blk: (Default)
A challenge that I never thought I would have is to get teenaged boys to eat food. And yet someone I ended up with kids who don't always eat enough, although not because they are picky eaters. In conversations about how to making putting nutrition in their bodies on a regular basis, particularly when in an environment where they have to be responsible for their own caloric intake, one of us suggested Soylent as an occasional meal supplement. And since I am a person who likes to gather data (even though I actually like food and intend to continue eating it), I suggested we all try out various forms and flavors.

It is unfortunately difficult to acquire a Soylent tasting pack, as the site only sells the liquid version by the 12x (and powder by a week's worth of meals). I mean, it's possible, in that several entrepreneurs offer such a thing, 1x bottle of each of the 4 different flavors, but it is approximately the same cost as a single case. I decided that a) it would be a fun thing to share with other people, and b) we could probably finish up a case of each flavor eventually, as it doesn't go bad. So I ordered that. I also ordered samples of Schmilk, a food-replacement mix that is meant to be mixed with milk, gets decent reviews, comes in small sample packs, and the guy who runs it is responsible and friendly.

Thus I had a *lent tasting party, with about ~10 people, plastic shotglasses, 7 flavors of food-replacement drinks, and some real food to get the taste of non-food out of your mouth if needed. We wrote down comments, and the results were amusing and fun, so I figured I'd share them more publicly.

Reviewed flavors:
Soylent Ready-To-Drink bottles
1) Original,
2) Cacao,
3) Nectar,
4) Coffiest;
SuperBodyFuel Schmilk powder mixed with 2% milk
5) Original,
6) Chocolate,
7) Cinnamon.

reviews )

Basically almost everybody there agreed that Soylent Nectar was The Worst (which is a minor problem in that I still have 8 bottles left that nobody really wants to drink), and Schmilk Cinnamon was close to the best by itself. Soylent Original and Schmilk Original were popular for their simplicity (and not tasting TOO good). Soylent Coffiest was possibly the most controversial.
blk: (bike)
Bike log for July: 125 miles.

I guess this is pretty minimal, representing a bike ride to work most (but not all) days, and basically no lunch or weekend trips. The only distinctive extra riding was one trip across the river to get custom orthotics made, which will hopefully help keep my foot from hurting with basically everything I do (except when it doesn't). Sigh.

I would like to bike more, but what I find myself wanting most often is just to take a slightly longer, more leisurely route on my way home. Except every single other route I can think of would involve more hills, more angry traffic, less quiet park, and definitely less leisurely. And then once I'm home I lose interest in going anywhere else. Hmph.

August I'm intending to at least make it to one of the bike parties, and hopefully to Bike Week, after I move the kid out.
blk: (computer)
Social media these day is complicated. Back in my beginning online days it was redial for hours to get on the BBS, read all the message boards, play some games, logoff. Then years later it was browse through all the graffiti bboards and hang out on zephyr. Then everybody I knew joined LJ, and for many years it was a nice place where large numbers of my closer friends posted actual updates and thoughts and shared and got feedback and had conversations. Then people started moving to other platforms for various reasons, whether it was political or for more instant gratification or to save time or because all their friends jumped off that bridge and they wanted to see how the water was.

Now people are scattered all over, and as a result, so am I.

LiveJournal - I still consider LJ to be my "home base," and I'm not sure that's ever going to change. When I post, I do it with intention. I don't worry about being brief. I can format my writing (to a degree) and easily include links. I am comfortable with how the readership security levels are set up. The comment threading is decent for conversations. It's not perfect and never will be, but it's comfortable.

Actual, real thoughts of mine on complex topics get posted here. I know there are still a decent number of other people posting and others lurking. I know a lot of people don't read anymore, so if I'm really feeling like advertising myself I might x-post links to FB or G+ or so, and I try to post mostly public to make it as least annoying as I can. But not everything goes outward. Anybody non-LJ who actually wants to read my writings should probably think about subscribing to the RSS feed.

Facebook - I spent a lot of time here, because it's almost like a quick social fix and I'm a junkie and the "refresh" button or the overactive sidebar always delivers something. Unfortunately, it's nearly all junk food here, with too much noise and links and likes and quips and very rarely are there real thoughts and good conversations or anything that takes more than 5 seconds to spill out. I don't trust their privacy, and although I've locked down most things to "friends" I mentally consider everything said or posted on there to be completely public. Additionally, unless a post generates interest and "likes," it gets buried in about 30 minutes and very few people will ever see it. That said, the amount that it allows for a tiny touch of interaction is nice. It's much easier and less awkward to click a "like" button than to write a comment saying "hey thanks for sharing that." Event planning works pretty smoothly and is pretty useful for finding things or for announcing something to a large crowd.

Quips and quotes, single thoughts, some pictures and surface stuff gets shared here. I've started using event pages for some of my regular parties. I have very large numbers of neighbors, relatives, and friends who I want to interact with who aren't accessible anywhere else that I am, so it's good for that. I hate facebook.

Google Plus - I honestly haven't figured out what Plus is good for other than being a different kind of Facebook. It's got about the same things there, with fewer people I know. I consider it similarly with regards to privacy and reasons to use it. I'm still suspicious at how google combines the groups with my contacts and just meshes it all together. I don't particularly like that I can't just confine activity notification to the Plus page only.

I have a very tiny number of friends who use Plus exclusively, and a large number of friends who use it and something else. So I can't figure out what to use it for, since I really don't like crossposting things where I know most people will see my stuff multiple times. Occasionally I try to do picture album posts, but even that doesn't seem to work the way I expect it should. I still read, though.

Twitter - My impression of twitter had always been that it's primarily a way to be exhibitionistic in shouting out little quips to the general public. I had multiple people saying how no, it was a really great way of keeping in touch and I should really get on Twitter and use it and see, and so I did, and my opinion hasn't changed much. Maybe if I used it real-time and got instant updates of everything I might find the worthwhile conversations, but I am not that plugged in (the vast majority of all social media interactions are when I'm at keyboard of actual computer, not by phone). So my general experience with it is that when I remember and am bored, I load the page or my phone app and skim the last days/week of tweets, but by then replying to anything seems silly as everybody involved has long since moved on, so there's no actual interaction there.

I keep wondering how it could be useful to me. I'll put cute quips there sometimes if they're <140 characters. But I'm sure it wouldn't miss me one bit if I just forgot about it.

Instant Messaging - I'll lump together AIM, gchat, zephyr, and IRC into one category here, since thanks to Pidgin they mostly are. If I'm at a keyboard I'm likely logged in, occasionally hanging out in a chat room, will usually see messages sent to me (eventually). Gchats used to go to my phone, but that doesn't happen reliably anymore since hangouts became a thing, which is annoying for me, but OTOH, my messages to google accounts seem to work fine for people to other people's phones, which is really handy for poking my kids when they're upstairs. I don't really add many new names to this list these days, but if you like occasional lazychats it's a good thing.

Where can you be found?
blk: (avatar)
blk's Guide to Moving Using Crowdsourcing.

This guide assumes that you have already decided not to have professional movers come in and move you (and optionally pack for you as well), because if that is an option, please save everybody the work and do that instead. Do research to find ones with a good reputation, pay for damage insurance, tip well, and then don't stress about it.

OK. You have decided that you're going to have a couple or couple dozen friends come by and give you a hand carrying stuff. No sweat, people do this all the time. I've moved a few times using friends, and these years I am paying back moving karma, so by now I've helped quite a few with this process. Here are some tips I recommend that will make it more likely that your friends will still respect you in the morning, or at least be willing to ever get their hands dirty for you again. [If you think you see yourself in this, well, you probably do, but you have plenty of company.]

1. pack everything in boxes )

2. rent a truck )

3. use people efficiently )
blk: (flower)
Approximate state of the yard post, mostly for my records, since I found myself going back for years to try to figure out when things bloomed in the past.

Earlier this month:
The yellows start things out, with daffodils and forsythia starting their blooms. Most of the perennials have green stuff showing. The war against hairy bittercress starts up again. Chives growing quickly.

Last week:
Muscari blooms purple. Lithodora starts to bloom pink. Tulips in other yards bloom, but mine don't seem to have. Mowed the lawn for the first time this year, although the front yard long parts were primarily wild onion. Cut and ate my first homegrown asparagus stalk (yum). Began the yearly battle against the dandelions. Herb garden spontaneously re-sprouts little cilantro dicots. Oregano is already fully bushed out.

This week:
Apple blossoms appearing! Sampled a few more pieces of asparagus. Bittercress looks mostly under control as I haven't seen any new ones in a few days. Bindweed attacking the garden with a vengeance, grr. Mint appearing in impossible places. Our young birch tree, which had lost a few limbs to wind/snow last winter, suddenly dropped a big section of its main branch without provocation, which makes me think it's actually dying. Likely going to get a cherry tree to replace it, if we can get our act together soon enough.

Columbine stalks reaching up and will probably flower next week. Pink azaleas look nearly ready to open. The white ones follow, and the reds after that. Still waiting to see signs of the other edibles I planted, although I saw a few dicots in the compost earlier today (before I tossed it).

I <3 spring!
blk: (eyes)
[Poll #1717612]

0 I picked 10 years as a decently sizeable chunk of most of my friends' adult lives.
1 Name that you introduce yourself with, or that most of your friends call you, whether or not you've legally changed it. Could be a nickname if it's a distinctly different one than what you used in the past.
2 General length, e.g., "short" or "long" hair, not just a few inches difference, unless those few inches are all you had.
3 Again, more general, like the main color other people would describe your hair, or what you put on a driver's license.
4 Probably enough that whatever correction you previously used is no longer easily usable.
5 Use your own judgment for what feels like "significant," but I'd guess at 20% of bodyweight or so.
blk: (computer)
When I got my Pre a couple months ago, one of the minor irritations that I noticed and mentioned in my initial review was that my Google email and calendar accounts would occasionally pop up with authentication error messages.

background story about my bughunt and solution )

While I am happy that my two months of debugging have finally come to a successful end, I am dumbfounded and somewhat incensed that it took this long, and that Google was no help. That in all their FAQs and help pages and question forums, that there is NO documentation (that I could find) that says "If we don't like your password, you will be continually bombarded with a captcha, which will randomly and occasionally thwart all of your automated sync and login attempts." That in the error messages I got, there was nothing that actually told me WHAT the error was.

Now, off to the forums to share my wisdom, and hope that nobody makes fun of me for taking me that long to finally change my wimpy password.
blk: (Default)
But I'm a little glowing friend?

Revamped friendslist slightly to reflect more of whom I read.

Since I'm at a nice round number, decided to update the old friendslist meme .

People on my friends list: 100 )


blk: (Default)

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