floz's corner

floz nietsnezolf

ravings of a tech geek gone awry!




more feet



So the first spot of peeling showed up today. Right on the end of my
big toe. The instructions say not to peel, so I'm fighting the urge.

I've been soaking my feet each day for 10-20 mins as instructed, and I
can tell a little difference in the callus. They're dried out feeling
and my feet feel a little odd when soaking.

We'll see how this progresses over the next days/weeks. I fully expect
to need to do the second round after this has finished.

-floz

my dogs are mooing



Following up the previous post about better living through chemistry,
I'd like to share something that I'm trying as an experiment.

You see, I get really really bad calluses on my feet. Seriously,
they're like hooves. It's bad, they hurt sometimes, they split
sometimes and hurt more.

Obviously the idea of visiting a podiatrist has crossed my mind. Until
recently I didn't have insurance that would cover such a thing, and it
wasn't really that big of a deal I thought. The thing is, being in a
constant small amount of pain is no more fun than being a lot of pain.
Pain sucks in general, unless you're into that sort of thing... and even
then, medical pain like this isn't fun.

So... my better half suggested a "heel peel". A bit of quick googling,
and it turns out (I'm a guy, I don't know this stuff) there are chemical
peel things for your feet to deal with this very problem.

The stuff inside is pretty safe to use externally, but does come with
some warnings. It works like so...

There are little plastic booties/socks that are sealed up and contain
"magic goo" aka chemical peel soup.

Wash your feet thoroughly beforehand.

You cut the top/neck of these booties/socks open and slip your feet in.

Unless you have exceptionally large feet as I do (12e) and then you're
kinda boned.

You will probably split them, put the whole thing foot and all in a
large plastic zip-top bag to ensure you don't lose the precious goo.

Let your feet soak for an hour in these booties.

Slip them off and discard, wash your feet thoroughly.

Then, the after-care. Each day following you should soak your feet in
lukewarm water for 10-20 minutes to help the peel.

Slowly (over two weeks I think) the dead skin and callus will peel away.
The instructions specify do not try to pick at or peel it, let it fall
off naturally.

So, day 1... my horrible feets. We'll see what is what in a few weeks.
The kit I ordered came with two sets of booties, and said that if needed
after it stops peeling I can go again.

-floz

better living through chemistry



Chemistry doesn't always mean what most people think it means. If you
ask the average on-the-street American "What is chemistry?" they may
have any number of responses.

Webster's says this:
chemistry - noun

  1. a science that deals with the composition, structure, and properties
    of substances and with the transformations that they undergo


The statement "better living" then begs for some clarification. What is
better? Would you recognize it if things got better slowly over time,
or would you suddenly notice later, "holy shit, things are pretty good
now!"?

For me, "better living" ties in to that whole "pursuit of happiness"
thing that we're taught as kids here in the states. We're guaranteed
"life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness". Nobody is guaranteed
happiness, just to make that clear. You're guaranteed the freedom to
pursue your own happiness... provided that you're not harming anyone in
the process, of course.

At least, that's how I've always interpreted it. As such, it now seems
prudent to look at what "happiness" means for me. Biologically
speaking, it's a chemical interaction in my brain. I understand that,
but I've also learned through my life of many things that "kick off"
that chemical interaction. Also, it's important to remember that
constant bliss is never the goal. Without the less pleasant things in
life, how would one recognize the obverse?

Happiness being a chemical interaction in your brain means that one can
alter their mood simply with chemical additives. SSRI's are a great
example of this. Guess what else is? A whole lot of different drugs,
and not all of them are illegal.

...the list goes on and on. I'm personally a fan of all of these in
moderation and relative spread of time between uses. One can't just go
about eating tab after tab of acid for weeks without some "side effects"
showing up. Same with cocaine or alcohol. You go on a bender, it will
fuck you up. However, with marijuana I've found that you can
literally smoke as much as you can inhale and it won't hurt you, aside
from the inhaling smoke part... so vape or do edibles or something.

I've become a bit of a psychonaut as I've gotten older. Not really
surprising, it's an old family tradition. So, your mileage may vary, I
am not a doctor, this is not medical advice. Don't do drugs, stay in
school, all that jazz. Remember, there's a time and place for
everything... and it's called college.


-floz

worthwhile to learn how to grow your own food



What do you do at the end of the world? Do you party, do you bunker
down... what do?

We've started gardening, including growing a specific variety of tomato
that we got as a seedling. The "Parks Whopper (improved)" variety are
delicious and easy to grow. The (improved) tag indicates disease
resistance, as far as I understand it.

They grow quite fast, our little seedling is now nearly 4.5 ft tall
after only 3 months. They also produce a good number of fruit, I think
the max it has had on at once is fifteen (15).

The best, of course, is saved for last. They are hands-down the most
delicious tomato in my opinion. They taste like gramma's garden
tomato, if you catch my drift. They're also very tender. The skin is
quite strong, but the flesh within is soft, juicy and flavorful.

I prefer to leave them on the plant until I need a tomato if possible.
Since we use them pretty regularly, there isn't really a concern (yet)
of them going bad on the plant.

I plan to make some absolutely delightful marinara at some point too,
since we're also growing some italian oregano and sweet basil.

There are a lot of other plants in our garden, but the tomato is the one
we've gotten a chance to enjoy results from first.

-floz

it's the end of the world as we know it, and i feel FIIIIIINE!



Wow, the world really started going to shit fast.

Coronavirus, riots against bad police, economic stuff...

I'm a concerned individual. Also, there is a better way to solve this
problem. I understand that sometimes the police are baiting protests
into a riot. Don't fall for it. Also, if you see police escalating
things, record it.

Now, the second point I'd like to make. IF you decide you want
to go protest and potentially face a riot, plan ahead. Pick your
class, just like a RPG. Are you a pacifist, a healer, a mage, a
warrior? Do you carry a med kit and milk for pepper spray victims?
Do you carry molotovs and cherry bombs? Do you carry a baton and
helmet? Do you leave when things begin to get out of hand? The point
is, plan ahead. The world is going to shit, and you can't get caught
unprepared any more. Doing so can be dangerous to your health.

Now, have a frosty cold one, and think long and hard about who it is
you're really angry at. After that, protest and demonstrate there.
e.g. if you're angry at bad policing (as many of us are), protest and
demonstrate at the police department and city hall. Hold those
responsible accountable.

Looting and burning businesses makes things unclear what you're angry
about. Target didn't kill a man senselessly, nor did the mom & pop
shop that may get looted or burned. If you join in on this kind of
behavior, you're not sending a clear message to those responsible that
they've fucked up. Target will absorb the cost of damages and lost
stock. It will hurt them a bit, but not like a small business would be
hurt. Small businesses caught in the crossfire of this insanity stand
to lose everything they've likely worked for years to have.

Again, those responsible should be held accountable. A broken, racist,
and functionally backwards criminal justice system is finally
(potentially) being called to answer for real. The key is, those who
protest and demonstrate must show that they are better than that which
they decry, and not get distracted from what they're really protesting
and demonstrating against.

I've seen some very brave young Americans protesting, and I've seen some
really shit cops busting skulls. I leave you with this:

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood
of patriots and tyrants. It is it's natural manure."
--Thomas Jefferson

-floz

could it be an email?



I understand everybody wants to be on camera now during meetings because
we're all stuck at home. I get it, face time with coworkers is
important. However, there is something happening, we'll call it "Zoom
Fatigue".

This problem is actually two-fold for me. I moved from support to
engineering last year, and had the mistaken idea that it would mean
fewer meetings.

Not only did my meeting load increase, now that everybody is staying
home, it has turned into a demented online brady-bunch intro of
awkwardness each day.

I don't mind one or the other. Additional meetings or all meetings are
video. Both together is a bit much though.

-floz

an argument for a shitty hack



I'm sure there are other definitions for "stringification". However,
what I'm going to define here is how I use it.

Example:
You have a program that takes in multiple inputs, some strings, some
integers, maybe even a float or two.

All of this data needs to be sent in a single shot to another program,
let's assume via an API call that expects ALL of the keys to be there.

Consider that the other program or API doesn't care how your program
handles the data, as long as what it gets is what it expects.

We'll say the API call is
https://foo.bar/API/inputdata.do?namestr&intvalue&floatvalue

Your program has the following variables in memory:
namestr = "Bob Spack"
intvalue = 245
floatvalue = 12.78

I do quite a bit in python, so that's how I'll demonstrate what I call
stringification.

outputstr = namestr + "&" + str(intvalue) + "&" + str(floatvalue)
callAPI(outputstr)

This then makes outputstr read as follows:
"Bob Spack&245&12.78"

A nice easy concise variable you can then use to make your API calls.

I'm not saying that this is the pythonic way, or even the right way
according to anybody. I can say that it works, and I've used it several
times before to make my own life easier.

In cases where you need to serialize a bunch of variables together into
a string (for sending to an API, sending over the wire via serial,
whatever), this might prove useful.

-floz

no, my dick is big enough already, tyvm



Blocking advertisements is something I do because I want to view the web
content I'm trying to view. I don't want to see your commercials for
"make your dick bigger" or "find hot singles" or whatever other mindless
schlock you're pushing.

As an example, trying to read a news article that popped up in my RSS
feed.

No, I don't think I will. Certainly not since I finished writing a
web-scraper in python that just pulls the article contents anyway.

Ok, fine, you're starting to piss me off with this "please don't block
our advertisements".

Frankly, if your web presence is dependent upon advertising revenue to
stay afloat, you might want to evaluate cost/benefit.

Lastly, here's another image I grabbed showing what happens when I do
unblock the site in question.

The asshole bar at the top, the side-bar full of useless junk hawking
products I don't want and am not interested in.

Where's the fucking content? Oh yeah, it's partially hidden behind
these things, and pushed further down the page.

Is this a news site or a bloody fashion magazine? As if the ad bar at
the top wasn't enough, every two to three paragraphs there's an
advertisement IN THE ARTICLE.

I'm not in the market to buy a car, but their advertising seems to think
I am. They also seem to think I have cancer, care about hockey, and a
bunch of other seemingly unrelated nonsense.

At this point, I'm compiling a list of sites that are doing this.
Putting advertising in front of the content. Not just stylistically but
also operationally.

If you make the list, I'm done reading anything on your site and will
continue to tell everyone who will listen (and some who will not) to
avoid you as well.

For fucks sake, hosting isn't that expensive any more.

-floz

y u no validate?





Yup, it's true, you can't arrange icons by penis.

Gonna make a short PSA here, then go deal with more of this nonsense.

If your IT department sends out emails several times a week for
months saying "Hey, we're about to roll out this new thing, please test
it to make sure it works."... You should test it. If you don't, and
you ignore these notifications, when something you need is missing or
doesn't work, you can... well, yeah I think you know where I'm going
with that.

If you were given a checklist to verify app by app that everything works
and your app wasn't on there or doesn't work, you should speak up. Not
wait until it stops working and immediately begin laying blame elsewhere.

Lack of participation at the start results in poor support later.
If you don't bother to tell us "hey, this obscure tool that you didn't
know about doesn't work right". When we make our changes, and it won't
work... That's not the IT team's fault.

As end-users, you hold the responsibility for being engaged in defining
what it is you need. If you make us guess, you might get something that
doesn't meet any of your needs. Again, not the IT team's fault.

-floz

new years resolutions



Mine are pretty simple, but not exactly easy.

First, I'm quitting smoking cigarettes. It's costing me around $300USD
per month for both myself and the better half... literally burning the
money up and inhaling the toxic offgassing. I'm done with it.

Second, I want to get back into shape. Not super-ripped or anything
crazy, just go the gym and ride the bike for an hour several times a
week. Shed some flab, get my wind back, all that good stuff.

Lastly, I'm taking the entire month of January (at least) off from video
games. I know, I've written about games here before. I am an avid
gamer... but I'm letting my zeal for digital interactive entertainment
get in the way of more important things, like family.

-floz