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Steak & Potatoes29 OCT 2017 - So we BBQ'd steaks yesterday and the steaks came out good, but I have also been working on a potato recipe and this was another attempt. It is pretty simple (it would have to be with my minimal cooking skills) using baked potatoes, bacon, butter & garlic, with a cream cheese sauce.

This is my third attempt, and what I have learned so far is the bacon needs to be fully cooked before placing it in the potato... apparently 30 minutes baking at 425° is not enough to finish half cooked bacon. I know that sounds somewhat unappealing, but the original recipe did not specify any pre-cooking of the bacon at all...

The other thing I want to try is to cut the cream cheese in half... I am using a full 8 ounce bar, and to me the sauce might be just a little thick. Steak is already a thick sort of food and I imagine a thick sauce on potatoes is not very complimentary with the steaks.

Sunshine helped me by slicing the potatoes (she is like a ninja when it comes to cutting veggies and things) and helped stuff bacon in the spuds. She makes life so much easier... :-)

Oh, and here is where I found the potato recipe .

 

Arms21 OCT 2017 - Here's a photo of 4 extra arms that go with the new couch we bought. How did we end up with 4 extra arms?

We bought a couch on Amazon, nothing special but it needed some assembly. When we put it together we found it came with 2 left arms. So we contacted the seller and they agreed to send our missing right arm. Except they sent another left arm. We contacted them again, they apologized and sent us another left arm - this time the wrong color.

At this point I wrote up a critical review and posted it on Amazon. The couch was okay I wrote, but beware of the seller. The review was promptly rejected by Amazon - apparently you cannot be critical of sellers on Amazon reviews, only the product. If you have a problem with the seller you're supposed to contact them directly... which we had done and was why, at this point, we had 2 extra left side arms.

We contacted the seller again, this time they apologized profusely and promised a 10% refund along with our missing right arm. And promptly sent us our 3rd extra left arm.

At this point it was comical. Sunshine contacted the seller again and suggested getting a refund and sending the couch back. The person replying to our email expressed condolences and was understanding, but asked for one more chance. This time they were going to go down to the warehouse and have them send both a right and a left arm. We agreed to one more try and waited to see what would happen, even reminding them of the correct color just in case that became an issue again.

Lo and behold, we received both arms with the correct color. The missing right arm was assembled while the extra left arm was added to the pile. We now have a couch with 4 extra left arms.

Oh, and there's a littl  e story about the final delivery as well. We got home from work on Friday and as we're pulling up to the house we notice a large packaghen opens the front door to get the package and immediately sees a man walking up our driveway to the porch. As soon as he sees her he gets this guilty look on his face and asks if "John is here". She says nobody lives here by that name, and without saying anything else he turns around and gets back into the car that is waiting for him and it drives off. 'Effing package thief - if she hadn't gone to get the package when she did we'd be missing our damn right arm to the couch!

14 OCT 2017 - Cognitive bias appears to be the experts latest attempt to solve the problems of the world. Here's an article about it in the Washington Post. Wikipedia defines it as "...the systematic pattern of deviation from norm or rationality in judgment, whereby inferences about other people and situations may be drawn in an illogical fashion." Essentially it is using your past experiences to judge something. Some would say this results in good decisions, some would say it results in bad.

My comments:

Cognitive biasYeah, this whole "cognitive bias" thing doesn't pass the smell test.

First of all, "bias" is a word that is too politically loaded to be useful. It automatically generates a negative impression when in fact, sometimes a bias is good. An employer wants to have a bias for hiring good employees. Students practice to develop a bias for choosing the correct answer on tests. If you are biased towards making good decisions, you will have a better chance at being successful in life.

Second, the complexity of life is not something that can be easily written down in a formula. Maybe the best way to say that is some people appear to have wisdom (the ability to correctly deploy knowledge) and some people don't. If the issues of life were as simple as writing an if/then statement, then we'd all be millionaires living on our own private islands.

I get that people have preferences and sometimes those preferences result in bad decisions. But that's because people are people, and "being human" means making mistakes. So how are government people, who would be writing the rules for this cognitive bias correction, any better at not making mistakes than non-government people? Same goes for academics. Same goes for any famous person that feels the need to lecture everyone else about what they think we should all be thinking/saying/doing.

This whole cognitive bias thing sounds like "the expert's" next big thing to solve the problems of the world. Because after 10,000 years of civilization, they stumbled upon that one simple trick that will make everything perfect.

 

14 OCT 2017 - My October workouts... trying to be more consistent and think that if I post this online it might motivate me to achieve my goal. Which is to workout at least 5 days a week. Right now I'm doing P90 videos, but after several consistent weeks I want to make the jump to P90X.

EDIT: This entry is dated 10/14/2017 but the image below has been updated because it's a link to my Workout page.

EDIT 2: Since it's the end of October and I'll be archiving this page, I captured this image of my final October 2017 workouts.

Workout

 

11 OCT 2017 - So working in Palo Alto and going into the office this morning and it smelled like a campfire. I didn't think too much about it because I don't pay attention to the news, even though I'd seen headlines about the fire in Napa. But the news always exaggerates everything so I didn't think much of it.

But leaving to go home at the end of the day it really hit me - the smoke from the Napa fires had inundated everything. Anything more than a mile away was covered with haze.

It's still to early to say what started the fire, or rather fires, as there are actually a half dozen separate fires in the Napa area. From what I've been able to gather so far, the biggest reason for so much damage is most of them started around 10pm on Sunday evening. People were caught unaware and had little time to prepare to fight the fire or even try to save their homes.

High winds and dry fuel are another factor. October is a bad time of year for fire in California since there's an abundance of dry grass from the hot summer, and it's too early for the winter rains. And the windborne embers spread the fire at a rapid pace across fields and neighborhoods.

Napa is 80 miles away from us here in south San Jose, and yet the sky is extremely hazy and the air has a strong odor of burnt wood. With the fire is less than 10% contained you can bet things will be worse over the next few days. But that's nothing compared to the people that have lost their homes. My family living in the Napa area reported in safe, but they know of many others that lost it all.

Not good.

 

01 OCT 2017 - Updated items...

 

 

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