Floating day

Today has been what I would call a “Floating day”, or a day in which nothing and everything got done because I floated between various things rather than tunnel visioned on a specific activity.

This morning saw me finally setting up my nano leaf light panels near the reading nook, which amounts to about half of my hexagon shaped panels. It remains to be seen if they will stay up, or come down, but as long as the drywall and the paint is fine then I’ll be happy enough. The command tabs are probably stronger than the vendor’s original sticky pads.

Insert a bit of zombie slaying and various odds and ends, like cursing giving into double-points weekend on my Kindle reading list, and it wasn’t a bad afternoon either. But the real plan was to take out some meat to warm up and read for a bit. A nice sit, a nice read, and the panels are still on the wall 😅

For dinner, I decided to make something that I haven’t made in ages: Salisbury steak. In the great debate of sides, I ended up making home mashed potatoes and roast broccoli because the potatoes need using up and I’ve got plenty of both. Augmenting this plan was sautéing some onions to set aside, and then making a pan sauce to finish the meat in. Sadly, in my aim to avoid leftover sauce it reduced to nothing by the time the meat was finished, but the Salisbury steak came out perfecto 😘. Nice crusting on the outside and tender on the inside.

Follow it up with a bit of wine while I finish cleaning the kitchen, and I’m inclined to call it a success just the same. All in all, I’ve gotten “Nothing” done as it were but “Plenty” got done, so I’m still contented. More importantly, with it being about -9 C outside this morning: I stayed the fuck in doors!

Dinner managed

One weekend trend that I have noticed is that dinner either becomes something done early and more involved or done late and more simply, most often this collates to whether or not I spend too much time at my desk (^_^).

Coming across a one pot beefaroni recipe, I decided to try a curious idea from this: using stock in the reduction. In my case, I went with my own way of making beefaroni which is to say a lot more pasta, heavily seasoned to my tastes, etc. But at the point where I would normally add a jar of pasta sauce, I threw in a cup of unsalted beef stock. And I have to say this made for a freaking delicious result.

Since encountering unsalted soup stocks, I’ve been trying to incorporate more of that into my cooking. Mostly, I’ve not used a lot of stock in my own cooking, as most I’ve previously encountered can be summarized as “Salt” and that’s not good for my blood pressure at this point. Plus, as noted previously, I don’t tend to make soups and stews all that often.

In general, I find one-pot style beefaroni makes it harder to get the consistency of the macaroni right compared to the two pot approach, or just setting aside partially cooked macaroni in a collendar. But the beef stock definitely was an improvement over the sauce and seasoning approach alone. I’m not quite sure if the two pot approach would give enough time to reduce enough stock to have the same effect without overcooking the macaroni, but I can’t say that I really mind one less pot to wash either. In any case, I’m calling this experiment a success.

Plus the strawberries and cream for dessert didn’t hurt my dinner plans any either 😀

Ahh, it’s been a decent day

Saturday’s walk, rather wiped me out to the point that I could barely sleep from the pain in my feet. It wasn’t so bad afterwards but by the end of the day, it wasn’t pretty. About three weeks ago, I noticed that my boots are worn enough that the right outsole has cracked all the way through, such that you can flex it enough to stick fingers through to the sock if you try 😲. For me, that’s actually not so bad, given my history with footwear from before I started to wear boots, but still means new ones are overdue.

In retrospect, going for a 2.5 km walk in the park was probably not the brightest idea, even if my feet haven’t been paining me as part of my regular days. But just the same, after spending Sunday trying to actively stay off my feet to recover, I think buying new boots has gone from “Yeah, I should plan on that” status to “Do I want to do that over vacation” status. Soaking my feet also made a good opportunity to catch up on my reading for the weekend.

Today, on the positive side, I’ve felt well enough to be mostly unencumbered. Sore enough that I wouldn’t be inclined to go for a long walk, but normal enough not to be bothered. To the point that farting around the computer, I didn’t have any problems making routine trips downstairs to refill my water, rather than keeping a canteen handy.

Taking advantage of the day off, I decided to start on early on dinner plans that I drafted yesterday. Mirepoix (carrots, celery, onions), a few leftover mushrooms, and some ground sausage made in the fashion of beef stew using stock and seasonings. I had bought the celery planning on such a meal, but had yet to go for it. Figured, best do it while the carrots and onions were still good.

While such a stew can be accelerated by preparing the vegetables the night ahead, simmering soups and stews aren’t an expeditious cooking experience. Which means more time spent standing in the kitchen, lol.

French Onion Soup Grantiee

Standing in Publix, noticing that there is surprisingly unsalted broth and stock available as opposed to the lethal dose of sodium, I decided to take a shot at a recipe I came across a few days ago.

As a young boy, there were two staples of my weekends. One was watching Loony Toons in the afternoon because that’s all there was for cartoons. The other, was laying out on the living room floor playing with my toys as my mother watched her cooking shows on TV. There were usually three different programs on that she would watch featuring different chefs.

One of the chefs in those cooking shows was none other than Jacques Pepin. Imagine my great surprise, scrolling across YouTube when one of the suggested videos just happened to feature him! Now a much older man, hey, even I have some grey hairs now ^_^, but seems that he is still cooking :).

Coincidentally, I’ve never had much talent for soups and stews. My mother could make a good stew that would coat your insides. Mine on the other hand, often fall flat and I rarely make soups. Well, thanks to Jacques Pepin, I can now say that I’ve cooked at least one soup that I thoroughly enjoyed 🤤.

Networks and Pizza

Having finally merged some code that’s been stuck in my craw, I decided on a mini-celebration: pizza and eggplant parmigiana, although sadly I forgot about the beer in the fridge. Oh, well; it’ll be there to go with the leftovers 😋.

On the flip side, I think it’s almost time to declare Zeta an operational battle station.

The first problem was I/O performance. Her predecessor, Cream had been pressed into sharing its Wi-FI with Rimuru, leaving the SMB shares on Cream only accessible via wireless clients. Having fished out the aerials that came with Rimuru’s Motherboard 2.0, that solved that connectivity gotcha. But not the simple fact that the file server and the clients are within a meter or two of each other, and the access point is across the house! As much as I suspect a mesh system will be the upgrade path for my network, I’m not replacing that router until it dies or Wi-Fi 7 is ready to rock.

Thus, my shiny new file server was only achieving about 5 MB/s connectivity with my Mac and PC on the other side of the L-shaped monster. Now, I’ve never expected big things of Samba compared to NT’s SMB stack, but Samba’s got waaaay better performance than that and so does Zeta’s hand me down platter drives. My solution to this problem? Gigabit!

At first, I attempted to solve this problem using the combination of libvirt and pfSense. But, I didn’t have much luck getting the bridging to work in order to have a VM on the host be a router while the client functions as the physical. In the end, I discarded this idea and configured Zeta to function as the router for my little local IPv6 network. Yeah, that’s right: I said IPv6, baby! Since this is a local network intended to join Zeta (server), Shion (Mac), and Rimuru (PC) and the occasional other machine, I opted to set this up as IPv6. There’s no real need for IPv4 in my desk’s wired LAN. Maybe I’ll enable IPv4, so I can jack old PowerBook G3 into the switch since MacOS 9.x probably lacks IPv6 support the way Sonoma lacks AppleTalk support 🤣.

Configuring things was pretty easy. A little bit of radvd to enable the Router Advertisement and Router Solicitation issues and for good measure, setup DHCPv6 as an insurance policy, and configured the Ethernet port with the desired address and itself as the gateway. In the future, I may try setting up BIND, so I can have DNS A records map to Zeta’s IPv4 address on the household Wi-Fi and AAAA records map to Zeta’s IPv6 on the desk’s Ethernet, or perhaps even separate domains. But I’m a little hesitant of taking out DNS whenever I reboot the server.

On the flip side, thanks to the lack of fuckwittery, Samba and the SMB stacks on Mac and NT just handles this case fine. Navigating to \\ZETA or smb://ZETA while jacked into the local Ethernet switch nets me about 80 to 115 MB/s, or roughly how fast you can spew data over a Gigabit link to SATA powered things. Seems that the SMB stacks are smart enough to prefer the local Ethernet, but something more DNS aware is how to fix cases like SSH.

The next phase has been setting up the virtual machine environment, which will probably replace the Parallel’s VMs I sometimes spin up on my Mac and the WSL2 environments on my PC. For this, it basically amounted to setting up a bridge interface with the same IP information and using Zeta’s Ethernet port as its bridge port. Then setting the virtual machine’s second interface to bridge to LAN, so that it can be routable over the local switch.

Thus, Shion, Rimuru -> Zeta works. Shion, Rimuru, Zeta -> some VM on Zeta works. Muhuahuaha!

Passing thoughts

Tonight’s dinner turned out better than expected, despite using a rice bowl for portion control. I ended up with independent plating as a side effect of trying to avoid the “Bed of rice” and “Mixed in rice” approach, trying to get a higher veggies to rice/lentil ratio.

I can’t help but think, it’s probably the first time I’ve actually used the bowl for rice. It had quickly become the measuring scoop for the dogs’ dry food, and I had happened to remember its intended purpose was rice, when I was cleaning stuff out. On the flip side, at least I’m smart enough to have fed it through the dishwasher first!

An average, decent kind of day

This morning was rather slow, given that my “Get up early, get stuff done” plan was waylaid by the strong feeling that even for all the tea in China, I wouldn’t want to get out of bed. Nice and cozy ftw! But of course, eventually this had to be substituted with starting the day.

If an hour or so late, my experiment with tamogoyaki went quite well. This is the first time I’ve mad a bottle of mirin to incorporate the flavor, which makes for a notably sweeter result. Half the omelets for breakfast, half saved for part of Monday’s lunch. Then off to iron out the grocery shopping. By lunch time everything was done, and I finally had my coffee. Which went well with some cornbread, which of course was not a low carb lunch but solved hunger for the afternoon. The coffee that I ground last week has held up well enough that much enjoyment was had.

Finding myself in that fickle mood where I know that I can’t spend all my time working, and sometimes I’m not in the mood to do anything restful or useful; I’d say this afternoon was an example in borderline stir crazy. But on the flip side, a split off into playing a bit of Battletech 2018 made for a pleasant way to unwind.

I also got to test out a “Splurge” as part of my dinner plans. Typically, I roast veggies by tossing them into a mixing bowl with some olive oil and seasoning, toss on a silpat on a baking sheet, and in it goes. The downside of course is this then means I’m stuck wiping out a mixing bowl with a paper towel and then having a larger item for the dishwasher’s top wrack, or a thing to soak/rinse after the food’s in the oven. With the whole blood pressure thing, I’m roasting veggies more often. Trying things the less clean-up way of toss veggies on the silpat, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle seasonings is a nice plan. But using the bottle of EVO, it just results in more puddling than oil properly applied to vegetables. Which in turn means more paper toweling down the silicone baking mat and sheet pan, and less even results.

In the past, I used to keep some of ma’s flask like cruets handy until I decided these were a bigger pain to clean than they made any real difference versus using the bottle directly. So, thinking on a solution, I decided to splurge on a nice leak free cruet that’s perfect for drizzling the veggies and that more importantly, is easily cleaned. For tonight’s dinner plans, roast carrots were on the menu which made a perfect opportunity to test this out.

I’m calling that cruet $16 very well spent, lol.

Thank GOD there’s coffee

Waking up this morning, I wondered why the heck my watch was displaying the forecast a day out of date as I started getting dressed for work. Then about the time I’d be putting my socks on, I realized yesterday was Saturday which means today is not Monday, therefore it’s time for coffee not pants.

Decided to run with a higher volume version of last weekend’s impromptu experiment, of grinding enough coffee to last a while. Looks like my Shardor was up to grinding about 110~120 grams, which is pretty much max capacity. That should be enough freshly ground espresso roast to feed my Chemex pour over next weekend and the weekend after, on top of giving me an ample amount of coffee today. I’ve been guzzling coffee from the big cup almost all morning as of time of writing, and probably have about a regular cup’s worth left.

In retrospect, I should have gone easier on filling the bag when I bought the coffee beans. It was so full it was hard to close the baggy, and ordinarily I don’t buy full bags of beans the odd times that I’ll go with the spout instead of pre-packaged stuff in grocery stores. But I’ve got to admit, the espresso roast at Sprouts Farmer’s Market is working for me, and the beans last quite a darn long time. It offers a bit of a spicy feel for coffee, and seems to retain its flavor well whether making a more intense brew or a thinner brew.

Ahh, darn, now I’m tempted to make more coffee 😅

Plan of the day prepared for the week

After quite a bit of Battletech 2018 and a break in the middle to sweep and mop all the floors, I set to work on the next phase of things. Kind of funny, in that kitchen time is in my head, a break from sitting at my desk, but hey, BT has been consuming a lot of my gaming cycles this month, lol.

I had an idea last night about making a low carb tuna salad. It’s inspired by a cucumber and watermelon summer salad I encountered in an YouTube video. That is to say instead of macaroni style full of carbs or pickle style full of salt, it’s built around veggies. Details in footnote.

While blanching some carrots for the tuna salad, I broke down some broccoli and sliced additional carrots for later roasting for dinner and during the week. Aptly, by the time this was done it’s close enough to when I’d have to cook, I decided to stay downstairs and break out Shion to work on this journal entry.

Footnote: my tuna salad experiment

  1. Diced cucumber.
  2. Diced, blanched carrots (between 1:0.75 and 1:1 ratio /w cucu’)
    • Effectively, I quartered the cucumber and carrots and then cut them thin so the pieces are similar in size: slightly less area than a fingernail.
    • Raw carrots are hard as fuck, thus they need blanching or steaming. 4 minutes in a boiling water and then into a bath of ice water to chill.
  3. Sweet peppers, shredded
    • Already cleaned the cutting board when I did this and these are the seedless kind. So I simply snipped the ends, quarter, and then snipped my way lengthwise with a good kitchen scissors.
  4. Spring onions, chopped.
  5. Packet of tuna, 74g
    • 74g is about half a can.
    • Lower sodium light tuna, because I’m trying to cut down on salt for ye old blood pressure.
  6. Black pepper to taste
    • And sadly, I don’t have any garlic powder handy.
  7. Ranch dressing
    • I debated using oil/vinegar and opted to go with ranch.
    • I almost never have mayo, so most things people use mayo for I use ranch 😛

Coffee and groceries

Simple plan of the day, well executed thus far. Got up early instead of sleeping in, despite the urge to read all of last night. Skipped the usual breakfast/coffee routine and hit the road for Sprouts Farmer’s market. Managed to take care of most of my shopping list, given it’s mostly the veggies needing resupply. Then hit Publix on the way back for odds and ends better acquired there.

Came home and then opted to make breakfast. Picked the most ready to nosh avocado from the sprouts trip and cut off a chunk of fresh baked bread from the Publix bakery. Made coffee. I kind of blame my ancestors for the urge to pour some coffee on the plate and dunk the bread, and still ended up dunking some in the cup just the same, lol. I was a little tempted to add a Roma from the previous batch of tomatoes as well.

Ahh, I forgot how much I enjoy making fresh coffee. Thanks to all that’s been going on, I’ve mostly used pre-ground coffee in recent months. I find that is best for convenance when you need to get rolling on the POTD but want caffeinated goodness in a cup. But grinding and brewing coffee is kind of therapeutic in its own way as far as morning rituals go.

Perhaps contrary to that joy, I finally decided to try an experiment that I’ve been meaning to. Normally, I only grind up enough coffee for one brewing. For me, that’s about 2 – 2 1/2 cups of Joe. This time, I ground a full load: there is probably enough for tomorrow and next Saturday, maybe next Sunday as well. Stored it in a air bag and then in one of my mother’s air tight jars that usually adorn my counter, one of which is labelled coffee and usually empty unlike the flour, sugar, and tea ones next to it. So, we’ll see how well it keeps. In any case, I went a wee bit overboard and stocked up on coffee beans enough not to have to worry for quite a while, lol.