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The Musings of an Idle Mind

Things that go 'Bump' in my head

Fine Dining or Food Porn
I visit Jennifer Crusie's Argh Ink a lot, since she's near the top of my Favorite Authors Spreadsheet. Her blog isn't just about how to write, or what she is writing - she often mentions food. Now, we both suffer from CHF and we're supposed to avoid sodium.

She uses Tamari in her stir fry, which I said has a high sodium content. How does she cope? She replied that everything else she ate was low sodium fiber veggies. Eventually, that lead to this in a post about what genre to write in.

So… what genre is bok choi? I was in Food Lion, thinking I might get some hot cooked chicken wings and potato-cheese barrels, and my mind asked, “What about stir fry?” So I bought a head? of bok choi and some red and yellow peppers and green onions, some Uncle Ben’s brown rice, some thinly sliced beef. I have tamari as of yesterday and some minced garlic in oil I need to use. What else do I need? And seriously, is this Fine Dining or Food Porn. Either way, I’m blaming/crediting it entirely to you.

Bok choy is part of the cabbage genre. Get some ginger and mince it and make your stir fry. Oh, and with the green onions, chop the white and light green parts and put them in early, and then slice the dark green parts and use them for garnish along with sesame seeds. Same with the bok choy: slice/chop the white parts and add the dark green leafy stuff at the end. It’s all good for you.

Several more posts followed, including one of the other Arghers telling her she shouldn't have mentioned it being good for me until after I ate it. I told that lady that it was exactly the point - eating things good for me. I eat too much of the other sort.

Long story shorter, it was quite good, and I have a chicken breast that will be diced to go with the leftover bok choi/choy and green onions, peppers and so forth. Oh, and about the green top garnish? Bloody marvelous.

Life Is Change
What do you do with your spare change? I drop mine in a little wooden treasure chest I bought at Michael's:

That sucker has about sixty dollars in quarters, dimes, nickles and pennies in it.

But wait! There's more!

I found myself at the bank, making a deposit. I rounded the deposit and had nearly two hundred dollars left. I could spend it, of course, but left the bank with over $180 in dollar coins. You know the ones - shiny silver(ish) Susan B. Anthony dollars, then all the gold(ish) Sacagaweas and Washingtons.

I originally bought the large and some smaller treasure chests to pass out at Christmas. The smaller ones comfortably hold $50 in coin. I have seven grandchildren. I need more coins.

Life Weighs a Find
So much has happened in the past unspecified time period, the only way I'll catch up LJ is if a mosquito bites me, gets stuck in pine sap, and an archaeologist clones me from the blood in his belly. "What," you wonder, "could possibly have happened to such a boring old fart?"

Let me tell you. No, engage Princess Bride Mode and let me sum up; there is too much.

1. Computers. I've been through several. Three Dells and a Chromebook. The only working Dell is a very small laptop/tablet with detachable keyboard. I mainly use it to play solitaire, but that will change after I install Microsoft Office on it. My go-to computer is the Chrome Laptop. It runs on Chrome-OS, I don't have a Windows emulator, it is how I connect to the net. It is, of course, a pain in the arse.

2. Cars. I had an accident in June and totaled the Taurus. Geico paid it off. Jen Garsdotter drove me about searching for a replacement in the $5,000 range. $5K used cars all suck. At the last place, a Ford dealership, they pulled a classic bait and switch - the car listed in CarFax (or maybe CarMax?) was having its dead battery changed. Then it turned out not to have a working transmission. The salesman (can you anticipate?) asked, "Are you just trying to keep your payments down? Because with rebates and so forth, I think I can put you in a Brand New Car." And so he did. Of course, the payments crept up, because salesman. I now own a Fiesta. This is not a bad thing. It is just that I recognized all the sales ploys as they happened and still went along with them. Do my hook scars show?

3. Health. I had an appointment in June, which I drove to in my Brand New Car," which isn't relevant, just convenient. According to my blood work, my Potassium level is too high, my blood count is too low. I need to stop consuming potassium and drink lots and lots of water... but not too much because of the congestive heart failure thing. A followup test showed improvement, but still high or low as previously noted. It goes without saying that I need to adjust my diet and exercise. Again. Or still. While typing this post, the medical center called. A nurse confirmed the results (which I had viewed on-line) and now I have an appointment for next Monday, the 15th.

4. Social Security. I've finally applied for it, and they put me off (after waiting in their office over five hours) to a phone appointment next week. I don't have an exact number for my expected payout, but it should let me reduce my outstanding debt.

5. Jen Garsdotter's Mom-mobile (a VW Routan SUV) is in the shop for around $3K worth of engine work. She can't afford $3K worth of engine work. I agreed to co-sign a loan request, because she has no credit. She doesn't owe anybody anything, which means no established credit. My credit is now tied up in a new car and a dead computer, so they said "No!" We're using my credit card, instead.

6. Work. I'm still working. They have reorganized again, so without changing the Power Plant I work in, I have worked for Sussex I State Prison, Sussex II State Prison, the Environmental Services Unit, and now the Infrastructure and Environmental Management Unit. The boss has been promoted to a higher management position in IEMU, and a replacement has been hired, who will start around the 22nd. We haven't met him yet. In the meantime, the old boss is going out for back surgery, probably for many months. A co-worker is going out for surgery as well, so things are about to tighten up. If it gets too tight, I'll retire.

7. There is no seven.

8. Diet. When the previous Dell self-destructed, it took my diet database with it. I'll have the tiny laptop loaded with Office 2016 or Office 2019 real soon now, which will permit the resurrection of that. I had no idea how dependent I was on the tracking/planning software for managing the diet. I'm back up to 279 pounds as of this morning. This instant, I've finished an Atkins Dark Chocolate Royale shake. I have a pot roast with potatoes, carrots, onions, celery, and too much salt in the crock pot, due out around ten tonight, ergo not part of today's menu. I suspect that if there is room in the pot, I will add canned (no salt added) green beans/peas/corn. Maybe not peas or corn - plenty of starch from the potatoes. Some time today, there will be a GarMuffin - egg, cheese, Canadian Bacon on an English Muffin. Dessert will be a Snickers Ice Cream Bar. Or not.

9. De-cluttering. I have collections, or possibly obsessions.

  1. There has to be a post or several about my flashlights, which totaled over 150 at its peak. Most of them are the 9-LED type with three AAA batteries.

  2. I know there are photographs of my key rings and D-rings (Carabiner's hooks) and those S-shaped "S-Biner" hooks (also called "double-gated carabiner hooks).

  3. Thumb drives. I have twenty or so, varying in size from 256 Mb to 1 Tb. There's also a pair of USB external hard drives.

  4. Fountains. Battery and/or converter operated, the kind with LED lights and a constant pump-driven waterfall effect. There are four, down from six. None are plugged in, all are drained. A man with diabetes, taking a diuretic, does not need help with the sound of running water to make him run to the bathroom.

  5. Plastic Storage Containers. Rubbermaid, Ziploc, Glad, generic. I haven't counted them, lately, and I've stopped adding new ones. I don't feel at all bad about the ones actually in use, and I have a book case with over thirty containers. They keep out rodents and bugs and organize my cans of vegetables. But then there are the cupboards full of empties. I now toss the ones that held chili or spaghetti and are permanently stained red. I've given many to the dotter.

  6. Writing utensils. Sixty Bic pens in various styles, two dozen non-Bic, yellow highlighters, a fist full of Sharpies, and a dozen dry erase markers - I have less than 2 square feet of dry erase board surface to write on.

  7. Scissors. There are four pairs hanging on the magnetic strip behind the crock pot, two more in my portable filing cabinet(s), two more hanging in the bathroom, and two more in the medicine cabinet.

  8. Tape measures. One on the magnetic strip (12'). Six on key rings (3'). Four in tool boxes (longer). A cloth one in a kitchen drawer. There are rulers and yardsticks, also.

  9. Scales. I have three scales for weighing food and the like. The small scales, my daughter laughs at and asks why I need to weigh drugs. See? Life weighs a find.
This part was titled "de-cluttering." This is the clutter I still have after throwing away piles of stuff.

Challenge: Books I Discovered On Social Media
The challenge comes from Mock Ramblings, which was itself a link from Jennifer Crusie's Argh Ink, This is a Good Book Thursday, April 25, 2019, thanks to a post by Michael Mock.

So, what books have I acquired and/or read because of social media?

1. Minutes ago, I "bought" a book from Kindle recommended by The Fussy Librarian. It cost nothing. Which book? Power Surge (Anna Jennings Super Novel Book 1) By E.J. Whitmer, Kindle Edition. I haven't read it yet, so if you want a review, go to Amazon. The blurb on Fussy Librarian says:
Anna Jennings is no superhero. In fact, had you asked her about superheroes a week ago, she would have called you crazy. But that all changed one night when she and her wayward sidekick Carl discovered several of her co-workers engaged in some decidedly non-run-of-the-mill human activities.

2. Allegro Court (Bendixon Sisters Book 1) Kindle Edition by Brenda Margriet. Romance genre, which is only to be expected as Brenda is a poster at Argh Ink, from whence a great many of my social interactions occur. It's a fair romance between a musician and a contractor, one of those rekindling the high school flames things.

3. Another from Argh Ink, ALL SYSTEMS RED (The Murderbot Diaries) by Martha Wells .Winner: 2018 Hugo Award for Best Novella, Winner: 2018 Nebula Award for Best Novella; Winner: 2018 Alex Award; Winner: 2018 Locus Award; One of the Verge's Best Books of 2017; A New York Times and USA Today Bestseller. A murderous android discovers itself in All Systems Red, a tense science fiction adventure by Martha Wells that interrogates the roots of consciousness through Artificial Intelligence. "As a heartless killing machine, I was a complete failure." Science fiction, recommended by romance readers? I had to take a peek. Now I have to read the series.

4. I have and do count the comments sections of Web Comics as social media, so when Dave Barrack of Grrl Power made a recommendation, I said, "What the heck." (I linked to the start of Grrl Power. It's up to #720 or so, now.) Anyway, to quote Dave,
So, while waiting for Amazon to sort it’s shit out with Michael-Scott Earle, and we can finally get some new Star Justice and Tamer books, I’ve continued reading a bunch of other novels, and I came across one I really like. I’ve been kind of sheepish about recommending it because… well, it’s “erotica.” At least that’s the category it’s listed under at Amazon, but quite frankly, calling it erotica is underselling it a bit. There’s a lot of sex in this book. Like, a lot. So if that doesn’t interest you, you’re just not going to enjoy it. You’d be skimming through… quite a bit of text to get to the rest of the story.

Unlike a lot of other harem novels, however, the sex actually factors heavily into the actual plot. Yes, it’s almost like the author came up with a reason for the characters to have a lot of sex, beyond them being horny for the usual reasons, and then wrote a story about it.

If the sex doesn’t turn you off, or, if in fact you don’t mind some sex (or a lot) in your harem books, there’s a shockingly good space opera to be had here. I would actually put it on par with Star Justice, which is something I never thought I’d say, as it’s one of my favorite series of all time. Another thing I like about Three Square Meals is that there’s a lot of it. The story is over 2 million words long and counting. By the time you get through the first three books, the overarching plot is only barely starting to reveal itself. What can I say? I enjoy it when there’s a lot of something I enjoy. In a shorter story, you get to see the characters interact with one group or another, but then that’s usually it. In this longer format, you get to revisit those groups and see the sometimes empire shifting consequences of their interactions with the MCs. Plus, IMO, the story keeps getting stronger as the cast expands and the momentum of the story builds.

Another thing I like about the story is that it does OP right. The main character, (and the women in the harem) get really powerful. (Something I like in my harem novels is when the women are really awesome too, go figure.) The story keeps escalating so that they have significant challenges, but importantly, there are a lot of great scenes where the MCs have awesome moments of OP-ness* and are able to wow their allies, and/or crush their enemies, and see them driven before them, etc. That balance is important IMO, and a lot of books don’t get it right.
I disagree with Dave about this being Science Fiction. It's Science Fantasy. A good question might be, "What's the difference?" I'm not going to answer that. The "first four books" are on Amazon, there are 115 chapters on Literotica, 103 chapters on StoriesOnline.net.

5. one of the Social Media fora out at which I hang is Baen's Bar. Provided by Publisher Baen's Books, the bar consists of numerous Conferences. The Conferences are full of Topics, and the topics are full of posts. Lois Bujold has a dedicated Conference named Miles to Go. I've gotten recommendations from there. But another Conference, Movies and TV contained a Topic, My Problem With Marvel's Civil War, which dated back to Monday, 9 May 2016 13:53. The back and forth posts of this topic recommended a number of books and web comics, including Marion G. Harmon's Wearing the Cape series.
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The state police stopped me on the way to the doctor's office. It seems my State Inspection Sticker had expired... last October. Naturally I took my delinquent butt to a State Inspection station. By the time I left, my credit card was $630.00 lighter, or heavier, whichever means I spent it.

All my tires were badly worn, one almost to the steel belt. Why? Because my car was badly out of alignment, front and back. They also replaced a bulb that illuminates the license plate, but that was chickenfeed.

I remember when you could get four tires for what one now costs. God, I'm old.
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I really meant to go to my barber...
...but I didn't. I own a set of clippers - how hard could it be?

Stop laughing. Just stop. It's not funny. Okay, maybe a little funny.

I set a trash can in the bathroom sink, attached the half inch thingy on the clippers, and just started trimming, everywhere. The trash bag was filling up nicely, two to three inch long clumps of hair. But it didn't feel right, and I couldn't angle my mirrors to see the back to tell what I was doing. So I enlisted Jen's help.

To her credit and my gratitude, she didn't laugh. She just observed I had some sort of "Mohawk" thing going, and invested a couple of minutes cleaning up my mess. (The mess on my head - the mess in the sink she left to me.)

My barber would trim around the ears and the neckline. We didn't do that. I'll see my barber in a few weeks for that. But for now, I feel much better. And fuzzy.

I didn't die again today.
I'm back from Ivor Medical Center where I enjoyed my semi-annual checkup. I had no complaints, they had no complaints. Last night I got a notice from Virginia Cardiovascular Specialists that my quarterly remote check of my ICD was equally complaint-free.

At this point, anyone with any trope-savvy at all would be saying, "It's quiet... too quiet."

Dellbert is going back to Dell
It worked for hours, until it said I was out of room on my hard drive.

"What?!" I exclaimed. "It's a freaking 1 Tb drive! I had videos on it! Now it won't even let me put eBooks on it?" A quick investigation showed that Drive C had 26.1 Gb, and most of that was Windows.

Back in a chat and phone call with Dell, no luck. The last thing they told me was, "Turn it off, open it up, remove and reinstall the hard drive wires." So I did. And hark! A completely empty drive E: 931 Gb showed up. So I rebooted to see if it would recognize E: as C: and now it doesn't work again.
Back to Dell. Dammit.

Dellbert IV is back from Dell
FedEx delivered Dellbert this afternoon. I look forward to several hours of setup from scratch, since the hard drive was supposed to be replaced and new stuff installed. I will bet they didn't put in the missing 16 gigs of Ram, but that is a different monkey in this circus.

I'll also be making the virgin setup of Windows Office Professional 2019. I hope they didn't change the programs beyond recognition.

I will be performing daily backups.

Clock Day?
Today is Tick Tock Day, a lovely holiday that reminds you that you’re running out of time. Since I’m dealing with heart failure and a deadline next Friday, I am officially ignoring this day.

You, of course, may panic to your heart’s content.
- Jennifer Crusie,
Argh Ink
Cherry Saturday, December 29, 2018
Posted: 29 Dec 2018 01:36 AM PST

Naturally, I posted:

I mostly ignore clocks, mostly. Can’t ignore one right this minute, the one telling me to leave for work in one hour. I can’t much ignore the one at work, either, but I know it’s just a little under ten hours until my four-day weekend starts.

It’ll start with dinner with the daughter, some time between 11 AM and 5 PM. When exactly isn’t so important. We’ll eat “after three, some time.”

That whole “Up At Midnight To Drink In The New Year?” I’m normally up til 3 AM anyway; I’ll bring it in with a 3 ounce glass of heart-healthy red wine (port – I can stand that.) I mean, if I notice it’s midnight.

My favorite clock is this thing I got for employee appreciation this year. The front is a digital display of date and time under a photo – in this case of the youngest grandson looking quite devilish. He was definitely up to something. The back is a calculator, and I still use it – a lot – despite phone apps and computer apps and spreadsheets and all that.

Happy Tick Tock Day (and are you sure this isn’t an Oz holiday celebrating automatons?)

That reminds me - I need a new calendar.
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