Deep One

zadok_allen


Don't lay hose in a ditch.


quick pickles
Secrets of the Sith
zadok_allen


Started experimenting with pickle recipes from this book recommended by kittles. The only one I've tried so far is the dill pickle recipe, and I've spent so much time modifying it that I've run out of cucumbers to pickle. The two biggest changes to the recipe that I made, however, have been switching red wine vinegar for white wine vinegar, switching red onions for white, halving (!) the salt, and changing the spices. I think the next batch, in fact, is going to just have dill, garlic, mustard seeds and peppercorns in it. I definitely won't be using store bought pickling spices again for the dills. The store-bought spices have cinnamon, clove and ginger in them and that's just not right for dills. The addition of a jalapeno to the jar was a great idea, and I'd like to add the horseradish that's called for but I haven't found unprepared horseradish locally yet.

Next up are pickled watermelon rinds...
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Oh sweet, fancy Moses, I need this now!
Deep One
zadok_allen
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just finished
Deep One
zadok_allen


The Dog Stars is an excellent post-pandemic story about two men who are doing fairly well in terms of survival, but struggling a bit with balancing the wages and cost of survival. There's a fair amount of gun porn and rugged individualism in the novel, so kittles, I'd definitely recommend it for your other half if he hasn't read it yet. Character development was good and something I use as a measuring stick for authors, but the lion's share of development was for a secondary character rather than the protagonist. I also found it interesting that the changes were made by what was revealed about the character rather than how he changed. Heller managed to swing my sympathies for this character from one pole to the other by the end of the novel in this manner, which impressed me. More impressive, however, is the fact that Heller wrote several scenes in the novel that were so exciting that my heart was actually pounding in my chest. I haven't found those kinds of thrills in a book in a long time, so bravo, Peter Heller. I'd recommend this book for anyone who enjoys PAW or adventure novels.

I probably would have enjoyed Treason much more if I didn't know of Orson Scott Card's opinions on homosexuality. The setting for the novel is a prison planet on which families of traitors were sequestered thousands of years ago. They were left with no technology and over the centuries the planet was divided into fiefdoms controlled by each family. To maintain control of their territory and conquer others, each family has honed and hyper-exploited the skills which got them originally exiled - a family of politicians has developed the ability to create illusions to deceive others, a family of geologists has learned to communicate with and control the earth (think earthbending, from Avatar), a family of geneticists has spliced themselves with super-healing, similar to Wolverine from X-Men. Pretty cool world for a sci-fi novel, right? But then the novel starts with the main character, cut for minor spoilersCollapse ) I wouldn't go as far as to call it creepy, but it was definitely weird. I feel like Card was partially using the novel as a way to work through or explore some of his own personal issues, and I didn't like being there as a witness. I know we're supposed to separate an author's (or musician/artist/whatever) personal opinions from their work or risk never having any art to enjoy, but I had difficulty managing that for this novel. If you're better at it than I am and you like a good sci-fi story, though, then I'd say this one is worth picking up.
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I guess I'm officially an old man if I'm posting about yard sales...
Deep One
zadok_allen


My neighbor died and the family had a yard sale to clear out the home, which I discovered was a rental. I'm not stoked about that last detail; that will give me three neighbors who are renters, although I haven't had any significant problems with them yet. It's hard not to feel a bit ghoulish when going to estate sales like this, but the family had already taken what they wanted (including the guns, #sadface) so they might as well get some cash for the "junk".

I picked up that toolbox, the two bar clamps, a pile of Craftsman box wrenches and screwdrivers, some nut drivers, about 20 paddle bits, wire nuts (peanut butter jars are great for organizing stuff like that; clear plastic, wide mouth, don't break if you drop them), vice grips, some assorted hole saws, a mouse sander and bucket tool bag. Total was $60.

The toolbox was the winner, though - I looked it up when I got home and it's a Kennedy Machinist's Chest and sells for $350 shipped on Amazon. Used sell for about $200 on eBay.
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"vacation"
firetruck
zadok_allen
I've had a rather crappy past two weeks. I went on vacation at my parents place, with the intention of painting their new shedrow and then spending the rest of my time fooling around on the dirtbike and doing some camping.



It rained for four days straight when I got there. Raining in this picture, as a matter of fact. After it stopped raining it took me another four days to paint, and then rain was in the forecast again and I just felt like going home to spend the rest of my vacation in the garden and WoW.



Motherboard crashed. It turned out to be a relatively simple fix but the machine was giving me all kinds of beep codes that I tried chasing down first. The problem was the CMOS battery - it went bad and when I replaced it the BIOS reset the HDDs configuration to AHCI instead of RAID, which is what I have. Could have been worse, eh?

Vacation over, I go back to work. Second call on the medic is a guy with a slaughterhouse of a nosebleed following septal reconstruction surgery. We put him on the stretcher, I'm at the foot of the stretcher which means he's facing me. He takes the sponges away from his face and coughs, spraying the stretcher, my face, and uniform with blood, kind of like I'm poor Lambert in Alien.



I think most people have heard this already but I thought it was a fun fact: she was told to ad lib this scene. Ridley Scott told most of the actors just that *something* would happen in that scene, and he wanted their reactions to be genuine. My reaction wasn't quite that good - I just turned to the mirror in the hallway and wiped my face off. Getting sprayed with bodily fluids is, unfortunately, old hat at this point.

just finished
Deep One
zadok_allen


Desert Solitaire was a missed opportunity for a great novel about the Moab desert and the national parks of southeastern Utah. It's staged as an autobiography of several months of the author's life when he was a park ranger. From what I read, Abbey had two objectives for this book. One was to create a pulpit from which he could drone on interminably about his existential musings and personal philosophy of life. (He is, by the way, the kind of atheist who likes to bluster about how religion is full of foolish ideas, as opposed to the kind of atheist who thinks everyone is allowed their own opinion.) But the other and most important objective was to inform the reader that the national parks in Utah have been ruined by the expansion of tourism, and nothing you see there will ever be as good as when he was there. Go if you want, but it will never be as beautiful as it was in the '60s, and he was one of the last and only people who got to appreciate it.

I think Edward Abbey is the kind of person from whom you'd immediately want to extricate yourself if you were to meet him at a party. One of the first examples of the kind of dickhead he is comes when he's describing a walk back to his camp: he spies a rabbit hiding under a bush. He picks up a rock, hurls it as hard as he can at the rabbit, striking it in the head and killing it. Rather than musing on why he did this or forcing himself to dress and eat the rabbit in exchange for killing it, he instead crows about "participating in the cycle of life" and leaves the rabbit for the scavengers, who will "appreciate it more". What a fucking asshole. It's one thing to be the cruel kid with the BB gun shooting songbirds for no other reason than the thrill of being destructive, but to then attempt to brag about it or justify it...and this guy was a park ranger! He was being PAID to be a steward of the wildlife in the park! He really, really needed a hunter or a hiker or a Boy Scout to come along and knock his teeth out.

I say the book is a missed opportunity because Abbey is a fine writer otherwise. His descriptions of the animals and plants and beauty of the park are excellent and detailed. There is a great chapter where he describes how conditions in the desert turned a murder attempt into a comedy of errors. Those moments were precisely what I was looking for in this book, but there were far too few of them to redeem what is otherwise just excerpts from the diary of an insufferable narcissist.

I'm not sure how I got turned onto A Place of Execution, but it was a pretty decent murder-mystery. The Scooby Doo reveal is complex but deftly done so that it's not confusing, and all of the protagonists are very full and likable characters. The crime committed was heinous in nature, a bit unnecessarily in my opinion, but the descriptions of it are brief and not gratuitous. I would describe this as an airport/beach read, but I enjoyed it. It received the 2000 Los Angeles Times Book Prize and a 2001 Edgar Award Nominee for Best Novel.
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KUNG FURY Official Movie [HD]
re-animator
zadok_allen
You all need to stop what you're doing right now and watch this.

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EMS swag
firetruck
zadok_allen


I went to a meeting at work for rolling out a new active shooter policy and got some free burn dressings from a trauma surgeon who was also doing a presentation. Yay free stuff! I got involved with the active shooter policy because I showed some interest in it to my Battalion Chief and I've also been getting a ton of Mass Casualty Incident training with my involvement with our local CERT.

The development of the new policy has been really exciting because our current policy is exactly the same as what Aurora, Colorado was using prior to the theater shooting - wait outside until the police have declared the scene safe and then move in to treat victims. We've had enough mass shootings in the country to have learned that waiting will lead to loss of life; most of the victims die in the first few minutes from exsanguination. In that scenario the "safety first" mantra doesn't quite jive with the "risk a lot to save a lot, risk little to save little" mantra. In school shootings especially, what is at risk is so valuable that no risk on our part is too great - we'll be going in even if the bad guy is still shooting, but we'll be doing it with protection.

The best thing about this policy, though, is the amount of inter-departmental training we've been doing with the PD. Our city has always done very little cross training between the FD and PD for some reason, even though we frequently work together. Now we're training and having conversations with each other, learning first names, learning each other's tactical priorities, how we can manage radio communications with each other, etc. It's very exciting and should have happened sooner, but at least it's happening now. I'm most excited about the fact that, if anything like this happens in our city, we're far less likely to make some of the mistakes that have been made in the past.

just finished
Deep One
zadok_allen


The Arrival is a unique graphic novel that tells a story of immigration with no text; it's only images. The artwork is a little fanciful and what I found most surprising was the amount of emotion the author was able to create without any dialogue - an impressive accomplishment. I'd decided early that I was going to read the book slowly, to carefully take in all the details of the images since it was a purchase and not a library loan. That was a good decision, I think, because there are several facets of the story that could be missed if they're skimmed over. The themes of the book and the manner in which they are presented makes it a novel that is relevant to both children and adults.

The Golem and the Jinni takes two elements of middle eastern folklore (the Jewish clay golem and the Arabic jinni) and sets them in gaslight NYC. It's primarily, I think, an immigration story, but it has elements of urban fantasy, romance, coming-of-age, and historical fiction (due to the amount of research Wecker did on the era) as well. I was hoping for a bit more of an urban fantasy tale. At the risk of sounding like a complete pig, I'd primarily recommend this novel to my female friends. Although there are elements of fantasy and suspense, I thought the novel was primarily a story of two very different, "young" (emotionally) people displaced into a foreign land and finding each other. It's natural, intended, and perhaps unavoidable, since the author is Jewish and her husband is Arabic. Although not the kind of thing I would normally choose to read, it was really very beautifully written with vibrant characters and an expertly detailed setting. It wouldn't surprise me at all if this, her first novel, was her masterpiece.
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just finished
Deep One
zadok_allen


Lost Everything is told in a post-apocalyptic setting where climate change, peak oil, and war have converged to collapse society and change the natural landscape of North America. The plot is fairly conventional for PAW novels - two men cross a dangerous landscape in search of family - in this case, a son who was separated from them by the war. The book suffered from several weaknesses. One was the setting - it had only been about a 100 years since the collapse, but flora and fauna from South America (monkeys, jungle plants) had already moved up and taken over North America. There was no explanation for a shift that rapid. Vehicles were still operating and running on gasoline even though there was no modern manufacturing or oil refining left. There was an evident gender-role swap; all of the powerful characters in the novel (military leaders, ship captains, sniper-scouts, mercenaries) were female, but there was no explanation for the shift. The other weakness was the writing style. Slattery makes frequent changes in perspective, speaker, and timeline but doesn't provide enough context clues for the readers to know where they are and who they were with. I soon stopped caring. I'd recommend people to avoid this book - it's the first I've put up on Paperbackswap.com in a while.

I've been keen to get started on The Abominable ever since reading The Terror and ranking it among my favorites of 2013. The technical quality of the writing and the degree to which the subject matter (mountain climbing before the first Everest summit) has been researched both seem beyond reproach. They were two details that impressed me quite a bit in The Terror. The problem I had with the novel is that it's a historical horror-fiction tale and the horror part doesn't start until two-thirds of the way into the 700-page book. It was a bit too much foreplay for me. I grew bored with the skilled but interminable descriptions of mountain climbing and crampons and oxygen apparatus. It was difficult to maintain interest, even in sections where I had some working knowledge of the ropes and knots they were using. To compound my frustration, when the action really got started in the last third of the novel spoilers if you already know you won"t be reading this oneCollapse ) Ah well, not a badly written book, but I wouldn't recommend it unless you really enjoyed The Terror and have a keen interest in mountain climbing.
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