Baby backs

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Two racks of baby back ribs.


Baby back ribs were on sale, so I grabbed a couple of racks for freezer stock. 196° – 205°F internal. Two ribs per freezer bag. Despite being yummy, none of the bags were kept in the fridge. It’s not like they’re going anywhere. There’s just too much in the fridge that needs eating, and ribs on sale are hard to resist.


Started the lisinopril/clonidine/metoprolol agenda today. The valsartan side effects are starting to fade. BP was 115/67 @57bpm. Seems to be working, an occasional dry mouth from the clonidine seems to be the biggest issue thus far.


Well stocked now. No need for a store run at the moment. Chores pretty much behind me.


The first sprouts of oat grass are starting to poke through the potting soil. Myka will be pleased. There are few straggler resprouts of the crabgrass, albeit tiny leaves. They might suffice for a transition.

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Faeries discussing the health of flowers.

Drive

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Ordered an 8T external USB hard drive, now that payday is here. The price of giving up DVDs as backups.


I throttled back up again. It wasn’t a long sabbatical, as I decided to go all in this week. Another 18 hours should do it. It’s just a heightened state over the long haul. The AI has trailed off, it takes a free roaming state of consciousness to devise entertaining prompts. Plugging away kind of blunts any fine edge.


Running out of stew and turkey, but that’s a good thing (2 liters of stew in the freezer not withstanding).


With the weather turning more encouraging, I may finally make the trip to the storage shed. I need to wrestle a few things in the office first.


Weather is nice. AC off, doors shut to moderate the interior temp.

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Latina

Throttle down

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Easing off the gas pedal and letting things slow down. Only a few stray thoughts becoming prompts. The digital focus has dissipated and given way to what will surely become laziness. There’s stew (2 quarts in the freezer, a little over 2 quarts in the fridge) and cocktail shrimp (had my first stab at it this evening) and a bunch more in the fridge. Good recipe for a happy laziness. Throw in BBC whodunits and the lazy day is won.


Hurricane Ian hit Florida at Fort Myers, a nasty one, CAT4, 953 mb lowest recorded pressure, 12+ ft storm surge. It’s a mess state wide.


Still dry here. We’re currently listed as moderate drought in the last publication, but I expect it to worsen. The water level at Lake Somerville keeps dropping.


20 hours to payday.

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Backlit

Stew

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The heat is off, it’s coasting in the crock. Spices were spot on, assisting well but not getting in the way of the stew. Garlic, paprika, sage, marjoram, thyme, basil, oregano. Beef shoulder cubes, gold potatoes, carrots, sweet yellow onion, mixed vegetables. No salt or pepper. In the neighborhood of 5 quarts.

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Beef stew


Thawed a bag of shrimp last night, to get the smelly garbage out. (Myka’s uneaten wet cat food.) Myka was tickled with the shrimp nibbles.


Had the office open last night, AC off. Airport got down to the mid 50s. I saw 62°F in the window. Dew point is 40°F. It’s autumn. Finally.

Farewell to summer

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Tonight marks the end of the dew point in the 70s. Tonight’s low is forecast for 60°F. Highs are still forecast in the low 90s, so it’s not winter. But it is the stepping off point from summer. Gulf warmth and humidity no longer dominates the area. It’s time to drag out the sleeves and open the office (for part of the day).


To celebrate, I got a package of Texas style ribs (beef shoulder roast cut into 1″ strips) for making beef stew. Spuds, carrots, mixed veggies, onion, beef broth, in the big crock pot. I expect about 6 quarts.


Still playing with NightCafe. I have been playing with text prompts and styles to explore extent and tendencies. I’ve discovered that it can’t render a musical instrument or wooden chair worth a darn. I’ve also found that terms it doesn’t comprehend usually get rendered as water interacting with land or as old architecture, or both. (See below.) I’ve been experimenting with Bosch, Dali, DaVinci, Monet, and other famous mainstream artists.

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The Sweet Taste of Flattery


I’ve rendered 271 images, made 172 public, which is about the average ratio I’m seeing with others. Roughly every third one is a dud. I have 450 credits on balance, so there’s plenty more experimenting to come. The one thing where I pale is following, the social media habits. Part of that is that I am focused on my art, and pay attention to others when I am curious about the prompts and settings, and how it could affect my efforts. Perhaps later on, when I am more relaxed with the process and run low on credits, I can be more social with the other artists. I’ve been at it less than a month, so I’m still a newb, with lots of credits.


I got Myka a new litter cubicle. The old one was turning brittle from age (8 years). It broke on the rim at the door when I scooted it away from the wall. The new one is larger, brighter, and Myka has accepted it after a bit of apprehension. She has more elbow room now, so I think she’ll come to appreciate it.

Deja Boo

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I could have sworn that I made an entry between this one and the previous, but there is no trace of it to be seen. I’ve rendered about 85 images at NightCafe since, opened two new categories, and generally indulged with a lot of whimsy, using clever non-visual prompts. It’s a considerable body of work and a large body of comprehension accompanying it.


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A perfect female beauty, according to the AI.


Not much to report away from the desk. Usual chores. Made tuna mac and ate it all (Myka is thrilled with the TJ). However, the crabgrass pasture (okay, patch) got weed whacked. Poor girl is in salad withdrawals, and it’s too early for oat grass.


The last week has been a lot of preoccupation with digital things. Not enough time and energy to go around. Best I can do to keep up, and I’m not at my full best. But I manage, somehow.


Weather heading for upper 90s to celebrate the end of summer. Happy equinox.


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Hobo Waltz

Stuck

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Got the blood draw done this morning after a fast. I was almost late, as the negative battery fell off the wires and dropped down into a cranny. Fortunately, I had a spare from replacing the positive terminal, so I installed and boogied. I arrived one minute late. Now I can eat again.


I ate a full plate of sausage gravy over honey wheat and then slept for five hours, hence erasing the experience of most of the fast.


Read Mother’s Oats #1 again. The fribish and the the frobish could no longer be kept apart, thus creating a great confusion. Always a pleasure.


I have been letting a few chores slip by, nothing huge or messy, but I am a bit behind. I’ll be able to catch up, now that things have settled. I need to make risotto, do laundry, wash some flatware, feed Myka, fish out a battery terminal, check tire inflation, and more. At least I don’t have to leave the house this weekend, two full bags of ice.


The price of gas keeps dropping.


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Unicorn

A dose of oddity

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It has been a day of oddity, things not working as intended, and things just being odd.


I’ll start with making sausage gravy, which was a plus, not having cooked in over a week. I finally managed to persevere and got it done. Dishes have been washed. But not until after a pretty heavy sleep.


I made a bid on eBay for a set of The Airtight Garage of Jerry Cornelius by Jean Giraud (Moebius), in 4 parts. I was the sole bidder near the end of the time on the bid. 30 seconds before deadline, the bid was upped a dollar. I expected the possibility, and at 12 seconds to go, I bumped it. However, the bid did not register, through no fault of my own. I lost out. Grrrrr.


So I decided to use part of the money that would have been spent there to bump my credits at NightCafe. However, I ended up not being able to make payment, and after a number of unsuccessful tries via credit card, ShopPay, and PayPal, the system locked me out. I filled out a support form and asked what happened. This morning, PayPal finally allowed me through to make the purchase.


I also used part of the eBay funds to get Vaughan Bode’s Cheech Wizard compilation, hard cover, from Amazon. It will be here in a week or two.


I’ve turned off the AC for a couple of evenings. It’s not cool enough yet to sleep without the use of box fans. However, Myka got to sit at the open office window for a while, something denied her all summer. And she has taken to the LZB again, once the office door was open. She is still aggressive, as if she’d never stopped. Brat!


There were system updates for Mac and iOS, and Safari bookmark menu has a new thing called Tab Group Favorites. It sits up top, can’t be moved, renamed, or deleted, and it’s a pain to constantly work around. I use separate windows for side by side, not tabs. So it’s ugly, under foot, and totally useless.


Dr. Z says to fast for Friday’s blood draw.


And there is plenty more, but much of it is not worth a legacy here.

Reaction

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I had a reaction to the lasix today. Heart rate went to 155 bpm. I managed to get it back under control. No more diuretics, PERIOD.


Needless to say, the day was pretty much much shot. At least I had experienced it before and knew what to do. Sleep helped a great deal.

Airtight

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Taking the exploration at NightCafe in a different direction, that of Jean Giraud, aka Moebius.

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Alien outpost


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The Airtight Garage of Jerry Cornelius


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Arzak

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I added elves, auburn, and brown to the armor group. Tired of Photoshopping, but glad to have the collection.


A quiet Saturday has led into this quiet Sunday morning. Quiet doesn’t infer lazy. Dew point has crept under 70°F for the first time in quite a while. It won’t be long before autumn kicks in.


Progressive AI

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Golden dragon shedding its skin.


I am making some progress with the AI engines at NightCafe. It’s essentially learning the language of software that has learned English. There are three categories: descriptors, parameters, and styles. Descriptors are the objects with adjectives. A skinny man and a fat dog at the vet. Parameters are variables of the imaging. Hyperrealism, closeup, fine detail, 8k resolution, noir, cinematic lighting… Styles are the modes. Oil painting, steampunk, op art, abstract, fantasy… And then you have formatting variables, such as image size, input balance, seeds, etc. One of the big plusses is that the artists can leave their prompts public for others to learn. Not all do that, they want to protect their source, but enough do for a newcomer to pick up hints on the structure.


In this case, it’s better to have too much than too little. Twenty words is minimum to challenge the AI to produce quality. Three to five words, “young lovers holding hands” will produce an image, as seen in the entry below, but it won’t be quality. Being as specific as possible helps the artist get satisfactory results. And sometimes it’s varying the seeds to get something that works.


There are weaknesses. Human eyes and hands often don’t render correctly. Heads get chopped off all too often. And it sometimes totally ignores elements in the prompts. …riding a unicorn, in a space suit… It takes patience and a little money to get a proper image that doesn’t need Photoshopping. I have found photography and 3D illustration to be very valuable tools in getting oriented, as they are ways of defining visual definition.

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Space koala with a thumbs up.


I am starting to get the feel, rather good for just a week into it. Then again, machine imaging is something I understand fairly well after a few decades. It runs in my blood. And it’s running too fast to keep posting them in the blog. The royalty in armor has a home in the gallery here.
http://www.fringewood.com/cpg/thumbnails.php?album=5


And speaking of running in my blood, I’ve pretty much stabilized on the meds. I cant say that I am happy taking any of them, but they are treating me better than they were a week ago.

Equal time

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Equal time for the guys.

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Strawberry blond.


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Dark haired.


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Oriental.


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Blond.

A couple more princesses

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Not all princesses look alike.


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Red haired princess


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Raven haired princess

AI YAI YAI

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Tell it what you want, as specifically as possible.

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Princess in Armor


I got wrapped up so deeply in the AI that I forgot to mention the visit with Dr. Z. I got to drop the carvedilol, and I’ll be adding clonidine to the valsartan, plus lasix for the edema. I also discussed a lack of understanding why my BP went up so drastically with the aneurism surgery, and there will be blood and imaging tests in a couple of weeks. Maybe I’ll get to the root cause of all this misery.




A couple more that I did for phone screens.

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Blond Princess

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Asian Princess

A I A I Oh

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I happened upon an article about a person who entered an art contest and won with an image generated from an AI image creator. You enter a text phrase, sentence, or paragraph, and the AI builds an image based on the text as it interprets it, seeded for variation.


Spurred, I went digging for apps, for the laptop, the tablet, and online. In the process, I stumbled upon this site: https://creator.nightcafe.studio/. I registered after a few freebie images. I managed to achieve this (the original 3kX3k expanded image has been lightly Photoshopped for minor details):


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The Lady’s Manor


I haven’t spent any money on it yet, and I’ve built up a few earned credits, they make it easy to get started.


The appealing part is taking the controls. It shares some parallels to 3D, that it is a machine generation guided by human intent, learning to converse with the interface. In 3D, the control and responsibility are there, in AI, it’s a little more of a crap shoot, there is no previsualization. The art is learning what and how to request, in what mode, in what style, and getting the right random seed. It helps if it likes you.


AI language is basically lexicon and learned association processing. Pick what appeals to you, scifi, fantasy, horror, steampunk, op, and explore its concepts.


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Young lovers holding hands at sunset.

A song for September

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I need to bribe her to leave me alone,
And the ice bin has been filled.
Tapping my fingers against the desk
Where red wine had once been spilled.

Wind is blowing up like rain,
But I don’t see raindrops yet.
I can feel the storm, close and a’brewin’.
How bad is this gonna get?

One step in front of the storm, good lawd,
Thunder nipping at my heels.
One step in front of the storm, good mama,
Let me tell ya how it feels…


You saw it here first. ©


Payday. Appointment tomorrow afternoon. A smatter of rain this afternoon. Not jamming yet. When I get the meds squared away.

Rinsing out the summer of ’22

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1.8″ of rain yesterday, about six hours long (over half the rain in one hour). It more than doubled the monthly total. Finally, a little mud. The forecast finally looks wet with a chance of it actually happening.


The spaghetti is gone. Still pondering its replacement for the next thaw. A rib eye is certainly an option, now that it’s finally cooling down a bit. Forecast shows high 80s for highs this week, acceptable for broiling. Until then, I’ll work on the neglected loaf of bread with quick fix and the few remaining spuds. I’ll know what when I regain my appetite, after all that pasta.


Tonight after midnight is payday. Truck insurance is due in September. Nothing else looming outside the usual. I just need to behave.


Appointment with the cardiologist on Friday afternoon. Taking one carvedilol a day, it seems to be balancing side effects and desired effects rather well.

No poppin’

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I made a bank run this morning, being partly cloudy, and I didn’t go by Popeye’s, even for a biscuit. I have plenty of the chicken in the freezer. Got gas at four corners, it was $3.55 outbound, and $3.38 inbound (cheapest is $3.35). It cost me an extra 15¢ for the convenience. (Life is tough.)


The old Brazos River TX 105 bridge is gone. Now it’s just a bend in the river. How many times had I crossed that span, breath held? The new one is much nicer.


So now I’m financially sound and there are no other transactions for the rest of the month, the fridge, freezer, and pantry are loaded, bills are paid for the month, gas tank is full. I can kick back and relax at home for a while.


Sketti sauce in the fridge. I’ll need to get some more shredded parmesan if I don’t want to use the grated toward the end of the batch. I’ll probably need bread by then. (Life is tough.) About to make avocado spud (bacon) for lunch.


Still waiting for all that rain that was supposed to fall.

Stormy Monday

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It looks like we had a little over a quarter inch of rain. There was also an AC compressor installed in the rain next door. I felt sorry for the crew. But otherwise, it was a joyous and much needed event. More seems to be on the way, maybe.


Tolerating the meds relatively well the last few days, except for one morning waking up.


Finished off the jambalaya and tuna mac. I’m thinking spaghetti, as it will be cool enough to boil pasta daily. It’s been awhile. I’ll probably make a store run in the morning.


Looking at the forecast, trying to find the best day for a turnaround to Navasota. Friday morning seems to be the only constant without a chance of heavy rain. Can I get a biscuit without grabbing chicken at Popeye’s? Maybe if I get shrimp.

Third Friday

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Slowly crawling toward autumn. There is rain to the north, east, south, and west, but none here. Close, but no cigar. There has been a little in the last couple of days, but it’s hard to spot the difference. More may be coming in the coming week, but there are no guarantees. Temp today has yet to reach the 90s.


Made tuna mac to go along with the jambalaya. Myka is thrilled with the TJ. Plenty to eat in the fridge and elsewhere. No need to make a store run for the weekend.


Been on and off the hypertension meds, according to how bad the side effects get. BP is not getting that high. Two weeks until my appointment with Dr. Z.


Nothing going on lately. Not taking the risk of exerting myself in public, and I’m taking it easy at home too. Skipped the jam last night. Lots of hanging out in the office, living a digital life for the time being.

Jambi

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Jambalaya just made the fridge. Myka had three shrimp and is a contented kitty. Spare ribs are gone, the two fat tacos were yummy. The chicken, shrimp, and scallops all went in the jambalaya, about half the pork loin, the other half is diced and remains for spuds, tacos, etc.


Check arrived, need to make a morning bank run before long.


Cardiologist appointment on September 2, the soonest I could get.


Rain is possible for the next two days. Hoping for a bunch of it, but not holding my breath.

Ides of Texas

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Mid-August in the Lone Star, the last leg of summer. The edge is off the heatwave that kept us in triple digits for a little over three months. August popcorn showers have finally sprouted, taking the high down to the upper 90s. It’s not a huge gain by degrees, but it is by human experience.


Now that I have alpaca in my wardrobe, I’m not so shy about autumn and winter. I’m not looking forward to the cold, but we could very much use the rain that the season brings. We are in exceptional drought now, which is one category worse than extreme drought. We need water, any water, in the worst way.


Tomorrow is a phone day, pay storage and call the clinic, be social. A store run in the evening, giving them time to restock from the weekend. It will be in contrast to the lazy stay at home weekend.


I have been lazy in the kitchen. The jambalaya has not been prepped, but balancing trash day and meat freshness has been my excuse to being lazy. But I haven’t eaten the spare ribs either, so honesty here demands a lazy label. Part of it has been my sleep schedule. Part of it is the meds, but the cutting boards haven’t been horizontal this weekend.


I was tempted to drop $270 on a luxury. I restrained myself. I settled for a $30 luxury. That is much more inline with the restoration of my bank balance. Waiting for a check in the mail. I’m in decent enough shape financially, despite the wimpy bank balance, so no complaints, as long as I behave myself.

Twiddle

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Still no appointment with the cardiologist going into the weekend. I am managing to hold my own for the time being, though I still get winded with minor exertion.


Seeing a little rain this week, not buckets, but some. Better than none, and it’s keeping the temperature down. Not going to argue with that.


Thawed chicken, pork loin, and spare ribs, as the fridge was getting thin. I’m thinking jambalaya after I make cheese risotto. Made a light store run for flautas, brats, cornbread, and mini-eclairs. That will hold me over the weekend. Thawed and cook the last burger pattie from the first batch.


Staying put most of the time, getting plenty of sleep.


COVID hit the compound in Elgin. The neighborhood is reportedly quiet.

Dr. Z

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It looks like things are in process for me to see the cardiologist, Dr. Zoldhelyi, whom I saw five years ago with the diuretic reaction. CAT, echocardiogram, etc.


The x-rays show that my lungs are clean, no congestive heart failure, no aortic aneurysm, no tumors. Only thing it showed is that my back is a little worse, but that I already knew. So it’s the meds, which the weekend proved. I am temporarily off both valsartan and carvedilol, while I wait for an appointment. I had a minor adaptation, but I’m doing okay now. Blood pressure is in the same range as when I was taking them, staying below 160 on the systolic. I’ll resume later, when they have cleared the system, 2 days.


I’ve been sleeping a lot. No loss of appetite. (Cornbread, sausage gravy on spuds, Popeye’s, deli turkey, tamales.) The brisket has vanished. I may feel up to a store run this evening or tomorrow morning for a few items. No big hurry.


Getting through this episode has my focus. Not doing much but wasting time. I’ll get productive when I feel up to it.

Meds

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The breathing problem seems to be the carvedilol, at least in part. I am temporarily off the med, and the breathing issues are improving markedly. But not completely. Blood pressure is a little high. I’ve been able to sing very winded songs without extra breaths, the pathways are open.


The big fears of the doctors (congestive heart failure, etc) were shown all negative by the blood tests. Again (except for the fasting related tests, I wasn’t warned), I nailed everything. X-rays were clean. I’m not sure exactly what the x-rays showed, if they showed the aorta. That is my one big question, related to the sensations that still remain as my system dumps the beta blocker.


But breathing during exertion is much improved. Not perfect, but definitely improved. Sleep seems to help.


I skipped social gatherings because of this issue. The jam, Beto’s town hall. But I have gotten the chores done. Only thing left is cooking the sausage gravy and subsequent dishes.


Thawed brisket and Popeye’s. Cornbread in the mix. Smoked turkey (bacon/provolone). Tamales. A proper summer menu. Carrot cake, German chocolate cake, ice cream sandwiches.


Ice went up to $2/bag. It’s still the cheapest ice in town.