[sticky entry] Sticky: Adding on DW/About Me

May. 3rd, 2016 04:57 am
marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)

So in the last few weeks (perhaps more like months), a majority of the people on my Reading List have...

fled the premises, or else have... )
marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)

Windows 10 has its own EXIF remover, which I came to discover only after I tried and failed to use EXIFStripper on the photos I posted tonight. Windows (or the program itself, I'm not sure which one dropped the ball) won't let me drag and drop images into the tool anymore.

I found this extremely odd so tried variations on where I dragged from (Downloads, Pictures, OneDrive, the Photos app itself) and variations on how I ran the tool (both as Administrator and not as Administrator) only to find failure all the way through. At which point I Googled and came upon 3 Ways to Remove EXIF Metadata (and yes, whoever wrote it needs an editor on that title, STAT) only to see Windows 8 and 10 have their own built-in stripping utility that works pretty well.

I say "pretty well" because certain metadata like F-stop, exposure and other clueish items get preserved, but at least dead giveaway stuff gets stripped out, not that it really matters - I keep geolocation turned off, anyhow.

marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)

Because why would I post normal things?

Uncooked vegetables for shrimp curry

Raw ingredients for shrimp curry in a cast iron pan on the stove.

Uncooked but fully assembled pizza

Raw ingredients on uncooked pizza dough, all in a pizza pan about to go in the oven

Some foods look better raw than cooked - that's just how it is. Both meals came out tasty but not as good-looking as they were raw.

The pizza was a treat Other Person made tonight with Publix pizza dough, shallots (we get 10-15 for just $1.49 at the local Asian market), fresh basil from the back porch, garlic crushed in the stone mortar and pestle (which I snagged for just $10 at the Asian market because the pestle was broken, but some super glue set that right real quick), thick shredded mozz, thin-sliced cherry tomatoes, Barilla spicy marinara, and Boar's Head pepperoni, which I was grateful for after taking a survey asking if I'd like to buy bags of crispy pepperoni slices like you get on pizzeria pizza. Well, yes, I would, enough to rush out in my nightclothes right now, where are these crispy little delights you speak of?

Talk about sudden cravings.

The pizza was delicious. Never tried Publix's pizza dough before but as I commented to OP after a few bites, they must've stolen the recipe from some Italian restaurant back in NY, because it did taste authentic.

Some weird flea medicine

My neighbor's big spray bottle of flea medicine

My mom's dead spider plant

My mom's dead spider plant, as seen on the back porch

The weird flea medicine is my neighbor's. I took a picture to Google it when I got back home (but still haven't Googled) but then I thought I'd post the pic to ask the rest of y'all, has anyone tried this? Is it any good? Her entire apartment smells of peppermint from spraying her cats (she's got the two black kittens I never took and some others) and her rug.

The Activyl flea medicine came today. We applied it to all five kitties while the pizza cooked. I was surprised it came so quick, but glad, because in the last few days I've picked a flea off Bowie's face and OP's picked one off of Pip, and I've come to see flea dirt everywhere (yes, even in my dreams, where our entire living room was coated in flea eggs this morning) so it couldn't get here fast enough unless someone airdropped it even as I clicked "Add to cart".

The last one's called "My mom's dead spider pant" because she said it would die before she did, so before May of 2012. I hate to say it lived - I wish it'd been the other way around, and the plant died just days after her prediction while she went on to live forever, but alas, it was not so. As crazed and really no longer myself as I was by then, something about her saying it would die - at all, much less before she did - was the proverbial flag in the bull's face.

Mom got too sick to know or care if the plant lived but I wouldn't give up on it. It had maybe a tiny handful of half-dead leaves when she passed but by then I'd kept it alive single-handedly and nurtured it back to glowing health by that fall so it looked mostly like the picture above. Then a frost killed it at the house out in the woods about two years ago.

What you see in the picture above? Is not the plant she predicted would die two years before it actually did. It's one of the children it had. Just one.

I have four more pots holding them, and between those there are dozens more babies hanging off those, so her dead plant lives on. I'd keep it going forever, in memory of her, if I could.

marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)

Just got done reading The Politics of Pockets. You know how sometimes in school you'd listen to a classmate run on and on to answer the teacher's question, and want to raise your hand or interrupt so badly, sometimes/especially when their answer was clearly incomplete or wrong? (You didn't do that back when I was in school, or you got the hand you raised cut off, and your mouth duct-taped shut for the rest of the year. Times might've changed.)

That's how I felt reading this article, because you know what's sexist? Insisting you need a certain look for fashion, then deciding the fact that you're stuck with it is sexist, is sexist. Pockets make your pants hang more saggily in the front. They add weight and heft that can mess up how fabric falls against against your skin - again, especially in the front. And that's just the short list of Reasons Why Pockets Suck.

On the backs of pants, pockets can be problematic: set them too low and your backside might seem too low; set them too far apart and your backside might seem too wide. The opposite of both states also holds true, though I've never heard anyone complain that their ass looks like it sits too high up on their body. For these and many other reasons women's clothing designers long ago chucked the pocket in favor of more slimming and often more flattering, pocketless designs.

I can't help but envision the uproar in a world in which women were pocketed and men pocketless by virtue of a different set of values in place hundreds, if not thousands of years ago. "Only the oppressed must carry so many things around", the reasoning might go. "Look at men with their flat-fronted fashions, using human reticules to carry everything around for them - yes, using us! Is this not slavery? Why do I have to carry this entire kitchen cookware set in my pocket? Men just don't understand how badly we want to be lightweight and free like them."

This isn't a case of being unable to make feminists happy - this is a world in which pocketed or pocketless, we simply never will be happy.

I have my own relationship with pockets. As a child I didn't need them. As a teen who grew up reading fashion magazines I understood why they were The Enemy of high fashion and my figure. As an adult I've want them for work - dozens of pockets covering everything I wear, along with the ability to grow more, as needed - but away from work I have problems with them.

I have an otherwise gorgeous pair of dark denim shorts I don't wear because the back pockets sit too low. I've tossed or donated many pairs of pants and jeans over the years because the back pockets sat too far apart or the front pockets were too thick and bunchy for comfort or style. I can't say how many a) pajama pants, b) jeans, c) dress pants, and especially d) shorts I've taken scissors to and cut the front pockets out of because they crumpled, billowed or bulged, making for a bunched-up and sloppy look. Not to mention in the heat of summer I'll do nearly anything to not sweat just short of crawling into my freezer, and the more pockets you remove, the lighter your clothing becomes.

But I also see an intersectionality between pockets and economic issues. Rich US women, for example, don't wear clothing with pockets; they also don't carry their own purses or cell phones because they have handlers to do those things for them. I need pockets at work only because I'm at work. Elsewhere pockets come in handy only because of what I need to get done or to hold things I need to get through my day or survive. But if I'm rich then I don't need pockets, though I might want them for more non-essential things, so I'll likely go without pockets more often - if not altogether.

marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)

It came in the mail today. I asked Other Person to install it only to be told, "Oh, yeah, sure, that's easy!" Ten minutes of scattered, "Oh, my GOD"s later, I took it it was not that easy, but he got it done (after the Scroll Lock key literally jumped off the keyboard as he pressed the keyboard in, and after he found he couldn't lock the keyboard because the locks aren't moving, and might be there just to make it look like the keyboard it's supposed to look like but actually isn't).

The keyboard, now that I'm typing on it, doesn't feel too great. I don't know if it's the unusable locks but it looks and feels too "springy" and the space bar and letter "a" tend to miss unless I consciously pound them. I tend to pound on keyboards, anyhow (yes, I'm The Most Annoying Typist, ever) but apparently I'm not pounding on the "a" or space bar hard enough.

It's also missing the joystick, or whatever the little doohickey's called between the "g", "h", and "b" keys, as seen in this picture. It came in handy when my touchpad malfunctioned - which it still does at least a few times a month, usually after installing Windows updates. The joystick would work even when my touchpad went nuts, so I'd use it to restart my laptop until the problem fixed itself, or else to find and uninstall the driver when it wouldn't quit fucking up.

Besides that, the delete, insert, pause, escape and left arrow keys were set inside the keyboard crooked and off to one side by the manufacturer. This keyboard's mostly solved the problem of the bubbled-up from beneath look of the last keyboard, but there's still a slight rise above the upper right side that we can't quite figure out.

Once it was in and working, we decided it was mere aftermarket lookalike crap that will probably need replacing within six months. I'd replace it right now if I could, as the springiness is getting to me. Unfortunately, I can't figure out how nor where to order an HP-certified replacement, plus I'm thinking it might cost too much be feasible.

marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)

'Twas just a matter of time. The kittens came to us with no issues - no worms we knew of, no fleas, maybe some runny litter box issues now and then but otherwise seemed in good health. It was kitten paradise, a kitten Disney World, a near-perfect kitten utopia. I've never had such seemingly healthy kittens! They're nice, too! I've never had such seemingly nice ones! If you gave me flash cards of kittens in the past I'd speak of flattened ears, blackened pupils, broken lamps and endless smashing up of everything, because kittens.

Don't get me wrong: our kittens run endlessly, battle constantly, and play unendingly, they just aren't as crazy as almost every other kitten I've had. I guess I've never had such sweet and relatively sane kittens before who also happen to not want to destroy the place.

Kitten utopia began winding down with the discovery of worms last week and concludes this week with the discovery of fleas. Flea dirt, to be precise. I've seen dark gray bodies darting around Pip's white fur for a few days now but they're so healthy, like the kittens they're running around on, I can't catch them. And Bowie can hardly stop scratching but until it gets bad you're more likely to win Lotto than find a flea - he has no undercoat and his fur's so short and sits so close to his body there's no pushing your hands or fingers through it to find anything.

I keep the place clean, usually vacuuming twice a day, keeping countertops disinfected, staying after litter boxes, dusting/wiping down everything at least a few times a week, and so on, so I'm thinking I might keep it too clean or else I would've seen the evidence I've been looking for by now. I was making my bed today when I realized the top half of the fitted sheet was full of flea dirt. I put my glasses on, bent down to look closer, and saw some tiny, swirly little black poops along with dozens, if not hundreds, of little black blood specks.

The fitted sheet is a light eggshell/almost beige color so there was no seeing if there were flea eggs or not, at least not with my eyes, even with my glasses. But! Sweeping off the dresser across from my bed the other day, I saw what I suspected were flea eggs, so now I'm thinking they most likely were, indeed.

After a hellacious time on the phone with at least a half dozen local vets ("Hi, I have five cats - three are kittens, I think they all have fleas, but I can't afford to bring anyone in right now") I gave up and decided to get what I needed online after three vets told me they wanted at least one cat or kitten, all wanted to do rabies shots, one said I could do the "cheaper" shot for just $5 less because the shot might kill it, and one wanted all five animals in STAT for around $500 worth of work, while yet another "strongly advised" me to bring in as many as possible.

A few insisted on heartworm tests to prescribe Revolution, which they also insist upon because "nothing else works" (biggest load of crap ever), a few insisted upon feline HIV tests, and the one who wanted all five in STAT wanted 1) heartworm testing, 2) FIV/FPV/F-everything, 3) five stool samples to "make sure" about the worm situation, 4) would only prescribe one vial of flea medicine per cat, and 5) wanted to run tests for all the common kitty maladies - this after I told them I don't have the money to bring anyone in. I was ticked because this place is so close I could walk, but it was the one place reading me the Riot Act, so oh, well.

The other reason I went with online ordering was I didn't like the doctor's choices. One was jumping up and down about Effipro. What the hell is that, even? I mean, I googled and still can't figure it out (ETA: googled again - it's Effipro, not Fellipro - thank you, dyslexia. It's like Frontline and Sentry, which are pretty "meh" bad as far as efficacy goes). Another went gaga over Cheristin. Works great - kills not just the fleas but even your cat, according to some terrifying search results I saw. Revolution's nothing, Capstar is crap, Advantage isn't made anymore and people seem pretty down on Advantage II - so I searched my memory for the best stuff I'd used in the past and finally hit on Activyl. I used it during 2013-2014 2015 (found a post I made after writing this in which I wanted to order it, but hadn't yet; there's no follow-up but I found an email confirmation on the order; the same post discusses at length how Frontline was not just "meh" efficacy but didn't work at all - "maybe six fleas died", I wrote) and don't recall cats dying or fleas living, so I looked it up - rather strenuously - and while it didn't get 100% good reviews (nothing does) it got more than any other flea med. So I ordered it.

Before I could even do that, I had to sit down with Win10's calc for a spell because a) I'm broke so b) how the fuck will I do this? After picking out what I could afford - five vials sold separately after the bulk prices came in at $5 more than what I had in PayPal and checking, combined - I ran the numbers; doing it in separate vials would leave $5 in checking after my laptop keyboard comes due on Pay After Delivery at the end of the month.

Buying in bulk isn't so hot, anyway - though the combined total would've only been $5 more than what I spent on separate vials, the smaller bulk sizes (a 4-pack for the kittens, a 3-pack for the adults) would've left just one adult and one kitten vial after treatment, which meant I could only treat one adult and one kitten next month without buying three more vials to treat all five. That still would've saved money when it comes time to re-order, but I was $5 short, so I payed my poor people's poverty tax and moved on.

The kitten and adult vials are shipping from the same vendor sometime before this weekend, so I guess I'll just have to try to keep things as clean as I can until they get here.

marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)

Other Person has gotten the Dell laptop working again. The "i" and "z" keys sometimes stick or die and yesterday, of all things, the apostrophe quit so I had to copy one out of a Google search for "apostrophe", because I'm really nothing without contractions. Today the apostrophe's fine and after I sat my index finger on the "i" for a few minutes it sprang to life, as well. The rest of the keyboard seems up to speed and the laptop no longer freezes.

I didn't pay attention to what he did to fix it because I was on his tablet, because my tablet keeps freezing up now, too, but from glancing at him now and then I gather it involved taking the laptop apart, blowing some things out, re-seating other things, re-assembling it, and perhaps the chanting of incantations. The Dell cost me nothing, I've already fixed it once, and I would've tossed it rather than gone through what he did, but I'm kind of glad now that he bothered. My blog looks pretty good on it (better than it does on our tablets - those turn the page gutters an ugly dark tan color that I wouldn't have picked myself).

My replacement laptop keyboard's due here by the end of the week, but I'm worried about it being a crapshoot, so I'm keeping the packaging and will re-seal it like new to turn around and re-sell ASAP if it doesn't work out. The thing is, since the storm, my existing keyboard's bent toward the top middle, so I'm thinking it's because something under the bent part corresponding to the motherboard overheated and warped, in which case no keyboard (except an external) might ever work again.

If it does turn out to be useless, I'll need a new external keyboard because the one I'm using now has multiple dead keys, just like the laptop. The dead keys on the external aren't dead on the laptop so I've just been using both of them at once. I wish y'all could see this - I'm like a DJ working keyboards instead of turntables, which is sort of amusing.

We've lost power four times since the storm, for anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. Last night was for a few minutes, a few days before it was for a few hours, there was a quickie the night before that, and it was out a few hours the weekend before last. Every time we've lost power since the storm Comcast's cable modem has totally wigged out. It's always been slow - it takes a good five minutes to reboot, find its own ass, feel everything out and start pumping signal again, but since the storm you can add "find its own signal" to the list of things it takes too long to do. It has to reboot multiple times to finally stop claiming our signal's broadcasting when, in fact, it's not.

What sucks is that to our phones and computers the signal looks like it's broadcasting, and when you connect it doesn't show a yellow triangle to denote limited connection issues. But when you try to get online you can't, and when you check the network list it shows a full signal but then says next to that, "No internet", in classic, "Oh, NOW you tell me" fashion. So we waste a) five minutes waiting for the modem to reboot and decide it can do this, b) another five minutes for it to realize it can't do this and is totally lying, and c) another 5-15 minutes for multiple reboots to take place to finally push the signal back to life again.

I'm pretty sure it's a surge victim, though it was on surge protector - but there's nothing the storm didn't seem to touch - so we're planning a trip to our local Comcast office soon to get another modem so big I'll need both arms to carry it out. I'm going to hate having to swap these things out every time there's a storm.

To finish what I started the night the storm hit, I installed the latest build of Windows 10 on my now-collector's-item Nokia about five days ago. My phone restarted to install updates required to get Win10 (one tree had hit the house by then; the second tree was about to) just as the lights went out. My phone only installs updates over wifi, which didn't exist for another 14 days, so once wifi came back the phone automatically picked up where it left off.

I had to use the WinInsider app as a workaround against Microsoft's official app, which blocks my phone from getting Win10 because it's not recommended on phones with only a half gig of RAM. It's running great on my half gig, though. It's opening and resuming windows, menus, browsers and the app list faster than Win8.1 did and looks jazzier, too. The worst problems are with Edge windows - they tend to crash as much as Internet Explorer windows do on 8.1 - and with the native email app, which opens with the keyboard displayed every single time. I can't figure out why the email app thinks it's the messenger, but one press of the back button makes it go away, so it's more "annoyance" than fatal flaw.

Battery life, once the primary dealbreaker on Win10, is actually better now than it is on 8.1, so if you're an 8.1 user with just a half gig of RAM it might pay to go the WinInsider route and switch to Win10 to preserve battery life, but no, I never said that, EULAs be damned. It's helped my battery - a lot. On 8.1 I had to keep screen brightness on "low" to get the battery to last more than a few hours, which made the screen really, really hard to see because my eyes, as we know, are not the greatest. On Win10 I can get 12+ hours on a single charge with brightness set to "high", which means it would last even longer on a lower setting (there's a "medium", too).

I mostly upgraded to Win10 to use my bank's official app, which isn't available on Win8/8.1, but the one thing I wanted it for - to deposit checks, which I get a fair amount of each month - isn't working. It tells me it took pictures of the checks successfully, then says it can't read them, and gives me tips on how to take the pictures so they come out better. Reading through the tips, I can see I've done exactly what they suggest, yet the app still fails to read my checks.

The worst thing about Win10 Mobile is the News app. I don't know if I've discussed it before, but I've been addicted to it on Win8/8.1 for years. It shows lists of headlines with a tiny thumbnail next to each one. You click an item and it opens full page with larger pictures, which, if you click on those, can be pinched and swiped from full-size (like the actual size they were published at, which can sometimes be huge) back down to article size. If you swipe left you get thumbnails of all the pictures in the article, and you can swipe through those without the accompanying text, or cycle through them with accompanying text, one picture at a time.

It's the greatest app for looking at pictures, but it's MIA in Win10. You can't change picture sizes anymore - the medium-ish thumbnails found in the articles are completely WYSIWYG, which results in a loss of context because pictures are so often essential to understanding what's going on.

The other thing missing in Win10 News is the entire list of headlines. Now there's huuuuuuuge thumbnails and huuuuuge titles with loooong blurbs, so you have to scroll and scroll and scroll to see even a tiny bit of what's going on. I liked the cleaner, simpler, and for lack of a better example, Drudge Report-style lists (they're much nicer/calmer-looking than TDR, but otherwise it's the same idea) and the fact that the lists were truncated at 3-5 items per topic with no blurbs (you click on a topic name to see the full list of headlines on one page).

There's no truncation in Win10 now, just endless scrolling. It's highly inefficient, and totally breaks my reading flow.

It's gone from:


This item
This item
This item



This item

*huge thumbnail here*

Blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah
Blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah...

This item

*huge thumbnail here*

Blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah
Blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah...

This item

*huge thumbnail here*

Blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah
Blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah...

And you can just rinse and repeat forever. It's awful.

marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)

In a rare edition of Squeaky Wheel Gets Oiled, Other Person finally pushed my landlord over the edge this morning with a text about the roof leaking this weekend (as mentioned in my last post, it took three trash cans to catch some of the water and I just let it rain on my bed because there was nothing I could do except re-arrange furniture but my bed weighs, literally, hundreds of pounds thanks to solid oak this/thick mattress that, and so does everything else. It's not Ikea, even if most of it cost me nothing).

Come to think of it, even re-arranging everything wouldn't get my bed out of the way, as it's huge and so is the expanse of ceiling leak we're dealing with. There's no place I could put it that would get it out of the way.

I was blissfully unaware OP had pushed my landlord anywhere, much less over the edge, when I first got up (OP's not the greatest communicator; there was no note or text) but I wasn't on my second cup of coffee when the landlord appeared in our parking lot and started unloading tarps just as cheap and crappy as the one that's been on our roof off the back of his truck. So I went outside to find out what was going on. Little did I know I was about to get asked many, many questions in return.

"Have you got shoes?" he said, staring at my feet after we'd talked about the roof for a few minutes. I tend to wander around barefoot in nightclothes and a bathrobe unless I'm working or going out, and our shoes stay outside on the front porch to keep the inside floors clean, and I was talking to him from the front porch, so I just slipped them on and met him in the parking lot, where apparently he wanted me to look at the roof.

Next thing I knew I was getting a crash course in geometry, or in how his previous tarp placement ought to exactly correspond with the location of our bedroom ceiling, so was I sure the roof was leaking? What was I supposed to say? "Um no, I might've imagined it, you're alright, never mind" - seriously? "Well, yes", I said, "I'm sure", and he got the text from Other Person today, I went on, reminding him he was the one to tell me about it just a few minutes ago.

"I know that", he said, "but I've got the tarp where you say it leaks". "Well, maybe it's leaking through the tarp", I suggested. "But it can't be leaking through the tarp", he insisted. I didn't argue, but it could be leaking through the tarp - a sharp pinecone or branch hitting the roof at high speed or the wind pushing under and catching the tarp - any of those things could put rips in it, allowing water to run through. I mentioned this to OP recently, as well, but got shut down, so I wasn't going to run the same theory by this guy, because maybe it's just guys. And I'm not one. I don't try to figure out why they can't imagine a tarp leaking.

"You can come upstairs and look where I left the trashcans", I offered. "They're exactly where they were last night to catch the leaks". "No", he said, shaking his head. "I just don't see how it's possible", he went on, "- do you see where that tarp is?" he asked, pointing. "Yes", I said, "and where it is isn't covering the roof above our bathroom door, which is where the worst leak is". "It is covering it", he insisted.

Changing the subject slightly, I said, "You know the guy on the other side of us had to throw his mattress out because of this, right? That it's leaking in his bedroom, too?" Silence. "That that's his mattress laying on the curb over there?" I asked, pointing behind us.

"Yeah", he said. "Well, you don't have any tarp over his roof. The tarp stops short of our bathroom and where it's leaking in his apartment is well to the left of that, so the tarp should've been extended more to his side of the building," I said, waving in his apartment's direction. "It is over the bathroom", he said. "Our bathroom's over the hallway and the tarp's not over the hallway", I said, pointing to the front door to indicate the hallway directly behind it that runs into the main part of the house - the bathroom sits right above that.

"It is there", he insisted. "Okay, fine", I said, because it's an obvious fact that it isn't, and I just can't even. "You're sure it's leaking", he said. "Come upstairs, I'll show you where", I offered again. "No", he said. "I have pictures!" I said. "No", he said, shaking his head. "Of all the leaks", I continued, "of the water stains themselves, of exactly how wet it got". "No", he said, "that's alright, I'll just put more tarps up there."

Really...after all that?

It started raining while he was still up on the roof, but whatever he'd gotten done by then (I still haven't seen it) seems to have helped, as it rained hard for hours, steadily, but I haven't seen one more drop of water. The rug's still wet from yesterday's rains, though, because the way the water travels down the exposed wood ceiling beams before it hits the floor, the entire back end of the carpet approaching the bathroom gets soaked.

ETA, 9-21-16: I've seen the new tarp and taken pictures for my records. It's finally covering the roof above our bathroom door, although my landlord of course insisted it was doing that to begin with before putting it where it finally stops the leak. It's now also covering my neighbor's bedroom roof - he had a leak bad enough to soak his mattress through, which I didn't learn of until late last week and forgot to mention earlier.

In other news, a roofing company's supposed to come out tomorrow to give the owner an estimate ETA, 9-21-16: hasn't happened yet but the owner, as far as the landlord's heard, still hasn't gotten any checks from the insurance company ETA, 9-21-16: still no word on that. But in other news, we should be glad we didn't take the vacancy on the other side of us: not one week after new tenants moved in their pipes burst - yet another issue caused by the storm.