7/19/17: Return of the night of the dawn of the son of the palindrome.

So, yeah. I’m having “Shit or get off the pot” itis. I can’t keep doing what I’m doing, and I’d be a fool to think that any other firm is going to be any better than this one.

So it’s time for me to come up with another income plan and start making it happen.

My current candidate is Forex trading. I day traded for a few years in a couple stints back in the 2000s and I was pretty good at it. I had really shitty money management skills though. I didn’t QUITE realize how much of a thing it was. But now, running some simulations I’m starting to agree with Van Tharp, that money management and exit strategy is PROBABLY more important than your entry price and thesis.

It sounds like a strange thing to say, and I’m not going to go in to the particulars just yet. But “cutting your losers short and letting your winners run” is how you turn the probabilities to your advantage.

So it’s back to school with me. Lord knows I’ve already got the library. I’m most of the way through the first Anna Coulling book. She’s positively excellent for this stuff. Trading the currency exchanges is a much different beast than trading equities. Though I fully expect I’m going to do a lot of that as well.

Also I went back and did another of the Roguelikedev lessons. I somehow let that slip and had almost forgotten about it. I SUSPECT I was trying to trick myself out of finishing it now that I’m getting towards the end. That’s…an unfortunate thing I do sometimes. Leave projects at 90%. I haven’t really decoded it. But it’s on my short list of shit to fucking sort out.

But it’s time to call the broker, get my old account reinstated, and check the funding requirements for currency trading.

This is going to be fun.

*cracks knuckles*

7/18/17: Ooh! Another palindrome!

I dunno. What today? I don’t have anything to wax eloquent about. I’ve spent most of the day looking at a block of 110,000 lines of C++ code that’s really 1989 style “c with classes” that I inherited at the job.

No documentation. A few hundred classes. Approximately 20 binary targets (exes and DLLs.) No documentation of any kind.

“Yeah we bought this code. Can you make it in to our flagship new product? Great kthxbai.”

Mgr and President don’t understand what they’re asking. That’s okay. I don’t ask that people know. But I do ask that if they DON’T know, to not know and to listen. But they won’t do that.

I remember their lead in announcements (they’d call it “planning”) and how excited I was to actually dig in to a C++ project again after too many years.

But now that I’ve got my mitts on (most of) the code and I’m getting those pie eyed looks from management I realize what I’m in for.

Or…well…not.

7/17/17: Ooh, a palindrome!

I’d had the impression, for a while, that I wasn’t getting any better at…well…not my job, but my profession. I’m certainly getting better at my job in that I’m acclimating to the office environment and am more and more able to deliver software that brings civilization to the wild wild west of our business.

But I’d largely plateaued as a programmer.

It got me to asking myself: What was it that helped me make the largest leaps in skill that I THINK I used to make fairly regularly.

The right answer is something like “I improved dramatically when I tried something beyond my current skill level and forced myself to step up and figure it out.” But that shit ain’t the truth. The TRUTH is: “I make quantum leaps in skill when I read something that gives me another set of gears for my ‘ways of thinking’ machine.”

Yeah, it takes some practice to get new cogs and sprockets fitted right. But that’s really just that.

So, in my furious out of control rush to rebuild my library (which I’m doing at a positively ALARMING rate) I then refined my thinking…Which books then?

Well, there were a couple things:

– Technology cookbooks that have concrete plug and play solutions to very specific low level problems. (“Java Examples In A Nutshell”, any of the old O’Reilly “Cookbook” books.)
– The Design Patterns books.

Ah yes, that blast from the 90s and early 2000s: Design Patterns, Pattern Languages, and all the various associated conference proceedings books. Design Pattern thinking (the specifics of which I won’t really get in to too deeply here. Far better people have done a far better job) exploded on the scene with the Gang of Four book in 95.

The Pattern Movement produced a way of describing complex component interrelationships without being either bogged down in technology specifics or staying too lofty to be useful.

You couldn’t copy a design pattern out of a book into a code editor. Not really. But IF you had basic fluency with the language you could implement a solution that encoded the pattern itself, but that would be tightly bound to your specific application.

If you didn’t have fluency with the language to implement the pattern, the gap in your knowledge was pretty easy to track down and remedy. So, if you knew a pattern fit, but couldn’t figure out how to make it work, there were (I just realized I’m talking about patterns in the past tense. There’s nothing past tense about them except their overwhelming popularity.) ways to figure it out. That way you’d increase your language/toolkit knowledge as well.

But going back over 40 years of programming in my head, aside from the Stephens book (Advanced Programming In The Unix Environment) I don’t think any other book, series of books, lecture, project, job, or person has had quite the cumulative effect on me as the Patterns literature.

So I’ve ordered (and am starting to re-accumulate) the PLoPD (Pattern Languages of Program Design) and POSA (Patterns of Software Architecture) books. There are about five of each and I think I’m back up to half of them.

Even just browsing these things feels like I’ve reacquired ancient keys to knowledge. It’s so much fun, browsing back and forth through these, picking them apart and looking through my brain for problems/solution matches.

Time to figure out what the next frontier is though. I think re-familiarizing myself with this stuff gets my head back in “actual thinking” mode. But I’m not sure if it’s going to help me advance.

I dunno…AI? Too much fake mysticism around it.

We’ll see. I have to think it a good thunk.

7/16/2017: Decisions Decisions

I’ve officially got too many damn projects going at once.

The major ones are:

– Mead (several different batches)
– This hot sauce nightmare
– Teaching myself game development in my spare time
– Gaming (gotta give it its due.)
– Teaching myself about the Forex markets.
– Some light leatherwork.
– Some RaspberryPi and other microcontroller projects I’m fiddly farting around with.

And a couple more I can’t possibly remember at the moment.

For all of the crap I actually DO get done (which sorta surprises me at times) I’m still pretty conscious of how much time I waste being indecisive about what to do next or how to spend my time.

I mean, I’m PRETTY ADD (film at 11) on the best of days. But I’ve never really managed time very well at all. Nowadays I just see it blowing past me like Scott Adams’ deadlines.

Today I certainly did some stuff. Cleaned up my apartment (part 2 of 723.) Put some more peppers in fermentation jars (though I can’t seem to get a good seal on the wide-mouth jars, which is getting a bit frustrating.) I’m sure I got other stuff done, though again I can’t for the life of me remember what it was.

Time to make myself a big list. But not now. I promised myself I wasn’t going to go to bed at midnight anymore. It’s making me grumpy as shit in the morning.

o7

7/15/2017: B3? B3 it is.

Beginning of this week I mentioned the hot sauce. I brought a half dozen bottles in to the office as a goof.

For those six bottles I started from 3 different batches of fermented peppers. I did the whole process description a couple days ago, so I’m not going to rehash that much.

BUT, for each variety of peppers I made a couple/few different combinations and I coded the bottles so I’d know what was in them.

The fermented pepper combinations were:

  • A: Dried Japones peppers
  • B: Fresh Jalapenos and Habaneros
  • C: Dried Chilis of some sort fermented with pineapple pieces.
    • TO these I had a bunch of available additives:

      1. Coconut milk. I figured this would work great for mellowing out some of the heat, which I simply can’t tolerate.
      2. Apple Cider Vinegar. My thinking was that the cider vinegar would be a bit more sweet than a white vinegar, so it’d be worth trying.
      3. White Wine Vinegar. As a baseline.

      I didn’t do ALL combinations because I just didn’t have that much original sauce. (Remember I started with 32oz of fermented peppers and only used what I was able to strain out after putting it through the blender.) There was about enough for 2 different combinations of each original.

      The proportions were ABOUT even for listed ingredients.

      So knowing that, you could go back to the original post and read what I came up with:

      A12
      A13
      B1
      B13
      B3
      C

      It’s interesting to look at the list now. The Japones peppers were just TOO damn hot for me to taste without carrying on like a lunatic, so coconut milk went in both of those and I tried both vinegars.

      I brought this stuff in to work and people tasted it and nodded politely. But the test came when I left these bottles in the office fridge for a week.

      I watched people during lunches and while I’ve got one fan of A13 (the resident salamander) the B3 is now gone. People were putting it on everything. Chips & Guac, burritos, chicken dishes. Whatever. It was going in.

      So tonight I made a couple more canning jar airlock lids and started a batch of fresh jalapenos and a batch of fresh habaneros. I figure if I do them separately I’ll have that much more latitude in coming up with the right proportions.

      If I blend them first I can use my mead glassware now that I’m thinking about it.

      But for all of this nonsense, it’s time for me to get back on track. I wasn’t actually so interested in hot sauces. I was looking to duplicate a garlic sauce I’m particularly fond of, or at least create something in the same category that I like very well.

      Still though, continuing to make and refine the one that people like helps me to develop and refine my skills and…well…gets me the fan base.

      I’m interested to see how this all turns out. I may make a hot sauce lover of myself yet.

7/14/2017: Sit down and shut up

As I’ve mentioned here and there, for a couple months now I’ve been back in the meditation game. Frankly I’ve spent more time sitting, straight-backed, listening to the screaming demons in my mind over the last 6 weeks than I had in the previous 48 years.

I’m not a Buddhist. Hell, I’m not even PRETENDING to be a Buddhist anymore. (Don’t ask. It was my early 20s. Though at least I had the self awareness (heh) to call myself Buddhish.) I’m not a Malibu Transcendental Meditation practitioner. I’m not an Eckist, and frankly I’m less religious all the time (much to my continual shock.) I’m not a Taoist and I am, without a doubt, the least Zen motherfucker you’re ever gonna meet.

Feels good. It’s affecting my life in deep ways that I can vaguely sense, but are really tough to pin down. I’m less of a mess, but I can’t really get more specific than that or I’m just trying to turn around fast enough to catch a glimpse of my own face.

But the mechanics of it bear relating. I’ll try to go through this. But there are points where it’s gonna sound like I’m leaving stuff out that I’m not. The problem is I have to also not leave stuff out.

Taken at it’s most simple and most profound, here’s how to meditate:

Sit down and shut up.

“But Flint WTF does that MEEEEAANNNN?”

S’ok. It’s a reasonable question.

Here’s what I do:

I have a cheap beanbag chair that’s shaped like a chair (rather than just an amorphous blob.) I’ve got it turned around so the ‘back’ is on the floor, and the ‘seat’ is supporting me in the back. By doing this I have space to sit loosely cross-legged, such that my feet are not under my knees. So I sit cross-legged, then sorta half-unfold my legs until I’m in a position where my knees and hips aren’t going to start screaming in a few minutes.

So…sit comfortably.

Put your hands on your knees.

Sit up straight. Posture is pretty important. If you relax into a lump you’re just gonna fall asleep. I’ve wondered more than once if the point of the lotus position wasn’t to maintain a requisite amount of discomfort that was an easy focus point. But more on that later.

The most useful description I’ve heard about how your posture should feel is: Imagine you’re being pulled up by a cord attached to your spine, straightening you up.

Now start the timer, whatever that means. (Ideally you can start the timer for your starting time (let’s call it 15 minutes for your first time) plus two or three minutes, giving you time to get situated.)

Close your eyes.

Breathe slowly, deeply and consistently. I personally just breathe through my nose. But there’s all KINDS of wacky horseshit out there of “in for a count of 4, hold for 8, exhale for 8.” or “Box Breathing” which is the same thing but 4-4-4. Yeah, that’s great. You’re not there yet. I’m not there yet. It’s not worth worrying about.

Because you’re going to need all your mental energy for these next two parts:

Don’t fucking move. Seriously. That itch? Ignore it. Believe it or not it’s going to go away. When you find yourself relaxing and slouching, correct your posture, by all means.

Managing your mind:

There’s an idea that people have that your mind goes blank and that thoughts are bad. Sure, calmness of mind is something to aspire to. But the only way to do that is to dis-involve yourself with what’s going on in it. Give it no importance and watch it float away. Okay okay, wtf does that mean?

So you’re sitting and you’re somehow suddenly thinking of that miserable prick in the office who’s on your ass like a bad rash. There is no way for me, sitting here typing this, to tell you how to let that storm of thoughts and feelings go. This is what I was eluding to up above when I said it’ll seem like I’m leaving things out.

What you can do is focus on something else. I recommend your breath because, well, unless you’re undead, it’s pretty readily at hand. Count out your breath, move your attention to something that has no emotional weight to it at all, the sirens outside, the conversation you can’t quite hear in another part of your building (though that’s dangerous because you don’t want the topic to be interesting.) The trick is to not FEED it and let the emotional charge associated with the thoughts dissipate, then the thoughts will follow it, as it has nothing in your mind to hang on to.

One thing you’ll try is compelling your mind into a quiet state through force of will. I actually urge you to go through with the impulse to watch what a godawful mess it makes of the inside of your brain. Go for it. Get it out of your system. It won’t work. It will pull exactly in the opposite direction which, really, should give you a big clue.

This all sounds elegant as shit. But here’s what I think is the most important thing about meditating (so far for me):

You won’t be able to do it. You’ll suck at it. Things will keep coming up and it’ll be the same things. That may or may not mean something to you. Doesn’t matter. If you expect to “win” at this you’re going to go in to a tailspin of disappointment and frustration. You should endeavor to treat this the same. Draw your attention back to your breath.

Also, you’ll probably fall asleep. It happens. You’ll figure out how to navigate around your own brain to avoid that MOSTLY, eventually.

You’ll go back and forth like this for your whole allotted time. It’ll seem endless, then, just as you’re getting a bit comfortable, the timer will go off.

Here’s the fun part:

The timer goes off. Your eyelids seem…a little heavy when you open them. Not tired. Just… a little heavy. Your breathing is quiet and steady. You don’t even turn your head too fast. There’s a feeling at the base of your skull that’s oddly well described as a cool breeze, and the world feels like you’re standing in a midnight snowfall…just a bit quiet. But it didn’t feel like you did anything. It didn’t feel like you accomplished anything, like you quieted your mind down at all, certainly not THIS much.

You spent the last 15 minutes so hyperfocused on your mental landscape that of course it doesn’t seem like you got very far.

For the next hour, give or take, you’ll be pretty damn mellow.

Repeat.

7/13/2017: Running out of titles

“Hey, as part of your July thing, you should write a blog post every day. Come on. It’ll be fun.”

Fuck.

Guys, I’ve got nothing.

I’m completely tapped out from going to bed at about midnight and reading a couple chapters (if not a whole book) of Christopher Moore’s for a few hours (srsly. He rocks my stripey socks.)

I just don’t get any damn sleep anymore and I’ve been leaning on the caffeine pretty damn hard to get through the day which is making me grumpy as SHIT.

So I’m gonna go to bed.

You guys watch this wacky ass shit and pretend I posted something

7/12/2017: I suppose I should give it a shot at least

It’s amazing what happens. The longer I’m at a job, the greater the situational pressure to leave the trenches and head into management gets.

I mean…I suppose… uch. I hate the idea. But there’s an upper limit to how fast I can make things happen by writing all the code myself. Add to that the fact that I’m just not ever in a position anymore where I can sit in a box and code for more than an hour or two at a time.

It kills me. I really don’t want to go that route.

This was precipitated by a meeting I had this afternoon with a couple developers. It was our first concrete attempt at establishing a common method for doing things. We put our cards and techniques on the table and it was very quickly “I need to get more familiar with your stuff.” And it went almost deferential from there.

So tomorrow in our morning staff meeting I’m going to propose that this list of people, plus our new guy get together weekly and establish an ETL process group.

At some point I’ve just gotta take my fucking medicine. Shit, OUR manager isn’t going to actually take the lead.

Fine.

7/11/17: A little rantlet

Here. Ready?

  1. Buy some jalapenos and habaneros.
  2. Buy a 32oz mason jar or something similar.
  3. Chop up the peppers
  4. Stuff ’em in the jar
  5. Cover them with water
  6. Add a teaspoon of salt
  7. Close the jar
  8. Open it a little every day to “burp” it. (Or, get an airlock lid so you don’t have to play this game.)
  9. Do that twice a day ’til opening the lid doesn’t release any pressure
  10. Pour the whole thing in the blender
  11. Blend the everloving fuck out of it
  12. Strain it
  13. Take the sauce and simmer it to concentrate it down a bunch (“A bunch” is “until it’s the thickness you like.” Alternatively, add a little bit of corn starch.)
  14. Put pour it in a bottle
  15. Have people fawn over your creation while inexplicably declaring they’d have no idea how to start something like that as if all you did wasn’t just look shit up online for 10 minutes and “oh my god you make all this stuff I could never…blah blah blah”
  16. Throw up

Seriously. It’s getting fucking old. It got old when I started baking bread back in 2001 (well, 2002, when it started coming out good.)

I encounter this every time I make any thing. From food and drink to woodworking projects, just…anything. I’m not particularly good at any of this stuff. For every SINGLE one of these fly by night hobbies of mine, there are whole communities of people who pay much more attention to what they’re doing, have better skills, and produce better results.

It would be entirely disingenuous of me to say that I didn’t do a lot of this for the attention. Of course.

But it now seems that the normal stance is that every single thing is to be purchased, and things that are purchased are made by some lost process. Sadly it’s self fulfilling. It’s as though people believe there’s some kind of priesthood, another class of people who are the ones who make things. Bread, butter, ketchup, mozzarella, ricotta, pasta, furniture, dishware, clothes. The only thing people seem to do is cook.

Yeah, it’s convenient to head to the store and pick up everything you need pre-prepared and packaged. And those products are amazing. You can get anything to your door instantly. Don’t even get me STARTED about Amazon.

Having that available frees us up to be able to make things as a luxury pursuit rather than a necessity. When’s the last time you had ketchup that wasn’t fucking Heinz or Hunts? Do you even know what another BRAND tastes like, much less home made? Do you have any idea how EASY it is to make your own butter? How much better it tastes than land-o-lakes (which is just fine?)

How about pasta? My GOD! Eating home made pasta feels like cheating at life. Ya know what’s in home made pasta? Flour and eggs. That’s it. Ya know how you make pasta? You mix flour and eggs.

Seriously. Mix flour and eggs until it’s a heavy, hard, consistent dough, then you make it the shape you want it, then you cook it and eat it, or dry it and cook it and eat it later. And the first time you do it, just put garlic and the butter you made by putting heavy cream in a mixer with a little bit of salt and walking away for 20 minutes ’til it turned magically to butter.

There’s no fucking priesthood of people who make things. ANYthing anyone has ever made, someone can make. The fact that you can get EVERYthing for dinner in one stop (including completely prepared and hot dinners) means there’s no excuse to not stretch out a little. Make SOMEthing.

“You make the best stuff. I could never.” Well fuck you. How DARE you sell yourself that short.

You can’t pour a quart of milk into a sauce pan, bring it to a boil with some salt and vinegar, let it sit for a minute, then pour it over cheese cloth and wait ’til it drains so you have fresh home-made ricotta and whey? Whassamatta? Someone broke your fucking fingers? That’s too hard?

How about you take that, then make some pasta and roll it out, brush some egg on it, put the ricotta in dollops on the sheet of pasta, fold it over and pinch them closed and cut it apart. There. You’ve got home made ravioli. That’s what I made myself for Thanksgiving dinner last year and it was fucking AMAZING.

Every single thing you buy, someone made. Most of the time it’s something people made at home for hundreds of years and it was only automated in the last hundred. So…what? You’re only ever going to buy Heinz Ketchup for the rest of your life? Are you that fucking dull? Really?

Get some damn tomato paste, salt, and a little bit of…I dunno, vinegar, pepper, cayenne for fun… experiment. How bad can the result POSSIBLY be?

Stop assuming things are hard.

You’re better than that.

7/10/2017: Well THAT’S not what I expected

So…see the pic in the previous post.

I brought those attempts at hot sauce to the office today, along with a couple loaves of bread that could be more accurately described as vulcanized than baked.

I’m pretty wary when I bring something in to the office, or to people in general to try. People have this frustrating motivation to please that gets squarely in the way of an honest appraisal of any kind. I don’t need anyone to blow sunshine up my ass and tell me how awesome the stuff I make is. It’s tiresome and more patronizing than complimentary, quite frankly.

But this was different than the normal rounds of “you MADE this!?!” fawning. People talked to each other about them. A couple favorites emerged and there was disagreement about which was better and why.

It was pretty damn satisfying to watch. Wait ’til I tell them that I only brought in about 1/3 of the varieties I have.

I did take the peppers that were the biggest hit and blend the rest of them up and put them in a new mason jar with an air lock on it. If I’m going to actually make any of this in any quantity then I’m going to have to start using those 2 gallon brew buckets or something for the peppers. I can see that being a big problem. Putting a quart of proto hot-sauce in a blender is one thing. Scaling it up to a couple gallons is another thing entirely.

Yeah, this might be a pain in the ass in about 2 iterations.

I dunno. Food processor? Might not be a bad idea. Dunno where I’m gonna PUT the fucking thing though.

Ugh. I’ve really gotta stop posting at close to midnight. I’m tapped out and have about a half dozen more topics to cover.

o7

7/9/2017: But…I don’t even LIKE hot sauce

I just finished bottling my first round of hot sauce attempts. I’d say hot sauces, but at this point I think that would be pretty damn brazen.

Most of them follow the following form:

– Get a bunch of dried peppers
– Chop them up roughly
– Jam as much as can fit into a 32oz mason jar
– Almost top off with water and a bit less than a teaspoon of salt.
– Put an airlock on it
– Wait a month
– Pour contents into blender
– Burn out blender motor
– Buy new blender
– Pour resulting pulp over a strainer into a bowl.
– Take the resulting liquid and boil it down to thicken it (do this more than you think.)
– Experiment with mixing it with stuff. Vinegar, Coconut milk, a little bit of simple syrup, etc, are all candidates.
– Determine it’s now too watery so put it back on the stove and add a teaspoon of corn starch.
– Wonder why the fuck SOME of them turn damn near to paste with a tsp of corn starch and some are not affected at all.
– Say “fuck it”, put them all in bottles, labeling them with the original source pepper and the list of additives (encoded.)
– End up with this:

Hot sauce 101

Not gonna lie, I’m pretty excited to bring these to work and see what happens tomorrow. I’m not SUCH a fan of hot sauces, so these are pretty mild, all things considered. I like the flavor on all of them enough that I’d use them myself.

Aside from the hot sauce stuff…I did some clothes shopping today, which is remarkably weird for me. But I just can’t keep wearing jeans to work. I know it’s allowed. But it’s fucking low class. So off to Tommy Hilfiger (really? ME!?!) for a couple pairs of pants and then I hit the Banana Republic sale (70% off dress shirts? uhm…Yes please.) and picked up a 4 or 5 shirts (I honestly forget) and a belt. Need to go shoe shopping this week at some point as well.

Felt good. Didn’t get any post-purchase regret.

7/8/17 Still feel like I haven’t done anything

Well, I didn’t get as much done on the notebooks as I thought, so no pictures.

But I did rack a few gallons of mead, bake a few loaves of sourdough (one using my new dutch oven, with disastrous results), banged out another chapter in the roguelike dev tutorial, I ran through a round of filtering the hot sauce stuff and…

hmm. No I guess that’s it.

But I still feel like I somehow wasted the day. It’s 9 at night and I’ve still got that “well I need to accomplish SOMEthing today” itch.

I mean, as impulses go, it’s a fine one. There’s just something gnawing at me.

Hrmpf. I’ll figure it out I suppose.

Crap. Completely lost my train of thought.

7/7/17

I’ve got to stop waiting ’til near midnight to post. At this point I’m just looking for enough words to put down so I can say I did it.

Kicked off a major new project at work involving having purchased 200k lines of mediocre C++ code we’re going to retrofit. I’m excited for the work, but there’s no way they’re actually going to let me work on it. It’s going to be a stream of constant interruptions.

Tomorrow I’m going to have a pic or two of the notebook covers I’ve just started making. I absolutely adore the Midori Traveler notebooks. There’s nothing to them really. It’s just a rectangular piece of leather with a few holes in it and some elastic bands threaded through. Then you can slide notebooks (of a very specific, proprietary size) through the elastic and hold a few of them at a time. Fill up a notebook and just replace it….with one of a very specific proprietary size you pretty much have to buy from them, someone on etsy, or make one yourself.

WHICH, as I see it, is a bunch of fucking bullshit.

So a couple months ago I bought a piece of leather and a few of those 3x5ish Field Notes notebooks, and make a little cover for them. It’s great. I need to tweak it a LITTLE. But…like I said, it’s a rectangular piece of leather with 5 holes in it.

Now, that size is a bit too small for me for a normal day-to-day notebook, so I picked up a few of those 5×8 moleskine notebooks, a larger piece of leather and made one for them. It’s awesome. I MAY have gone a bit overboard on the neatsfoot oil, because it comes off on my hands a bit (and on the inside of my bag, the notebook inserts, and anything else it touches.) But I love the feel of the thing.

Last weekend I cut a couple more out and am trying to be a bit more conservative with the oil. It seems to be working just fine. So yesterday I went back to Barnes & Noble and bought two three packs of notebooks, got back to the office and….found out they were the wrong size. Somehow I managed to get the really large 7.5×10 inch books. Well….I mean… returning things is such a pain in the ass, so I ordered a big piece of leather (which should get here tomorrow) and today I went BACK to Barnes & Noble and bought the right size inserts, plus some smaller ones.

I figure, if I use thin enough leather, I can make them pretty small and still have full functionality. I’m not sure though. We’ll see.

What I should really do at this point is get some numeric dies so I can number them. I’m up to 4 actually made, with at least 4 more tomorrow.

It’s funny what happens when people see them. “Oh, I didn’t know you do leatherwork!” I don’t. These aren’t “leatherwork.” It’s making 4 cuts, wiping it with some oil, punching 5 or 7 holes, and threading some elastic band through them. Tada.

I’m probably going to do something with all the hot sauce fermentation thingamabobs too. That’s been going…I think 3 weeks, might be 4, probably isn’t 2. But I’ve got to do some reading to see what the next stage of that is. Definitely should be fun.

And yes, I’ll have pictures of that, if not extensive details.

o7

7/6/2017

I’ve been spinning up the fires of Mt. Doom again lately, having spent the last year and a half bragging my ass off about my bread baking ability.

So a few weeks ago the starter came out of the freezer and I started feeding it…and feeding it…and feeding it.

It’s huge now. I mean, I took a slab off of it, fed it really dry, then put it back in the freezer in two separate containers as a failsafe.

But I decided to actually add salt to it and keep a quantity in the fridge that I could actually bake without much trouble.

I do find it funny though, how long it takes me to get my chops back after not having baked for…well…any length of time. The first few attempts after I come back in to play are generally pretty atrocious. Baking bread is so intensely process oriented that the notes, consisting of little more than baker’s percentages and temperatures, actually tell me almost nothing about what I did.

And, because I’m “The Wing It Kid” I don’t actually take great notes on the important things if they’re not concretely quantifiable.

So my new purple enameled cast iron dutch oven will be deployed in the name of bread baking this weekend, if not tomorrow night.

Should be fun.

In the meantime… notebook covers.

But I’ll save that for tomorrow. It’s hard enough to come up with something that justifies me reaching for the keyboard.

7/5/2017: Nothin’ fancy

I don’t have anything interesting to talk about tonight. I ran through the next lesson in the roguelike development tutorial. It’s funny. I’m not the programmer. At this stage I’m just typing the fucking thing in really. But watching the pieces come together is really fascinating.

To get through the day at the office I’ve been retreating to perhaps my favorite comedian of all time.

Tommy Tiernan

He is truly a different breed. The other comedians I love (Katt Williams, Patrice O’Neil, Sam Kinison, Bernie Mac, Brian Regan, Elvira Kurt, and on and on) all…they all belong in a group. I’m not at all sure what that group IS. But it’s without a doubt not the same fookin’ group as Tommy.