chhotii: (potato)
I improvised in the kitchen this evening and lo, behold the new recipe. Though it uses some Indian ingredients, it's really not authentic in its cooking style. But easy, vegan, and the kid loves it! W00t!

Sabzi Dal Stew

2 onions, diced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon cumin seed
1 cup red (masoor) dal
1/3 cup brown rice
1 garlic cloves, peeled (whole)
2 quarts water
2 or 3 carrots, chopped
1 small sweet potato, diced
3 yellow potatoes, diced
2 teaspoons salt
generous dash of pepper
enough curry powder to make it distinctly yellow (maybe a tablespoon or 2?)

Heat oil; add onions, bay leaf, and cumin seed. Saute until onions are soft. Add dal and rice and fry briefly. Add water and garlic cloves. Bring to boil, then simmer about 25 minutes (until dal starts to break down). Fish out the garlic cloves, mash, and return to the pot. Add carrots, sweet potato, potatoes, salt, pepper, and curry powder. Cook about another 30 minutes, until the veggies are soft.

Sophia says: could use less carrot and more sweet potato.
chhotii: (mood)
This is hereby my last blog post ever to be cross-posted from DreamWidth to LiveJournal.

Would love to see y'all on DreamWidth. Same user name there.
chhotii: (potato)
There I was, in a grocery store in Canada, looking at the bacon. None of the bacon looks like "Canadian bacon" (i.e. what's called "Canadian bacon" in U.S. restaurants). I got some bacon that's as Canadian as can be: grown and processed in Canada, of a Canadian brand named "Maple Leaf". Looks and tastes like American bacon.

Apparently the French word for pancake is crepe. (Pardon me for not dealing with accents over vowels.) I picked up a box of pancake/waffle mix, glanced at the back, and saw recipes-- a recipe for pancakes, and a recipe for crepes-- and then promised Sophia crepes for breakfast. But the recipe titled "crepes" is not for what I would think of as crepes; it was just the French translation of the pancake recipe. D'oh! Tried to wing it, just adding more water than the recipe called for to try to make them thinner. Did not successfully guess correctly how much additional water to add for a really crepe-like result. Oh well, the result was edible and thin enough to manage to fold over the Nutella and banana slices.
chhotii: (Default)
Tomorrow at 1:00 pm I am going to go to the hearing in the Massachusetts State House on carbon pricing legislation. It will be in the largest hearing room in the state house, the Gardner Auditorium.

Passing carbon pricing legislation in Massachusetts would be a huge win for all life on Planet Earth. What's "carbon pricing"?-- it's any scheme that aims to get people to put less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by making the burning of fossil fuels more expensive. Scientists generally agree that the less carbon dioxide we put into the atmosphere, the better off we will be; and economists generally agree that to get people to use less X (regardless of what X is), make X more expensive. Thus, something like a carbon tax. In the Senate version of the legislation in question, it's arguably not a "tax", because all the money brought in will be paid back out in rebates to people who live and/or work in Massachusetts, rather than go to support any government program. (In the House version, 80% of the money goes back out in these rebates, but 20% is used to fund grants to municipalities for green energy projects.)

Momentum in favor of getting this done is building as people realize:
a) global warming is really happening, it's happening right now (see the two years in a row of warmest year ever, and the dramatic melting at the poles), and
b) nothing about this is going to be done at the Federal level any time soon (see Trump's pulling out of the Paris accord).

But unfortunately it's not a sure thing. If this legislation doesn't make it out of the committee, it's not going anywhere. For example, Senator Bruce Tarr, who is probably your State Senator if you live in Wilmington or North Reading, is on the committee, and is undecided. Unfortunately I'm not his constituent currently, so I can't talk to him. (Well, I could, but I wouldn't be listened to. Legislators only listen to people who vote in their district.) If the committee passes something but the House leadership doesn't pick it up, it's not going anywhere. The Speaker of the House, Robert DeLeo, doesn't seem to think his constituents (Wintrop) care about climate change. Ironic, because climate change is going to erase all those nice beaches and beach houses. Please, if you vote in Massachusetts, please let your Senator and Representative know that you care about climate change, and ask them to support these bills (S.1821 and H.1726). Especially if you are a constituent of Senator Tarr or Representative DeLeo.

It would be helpful to get as many supporters as possible attending the hearing tomorrow, to show support for this. Is anyone available to join me?
chhotii: (Default)
I wish to launder my large, thick comforter. Although the big washing machine in the laundry room downstairs claims to be a triple-load washer, I don't believe it's big enough to handle the comforter. I could cram the comforter in there, but I believe prior experience shows that it doesn't properly tumble, and the cleansing does not penetrate the inner folds.

What does one do with these?

Do y'all know of a laundromat with a REALLY REALLY BIG machine that can be counted on to deal with such items? Somerville/Medford area is fine, or the North Shore 'burbs, really; I have a car and can go places on the weekend.
chhotii: (Default)
We have a PC, running Windows 7, which Sophia inherited from Rich. We don't have a password for this PC, which has not been an obstacle for Sophia using it because it automatically logs in; but, I think this might present an obstacle for, oh, installing security patches. Yeah.

What we would like to do is back up/upload files from the PC, wipe it clean, re-format, re-install Windows, and re-install everything from scratch. Of course we don't have any install media that might have come with the PC. (Did I mention that this was Rich's?) But it appears to have an Official Microsoft Product Key on a sticker on the underneath. This should license Windows on the PC, right?

1) So if I got a Windows 7 install disk and ran the installer, will I be able to use the Product Key to make it go?

2) Does anyone have a Windows 7 install disk I could borrow?
chhotii: (Default)
Astonishingly, buying a plane ticket for a trip only 10 days out turned out to be not all that expensive. Maybe it would be for a further trip, but, I guess, the flight to D.C. is so not a big deal.

There were tickets available for a United flight, at the perfect time, at a great price. Nobody wants to fly United right now. I figure they've probably been having a lot of meetings to work on their procedures in cases of overbooking, and they don't want to sink themselves further by mistreating passengers again so soon. They are probably on their toes now, as far as customer service goes.

Well, I will be testing that theory! United flight 511, from Boston at 14:41 on April 26th.
chhotii: (Default)
Relevant to trying to not be that person who's too anxious to ever move a bishop, knight, or queen out into the middle of the board, I'm planning to spontaneously do a bit of extra traveling. At first I thought "this is going to be so hard" but the plan is coming together, maybe it won't be that hard.

Original plan was to take the bus organized by to get to D.C. for the Climate March on April 29. Then I found out about a conference happening in D.C. on April 27 and 28. I showed the information about the conference to Sophia, and she encouraged me to go. It's on the subject of what circadian biology has found out about the sleep schedules of teenagers, why this dictates that schools should have later start times, and how to go about making that change. So not only is it vaguely work-related for me (enough that I believe I can count time at this conference as "days worked" because God knows I am running out of vacation days for the year) but it's on an issue that Sophia is passionate about.

So now my plan is to somehow get to D.C. on the 26th (I have to look at trains.) First I have to get my mother and bring her and her car to my place so she can care for Sophia while I'm in D.C. for that trip. Take the train (hopefully) to D.C., check into a cheap AirBNB, go to the conference on Thursday and Friday. Then Friday evening, find a FedEx office and have most of my luggage shipped back-- especially my computer-- because the next morning I have to check out of the AirBNB and go to the Climate March, and I don't want to be lugging stuff around with me at the Climate March. After the March-- since I still have the bus ticket-- find the bus that I was supposed to be on originally to get to D.C., and ride that back to the Boston area. Arrive back here, fall over, then return my mother and her car to her place.

I have already spoken to my mother about these plans, booked the AirBNB, registered for the conference, and asked for the contact information for the bus captain. Still to do to make this happen:
* Transportation TO D.C.? Train is my first choice; a bus would be less comfortable and flying probably wicked expensive if planned at the last minute like this. Or if anyone reading this wants a spontaneous couple of days' vacation in the D.C. area I could carpool. I am not willing to drive that distance by myself.
* Find out if AirBNB host is OK with my getting in late if I'm on a late train on Wednesday
* Get in touch with someone, anyone, who will be on the bus that I have tickets for. My nightmare is that it's the evening of the 29th and I can't find the bus that I have a ticket for because I wasn't on the bus on the trip there and thus didn't get the information on where to meet the bus at the end of the day. Not trusting that the organizer is going to get back to me with the contact info for the bus captain, as she must be frantically busy these days. So, reach out to all the environmental activists in J.P. and Brookline to find someone else who will be on the bus and can thus communicate with the bus captain on my behalf and keep me posted on where the bus is.
* Find out are there restrictions on having bags at the March? Maybe if having a big opaque backpack is permitted, I could keep my laptop with me for the day and save the expense of having it FedEx'ed back. The restrictions on bags at the Women's March were draconian, but I haven't seen anything like that for this one, perhaps due to the smaller expected turn-out.
* Get folding money in hand to deal with complications and contingencies. When there's a big protest march, do food trucks show up to feed the crowd?
* Figure out how to pack as light as possible for 3 days in D.C.; of concern because I'm dreading how much it will cost to have FedEx take my stuff home.
* Finish cleaning my apartment so my mother is not too grossed out staying here. (Actually I've made a lot of progress and it's pretty close to being habitable.)

Is this a healthy level of spontaneity, or have I gone off my rocker?
chhotii: (Default)
A few weeks ago I played chess with my mother for the first time in at least 40 years. I rarely play chess and hadn't played a human opponent in decades. Observations of how I behave in a chess game:

It's my turn. I think, hmm, nothing in imminent danger so how am I going to advance my position this turn? I could move my knight out. But, oh no, out it the middle of the board, my knight might be in DANGER! I love my knight! Anxiety, anxiety... So maybe I could move that bishop out. But, oh no, out it the middle of the board, my bishop might be in DANGER! I need my bishops! Anxiety, anxiety... The queen has a clear path to move out. But, oh no, out it the middle of the board, my queen might be in DANGER! I would just die if I stupidly lost the queen! Anxiety, anxiety... Hmm, well, I can advance a pawn. Sure, one of the pawns out on the edge of the board, where nothing is happening. Someday I will want to move out a rook. Someday... So I move a pawn, w00t, 2 spaces forward.

My mother (though a more experienced chess player than I am) is similarly over-cautious. It had to be the most timid, plodding chess game ever.

It occurred to me that the way I play chess probably says a lot about my personality, and the way I live my life, the life choices I make. Always too timid to make a big daring move, just trying to get somewhere through tiny, incremental, safe steps.

Maybe I should try to stop being like that, and try to make a bigger move sometimes?
chhotii: (Default)
The state of the world is so distressing, I've been retreating into my shell for a while.
ups and downs )
my self-indulgent side project that is NOT going to save the world or anything else )

So, I'm torn. On the one hand, it's fun to do things that are not impossible, things where you can actually see progress. On the other hand saving the world is impossible but morally imperative. So. Should I come out of my shell and start reacting to everything on Twitter, or should I start sewing again?
chhotii: (apple)
So... Not sure if more social media is what I need in my life. But, anyway, I'm trying this... I have a Twitter account now, I'm @chhotii_alex there.
chhotii: (Default)
DreamWidth is a LiveJournal-like blog site that is free, and fairly intuitive for LJ users. Having your entire LJ history imported into DW is pretty easy. But not entirely reliable-- some content might get skipped. If there's content in your blog you would be sad to lose, you should download and archive it yourself. There's the option of more labor-intensive copying and pasting, and there are tools that cost a bit of money and will save you some work.

Note that I am posting everything to DW now. So if you want to ditch LJ and come to DW, you know where to find me.

Not bothering to delete my LJ account yet. If so many thousands of people were reading my journal that I would be considered "mass media" under Russian law-- oh, to have such problems! I am not cursed with such popularity.
chhotii: (Default)
I know, we are all protest-weary, but climate change is the issue of our time. Destruction of our environment is possibly the most permanent damage the Trump administration can inflict. It will affect billions who could've done nothing to stop Trump's election: citizens of other countries, future generations, other species.

I'm going to go to the Climate March on April 29th in D.C. and not taking Sophia, because we will have just returned from D.C. the previous weekend. Bus tickets can be purchased here. Before I buy a bus ticket, though, does anyone want to car-pool? I have a new-ish car but it's a stick-shift. To car-pool with me, you have to either be able to drive stick, or supply the car; I'm not interested in doing all the driving myself.
chhotii: (Default)
I desperately need to get new glasses. It has been bad for a while that I needed new glasses. But over the weekend, I broke my backup pair of glasses-- which I had been wearing for years-- and had to switch back to the non-backup pair of glasses. The primary problem with the non-backup pair is that the anti-glare coating flaked off in scratches and patches, and the result is like having incredibly muddy, dirty glasses that can't be cleaned. This pisses me off to no end. And, now that I have no backup pair, which is a precarious situation to be in, and that I really should get an eye exam anyway. Urgent. Yeah.

What has had me procrastinating dealing with this for so long? It's the age thing. I am nearsighted, but the glasses seem to satisfactorily correct my distance vision. But now I cannot read with my glasses on. Even though I don't need glasses to read, it used to be that I could focus on near things in spite of the lenses wanting to correct my vision for far. But in recent years, I've felt an increasing compulsion to take my glasses off when I read. Now I can't focus on print at normal book distance with my glasses on. Annoying! If I take my glasses off, print at normal book distance is ok. Normal computer monitor distance is blurry without glasses, and slightly blurry but acceptable at larger font sizes with glasses. I think the computer monitor is too far away for my nearsighted eyes to see without glasses, but too close to focus on when I need to compensate for the glasses.

I am so afraid that the eye doctor is going to say I need bifocals or something like that, and I just do not want to deal. I've been inclined to just go on wearing glasses that just correct my distance vision, and popping them off to read. I don't know what the right solution is for seeing computer monitors, but I think I can go a long way compensating with higher zoom and lower resolution (just making things bigger and bigger).

My mother says not to fear the bifocals age. She says that when she was my age she was very happy with progressive lenses (Verilux). I don't know. They seem less dorky and irksome than traditional bifocals. But the marketing ("Everything is always focused just right by magic!") seems too good to be true. How can this be? If I can read without glasses on, why would popping off my glasses when I read not be the right answer? But, what is to be done about having to see computer monitors?

What's everyone else's experience with this? Have you been dealing with this? Or not dealing?
chhotii: (yummy)
I am considering experimenting with Jalapeno Margarita recipes at the party this evening. Does someone have a cocktail shaker I could borrow? Does a cocktail shaker come with a strainer? (I don't do mixed drinks much, so I lack basic knowledge and equipment.)
chhotii: (Default)
Editorial that lays out the case for fearing that another Reichtag fire is coming: article in the Daily Kos
chhotii: (Default)
It's curious, the Democratic Party used to be "The Machine". Now they seem to have let the machinery fall into disrepair and rust away. The Republicans have a machine. Here's a Washington Post article on what the Democrats need to do to stop losing pathetically. Let's hope the DNC is listening, and gives a shit?

Once again I'm trying a cut tag cross-post from DreamWidth, let's see if it works this time...

text of editorial )

H.R. 861

Feb. 16th, 2017 09:15 am
chhotii: (Default)
Here it is, it's a thing-- A bill proposed in Congress to eliminate the E.P.A.

Truly, really terrifying, what the Republicans are trying to do. There is no Planet B.
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