Clothesline

Inflation is high, making electricity expensive.

Our dryer died, I’m lazy, and the repairman is expensive.

But worst of all, humanity is polluting the world in crazy ways.  We collectively need to cut back on how much energy we use so we don’t make the planet uninhabitable for ourselves.  Climate change is expensive.

Enter the humble clothesline.  Two posts and a post-hole digger.  150 feet of cotton rope, three tensioners, and six pulleys.  Fifty clothespins.  About an hour of solid effort.

new clothesline

It’s a small thing, but it neatly solves three problems at once.  Plus, the clothes smell nice afterwards!

COVID Strikes the House!

covid-19 illustration

After two years, much of the world seems to have given up on keeping a pandemic posture.  I haven’t touched on COVID-19 in the blog in a while because I find it to be so frustrating. In the United States we’ve had strong anti-vax, anti-mask, and anti-science movements.  They’ve really hampered efforts to “flatten the curve” of hospitalizations and keep COVID-19 from overwhelming the healthcare system.

Infection and hospitalization rates have dropped recently, so even the most vigilant have relaxed.  Few people wear masks into stores; most employers are cajoling people back on-site.  If there is going to be another resurgence of the virus, now is the time.

So, of course, the entire family is now COVID-19 positive.

We fell in a fairly orderly fashion: Megh, Alpha, me, Beta, one per day.  The only family member not affected appears to be Butter-the-dog.  I don’t know how to even tell if she is infected, but there’s evidence that she can.  So far she seems fine.

We think we’ve traced it back to an outdoor event the past weekend in Concord to re-enact the “Battle Road” from the American Revolution.  There was a crowd, and not everyone was masking – sadly, including us.

There have been a number of COVID-19 variants, and we seem to have caught a fairly recent one, Omicron, based on both the speed of infection and nature of symptoms.  It’s been fairly mild for us overall.

We also visited Baba on Sunday, after infection but before contagiousness. Megh has been feeling guilt over the possibility of infecting her, but (so far) she has tested negative and seems fine.  After this much time it’s unlikely she’ll contract it from us.

As a side note: my boss Terry, and his mother, also both tested positive for COVID-19 this week.  I work from home so it’s just coincidental timing.

Witness to a car crash

We witnessed a crazy car crash tonight.

The gold car blew through a T-intersection and t-boned the pickup truck. The gold car’s front end was smashed, radiator fluid everywhere. The truck had some impact damage between the cab and the bed.

That isn’t the crazy part.

The silver Honda drove up at a high rate of speed and very decidedly boxed in the gold car (which wasn’t going anywhere) and the occupants got out and started yelling at the gold car’s driver about how she hit them and they’ve been following her for miles, honking their horn while she ignored them. She seemed to mostly ignore them and kept apologizing to the pickup truck’s driver, who finally said “I’m just an innocent bystander!”

I had stopped to see if anyone was hurt. Everyone ignored me – silver car, gold car, and pickup truck drivers.

I decided that things might go south. I had my family in the car and didn’t want to be involved so we split right after the end of this video.

Personal Best Walking

I’ve been on a speed-walking binge for the winter, in an effort to get/stay fit and lose a few misbegotten pounds.

I walk Aka Lana Lana nearly nightly, though a little less often during the winter.  No matter how much I coax the dog along, though, dogs will be dogs and our average speed tends towards a reasonable 25+ minutes/mile. So I started going out after dog-walking to get some real speed on.

I started walking, and tracking, at the end of November 2021 with a 28:26 average around the lake – about the same as walking the dog.  Admittedly, I wasn’t pushing too hard at the time, but I wouldn’t have done significantly better if I had.

Just over three months later, and the same walk is now a 14:22 per mile average, or 4.17 mph.

runkeeper screenshot showing 14:22 minute walking mile

Ignore Runkeeper’s “3rd fastest” headline, I’m pretty sure I’ve never walked so fast in a long, long time – and this has been most decidedly walking, not jogging or running mixed in.

4 mph has a certain significance in my psyche, because I grew up thinking that it’s a reasonable walking speed for the untrained, after reading The Long Walk, not a breathing-hard kind of pace.  In retrospect I think Mr. King got that particular detail of the story wrong; I’m not sure you could expect people to last very long at that pace, and maybe 3.5 mph would have been more realistic for walk that should last more than 24 hours.  Then again, I’m the one who might be wrong.

I’ve also dropped a few pounds along the way, but I won’t publish figured on that quite yet.

Nature Is Metal

Driving home, down by the lake, we spotted a bald eagle at the water’s edge of the beach, with… something.  We thought it was a fish.

Pull into the parking lot to snap a picture.  Before we could get a camera on the bird, she took off with her lunch in her talons.

Her lunch was a seagull.

We’re not that far from the sea, seagulls like to come hang out on the lake during the winter for some reason.  There were hundreds yesterday, while Megh and I sat and watched them during our lunch.

There were none today.

Garlic Baked Whitefish

This is a super-easy recipe.  My first time trying I went from pre-heating the oven to dinner on the table in under 30 minutes.

The source recipe calls for tilapia, but it should work with nearly any white fish.  Really there’s no reason it couldn’t work well with darker fish like salmon or tuna, though being thicker you may need to cook longer and flip the fish halfway through, as well as increase the other ingredient amounts.

This pairs well with rice and roasted vegetables.

Garlic-Baked Whitefish

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 12 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people

Equipment

  • Cast Iron skillet

Ingredients
  

  • 1.5 pounds White fish (Tilapia or similar)
  • 6 tbsp Butter melted
  • 3 cloves Garlic minced
  • 1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon

Instructions
 

  • Pre-heat oven to 400° F, with cast-iron pan inside
  • Mix up the melted butter, lemon juice, garlic, and red pepper flakes
  • Toss fish into the pre-heated pan and sprinkle on some pepper. You don’t need to grease the pan first, dry is fine, the fish won’t stick.
  • Pour the butter mixture evenly over the fish
  • Bake for 12 minutes

Adapted from https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/a19665918/oven-baked-tilapia-recipe/

Dashcam to the Rescue!

This shall come as no surprise to anyone that lives in or near Boston: my car got hit by another car while driving in downtown Boston.  This is an every day occurrence, and is why many people avoid driving downtown.

The downside:

  • my car got hit
  • it must be fixed
  • we didn’t make the appointment that I was picking up Alpha child for

The upside:

  • nobody was hurt (in either car)
  • the damage is relatively minor
  • it wasn’t my fault
  • I have a dashcam 🙂

youtube's closed-captioning symbol Turn on the closed captioning for additional viewing fun!

Note several so-very-Boston things that occur in this video:

  • a car crash in perfect driving conditions (shouldn’t happen)
  • the two guys on the sidewalk that briefly glance in our direction, then keep going (principal of don’t-get-involved)
  • the woman who takes advantage of the break in traffic to jaywalk (no fucks left to give)

Sadly, the other driver was scurrilous and claimed that I had swerved from the left lane into the right before stopping suddenly.  (That would also be a very Boston thing to do, if it had happened.)  Our insurance companies found in my favor after reviewing the dashcam footage, and my car’s damage is fully paid for – nothing out of pocket, no deductible.

I will not drive without a dashcam ever again.  I wish I could provide a review of my particular unit but, sadly, it’s not made anymore – a review would be pointless.

I do recommend that anyone and everyone get a dashcam, though.  Besides proving the details of driving incidents, you can accidentally capture some really cool stuff.

If you like watching dashcam footage, may I recommend dashcamgifs on reddit?

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