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Can this be the catastrophe?

So, almost every single home renovation project I’ve ever had has had something go very wrong.

In this one, everything’s been going quite smoothly, except:

  1. The flooring was supposed to arrive on Thursday, then it got delayed to today, now it’s delayed to tomorrow, and the contractors can’t move forward until the flooring is in hand (and they’re getting restless) EDIT: Oh right they did get some painting done (specifically applying a primer coat everywhere)
  2. On Friday I tripped over some of my stored clutter and injured myself worse than I’d realized at first (although not nearly as badly as it could have been!), so now I have impaired mobility and also a rather nasty scrape on my left shin which seems to be slightly infected (which is painful but doesn’t seem like it needs direct medical attention just yet)

Basically, if this can be the worst that happens on this project, I’ll be pretty happy. Thankfully it doesn’t seem like much else can go wrong, unless there’s some awful secret lurking in the laundry room (which is quite possible).

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Shadow Punks

A game done for the Seattle Indies Slow Jam 2022.

I was responsible for the majority of the music and sound.

Currying Flavors

A game done for the Seattle Indies Slow Jam 2022. Play an adventurer who gets tricked into cooking for cats!

I was responsible for music, sound, some of the game design, and various puns (sorry).

Twitter extrication

Today was my last day using Twitter, unless something changes entirely. I have done the following, and suggest others do the same:

  • Went through all of my connected applications to make sure that everything that I was using Twitter to log into now has a username/password login; the only two things I couldn’t fix on my own were Webtoon (which I don’t care about) and Imgur (which I hardly ever use), so hopefully I can get their respective support folks to help me out
  • Disabled my ifttt Twitter autopost stuff, so this blog entry will not show up there
  • Disabled my Mastodon-Twitter Crossposter connection
  • Folded my indieweb.social account into my actual Mastodon account, since there were a bunch of people following me on one but not the other, and the only reason I had the indieweb.social one was for Twitter-crossposting purposes
  • Discovered I had literally hundreds of pending follow requests from mastodon.social, mostly spammers or thrown-away “just checking out Mastodon” posts from a year or two ago, gah
  • Posted a transitional post to my #novembeat thread which moves my remaining posts over there; however I’m not sure if this will actually work, because of how Mastodon threads work, and I might have to just start a new thread or something
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I spoke too soon

Well, okay, my MSG tolerance is higher than it used to be but I still have a limit, as it turns out.

At least this reaction isn’t nearly as bad as they used to be. But yeah I’m not gonna start monching down on Doritos habitually or anything.

My kitchen before this mess

Oh yeah, I neglected to actually take photos of my kitchen in operation before I’d cleared everything out on day 0 (where it didn’t look so bad), but I did just go back through my photos to find some examples of what the kitchen was like under normal circumstances.

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MSG observation

So, in the past, the “Simply Cheetos” brand of Cheetos didn’t use monosodium glutamate in it, so it was a safe thing for me to eat.

Today when buying lunch at the grocery store, I saw that they had the Flamin' Hot Simply Cheetos, so I bought a bag, and did a cursory glance of the ingredients list and didn’t see MSG on them. Then I had a bunch with dinner, and noticed a rather strong umami flavor (but not the same one that I normally associate with MSG), and paid it no mind.

Later in the evening I started having a really bad bowel reaction to something and started looking at the ingredients listings of everything I ate today to see what it could be, and that’s when I noticed MSG on the Cheetos label.

However, I don’t think it was the Cheetos' MSG that did this! In fact I think I might actually no longer be MSG-sensitive. And looking back, I don’t think I’ve had an MSG reaction ever since I did the ketamine treatments in March (even though I’ve knowingly had MSG a few times since then). There have been a whole lot of unexpected neurological changes that did happen from the ketamine infusions; in particular, ever since those treatments, caffeine doesn’t give me a massive panic attack when I have as little as half of an espresso (I can now tolerate a large Mountain Dew with just a slightly elevated heart rate!), and sucralose doesn’t give me a headache anymore either, and alcohol doesn’t make my pain flare up either.

All of those food sensitivities are highly co-occurrent with people with fibromyalgia, which was the main thing I was trying to treat with ketamine. While the chronic pain and fatigue symptoms haven’t gone away (and those were the main things I was trying to treat!) it’s possible that ketamine at least did have some beneficial effect.

I’m still not going to rush out and like. Consume all the MSG, just as I don’t rush out and consume all the sucralose/Stevia/etc. either and still prefer decaffeinated beverages for a bunch of reasons (although it’s nice being able to self-medicate my ADHD again!) and still limit my alcohol consumption, but maybe I don’t need to worry about those causing unexpected problems anymore.

Anyway. All this is to say that I still absolutely believe that MSG sensitivity is a thing (based on my prior experiences) but also it might be possible to get away from it! I’m not sure undergoing expensive ketamine treatments is worth it for this effect alone, but it might be a nice side-effect for folks who are seeking it for other reasons.

Kitchen Remodel II, day 1

I’m not sure why I’m calling this “Remodel II” because this is neither the second kitchen remodel I’ve gone through (it’s the fourth) nor the second I’ve had in this house. But it is the second one on this incarnation of my blog, so that’s probably it.

Anyway, today was demolition day.

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Kitchen Remodel II, day 0

Today I finished clearing out my kitchen getting ready for tomorrow’s demolition. Thankfully I actually had a few days to get it done this time, unlike last time when the contractor only let me know the demolition was going to happen at 5 PM the day before.

Because I had time to prepare it meant I could also actually do it in a semi-organized way. Which is good, because I have way less space for “staging” stuff in this house than I did in my last place.

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Bracing for impact

My kitchen renovation starts on Wednesday. Thankfully I have plenty of advance warning this time and have started to pack up the stuff in my kitchen; I need to spend a lot more time finishing that up tomorrow, though. I’ve only put a dent in things.

I hope that the end result of this is I’ll finally get rid of a lot of stuff I’m not using actively, or at least figure out a better way of storing the stuff I rarely use.

The new kitchen design is going to be the same basic layout, but there’s a few nice changes that are going to happen. The lower cabinet next to the refrigerator is going to be replaced with a drawer unit, which will be much more useful for me (I’ll probably move my pots and pans in there, and the rarely-used stuff that currently lives in there goes into the sideboard where those were kept). The weird, awkward storage cabinets that flank the stove will become less-weird storage cabinets, with a utility drawer on top (but still a door down below).

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Yet another kitchen remodel

Very soon I will be remodeling my kitchen.

Why yes, it does seem like just yesterday that I did the last one, but that was actually two years and one house ago! That kitchen was mostly-completed right before the pandemic started, and then finally actually-completed a year later, just before I moved out to my new home. Which is a really stupid pattern, where three times in a row I’ve put off a kitchen remodel until it became unavoidable, and then ended up moving out soon after.

I’m hoping that this will not continue the pattern!

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My updated current espresso process

9 months ago I posted my then-current espresso process. As this is a constant experiment and processes change over time, I figure it’s time for an update:

  1. I have returned to single-dosing, and have 3D printed a single-dose hopper for that purpose. This makes it less convenient for me to rest/outgas my beans but it’s easy enough to just, y'know, open the bag while it waits in the refrigerator. Oh also I grind into the dosing cup, not direct into the portafilter, and I give the dosing cup a little shakey-shake before pouring it into the portafilter (with a dosing funnel).

  2. My dose is now 18g, and since I’m single-dosing there’s no time calibration necessary. Also, I give the beans a quick spritz with water (aka “RDT” in coffee nerd circles) to cut down on static and clumping.

  3. My leveling process is now to do a vertical tap, and then WDT, with no additional leveling. Also, for the WDT I ended up settling on a bit of cat6 Ethernet cable which I stripped down to the wires which I then straightened, forming a sort of whisk. It’s probably not food-safe, but it works.

  4. I still tamp as before, although as part of my tamping I also turn the tamper around a couple of times to ensure that the puck is flat and releases.

  5. I extract either a 1:2 ratio (i.e. 18g in, 36g out) or 30 seconds, whichever comes first, and use that as a guide for dialing in my grind.

The irony of “context collapse”

So, I’m not sure where I picked up the term “context collapse,” but the way I’ve been using it is extremely different than how it’s defined in academic circles:

Context collapse “generally occurs when a surfeit of different audiences occupy the same space, and a piece of information intended for one audience finds its way to another” with that new audience’s reaction being uncharitable and highly negative for failing to understand the original context.

This is… sort of how I use it, but not entirely; Wikipedia goes on to provide examples which all involve text being meant for one audience and read by another for whom it wasn’t intended.

The way I’m using it would be better defined as: using terminology in ways which make sense in one context, but when taken out of context can mean something very different, often with the opposite of its intention.

Or, in broader terms, using information that makes sense in one context in an inappropriate manner for another context, often by chasing through a chain of linked contexts without adapting the underlying information based on its new context.

So, is there a better, more established term out there that captures the phenomenon I talked about yesterday? Because it would be incredibly ironic if I ended up causing even more confusion by using a term that means vastly different things in different contexts, when talking about that very same phenomenon.

The Dangers of Context Collapse

Context collapse is a favorite tool of Internet trolls and other disruptive influences1, but it has so many other implications. It’s important to avoid it, and to recognize where context collapse is leading to incorrect beliefs or actions.

Context collapse itself is the phenomenon of highly-contextual information being used, purposefully or otherwise, in an ambiguous manner which leads to confusion. A pretty common example of this is the word “theory;” in colloquial speech it means the same thing as “hypothesis” in scientific speech. This leads to a very common chain of reasoning: the theory of evolution (in the scientific sense) becomes “just a theory” (in the colloquial sense), which then is purposefully used to sow seeds of doubt in people using the phrase colloquially, when scientifically-speaking it’s established fact.

This ends up being a huge issue in a lot of unexpected places, which can often result in extremely unfortunate results which can negatively impact peoples' livelihoods, even with the best of intentions.

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Novembeat 2022: Original Soundtrack