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Recent Projects: Picasa and ancient breadmakers

Recent Projects: Picasa and ancient breadmakers published on

How To Make Picasa Index All Of Your Frigging Images, Rather Than Merely The Ones Of Which It Approves

Picasa by default does not index PNGs, GIFs, or TGAs. It indexes, but does not display, pictures of under 250×250 pixels in size. The problem with this is not that this is the default setting – this set-up makes sense for people using the software mainly for photo management, who probably make up most of its user base, and who don’t want Picasa indexing all the GIFs in every piece of software on their machine’s UIs.

The problem is that failures that this causes happen silently. In Windows, when one right-clicks a PNG, GIF, or TGA and selects “Open in Picasa,” Picasa opens, but the image doesn’t. There’s no pop-up to explain this. When one attempts to add such a file to the Picasa index through the “File >> Add file to Picasa…” menu option, it scrolls down to the appropriate folder and behaves as if the file was added. There is no pop-up explaining that it wasn’t.

One can open an undersize image in Picasa by clicking on it in Windows Explorer, but it won’t show up in the directory view. It also won’t upload with the rest of the folder if one attempts to publish to Google Photos.

So, if one (today, one is me) finds that not all the files in a folder are showing up, one doesn’t know why, and assumes the problem to be a bug in Picasa’s indexing. (I would bet that some of the people in this thread are actually having this problem.)

So, to make Picasa recognize PNGs, GIFs, and TGAs:

1) Open Picasa. Go to “Tools >> Options…”

2) Click on the “File Types” tab.

3) Check the boxes for the filetypes you want it to index and click “OK”.

To make it recognize small images, go to “View” and click the menu item “Small Pictures”.

Something else to keep in mind, if you find Picasa still isn’t showing all of your images after doing this, is that it is by default set to detect duplicate photos and only load one – which seems to apply to thumbnails and their larger versions. I found that with duplicate detection turned on, Picasa (version 3.1.0) would about half the time index my thumbnails and then skip over the original version. (The other half it would index the original and skip the thumbnails, which I think is a more desirable behavior.) This, I would label definitively as a bug – it’s just not something you want your image management software doing in any circumstance. The only solution I could find for this was to switch duplicate detection off entirely. To do this,

1) Open Picasa. Go to “Tools >> Options…”

2) Click on the “General” tab.

3) Uncheck the box for “Automatically detect duplicate files while importing.”

Finally, if you were for any reason to want Picasa to show transparent placeholder images of the type used in web design, you’re probably out of luck – I haven’t been able to find any way to accomplish this.

How To Make Your Elderly Breadmaker Blend The Dough Properly So There Aren’t Big Clumps Of Dry Flour Left In There

1) Remember to actually screw the kneading paddle in there. (Not that I have ever made this mistake more than twice.)

2) Put all the ingredients except the yeast into the basin, and mix them up with a spoon just enough that all the flour is at least damp. Then add the yeast and start the machine.

(This is a Welbilt Baker’s Select ABM6200. If the internet is to believed, it doesn’t even exist.)

A post calculated to exasperate vegetarians.

A post calculated to exasperate vegetarians. published on

I’ve been eating like, mostly fruit this week. It’s hot, and I don’t feel like cooking, and my last couple weeks in Shibata my diet got really bad, so I ended up with a vitamin C deficiency or something. So I keep just buying bananas and nectarines and apples and saying, “I’ll have these for breakfast,” and then eating them every single meal. This probably is not very healthy?

Mo has been skipping meals because it’s hot, and because her sister is exerting Peer Pressure on the health benefits of fasting. (Bad sister.) So, today I convinced her to go with me to Ryogoku – aka, Where The Sumo Wrestlers Are – and have chanko nabe – aka, What The Sumo Wrestlers Eat. It’s basically stew made with a bunch of different types of meat, with the aim of providing lots of protein. We got one of the more pedestrian varieties that only had five protein sources: chicken, chicken liver, beef, deep-fried tofu, and something called kinkan.

The kinkan were two little yellow things that looked kind of like egg yolks. Mo looked at them dubiously and asked the waiter what they are. “They’re from chicken,” he said, and then he launched into a very clinical description I was unable to follow.

“Oh!” said Mo, looking concerned. Continue reading A post calculated to exasperate vegetarians.

How to deal with problems.

How to deal with problems. published on

My employer behaved badly today. When I got home, I felt the need to do something productive that had nothing to do with work, which put kanji study and lesson planning out. So I gutted a fish for the first time. It made me feel better.

(Yesterday I’d bought three small whole fish planning to try this over the weekend; perhaps I am clairvoyant.)

It actually didn’t occur to me until after I’d done it that the whole activity might be kind of aggressive. Fish do not look much like people; I felt a little bad for them, but I don’t think I considered the gutting of the fish as something related to my boss.


Echigo-Yuzawa published on

Went to Echigo-Yuzawa and rode the skylift and ate soba and suchlike with Mo today. There may be mountain pictures later, depending on whether they look horrible when I unload the camera.

I brought Mo a box of Niigata-local-specialty-or-at-least-that’s-what-it-says-on-the-box-type cookies – this is a Japan thing – because she said she’d never been to Niigata city before. She brought me anko Peeps (about which, as I have previously mentioned, I am enthusiastic), Maisen tonkatsu (which is apparently famous and is incredibly good, and I don’t even normally like tonkatsu), and Sadaharu Aoki macarons (also insanely good and apparently both famous and expensive). I maybe feel slightly guilty?

I think the moral here is, if I mention that I can’t find pinto beans here and she asks me if I want her to bring me up a kilo, don’t say “no,” because she will come up with something even bigger.

Yukata and eggplants.

Yukata and eggplants. published on

I now own this yukata, and have learned how to put it on. Yukata obi are easier than Nagoya obi, but I still don’t have the motor skills for them. I’m also shaped like an eggplant. Kimono are designed for more cylindrically-shaped people.

I feel kind of rude about getting the yukata at Uniqlo. The shop where we went to for the class was also selling yukata for about the same price, and I kinda brought mine in still in the Uniqlo packaging? I’m not very classy.

Apparently, at least some Japanese kids get very excited about eggplants. In the grocery store today, I saw a little girl pointing excitedly to a display of eggplants, saying, “Mom, look, it’s eggplant! Get some eggplant!” I see kids doing this about strawberries, sweet potatoes, and curry (not together), but this is the first indication I’ve seen that eggplant is also a Kid Food in Japan.

Conspiracy theory

Conspiracy theory published on

I think Japanese grocery stores artificially scent their produce sections with whatever fruit they’re currently pushing. The Uoroku’s present strawberry scent is intense and pervasive. I keep accidentally buying strawberries.

So, uh, I understand the psychology of this – but I don’t know why this drugstore I went into yesterday smelled like myrrh. It was just a normal drugstore, not some kind of drugstore/head shop cross-breed. Is the scent of myrrh supposed to encourage spending on luxury items live expensive conditioner? Maybe someone just spilled something myrrh-scented.

lacrimawanders invited me to a kitsuke class with her last night, and loaned me a kimono to practice with – she is awesome! I wore a kimono properly for the first time! Almost all by myself the third try! (Except for the obi, which I STILL MAINTAIN is impossible to put on on one’s own.) lacrimawanders actually did do it all by herself, which awes me. This is an incredibly complex process.

(I also sat seiza-style for long periods of time, which is very painful.)

And due to lacrimawanders‘s vast knowledge of stores in Niigata, I now know where to buy Dr. Bronner’s. This is incredibly exciting to me.


Consumption published on

The variety of the contents of my fridge has a direct effect on my mood. Today I opened it and saw that I had fish, ramen, broccoli, eggs, fava beans, tomato sauce, cheese, cake, strawberries, soy milk, guava nectar, whiskey, chocolate syrup, margarine, and orange juice, and was so rendered immediately happy. And then I ate the strawberries and half the cheese, thus decreasing the variety of the fridge, and so my happiness upon the next occasion I open it.

I did go to the tea stall in the grocery and buy Presumably Quality Tea. I got a small package of 500-yen loose-leaf stuff, which smells very smoky and serious, but doesn’t actually have a lot of taste. To use Terminology, it lacks body. So I’ll probably buy some other kind of expensive tea next time. The tea lady was not snotty, as I had predicted – she got very enthusiastic explaining the tea stamp card to me. Evidently it gets you some free tea when you fill it up. In general, when Japanese commerce inflicts stamp cards on me, the cashiers look at me uncomfortably, say “stamp card desu,” and hope I don’t ask any questions. Maybe she hadn’t had many customers that day.

I need to go to the grocery store

I need to go to the grocery store published on

but I can’t right now because I’m craving feta cheese, and in addition to making me sick, feta cheese is 1200 yen.

I also need to buy tea. Going home and drinking my Celestial Seasonings green tea has brought me to the unwelcome realization that the Japanese brand I usually drink is awful. So I’ll probably have to go to the special-special tea booth at the front of the grocery and let the Tea Lady look down at me superciliously from the block she stands on, as I squint my jet-lagged eyes at my DS stylus, fumblingly typing in tea terms. She’ll probably gesture with her apron.

It’s been a month, and I was doing fine. But the World of Warcraft withdrawal’s hitting me again. Every once in a while my fingers twitch out the keyboard shortcut sequence for Hunter’s Mark, then Serpent Sting, then Arcane Shot. At odd moments I find myself anxiously recalculating whether the blue neck attachment I’m wearing is really optimal for my DPS, trying to remember whether I still have my old green one in the bank.

Look what I found!

Look what I found! published on

Pinto beans! And this teeny little bag cost 400 yen. I am soaking them and will make them into chili tomorrow.

“Pinto bean” in Japanese is “uzura mame,” which means “quail bean.” I assume this is because they look like quail eggs. So it seems like Uzura from Princess Tutu’s name must be “quail.” I wonder if there is some deep reason for this.

(Japan really likes quail eggs. They are boiled, and then breaded, fried, and put on a stick to eat as a snack at bars. I don’t really know how I feel about Japan getting a jump on the South in the frying-stuff game here. Anyway, quail eggs are cheaper than pinto beans here and that feels like a violation of the natural order.)

Also, here is a booth down the road which contains a sort of vending machine, which you can apparently use to have the rice you grew on your farm sterilized so your family can eat it. I found it very difficult to translate the kanji because it’s all brushy.

Today’s frivolity.

Today’s frivolity. published on

Things that smell nice together: Nippon Kodo Mainichi blend incense, Earl Grey, and rain.

I woke up at two PM wanting bacon, so I went to the store, bought bacon, fried it, and ate it with fava beans and sushi rice. Fava beans seem to have more flavor frozen than fresh. They are not a very classy food in Japan – apparently, like edamame, you have them with beer at bars. My manager thinks it’s funny that I eat them so often.

It’s strange to walk outside on a warm day, sweating and feeling dumb for having worn my coat, and spot, through an abrupt gap in the houses, the mountains still covered with snow. It feels like someone might have cast a spell on them, to hold them back; or cast a spell on my coat.

A nice thing about living in a non-Christian nation is that the mail runs on Sundays. I have a tiny adorable Kodansha English Library edition of Comet in Moominland now, as well as a new Japanese textbook (for me) and a new English textbook (for Mee, Goody Proctor, and the Devil).

Today was the Doll Festival.

Today was the Doll Festival. published on

Me: So after today is that song (I don’t know how to say “going to be taken out of rotation all the PA systems”) going to go away?

Manager: “Go away?” You mean the “let’s put out dolls” song? You don’t like it?

Me: It’s playing everywhere! All the time! And it’s creepy!

Manager: It’s not creepy! It’s the little girls’ song!

Me: It sounds like (I don’t know how to say “haunted house theme music”) ghosts are going to come out.

Manager: “It sounds like ghosts are going to come out…” *laughs at my 5-year-old-ish phrasing for several minutes*

I’m glad my imperfect Japanese affords people some amusement.

Also, for a second Doll Festival-themed products made me think Marshmallow Peeps had finally infiltrated Japan:


Obviously I had to buy the baby chick and see what it was made of. The answer is “sweet bean paste,” also known as “my one true love.” It was good!