It's a shame because one by one they might invent something colorful,
Or create something bright
That's how anything that's beautiful always gets its start:
In a single human brain; in a single human heart.
For no matter how small or unimportant you are,
There is something inside you that can reach a star.
— Allan Sherman, on commissars and committees
Shed cleaning continues apace. I found a 55 gallon drum in the back on its side with a spigot and pail.
I told fizzygeek about it, which caused her to worry about it. I figured it was either falling
apart (and therefore empty) and could be crushed and tossed, or it was intact but empty (same deal),
or intact and not empty (wait for hazardous waste disposal day). Today I went and rapped on it, and
it sounded intact but empty. So I picked it up and carried it outside. Sure enough, it felt like there was about
a litre of liquid inside. I tried the spigot, but nothing came out. Tilting the drum produced a few drips of
liquid, and I could immediately identify it by the odor. Ordinary Varsol†, just what I'd expect from a
place formerly owned by a fix-it man. I also found a mummified animal, my best guess is it was a cat.
I laid it to rest in the little copse of trees behind the shed where I've put all the animals who have passed
I got a sick headache the other day that hung on even after I took some Aleve. I went and looked
at the label on the ramen I had had the previous day, and sure enough, it was loaded with MSG.
Many of the flavours are. I figured I could make my own flavouring easily enough, so I went looking
for a cheap source of noodles, with or without flavouring. Sure enough, World Market had a little
box of noodles, 5 bricks for $6. Looked like quality stuff, but I was looking for cheap. The local
grocery store had 'em 10 for $1.50, which was better, but I was hoping for the 8-10 cent a package
range I've seen from time to time.
I got a CD-ROM in the mail from H&R Block with their tax software on it. I ignored it until I had
enough information to run some basic numbers. Then I found out they had sent me a windoze
version! Yuck! So I went to their website to see what I could do about it, and learnt that they
have dropped Mac support. So I figured I'd give TurboTax a whirl. As always, I don't want to
pay retail, so I shopped around. Staples had a few deals where you could get extra free software
with it, but it was all windoze dreck. A friend suggested I try CostCo, and sure enough, they have
it for $32.99. They also had ramen noodles, a case of 36 packages for $3.89‡. The noodles rang
up as $4.29 instead, but I explained it to the manager, and he made it right. They also have
10x20 canopies with (fabric) walls and doors for $169, which may solve the hide-the-vehicle
problem if I don't get the shed ready in time. And nice garden sheds with windows and shelves,
and cute little 6'x6' greenhouses.
It turns out TurboTax doesn't import TaxCut documents (TaxCut does import TurboTax), so I
had to hand-key the basics. However, TurboTax can automatically suck down W-2 data if your
employer uses one of the paycheck services they support (mine does). It can do the same trick
with various financial outfits (although not my mortgage bank). It also has a pretty nifty
deduction manager (you can keep track of your donations and such over the year, so you don't
forget 'em when it's tax time). And their IRA calculator figured out I could increase my 401(k)
contributions without reducing my take-home pay.
I looked at the ingredients in the cheap ramen noodles I bought, and sure enough, MSG is
the second ingredient in the flavouring (right after salt). Luckily, I was planning on not
using it! I made a batch today, using berbere as flavouring, with a dash of salt. Came out
a treat, and no headache!
† AKA mineral spirits, Texsolve, Stoddard Solvent, your basic aliphatic/aromatic petroleum solvent,
used for cleaning engine parts and the like.
&Dagger: this works out to 10.8 cents per package, which is dandy