Thursday, February 26, 2015

Regardless of Beneful's quality control, I would never feed my dog Beneful.

In light of recent lawsuits filed against them asserting the presence of mold-based mycotoxins and Propylene Glycol, I thought I would write up about dog food.

If true, then the presence of mycotoxins is a quality control issue, where Purina is either ignoring the need to inspect raw ingredients or failing to properly and adequately test their final product -- critical issues for any processed food, not just dog food.

According to literature on Propylene Glycol -- the active ingredient of low toxicity antifreeze -- it is safe to use as a food additive (generally recognized as safe) and does not bio-accumulate, but that does not mean that it is not toxic. In high enough doses, it can be toxic. If your dog seriously overeats, it is possible to reach the lower range of toxicity, though the risk is slight. But the more concerning issue to me, is why any company would use PG in the first place, in food.

If your food needs PG to make it tasty, how crappy is your food to begin with? Knowing that Beneful used PG, I wanted to know what else was in Beneful. Their ingredient list explained it all.

Ground yellow corn, chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal, whole wheat flour, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols, rice flour, beef, soy flour, meat and bone meal, propylene glycol, sugar, tricalcium phosphate, salt, phosphoric acid, potassium chloride, animal digest, sorbic acid (a preservative), mono and dicalcium phosphate, dried spinach, dried peas, dried carrots, L-Lysine monohydrochloride, calcium propionate (a preservative), choline chloride, zinc sulfate, Vitamin E supplement, ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, Red 40, niacin, Vitamin A supplement, Yellow 6, Yellow 5, copper sulfate, Vitamin B-12 supplement, calcium pantothenate, Blue 2, thiamine mononitrate, garlic oil, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, Vitamin D-3 supplement, calcium iodate, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), folic acid, biotin, sodium selenite.

The first ingredient -- ground corn -- is not an easily digestible product; that the source of protein and Lysine comes from animal meal and gluten, explains why this stuff requires PG and added L-Lysine. In fact, all of those vitamins listed below dried carrots, should signal just how poor the nutritional level is, of the primary ingredients.

Compare that to what I make, at home.

My dog food
Brown rice, ground beef or ground / cut chicken breast, millet, atlantic cod or salmon, carrots, potato, celery, kale or spinach, broccoli, bell pepper, green beans or peas, eggs, eggplant, yogurt, Benadryl.

Much shorter list, eh? So let me explain some things.

I don't always use all of those ingredients, but rather, a list of commonly used ingredients. Not all of the vegetables are easily digested, so they are chopped into very small pieces -- less than 1/4". If you look at your dog's poop, you can tell what is and isn't digested, and adjust as needed.

My dog does not tolerate fats other than from beef, fish and plants. Poultry and pork fats cause his stool to be, well, loose and messy and yellowish. Yogurt (added after the food is cooked) is there to boost his gut bacteria. The eggs are an incredibly cheap source of protein, and also tastes good! Benedryl is for allergies related to fleas, dust, etc. -- I find it a lot easier to simply incorporate Benedryl pills into his food (after cooked, while cooling), than to try to force down the pill in his mouth, daily. If your dog itches like mad from seasonal fleas, Benedryl makes a huge difference.

This is not for everyone. It is more expensive than specialized wet dog foods at the pet store and the specialty blend dry dog foods at the vet, and requires considerable amount of labor to prep and cook; nowadays I make 10-day batches and freeze half.

I'd previously tried kibble from Trader Joe's and Costco (neither of which use corn), but he'd sometimes let it sit, rather than dig right into it. Now, he'll skip his dog snacks if he knows he's getting his dog food served up. If your dog does not want to eat his/her food right away, either your dog is sick or the food it is bland and boring.

Therefore, regardless of Beneful's quality control, I would never feed my dog Beneful.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

10 Thoughts for February 23, 2015

Today, I took a break from painting, as the next stage requires significantly more effort to move furniture without breaking anything. Plus, I need to go get more paint, now that I've found the Metro paints to work perfectly, as well as needing to get trim paint (virgin paint).
  1. Politics: Let me highlight the unspoken GOP message. Defunding President Obama's immigration policy changes is more important than funding the Department of Homeland Security. Remember this Republican choice.
  2. Politics: Voters elected the GOP into majority hold of Congress, to force cooperation. So we should all laugh that the GOP's biggest obstacle to passing laws is party infighting. In the 6 weeks they've been in office, the GOP Congress has sent the President just two bills -- HR 26 and HR 203. They've already fallen behind the do-nothing 113th Congress (2013-2014).
  3. Net Neutrality: Republican members on the FCC board are calling for a delay on a vote to reclassify broadband ISPs under Title II. Why the delay? I suspect it has a lot to do with giving time for anti-Net Neutrality allies to produce propaganda against Net Neutrality and get their lobbying game on.
  4. Weather: In Portland, pollen is predicted to jump to medium levels, in a couple of days. Whaaa, pollen this high in February?!? Achooooo! So it occurred to me, what if this was the future of our local climate -- what if climate change meant that spring came in February instead of April? And what if climate change also meant that the East Coast would suffer from deep freezes from Arctic air plunging into the US? I'm guessing more people will want to move to Portland for its extremely nice climate changes.
  5. Shopping: Today was like Christmas in February, as I got my Eddie Bauer package. $100 for six items. I essentially switched out half of my winter wardrobe, most notably, by getting rid of many of my hoodies in favor of mock turtleneck fleece sportswear. The hoodie is on the way out as a fashion statement, for me, though I'll still keep a few around.
  6. Automobiles: Toyota apparently wants to double-down on Entune and won't support either ApplePlay or Android Auto. I'm not in the market for a new vehicle, but if this keeps up for the next two years, I probably won't be buying a Toyota as my next vehicle, despite owning only Toyota-branded vehicles for the last 18 years.
  7. Football: Anyone drafting Winston ahead of Mariota, is a fool. The combine showed just how far ahead in pure athleticism, Mariota is over Winston. Out of 13 quarterbacks, Winston beat just three others in the 40-yard dash and just one other quarterback in the vertical and broad jumps. Mariota, on the other hand, was the fastest 40-yard quarterback, and scorched all of Winston's measurables, including hand size. Winston is going to be a bust. Still, Mariota's skills can only be exploited fully if drafted by the right team. Which makes Big Cat Leonard Williams the top choice, overall. If Winston is taken #1, that team ensures bottom-feeder status for several more years. As a pure passer, I'd take Bryce Petty over Winston. As a dual-threat, I'd take Brett Hundley or Nick Marshall over Winston. And then there's Winston's character -- Winston suffers from far worse character issues than Johnny Football ever had.
  8. Football: Josh Shaw will get drafted. His combine numbers show that he is a skilled athlete. I just wonder however, if he'll be playing DB or linebacker. His 4.44 speed and his 26 bench press reps, would be invaluable on the edge; he does well against press coverage.
  9. Education: In all my years of schooling, I can think of a small handful of teachers who had the largest influence on me becoming a creative, critical-thinking adult. It is no surprise that the one who had the greatest influence on me, was a teacher who won the Miliken Award years ago. It popped up in my mind, as I watched the news online from Hawai'i on a teacher who'd won the Miliken Award for this past year.
  10. Technology: Ignore what you read about how Google bought Softcard to compete with Apple Pay. Google Wallet competes with Softcard using the same technology, which is to say that Google most certainly didn't need Softcard to boost Wallet -- Softcard will be discarded, shortly. Softcard was purchased for only one reason: Because the carriers who'd spent money building Softcard and then blocked Wallet, needed a return on their investment and sought its purchase as a quid pro quo for placing the Wallet app on their phones, front and center.

Monday, February 23, 2015

10 Thoughts for February 22, 2015

I've got time in-between paint coats, so I thought I'd twizzle (spin) some words.
  1. IKEA: When you buy IKEA stuff, there are basically three tiers: cheap-ass shit, medium quality stuff, and better quality stuff. There is no such thing as high quality stuff at IKEA -- I am not so naive to not know this. For instance, the Kallax / Expedit series is the cheap-ass shit, as it uses cheap materials that scratch easily and is hollow. The largest Kallax bookshelf weighs about as much as my recently departed (to Goodwill) CD tower shelf from Dania. The medium quality stuff is the Billy line, while the better quality stuff is the Stockholm series. Stockholm is not anywhere close to high quality, however. If it is flat-packed, it cannot obtain a high level of quality. I will never again buy the cheap ass shit.
  2. Retail: I was at Uwajimaya in Beaverton this weekend, and as I was pulling out my Google Wallet debit card, when I noticed that the POS terminal indicated that it took wireless payments. So naturally I popped my card back into my wallet and pulled out my phone. Worked -- requires signing into the app, first. I hope wireless payments continues to spread, especially since Apple's foray into it appears to have lit a fire under retailers. I did note however, that most people do not seem aware of Google Wallet in the first place.
  3. Geopolitics: Ukrainian truce? Ha! No one except morons actually believed that a truce would actually hold up. The rebels has no incentive to maintain a truce, when they have arms and other supplies readily coming in from Russia. For example, the evacuation of Ukrainian troops who were enclosed by rebels after the truce was supposedly in effect. With the turmoil she's allowed to fester in Greece and Ukraine, you have to wonder who's side she's on...or what she's smoking.
  4. Geopolitics: Sure, I get why Americans suddenly changed their tune about boots on the ground in Syria -- having swung from strongly opposing it to strongly supporting it -- because of the Americans who've been executed by ISIS. But I don't see why we would want to send troops in there, to fight someone else's wars. If the Middle East saw ISIS as an existential threat, shouldn't they be on the front lines with ground troops? The US can't be the forever-force in the Middle East.
  5. Classical Music: As I'm painting the walls in my place, I've been streaming classical music from my collection in my Google Music cloud. It's been a very long while since I've listened to a lot of classical music. I've realized that, while switching to bookshelf speakers was a massive space saver, I really do need to get a subwoofer to bring greater clarity to the lower frequencies, as the bass drum practically disappears without it.
  6. Construction: I've been taught that flat wall paints are good for residential interiors and can hide wall imperfections. What they don't emphasize, is that flat wall paint catches all stains and makes them stick out.On the bright side, flat paint also works well as a prime coat, allowing me to paint directly onto it, with a satin paint. I've also been taught that a roller will give you the best texture of paint. But what they don't tell you, is that you waste a lot of paint if you don't have the time to do all of your walls in the same color, in one single setting, and that the flatter the sheen, the less it matters whether you use a brush or a roller.
  7. Food Carts: So, I had a bad experience with a food cart at NE 52nd and Sandy. I ordered a Kafta Kabob Plate from Ramy's Lamb Shack, and what I got looked more like tiny ground meat sticks. Plus, the guy didn't pay attention to my order, and got it wrong. For $9, the plate was skimpy, the salad practically nonexistent, the rice was dry and hard, and the Baklava at $2.50 each, was a lousy deal.  If only I had checked out his ratings on Yelp, first. I suspect some of the 5-star ratings on Yelp are fake, because what I got was far worse than what one could get anywhere else.
  8. Investment: My sister told me that a coworker was encouraging everyone to buy Bitcoins, because the economy was going sink. I told her that the guy was an idiot who didn't know what he was talking about. I'm contemplating taking a vacation to visit her in Arizona just so that I can confront and publicly humiliate this guy for attempting to get people to buy into his crackpot ideas -- at the very least, make him take responsibility for his actions by forcing him to take out insurance against losses incurred by anyone who invests in Bitcoins because of him. You might want to buy Bitcoins because the whole crypto-currency thing sounds interesting, or you like to dabble in new technologies, but to buy into Bitcoins as a store of value and a hedge against the economy is downright stupid. Put it this way: In six months, Bitcoins have lost 50% of its value; in one year it's lost nearly 65% of its value; from its peak, it has lost 77% of its value. Even if you were to accept the notion of buying something at its low, you don't buy it when it continues to drop in anticipation of its eventual rise; you buy it when it starts to rise.
  9. Dinosaurs: Speaking of stupid people, I truly enjoyed the laughs from a group called the Christians Against Dinosaurs. It's not just that the woman in most of the videos is wrong on her central points, but that even her tertiary arguments are all wrong. Spackling paste is not cement and a leather jacket does not fall like a sack of bricks. Of course, it could be that she, and the group in general, is all a big fake. Either way, it was a hell of a laugh.
  10. Weather: New England may have won the Super Bowl, but now it's endured 5 storms bringing a frozen hell to the region. Meanwhile in the Pacific Northwest, we're receiving one of the earliest springs, ever, with a possible broken record for the warmest February. Magnolias, cherries, daffodils are all popping out.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Now, really busy.

I've only time to do a super short post.

  • Serendipity is when the paint color you picked out over a year ago happens to end up matching the Metro recycled paint within a tiny margin. Bliss is when the other paint from Metro is richer but perfectly matched, tonally, to your other Metro paint. Did a sample section, and it looks really sweet.
  • Spilled about a half-pint of paint on the carpet, and spent two hours cleaning it up, which is slightly amusing because the very area I spilled onto, will be replaced by the LVT I bought, earlier this week.
  • Frog Tape really does work, much better than the old blue paint masking tape. Thank goodness I grabbed it a couple of years ago, in anticipation of repainting my place.
  • So far with the LVT and the paint, I'm in the 'green' (heh) on residential LEED, if it mattered. The only thing that matters to me, is trying to renovate while being as environmentally conscious (and cheap) as possible.
  • Sister is coming in from Phoenix, and the plane was delayed for 1 1/2 hours. Funny how on Portland Airport's site, it says that it was cancelled (it was not).
  • Started ripping the rest of the CD collection, and uploading them to my Google Music cloud. I've moved to using Foobar to convert to FLAC, instead of using Winamp, and I really like Foobar. I'd installed Foobar previously, so that I could convert FLAC to MP3s, and have grown to love the ease of Foobar.
  • Last night, I tried to shop at Safeway before it closed. When I got there, apparently their computer systems were down, so they couldn't do any transactions, including cash. I suppose anything is possible, but I'm expecting it to be a hack (DDOS attack as a diversion), which is just one more reason why you should use a debit card with limited funds (Google Wallet!) which also sends you immediate alerts, following every transaction. I suppose it could have also been a cut line, a bad drive or something else...but I'm sticking with the hack theory.
  • This was the end of my 15 minute break.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Still busy.

An update of what's going on with my To Do List:
  • Mounted the IKEA hardware in my bathroom. Looks good when you match stainless steel fixtures with stainless steel screws.
  • Dropped off bulbs and batteries. It turns out the local franchises of Batteries+ now charges per bulb. Will have to start dropping them off at Home Depot instead! Also dropped off empty printer cartridges at the Office Depot.
  • Sold my IKEA shoe rack just over an hour ago for $5. More than anything, I wanted to get rid of it as it was taking up space. I also sold my unused kitchen sink faucet a minute ago -- bonus! Two CLers who aren't flakes!
  • Bought Super 77, spray-glued the IKEA Projs pad to the drafting board and trimmed the edges. Looks good. Whatever you do, don't leave hot beverages on the Projs surface, as it'll warp!
  • Recycled old paint and bought 1-gallon Metro paint at Miller Paint, Espresso and Desert -- going as green as I can get. It's a test to see how the sheen and colors look. There are stark variations between Metro, Miller Paint and the different forms of media used to showcase the colors available, so I have to do a test section. Paint odor seems roughly the same as the Benjamin Moore Ben interior line, that I used to paint the closet, though the Ben is supposed to be zero VOC while this one is roughly 91 g/L. At $11 a pop + change for recycling fee, the two paints combined was in the ballpark of ~$25. If you've bought paint lately, you know how cheap that is -- I hope the color works so that I can use them.
Pretty much everything going as scheduled. Slowly but surely, I'm clearing out my place for a more efficient space (and desperately trying to avoid becoming a pack rat).

By the way, I checked and the LVT boxes were 41lbs each, so I was really close when I wrote that they were probably ~45lbs each.

Been busy.

Been busy the last few days, that I haven't posted much. Things I've done the last several days:

  • Made multiple trips to Goodwill to drop off stuff that I've compiled from clearing out my closets.
  • Prepped my closet walls with patching, sanding, priming and painting, then installed the first third of my new closet -- IKEA Algot system.
  • Bought / received a refurb'd Dell desktop and an MSATA SSD. Installed MSATA drive (directly on the motherboard) and turned it into the primary boot drive. Also, updated all of the drivers and installed about 2/3rds of the software I need, in order to work.
  • Bought enough Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) and accessories to install the first third of my planned flooring in my place. The boxes were crazy heavy -- ~45 pounds -- that it was too much of a struggle to carry two at a time, using a friction grasp with two hands. I'll explain in some separate post, later on, about why I chose LVT.
  • Cleared out my massive drafting table, in anticipation of selling it, or otherwise getting rid of it, in order to make room to install my flooring.
  • Received my PocketScan, installed the app, played around with it for a bit. I discovered a possible problem with the app, such that the Bluetooth device's install created an IP conflict of some sort, that would drop my signal to my router. Once I uninstalled the app, the problems disappeared. Of course, it didn't help that my WiMax signal dropped out, a few times.

My To-Do list is equally long, too:

  • Mount IKEA hardware in bathroom (went to Pearl Hardware to get the stainless steel screws to match).
  • Drop off recyclable bulbs and batteries.
  • Prep (really old) Pentium 4 computer to be given away, by going through hard drive and stripping out encryption and copying files as desired, prior to wiping -- 2 hours.
  • Prep (slightly less ancient) Xeon workstation to be given away or sold, by reinserting old drive, stripping out encryption and copying files as desired, prior to restoring to original config -- 2 hours.
  • Sell or give away temporary IKEA shoe rack.
  • Buy bottle of Super 77 to spray-glue padding to drafting board, spray-glue padding to drafting board.
  • Get rid of drafting table.
  • Strip out carpet and install flooring.
  • Recycle some old paint, and buy Metro recycled paint, all at Miller Paint. I'm going to sample the Metro recycled paint to see if I can incorporate it into my remodel...because it's the green thing to do, and it's hella cheap.
In the meantime, some quick observations of things going on:
  • Russia and their allies in eastern Ukraine pushed out Ukrainian forces, after the peace truce was supposed to be in effect. Putin is a liar, and Merkel and Hollande are idiots for continuing to place even the least bit of trust in him.
  • Kate Brown was sworn in, and she gave a speech that lasted about 5 minutes, before everyone got back to work. The tale of tangled interests between Kitz and his fiance are definitely not going away, though.
  • Speaking of work in Salem, in between data centers (Apple and others) and Google Fiber, there are a handful of senate bills  (SB 566, 568, 569, 570, 571) that need to be worked through the system.
  • According to Google Flu Trends, Oregon's flu season is practically over and done with. The nation as a whole, is just about done with the flu, too.
  • It's been so consistently warmer than usual in Oregon, that daffodils and tulips are all popping up right now. But the cherry trees on the waterfront are still about two weeks away. I went back and looked at the dates of prior years' photos, and they were all in late March or early April, making this possibly the earliest spring blossoms, ever.
  • Either Greece exits the Eurozone or we'll see riots. Patience with 25% unemployment is being tested, and I don't think it can last much longer. A few days ago, Paul Krugman pointed out the similarities between the Weimar Republic's post-WWI / pre-WWII condition and the current Greek situation, and it's more than a bit scary to see how closely one resembles the other.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Line Ninja Striker bugs.

If you play Line Ninja Striker, don't upgrade your OS to Lollipop, or else the Ninja Striker's login will kill your desire to play. The longstanding bug of having to go through the login page twice, periodically, was annoying enough. But now, with the update to Lollipop, this login hassle occurs every time you start the game up.

The most recent update has not addressed it. Considering that this bug has been present since the beginning, I'm not holding out much hope that the developers fix it anytime soon.

The irony is not lost on me, that with the Lollipop update, I was able to record the screen to show this bug.