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and things went downhill from there
(a desperate plea for fish)
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Burning Fur Mood
We had a very modest dinner this evening (a small, frozen pizza split between us) and I was in the mood for dessert. I suggested walking up to the corner shop for sundaes, but the other half of "we" in the equation was not interested.

I considered moping about it for awhile, but decided to be more productive and make myself a dessert instead. I've made those microwaved, coffee mug brownies in the past with good success, and that seemed like just the right amount to sate my dessert cravings.

It was a smashing success, right up to the point where the microwave oven died about 1/4 of a second after I hit the power button. At first I assumed I had blown the breaker, but further investigation narrows it down to the microwave oven itself.

I've had this oven for almost thirty years, so it really doesn't owe me anything. I guess we'll be shopping around for a new one this weekend (unless we discover that it's just a blown fuse in the microwave itself - we'll pull it out for a look on the weekend before we start spending money on a new one).

I never did get around to using the meat probe that came with it, though I will admit that the thought of cooking a roast in the microwave oven never crossed my mind in all this time.

In work-related news, my company released a notice to the press that they have signed a one-year contract with the T&E and Teamsters that will take them through to the end of 2018. The plus side for me is that it relieves a bit of the pressure off the company to cram as many people through their awful management conductor/engineer training program to have them in place for strike work next year.

This does not mean that I won't get forced into the program again once my ankle is finally fixed, but it increases the odds that by the time they push me back into it, I'll be so close to retirement as to make it pointless for both of us.

I was chatting with a co-worker last week who is in the management conductor pool, and he mentioned a curiosity that he has noticed on the list of people on call for it. He said, "It's weird, but for all the people the are cramming through the program, the number of people in the call pool is not getting any larger."

Actually, it's not that weird at all. Most of the people they are forcing into the program are older employees who they consider less of a flight risk; that is, people who have enough time invested in their career that they will deal with the hardship rather than throw away 20+ years of pensionable service. The problem is that these are mostly people like me, who have been working sedentary desk jobs for decades. Also, the way they treat qualified people in these positions is abominable, often sending them off to remote locations on same-day notice.

"Hey, pack your bags and fly out tonight for ten days in Cousinlove Saskatchewan, where you get to work in a stressful situation with people who resent you."

"Sure thing. The dog and kids can take care of themselves."

Anyway, it turns out that for everyone who qualifies, another one either gets injured, gets medically disqualified (arthritis flared up, heart condition, bad back - you know, the kinds of things that can happen to older, sedentary people who are suddenly thrust into outdoor manual labour around heavy equipment), goes on stress leave because of the awful conditions, retires, or quits.
4th-Sep-2017 04:38 pm - Spectacles
Burning Fur Mood
How is it that I have never before seen this video?!

I purchased this on vinyl many years back when that was still my main means of playing music. At the time, I was just beginning to collect earlier works of Jethro Tull after being introduced to them by way of their Broadsword LP. The album that I purchased came in a plain white sleeve, with the words "NOT FOR RESALE" clearly printed on the cover. The used record shop obviously felt that the warning only applied to new copies.

I really liked a couple of the tracks on first listening, but the rest of the album grew on me over time. This was always my favourite track.
27th-Aug-2017 07:18 pm - Iron Pen
Burning Fur Mood
I entered the Iron Pen contest again this year at Furry Migration, and I finished down in the pack again for the second year running. On rereading this one, I can see why I fell short again. I can also see a few mistakes that sneaked into it when I was madly editing it to bring it into the allowed word count (not over 1000 words). My first draft was 1128 words, so I had to do some significant editing.

I would do some clean-up if it was going to go into the con book, but that honour goes to [personal profile] atara for the second year running. She has been on a writing tear of late, and I have always told her she is a better writer than I am. Maybe she will start to listen after trouncing me two years running in this contest.

8<---- losing entry below ----

The beaver could not suppress his giggles as his friend led him, blindfolded, toward what he presumed was the basement of the house. "All I'm saying," he said between chuckles, "is that slapping a blindfold on your best friend and then leading him to the basement seems a little risqué is all."

"It's because it's a surprise," said the goose. "If you could see then it wouldn't be a surprise."

"I could just close my eyes."

"You'd peek. I know you."

"I could peek now," retorted the beaver. He tilted back his head to show the gap between the blindfold and his muzzle. "I see you, Tommy…" he said, peering at his friend under the blindfold. The goose honked angrily and clapped a wing across his friend's face.

"No peeking!" The beaver continued giggling, but he complied with the order while the goose led him carefully through the house and down the back stairs to the basement. Finally, he gently tugged the beaver to a halt and dramatically announced, "Welcome to my secret lab."

"It smells like your bedroom," said the beaver, wrinkling his nose.

"It's multifunctional," said the goose primly. "You may now remove your mask and be amazed on the count of three. One… two…" The beaver whipped off his mask. "Todd!" said the goose with another wrathful honk, but he could not stay angry when the beaver emitted a squeal of delight.

"Omigod that is so cute! Dude, you got a dogbot!" The beaver dropped to his knees to get a closer look at the little dog standing in the middle of his friend's bedroom floor. In truth, it would have been hard to miss the diminutive mechanical beast as it was in a small oasis of clear floor, surrounded by a ring of discarded clothes, snack food wrappers, and other knickknacks that tended to accumulate in an unkept room. "I didn't know your family was rich. How did you afford this little guy?"

"I built him," said the goose with affected humility. He buffed his chest with the tip of his right wing. "That's why I was working two jobs all summer. I saved up every credit until I could afford to download a kit from Earth." He called to the dog. "Watson, speak!"

"Hello, my name is Watson," said the dog in a tone and accent that seemed to be as neutral as one could design.

"Wow, you're already teaching him tricks," said the beaver in hushed wonder. "Is he friendly? Can I pet him?" The goose nodded, and the beaver gently patted the robotic dog on the fake fur between its ears. It responded with a faint whir as its tail activated and thumped rhythmically on the floor. "Did you get him at Dogmart?"

"Got him from Fidonet," said the goose breezily, "and I printed him at the library. I could only print a couple parts at a time, but it was cheap."

"Fidonet?" said the beaver with an incredulous slap of his tail. "You pirated a dog?"

"Do you know how much the bandwidth cost to download this dog?" demanded the goose defensively. "I paid more than what he'd have cost in downloading him. Totally worth it though because he's one of the premium kits. This is Corgi_V2 Model_7, three-time winner of Best in Show at the Kiev dog show."

"Wow, best in show…" said the beaver. He drew it out into a long sigh, and reached out to pat the dog again. He paused with his hand an inch above the mechanical beast's head, and his expression changed. His muzzle scrunched up in thought. "Wait, did you say corgi? I've seen pictures of dogs, and this ain't no corgi. This is, like, a schnauzer."

"What?" demanded the goose. He snatched his tablet off his bedside table and quickly tapped and swiped through a few screens before turning it to his friend with a triumphant sweep. "Well, I've got an assembly manual that says otherwise. Look here, it says Corgi_V2 Model_7." The beaver looked unconvinced. "Fine," said the goose with an exasperated puffing of chest down, "Let's ask him. Watson, what dog breed are you?"

"I'm a mechanical dog," replied Watson unhelpfully, thumping the floor again with its tail. "Shall we play fetch?"

The beaver pulled a phablet out of his coat and held it up. "Computer, show me pictures of schnauzers," he said. The device complied, and the beaver reluctantly turned it so that his friend could see. He felt a pang of sadness when Tommy's feathers flattened and wings sagged as he glanced between the pictures on the phablet and his new mechanical pet.

"They ripped me off," he wailed. "They sent me a bad dog."

The mechanical dog's ears immediately drooped in response to the words. "Disciplinary speech pattern detected," it said in as contrite a manner as its neutral tone allowed. "Please identify my errant behavior so that I may recalibrate my network to avoid this action in future."

"It's nothing you did," said the beaver, patting the forlorn-looking mechanical schnauzer on the head. "It's more of an, uh, existential kind of bad." The little dog's mechanical ears pivoted while it absorbed this new tidbit of information.

"This model is not programmed to contemplate on deeper philosophical matters," it said. "I require additional data on the objective criteria that differentiates conceptual good from bad. How does one calculate a concise measure of bad?"

"Would you bite my sister?" said the goose.

"I programmed not to bite except in defence of my master," replied the robotic dog.

"Would you bite her if she was being a total goober, and I asked you to bite her?" The dog's ear's rotated in thought.

"Yes," it said, "I would bite your sister if she was being a total goober."

"Well you may not be a corgi, but you are a good dog," said the goose. He bent down and patted the little mechanical dog's head with the tip of his wing. "Good dog."
27th-Aug-2017 03:41 pm - Furry MIgration
Burning Fur Mood
We likely won't be making it to any of the larger cons this year due to scheduling conflicts, but we drove down to Furry Migration again because we really enjoyed it last year. We like the larger conventions, but there is a certain appeal to the smaller ones as well. With the more intimate venue and lighter schedule, there is a much greater chance of encountering people you know, and more freedom to organise outside activities.

We would like to come back to this one again next year, but it comes so close to my projected retirement date, there is a good chance I will be completely consumed with work activities around the same time as the convention.

The weather was much nicer last year, but we did not allow the cool, damp conditions to put a chill on our activities. We managed to see all of the people we wanted to see, and to go all the places we were hoping to go.
Gloomy weather

Somehow my camera just knows how to pick out the snow leopards in the crowd.
20th-Aug-2017 10:04 pm - Drinking my life away.
Emo Luna Mood
Dear Mount Hagen Coffee,

I purchased a small jar of your freeze-dried, instant, decaffeinated organic coffee because my experience with the three previous brands of instant coffees I had tried were disappointing, and also I have no self-respect. I can say with some assurance as I gleefully tossed the empty jar into the recycling bin this evening that the coffee therein was not disappointing. I daresay it vile to the point of being insulting. These horrid little crystals bore as much resemblance to coffee as the ashes of a dearly departed. Did anybody taste the product before it was labelled as coffee? I would suggest that a the consumer would be better served if this product was renamed to, "freeze-dried tragedy. Serve hot."

I would not serve this drink to my enemies, though I would venture to suggest that I might make a few by serving good folk this abomination.

If I could find a silver lining in this brew of putrescence, it is that it spurred me into dropping all pretence of coffee in the evenings, and made me seek out an alternative to decaf entirely. The problem is not that I dislike coffee, in fact I love it too much, and I drink it in all of its full-caffeine forms during the day. I would just like to enjoy the brew in the evenings without disrupting my sleep. I've had some mixed success with whole bean and ground decaf coffee, but I was hoping to get away from the fuss and mess of brewing coffee by lowering my standards a bit - a lot, actually - and and trying my luck with instant coffee.

Anyway, I blame you and the sheer repulsiveness of your product into rendering me susceptible to my next ill-advised purchase: Bambu instant organic coffee substitute.

The product caught my eye while I was shopping for other products, and I happened by the section of the store that offers products like Almond Milk, Flavoured Soy Drink, and other items that tend to serve as a ward people who do not hate themselves. I was intrigued by the label which showed a couple spikes of wheat, several whole acorns and half a fig flying gleefully into a swirling mug of foamy, brown liquid. I held the product in my hand in a state of detached, morbid fascination before I quickly tossed it into my basket lest somebody see me and misidentify me as a pod person. I mean, surely nobody would make a product like this as anything other than a trap to ensnare aliens trying to pass themselves off as humans.

"Hello, fellow humans. Would you care to join me in a cup of beverage made from nuts, grains, and a pulpy fruit normally used for making newtons?"

I had low expectations for this beverage, so nothing would delight me more than to tell you that it was delicious. But it wasn't. It was a disappointment. From the very first cup of hot, steaming, what the hell was I thinking, I knew that I had made a big mistake. I made another cup the next night, and tried adding enough sugar to mask the flavour. No amount of sugar helped. The second cup was naught but sweet regret.

I left both products sitting on the kitchen shelf, untouched for almost a week after that. I finally concluded that I was never going to drink either of them again, and though I am loathe to waste a product, I went out to the kitchen with the intent of pouring both into the sink and recycling their jars. It was when I had both jars in my hands that I performed an act that I can only attribute to temporary insanity, or suppressed self-loathing. I decided that they deserved a proper send-off, and I was curious if their awfulness was additive or multiplicative, so I scooped half a proper portion of each into my mug and prepared it as I would a regular instant coffee.

What I had not anticipated was that their union was neither of those, rather it was subtractive. The resulting blend was not simply not bad, it was actually pretty good. It would be like putting a pug and a shih tzu into a grinder and... well, actually we could stop right there and we'd still have a winning condition. But in this case, it would be like putting two yappy, snorty dogs into a grinder and having a border collie come out the end.

I finished the last of the Mount Hagen coffee this evening, and I have since purchased a brand that was more passable. I am hoping that it will play as nicely with this coffee substitute as its predecessor. I suspect it will. I remember years ago it was common for coffee companies to add chicory to their instant coffees, and it is the main ingredient in Bambu.


Return to Pinawa

Path of The Rock

Happy Birthday CanadaHappy Birthday Canada
12th-Aug-2017 04:55 pm - Adventures in Breakfast
Entertain Me
One of the things I plan to do after I retire is explore local restaurants. My goal is to venture out at least a couple of times a week to sample a wide variety of breakfast and lunch places, hopefully hitting a different one each time. A good friend of mine is retiring later this year, and when I mentioned this plan to him, he immediately said, "Sign me up!"

Ultimately I want to walk or cycle to as many of them as I can, or walk there and take the bus home again; the idea is to get exercise as well as a meal. My plan for my retirement years does not consist of sitting on my butt as I slowly fade away.

I know it's not a unique or new idea, but I am also planning to BLOG about the places as I visit them. I am torn between creating a public BLOG for it (maybe see if I can coax my dear wife to give me some space on one that she has already created), or just post it here.

I may experiment with a few formats before I settle on something consistent, so please bear with me. Also, don't expect a lot of entries on this until I'm actually retired in a year.

Relli's Breakfast & More
Home Style Cooking

Attached to the Green Brier Inn, North Main St, Winnipeg

August 11, 2017

[personal profile] atara and I spotted this new place when we were walking down Main Street a couple of weeks ago to hit up a local butcher shop. There have been a couple of other restaurants that have set up shop in the front of the Green Brier over the years, but each has looked sketchier than the one before.

At this point I should probably give some background on the Green Brier itself. This is a pub located in the north part of Winnipeg, with an attached liquor vendor, and (as I mentioned above) a succession of restaurants occupying the other street-front portion of the building. In fairness to the pub, I have only been in there once, and it was long before its renovations a few years ago. At the time when I visited, it radiated an unwelcoming, stabby kind of vibe that caused my friend and I to exchange an uneasy glance before we wheeled and walked out again by unspoken, mutual agreement.

The fact that there was drunken, off-key karaoke taking place at the time did not hurt our decision process.

When we passed this new restaurant (New as of June this year, as I later learned from the owner), I told [personal profile] atara of my plan to walk down there for breakfast at some point during my week of vacation. Yesterday I followed through on that.

Between the gaily painted window - which features a smiling portrait of (who I presume to be) the self-same Relli taking an order, and a grinning cup of coffee holding a breakfast sandwich - and the Venetian blinds inside, I could not see into the restaurant from the street. I dithered outside for a minute, trying to find a write-up about the restaurant on my phone before I finally admitted to myself that I was just procrastinating.

I opened the door and ventured into a rather pleasant, homey little diner. It had five tables in total, one of which was occupied by a family of four, and another by a young woman who was drinking coffee and reading the paper. It did not take me long to figure out that she is the owner's daughter, first when she offered me a menu and told me to help myself to coffee, and again later when I heard her complain, "Mom, I'm not even supposed to be working today."

Mother and daughter were both very friendly, and quickly defused any hesitation I may have felt about trying the new restaurant.

The menu selection was fairly limited - if memory serves me, they offered a maximum of five or six breakfast selections. I glanced over the options quickly before choosing the pork chop and eggs, as pictured below.


The coffee was fine, but not extraordinary. It tended toward the lighter and thinner end of the spectrum for my liking, but it was fresh thanks to the high throughput. If one was looking solely for coffee, I would steer them toward other outlooks first, but I would not actively discourage them from coming here.

I ordered the eggs with my meal sunny-side-up, and they were cooked to near perfection. Most place are pretty good when it comes to eggs, but it is nevertheless a nice treat when they nail it. The potatoes were also handled well. The breakfast potatoes are usually the things I dread most when I try a new place, but these had just a nice amount of crunch where they were browned, and just enough onion mixed in to give them a good flavour. It's possible that they were cooked from frozen, but I'd still rate them around the same level as what you will usually get from one of those family-style chain restaurants.

The rye toast could have been left in the toaster for another minute in my opinion, but I will take slightly light toast over burnt any day. The toast was buttered, but not saturated as some places are wont to do. When I say buttered, I think it is more likely that it was margarined - at least, that's the impression I was left with from the taste and texture of the spread. They offered no sides (jam, jelly, peanut butter), and I did not see any readily available for patrons. They probably would have brought some if I had asked, but I was satisfied to dip the toast ends into the egg yolks and enjoyed it that way. Still, next time I will ask for peanut butter.

The only real disappointment with the breakfast was the pork chop. I have seen some thin cuts of meat in my time, but it takes real skill to shave off a chop this thin. It's not like I think the breakfast needed a thick chop - it was quite filling, and the chop was more for flavour than anything else, and I understand that a thin chop cuts the cooking time during the busy breakfast hours. It was well-seasoned and flavourful. My issue with the pork chop was that it was overcooked. It was not quite reduced to jerky, but it was tough and chewy. One does not want to serve raw pork, but this one would have benefited from a minute or two less on the griddle.

The slice of strawberry and summer melon were a nice finish, but in a small enough portion that I would almost classify them as garnish rather than as part of a meal.

Overall, I would rate the meal as good, but not great. The diner was clean, and the atmosphere was friendly. The food was about on par with what you would expect from a little family-run diner.

I won't actually give a review-style rating for the place since I have only been there once, and I like to return and try other dishes before I actually do a review, so I'll finish with a tentative rating of will return.
10th-Aug-2017 09:37 pm - Done and done
Masturbatory Mood
The fencing guys were supposed to come by yesterday, but when we woke to pouring rain in the morning, we were not surprised when they called mid-morning to announced that it was too wet to work. He said that they had another job to finish today, and that Friday was iffy, so we likely would not see them until "early next week".

He did not say what caused the change-up today, but he called at 6:50 this morning and said, "I can be there in 20 minutes."

This is a picture I took in early July, a couple of days before the landscapers were due to arrive.

This is what it looks like now, an hour after the fencers left for the day.Collapse )

The fence looks better than we were expecting, so we're willing to forgive them the delays.
9th-Aug-2017 12:25 am - Living in the middle
Trying to be cute
I have always considered [personal profile] atara and me to be middle-class, if perhaps living a bit below our means.I really don't have much to add on that front, other than to use it as a segue into something I saw on Reddit a few minutes ago. Somebody in /r/AskReddit asked, "What is the most middle class thing you can think of?" I have a feel for how the hive-mind works, but sometimes it surprises me. In this case it was the second highest response in the thread. "I'm really confused, some people are likening middle class to being poor, while others are comparing it to being wealthy. I guess that's why it's middle class."

I found it an interesting response, because I have heard of this before, and it is something that politicians use to pit classes against one another. People who fall below the threshold of middle-class consider themselves to be middle-class because they don't like to consider themselves as poor, and people above the threshold don't feel like they are rich enough to be considered well-off. It is also a symptom of the shrinking middle class. Wages are becoming more and more polarized, but since everyone identifies with the middle class, it's creeping up on us without a lot of notice. Politicians use it by accusing their opponents of waging war on the middle class, and since everybody considers themselves to be middle-class, they feel like the politicians are on their side.

The truth of it is that the fabulously wealthy are waging war on all of us, but they have convinced us that our problems are the fault of the poor. Everyone wants to be middle-class so that they can have somebody to look down on. Nobody wants to be part of the problem. The poor certainly aren't getting any richer, and if the middle earners are getting poorer, that kinda suggests where the money is flowing.

Speaking of middle-class things, after talking about it for years and having at least one contractor flake out on us, we finally got the back yard landscaped into something useful. It had a trashy garden that we had not used in the past three years, and a patch of weeds where a tree stood at some point before I bought this house. Now we have a stone patio, chips, and a small patch of turf in what used to be the spot that served as a patch of weeds surrounding a herb garden.

The only thing missing was a fence. We have the remains of a chain link fence that enclosed the yard when I bought the house. We replaced the front part of it with a black metallic fence, with the intention of replacing the rest of it down the road. When we booked the landscaper, we asked him if he could suggests a fence installer, and he recommended a company with whom he has worked in the past. He said they would coordinate their efforts for efficiency. Then, as one might expect, things started to fall apart.

First, the landscaper seemed to lose our number. We only knew that he had not forgotten about us because one of [personal profile] atara's co-workers knows him, and she let us know that he had run into delays on a couple jobs ahead of ours. In the meantime, the fence installer forgot the part about coordinating with the contractor, and he phoned us to let us know that he was ready to begin work about three weeks after we had first expected the landscaper to show. I let him know that the landscaper had not shown yet, that they were going to be grading the property as part of their work, and that they had specifically asked us to keep a clear path to the back alley. I reminded him that he was supposed to coordinate with the landscaper.

The next day, the landscaper called and said, "Hey guys, sorry it took so long. I'm ready to start now!" I called the fence guy back and advised him that the landscapers were starting their work the next day, and he could come in any time after they were done. He asked us to get details on any underground utilities, and that once that was done, he would let us know when he could start. We got him what he needed, and by that time the landscaping was done, so we told him he was free to start at any time. His response was, "Great! I'll start on it next week."

That was July 12. Next week came and went, then another week. [personal profile] atara contacted him to ask if everything we'd sent him was in order because we were eager to have the fence completed. He confirmed that everything was good, and he'd be starting any time. Then another week went by.

I phoned him this morning to get an ETA on when he would be getting to us, and he said that he was still waiting to hear from the contractor to let him know that he was done.


We told him that. Twice.

He was very apologetic, and promised to start work tomorrow. It should only be a one-day job - weather permitting - so with any luck we will finally have some privacy to go with our new back patio.

I can't shake the feeling that he was intentionally playing dumb to work on higher-paying job sites before he got around to ours, but I'll just be happy to have the fence done and be finished with contractors for the nonce.

Finally, in other news, I have my first appointment with the physiotherapists on Monday to attend to my foot. I asked them about the Functional Ability Forms from work, and the impression they gave was that they are in a position to fill those out for me. The other alternative is to try and get in to see my regular GP again. I'd prefer if these guys could just file them for me - I'll even pay the $25 out of pocket for it if they have trouble direct-billing my employer.
30th-Jul-2017 11:24 pm - My Left Foot
Crashing Mood
It has been a little while since I updated here, so I am trying to remember where I left off.

I think I mentioned the email I got that wanted me to show up for 3 1/2 months of intensive training on very short notice. The news on that is currently a holding pattern. The foot that I injured last year had been troubling me, and after pestering my doctor about it for months, he finally sent me off for x-rays. When I booked a follow-up appointment with him (to renew my prescriptions in case I got sent out of town, and to find out the results of the X-ray), he admitted that he is not an expert on feet, but that there was no obvious breaks or bone spurs. On the other hand, there were clear signs of swelling. He instructed his front end staff to refer me to a specialist.

The hemmed and hawed over it before finally recommending that I go to the Pan Am Clinic. It's a walk-in, first-come-first served clinic, though they prioritize by severity. They took down my details and gave me a number. Forty-five minutes later I saw a triage specialist who took down more detailed information, including the name of my family doctor. Then they told me to return in about four hours.

I had another two hour wait before I finally got in to see an actual doctor, though when I saw the condition of people who they were taking ahead of me, I did not begrudge the wait. He poked and prodded my foot and ankle, asked me a few questions, then called up the x-ray. When I described what had happened last year, he said that the x-ray confirmed it, and he then exactly described the symptoms that I would be having now because of it.

In a nutshell, when I pushed off with my left foot to straighten a draw-bar, the strain caused one of the small bones in my foot to dislodge and cross over one of the other bones. When I was flexing the foot a couple of days later, the pop I felt was the bone snapping back into place. In the process, it tore the tendon. I probably should have gone to see a foot specialist at the time, but it happened over the long weekend, and by the Tuesday, it was feeling much better and seemed to be on the mend.

The problem now is that when the tendon has suffered scarring, and it healed too short. As a result, I experience pain from walking, and shooting pains when walking on uneven terrain, navigating stairs/ladders, or otherwise pushing off from that foot. You don't want unexpected, shooting pains in your foot and ankle when you are working around large, industrial equipment.

Now that I have the formal diagnosis, I need to set up an appointment for physiotherapy where they will use ultrasound and lasers to essentially damage the tendon again and stretch it out properly as it heals. Does not sound pleasant. I also need to get some paperwork filled out for work to indicate that I am under a doctor's care until further notice, and will not be available for training in a safety-sensitive position.


Over the winter I started buying instant decaf coffee to drink in the evenings. I used to buy ground decaf, but it always took me so long to go through a bag of it that it was invariably stale before I got to the end. With the instant decaf, the coffee is bad from the get go, so I can drink it at my leisure.

I have been trying a variety of brands in a quest to find the least awful of them. A couple of them were actually surprisingly drinkable, but the most recent one I bought was a German import that is vile. I had this misguided idea that Europeans know good coffee, so if it was from Germany, it must be good. I conveniently forgot that there are probably still old Soviet factories operating in some of the more remote parts of eastern Germany, and that this horrid product probably came from one of those. It tastes like coffee that was infused with despair and then had all the joy distilled out of it.

When I was out shopping last week, I found a coffee substitute in the organic food section of the store. It was a brand that I had never heard of, made from ingredients that sounded only vaguely familiar. I was both intrigued and repelled at the same time, so naturally I bought it. I made a cup of it the day that I brought it home and it's ... a thing. I tried it again the next day, making it slightly stronger, and adding sugar. It was a ... slightly stronger, moderately sweet .... thing. I can't really come up with adequate words to describe it. It's not what I would call good, but it's not really that bad either. I cannot claim that I enjoyed drinking it, but neither did I dread each sip.

I had a bit of a rough day today (had to spend a few hours dealing with work-related support issues), so this evening I decided to round out the awful with some decaf. I had the German crystals in my hand and briefly considered throwing them in the garbage, but on a whim I brewed up a cup with 60% of the German decaf, and 40% of the coffee substitute.

Oddly enough, the result was actually pretty good. I don't know what weird alchemy happened in my coffee cup, but apparently two wrongs can make a right if mixed properly.
9th-Jul-2017 11:02 pm - I may have got carried away...
When we signed up for Spotify Premium a few weeks ago, I thought it would be nice to put together a put together a few play lists for when I am at work, or relaxing at home, working in the yard, plotting revenge, etc.

Instead, what I ended up doing was just dumping every song I could think of that I like, or might like at some point into a giant play list of 3000+ songs.

On the plus side, it means I can hit shuffle and have a personal radio station of just music that I like. The down side is that it's like having a personal university station, where Tommy Dorsey might cross-fade into Killing Joke.


That said, I enjoy the eclectic mix. I don't need to worry about getting bored with Pantera when, likely as not, Michael Bublé will be on next.
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