Monday, March 31, 2014

They're good for your heart.

A month ago I announced that it was time to lose some weight.  So far, mostly so good.  I've lost 15 pounds.  I don't feel that was unsafe because five of it was in the first few days and was probably water weight.  Or not -- I've been drinking 64 ounces of water a day (including seltzer) above and beyond any other liquid intake.

I haven't decided on a long-term strategy yet -- whether to go paleo or Atkins or no-fat or glycemic-index or whatnot.  I'm way too fat for that.  Until I start approaching 200 pounds my strategy is to eat generally healthy things and have my caloric intake be less than my caloric usage.  Simple and effective.

I've been using a program,, to track all this stuff, including nutrition.   I've been taking a multivitamin so I'm not too worried about things like vitamin A and whatnot, but I'm not getting enough protein and fiber whereas I'm getting plenty of fat.

Which means that I need beans.  Today, I bought beans.  Boy, did I buy beans.  Two-pound bags of five different dried beans.  I'm gonna try them all to see which ones we like best.  I've already got plans for refried beans, black beans with Mexican rice, hummus, and vegetarian and chicken chiles.  

If you have any ideas or outstanding recipes I'd be grateful to hear them.  I've got black, kidney, pinto, garbanzo, and cannelini beans.  Any other must-have beans?  The place I got them the, International Store on 9th Avenue and 41st. has every bean you can imagine.  Along with bulk spices, nuts, dried fruit.  It's kind of a culinary Disneyland, actually. 

Thank you in advance for any input. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Carrie's House

I had to change a license plate on a car today, which took me around the corner to Perry Street off of West 4th.  Across from the house supposedly lived in by Carrie Bradshaw in Sex in the City.  This show was available only to HBO subscribers and went off the air a decade ago.  The last movie was four years ago. 

There was a full tour group there when I arrived.  Seriously, 25 people and a paid tour guide looking at this house.  Separately, at least 5 groups of at least four women came by to gawk at the house and take pictures like it's the Taj Mahal or something. 

The poor bastards who own that house had to put up a chain and a little sign asking people not to sit on the stoop.  Of course, I mean "poor" in the sense of "less good than expected" rather than "financially impoverished.  Presumably they got paid to use the facade in the show.  Also, the house next door has sold three times in the past 2-plus years,  once for $9 million, twice for $9.85 million and three times a lady for $13.25 million.   It's currently being renovated and apparently no one expects that the owner/s plan to move in, but rather sell it yet again for an even higher price.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Offered without comment.

I was looking at kitchen items today and I happened on a very expensive chinois, which is basically just a strainer in a conical shape.  It turns out that if you use one of these things there's a specialized pestle you can buy to help you work pastes through the sieve, press on solids to extract liquids from them, etc.  Without further adieu, I present the chinois pestle.

Yours for under sixteen bucks.

Disclosure: This post contains an Amazon affiliate link. In the extremely unlikely event that you purchase a wooden pestle which bears an uncanny resemblance to an adult toy using that link I will receive a commission from

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The happiest news in human history!

Every day there's new health news.  Things that were good for you are bad for you, things that were bad for you were good for you.   The margarine-eating, egg avoiding "healthy" eaters of the 70's would plotz at a lot of the healthy choices today.  Indeed, old-fashioned margarine is *banned* in restaurants in  New York City.

All of that is to say that you can never really count on what's coming out of the nutrition science industry besides "eat your vegetables."  There's a lot more unsettled science than there is settled science and a lot more promising hypotheses than there are well-tested theories.  And you should take the following news with (heh) a grain of salt.  But...

Chocolate and Tequila are good for you! Yes, yes, you can't be going out getting drunk every night and you have to watch your carbohydrate and specifically your sugar intake with all that chocolate sweetening and alcohol.  And again, it could turn out to be falsified in tomorrow's studay.  But for tonight, Chocolate and Tequila are good for you! 

I'll make a chocolate-infused mole and a nice Mexican chocolate dessert, maybe a capirotada, if you'll bring by the tequila and make the margaritas.   Perhaps I should infuse some tequila with cocoa powder and chilis...

Thursday, March 13, 2014

USA Finally Beats Canada at Hockey!

After heartbreaking losses for the men and  the women's teams, the US Sled Hockey team finally demonstrated that yes, it is in fact possible for the US to beat the Canadians at hockey!  And they have one line that features a 21 year old, a 15 year old and a 14 year old.   That's a recipe for long-term dominance right there.

Also, watching the games, one quickly concludes those guys  must have arms like Popeye.

Congratulations to the US Sled Hockey team and good luck against Russia!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

My political philosophy.

I haven't wandered into politics on this blog yet; eventually I suppose I will.  In the meantime, this poster is as good a shorthand for my political beliefs as can be imagined.

I'm not as nuts as the kinds of people who actually join the Libertarian Party in the US.  I'm not going to accidentally dye my face blue because of some goofy silver cure,  I don't think the President is a Kenyan (he is a Keynesian, does that count?), I don't think the Federal Reserve is a massive conspiracy of Jews, Bilderbergs and Illuminati.  It's very sad that the party is run by people like that, but there we go.

For whatever it's worth, I've done no research on the Canadian Libertarian Party or on Mr. Moen specifically so I don't know if they or he are nuts.  I just like the poster.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Animal cams.

Screensavers went out with the turn of the century.  They're wholly
unnecessary with today's modern screens, for which burn-in is not a
concern.  And yet many people want some kind of image on their screens
while they're not using them.  Using one's own photographs is one
solution, of course, as is using photographs by others.  But what about a
live animal cam?  That's what I like to have in the background while
the computer is on but not in use.

Fantastic pictures of Himalayan honey collection!

io9 is one of those websites I normally don't like at all.  If you spend any time on social media, you know who they are.  Basically, they take other people's content, slap on a sentence or two, and rebrand it hoping that their link will be the one that people spread.   Most of the time it's not even very good content.  Some reddit thread they've repurposed, some weak "lifehacking" trick, a glurge story to which they somehow beat Upworthy.

But today they got something really good. A photographer schlepped to Nepal to capture Gurung honey hunters.  Not only is the process of gathering the honey somewhat unusual and dangerous, some combination of the bee species and what it eats apparently makes this honey extra delicious and rumored without substantiation that I know of to have various healing properties.

At any rate, the photographs are pretty good, if a little extreme on the color saturation button, and you'd do well to spend some time looking at the whole series at Andrew Newey's site.  He took some other series on other trips; those are also worth a look.

As a bonus, here's another photographer's set of the same honey-gathering process, more focused on the gatherers than the gathering.  It's kind of interesting to see how two photographers approach the same unusual subject in different ways.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

US Soccer's "Home" jersey for FIFA 2014...

US Soccer's "Home" kit for FIFA 2014, uh, needs work.  According to US Soccer's press release the jersey has unspecified performance improvements; one hopes that they did a better job on that than the nice folks at UnderArmor and Lockheed are alleged to have done with US Speedskating.   I don't know about any of that.

What I do know is that the new design is not very good.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

It's time to lose some weight.

A lot of it.  I've been treating myself poorly and as a result I've very gradually grown to 255 pounds.    I've recently cut down my alcohol consumption and I'm still not losing weight so it's time to diet and to exercise.   I'm not sure of my exact approach yet.  I'm going to start by carefully tracking food and exercise and seeing where I want to go from there.  What I suspect, though, is I'll end up somewhere on the paleo/South Beach/Atkins continuum.  I'm kind of skeptical of the science behind any of those but I also know there are a lot of former fat people who swear by some combination of them.  Also, that route involves what I believe to be the least adjustment to what I actually want to eat, which I think is important if I want to maintain whatever new weight I manage to attain.

In anticipation of that, I might have purchased some protein today.

Beef, pork, chicken.  Fish I'll buy fresh.  I'll be needing a lot more fish.  Tomorrow it's off to Citarella to get fruit and veggies.  I've already got about every oil, spice, vinegar, and other intermediate/accompaniment known to mankind.  I also have at least 6 different kinds of sugar.  That may be part of the problem. 

The bigger change is that I've got to get moving more.

In case anyone cares, I've signed up with  It's supposed to sync automagically with, for which I have the free version.  I haven't figured out how to do that yet.  Also, I don't know how to attach the weight loss ticker to the sidebar over there ===>  but when I do it will apparently look like this:

Created by MyFitnessPal - Nutrition Facts For Foods

Anyone know how to attach that?   It's not a "widget."

At any rate, wish me luck!