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This cold is strange. Yesterday I had the whole thing, runny nose, slight headache, occasional sneezes, etc, and sat on the couch most of the day reading. I didn't medicate myself at all until just before bed, when I put on some Vicks lotion and did the thing you shoot up your nose to clear congestion. (Some over the counter medicine, I think Afrin?) The Vicks lotion was fun, my chest was pleasantly burny from then til I fell asleep. I went to bed a little earlier than usual, but not as early as I'd planned to; I think I got about nine hours of sleep. This morning I'm a touch tired but no runny nose, just a touch of sore throat and a very occasional sneeze or cough, and perhaps a very slight headache. Maybe this is a superfast cold and I'll be all better by tonight! That'd be cool. :-)


Local request

Does anybody local have a power adapter for a Mac G3 Powerbook I could borrow just long enough to test whether a laptop is functional?

I have a Pismo I rescued (it was going to be recycled). I've been replacing one thing and another to get it working again, and I'm ready to see whether it works. Frustratingly, this afternoon I discovered the power cord was packed separately from the computer itself when I moved, and the battery is out of charge so I can't even try turning the computer on to test it. If it works I'll probably eventually buy another power cord if I still can't find the one I had, but I don't want to spend the money if the laptop still won't work.

ETA: mhaithaca commented that it should be the same power adapter as any previous PowerBook G3, the pre-G4 iBook models, and probably also such earlier models as the PowerBook 1400 and 5300.

Double ETA: deaterrae has one I can use to test it. Hooray!
Just before my last period I bought a menstrual cup. They've been around for over a century (and seem to have improved greatly over the years!) but haven't gotten much press, probably because of the taboos on discussing anything relating to menstruation. (Back in the 1960s there was an advertising campaign by one company that made them, but they were hampered by the fact that the ads couldn't actually say what they were talking about!) A menstrual cup fits in the vagina a bit like a tampon would, but because it's a cup (made of medical-grade silicone, or there's one made out of latex) it doesn't soak up the vagina's natural moisture along with the blood, so there's less risk of TSS and (IMHO) it's far more comfortable.

Mine is a Moon Cup (not to be confused with the Mooncup made in the U.K.). I've got the smaller size, which is almost too big for me, but there are other brands that make other sizes. There's an excellent chart to help figure out what's likely to be the best cup for a given person. Two brands are available for sale here in town (at co-ops and the like) and there are other brands available online.

I'm extremely pleased with it. It took me a little bit to get used to putting it in and taking it out, and I ended up cutting off the stem entirely* because it was poking me, but I got used to it quickly. Using it is miles better than using tampons and even better than using pads, which I'd been doing until now (I use reusable cloth pads, which I like much better than disposable pads--if you're curious, ask me and I'll tell you all the reasons why). After I got the stem the right length I could barely tell I had the cup in, and my flow is light enough I only had to empty the cup twice a day, so I could do it in the privacy of my own bathroom.

The cup I bought cost around $32 at the co-op, which is part of why it took me a while to get around to buying one. However, they last for years, so it averages out to a very small cost per cycle. (I've never heard of a cup wearing out. The only reasons I've heard of for having to replace a cup are: dropped it in the toilet and flushed it, dog used it for a chew toy, woman gave birth or body changed over time and had to switch from one size cup to another size.)

If you're interested in learning more, there's an LJ community full of helpful information: menstrual_cups. I've seen the community members patiently answer the same newbie questions over and over, and they use tagging to group posts so one can research more easily in past entries. One of the helpful things I found was a discussion of different ways to fold the cup for insertion--the way that's in all the cups' instructions is actually not the favorite of most women who use cups.

* I cut the stem off in stages, to make sure I wasn't cutting off too much. First I took off 1/4 of its length, tried it out for a day, then I cut off another 1/4, etc. I'm glad I had the whole stem at first while I was still getting used to removal, though.

Barrett's Australia (or something)

Yesterday for a while I had "South Australia" running through my head, and then it began to have the lyrics of "Barrett's Privateers." So (while I wait for some virus scans to finish) here you may have the whole thing. "Barrett's Privateers" is by Stan Rogers, "South Australia" is traditional (as far as I know), and the mixture is all mine.

Barrett's AustraliaCollapse )

Y'know, I think I'm glad we dance the original South Australia. This version has far too many verses!


They really did it! They promised to make the software freely available if one of a number of things happened. One item on the list was "average price of a gallon of gas in the Twin Cities drops to $2.79 a gallon." So, today is free software day.

The press releaseCollapse )

PSA: Chocolate coin recall

I just got this warning emailed to me, I checked it on Snopes, and it's true.

Pirate's Gold brand milk chocolate coins, sold in Canadian Costco stores, are imported from China and contain melamine, the same chemical that's been in the news lately for killing several babies in China.

I asked my dad, a nutritionist, what the deal is with melamine. He said it's a type of plastic (it's in formica, some whiteboards, and it's the "mel" in Melmac). Unfortunately, the most common test for the amount of protein in an item reads melamine as protein, so unscrupulous souls are adding it to milk to make the milk seem to have more protein. The human body knows damn well it's not protein, though, and protests.

Indian food from the grocery store

(This post is for me, but you can look at it too if you want.)

Thoughts on various brands/dishes I've tried:

Kohinoor Rice & Curry - Yellow Dal with Peas Pulao

Patel's - Lentils in Cream Sauce (Dal Makhani)
Good with bread

Swad - Aloo Mutter
OK. Spicy, I want bread with it.

Patak's - Chicken Korma with rice
No! The flavor was OK, but the texture was icky.

Patel's - Lentil Curry
OK. Spicy, I want bread with it.

Kitchens of India - Mashed Vegetable Curry (10/1/08)
Never got a chance to eat it. Comes in bag like the others, but bag isn't microwaveable. I tried it anyway and ended up with a burnt spot on the microwave turntable.

Swad - Paneer Jalfrezi, or something like that--the one with bell peppers
It was fairly forgettable, but could make a nice change if I get tired of their other varieties. Wants bread.

Swad - Paneer Makhani
Very tasty! The flavor was better with Arnold's Brownberry bread than alone, though.

Swad - Channa Masala
I only ate one piece of bread with this, and didn't actually *need* it to cut the spice. This was just on the border of how much spice I want to tolerate. Also fairly tasty.


Magpie telegraph

elisem is having a birthday sale (as in, it's her birthday and she's having a sale, not that she's selling birthdays). She makes lots of neat jewelry. Go see!


I got a package in the mail today! Remember when I posted about Trika asking for my address, and I thought I might know what it was about but I wasn't sure? She sent me this super-cool hat! You can't quite make out the whole logo in this picture, but it says "Certified Geek Grrrl" on the front, and "Microsoft Certified" on the back. W00t! I emailed her to say thanks, and I sent her a link to this picture so she could see the hat being enjoyed. I'm thinking I'll wear it to work on Friday.


In also-techy news, this morning I discovered I seem to be superstitious about the number 404. I already knew it was a number I noticed (someone I know has office number 404, which I think is cool), but this morning I glanced at my odometer and noticed I was at mile 404 for this tank of gas and had a brief moment of apprehension that something was going to happen to my car because of it.
Oh, goodness.

I really don't know where to begin. I had a very, very good time at the 4th Street Fantasy convention this weekend. I expected it would be good. When I looked around at the first panel and realized that I wanted to get to know every single person in the room I knew it would be good. And when I found myself staying up til 5am talking even though I'm a sleep-needing creature, I knew just how good it was. I met lots of lovely people (many of whom are now on my friends list), but for the most part I won't mention them by name because I know I'd leave out at least one person I would want to acknowledge. (So if you're reading this, and we talked during the weekend, please assume you're one of them--and if I haven't found your LJ, please leave a comment and let me know who you are.)

A bit of background on the convention: Fourth Street Fantasy was a convention held in the 90s, and it ended just around the time I might have started coming if I had heard of it. This year lydy decided to bring it back, and got others who also remembered it fondly to help her. The other bit of background: if you're familiar with conventions, you are probably used to the idea that there will be programming (panels and movies and such). Fourth Street's programming is such that only one thing is scheduled to happen at any given time, so that everyone attends mostly the same panels. This is, as they pointed out, very good conversation fodder.

I think I'll let this be a somewhat disjointed post, both because I'm still pretty sleepy and because if I wait until I have time to make it a good, polished piece, I'll have forgotten anything I wanted to say. But I think there are still good bits--in particular, I realized several of the things I like about conventions AND had an insight on my relationship with my sister. (And I think I got all the typos out, but if you see something that just doesn't seem to make sense, feel free to point it out. Unlike most of my posts, this one has been written over more than a 24-hour period and has suffered from less sleep and more caffeine than usual.)

Some of the good parts from my point of viewCollapse )

Quick timeline of con for meCollapse )
Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with this program and I don't have any other information on it.

The U's Reuse Program is a very neat thing I just found out about. There's this warehouse full of stuff, from bookcases to chairs to computers to old cash registers to teapots to I don't know what all. I even saw one lonely ramen packet sitting there on the shelf!

From an email they sent out today:
Bike Sale - Our bike sale continues this week, but the price drops to $23.33 per bike, plus tax! We still have many decent models, as well as a few high-end bikes that need a little work. Beat the high cost of gas this summer with pedal power!

I checked out the bikes (the warehouse is open to university departments on Tues and Weds). Most of them looked rideable, though you might want a tuneup. Others were missing seats, wheels, or both. Adding a seat and a wheel would still probably run you a lot less than buying a new bike, though. So if gas prices are getting you thinking about other kinds of transportation, check it out!

Thing is, this place is only open to the public on Thursdays, from 8a-3p. Follow the link above for directions and a little more information.

(Cross-posting to twin_cities.)

The future is good!

Consider: The first computer my family had (that I was around for, anyway) was a Commodore 64, so named because it had, I believe, 64 MB of RAM*. It didn't have a CD drive, it didn't even have a floppy drive until later, it had a cassette tape drive.

I'm sitting on my couch with my laptop computer (laptop computer! switch gears for a moment and listen to that phrase with your 1985 ears), posting on the internet, with no cables connecting to my computer except the power cable, and that one's optional. See? I just unplugged it. Computing with no wires!

Seriously, the future is here, and has been for a while now. No flying cars yet, but wheee! (And Pay By Touch at the local grocery store. How cool is that, that you can pay for groceries using a fingerprint?? Unfortunately the pay-by-touch company went out of business, but it was sweet while it lasted.)


Yes, if you couldn't guess by the above, I bought a wireless router tonight so I can get wireless access at home. Wheee!

* I have been corrected. It was 64 KB!
Following up on the previous post: It looks like maybe I can donate blood again after all! I was looking for the answer to a different question about blood donation, and stumbled across this information: the limit for time spent in Europe isn't the six months I was told, but five years! (I don't doubt the information I had, I think the rule changed in the meantime--it's been several years.)

(Aw man, now I gotta go donate blood, and I don't like needles. But I'll do it, because it's one of those things that's good to do.)

Feb. 7th, 2008

This article was a bit unnerving to read. It seems there are fewer and fewer people eligible to donate blood (and of course not everyone who is eligible is a regular donor).

If you can donate blood, please think about doing so. I'm no longer eligible because I've spent a total of over 6 months in Europe. :-( (I mean, yay for time spent in Europe, but boo for not getting to donate anymore. They said that they may change that requirement at some point in the future, but at this point they're playing it safe because they don't know enough yet about how mad cow disease is transmitted.)

Aug. 2nd, 2007

My inbox today is full of emails from people trying to make sure everyone they know is safe, and letting others know that they (the senders) are safe too.

In the midst of all that is an email from JC Penney titled "What's the Huge Deal?" They're trying to say that their back-to-school sale is a huge deal, but their timing, well, it could have been better.

PSA: Virus alert

So, there's an email going around the past few days. If you get this one, it will say it's an e-card from a family member, or an e-card from a friend. When you open the email, there will be a nice little message saying if you can't view the card, please click on this link. DO NOT CLICK ON THE LINK. If you click on the link, it will give you a virus.

A real e-card will tell you who it's from; the subject line would say something like "An e-card from Liza," rather than just "An e-card from a family member."

Quicken on sale!

If you're thinking about buying Quicken Deluxe 2007, check this out!

I had Quicken before, loved it, reformatted my computer and discovered I didn't have the Quicken install disk because I'd downloaded the software and never made a disk, so I'm buying it again. Because I'm cheap sometimes, I shopped around and found a helluva deal:

Staples has Quicken Deluxe 2007 on sale for $49.99, $10 off the normal price. There may not be a Staples near you (there isn't one near me), but the offer is good for ordering off their website too. With shipping the price comes back to almost what you'd pay if you walked into a store and bought it at normal price. BUT...

There's a $30 rebate, which brings the total price down to $19.99, or about 1/3 the usual price! And I am REALLY impressed with the rebate process so far. I placed my order on the website, and the confirmation page gave me all the information I'd need for the rebate, plus a link to the rebate page. My rebate is already in process.

The offer's good through tomorrow, 6/23.


I checked this out on Snopes.com, it's real:

E-Card Holiday Virus Packs Ugly PunchCollapse )