The Burning Question of Our Times: Where do you keep your ketchup?

When I got married I had to relearn how to do laundry. Growing up my mother did laundry every other day or so and, unless my recollection is faulty, she dumped everything into the machine regardless of color so that’s how I learned to do it. There were exceptions for things like bedsheets and comforters that took up a lot of room on their own, but otherwise there was very little separation. The first time I tried to do this after I got married my wife looked at me like I had suddenly turned into a neanderthal. I was retrained to separate out the whites as well as to generally put darker clothes and lighter clothes into separate loads.

My point is that a lot of the stuff we learned as we grew up we just accepted as the way things are done and when we’re confronted by someone who learned it a different way it’s a bit of culture shock. Stuff that I would never think of questioning how I learned to do it ends up being a surprise when someone says that’s not how you do it.

Take for example, where you keep your ketchup (or catsup if you prefer). Apparently there’s a raging debate on the Internet right now about the appropriate place to store it when you’re not using it. Do you keep it in the fridge or the cupboard?

U.K. supermarket chain Asda (I have no idea how to pronounce that) Clapham waded into the argument with a Twitter poll:

Asda Clapham sparks fierce debate after move to stock ketchup in fridge

The supermarket tweeted: “Where do you keep your tomato ketchup? Our colleagues at Asda Clapham have joined the debate by stocking them on shelves AND in the fridge.”

Asda’s Victoria Williams told the Daily Mail: “Tomato ketchup is a staple of many of our customers weekly shop but recent debate has prompted us to trial two areas to stock our great value own brand tomato ketchup sauces, so we can end the debate once and for all and give everyone what they want.”

The final poll results are below:

I have to admit I’m surprised there’s a debate about this at all. The answer is: Both.

I mean, look at this label for Heinz’s ketchup:

Click to embiggen.

See that circled bit? It says “For best results, refrigerate after opening.” So you store it in the cupboard until you open it the first time, then it goes in the fridge. Same thing for A1 Sauce. How is this even a debate?

All that said, one thing that doesn’t go in the fridge is Maple Syrup unless it’s 100% pure a.k.a. REAL maple syrup. The “maple flavored” syrups sold under brand names like Aunt Jemima (THAT’S RACIST!) or Log Cabin even say right on the bottle they don’t need to be refrigerated after opening. Yet invariably they end up in our fridge and it ain’t me or the cats doing it. Makes pouring that stuff really fucking annoying.

In fairness I should point out that I do put my malt vinegar in the fridge after opening it even though it’s completely unnecessary. I have no idea why. I don’t remember us ever having it in the house when I was growing up so I have no precedent for this. We did have worcestershire sauce back then and we generally kept that in the fridge even though it didn’t need refrigeration either. I don’t think I’ve had worcestershire sauce in the house since I started living on my own so maybe I transferred the habit from that to my malt vinegar.

Oh, hey!

So it appears I’ve not posted anything since the first. My apologies, but I’ve been busy figuring out how I might purchase my first house. Our apartment lease will be up at the end of May and I’ll be turning 50 in August (which just blows my mind) and I’m thinking if I don’t pull this off now it’s never going to happen. The good news is, I think I might have figured out a way to do it this time.

Of course, that’s not all I’ve been doing. I’ve also been trying to wrap my head around how crazy things are getting now that Donald Trump has become President. It’s a sort of an embarrassment of riches in that there are so many things to talk about with regard to his Holy Hairness that I can’t decide where to start and so I end up playing Call of Duty instead.

So this is basically a quick update to say I’m still here and I still plan to try and post more often even though I’m failing at that ambition so far. I did get a new webcam for Christmas that I plan to use for vlogging and/or game streaming in the not too distant future. I also hope to add in a Blue Snowball condenser mic soon for better audio quality.

In the meantime, here’s a pic of a cat toy I saw at Meijer the other day that was oddly familiar:

Does anyone under 45 even know who this is these days?

A request for donations to help my brother’s family.

My older brother, Wes Jenkins, lost his wife of 26 years, Debra, on Monday to pancreatic cancer. Unfortunately, my brother has been chronically underemployed for quite some time now. This last month she required round the clock hospice care that has racked up some serious bills for him and his family.

I don’t often ask for donations and I’m not entirely sure my brother would appreciate me doing so, but I’m putting this out there anyway because you guys have in the past been so very supportive of me when I hit a rough patch, and my rough patch doesn’t compare to what my brother is going through right now. If any of you can spare a few bucks there is a GoFundMe page that’s been set up to accept donations on the family’s behalf.

I am truly thankful for the past support you folks have shown me and I would like to preemptively thank you for any help you can lend my brother now. Thank you.

jenkinsfamily

I think the men’s room air freshener at work is trying to kill me.

I have an enemy at work in the form of a small plastic box that sits high on a wall in the men’s bathroom and I’m pretty sure it’s trying to kill me.

Behold! The form of your eventual downfall!

Behold the form of your eventual lavatory room death!

Every time I walk into the men’s room this little fucker shoots out a stinging cloud of “air freshener” that always immediately flies into my eyes causing them to sting and burn and leaving me to stumble around blindly risking death by accidental swirly. Every. Damned. Time.

OK, not really every time, but often enough that it certainly feels like every damned time. Definitely often enough that I’ve contemplated smashing it with whatever happened to be handy. Which, being I’m in a men’s room when this happens, isn’t much. Suppose I could use my fists, but I’m not keen on banging up my knuckles. Instead I curse silently under my breath (yeah, silently, sure thing) and hope there’s no one in the stall I’m about to fall into.

You win this round, men’s room air freshener, but watch your back! Someday I will have my revenge!

My employer wants me to drink more water.

Like many companies the one I work for has a vested interest in healthy employees. Too many people, myself included, are overweight and inactive and we contribute to the higher rates all of us pay for healthcare. As a result our HR department has been trying to motivate folks to be healthier.

This manifested back in the Fall of 2014 with the Fitbit Challenge where the company offered to give us a $99 Fitbit Flex for free if we managed to walk 8,000 steps a day for 20 days in a single month. I took on this challenge in the hopes that at the end of it I’d be well on my way to a habit of walking regularly. I successfully completed the challenge and even kept walking regularly and then winter set in and it all came crashing to a halt. The Fitbit got packed up when we moved last year and I have no idea which of the boxes it’s still stuffed in. Still, it was a valiant effort on the part of my company.

I don’t recall what they they tried last year to get people motivated to be more healthy, I’m not even sure they bothered, but this year they have a new challenge: The Water Challenge!

Are you ready for a new challenge?

Did you know that roughly 70 percent of the body is made of water? Brain 75%, Lungs 90%, Bones 24%, Blood 85%, Skin 80%, Muscle 75%.

Drinking enough H2O has numerous benefits to the body. Are you drinking enough water per day?

Challenge: Drink 64 ounces of water per day for 25 days during the month of July (1 – 31). Only water intake counts, any other beverages such as coffee, juice, sodas do not count!

This is their big idea for this year? Let’s all drink more water? It doesn’t help that the email is written in Comic Sans which makes it impossible to take seriously. I also don’t know what the little factoids at the start have to do with this challenge. Those organs are also made of protein so I guess we need to eat a shitload[1] more protein than we are too?

Don't leave home without it.

I never leave home without it.

My hatred of water is well document on SEB. As is the fact that it’s what I primarily drink these days. I have a mug or two of coffee in the morning and then it’s water from my trusty 32oz Contigo water bottle that I keep with me everywhere I go. I hate every fucking sip of it, but I drink it just the same. On average I go through 3 to 4 full bottles throughout the course of a day and some days it’s even more. So I’m already doubling this challenge on a regular basis. It turns out the recommendation for males is 16 8oz cups of water a day which works out to about 4 of my water bottles. Keep in mind that the average diet includes sources of water other than drinking it straight so you don’t necessarily have to drink 16 8oz cups a day to hit the recommendation.

Needless to say, I’m underwhelmed by this challenge. I fucking hate drinking water and I’m already exceeding the challenge by quite a bit. They want us to track our intake using our Fitbits, smartphones, or just an Excel spreadsheet, but there’s no real way to verify that anyone is actually drinking the amount they’re claiming. Up for grabs are four $100 Dicks Sporting Goods gift certificates which is something I have absolutely no use for being that I don’t exercise and have never set foot inside a Dick’s Sporting Goods store.

To be fair, I have no idea how many glasses of water the average American drinks in a day and it’s entirely possible that most of us are probably relying too much on extracting water from other foods over drinking it straight. I know I’m guilty of that in my youth where most of what I drank was Coca-Cola, which does get you some water along with a whole bunch of stuff that counteracts anything good about the water in it. A quick and dirty Google search provides this CDC article on the National Cancer Institute’s 2007 Food Attitudes and Behaviors Survey:

Overall, 7% of adults reported no daily consumption of drinking water, 36% reported drinking 1 to 3 cups, 35% reported drinking 4 to 7 cups, and 22% reported drinking 8 cups or more. The likelihood of drinking less than 4 cups of water daily was significantly higher among participants aged 55 years or older than among those aged 18 to 34 (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 1.3), among residents of the Northeast than among residents of the South (AOR, 1.4), among participants who consumed 1 cup or less of fruits or vegetables per day than among those who consumed 4.5 cups or more (AOR, 3.0), among participants who did not exercise than among those who exercised 150 minutes or more per week (AOR, 1.7), and among participants who were neither trying to gain nor lose weight than among those trying to lose weight (AOR, 1.3).

So it sounds like there’s more than a few folks who could benefit from drinking more water, but 2007 was a long time ago so it’s possible things are better (or worse) today. Still, maybe this water challenge is just what my coworkers need to be better hydrated. As for me, I’m already running to the bathroom more times in a day than I’d prefer. It’s that use of the Comic Sans font, however, that makes me want to start drinking pop again just out of spite.

[1.] I wasn’t sure if it’s spelled “shitload” or “shit-load” or “shit load” so I looked it up and was pleasantly surprised to see that Merriam-Webster actually has a definition for it. It’s spelled “shitload.”

Weekend update.

weekendupdateSo I’ve been trying to get back into blogging on at least a semi-regular basis. My goal is to not let multiple weeks go by without publishing something. I’m actually surprised at the amount of content I have managed to put out recently. Basically, anything I would normally share to social media that I would type more than 3 sentences about I try to turn into a blog entry. There’s been a couple I’ve scrapped because I just couldn’t seem to make anything coherent out of them, but overall I think this has been helpful.

I’ve been thinking more and more about trying vlogging. I find that I’m being incredibly self-conscious about it. I don’t want to record it in front of anyone, including my wife, which makes it hard to do considering she’s home most of the time. There’s also a question of what to do a vlog about and how do I want to present myself. Should I do an energetic rant? Lots of folks doing those. Should I try to do it conversationally? Should I let my goofy side shine or be serious? Fuck it, I’ll just play a video game.

My mother has finally sold her house and is currently living with my sister in the neighborhood we grew up in. I’ve mentioned before how odd it is to go visit and not only be in the house of our former babysitter, but be directly across the street from the house I spent the first 17 years of my life in. It’s also annoying because the field we used to play in got bought up and someone shoved two houses into it so what was once the closest we had to a park is no more.

Healthwise, I’m still fat and I haven’t gotten back into exercising with the warmer weather like I know I should. Still hovering in the low to mid-290’s weight. My right knee has been bothering me for several months and I’ve got a doctor’s order to get it x-rayed, but haven’t gotten around to that yet. It’s hard to get up the motivation to do something like that when, despite having insurance, I will have to foot the entire cost as we’ve not hit our deductible yet.

Other than that it’s work, eat, sleep, play video games. I lead an incredibly boring life.

Picked up a couple of toys the other day.

BDCM5000B

It’s a pretty big coffee maker. Still trying to find room for it on the counter.

Anne and I have been making due with a little 4 cup coffee maker for ages now mainly because I was the only one of the two of us to regularly drink coffee, but she’s since developed a taste for it. So we decided it was time to buy a full-size coffee maker and I figured if I was going to do that then I’d go all the way and buy one with a built-in bean grinder.

I ended up ordering a Black & Decker CM5000B 12-Cup Mill and Brew Coffeemaker from Amazon as it had a pretty good rating and was the cheapest of the models with built-in grinders. Not only is it pretty, but it has a bronze tone permanent filter that you just rinse in the sink eliminating the need to purchase new coffee filters all the time. It can still use pre-ground coffee as well and can be programmed to turn on at a set time. Naturally we went out and bought some whole store-roasted beans at Holiday Market, but we’ve not tried it out yet. Probably this weekend. We’re still using the smaller pot for morning coffee before work.

The other thing I bought was a replacement solar lantern for the shepherd’s hook we have in front of our apartment. Ever since we moved to Ann Arbor we’ve had some form of fake lanterns hanging outside our apartment and we’ve carried on that tradition (such as it is) at the new place. Alas, the battery finally wore out on the last solar lantern we had bought around Christmas time a couple of years ago. We had bought a new lantern that looked like a glass lighthouse, but someone recently ripped out the solar panel cap that had the LEDs on it.

So, I replaced it with this:

It’s much bigger than the old lantern and the battery on it is amazing. At its best it’s only supposed to last 8 hours, but so far it’s been running right until sunrise. Not bad for being about $35 on Amazon. It helps to make it easier for folks to find the apartment. Not just friends and family, but delivery guys too. The little yard flag in the background is new too. We’re just starting to amass a collection of those.

Someday I’d like to purchase some of the Luminara fake candles because the flame effect on those is amazing, but with those starting at $50 and quickly going up and given that we’ve already had one solar lantern destroyed by the neighbors, I figured this would do fine.

Happy 15th Anniversary to the love of my life!

On April 21st, 2001 I said “I do” to my best friend and love of my life, Annette Gribble.

Wedding picture.

The start of the journey.

Fifteen years later and we’re still making it work. It hasn’t always been easy, but we’ve made it this far.

I wish I could come up with something profound to say about marriage after this much time, but the truth is I’m still figuring it out as I go along. All I can say for certain is I love my wife more each day than the day before and I’m grateful she chose me to spend her life with.

Happy 15th Anniversary, sweetheart! Here’s hoping for many more to come!

The joy of living near asshole neighbors.

There’s always that one asshole in every neighborhood. I thought it was me, but it turns out I was wrong.

Instead, it’s a family with small children that apparently thinks that qualifies them to use one of the two handicapped spaces in our parking lot. There’s three different vehicles that fight over using that spot because it’s the closest to our building and none of them have handicapped tags. I’ve watched them park there and unload the car even when the spot RIGHT FUCKING NEXT TO IT is open. Apparently that extra 2 feet they’d have to walk is just too much for them. 99% of the time there’s is an available spot elsewhere in the lot they could’ve parked, but they choose not to because apparently the rules don’t apply to them.

Meet the Asshole Family.

Meet the Asshole Family. That black SUV in the next spot? that’s one of the other two cars that fight over the handicapped spot.

What happens when the lot, including the handicapped spots, are full?

That’s what I was greeted with when I stepped out the door this morning. The windows are fogged so that SUV has been on the sidewalk all night long. There’s a lot at the end of the sidewalk in that last pic that’s just across the street that we were told we should use if our lot is full. That lot is never full. It’s an extra 30 feet. I’ve parked there when I’ve had to. We go over there occasionally anyway as that’s where our building’s dumpsters are located.

I really hate to think I’ve evolved into that cranky bastard neighbor, but it appears that I have and I’ve contacted the Canton Township police department about these asshats. I know in the grand scheme of things this is a relatively minor offense, but I have bad knees and I still walk the extra distance when I have to. I have friends and family that have legit handicapped stickers who would not be able to make use of this spot because some asshole thinks their toddlers can’t walk the extra distance without being abducted or something.

Hey, at least I haven’t left them passive-aggressive printouts on their windshield… yet.

The dangers of free promotional crap.

At my job as an IT Jedi one of the responsibilities I’ve been handed is the purchasing of miscellaneous items that are sometimes needed. Replacement hard drives, memory upgrades, adapter cables, that sort of thing. Every week or two I put together a list of requested purchases from our users and, when approved, I place the order with Newegg and/or, on the rare occasion, Amazon. When I look for items I try to find stuff that’s on sale and sometimes those things come with promotional items at no extra charge. For example, we’ve gotten free universal power adapters in the past which I tossed in a drawer and hand out when someone leaves their laptop charger at home.

A recent purchase of a Samsung SSD for one of our users came with a promotional item too. The video game Assassin’s Creed Unity. It’s important to note that I am not dumb enough to try and get away with using a corporate credit card to buy myself a video game, especially one I’ve no particular interest in (I’m way behind on AC games not even having played AC III yet). I noted it was included as a promotional item at no extra charge and didn’t think much of it because Samsung has done stuff like that in the past with the second Batman video game.

As it turns out it wasn’t a promotion by Samsung, but by Newegg themselves so it showed up on the list of items being purchased. I couldn’t see any way to remove it from the order so I let it go through. It ended up showing up on in the cart as an item immediately followed by a credit for the full amount thus costing the company nothing. When the invoices came in, however, the order was split over more than one of them and for some reason the credit for the game shows up on an entirely different invoice than the one the “purchase” shows up on. So it looks like I bought a game on the company card.

When I came into work today I had an email from the fellow who has to justify all the purchases of stuff from Newegg (it’s his company card we use) asking me to refrain from buying game codes on the company card even if it didn’t actually cost the company anything. I explained that I didn’t have a choice as there didn’t appear to be a way to tell Newegg no thanks for the freebie and I didn’t even want the game to begin with, but that I’d try to avoid it in the future if at all possible. I’m not in any real trouble and I can understand how it looks a bit odd to the higher ups so it’d be best to not repeat it.

Here’s the kicker to this little story: I tried the game code — it was free and it’s not like the company is going to use it. The game boots up and gets to the title screen with the PRESS ANY BUTTON TO START message. When you press a button it tries to play the opening cinematic and immediately crashes to the desktop.

This GIF seemed appropriate to this story.

This GIF seemed appropriate to this story.