darkoshi: (Default)
Note to self: If you want to put pasta into that soup or stew that you're cooking, first pre-boil the pasta. Don't put dry pasta into the soup. Even if it may have worked well in the past, now you'll likely end up with it stuck and burnt to the bottom of the pot.

Remember the orzo incident? It's not only orzo. It's the macaroni too. (But what about noodly noodles? Surely they wouldn't sink and stick?)

plumbing washers

Friday, June 23rd, 2017 09:36 am
darkoshi: (Default)
If you have any kind of filters or adapters on your faucets, especially in the kitchen, check the rubber washers once in a while. While replacing the filter unit on my kitchen sink, even though it hadn't been leaking, I discovered the old washer had completely disintegrated, leaving behind nothing but black goo. That's not something I want in my drinking water.

In the past, I've encoutered washers partially disintegrated, but I've never seen one completely gone to goo, like this one was.

cleaning toilets

Saturday, January 7th, 2017 08:36 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
To get the water out of the bowl, don't bother turning off the water and flushing. Even when the tank has emptied, the level of standing water in the bowl won't go down. Instead, you can use a toilet brush to "push" the water down the drain. This will lower the level a good bit.

To clean a brownish stain which has accumulated around the water level, if scrubbing with a toilet brush doesn't work: don't bother trying baking soda - even scrubbing the soda in with a scubber sponge doesn't help much. But scrubbing the stain with a pumice stone does work well, and supposedly doesn't damage the ceramic.

I found these tips here: Cleaning Toilet Bowl Stains, and tried them out - they really do work.


Thursday, December 22nd, 2016 10:25 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
Note to self:
Don't donate to USA for UNHCR. They spend 38% on fundraising!

Better-rated charities which help refugees.
darkoshi: (Default)
This is the LJ link for editing entries:

I need to use that page occasionally, as edit links no longer show up for me by my LJ entries on the regular pages. It's probably due to my journal style being old or no longer supported, but it doesn't bother me enough to make me want to change the style because of it. Dreamwidth, where I post and edit most of my entries, doesn't have the problem. But due to spambots posting a lot of spam on some of the older entries on LiveJournal, I've been having to edit them to lock or disable the comments.

German words

Saturday, August 20th, 2016 02:07 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
Zweifel = doubt
bezweifelt = doubtful
verzweifelt = despairing, desperate, frantic

bedrückt = depressed (drucken = to press!)

schlummernd = slumbering
dösen = to doze (dösten = dozed)

Zwielicht = twilight
zwielichtig = shady (as in character)

innehalten (hielt inne) = to pause

gering = low, small, slight
geringer = less, lesser, smaller
geringerer = (komparativ. See: declensions)

schlicht = simple
schlichtweg = simply
darkoshi: (Default)
Note to Self:
Wax paper is not the same as parchment paper. Parchment paper is meant to be used for baking; wax paper is not and will smoke in the oven. Do not bake with wax paper!

I had mistakenly thought that "parchment paper" was the British term for "wax paper". I don't recall ever having seen rolls of "parchment" paper for sale in the grocery store. But as rolls of aluminum foil, plastic wrap, and wax paper last me for years, who knows when the last time was, that I really stopped to look.

Also news to me, parchment paper is often coated with silicone or other agents. Considering that silicone is not biodegradable, and I don't want unknown chemicals leaching into my food, I suppose I'll skip the short-cuts and keep greasing my pans.


Yesterday I found that another button on my oven doesn't work anymore. The "Temperature Down" button. Therefore I can't set the oven to less than 350 degrees, as I sometimes like to do for keeping food warm. I guess I'll have to get the control panel replaced eventually after all.


I've now tried out both of these recipes which use packaged cake mix as an ingredient:
Pistachio Pudding Cookies and Lazy Cake Cookies. While they both taste good, the texture & taste doesn't seem as good as stuff I make from scratch. And using cake mix isn't that much easier than using flour, sugar, etc.

stick & burn

Sunday, November 22nd, 2015 11:22 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
Note to self: Don't buy orzo again. Too likely to stick to the bottom of the pot. When making stew, add in any other noodles.

Frozen black-eyed peas take much longer to cook than baby lima beans. When making stew, only include things that cook fast. Otherwise it will burn in on the bottom while you're waiting for the food on top to get soft.

When making red lentils, watch the pot constantly, as it will overflow if given the slightest chance.
darkoshi: (Default)
Note to self:
Spray vinegar along the refrigerator seal/gasket every month or 2. Maybe that will prevent mold from growing, so that I won't have to go through so much trouble to clean the mold off later on.

To clean small spots of mold/mildew off of bathtub caulk, spray on a small bit of bleach solution, so that a drop of the solution covers the spot. Repeat a few times if necessary until the mold is no longer visible. If the liquid runs down and won't form a bead in the right spot, then place a sheet of toilet tissue over the spot, and spray the tissue. The wet tissue will stick to the surface, giving the bleach time to work.
darkoshi: (Default)
I've got plenty of files on my computer for keeping notes on various things. Now I've created a file specifically to keep track of where I put odds and ends. For those times I'm putting something away, and think, "Where can I put it, so that I'll remember that's where I put it?"

When I first moved into this house 8 years ago, I bought a pair of curtain hold-backs but didn't end up using them. Now I'd like to, but can't find them. I'm not sure if I got rid of them or not. I looked for them in the garage yesterday, but they weren't in the obvious place. Instead, I found the roll of magnetic strip that I was looking for last week. (Even though I had searched for that in the exact same place, so having a notes file wouldn't have helped in that case.) But I had already ended up buying another roll of magnetic strip.

I suppose now if I buy another pair of curtain hold-backs, next week I'll find the old ones.

The reason I need hold-backs now, is that I've put up the curtain track as mentioned in this post. It works so well - the sliders slide along the track so easily - that the curtains tend to spread out on their own, even after you push them to the side. So having a hold-back would help.

I'm still working on the curtains and black-out liners.

I thought the hardware would be the hard part. But the curtains and liners have given me more trouble.

Originally, I found a pair of curtains I liked in a JCPenny store. I tried to order them from their website, as the store didn't have them in the length I wanted.
First problem: when I put the item in my cart, the price was $10 higher than shown on the webpage. I called customer service and after explaining the problem, submitted the order over the phone to get the right price. To avoid delivery issues because of our dogs in the yard, I wanted it shipped to the store. But another item I was ordering (shears) didn't allow ship-to-store. So I ended up getting both items shipped to my house for free. I also used a 25% off coupon which the webpage had given me. And then there was 8% tax.

2nd problem: after hanging up the phone, I rechecked the amounts I had written down and realized that I'd been charged the higher amount for the curtains after all! I called back, talked to someone else, and though they couldn't easily correct the order, they assured me they'd credit my card for the extra $10 after the item was shipped. And they did - no problem with that.

3rd problem: UPS emailed me that the item would be sent by SurePost. In other words, I could expect it to be delivered by the U.S. postal service on Thursday. On Thursday, I checked the tracking page, and found that UPS had attempted delivery twice, and I hadn't been home! They hadn't emailed me to tell me that they were going to deliver it themselves after all!

So I worked from home on Friday, and received 2 other packages that I had ordered, but not that particular package. The tracking page simply displayed "In Transit". They ended up attempting the 3rd delivery again on Monday, when I wasn't home! Because of that, we had to drive across town to pick the package up. Actually, Qiao picked it up for me, wonderful guy that he is.

Next problem: The curtains had a sort of plasticky-metallic smell to them. I aired them out, but the smell didn't go away. The label said dry-clean only. But what the heck, I took a chance and washed them. Then I ironed them to get rid of the wrinkles caused by the washing. No harm done. The smell was reduced, but still present. It seems to be intrinsic to the fabric.

I don't want smelly curtains. So I decided not to keep these after all. I'll give them to Goodwill.

Next problem: The black-out liners. They smelled ok to begin with. But after hanging them in the window for a few days, with the sun hitting them, they started to emit a dirty-sock odor. Sigh. I don't want smelly curtains.

So instead of using those, I'm now scavenging old black-out liners that I had replaced in the past, and cutting and sewing them to the correct size.

The shears, at least, were fine.
darkoshi: (Default)
I've always had trouble using this vacuum cleaner on certain rugs. It gets so much suction on those rugs, that it sticks to them and makes it hard to push or pull the vacuum. But lately, I've had trouble vacuuming the other rugs too. Sometimes, it looked like the brush-roll wasn't turning.

So I replaced the wide belt (the vacuum has 2 belts - one wide and one narrow), and that seems to have fixed the problem. On the normal rugs, at least. The difficult rugs are still difficult, but not as bad as before changing the belt.

The old belt still looked to be in fine condition - no cracks and it didn't seem loose. But when comparing it to the new one, it was somewhat bigger / more stretched out.

This is a good video showing how to replace the belts. However, the guy in that video makes putting the new belt on look so simple, though actually it can be quite difficult to stretch the belt over the wheel.

I finally managed it as follows.
I wore gloves to protect the skin on my fingers.
First, slide the belt over the back metal pin.
Then pull the belt over the top part of the wheel as much as possible.
Then while holding the belt in place on the top of the wheel, turn the wheel slightly clockwise while pushing the belt over the bottom of the wheel.

For a while I was using a hex driver to try to push the belt down towards the bottom of the wheel, as my fingers didn't fit down there easily. I don't remember if I was still using the hex driver, or just my fingers, when I finally succeeded.

Once the belt is on the wheel, push at it until it is centered on the wheel.
Make sure the belt is still positioned correctly on the back metal pin too.
darkoshi: (Default)
A benefit of buying a label online for mailing a package is that you can select to get tracking info sent to your email address for free. The page indicated that the tracking info is only available when purchasing the label online.

One can pay with credit card or Paypal.

Use Internet Explorer; I had problems with Firefox - for some reason I had to enter stuff twice and then I was redirected to the Login page again. So I switched to using IE.

I have a USPS user account already. Sign in to begin with, or else you'll have to do it later anyway.

You can click "Calculate a Price" to determine how much the postage will cost. But if you do that, don't click the "Customs Forms and Extra Services" button, as the customs form will be printed automatically as part of the label anyway when you print your label.

To actually buy/print a label, click on "Print a Label with Postage" from the main USPS page.


Hopefully next time it won't take me 2 hours to print out a shipping label.

Anxiety over not being able to think of a succinct easy-to-remember tag to use for "mailing/postal/shipping/delivery" type posts. I wonder if "postal" can be used to describe companies like UPS and FedEx, or if it only applies to official government postal services? What does UPS stand for.. oh, Parcel Service.

Ah, I already had a tag that I could use: mail


Saturday, February 22nd, 2014 05:27 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
After reading several pages about the best way to keep cut flowers fresh the longest, I've come to the conclusion that I should:

- remove all bottom leaves, especially ones below the water level
- trim stems to begin with (with scissor, under running water; using a knife is too difficult)
- use any flower food packets that were provided with the flowers, for the first few days
- change water daily
- don't use a penny or aspirin in the water; hasn't been shown to work well
- don't use lemon juice or sprite, as then would also need to include bleach.


Monday, December 30th, 2013 01:48 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
Note to Self:

Some caulks dry out in the tube when they are too old.
Some caulks remain soft in the tube, but fail to harden even after application, when they are too old.

The latter happens with old GE Silicone II brand caulk, both for previously opened and unopened tubes.
darkoshi: (Default)
note to self:

Always put on socks and regular shoes when raking. Even if it looks like a 5 minute job, because it almost never ends up being a 5 minute job. Regular shoes with socks will reduce blisters and reduce the number of times I have to pull the shoes off to shake out irritating debris that is jabbing into my feet. It will also keep the shoes from getting as sweaty.


Sunday, August 11th, 2013 01:51 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
Note to self:

Chocolate truffles melt at lower temperatures than chocolate bars. At 81 to 83 degrees F, they will melt together into a puddle of goo. Always put them in the refrigerator right away.

However, if they do melt, all is not lost. Put the bag of goo into the refrigerator for about 10 minutes, to firm it up some. Then use 2 small spoons to drop small mounds of the melted chocolate onto a baking pan lined with wax paper, and put it back in the refrigerator.

Note to self:

Based on past notes, the following may be good refrigerator settings. I'll need to further monitor the temperatures to make sure.

Keep the temperature control (in the refrigerator) between 3 and 4*.
Keep the air control (in the freezer) at a low value such as 1*, to ensure maximum cold air flow to the refrigerator section.

The freezer is good around 0 degrees F.
The refrigerator should preferably be between 32 and 40 degrees F.

* Setting the temp control to 4, and the air control to 2, keeps fridge at 38 degrees and freezer at -5 degrees F**.

** Air temperature. Would need different thermometers to measure food temperature.
darkoshi: (Default)

It has been raining every day for the last 2 months, it seems like.
Not a constant rain.
Not a spirit-eroding rain of bleak unending grayness.
An on & off rain. Several times a day, on some days.
The sun still shines, in-between.
The earth stays wet.
Mushrooms grow.

This evening while driving home, looking at the puffy clouds and blue sky, it occurred to me that it hadn't rained yet. A day without rain! I could post about it!

But then the air smelled moist, as it does after a rain, and the streets were wet with water. It hadn't rained where I work, but it had rained here recently. As I drove on, it sprinkled on my windshield some. So it wasn't a completely rain-free day for me, either.


It's not a good omen at the beginning of the work-day, when you jot down all the things you'll need to test, to verify that your code updates haven't broken anything, and it takes you an hour to finish the list.


Zorro has been losing patches of fur. It worries me. Hopefully it was only due to fleas and scratching. We put a dose of Tritak on her a few days ago; hopefully that will make it better.


My cellphone died, so I bought a "new" battery. Two weeks later, it died again. It wouldn't turn on, and it didn't show a charging light when connected to the charger. It seems to have been a problem with the micro SD-card. After removing the card, the phone turned on ok. When I put the card back in, it was still fine. Maybe the card had gotten loose or something.

What does the HBOOT recovery option do, anyway? After the 2nd time the phone died, I was able to get to the HBOOT menu, and I selected that option. But afterwards, the phone still didn't turn on, until I removed the SD card.


**Don't** put sticky-backed paper in the shredder. Not even if you fold it so that the sticky side sticks to itself. The sticky stuff will still end up sticking to the shredder blades.


I replaced the anode rod. I want to write about that. But it involves some photos and some video, and I don't have the time or energy now.

I haven't been getting enough sleep.


Wednesday, June 5th, 2013 10:24 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
Note to self:

Do not use 2 tsp salt in a dessert, no matter what the recipe says. Especially not when the recipe is only enough for a 9x9 pan. Even 1 tsp is probably overkill.

Note to self:

Cheesecake brownies may sound like a good combination, but I prefer them separate. Grandma's cheesecake recipe probably is the best.
darkoshi: (Default)
Notes to Self:

For using the Fagor pressure cooker:

- to get the lid on, line up the straight mark on the lid with the center of the handle. That way, it should snap down and turn.

- for cooking dried beans, supposedly you shouldn't fill it more than half full with the beans + water

- turn the stove on high. Don't try to heat it up slowly; that takes forever. Make sure to turn the temp down to low (2 or less), once steam starts coming out fairly strongly.

- if steam isn't coming out fairly strongly, it's probably not hot enough. The noise will be annoying.

- the yellow dot thing will pop out when the pot is pressurized. It won't be even with the metal; it will be further out

- after finishing cooking, if you turn the dial on the handle to let steam out, you won't be able to stop the steam by turning the dial back again. Steam will keep coming out.
darkoshi: (Default)
Note to Self:

When attaching a spray nozzle to a hose, always wrap the threads of the hose with several layers of teflon tape first, to avoid leakage between the hose and nozzle. Simply having a new washer in the nozzle does not suffice. Wrap the tape in the right direction, so that it will tighten rather than loosening, when the nozzle is screwed on.