Sourdough Days

We birthed a sourdough starter named Maria in March as a Covid-19, stay-at-home activity. We’re using the following basic recipe/technique:

  • Starter is 1 part filtered water to 2 parts flour, fed every day.
  • To make two small loaves at a time we feed Maria, wait a couple hours or more, drop about 100 grams of starter into about 100 grams of filtered water in big bowl, stir it, cover it with plastic wrap, and let it sit for an hour or so.
  • Then we add about 700 grams of flour and about 200 gramsish more of filtered water to the same bowl, finger it all together, cover it, and let it sit for another 30 minutes.
  • Then we sprinkle in about 10 grams of salt and pull fold it a couple times and adjust either water or flour so that it’s moist but not a sopping mess.
  • Then we cover it and let it sit for 30 minute increments. Every 30 minutes or so we do a pull fold around the sides and let it sit for another 30 minutes… basically do this 6ish times for about 3 hours of initial proofing time. At the end of this time, if it looks pretty strong, we just split it, roll the two portions into basic round balls, and do a final 3 hourish proof in a well-floured and parchment-papered proofing or regular bowl small enough to give it some support on the sides, or if it’s still a little weak, we give it a quick knead before rounding them up and proofing them.
  • Once proofed we transfer them to parchment-papered and floured heavy pots or upside down pyrex dishes, slice the tops of the proofed loaves with a sharp knife, and bake in oven (preheated to 500) covered for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, we uncover them and bake for another 20 or 25 minutes until they look nice and browned and raised around the top sliced areas. Pop em out and let em cool on a rack.

Some of our efforts so far:

Workout Days 1 and 2 – February Cycle

3 sets of each unless otherwise noted and every two entries are paired to allow switching between exercises (hex bar deadlifts alternate sets with split leg rope side pulls, etc.):

Day 1

  • Hex Bar Deadlifts
  • Split Leg rope side pulls with cable machine
  • Floor bench press with Swiss bar
  • Goblet split squats with 3 sec hold near bottom
  • Nordic hamstring holds (2 sets of 10 seconds)
  • Seal rows with dumbbells
  • Romanian deadlifts with switch hand kettlebells
  • Body saws

Day 2

  • Squats with safety squat bar
  • Copenhagen planks with dumbbell
  • Elevated goblet split squats
  • Pullups
  • Double banded zipper walk
  • Landmine standing viking shoulder press
  • Airbike (.5 of a mile, .6, .7)
  • Bench reverse curls


  • Banded dog side leg lifts
  • Cossack stretch
  • Spiderman to calf stretch
  • Single leg drops with kettlebell overheads
  • Banded sprinters
  • Open book reach stretch

Cool Down

  • Weighted three position calf raises
  • Banded shoulder pull aparts
  • Bretzel stretch
  • Hamstring scoops
  • Hang from pullup bar for 60 seconds

Daily workout takes approximately 1.25 to 1.5 hours: half hourish for warmup/cooldown and about an hour give or take for actual workout.

Some things to look into in 2020

  • Measuring glucose levels, inflammation markers, and heart rate variability.
    • Ben Greenfield ideas:
      • regular, at least low level exercise
      • low carb, mediterranean diet prob best for most people
      • daily exposure to sunlight (justification is along the lines of a model of batteries and/or photosynthesis
      • barefoot?
      • exposure to heat… sweating is incredibly healthy… hard to raise body temperature enough with exercise alone.
      • exposure to cold… brief exposure to uncomfortable cold is probably healthy
      • clean water
      • mineral content of food
      • microdosing is probably worth it, but perhaps better ignored until legal restrictions are relaxed enough for better studies on the effects of LSD and or psilocybin.
    • Are there a series of tests that would give someone a better understanding of what exercises and foods and style/timing of eating are potentially most suitable for a particular individual.
    • Is a varied diet actually misguided? If you run better on a particular set of foods, wouldn’t a varied diet be counter-productive?
    • Are there any easily-worn devices available to measure any of this stuff relatively accurately.
  • Fasting and autophagy. Is a weekly fast of 36 hours worth it? Perhaps 18/6 instead?
    • Three meals or more a day and the importance of breakfast seems like apostolic bullshit.
  • Benefits of cold immersion (cold showers, cryo).
  • Cake on Ubiquiti routers.

Replacing FiOS Quantum Router with Ubiquiti

Verizon’s ONT was serving over coax as the house was wired with coax. Now that we use YouTube TV rather than traditional cable, we don’t need coax for anything, so rewired the house with cat5e to all floors. This change made it easier to get rid of the rental ($10 per month) Quantum router, since there was no advantage to serving anything over coax.

Bought a Ubiquiti Edgerouter X to replace the Quantum. Almost bought the ER-4 instead, but we only have 300/300 internet and it seemed that, at worst, the ER-X would be able to handle these speeds with hardware offloading. We’ve been beta testing Plumes for WiFi for a couple years now, so it was an advantage to have a router without built-in WiFi.

After setting up a basic config with the “WAN+2LAN” wizard everything was working fine, but there were some latency issues at busy times. Looking into the QOS options, the Smart Queue seemed the best candidate for solving latency by holding back some bandwidth in order to handle new requests. Unfortunately, the ER-X is not robust enough to handle Smart Queue with 300/300, so I ended up applying it only to uploads and by lowering the speed to around 100. Seemed better to allow new streams some space, rather than allowing existing streams to fully saturate connection.

In hindsight, an ER-4 might have been a choice for our speeds and apparent need for QOS, but the ER-X was only about $60, whereas the ER-4 was about $185. If we get additional speed upgrades from Verizon, we’ll have to either offload routing to the ER-X’s hardware, or pony up additional money for the ER-4. That said, even though the 4 is much beefier, it isn’t entirely clear to me that it could handle Smart Queue for speeds much higher than 300/300 anyway. It’s also unclear to me why Smart Queue should be necessary for speeds much higher than 300/300.

Update: removing smart queue and enabling offloading seems to be the best policy at this point. Investigating community project of adding CAKE for controlling individual devices that might be hogging bandwidth. Smart Queue seems to solve the wrong problems for my network at this point.

Fixing Ubuntu 18.04 and moving to PHP-FPM

Moved vhost farm to Ubuntu 18.04 on Linode and hit some snags after deciding to move to php-fpm instead of mod-php.

Adding this to apache.conf instead of to each vhost config seems to work fine:

<FilesMatch "\.php$">SetHandler "proxy:unix:/var/run/php/php7.2-fpm.sock|fcgi://localhost/" </FilesMatch>


<If "-f %{SCRIPT_FILENAME}"></If>

around the FilesMatch line to keep non php from being sent to unix sockets and ending up as lines in the Apache error log.

This also seems to work fine in apache.conf to enable http2 for all vhosts:

Protocols h2 http/1.1

Need to edit children in /etc/php/7.2/fpm/pool.d/www.conf as the default is set to 5. 35 seemed better.

Then a2enmod proxy_fcgi && a2dismod php7.2 gets you most of the way there.

Newer kernel prevented php-fpm from launching automatically on reboot, so rolled back to 4.15.18-x86 and this seems to fix php-fpm not launching on a reboot.

service php7.2-fpm reload never hurts, but shouldn’t be necessary on reboot.

This was helpful in getting to the bottom of the reboot issue:

Get rid of red padlock on email sent from server:

smtp_tls_security_level = may
smtp_tls_loglevel = 1
smtp_tls_CAfile = /etc/ssl/certs/ca-certificates.crt

LetsEncrypt/Certbot Fun

sudo ./letsencrypt-auto –apache -d -d

Remove cert:

certbot revoke --cert-path /etc/letsencrypt/live/CERTNAME/cert.pem

Toykle Two!

I rescued a snapping turtle in 6th grade. Things didn’t go so well. I put it in a large cardboard box with a bunch of sand, a buried bowl with water for swimming, and I fed it Italian cold cuts. I was surprised at how little the turtle moved, but hey… it was turtle… and everyone knows that turtles move slowly. Unfortunately, sometimes little movement is actually no movement, and Toykle (as he/she was known) was an eyeless corpse before any intervention took place.

Having learned my lesson, I managed a quick turnaround from rescue to release when Abigail, Jackson, and I noticed a baby snapping turtle headed the wrong way up Maverick Street. Down Maverick leads to the swamp; up Maverick leads to certain death at the library intersection. Turtle chose poorly, but we cheated Darwin and delivered him/her to the swamp.

Rescued from road
Rescued from road… has eyes!

Released in the wild!
Released in the wild… still has eyes!

Amazon thinks I should eat bugs

We DO buy quite a bit from Amazon, so I understand it might be difficult to determine our consumer pattern, but how did it come to this?

Hello, Andrew… Amazon has some recommendations for you:

Well… I wasn’t interested in these particular items… but it did get me thinking about what else is available in the world of entomophagy. It must be marginally popular if it’s turning up in Amazon suggestion lists. Turns out that there is quite a bit available, and much of it looks practical, inexpensive, and… of course… good for you. Apparently eating bugs (and crickets in particular) is one of the easiest ways to ingest solid protein.

Banana peanut bug bites for the Rhodesian Ridgeback?

hoganBugBitesLike every new food, however, it must first pass the “Hogan survived eating it” test. Rhodesian Ridgebacks are the perfect food tasters; when they lost their job chasing lions, they were used as poison detectors for South African kings. Like most dogs, Ridgebacks will readily eat anything, but our Ridgeback carries the canine curse of a weak stomach, so he’s an excellent gauge of a food’s toxicity. Hogan’s now awaiting a package of Banana Peanut Bug Bites.

If Hogan survives, I think I’ll spring for some cricket flour. It can be baked into banana or other quick breads. There are a ton of recipes for this stuff. Here’s the banana bread recipe from Entomo Farms:


1/3 cup (35 g) Entomo Protein 2050 cricket powder (cricket flour)
1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
1 ¼ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp baking powder
¾ cup organic granulated sugar
1 egg
1 egg white
¼ cup plain or vanilla yogurt
3 TBSP coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup mashed bananas (approx 2 to 3 medium)


  1. Preheat oven to 350F, 9×5 loaf pan-buttered
  2. In a bowl sift together cricket powder, flour, baking soda and baking powder. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl blend sugar, egg, egg white, yogurt, oil and vanilla.   Blend in the bananas. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Do not over mix.
  4. Pour batter into a prepared loaf pan. Bake in preheated oven for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  5. Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 5 minutes before removing.

The most annoying sound in the world kumate

Less than a year ago Jackson discovered Walking with Monsters and Walking with Dinosaurs, two Kenneth Branagh-voiced cgi series chronicling the rise and fall of dinosaurs and other ancient creatures. Score! We witnessed the rise and fall of the croc-like postosuchus, the four flippered liopleurodon, and the comet-chased Tyrannosaurus Rex. Sure, they’re a little bloody for little kids and as interesting as they are, these shows did become a bit stale after the 429th viewing, but now that we have entered the post-Branagh-monster world of child-chosen YouTube programming, I know that I have enjoyed and lost the golden age of shared parent/child programming. TV Rome is burning and I can’t seem to stop it. Give me back the dinosaurs and giant scorpions, for what has replaced them is far more frightening (and nearly unwatchable!) for anyone over the age of 12.

The new age is dominated by YouTube stars CookieSwirlC, and stampylonghead (or just Stampy). I do not understand the allure of these brilliant bastards, but I caution anyone brazen enough to come between a 4-12 year old child and these fingernail down chalkboard voiced super stars. Their hypnotically crappy shows are kid nip and YouTube’s nefarious autoplay feature ensures that one will auto blend into another if you’re not ready to intervene and chop off the stream when one ends.

Pick your poison… pick the tagline to torture your brain like a Ceti eel larva:

  • “Cookie Swirl C… hee hee hee!”
  • Guuuuud Byyyyyeeee! Heh heh heh!

Need to get an annoying song out of your head. These will take care of that for you… but at what price? Need to lay siege to some upstart militia or new age Davidian Compound? Don’t blast them with rock music; blast them with CookieSwirlC. Surrender is assured… well… unless they’re between the ages of 4 and 12.

But perhaps hope lies in the lessons learned from walking with both the monsters and the dinosaurs. Our furry mammal ancestors were once the prohibitive underdogs; they had no chance battling the terrible lizards head on. Instead they needed wile and guile, a network of tunnels… and a giant comet to smash into the Gulf of Mexico. Short a comet, though, if only we could get CookieSwirl to battle Stampy… like Mega Godzilla taking on Rubberized Godzilla.

Wow… what’s in this toy egg? Is this a taunting Minecraft note from Stampy? Who took your wolf pets? Some lady with a high-pitched voice just ran by the squid. Make it happen. When one titan destroys the other, we can team up on the weakened victor, destroy it on the beach like a washed up monster liopleurodon.

Great Winter Mistake

We haven’t had the easiest time getting the kids out in the snow. Jackson got snow in his mitten, or down his snow suit, or down his tighty-whiteies when he was tiny, so it was touch and go trying to get the kids to leave the house in the winter, to revel in the arctic variety of crap weather New England showers upon us.

But this year we turned the corner… this year we have had a couple wildly successful Gatchell Park sledding trips. So what shows up on the family agenda? Skiing. Apparently it’s now crucial to teach the kids how to ski. What!? Why!? Because their friends might learn how to ski and they’ll feel left out if they don’t ski.

Don’t get me wrong. Skiing is tons of fun. It really is. But it’s almost never worth the trouble or expense, and it’s really only fun after you’ve learned how to not die at it. The dirty secret about skiing is that sledding is more fun. People don’t like to talk about such things, but injected with truth serum, people will invariably admit that sledding is more fun than skiing, boogie boarding is more fun than surfing, and tubing is more fun than kayaking… especially if you’re going down the Saco river with a case of beer. Skiing is really only advisable if you’re Scandinavian AND you think you might have to fight the Russians on mountains. Otherwise… skiing is a mistake. It, like golf, should not be started, and if started on accident, it should be quickly quit.

Skiing was always expensive, but now it’s hellaholy%$#! expensive. Good luck finding a daily lift ticket for less than $50, and places like Vail are now charging something like $160 a day… for one person… not including a bloody mary. Then there’s the traipsing… lets not forget the traipsing if you have little kids. Unless you are a New Hampshire live free or dier or a Vermont granolaista, you’re looking at minimum an hour’s drive to get to anywhere decent… and probably much longer.

Your nightmare begins early as you pack a lunch and the little monsters into the minivan, forget something expensive that you’ll need to replace in the ski shop at the mountain, navigate the rental lines (not sure if they like this yet!), give a kidney for lift tickets, talk child one back into skiing as they try to not try skiing at the last minute, get their snow pants and boots on, take the snow pants and boots off one because he needs to use the bathroom even though you asked if he needed the bathroom before you put the boots and snow pants on, get their snow pants and boots back on, carry their skis and poles up to the base of the bunny hill, clip in their boots, pick one up as they fall over, and… if you’re lucky… hand a couple hundred dollar bills to the ski instructor and run like effing hell until you’re out of earshot.

If you’re unlucky… or suffer masochistic tendencies… you’ll be the parent “teaching” your kids how to ski. Good luck with that. You’re probably better off cracking a wine glass across the counter and jamming the jagged stem into your eye. Chances are overwhelming your young kids will hate skiing and/or you after a couple hours, but it’s not like you can just whip out a plastic sled at that point. No… at that point you’re stuck on a mountain, with a stupid sticker on a wire on your zipper, .with a whining or full-on-crying kid, with a headache like a hangover you didn’t earn, and without the kidney you left in the ski shop.

You could have been sledding.

Abby discovers the power (and limitation) of literacy

Abby’s homework early in the year was dominated by mathematics, but lately Bell Elementary has been focusing increasingly on reading and writing. This offers us an opportunity to observe a concrete, practical application of the liberal arts side of public education, as Abby harnesses painstakingly-crafted, threatening notes taped to toys in a well-calculated attempt to exert her Sith-leaning will over Jackson. The dark side is indeed strong in Abby; it’s just too bad Jackson doesn’t read. Jackson simply removed this pesky note from Imperial star destroyer and retaped it as a warning on the paisley tuffet.

The literate side of the force may be powerful, but never… ever underestimate the unyielding, blissful ignorance of the illiterate side of the force.

Touch not, brother... touch not.
Touch not, foolish brother… touch not.


Demonio Rojo Complicates Elf on the Shelf

Chippy, our Elf on the Shelf, may have the commuting magic necessary to visit the northern fat guy nightly and the extortive powers to keep small people marginally well-behaved for a couple weeks each holiday season, but he’s apparently no match for Demonio Rojo, a washed up Lucha Libre wrestler from Tijuana. Demonio ended up in our Marblehead house after a drunken holiday binge in Salem; it’s unclear how long he intends to stay.

That’s my shelf now, biznitch!

Moores versus Trees

Having a cord of firewood delivered last year was just the beginning; this year we’ve really stepped up our assault on New England’s remaining forests. The family that stalks, corners, and saws down its Christmas tree together is the family that stays together! Keeping the anti-arbor sentiment rolling, we even managed to get the giant tree removed from our backyard.

Lucky Seven and Fortuitous Four

Still combining birthday parties while we can get away with it, this year’s birthday extravaganza featured a Rainforest Reptile show at Chez Moore and breakfast at The Driftwood… oh… and lots of Star Wars and Dinosaurs… and a hand-knitted hat from Great Aunt Kris!

Most importantly, we’ve finally turned the corner into toys that the kids AND the dad play with together. Consumer drone for Xmas? I think so!

From AT&T to Cingular to Verizon to T-Mobile to Project Fi

pfiI signed up for my first wireless plan in 2000; only the actual phone number has remained constant.

The eternal quest for the cheapest/best/reliablest(sp?) plan has taken me to Google’s Project Fi beta. What’s Project Fi? Google Fi gives you a new type of sim card that allows you to connect to more than one carrier and/or wifi hotspots for making phone calls or using data. I was a T-Mobile customer before Project Fi, so this plan keeps my access to T-Mobile, while adding Sprint and any public wifi that registers as strong enough to support voice/data.

The plan is $20 for unlimited talk minutes and text + $10.00 per gigabyte of data. The idea is that having quick switch to open wifi will cut down on data needs. Since my phone number is a Google Voice number, trying out the service is really easy… although transferring a number over is as easy as transferring a number to any other carrier.

Why switch? I currently use T-Mobile’s “not that well-advertised” $30 plan; it is unlimited data (although throttled after a few gigs of use) with 100 mins of talk per month. This plan requires either rooting or additional payment for tethering. It’s a cheap plan and it works pretty well, but there are many T-Mobile dead zones (including my house!) and I tether often, so it’s annoying to have to face dropped calls and to keep rooting every time Google releases a new android version. Project Fi is more expensive per gig, but calls/texts are unlimited and they refund any unused data credits each month, so you literally pay for only the data you use. If you need more data in a certain month, you’re billed for the additional data at $10.00 per gig. I’m banking on public wifi handling most of my data needs… hopefully most everything except turn-by-turn directions and tethering.

Hopefully Project Fi offers solid switching between T-Mobile, Sprint, and public wifi. In any case, both plans are off-contract, so switching back is as easy as switching out the sim card.

Project Fi currently requires a Nexus 6, 5x, or 6p, and you get some benefits from purchasing a new Nexus directly through Project Fi. You can pay for your phone over time without fees or financing, and they throw in a half-price case. Unrelated to Project Fi, Google throws in a $50 credit to the Play Store, so if you’re looking to escape from the iPhone or Windows Phone, you can now replace a good number of apps for the price of a Nexus… which is really the only Android phone I’d suggest buying at this point.

Phone Hardware and Carriers so far:

  • Nokia feature phone (AT&T, Cingular)
  • OG Motorola Droid (CDMA – Verizon)
  • Samsung Galaxy Nexus (CDMA – Verizon)
  • LG Nexus 5 (GSM – unlocked – T-Mobile)
  • LG Nexus 5x (GSM – unlocked – Project Fi)

Massachusetts Youngster Learns Cruel Life Lesson

Never trust the shirt...
Never trust this shirt…

When Jackson visited the vintage arcade and skeeball courts of semi-seedy Salem Willows in late summer 2015, he fully expected his hard-whined-for ice cream to require focused defense against parent bites, ants, wharf rats, semi-domesticated sea gulls, and even his sister’s offers to help him finish. Unfortunately, he never suspected his trusted dinosaur shirt as a top dessert predator.

Normally the Tyrannosaurus Rex on a midnight blue background is an excellent all around clothing choice; it competes favorably even with the legendary three wolf t-shirt. Comfortable, intimidating, eminently stylish, the T-Rex shirt and Jackson are constant companions, but in our fallen world all friendships have their limits.

This particular 3T shirt apparently draws the loyalty line at creamsicle flavored Tweety Bird ice cream treats with blueberry gumball eyes.

Lesson learned, Jackson. Lesson learned.

Update #1: it happened again! TRex helped himself to Jackson’s pancakes at The Ugly Mug:

TRex can sense syrup in the water from miles away
TRex can sense syrup in the water from miles away