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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in atomic_fungus' LiveJournal:

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Saturday, December 3rd, 2016
9:12 pm
#5397: If it's gelatinous after refrigerating, you did it right.
Yesterday I did not have much time after work--and Thursday Mrs. Fungus and I came home and went right to bed--but I had time to get the turkey stock set for freezing.

Boiled the carcass Tuesday, strained and boiled down the broth Wednesday. I reduced the volume by half by simmering it for about six hours; by bedtime Wednesday night the stock was cool enough to go in the fridge, and there it stayed until Friday night, when I had a few minutes to tend to it.

Scraped the fat off the top (a thick layer of it) and then scooped the nearly-gelatinous stock--if I had boiled it for a while longer, it would have ended up being aspic--into freezer bags, which then went into the freezer.

This is going to be used, in the future, in delicious things. Another holiday tradition kept alive!

* * *

Yes, Saturday evening represents the first time I've had any time to sit at the computer since November. Crimony.

The other night Mrs. Fungus decided to watch Sausage Party, and I demurred. Instead I sat in here and engaged in the time-honored tradition of writing: I stared at the blank screen until beads of blood began forming on my forehead. I managed to add a couple of pages to the story, and they were pretty good pages, but it was not much result for a lot of effort.

What I am liking about the story thus far is that I am setting up a whole lot of disaster, which is good, because it's supposed to be a disaster. A whole bunch of crap will go spectacularly wrong, and that'll be the climax of the first part of the book. It's going to be fun.

If I can ever get any of it written down.

* * *

My God, they've gone and done it: you can now literally give a flying fuck. Science!
Wednesday, November 30th, 2016
4:00 pm
#5396: So, what will it be like in two months?
So, on January 20, Trump will be inaugurated, and that's 51 days from now. What will change?

First: expect the economic reporting to change. Trump inherits a shitty economy, but for the past eight years the press has done everything it can to shore it up. With absolutely no changes made whatsoever, to the economic circumstances or any policies, suddenly:
* worst employment rate ever
* all new jobs are "low quality jobs"
* "subprime" auto loans will suddenly become a big problem
* inflation is as bad as it's been since Carter (eg butter's doubled in price)
* trade deficits are enormous
I could go on, but that's enough to make the point. Grim economic news which the press has glossed over since 2009 will suddenly become an emergency. The press, instead of realizing that pushing the Democrat party line is hurting them, will double down on it. And become even more irrelevant in the process.

And I'm not the only person who thinks so.
I strongly suspect that if holiday sales or any sales continue to be subdued during his term that they will actually be described that way.

After eight years of trying to see recovery where there was none, the constant spin of sunshine will very likely disappear on January 20. It is ironic in one sense since it is this very disparity between mainstream “reporting” and actual economic conditions that contributed to the Trump victory in the first place. As Black Fridays for years now, but especially 2014, a great many people were fed up with hearing how wonderful the economy was when they had to scrimp and save and cut back at each and every one. For the last several years, all that has mattered in the media has been the unemployment rate no matter how many times it was shown in the real economy that the statistic was misleading or even invalid.

This is the last holiday where mainstream deference to the employment numbers will be so absurdly absolute. Several years too late, realistic descriptions are set to return to the legacy media.
Second: expect more nonsense from the leftist groups like BLM and the sorostitutes. The concept of "decorum" and "respect" are totally foreign to these people, so they will be all over the place, doing egregiously stupid and irritating things. I'm up in the air what this will mean for their long-term prospects, but assuming that Vox Day is right and the pendulum is swinging the other way, these folks may be furthering their irrelevancy, as well, as ordinary people get fed up with their horseshit.

Third: despite all the predictions of gloom and ruin, Trump is not going to turn the US into a military dictatorship. What will, in fact, happen, is that Trump will serve his term (or terms) without having to do anything out of the ordinary. With Trump in the White House we have a much lower chance of ending up in a shooting war with Russia and/or China than we would have had if Hillary had won. I believe Trump understands that war is bad, and that we have no compelling national interest in the Ukraine.

What I would like to see is for the US to pull out of NATO. NATO was constructed to counter a specific threat--Soviet communism--at a time when Europe was too poor to defend itself. The threat of the USSR is gone, and the countries of Europe are rich enough to pay for their own militaries. We could retain treaties with those countries without footing the majority of the bill for defending them from a threat which no longer exists.

My instinct is that Russia under Putin is not the bugaboo that the US ruling elite would have us believe it is. In any event, us telling Russia they can't do anything about the Ukraine is about on par with Russia telling us we can't build a wall on the Mexican border, and Putin's actions in Ukraine are at least part of the reason the ruling elites tell us Something Must Be Done!

Well, we'll see, I guess.

* * *

I want things to be different. Yep, that about covers it.

* * *

It was very warm yesterday, and it's very cold today. I got the Jeep's oil changed, then came inside and dealt with straining the turkey stock and separating out the useful meat. Now the stock is boiling down and we have a big bowl of shreds, which will probably end up being made into a big batch of turkey salad.

Man, it's just one thing after another.
Tuesday, November 29th, 2016
2:22 pm
#5395: I am struggling to understand why gas went up $0.46 overnight.
Over the entirety of the holiday weekend, the gas station I frequent had gas for $1.90 per gallon. By the time I got home yesterday, it had gone up to $2.36 a gallon.

After the holiday weekend was over. Nothing else has changed.

I struggle to understand.

* * *

Go to 3:07:



The dance of your people is strange. Go away.

* * *

Well, here we come to the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, and it's time to make turkey stock.

We barely touched the dark meat on the bird, so I'm trying to decide how to proceed from here. Having previously cut the bird up, so that I have wings, legs, and thighs, I have two choices: pare meat off these pieces and save it for sandwiches etc, or toss everything into the stock pot and then save out the shreds as usual.

The latter is very easy, if a bit messy, and I end up with a very flavorful stock and an epic amount of turkey shreds, which are then useful for things like turkey salad. The former leaves me with less shreds and more sliced meat, but then I have the problem of how to use it, because oddly enough it's much easier to use up shreds than slices. And we're already a little tired of turkey. And shreds freeze better than slices do.

We got this turkey for 60% off the normal price--I think we paid about $14 for it--and given the chance to do it all over I think we'd have gone with a smaller bird even if Dad had come by for dinner. 23 lbs is too much for three people, let alone two, and going forward I'm going to keep that in mind. But I can deal with that.

Interesting problem to have: too much meat.

* * *

Last Gotham until January--actually not quite as good as some of the other eps thus far this season. But a few satisfying things happened.

For the entire season, just about, a "bad fanfic" development has been looming: Penguin is gay for the Riddler. Now, I don't have any real problem with this, because Penguin's sexuality (as far as I know) has never been the main theme of any Batman story, and even if it's a retcon, it's pretty harmless. For the purposes of this series, it seems fairly logical, even. At the reveal of Penguin's proclivity, I was afraid that Riddler was going to swing the same way, but that wasn't the case That's good, because that would have been far too much, anyway, and could have led to me no longer watching the show: whenever a TV series begins to focus on gay relationships, very soon they take over the entirety of the series and make it unwatchable.

Instead, however, Penguin's (thankfully) unrequited love for E. Nygma is driving conflict between the two characters, and that is also just fine.

But something else really, really interesting happened in the preview for the next ep, in January. And I predicted it more than a year ago.

Me: "Don't worry, he'll get better."
Mrs. Fungus: AAAAHHH HA HA HA HA HA!! Yeah!

* * *

Well, time to relax.
7:14 am
#5394: That was a LONG week.
It was four days long, but it was long nonetheless. Seems like the closer I got to Monday evening, the longer it got.

Mrs. Fungus and I got home, watched Gotham, and went to bed. We were both too tired for anything else.

Plus side: no one was forced into working extra-long hours to "make up for" having Thanksgiving off. Sunday's peak number of reps logged in was 48, which is tied for the second-lowest workforce since mid-October. (Lowest was 41, some weeks ago.) Most of the team I'm on was not there Sunday--including the supervisor--and the same seems to have gone for Monday. Monday peaked at 57 about the time I was logging in, and spent most of the day below that number. After my lunch break, it was never above 30 and there were a crapton of calls in queue all night.

* * *

Sunday was a cold, gloomy November day. Monday was extremely windy; it was drizzling when I left home and then it rained just about all day. When I got to work it had started raining steadily, a cold November rain; when I went home 9.5 hours later, it was still raining, but considerably warmer outside.

At one point in my trek to work, there is a very large American flag flying near the interstate. On my way in, it was standing straight out from the flagpole. On my way home, it was nearly as straight.

Weather. WTF.

Well, today I'm hoping to get teh Jeep's oil changed, and since the windshield washer pump is not working I'm going to have to attend to that, too. Wish me luck.

* * *

The weird thing about yesterday: it was one of those days where I simply did not care about being on time for anything, and so I got to work earlier than usual (despite getting out of bed later than usual, not hurrying to get ready, and traffic being horrendous due to rain) and when lunchtime came I was finished eating with ten minutes to spare. WTF.

Maybe it's all part of that same time dialation thing that kept happening this weekend. I don't know.

* * *


So, here I sit in solemn joy at an indecently early hour. I'm still really tired, but apparently I was snoring too loudly and I kept waking up Mrs. Fungus, who would then wake me up to get me to stop making noise. I decided to hit the can and let her get to sleep before returning to bed; I think it's been long enough. I'm going back to bed for a few days. Hours. Whatever works.
Sunday, November 27th, 2016
7:41 pm
#5393: Epic!
We'll start with how I woke up at 3 AM today.

Woke up as I was turning over in my sleep. Motion had dislodged a bubble in my stomach and it wanted to come up, bringing everything in front of it along for the ride; I thought, "Better not do that," and went back to sleep. Almost immediately, though, *blurp* and I was bolt upright in bed, coughing and choking on the worst episode of acid reflux I ever had in my life.

I went to the bathroom and drank some water, had some antacid, and drank some more water, but it felt like something was caught just north of my vocal cords, and suddenly I was on my knees in front of the toilet retching like there was no tomorrow.

I didn't throw up, though, and the heaves went away; eventually I realized everything had calmed down and went back to bed, the back of my throat burning; and in fact it's still feeling kind of raw.

Worst acid reflux ever. Epic.

* * *

Got to work on time today, despite the gastric nonsense, and when I got to the parking lot I found that mine was the fifth vehicle to drive in and park. When I logged into the system, at 8 AM on the dot, I saw that there were a total of nine reps logged in...and in the queue were waiting

ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY-THREE

calls.

Peak number of reps logged in today barely got above 40, but at least that horrifying queue dissipated plenty fast. Holy shit.

But at 8 AM we had a call load of 14.8 times unity. Epic.

* * *

So, in past years, we have been told that winter weather is something that keeps the Black Friday sales from going very well. This year, it's the warm weather that's causing poor sales. I mean, it can't possibly be due to the fact that we are mired in a great depression which started no later than 2009 or anything.

Economics. Epic.

* * *

The geniuses at Rolling Stone don't seem to understand that Trump won't be President until Jan 20, 2017, and so currently all these things that they are decrying are happening under Obama.

Elites think they are smarter than everyone, but they don't even understand how our government works. Epic.

* * *

Dinner on Thu, Fri, and Sat was turkey and mashed potatoes and gravy. This is probably the best-tasting turkey I've ever cooked, and this time I made an entire pot of gravy, so we have had plenty. First time I cooked a turkey, I made enough gravy to fill the gravy boat one time; now I've finally learned how to make an approximate gallon of the stuff. (Couldn't find the gravy boat. WTF.)

Using Mom's roasting pan helped a ton, I think. I had plenty of juices, and didn't have to deglaze the pan to get them; furthermore this time I thought to separate out as much of the grease as I could, which led to a better quality of gravy.

The turkey, as always, came out looking like something from a gourmet show:



Everything we like, nothing we don't like. I'm not going to spend my day cooking crap neither of us will eat. Corn-on-the-cob? Why not?

Epic.
Saturday, November 26th, 2016
8:53 pm
#5392: I'm sorry, but I'm really not sorry.
Last night, Mrs. Fungus and I saw something on TV, and when I understood what it was, I turned to her.

"Honey," I said, "I am going to do something I do not often do."

Then I stood up, posed guts-posture, and shouted, "YEAH!"

...it was the news that Fidel Castro was dead.

I cannot mourn the death of a murderous thug, a communist dictator like Fidel Castro. All I can do is be happy that the world has one less butcher in it.

Donald Trump has it right:
Fidel Castro's legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights.
That's putting it lightly. Fidel Castro was the guy holding Ernesto "Che" Guevara's leash.

Communism kills. Best estimates for the number of political murders under Castro number in the tens of thousands. (Out of a population averaging 10 million from 1959 to present.) All over the world, communism killed 100,000,000 people in the twentieth century. Advice Goddess quotes a discussion of the tally of Castro's victims, and it looks as if it could be as high as 100,000. She compares Castro to Stalin and Pol Pot, which is pretty apt.

Communism enslaves. It forces people to the yoke of the state, often under the control of one man. It forces you, under pain of death, to think right thoughts.

Communism crushes. Compare Russia under communism to Russia today.

Communism impoverishes. It makes nearly everyone live in grinding poverty so a few elites can live lives of luxury. Do you think Nikita Kruschev ever had to stand in line for a few rolls of industrial-grade toilet paper? And Kim Jong-un is probably the only fat man in North Korea.



Yeah.

No, I am not sorry that one of the central figures of twentieth century communism is dead. I will not mourn him.

* * *

And now, humor: Is Donald Trump your President?

You bet your sweet ass he is.
7:34 pm
#5391: The stupidest people in the United States
Who are they? Educated whites, that's who. The more education they have, the stupider they are.

It's not because they can't figure out how to pour piss out of a boot with instructions printed on the heel; it's because they automatically assume they are smarter than everyone else and act accordingly.

Case in point: the idiot who kept me at work an extra half-hour this evening, because he simply could not comprehend the fact that if you buy four new iPhones and add 10 GB to your data plan, gosh! Your bill is going to go up, and pretty steeply. The difference in equipment charges alone was sixty fucking dollars.

This came after he called in, protesting that he had been charged for returning a damaged device. Looked up the abuse photo, found the screen all cracked to shit. Dickwad insisting it's not his fault--packed two phones to a box and "It was pristine when I packed it!"--and of course I'm not allowed to say what I really want to say, and I really wanted to say it after he himself pointed out that iPhones are fragile:

WELL, DUMBASS, IF YOU'D WRAPPED THE FUCKING THING IN BUBBLE WRAP, IT WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN DAMAGED!

Here's how you wrap a phone for shipping: you take bubble wrap, and you make sure the entire surface of the phone is covered with it, and you tape it in place. More than one layer for extra security. You do the same for every phone you're boxing up. Then you pack the phones in styrofoam peanuts or foam or more layers of bubble wrap or something to keep them from sliding around, because the box is going to get shaken just by the typical sort process. Also, you ensure the phones aren't right next to the outside of the box. The guys loading and unloading those trucks don't get paid to gently caress each box as it's moved; they're expected to move all the boxes as fast as possible.

It's like, the shipping label says "USPS" on it. The post office will break ANYTHING not wrapped like a mummy. Sometimes even then.

But I managed to get a resolution, one that should work all right, and the only sticking point was that his bill was due. I called the financial services department a scant few minutes before they closed to get a collections hold on the damaged device fee, and they needed to talk to the guy, so I switched back to him and told him what the score was. And then he decided it was time to argue with me about how high his bill was. (See above, "four new phones" and "40 GB data plan".) After three minutes of this horseshit the person from Collections hung up (not that I blame her) but Mr. Asshat still couldn't understand why four new phones and more data meant his bill went up. "It's maybe $12 per phone," he complained. Sure! 4x$12 is forty-eight dollars which is more than half of the rise in his bill, without even considering the plan change, but he's got the collapsium-plated skull of an educated white male talking to a mere customer service rep, who has only been dealing with the ins and outs of $Major_Telecom bills for fifteen months of his life and, by now, has seen just about every last stupid thing that can possibly happen to one. So of course because Mr. Penis is talking to someone who isn't educated like him, a mere working stiff, why of course the Great Phallus can't possibly be wrong or anything.

When El Schmucko was finally satisfied that he'd wasted enough of my life--mind you this was at 5:53 PM, over twenty minutes after I was supposed to leave, and I'd been on the phone which the Cockmaster for nearly an hour--then I tried to contact Collections again, only to realize Saturday and six PM which meant Collections was closed until Monday.

I may have taken just a little too much pleasure in telling the Grand Glans. "While we were having our extended discussion about your bill," I said diplomatically, "our Collections department closed for the weekend. They're not in until Monday at 7 AM."

Wrote in the remarks: "...so you will not be getting a collections hold today."

You know, if someone is telling you why your bill has gone up, and says the same thing three times, you might just want to listen to him. Especially if it's someone who reads these damned bills all day long, someone who spent two months learning how to read and interpret them for stupid motherfuckers who can't be fucked to listen.

Yeah, just a bit aggravated, here. *sigh* It's an extension of what I call the Dirk Gently rule: "Smart people think everyone else is stupid." It's an arrogant belief, one that's typically the result of people who can usually get one over on people who are not expecting it. The problem is, as clever as you are, you can never know when someone might have just seen right the fuck through your horseshit. It happens all the damned time. See the most recent election, for one: the smartest people in the room thought they had the election all sewed up, when in fact they lost, badly.

Idiots.
Thursday, November 24th, 2016
2:16 pm
#5390: Gonna break a rule and talk politics on Thanksgiving.
As the Editor-in-Chief of the Fungus I can do what I want.

Fred Reed lays out why Hillary lost. Worth reading. Maybe tomorrow.

* * *

This is often the kind of thing that occurs to me. Shooting a man with a knife? They make knife-bullets now?

* * *

Yeah, that's it. What do you want? I've got to get a turkey in the oven.

We invited my father-in-law to come to dinner with us, but after mulling it for a few weeks he demurred. We bought a larger turkey than usual, thinking he'd come, so we're going to have a lot of leftover bird, but that's okay.

I couldn't use Mom's stock pot to brine the thing, though; the bird was too big for it. A 16-lb bird will fit fine, but not a 22-lb bird. I had to get creative; I dug out Mom's roasting pan, and used that. First time I needed the whole two-gallon recipe for the brine, too.

Anyway, got the bird unwrapped and into the roaster, then went to put it in the fridge while I got the brine ready, and it wouldn't fit; rearranged stuff in the door, pulled out one of the door shelves, and presto.

Force-cooled the brine by putting the pot into a sink full of cold water, then put the brine in with the bird. Went to put it back into the fridge, and Mrs. Fungus pointed out that the roasting pan now contained twenty-two pounds of bird and sixteen pounds of water--not quite forty pounds--and that putting that kind of weight on a tempered glass shelf was a recipe for disaster. Realizing she was right, I pulled the shelf, rearranged the door shelves, rearranged the stuff in the fridge, and made it all fit.

The bird has now been brining for better than fourteen hours, so it's time to decant it and get to work on the cooking.

I have much to be thankful for this year.
Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016
9:28 pm
#5389: Damn it, I wish you people would just leave me alone! Yeah, see?
So Mrs. Fungus had some work today, and then we went out afterwards and ran errands--mostly picking up Thanksgiving supplies.

Somehow we got to talking about the stupid Stanley Kubrick documentary where they discussed The Shining and talked about Kubrick being the "megamind of the universe" and how there were all these secret subtexts to the movie, including an admission that he'd helped NASA fake the moon landings.

And suddenly, somehow, it got combined with the voice of Alkor the Alchemist from Diablo II:
Damn it, I wish you people would just leave me alone! I-- Oh, you're new here, aren't you? I am Stanley Kubrick, and I dabble in movies and films. And I might fake the moon landing for you if you really need it. But don't make a habit of coming here! I don't like to be disturbed while I'm editing!
Mrs. Fungus: AHHHH HA HA HA HA HA HA

It got better, because once we were done shopping Edward G. Robinson got involved.

"Yeah, I'm Stanley Kubrick, see? And I faked the moon landings for NASA! Yeah! See?" The riff I did on that one just about sent her into hysterics.

We have fun even when we're just running errands.
3:08 pm
#5388: White Wednesday
I can't remember the logic I used, calling today "White Wednesday", except that white is the opposite of black and Wednesday is on the opposite side of Friday from Thanksgiving Thursday. But, what the hey! It's a Fungus tradition!

Retailers panic because 63% of Americans say they'll stay home on black Friday. Black Friday is no longer necessarily the best day to get deals, not with the bargains expanding to fill the entire weekend and sometimes spreading well into December.

But I think another component is that people are just plain getting tired of it. Yesterday I saw a commercial for a chain of stores--three chains, actually, all owned by the same parent corporation--stating that they would be closed on Thanksgiving so their employees could be home with family. That's rather interesting, and I expect it to become a trend in the next several years. Why not?

I've never bought into the hype and only spent black friday in a retail setting when I was paid to do so. Then again, I prefer to spend my holidays in peaceful reflection, rather than bucking tides of people and fighting over the last gewgaw priced at 40% off. I put up with more than enough noise and idiocy at work; why volunteer for more?

("Peaceful reflection"<=>"food coma". I'm a middle-aged man. You know how it is.)

* * *

Related?

USS Zumwalt packed up again. Was it damaged in the middle east by bad guys? Was there some kind of attack? No, the ship broke down while transiting the Panama Canal.
While details about what caused the breakdown were few, Navy Times -- which first reported the incident -- cited reports about problems with heat exchangers in the ship's integrated power plant that had contributed to the mishap.
Yeah, I know what it's like, when you have problems with your radiator. Took me all day to replace the Jeep's radiator once.

$4 billion certainly doesn't buy as much warship as it used to.

Or maybe they need to make sure their parts aren't counterfeit. Maybe the heat exchangers in the ship's "integrated power plant"--whatever the hell that is--were cheap Chinese knock-offs. Who can say?

Counterfeit merchandise is pretty much a "paper" crime when it comes to apparel and shoes and such. Which is to say, it's a trademark infringement, and it should be illegal, but the harm done is entirely economic.

When it comes to spare parts, though, it can be deadly. Example: the brake pads a United Airlines mechanic just put on that 737 you're taking to Chicago tomorrow? Let's say they're counterfeit, and they're not even made to automobile standards, much less aviation standards, and on one of them the lining is going to peel off the backing plate just when the pilot is trying to get the plane stopped after landing at Midway.

Feel like flying?

Actually, it need not even be that extreme. Your car has 90,000 miles on it and one of the hubs goes bad, so you take it to a mechanic and pay him $300 to replace it. The box the part comes out of says "Moog" on it, but it's not actually a Moog part, and even though the mechanic does an honest job (and thinks he's putting on a Moog part) the counterfeit hub goes bad after a couple of months. Do you go back to that mechanic? Do you buy another Moog part for your car?

That is why counterfeit parts are a bad thing.

* * *

The state of Illinois is still totally boned. Still corrupt, still a Democrat stronghold, still trying to spend money like only government can, still completely bankrupt.

Unfunded pension liabilities of $130 billion, annual contributions of only $10 billion--those pensions are never going to be paid. At this point, they can't be, not without bankrupting all the citizens of the state. Raising taxes will simply drive industry and people out, and Illinois can't raise taxes enough to pay all the bills it has before it.

This will not, of course, keep the Illinois government from doing it. Recall please that the government's attitude is one of, "Well, the taxpayers will just have to pay it." This way lies Detroit, but no one cares.

* * *

Clever hack. Using headphones as microphones to spy on people--any transducer can be used in any direction, though it may not be very efficient in reverse. I don't leave headphones plugged into my computer, and my machine doesn't have a built-in microphone. I only plug in the webcam when I want to use it. I think I'm safe from this one.

* * *

It's going on 11 months since I got the Giganto-tron (here and here) and now it's second nature to look up and see a firkin' drive-in movie screen on my desktop.

Back when I worked as a tech writer, I had a 21" monitor (CRT) at work and a 15" monitor (again, CRT) at home. After a little while, the monitor at home seemed tiny; I rectified that and bought a big-ass (20") monitor for home so I wouldn't have to adjust. That isn't necessary these days. At work, a 20" monitor, 4:3 aspect; at home, a 29" monitor, 16:9 aspect--and no adjustment necessary.

The advancement of technology: when I bought my 27" CRT TV in 1993-ish, it was $250. Now a 27" LCD costs about $150, denominated in dollars that are worth a hell of a lot less. This monitor was a freebie--if I'd had to buy it, I wouldn't have it, and would still be using the 22" LG monitor--but if I wanted to replace it with something about the same size, I could get a 32" TV nice and cheap. (Especially on Friday! Come to $BIGBOXSTORE and SAVE!!!)

But it's nice, especially as I get older and find myself needing bigger print. No eyestrain with this one; when writing I used to have trouble seeing the screen clearly after a little while (and this happened at work the other day) but the only reason I stopped writing last night was that I got tired: I found myself stumbling over writing simple sentences, and then when I stopped writing I realized that my stomach was growling and it was nearly 3 AM.

I'm definitely a writer.
9:06 am
#5387: First world problem
Useless gits are suing Chipotle because a burrito had more calories than the sign said they did.

This is one of those lawsuits on par with the woman who burned herself with hot coffee from McDonald's. "One plaintiff, David Desmond, realized he had been duped when he felt “excessively full” after eating the burrito, according to the lawsuit."

I've been duped into eating a huge burrito! It ruined my diet! I thought that burrito would only be 300 calories! Now I'm going to be fat forever!

Get a life, clowns.

Chipotle is fast food, and fast food is not "health food". Okay? It's going to contain all kinds of things which are supposedly bad for you, according to health nazis, and if the picture accompanying the article is an accurate representation of how big that burrito is, it would have to be made out of celery and broccoli to only be 300 calories.

This isn't about anyone being "duped". This is about three chuckleheads hoping to get some money out of a large corporation.

* * *

Last night, instead of going to bed with Mrs. Fungus, I stayed up and banged out ten more pages for the new novel. I was up until 3 AM. Time well spent, but it meant only five hours of sleep before her alarm went off this morning.

Dreary November day today. Also, errand day, in six hours; I'm going to get a nap before the errands begin.
Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016
11:07 pm
#5386: Putting the press in their place.
Revisiting the "Trump dresses down the media" story because of the AoSHQ post linked here.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump releases his 100 day plan... on YouTube.

No press conference. No press release. Message to media: I don't need you.

The legacy media is still in denial about this election and even more so their newly diminished role in shaping opinion and influencing decision-making. They expect Trump to mend fences and kiss up to them in hopes of securing some semblance of fair coverage. And why wouldn't they? It's what Republicans have always done, despite the media's intensely dishonest partisanship.
But here's the thing: the President doesn't need the news media. And in fact, the more the mainstream media trashes him, the better the country likes him.

Trump understands that no matter what he does, the media will be hostile to him; they're not going to magically start treating him fairly just because he flatters them and gives them access. They'll still do hit pieces on him, and try their mightiest to bring him down, because he's not Hillary Clinton and he doesn't have a little (D) after his name.

So why accommodate them? Why be nice to them? Treat them the way you'd treat any glad-handing snake-in-the-grass; it's all they deserve.

As I said when I commented on this previously, it's about damned time we got a Republican President who understood and didn't care what the media thought of him.

* * *

What is this I can't even-- The picture is a nice counterpoint to the quote, though.

* * *

The entire Bee movie, starring Jerry Seinfeld, in a bit over seven minutes. The movie starts out playing at normal speed, but the speed increases every time someone says "bee". It takes perhaps two minutes before their speech becomes unintelligible, but the plot is generally understandable for a while after that. But once you get past that point, the exponential increase in speed becomes obvious. Most of the runtime of this video is getting to the "knee" of the exponential curve, and probably gets us about twenty minutes into the movie. After that, it's too fast to follow, and the entire remainder of the movie goes by in a literal flash.

Pretty neat. Silly, but neat.

* * *

Management is as communicative as always. I still don't know if I am required to make up the holiday, or if I have the choice not to. The communications coming down from on high all say things like, "I'm going to ask you" and "if you want to take advantage of the OT offer" and so on. What I want to know is, what consequences will I suffer if I don't?

I know what the deal is: they can't force us to make up for the holiday. T-day is a federal holiday, and they're letting us take it off--if they wanted us to work that day they could easily be open, but they're not, and we don't have the option to work that day.

But what they can do is find a non-obvious way to retaliate against people who don't do it. My direct questions to my supervisor have resulted in temporizing, so I have no idea if we're actually required to do it, or if we have a choice, and what consequences can result from choosing wrong.

Well, if I work some extra hours, it'll make some extra money, even if it hurts a bit. Maybe not make up the whole day, but some of it? We'll have to see. I don't want to kill myself for this job.

Could be worse, though, right?
2:46 pm
#5385: This is what I hate about driving games.


The video is about the Pentium D Extreme Edition, but the video is largely from some kind of driving game, and when I could not watch any longer (about 1 min 10 sec) I started this post.

See the way that car flops around? No car does this. Unless the car is fifteen years old and still has the original shock absorbers. Sometimes not even then. It's not "realistic" and it makes for crappy play.

Example: when I really get on the gas or the brakes in my Jeep, which is topheavy and has suspension technology which was state of the art in 1950, it lurches around maybe half as much as the light sedan with fully-independent suspension in the video. (I think it's a model of a Toyota Camry. Don't quote me.) On my way home from work, I can take all the exit ramps in my route at 62 MPH indicated, and usually do whenever possible because it keeps the Jeep out of the shimmy zone. The body doesn't lean like the car in the video. A typical four-door sedan (like my wife's car) has an even bigger performance envelope, and if I drove a car like that every day I bet I could drive home with the cruise on 70 and never have to slow down until I got to my turn off the highway in the Fungal Vale.

Even "simulators" do this, programs which claim they're trying to be extra-realistic. And this is why I don't like driving games. Carmageddon was the last one that really did a good job with vehicle physics, and they ruined that when they came out with Carmageddon II. Argh etc.
9:01 am
#5384: From summer to winter, instantly
Friday the weather changed. We went from averaging in the 60s to the 30s in an afternoon.

This morning, got up at 7:30 AM to hit the can, and the grass was covered with frost.

Because it got so cold, obviously I could no longer continue to wear a hoodie. It was 24° last night, for example. I thought about getting the parka out, but didn't want to go to that extreme; then I remembered that I have another winter coat, bought at the same time as the parka, which isn't as heavy. I only stopped wearing it after the blizzard in Feb of '11; there's nothing wrong with it. (I'd thought to donate it to a coat drive. I still might.)

Anyway, now it's cold outside. Whee!

* * *

I like that Trump isn't going to accept any nonsense from the media. I've said it for years: a Republican President has no reason to be nice to the media, because they'll be hostile to him regardless. A strong Republican President, doubly so on all counts.

Francis Porretto on this subject.

The byword of the media used to be--is supposedly--"Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." But that's not true now, if it ever was. Now it's a lot more hypocritical: "Comfort the afflicted (as long as they're Democrats) and afflict the comfortable (only if they're Republicans)." Over the past two decades, the leftward bias in the media has ceased to be hidden, and is now on open display.

The rise of the Internet and the alt-media helped considerably, by providing a channel for people to learn about the stories the media simply will not cover, because they don't match the narrative the media wishes to push. They can't suppress stories any longer; the most they can do is keep such information out of the hands of low information voters.

Anyway, it's damned nice to see a Republican who won't put up with nonsense. Who doesn't have to.

* * *

Something else that needs to happen a lot more often. A lawsuit against Exxon might just be politically motivated (gee, y'think?) and a federal judge issued an order that the attorneys general bringing the suit be deposed in order to determine their motivations.

(Bonus points: the article correctly pluralizes "attorney general" to "attorneys general", which happens so seldom these days that I actually had to stop and reread the first sentence, astonished that they got it right.)

* * *

Cold Fury is a font of good stuff.
Hey Democrats, want help to rally the country around Donald Trump? Here's a great idea: Have a crowd of wealthy, out-of-touch Manhattan liberals (who can afford $849 tickets to "Hamilton") boo Vice President-elect Mike Pence while the cast of the Broadway show lectures him on diversity.
The nice thing about all this is that the left really doesn't understand how bad this kind of thing makes them look. Whenever a leftist, erroneously thinking he's in a liberal echo chamber, lets his trash mouth run free, the result is almost always amusing.

The first time I ever experienced this was at an SF convention in Iowa City. Starship Troopers had come out earlier that year, and there was a panel on Heinlein. The discussion about Heinlein was rattling along rather nicely, with people making some interesting points, and it was really nice to be in a room with people who had read Heinlein as extensively as I had. Then some leftist female extrusion commented, "Heinlein was great in his early years, but later he became a nut. A nut!"

And an uncomfortable silence ensued.

The people in that room knew Heinlein, by study (like me) if nothing else, and knew that early in life he'd been Democrat and socialist, and moved rightward as he got older, until Starship Troopers resulted. And everyone in that room, during that silence--self included--was trying to think of something to say to refute the silly bint that wouldn't set off a self-righteous lefty explosion, and concluding that it was best simply to let her comment stand as a self-refutation.

After a few moments the moderator picked up the shards of the discussion, the extrusion's comment left to wither on the vine.

If (as Vox Day insists) the pendulum is really starting to swing the other way, there'll be lot more moments like that. Sometimes all you have to do is stay out of their way while they pummel themselves unconscious. Maybe eat some popcorn.

* * *

Read a story talking about what happened at Hillary's campaign headquarters on election night. Apparently, among other things, a "custom" 150 inch television was ruined when a $950,000 bottle of champagne was thrown into its screen.

Only someone like Hillary Clinton could destroy a million dollars worth of stuff in one temper tantrum. Thank God she didn't win the election. Could you imagine four years of that kind of infantile behavior?

That just stuns me: how is one bottle of fermented grape juice worth a million dollars? Does it contain water from the fountain of youth, enabling the imbiber to remain young? Does it cure all disease for those fortunate enough to sip it? Is it somehow the nectar of the gods themselves? Does it grant mysterious superpowers, enable universal consciousness, restore hair to one's bald pate, or bestow wisdom of the ages? Or is it just a bottle of fizzy wine?

Because if it's the latter, only an UTTER FOOL would pay $950,000 for it.

An utter fool with no fiscal discipline and no appreciation for the value of a dollar, someone who has never had to work for anything. An utter fool who should be nowhere near the levers of power.

Holy shit did we dodge a bullet on 11/8.

* * *

In that vein, then, I keep thinking about something that occurred to me last week: I have always thought that we needed a successful businessman to be President, because he'd be familiar with solving problems, leading, and fiscal discipline. Trump's not President yet, but already I'm starting to feel vindicated in my long-held opinion.

* * *

Meanwhile, the holidays kick off this week, and Mrs. Fungus and I are looking forward to them. But right now, today is a designated day of rest, with no errands, so I'm going to go back to bed for a couple more hours. Because I can.
12:16 am
#5383: We are safely in our weekend, finally.
Three lovely days off. Really looking forward to it.

Nothing to do tomorrow, no errands, no driving around. I may get some writing done.

Maybe.
Sunday, November 20th, 2016
7:37 pm
#5382: This is the day that the Lord has made!
Rejoice in it, and be glad!

...need to remind myself of that a lot more often than I have been. I even made a refrigerator magnet out of that when I found it printed on an egg carton, lo these many years ago, but too often I forget.

Mrs. Fungus often laments that we had to wait so long to meet each other--but if she had met me years before she did, she probably would not have loved me. I think about this kind of thing once in a while; prior to 2011 I was not worthy of her love, and I frequently wonder if I am now. She assures me that I am, but sometimes I just don't see it. Every night I thank God for her presence in my life.

What happened? In 2011 I hit rock bottom, lost my marbles, and ended up in the psych ward; and when I came out, I started rebuilding everything. I had to. And I rebuilt according to principles which I learned along the way, realizing that lots of my upbringing had steered me wrong.

I realized--before the ossification of middle age could really set in--what really matters in this world, and what does not. And finally--decades after my birth--I discovered what love is, and learned how to love God. I volunteered to sing in public, something I had been loath to do for most of my life, and found that I enjoyed it tremendously.

I found my spine, I taught myself to let go of useless things, and I stood on my own two feet for the first time in a very long one. I stopped being afraid all the time.

I could not have done any of it without first returning to church.

That was the most important thing I could have done. I should have done it sooner; I had felt drawn back to church for several years before Mom died. The biggest problem I have with my job is that I can't go to church and I can't sing in choir, because I work evenings on Thursday and mornings on Sunday.

That'll change, of course. I'm not going to be stuck on this schedule forever. And that will do.
Saturday, November 19th, 2016
3:44 pm
#5381: Extremely busy, blog suffered.
I have not had time to sit at the computer since Wednesday. That is the long and the short of it.

With Thanksgiving coming, things are ramping up at work, and I fully expect to be living the sweatshop experience Fri-Sat-Sun. They are, after all, expecting us to make up the hours we get off on Thursday for the holiday. That means a hellish series of 14+ hour days for me.

Er, "posting will be light". *sigh*

Plus side: since Thanksgiving is an actual holiday, it should be a paid one, and then a full 45-hour week atop that should mean the lingering bills from the time we took off work due to Mrs. Fungus' illness in Sept-Oct will finally be dealt with. I am almost caught up on the electricity and gas bills, and Mrs. Fungus' car insurance will be paid only about a week late. We're getting there.

But that hellish weekend means that next Tuesday I will spend in bed, asleep, because holy crap. It can not be otherwise.

* * *

Progressives have absolutely no class, decorum, or respect. Plenty of people who were in that theater to see Hamilton who do not care about politics had their experience of the production ruined by the tantrums of a bunch of commie-lib bedwetters.

Gad, they're no better than children.

* * *

Today, finally, we have November.

The weather has been unseasonably warm. On Thursday night, as I was taking out the garbage, I realized I was standing in my driveway in shorts and a t-shirt, a week before Thanksgiving, looking up at Orion, and I was comfortable.

Friday it rained, and although it was warm when I went in to work I took my hoodie in with me, knowing it would be cooler when I came out at lunchtime: November plus unseasonably warm weather plus rain equals it's gonna get cold. And it did. At quitting time it was 33°, about thirty degrees cooler than it had been when I arrived.

Today its 39° and windy, and the overcast has just begun to break up as the sun begins setting. I've been getting by with hoodies, but in this kind of weather that's no longer enough. It may be time to break out the parka.

* * *

I am still thinking about The Arrival, because there was a line in the movie which made me think of something I would have written. It's why the aliens are there, though, so it'd be a massive spoiler for me to talk about it.

Spoiler!Collapse )

It's probably the most evocative line in the movie, and it really does make me wonder why?

This movie has turned out to be the kind of movie which gets better the more you think about it, which is extremely rare from Hollywood and virtually nonexistent when it comes to SF movies. (Especially in this era of making movies out of board games; I'm looking at you, Battleship.) Interstellar didn't even do this to me, and that one's enshrined as the exemplar of SF movie done correctly. That makes The Arrival a real keeper, and I'll have to get it on BluRay when it comes out.

Not bad for a film with a $50 million budget.
Wednesday, November 16th, 2016
3:00 pm
#5380: THREE MILLION illegal votes
Three million invalid votes means Hillary didn't get a majority, either.

And they were all Democrat. Democrats still insist that voter ID laws are "racist".

Exactly the same way the Democrats praised the electoral college system in 1992, this year they are wanting to eliminate it.

Meanwhile, these assholes are largely protesting how other people voted. In other words, they didn't vote, but they're mad that others didn't vote for them the way they wanted.

Look: if you don't vote, you don't have the right to be mad about the outcome. Choosing not to vote is a viable alternative if you don't like either candidate, but if you're going to get all butthurt and pissed off that your pick didn't win, and start rioting over it, maybe you should have gotten off your lazy ass on election day and VOTED FOR THE JERK. The outcome might have been more to your liking if you had.

Shitheads.

* * *

Wow, this is just...pathetic.
When people told me they hated Hillary Clinton or (far worse) that they were "not fans," I wish I had said in no uncertain terms: "I love Hillary Clinton. I am in awe of her. I am set free by her. She will be the finest world leader our galaxy has ever seen."
It's not just the willfully blind adoration of the skunk Hillary Clinton; it's the delusions that she'd be a good leader which make me feel sorry for this brainless extrusion.

And that weiner's vote counts the same as yours. (Assuming he bothers to vote.)

* * *

The salient quote of this must-read Zman post is as follows:
Europe was not dragged into two wars by populist movements. It was dragged into two wars by the greed of its rulers.
It comes after about 60% of the article is read, and it's well worth getting to that point.

The sitting government of the US seems bound and determined to get into a war with Russia, for reasons I have yet to decipher other than RUSSIA MEAN! This same government went to Russia with the big red reset overcharge button, intending to send a message that everything would be better between the two countries because Obama was nice.

* * *

Now let's put a tax on food to save the planet. "Healthier, less environmentally damaging foods could be made more affordable," goes the lede, but that's not what would happen. What would happen is that food would simply get more expensive.

Most of the greenhouse gas emissions from food production is from livestock, so you know what that means, don't you? It means making meat more expensive. This is what they mean by "healthier". It's predicated on the utter horseshit that meat is bad for you:
Contrary to concerns that it would cause increased food prices and reductions in food availability, the authors find that it could result in lower obesity and other health benefits from reductions in red meat consumption. So the tax could benefit people with less income, who would be more likely to eat better diets.
So, no, this is stupid, and all it will do is make poor people less healthy as it forces them to substitute even more unhealthy carbohydrates for healthy fats. It'll make them more obese and more prone to diabetes.

But they're all ready to do it in the name of the environment! of course. It has nothing to do with controlling peoples' lives.

* * *

Watching Seinfeld makes a Trump supporter richer. I'm still not going to watch it any more; I stopped watching that show in the 1990s when it was in first run.

There was a comic strip once--Robotman, back before it was Monty--which showed Monty Montaghue sitting down and watching I Love Lucy, and laughing uproariously. Then he stopped laughing, and at the end of the strip he had turned off the TV and cracked open War and Peace.

This is how I feel about sitcoms.

I don't watch them any more. I have not deliberately watched a sitcom in twenty years. When I do watch a sitcom, I inevitably sit in front of the television with a blank expression, seeing and hearing nothing which can amuse me to the point of laughter, or even a smile.

They're not at all funny. There is nothing funny about them. The jokes, the situations, the canned laughter--none of it amuses, not even slightly, and watching those programs is a complete waste of time.

Why would I watch reruns of it?

* * *

Mrs. Fungus was on-call last night, but fortuitously the phone rang three times in the entire 9-hour period. Two calls came in after 9p. We went to bed at 1a and the phone remained silent until 5 AM. And when I woke up around 10, it was to a nice, quiet house and a nice, warm, comfortable bed. I got up long enough to hit the can and then deliberately laid back down and slept more.

That was for all the mornings I can't do that.

Originally they were predicting snow for Saturday (less than an inch) but now that's changed. I don't mind either way.

Gas finally ducked beneath $2 a gallon again, here in the Fungal Vale. Filled up the Jeep before errands yesterday, and my Shell rewards card tendered the usual $0.03 off, so I paid $1.97 a gallon instead of $2.00. ($1.969 and $1.999, respectively.) Go go President(elect) Trump!

(I know Trump has nothing to do with gas prices.)

As for me, I have a few chores to attend to today, so I guess I'd better get after them.
Tuesday, November 15th, 2016
9:35 pm
#5379: Okay, Arrival is worth seeing
Mrs. Fungus wanted to see it, I was less enthusiastic until reading this review of it. Totally on impulse, we abandoned the errands we had today which were not time-critical, and went to see it.

We were not disappointed.

It's nice to go see an SF flick which tells an actual well-written SF story without resorting to fantasy or dumbing everything down.

Bonus points for the doofus who pulled out his cell phone and started diddling it partway through the movie. You paid $10 to sit in that seat, and you can diddle your phone any time. WTF.

More bonus points for the other guy sitting behind Mrs. Fungus and I who got up and told the guy to shut the phone off. It looked like a fight was going to break out. WTF squared.

* * *

As predicted here at the Fungus gravity is an emergent property of space-time and not a fundamental force. Woot.

* * *

No global warming for 18 years and counting.

* * *

His other plane is Air Force One. Technically "Air Force One" is a call sign; it stands for any aircraft which is conveying the President. Still, very funny.
Monday, November 14th, 2016
12:32 am
#5378: Frosty
Sunday morning, I got up at 6:30 AM to get ready for work, and there was frost on the grass.

I'm seeing reports that the Pacific climate oscillation has gone into La Nina mode, which probably means a cold winter. That's what I was expecting, given that it stayed warm so long. We'll see if we get it.

It occurred to me a couple of days ago that I have seen the sun march north and then back south again from various cubicles at work, and when we get close to the winter solstice, on weekends I'll be leaving as the sun is just beginning to rise and getting home hours after it's set. The latter is already happening, of course. So for a few weekends at least I shall be living a twilight existence, only seeing daylight when I leave the building to get lunch.

*sigh*

Friday night I got less than five hours' sleep. Saturday night I got less than five hours' sleep. It wouldn't be so bad if I was only working eight-hour days, but with the mandatory overtime and the inflexible scheduling, the weekends are brutal. Monday I can sleep until 10 AM, which should help.

Still, it'd be nice if I could go to church. I miss it, and I miss singing in choir, too. Especially this time of year.

* * *

Even though I have not been writing words, I've been working on the new novel, thinking about what will happen when, and how. The first 55 pages are encouraging, because I read them and don't get the feeling that I've wasted paper. I suppose that feeling will come sooner or later, but not yet.

There are still some characters to introduce, and some exposition to do; the very next character I'm going to add is Alison Nijinsky, a singer who was part of the Alternity campaign set in this world. Her fortunes have suffered in the last few decades. She's a sensible person, so she's got plenty of money, but she's got almost no following any longer and her pride keeps her from giving away "the good stuff", and popular music has turned away from artistic ability and towards crapmusic (a genre I have dubbed "screech") so she rarely does shows any longer. Imagine Rosemary Clooney in White Christmas and you're not far off--that kind of voice, anyway.

Once the exposition and introductions are done, then I can skip ahead to the real action. I'm looking forward to it.

This week, however, we have a crapton of errands to run on Tuesday, and Wednesday is car maintenance day. So I'd wager I won't have time for writing.

We'll get there. Mandatory overtime won't last forever (probably not past the end of the holiday season, if last year was any guide) and they may even cut hours a bit here and there. Here's hoping. Thursday and Friday were slow enough that I actually got to go to a team meeting, for the first time in 154 days--four months, three weeks, four days since the last one, in mid-June.

* * *

Those new jeans I got are still the most comfortable pair of jeans I've ever owned. I'm not sure how that is, but it is, and I'm grateful.
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