I have bought entirely too much meat

Thanks to seeing one too many YouTube videos where people talk about expensive, high-end meat, I decided to order a box of meat on Crowd Cow. And, wouldn’t you know it, they managed to get me to buy around $100 worth ($80 after all the piles of discounts though). It’s ostensibly a subscription box but given my usual level of meat consumption this is going to last me… well, a few months at least. So I guess I’m going to have to be very careful about making sure that I don’t end up with another big pile of meat in a month.

I have no idea if this is going to fit in my freezer. It arrives tomorrow. I also have a contractor (hopefully) finishing up my kitchen remodel. This will be interesting.

Anyway, with this Crowd Cow link you, too, can get $25 off your first box of high-end meat.

Port Angeles day 4

My last full day in Port Angeles was just like… okay I guess. I went out for breakfast and got a decent eggs benedict at a café in the industrial district. The weather was pretty nice so I started looking into other hikes I could do but all of the trails that were both open and not expert-level were a two-hour drive away, and I was feeling pretty tired, so I took a nap to mull it over.

When I woke up it was raining, so I just stayed at the AirBnB and worked on some more music and just generally hung out and relaxed. Then for dinner I went to a barbecue place (the one I had planned on going to turns out to be only open for lunch) which was pretty decent. There was also a huge print of their “mascot” on the wall, which looked suspiciously furry. I posted a photo of it to my Discord and right away a friend recognized the original art. (Update: For once, it turns out it was properly licensed. Good on them!)

Anyway. Tomorrow I check out and head back to Seattle. I’m not sure I feel substantially better than when I left, but at least it was nice to get away for the first time in well over a year, and to have my first actual not-actually-an-unpaid-job-in-disguise, not-a-family-disaster vacation in a long time.

Port Angeles day 3

Today the weather cleared up so I finally went hiking for an hour or so. Only one trailhead I could find was open from the Port Angeles side of the forest (most of the roads into the forest were closed due to snow), and when I got there the parking lot was filling up. I wandered around a bit and took a bunch of photos and audio recordings, but quickly found that my camera’s battery did not like the cold (or maybe it’s just getting old and needs to be replaced). According to the trail map I made it maybe a third of the way up before my legs were telling me that I was in no way fit enough to keep going, and then after I turned back I found that the parking lot was overflowing and a whole bunch of people were now on the trail. Oh well, it was nice while it lasted.

Hopefully tomorrow I can go to a different trailhead but the weather report is saying it’s going to be raining again, so my last day here might be like all the others.

Also I really should have worn thicker socks, as my feet were pretty cold the whole time. If it isn’t raining I’ll definitely bring the thick pair I brought for this very reason.

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Everything has to be sweet

So part of whatever this is I have is muscle pain, and my doctor directed me to take 1000mg of acetaminophen up to 4x daily. So I bought acetaminophen at the drug store just now, and the only non-expensive version they had was these “cool capsule” versions with an “instant cooling sensation.”

Which is to say they are cloyingly sweet and have a hint of mint flavor.

Of course the sweetness comes from an artificial zero-calorie sweetener which will probably end up giving me a headache.

Why the heck does everything have to be super-sweet? Maybe we wouldn’t need artificial zero-calorie sweeteners in pretty much everything if we didn’t have this expectation that everything taste like candy all the time.

I don’t know how it is in other countries but at least in the US we seem to have forgotten how to taste things. Everything’s loaded up with sugar and super-sweet. And so we have zero-calorie sweeteners to reduce the amount of sugar (instead of just reducing the amount of sugar in things that didn’t need sugar in the first place), and then we have sugar taxes to incentivize people away from sugar.

When I want to reduce my sugar intake, I generally do so by not eating sugary things. Yeah, I have a tendency to keep too much candy and snacks and so on around and I could stand to remove more from my diet. But it’s hard to avoid sweets when everything is sweet. And now I’m left with the horrible aftertaste of acesulfame potassium in my throat, this pernicious coating of not-sugar that just feels gross.

I just wanted some fucking Tylenol, man.

Kitchen remodel, day… somethingsomething

Today my stove and dishwasher arrived. I wired up the stove’s power cord and found that I need to properly level it before it’ll slide in and I was worried about damaging my cabinets, so I decided to wait for the contractor to be able to take care of it. But I did at least get a chance to try it out with my cast-iron pan (affiliated link). It’s pretty quiet, and gives much better temperature control than the induction hotplate (affiliated link) I’ve been using in the meantime; the Max Burton seems to be like… low hot HOT HOTTT HOTTTTTT!!!! HOTTTTTTTTTT!!!!!! PLASMABALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and then there’s 5 more heat settings. This one isn’t like that.

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Stop it with the zero-calorie sweeteners

I love my Sodastream carbonator. But I don’t like how all of its soda syrups have “50% less sugar” by them replacing it with Stevia or sucralose. Yesterday at Target I saw that they had a new line of syrups that claimed to be made of just fruit juice, and I looked at the ingredients, and didn’t see anything problematic, so I bought some.

Just now I made a cup of soda with it, and at the first sip realized that they’d snuck Stevia in. I looked at the ingredients again, and there was at the very end, steviol glycosides – the distilled essence of what makes Stevia Stevia.

So, that’s $10 down the drain, literally.

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waffling

Just an incredibly dorky ramble I posted on a Slack chat, which I am saving here for posterity.

okay so someone put the idea of getting a waffle fry cutter in my head (not naming names, as it was in a private channel) and I went to Bed Bath and Beyond to buy one only to find that the BB&B herre closed down sometime, and so I went to Target and found that they had, like, no knives or cutters anymore. I’m not gonna spend $100 on one at Sur La Table so I guess Amazon is my best bet. Anyone have any suggestions on waffle fry cutters there?

Rippled knife is okay, mandolin-style slicer would be better. In the latter case, it’d be great if it’s a good mandolin on its own too.

I already have a decent flat-blade mandolin cutter but I wouldn’t mind an upgrade in that department either.

or I mean I guess I could just buy pre-made frozen waffle fries too, honestly that’s probably a better deal

From a TCO standpoint anyway

Frozen waffle fries are about $2/pound and potatoes are about $1/pound. Waffle cutters seem to be $10-20 depending on style so that means needing to make at least 10 pounds of waffle fries before it pays off.

But think of all the other things I could waffle cut!

Like, I dunno, carrots or cucumbers or something

Jicama

Also I could experiment with the geometry of doing waffle cuts at angles other than 90°

Imagine equilateral triangle waffles

Or with some extra work, penrose tilings

the possibilities are endless. or at least finite-but-unbounded

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My review of the new Amazon Go store

There’s a new Amazon Go store on the way home from my therapist, and I was feeling too tired to think about dinner so I decided to just check it out.

There’s a little seating area in front and a greeter who watches you to help people out (and probably make sure they aren’t up to Shenanigans). I suspect that there’s actual human intelligence going on and it isn’t purely AI like the marketing leads everyone to believe. Still, I have some ideas for things to test.

Food selection is pretty okay. The prices are fairly reasonable for Seattle. It’s mostly sandwiches and salads and snacks, and I think they’re all made elsewhere (probably at the flagship store downtown).

I ended up getting a “Tex-Mex Salad with Beef” and a caramel latte. The salad was $8.50. The coffee was $1.85, on sale, although the regular price is $2.35 which is still really cheap for Seattle. The cup and lid were Starbucks-branded, but the cardboard cozy thing said Amazon Go on it.

The salad was pretty okay. It had too much quinoa and not enough lettuce for my taste, but it was tasty and more or less filling. It did have an expiration date of today. I wonder when it was actually made.

The coffee was a bit too sweet and also wasn’t very hot by the time I got home and I suspect it wasn’t actually freshly-brewed hot. They did have regular and decaf options, but no non-dairy milks. It tasted okay. They let you bring your own cup, which is nice.

Not a fan of how it’s yet another case of tech displacing workers from jobs and automating everything away while driving even more of a wage gap and an overall wealth divide.

Also the salad selection could be better.

All in all I think it’s a place I’ll go to get cheap, quick coffee but I don’t expect to make a habit out of it.

They’re also opening a gigantic flagship store a block from my home. I look forward to seeing what the anarchists do to it.

The ongoing MSG discourse

It seems like the pro-MSG camp is really ramping up their Discourse again lately, and it’s getting really frustrating.

Yes, it sucks1 that MSG sensitivity was labeled “Chinese restaurant syndrome.” Yes, it is probably the case that a lot of supposed MSG sensitivity was psychosomatic and due specifically to that name. And yes, glutamic acid does exist in a lot of things naturally and does in fact contribute to the “umami” flavor. I don’t disagree with any of those things.

What I do disagree with, however, is the mischaracterization that everyone who has an MSG sensitivity is just faking it or being racist, with the same strawman “gotchas” like “Did you know it’s also in Pringles and Doritos?!” (Yes, I do. It was Doritos which first gave me a reaction, for that matter. Long before I’d ever heard of MSG or “Chinese restaurant syndrome.”)

It turns out that there’s a high correlation between MSG sensitivity and fibromyalgia. And like many things that cause fibro problems, it’s not a single isolated incident that causes problems, but an accumulation of issues. If I have something with a low-ish amount of MSG on its own, I probably won’t have a problem. But if I have something with a lot of it, or if I’ve had it several times over the course of a week, I will have a problem and it will ruin the rest of my day.

And yes, glutamic acid occurs in a lot of things, but (generally) not bound to sodium and not in the high quantities that it occurs in with processed foods!

Several studies have shown MSG to be safe for the general population. And I do not doubt that it is. But these studies don’t include people with nerve disorders like fibromyalgia or epilepsy, or with a general history of migraines or the like. MSG actively amplifies the action of the pleasure centers in the brain. Fibromyalgia’s main issue is an inability to downregulate nerve receptors. Can you possibly see how this might cause a problem for some?

These fucking thinkpieces completely ignore the very real problems that a lot of people encounter, and also encourage people to actively put MSG into their food and not disclose it to be a “gotcha” for people with problems.

It’s like putting gluten into the food of someone who has celiac disease because of the backlash against fad gluten-free diets.

It’s like giving someone sugar-based Coke when they ask for diet, because they think it’s funny. Or giving someone diet Coke when they ask for normal, because they think they should “lose some weight.” Both are disastrous for diabetics who have planned their glucose intake for the day. (And incidentally, artificial sweeteners are also a major migraine trigger for me.)

It’s like “testing” someone’s stated food allergy by putting that thing in on purpose. Or not worrying about cross-contamination, or thinking, “Oh, it’s only a little bit.” Which can cause people to die or at least have a very bad time.

Don’t FUCKING do that.

Generally: if someone has a food sensitivity, believe them. Even if you think it’s made up, there’s no harm in believing them, while pretending you know better than them for their own issue can be incredibly harmful. Even fatal.