Force MFC-8890DW to Keep Printing

Today we will be learning how to use a Magical Toner-Generating Device (MTGD) to enable your Brother black-and-white laser printer (specifically, model MFC-8890DW) to print even when it is out of toner! We’ll use this Weird Trick Invented by a Random Guy on the Internet! Printer Manufacturers Hate Him! But that’s okay, because The Feeling is Mutual!

(Full disclosure: I did not invent this trick. But I like to pretend that I did, because it makes me feel smarter and more nefarious.)

My Brother MFC-8890DW has been complaining of low toner for a while now, but I have been ignoring it because there is no appreciable difference in the documents it is printing. Then last week, right after printing a perfectly crisp page of text, the printer announced that I needed to Replace Toner and petulantly refused to print me more documents until I met its extortionate demands. However, based on my past experience with laser printers, I am under no illusions that they suddenly go from “prints just fine” to “completely out of toner”, and based on my experience with printer manufacturers, I am completely willing to believe that they will disable your printer and hold it hostage as a sort of scheme to force you into buying more printer supplies.

The general approach here is going to be to install a Magical Toner-Generating Device (MTGD). It works by absorbing the lies spewed forth by printer manufacturers and condensing them into a black powdery substances which can then be applied to paper the same as regular toner. Quality may vary, but so far I have found the results to be satisfactory. The device itself looks like this:

electrical_tape

Thus, we come to the nefarious directions for circumventing the printer’s extortion scheme. I like to think of this as the hostage (that’s me) escaping from the extortionist (that’s the printer), subduing it (after a brief scuffle), blindfolding it, putting it on the edge of a cliff, and holding a cattle prod to its back while shouting “Print, curse you! PRINT!” This process may violate the DMCA and/or other local laws, it may void your warranty, and it may result in an immense sensation of personal satisfaction. Use at your own risk.

  1. Open the front cover.
  2. Pull out the toner cartridge.
  3. On the right side of the cartridge, locate the little clear, round “observation window”.
  4. Apply the MTGD. That is to say, cover this window with black electrical tape.
  5. Put the cartridge back in and close the cover.

Here are two helpful illustrations of this complex technical procedure:

Toner cartridge: Before!

Toner cartridge: After!

In my case, this operation convinced the printer to merrily continue on its way, printing completely acceptable pages. (Since the printer claimed the toner was empty, and since we know a printer would never lie about its toner levels, I like to think it’s now using magic toner.)

I need to go do something else now, as I just heard a strange noise and the printer seems to have shifted position overnight, inching a little closer to my office chair. This won’t take long.

On Usability and Folding Laundry

The importance of feeling the consequences of your own work can scarcely be overestimated.

I sometimes fold laundry in our household. Well, okay, I occasionally fold laundry in our household. That is to say, at least twice I have folded laundry in our household. And on one of these occasions, my long-suffering wife asked me a seemingly random question.

Wife:
How do you hang hand towels?
Me:
What?
Wife:
Hand towels. Like if you’re hanging a towel on the rack, how do you do it?
Me:
(picking up a towel I’d just folded) The normal way, threading the narrow end through the towel holder. I’d just unfold the towel once and…oh.

Turns out I was completely incompetent at folding hand towels, because I’d been folding them in the wrong direction. Thus, anytime someone wanted to use one of the towels I’d folded, they had to first unfold it all the way and then re-fold it.

Apart from making me feel like an imbecile, this little experience reminded me of a lesson I’ve seen in action many times. Had I been the one hanging hand towels in addition to the one folding them, the problem would have been immediately obvious. But unless we actually use the end result we’re producing (or have excellent user feedback mechanisms in place), we’re flying blind.

This is especially true in the software world. If you’re not using your own software, then I’ll take long odds that it’s got significant usability problems. I have worked with developers who blame everything on the user, vindicating their own blinkered view of their software product. “gah, these users. If they’d only use the software correctly then we wouldn’t have to make these silly changes.” I cringe every time this happens, and I’ve heard variations on it more than once in my career. If you’re blaming your users for problems they find in your software, it’s time to find another career. The whole point of software development is solving people’s problems. If you’re not interested in doing that, then what are you doing here?

The need for real-world feedback on software is one of the reasons “hallway usability testing” is so valuable. The idea is that it doesn’t take a special kind of user to find usability problems in your application. You can grab just about any random human being who is not the guy who wrote the program, sit him down in front of the computer, ask him to perform a task using your software, and immediately start discovering usability problems. This kind of usability testing is embarrassingly easy to perform, and the majority of development shops (and developers) don’t do it.

The fact that this is true makes it all the more embarrassing that such vast quantities of software are so difficult to use. Take time tracking software, for instance. I have never worked for a company whose time tracking software was a pleasure to use. In all cases, it would have been easier to just enter time in an Excel spreadsheet. (Come to think of it, I believe the first company I worked for actually did track time this way.) I can think of no reason why this should be true, that all time tracking software stinks. There is nothing inherently difficult about writing software to record how much time you’ve worked. But developers, by and large, do not put a premium on software that’s eminently usable, so long as it can be made to work. “Does the software allow users to enter time and generate a report for managers? Great. Meets the requirements. Done.” In fairness, the blame does not land solely at developers’ feet; often companies are unwilling or unable to pay for the time required to really polish software. But although the law of diminishing returns is definitely in effect here, it does not take a huge investment to make some big gains in software usability.

As a developer, start by forcing yourself to use what you’re writing (and use it in unexpected or unusual ways). Also, put it in front of a disinterested party and make them use it. Watch (or record) – but don’t give them any hints. It will be painful, but it’s pain you need to feel. Take the results, pick the top three worst problems the user ran into, fix them, and do it again. Iterate.

As a user, start being willing to pay for software that’s elegant and easy to use. These attributes are admirable goals in and of themselves; we should be encouraging them to the extent we are able.

Dates Matter, and Not Just for Singles

I’m not sure exactly when it started becoming popular, but at some point removing the date from blog posts became chic. I believe the idea was that if an article has a date on it, then people who arrive at your site by searching Google for content can tell how old the article is, and if it’s old, they will no longer be interested in it. Therefore, to increase traffic from Google, you should remove all the dates from your websites.

I cannot express the extent to which this drives me completely bonkers.

There are two types of writing: timeless and time-sensitive. This post you’re reading is an example of timeless content. It does not matter whether you read it the day after it was written or twenty years down the road; my opinion remains the correct one.

An example of a time sensitive post would be anything written about the technical details of Ruby on Rails, where the likelihood of it being completely out of date and irrelevant to the current version of the framework approaches 95% approximately four months after the date of authorship.

For some people, I’ve read that removing dates from your content can increase your traffic from Google, because if two articles are written about substantially the same topic and one is a few years newer, then who wants to read the old one? In order to continue driving eyeballs to your site, you’ve got to remove dates entirely so that the eyeballs can’t tell at a glance whether the content is still relevant or not.

In a piece of fiction, or perhaps an opinion piece, I don’t really care when it was written. (I might still like to know, to get a better idea of the historical context, but it won’t drive me nuts.) In the case of anything technical, if the article is not up-front about when it was written, I will not even bother to read it (unless I’m desperate).

Furthermore, do not ever try to placate both sides by only including part of the date. I will not pick on anyone in particular here by including direct links, but suffice it to say that the other day I was seeking an answer to a technical question and found a blog which only listed month and day. “August 30th?” I said. “That’s relatively recent.” Except after reading some of the article, it became clear that it was the August 30th of several years ago and the answer in the post was no longer the correct one.

Perhaps my biggest gripe arising from this pet peeve of mine is the purported goal of this date eradication: to drive traffic to your website. The goal of good marketing should be to direct people to solutions that solve their problems. (Hopefully, your solution is one that will solve lots of people’s problems.) The goal should not be to grab as many random strangers as possible off of Google and then waste a few minutes of their time staring at your website. That might be lucrative (or it might not; there seem to be arguments from both sides), but it’s neither helping people nor making the web a better place.

Make the web more useful. Say “yes” to dates.

The Myth of the Unemployed Programmer

A software developer should never truly be “unemployed”. Many professions require a certain capital investment or infrastructure to perform work–for example, if I am a cabinetmaker, I require woodworking tools, wood, stains, finish, and probably a shop to store it all (plus the works-in-progress). On the other hand, a software developer in the modern world merely requires a computer and Internet connection–all the other tools can be had for free. Even deploying a web application requires very little capital investment in a world where $5/month servers exist.

I have mused upon this concept in the past, but never with the sense of immediacy engendered by the events of the past week. As of last Wednesday, I suddenly became an “unemployed” software developer when I was laid off. This, of course, prompted many non-software-related activities (my résumé needed a rewrite and my online presence–including this blog–was sadly neglected), but after the initial flurry settled down, I was faced with the decision universal to the unemployed: how shall I spend my time?

The options are not infinite (financial concerns for most of us preclude a spontaneous sailing trip to the Bahamas), but they are vast. I could implement one of the many software ideas which perpetually rattle about in a developer’s brain. I could write new themes for my wife’s blog, or her other one, or her other one. I could try to catch up with my wife in website count. I could delve into any number of modern developments in technology, most of which are fascinating and directly applicable to my career. I could write a book, because as my wife observes, once you exclude teen romance and vampires (and vampiric teen romance) there is a certain dearth of quality literature for the juvenile boy. (Though, if I did write a book, I’m not sure you’d ever know about it. On the one hand, I feel like a man ought to write under his own name and take responsibility for it, but on the other hand, I consider it merely common courtesy to preserve his friends and acquaintances from ever feeling obliged read whatever drivel he produces.) I could even finish that basement remodeling project I started eleven months ago, but let’s not get crazy here.

None of these (home improvement excepted) require anything significantly more substantial than time and sterling intellect, both of which I now have in abundance. What a strange thing!

Having dwelt upon the matter at intervals in the preceding days, I have resolved that three things shall happen:

  • This blog shall receive some sorely needed attention. (There is an argument to be made for “quality over quantity”, but 22 months between posts is pushing it.)
  • My WordPress theme development skills shall be enhanced in the furtherance of my wife’s online empire.
  • I shall enhance my professional skills by writing an amazing web application, guaranteed to please. More on that later, but as a hint to those who have known me long, it might improve morale. Or at least keep track of it.

The bottom line is that there is no such thing as true unemployment for the modern creative, and in my case, it is time for some housekeeping. (As an aside, if you’d like to hire me, that’s fine too. I won’t take it personally when you attempt to deprive me of all this glorious free time.)

Day Thirty: Done and Done

Day Thirty: diet complete. The Whole Thirty has been vanquished. It’s been a rough thirty days, but this just goes to show you what grit, determination, and fighting spirit can do for you.

I imagine there may be certain pressing questions being asked by the faithful readership right about now, among them such gems as “How much weight did Matt lose in total?” and “What are you going to do now that you’re free?” and “Wasn’t yesterday Day Seventeen?” This last one I feel deserves some slight attention. You see, as I explained to you previously, time dilation effects are in play here. What we have is a serious gravitational field in the vicinity of the Whole Thirty diet, caused by the immense vacuum in my interior. When I realized that time was actually passing more swiftly for those outside the effects of the field than it was for me, I thought immediately of my blog and knew that in order for these posts to make any sense I would have to compensate for the time differential, as the day count would not correspond to that being kept by those following along at home. Doubtless the differential was already in play and you’ve been confused all along why I was calling day twenty a mere twelve and so forth. Thus, via the careful application of advanced mathematical calculation and a bottle of wine, I have determined that this instant in time is the correct one on which to post the Day Thirty summary.

My summary of the Whole Thirty diet is that it is a crock. It did not cure heartburn, it did not make me feel like a tiger, and I officially class the proponents of this madness alongside those runners who claim that running makes you feel good. I agree entirely with a good friend who expresses the candid opinion that most of the alleged health benefits gained by our paleo ancestors was not from their diet but from their habit of alternately chasing and fleeing from sabre-toothed tigers.

Unfortunately, it seems that I’m not yet entirely in the clear, because now my personal medical advisor has a new dietary plan for the treatment and cure of my pernicious heartburn. It has now become apparent, to those looking in the right places, that taking heartburn medication for the rest of my natural life will unduly shorten it via cancer, or ulcers, or salmonella, or some such disorder of the inner workings. Thus, it’s time for a new quacky diet to manage heartburn! This one is called FODMAP, or FODCIAKGB, or some such acronym which I have difficulty remembering. I couldn’t quite follow the details the first time through as they were explained verbally and rapidly by my medical advisor, but I believe the gist is it’s like Whole Thirty but you swap some fruits and vegetables for sugar and cheese. And on top of that, I’m taking some more pills filled with hydrogen chloride and pepsin (whatever that is) and I’m practically awash in apple-cider-flavored cleaning product and vitamin B solutions. The bottom line is that I’m still not allowed to eat any grain products, but I can (and did) consume two chocolate-dipped cocoa-nut patties this evening accompanied by a glass of wine. The ideology behind this diet also encourages fermented foods, though while hops are thoroughly approved of (as a bitter aiding digestion!), beer itself remains conspicuously absent from the recommended eating list. I feel like the omission of this most noble fermented beverage is a frequent and curious oversight amongst these fad diet practitioners.

I’m not actually sure what weight this Whole Thirty diet has cost me because my wife informs me I must weigh myself first thing in the morning and I keep forgetting to do so. I think it fluctuates greatly. Probably I didn’t lose anything important.

Day Seventeen: Isn’t This Over Yet?

Hello again. It’s the conclusion of Day Seventeen. That’s about all that can be said for the day. I’m alive. I’m still quaffing apple-cider-flavored cleaning product. I’m still thinking about glasses of wine with the excellent steaks for dinner and about largish bowls of chocolate chip cookie dough to follow them up. In other words, it’s Business As Usual.

The most curious thing about this diet is that it’s not over yet. I’m pretty sure we’ve been at this for a month or two already, but I keep this here blog which reminds me of the day and it says only seventeen days have passed. I wonder if time dilation is a factor. I understand this time dilation stuff comes into play with respect to objects moving at high rates of speed, and it can also come into play with respect to an object’s proximity to a gravitational field. I’m going to suggest a third situation, that being an object’s proximity to a Whole Thirty diet. The closer one is to a Whole Thirty diet, the slower the clocks run. It’s possible the people attributing long life to eating paleo-style diets have completely mistaken the true agent of causality.

Day Sixteen: Do Tigers Get Headaches?

It’s Day Sixteen, commonly touted amongst the crazed Whole Thirty advocates as a day filled with Tiger Blood. As such, I feel that this is obligatory:

But when it comes right down to it I’ve gotta say, “bro”, I ain’t feelin’ it. Maybe my problem is that I’m not banging 7-gram rocks.

Instead, today I woke up with a headache along with other vague symptoms of the onset of a cold. Do tigers even get colds? I don’t think tigers get colds. On the other hand, I’d sooner eat a breakfast of bacon and eggs with a cup of coffee than devour a raw wildebeast. And in fact, today I did so. Had bacon and eggs and coffee, that is.

I’m also reading some wild theories about heartburn and how it’s caused by not enough stomach acid instead of too much stomach acid, and also how taking omeprazole will cause cancer, salmonella, and generally rot your insides out. I find these assertions vaguely disturbing and likely credible but not sufficiently credible to convince me to start drinking kombucha anytime soon. And by “anytime soon” I mean “anytime on either side of eternity”. Nevertheless, at the suggestion of the general population of quacks on the Internet, maybe I’ll start doing some acid. Not that kind.

Despite this being Día del Tigre, this afternoon I heard worrisome rumbling of mutiny in the ranks. The two other hapless characters, who are either dragging me through or themselves being dragged through this dietary purgatory (the situation is not clear) are talking open rebellion. Turns out they’re not feeling like tigers either, for better or for worse, and they are ready to utterly throw over this entire experiment and trample upon it with hobnailed boots, afterward scattering its ashes to the four winds as a warning to other diets. In my characteristic ineffably effervescent manner, I explained that the thing is already halfway over and besides who wouldn’t want to eat this way for the rest of their lives simply out of solidarity with our supposed ancestors living amongst the primordial goo and woolly mammoths. This rather touching soliloquy was met with what I can only describe as a chilly demeanor. At the end of the day, one of these two mutineers is my personal chef, and if she goes on strike then the grand adventure will have unquestionably come to a sudden and abrupt end.

Until then, this your humble and distinctly non-feline correspondent will continue to supply reports from the front.

Day Fifteen: The Breaking Point

Here draws to a close Day Fifteen of the Thirty Days of Serious Dietary Inconvenience. Morale on this particular evening is good, but this past weekend brought troop morale to the breaking point.

I think I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m the sort of plain fellow who likes to start a Saturday with four or five pancakes of no insignificant size. Following that, I rarely eat much (if any) lunch, and then am accustomed to a rather generous dinner (particularly when Saturdays are spent in physical labor). Following a double bacon cheeseburger with all the fixings and fries, there are Saturday evenings on which I consider having another bacon cheeseburger, and even some evenings on which I actually do so.

I’ve been told that eggs and bacon do have calories in them, and that said calories are of a special variety designed for long-term sustaining energy rather than the short-burst energy that pancakes provide. However, the Whole Thirty diet has apparently not yet repaired my metabolism to the extent that it knows about this fact. Saturday breakfast left me satiated at the time, but hungry by lunchtime. At lunchtime I made the mistake of just poking around at leftovers and not really going wholeheartedly into the thing. By dinnertime I was ready for about one and a half of those bacon double cheeseburgers, but it was not to be. Instead, the dinner was three hamburger patties and a pile of spinach topped with raspberry-flavored cleaning product.

It was at that moment, staring at children with delicious slabs of cheese and actual store-bought white bread hamburger buns, that morale nearly cracked. I sat there, a sort of bleak look on my hollow face to accompany the hollow feeling in my bleak stomach, feeling wan. This is not worth it, I thought. This is ridiculous. But I ate my blighted Whole Thirty dinner anyway. And afterward I could have eaten three more hamburger patties on the spot, but I didn’t, because I saw no point in it. I’d have felt the same hunger after eating them anyhow. I don’t know why this is, but meat alone has never made me feel full.

Next morning was Sunday, and instead of starting it off right with a solid stack of pancakes, it was eggs and bacon again. An even half-dozen of the former and two strips of the latter, and I was hungry all the way through church. That was followed up by a birthday celebration for my daughter, featuring (at her request!) a salad bar. (She loves salad. I cannot understand it.) I had two sizeable plates of salad generously topped with chicken, mushrooms, eggs, and more raspberry-flavored cleaning product. After that, I felt exactly the same as I did when I started. I could have eaten two more plates of the stuff, except my jaw was tired of chewing. I probably had a net loss of calories from that meal just from the chewing and work involved in digesting lettuce.

However, the story has a happy ending. (Well, “happy” as relative to the Whole Thirty diet.) My kind wife took pity on me and cooked up what she says was about two pounds of ground beef with seasonings and mushrooms and a can of tomatoes plus two large yams. I ate it all except about half a pound of the beef and a child’s portion of diced yam, and at last my stomach was full. In fact, that glorious feeling carried over into today, wherein I ate an average Whole Thirty diet and yet am not starving unto death.

On a sidenote, I learned that tobacco is actually verboten on this blighted diet, which just goes to show you that the rules are really only about the authors’ personal prejudices. I imagine Whole Thirty adherents will latch onto the two pipes I smoked earlier on as the reason it’s not curing my heartburn.

Though actually, heartburn hasn’t been so bad today, so maybe it is curing it after all. I’m not sure whether I would be happy or sad about that. But I’ve already decided that if this ordeal does cure heartburn, I’ll just have to take omeprazole for the rest of my life, because I’m for dang sure not spending the rest of my life eating this kind of diet.

Tomorrow is supposed to be “Tiger Blood” day. I’ll let you know if I find myself mauling any safari hunters.

Day Twelve: Biotics, Are You Pro or Anti?

Day Twelve of a Whole Thirty: I didn’t quit today, either. It’s primarily for the noble purpose of debunking the wild claims of the vegetable-eaters, I think. I’m holding out past at least Day Sixteen, which I am informed is “Tiger Blood”, which sounds promising even if not strictly true in the literal sense. At present, though the prospect of tiger blood coursing through my veins does have a certain appeal, I think I would rather be sopping some off my dinner plate with a large chunk of homemade bread.

I have chronic heartburn/acid reflux/whatever the chic term is, which the Whole Thirty people claim is caused by degradation of the stomach lining or something to that effect and fixed by their diet. Naturally, I was interested in fixing heartburn, but having given elimination diets their due in the past, I remain skeptical of this one being any different. It is my held opinion that diets such as these are generally cooked up to sell books, a rather cynical outlook supported by the existence of many contradictory diets. If measurable, repeatable results were behind any of these, there wouldn’t be so much argument about which is best.

To properly assess this diet’s effects on my personal metabolism, I stopped taking omeprazole (which typically manages the hearburn very well) earlier this week. The heartburn remains present. Doubtless the mere twelve interminable days consisting of this diet plus apple cider poison plus digestive probiotics aren’t enough to cure heartburn outright. It requires more time.

I haven’t talked about digestive probiotics yet, have I? They come recommended to me by my personal home medical amateur. And you know I follow all the advice of my personal home medical amateur, so I’m taking a capsule filled with who-knows-what (its contents involve approximately fourteen syllables and appear to be a dingy white powder) once daily. This capsule’s end is to help restore “friendly” bacteria in the recipient’s guts. I have taken the liberty of scanning the front of this product’s box for your viewing pleasure:

Digestive Probiotics for Happy Tummies

I have given no small amount of thought to the picture on the box and I’m still not sure what I’m supposed to draw from it. Do digestive probiotics cause pert tummies? Is the picture supposed to demonstrate the target demographic of digestive probiotics, viz. people who like to show off their midriff with saucy hip action? I note that they do not show the woman’s face. I like to imagine that her face is screwed into a horrible grimace suggestive of a recent dosage of apple cider vinegar. I briefly considered reenacting this photo myself for comparison purposes, saucy hip and all, but I quickly decided such imagery is not to be borne on a family-friendly blog. Sorry.

Anyway, on to the medical claims. The first thing we may notice is that the box is liberally sprinkled with daggers and asterisks. There is at least one dagger symbol on all sides of the box except top and bottom, and they follow most paragraphs of text. The dagger leads to the following statement, in bold:

† These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease.

As far as I can tell, this translates to:

† We pretty much made this stuff up so you would give us your money. We don’t know whether it will do anything to you or not, and we’d rather not have the government find out because the resulting loss of marketing copy from our label would be even worse than this disclaimer we now have to include here.

That helpful disclaimer out of the way, what exactly are digestive probiotics? I was helpfully informed of the answer according to digestive probiotic manufacturers when I examined the side of the box.

Poor diet, age, stress, travel, antibiotics and other prescription medications can tempt bad bacteria to flourish in the digestive system. Probiotics are “friendly” bacteria that help restore natural balance in your intestinal tract. TruNature® Digestive Probiotic has been scietifically shown to help maintain digestive health and support a healthy immune system; promoting a general sense of well-being.†

I do not doubt most people consuming digestive probiotics have a general sense of well-being, as I am a firm believer in the placebo effect. Unfortunately it’s not working for me, as I was convinced these were a placebo from the start. The quotes around “friendly”, however, lend this paragraph a more sinister aspect. Are these bacteria only pretending to be friendly? Is this like the “mother”? Actually, I still don’t know what that really means, only that I find it vaguely disturbing. Same deal here. I don’t want my bacteria to have any lingering questions about whose side they’re on.

On an unrelated sidenote, I’ve decided not to write a new post for every day of the Thirty. I hold a general principle that if one has nothing to say, one should be quiet. On most days I now find that I have little to say that has not already been said. If the blog is silent, you may safely just insert some grumbling about how slowly time passes, or how empty my belly is, or how all is vanity and of the writing of diet books there is no end, and I’m sure you will be reasonably close to whatever vapidity I would otherwise have written.

Day Twelve. The end is kind of in sight! If you can see more than two weeks into the future, anyway.

Day Ten: The Slow Slog of the Deprived

Day Ten of Thirty down. There was no Day Nine, because the plague reared its ugly head and briefly incapacitated me. In fact, it was so serious I think I missed my dose of apple cider vinegar. However, today I’m back in action.

It’s diets like these which make one realize how slowly days do pass. Often and particularly at this time of year we are tempted to look back and reflect upon the year(s) gone by, and how time, like an ever rolling stream, does bear its sons away. Perhaps this sensation comes from eating well, and what those people who bemoan their lost youth need is a Whole Thirty diet to make them realize what time really is: an ever trickling jar of molasses, slowly dripping into a puddle on the floor. On the other hand, I will say that if anything’s making me old it’s the Whole Thirty diet. Strange paradox, this.

Owing to an unexpected opportunity for cross-verification at the doctor’s office, we learned that the bathroom scale in our house is not in fact displaying things five pounds on the heavy side. This is good news for me because it means my weight is not quite so low as I might have feared. This is bad news for me because this sort of news never seems to be taken as good news by the female members of the species.

My advisor informs me that Day Ten is the day when everybody quits, because it’s when you feel most like quitting. This is plausible to me, but I will refrain from making any final judgment until the end of tomorrow. After all, this entire diet has been one day stacked upon another, each full of desire to quit the ridiculous thing and fry a doughut already. So far as my experience takes me, every day is the day when you feel most like quitting. As yet I have no frame of reference for a day on which I would think of quitting this diet as a less attractive option than it was the day before.

Still, that’s one-third of a whole thirty days safely behind us, and apparently the best is yet to come.