Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Low and Slow for Perfect Eggs? Skip the microwave.

Temperature and timing is everything.

At least in cooking it is.  It is the difference between turning sugar and water into syrup and turning it into candy.  Or just carbonize it into a blackened mess.

The back story is simple, my diet has changed.  I'm having a lot of scrambled eggs lately because I am "home". 

For a while I was just stirring them in a bowl and then microwaving the bowl.  Stop that, it made for something I could patch a tire with.

So I thought "Hey, you are a better cook than that, what is going on here?".

Hens Eggs stirred and then heated, or really more like warmed, will cook and firm up.  But what you truly want are those rich custard like eggs that you can get when someone who knows what they are doing to them is at the stove.  Adding in cream or milk will change the texture and make things richer but if you use too much heat your results won't be any better.

This is basic, but basic cooking is what you have to get to get your results so you can build.  It's the same for any skill.  Put the time into it and turn the heat down and you'll be surprised.

I took three eggs, and threw them indifferently into a bowl and pressed the 30 second button.  Repeated twice more.  I ended up with a sulfurous yellow blob.  Sure it looked like a souffle and rose quite a bit but that is not what I wanted. 

I thought ok, I have the same eggs.  I can repeat next time.  Again I added no salt, scrambled them in a mug, and poured them into a skillet.  The heat was at low-medium - just enough to toast the bread I was serving with. 

Pushing things around with my trusty Halloween inspired Frankenstein Spatula, (Thanks, Patty,) I noticed I was getting the results I wanted.  Sunny Yellow Egg Custard.

It was perfect.

The next day, the temperature of the skillet was higher.  High enough to begin to tan the surface of the eggs.  It was not as good.  So this morning, less heat. 

This is not the only food that works this way.  It is why you have a candy thermometer.  You cook Meats the same way, to a specific temperature internally.  Steaks at a low internal temperature are rare, at a high one they are burned, sorry, well done.  Pork shoulder cooked to 210 is perfect, 180 is tough.

That last one is due to the toughness of the fibers in the muscles of the pig.  In that case, you need to allow the time at a gentle heat to break the collagen down so that the muscles break down in the sauce to make a soft and pull apart pork dish.  Pulled Pork.  Perfect for a crock pot.

So take your time.  You'll find the results are much better. 

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Why didn’t Noah fish while he was on the ark? Because he only had two worms.

If you ever had a home remodeling job, you will get this one!

A man wants to retile his floors with real stone

He goes to the stonemason and asks about cost.

"Well," says the stonemason, "it really depends on your budget and the quality you're looking for."

"Tell you what, let's start at the bottom and work our way up, yeah?"

The stonemason led him to the showroom with four neat stacks of stone. The first was a mix of pale gray and cream colors. "This here's limestone. It's not super durable but it fits most budgets. Only $11 per square foot."

"Hmm, I wouldn't want to have to replace it too soon," said the man.

"Well, then, how about this?" he asked of a stack of plain gray stone. Good, solid slate. Fairly durable, won't break the bank. It's actually on sale for just $22 per square foot."

The man considered a moment. "I dunno. It's pretty plain, don't you think? I was hoping for something with a bit of sparkle."

The stonemason shrugged his shoulders and led the customer past the third pile of stone which boasted a dazzling array of colors and patterns and on to the fourth pile which was even more ornate with beautiful blues and pinks mixed in among the usual motley of earth tones. "This here's marble. Best money can buy. It'll last you a lifetime and you can't match it for beauty. Only $114 per square foot."

The man cleared his throat as he choked in response to the price, then asked, "Okay, but what about that third pile. Why did you skip over it?"

The stonemason looked back and his brows rose high on his forehead. "Oh, that? That's granite. I can't sell you that, son."

"Whyever not?"

"Well, you can't take anything for granite these days."

Saturday, January 27, 2024

What was the Flashlight arrested for? Battery charges

 I am kind of "the flashlight guy" on my block.  We went a bit nutty because we found that the laptops of the prior era had batteries in them that we could use to power the things.  So we went to find ones that were 1000 lumens or higher and use them for dog walks and on my bike when I was riding in the predawn hours.

After listening to neighbors here, I realized riding a bike with two very bright lights on the front, one on the back, on these South Florida Roads was taking my life in my hands and I figured out how to get to the airpark in Pompano and ride there, safely.


The Donkey

A man is driving down the road when he notices a hitchhiker standing with a donkey.

The man stops and says "Hey fella, I can give you a ride, but what about the donkey?"

The hitchhiker simply replies, "don't worry about him, he'll be alright."

So the man driving is cruising down the road about 50MPH when he looks in his rearview mirror and sees that the donkey is right on his tail.

The driver then speed up to 60MPH and the donkey still is right on his tail.

Finally, the driver increases to 70MPH and the donkey is still right on his tail.

The driver finally says to the hitchhiker, "hey pal, what is the deal with your donkey?"

The hitchhiker says "what do you mean?"

The man says, "I am going 70MPH and he is right on my tail, and on top of that his tongue is hanging out."

The hitchhiker says "to what side?"

"The left" replies the driver.

To which the hitchhiker replies "just hold your lane, he is looking to pass."

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Freeciv (Multiple Platforms) - How To Connect To Server and Force or Recover Your Last Game

Ok while the topic sounds complex, really it isn't.

Freeciv is an open source game that "works similar" to the Sid Meyers game of Civilization, typically version 2.

While there are versions on the web, and more advanced ports of the game, I like having my game here on my own computer.  I run Debian Linux, almost exclusively, but it also runs on just about every other operating system out there including Windows, Mac OSX, BSD, and even OS/2 has an implementation of it. 

It's also a massive time sink.  I stopped playing it just before lockdown and COVID but recently revisited it since I realized that I was spending about as much time avoiding it as I used to play it.

May as well come back.

Except ...

When I launched the game, I got the dreaded "Sorry" message.  From what I have read, it's connected to how your local computer talks through a firewall to a remote server.  In this case, that is the game server, which in my case runs on this machine.   The game client, with which you interact refuses to start a server automatically and you get the messages that flash up on the status bar at the bottom ending with "You'll have to start one manually.  Sorry."

Frustrating but here is how to get around that.

1 Launch your Freeciv Client if not started.
2 Launch your Freeciv Server, manually, if not started.
3 Within the Freeciv Client, select "Connect to Network Game"
4 You will then drop into the game start dialogue.  Go conquer something.

Now... you do your thing, and save your game.  How do you reclaim your last game after some time?

Assuming you saved your game as "b.sav.xz", and it sits somewhere you know where you put it.  Assuming you are me on Linux (I don't do Windows) and took the defaults the file will be saved at /home/bill/b.sav.xz ...

1 Launch your Freeciv Client if not started.
2 Launch your Freeciv Server, manually, if not started.
3 Select the Freeciv  Server and enter this string on the command line:
    load /home/bill/b.sav.xz
4 When you hit enter, the scroll will inform you that it has accepted your save file and will change to that save.  It may be at the beginning of your turn, so assume that you can do the save cheat here, but it also may not. 
5 Switch back to your Freeciv Client, and select "Connect to Network Game".  Your game will be on your machine name.  Mine is //caribou.
6 You will be presented with the resume dialogue and you can now select "Start".
7 Welcome to that last turn you were at.  Go conquer something.

Sunday, January 21, 2024

How do cars work out? They pickup trucks

Being in Florida as long as I have been, I can totally see this happening.  I just wish I had a pond, they can be entertaining to watch... for "reasons"!

The pond

An elderly man in Florida had owned a large farm for many years. He had a large pond in the back.

It was properly shaped for swimming, so he fixed it up nice with picnic tables, horseshoe courts, and some orange, and lime trees. One evening the old farmer decided to go down to the pond, as he hadn't been there for a while, and look it over.

He grabbed a five-gallon bucket to bring back some fruit. As he neared the pond, he heard voices shouting and laughing with glee.

As he came closer, he saw it was a bunch of young women skinny-dipping in his pond.

He made the women aware of his presence and they all went to the deep end.

One of the women shouted to him, 'we are not coming out until you leave!'

The old man frowned, 'I didn't come down here to watch you ladies swim naked or make you get out of the pond naked..'

Holding the bucket up he said, 'I'm here to feed the alligator.'

Some old men can still think fast…

Saturday, January 20, 2024

She got her good looks from her father who is a plastic surgeon

 Living in South Florida gives you a strange outlook on life.  That topic that I am using as a joke has been used "In Private" in my presence more times than I care to count.

I can say the same about Los Angeles and the big Northeastern Cities too.

And speaking of using help...

A chicken farmer went to a local bar

He sat next to a woman, and ordered a glass of champagne. The woman perked up and said, “How about that? I just ordered a glass of champagne, too!”

“What a coincidence,” the farmer said, “This is a special day for me. I’m celebrating.”

“This is a special day for me, too, and I’m also celebrating!” said the woman.

“What a coincidence,” said the farmer. As they clinked glasses, he added, “What are you celebrating?”

“My husband and I have been trying to have a child for years, and today, my gynecologist told me I’m pregnant!”

“What a coincidence,” said the farmer. “I’m a chicken farmer, and for years all my hens were infertile, but today, they're all laying fertilized eggs.”

“That’s incredible,” said the woman. “How did your chickens become fertile?”

“I used a different rooster,” the farmer replied.

The woman smiled and said, “What a coincidence!”

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

We may be losing our Muse, Rack the McNab SuperDog(TM)

A Wise child once said "Dogs don't live as long as us because they already know how to love". 

This is certainly the case with Rack.

He came to us shattered as a puppy.  Completely demoralized.  When he got out of the freedom ride, he slinked across the street on his belly, to meet the neighbors the very first night.

Now, he's at the point where he looks forward to a walk around town to greet friends two and four legged both.

He has been my muse for 12 years or so.  I watched him bloom, grow, and shake off the mistreatment he got before we rescued him.  Figured out his diet problems - home made food only, never from a bag, never from a can. 

That diet kept him healthy for all this time.  Even with his current trials, his "numbers" at 12 years old are square in the middle of the healthy range.  But it did not help him dodge the cancer bullet.  Something in his hardware, his DNA, short circuited and he has a 2 cm lump in his back side.  Left side anal gland specifically.

We're waiting on the ultrasound results to make a decision on where to go with this. 

For now, it looks like he has a minimum of 3 to 6 months left.  Who knows what the maximum is.

Stay tuned, we're waiting on the vet.

Sunday, January 14, 2024

I have begun reading a horror story in Braille. Something bad is going to happen... I can feel it.

I spent a fair amount of time yesterday shopping for food.   I have been making food all day since I managed to get up.  Pizza for lunch, Coffee for later, Biscuits for breakfast.  At least I'm not being run down in a grocery store.

I went to the grocery store the other day and saw these two ~75 year old men violently ram their carts into each other.

I helped one of them up and listened in while they were talking.
“Terribly sorry, I’m looking for my wife - I can’t find her anywhere!” says the one I’m helping up.

“Well that’s a coincidence, I’ve been looking all over for my wife! I tell you what, how about we help each other look for them?” the second fellow asks.
“That’s not a bad idea! What does your wife look like so I will know her when we see her?” the first man says, now dusting himself off.

The other guy replies “Well she’s 34 years old, she’s wearing a blue skirt with long slender legs sticking out, and a bright yellow sleeveless shirt that I told her before we left reveals too much. How about you - what is your wife wearing?”.
“Doesn’t matter. Let’s look for yours.”

Saturday, January 13, 2024

Why shouldn’t you eat a clock? Because it would be time consuming

It's another well told version of an old favorite.  See if you get the punch line before I did!

Liberty biberty

Doug breaks for dinner and walks into a cafe with Limu the emu behind him. The waitress seats Doug and asks him for his order.
''A hamburger, fries and a coke," then turns to Limu, "What about you?" "I'll have the same." says the emu.

A short time later the waitress returns with the order, "That will be $9.40 please." and Doug reaches into his pocket and pulls out the exact change for payment.

The next day, Doug and Limu comes again and he orders a hamburger, fries and a coke. Limu says, "I'll have the same." Again Doug reaches into his pocket and pays with exact change.
This becomes routine for four days. On the fifth night, the pair enter again. "The usual?" asks the waitress.
"No, it's Friday night, so I'll have a steak, baked potato, and a salad," says Doug. '"Same." says the emu.

Shortly the waitress brings the order and says, "That will be $32.62." Once again Doug pulls out the exact change from his pocket and places it on the table.

The waitress cannot hold back her curiosity any longer. "Excuse me, how do you manage to always come up with the exact change in your pocket every time?"

"Well," replies Doug, "A few years ago, before I was working for Liberty Mutual, I would clean out the thrift store collection drop-off boxes and one day I found an old lamp covered with dust. As I was wiping it down, a Genie appeared and offered me two wishes. My first wish was that if I ever had to pay for anything, I would just put my hand in my pocket and the right amount of money would always be there."

"That's brilliant!" says the waitress. "Most people would ask for a million dollars or more, but you'll always be as rich as you want for as long as you live!" "That's right. Whether it's a gallon of milk or a Rolls Royce, the exact amount of money is always there." says Doug.
The waitress asks, "What's the deal with the emu?"

Doug sighs, pauses, and then answers, "My second wish was for a tall chick with a plump rump and long legs, who agrees with everything I say."

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

New Tires, New Battery, Old Size, Welcome to WalMart. At 7 AM. UGH.

"People of Walmart", this stuff really does happen.

A couple weeks back, last year at this point, the battery in my Jeep failed. 

Mind you, it's a 21 year old car, having a bad battery is kind of expected.

Did some shopping. 

Sears is dead.  Their Board allowed the company to be gutted, and the store here is gone.  I'd just drive up, buy one, have it installed.  It was incredibly convenient.  Now the grand Searstown in Fort Lauderdale is being eaten away by heavy machinery and going to become a reef, or so I had heard.

It was the same way with tires.  Order them, they get delivered.  Install them, enjoy them.  I had Cooper Tires on the Jeep for about a decade. 

In the meantime, there went Sears.  There went the tires as well.  They are about 10 years old and have been degrading, internally.   I guess they're not meant to be used quite THAT long.  Until I get to about 25mph, it was a horrible ride.  Very rough.  The tread is beginning to show wear which is difficult on an offroad tire.  The tires themselves were an upgrade from "stock" by two sizes.  Not enough to require me to "lift" the car, just enough to put the speedometer into actual accurate reading. 

I had gotten a screw in the tire and threw my hands up and said it is time.  After removing the screw head with a tool and leaving the body in the tire as a plug I shopped for identical tires.

Oh I had found them at Walmart.  As a rule, I don't particularly like the place.  I was sitting out back waiting for the battery to be delivered to me at pickup and listening to the Creatures there and their "music".

Every fifth word was "BITCH" on one track.  Not exactly my idea of music.  It was hers and she did break a nail sitting there annoying everyone around me.

The workers were awesome, delivered the battery to the back of my friend's car, and we left.  I installed the thing in the car in my driveway.

Back to finding tires.  I ordered exactly what I had over 10 years ago.  31x10.5R15.  


They got to the store.  After an hour of wandering the bowels of this place that I was thinking that I may be able to get my skates out I got a text and went to talk to someone there.   Apparently their corporate rules are strict.  If you get a good price there and the size is not identical to what your car had on purchase, they will refuse installation.

I showed her where it was literally, identically sized to what I bought. 

Nope.  They won't do it. 
Nope, I can't put them in the car and find installation.  Not on such short notice.  Please reverse all the charges. 

They did reverse the charges, and I limped home.

I found some other tires, identical to the size on the sticker on the driver's side door post.  I'm not exactly happy with not having the slightly larger tires.  Oh, I'll get better gas mileage, and I'll be in alignment with what I use the Jeep for here in South Florida - carving a groove to the park to workout.  But it's not what I want. 

They're ... Normal, and they will not handle as well.  The larger Coopers were very much more sure footed than the original 215/75R15.  I have one of the original 21 year old tires on the back of the car as a spare.  I would not trust it either.  It's looking cracked. 

Pro Tip if you are down here driving around:  First, the rules are the same, use your damn turn signals, obey the stop signs and speed limits.  Second, there is a lot of construction in South Florida and you have a higher chance of a puncture than you do Back Home.

But the rules of the same have not changed.  The stop sign still means stop.  The speed limit is still the speed limit.  We will be cursing at you and no you should not drive stupid.

Just stay off the road if you don't understand that.  My new Uniroyals will thank you for that.

Sunday, January 7, 2024

Why do librarians hate tennis? Too much racket!

Perfect little story for a Sunday Morning.  Just be careful of these little kids... they can be predictive!

A dad was putting his daughter to bed, and she said her nightly prayers,

"Good night mum, good night daddy, goodnight grandma, and goodbye grandpa." Puzzled, he asked why she said goodbye to grandpa instead of goodnight. The girl explained she felt it in her spirit. The next day, grandpa passed away.

Worried, the dad paid closer attention when she prayed. Months later, saying her prayers, the girl said, “Good night mum, good night daddy, goodbye grandma.” Puzzled, the father asked her why she said goodbye to grandma, but the girl said it was the right thing to say in her mind. Sadly, the following day, grandma passed away.

Two months later, when his wife was on a trip, the little girl praying said, "Goodnight mum, goodbye dad." On hearing this, the dad knew what was coming. Determined to survive, he prayed fervently. He stayed home, didn’t go out, and was very careful throughout the day. He figured out that if he survived past midnight, he would break the spell. And he did survive past midnight, and he was thankful.

Early the next morning, when his wife returned from the trip, as he was about narrating his ordeal, she shared a shocking news, saying, “You won’t believe what just happened—my boss died on our flight back to Florida.”

Saturday, January 6, 2024

I went to the pub as a tennis ball the other night. I got served straight away.

When I was growing up there were a few things I thought were going to be more of a problem.  One was quicksand.  I never saw anywhere that there was actually any of the stuff.  Oh I am sure it exists, but never ever saw it.

The other is being lost in the Desert.  I'm nowhere near a desert.  I always carry water.  So I'm confused.

A man is walking through the desert, desperate for water, when he sees something far off in the distance.

Hoping to find water, he hurries towards the object, only to find a little old man sitting at a table with a bunch of ties laid out.
The parched wanderer asks, "Please, I'm dying of thirst, can I have some water?" 

The man at the table, nonchalantly, replies, "I don't have any water, but why don't you buy a tie? Here's one that goes nicely with your clothes."
The man, annoyed, replies, "I don't need a tie, I need water!"

"Well, don't be mad," says the little old man, "if you go over that hill and walk for about 3 miles, there's a restaurant there. They have all the water you need."
With no other option, the man thanks him and walks over the hill, desperately hoping for water.

Three hours later, the man trudges back to the little old man's place, and he is more desperate than ever: "Your brother won't let me in without a tie!"

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Wilton Manors - This town amuses me with influencers and quirky people

 My chair in the living room faces a large window.  I look over a busy, for a suburban neighborhood's street.  There is an intersection and a giant mango tree that I feeds me about two weeks of calories per year.

I'm not bashful, I will eat any of those wonderful up to and over two pound (one kilo) fruit that I can.  Oh and don't judge me, I have permission from the property owner even though he may not care or remember.

Or do.  You never had my Mango Jelly.

So I see what goes on here.  I am here today listening to some classical music, Haydn symphony at the moment and relaxing.  It's been a rough year, 2023, and I am sure it has been for most.  If not, extend a helping hand to others, this I will just say if you are in a place to help and you don't, you are being judged.

Regardless, seeing what goes on I get a chuckle from time to time.

There's a male couple that comes through on bicycles at the same time every day.  There's the walker who picked up a female walking partner, and people walking their dogs of every shape and size.

Being January it's a bit cool for us.  So seeing the woman walking her dog and pushing her baby in the carriage covering the front to hold in the heat is not a surprise.

When I moved here, there was an empty lot that got filled in by two rather large McMansions.  The construction is, well crap, and I did see them get built.  I'm friendly with one family in it and I hear when they are replacing bits and pieces over time.  Helpful hint is that you don't want to buy too new a house in South Florida.  Avoid flat roofs, and make sure that the builder has a good reputation.  If you jump in too fast you may end up with something that will be an insurance nightmare.

However, the house itself is showy and what many people would picture as luxurious.  The one I know is, large rooms and high ceilings.  I can't go in too often or too long as they have cats and my allergies won't permit it.

As I sat here waiting for the cycling couple about 9:30 in the morning, I was making a late breakfast.  The ham was cooking in the skillet, my kitchen smelled pleasantly of food.  There is a place where I stand in my kitchen where I can see down the block both directly and indirectly by looking at the reflection in the glass in our large pictures on the wall above my chair. 

I noticed someone walking up my block.  I knew he wasn't a neighbor, I know everyone on my long block at least by sight.  I know, that isn't particularly standard for suburban South Florida, but it fits my attitude towards security and safety, allow that quirk my friends, and you should adopt it.

He was about my height and had a good 30 to 50 pounds on me.  I'm a lean 6'4" (193cm) and 181 pounds (82kg).  He was dressed in olive drab spandex, and carrying a camera on a tripod.  I chuckled and said "An Influencer, no doubt" to Rack the SuperDog (TM).

Apparently he set himself up in front of one of the houses to get a view of the two big ones.  I've seen others plant themselves there and it's amused me before.  I have asked if I can help, it usually embarrasses them and they move on.  I also have watched from the glass and got a wave or two.

After all it isn't harmful.  If you don't live here you'd get it.  Besides if I were to take my picture in front of somewhere as a tourist or influencer then I can thing of greener blocks.  My friend, the town's big sister, Constance's block would be perfect.

So I flipped my eggs and looked again.  Here he was flexing his muscles and trying to look impressive and taking video in front of Robb's house while I was smiling and getting my breakfast finished.

I don't know him, but well, if I ever see the picture crop up I'll know the story and so will you.

Haydn is done, Rhapsody in Blue is playing, and the coffee is cold.  Perfect place to stop and pause and chuckle at the front window again.  Ahh there goes the suburban family guy type down the block on a segway.

Yep, that's Wilton Manors, whatever you heard about it, outsider, you are probably wrong.  Embrace creative weirdness, you'll be entertained!