Wednesday, January 16th, 2019 01:01 am
darkoshi: (Default)
Yesterday when looking through the motion-activated clips from the video cams, I was a bit surprised to see what looked like the same white pick-up truck driving by several times in a row.

Today I was surprised to see six.. SIX!!! cats cavorting in my front yard. The last couple of weeks, I'd been smelling cat urine outside the front & side & garage doors. I'd also heard a cat yowling at night. But I'd thought it was a single cat. SIX!!! Although it may be a single female cat, being following around by all the male cats in the neighborhood.

Yesterday, I'd considered calling the county's Animal Care number to ask about their trap-neuter-return program. But that's when I thought there was one cat. How the heck would you catch 6 cats, or if only one, the right one?
darkoshi: (Default)
I've been feeling fairly chipper today, considering I got less than 4 hours sleep last night. I should have gotten 6, but had trouble falling asleep.


Remember that big tree at work by the pond, which a beaver started chewing on over a year ago? The trunk finally was chewed all the way through. At first, the tree fell over onto a nearby tree and leaned that way for a while. Then it finally fell down into the pond. Within a few days of that, the grounds-people had taken it away. So much for all that work you did, beaver. I have photos; may post them one of these days.

The beaver (or beavers) have been gnawing on a bunch of other smaller trees too, and the small trunks get chewed through a lot quicker. One of the felled trees had nice bright green leaves, some kind of evergreen; I felt sad for the pretty tree. The grounds-people had removed it by the next day too.


I bought two Wyze cams to try out. They are inexpensive, and let you record 12 second motion-activated clips and store them online for 2 weeks, for free. You can view the clips from your phone, and you can configure it to notify you when motion is detected. The cameras can also store video to a micro SD card, and you can view the camera live streams on your phone when you are away from home. So far, the cams seem really neat. One drawback is that after each 12 second clip that is stored online, it doesn't save more until after 5 minutes have passed. But if you have the SD card installed and keep your home's wi-fi running all the time, after getting a notification, you can make a note of the time, and then go and view the continuous video recording from the SD card, all remotely from your phone.

I have had a few problems so far. A 32 GB microSD card works fine, but an old 4GB card doesn't seem to work. And when I turned off my wi-fi overnight, for some reason the camera stopped recording an hour later until I turned wi-fi on again in the morning. Supposedly from what I read, it is supposed to keep recording to the card even when the wi-fi goes out. I'll have to try that again.

[ Update: It happened again; this time it stopped recording half an hour after turning off the router and wi-fi. So maybe that's not supported after all, but I will check. ]

I'm not sure how good these would be for security purposes (if a burglar can get to them, they can steal the camera along with the SD card, and then the recording on the SD card won't do you much good.) But for remotely monitoring things, they seem quite neat. This is the kind of security camera I've been looking for, where you don't have to pay an ongoing fee yet still can access the video streams remotely, and get notifications and all.

Admittedly, I have been viewing the video streams and clips only when connected to wi-fi (both at my house and remotely), as I don't want to use up my phone plan's data. Between yesterday and today, just from my playing around with it, the app on the phone has used half a Gig of wi-fi data. If I were using the phone's data, I'm not sure how long it would take for the video and clips to load.
darkoshi: (Default)
Do any of you have experience using a discount dental plan (as opposed to dental insurance)?

From the ads I've looked at, they sound a bit too good to be true. It sounds like you get charged in-network insurance prices, without having actual insurance, for a yearly fee between $100 and $200 dollars. The ones I've looked at advertise "sample savings" of 20% or even 40 to 50%, even for things like orthodontics or implants which can cost thousands of dollars. Even 20% off of $3000 would be a net savings. You're limited to whichever dentists accept the plan, but insurance is the same way.


Maybe fewer dentists accept these plans, than accept insurance? That Aetna plan only lists 2 orthodontists in my area, and both are at the same address. But a couple other plans I looked at had more dentists participating.

Maybe the sample savings is the best you can hope to get, and most dentists give a much smaller discount?
darkoshi: (Default)
I have this problem where I often spend too much time on certain activities, or researching certain subjects. More time than I had wanted, intended or planned for. Often, I hadn't planned to do the activity at all.

When this happens, I feel driven to continue the activity until completion, or until some point at which I am satisfied enough to stop. Usually, a part of me remembers that I had other plans, and am using up too much of my spare time for no good reason, and wants me to stop. But that's usually a small voice in the background of my mind, and not enough to actually make me stop.


Like this evening... I have a few boxes of old stale peanut butter crackers which I should either eat up or discard. They don't taste that great, so I haven't been eating them much. But I hate to waste "good" food. So I wonder, is it bad from a health standpoint, to eat stale peanut butter? If it is, that would be enough to convince me to throw them away.

I did a web search, and came across an old book from 1918 that says:
"When stale, peanut butter develops a decomposition substance known as acrolein, which is dangerous to children as well as adults".

I found no other sources which mention the same thing, so I don't suggest you take that statement as truth. I'm still not sure whether stale peanut butter is bad for you.

However, I was looking through the rest of the first book, and it is fascinating in a historical sense. I've spent way too much time reading through it.

The Science of Eating: How to Insure Stamina, Endurance, Vigor, Strength and Health in Infancy, Youth and Age - by Alfred W. McCann

100 years ago, there was the same concern as nowadays, about lack of nutrition in processed foods due to vitamins, minerals, and fiber having being stripped out. There was concern over high levels of glucose, sugar, and chemical additives. There was concern about cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis being caused by the substandard nutrition provided by those foods.

100 years ago was before processed foods started being fortified with vitamins and minerals.

It's interesting how the drafts for World War I and II played into this. Apparently, people in high places were concerned when large percentages of draftees were rejected due to being unfit. It's not necessarily that they were concerned about the health of people, but that they wanted to have an adequate supply of healthy men for the military.


The rye bread I've been eating lately lists "wheat flour" and "rye flour" as ingredients. I wondered if "wheat flour" means whole wheat flour or white flour. It means the latter; I should have realized that, since the label actually says "enriched wheat flour". But the rye flour is just listed as "rye flour".

The Hoax of "Enriched Wheat Flour"
A “wheat flour” or “enriched wheat flour” ingredient is technically no different than white flour. Manufacturers take whole-grain wheat, strip out 11 vitamins and minerals, then add synthetic chemicals that represent only four vitamins and one mineral.

Here’s the nutritional math: Whole-grain wheat – 11 nutrients + 5 nutrients = “Enriched”


4 hours later. Heck, I'm just going to throw those crackers away and be done with it.

nay, nah nah nah

Friday, January 11th, 2019 10:42 am
darkoshi: (Default)
Nice little catchy tune from 1990. Uncomplicated lyrics.

Video title: Vaya Con Dios - Nah Neh Nah 1990
Posted by: NoMadU55555
darkoshi: (Default)
I spent the first several minutes of this video trying to determine if there was a problem with my browser, or if the video aspect was really supposed to be nearly 3:1, with parts of people's heads cropped out of view. It seems to be that way on purpose, like a wide screen movie.

Video title: The HU - Yuve Yuve Yu
Posted by: The HU

I wonder what these round cylindrical fibrous things on the top of the cliff are:

Of the 2 videos by that band which I've watched (there's also this one with motorcyles: ), I'm not sure how I feel about their lyrics. Taken one way, they're cool in a "don't mess with me" kind of way. Taken another way, I'm not sure.

This video has throat-singing *and* bagpipes:

Video title: Hunnu Guren - Batzorig Vaanchig & Auli
Posted by: AuliEtnotranss

I suppose that drone-mounted cameras make these kind of videos easier to film these days. I wonder how they did it in the old days... helicopters, hang gliders, small aircraft?

Vegan Bagpipes - oh yay, there is such a thing. Maybe... or maybe just a non-hide drum... boom boom, boom boom...
darkoshi: (Default)
This is the end of 2 nice relaxing (sort of) weeks of vacation. At least I was able to sleep as long as I wanted nearly every morning, in spite of going to bed very late. I got various things done. Some things finished, some things further along.

I didn't manage to make an orthodontic appointment yet; still need to get together a list of potential ones to call. It's too bad that this tooth problem manifested a few weeks after our yearly benefits enrollment period at work. Not knowing that I'd need it, I chose a dental plan without adult orthodontic coverage. But it's not a big deal. Even the plans that cover it, only cover a certain amount anyway. But now, not having one of those plans makes choosing an orthodontist more complicated. Should I sign up for a discount program, and see who in my area is in such a program? Or should I use one of the orthodontists in my dental insurance's network (though I don't see what the point of that is, as I'm not covered)? Or try to find overlap between the two? And so on.

I had been feeling optimistic about getting braces, but reading several pages which indicated that dentists now recommend that retainers be worn ***for the rest of your life*** to prevent teeth from shifting back got me feeling down about it. Which is why I let the matter drop for now. I went through all that trouble last year or the year before, getting myself a doctor, and it didn't even really do any good with the problem I have with my hands. Well... It did relieve my worries about having degenerative arthritis. So it did do some good, even though I still have no explanation for what is wrong. But my hands got significantly better on their own.

At the moment, I don't think it's possible that my teeth will get better on their own, but who knows? I discovered something today, about eating when one's upper and lower molars don't touch. Eating individual pieces of raw spinach (or other raw greens) is not a good idea, as it's nearly impossible to chew them up, and without chewing them, they tend to stick in one's throat. But when they are in a sandwich, I can chew them up ok, because there's an extra layer of bread and stuff filling up the space between the lower and upper teeth.

Anyway, I got home too late tonight (considering I need to be up early for work), after spending most of my vacation at Qiao's place. I went to turn on the heat, and discovered that the thermostat's batteries needed to be changed, and of course the old settings were lost, so I had to reset them. One setting always gives me trouble (getting it into "Hold" mode instead of "Vacation" mode). I had thought I might be able to make it to bed by 1am. But now, I hadn't even unpacked my car, I just wanted to turn on the heat, and this garbedly gook dangnabit thing won't work!!! I lost my temper and yelled obscenities.

Not a good way to end a nice relaxing (sort of) vacation. But it's ok; I'm calm again now. I checked the notes on my computer from last time, which thankfully say how to put it into Hold mode, and got it working. I still have my pretty Christmas tree here, and I haven't turned off the pretty lights on the porch yet either. Though I'll probably take them (not the tree) down later this week.

Ok. There's a good chance I can make it to bed by 2:15am now, if I apply myself to it.
darkoshi: (Default)
$40 a month for unlimited talk, text, and data (with speed restrictions). Currently limited to iPhones, so I'm putting this here for future reference in case they eventually open it up to Android phones too.

Verizon’s secret $40 unlimited plan is now available to everyone – you just need an iPhone


For the T-Mobile network, Mint Mobile's prices still look very good. Those prices don't include all fees, but for my area and the cheapest plan, the fees are a tad under $5 for 3 months, which isn't bad.
darkoshi: (Default)
FDA Removes 7 Synthetic Flavoring Substances from Food Additives List

The FDA is amending its food additive regulations in response to two food additive petitions, to no longer allow for the use of a total of 7 synthetic flavoring substances and flavor enhancers (adjuvants).


While the FDA’s recent exposure assessment of these substances does not indicate that they pose a risk to public health under the conditions of their intended use, the petitioners provided evidence that these substances caused cancer in animals who were exposed to much higher doses. As such, the FDA is only revoking the listing of these six synthetic flavorings as a matter of law. The FDA has concluded that these substances are otherwise safe.

Each of these synthetic substances has a natural counterpart in food or in natural substances used to flavor foods. The FDA’s revocation of the listings providing for the use of these synthetic flavoring substances and adjuvants does not affect the legal status of foods containing their natural counterparts or of flavoring substances extracted from such food, often labeled as “natural flavors.”

Based on evidence presented by the petitioners that benzophenone causes cancer in animals, the FDA also is amending the food additive regulations to no longer provide for its use as a plasticizer in rubber articles intended for repeated use in contact with food.

I wonder if this means that the corresponding "natural flavors" are just as likely to cause cancer in high doses as the artificial ones, or if there is some other difference between the natural and artificial ones after all.


Tuesday, January 1st, 2019 02:34 am
darkoshi: (Default)
In preparation for making an orthodontist appointment, I've been researching braces and Invisalign.

I also looked into the Smile Direct club, which seems like Invisalign, but without an in-person orthodontist overseeing your treatment. From some things I read & watched, it may be more likely to result in problems with your bite. Something I hadn't realized before was that to give crowded teeth more room, they may be pushed outwards as part of the treatment. But if you push your upper teeth outwards, for instance, you may also need to push your lower teeth outwards too, depending on how good or not-so-good your bite was to begin with.

At first, Invisalign sounded like the obvious choice. I don't want anything glued to my teeth. I don't want metal and wires in my mouth*. I want to be able to floss my teeth like normal. And it sounds like Invisalign generally takes half the time to correct teeth as braces do. Plus, you don't need to have appointments as often, etc.

*I had my teeth wired shut once for about 6 weeks, for a fractured jaw to heal. It was awful. But most of the awfulness was in how it pressed my teeth together so tightly, and in not being able to brush the insides of my teeth. The wires were probably unpleasant, but that's not the part I remember.

With Invisalign, every time after you eat, you're supposed to brush your teeth and the aligners. At first, that seemed like a minor thing. But the more I think about it, the harder it sounds. I'm used to eating whenever I want, and I snack a lot in the evenings. Having to remove the aligners, brush my teeth and the aligners, and put the aligners in each time would be a hassle. And having toothpaste aftertaste in my mouth each time... meh. Some people say it made them eat less, and they lost weight. I don't need to lose weight though, and I worry about being hungry and not being able to fall asleep.

Secondly, I'm not sure I'd like the feeling of the plastic aligners against my tongue. With braces, the metal would at least only be on the outside of my teeth, so shouldn't bother me as much. My mouth should feel normal from the inside.

With Invisalign, sometimes they have to put "attachments" on the teeth, which may be as bad or worse than the glue of metal braces. I doubt I would need that, but until I speak to some orthodontists, I won't know.

So now I'm leaning towards metal braces possibly being the better option.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, January 1st, 2019 02:25 am
darkoshi: (Default)
Mingledy plop. Bingledy dop. Tiddly wop.

Twenty Nineteen. Twenny Ninedeen. Duo Won Nine.

Blippity blop. Pippity pop. Doodly whop. Be bop. Boo bop. Boo woppity wop.

No, no boo hoo hoo hoo. Bippity who, bippity woo. Bibbedy boo? Too too.

Happy to you and you and you and you.

pink house

Monday, December 31st, 2018 02:43 am
darkoshi: (Default)
Pink house, with some kind of tiny house beside it.,-84.1272199,3a,51.6y,213.13h,79.45t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1scjf8cOIopcKJ_Nsnoclu1A!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

I took a photo of that house a couple years ago while we were driving by, on a road trip. At the time, it no longer had those signs on front. I didn't have the address, but with a few other clues, I was able to find it using Google Street View.
darkoshi: (Default)
I was watching some song being played on RFD-TV. One guy was playing a stringed instrument which I wasn't familiar with (at least by sight; I was familiar with the sound from other songs), so I looked up what it is called: pedal steel guitar.

The next video shows how it works. It sounds very complicated to me, but I love the twangy sound.

Video title: Steve Fishell explains how pedal steel guitar works
Posted by: Guitarist

Video title: Owen Houlston - Slide Resonator Guitar
Posted by: guitarjed

Video title: Ghost Riders in the Sky - steel guitar
Posted by: Doug Beaumier

Video title: Swamp Dog Blues / 1930s Broman Resonator Guitar /
Posted by: JVStratocasters
darkoshi: (Default)
Sometimes I stay up very late to finish something that I've already wasted/spent so much time on today, that I really don't want to have to waste/spend time on it tomorrow too. Maybe this way, tomorrow I'll get around to doing what I really wanted to do today.

I did at least get some things accomplished today which I had planned on, namely raking the yard.


These are the good-tasting corn puffs (Mikesell's "Puffcorn Delites") I found recently at Big Lots (but they only had this one bag left), which have no added flavoring:

Here is another brand, Simple Truth Organic "Sea Salt & Butter Flavored Baked Puffs", which I found recently at Kroger. Note that the front of the package says "Vegan" even though it also has "Butter" in the name.

I was confused by the "natural butter flavor" ingredient. I thought that meant "flavor derived from butter". So how could the product be vegan? Because of that uncertainty, I only took the photo of it while in the store, and did not buy it.

So today I spent some (a lot) of time trying to find out what "natural butter flavor" is, and can it be vegan? Also, how is it different from the "artificial butter flavor" which another brand of corn puffs used to include and which had previously been implicated in causing lung disease (mostly in workers in microwave popcorn plants, but there was also at least one case of someone who ate a lot of microwave popcorn who got it)?

Short answer: Yes, apparently both artificial and natural butter flavor can be vegan. I'm still not sure if they are always vegan though, or if in some cases they also extract a flavoring from butter and call it "butter flavor".

Both artificial and natural butter flavors are basically the same chemicals; the difference is only in how they are produced; from what source and through what process. Either can be one of several different chemicals.

Diacetyl (butane-2,3-dione) has been voluntarily phased out from most, if not all, microwave popcorn brands, but the FDA still allows its use. In popcorn, diacetyl seems to have been replaced by acetylpropionyl (2,3-pentanedione); however, the latter appears to have the same dangers as diacetyl. (Other pages I read suggested that it may not be the specific chemicals themselves which are the problem, but rather that inhaling any particulate matter like that can be dangerous.)


Microwaving prepacked microwave popcorn results in the production of a number of volatile organic compounds and particulate matter (abstract, 2007/01)

4 major popcorn makers to drop toxic chemical. Companies working to remove buttery flavoring linked to lung disease (2007/09/05)

Chemtura Resolves Butter Flavor Cases

Respiratory Disease Among Flavoring-exposed Workers in Food and Flavoring Manufacture (abstract, 2012/07)
The diacetyl substitute, 2,3-pentanedione, has comparable toxicity to diacetyl, and other members of the a-diketone family have not been evaluated for respiratory toxicity.

Update on flavoring-induced lung disease (abstract, 2016/01)
Attempts to decrease the risk of lung disease have included the use of flavoring substitutes; however, these chemicals may cause similar injury ... Diacetyl substitutes cause similar peri-bronchiolar fibrotic lesions in animal studies.

Is Microwave Popcorn Bad For You? Cancer & Butter Flavor Risks (2017/11/06)
If diacetyl has been mostly phased out, what’s the new “butter flavor” made of and is it safe?

That brings us to the next concerning compound…
4. The “butter flavor” acetylpropionyl

You won’t even know whether popcorn is made with this. FDA labeling regulations don’t require specific flavors to be identified by name.

Since it’s possible to find acetylpropionyl and diacetyl in nature, manufacturers can list both of these chemicals as "natural butter flavor" or simply "natural flavoring."
They don’t even need to use the word artificial. Even USDA certified organic microwave popcorn can use them.
Technically known as 2,3-pentanedione, acetylpropionyl is molecularly very similar to butane-2,3-dione (diacetyl).
Toxicity reports on acetylpropionyl were not even published until 2010. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) says in a peer-reviewed paper that:
"…acute inhalation exposures to 2,3-pentanedione cause airway epithelial damage that is similar to diacetyl in laboratory studies (Hubbs et al. 2012)."

On "Natural Butter Flavors" (a blog post)

Artificial butter flavoring (Wikipedia article)
Obviously, I'm not the only one who assumes that "natural butter flavor" means something that is derived from butter.
This article says: "Butter flavor" redirects here. For natural butter flavor, see [the article on] butter.

Artificial butter flavoring may contain diacetyl, acetylpropionyl, or acetoin, three natural compounds in butter that contribute to its characteristic flavor.

The Flavor Rundown: Natural vs. Artificial Flavors
The FDA broadly defines natural flavors to include any flavor isolated from natural sources like plant material (fruits, roots, bark, herbs, etc.) or animal products (meat, dairy, etc.). Artificial flavors are any flavors that are not defined as natural, even if they have the exact same chemical composition as flavors isolated directly from nature.

...these flavor additives are generally produced through chemical synthesis or industrial fermentation on specialized culture, which is optimized for flavor production, but is not the sort of media people generally like to eat. When produced through this culturing technique, diacetyl and acetoin are listed as "natural butter flavoring," but when they are produced through controlled laboratory synthesis, the very same components are listed as "artificial butter flavoring"

What is the difference between artificial and natural flavors?
Natural and artificial flavors are defined for the consumer in the Code of Federal Regulations. A key line from this definition is the following: " a natural flavor is the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional." Artificial flavors are those that are made from components that do not meet this definition.
The flavorist creating an artificial flavoring must use the same chemicals in his formulation as would be used to make a natural flavoring, however. Otherwise, the flavoring will not have the desired flavor. The distinction in flavorings--natural versus artificial--comes from the source of these identical chemicals
Another difference between natural and artificial flavorings is cost. The search for "natural" sources of chemicals often requires that a manufacturer go to great lengths to obtain a given chemical. Natural coconut flavorings, for example, depend on a chemical called massoya lactone. Massoya lactone comes from the bark of the Massoya tree, which grows in Malaysia.

But then why do some German artificial flavors taste different from the corresponding American ones, like Raspberry for example? And why do some artificial flavors not taste the same as the actual food they are based on? I suppose it is because the food includes many chemicals and flavors, while the artificial ones are subsets of those flavors.


2018/12/27 2pm: Edited to add more info to the "Short Answer".
darkoshi: (Default)
We celebrated Christmas early yesterday.

I woke up early this morning to say farewell to my brother and his wife, then went back to bed as I'd only gotten 4 hours of sleep so far. They were still finishing up packing for a while, before my mom came to take them to the airport. They're visiting the wife's family now.

Until they left, I wasn't able to fall deeply asleep, but dozed for a while. I kept having dreams where it seemed like I had awakened, but then realized that something was off.

I woke up... the window was wide open and letting in wind. I thought I must have opened it while sleep-walking. Then I saw Serena on the floor. She's not normally in the bedroom. She was acting strange, and after a while I realized that it wasn't Serena.

That's the only one I remember now.

Now I'm watching "It's a Wonderful Life" on TV. I think it's the first time I've watched the whole movie. Hmmm, was it normal back then for people to keep crows and squirrels as pets, and to let them wander around inside houses?

Huh. They're hanging tinsel on the tree. Heavy tinsel like mine.


Saturday, December 22nd, 2018 11:11 am
darkoshi: (Default)
I've finished decorating the Christmas tree. It looks lovely. My brother and his wife are visiting, and they helped with the decorating, which was nice.

I used the tinsel again this year, after skipping it last year. The tree didn't really need it; it looked good even without the tinsel. But two years ago, I had folded up big sheets of paper accordion style, to make little slots in which to store separate strands of tinsel (about 3 together in each fold) to keep them from tangling up together into a difficult clump. I've been curious since then as to how much easier it would now be, to use the tinsel. It was rather easy, so that was a successful storage idea.

It's the old kind of tinsel, which was originally from Germany. I like it because it has weight to it, and hangs well compared to the light fluffy plastic stuff they sell nowadays.

After I was done putting the tinsel on the tree, it occurred to me to wonder whether it contains lead. Before, I'd always assumed it was just thick aluminum foil. But heavy silvery metal... could be lead? So I checked.

Wikipedia article on Tinsel:
By the early 20th century, manufacturing advances allowed cheap aluminium-based tinsel, and until World War I, France was the world leader in its manufacture.

Lead foil was a popular material for tinsel manufacture for several decades of the 20th century. Unlike silver, lead tinsel did not tarnish, so it retained its shine. ... In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) concluded in August 1971 that lead tinsel caused an unnecessary risk to children, and convinced manufacturers and importers to voluntarily stop producing or importing lead tinsel after January 1, 1972.

Modern tinsel is typically made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) film coated with a metallic finish.[5] Coated mylar film also has been used.

I wonder if that means I oughtn't use the tinsel I have, anymore. But as long as children don't grab it off the tree and put it in their mouth (which I don't recall them ever doing), I guess it should be fine.

There are still plenty of old packages of lead tinsel for sale on eBay.

I wonder why they don't make tinsel out of thick aluminum. Searching on "aluminum tinsel" doesn't yield any results. Maybe pure aluminum is too stiff and wouldn't be slinky enough.

Don't Lick the Tinsel
Copper enjoyed a brief run as tinsel before World War I upped the demand; aluminum tinsel, meanwhile, proved itself to be incredibly flammable—not really a trait you want in something designed to reflect candlelight.

Aluminum is flammable? Is it more flammable than PVC and mylar?

Dangerous Decorations People Used To Use
When I was growing up, things went onto the Christmas tree in a certain sequence: the lights, then the garland, then the ornaments, then the "icicles." When everyone was satisfied with the arrangement of the ornaments, it was time to for the "frosting" on the cake. We reached into the very bottom of the decoration box and pulled out the last item, an ancient Country Gentleman magazine that had a handful of lead foil icicles every so many pages with the ends hanging out like ribbons in a Bible (they were stored that way to keep them from tangling).

Putting them in between the pages of a magazine! That's a good idea, and would have been easier than folding all that paper which I did. Although with my tinsel strands being up to 2 feet long, the ends hanging out of the magazine would still likely get tangled together.
darkoshi: (Default)
Even more amusing than the clips I've seen about phallic imagery in Bhutan...

South Korea has a family-oriented "Penis Park":

half dones

Sunday, December 16th, 2018 12:20 am
darkoshi: (Default)
I cooked kidney beans in the pressure cooker (which I haven't used in years). For that matter, the beans had been sitting in my cupboard for years too. After cooking them for 40 minutes, they weren't soft enough and in spite of the bouillon cubes and herbs I had added, didn't taste like much either. So I added salt - regular and black, and cooked it in the pressure cooker another hour and a half. Then they were good. But that was only the first step of the dish I intended to make.

I've also got some pumpkin I need to use up. It's already cooked and mashed. I decided to make this vegan pumpkin mac'n'cheese bake. So I boiled some pasta. Then I was hungry and ate some of the pasta, just plain with vegan butter and salt. It tasted so good, I ate some more. Now there might not be enough left for the recipe.

Maybe I'll boil another pot of noodles. Too late to cook more tonight. Guess I'll continue tomorrow.

While the beans were cooking, I started putting up the Christmas tree. This time, not only were half the green lights out, a bunch of the red lights were too. So I started taking the lights off the tree, testing each unlit bulb to see if it was burned out. I ended up replacing about 17 bulbs out of 300, but now the whole strand is working again. I still have to put them back on the tree.

I checked how much power the lights use. 180 Watts! I should replace them with LED bulbs. But really, the multi LED Christmas light strands I've seen in the stores don't look all that nice to me. Although the individual color LED lights I have bought.. red, purple, yellow... are rather nice. So I'll still keep these for now.

Flash Gordon

Sunday, December 9th, 2018 03:02 am
darkoshi: (Default)
I'm surprised how good the film quality and special effects were in this Flash Gordon serial film from 1936:

A local station was showing it on TV (WACH Comet TV) tonight, and I'd have guessed it was from the 1950s, not the 1930s. In particular, there are several clips that include a display screen (like a TV) built into the wall, and it is shown playing video, like a security camera. For example, in the above YouTube video, at 0:29:45. They didn't have television back then, so how could they have done that? I guess they must have projected a movie onto the screen, so it's a movie of a movie.

Actually, I was also surprised that the Flash Gordon concept was so old; I didn't realize that it predated the 1980 movie. It also reminded me that I have the novelization of that 1980 movie, which I bought after reading these tweets, and that I have yet to read it.

But now I also want to rewatch the 1980 movie. I don't remember it being so brightly colored and awesomely amusing:

short security

Saturday, December 8th, 2018 11:48 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
My free year of credit monitoring with Equifax is nearing its end, but they linked me to Experian for another free year. Setting up an account on Experian's webpage, it is telling me that my 16 char password is too long. As someone else on that page commented, that is "very reassuring".
Their edit message doesn't tell me what the max length is though, so trial & error, here we go.

15. 15 is the max password length.
It doesn't let you paste text into the password fields either. It gives a spurious edit message when you do that.
And there's no option to display the passwords so that you can verify that you're typing the thing you intend to type.


I've brought the xmas tree, in its bag, from the garage into to the house so that I can set it up. It has been lying on the floor in this room all day. Every time I glance in that direction, at first it looks to me like Zorro lying there. (Big dark shape stretched out on ground). Even though Zorro hasn't been staying at my house in ages, and only visits once in a long while, because I haven't finished fortifying the fence. Heck, I'm still re-fortifying the fence at Q's house.