Sunday, January 13, 2013

Thoughts of the day

Hm. When I woke up today, I was surprised to find my bedside trashcan across the room in a place it had no reason to be. I don't remember moving it. I can rationalize when and why I might have moved it there, but there is no verifying recall that I did so.

I think my computer is breaking down. It's been acting awfully glitchy of late, eg, restarting on its own from shutdowns, some kind of bluescreen error, start-up taking longer, freezing up mid-use, wireless mouse and keyboard not turning on, monitor auto-configure going to the wrong setting. I have a cargo-cult-level understanding of computers. It's scary that technology I depend on is both fragile and mysterious. Computers may as well be capricious supernatural beings I must propitiate and hope for their merciful favor so that I may live. I must be diligent about backing up important data.

More on helpless computer dependency. When the DNS (domain name server) was down, I was cut off from the internet and my blog. When Webshots overhauled their site, they deleted the MilVets account with its unique historical record of 100s of archived photos. We won't be able to reconstruct it. It's a reminder I need to back up my blog. Blogger seems accessible, reliable, and predictable now, but nothing is forever.

Today I shall eat canned soup that expired in 2011. Update: The soup tasted fine and my stomach isn't rebelling. Next is canned soup that expired in 2010, which means it was likely produced in 2007 or 2008. I learned that Nesco roaster oven + Sunbeam frying pan + toaster oven + computer (ie, 4/4 outlets) = trip the circuit breaker and everything in the kitchen that's plugged in, including the refrigerator, losing power. Update: The 2010-expired soup was fine, too.

Interestingly, frying pan + burner + microwave (ie, 3/4 outlets) tripped the circuit breaker, but computer + burner + microwave worked fine. Frying pan + rice maker + microwave tripped the circuit breaker. Methinks we have identified the culprit.

I like me some scrambled eggs. Mm mm.

Growing up, I learned wheat good, (white) rice bad. Now it's rice good, wheat bad? All the pasta I've been eating is made from wheat. Another change, maybe, is that eating animal fat is okay after all. Fuck it. I'm go'n eat what I'm go'n eat.

Impulsively indulging my sweet tooth, I passed on the Chips Ahoy on sale and bought a cheaper box of brownie mix instead. The prep instructions called for 2 eggs and 2/3 cup of vegetable oil, and hey, I have those things. With my fingertips on the bottle of Canola oil, I changed my mind and took out the gross vegetable (soybean) oil. I figured I won't use it for anything else, and here's my chance to use the remainder at one shot. Problem solved - I won't be annoyed anymore by the bottle of gross vegetable (soybean) oil in my cupboard. However, the unintended, though predictable, consequence is the brownies taste like gross vegetable (soybean) oil. Oh well.

In World Of Survival - The Barren Lands (Season 2, Episode 5), Ray Mears introduced a field-expedient recipe for bannock bread that sounds simple and quick. Dry mix flour, baking soda, and salt, add water, knead/mix into dough, then bake. Supposedly, it only takes 5 minutes to make the dough and 10 minutes to bake the bread.

Bannock updates: The bannock worked. I made half on the frying pan and half in the toaster oven. I added too much salt, but otherwise the bannock is as simple and quick to make as claimed and tastes okay. Update: My first thought that I added too much salt was wrong. The bitter salty flavor was actually from the baking soda. Adding vinegar counteracted the bitter salty flavor from the baking soda . The vinegar just has to be added at the end in order not to lose the leavening effect. Update: With the salmon, split peas & ham stew, I started with a side of bannock made with vinegar and onions, salt, no baking soda; it was tasty; while the vinegar added a different flavor, it didn't work as a leavening agent. I then added bannock made from baking soda, vinegar, onions, and salt; the vinegar and baking soda flavors neutralized each other and the bannock was a passable imitation of scallion pancake. Not much leavening action, though; supposedly, the proportion of baking soda to vinegar needs to be carefully measured, which I have not done. Which is to say, I'm okay with leaving out a leavening agent altogether and using a flour, salt, and water base for a more rubbery texture. Update: My best bannock so far was made of flour, water, and salt. It had a nice crust and wasn't rubbery. The differences may be taking care while adding water so I had dough and not glop, grilling the bannock on a chicken grease-smeared pan, and cooking the bannock thoroughly with enough time and a high enough temperature, which also relates to the amount of water in the dough. Not overwatering the dough helps avoid wastage because less dough sticks to the mixing bowl and spoon. Tip: When frying or grilling, don't bother trying to flatten sticky dough on the pan right away. Just place the dough on the pan, cook until a bit of crust has formed on the underside, then flip it over and press flat using the crusty top. Update: Pizza bannock (flour, salt, water, then tomato sauce and sour cream, pan fried) was tasty. Remember to put the cover on the pan for a pizza oven baking effect or else the top won't cook properly.

Bachelor stew: In a 3 quart Farberware Classic stainless steel mixing bowl, 15 oz can of Healthy Choice split plea & ham soup (expired Jan 2011) + 14.75 oz can of Icy Point pink salmon + 1 cup of rice + 12 oz bag of Birds Eye frozen Steamfresh mixed vegetables + salt. The 1st bowl had the richest flavor before I added more water and the frozen mixed vegetables; later bowls had mild but still passable flavor - the salmon oil goes a long way.

Tasty dinner: Broiled then grilled thick cut of fatty pork (country sparerib) with white rice, whole grain toast with sour cream, cup of whole milk, finished off with a cup of light chicken broth. Yum.

I'm mildly relieved I'm not the only person to find Roland chopped clams tasteless. I thought perhaps the flavor issue was due to the can's March 2011 expiration or I was wasting the clams by using them wrong. I tried them as a topping for my pizza bannock and only got a brief wisp of flavor despite salting liberally and the mild flavor of the other toppings. I'm dumping the remaining clams and clam juice from the can into my pork bone broth. Update: The texture of the chopped clam pieces came out in the broth, though the flavor is still faint. The clam juice added a clam-flavored kick to the broth, which is quite savory.

With a nod to Danny Boodman T. D. Lemon 1900 and red piller Hawaiian Libertarian, fuck fast food. I paid $4.65 last night for a 6-piece McNuggets, grilled onion cheddar burger, and small french fries at McDonalds. As usual with Mickey D's, the wanting impulse is conditioned, but I finish eating with buyer's remorse. Today, I made a pizza bannock that was larger, tastier, and more filling than the McDonald's meal, yet all the ingredients combined (flour, salt, tomato sauce, sour cream, onions) cost me less than a dollar.

The Legend of 1900 starring Tim Roth and Pruitt Taylor Vance is a special movie. The movie's music is by the great Ennio Morricone. The Danny Boodman T. D. Lemon 1900 vs Jelly Roll Morton piano duel.

The freestyling krumping or stomping Catholic schoolgirls are the breakout stars of the fun Microsoft "The Surface Movement" commercial directed by Jon Chu.

Coffeetime is the go-to Jeremy Lin game highlighter on youtube because he includes ordinary plays in his highlights.

Memorable Vietnam War-based TV sci-fi/horror show episodes from my childhood: Monsters' The Hole; X-Files' Sleepless.

Memorable weekday afternoon cartoon episode from my childhood: Thundercats season 1, episode 38, The Demolisher, which I remember for the Demolisher's sidekick chanting "Demolisher wins!" while beating a drum. This review says The Demolisher is a knock-off of earlier Thundercats episode Safari Joe. The reviewer misses the point; Demolisher and Safari Joe are a study in contrasts. Safari Joe was a thrill seeker. The Demolisher is a purist.
Demolisher: It's all I know. It's all I can do. Without fighting, I am nothing.
Lion-O: Then fight for a cause, Demolisher. Something you believe in.
Demolisher: Never! I have no cause! I believe in nothing!
Mickey shares red-pill wisdom with Rocky: "Women weaken legs."

In a word, algorithms.

The Army is a young man's pursuit. Age matters. We take for granted how primed and resilient our bodies are as young men for physical activity. For example, like all soldiers, I ran in the Army. I had a poor concept of footwear: wrong kind of shoe, wrong idea about cushion inserts. It didn't hurt me because my body allowed room for error - I probably could have run in cheap flip-flops (properly secured) just as well. I gave bad advice to other people about running based on my unwitting mistakes. Only years later, when my feet suffered when I followed my own advice did I realize they were mistakes. There's a moral in there about the difference between natural ability and method.

It's a tough (red) pill for an idealist to swallow, but morality is plastic, as plastic as the narrative.

The theme runs strong in Nassim Taleb's aphorisms: the unseen but powerful ties that bind us in a voluntary virtual slavery. He has a critical view on modern jobs, reminiscent of Herman Melville's Bartleby the Scrivener, Frank Grimes, and Professor Thad Russell. I dreamt I was back in my old job after a leave of absence, but like Bartleby, I was not doing the work and was being admonished by my old boss, Paul, a good man who hired me, for the drop in my job performance. We are shackled by expectations, standards, deadlines, and judgement, including and especially from the people we love, respect, and want to please, either professionally or personally. We accept implicit and explicit adherence contracts. Family, friends, peers, colleagues, as much as our employers, are our jailers. We internalize it. That's life, but is it the only way?

After I read Ayn Rand's The Virtue of Selfishness, I should read Atlas Shrugged. A suggested follow-up to Rand is Henry David Thoreau's Walden on solitude. Friedrich Nietzsche is a need-to-read, too. The goal is internal meaning. I perhaps could tolerate a cargo-cult outer life if I had an acceptable inner life, though the hope is the outer life actualizes the inner life. Going through formulaic motions by rote as a bubble isn't enough to live on; the pretend momentum runs out and then emptiness and back listless in the cave.

In Ray Mears's Psychology of Survival (Extreme Survival, season 1 episode 3), he cites a 2-part psychological experiment by Curt Richter where a group of rats were first placed in a box with a narrowing tunnel and then forced to swim indefinitely. In the box, some rats turned back and gave up while other rats struggled free. In the swimming challenge, the same rats that gave up in the box gave up again and drowned, while the rats that escaped the box kept swimming until rescued. From the episode, Dr. John Leach: "Survival is not a big task; survival is a series of small tasks." The actions needed to survive are driven by the will to survive, which comes from within. No will, no survival actions, no more life.

Ouch. Roissy backhands a "tradcon MGTOW". I am red-pill conscious but have not let go of my values, so I've stopped short of the second red pill and Game. No blue pill and no Game leaves me with MGTOW. Some red-pill proponents have adopted an amoral "poolside" attitude about using Game to take their pleasure from social-cultural degradation. They care about what is. I fall more in line with the Manosphere faction, such as new red-pill blogger Martel, that prefers to apply red-pill knowledge, including Game, towards invigorating positive masculinity and Western civilization. They care about what should be, ie, honor.

Lennay Kekua, the illusory on-line girlfriend of former Notre Dame star linebacker Manti Te'o, claimed to have died from leukemia. That reminds me of Cecilia Chen, who in several on-line forums claimed falsely she had Hodgkin's lymphoma, which is closely related to leukemia. What's up with on-line impersonators using blood cancer as an escape hatch? Coincidence or convention? Either way, oddly specific. The controversy taught me a pop-culture term, "catfish", which is a new word for an old phenomenon that pre-dates the internet. For example, in 1992, Bart Simpson fooled his teacher Edna Krabapple with a similar hoax using snail mail and a picture of NHL great Gordie Howe. Update: Diane O'Meara's image was used for Lennay Kekua; the impersonator has good taste.

The media's bias is revealed by comparing the vilification of Bush over the federal government's Hurricane Katrina response to the praise and pass given to Obama in the Fed's Hurricane Sandy response. However, the 2 federal responses appear to have followed the same course and suffered from the same bureaucratic entanglements. Strangely, where the shortcomings in the Fed's Katrina response were blamed directly on Bush, the same shortcomings in the Fed's Sandy response are blamed on Congress rather than Obama. The Fed problems appear to be typically agency-related, not presidential per se, though FEMA technically falls under the executive branch.

New aging issue: Cold in bed, particularly feet and legs that won't warm up. I guess it's a circulation problem. I've gone as far as wearing sweatpants and covering myself with a wool blanket, comforter, and sleeping bag, in that order - what I call the 'nuclear option' - then woke up roasting. As a final measure, I could add a bed sheet as the 1st sheet layer, although I doubt it would hold heat against the skin better than the wool blanket.


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