dglenn: Lego-ish figure in blue dress, with beard and breasts, holding sword and electric guitar (lego-blue)

Regarding Sunday's QotD: sure enough, somebody did. There was ceviche ice cream (which no, I did not taste, being a vegetarian, but it felt good to know that the aside I tacked onto that quote wasn't wasted).

Home again, very tired and my right wrist hurts very badly for some reason. The entries I tried to send via SMS never got posted, I guess.

Fun weekend. Way too many people that I don't see often enough. (Good that they were there; bad that so many people are in the "don't see often enough" category.) Too many to catch up with everyone. Enjoyed the conversations I did have. Played electric guitar in the pick-up band for contradancing.

Fun contextless quote (I'n not really taking it out of context, as it neither had nor needed one to begin with): "I have a titanium spork." The speaker does, in fact, have a titanium spork.

Later utterance which caused one listener to wind up with drink or food coming out his nose: "You can lick my spork." (Uttered in response to my musing that I didn't know what titanium tasted like. I licked the spork. Now I know. It tastes just similar enough to aluminium that I had to go grab a periodic table to see whether they're in the same column. They are.) There were other great lines that I can't recall at the moment, though I sure hope they come back to me later.

I've decided that ice cream flavours with habernero pepper in them are like dactyllic meter in English poetry: you can't end on them easily, because each foot/spoonfull feels like a lead-in to another line/bite, producing an effect that is very, very tasty, but unending. (Have you ever tried to write a poem in English using nothing but dactyls? It turns into the never-ending jig.) So you have to finish the poem with an iamb or a spondee or something (in English anyhow), and you have to follow the coconut-lime-habernero or amaretto-habernero ice cream with a spoonfull of chocolate coyote or sundae-all-in-one or herb-cream-cheese ice cream (or caramelized onion ice cream, or cucumber sorbet, or ...) for terminal punctuation if you ever want to be able to stop eating.

I think the herb-cream-cheese ice cream was the spondee of ice creams.

dglenn: Lego-ish figure in blue dress, with beard and breasts, holding sword and electric guitar (lego-blue)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 12:44pm on 2007-07-15 under ,

There are things I don't like as much about the nearest (more important detail: within walking distance) grocery as I do about more distant stores from other chains, but only one aspect that really puzzles me.

How can a grocery store not carry any chili peppers in the produce section? I could understand (however much I'd grumble) stocking only a single type, such as jalapeños, but no hot peppers at all? Once, and I figure they're just out of stock; twice and I think I'm unlucky; time after time seeing nothing more closely related than green sweet bell peppers, and it finally sinks in that the grocery store within walking distance simply does not meet my Capsicum needs. (I didn't notice so much when I was able to dash off to other stores in my own car, and thus only hit this particular store occasionally.) Can there really be so few local residents who eat chili peppers and rely on that store?

dglenn: Photo of clouds shaped like an eye and arched eyebrow (sky-eye)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 01:19pm on 2007-07-12 under

Garlic-free dill pickles taste funny. The absence of garlic didn't register immediately as lack-of-something; it seemed as though there was an extra, very strange flavour. Curious, I took a closer look at the label on the jar, and things became clear. (Yes, of course this was an accidental puchase. If I'd known such things existed on the market, I would've paid more attention to the little "garlic free" flag stuck between two larger words, and reached for a different jar.)

(And in unrelated news, a wee update re: yesterday: Wow do my legs hurt. Not going for long walks today. Errands will have to wait.)

dglenn: Photo of clouds shaped like an eye and arched eyebrow (sky-eye)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 01:17pm on 2007-07-12 under

Garlic-free dill pickles taste funny. The absence of garlic didn't register immediately as lack-of-something; it seemed as though there was an extra, very strange flavour. Curious, I took a closer look at the label on the jar, and things became clear. (Yes, of course this was an accidental puchase. If I'd known such things existed on the market, I would've paid more attention to the little "garlic free" flag stuck between two larger words, and reached for a different jar.)

(And in unrelated news, a wee update re: yesterday: Wow do my legs hurt. Not going for long walks today. Errands will have to wait.)

dglenn: Perrine (fluffy silver tabby) yawning, animated (yawn2)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 11:36am on 2007-05-05 under ,

I just ate a bowl of cinnamon yogurt. Perrine wandered over to where I had set the bowl down, sniffed it, and made the "this is crap" sign. "Shut up, cat. I don't need your opinion because I didn't put that there for you. We already know we have different diets. And yeah, it smells like spoiled milk; it's yogurt, it is carefully-pre-spoled milk (like cheese, which you do eat sometimes), it's supposed to smell like that. Silly beast."

(I've known other cats who loved yogurt, and looked adorable reaching into empty single-serving yogurt cups to scrape the last bits off the sides with their paws and lick them. So far, Perrine doesn't seem to like yogurt with or without cinnamon.)

dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 05:26am on 2007-04-28 under ,

"It's a lonely thing, to eat haggis by yourself." -- Sheepie (explaining why haggis is best served at festive events)

dglenn: Lego-ish figure in blue dress, with beard and breasts, holding sword and electric guitar (lego-blue)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 07:36pm on 2007-04-08 under ,

Stuffed butternut squashed (lentil filling), jalaneño cinnamon corn muffins, porcini mushroom tortellini, creamy pesto sauce with pink peppercorns, purple corn, baked purple potato, beets, halloumi, and decaf earl grey.

I felt like eating Easter colours.

It's almost ready. :-)

dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 05:26am on 2007-04-04 under ,

"Ultimately, food without chillies is like love without a kiss." -- "chilli dude" John Boland of the Byron Bay Chilli Company

dglenn: Photo of clouds shaped like an eye and arched eyebrow (sky-eye)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 12:24am on 2007-03-26 under , , ,

Talking on the phone to the Sheepie, she veered into one of her recurring criticisms of my diet (Sheepies are emphatically not vegetarian). She said, "We were meant to be omnivores! These claws! These teeth!"

My first thought in reaction was, "I don't know about that; most people's claws aren't all that strong ..." But then the double-irony hit me: my nails are claw-strong. But I'm still not going to switch to hunting my food (or eating the sort of food to which the verb "hunt" applies in that sense, with the possible exception of wild mushrooms[1]) just because I'm actually equipped to do so.

(She's also informing me about differences between digestive systems of people of Mediterranean descent and folks of other ancestry. I wondered whether I'd inherited more of my mother's genes or my father's in that regard. Er ... until tonight I'd had no idea that there were any negatives to (large quantities of) olive oil other than the calories. I guess that means my digestive system is mostly inherited from my mother.)

[1] The top of the food chain[2], when they're nourished by the corpses of carnivores, as I explained to the friend who said, "I didn't sleep my way to the top of the food chain to eat vegetarians."

[2] Yes, I know this sort of thing is why they call it a "web" instead of a "chain" nowadays. Shhh. You're spoiling us fogeys' jokes.

dglenn: Kickdrum (bass drum) with sneakers on the side legs (kickdrum)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 11:46am on 2007-03-03 under

I'd seen uncooked whole blue potatoes before, and tasted cooked ones, but hadn't cooked them myself ... so when I saw what looked like the same thing in a grocery store the other night under a sign describing them as purple, I assumed that "purple potato" was just an alternate name for the blue ones.

This morning I pulled one out to cook it. In the light in my kitchen, a mix of fluorescent and daylight, it looked a little darker than I'd remembered, but hey, it had been a long time since I'd looked closely at blue potatoes in decent light. Then I peeled it and saw that parts of it were white with light purple striations and other parts were dark purple blotches, with nary a bit of blue anywhere. Cutting it in half, the interior was a much more even purple, deep, royal, mysterious, and Not Blue.

But as soon as the pieces began to cook, they did indeed turn blue. Oh, a faintly purplish-blue in a few spots, but most of the surfaces I could see were unmistakably and unambiguously blue -- not a particularly deep blue, but very much the blue I expected to see in a blue potato

Except that, just to keep me off balance (I swear, inanimate objects exhibit volition expressly to confuse me) the pieces that got cooked a little bit more than I intended ... turned purple again. A paler purple than the raw substance, but certainly not a blue. (Corners that got cooked even more turned the same light-brown/dark-gold as similar edges of the white potato I was cooking at the same time -- crunchy-potato-bits colour.)

Now I'm scared to poke at Google about this, lest the answers turn out to be as confusing the riddle. But at the same time, wondering whether other colours of potatoes perform similar chromatic tricks. At least my breakfast was yummy.

I need more sleep. (Unless I wake up later and discover that there are still two blue -- er, purple? -- potatoes in my kitchen and I only dreamt eating one for breakfast and posting this entry, in which case perhaps by then I'll have had enough sleep ... )

Now to decide what to cook to take to a party tonight, and try to sort out how I'm getting there without taking my own car out on the Interstate.

[ETA: I didn't think to run upstairs for the digicam until after I'd already finished eating and started writing this entry -- I don't usually think of a camera as something I need to have on hand while cooking, but I'll try to remember to photograph the other purblueple potato when I cook it. But I was planning to bake that one, so the rich purple raw interior won't show ...]

dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (cyhmn)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 01:22pm on 2007-02-23 under , , ,

I want to get some random post-fodder out of my head, then I'll try to get back to finishing already-started topics and maybe even finally try start to catch up on comments and reading my friendspage ... So for the moment, some random snippets:

I need an OS X machine. Oh, for quite a while now I've known how pleasant they are, and have thought about how nice it would be to have one, but I could do most of what I wanted to do using a combination of Linux and Windows and once in a while Mac Classic, if somewhat less niftily.

But now there's a tool that I want to create (if it doesn't turn out to already exist), and I want to make it for a couple of Mac users, and the level of transparency I want to build into it will require my learning a lot more about the behind-the-scenes aspects of the OS X environment and access to OS X for trying out ideas.

I want to make a magic music container which will, when accessed, produce sheet music in the most apropriate format for the application of the moment, without the user having to keep track of five files per tune or worry about whether the JPG was regenned the last time the PDF was updated or the Finale file was edited. The less the user has to think about choosing the format or dealing with archive-maintenance tasks, the better, and adding tunes to the library has to be nearly as easy as getting copies out. For myself, I'd probably continue putting a Makefile in each sheet music directory under Linux, but I want to create a more end-user oriented solution, and the more magically Macish the UI, the better. Easily using the clipboard to paste tunes into a word processing or DTP document to create sets will be a very important feature. OCR'ing scanned pages of sheet music will be extremely useful as well -- I don't want to try to write that part, so I'll want to invisibly invoke some other program that already does music OCR.

This would be in a "really big, long-term project" category. It's going to take me a while to get it just right.

It was probably mere coincidence, but this startled and amused me nonetheless: A few days ago I was lying naked in bed and Perrine leapt up on me. "Jeepers, cat! Your paws are like ice," I exclaimed. Perrine jumped down straightaway and left the room. Two or three minutes later, she returned and jumped up on me again. This time her paws were not just warm, but hot. I'm not sure what she did in those few minutes.

Two errors while making yesterday's breakfast, the first being the classic mistake of picking too small a bowl to start with when improvising in a new direction, and winding up having to get a larger bowl as the list of ingredients grows ... and the second being a result of my relative inexperience with habaneros ...

A while ago I decided that since I like a lot of things that are flavoured with habaneros, I should learn to use them myself -- I mostly use jalapeños and serranos, and sometimes those skinny red Asian peppers that I'm not sure the name of. So for the past month or two I've been playing with habaneros, and have figured out how much habanero goes with how much egg and cheese to result in maximum flavour within a comfortable-to-me level of heat.

Yesterday morning I learned that "this much habanero to that much egg & cheese" does not translate to "somewhere in the ballpark of this much habanero to that much other stuff". Not even close. (Either that, or habaneros get a lot hotter after sitting in the fridge for a while.) Tasty, yes, tasty, but rather uncomfortably hot. Eat-slowly-and-drink-lots-while-my-nose-runs hot. Accent-hot or maybe snack-hot -- pleasant for a bite or two -- but too hot for "I'm hungry and want to fill my tummy" eating. Whoops.

I ate half, and threw the rest in the icebox. Last night I hit the grocery for a block of cheddar, and this morning I ate the rest of the too-hot breakfast with occasional bites of cheddar to tame the effect. That worked. I'll get the hang of the little orange firebombs yet. But I get the idea they're easier to use when making a large batch of something than in single-serving recipes. I wouldn't mind finding a milder but similar-tasting pepper to use instead. Chipotles taste a little bit like habaneros to me, but not so much that I'd call one a substitute for the other. (It's interesting that I notice any similarity in the first place, since habaneros aren't smoky and fresh red jalapeños don't taste anything like habaneros -- they taste like, well, like green jalapeños minus the green-taste -- but the interactions between flavour components are fascinating and often mysterious.) One of the reasons serranos are my favourite pepper so far is that their flavour:heat ratio is unusually high; even though serranos are hotter than jalapeños, you can (optionally) make milder recipes with them because it takes less of the pepper to get more of the pepper's flavour. (The other reason serranos are my favourite is that I happen to really like their flavour, of course. I find that they taste much more interesting than jalapeños regardless of the overall heat level of the dish they're used in.) Habaneros, alas, are t'other way 'round, having an interesting flavour but a relatively low flavour:heat ratio.

My ability to tolerate cold on my hands seems to be dropping. I suppose I should take notes to figure out whether it's correlated with my levels of fibromyalgia pain from day to day or an actual long-term trend of its own.

dglenn: Me in poufy shirt, kilt, and Darth Vader mask, playing a bouzouki (vader)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 11:59pm on 2007-02-21 under , , , ,

It took a while to sink in, but gee, I'm depressed.

Y'know, ordinary simple depression feels different from caused-by-bad-meds depression[*] or your-neurotransmitters-are-screwed-up depression. The similarities are interesting enough that I am inclined to call it by the name "depression" with suitable qualifiers still to be figured out, rather than mere "sadness". But it doesn't feel quite the same. (I'm not certain how it compares to serious, longer-lasting, triggered-by-life-events depression in this regard.)

Of course the much more important differences are: I know, on both an intellectual and an emotional level, that this feeling isn't going to last forever; there isn't the same kind of hopelessness -- it's "I can't catch a break" rather than "nothing will ever, ever work, so I shouldn't even try" -- or maybe it's just that the hopelessness isn't paired with helplessness; it's not going to induce me to do anything crazystupid; and, most likely, not only will it not last forever, it probably won't last more than a couple of days. In those respects, it's so incredibly different from major depression that, well, it seems like it really needs qualifiers in front of the word "depression" lest folks think I'm describing something more serious, or that I can't tell the difference between "sad" and "depressed".

Anyhow, this is "worst birthday I've ever had anxiety about my car doesn't feel right now I can't face wrestling insurance companies are intimidating and evil bastard hit my damned car doesn't feel right and I don't know whether to risk driving it where I need to go tomoorow I have to try to find out how badly it is damaged by some random jerk who just doesn't care what a mess this is going to make of my plans and my budget doesn't have enough slack in it to buy all my meds much less handle car repairs costing who knows how much I'll be able to get from the other owner's insurance or when I'll feel like seeing whether there's enough money to buy food sounds like a good idea and I'm hungry but eating seems like so much trouble seems to find me even when all I'm doing is watching television in bed is both boring and inviting at the same time to eat something always seems to make things just a little bit harder to get to where I need to go sleep because I've slept so poorly the last few days have been terribly frustrating and I didn't even manage to spend part of my birthday with my friends and doggone it I hear the CPU fan in this computer making bad noises and I bloody well don't need a computer dying tonight on top of everything else" depression.

It'll pass.

But I may be grouchy and out of sorts for a few days while I try to find out what/whether/when/how somebody else's insurance will do anything to make my life only suck as much as it did before 23:40 last night instead of how much it sucks now.

In the meantime, I think I'll indulge in that most trivial of self destructive behaviours, eating something tasty that's bad for me, and then crawl into bed and either watch television or go to sleep. That way I'll have dined instead of merely refueled at least once today, I can take some comfort from, well, "comfort food", and maybe I'll feel a little more like coping if I can stay asleep for more than four hours.

I'd been thinking of French toast, but I'm out of vanilla extract and I'm not sure about making it without that, so I think I'll go for pancakes instead (despite realizing that those would have been so much more apropriate yesterday).

I appreciated the birthday wishes/greetings via email, LJ, and telephone. Thank you, several of you. Alas, the scheduling that would have had me spending the evening in the company of friends without having had to make Special Birthday Plans (I didn't want to make a big deal of my birthday this year but I did want to spend a chunk of it with folks), was a casualty of the car stuff (my car might have made it to College Park tonight, as nervous as I was about it, but dealing with car stuff ate up most of my day and most of my energy, and by the time I was finally ready to get out the door, rehearsal would've been pretty much over by the time I got there (and though my car might have made it, I was already receiving advice that given how tired I sounded, it might not have been the best time to go zooming off in a car that's harder to steer than normal)). This after missing last night's rehearsal, which would have served the purpose as well despite being a day early, with a bad headache that left me not feeling well enough to go. I feel like I'm somehow not holding up my end, by not having had a happy birthday after so many people told me to, but this one just didn't fly.

Hey, at least it wasn't a round-number birthday that sucked this badly. And once I get past this eitage and the mood that goes with it, the fact that one of the days that sucked so badly was my birthday -- that my car was struck twenty minutes before the calendar ticked over into my birthday -- will become just another detail to tack onnto the telling of the tale to highlight the suckful absurdity of cruel fate for whomever is listening, and won't feel anywhere near as personally important as it does this moment (which, having distracted myself by slipping somewhat into "performance headspace" by writing this (hey, some tricks work even when you know what they are and you're doing them to yourself ... sometimes anyhow) already seems a little more like a storytelling detail amd a smidgen less oh-woe-is-me than it did an hour ago).

Next year's gonna be better. Next week ought to be better. For now: pancakes, doggone it.

[*] "Iatrogenic" is a cool word, and it seems a bit of a shame to pass up a chance to use it, but "iatrogenic depression" didn't have quite the ring I wanted here.

dglenn: Cartoon of me playing electric guitar (debtoon)

They say that it is good to learn at least one new thing each day. Yesterday I learned that rush hour traffic exists (on I95 and the Capitol Beltway) on Saturdays. (Non, je ne comprends pas ... [how do you say 'either'?])

Today I learned that if you screw up badly enough, you can get Cheddar cheese to burn with a visible flame (yellow, by the way), instead of just quietly turning black and smoking. Surprisingly, breakfast was still rather tasty ... but unsurprisingly, the house now smells funny. (Sorry, B.)

The thing about falling snow is that even at its absofuckinglutely most annoying, it's still pretty. (The same cannot be said for already-fallen snow, as one of its more annoying modes occurs when it's all dingy and ooky-looking. *shrug*)

Cursed be those who use rare or nonstandard screw threads on things for which users will need to obtain large numbers of screws later. Fie on them! *ptui*

Apparently my bass is only too quiet when [livejournal.com profile] maugorn is present. Other times I'm told it's too loud. (The word I got last night was that the bass parts sounded really cool, but I drowned out the bouzouki and the drum. Whoops. In other news, the fingertips of my left hand are really sore now, after spending a big chunk of Friday night on bass guitar and the second half of last night's gig on double bass. (The marathon strip-the-willow set felt like it was going to kill my arm and/or a few of the dancers, who were having too much fun to stop dancing even as one of them later said he was trying to remember the location of the nearest hospital in case he danced himself into a heart attack.)

Related to the preceeding item, I've realized that completely filled mixers make me nervous, even when the mixer is filled simply because it's exactly the size we need. (And brand new, so having a channel suddenly die on us was unlikely.) I just get unreasonably twitchy knowing that there's no room left to plug in anything else. It worked out just fine (except for not turning up the drum and bouzouki when I started tugging at the bass); the 'problem' is a personal mental one.

I need more comfortable dressy flat shoes. The ones I wear to visit Mom and for coat-and-tie gigs (last night was coat-and-tie-and-kilt) are nowhere near as comfortable as my pumps, my medieval/Celtic shoes, or even my winter boots. I probably shouldn't wear shoes that make my feet hurt; I've got a surplus of physical pain in my life already.

Not that I'm likely to get around to doing anything about that until/unless I start needing to wear those shoes significantly more often than I do now.

And more 'news' than 'observation': I think Perrine has forgiven me for Friday. She was mad at me all of Saturday. But since what she was annoyed about was my having left her alone for so long and feeding her really, really, really late, she couldn't express her anger by snubbing me -- she needed her togetherness fix. So she sat on my hip in bed, and later curled up by my ankles, but glowered at me whenever we were both awake, and refused to take treats from me. Today she seems her normal self, even wanting to play a while before breakfast (despite having given me the "I'm hungry" signal as I woke up). Playing "pounce on the disappearing string" with her as I was falling asleep last night may have helped. (I poked a scrap piece of rawhide lace out from under the blanket and slowly reeled it back in, giving her a chance to pounce and grab it as it disappeared, thrusting her paws under the blanket to catch it. Perrine likes that game.)

So my cat was mad at me, but she couldn't punish me by ignoring me without making herself more unhappy. (Fortunately she did not reach the peeing-on-things level of feline annoyance.)

Let's see -- I left the house last Sunday and returned home on Wednesday. Then I dared to leave the house again on Thursday -- only for a couple of hours to get my guitar picks (er ... fingernails) repaired and shop (unsuccessfully) for screws (fie, I say!), but she didn't know that as I was leaving. Friday evening I went to [livejournal.com profile] silmaril's birthday party and stayed late, including the aforementioned missed feeding, and yesterday I bustled about clearly preparing to leave the house yet again. And Perrine hates it when I leave. (Yes, my cat is a bit clingy. When I first got her, she followed me around from room to room for several days straight, waking up to follow me if I stood up while she was sleeping. Abandonment issues? She was wearing a collar but starving to death when I found her on my back porch.)

What she'd do if I had a regular job, I do not know. Every time I take a shower, she tries to pin me to the bed with her cat-gravity before I can put clothes on, and gets all "I need to be Petted and Scritched a WHOLE LOT, Right NOW", because she knows that showering and getting dressed usually means Leaving The House, which she doesn't want me to do. This doesn't usually stop me, of course. It just makes me wish she coped better with my going away every so often, as most humans have to do.

And since I've mentioned cat gravity, I've been pondering a slightly different explanation than the one put forth by Robin Wood. I'm thinking that super-heroes are, in gravitic terms, anti-cats. That is, we often see super-heroes (and super-villains) performing feats that require not only the great strength so many super-heroes are known for, but also incredible inertial mass. No matter how strong you are, if you mass ten slugs (~300# on Earth) and get smacked by an automobile massing a dozen times as much (a couple of tons) going thirty or forty miles per hour, well regardless of how strong (and indestructible) you are, you're going to be accelerated ("flung" might be a better word) far more than the car will be slowed by hitting you. To stop the car, you'll need womdigious amounts of friction between you're colourful boots and the pavement (and crouch to line up the force vectors just right so that you don't just get knocked over or lifted into the air), or an inertial mass close to or exceeding that of the vehicle.

(Superman, and other super-heroes who can fly via unexplained propulsion or by gadgetry (so this would include Iron Man, but not Storm[*] or Angel) could be argued not to be constrained by this analysis, as they could counter the force of impact with whatever propulsive force enables them to fly. So we'll have to look for other evidence to determine whether Mr. Kent (and possibly Mr. Stark's powered armour) are similarly anti-feline[**].)

But these same super-heroes are often seen walking or standing on surfaces that would not be able to withstand the pressure of that much weight over the area of the soles of their shoes, and when they climb into an automobile we do not see the suspension bottom out (with the exception of a few individuals already known to be unusually heavy, such as The Blob). Therefore their gravitational mass must be much less than their inertial mass, precisely the opposite of the effect observed in cats!

(Again, those with the power of mysteriously-propelled flight are not covered in this argument, as they could counter their weight by "flying" at zero altitude. But here, Mr. Stark's boot-jets would not exempt him.)

Therefore, assuming that the different kinds of mass must add up to the same quantity over a large area, we should be able to predict approximately how many super-heroes -- at least of the non-flying variety -- there are, by counting up the feline population and measuring the average difference between feline inertial mass and feline gravitational mass and estimating the difference between inertial and gravitational masses of typical super-heroes. Once we determine how many cats are needed to cancel out one super-hero, we can estimate how many still un-heard-of super-powered individuals are waiting to come out of the closet er ... phone booth.

Hmm. This suggests that spay-and-neuter campaigns have the side effect of reducing the number of super-heroes and super-villains being born[***]. But that may not be a bad thing -- have you noticed how much of a mess super-battles tend to make? Cats can do a hell of a lot of damage to furniture and carpets and anything that can be knocked off a table, but how many cats would it take to smash as many cars as a typical encounter between Mr. Parker and Dr. Octavius?

In the future, we should also calculate the energy expenditures of super-heroes and figure out how much time they would need to spend eating in order to have that many calories of metabolic energy available to them. Anybody feel like tackling that one?

[*] Of course, Storm could summon a perfectly-timed tornado-force gust of wind -- more of a microburst -- to stop the speeding car, but that's a different sort of maneuver.

[**] What's the best word to use for this concept, "anti-feline", "contra-feline", "counter-feline", or something else? "Felinverse"?

[***] Or created through exposure to meteorites, freak chemical accidents, irradiation, or arachnid bites.

dglenn: Lego-ish figure in blue dress, with beard and breasts, holding sword and electric guitar (lego-blue)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 03:20pm on 2007-01-05 under , ,

I've lost count of the number of times various people have told me one sweetener or another is "just as good as sugar" or that I "can't taste the difference". The folks at the clinic have urged me to switch away from sugar, and at least one nurse there has used "you can't taste the difference" and "you just have to get used to it" in the same conversation. (Uh, if I couldn't taste the difference, would there be anything to "get used to"?) My mother tries to give me things sweetened with sucralose, saying that I can't possibly taste the difference. And I've heard many people parrot to me the Splenda advertising tag that "it tastes just like sugar because it's made from sugar."

People trust an advertising slogan over the evidence of their own senses?

Look, yogurt is made from milk, but it doesn't taste just like milk. Whisky is made from grains, but it doesn't taste just like bread or breakfast cereal. (Heck, you can sample two different whiskies made from the same grain and discover they taste absolutely nothing alike.) And sucralose does not taste just like sugar. Okay, maybe it does to some people, but please stop telling me what it tastes like to me. My brain receives nerve impulses from my tongue; yours does not. (Some of you should be very grateful for that, as I know that some of the things I enjoy the taste of, various friends can't stand. But I can see how other folks tasting what I taste might be useful for leverage: "Be nice to me, or I'll bite into this habanero pepper!" Or, "If you don't stop that, I'm going to drink a wasabi daiquiri!" Heh.)

I never got around to deciding whether to worry about the dangers of cyclamates or whether I'm one of the people who gets headaches from aspartame -- I could never stand the tastes enough to consume meaningful quantities. Splenda is better than most of the others (for my taste buds), I'll give it that, but I still find the aftertaste unpleasant. The same goes for stevia (a plant extract). And I really don't like the idea of going out of my way to eat things I don't like. Yeah, if I'm really really hungry and the only food that'll be available for the next several hours is okra, I'll deal; but to deliberately make things taste bad and then work to "get used to it" strikes me as being ... wrong. I believe that increasing the amount of beauty and pleasure in the world is a moral good -- oh, there are other very important goals, some of which trump "increase beauty" when they conflict, but increasing beauty does make my list of Things One Ought To Choose; it's not something I consider morally neutral[1] -- so making nice food taste bad rubs me the wrong way even when I can easily see the long term health benefits. (If you prefer the taste of one of the artificial sweeteners or really don't have a preference, more power to you; for you, replacing sugar with something else isn't evil.)

So, for example, instead of switching to diet root beer, which tastes foul to me, I've mostly switched to lightly-flavoured seltzers, which merely taste different. If I didn't like those, I'd have to keep looking; fortunately I find them pleasant. (Unfortunately, they cost more than cheap root beer.)

But even when I do want the sweetness, all is not lost. There are sugar substitutes that I can use, depending on the quantity and what other flavours are present. Why, the just-complained-about Splenda itself works sometimes: if it's below a certain concentration, I won't notice it. That level is not enough to sweeten my morning coffee the way I like it, but the same happens to be true of stevia. And, importantly, the objectional aftertastes of sucralose and stevia are sufficiently different that if I use half-enough stevia and half-enough sucralose, I can make my coffee pleasant. (I'm also drinking it a little less sweet than I used to, but it's still within the "I like this" range, not in "I'll put up with this because I have to" territory.) And on Christmas, my mother gave me some apple pie made with sucralose that was very nice -- it was much less sweet than most people make their pies, but I liked that aspect because it let more of the appleness of the apples come through, and created a cool interplay between sweetness and tartness. When she told me it was made with sucralose instead of sugar I could detect the sucralose taste when I paid attention, but if I don't notice it without specifically looking for it then it doesn't count as making-it-taste-bad. She sent some home with me, and I quite happily enjoyed it over the next couple of days. (I know I've had other baked goods containing sucralose and found them palatable as well, but I don't recall at the moment which ones were okay and which were icky.)

So my main gripe here is not that Splenda is evil per se, but rather that it Really Bugs Me when people repeat the advertising bogon that "it tastes just like sugar". No, no, it really doesn't. If Mom had tried to make that pie as sweet as some commercial pies, using sucralose, the resut would have been abominable.

The same goes for the various sugar alcohols, some of which I find unpleasant when I can taste them but can be used below my 'notice this' threshold, and others of which I like when used in ways that work for my sense of taste. There are some candies made with xylitol that I like better than nearly-identical versions made with sugar! And, yes, there are also some xylitol-containing foods that taste noticeably wrong to me. In general, xylitol is the least-objectionable sugar substitute I've found so far (though I'm not sure it would taste right in coffee). Alas, it seems to be the least common. (I can deal with small amounts of sorbitol, but I tend to notice it early; I can deal with more sweetness from maltitol than from sorbitol before noticing objectionable overtones -- I don't know whether it's a greater or lesser quantity because I haven't gotten around to looking up the relative sweetness of the two chemicals.) Of course, there's the laxative effect of the sugar alcohols, which can be a problem if one consumes more candy than planned -- for me this seems to be more of a factor in chocolate than in hard candies.

So I'm willing to make changes to my diet for health reasons, including eating some of the things I like less often or in smaller quantities, and looking for healthier things-I-like, but I'm not willing to make my food taste bad. Better to eat something entirely different than to ruin something I enjoyed and then try to get used to the ruined version. Merely tasting different is okay, but bad is, well, bad.

And don't try to tell me two things taste the same when I can so easily tell them apart. Telling me that you can't taste the difference is fine, if it's true; telling me that I can't is kind of bizarre as well as being factually incorrect.

[1] So I'm basically making a hedonist argument here, but whether I'm technically a hedonist depends, I suppose, on whether I see those other moral goods that take precedence over beauty and pleasure to be inherently good and inherently more significant than beauty, or merely as worthwhile sacrifices/investments to achieve a long term increase in overall pleasure worldwide. I'll have to think about that some more, but it's probably worth an entry of its own.

dglenn: Photo of clouds shaped like an eye and arched eyebrow (sky-eye)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 04:23pm on 2006-11-09 under ,

Hmm ...

serving size (vol)2 tbsp2 tbsp
serving size (mass)32 g28 g
  Calories from fat 140 160
fat16 g18 g
  saturated fats3 g2.5 g
  trans fats0 g0 g
cholesterol0 mg0 mg
Na140 mg75 mg
carbohydrates6 g3 g
  fiber2 g1 g
  sugars3 g0 g
protein7 g5 g
Fe4% of DV9% of DV


Of course, there's the flavour factor to consider ... versus the observation that tahini+jam makes for a kinda messy sandwich (the tahini keeps trying to escape out the sides). Didn't realise there was that much iron in either one.

Kinda hatin' the irony: rescheduled an appointment because I didn't feel well enough to go to the doctor. Feh.

Having a very bad day body-wise. The back and knee pain and difficulty dealing with stairs are obviously the fibromyalgia; I'm not sure whether the painfully hyperacute hearing is from that as well or is pre-migraine aura (my peripheral vision seems strange as well). No constant skullcrushing or eyestabbing pain, just the intermittent really-does-feel-like-my-head-is-being-crushed pain when a vehicle goes by that has a lot of low frequencies in its engine-noise or that has more rumble than whoosh in its tire-noise, even without the addition of stupidthumpy bass-boosted sound systems. Gonna put pillows over my ears and close my eyes. Falling behind on my LJ friendspage again.

Music:: traffic noise as rush hour starts to get underway
Mood:: 'uncomfortable' uncomfortable
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 05:26am on 2006-10-31 under ,

"I think once you start eating people you should stop claiming to be a vegetarian, even if you only eat bad people." -- James Nicoll, 2003

Happy Hallowe'en!

dglenn: Photo of clouds shaped like an eye and arched eyebrow (sky-eye)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 12:59pm on 2006-10-06 under

Stuffing things into pitted green olives has long been popular, and in recent years I've seen more and more alternatives to the classic pimento filling. I've tried jalapeno-stuffed green olives, garlic-stuffed and blue-cheese-stuffed olives, and a few others. But I think I may have finally found the perfect thing to stuff into a pitted jumbo green olive:

A ripe olive.

Specifically one of those strong, black, bitter, oil-cured, wrinkly olives. (Or half of one. However much will fit.) So far, I've found no better complement to the taste of a green olive.

dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (cyhmn)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 09:13pm on 2006-09-10 under ,

I'm at [livejournal.com profile] anniemal's now, having made multiple stops en route, including a nap. The aforementioned vegetarian restaurant -- Maggie's Mercantile -- isn't so much 'near there' as it is along one of the reasonable routes back to the PA Turnpike from there ... and the food is very, very good. Worth writing a half-assed review later, when I'm feeling more awake. Then again, may be worth finding excuses to be back in that part of Pensylvania several more times so I can work my way through the menu and write a proper review based on multiple visits. Am tired, and my legs hurt, but I'm in better shape than I would've predicted if you'd asked me Thursday how I expected to feel today.

Good event, even though I only got around to seeing the parts close to our stage.

dglenn: My face, wearing black beret, with guitar neck in corner of frame (pw34)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 11:46am on 2006-08-27 under , ,

No, I still haven't gotten around to witing a proper War report, but I'll cheat a bit and keep the topic fresh by posting bits already written. Here's what should have been posted during War.

Background for anyone who doesn't find the minutiae of my life fascinating enough to memorize everything I babble: I've got two cell phones and one SIM that I can switch between them -- there are some features I like better on one and some I like better on the other, and it's nice to be able to charge oe while carrying the other around. I took both to Pennsic in case of trouble getting access to electricity to run the charger, figuring I'd have twice as much battery to use up before it became a problem. (That wasn't an issue for more than a couple of days, as it turned out, but I'll still play "just in case" wrt availability of electricity next year.) Not having previously sent email-via-SMS from one of the phones, I didn't know that one had a configuration glitch that caused such messages to be silently dropped in the bit-bucket, until I noticed that many of the LJ entries I'd tried to post from Pennsic hadn't been posted (and started looking for a pattern).

I've got the SMS-to-email problem sorted out (with help), and thus the post-to-LJ-via-SMS problem. So now both phones can post to LJ. Fortunately, I hadn't yet deleted most of the attempted messages (one or two are gone but the rest I hadn't gotten around to). Unfortunately, only the other phone stores the timestamp of sent messages, and this one, oddly enough, does not keep the sent-messages folder in chronological order. So I'm able to post belatedly the snippets you should have seen during War, but I can only partialy restore the order/timing of them.

So here's the sound-bite view of my Pennsic, which I'm sure would have been much more interesting/entertaining if you were reading it one message at a time while I was still out there. (*sigh*).

[2006-08-06 02:38 (posted from the other phone, but truncated)]: One of [livejournal.com profile] cacie's songs has Mighty Kung-Fu Action death grip on my brain. Oh! Snoring stopped; maybe I can go [to sleep now.]

[2006-08-08 15:38 (posted from other phone, included here for continuity)]: Already declaring this a productive War: Mike and I composed a tune last night.

[Don't remember when]: Odd feeling: just woke from a dream with my inner compass askew as though someone had turned my tent 90° while I slept. [The feeling persisted five or ten minutes after waking -- I looked out my window and saw the correct view looking south, but it very strongly felt like I was looking east. Quite disconcerting until the world straightened itself out again.]

[Don't remember when; between 8:00 and 10:00 some morning]: Half shade half sunlit, difference from one end of tent to other is 25°F. 70 by bed, 95 near door. [Note: my tent is about eleven feet from end to end at the floor, a bit less where I was holding the thermometer.]

[Late 2006-08-10 or midlle of 2006-08-11]: -- Missing message about planning to play with Emory, Mike, and Bob in the bardic competition at the Chalk Man later --

[2006-08-11, between 21:00 and 23:00]: At The Chalk Man pub waiting our turn to play. Wish I had my cape.

[2006-08-11, uh, 23ish?]: Problem with going on last: desipte my best efforts to keep them warm, my fingers were COLD when we played. Frustrated.

[Nearly midnight 2006-08-11 or a few minutes into 2006-08-12]: Didn't win anything but did sell a CD.

[2006-08-12 20:23 (posted from other phone and commented on, included here for continuity)]: Apparently I am a pervert. (On account of hazelnut decaf Turkish coffee with artificial sweeteners.)

[Don't remember when]: Nice thing about being next to Clan Cambion: when drums (&pipes) elsewhere stop, we hear harps. [One of many nice things -- I would have phrased it differently, but for the length limit on SMS messages.]

[2006-08-14, 9ish]: Morning paper just arrived: already 10,470 people on site as of 16:00 yesterday.

[Probably 2006-08-14, late afternoon (if I'm remembering correctly which day it rained)]: And we have rain. Got the tent mostly covered before it got heavy; hope the remaining exposed bits aren't the ones that leak.

[Probably 2006-08-14, after dark]: Our camp was just visited by minions from Hell...Who needed our help restoring their fire.

[Some evening in the second week]: Overheard from the road just now: "Whatever happens, it's alright, because we have a designated scapegoat."

[Probably 2008-08-16; might be able to figure it out from file timestamps on borrowed laptop later]: Pennsic so far: Haven't done any shopping or made it to any classes yet, but I've composed another tune.

[Late 2006-08-16/wee hours of 2006-08-17]: -- Missing message about busking during Midnight Madness --

[2006-08-20, around 10AM, I think]: Packed & ready to go; struck tent last night due to weather forecast (since changed). Trying to nap w/o sunburn while waiting for truck. [txt msg abbr expanded to less annoying form; original barely fit in an SMS message]

So there's the sound-bite version. Proper writeup still to come.

dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 08:23pm on 2006-08-12 under ,
Apparently I am a pervert. (On account of hazelnut decaf Turkish coffee with artificial sweeteners.)



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