July 27th, 2014



A shopping day, after wasting time online all morning, till about 2 pm, exploring links leading to links leading to links leading to porn.  All Internet highways lead to porn, eventually.

One of those links was from a Facebook FAIL. FB for some time now has intrusively, automatically tagged people it recognizes in photos, using your friends' photo albums, and maybe your copies of your friends' photos. It never fails to tag Abraham Lincoln in my mock quote memes as actress friend Robin Shelby. Robin is about 4'11, has super-curley red hair.


So it did not surprise me when a friend of a friend, someone I have never met but have probably been in the same place at the same time with once or twice, tried to tag a cast photo from a 2000 musical I was in with the name of a mutual friend named Mark. After deleting the tag request, and messaging the perp with the info that Mark and I have never been in a show together, perp replies that he didn't try to tag Mark. Yup, FB did that all on its own. In this case. Mark is about 5'8" and the person in the photo is pushing 6', Mark is built broad-shouldered and solid, the guy in the photo is track runner build. Mark is usually cleanshaven, the guy in the photo has a beard. And so on.

The interesting thing is I have known Mark since the mid-90s, when he basically took my place on the Menlo Players Guild board, and started getting cast in the parts I usually got. Not a problem because we never auditioned for the same productions. At least I don't recall us doing so. To add to the amusement factor, I've been taking photos at the LUNAR.org model rocket launches for a few years now, two years ago Mark started a rocketry club at the middle school where he teaches, and has brought them to those launches. I think he may have got that idea from my FB posts.

Finally got off my butt and took the shirts, jeans, towels and belt which had been piled on the bedroom floor, bagged them and took them to a Goodwill station. Next stop was The French Store to exchange my depleted SodaStream cannister for a full one, and buy some travel-related stuff. Travel sized roll-on deodorant (at home I use aerosols), toothpaste, Dramamine (as a sleep aid for the flight, I don't get airsick), artificial tears (one for travel and one for home), another box of Polident just in case, generic lactaid tablets for home as backup for the travel size bottle I already have and aloe. Resisted buying other stuff I already have, such as a Q-tips travel boxette, folding toothbrush, baby sized baby powder, and some other stuff I've already forgotten.

The box which cousin's snap-cool towels came in has become my UK travel stuff center.

After I had gathered everything on my list, I went wandering to see what wasn't on my list that I needed/wanted. They have a variety of superhero underwear, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle boxers, Batman one-piece flannel jump suit PJs, SpongeBob SquarePants speedos. None in my size. I do need something in the way of sleepwear for my stay at the cousins', but nothing in the collection in my size appealed to me. Will look online. Possibly will buy TARDIS underpants because, well, everything inside is bigger than it looks outside. :-)

Swim trunks was the only item which made it into the cart from the non-list.

And at checkout there was a pleasant surprise, everything was 5% off. They are still reeling from the card swipe scandal, which as far as I can tell was something of a false alarm. Media yellow journalism and ignorance strikes again.
Last night I cut up four mangoes from Costco because they were bruised and/or overripe. This called for sticky (glutenous) rice with sweetened coconut milk sauce. But first, a mocha stop at Batcave Starbucks, where I finished the main story of Campbell Award nominee Ramez Naam's novel Nexus. There is still some epilogue-ish stuff which is mostly author's mental masturbation. The final 1/3 or maybe half of the book is set in Thailand, in places I am very familiar with. This is the third Worldcon 2014 work which is set in Thailand, and none of them have gotten it right. Strange but true, one of the Campbell nominees, Banjanun Sriduangkaew, is Thai, but her stories are set in worlds of her own building, and she uses no Thai language.

What Naam (who is from Egypt) got wrong made me cross him off the list of people to vote for. He has the final action set in the mountains of NE Thailand, as if the whole area is mountainous. Truth is, except for a sliver of national park lands near Cambodia, NE Thailand is as flat as Kansas. He has the entourage go to a temple in Saraburi, which IRL is way at the edges of the province, at sea level, a few miles from the foothills of that national park. He also has a Thai character whose name begins with a V. The Thai alphabet has no V. Sometimes people whose names begin with a W and are of Sanskrit origin will spell it V for the foreigners, but the narrator ought to know better. There is a standard transliteration scheme for Thai in  Roman characters which he doesn't use, and most of the phrases he has his characters say are not what one would hear in normal conversation. They are technically mostly correct, probably from an online translator like Google Translate. Another annoying thing is he keeps harping on how the heat outside clobber the American protagonist, but he also has it raining a lot, and during Rainy Season Bangkok is not much worse than San Jose in springtime.

His writing style is excellent, his premise is inventive and he has covered a wide range of scientific and sociological details related to it, but I can't vote for "best new author" for someone who chooses a location he doesn't know inside and out. The book is also about 20% too long for what it is trying to accomplish, much of that is needless detail in too many too-long martial arts scenes. But that's okay for a first work.

So now the only vote for Campbell I have left is Max Gladstone. I'll dip into his Three Parts Dead and/or Two Serpents Rise.

After Starbucks I walked to the nearby Lucky's to see if they had sticky rice, but while they had a huge selection of whites and browns, they were all the normal non-stick kind. So one Freeway exit south to the New Wing Yuan Market, which has piles and shelves of rice right up front. It looked like they had only non-glutenous rice, until I saw a row of Three Lady rice which had a strange English label. "EXTRA SUPER QUALITY SANPATONG SWEET RICE.  So I read the Thai label:

Kaw Niew San Bha dhong. Those first two words mean "sticky rice". WIN!

Also picked up extra sweetened condensed milk. That will be mixed with coconut milk I already have to make the topping for the mangoes with sticky rice.

Home, put stuff away, opened up the rent bill which was almost the same amount as last month. Turning off the furnace pilot light made the gas bill drop enormously, running the new air conditioner upped the electric bill by about the same amount. Fair trade. Also, August is the month the rent goes up by 6%. Despite all my gardening, water bill was lower.  Rent check is printed and signed, and will be dropped off soon.
The directions on the rice said to soak in cool water for 2 hours, then steam for 40 minutes. I lined the steamers with waxed paper, which turned out to not be such a good idea. I needed something porous like banana leaves. After 40 minutes, though, the rice was sticky enough to not fall through the openings at the bottom of the steamer, so it got another hour of steaming. Too late to finish the project, put it in the fridge for tomorrow.

Watched Tivo, homeboy James Inglehart was guest host on The View on the 25th, and there was a surprise appearance by Kristen Chenoweth, whom I adore. And two more interesting people whose names I have forgotten.  Also watched some TMZ. Yesterday Who Do You Think You Are? was on the Tivo, glad to see it return for another season, though the first episode took the budget-conscious route of following a side of the family only back three generations, and all within the Eastern states.

Plans for tomorrow:
If I'm up early enough and remember, hit the Asian market for banana leaves.
Ye Olde Towne Band concert at 1:30, be there an hour early.
Janice is taking her friend's twins trout fishing, so probably no coffee chat
Maybe there will be time to do the Blu-Ray project
There should be sticky rice and mangoes for dessert.

Concert Day

But first, got clobbered at about 4 am by a very low blood sugar level - 64 and going down. Lots of ice cream & some raw honey topping were the self-medication. I don't get how this happened, I only shot up 120 units of low grade insulin, at 11 pm. Lately it has taken 150 at midnight or 1 am just to be around 100 at 8 am. All I can think of is it was a newly opened vial.

Anyhow, that beat me up pretty badly, so instead of being up and at the market at 10, I was in bed till 11. Took till noon to get ready top go out, which meant band uniform, fixodent and hauling the horn to the car. Got there at 12:30, got my favorite parking place. Forgot my Nexus, so had no Kindle book to read. Played on the phone instead, FB & Twitter & the home webcams.  

It was very warm, in the 90s, intonation sucked. My instrument tends to go flat in normal temps, was way out in the warm weather and high humidity. I did not play very well, kept miscounting things. Played a couple of short unintentional solos. :-(

One good thing is the tuba player I gave sourdough starter to at Thursday;s rehearsal gave me a slice of the bread she made from it, and a small jar of her home made plum jam.

If I do it right, Ranch 99 Asian market is on the way home. I stopped there intending to just buy banana leaves and (if they were available) longans. In a flash of inspiration, I bought a small rice cooker. I figured it would do a better job of steaming the sticky rice than my current arrangement. Also got banana leaves, because they only cost $1 for a big pack, and there may still be a use for them.

One danger of going to Ranch99 is they have some very tempting stuff. Canned crab meat was on sale for $9/lb. Cherries were $2.33/lb. But more dangerous is their dim sum and buffet section. Six sesame balls and a roasted duck (chopped) went into the basket.

Home, the air conditioning felt okay, but 78 is too hot, so it got plunked to 75. Slopped all the sticky rice from last night into the cooker, added water and turned the thing on. After an hour it looked like it was real NE Thai rice, so I put most into a container and into the fridge.

Had some CDs to rip to the iPod, watched some Hollywood Game Night on Tivo while eating duck & raw carrots.

Dessert was sticky rice with mango pieces on top, and a mix of coconut milk and sweetened condensed milk poured over it. Went out onto the porch, it was not dusk, and watched two or three hummingbirds enjoying the new feeder. One of them came within a foot of me, hovered for 15 seconds, decided I wasn't a threat and went back to the feeder. And was attacked by a larger hummer. Hummingbirds are, to me, a miracle. And further proof that intelligent design is an oxymoron.

The sticky rice was too mushy. I had boiled it instead of steamed it. This can be repaired, because the rice cooker is also a steamer. And all that really has to happen is for the rice to dry out a bit.

Once again did not touch the DVD project, or the sourdough project.

Plans for tomorrow:
Library talk by a NASA guy. Better than BASFA.