Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Back to cheap pairs...

My $50 headphones broke.  Not at the cord next to the jack--that could have been replaced (and had been, by that point).  No, they broke at the headband, just above the hinge to fold them, right above the right temple.  Just...snapped.

I am...not happy.  They only lasted 8 months.

So, I ordered these headphones.  Much less expensive, and the same brand.  They arrived Sunday.  They...didn't fit.  The headband was a lot wider than the last pair, and they slid around on my head and ears.  The sound quality was lacking on the bass side of things, too.  I wasn't happy, and was just about ready to send them back.

However.  Odysseus's headphones broke Sunday morning.  I will say this: we'd had them for more than 18 months, and he said they were spectacular for watching video.  Good noise-deadening so that he could hear his videos over whatever the kids were watching/doing.  They broke just above the hinge after a year and a half of heavy use.

He'd mentioned wanting a set of wireless headphones.  So I passed the others over to him to try.

And then I ordered these.  I had a blue set just like it two years ago, and it was one of my favorite pairs of headphones for sound quality.  I'm not terribly picky about color, so the green won't bother me, and they worked for about six or seven months.  Before the wire broke at the jack.  Which, with those headphones, the wire's integrated, and I can't just replace it.

However.  It didn't work out much better with the more expensive headphones I bought in January. 

If I'm going to have to replace headphones frequently, I'd rather not replace expensive ones frequently.  And I'm better off doing a $15-$20 pair twice a year than a $50 pair twice a year.  And with this pair, I know what I'm getting with sound quality.

The new headphones will be arriving with the mail today.  I'm really looking forward to it.  I mean, yeah, I could listen to my music on my laptop speakers, but they're crap, even by the standards of laptop speakers, and easily drowned out by the kids playing in one of their bedrooms with the door closed.  Or outside. 

UPDATE: They're going back.  Too big, and shitty sound quality.   I guess quality for price has dropped in the past two years. 

And damn it, that means I'm stuck without music for a bit longer.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Moar books...

Friday was a lot of fun.  The pixie'd been begging us all summer to take her to the George Washington Carver National Monument, just a little ways southeast of here.  Odysseus took the day off Friday, and we went.*

It was a really great spot to explore.  They've got a lot of hands-on stuff at the visitor's center (including a reproduction of a one-room schoolhouse), and a 3/4 mile walking trail around the Carver farm.

And then we went to a used bookstore.  Both kids had gotten into The Magic Treehouse book series, and we found several (and several nonfiction companion books).  Got them a stack of books about 8" high.

(You know you've done things right when the kids are jumping and excited when you pull into a bookstore parking lot, then settle down and make a bee-line straight for their section at a fast walk.)

Didn't get any for the adults, though.  We're gonna have to limit us to the KU subscription we've got.

That said, we've got a lot of choice.

We recently read Jim Curtis's latest, and I finished Dorothy Grant's latest, last night (and will likely spring for a copy when the budget permits).  Next up:

Cyn Bagley

First one's a short story/novella, second is the first in a two-book (so far) series.  I plan to read both books, because the concept looks really fun.  

William Lehman

L. A. Behm

Pam Uphoff

Not my usual fare--I typically do NOT like other women, even in stories--but...pirates.  Hopefully getting their asses kicked.

Lot of others that are interesting, but I can't afford to purchase, given that both my and my other half's headphones failed within days of each other, and they're not KU.

Damn it.

*I've been paying for it since, but it was worth it.  But now, I need books for me. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Library monsters

We now have a large bookcase in the bedroom.  I'm sorting through my library bookcases, thinking about all of the books on terms of suitability for kids reading them, because the kids' library is a hair young and small for them (they were thrilled because their one bookcase has grown to two, because they know that means Mom and Dad will fill it for them), and some of the grown-up books are looking...interesting.

Now, YA is not my thing.  I really don't care for coming of age stories in general, and haven't for a long time.  But I need to start stocking those (and nonfiction books for a boy who loves science and history), and other kids' novels. And I've spotted a few that look good.

The kids already have a copy of my children's book in their bookcase.  I'm planning on adding a couple of Robin McKinley's novels, too, once I'm sure my little library monsters are going to be careful enough.  My copies of the Little House books, however, are NOT going on their shelves--they're sentimental, and fragile (they belonged to my maternal grandma, who passed away the year the imp was born).

I've been looking for new books by indie authors to go on their shelves.  I've got a few picked out:

The reviewer says this one reads a bit like the Little House books.  It's going first on my list of "to reads" when I'm done with my current KU borrow.

Then there's this one:

The blurb reminds me of a book I'd read while in college.  The title escapes me, but I remembered liking it, and if I recall correctly, it had some inappropriate for kids material in it.  If this one is as good, I'm sure the kids will love it when they find it.

And a pair of medieval fantasy novels that I think my daughter would enjoy immensely:

I think these, with what will remain on the main library shelves, will be enough to get started with for now.  I may well spot more in the future. 

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Best Christmas Present EVER!!!*

Odysseus got me a PowerCooker for Christmas.  I'd been eyeballing them for a while, and just before Christmas last year, they were marked $20 off their usual price at Sam's Club for their Advantage members.** 

Fast forward seven months. 

It's hot as hell.  I don't wanna cook and heat up my kitchen.  Lots of baking's been done on the propane grill, and some skillet cooking (the lovely thing's got a side burner).  But I ran out of frozen roast slices.  Which I love for fast lunches with little bother.*** 

Even the crock pot heats the kitchen up a bit. 

Since I hadn't been cooking, I'd had some energy to do some work in the kitchen, cleaning and rearranging to free up a grounded plug in (this house doesn't have many), and only two of the plugins in the kitchen proper are grounded.  And only one of those was really accessible. 

Yeah, I got the counter cleared, got the pressure cooker pre-cleaned, and read the directions.  And then I made roast.  And then I cleaned it up again, and made another one.

And then I made my version of chicken fajitas with brown rice.  Which...didn't turn out quite as well.  Because apparently, you gotta have a heavier hand with the seasoning with the pressure cooker than you do when you make the same dish on the stovetop to get the meat to taste right.  But.  The chicken was so tender that when I tried to cut it up after I'd cooked it (from frozen), it just...fell apart.  Totally.  This thing is going to make killer pulled chicken in salsa.

And then...then Odysseus asked me, "Would that make the stew meat turn out that tender in the stew meat fajitas?"  Turns out, that was the only reason he didn't really like those as well.

The answer...is yes.  Yes, it does.  Very much.

That was delicious.

And makes four days' worth of lunch for Odysseus for next week, instead of sandwiches every day.

PowerCooker Beef Fajitas

1c brown rice
1lb-1.5lb beef stew meat
2 cans ro-tel
1/2 c water or broth (I used Sam's Choice Beef Bone Broth)

Put meat in pressure cooker (if yours has a saute-function, you can brown it with the seasoning first--I didn't bother.  Add rice, ro-tel, and liquid, stir to mix.  Fasten lid.  Use rice/risotto button, and then add time (needs about 25 minutes).  Turn around, walk out of kitchen, and wait for beep.  Go back, use the safe-release valve to release the pressure, then stir. 

If there's more liquid than you like, you can either let some of the liquid simmer out, eat it like soup (which was good, by the way), or use a slotted spoon to serve.   

*Gents.  Do not, I repeat, do NOT get your wives/girlfriends/significant others any type of appliance for a birthday or holiday unless they ASK FOR IT for that holiday.  Your safety depends on this.

**The $100/yr membership at Sam's Club has some significant advantages: frequent discounts on things you typically get anyway (like $2 off cases of ro-tel, or Nutella, or peanut butter, or other groceries), and gives you a cash reward at the end of a specific period.  We haven't paid for our Sam's Club membership out of pocket in about five years, now.  

***Fast lunch: pull out slice of leftover roast, nuke it, slap it on a Wasa cracker with some flavored mayo and cheese, and eat.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Changing the focus

Recently, I've noted some really, really, really irritating songs.  The two worst offenders are both from Papa Roach, and they are straight-up diametric opposites: "Help" and "Born to Greatness." 

The first one is naval-gazing, whining, and turns having feelings into a need for someone to help him.  Depression.  Yeah, it happens.  It happens to everyone.  It's--get this--being sad.  There are a lot of people out there who are sad.  Not as many have a genuine chemical imbalance in their brain that must be medicated for semi-normal function. 

Don't get me wrong, those people exist.  And those with chronic, clinical depression cannot function without the right medication to trick their brain into providing its own needs, or to provide the chemical needs for the brain that cannot create its own. 

However.  I'd say that the vast majority of people are simply feeling disconnected, and just need family or friends (or a talk-therapist, in a pinch, but family or friends would be better), rather than their electronic device that's creating the distance between them and others. 

The other one...yeah.  That one.  Talking about the generation of twits thinking they're entitled to anything they want, without having to work for it, just because they exist, and Mommy and Daddy think they're the best thing ever since time began.  That they, and ONLY they, can make the world better, nevermind that they're naval-gazing twits that follow already-failed theories and ideologies.  That the people that are in favor of keeping this country a republic aren't being fair, because we're arguing about what's on the menu and refusing to be eaten, while being backed up by force of law and force of arms.

Okay, then.  The most interesting thing about this is that the "Help" generation and the "Greatness" generation are the same

The scary thing is that they could be a massive force if they changed the focus.  For good or ill.  If they'd change from "what's wrong with me" to "how can I get through this to do what I need to do to get what I want," they'd have a lot more power--mostly over themselves. 

I have the distinct impression that a lot of them would look at the controls that the "feelz" types want to put on the "thinking man" and be disgusted. 

I know I was. 

When I was about fourteen, I read Orwell's 1984.  It...resonated.  This was during the period the state was using my mom as an unpaid foster parent from whom I could be removed if she so much as sneezed without permission.  I spiralled into depression, because there was literally nothing I could do--at that point--to change my situation.  I read Dune, and saw parallels between the way people worshipped the main character and the way certain types had replaced God with government, and felt worse. 

I'd seen the trap I was in.  What I didn't see was the exit.

When I was 15, I developed ulcers started having really debilitating panic attacks.  I...detatched.  I dove head-first into reading, and retreated as much as I could from reality, and the ulcers healed and didn't come back.  The panic attacks didn't.  Any time I surfaced, they were there.  So was the feeling of being trapped and overwhelmed by my reality.

Keep in mind, at this time I was still forced into weekly "supervised visits" with my abuser (and the supervisor was one of his allies).

When I was 17, I was diagnosed with depression triggered by learned helplessness.  And the counselor who figured this out?  Pointed out that I was damn near 18.  Argued to the court that I should be allowed to choose whether or not to "visit" with my abuser. 

My grades shot up.  And my panic attacks tapered off in frequency, but not severity.  But.  I learned to deal with them, and get through them.  I learned how to push them off until I had time to let it happen and get through it. 

And I got through college (with the help of my then-boyfriend for the first year of college, now-husband).  In spite of continuing panic attacks.

Without medication, since I reacted incredibly badly to it.*  Or, since I'd aged out of the system, further "professional" help. 

Because my focus had changed.  From "what's wrong with me" to "let's do this in spite of what's wrong with me."

I have the feeling that if the "mental health" industry would refocus from drugging those seeking help to teaching coping tactics (after they dope-slapped the self-absorbed out of their own egos), the far, radical Left currently throwing public tantrums would be far, far smaller. 

Although...that might be why the meds and crippling sympathy are all that's handed out.  People blinded by their self-absorption don't see the strings being tied onto them by the puppet-masters.

*Most anti-anxiety drugs made things worse.  So did anti-depressants.  And the oldest one, Prozac, removed almost all of my self-control and increased my rage to near-homicidal levels, and it took seven or eight years for me to stabilize after that.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Not sure why charges were even considered.

Last week, we had an incident in the town where I live (large town--about 75K people living in the town proper plus the bedroom communities).  A pedestrian decided to try to cross one of the busiest streets in town.  Not at a cross walk.  Against the lights. 

The inevitable happened. 

The individual driving will not be charged. 

Thing is, I don't see why that was even considered.  The street in question has a 45mph speed limit, two lanes going either direction, plus a left turn lane in the middle.  Most of the people who live here don't like crossing that road.  But for whatever reason, the pedestrian decided to not just cross that road, but jaywalk through traffic.

Yes, they died.  But it was a result of their own stupidity. 

I don't know, maybe they were on a cell phone and not paying attention...but that doesn't make it any less stupid.

I honestly can't bring myself to feel sorry for the pedestrian.  Their family, yes, but not them.  That kind of stupid really shouldn't be let out on its own.  It's one of the reasons I'm trying to brainwash my kids to call stupid what it is, and to not participate in it. 

No, the person I feel the worst for is the driver.    Because they have an accidental death on their conscience, through absolutely no fault of their own (given traffic on that road, they may have saved lives by not hitting the brakes and causing a massive pile-up--even if they had time to stop, nobody around them would have been able to avoid hitting them).

The only negligence I see is that of the pedestrian, and they've already paid for that. 

Charges for the driver shouldn't have been even a brief consideration, given the rest of the facts.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Bit of a rant.

I've seen a lot of people screeching incoherently about children being ripped from nursing at their mothers' breasts, and separated and put in *gasp* concentration camps!!!

What these fucktards are conveniently forgetting is one simple thing these parents could have done to prevent this from being done to their families:

Don't.  Come.  Here.  Illegally

Fucking duh

American parents who commit crimes are ripped away from their children and sent to prison.  If there are no family members available to take custody of the children, they're put into situations worse than most can comprehend: the children get stuck in limbo, in state custody and control.  They may be put into a good foster home, or they may be put with abusers who might rape them or murder them. 

And nobody screams about that. 

No, they're just screeching like fucking psychologically disturbed brain damaged monkeys about the people who shouldn't be fucking coming here in the first place, getting their children removed from them. 

Well, dumbasses, I can see another possible solution: start shooting the human smugglers on sight.  Shoot any male who crosses the border on sight.  Turn any female around, and make sure she knows there are guns aimed at her until she's well and truly back in the country she tried to cross from.  They'll stop, or they'll die out.  Either is fine by me.

No, I'm not saying I think the situation is right.  I'm saying the situation is wrong, starting with the actions of the so-called parents putting their children in the danger that the fucking window-lickers are screeching about.

I think that, along with shooting the smugglers and adult males crossing (especially those with specific tattoos), we need to publicly prosecute any hiring manager of any company that hires illegal aliens (not immigrants--immigrants are legal), and every employee of any temp agency that deals with them.  Every hiring manager needs to be sentenced to a mandatory ten years per illegal alien hired, no parole possible, consecutive sentencing only.  We need to sentence the construction companies picking up day laborers from the Home Depot/Lowes/whatever parking lots the same way. 

Hell, I'm in favor of sentencing those pushing the DACA act with the same guidelines.  

We need to make it hurt for those attracting the parasites.