A Little Gambling Problem

The use of a term reminded me of a Sea Story from the 1980s. (For those who are unfamiliar, the difference between a fairy tale and a sea story is that the former starts, "Once Upon a Time..." and the latter starts, "This is No Shit.") The term is FBMC, which will be obvious, shortly.

This is no shit. When I was a Chief Petty Officer (CPO) on the USS Will Rogers, there was a silly type of gambling called Oolying. An Ooly was a bit of knowledge, possibly trivia, that specifically had to do with Naval Nuclear Power. The amount of the wager was almost always one quarter, $0.25.

This particular ooly took place during an EOOW/EWS* Seminar, a weekly training seminar in the officers' Wardroom. The details are blessedly vague (and I should have long ago debriefed for security reasons) but had to do with procedures and limitations for reactor operations following a partial loss of power. I had just studied and committed that procedure to memory, so when it came up during the seminar and someone got it wrong, I corrected them.

The XO slapped a quarter on the table, challenging my correction. "Quarter, Chief?" I slapped a picture of my months-old son and said "First Born Male Child, Sir?" There was laughter and merriment and we looked up the answer (I was right) and I never did that again.

*EOOW/EWS is Engineering Officer Of the Watch and Engineering Watch Supervisor
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Global Decaffeinating

As happens from time to time, I got an email from Amazon asking if I could help another customer with a question. Sometimes I can Sometimes not. This time, the question dealt with Celestial Seasonings® Green Tea, Decaf, to wit: "They say they use a natural process to decaffeinate. What is that process?" I said, "I don't know."

But I went to the product on the web (linked above), and read:

Our green, black and white teas are naturally decaffeinated using nontoxic carbon dioxide (CO2).

I don't know what makes this process more natural than any other, nor what the alternatives are. I do know that CO2 is the "devil gas", responsible for global warming. Or some such.


No Laughing Matter

Happy April Fools Day, Day number mumble of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Laughing matter or not, I've read hundreds of jokes about the novel corona virus, and told a few myself. I've also been lectured by an SJW for being racist for calling it the China Syndrome. Jokes aside, I am self-isolating except when I need to travel to work and back, essential personnel that I am. I have been in stores at least once per week, trying to keep a six foot personal space.

I had a cough all winter. Mid March, I reached a tipping point, thinking I'd check in to a hospital not if it got worse, but if it didn't get better. It got better. The cough finally went away. I've frankly been hoping I had the Covid and survived, because I'm in those groups; over 65, diabetic, heart condition. I've been thinking, "I catch this crud and I'm dead." But 63 year old diabetic Tom Hanks had it and lived - maybe I will, too. Maybe I have.

Calendar Reform, 2020

I followed a link about Calendars and was thoroughly charmed with the 28-35-28 days-in-the-month scheme, aka the four-five-four weeks in a month scheme. Every month would start on a Monday. Every month would have either four or five weeks with no extra days. Every year would have 364 days, except leap years, which would have an entire leap week of seven days.

“But wait!” you cry. “I was born on January 30th, and under this mad scheme, January will never have more than 28 days. What about my birthday?!?” Simple enough. You were born on the 30th day of the year. Simply adjust to February 2 and go on with your life. The same thing that actually happens to people now born on February 29. They don’t have their birthdays taken away, they just celebrate on the day after February 28, whatever it happens to be. It’ll all work out.

And think of the charm of celebrating on February 35th!

“Thirty-five days hath November
“February, August, and May
“All the rest have twenty-eight
“And an occasional week of Leap-Day.”

No harder to memorize than the current poem.

Vaccination - a Vacation from Disease

Call me “Pincushion.” On the way to work, I swung by the Walmart pharmacy to pick up my Furosemide prescription. All my prescriptions used to be synchronized – now it seems like I pick up something every week or so.

Since I was early, I asked for some vaccine. A flu shot and the first each of two pneumonia and shingles shots. I haven’t minded shots in years and years, since a Navy Corpsman gave me an overseas series before the family moved to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (1966). He was amazing. Today’s shots were just okay. Second shingles shot in due February 18 to June 18, second pneumonia this time next year, and “this will last you the rest of your life.” I’m not sure that’s reassuring.

I’ve had all of them before, though the pneumonia and shingles shots were strictly singles back then. When she asked, “How long since you got them?” and I answered, “I’m not sure, but it was at the Ukrops pharmacy,” she figured it was more than long enough. The pharmacist at Ukrops was as good with a needle as that long-ago corpsman, but Ukrops sold out to Martins who sold out to Publix. I like Publix better than Ukrops or Martins, and they've maintained the Ukrops Deli and Bakery through the successive iterations.

She put the Pneumonia and Flu shots in my right, the Shingles shot in my left, and warned me that if any arm was going to hurt, it’d be the left. Neither arm hurts perzactly, but I’m very aware of them.

Very, very aware of them. Achy, so to speak. Good thing I'm taking today off.

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

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.