* Does anyone have any (online, preferably) shop recommendations for storage solutions for paper/stationery/etc? Ikea have some lovely things, but their delivery charge is exorbitant and I most certainly don't have the spoons for a trip to Croydon any time soon.
* Night Vale live next month EEEEEE.
* Work is going well! Have resolved some slightly snarly client stuff and am getting things done. Last couple of weeks have been really rough but I'm working my way back to where I want to be.
* I am not getting much (any) writing done and I'm slightly panicking about that 'cause it's Exchange Season and i have no idea what I want to nominate for Yuletide.
* I'm also not reading much, but this is an Ongoing Pattern and has been for at least a year. I have zero attention span.
* I think that's it for now!
- carrier bags
- bread bags
- breakfast cereal bags
- multipack wrappers
- toilet roll/kitchen roll wrappers
- grocery wrappers
- freezer bags
- magazine/newspaper wrappers
- bubble wrap
- clean clingfilm
- plastic film
- crisp packets
- pet food pouches
...that's going to reduce our black bin use considerably, again.
I have spent most of the last 3-4 days doing pretty much zero, by which I mean less than my usual almost-zero amount.
I was so sick on Thursday that I checked to see whether the pharmacy had accidentally omitted my prednisone from the medication pack but no, it's just my body being ... like my body is.
This is not a thing I like :(.
And here's what it looked like on pizza:
Yes, it shreds and melts, thanks to the magic of kappa carrageenan, though it doesn't get stretchy (I'd have to add xanthan gum for that) and it doesn't love direct heat. I made that pizza with 10 minutes in the toaster oven preheated to 450F followed by 4 minutes under the broiler, and it came out fine. But when I put slices of the cheese (not shreds) on top of bread and toasted it, with the toaster oven starting out cold and heating the toast from both above and below, the cheese got an odd sort of thin crinkly skin on top, though it was lovely and melty underneath. It had only started to brown slightly when I took the toast out, but I'm sure it would brown well if given the chance.
It is far FAR better than any storebought vegan mozzarella I've ever had. The flavor is perfect, milky and mild. The texture is a little solid, almost rubbery; it would be perfect for something like deep-fried cheese sticks but it's not quite right for eating on crackers. There's a "buffalo mozzarella" recipe that cuts the carrageenan from 4 tsp to 3 with all other proportions the same, and I might try that next, since I still have some almond milk in the fridge.
Oh yes, this is made from homemade almond milk: almond meal + water + Vitamix + 2 minutes. (I love the Vitamix so so so much; very grateful to auntyglory for that housewarming present.) So the complete and total ingredient list for the cheese:
Tapioca starch (aka tapioca flour)
Refined coconut oil
Lactic acid powder (lemon juice can be substituted)
That's it. And making it was pretty simple, though it required some elbow grease (provided by the mighty sinboy): blend the non-acid ingredients*, heat in a nonstick pot over medium-low, stir frequently until it goes through the curdled stage and becomes glossy and goopy and thick (and reaches 175F internal temperature), remove from heat, rapidly mix in acids, pour into a mold and let cool, put in the fridge to set. I keep it wrapped in paper towels to absorb excess moisture that gradually rises to the surface, so the cheese gets firmer over time.
* The recipe recommends blending everything except the acid and the oil and adding in the oil in the pan. This doesn't make sense to me, since the Vitamix can emulsify the mixture far better than a person could manage by hand. Maybe the oil becoming fully incorporated into the mixture would be a sign of cooking progress? Still, I should probably try it the way the recipe recommends, to see whether that affects the cheese's texture in some way.
In short: chemistry is pretty incredible. And delicious.
The recipe is from The Non-Dairy Evolution Cookbook, which is nonstop amazingness from cover to cover. The book is inexplicably self-published; I don't know why it isn't being brought out by a trad publisher and marketed the way Miyoko Schinner's Artisan Vegan Cheese was, but the only place to buy it is from the author's website. So if you're interested in making your own vegan cheese (and butter and whipped cream and sour cream and all sorts of other fake dairy products), please support awesome queer vegan self-publishing chefs and buy a copy. I recommend the PDF edition, which is full of seriously impressive photos.
Now to decide what to make next: mild cheddar or Swiss. The Swiss calls for extra-dry vermouth, and I'm not sure we have any... must check with J, who's in charge of the liquor cabinet.
So this house will, much too soon, be completely feline-free. Now, we'd love to give a home to other cats (two seems to be optimal), but the way local animal welfare seems to be going, that's not going to happen. They seem to be bound to have contracts (which you have to sign to get a pet from a shelter) that state that you'll:
- take proper care of the critter (good!)
- that you'll have them neutered/spayed (good!)
- the critter will stay the property of the shelter (hmm)
- they reserve the right to take your pet away for any reason, and won't even have to state it (no)
- that you'll give the welfare org unlimited access to your home "just to make sure" (WT freaking F?!)
Ah no, you won't get access to my home. Just .. no. Why? 'cuz I actually read stuff before I sign it. You will not get access to my property. Ever. I don't care you stating (not in writing, of course) that you'll never abuse this. The mere fact that you want that is completely over the top. Just: no.
In other news, the local animal welfare shelter is on the cusp of bankruptcy (or beyond, depending on whom you talk to).
There's always introspection by the programmer. What's been annoying you? What do you think might please users? This has limits, partly because the programmer is just one person, and not necessarily much like anyone else, and in particular, may have differences from non-programmers in general. Also, sometimes people get used to annoyances.
I can think of two more approaches. One would be semantic-- looking for complaints (online, in company records, maybe in additional places) and having a program which looks for common themes. Or human beings could do this with their naked minds. I hope at least that much is being done.
Another would be to go over the records from the programs themselves, and see whether there are repetitious patterns (especially if there are errors) from the users. Something like this might already exist. Let me know.
Here's something that I haven't gotten used to. I enter my email address. I can't remember my password. I click on the can't remember your password link. I'm asked to enter my email address again. Why?
Any other approaches to finding out what could use improvement?
"The rich man demands something almost as good as he has left at home, the man of moderate means something much better."
The hop vodka has been decanted, and will be forced upon 'volunteers' this weekend.
This morning, I was late for Pilates. This was partly because Mike was late getting back from Bluewater (it's a good job he'd reserved his new iPhone, as the unreserved line was apparently enormous) and partly because of the woman in from of me on Stone Street who was driving at 30 mph, except where it was a 40 limit and she was driving at 20. It was a little misty, but come *on*! (On the way home, by contrast, I was stuck behind a tractor towing a load of potatoes. This didn't annoy me nearly as much, partly because tractors towing enormous trailers of potatoes are, by their very nature, slow but mostly because it was going faster that the earlier woman had been.) (Since we moved here, Mike and I have pondered slightly on the sign in Stelling Minnis pointing to the High Chimney Potato Store, but over the last month or so we have become aware of how very much it is apparently needed, as there are lots of potatoes being taken there.)
Yesterday, while we were out riding, we got mobbed by some dogs whose owner (when she'd eventually managed to get them under control) asked if we'd seen her elderly collie, who'd been missing for a couple of days. TWWOTV had apparently reported seeing him late on Tuesday night, but nothing since. I very much doubted that she'd find him but, on the way home, I passed her walking up the road, presumably out looking for him again, so I stopped to see if there was news and there way: she'd just found him, and was on the way home for the car and a wheelbarrow (I'd have offered her a lift, but she was only a couple of hundred yards from home and I wasn't sure how many dogs she had wither her: I only *saw* two, or maybe three, but...). He was stuck in a barbed wire fence, dehydrated and covered in blowflies, but seemed as well as could be expected otherwise. The field he was in? Belongs to TWWOTV, and contains sheep owned by The Farmer. Just think, if the fences were actually looked after, he might not have got stuck. If The Farmer checked his stock properly, it might not have been two days before anyone found him....
As part of the response to the 'no' vote in Scotland's independence referendum, various Tory MPs – from the Prime Minister downwards – have been talking about the answer to the West Lothian question* by having only people elected in England voting on matters that affect only England.
They want equality for England to the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and the Northern Ireland Assembly. Good.
The Scottish Parliament is elected by PR (under the additional member system). The Welsh Assembly is elected by PR (the additional member system again). The Northern Ireland Assembly is elected by PR (STV this time).
All these ensure that the relevant decision-making bodies actually reflect the wishes of the whole of electorate they are representing much more than a Parliament elected by 'first past the post'.
If it's to be "English votes for English laws", the votes who elect those representatives have to be fair ones. It would also be good to see some devolution within England and it's notable that when that was proposed in 2004, it involved regional assemblies elected via the Additional Member System.**
As well as ignoring the question of which members of the House of Lords would be entitled to vote, the 'grand committee' of the House of Commons consisting of all the MPs elected to English constituencies that various Tory MPs are proposing out of naked self-interest simply isn't good enough.
* It's a sign of my age that I would have been amongst the first to write about that in an O-Level exam in the following June…
** One area rejected a flawed proposal and two others were cancelled because of that and irregularities in an all-postal ballot election.
Mirrored from my website's blog, The deranged mad of a brain man.
It's been a while since my workload was this intense. I'm enjoying it, but it's taken me a little while to get up to speed. I think I've more or less remembered how to balance work and sleep, and sometimes I see my family for a minute or two, and I'm pretty good at remembering to eat at least twice a day. Those being my priorities, expect to see a lot less of me around LJ/DW and Twitter for a while. I'll try to keep up, but no guarantees.
This is the second book in the )so far= trilogy of The Owner books. They're kinda a Polity prequel, in that they're set in the same universe, but way before the Polity actually existed.
Anyway, the title could actually refer to a multiple of things. There's the zero-point field, there's a couple of other things in the book that reaches a "zero" in some sort of "this is where the countdown stops" sense.
It's essentially MilSF, like most of the Polity books ("like the Culture, only not nearly as happy and positive", and the Culture books are not paragons of happiness and positivity in the first place).
If you are interested in social media site that is not ran by a division of Evil Corp, I recently signed up with Ello.co (https://ello.co/friends).
At the moment it's very minimalist but seems to come from a sound base. If you want an invite code, tell me your e-mail address and I'll be happy to oblige.
 And contrary to what might be implied in the title, I don't plan on stopping reading.