Archive for October, 2018


October 28, 2018

A friend of mine is trying to see the real America amidst all the news.


It’s out there, but you have to look real hard.

Curried Tomatoats

October 25, 2018

Earlier, I talked about making oatmeal with home-made tomato sauce. We had a good tomato harvest, and our initial saucifying efforts gave us a couple of quarts. With that much I just had to try adding some curry.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, one cup of fresh tomato sauce, two shakes of basil, a 6mm slice of Golden Curry roux, salt. Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats. The sauce is thick enough that you don’t need potatoes.

Results: The curry disappeared. Sank without a trace. Nothing but tomato flavor. A second attempt with an 8 or 10mm slice fared a little better. At least we could detect the curry. In both cases there was an underlying sensation of heat, but very little curry flavor.

Rating: ***

Political Shenanigans in Eastern Washington

October 21, 2018

We just got a flyer urging us to write in Joe Pakootas, Vice Chair of the Washington state Democratic Party, for the position of state senator from the 6th District. Trouble is. Pakootas isn’t running, and anyway is a supporter of Jessa Lewis, the official Democratic candidate. She’s running against Jeff Holy, long time Republican incumbent.

How could this be? Well, most of the money behind the flyer comes from two Republicans, one a strong Trump supporter. Their obvious goal is to split the Democratic vote, to make it easier to re-elect Holy (whose name has nothing at all to do with his choice of a Biblical type font on his campaign posters).

This attempt to mislead voters is not limited to the Spokane area. Similar flyers have been distributed elsewhere in Washington, supporting other non-running candidates.

As far as I know it’s not illegal, but it stinks, as they say, on ice.

Green Thumb Up My Nose

October 21, 2018

Garden Report for 20181022

Last week there were roughly twenty nearly ripe tomatoes in the tub. This week there’s over fifty. Only a couple feel ready to eat, and I’m not quite ready to make more sauce, so we’ll look in again next week.

They like the tub


TLDR — Anime I never finished, Fall 2018 Part 2

October 21, 2018

Wrapping up the early-season cleanout, we start with a bunch of ghost stories.

My Sister, My Writer — Ghost writer for a siscon novelist wannabe makes him popular with all the girls.

Voice of Fox — Ghost singer for an idol with no singing voice makes him famous while working part time as a florist.

Zombieland — Ghost idols for a rural prefecture mark the end of the whole anime-idol industry.

SSSS.Gridman — Mecha vs Monsters at Neon Genesis High School. Really cool if you’re an old Gainax Studio fan.

Jingai-san no Yome — Literal translation: non-human sentient being’s bride. High school boy is told he’s to be the bride of a large, furry, Miyazaki-esque monster. Says, “Oh, OK”.  It’s only three minutes per episode, but life is too short, ya know?

TLDR — Anime I never finished, Fall 2018

October 20, 2018

So, we are three weeks into the season, and I’m starting to drop shows already. No screenshots, ’cause I’m maxed out on work this weekend.

Anima Yell — Your basic template going to koshien sports anime with cute girls doing cute [fill in blank]. In this case, cheerleading.

As Miss Beelzebub likes — Too too sweet. One hundred and eighty degree difference from Cool Hand Hozuki.

Between the Sky and the Sea — Fish farms in space, and why girls can’t be piscenauts.

Conception — One hundred percent [insert male here] anime about coerced (on both sides) sex. Without any actual, you know…sex

Double Decker — Idiot detective hero wannabe gets assigned to a group of misfits in a special drugs unit. Too delightfully goofy (Take off all your clothes and convince the terrorist you’re a time traveler. Oh, OK.) for me.

Himote House — Cute girls doing cute things in a shared house in Tokyo. The animation (and the acting) is the spiritual descendant of Straight Title Robot Anime.

RErideD Derrida — Started out as a Door Into Summer remake, ended up being deconstructed as a door-into-winter post-robotic-apocalypse pot boiler.

Senran Kagura — Competing groups of good and bad shinobi, AKA ninjas, all high school girls. You can get an idea of what it’s like from the fact that Crunchyroll has released both a censored and uncensored version.

UzaMaid — Depending on which reviewer you read, it’s a horror story about a pedophilic maid who terrorizes a child, and said child can’t convince anyone it’s happening. OR It’s a happy romp about a tough former JASDF Master Sergeant who plays Mary Poppins to a rebellious youngster. Your choice.


Green Thumb Up My Nose

October 14, 2018

Garden Report for 20181015

Last week there were seven or eight nearly ripe tomatoes in the tub. Those went into last week’s tomato sauce. Here’s the status this week: roughly twenty tomatoes of various makes and models, starting to ripen. None are quite ready to eat, and I’m not quite ready to make more sauce, so we’ll look in again next week.

It’s a very warm tub

Note also that the bigger of the two Knucklehead pumpkins has already turned orange. We’ll probably let all the squash go until November sometime.


October 11, 2018

So, we harvested all our tomatoes, just ahead of the frosts, and ended up with a lot of green tomatoes, and a smaller lot of nearly ripe tomatoes, and oh by the way, another lot of really ripe tomatoes. I figured the only thing to do was to make tomato sauce out of everything but the really green ones. It made about two quarts.

Now, I have said that oatmeal and tomatoes don’t get along. That’s true of highly processed tomato products, like ketchup. But what about plain old fresh tomato sauce, with nothing added but salt and basil? Turns out it’s not bad. Not great, but not bad.

Setup: 1/3 cup of stone ground rolled oats, one cup of fresh tomato sauce, two shakes of basil, salt. Cook for 10 minutes or so, depending on the exact style of oats. The sauce is thick enough that you don’t need potatoes.

Results: Pretty good. Cheese helped. Might be useful to add a little more liquid (chicken stock?) and cook for 12min or so, to make up for the oats not absorbing the tomato part of the sauce.

Rating: ***

Green Thumb Up My Nose

October 7, 2018

Garden Report for 181008

Nothing of interest happened last week.

This week was breezy and showery and cold, with highs starting in the low 60’s and ending in the middle 50’s, and lows in the mid 30’s to mid 40’s, except for Tuesday night when it touched 30F. Real frosts can’t be far away, and I thought that next week would see the Final Harvest. Boy, was I wrong. Tuesday’s frost killed all the squash vines (except the zucchini), and some of the tomatoes. So I decided to close out the garden before everything turned black. These are the final numbers, unless the zucchini comes through with another small squash or two.

Here’s the squash:

3 spaghetti 1800, 2050, 450

2 pumpkin 680, 2520

2 acorn 650, 315

In addition, there were a couple of small tomato-sized acorns, and a Delicata just big enough to use as an executive hand exerciser.

I had planted a standard cucumber in the garden, in case the container didn’t work out. Turns out, it was the garden that didn’t produce — I thought. But buried under all the squash blossoms were two, somewhat bloaty looking cucumbers.

2 cucumbers 440, 200

Also some zucchini (there’s two more on the not totally dead plant)

2 zucchini 284g, 920g

As for the tomatoes, nothing is really ripe yet, so these measures will all go into the ‘green tomato’ category. In order to get some idea of what varietal does best, where, I’ve listed the number of each kind, total weight, and rounded individual weight.

Main Garden

10 Mortgage Lifter  1370g  140
12 Mortgage Lifter  1830g  150

2 Brandywine 625g  310

5 Big Beef  531g  110

9 Big Boy  950g  100

6 Carolina Gold 720g  120

U/I greens 1320g

The two different Mortgage Lifters are from two different companies. All the varietals listed claim to be ‘indeterminate’, but none of them produced throughout the summer. Maybe if we lived in Florida.


5 Supersonic  330g  66

10 Moreton Hybrid 720g  70

21  Jet Star 970g  46

7 Better Boy 400g  60

5 Brandywine 300g  60

The only ones directly comparable between main garden and containers are the Brandywines. Main garden beats containers by a factor of five. I suspect my containers are too small.

After the harvest, one has to store all the produce. My preferred place is our living room, right over the furnace room and the warmest floor in the house. For some reason, MJ objected to that, so I moved them all into the bathroom. After all, we were done digging and sweating in the garden, and so wouldn’t need the bathtub for a while. MJ said she didn’t like them that close to the toilet, but I told her she could always wash her hands after eating them.


It’s a very clean bathtub




Final Week Ending 10/08 Vegetable Count Weight g Unit Weight g Total Total Weight kg
  tomatoes       87 18.0
  green tomatoes 92 10070 109 99 10.40
  Zucchini 2 1204 600 12 6.08
  Acorn 2 965 480 2 0.96
  Spaghetti 3 2500 830 4 4.14
  Pumpkin 2 3200 1600 2 3.20
  cucumber 2 640 320 10 2.56
Grand Total           45.34

Surprisingly, this year’s 45kg total has matched or exceeded all other years on record, except 2014, when we had a total of 53kg, most of which was big pumpkins. Not sure if that was real, or if I just kept better track this year. Not included in the total is the peanut-sized sweet potato I found when digging over the remnants of the garden.

Interesting to note that over a third of the tomatoes had to be harvested green because they hadn’t ripened by the first frost.

So, that’s about it for this year. Next entry will be early next year, on lessons learned and plans for the future.

Me and Myeloma

October 5, 2018

The October tests are in, and they all look really good. Everything in the normal range, with no sign of the myeloma. A couple of measures are creeping up, but not fast enough to be of immediate concern.

Here’s the deets:

  1. M-spike. There’s this thing called an M-protein spike, which measures certain proteins in the blood, ones that shouldn’t be there. It’s one of the prime indicators of myeloma. It’s been “not observed” now for three months.
  2. Kappa/Lambda Ratio. KLR is another protein measure. Normal range is .25-1.6. Mine was down around 1.0, and is now up to 1.5. So, in the normal range, but up. Will it keep going up? Note: both the kappa (9.6) and the lambda (6.4) are on the low end of normal (roughly 3-26).
  3. Immunoglobulin G (IgG). IgG measures immune response. High IgG says your body is fighting a disease, like cancer. Normal is 700 -1600. Mine started at 3000 a year ago. Then, with the chemo, it plunged to 230. Now, it’s up to 250. So, suppressed, but climbing. Question: when will it get back into the non-suppressed range? Big question: will it then level off?

I think if I hadn’t been diagnosed with MM earlier, someone looking at these results would say I was basically healthy, albeit with a suppressed immune system.

From a “how do I feel” standpoint, I think I’m back to normal. I didn’t realize how badly the chemo had effected me until I recovered from it.

We will take another look in January, but I won’t be publishing anything unless there’s some significant changes.