A teeny-tiny hunk of spiral ham left over from...possibly New Year's, though I can't remember if that's when we last ate it or not. I'd cut it in half after I bought it, then froze the other half. It was a small ham to begin with, so this stretched it to the max.
No one's a huge jumping-up-and-down HAM! YAY! enthusiast here, anyhow.
My only near-regret was after OP almost managed to invite a third person for Easter dinner (a friend of mine from the neighborhood whom he'd just met who has church activities all day tomorrow so declined), in which case there wouldn't have been enough to go around so I would've had to hit the store for more ham and/or some other traditional thing, entirely. Close call.
He bought a head of cabbage so someone will cook that up into something, I guess, and I don't know if grocery stores are open tomorrow but we're out of potatoes, but have enough rice (and enough varieties thereof) to feed the neighborhood (don't tell the neighborhood, as there's not enough ham and cabbage to go around) so it'll work out - in fact, I made baked beans to go with my liver and onions tonight, and really liked them, so maybe I'll just reheat those for the starch.
ETA: This meal was unusual considering the food started off so plain, yet came out so pow!.
So I brined the ham in a mixture I thought up on the spot: starting with a real maple syrup base I added ground cloves, ground nutmeg, ground allspice, brown sugar, fresh-ground black pepper and a few splashes of lightly pulped orange juice, stirred the uh, bedevil out of it and used a pastry brush to coat each side of every slice in the spiral, then dumped the leftover brine over to cold-marinate for a few hours, with the brine rising halfway up the ham in the tin foil contraption I made to hold it all in while it heated up.
This came out better than candied ham, as it had a sort of candied/brandied taste sans alcohol. Loved it - my rating: 8 out of 10 (it could've been more tender and I would've preferred the same flavor in something more akin to a glaze*).
I cooked the cabbage using the first recipe that came up on a Google search for "sweet and sour cabbage" leaving off bacon and adding some bacon grease to impart the same flavor. That was yummy, though I miss the sweet and sour cabbage of my childhood, which was plainer, more sweet and more sour, if that makes sense (and it does, I can assure you).
And I caved before doing any of this and bought potatoes. The organic market was the only store open so ran there for some (I wish that was all I ran there for...my God how I hate what that place does to me).
OP made homemade ricotta while I cooked dinner so I baked the potatoes, then we ate them with his ricotta - pretty damn good, though I still missed the more acidic hit and smoothness of sour cream.
*In retrospect I could've done a few things differently: had I turned the ham halfway through cooking to get the top half back in the brine the whole thing might've been more tender, and if I'd used more maple syrup or added honey it might've made for a stickier glaze. The flavor, though...*floats off on a cloud*
Now to figure out the succinct prompt due on Tuesday. EEP!
* Kids are both home this weekend for Easter. My mother no longer wants to host any holiday dinner. We've done a fair share of Easter Sundays up here, but my youngest sister, who is local, just bought a mini-mansion last fall and has succumbed to pressure from my mother to do a holiday there. I say pressure because she's not really ever hosted anything and my mother wants her to try. She doesn't cook! This staggers me. She literally does not cook. She's a high-powered professional woman who married in her late 30s and had both her kids in her 40s. Her life is so unlike mine in every way that I can't really say what she should or should not do. Anyway, they're hosting a brunch tomorrow and they want everyone to bring a main "breakfasty" course??? Even both my kids. I don't even know what that means. I don't "do" potlucks. I serve the meal, the appetizers, the desserts and the booze. I don't necessarily know if this is good or bad, it's just what I do, and what my mother has traditionally done. So, I'm not sure what tomorrow is going to look like. My family is sad about missing out on a ham dinner. I've purchased a ham and am going to bring that. Kidling1 is bringing mimosas, and Kidling2 is making deviled eggs. Will this suffice??
* Still devouring short stories, especially those of the dirty realism bent. These are not easy stories. I say devour but that isn't correct. One, maybe two, a day are the most one can ingest. These short prose pieces are akin to gut punches and you have to be able to take a punch. They hurt and they bruise and are tender afterwards. How's that for a mixed analogy? LOL. Anyone else care deeply for this genre? Who do you count as the best? And what do you recommend?
Thank you for your help and your support!
I may have mentioned we've been catching up on this season's Blacklist. We got behind for a bit while we mustered the wherewithall to cope with the darkness of the storylines. So, we finally watched "The Osterman Umbrella Company" last night, and... ugh. /o\
I'm VERY unhappy with how that turned out, and where the next episode is heading. It's hurting my favorite character, who is driven entirely by the pureness of his heart, and that hurts me. :( :(
Meanwhile, on the home front... we've been trying out another foster kitty from the same home as the two previous ones. But despite being touted as mellow and outgoing, he also eventually managed to get behind the washing machine, and has been there a couple of days now. *sigh*
He may come out tomorrow when we do laundry, and if so I can block the TOP off with cardboard. We blocked access from the sides, but once a cat is back there, that's no good. They have to be able to get out. Up until now, we only ever had this problem with hamsters and the bunny, and it was easy to keep them out of there. But cats have such agility and such a powerful leap that we need more extreme prevention.
And this cat needs to be able to interact with us enough to realize he's safe and will be loved. Hiding is not interacting.
Trying to adopt a fostered cat has not worked out well. We thought the issue was the extreme shyness of the first two cats, but the reality is, that foster home is Cat Heaven. There are some 20 cats there with a human who adores them and goes to great lengths for them. She roasts whole chickens for them to eat, and all the cats that want to are allowed to sleep on her bed at night. They're all deeply bonded to her, and all their friends are there.
By comparison, any other potential home is Kitty Hell. So once again, our current 'victim' is sad and scared and hiding. You'd think we ate kitties here, or put tape on their ears or something. /o\
I got my Idol story finished and posted on Tuesday. It's here, with a link to the poll and all 5 (only 5!) entries at the bottom. Please read and vote for your favorites!
Monday was the last slog through Tax Hell. I wound up buying TurboTax (after already paying for H & R Block's tax software), which made things a little easier. But from the other "Devil you know" perspective, at least I understood the convolutions of the previous tax code. This year, it was, "What the hell happened to Schedule A?" And "How did this Residentical Energy Credit wind up being zero?" and so on. I did a LOT of Googling on Monday, finding answers to those and various other questions about California tax code. Most of this was to make sure TurboTax wasn't doing something wrong, or that I hadn't misunderstood the nuances of some classification of income/deductions. /o\
I e-filed the federal return around 5:30 pm, and put the Cal return in the box at the post office at 9:30 pm. Latest return ever! \o?
Fortunately, I made it through without having to take up jake67 on her really sweet offer to help, but I felt better knowing her support was there if I needed it. Thank you! ♥
In biking news, I mostly alternated days of outside biking with garage-biking, thanks to the wind and Monday's rain. I'm closing in on the end of Burn Notice Season 3, in which Chris Vance is both dangerous and delightful.
The weather forecast is clear for dayyyyyyyys now, though it's also getting warmer. Has all the late rain wiped out our planting window for Spring? Mostly REplanting, TBH, for all the things that either died from last summer's heat or this winter's cold or the excess sogginess of the rain itself... We may have a few viable weeks left, though those random Spring windstorms can dry out new plants and kill them. Really, sometimes it's amazing that ANY kind of landscaping ever gets off the ground here. :(
We watched most of Thor: The Dark World last weekend. Most, because I was channel-surfing one day and saw it listed, so I started the recording late. Fun overall, though we never saw the first one, so parts were a little confusing. I didn't spot Zachary Levi in it, though I did notice Adewale Akkinuoye-Agbaje. Kat Denning's character was oddly annoying. Mainly, we waited for Tom Hiddleston to show up. Having seen Ragnarok and now this movie, I totally understand why Thor/Loki slash is a thing. :O
So what are YOUR weekend plans? I keep forgetting Easter is coming. I bought the candy and did Easter baskets weeks ago when the kids were here. So inside my brain, Easter has already happened...
In the meantime - the poll is up. Please click through and vote and thank you!
* This week's piece is quite dark and features a character that I've written about before. I need to find out what this particular character wants/needs from me in the way of prose representation. This guy is appearing more often for me lately when I'm in a "dark" mood than my old standbys - the black dog, Hades/Persephone, and of course, my goat-footed Muse.
* I had only a day to write because of LONG BIRTHDAY WEEKEND. Thanks for the birthday wishes! It was nice, kids were here, my sister was not, and that's a dramatic story of another time. I last saw her on Christmas Day and she lives twenty minutes away. Anyway, we had a great dinner on Saturday. D's mother came up and was pretty sad, her brother passed away last week. She and my mom spent the afternoon together and I think it was good for them.
* My mother is still struggling and I'm still spending one night a week down at her home with her. It hasn't gotten easier. But this week seemed a bit better. I'll take all the progress or positivity I can.
* Although we were both so deeply saddened by the fire at Notre Dame. We did as so many others, got out the photo albums and remembered our time in Paris and with Our Lady. It is such a mystical building. It's somber and thoughtful, somehow even with shoulder to shoulder tourists quietly looking up up up at the ceiling arching above everyone's heads and now up to the vault of Heaven.
* Has anyone seen the strange Dracula starring Dan Stevens? Because I'm just not sure....
Penn (Jillette) tells a story about his mother going to the same senior center as Bill Cosby's mother and the joke is that his mother said something, meaning well, that could have been interpreted as racist. Penn talks about Trying to explain to his mom how Mrs. Cosby might have thought she was saying something racist and Arsenio talks about not wanting to get on Bill Cosby's bad side. In light of Cosby's current conviction and imprisonment for rape, that was weird.
So, they talk about different things and Corolla says he has to leave early because Bill O'Reilly has him on his show in a few min.
O'Reilly, of course is also off the air, though not in stir, for sexually harassing women while he was at Fox.
It's still got 30 min. left and I'm wondering if they'll somehow work Harvey Weinstein in.
What color hair did your first crush have?
Brunette -- I think. It's been a long while.
What type of shoes do you find the most comfortable?
New Balance sneakers.
Are you more masculine or feminine?
Are you male or female?
Do you feel your personality matches your heritage?
Irish & German? Sure.
If you could design your own mug, what would you put on it?
Patrick Stewart saying, "Use the force, Harry."
What's one item on your wishlist?
What is the best beach you've been to?
Maimi in the 1960s.
What is one thing you physically can't do?
Float in a pool. I sink.
Do you know a lot of people who have the same middle name as you?
Do you like your middle name?
Would you ever audition for American Idol?
Only if my arm were twisted really hard. I can sing pretty well, but who needs the humiliation of being on that show?
Have you ever lost a survey you started making?
Who would you most like to have a sit-down conversation with?
That guy who was interested in me from my local BSDM group, who ghosted on me.
What book are you currently reading?
Shameless by Nadia Bolz-Webber.
What song are you listening to?
On my way home I listened to a different version of this. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=
Have you ever been to a funeral?
If you live alone, do you leave the bathroom door open?
I don't live alone.
What's a favorite camp song of yours?
Didn't go to that kind of camp.
Do you wish you could go camping more?
Not as such.
Have you ever visited your state's capitol building?
Only the outside.
Have you ever visited your nation's capitol building?:
A few times.
Name 3 cities you'd like to visit again:
Athens. London. Geneva.
Name 3 places you'd like to visit that you've never been:
Vegas, Australia/New Zealand, Iceland.
Elephants or cats?
Do you have any regrets?
Who was the last person that said something that warmed your heart?
idol prize fight | week 20 | 1800 words
Nostos (a Greek literary theme in which an epic hero finally returns home after a long journey)
The Greyhound bus slowly approached the downtown depot that that was the last stop on Darryl Adams' long, tiring journey home. Darryl was sick of the whole thing—weird passengers, weird drivers, broken seats, broken air-conditioning, and the smell… God, that smell. Maybe he should have considered hitchhiking part of the way after all?
The trip sure hadn't been like that Simon & Garfunkel song he'd loved so much as a kid. More hellhound than greyhound, definitely. He'd seen casino buses at a couple of stops that had practically been gold-plated compared to what he'd been riding in. Casino buses! What was that all about?
If only he hadn't spent almost everything he had on plane tickets to get back into the country. Buses were all he could afford after that.
Darryl's parents wouldn't even be there to pick him up at the bus station. He'd been calling for weeks, but he hadn't been able to get a hold of them. They didn't believe in cell phones, and their answering machine didn't seem to be working. Typical.
There was probably a dead car sitting in their driveway right now…
He had expected more enthusiasm for his return, after being gone for six years. But it was possible they didn't even know he was coming.
When the bus stopped, Darryl grabbed his duffel bag and backpack, and hurried off toward the bathroom.
Ugh. It was better than the bus, but still disgusting. When he was finished, he washed his hands and face. Then he stripped off his shirt and stuffed it in the trash. He pulled a clean T-shirt out of his duffel bag, and put it on. Then he started walking.
The Diggity Dog Diner was two blocks from the bus station. Darryl had been dreaming about their Bacon Bonanza Burger for days, ever since his plane had landed at JFK.
A wino lurched out of a doorway as he left the bus station. "Spare some—"
"Joey?" Darryl said.
"Uh, yeah." The wino squinted at him. "Do I know ya?"
"Only since eighth grade! It's Darryl."
"Oh, yeah, Darryl. Huh." Joey scratched the back of his neck. "What're you doin' down here?"
"I came in on the bus. I just got back," Darryl said.
"Whoa. Were ya like, in jail or somethin'?"
Did he look that bad? "No," Darryl said. "I was volunteering overseas. In Colombia."
"Huh." Joey thought about that for a minute. "Why?"
Darryl blinked. "To see the world. Help make a difference. You know."
"Uh huh. So, ya got any—"
"Sure, sure." Darryl fished in his pocket and found some coins.
"Thanks, man." Joey shuffled off down the street.
Well, that was depressing…
Darryl walked over to the Diggity Dog, which looked a little more run-down than he remembered. He went inside and sat at a table next to the window.
A gum-chewing waitress came over and took out her order pad. "What do you want?" she asked.
( Read more... )
If you enjoyed this story, you can vote for it along with many other fine entries here.
Today I am sad. So very grateful to have known her, to have shared a wonderful friendship with with her for the past nine years, but missing her so much it aches.
A rumor was going through the box of Old Toys stored in the basement. “It can’t be right,” spelled out the Ouija Board. “My sources say no,” agreed the Magic 8 Ball. Barbie, for one, had tried to be hopeful over the years, but even she had eventually given up.
The toys had always been so proud when the Joe Brothers had arrived, dedicated to fighting for America in WWII. The oldest, G.I. Joe, had led the way, joining the infantry. G.I. Joe Action Pilot, the middle brother, was in the Air Force, and G.I. Joe Action Sailor had picked the Navy. They would tease G.I. Joe that he wasn’t a real action figure because "action" wasn’t in his name.
“I don’t need it,” G.I. Joe would say. “I’m in the Army and the action’s built in, not like you two shirkers.”
And then the three would pile on for a good-natured fight while the other toys would cheer, even Ken, who had never served his country. This had always bothered Barbie; she had dreamed of loving a hero, not a beach bum.
“Why was I stuck with Ken?” Barbie had asked Ouija during a counseling session.
“We don’t get to pick our story lines,” Ouija had spelled. “We’re at the mercy of the children – it’s whatever they imagine. I once heard of a Barbie being forced to marry a Troll, so it could be worse.”
Barbie had shuddered just thinking about a troll husband. What could their wedding night have been like? Trolls had wild hair, sparkling eyes, and a wide smile, but no genitals. Then again, neither did she. She’d never given it much thought when she’d been an active toy because it was not Age Appropriate, but after she’d been retired, she’d starting using her brain, which had not been an available function during her play life.
“Maybe Ken’s not so bad,” she’d thought. “But I just can’t help thinking about Pilot Joe.”
With short attention spans, the toy box quieted down when it looked like Pilot Joe was not returning right now. G.I. Joe and Sailor Joe dreamed of the Battle for the Closet, Magic 8 Ball communicated with the other side, and the Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots remembered their epic fifteen-round fight for the Heavyweight Bedroom Championship.
The toys had almost forgotten about Pilot Joe when several days later Mom’s hand took the top off the Old Toys box and dropped him in, then closed it up and walked away.
The toys started cheering, but none louder and longer than his brothers and Barbie. Ken only cheered after Barbie nudged him in the side. When the ruckus died down, G.I. Joe asked the big question.
“Where have you been all these years?” said G.I. Joe.
“On a special mission,” replied Pilot Joe.
“What kind of mission lasts that long?” asked Sailor Joe.
“The kind I can’t talk about,” Pilot Joe said. “And I had to fight my way back.”
“Three cheers for Pilot Joe!” said Barbie, just to annoy Ken.
“Hip hip hooray! Hip hip hooray! Hip hip hooray!” said all the toys.
Ken refused to join in, just to upset Barbie. They were not having a good day.
“I could just kiss him!” said Barbie, looking at Ken.
“Hey,” said Ken, “we’re engaged!”
“Are not,” said Barbie.
“Are too,” said Ken. “That was the very last story we played before Sally put us away forever.”
“Doesn’t count,” said Barbie.
“Does too,” said Ken.
“Knock it off,” said G.I. Joe, “Pilot Joe has finally returned from war.”
Suddenly, the Magic 8 Ball rattled and revealed “don’t count on it.”
“He said he went on a secret mission and had to fight his way home,” growled Sailor Joe.
“That’s good enough for the Joes – he’s a hero!” grumbled G.I. Joe.
“Ask the Ouija Board,” said Ken, seeing a chance to take the Joe Brothers down a peg.
The planchette moved over to “no.”
Pilot Joe broke the quiet.
“Remember our last fight together,” he began. “the Assault on Fortress Bed?”
“Sure,” said G.I. Joe. “Steve’s friend, Carl, brought his Joes over to be the Nazis defending the bed. Things looked bad after Steve used the jeep’s spring-loaded cannon to shoot popcorn and one hit Carl in the eye. Mom court-martialed Steve and took away the cannon. After that, even though Pilot Joe was dropping Lego bombs and Sailor Joe was trying to make a landing on the beach, the Nazis were winning.”
“We ran out of time,” said Sailor Joe, “and Carl’s Joes had to go home. When we played Mission Bathtub next time, you were gone. What happened?”
“I volunteered for a detached assignment with Carl, who needed me,” said Pilot Joe. “Carl’s father was a fighter pilot who was missing in the war. Carl didn’t have a Pilot Joe, so Steve let him take me until his father came back.
“They finally found his jet in the jungle after all these years, so Carl’s mom sent me back to Steve, and here I am.”
“But where did you live?” asked G.I. Joe.
“That’s classified,” said Pilot Joe.
“My sources say no,” revealed the Magic 8 Ball.
“Were you a P.O.W.?” asked G.I. Joe.
“Were you tortured?” asked Sailor Joe.
“Were you married?” asked Barbie.
“Tell the truth,” spelled the Ouija Board.
There was a long pause.
“Worse,” said Pilot Joe. “After Carl grew too old and stopped playing with me, his mom put me in a box with his baby stuff. I was surrounded by onesies, pacifiers, and his first teddy bear!”
“Eewww!” said his brothers.
“You’ve got cooties!” said Ken, hopefully.
“I’ve got a field medic bag,” said G.I. Joe. “We’ve got to get those cooties before they infect the whole box!”
“I don’t have cooties,” said Pilot Joe. “I said I was with Carl’s baby stuff, not some girl’s. Babies don’t have cooties.”
Cooties or not, the Joe Brothers were just glad to be together again, and soon they were re-living old campaigns, including the capture of Mt. Stairway. They’d been leading green plastic army men against a platoon of Nazis. Casualties were high but, in the end, they’d made it to the top, thanks to Pilot Joe.
Barbie loved to hear these old war stories.
“Too bad Sally always stuck me with Ken,” she thought. “Blond hair, swimming trunks, and a surf board. I was always a beach bunny without a beach. The best I got was a big tan towel, and there was never any cross-play with the Joes. Thank goodness Sally just kept us engaged – she must have known something. I don’t know what I’d do if she’d actually married me to Ken.”
Barbie’s problem was her design. She was given too much of everything – a body every girl wanted but could never have and intelligence that had been muted in the final design review.
“Girls want to be pretty -- they don’t dream about being smart” had been the final consensus. Rather than go to the trouble of re-designing the product, Barbie’s intelligence had simply not been available during active play.
In the years following her retirement, Barbie had become increasingly unhappy with Ken. She had tried couples counselling with the Ouija Board, but Ken wouldn’t go, so she had gone alone. It had helped, but in the end what she had needed was a new story line.
“Since no one plays with you anymore,” Ouija had spelled, “you’re stuck unless someone uses you for a different story, one where you say ‘no’ to Ken.”
Once Pilot Joe returned, Barbie became even more miserable and she realized that her heart had always belonged to him despite what Sally had played.
“Babe,” Ken had said, “what’s up with you? We’re the perfect couple – check the storyline!”
Pilot Joe had always had similar feelings for Barbie, but without cross-play, nothing could come of it. Not long after his return, he interrupted the war stories to tell his brothers that all those years apart had not changed his heart.
“We beat the Nazis,” said G.I. Joe, “we can fix this.”
“We need to change Barbie’s story only a little,” said Sailor Joe. “We just have to get you lovebirds together . . . and Ken.”
Since they were made of hard plastic, the figures couldn’t move well on their own, but after planning a three-sided attack, the Joes slowly worked their way through the jumble of toys to surround Barbie and Ken. After the surprise maneuver, G.I. Joe and Sailor Joe were on both sides of Ken, with Pilot Joe next to Barbie. Like the Nazis in Lincoln Log Village Patrol, Ken never knew what hit him.
“Let’s play ‘Barbie’” said G.I. Joe. “She needs a new story.”
“What the . . .” Ken started to say.
“Before you say anything,” said Sailor Joe, “remember that there are three of us, battle-hardened and capable of beating Nazis bare-handed. You surf. G.I. Joe drives a Jeep with a cannon. You drive a dune buggy. Your worst injury is a sunburn. Pilot Joe loves Barbie, you don’t.”
Barbie almost swooned. Ken was quiet, and if plastic could sweat, his face would have dripped.
“Barbie and Ken are at the beach,” began G.I. Joe, starting a new story. “There’s a bonfire and the dune buggy’s in the background. Barbie’s never looked more beautiful in her swim suit. Ken turns to Barbie and says . . . .”
G.I. Joe whispered in Ken’s ear.
“I love you Barbie. Will you marry me?” said Ken.
“No!” said Barbie.
After more whispering from G.I. Joe, Ken said “O.K. Let’s just be friends. I’ll never bother you again.”
“Suddenly,” said G.I. Joe, “Pilot Joe arrives on the beach. He runs over to Barbie.”
“I love you,” said Pilot Joe. “Will you marry me?”
“Yes,” said Barbie, “with all my heart.”
All the toys cheered. Who doesn’t love a wedding?
Barbie, Pilot Joe, and his brothers worked their way to the Ouija Board, who led them in their vows.
The return of Pilot Joe and his marriage to Barbie kept the box buzzing for a long time. No one could remember such excitement since the last time they were played with. Retirement was boring for a toy. All they could do was hope for new children, or maybe a rummage sale and a new family.
The box eventually settled down. The Joes entertained the toys with war stories, and the Magic 8 Ball and Ouija Board tried to predict what was happening in the outside world.
Then one day, the Magic 8 Ball kept showing “outlook good,” no matter how many times it rattled. The Ouija Board had mixed messages, mostly “hello,” until one day it added “baby.”
Since nothing happened, the Old Toys forgot about it until one day, they could feel the Baby Things box next to them being taken down.
They knew that there were no baby toys in their box, but someday they would be back on the floor again. All they had to do was wait.
In the meantime, G.I. Joe, Sailor Joe, and Pilot Joe prepared for battle. They would be ready for whatever war needed to be fought, especially if Nazis were involved.
* * * * *
G.I. Joe, G.I. Joe Action Sailor, and G.I. Joe Action Pilot
G.I. Joe Jeep and Cannon
Barbie, Pilot Joe's True Love Ken, Not Barbie's True Love
Troll Doll, Barbie's Nightmare Husband
Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots, Fought 15 Rounds for Heavyweight Bedroom Championship
Ouija Board Magic 8 Ball
- The 1 percent is gutting America's middle class
- Escaping Poverty Requires Almost 20 Years With Nearly Nothing Going Wrong (the rich know but don't care: "Went to jail? Hours got cut? Hubby was laid off? You didn't pass the test! You must pass ALL the tests! One strike you're out, same as us" except it's not the same for them - not at all)
- The Richer You Are, The More Disengaged You Become (the richer you are *or* the more neo-liberal - see next link)
- The Homeless 8-Year-Old Chess Champion and Other Horrific ‘Uplifting’ Stories
- Despising the poor (not what you think: Brain scans show humans only think rich people pass for...humans)
- Why American Life is Traumatizing Americans But They Don’t Know it
- Why America is the World’s First Poor Rich Country
- The IRS Tried to Take on the Ultrawealthy. It Didn’t Go Well.
- Billionaires Are the Leading Cause of Climate Change
- Gospels of Giving for the New Gilded Age - Are today’s donor classes solving problems—or creating new ones?
- For the Shoeless Masses: The Commodification of Ethics and Exercise of Privilege at Home and Abroad
- One-third of all slavery is visible from space
- To Readers, $X Billion Just Means ‘a Whole Lot of Money’ (real SNAP (food stamps), Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) and foreign aid spending is much less than many people think)
- How Poor Americans Get Exploited by Their Landlords
- How much is an hour worth? The war over the minimum wage
- Charles Payne Lunacy: Minimum Wage 'Snuffs Out The Ambitions' Of 'Good Workers' (yet the only thing that really snuffs it out might be how low it is)
It's been so long since I last ran it, it might not be working again for whatever reason and blergh, I just can't even deal with it ATM.
Soon I'll also be working with EverNote to create linklists. EverNote on my phone connects to the SmartNews app and syncs what I save to it to the Firefox extension on my laptop. I don't have a way to feed EN into Pinboard, at least not OTTOMH, but I could always try to work that out later or not, as I mostly have Pinboard to collect stuff I bookmark into Firefox, anyhow.
It Takes Two
Tonight's theme, which I wasn't aware of until an abandoned Dreamwidth post in the online editor reminded me, is duplication. Ridiculous, unnecessary, annoying, and perhaps unneeded (or perhaps not - I report: you decide) duplication.
I think the Web has failed, I think it's broken, when you must have two of everything to get by.
Two Password Managers
It's enough of a nod to the need for strong password security to use one password manager. But perhaps not, as then you have a single point of failure, so if you lose or forget your master password or your password manager gets hacked or stolen, what do you do? And what have you lost? Possibly every password, and your bank accounts, and your privacy, and...
As Tom's Guide recently put it:
Using a password manager creates a single point of failure, because if the password manager is compromised, then all your accounts for which it holds the passwords are also compromised.
The solution might be to use more than one password manager. This wouldn't have to cost much.
Upon reading this much eye-rolling ensued at Chez MM because are they serious? Life's hard enough already so can they just get off our jocks now about needing TWO password managers because OK, seriously?
Two days later LastPass went massively offline. That was when the light bulb went off: "So THAT'S why you might need said 'backup password manager'!". Yes, you can log into LP offline, but my Firefox extension wasn't set up (still isn't, come to think of it) to allow me to, and yes I just about melted down, as LP's never been offline for me before.
Was that a moment - whew, lemme tell you.
LastPass's status page shows the outage (its cause was allegedly resolved the same day it first started, on April 10th, yet another outage hit on April 13th which wasn't reported anywhere I could see that night - not on their Status page, nor on Twitter, though sites like IsItDownRightNow saw it as very much gone after attempting to reach multiple URLs).
And I didn't (and uh, still don't) have a backup password manager, so I shut my laptop down and read SmartNews instead of cavorting with my fellow Dreamwidthians. So while I haven't resolved the problem of "what to do if LastPass gets yanked away from us again" I'm thinking harder on it than I normally would. You all (regardless of which password manager you use) might want to, too.
Since I know someone might be tempted to add: "Make your backup password manager this one, since it has offline database access right from Windows" please allow me to refrain. In reading a password manager security comparison last week that sees LastPass, KeePass, 1Password and Dashlane go toe to toe, guess which one did worst? Yep, that one (also: the interface, as I did use it once, which is discussed at more length in this post).
To paraphrase this Fast Company article, if you don't want websites you log into to know what you read, watch or search for, then only log into websites from one browser and only do searches and take casual/perhaps anon Web strolls from another (says the femme lead @Chez MM, who's logged into Dreamwidth and has since done a dizzying array of searches from one and the same browser... but no one said change was quick, easy, or like, even possible).
But I could, in theory, do this. Or I could do a lot of things that I want to do but am not doing (which never ceases to amaze me). The problem is, I'd rather be doing any of them than doing this. Does it come down to lax online privacy laws? Would we not need to do such things if only the US was covered under GDPR or similar?
Does separating sites you log into from casual Web strolls and searches protect us from having say, our ISPs know every website we visit, while we're at it? No, and the article covers that, as well (the answer is to get a VPN to block ISPs from seeing what you do. I don't like VPNs because even the fastest ones can be so slooooow, which is really the only thing (besides price, if I want one with a decent reputation) stopping me).
And that's two for two...
WTF is wrong with you? After all this rain, we finally have a stretch of sunny days. So you have to start throwing one of your tantrums? :(
Argh. I DID go biking yesterday, but it was after the workday, when the winds had settled down a little.
It's about that time today, and they're still shown as being 20 mph at multiple locations near my house. Why? WHYYYYY? /o\
But "my feet hurt" does not give the severity of the story, either. I can get through a few hours of volunteering. But even one hour walking around the zoo will spell trouble for the following day, in which I'll be using a cane because my fucking feet hurt SO badly.
SO! I wrote the zoo and explained I have a foot tendon issue that I'm seeing the doctor for, and as I recover, if needed, could I borrow a wheelchair from the zoo? I've written the email in my head for weeks, but kept telling myself, no... I don't need to ask about a wheelchair, it's not THAT bad, is it? I don't want to take away from the zoo guests and be using a chair when someone else might need it more. Then I thought, dude, what if they just HAVE a wheelchair that no one ever uses, and it's sitting there, and they'd be like yeah sure, here you go. Like why am I torturing myself here?
So I asked! I wrote the email and hit send. That was yesterday.
This morning, they replied! They said they didn't have an actual answer for me, yet, but they're looking into it, and that this has been an ongoing discussion with the zoo about whether or not they should have wheelchairs reserved strictly for volunteer use. And then she said my question might help prove that there IS need for one!! OMG! I'm so glad I trusted that it was ok to ask, and just asked. Maybe it'll help others, too!! <3
Good news is today I saw my new podiatrist, and I LOVE HER. She took x-rays of my feet. And omg, I have bone spurs!! She said I have to do what I can to prevent them getting bigger. They won't go away, but they won't cause problems forever if we treat my symptoms and prevent them getting any bigger.
She took actual casts of my feet, like with the cement material cloth stuff in warm water, and pressing it into my feet to create weird little ballet slipper looking things that they're going to use to make me my new orthotics, which I'll get in two weeks. I AM SO EXCITED!!! Being in pain suuuuuuucksssssssssss, and this should help a lot.
The Plan: I will be using an anti inflammatory gel 3x a day, stretching 3x a day, taking an oral anti inflammatory once a day, heating my calves with a heating pad and then using a rolling pin on them once a day (10 min for heat, 1 min rolling), and avoiding walking uphill, downhill, or using stairs, as much as possible, for the next two weeks.
And then in 2 weeks, I have my followup appointment to get my orthotics and see how much things have improved.
All right. I'm ready. Project Heal These Dang Feet Already commences now!!
So, there was the windy bike ride on Tuesday, then a rest-day yesterday (while the bike was in the shop). Our forecast is also listing winds with gusts up to 24 mph today, though only (!) 17 mph tomorrow. Augh! We're transitioning into Spring late here, after all those recurring rainstorms, but these windy days are typical. What a pain-- they typically continue randomly through the end of May, about when the heat starts spiking up. Really, the best riding season here is Fall. :(
Still planning to go out today, though. :O
In Spring blooming news, it looks like both of the houses on my morning commute got rid of their wisteria, which is too bad. There's still a big patch of it coming over a retaining wall along the freeway, and more at another house I only see on the way home. Western Redbud is everywhere, including along the parkway (and it's purple, despite the name). Smelled and saw some municipal Scotch Broom on Tuesday's ride, which reminds me that I'm SO glad I don't have allergies. I have chronic rhinusitis, which has a similar effect on my nose (year-round, to boot!), but no allergies. My mother is desperately allergic to Scotch Broom...
I'm starting to seriously worry about getting our taxes done. I filed several amended returns last year (fixes for TurboTax's bugs regarding Coverdell Education savings accounts). We owed more federal tax for those prior years, but got additional state refunds. Now I'm having to work through Publication 525 worksheets for 3 fiscal years, and attempting to figure out what "recoveries and reimbursements from Schedule A" means. ALL of Schedule A? The state/property/personal tax part of Schedule A? The H&R Block tax software is showing some huge amount of state tax refunds I owe money on now, and the numbers aren't right, so I'm clearly doing something wrong. But their software doesn't help me with that. And there seem to be new questions about life- and disability-insurance benefits, where you can purchase more as part of an employee group plan. Now you're supposed to pro-rate those additional benefits as 'income'? I guess? Thanks, Trump! :(
I suspect TurboTax would have sucked in my info from prior returns to compute those Publication 525 worksheets, or at least talked me through it. Gah. I may wind up buying it anyway, and starting over. :(
It's the last weekend to sort this stuff out... Even if I file for an extension, I would have to do a state tax return, which depends on the federal returns, so that's no good. :O
* Okay, hive mind, D and I are BORED by TV and we have decided we want to try....gaming. I'm not joking. Neither one of us has a zot of experience with games, controllers, consoles. BUT, we want to learn this skill! So, what do you guys suggest? I know some of you are serious pros and I want ALL your comments and thoughts! I don't care for zombies, or really brutal shooter games. Adventure might be fun! Problem-solving. We like myths. And D is interested in the shooter stuff...so that's not a deal breaker. I'm ready to drop the benjamins!
Hoping to get out to the shops today, sometime. Feeling a little better. Time to replenish supplies. I think it's been about a month. Ah, well.
Also want to visit M. My 100 year old friend. She's not doing so well. My heart is broken.
Next week will be busy, exhausting. First the election--must vote! Then Passover, Night to Be, and First Day of Unleavened. I know I won't be going to the Last Day because it's an entire day and I just don't have the energy for that. But I'm going to do my best to make it to the first three, Passover, for sure.
Not much to say. Loved reading the Idol entries this week. So glad I didn't miss it. Last week I totally missed the deadline. My gray matter is pale these days.
Nothing terribly exciting, although GoT's final season starts on the 14th. You know where I'll be. ;-)
Another beautiful spring day, blustery, cloudy and shiny, because that's how we rock.
Toodles my dears!