and much cleaner. And I've learned that with a puffy dough, the toppings will keep the dough from rising (barring some ferocious yeast action), so you get a nice puffy crust at the edges without having to force one. (This wasn't a puffy dough, much. Not sure why, with all that yeast.) And I really like the tang of honey in the dough, and mixing in a little herbed dipping sauce, too.

I'm still not happy with my pizzas, but between this dough for a thin crust and the other for a slightly thicker one, I'm getting there.

Here's the recipe.

Easy Pizza Dough (Thin Crust Pizza)
Yields: 2, 14-inch pizzas

1 cup warm water
1 (1/4 ounce) package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon honey
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
cornmeal, for sprinkling

Warm water should be about 100 degrees.
Stir in honey and yeast.
Let stand for 10 minutes, yeast should be foamy.
Meanwhile, put flour and salt in a large bowl and whisk together.

Add the water/honey/yeast mixture and stir.
Add olive oil and combine.
Using a dough hook or by hand, knead the dough for 10 minutes until it is stiff but smooth and elastic.
You should not need much additional flour. If you do, add a teaspoon at a time.
Cover the bowl and let it rest in a warm place for 30-60 minutes.

Heat oven to 450 degrees.

After 30-45 minutes dough should be considerably larger.
Split the dough in half. (dough may be frozen, see below)
Press the dough into a circle on parchment paper and then place the parchment directly on pizza stone to bake the dough.

Before placing the dough in the oven, prick it with a fork all over to avoid large air pockets.
Put the dough in the hot oven for 10 minutes. It should not be brown but it will be firm in the center.

Top the pizza with your favorite sauce and toppings.
Put it back in the oven for 10-20 more minutes or until cheese is bubbly and crust is slightly browned.

To freeze dough rub olive oil on the round ball of dough and put in individual plastic freezer bags and in the freezer.
Let thaw overnight in the fridge or on the counter before using.

Darth at the Wall

It's not funny, but I like it nonetheless. Found at My Confined Space.


I called the LG Chat line to ask a question about our LG refrigerator.

The clerk asked if my name was Bill or William.

She said you should always use the same name, so that there is no confusion.

LG. Limited Grasp...of English.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Search Me

My daughter needed info on a picture we'd taken at the British Museum of a statue in the Center Court.

I searched for +"British Museum" "statue" +"Center Court". Nada.

Searched +"British Museum" +"Center Court" "Guide". Nope.

Tried +"British Museum"+statue "Guide". Uh Uh.

She searched for "British Museum lion", and it was the first one.


Sunday, April 11, 2010


From The Blog That Ate Manhattan:

"...Thursday's lunch was a slice of pizza with potato chips and an afternoon snack of oreos and chocolate pudding, Saturday's lunch was hamburger and fries, and the most veggies I ever saw at one sitting was a measly stalk of broccoli. Despite this, I lost 30 lbs over the 11 weeks of the study, primarily because my caloric intake was only 1200 cals per day, carefully calculated based on my basal metabolic rate."


I'm not interested in a lot of things on a standard basis. Really. Three to five things, if that. Maybe six.

Robotics, somewhat. AI. Photography, especially composition. Baking, a lot. Politics.

Occasionally, urban design, mostly streets. A little linguistics. But not too often. And at the moment, electronic newspapers.

So why is it that I feel like I need an index card or something to remind me: This is the stuff you like to know about. Look for new info about it, and think about what you find. Or otherwise I forget that I'm interested, when I'm looking for something new to read? And go wandering off in the weeds, or sulk, thinking There's nothing interesting to read... at least, nothing that I'd understand.

Hmm? Because the only explanation I can come up with is, I'm not too bright.

If you agree with that assessment, and want to tell me, don't use big words.

first thoughts on the WaPo E-reader

Having the paper on the PC means you can't just hand someone the article you were reading while you go read something else. One person can't read the comics, say, while another reads the opinion section. Awkward.

Having the paper in print-image format means you can't say 'show me this whole article', rather than having to scroll to a new page to continue reading. Dumb. I bet that's just because that's the way the paper looks now, so that's what people are USED to, so that's the way it OUGHT to look. Plus also this way, you have to turn the page...and look, there are ADS there! Ads people PAID us for!

The Zoom function on the PressReader software goes from barely readable to INCREDIBLY BLOWN RIGHT THE HELL UP, very quickly. Awkward. Implies that somewhere a default got set. Where? Who knows....

You can't say 'turn off all the thumbnails and just show me them when I do THIS'. Awkward.

Can you say 'show me all articles with these words in them'? Save articles for later rereading? Dunno. And the 'Blog This' function seems to assume you're using Internet Exploder.

It seems to get confused on occasion when trying to paint a new page, overlaying one with part of another, and sometimes completely jumping to a different section.

Being able to download the paper is nice, though. So that's something. And the ability to draw an outline around something and enlarge it is actually pretty cool.

Post Not

Once again, the locals haven't got the Washington Post. Gah.

So now, I'm trying out the free one week trial of the Washington Post e-Replica. Which is not as emotionally satisfying as paper, but, who knows.

But if I have to get a multihundred dollar reader to fully enjoy the experience, I shall be miffed. Especially if it doesn't run on Windows. Or have multitasking. And Flash. And....

Don't Act Now

I've seen references to this paper in articles such as this one, and each time, I've thought really?

The paper refers to a question that came up years ago -- why does the good guy in a gun fight usually win, even though he has to wait for the bad guy to 'signal' a start, and therefore can't possibly know when to go for his gun? The assumption was that this was a movie stratagem, just like the true lovers eventually finding each other anyway, but as it turned it, it's true: the guy who is reacting can do so faster than the person who's initiating reaction. The thought is that the reaction is triggering a defense mechanism, and our mind is more likely to spasm into action in defense, moving faster than the part of the brain that initiates a first-action. Sort of like how my cat will twitch and vanish when she thinks she's in danger, only stopping to look when she's far enough away to make it safe to do so.

Twitch first, think later. Not the survival principle I'd have picked!

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Speaking of skill -- Jack McDevitt's got it. He's a science fiction writer, the guy who penned Polaris, which I really like (how much? Its one of the books I reread, just for the pleasure of the experience). He's got a good imagination for it -- enough to add the kind of technical heft that people like me prefer in science fiction, but balanced with a human interest that could work in just about any genre. And the other day, I actually got to suggest an idea to him.

It happened this way. One of the constructs in Polaris is 'avatars', which are computer simulations of a person, recorded at various times during their lives. It's never exactly explained how they're made, but the result is a hologram that can talk to you, answer questions about the original's life. At one point, I wondered why certain things about a specific avatar were news to the person talking to it, and then I thought well, of course, if you hadn't met the avatar before, it'd be news. But it got me to wondering if an avatar could remember prior sessions with someone -- if I called up one, and then did it again at a later date, would it remember that prior session? My guess was, no, but I asked the author via his web site, and he said no, an avatar couldn't remember -- but that that was an interesting question, and as he was working on a new book with avatars, he'd think about it .

Incidentally, his site has a section called Twelve Blunders - How Aspiring Writers Get It Wrong -- that's worth reading. Even if you don't have a desire to be published.


I usually like what Carolyn writes. I don't always share the opinions, and sometimes, I don't even understand the point, but what's written there is in my opinion consistantly well done - thoughtful and erudite.

But this piece, on work he's done over the years, I was awed by. Would that I had a tenth that level of skill....


My daughter is romping through the house, chanting I have short hair! I have short hair!

Before and after:

I wish I could show you the front, which is quite dramtic -- cut on a bias across one eye. Very nice. Well, until I think of the effect it'll likely have on the boys. Then, I'm not so sure....


Last night, I dreamt that it was unfortunate that Leo McGarry had died. And the night before, it was about finding that I was a clone, one of a series of generations of clones -- not exact copies, but all coming from the same progenitors.

Man. I've got to stop doing mescaline before bedtime.

Thursday, April 08, 2010


My daughter has been sparring in her karate class for about three weeks now. Last week, she sparred with a woman who's a black belt in karate, and this week, with a guy who's a black belt in tae kwan do. She loves it. And I really like that she's not only getting great exercise, but is building up her offensive skills. And defensive: the other day, her mother asked what the smudge on her arm was, and she replied "It's a bruise, Mom. From blocking a kick when I was sparring. " Very casually.

This is goodness.

Weird Dream

Showed up at some kind of company, not entirely sure why I was there. Met by a semi-boisterous group, all of whom seemed quite happy that I was there. Worked our way back away from the standard maze of cubicles and such into a less-regimented maze, more of a group of alleyways. Cluttered but not dirty. Finally ended up in a small room up against the outside windows. Settled into a chair surrounded on three sides by these people. One of them hushed the group, and said to me "Have you ever heard of Squeano?" with a air of Of course you have. Seemed a little surprised when I said that while I had heard of it, I wasn't sure what it was. They showed me a series of pictures, and I started to work there.

It became obvious that things were not working out. I would hear mutterings about he wasn't even involved, and still we lost six days of progress just by him walking by. One day at lunch several people, including me, got an invitation to eat in a separate room and see a presentation. We went. I started mulling over what was unique about these people, and it occurred to me that none of them -- none of us -- really entirely fitted in with the group. As we entered the room, I saw some of the people who'd met me initially standing around, watching. I went up to them and asked "Is it going to work?" They affected not to understand. "You know perfectly well what I'm saying. Will it work?" One of them nodded. "It'll work." I looked at him. "All right, then. It's worth it."

I went back into the room and the presentation began.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Doin' Drugs

Over the past couple of weeks, I've been pretty concerned about how my blood sugars have been coming out in the morning. Even when they were low at night, they were unacceptably high in the morning. Finally, I remembered that it doesn't really matter how much drugs I take; what matters is the result. I can't wallow in the drugs as compensation for eating badly, but if I need more drugs for some reason, they're there to be taken. So for the last four days, I've taken about ten percent more of the long acting insulin than I normally take. The results were excellent -- three days out of four, the morning number was down where I liked it to be. In fact, I was able to start edging the amount down closer to normal and still get good results.

So you might say that insulin's been on my mind.

I was therefore quite irritated when a shipment of insulin arrived today from Medco, my current mail supplier -- they have a contract with UHC, my wife's insurer -- and the damn insulin wasn't cold to the touch. The chill pack was just about warm, in fact. Now, this package did sit in 85 degree heat for about three hours, but it should still have been cool. So, what's going on? And then I find this in the papers shipped with the drug:

Your medication was shipped via second-day service with a frozen gel pack. This gel pack is designed to maintain an acceptable temperature range for your prescription... and may not be cold upon arrival. Insulin should be inspected for any unexpected changes such as clumping, frosting, change in color, or clarity."

o what they're saying is, they're going to use a cheaper method, and its probably okay. But it's my responsibility to make sure.

Oh, and their customer service message center? Or UHC's? Doesn't include any way to say GODDAMN IT!


My wife's family may not have a reunion this year. Which means I won't have an excuse to make Tiramisu. And I like making Tiramisu.



I was reading a novel set in the 1800s. One of the characters mentions that another is a 'millionaire', commenting that he finds the distinction a vulgar one. It got me to thinking.

If I, personally, as a single person, had one million dollars in cash, I'd be a millionaire. The moment I spent penny one, I wouldn't. If I had access to interest on that money, it'd bump up over the magic number pretty quickly, and then I would be again. So it might be fair to say that if I have about a million dollars, myself, and expect to stay around there, or increase, I'm a millionaire. If I don't, I'm not.

What if I'm married? If we refer to ourselves as 'millionaires',that implies that we each have a million, or more. But in this case, we don't -- we have one million dollars, jointly shared. What if we had one million, two hundred thousand? Are we millionaires, or not?

Doubt this question will be a big part of my life, barring a nice call from the Lottery people, but, you know, you want to be prepared.

Next Time, Claw

My cat can apparently hook a claw over the screen frame -- and then not be able to unhook it. I just found her essentially dangling there.

Good god.

Bright Idea

Flat bulbs. One of those palm-against-the-forehead ideas...


When I was in high school, an English class was assigned the short story The Most Dangerous Game. The plot was, basically, that a malicious person had arranged to have humans let loose on his private hunting preserve, for his hunting pleasure. Early in the story, our teacher asked if we thought that the author survived. I said that he must have, else how could he have written the story? The teacher seemed - bemused - by that observation. Now I think that surely I could not have been the first student to make it, but that was his reaction. I was pleased with myself. Since then I've read other stories about which the same could be said, and since then I've come across ones where the author has figured out a way for the story to be told in spite of his own death. I wouldn't be surprised if they teach it in writing classes.

Right now I'm reading a science fiction novel by Jack McDevitt wherein an intrepid band is exploring a small planet that's going to be smashed by a collision with a much larger one. The lead character is a little nervous -- they're supposed to have about ten safe days, so she wants to leave the surface of the planet in about a week. They've just had an unexpected tremor hit the planet. One guy says it's nothing, kind of thing happens in California all the time, but you just know that it isn't nothing, it's the harbinger of bad news. And likely the character who made the it's nothing comment will die, or his girlfriend (also on the trip), or something. They'll be trapped, with no apparent way out. And yet at least one of them will probably get out, because the lead character is a recurring one from other novels. She could die, but then poof goes that series. I can't imagine an author liking that.

What gets me is not that something bad's going to happen to them. What gets me is that, even knowing all of this, I care about what happens to them.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010


If I have my choice of dressing as either of these two guys next Easter, I know which one I'm choosing. Heck, I've already got the shirt!


Now this is damned impressive - a tool to allow a visual scan of the content of Congressional bills. Awesome.

Failure Can Be Fun

I have heard it said that most accidents start with "Hey, watch this!" Apparently, they have a common ending phrase, too...


My daughter's school defines a C grade as from 76-84, a B from 85-93. She's currently got about an 88, which is a decent, not outstanding B. In this, her biology instructor says, she's doing somewhat better than average, because average in the class is a C. (Obvous astonishment on my face). Hey, he said, it's a bell curve, with a C in the middle.

He then goes on to say some useful things, and some not-so.

Useful: Knowing the vocabulary and the concepts solidly will get you to the low B range. Being able to apply those and build upon them will get you into the high B and low A range. Much of the material is in the handouts. About 10% is not.

Not so: None of the 'this is how you build upon it, this is what it should look and smell and feel like', is in the notes. That comes from participating in the class, extracting the sense of the methods and procedures and results and how you get there. You can't study for that. If you didn't write down information about how to do it, you're screwed. As least as far as a high B, low A are concerned.

Overall, he seemed surprised that we were concerned. Our feeling was, this guy isn't one of those who believes that every student can be excellent. My wife said he believes in the bell curve.


Monday, April 05, 2010


I just reviewed Biology with my daughter. She was so thrilled, I thought perhaps posting it will be of benefit to....someone.




I feel as if I might as well be saying "Bueller? Bueller?"

Sunday, April 04, 2010


I just looked at a picture of The Muppets and told my wife that it was scary; years after last seeing them, I knew eleven of the fourteen. She said, referring to the old joke, And who's on the Supreme Court? Well, Stevens I knew, because I was grousing about his planned retirement. The liberals retire; the conservatives stay there for eighty years. Okay, not really, but it feels that way. I said well, Roberts, of course. And Ruth Ginsburg. And Scalia, who actively scares me. Not Bork, right... Is Clarence Day still there? We were both amazed that neither of us remembered Sotomayor.

I do think that there ought to be term limits for being on that court, incidentally. Twenty years sounds about right.

At church they had singing, which I am not a fan of. That's not entirely true. Sometimes, it's nice, and sometimes, when the choir is there and the song's cheerful, it can actually be pretty good. Today....nah. In fact, at one point, when the cantor had sort of run out of air, demonstrating what one chorus should sound like, the priest looked out at the congregation and said I wouldn't sign a recording contract any time soon. The church was seriously packed -- probably about 90 % of capacity. Normally, it's about 60%. I also noticed that they had wine again, but that the wine budget seemed to have been cut -- it was pretty thin stuff. I don't expect to be able to stand there savoring the bouquet, but I could barely swallow this stuff. Next time, I'm bringing a hip flask.

I wasn't able to get the Washington Post today. They normally deliver to the supermarket (and some other places), but on Easter, the local supermarkets are closed. I've never understood that, at all. The Jews, the Muslims, they don't want to read this stuff too? Not to mention, milk, bread? I went to a place that sometimes has it, but, nope. So I got the New York Times, which I assume must be printed somewhere relatively close; heck, New York is four hours north, and Washington is two hours south, but the first one gets here and the second doesn't? The Times Magazine has an interview with Charles Colson. What a grouch. No surprise that he mostly liked Bush and thinks Obama an ideologue. I would bet he calls himself a 'fierce Christian'. And I got the local paper, which isn't quite as bad as I always say it is. My wife says that when she retires, she's going to subscribe to it. I shudder at the thought. Especially when it occurs to me that in my declining years, I may find their crossword puzzle difficult.

And a pleasant Easter to you!

Saturday, April 03, 2010


It's always a little unsettling to me to come across a piece by a writer I've never heard of, think this person's pretty good.... and then find that apparently many, many people have already thought that.

The person is Nina Kiriki Hoffman; her genre is fantasy, science fiction, and horror. Hey, two out of three's not bad.

Sign Here

When I was a Minuteman launch officer, the highlight of my day, at least in terms of creating stress, was crew changeover. When I first started on crew, that happened three times a day for two days. When the alerts were changed from 40 hours to 24 hours, it happened twice -- once when you arrived and the old crew departed, and once when your relief showed up and you left for home.

Most of changeover was quiet -- going through various housekeeping items -- but the thing that could always cause me to feel a little tense was signing for the coded documents. This was a sheaf of manuals -- I don't recall how many, but about twelve sounds right -- that were all classified Secret. We had to inventory each of them. In most cases, inventory meant we looked to see if the cover sheet matched what was expected from the binder title, and then signed a red sheet in the front of the binder to say yes, it did. Periodically, some wag would say that we could speed up changeover by just putting those cover sheets all in one binder, and by the weird logic of missile crews, it almost made sense. After a moment, you'd think No, that's not quite...right, although it would take you another moment to think of why it wasn't quite right.

The reason all of this would make me tense was that every so often, when I was bored, I actually would inventory the documents that I'd agreed were there, and every so often I wouldn't actually be able to find them. Sometimes the cover page didn't seem to have the right date, or an attachment couldn't be found. I would quietly panic. If, in the remaining hours of our alert, I still couldn't find them, I'd make sure to chatter a lot to my relief, so as to distract them until they signed for the documents -- and then, if I was coming back down again, I would look very carefully to make sure they were all there. Oddly enough, they always were.

Then we would inventory the launch authenticators, aka 'the cookies'. They let you confirm that a launch code is valid. (This assumes that you're not just going to say 'The hell with this, I'm keyturning anyway'. Followed quickly, at least in theory, by Launch Inhibit lights across the board. ) Once, the old crew walked out as we walked in. Turned out they had hidden the authenticators on us. We said we would refuse to take the alert until they told us where they were; they said 'fine with us, we're out of here!' as they rose in the elevator to the ground level. We called the cop upstairs and told him not to let them leave the room until they told us where they were. They were surprised.

Normally, the handover wasn't that dramatic.

Once the inventories were done, we signed a document in the changeover log Accepting The Alert. At that point, we were the Crew On Duty. The signed sheets were kept, essentially, forever -- I think that the ones more than six months old were taken back to the base and stored somewhere. On my very last alert, I flipped forward about twenty blank pages, turned it over, and signed the log as Mickey Mouse and as Donald Duck. It was a minor form of rebellion. Much later, I thought of the crew that was about to accept an alert who turned the page over to sign and found that. I smiled a little, thinking of their consternation -- and then I thought This was the Strategic Air Command. They had NO sense of humor. Those guys probably got into trouble. I felt badly about that. I guess, twenty five years afterwards, that doesn't count for much.

Okay, sign here.

Day Deux

Second day of taking about ten percent more of the long-acting insulin than I normally take. Still a little rocky around midnight, but morning numbers both days are down where I like them to be. I feel somewhat more in control. This is a good thing. Now, to figure out what the heck is going on....

Way off

When is a school day not a school day?

When the day is marked, on the Official School Calendar, as both Spring Recess and Snow Makeup Day.

We're not having school that day. Oh yes we are.

I begin to understand why so many people at that school are leery of this interweb thing.

Friday, April 02, 2010


Now this is just wrong.


I've said many times that I like strong, confident women, so one might expect that when I came across a site dedicated to getting women off the fence and onto doing things to increase their confidence and their achievement, I'd like it. And I do.

Right up to the point where it says "And please don’t forget, if you’re TEAM EDWARD, Robert Pattinson from The Twilight Saga is on The View tomorrow. Yowzer!!!

Right there, they lost me. Because I just can't bring myself to believe that a woman who is on Team Edward - or Team Jacob or Team whomever - is all that confident or capable. It says to me that she's still got the attitudes of a kid. Which can be good, but is wildly incongruous with the concept of pushing confidence and achievement. Team Me, I'd believe. Team Twilight? No way.

Is that fair?


I'm in a better mood today than yesterday. A large part of it is that I had a much better morning blood sugar number than I've had for a while. Last night, I told my wife that I was going to take a gihugic amount of insulin before going to sleep, enough so that there was a good possibility of crashing during the night. And, indeed, I did have a very low number at around midnight. I wasn't a space cadet, but it was right down there. But I ate a cookie and went back to bed. Then I got up around 3, did a reading, and it was okay - so I had another cookie (hey, I told you those peanut butter cookies were okay), and slept till around 630, when I looked again, and it was decent again. Now, this isn't how I want things to be -- spacing out in the middle of the night isn't fun, and when you spaz out, its even less fun -- but if this is what I have to do for a while to get things where I want them to be, then that's what I'll do.

I just came across a web page advertising water fountains, and it was tagged in StumbleUpon as 'Home Improvement'. Occasionally, I wonder what it's like to live in a very wealthy person's home -- Bill Gates', say. Do they have water fountains? Let alone the idea that they could have hot and cold running water in the dogs personal sauna, do they? I remember being in Air Force basic training, doing the standard grousing about having the clean the communal bathroom, when one of the people there observed that we ought not to use the urinals, which would leave one (actually, three) less things to clean. "After all", he pointed out, "you don't have those at home, so what's the big deal?" Well, outside of the fact that at home you didn't have twenty five other people all of whom wanted to use the facilities at roughly the same time, it did make sense. Does Gates have urinals in his home? (No, he has people who excrete for him.)

Okay, time to cook breakfast. Anyone for French Toast?

Thursday, April 01, 2010


These are better than those I tried this morning. (Okay, couldn't hardly be worse, but still.) Do they have the 'classic' Do-Si-Do (which I remember as Gauchos, from my youth) taste and texture? Probably not. Close, though.

Are they, however, a decent peanut butter cookie that's easy to make?

Oh, yeah.

Found at All Recipes, here.

* 1/2 cup shortening
* 1/2 cup margarine, softened
* 1 cup packed brown sugar
* 3/4 cup white sugar
* 1 cup peanut butter
* 2 eggs
* 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons baking soda
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup quick-cooking oats


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. In a large bowl, cream together shortening, margarine, brown sugar, white sugar, and peanut butter until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time until well blended. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the creamed mixture. Mix in the oats until just combined. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
3. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until just light brown. Don't over-bake. Cool and store in an airtight container.


I deleted that post that had the 'Do-Si-Dos' cookie recipe. I noticed something odd about the order of ingredients as I was adding them, and in reading the comments to try and figure it out, saw that a large number of people had had problems with it. Some did say it was great as was, though. So, I baked the first set and ate one.

Does the fact that the rest of the cookies, as well as the batter, is in my trash can tell you anything?


If I had the wealth, I'd definitely do this.

Hardy It's April First, so it's time for the fabulously inventive Google Prank. Oh, my. They've announced that they're changing their name to Topeka. How witty.

I'm sure that if I were in a better mood, I'd see the festive humour, the subtle interplay of word and substance, but as it is, I'm not, and I don't. Multiple things, none of them overwhelming, but collectively..... yes, just a little. Even the birdsong's just a little irritating, at the moment. We'll get through them; we always do. I won't list them here: what's the point?

I'm reading a collection of fantasy stories. My mento was reading the second collection, and I thought It's been a while since I've read science fiction; lets give this a try. Not bad. Science fiction and fantasy sometimes overlap, mostly not. It's a little hard for me to get into some of it; several years ago, my wife received an email that laid out the basic progression of most fantasy, starting with a young man, noble and pure, and a mysterious older man, apparently just the village cobbler or the dark old man of the forest, but with a hidden past. There was a treasure, or a mystery, all of which resolved into a Quest. Others came to help, or kibbitz, or delay. There were secret signs, and the old man could interpret them, but not necessarily pass the information on - It is not yet time for you to learn these hidden sigils, young one. I was surprised to see how much fantasy did sound like that.

Today I have to mail a package, do the shopping, mow the lawn, and do some vacuuming. Nothing particularly strenuous. So why do I feel like taking a nap?