Month: November 2018

Happy Thanksgiving 2018 to all

I know, we are only hours away from the U.S. Holiday of Thanksgiving. It’s funny – as a member of Providence Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) I correctly answered a question regarding who established the day as our day of Thanksgiving. Hint – President Abraham Lincoln.

Anyhow the menu for the upcoming day:

Roasted turkey, on bed of carrot, celery and onion. It’s a 12lb bird. On the small side because as I’ve previously posted somewhere there are only so many things you can do with turkey tetrazini.

Mashed cauliflower

Broccoli casserole with cheese

Bacon wrapped fresh steamed green beans

And then Goat Cheese Puffs. It’s that universal dough from Around My French Table with a mixture of goat and cream cheese stuffed in it. Less than 3g of carbs per puff. Not bad.

This time I glazed the Pate au choufe. Here’s what they look like chilling in the toaster oven and you’ll note they’re pretty uniform in size. Used a 1 tablespoon ice cream scoop:

And here’s one that fell undersize that became fodder for me to test quality. Delicious.

You’ll note no stuffing, no mashed potatoes. Ah well – the carbohydrate load on those is pretty high so they got nixed. But all in all I think a fairly good menu for the day. For just the two of us it’s not bad.

Quotes from books I love and my comments on them.

From “I will fear no evil”

“The lawyer looked sheepish. “Well…yes. But I had the best cook in Safe Harbor enclave. If I had fired her, I might have wound up with one just as expensive-who put sugar in gravy.”

Indeed – never put sugar in gravy. Or sauce for that matter. It’s a mortal sin in Italian-American households.

“It’s just that I have never been able to see life as anything but a vast complicated practical joke, and it’s better to laugh than cry.”

Indeed, I follow this particular quote to the letter. I always tell people the same, I’d prefer to laugh rather than cry.
And from the book Friday:

“Good. They need sleep. Both of them are worriers; I am not. I decided that there was no point in attending Armageddon with my eyes bloodshot, so I came in here. You were asleep, I think.”

Yep – as I say it, don’t bother holding the end of creation or Armageddon before I’ve had my morning coffee/tea/etc.

This one from To Sail Beyond the Sunset – in fact my very first cat got his name from this book:

Random Numbers may have been the silliest cat I’ve ever lived with – although all cats are sui generis, and Pixel has his supporters for the title of funniest cat, unlimited, all times, all universes.

And this is how the cat Random Numbers got it’s name:
`That kitten doesn’t have a brain; he just has a skull full of random numbers, and whenever he bangs his head into a chair or ricochets off a wall, it shakes up the random numbers and causes him to do something else.’

“No subject matter? That’s right; no subject matter whatever – just coloured water with artificial sweetening. `Theo-‘ = `God’ and `-logy’ = word(s), i.e., any word ending in `-ology’ means `talk about’ or ‘discussion of’ or ‘words concerning’ or `study of’ a subject named in the first part of the word, whether it is ‘hippology’, or ‘astrology’, or `proctology’, or `eschatology’, or `scatology’, or something else”

And this – I’ve long known since my high school days that ology indicates the discussion of, study of etc.

“God’, or `god’, or ‘gods’ – have you ever seen ‘God’? If so, where and when, how tall was She and what did She weigh? What was Her skin colour? Did She have a belly button and, if so, why? Did She have breasts? For what purpose? How about organs of reproduction and of excretion – did She or didn’t She?”

And this one – why would a god have nipples or genitalia? In the images I’ve seen the god character has nips and likely other genitalia.

Past Pleasures that are fading quickly

You know, when I think about it I really have had a charmed life to some degree.

I got to see a whole bunch of music acts, comedians, plays, monlogues etc. That last by the way – the boy who gave it was completely naked and proud. If you know what I mean. I attempted the Japanese that while nakedness is noticed, it is never stared at.

But in many respects it saddens me – I believe we no long have comics that are edgy, and the music acts whilst some are still touring some have gone to the ethereal plane never to return. We’ve seen Roy Ayers, Earth Wind & Fire, George Clinton and P-Funk. In the case of Earth Wind & Fire a few members are no longer with us.

Hell I saw Sam Kinison live. He was a funny one. Plus Judy Tanuta back in the day. How much better could it get?

The plays – they’ve been good, the demon in the Screwtape Letters was awesome. Plus TEDx talks that have been thought provoking, and in earlier days I’ve been to talks by the son of Nikita Kruschev, and just experienced the hell out of what is to offer in my little burg.

But I can see the TEDx stuff suffering the law of diminished returns.

Plus there’s seeing the local philharmoic and being overcome by the power of the music. Really good stuff.

And I love music. Even to the point there’s a playlist of Dead Artists in my music player these days.
And the list goes on and on.

Checking vital signs at home

I’ve long had a pulse oximeter. Kind of handy for figuring out your pulse rate and O2 saturation.

This is relevant to this story because we’ve recently had someones blood pressure go a little high and hypertensive. Which is odd to us because during the process of getting blood sugar under control it meant no external sweeteners and low to no carbs that we’re conscious of from day to day. The result is someone has lost 30lbs and I’ve lost quite a bit too. Which is why it’s puzzling his bp would be elevated.

But I know and have had confirmed by certain medical people that stress, anxiety, agitation, dehydration etc. can drive blood pressure up.

Anyhow I picked up an inexpensive manual BP kit at Walgreens. The issue is that the stethoscope that is built into the cuff – it sucks. Could not for the life of me pick up the pulse from someones arm. So no way to detect cessation and resumption of pulse.

The interesting part I could clearly see the brachial artery pulsing on his arm. But the blasted cuff covers the spot where I could see it.

So with the stethoscope useless and uncomfortable I thought – the pulse oximeter will show when the blood stops pumping. So used that instead and clear as a bell – when the pulse stopped the display of it froze. Then released and when pulse resumed we got the diastolic number.

As I’ve said before and will say again, necessity is the mother of invention. And there’s more than one way to skin a cat.

Health Check Times again

Roughly a decade ago I had the inner ear issues. One thing that emerged was my blood pressure was normal 120/80. That caused a great deal of consternation among the medical people. They couldn’t grasp how my BP was normal with the manifestation of the ear problem.

Recently we were seeing the Nurse Practitioner for someones BP issue. And she offered to check my blood pressure. 122/80. And I learned through her – it’s not so much the systolic but the diastolic number. But maybe I don’t know enough – I mean I know what congestive heart failure is – it’s the low pressure side or right side of the hear going slightly overboard pressure wise. But I don’t have any risk factors for that. I don’t smoke, don’t drink a whole lot of alcohol.

So I must be doing something right even though I consume a mountain of salt. But in fact I limit the carb intake – still eat fruits and vegetables and even chicken, fish, pork and rarely beef. In fact my resting heart rate is between 60 and 65 bpm. Pulse 02 is good too 98-100. Maybe it’s the fact that I do quite a bit of walking around, or maybe that I’m not all that easy to make me jump into anxiety. I told someone after two and a half decades in the Information Technology sphere two things happened. The first isĀ  meditation I learned in my Catholic high school and the ability to say no have helped me beyond what I would have thought.

Who knew just limiting the sugar intake and carbs would do so much. That said I did make the Chouf a Pate with cheese. Total carbs in that are around 3 grams. All the vids and research says 50 grams a day is max you should take in.

And I don’t limit the fat content either. I’m down to my lowest weight in years.

Making Choufe a Pate – Cheese stuffed.

This recipe is a derivative of the Gugeres – dough is the same less the cheese added directly to the dough.

For a reminds, 1/2c of milk, 1/2c of water, one stick of unsalted butter cut into four pieces. And instead of adding five eggs, only four are used. Same process though – cook the pate and then into the mixing bowl and paddle in egg at a time until they’re throroughly incorporated. Baked in a preheated oven of 425F and down to 375F to bake. Takes about 25 minutes, rotating the pan half way.

Now the cheese filling. It’s 6oz. of goat cheese, 6oz. cream cheese and 6 tablespoons of heavy cream. A little salt and pepper goes in there too. I was supposed to use herbed goat cheese but alas, just plain old in stock. But it’s delicious.

Now I was supposed to get herbed goat cheese but no such thing exists in the supermarket near me. I’m surprised they have a few items there like goat cheese, peppermint tea etc. But I digress.

Once the Chouf a Pate biscuits cool off – slice them in half and lay in the cheese mixture. I used a zip lock bag with the corner cut off to pipe the cheese into them. I know, I know I really should get the professional cake decorating kit but why – plastic bags are cheap and necessity is the mother of invention.

Now I could have added sugar to the biscuits but that ingredient is pretty much verboten in this house.

But even without the sugar they’re tasty as all hell. They store in the fridge because of the cheese products. But they were a hit. Just warm them – zap them for 10 to 15 seconds in the microwave depending on how powerful yours is. I’ve got a full 1.2kW model so 7-10 seconds gets the biscuit warm and the cheese to de-solidify.


My twisted analysis of The Girl from Ipanema song

I was listening to the song by Astrud Gilberto and Stan Getz titled “The Girl from Ipanema”. Nice jazz tune. But as I am wont to do and before the mid day lethargy hits I figured I’d explain the issue I have with the song.

Nothing to do with the music at all. But the logic.

You see the girl from Ipanema goes walking – sure. And the guy smiles but she never sees. Did the guy never think to change his position so the girl sees him? Inquiring minds would like to know why he didn’t. I mean if the view is lovely and you want someone to know you appreciate it you always say hi, or ask them to turn around and grace you with a cute front/posterior etc. I mean come on, how big a wuss is the guy in the song?

But I guess that’s just the way I see the world. I mean you have to, in the immortal words of Ferris Bueler – stop and smell the roses sometimes. Otherwise you may as well whole up in your own home and never leave. Become a shut in.

I mean I look at myself – I don’t consider myself classically handsome. But I get hit on regularly and say thanks. Maybe it’s the t-shirts I rock as I note they get noticed all the time. I mean come on, an image of Leonard Nimoy as Spock with a halo, stained glass effect and a panel that says LLAP – Live Long and Prosper. That and my Cocoa Rebels t-shirt get noticed, so too my rock, paper, scissors, lizard, spock shirt. Or my well loved but now worn out red t-shirt with the alphabet spelled out in game controllers.

How to stop a Python function from going below 1

I’d written a function to take a given number, then reduce it by half for x iterations. Problem was with some numbers it’d go past the limit of 64 bit subscripts and error out. This came out of something I’d read where if you keep reducing the distance you travel by half you’d never reach your destination. It’s funny what I read ends up as functions in this python app I’ve written.

I had some error checking built in. But then I thought, why not just check if the end result is greater than or equal to 1. That solves it – it never gets into the weeds this way. Perfect.

Here’s the code:

def byhalves(): # A thought experiment .
a=float(input(“Enter a number to halve until errors out:”))
t=int(input(“Enter number of iterations:”))
print(“Be prepared, halving a distance means you’ll never reach it.”)
try: # What you’ll find is pretty much any number will never reach zero by half
while i<t:
b=a/2 # Took out the natural log. For the purposes
# of this app it’s worthless.
if b>=1:
print(“Out of range at final result one.”)
a=b # Now make a equal to the last result. And iterate on.

print(“Exceeds maximum allowable exponents.\nTry again with fewer iterations or index.”)
filw.write(‘Termination of By Halve Function.\n’)#for logging of module term
filw.write(ctime(time()))#with full timestamp

if you don’t know Python I’ll break it down:
1. def byhalves() – this is setting up the function byhalves.
2. i=0 – this is the index initialized to zero
3. a=float(input(“Enter a number to halve until errors out:”))- input a floating point value and store in the variable a.
4. t=int(input(“Enter number of iterations:”)) – the index you’ve chosen in integer form. Stored as variable t
5. the print is obvious – it puts it on screen.
6. try: – this is the error catcher. Right now this is coupled with except statement toward the bottom that uses a print statement to tell you that you’ve blown past the max number for exponents.
7. while i<t: – this is a while loop where the index is compared to the number you entered and stored as variable t.
8. i=i+1 which I could abbreviate as i++ This increments the index value.
9. b=a/2 – this takes the valuable stored as a and divides it by 2 or half. Then stores it in variable b.
10. if b>=1: – so long as the b or displayed variable doesn’t go below 1 we’re good.
11. print(“a=”,a,”\t\tb=”,b,”\t\tindex=”,i) – so everything in Python 3.4 you have to wrap in parentheses and quotation marks. In this line you see I put labels a=, b= and so on. The commas separate the quotes from the variable and so on so they all appear on the same line. And you’ll see some \t’s in there – those are tab escape codes.
12: else: The if/else clause terminator.
13. The next line of the else: prints Out of range af final result one.
14: The terminator of the try: clause is except: and this one triggers on ValueError which you get when you blow past the max number of exponents.
15: Prints Exceeds maximum allowable exponents then on the next line(That’s the \n) says to try again with fewer iterations or index.
16: Anything that begins filw.write – thats logging for this function.
17: ctime(time()) – that gives time in normal format for time stamp logging.
18: return() – returns to the main body of the program.

**DISCLAIMER** to properly use this you need the time and math libraries imported.

The trouble with MD’s

Recently someone had to see a new MD regarding high blood pressure. I’m on the fence if I should identify this doctor because he’s the attending for a practice in the area.

One of the prime reasons that I as a general principle distrust MD’s is because I’ve caught them out with their what I term lies.

For example, someone was told by the doctor that carbs were ok because we need them for quick energy, that he could have a potato or rice. And that when the A1C number drops from 9 to 6.2 that you’re still diabetic, not pre-diabetic. It’s enough to make me angry and make me question the ability of doctors to consistently say the wrong fucking thing.

This doctor also said that eating one meal a day resets the metabolism and lowers it. Someone said if that that were the case, the Jews who were released from the Nazi concentration camps would look like Beluga Whales instead of the emaciated messes that they were.

This doctor also put him on medication for the high blood pressure. But here’s the thing, the doctor was dismissive of the other factors that can raise blood pressure, like lack of sleep, agitation, anxiety, dehydration etc. Even the Nurse Practitioner said dehydration can raise blood pressure. Couple it with a few of the other factors I mentioned and well you can see my concern.

This doctor had the temerity to say to put someone’s health care in the doctors hands. I’ll use the Latin for this one Ut Si.

Then of course there’s the persistent myth that fats are bad for us. That sugar is ok – so tell me why we’re seeing increased rates of Type II diabetes and still it seems as many heart attacks, strokes, etc. We were told a big fat lie by a doctor.

I note too doctors have become more pill pusher than anything else. I think we can blame that on the pharma industry. I mean lunches, trips all over creation, etc. Really?

Because we’ve been on a low/no carb/sugar diet and losing weight and seeing someones A1C drop lower and lower.

I suppose we’re both a doctors worst nightmare – informed patients.

When it Comes to Good Meat

Some time back I’d posted how the nearby Joe’s Meat Market. Today I was tasked to go in and get some skin on bone in chicken thighs and some slab bacon cut nice and thick.

The deal 10lbs of skin on bone in chicken thighs were $12. That works out to $1.20 a pound for one of the best parts of chicken you can get. And they’re super easy to de-bone – two lateral cuts, one scrape under with good shears and one just pulls the bone out of the thigh. The bones of course have a little meat on them so they get saved to make soup later on.

Yesterday I got two ribeye steaks – cut about an inch or so thick. That was more pricey but I’ll say something – usually you end up with a lot of gristle with steaks like that you might purchase at a supermaket (Or is that supermercado?) In fact I think the quality of the steaks is what caused an order to get the chicken at the same place.

Plus it supports a local business. It saddens me to see the number of local places that have shut down over the years. But this market seems to be going strong. Hopefully it’ll be going strong for years to come.

And we’re going to be eating chicken thighs for awhile I guess.