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Book 2: The Passionate Programmer: Creating a Remarkable Career in Software Development

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 I bought this book in 2010 or 2011, in the beginning of my IT degree. I thought it would help me focus on what I want to study. Instead, the first couple of chapters confused me. Each chapter ends with some actionable questions - and I could only answer "I don't know" for all of them. Do you want to position yourself in the bleeding edge of technology, or just the leading edge? Do you prefer to specialize in migrating legacy systems - requiring you to be an expert in a nearly dead language - but a very important task to help companies move forward? List all the technologies you use and rank them in their lifecycle. Err... I don't know. I have a year of writing some C and C++? I felt overwhelmed, put the book down, then promptly forgot it existed for about 10 years - except for times I was moving - Oh, yes, I should read that book some day. I finally decided to get it over with - after all, 10 years later, I am in the IT field as a Database Administrator and report wr

Book 1: Augie and the Green Knight

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 I thought I'd start my large three year 'read every book on my bookshelf' project with a rather easy one. I bought Zach Weinersmith's children's book, "Augie and the Green Knight" from Kickstarter in 2015, and figured I'd get around to reading it sometime. Well, the time is now! I'd been familiar with Zach's work as a webcomic and owner of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal  and have purchased some of his other works... which I also haven't read. At least I'm consistent! Augie and The Green Knight is a delightful story about Augie's travels with the Green Knight as she attempts to bring order and civilized manners to the knight. It is a very delightful read, and had me laughing out loud between excellently placed pop culture references and Augie's unique perspective. I would highly recommend it for readers aged 10 and up. Some of the words would likely be a little difficult for some younger children, but I would hope it would en

The Next Large Project

It's so large, I'm setting a rough deadline of three years! I've decided to read every fiction and non fiction physical book I own, except for songbooks. The Kindle books will be for another time. I've had a very bad habit of buying a book, letting it gather dust on my bookshelf for years, feel guilt for not reading it, eventually either not wanting to read it anymore (just not interested in The Philosophy of The Simpsons) or feeling too much guilt for not reading it, and giving it away or donating it. No more! The pandemic showed that I can read quite a few books per year, and at the very least, I should read them all. Not every page - if I'm concerned I'll not care for the whole book, I'll read until the first few chapters of the book and reassess. I do have some very dry books. If I still like it, then I'll continue. I don't want to read anything I don't like, but I bought books I like, or want to learn from. I'll also write a short review

What I Did During the Pandemic

 Technically, the pandemic isn't over, but I'm considering my personal pandemic over - I am fully vaccinated! I can travel and see friends and family, now! I thought I would list what I remember accomplishing during my person pandemic, between March 12, 2020, the last day I went to the office to work, and yesterday, April 29, 2021 the first day I could be considered fully vaccinated. Ran a 5k in a new personal time after extensive training throughout March 2020 and September 2020 when the North Hills 5K took place Visited the Eno River Confluence Area for a 2 mile hike After 16 year hiatus, relearned how to ride a bike, and rode just over 100 miles throughout the summer of 2020. I also walked 182 miles and ran 120 miles. Completed projects like Exercise Every Day in August 2020, Photo a Day Challenge from April to June of 2020, and was able to continue daily posting from August 2019 to August 2020.  Compiled and edited a Gluten free cookbook after months of reading other cookbo

Financial Book Review 2, or There Is No Perfect Pepsi

Malcolm Gladwell gave a talk about choice and gave the example of Howard Moskowitz and his work with Pepsi - after testing, he considered that there is no Perfect Pepsi, only Perfect Pepsis .  I mention this, because I decided to read three more financial books, Smart Couples Finish Rich, The Millionaire Next Door, and its sequel The Next Millionaire Next Door. After reading them, as well as some discussion from friends, I've decided/agreed that just like there is no Perfect Pepsi, there is no Perfect Financial book to give to others. With that in mind, I should amend my rating for Bach's The Automatic Millionaire, then, to probably 2 or even 2.5/5 rather than the 1 I originally gave it. The point of the book is to get people interested in saving and investing, and an embellished story may not hurt. After all, I didn't try to make the math work when I read it the first time around. I happened to borrow Smart Couples Finish Rich , also by David Bach. I liked this book much

Financial Book Review, or You Just Can't Go Home Again

Over the last week, I read five financial books about saving and retirement. I wanted to read through them to see if my recommendations for the books still were appropriate, a decade later. In this blog I even talk about Automatic Millionaire and go through the exercises. Automatic Millionaire Chapter 1 Automatic Millionaire Chapter 2 Automatic Millionaire Workbook Chapter 1 Automatic Millionaire Workbook Chapter 2 I'm both disappointed that I didn't write more with subsequent chapters, but glad I didn't spend more energy on the books, as a decade later, I think this book and its companion workbook are pretty awful. While it did get me interested in saving more, and to write a set of values and ballpark dollar amounts, at the age of 24, I was wildly pessimistic on how much I needed to amass. A million dollars to travel the world? I mean, I could  spend a million on it, but I don't think it would be necessary to require that much to have a wonderful time traveling. Bette

Accidental Excess Fructose Test and Two Large Projects

 I happened to make cornbread last week, and decided to top with honey. It was good! And, the next night, with more cornbread, I had more honey. Last night, with my largest piece of cornbread, I added quite a bit of honey! Forgot that it was one of the tests - excess fructose. Apparently, I have no issues with excess fructose, as I also had no pain, which is great! That means the last test is Sorbitol - found in blackberries, peaches, plums and avocado. I miss avocado and guacamole, so I think I'll buy an avocado this weekend and see how I fare. In other news, I'm working on a cooking project as well as a music composition project, and I'm in the middle of both, so I don't have a lot of finished bits to share yet. Hopefully in the next few weeks I can add something to the blog!

SIBO Lactose retest and Mannitol test

 I tested for lactose again, just because I suspect that was the cause of the whole issue. I ended up making some blueberry buckles - basically, muffins that don't really hold together, with a side of the Tillamook ice cream. I had less than a cup of ice cream, and suffered no ill effects. I really doubled down with some homemade gluten free macaroni and cheese, made with freshly grated cheese and whole milk. Of course, it made more than one serving, so I likely only consumed about a half a cup of milk. Still no pain or issues! What a success! Yesterday, I decided to throw caution to the wind and make a Chinese pork noodle dish with fresh shiitake mushrooms. Something high in mannitol that I hadn't yet properly tested. However, I've been eating mushrooms for years without ill effects, and when I was eating vegan, I ate a lot of them, especially portabellas. The recipe called for 10 ounces of mushrooms, and like the mac and cheese recipe, I only ate probably 2 ounces, likely

McCormick Crushed Red Pepper

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I had some McCormick Crushed Red Pepper in my pantry, and it was starting to get a bit old. Instead of adding a bit of nice heat to my dishes, it smelled a more like chili dust and wouldn't impart much of a kick. Around that time, I started getting advertisements for FlatIron, a company that creates pepper blends to make a more interesting dried pepper blend. I thought I'd try it out, as I'd gotten into hot sauces the year before, learning that there is a lot more into hot sauce than just heat and vinegar. I purchased a pack - one container of Asian red peppers, one container of Hatch Green Chile, and one container of their Four Pepper Blend, that should have taken the place of the boring old McCormick Crushed Red Pepper dust sitting in the pantry. I was making some Asian recipe and opened up the container of Asian Reds to smell the spice blend. The spice level nearly took my head off! Well, no matter, it's supposed to be a hot pepper blend. I tossed it in but found the

Heavy Seas Pale Ale

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Heavy Seas Pale Ale, Powder Monkey, is another Beer of the Month beer, and an excellent one at that. Granted, the reason why I liked it was due to the fact that it was an inoffensive Pale Ale, as so many can be piney or hoppy or bitter, which I do not like. This was drinkable and tasty. Nearly drank them all before I remembered to take a picture and give a review! People who prefer this style of beer might think it is took weak or not bitter enough. I would rate it a 6/10. Happily would drink one if I found myself at their brewery, would gladly accept one from a friend at a party, but not enough to go seek it out. And that last bit is just because the style of beers I like, not against the beer itself. 

SIBO and passing the oligosaccharides test

 I'm still going along with my FODMAP reintroduction. So far, I've checked off: Fructans - three separate tests for onion, wheat and garlic; Lactose - which has disaccharides - and most recently Oliosaccharies! I enjoyed a side of kidney beans.  When I've reintroduced foods, sometimes the first test has a little bit of pain, sometimes the last test with the highest amount of the item causes pain, and sometimes I have no pain whatsoever. The last round, I had some moderate pain the first day with the reintroduction of kidney beans, but for the wheat test, the last day caused pain. When I waited and retested, I had no pain with a similar meal (same pasta and sauce, decided to forgo the cheese even though it was supposed to be fine.) Since the food introductions have been great (a few tests failed, but I retested successfully) I can eat foods with wheat, onion, garlic, cheese, dairy and beans! I've yet to test avocado (Sorbitol test) or sweet potato (Mannitol) or honey (Fr

Bucket List

 A bucket list is a list of items or experiences to do before a person dies. I don't like the idea of having a bucket list that has some sort of regret attached, like "Oh, I never learned X or traveled to Y" so I usually didn't have one. But, I could just change my definition to 'list of items that would add to my life' instead of 'list of items that I might regret if I don't do them'. I am happy with the major portion of my life - I have a job that I like and makes me fulfilled, I have a group of friends I appreciate and see often (excepting during pandemics) and same with visiting with my family. I can die tomorrow without regret. I'll always want to see more of my family and friends, but don't have a nagging feeling of "I never got to see X person/thing." With that said, I did recall that I created a bucket list about 5 years ago as part of an exercise with one of my friends, with things that were important to me then. Let'

Lactose Test Passed! (I think)

 I ran a longer lactose test just to be sure I wouldn't have any issues with 'stacking', then intentionally stacked. I had a half cup of milk on Wednesday, a full cup on Friday, a cup and a half on Sunday and another cup on Monday. I had some mild pain on and off, but it didn't seem the same as the pain I had in August and September (and October and early November). I even had mild pain on the days where I drank no milk in between the tests. I'll still be careful, however, I mostly wanted to be sure I could tolerate 'cooking' amounts, like what would be in sauces or desserts or cheese. I don't like to drink milk and rarely have yogurt or soft cheese. I'll put lactose back in my diet sparingly, but won't ignore foods with a little bit of cream or melted cheese. It'll be nice to have more options. Next test will be mannitol tolerance. Guess I'll go find some mushrooms and sweet potatoes to eat next week or the week after!

Beer of the Month to Review

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 My brother gave me a subscription to a Beer of the Month club, which is exciting! One of this month's beers is Flying Fish's Abbey Dubbel. I like Dubbels in the winter much more than porters and stouts, though many of those are good as well. This Dubbel is excellent! Continuing with the rating system I employed during Advent 2020, I would consider this Dubbel a 9 out of 10. That is the highest rating I've given a beer yet, and don't do so lightly. It is so easily drinkable, it's sweet without being cloyingly sweet, medium bodied, and absolutely delicious. Notes of brown sugar and caramel and sweet bread. I would seek this out and wouldn't mind paying more than normal for a special occasion. I drank one of these over the weekend and was more than halfway through before I'd realized it and knew I better make a point to write a review before I drink the other two and forget the tasting notes! Great start to the club!

Shio Ramen

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  I decided to make Serious Eats' Shio Ramen . I felt like making a ramen, because it would use a salt stock rather than a poultry or beef stock that would lean on garlic and onion that I was attempting to remove from my diet in the short term. I didn't quite read through all the recipe before committing to it in my head, and it ballooned into, I think, my most complicated recipe ever. I started with looking at the necessary ingredients, bonito flakes and kombu to make the dashi. I ordered them from Amazon, and the flakes came from Japan. I saw that there was a Shio Tare in the ramen recipe and looked into what that is - basically lemon salt liquid with some kombu. Ok, two days before I want to make the ramen, I need to make the shio tare, and one day before, I need to make the dashi. The day of, I need to boil water and chicken stock (I ended up finding bouillon that didn't have garlic or onion), add bonito flakes into the dashi and steep, then soft boil eggs, then start

SIBO and Continuation of Low FODMAP Diet

 I've been on the low FODMAP diet now for a month and a half. I've been feeling much better and pain free for most of the time. While I've only had one day of severe pain all day (a week and a half after I started the diet, I have mild unattributable pain about once or twice a week, and generally for 5 - 15 minutes. What a difference! One of the issues with SIBO and low FODMAP diet - after almost three months of nearly non-stop pain, my body doesn't really register hunger until is it really hungry. Any discomfort is just a general pain feeling instead of hunger pain. And with low FODMAP being low calorie, I'm getting hungry more often. That also doesn't help the end of my braces situation - I used to eat two larger meals so I didn't need to take out my braces and clean my teeth more than three times a day. With the need to eat more often, I either brush and floss my teeth after each snack or meal or keep the braces off longer than suggested. I've ended u