Sunday, September 23, 2018

Friendship Disillusionment

I don’t know exactly when it happened. It just happened gradually over time. Some days it seemed like everything was normal, but then other days you passed by as if I weren’t even there. I called your name to say hello, and you kept walking. Perhaps you didn’t hear me. Perhaps you didn’t want to hear me.

We used to share so much together. We’d go out together and have fun. I know… We’re both getting older, and hanging out can be complicated, but things seem so different from the way it used to be. It’s as if every encounter has to avoided unless you know it will be carefully chaperoned. Remember when you used to call me in the middle of the night for no reason? Naturally you had been drinking, but I was there for you, and you were there for me too.

Of course you still come around from time to time… when you want something. And at least you still brag about me to your other friends when I come through for you. But then you quickly drift away again, all while pretending there’s nothing wrong.

It’s a one way relationship now. When I try to reach out to you, the gate is locked, the blinds pulled. You spare no expense to make approaching you seem like a bad time. I still can’t help but notice that you’re very careful not to burn the bridge lest you need something again in the future. Why won’t you tell me what went wrong?

When you see me walk into the room, you look startled and nervous. You carefully keep watch over your shoulder to see if I’m making my way towards you. If it seems I’m getting too close, you dart off to avoid even the remotest possibility that we could interact. Did I somehow hurt you?

But then there are those times when you occasionally walk up to me, as if everything were fine, and we were cool. You smile and seem genuine as we talk. It’s just so random and out of the blue. You didn’t even want anything. For a brief moment, you were the person I knew as a friend.

At least I thought we were friends. I thought we had that rare form of kinship that only seems to exist in legend. People envied what we had, and we took it for granted too, we revelled in it, and then… and then it was gone.

…and I don’t know why.

But that’s cool. I’ll give you plenty of space. If there’s one thing I’m really good at when it comes to dysfunctional relationships, it’s moving on as if the relationship never existed in the first place.

But still there are those unnerving glances you cast my way. It’s as if something was very wrong. It’s as if I were now a ghost, and you feel haunted.


Did you like what you read?

So fall is finally here, and it just so happens that it’s my favorite season. I love the autumn leaves and the chill in the air. Of all the seasons, the fall gets the award for being the eeriest and spookiest. This week’s rant was an exercise in creative writing. Thanks for reading it, and tell me what you think. If it seems like it’s going over well, I might do some more.

Once again, a big shout out to George and Glenn for the jokes. I really appreciate the help. If you would like to contribute a joke, please give our submission page a try, or just email me at flush2x@gmail.com.

Pax,

-f2x

Sunday, September 23, 2018
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Sunday, September 16, 2018

The Return of Anti-Spam

I was curious to know two things: 1) Did my anti-spam plugin block legitimate comments? and 2) How many spam comments were actually being left? To do this, I had to delete the Anti-spam plugin from my WordPress install, and wait to see what happened.

Except for sporadic comments from “The Oldest Rater”, there aren’t any comments. There may be one every six months from some rando in Europe, but it’s not like there’s really a whole lot to say about any given joke. Still, it’s a nice feature to have on any blog-style website in case the visitor just needs to get something off their chest.

Of course it really means a lot to me when anyone interacts with the site. Visit a page, click a star, leave a comment, hack the databa- wait… don’t do that last one. When people interact with the site, it gives the site a deeper meaning. But if not, well, I can live with that too.

As for how many spams… Well at first there weren’t very many at all, but just this past week there was a serious uptick. My e-mail started bleeping several times a day requesting moderation because a comment included a URL.

delete…

delete…

delete…

delete…

delete…

Awww fuckit! Just reinstall the damn anti-spam already.

And that was that.


LMDE 3 Random Freeze-ups

So topic #2 has to do with my recent installation of LMDE 3. Full disclosure, I had this problem on this computer back when I first got it and installed LMDE 2. The thing is, the freeze-ups were weekly to monthly, and got less frequent over time. With LMDE 3, this was daily! Something had to be done.

Fortunately Google came through on the first try. It has to do with disabling the CPU power saving states:

First you have to edit Grub

sudo pluma /etc/default/grub

Next you have to add this line to the end of the file:

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="intel_idle.max_cstate=1"

Finally, update Grub before doing a reboot:

sudo update-grub

Why am I telling you this? Actually, I’m not. I documenting this in case need to reinstall the OS for some reason and it starts acting up again.

Pax,

-f2x

PS: A big shout out to George and Glenn for the jokes. Thanks guys. If you would like to contribute a joke, please give our submission page a try, or just email me at flush2x@gmail.com. You can also email me to ask about getting a free* Flush Twice t-shirt! Have a great week! 🙂

Sunday, September 16, 2018
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Sunday, September 9, 2018

LMDE Upgrades

Let’s back up a moment… Like way far… Before Flush Twice… Even before Windows 95… The internet had only just reached Ohio, and BBS’s (aka Bulletin Board Systems) were still the coolest thing you could do with your home computer on a Saturday night. (Hey, it actually got me laid many times, which is more than I can say for reddit.)

It was the early 90’s and a friend of mine had introduced me to a new operating system. He was so excited about it! “What can you do with it?” I asked while feigning interest. Denny typed a few cryptic commands into what looked like a broken DOS prompt. It spit back equally cryptic nonsense as he explained with great excitement what the system was doing. At the time it didn’t make that much sense, and I wasn’t really all that impressed.

A few years later I would be very impressed during a computer show at Hara Arena when I witnessed an entire operating system installed with a graphical desktop environment in a mere 20 minutes. In both cases, that OS was Linux, and after the latter, I became a Linux user. Fun fact: Flush Twice was originally hosted on a Linux server in my basement.

Of course some of you may recall my foray into the military back in 2005. After I joined the Army, my propensity for Linux was not well tolerated, and I had to switch over to Windows again, but in 2012, I was a free man, and I immediately steered back towards Linux. Of course my old distro had withered and died, so I had to find a new one.

Linux Mint was particularly appealing, owing to the fact that the system could be installed with full multimedia codecs in a mere 20 minutes. Everything just worked, and the Mate Desktop Environment was so clean, simple, and intuitive that I really didn’t have to Google info on how to use it.

Now while Linux Mint offers a variety of desktop choices, their flagship is called Cinnamon. It’s a home grown desktop very similar to Mate, but slightly more hackerish. It also seemed glitchier to me, and it looked very dark. I prefered Mate. It was lighter, seemed to work better, and it was easier to find everything.

A small failing of Linux Mint at the time was that it was based off of Ubuntu. While this made rebranding and packaging a snap, the whole OS had to be reinstalled about once a year when the latest version was released. An alternative was Linux Mint Debian Edition. It was a little grittier, but I wouldn’t have to keep reinstalling it so often.

So LMDE (the Debian branch) became my OS of choice, and with it, I could just get things done. Of course 3 years ago, LMDE became LMDE 2, and just recently it became LMDE 3, and wouldn’t you know it… They discontinued the version that included the Mate Desktop Environment, so you can’t just upgrade in place… Nope. I had to do a fresh install with the Cinnamon desktop.

OK, so all is not lost. This is Linux after all. After installing LMDE 3 with Cinnamon, I just installed the Mate desktop packages (of which there are many) and switched to using it instead of Cinnamon. With three desktop installations, that was a lot of downloading and installing, and it went a little over the usual 20 minutes.

But still, the computers have all been updated, and everything seems pretty much like it was. Given how the interfaces changed from Windows 7 to 8 to 10, keeping things the same is a relief. I take comfort that the Linux community is dedicated to keeping desktop computers alive and well for many years to come.

So special thanks to Clem and company for all their hard work on creating and maintaining Linux Mint.

Also thanks to this week’s joke contributors: Glenn and George. I wouldn’t be able to keep doing this if it weren’t for their contributions, because I ran out of jokes a long time ago. If you would like to contribute a joke, you can submit one here or email me at flush2x@gmail.com. If your joke is used, you’ll get a thank you from me and a warm fuzzy feeling inside!

Pax,

-f2x

Sunday, September 9, 2018
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Sunday, September 2, 2018

Burger Time

After telling my guest to help herself to the ice in my freezer, she opened the door and held her mouth slightly agape for a moment before getting her ice. “You sure must like hamburgers,” she said with an uncomfortable tone.

It just so happened that my local grocery had a sale on 80/20 ground beef recently. The price was low enough that I made the decision to stock up. Once I got the meat home, I portioned it into quarter pound patties sandwiched between wax papers. There were over 50 patties stacked neatly on the right side of my freezer, so I can see where a casual observer might think I was a tad bit obsessive.

Of course if she’d looked at the shelf on the freezer door, she might have also made a similar comment about the pork loin chops and chicken breasts. Somehow the stacks of frozen vegetables next to the burgers completely escaped her perception as well. It’s a carefully organized ice box, and there’s enough food inside to last for months. It’s not a vain attempt to survive the apocalypse. It’s actually economics.

Meat prices tend to be volatile, and they spend more time being too expensive rather than reasonably priced. For this reason, I buy a lot of it whenever it goes on sale and freeze it. After all, food stored in the freezer will basically last forever. and this gives me the ability to enjoy the foods I like, even when the prices are much higher than I could justify spending.

So yes, Michelle, I do like hamburgers. In fact, I like a wide variety of foods. What I don’t like is spending more money than I have to, and that’s why I stock up on volatilely priced goods when the prices are low.

But this wasn’t over. Next came the comment about how “GFS has really good frozen hamburgers”.

Now I’m not a fan of store bought premade frozen hamburgers. I’ve tried about a dozen different brands from the budget to the gourmet over the years. They always say “100% Beef” on them, and I’ve never seen any other ingredients listed. While they do taste like a meat patty, and some are almost enjoyable, they don’t taste like a normal burger. No matter how you cook them, there is always a slightly rubbery texture, the smell is gamey, and the fat seems to have a much lower viscosity when it melts.

And here’s the kicker with store bought frozen hamburgers: If you thaw them, things get really weird.

“Thaw them?” she remarked with palpable disgust.

Yeah, like if you want to make chili, tacos, sloppy joe, meatloaf, or anything that uses ground beef that isn’t in the shape of a disk.

OK, at this point her brain was about to break. She understood the idea of buying ground beef to make these things. She even understood the concept of freezing ground beef and thawing it out later to make these things. The problem came with the idea of using frozen hamburger patties to make a meatloaf, and couldn’t grasp why anyone would even think to do that.

Because it’s ground beef?

Her head couldn’t wrap around the concept. If I need a pound of ground beef for a recipe, I take out four of my home pressed ground beef patties and let it thaw. I can then break it apart to make brown ground beef, or mix it with ingredients to make meatballs or some other dish.

“If you’re going to make something else out of it, then why make it into a hamburger [patty] to start with?” she pointed out.

Because when I buy the ground beef, I don’t exactly know every meal I’m going to make with it. It’s easier to just turn them all into 1/4 pound patties, freeze them, and go from there.

She shook her head in bewilderment. This was just too much for her brain to wrap around. Apparently in her version of reality, you’re supposed to know exactly what you’re going to make with the ground beef before you buy it, and not buy more than you need over the next week. Changing those plans after that point somehow violated the sanctity of the food. And using a raw hamburger patty for anything other than making a hamburger was definitely a bizarre notion only a madman could conceive.

But when it comes time to make a meal, it’s easier to turn four frozen home pressed hamburger patties into a meatloaf than it is to turn a frozen pound of ground beef into four hamburger patties. When I buy the meat, I just portion it and press them all, so later on I have easy options available to me, and I buy in bulk so that whenever prices go up, I’ll still have great food choices available to me for many weeks to come.

It’s not a hard concept, Michelle.

Pax,

-f2x

P.S. Another special thanks to Glenn and George for this week’s jokes. People who contribute the jokes to this site are truly the best people in the world. You can contribute jokes by going here or by emailing them to flush2x@gmail.com.

Sunday, September 2, 2018
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Sunday, August 26, 2018


Yes, It’s a Shameless Plug

So it’s basically the only ad I ever run on this site. Once again I am promoting mBlip. If you haven’t tried it lately, well, why the heck not?

Drawing from over 100 YouTube channels and growing, mBlip provides up to the minute videos from YouTube content creators. With the addition of more generalized categories, you can focus on subjects such as News, STEM, and Food. There’s a lot going on every day, and it’s amazing how it just keeps getting better and better.

So if you’ve never tried mBlip, you really ought to check it out, and if you haven’t tried it recently, then give it another go already! It might just surprise you!

I’ve really put a lot of work into mBlip, and I really hope that people from all walks of life can get something out of it. If you have any suggestions about how the site could be made better, I’m very interested in hearing/reading what you have to say.

So for those of you who are regular mBlippers, I thank you! It’s really been a fun site for me to build and grow. Again I just want to give a special thanks to Glenn and George for the jokes. Flush Twice would not be possible if not for the dedicated people who contribute the jokes to this site. You can contribute jokes here or by emailing them to flush2x@gmail.com.

Pax,

-f2x

Sunday, August 26, 2018
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