Si Creabis, Fit Redunda.
Last update
2023-03-28 23:52:52

    This blurb in an email from my library made me think of you :)

    (I know it's probably software but it made me smile)

    AHAHAHAH oh man. If R knew I called him R online, I would send him this :D

    It's especially funny because when we lived together he would occasionally drive me to work, if it was late or super cold or he happened to be up and needed to go in that direction. He was so impressed by the big downtown building I worked in that he concocted a little fantasy life for me where I was a serious important researcher doing serious important things (instead of the admin I was at the time). When he dropped me off, he never failed to say, "Have a good day at work, Doctor Starbuck."

    And now I'm an actual data analyst!

    Data Analysis with R. LOLing.

    [ID: A screencap of an ad for a seminar titled "Data Analysis With R", describing how you will learn to use the R programming language for data analysis, including learning basic R syntax and how to create charts, graphs, and other data visualizations.]


    Okay, I'm officially on nothing but clear fluids (and nothing red or purple) and laxatives only until sometime Thursday afternoon.

    Please show me your pets, all kinds of pets, I will be losing it.


    There are, technically, two cats in this image. 

    [ID: A photograph of my cat Dearborn the tortie, curled up on a yellow duvet; in the background, the duvet has a suspicious lump in it. Emerging from the lump is one orange paw with pink toe-beans, belonging to Polk the tabby.]

    I go through, conservatively, five pounds of flour a month, baking for one person. 

    [ID: Three images; the first shows my kitchen counter and stovetop, covered in breadstuffs ready to go into the oven -- beer bread in a metal bowl, beer-bread rolls on a quarter sheet pan, and foccacia in a cast-iron skillet. Lower images show the baked foccacia, dotted with browned onion sprinkle, with the rolls in the corner of the image, and the baked loaf of beer bread, cooling on wire racks.]


    So what does Malort taste like to you? Besides alcohol.

    It's kind of difficult to say! One doesn't tend to roll the flavor around in the mouth. The quality of the alcohol is a bit like cheap tequila -- harsh, acrid, lingering.

    The actual flavor that isn't "alcohol" always reminds me of kale, but indirectly. It's not that it tastes like kale, but it has that same kind of plant-mineral implication, that "oh, this is a leaf with a lot to talk about" sense. It reminds me of the drink Beverly in that way too.

    When mixed into a cocktail, most of the time it shows up as a kind of bitter-herb note, almost like the way liniment smells; depending on the mixer it can also taste very acidic, almost like reflux during heartburn.

    I think it's most useful as a contrast to a sweet mixer, but that could be my personal palate. It cuts the ultra-sweetness of full-sugar soda, which otherwise I usually don't enjoy, hence my terrible mixology with cherry soda and lemon syrup.



    The official cocktail-person word for the note you're describing is "vegetal!" So your kale comparison is apt. Let me go get some Malort to sip and I'll give you my thoughts. I'm told I have a good palate and that I'm good at expressing flavor in words. God help me.


    Nose (how it smells): Surprisingly subtle given the reputation. A hint of grapefruit peel and ethanol. Notes (how it tastes): So. Much. Grapefruit. Peel. Not the juice or even the zest, but the pithy white underlayer of the peel. There is a distinct herbal note at the very tip of my tongue, and when I say herbal I don't mean like "basil" or "sage." I mean like "wormwood" and "gentian root" and "dandelion-stem juice." Theres a distinct gasoline stripe down my palate now. Could have artichokes?

    -- ah! That’s the bitterness, you’re right, it’s grapefruit pith -- 

    I just lingered -- LINGERED -- over a shot of Malort for mankind's sins or something. What the fuck?

    Pretty sure it’s the Malort I sent you, too, which makes this some kind of weird mystical self-fulfilling prophecy.

    I tried to do a few tastings and then got malort-drunk on accident. Good show me. 

    Tried to take a nice photograph of my cat and instead I caught her making the most teenage face a cat has ever made.

    [ID: A photograph of Dearborn the tortie, sitting on the blanket-covered back of the sofa; her head is very slightly tilted, eyes shifted off to the right, and her eyes are narrowed in such a way that makes her look like she’s giving me the side-eye, or possibly just finished rolling her eyes at me teeanger-style. Why, my child? All I want to do is love you!]


    So what does Malort taste like to you? Besides alcohol.

    It's kind of difficult to say! One doesn't tend to roll the flavor around in the mouth. The quality of the alcohol is a bit like cheap tequila -- harsh, acrid, lingering.

    The actual flavor that isn't "alcohol" always reminds me of kale, but indirectly. It's not that it tastes like kale, but it has that same kind of plant-mineral implication, that "oh, this is a leaf with a lot to talk about" sense. It reminds me of the drink Beverly in that way too.

    When mixed into a cocktail, most of the time it shows up as a kind of bitter-herb note, almost like the way liniment smells; depending on the mixer it can also taste very acidic, almost like reflux during heartburn.

    I think it's most useful as a contrast to a sweet mixer, but that could be my personal palate. It cuts the ultra-sweetness of full-sugar soda, which otherwise I usually don't enjoy, hence my terrible mixology with cherry soda and lemon syrup.


    One of the best letterheads I’ve ever seen. (From 1919 Massachusetts dept. of marine fisheries)


    @scifigrl47 found you some letterhead.

    [ID: A scan of an elderly-looking, slightly creased piece of paper; it has an image of a horseshoe crab on it, carapace pointed up and tail pointed down. Curving around the carapace at the top are the words "the test of years".]

    I don’t usually do product endorsements (I’m not like paid or anything) but I really do love the Lilly pet hair brush so much. I figured as long as I was cleaning, I’d stop and take some photos! 

    Above are two images of the little flat cushion that lives inside one of the sulk gourds where the Cryptids like to sleep; it’s about a foot square. The image on the left shows it half-cleaned, so you can see how much fur was on it, and the image on the right shows it after cleaning. Two minutes with the Lilly brush, probably less, pulled up all the fur stuck on the fabric on the left half; took less than five minutes to clean the whole thing. Whenever I need to wash the cats’ blankets or pillows or whatnot, I always give them a going-over with the Lilly brush first so that most of the fur is gone by the time they go into the washer. It’s just a chunk of silicone with a plastic handle but it’s worth every dollar you’ll spend. 

    I use the detail brush because I’m generally cleaning small areas, but they have a bigger brush that’s designed for longer fur and larger areas too. 

    It's hip these days to dunk on guys like Pliny and Aristotle for being at times Severely Wrong about the workings of the natural world, but I have to say, I get where the theory of humors and such comes from. I've been sick for a week and I'm finally on the mend, and the bodily fluids I've been involuntarily producing now that I'm healing do sure make it seem like my body is violently ridding itself of an excess of some kind of bile.

    I bought the fancy tissues with the lotion in them, but I'm currently blowing my nose on paper towels because the tissues are individually too small to contain my mighty nasal output. My humors are so clearly imbalanced that if I was told bloodletting would put an end to this I would consider it a viable option.

    Radio Free Monday

    Good morning everyone, and welcome to Radio Free Monday!

    Ways to Give:

    chicleeblair currently has COVID, complicating an already difficult situation; she needs to raise $300 for expenses related to COVID and other medical issues as well. You can read more, reblog, and find giving information here.

    drgaellon linked to a fundraiser for gallusrostromegalus, who recently bought a new house, and is now dealing with the seller having lied about the state of the sewer lines, one of which burst in their basement. They need about $17K to repair it, and are not confident that Colorado law will allow them to recover costs from the seller. You can read more and reblog here, or give via paypal or Ko-Fi.

    house-of-crows linked to a fundraiser to help a friend who is experiencing abuse at home, and endangered due to their LBGTQ+ identities. Their friends are working to allow them to go no-contact with their abusive parents; they've raised enough to fix their car and get them to a safe place, but they need to cover a number of housing and moving expenses, including a cross-states move to get to their support network. You can read more and support the fundraiser here.

    Hawke is a Canadian student trying to make rent for March after being laid off from her job; she's looking for a job but can't do that without proper housing, which they will lose if they can't cover rent. You can read more and retweet here or give via paypal here.

    Help for Free:

    krja is looking for paying gigs (local to Los Angeles or remote) in content moderation, copywriting, technical writing, editing, proofreading, sensitivity reading, data entry, or web-based research. They lost their career job due to disability at the end of December and are now underemployed; both they and their spouse, inoru_no_hoshi, are disabled. You can read more and reach out here.

    brainwane linked to ProPublica, which is currently reporting on gender affirming healthcare in the US; if you've faced barriers to your gender-affirming care, they'd like to speak to you about your experiences. You can read more and reach out here.

    News to Know:

    Anon from last week wanted to confirm that currently, if you do not have a Tumblr login, you can no longer leave asks for tumblr users. They have confirmed that submissions (which require an email to submit, though the email does not have to be displayed) still work, although the Tumblr user being sent the submission needs to turn on the function for it to be accessible. If you have an at.tumblr layout you may need to look out for forced sign-in popups that appear on your page and look for ways to fix the access issue. The change is documented at the Tumblr changeblog here.

    Recurring Needs:

    gwydion linked to a fundraiser for Veronica and Kurtis, friends who have secured housing but are low on cash they've been using to survive to this point; they need to raise $5000 before move-in to help cover deposit and living expenses in the meantime. You can read more and support the fundraiser here.

    And this has been Radio Free Monday! Thank you for your time. You can post items for my attention at the Radio Free Monday submissions form. If you're new to fundraising, you may want to check out my guide to fundraising here.

    The jigsaw puzzle I did the other night was an extremely satisfying McDonalds Dipping Sauce puzzle, although marred somewhat by the fact that it was missing a piece (I found it later, so I know it exists, I just somehow knocked it off the mat when doing the puzzle). 

    Dearborn sat on the cushion behind me while I worked and supervised.

    [ID: Five images; the top four are simply a 500-piece jigsaw puzzle on a felt mat, and the photos show the progression of a brightly colored photograph of numerous McDonalds dipping sauces, one of which has the foil top pulled slightly back. In the last image, shot from the opposite angle, Dearborn the tortie is lying on the back cushion of my orange sofa, looking at me, while in front of her the partially-assembled puzzle is laid out. She looks irritated but that’s just her face.]


    hey sam, have you seen the tentacle earplugs? designed by genki hirano

    Oh, these are super fun! (I know some people have sensitivities around things in ears or emerging from ears so I'm not putting a photo here, but the link has several.)

    They're not "earbuds" in the sense they don't play music, they're just fixtures that fit a soft "bud" that plugs your ear. They wouldn't work for me because I have weird ear canals (airpods and similar don't work, I have to have a bud that hooks over the ear or into the curve, and the buds for right and left have to be different sizes). I don't usually use earplugs in any case, but they'd be awesome to wear to a concert or for sound dampening at a noisy convention.

    I used to have a pair of earbuds I absolutely loved, which had little plastic sushi rolls stuck to the outside. I wish there was more of a market for "stuff you can stick onto your earbuds to make them look cooler." My current bluetooth earbuds are red but they pick up both dirt and hair dye, so now they're this weird shabby worn brown that I don't especially like. I should look into some way of sprucing them up, this may be giving me ideas. They have an over-ear hook that could be done up to look like a tentacle...

    Typesetting Twelve Points today! I’ve been working first on all the fiddly formatting I rarely bother with until I’ve got the thing mostly written and proofed, primarily formatting special characters (ellipses, accented letters, etc) and the Dread Royal Titles. 

    The way we talk about titles and the way we address royalty in English are both kind of complicated, at least I think so, and I’m bad at internalizing it because I only have to know it like, once every six months. So every time I typeset a Shivadh novel I have to basically “find” every title and check it against my notes. 

    The style guide I wrote for myself, so that at least everything is consistent across books, says a title is capitalized when applied to a name; a title is NOT capitalized when not directly related to a name even if it’s related to a person. And an honorific is always capitalized. So 

    The king emeritus, His Grace Michaelis, said to his son, King Gregory III, “Your Majesty, you are king.” 

    Which let me tell you, after doing this for about three chapters of a fourteen-chapter romance novel about royalty, the word “king” starts looking very weird. 

    Also then Jerry strolls in like the handsome ball of chaos he is and it’s “His Grace, Duke Gerald” and “The duke said” but also “He’s the Duke of Shivadlakia” because technically there the title is still applied to a specific name, just not Jerry’s name. 

    My lord do humans like making things complicated for themselves. 


    Ah. If you like to “go deep”, and avoid the initial idealization phase, aka “romance”, then point-and-click dating sites are definitely NOT your cuppa. Have you considered the possibly old fashioned institution of the “social club”? Or is that firmly a thing of the past? (Yes, I am so dated I have my own geologic layer. 🦕)

    I've tried a couple of social clubs over the years, geek meetups and board game clubs and a ukulele group and such, but generally I wasn't a good fit. Which...it's not great reason to join a club anyway, is it? It always felt predatory to me, joining a social club in order to date. And I don't need to join them for company, I have a friends group that is actually stable, and expanding since I got on the Adderall.

    While there are people in that wider social group who I certainly wouldn't mind getting to know better, pretty nearly everyone is happy with their romantic situation as-is. That's fine; it's not like I'm getting rejected, I'm just capable of seeing when someone isn't interested, and by policy I don't do infidelity/affairs. It's just one of those perils of being single in one's forties -- most people are set with their relationships or have baggage that I don't wish to carry.

    It's why I tried the dating apps again, because at least there's intentionality there, like we all know why we're on the app, but man. There is no way to be authentic on a dating app. Even if you try, it just comes off sounding fake, and the apps worth using are also designed so that communication with others, unless you're paying, really isn't very possible anyway. If I'm going to pay I might as well make the investment and go with a matchmaker agency where at least a real human can tell me what I'm doing wrong or find someone who's doing things wrong the same way as I am.

    Which I might, but I've been alone a long time and while I'm discontented about it I wouldn't say it's severely impacting quality of life. I'm not ace or aro but I am also not great at relationships and like my own space too much to think I'd be easy to cohabitate with, so on balance this is the better place for me right now, I guess. I'm fortunate that I don't want kids or I'd really have been in a bind, but I'm happy being uncle to R's kid, and hopefully to a few more on the way in the coming years.

    Nobody gets their ideal life in all aspects; I'm not miserable, I make enough to pay the bills and buy good food, I love my friends and my pets, and that's sufficient. Someday I might feel differently, but the last swing at the dating apps taught me that I'm not going to be a good partner to anyone anyway if I think of dating as an anxiety-inducing chore.


    We here at Case Del Typechip have recently discovered the Ordinary Sausage youtube channel (OrdinarySausage on youtube) and I can't help but wonder what Clint Barton in the foodieverse thinks of this nonsense.

    I feel like Foodieverse Clint Barton might actually be making this channel and putting that voice on to prevent anyone from finding out!

    It's a delightful-looking channel but that sure is a unique voice the narrator has. Mind you, I will often watch videos like this on mute with captioning on anyway, so that's of no great concern, but I feel like I should warn the unwary :D

    I watched the "frozen onion ring" episode and

    a) "We've only failed if they taste bad" is a great way to come at food, second only to "We haven't failed if it was interesting" :D

    b) I was actually quite surprised the all-onion-ring sausage wasn't just so oniony he couldn't stand it, but I guess the breading does a lot of heavy lifting for frozen onion rings.

    In any case, it's definitely a channel in regular rotation whenever Tony and Steve have Watch Appalling Foodtube Date Night....


    Hey Sam, thanks so much for the tip about how much easier it is to get WWDTM tickets now! I went once years ago after my sister managed to snag tickets right as the queue opened and it was A BIG DEAL. Fast forward a few years, and I had such a good time at a show I bought tickets for spontaneously. Sometimes change doesn’t suck!

    Aw yeah that's awesome! It's still a little difficult to get tickets to some shows, but at least you don't have to show up early and sit on the floor and then stand in line for like two hours. What a fucking feat of endurance. And I really like the new venue, it's still close to me (walkable!) and it's a more comfortable setup, I feel.

    Love that they kept that dumb little light up disco ball thing, though. It wouldn't be WWDTM without it.

    I have finished the last of the major edit work on Twelve Points! The final bit I added is possibly my favorite: 

    Caleb did meet-and-greets and press conferences, rehearsed in costume and out, with sound and without, and prepared for the following week, when they'd have rehearsals in front of audiences. He filmed the little "postcard" segment they'd show before his performance, helping to promote Turin as a tourist destination; Jerry had been agitating for them to let Caleb take a turn around a test track in a racecar, but instead they got a professional stunt driver to teach him how to drive a Mini-Cooper, then filmed him re-creating a scene from The Italian Job.

    Turned out you really could just drive a classic Mini-Cooper down a flight of stairs, provided the stairs were wide enough. It was tough to say who was more jealous, Noah or Buck.

    (Buck had to tour the Royal Library for his, which was a real decision on someone's part.)

    Editing isn’t truly “done” of course -- I’ll be editing as I format and typeset it, and there will probably be minor edits made even after I get the proof copy, since I always find typos and such in the proofs. But the big hard work is, I think, complete. Tomorrow we begin typesetting! 

    Tonight I cooked up some potato fritters with the leftover mashed potatoes, piled them up with reheated leftover bacon, topped it all with pan-fried mushrooms, and had a very nice dinner. And now it’s time for an inadvisable cocktail and an intriguing dessert: 

    The Old Bay Caramel Popcorn is interesting -- there’s no real strong Old Bay flavor when you eat a piece, but the heat from the seasoning kind of builds up over time. I’ve never quite experienced anything like it. I’m not sure it’s hitting the mark it wants to, since the heat of Old Bay isn’t the reason I use it as a seasoning, but don’t get me wrong: I’ll eat that whole bucket eventually. 

    Malort is the real life horrible liquor that Davzda is based on, and my only excuse for even owning a bottle is that it was a prop for an event. That said, if you mix it with cherry-ginger soda and a strong shot of lemon syrup, goes down pretty smooth.