tranche and paunche
Sunday, January 7 2018
It was another (hopefully the last) day of the unprecedented multi-week cold snap, and during the course of it, I burned through the last of the second tranche of firewood in the woodshed, meaning there is only one tranche left for the rest of the season. As I recall, this heating season was responsible for the burning of nearly all of the second tranche, so the hope is that we are at the mid-point of our heating needs. Since "peak cold" (the day when the average temperature bottoms out) is still two weeks away, you might think we're not halfway through the heating season. But my experience has been that early January is indeed the midpoint of the heating season. This is mostly because of the passive solar heating advantages that come with longer days, no tree foliage, and reflection of the sun off the snow, though it might also result from the acclimation to colder conditions that make heating seem less essential after a winter than it is after a summer.
I spent much of the day with the dogs in the recuperation fort, mostly watching embarrassingly-stupid shit on YouTube. I also watched the first half of the movie 28 Days Later, just because the "Metalhead" episode of Black Mirror was compared to aspects of it in a review. 28 Days Later is a fairly typical zombie movie, and you may remember what I think of those. I don't really get the zombie trope and why it is so popular. Why is it always the same from movie to movie? Despite all that, somehow 28 Days Later amounted to reasonably-watchable material. It certainly helps that it has a good soundtrack.
Clarence the Cat continues to be afflicted with his strange mange-like skin condition, which is gradually moving in a scabby front from his head down his throat and back of his neck to his body, leaving clear furless skin in its wake. I did some research and actual mange (or scabies) is caused by a tiny mite burrowing into the skin and feasting on keratin. So I scratched off a scab and looked at it under a microscope (this being 2018, the microscope in question was a simple USB device that required a computer for viewing). I didn't see any creepy crawlies, though the hairs did have little nodes on them that could've been eggs or perhaps some other symptom of infestation. I applied hydrocortisone cream, which must at least make Clarence feel better. Since I now have evidence that arthropods are not the problem, I should try using more athlete's foot cream in case the problem is fungal in origin. I'd tried in half-heartedly in the past, but Clarence's problem is worse than the occasional flare-ups I experience betwixt my toes.
Throughout the day today I did what I could to limit my intake of food, just because I've been on a self-denial kick of late and I'm also kind of paunchy from lack of exercise. I made it all the way out to 3:00pm before eating my first thing: a banana. It was surprisingly effective at ending my mental obsession with food. Later I had a bowl of Annie's lentil soup (to which I added a bunch of corn chips). And for dinner I had half a 170 calorie package of La Pasta ravioli, Gretchen's favorite brand of vegan ravioli (with an artichoke red sauce Gretchen whipped up). That all probably came to about 500 calories, which is a good bit less than I need to make it through a day. So maybe something good will begin to happen with my middle-age paunch.
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