sitrep 2018-06-26

I think I am experiencing some kind of auto-immune flareup or a general malaise.

Going to update this as the day goes on.

I found a replacement for my habit of eating crackers and butter late at night. Salami “chips” and cream cheese. This provides the butter spreading action, the creaminess, the automatic eating, etc without the carbs. Trying to stick to the keto. Doing my best.

On turning 46

As I turn 46 on this day after the Summer Solstice there is a lightning storm slowly banging away outside even though it is very sunny. My wife is reading to my son in his room as he prepares for bed. We are far enough North that it is still sunny at his bedtime which makes this a very challenging bedtime for about half the year.

Here are some bullet points on what I have learned this year:

  1. Carbs - they sound fun but being really stuffed full of them isn’t great. Next year I’ll eat the fried chicken but not the fries or roll. An keto Brownies instead of cake!
  2. Lightning - it’s no joke, folks.
  3. Sleep - I am going to start taking melatonin at 9pm from now on. When you sleep 5 hours a night you can’t afford to have that sleep be inconsistent or broken. I always forget to take melatonin and then it’s after midnight and I’m wide awake. I’ve been dealing with insomnia my entire adult life. When it is light outside until 10:30 and you are not getting enough exercise bedtime can be challenging. And this low carb diet we’ve been doing for the last three months (see #1, I regret #1) has given me a lot of energy. Turning that off and dropping off to sleep is not easy. So melatonin.
  4. Don’t leave Fiddler or SQL Profile running unless you have capture paused. You can take that to the bank.
  5. I still like punk rock. But after an hour I’m ready for something a little more relaxed. I test it out every year. I was like that when I was in late teens too, so I guess people really don’t change?
  6. My new wallet is still on the way but is in Vancouver now so that’s good. I guess I’ll get it Monday or Tuesday.

Day Off!

Check out this timeline for Ferris Bueller’s Day Off:

Do you remember that movie? It seemed like that day went on forever. He packed so much into it!

Well, that is how my day off today is supposed to go. I got up at my usual time (hint: this is really, really early) so I could get enough lead time on the day to make it work. I also will give as much help as I can in getting our boy ready for daycare (normally I do more in this regard, including dropping him off, but I can’t do it today).

So here’s what my day entails:

  1. Taking my car to the garage for an inspection and oil/filter change by 8AM
  2. Reading while there on my Kobo
  3. Possibly hit a grocery store to make sure we have what we need for dinner
  4. Getting some lunch - Burger Baron perhaps? I know: this isn’t low carb. :(
  5. Returning home - let the dog out, regret eating carbs, plan dinner
  6. Straighten up office - I still have a lot of disorganized crap and unfiled papers, etc. Plus a moving box to finish unpacking (we still have a bunch of these filled with random crap, I keep one in my office at all times and unpack and put it away a little at a time).
  7. 20 minute nap
  8. Start dinner prep
  9. Get the boy - life resumes (quick dinner, soccer practice, etc)

To an outside observer this might look like “take the car in, clean office”. That’s really all I’m going to get done. What I’d like to do is just watch a movie and sleep but I’ll try to make the best of it.

Edit [06:00] - this is the best tweet ever:

Why blog?

Why do I maintain this blog?

It requires me (the way I have it set up) to maintain a VPS to host it, to run Syncthing to make it easy to edit blog posts, to keep a domain registered and pointed at the VPS, and I need to find some reason to put something here every so often or what’s the point?

So what is the point? It is just a place to publish my thoughts, my public ephemera. For some reason I want to put a piece of myself out on the web and leave it there for people to find. I could do it on Twitter or Facebook but I find they insist upon themselves. Most people I know wouldn’t even politely pay attention by reading even as far as this if the text didn’t directly concern them in some way, and I can’t blame them. We are all busy, there is a lot of content, and it’s not all interesting.

Part of my keeping this here is to see if it will ever get organic Google traffic. Probably not! I find that interesting because there was a time when a site like this had a slight, slight chance of being discovered by someone. Now, I know my bounce rate will 99.99999% but it is still interesting to crack open the analytics every so often and see how people ended up here. Hint: no one ends up here.

Because no one comes here I feel comfortable writing that I am working on a new story idea where the Split Brain theory is actually related to an alien super-race planting a “voice” in our heads to guide us. It is supposed to be subtle, it evolved with us, but as our worlds are more complex morally and socially the voice diverges and becomes more obvious to some people. In others the algorithms have split into more than one voice, or the voice has become overbearing. In this world I am imagining it takes a person who has excelled with the voice, become the ultimate example of what the voice was guiding him to be, to discover he is nothing but a puppet. Deep meditation has led him to be able to distinguish the voice from his true self. But everyone would think he was insane if he explained his discovery.

Meanwhile, an observer from the super-race who, like a small percentage of others in her society, has been kept in her natural state (not merged with the Strict Father hive mind to preserve a “backup copy” of unaugmented minds in case it is ever needed to fix a computer/brain virus or other failure) and yearns to be part of the hive mind in the same way as our ultimate human yearns to be free of his guiding voice. A neuroscientist who has been following the humans career has made the same discovery. Can these three unite to free the Strict Fathers and humanity from their shackles?

And so forth.

Coffee Tips (Espresso)

Discussing using home prosumer espresso machines with a co-worker and wrote up a summary of what I have learned over the years.

  • Save your money and buy pre-ground Illy espresso… a grinder good enough for grinding espresso is very, very expensive and Illy, while expensive, is an excellent quality espresso ground perfectly for “prosumer” machines. Take some time to calculate how much “extra” you are paying for Illy per pound over a good coffee you would grind yourself. Then divide that into the cost of really good grinder (one you would not be disappointed with).
  • Don’t use the milk frother… buy a $10 - $40 milk frother that warms and “whisks” the milk on the countertop. Prosumer machines rarely froth milk efficiently and it’s a pain to clean them…
  • Fill the espresso basket until it is rounded over the top then apply 10lbs of force with the tamper… you can do this on a bathroom scale to get the force right… it only takes a few tries to figure it out… this gets a good pack for the slightly underpowered home machine normals can afford
  • Penultimately, use “preinfusion”. Some prosumer models pre-infuse automatically but basically: run the water pump until you see a drip of espresso and then turn it off as fast as you can (quicker the better but I have had this work even after 1/4 of the cup got extracted). Let it sit for say 20 -30 seconds, then turn the water back on… this produces WAY better espresso…
  • And also finally, if making capucinno just make the coffee into a low coffee cup and pull more than an espresso shot, it’s fine.

The espresso machine I use now is the Breville Cafe Roma:

The frother we are using is the Brewberry Electric Milk Frother & Heater, Stainless Steel:

Illy Espresso:


Last night I was thinking “man, I haven’t had a cold in forever! I am so healthy” (spoiler: no, I am not).

Just sneezed about 3 times in succession. Can definitely feel a cold coming on.