Four short blurbs: Livejournal down due to political reasons, stupid sickness, [food - food coloring =], and being annoyed by 1-800-620-0371 (

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Summary: Livejournal has been down and out the past couple of days, and the Russian election might have something to do with it. I link to an article about eating food without food coloring. And I talk about getting woken up by a phone call from 1-800-620-0371, where a robo-voice left half a voice-mail telling me I *must* call them back immediately but left no specific information. Yeah, that sounds legit.

BLOT: (06 Apr 2011 - 11:00:34 AM)

Four short blurbs: Livejournal down due to political reasons, stupid sickness, [food - food coloring =], and being annoyed by 1-800-620-0371 (

Livejournal down to political reasons... I'm one of those weirdos that still likes Livejournal (pro-tip: don't click that right now, it won't work) so I've been kind of sad to see it decline in usership (still fairly active for certain types of users) and now it is being DoSed (Denial of Service attacked) pretty hard. Well, I looked into it because it has been like this for a couple of days and according to one article I found, that DoS against LJ might be due to political reasons. That sucks. Maybe it will be back up soon (and then I'll copy and paste my updates there en masse so people can shake their heads.

...stupid sickness... Just a bit to say that I am sick. I've tried to avoid it by sheer force of will but nothing has come of that (screw you, The Secret). Nothing too bad. Sore throat that is getting worse. Headache that won't quit. And that vaguely stopped up dizzy feeling that shows up around bad colds and any flu, where things feel a bit off and you are not so much suffering from vertigo as feeling like a person who is recovering from vertigo. I'm about to dose myself with water and orange juice, eat a bit of food, and then probably take myself to bed. Oh, and I guess I should email my professor and tell her that I won't be coming in tonight.

...[food - food color =]... I have told my wife about this a bit, and post it here largely for her and Alicia: How food without food coloring does not taste as sweet. Basically, people were fed food without food coloring and whined up a storm about how it tasted. I'd be willing to try a test like that. One time I age green ketchup (remember those fads?). My brain went: oh, this is green, like wasabi, so it must be like a mustard. When I ate it, it tasted wrong and sweet and sour. It tasted just like ketchup, but in that same way that drinking coffee when you expect tea will trigger your body to handle it poorly, not having the proper visual cues threw everything off. However, if someone said "This is chocolate only it is gray because because we avoided the brown coloring," I don't think I would go "THIS TASTES NOTHING LIKE GRAY!"

...and being annoyed by 1-800-620-0371 ( Since I am sick, decided to sleep in. Someone called, woke me up. I got up, grabbed the phone, brought up the voice mail, and get a message where someone is in the middle of an urgent "You MUST call this number IMMEDIATELY". Nothing like who the call is for, or why. I look around, go to a Who Called from 1-800-620-0371? style site, and get the same basic information left on the phone. This is the "Takhar Group". Except despite the "mutated neutrinos have excited the Earth's core and we need you to immediately save the human race" level of panic in the man's voice (pro-tip, Takhar Group: teach your robo-dialers the difference between forceful and whiningly urgent), turns out they handle piddling claims from old book clubs and Columbia House CD clubs and stuff. I paid off all my owings back before cancelling all such things, so I am going to assume that their whole business model rests on panicking people into paying off a bill already stamped paid. And, well, bills that people haven't paid, but I seriously doubt that TG is a bill collector so much as one of those companies that buys off debt from other companies cheap [i.e. pays like $2 for $100 worth of debt and then risks an additional $5 in time on the hope than 1 out of 10 pay, for a profit of $30].

And those are my short blurbs for the morning. Off to email a professor and then get my butt back to sleep. I should totally take my laptop to bed and watch Gamera movies in between naps.

Food, Phone Pests.


Written by Doug Bolden

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