Entries Tagged 'General comment' ↓

There exists more evidence for Thor than for Jesus


Our gifts from Liam

Our Christmas Dinner

More bread, increased hydration

Here’s the details. I refined my last recipe.

My previous recipe hydrated the dough to 72%. I did a quick look on the Internet and it seems a higher hydration is recommended, up to 88%. I tried a compromise and increased my water to 720 ml, which brought the hydration up to 80% of the flour weight of 900g. I also inadvertently left out the potato flakes in the water. Didn’t seem to matter to the yeast. I got a great rise from this loaf.

This was a two loaf formula, that I baked in a single boule inside my covered aluminum casserole at 230 C for 30 minutes, then another ten minutes uncovered to brown the top crust, until the inside of the loaf was 95 C.

How I make whole wheat bread

Using nothing but whole wheat flour, yeast, potato water*, salt, and a bit of honey, here is how I made a pretty decent whole wheat bread today:

Here are the numbers:

  • 900 grams of whole wheat flour
  • 10 grams salt
  • 650 ml potato water, warm (* or, 650 ml warm water with 15 grams of potato flakes)
  • 21 grams (half a cake, here) fresh yeast
  • 20 grams honey

I proofed the yeast for about twenty minutes.  The yeast makes plenty of bubbles and foam.  More is better, I think.

Mix the ingredients together, and do the first fold and stretch.  Put the dough into a covered bowl and wait for 45 minutes.

Do another stretch and fold, then return the dough to the big bowl.  Wait another 45 minutes.

Here’s what it looks like when I stretch it out:

I fold it in thirds along it’s length, then in thirds again to make the ball.  Return it to the bowl and wait another 45 minutes.

Then, after another 45 minute rest, here it is, ready to form:

I probably should have rolled it flat, then done some type of roll forming.  Instead, I just formed it into a long worm, then cut it up into individual rolls and put them on the baking sheet to rise for the last time before I baked them.

I let them rise for 45 more minutes, then baked them at 200C for twenty minutes, until the internal temperature of the bread was 95C.

As you can see, I got some more good rising, but it would’ve been better if I had rolled out that last ball of dough, then formed the rolls.  Knocking the dough down deflates the bubbles, and puts the yeast into contact with more food to make even more bubbles.

I used this formula yesterday to make a couple of sandwich loaves, and I am very pleased with how they turned out:

This worked out well, I think.  Now that I have this formula measured out by weight, I can adjust and experiment with various bits and reproduce the results with accuracy.

How to almost get ripped off by eBay itself, instead of a seller…

Well, I got nowhere with the seller on that card file in my previous post.  I offered to accept a partial, if significant, refund of the purchase price.  I said I’d accept a rebate of $145 out of the original $195 purchase price.  I’d use the rest to repair the card file, and buy either custom cut cards, or find a source of A7 size cards to use in it.  But, no dice.  So, I escalated the case to the eBay resolution center.  Including a link to my previous post, of course.  That allowed me to say whatever I wanted, add photos, with no character count limit.  I was going to get nothing from the seller, but I had a pretty good chance (at least a non-zero chance) of getting satisfaction by escalating it.

I won the escalation.  eBay emailed me a link to print a return shipping label, and instructed me to return the card file to the seller for a complete refund.  So I did just that.  I packaged it so well it can be kicked out of the airplane and be just fine.  Things were looking up.  I posted that thing back on Monday.

Then, on Tuesday, I got another “Final decision” from eBay in an email telling me the case was closed in the seller’s favor.  After they told me otherwise, and instructed me to return the item, which I did.  You can bet I was fucking hot. I sent a “What the fuck?” email to their resolution center.  Not satisfied with that, I wanted to chew someone’s ass on the phone.  After finally finding a damned phone number to call them, I got them on the line.

They wanted to re-review the entire case, which I interrupted with “Why are we doing this?  You already made a “final decision”, and I have followed your instructions to return the item.  Any details of the issue between the seller and me are now irrelevant.  This problem is now owned by eBay.”  Well, the woman on the phone wasn’t too pleased with that, and insisted we once more plow through the case.  After being on hold for a couple minutes, she came back to tell me that my appeal had been granted.

As if they were doing me some big fucking favor or something.  Bullshit.  They fucked up.  In fact, she admitted that the person who sent that last “final decision” made the error.  They actually refunded my purchase price immediately, without waiting for the seller to receive the item.  “Your appeal is granted.”  Fuck that.  I was going to win this one way or the other.  The easy way, or the really easy way.  If I’d have had to, I’d have disputed the charge and put a stop to it at the payment source.

I had a few things in my favor.  The facts.  The email traffic.  A bad fucking attitude.

So, to their credit, eBay fucked up.  Then, they fixed it.  This, while dealing with me, a really pissed off asshole on the other end of a telephone.  They did OK.

How to get ripped off on eBay…

Card file, fitness for purpose demonstration

Card file, fitness for purpose demonstration

First, here’s what the seller said about this piece in their eBay listing:

This is a beautiful antique card file cabinet. It is made of quarter-sawn oak with a gorgeous tiger stripe grain. There are 4 drawers, each with the brass label slot/pull on the front. There are 4 brass button feet on the bottom. This dates from the early 1900’s. It is made with sturdy dovetail construction and is in PRISTINE condition. The finish is like new! A few very faint scratches that are difficult to see. Bottom has a couple of scratches, but they aren’t normally seen. It is 12.5″w x 13″d x 9″h, and weighs a very heavy 17lbs. A beautiful addition to your home or work office, or could be used as a sewing box, phone number/address box, recipe box, or even for jewelry or crafts. Wonderful display piece, looks good from all sides — even back.

That pretty much says it all.  The only size standard card sold in North America anywhere near the standard index card is the standard index card.  3 inches by 5 inches.  Well, we can see here how the rebuilt drawer sides are too thick to allow this card file to hold 3×5 cards.  The seller asserted that “Many of the older file boxes do not fit 3×5 cards. I did not state in my auction that this file drawer would hold 3×5 cards.”  Well, true enough, the seller didn’t actually say it would hold 3×5 cards.  But, the seller did sell a card file without saying it WOULDN’T hold  index cards!

How about this little tidbit from MIT’s Technology Review, 2005:

…In 1876, Melvil Dewey, inventor of decimal classification, helped organize a company called the Library Bureau, which sold both cards and wooden cases. An academic entrepreneur, Dewey was a perfectionist supplier. His cards were made to last, made from linen recycled from the shirt factories of Troy, NY. His card cabinets were so sturdy that I have found at least one set still in use, in excellent order. Dewey also standardized the dimension of the catalogue card, at three inches by five inches, or rather 75 millimeters by 125 millimeters. (He was a tireless advocate of the metric system.)

Let’s not try and bullshit each other that this American made card file was made for any other size of index card.

Here’s my favorite bit:  “…could be used as a sewing box, phone number/address box, recipe box…”

How?  Using what card stock, Mr. Wizard?

Card File, bottom right corner

Card File, bottom right corner

Here’s the half-assed repair job on a crack on the front of the bottom right joint where the side panel meets the bottom.  Note the glue in the crack from being repaired without clamping, now keeping that crack open.

Card file, front top left joint

Card file, front top left joint

Notice how easily the top lifts off from the left side panel?  It’s no longer glued there.

Card file, drawer separators

Card file, drawer separators

Card file, drawer separators

Card file, drawer separators

Note how the horizontal drawer separator is not flush with the front edges of the side panels.  Why would this be?

Card file, drawer separators

Card file, drawer separators

Oh!  Here’s why!  It’s also not glued in any longer.

Card file, drawer corner detail

Card file, drawer corner detail

Well, the seller thought those dovetail joints were a sure-fire indicator of antiquity.  Yeah.  No one making a piece with modern components would ever think of using dovetail joints.  Here’s the fun bit about these two photos:  Note the Phillips head screws.  Then, remember that the seller said this item dates to the “early 1900s”.  Phillips head screws were not in use until 1937, when Cadillac started using them in all their cars.  They weren’t widely available to the public until 1939, when some 85% of the world’s screw manufacturers were licensed to manufacture them.  Source:  Phillips Screw Company.

That took me all of ten minutes to find out on the internet.

So much for this claim of authentic antique construction from the early 1900s.  I don’t think we need to hear that “1937 IS in the early 1900s”, either.  If the seller wanted to say “the 1930s”, they could have done so, but did not.

Card file, drawer bottom detail

Card file, drawer bottom detail

Card file, drawer bottom detail

Card file, drawer bottom detail

Oh, I just thought I’d show some more of those “early 1900s” time-machine Phillips head screws.


This was sold as an antique, making no mention of the much more modern drawer rebuilds.  It was also sold as “pristine”.  The loose and poorly repaired joints show it to be otherwise.  It was also sold as a card file.  One that could be used for recipes, or perhaps a phone number/address box.  But, the seller never bothered to see that an actual index card would fit into it.  A standard that has existed since Dewey invented it for, wait for it, card files.








The FIVE Horsemen

I don’t know where I got this, but I think it’s hilarious.

The Five Horsemen

The Five Horsemen of the Apocalypse

Declawing Cats

I got into a discussion about declawing cats on another forum.  I once had a cat that I had declawed.  The time was I wouldn’t give it much more thought than sterilization.

The cat bitches, as I can call anyone I fucking want on my own blog, were meat eaters, and were perfectly happy sterilizing their cats, than had the gall to tell everyone how cruel declawing is for cats.

They had a real tendency to use emotionally charged words to describe declawing.  A couple of them also tended to write in absolutes such as, “All cats suffer crippling effects… blah, blah, blah”.

Not a fucking one of them could cite a real peer reviewed study looking at the complications of declawing, and another looking at say, sterilization.  Nor could they seem to get their cat sized brains around the hypocrisy they are displaying when they hide behind cruelty as a reason not to declaw while munching away on their dead animal of choice.

Now, I eat meat.  Not a lot, but I eat meat.  I’ve killed plenty of my own meat as well.  I know perfectly well where it comes from and how it gets into my belly.  I also sterilize my pets.  Both of these are visiting some measurable amount of cruelty to animals.

So, I’m not about to tell anyone not to declaw because it’s cruel to cats.  I will not be that hypocrite.  No, I would have to simply explain how it is unnecessary.  Being unnecessary, it is unethical.  There is just no compelling reason to declaw an animal.  We humans are considerably more clever than any cat, so we should be able to figure out a way to get them to do what we want without cutting bits off of them.

I will be pleased to entertain any discussion about my justification for recommending against declawing.  But, unless you’re a vegetarian that doesn’t sterilize your pets, I don’t need to hear about your thoughts on cruelty.

Forums’ rules and such

I have been involved in a couple of very good threads on Richard Dawkins’ forum.  Not yet as a subject matter expert, but in whatever contributions I may make in keeping the antagonist on track, logically.  I’ve learned very much.

First, they don’t tolerate ad hominem attacks.  At all.  Five warnings in a year and your banned.  Forever.  And woe to anyone who registers a different username and operates as a “sock puppet”.

The purpose is to promote the discussion of ideas, not attack the people.  Very effective.

Now, I fast forward to my hometown newspaper opinions page.  This was one of the first forums I started posting in regularly.  I have to report I have NEVER got an actual response that passed logical muster there to one of my comments.  Time and again, in the face of airtight logical constructs, the other common users there would usually simply ignore them and babble on, or they’d end up calling me names.

The last straw for me there was today.  One of the weekly contributors to the opinions section is apparently an old woman who writes the inspirational page for her church program.  That article gets published every Monday in the opinions section of the online paper.  Usually, I have nothing to say about them, it’s just an old woman preaching to the converted.

This week, there was a user that expressed his weariness for her articles.  Of course, another user chimed in with his defense of the little old christian lady, and called the other guy a few names.

I thought it time to comment how the little old lady wasn’t immune from comment in a public forum.  I also added that others’ criticism was just as valid as the tripe she regularly contributes.

The paper censored that post and didn’t publish it.

Clearly, I commented on her articles, and said nothing about her personally.  But apparently, in small town Wisconsin, the editors don’t bother themselves with a fair forum.  Faced with this, and the fact that I seem to be utterly wasting my time and effort there, I think I’ll just leave them to their own devices.

I am not sure at all that it is even possible to deconvert a true believer.  I think it is very unlikely and rare.

So, I will retire from reading and commenting on my hometown news.  I haven’t lived there in 27 years, I never will again.  I have no stake in what happens there.  It’s simply not worth the effort to comment in their online newspaper.

Instead, I’ll be found here and on other forums where the free exchange of ideas is the rule rather than the exception.  See you around.