Pain Scale Question

One thing I hate about going to the doctor or PT office to be evaluated is that stupid pain question.

Ya know, on a scale of 0 to 10 with 0 being no pain and 10 being the worst pain imaginable.

Well, given that I’ve

  • had two simultaneous dry sockets that lasted six months,
  • had a gall bladder attack that was so bad I couldn’t tell if it was the heart, gall bladder, or appendix, and ended up in the hospital,
  • been living with arthritis since high school,

my 10 is pretty darn high.

Compared to that, the stuff going on now hurts, but in the four to five range. And then these professionals are all like, well that’s not too bad.

Seriously, these folks have never had anything happen to them or they have lousy imaginations.

So I set out to find a new scale. And I did! It does exactly what I need. It takes something subjective that’s drastically different for each person, and makes it slightly more objective.

Too bad I totally don’t remember where it’s from …

All of a sudden my four or so starts at seven or so. Amazingly, these professionals “get it” now. Yeah, it hurts. But no, it’s nowhere near the “worst” I’ve ever had or can imagine. But yeah, it totally interferes with basic needs such as walking, sitting, standing, bathing, sleeping, getting dressed, and so on.

So I’d like to thank whoever put this together. If you happen to read this, let me know, and I’ll send you some homemade rice krispy treats. Cuz, yeah, you’re my freakin’ hero.

Unboiling My Father

Dad asked me to look at something on his back Tuesday. I was quite surprised to see 4″x2″ area over 0.5″ tall that was beet red, and a couple more inches of thin red lines. Took a picture and sent it to the doctor, who said it was a boil.

I mean, yeah, I’ve heard the term before. But this is not what I’d pictured at all!

The doctor said to use a washcloth as a hot compress every few hours. Well that got annoying in a hurry!

So I did some research, and as usual, came up with my own thing using standard stuff from the medicine cabinet and craft room.

So Wednesday morning I started concocting some Tiggified home brew.

Well guess what? It worked!

Got down to about 1″x .75″, and still about .5″ high. Except now it was draining. Which is supposedly a very good thing when it comes to boils.

So, you may ask, just what is this wondrous blend of normal home stuff?

Now, keep in mind that everyone’s “normal home stuff” is different.

Anyway, here’s what I did:

  1. Took a brand new 2oz amber glass spray bottle, and filled about a quarter of it with tea tree oil
  2. Added about a half a teaspoon of Epsom salts
  3. Emptied one apple cider vinegar capsule into there
  4. Added two full squirts of colloidal silver
  5. Filled the bottle to the brim with 99.996%reverse osmosis purified water
  6. Put the spray cap on and shook it all about
  7. Sprayed, uh, well, half of an old lady incontinence pad with this mix, taped that on (backing and all to wick the moisture away from him but keep it off his clothes), and then covered it with a heat patch for 8 hours

That’s it! The boil started draining shortly before we removed the patch.

Don’t get me wrong, the stuff that comes out is really icky and you might be wondering why draining is a such a good thing. Until you realize, oh, hey, the other option is keeping it in the body.

The tea tree oil, apple cider vinegar, and colloidal silver are all natural antibacterial thingies. The Epsom salts are supposed to dry stuff out to help them drain. And of course you want the water to be as pure as possible without being distilled, because that’s just a breeding ground for all kinds of nastiness or something like that.

According to my good buddy, Ren, chances are that other folks will probably have some gauze on hand, and may even some Epsom salts. According to her, the rest of this stuff isn’t, “normal”.

Well, it oughta be!

Just kidding. As usual, please click the links to purchase these items so that I can keep this blog otherwise ad-free.


STILT – O365 + Mac dictation = wtf

Still = Silly Thing I Learned Today

My day job is what’s called a Knowledge Management Specialist. This means I have to know a lot about the different information sharing platforms such as SharePoint, Confluence, Igloo, WordPress, Google Docs, etc.

I am currently unable to type. This means I have to dictate to the computer in order to use it or “type”. Thankfully I have a Mac, so it can happen without going to outside servers, meaning it’s a lot more secure.


Microsoft hates Macs, so there are quite a few annoying quirks when using Microsoft software on a Mac.

First, anything I say has to be a single, fluid sentence with no pauses or stops. If not, Dick Tation (yes, I named it) appears more like, “Anything I satHas to be a single,Fluid sentenceWithNo pauses orStops.”

Secondly, when dictating into the comments when collaborating, it Office 365 doesn’t recognize that there’s a comment until a key is actually pressed on the keyboard. Which kills the ability to leave comments if you can’t actually type. Turns out Microsoft thinks this is good accessibility design. Apparently we have very different ideas as to what accessibility means …

Given that Microsoft’s dictation goes out to their servers, and I work for a company that legally can’t share information over an unsecured connection and/or on unvetted servers, anyone using dictation who works for our company has to use a local solution. Which is basically a Mac or Dragon. And since we also need to be fiscally responsible, buying additional software for something the computer already does natively is a hard sell.

Now some of you may say hold on, Macs cost more than Windows machines. Why yes, that’s true. However, the Mac’s useful life is also many times longer than a windows machine, it’s more secure, and has lower maintenance costs. So yes, Windows is cheaper to buy, and Mac is cheaper to have.

Some may disagree with me, and that’s ok. This has been proven time and again in our environment, so that’s the fiscally responsible decision for our company.

Of course your mileage may vary … no two computer environments are identical, and perhaps it works out the other way for your company. And that’s fine, too!

But that still doesn’t make Microsoft’s inability to fathom what accessibility means any easier to work with.

Making Smoked Ribs Without the BBQ Grill

Well, I’m not, Alex is. I just get to say how.

What follows is an amalgamation of information on many web-sites, plus my own experimentation.

Now, before we get started, let’s clarify why you’d want to do this. Quite frankly, because they’re amazing. If that’s not a good enough reason, how about “I don’t own a grill” or “it’s too cold to grill”.


  • 1 rack of ribs
  • Smoking chips (preferably soak for several hours or overnight)
  • Approximately 2 cups of plain white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

Dry rub

  • 1 T salt
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 1 t white pepper
  • 1/2 t cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 t ginger


  1. Ribs must be thawed first, so if they’re frozen, move to the refrigerator a day or two beforehand or set in some cold water large enough to cover them, usually the whole sink.
  2. Prep the pan few hours (or the night before) before prepping the ribs
  3. In a throwaway or roasting pan
  4. Lay down a long sheet of foil “wings” that will turn into the tent later
  5. If using a roaster, line with foil (Teflon or shiny side up) … if possible, make the foil “water-tight” so cleanup is much easier later … the chips will bake onto the bottom, and you’d really rather that be foil than the toaster itself!
  6. Lay down a thin layer of smoking chips
  7. Partially cover (but don’t drown) the chips in filtered (not distilled) water
  8. Set aside for at least an hour, which works out perfectly if it’s setup and then you remove the ribs from the fridge
  9. Remove ribs from the refrigerator 30-45 minutes before starting preparation because all the handling is easier at room temperature
  10. Thoroughly clean and rinse the sink
  11. Write down the weight! You’ll need to know this later
  12. Remove from packaging and rinse under cold, running water
  13. Remove the excess fat from the front of the ribs
  14. Remove the back film from the ribs
  15. Use a sharp knife and slide it under the white membrane on the back of the ribs so that the knife is between the meat and membrane.
  16. if that doesn’t work, cut a hole into the membrane or slice it (not the ribs)
  17. Hold a paper towel for extra grip, and use your fingers to slide under the membrane and pull it away from the meat,
  18. Remove all of the outer membrane and discard.
  19. Cut slab into three or four bone sections for easier handling, careful to keep them approximately the same weight
  20. Set all portions in a large bowl, douse with vinegar, cover with filtered water, add 1 Tablespoon kosher salt, rubbing or rolling over to get to all of the meat
  21. “Stab” pieces to get more vinegar and salt in there to tenderize better
  22. Let sit for a few minutes (or several hours in the refrigerator, stirring occasionally)
  23. Set the oven to 225
  24. Put racks over the soaking chips, and make sure the chips are still covered with water
  25. Rinse ribs well with water, using filtered (but not distilled) for the final rinse
  26. Pat dry with paper towel
  27. Dunk the front of the ribs in the dry rub mixture
  28. Place the ribs on the rack(s) over the chips
  29. Cover tightly with a foil tent (this is when the “wings” really help!) to allow the smoking chips moist flavor surround and infuse the meat while cooking
  30. Place the whole thing on a foil lined baking sheet that’s bigger than the racks; this saves a lot of oven cleanup time later because you’ll be taking them out to check the water level, baste, etc., several times
  31. Calculate the total cooking time … roast for one hour per pound, plus 30 minutes for “fall off the bone” tender
  32. Place the ribs in the oven
  33. After one hour, check to make sure the chips still have water, adding some if needed, again to cover, not drown
  34. In 45 minutes, open foil, slather on bbq sauce, re-tent, and raise oven to 300
  35. In 35 minutes, check the water level in the chips, and add more if needed, slather again with bbq sauce, re-tent, and raise oven to 350 until the end of the total cooking time
  36. Turn the oven off and let sit for 15-30 minutes
  37. Remove from the oven
  38. Remove the foil
  39. Drain the juices and chips (can strain to save for stock later, if you’d like … it’s f’awesome!)
  40. If desired, broil on high for five minutes
  41. Remove from oven, cut apart (if necessary), and enjoy!

Getting Ready (to sell stuff) for Valentine’s Day

Chances are you’ll be looking for just the right gift for the special love(s) in your life … spouse, partner, parent, best friend, your favorite pet, and so on.

If you happen to be a multi-channel seller like me, prepping for the holiday is suddenly quite different, and with a significantly shorter timeline.

Yes, I have stores on eBay and Etsy, and sell on Amazon. There are special criteria to create an Amazon store, and I don’t meet those.

Anyway …

Etsy is definitely the easiest to post on — take a couple pics, write a few lines, set a price, voila, it’s up. And it stays up until the inventory is sold out. For a monthly fee per listing, of course. For me, that seems to be $0.20/item. Meaning you “lose” $1 of profit every five months the item hasn’t sold. And if you have listings, you automatically have a store page.

eBay is also fairly simple, but it helps to have a store, which requires a monthly investment (mine’s $28). Plus the listings may need some baby-sitting because auctions get more traffic than store items, meaning prices, pictures, and verbiage (usually) need to be reviewed and updated every 7-30 days. In other words, ya gotta fix whatever made yours not sell. So there’s the store fees (regardless of whether anything’s sold, or even listed), listing fees (per listing created, which are the same whether it’s a 1 day auction or an on-going buy-it-now), and selling fees (percentage based on type of item and selling price).

Then there’s Amazon. There are so many ways to sell on this platform it boggles my mind. You can write a Kindle book. Or a physical book. Or list just about anything with a standardized UPC (not store specific), such as a used book or collectible toy.

But … do you wanna ship it? Or have Amazon do the fulfillment (store, pick, Pack, and ship) for you? And some things can only be fulfilled by Amazon (fba), such as used board games. But there are no auctions, so the listing stays up until your inventory is gone, thank goodness. There are monthly storage fees for fba or to have  real storefront, but otherwise, the listings are free until the item is sold.

And then the whole who gets how much practically requires a Masters of Sorcery in Amazon Selling to figure out. You get a shipping reimbursement, even if it’s sold FBA. There’s the fee based on the selling price. And the FBA storage which is calculated by the dimensions and weight, and are charged monthly. Plus whoever is going to shrinkwrap and label it for warehouse placement and picking, which is another fee if you’re going have Amazon do it.

So how does this all work?

Let’s say I want to sell some vintage jewelry. That can go one any of the three sites. Etsy because the item is over 20 years old, eBay because, well, it’s eBay, and Amazon.

Note: all timeframes below are in business days, meaning Saturday and Sunday don’t count.

So if I want this item available in time for valentines, we have to allow for two days shipping, and two more for fulfillment for all sites (usually). So basically one week.

Unless it needs an exception (no UPC) to be sold through Amazon … then add three days. So add another week.

Or if it has to be FBA, in which case add a week or so to get to the Amazon warehouse, and another few days to process, and then a day or two, for the listing to have inventory. So basically one to three weeks.

Suddenly, I realize that all my Valentine inventory pretty much has to be listed no later than January 14th, which is today.

And I haven’t listed anything new since the Christmas rush.

Time to get on it!

SharePoint content types

My day job is what’s called a Knowledge Management Specialist. This means I have to know a lot about the different information sharing platforms such as SharePoint, Confluence, Igloo, WordPress, Google Docs, etc.

I read a coworker’s article on this topic, and quite frankly, I was so lost by the end I wasn’t sure what the heck happened. It totally confused me about a topic I know fairly well and have been successfully using for a few years now.

So I re-wrote it. Cuz that’s how I roll. Yeah, I’m old and use old phrases to sound cool, and I’m ok with that.

Anyway, here’s what I came up with.

In the simplest terms, a SharePoint Content Type is all the content about the same type of stuff.

Let’s use Jay Leno’s garage as an example. See, Jay loves cars. He has many garages. Each garage has many cars. Jay has written articles about his cars. Taken pictures of them. Even has video clips, some of which have been on his or other tv shows. Then there’s the more mundane files … scans of the purchase invoice, repair bills, and so on.

Now let’s Jay wants to use SharePoint to store all of these files about his cars. He wants everything to be easy to find, so he puts everything in a single library, which is basically a giant folder with lots of extra features. One of those features is that your search automatically only looks in that library. Sure, you can change that later if you want to, which is another article we’ll write about later.

Another feature is folders. So Jay creates a folder for each car, and puts all the files about that car in that folder. Except that some of the files might have info about more than one car. What does he do with a picture that shows three cars and a bit of a fourth? Or a transport bill for a truck with six cars on it?

So he tries a different folder scheme. This time he has the files divided by what they are … invoices, pictures, videos, and so on. But then how does he quickly see everything about a specific car?

Sure, he can search, but that gets tedious because he has to type in wherever he’s looking for every time.

This is exactly the dilemma Content Types are designed to solve.

Now Jay doesn’t have any folders. What he has instead is a form about each file. The form includes the car(s) the file contains, the date, the event, etc.

Each field in the form is a column in the library. Now to find all the info about a specific car, he picks that car from the drop down of available values, just like columns in an spreadsheet.

And he can easily do this by any combination of values. He can quickly find all the information about the cars he purchased at Mecum auctions. Or at a specific auction. Or all the information about all his Bugattis. Or all the information about the cars stored in a specific garage.

Another cool thing about these columns is that they can narrow the results. Let’s say first he selects the purchase venue Mecum auction. Then he selects Bugatti as the make. Next he selects a specific garage. Now his file list shows all the information about all the Bugattis purchased through Mecum that are stored in that specific garage. He can even select a specific file format such videos to watch, or pictures to quickly take a peek.

Right about now you’re probably thinking two things. First, this is wicked cool. And second, it’d be a royal pain in the butt to enter all that metadata, I mean form field values, every time he adds a new file to the library.

This is where another handy library feature comes in — lookups. When he adds a new file, he can find the car and all the metadata plops right in. And for files such as a transport bill, he can add multiple cars to that invoice‘s metadata.

To recap, a SharePoint Content Type is a simplified way of capturing the same facets

(form fields, aka, metadata) about all the files (content) about the same thing (type), to help you find the information you need in a few drop down clicks.

Book Review: Tiny House by Mason Algarotti

I found this to be a useful, thought-provoking book designed to help decide whether to make the switch from a big house to a tiny house (<1,000sq.ft.).

This book succinctly goes over the advantages and challenges, and lists lots of resources to find answers about your specific local laws and such.

It’s very short and to the point, with lots of links or how to find information in your local area, or where to locate your tiny home if your current locale isn’t quite up-to-date on this trend.

No plans are included, which is fine because there are plenty of sources for those.

If you’re interested in the “how” rather than the “oooo” and “aaaaah” factor found in blueprint books, I suggest starting with this one.

Here’s a link to the book:

Tiny House, Mason Algarotti


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