atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#4360: Of all the things I know how to do, cooking is the one that surprises me.

Mrs. Fungus did some shopping last week and among the things she picked up were chicken legs (for a rather good price) and a box of corn flake crumbs. Her thinking was that the latter product could be used to coat the former, and the whole schmeer baked at some temperature for some time to result in a delicious dinner that didn't cost too much to make.

She was right.

I took about two scant cups of the corn flakes, and then added a scant tablespoon each of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and parsley, and then about two tablespoons of flour. (I didn't really worry all that much about proportions, to be honest.) Mixed it all up, then moistened the chicken legs in beaten egg before dredging in the mixture. Baked at 400° for a total of 35 minutes, and we ended up with tasty oven-fried chicken. She likes my home-made "oven fry"/"shake and bake" better than the store-bought stuff. It is decidedly less salty, that's for sure. The parsley was an afterthought, but it worked.

Next time I do chicken legs, I'm going to set the timer for 40 minutes rather than 25, because even after adding an extra ten minutes the meat is just a hair underdone--not enough to be dangerous, but enough to be this side of properly done. 25 minutes would have been enough for average-sized chicken breasts, but since this is the first time I've cooked chicken legs I can't complain. Bones are heat sinks and they raise the time it takes for the meat to get to cooking temperature.

Besides chicken legs, mashed potatoes from scratch (boiled in turkey broth I made myself, no less) and corn-on-the-cob.

* * *

Denninger talks about the failure of the low-fat diet. You really are better off cutting the carbs as much as you can.

I can still remember my Dad in the 1970s, when he was trying to lose weight, talking about "carbo-cals" and wanting to cut them from his diet. That lasted until the doctors started with the "low fat" nonsense. Jeeze louise.

* * *

"AH, I finally remembered this" department:

July 1st, when Mrs. Fungus and I were sitting in the powerless bunker and trying to decide what to do, we had the back door open and all was quiet. Suddenly, WHOOSH, there was this brown streak across my field of vision. A rabbit ran from under the bushes, and then I heard a squeal in the distance.

"What the hell was that?" I asked. It took me a few minutes, and then I realized what had happened: a hawk had just swooped down and caught itself a juicy rabbit for dinner, and the unfortunate rabbit's sibling had run for its life.

I'd never seen something like this outside the frame of a nature documentary, and those shows never give you any idea of how fast the hawk moves when it's grabbing its prey. A hawk that cannot do this sort of feat routinely is a hawk that starves to death.


* * *

I learned of the existence of a TV show called Crossbones on Sunday. During a couple of idle moments I looked over the ad, and saw that under "new releases". I thought it was Peter Weller on the cover, but didn't think anything else of it. Later I looked at it again and realized I'd misread it as Crossroads the first time I saw it, which stuck it in my brain. Then, Sunday night, Mrs. Fungus was looking through the on-demand selection and I saw the same image and pointed it out to her.

It turned out--unsurprisingly--to be a pirate story, one with a setup similar to Black Sails (which was a series I neglected to list in my discussion of television dramas the other day) but which rapidly diverged from there. And it turns out that John Malkovitch playes Edward "Blackbeard" Teach.

The surprising part is that it's entertaining. I'm enjoying it, because for one thing we have an obvious good guy and bad guy in the show. The main character is a double agent but he's doing his duty for Queen and Country (he's a Brit) and appears to have good character deep down. It's a serious story, but so far it has not been dreary-serious (like Battlestar Galactica was).

Because it's on-demand there are commercials that we cannot skip, and one of them is for a new feature for Windows phones: Cortana. It's a fancier version of Siri and the commercial revolves around this guy asking Cortana to remind him to do things related to his wedding anniversary while an iPhone sits nearby and complains, "I cannot do that."

Me, imitating Cortana's voice: Be sure. To pick up the strych. nine. Eat. All of it.

Mrs. Fungus: AHH HA HA HA HA HA HA

Me, imitating the dumb guy: Thanks, Cortana! I'd almost forgotten! I sure am glad I have a cellphone to tell me what to do!

So of course it devolved from there, and now we've determined that Cortana has an "evil/good" switch that you access via Settings, and because the guy inadvertently set Cortana to "evil" she's telling him all these things to do to get rid of his wife so she can have him to herself, and he's such a doofus he's doing them because of course Cortana is a handy reminder app and he just forgot he was going to do this anyway, right?

Geek Squad tech: No, sir, here's your problem. You have Cortana set to "evil".

Cortana: Call 911 now. You have ingested. Strych. nine.

Guy: Oh, my! Thanks, Cortana! Thanks, Geek Squad!

* * *

While looking for a hard drive for a client, yesterday, I happened to notice that among the various storage products on offer at the store there is now a 120 GB solid state drive on sale--PNY brand--and it's a snip at $70. My employee discount does not save a terribly huge amount off that price, but even so it's damned good price, and it's got me thinking about upgrading Floristica: put Windows and WoW on that drive and leave everything else on the spinning metal, and I'd bet this thing would be so fast I'd want to kick myself in the face.

Right next to it there's an Intel brand drive, 280 GB, for perhaps twice the price, but I don't think I need that much room.

The biggest problem with flash RAM is that it wears out. Most flash RAM will give you about 100,000 program-erase cycles before it dies, but of course that's MTBF and some will fail sooner and others fail later. Worse, reading the memory can disturb the programming of bits in adjacent blocks (see the section immediately following the one linked). That's what keeps this stuff from outright replacing conventional hard drives.

Still, an awful lot of careful engineering went into that $5 thumb drive on your desk.

Right now there's some kind of pricing blitz going on, though. I've been seeing advertised prices of about $0.50 per gigabyte for USB 2.0 thumb drives. Of course, partly that's because USB 3.0 is the new standard, and it's stupid-fast compared to 2.0. But even the 3.0 drives are enjoying the occasional steep discount (not, it must be said, as steep as the 2.0 drives, but still hefty). I'm wondering if this is a "loss leader" thing, or a fundamental change in the world price of flash RAM?

* * *

Meanwhile, they're still working on memristors which will make flash RAM obsolete.

* * *

I had been fantasizing about being able to sleep in today, and so what happened? I naturally woke up about 9:30. *sigh* I managed to get back to sleep after about 10:30, and slept for a few more hours, but of course I still feel like I'm dragging. Sure would be nice if I could actually sleep in on my days off.


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