Shelter-in-Place Journal, Day 229

We decided not to offer candy this year because of the virus, so we didn’t decorate our house and we kept our outside lights off.

But we have neighbors a block away who spent several days building a candy delivery system from their balcony to their yard and we wanted to see it in action, so we decided to walk over to their house. As soon as we opened our door, we found a bag of persimmons waiting for us (I was afraid it was a bag of something else entirely at first!).

When we got to our neighbors’ house, there weren’t any kids around, but the neighbors were sitting on their balcony and invited us to come and ring the bell so we could see the candy delivery system in action. I did, and they obliged – the M&Ms got caught on exit, but the Dum-Dum flew across the yard as planned.

We had a pleasant chat and finally found out their names (not, as it happens, the same as their Instagram handles), then wandered onward.

There were quite a few houses with tables out front for kids to take candy, and it looked like kids were being respectful and not emptying the candy bowls (we tried that a few years ago, and the candy vanished within minutes). There were also a few houses with people waiting for kids to arrive; one person said he’d had about 30 kids through the course of the evening.

We returned home and tracked down the donor of the persimmons (our next-door neighbor, as we thought). Not too scary after all!

Shelter-in-Place Journal, Day 228

On Tuesday, I took our Prius to Auto-Tec for its first service in over a year. I had tried to make an appointment a few months ago, but when I told Don how little we’d driven the car, he suggested waiting, so we waited.

As I was picking the car up, Don asked me whether we parked it overnight inside or outside – I said “inside” and he said “good, because Prius catalytic converters are being stolen at a furious pace.” Of course, parking the car inside overnight is all well and good, but I’ve been worried about taking it anywhere and leaving it for more than a few minutes because I keep reading stories about people stealing the converters in public parking lots.

Don said they could install a shield and suggested getting it from Cat Security in Sacramento; I ordered it as soon as I got home and had it shipped to him. They installed it today. I feel better.

We made another batch of pretzels today. This time, I weighed the water and the flour!

I followed the instructions in the recipe to make the dough, starting with 3 minutes on low speed to mix the ingredients. When I checked, there was still a good bit of flour that hadn’t combined, so I added a little water and mixed it up by hand. Then I turned on the mixer again and was surprised when the dough climbed up the dough hooks and onto the mixer itself (see the photo at the top of the page).

I scraped it back into the bowl and mixed some more – eventually, I declared victory and put the dough in the oven to rise (I’d warmed the oven a few degrees, thanks to suggestions here).

When I took the risen dough out to fold it, it was very sticky, and it stayed sticky through the entire process, much stickier than last time. I’m curious as to why it was so sticky and why it attacked the mixer – any suggestions?

I had to split the pretzels between two baking sheets, one on the top rack and one on the bottom. The batch on top browned evenly in 14 minutes; the batch on the bottom (closer to the heat source) was pale on its top side, so I moved it to the top rack and baked for another two minutes, and that darkened it appropriately.

The final product was tasty, despite the glitches along the way (including dumping too much salt on the pretzels as a topping), so I’m hoping to learn how to make the process run better for the next iteration in a couple of weeks.

Shabbat Shalom!

Shelter-in-Place Journal, Day 227

We created the Pathways page on the District 101 Toastmasters website three years ago when Pathways was first made available, and it hasn’t been changed much since then. I was asked to update the page in time for this weekend’s Fall Fusion event – no problem, especially since I was given all of the information.

As I was in the middle editing the page, an email arrived from the system, telling me that WordPress had updated itself to version 5.5.2. That confused things; the work I was doing vanished and the site became unresponsive. Fortunately, I had copied some of what I was doing to a different environment and I was able to recover without having to start afresh, but I would have been much happier if the update hadn’t happened right that second.

All of my other WordPress installations also got updated today; I guess there must have been a serious security issue, because it’s not usually so aggressive in updating.

Software is a wonderful thing sometimes.

Shelter-in-Place Journal, Day 226

By far the most exciting thing that happened today was getting two fillings replaced. My dentist was supposed to have sent me a “before-and-after” photo of one of them for the blog, but it hasn’t yet arrived, which may be just as well.

I am not the calmest dental patient on the planet. After they replaced my crown earlier this month, the assistant suggested I try “NuCalm” for today’s procedure. I guess it helped (I could tell that I didn’t tense up as much as I did for the crown), but I don’t see myself becoming a subscriber.

Shelter-in-Place Journal, Day 225

One of my favorite co-workers at IBM was Brian Carpenter. He came to IBM from CERN (home of the Web), and one of his big interests (then and now) was the need to move from Internet Protocol Version 4 (which had a hard limit of 4.3 billion IP addresses) to IP Version 6 (which allows 340 undecillion addresses, or 79 octillion times as many as IPv4).

It’s been an uphill battle – people found many ways to extend the IPv4 address space (such as hiding entire internal networks behind one gateway address – if your computer has an address starting with 192.168, 172, or 10, it’s using that technique). But slowly but surely, IPv6 has been making its way into the world.

For some reason, our TiVo didn’t record last night’s Rachel Maddow Show. I knew I could get it on the computer or the Amazon Fire Stick – but when I tried to watch it, I couldn’t get past the “Select TV Provider” step for The browser would fail to connect to and the Fire Stick would just give up.

I tried pinging from several systems at home, and none of them could reach it. Just for fun, I logged into the system hosting my blog (which is on a Linode server) and tried pinging from there – lo and behold, it worked! But the messages from the ping command were odd – instead of showing the IPv4 address of the system I was pinging, it showed the IPv6 address (something I’d never encountered before). And if I forced a ping to the IPv4 address, the ping failed, just like it did from home.

I did some searching and found out how to enable IPv6 on my router; I rebooted it and the cable modem, and suddenly I was able to ping Xfinity’s server; even better, I could authorize the Fire Stick (and my computers) to watch NBC programs.

Thanks, Brian!