Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Things I Say

A standard phrase I'd use at work was "It's not inadequate," which was my wise-ass way of endorsing results that I wasn't thrilled with.  A student's paper with a grade of "C" would be "not inadequate."  If I was even less thrilled, I might say, "It's not terribly inadequate."  This latter phrase was my euphemism for "good enough yet pretty lousy all the same."

But some people took it the wrong way.  They actually were pleased to receive this response.  They'd show me their design or report, and I'd say "that's not inadequate," and they'd smile proudly, as if I'd just affixed a gold star to it.

Well I don't use it any more, perhaps because it has lost it's intended impact.  Or perhaps because sarcasm is being discouraged in much the same way as discrimination -- it's just not professional.  The utterly flavorless "good" has supplanted my "it's not inadequate" nowadays.

My new phrase is now "Crapizoids," which I exclaim out loud to myself instead of, um, well, a four letter word that begins and ends exactly like "firetruck."  I say "Crapizoids" a lot, like when the e-mail client freezes just before I click "Send" on a message that took 30 minutes to compose and included several links to various documents scattered in remote and obscure parts of the network.  "Crapizoids" is for when I hurriedly press Ctrl-A (which selects all content), instead of the neighboring Ctrl-S (save), followed by the Enter key and the witty content of a new paragraph, which replaces all the selected content.  (The Undo feature is my best friend for a good reason, but sometimes it reverts away from good stuff, too.)  "Crapizoids" can be heard right after every power failure.

Right at the moment I'm writing this in a public library as I wait for my daughter's karate lesson to end.  And it has ended, so I have to leave this post without a snazzy ending.  Crapizoids!  I hope it's not too inadequate.



Snoskred's response to the NaBloPoMo writing prompt, "Tell us about a quirk or odd habit that you have," inspired today's post.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Buy One, Get Six For Free

Temperatures here in the Northeast are at the freezing mark or below, so the heated indoor air is very dry.  This is a good time to use a saline spray to keep nasal passages moist.

I use a lot of saline spray every winter.  My preferred brand comes in little bottles of 50ml (1.69 ounces) and costs about $3.50.  That's $2/oz.  It doesn't last long.

The first bottle of the season already ran out.  So rather than buy another, I bought the saline solution that's marketed to users of contact lenses.  For the same price, $3.50, I got 12 ounces, a whopping seven times more, which should last all winter.

Of course, I don't squirt the stuff into my nose from that larger bottle.  Instead, I refill the little spray bottle.  I just remove the tip from the spray bottle and pour the saline solution in and then press the tip back on.

It turns out that the cheaper, contact lens saline solution is more soothing than the nasal saline.  Perhaps the nasal solution contains more anti-microbial chemicals to keep it from harboring germs.  After all, the bottle is inserted into one's nose.  With each squeeze, the user could aspirate germ-infested nasal mucous into the bottle.  So the producers of the nasal spray would want to ensure that their product won't result in re-infection with some pathogen.

If you decide to try this cost-saving idea, do your best to avoid contaminating the bottles and solutions.  Your workspace and hands should be as clean as possible.  You can place the spray bottle tip on a clean paper towel or tissue while filling the bottle.  Also, don't fill the bottle more than halfway, otherwise you won't get a fine spray when you squeeze but rather a surprisingly strong stream.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The High Cost of Vegan Cheese

My daughter has been vegan for about four years.  Vegans follow an even more limited diet than vegetarians.  The most devout ones don't eat anything produced by an animal or from an animal.  That includes eggs, all dairy, and even honey.

My daughter is devout.  But rather than give up mayonnaise, butter and cheese, she eats vegan-friendly versions instead.

My wife complains about the high cost of these vegan-friendly substitutes almost every week.  And she goes over-budget buying them.  But I tell my wife that if our daughter craves cheese and butter so much, it means her body is crying out for real, honest-to-goodness dairy.  As I wrote earlier, I don't fully endorse our daughter being vegan.

I say that we should buy absolutely no substitutes.  Instead we can buy eggs and dairy from producers that treat their livestock with care and respect, a major concern of vegans.  And I suspect that dairy produced the old-fashioned way is friendlier for the environment than the spreads made from vegetable oils or the cheeses made from cashews.  I believe that such substitutes require much more energy to produce because their raw ingredients are so thoroughly processed as to make them unrecognizable.

Some vegans will argue that there's a health issue with dairy.  They complain that it's loaded with saturated fat, which is bad.  I reject that entirely.  Saturated fat has been unfairly demonized.  The fat from pasture-raised, grass-fed cattle has a ratio of Omega3 to Omega6 that's comparable salmon, plus CLA (conjugated linoleic acids) and butyrates, both of which are important for good gut health.  The heart and brain both use saturated fat as fuel.

It's true that some people just can't tolerate dairy.  It can promote inflammation and mucus production.  Some people are lactose intolerant.  Others must avoid casein.  It's the casein in dairy that can mimic opioids in the brain in individuals with leaky gut syndrome.  So these intolerances are really the only good reasons to avoid dairy.

Well, even if our daughter agreed to eat real butter and cheese, our cost would still be fairly high.  Organic dairy from humanely-treated, grass-fed cows is not inexpensive.  But at least it's real and wholesome.

What do you think?


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wednesday Weigh-In 20141119

Temperatures are at the freezing point today, with a brisk wind. I wore my fleece jacket and scarf.

Waist = 41"
Height = 5' 9"

References:
  1. Wikipedia BMI page
  2. Tanita Scale with Body Fat monitor
  3. Javascript must be enabled to view the data.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Dream: The Bull and the Subaru

I'm leaving a large department store.  My father and brother have left about a minute earlier.  As I approach the car, a two-tone green Subaru Outback wagon, I notice a large bull and at least one white sheep about 15 yards away on the other side of the car.  The bull has noticed me, too.  It's staring directly at me.  Its horns snake out from its head about 18 inches and taper down to two very sharp and deadly points.  I wonder where my brother and father went.  I quickly get in the car for protection, just in case it charges.

I'm in the back seat, semi-reclined so as to hide.  But I peer out the rear window.  The bull approaches the car from behind.  It knows I'm inside.  It pushes the car with its huge head planted on the left rear directional light.  The car gains momentum and heads for a stand of medium-sized birch trees and shrubs.  I list in my head the damage that's being done: the signal light lens cover; scratches and dents to the rear car body; maybe a broken pawl in the transmission.  If the car smashes into the trees there will also be front end damage.  Plus a tow truck may be needed to remove the car.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Dream: Disorganization at Work

I'm at work on the shop floor.  I notice three assembly / test stations.  Two are occupied; the one in the middle is vacant.  I overhear two people discussing that empty station.  They are suggesting that our IT guy take it over to use as his office.  "That's really ridiculous," I think to myself.

The two other stations are for different operations in our process.  I think of other areas of the building in which the stations aren't grouped logically by operation.  One area should be devoted in its entirety to, say, soldering.  However, the way the production managers have arranged things, the soldering stations are scattered in different areas.

I recall how things were when I first joined the company about 20 years ago.  At least they understood the simple concept of workflow.  The company seems to be degenerating.

Now I'm outside at the loading dock with DM, with whom I share part time IT duties.  He asks me, "Are you coming with me?"  At first I don't understand so I respond, "Where are you going?"  But suddenly I  infer that his question is about quitting the company and getting a new job somewhere else.  I nod.

Since we're outside and visible to many, DM hides his mouth each time he talks in case someone who reads lips is nearby.  He actually bends overs and talks into his knees.  But when I respond, I don't bother to cover my mouth much.  I'm more concerned about how I'm wearing nothing but "tighty-white" underpants, so I'm squeezing myself into a hidden corner of the area, partly behind some equipment.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Dream: My Basement Room

I'm in the house I grew up in.  I'm in my bedroom in the basement.  I've just woke up, and it's about 6:15am on a weekend.  My mother and sister are still asleep it seems.  I have the memories of dreams lingering in my thoughts, and I want to write them down.  But it's so early.

I walk over to the computer that's near the foot of the stairs.  I'm concerned that any sounds that the computer makes will travel up the staircase and become amplified; its long, narrow, tunnel-like dimensions make a good conductor and projector of sound.

I walk to the foot of the stairs and notice that the area was cleaned up a bit.  A small desk was just placed there next to the electrical outlet. This is a good sign - someone finally decided to make productive use of the space.

I turn around to go back to my room.  Now I need to climb some rickety stairs.  I wonder about this.  These stairs seem to run parallel to the main stairs that I was just standing at the foot of.  That would mean that my room is on the main level of the house after all and not in the basement.  Yet curiously there isn't a way to get into the room from the main level.  I wonder what part of the house my room is adjacent to - perhaps there's a secret passage that connects the two.  In the back of a closet, perhaps?

When I reach the top and enter the small space, I notice how the ceiling of my room appears buckled as if years of water damage have warped the panels.  The whole room (plus the stairs) seems to have been stuck onto the side of the house like an afterthought.


This dream mirrors reality.  I did wake up at 6:15 this morning with dreams in my head, and I considered getting up early to write them down.  (Actually the Pee-Meister Squirt cat demanded to be let into the room, which is why I woke up.)  But instead of getting up I went back to bed to dream some more.