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Atomic Fungus
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Below are 20 journal entries, after skipping by the 20 most recent ones recorded in atomic_fungus' LiveJournal:

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Friday, September 23rd, 2016
5:28 pm
#5336: There really isn't a good answer, either.
Some people refer to this as "blactose intolerance".
Those two black girls get the idea in their heads to make a nuisance of themselves in the street and I’m supposed to feel guilty about it. Frankly, Glenn Reynolds was right. Let’s have a few motorists drive over these people and then we can talk about feeling guilty. Let’s have the cops unleash the dogs and water cannon on these rioters and then talk to me about feeling guilty. I’ll be happy to feel guilty as long as the streets are clear.

I’ve simply had enough. I’m all blacked out. I’m tired of the blame shifting and excuse making. I’m tired of seeing people, who know better, lying to me on TV. Those rich sportsball talkers ain’t living in my neighborhood. They are as far away from the Black Lives Matter types as possible. They live in gated communities with the honkies. Their honky cohorts on TV are not even driving through my neighborhood. They are despicable hypocrites, who deliberately say things on television that make our lives worse.

Black America does not have a race problem. It ain’t honkies robbing, looting and killing in the ghetto. They don’t have a cop problem. The cops shoot fewer black offenders than white offenders. They don’t have a gun problem either. Black America has a black guy problem. They have far too many black guys robbing, looting and killing, almost always doing so at the expense of blacks. They won’t let me fix that problem, so stop demanding I feel bad about it. I’m done. I’m all blacked out.
If the people behind "Black Lives Matter" get their way, the result will be horriffic and totalitarian--and they won't like it, because they will lose.

The people pushing the riots are the elites, and the elites don't give a rat's ass what happens to poor blacks. Once the riots have served their purpose they will be put down, with water cannons and vicious dogs--and machine guns, if necessary.

It's even worse if the riots are not stopped, because then what you're looking at is--sooner or later, when enough white people reach the point that theZman has--is a full-on race war, which blacks will lose because they're not going to be able to organize well enough. (Compare New Orleans after Katrina in 2005 with white Louisiana after the flooding in 2016. One was a cesspit of looting and crime. Another was so successfully self-managed that the state government had to make the self help illegal lest people realize how parasitic government is.)

The biggest problem here--the riots in Charlotte--is that these are not protests, yet our news media insist on portraying them as such. A political protest does not--should not--include arson, looting, terrorizing and murdering citizens, shutting down highways, or anything of the sort. The mainstream media carefully minimize all the crime being perpetrated at these "mostly peaceful protests".

Only they're not the gatekeepers they once were. Word gets around. And people are getting fed up with it.

* * *

My wife thought the video in this was from Saturday Night Live.

I went to that page specifically to see the video, because I've been hearing about it; and when I watched it, that was my first reaction: "No, this isn't real, this is SNL or some kind of parody."

Then I realized it was real.

My God how awful can she be when a video made for her supporters comes off sounding like it was a parody of her campaign?

* * *

Clinton takes black vote for granted. Of course she does. How have blacks voted since 1964? Hint: not Republican.

Quoth LBJ: "I'll have those n[black people]rs voting Democrat for the next 200 years."

Why would the Democrat party worry about the black vote? It's obviously bought and paid for, and blacks reliably vote Democrat in every election. So, yeah, go ahead and take umbrage at the fact that Hillary Clinton isn't promising you more goodies. What are you going to do about it? Vote Trump?

If there was even a shadow of a possibility of the merest probability that blacks might vote GOP in large numbers--if the Democrats ever had to worry about that--then it is not impossible that the Democrat party wouldn't take the black vote for granted. But until and unless blacks start leaving the Democrat plantation, en masse, black politicians like the former governor of Virgina, Douglas Wilder, can continue to expect to be taken for granted.

* * *

Headline: "Some developers dropping Oculus support to protest founder’s politics".

Did you even need to read the article to know why. Question written as a statement because the answer is obvious: it is very, very seldom that right-wing people quit things in protest. Nearly all the time, when someone says, "We're not going to support X!" it's because someone involved in X is anti-Democrat.

It's tiresome and boring.

Equally tiresome is the quoted cliche ending the article: "Do not let bigotry, white supremacy, hate, and fear win."

Democrats are doing their damnedest to paint Trump with this brush, because it's all they have. I've seen several examples of it, even to seeing a Hillary ad which tries to portray Trump as "too extreme for Republicans" by trotting out quotes from a bunch of RINOs. But they always say this, one way or another, about every Republican. This is the first time it's been so blatant, but it's blatant because it has stopped working.

Shit--all Trump has to do to counter that is play the clip of Hillary from above.

Looked at a comparison of Trump's campaign spending versus Hillary's? She's spending money like government and he's spending money like business and he's even or ahead of her in most places.

As for the Oculus support? It's useful that the SJW-converged game companies are self-identifying themselves so clearly. I know whose games to stay away from, because I expect their games wouldn't be any damned good.

* * *

Why does an acne cream cost $241 for sixty grams? Well, I guess it doesn't, now, as its price is $9,561. There have been no changes to the formula; the only difference now is the price tag. It's an antibiotic ointment the FDA has labed "possibly effective" and it contains no exotic or expensive ingredients, or even anything that's currently under patent.

If Trump were to become President and do nothing other than rein in the FDA and the idiotic policies that enable this kind of horseshit, he would be doing more for the American people than any President since God alone knows when.

* * *

Believe me, people know we're in a depression. The only people who don't know we're in a depression are the people in the top 5% of wage earners in this country. Those people are doing just fine.

The rest of us? Not so good.

* * *

I agree with my Dad. He once said the best thing we could do was to have the Marines saw California off the United States and sink it in the Pacific.

Look: I don't give a rat's ass how much you dislike dirty things like power generation. If you want to have electricity, you have to have the plants that generate it, and solar and wind power are shitty sources of power for a modern industrialized civilization.

As long as California insists on this eco-luddite horseshit, we should let them wallow in it--including all the brownouts and other inconveniences that come with it. Like Denninger says, open the knife switches at the state borders and don't close 'em again until California starts producing enough power for its own damned self.

Why is it everyone else's responsibility to keep California afloat?

* * *

As for me: today's task is taking care of my wife.

I'd been at work for about an hour and a half yesterday when I took time to hit the can, and there was a flurry of text messages and a couple of voice mails, the gist of which was that my wife had gone to the ER because of her foot, which has been hurting rather badly the past few days.

I told my boss I was leaving, and why, and went. We didn't get home until 7:30 PM, and she was in no shape to drive, so we had to leave her car there; I'm going to have to go get it sooner or later. Anyway I stayed home today, because there's no way I'm going to be out of the house for an entire workday when my wife can't walk more than one or two steps without screeching in pain.

As usual the docs didn't find anything obvious wrong, and prescribed antibiotics (cephalexin, again) thinking it's some kind of infection. The nurse suggested a gluten-free diet. Regardless, it stinks, and there's approximately dick-all we can do about it. Argh etc.
Thursday, September 22nd, 2016
9:51 pm
#5335: "Protest"
So a bunch of savages are "protesting" again, and their "protest" consists of rioting, pillaging, looting, thrashing, and murdering.

The mainstream media is calling it a "protest" but it's actually just looting and rioting by savages.

70% of people arrested aren't even from North Carolina. It's an astroturf riot.

People buy guns in hopes of protecting themselves from savages.

The best way to protect yourself from riotous savages is not to be where they are.

* * *

The middle class is being destroyed by the economy. Live in a van down by the river!

* * *

The boys are rolling their eyes because she's full of shit and they've heard it all about a million times. What, she didn't abort her sons and have only daughters? What kind of half-assed feminist is she?

* * *

Pushing immorality at the expence of decency.

* * *


* * *

Man, it's a hell of a thing.
Wednesday, September 21st, 2016
2:30 pm
#5334: I honestly don't know what to do here
More work on the new novel last night--2.5 pages--and I dug out the source material, which helps. I found myself reading the denouement text of the Alternity campaign I ran in 2000, and would have kept going if it hadn't already been nearly 3 AM. As I got ready for bed I sang a parody of a Monty Python sketch I first came up with in 1982:
I'm a writer and I'm okay
I work all night and I sleep all day
I write dirty stories and I get my pay
And I go to the lavatory!
I do not, however, wear high heels, panties, or a bra.

...it's the "work all night and sleep all day" part that really defines how I work. I've been writing since 1979 and writing is what really turned me into a night owl. Although they were kind of cold and lonely years I still look at my post-high-school years with a kind of fondness, because that was when I really honed my craft, staying up until all hours of the night pecking away at my C-64 and writing reams of stuff. I'd always end a writing session by printing what I'd written that night, and that's something which has not changed now, though instead of the harsh, intermittent rasp of a dot matrix printer there comes just the single screech of the UPS as the laser printer's fuser switches on. And I have written here before about when I would decide to reprint something in its entirety and the printer would run for hours, and I'd be busy bursting forms and making sure the printer didn't jam.

The thing is, the source material is so good I'm thinking about merely editing it and including it in the story. This story really is a sequel, in the sense that it revolves around a specific set of characters, and to really tell this story right I need to tell at least some of what happened in the past. There are a thousand ways to do that, but I haven't decided if I want to.

My biggest problem is--has always been--impatience. I want the story to kick ass now but I need to set up all the ass-kicking before it can happen. Well, I'm working on it.

The theme of the story is "decline and fall"--somewhere in the story someone will start to quote "The Second Coming", and someone else will tell him to shut up--and it is sadly echoed by what is happening in the real world. Or vice-versa.

* * *

"The lights are going out in Europe." Someone (I can't remember who) said that how Jews are treated is the canary in the coal mine; the worse they are treated, the worse things are. Currently a poll says about 70% of European Jews won't go to synagogue on high holy days because of "security concerns", which is media-speak for "fine irish lads killing people in the name of allah."

Some openly predict a new interregnum. I disagree. Unlike Europe in the wake of the Roman Empire, there are several powerful nations in the world and an American collapse would not leave us without anyone to fill the gap. We might not like the shape of the new world but life would largely continue as it has, because America is not the sole bastion of Western Civilization. I'm also just optimistic enough to believe that a collapse can almost always be averted if action is taken soon enough, but the longer you wait the harder it gets until it does eventually become inevitable. I do not think we're at that point yet.

Putin understands. Reportedly he's said, "I swear if they bomb Russia, in half an hour every muslim will die." That is the tack to take when you are fighting savages who understand only one language. Our forebears understood that when fighting the pirates of the Barbary Coast; it's a shame we've allowed our remedies to savagery to soften so.

The savages themselves don't understand why their behavior is unacceptable. The muslim mayor of London is saying that islamic terror attacks is "business as usual for big cities" but it's funny how that wasn't really a feature of big city life in, say, 1970, 1960, 1950--we've had big cities for a long time but it's only in the past decade or two that "islamic terror" has begun to appear alongside "traffic congestion" and "muggings" and "higher cost of living".

A useful quote which is part of the theme of #Release_Candidate_One: "Civilization takes work and vigilance; once that's forgotten, the road to Mogadishu is wide and smooth."

* * *

Incidentally, if you change a baby's diaper in Arizona and you do it right, you're a sex offender.

When you change a diaper because it's soiled, you must clean the skin it was in contact with. Otherwise, "diaper rash" which--untreated--becomes festering sores and worse. In order to clean the skin you must touch it, with a washcloth or wipe, and with your hands; in order to make sure all crevices are clean you must move things around. If you have ever had to do it, you find that it's not even remotely sexual and most people regard it as a necessary but distasteful chore.

Arizona has criminalized this. Their courts have upheld it. If you change your child's diaper, you're a pedophile according to the black-letter law and you can be jailed for it.

* * *

Turning and turning in the widening gyre--

Oh, shut up.
Tuesday, September 20th, 2016
9:32 pm
#5333: The whole friggin' afternoon--
Went to bank, returned rental, went to pick up car, returned to bank to get cashier's check, went back to pick up car, came home. 3.5 hours and 62 miles of driving.

I noticed that at Speedway gas had risen, overnight, by nearly thirty cents a gallon. At Shell, it was still $2.12, so I tanked up (using my rewards card to get the extra $0.03 off, so I only paid $2.09).

But still: why the everlasting shit did gas go up thirty cents a gallon overnight? Is it just that one station? Is it a trend and they got there first?

I figured that in the absolute worst case scenario the price of gas would decline a few cents over the next couple of days. The spot price of gasoline never drops precipitously, though it can certainly rise with extreme alacrity. (Like going from $2.119 to $2.399 overnight.) So filling up today carries a very small risk of penalty (gas going down slightly) and a much greater possibility of reward (gas going up a lot but I filled at the lower price).

* * *

Weird behavior: we have a pedestal fan which has two modes of operation. It will run relatively quietly and blow air, or else it will make this "clogged" sound--as if something were blocking the flow of air--and then it's not efficient at all. It seems entirely aerodynamic, and I can't figure out why it does this. Everything is assembled correctly and there's nothing loose; the only thing I can figure is that one of the bearings is getting worn and the shaft is wobbling--but even so it's still turning and the speed is unchanged.

And it's pretty f-ing annoying.

* * *

Chicago is, for all intents and purposes, a third-world city. Violent crime is off the charts, for one thing. As Detroit, so Chicago. And for the same reasons.

* * *

In our perambulations today we tried going to the bank branch nearest the auto body shop rather than the one we normally go to. That was a mistake, because we ended up in Lower Shit City, driving through the wastelands north of I-80 and within the Chicago urban sprawl. You don't see, in the Fungal Vale, buildings long disused with windows broken out, or burned buildings left to rot as they are. South of I-80 it's not nearly as common, and there is a very specific (and small) sector where that is possible, though not nearly as likely, as it is north of I-80. "Very bad neighborhood", bad enough that once we actually found the bank, we declined using it, and instead headed for the one closest to the bunker even though it added time and a lot of inconvenience to our errand.

But one thing we saw was the Great Wall of Cosco: an enormous stack of Cosco containers, stacked five high and to an unknown depth, for most of the length of a city block.

"How do they find anything in there?"

"Those are empties," I told Mrs. Fungus. In storage, no doubt, against future need...but with the world-wide freight market on the skids bad enough that Hanjin had to declare bankruptcy, I'm not terribly surprised. And on the other side of the street I saw the first Hanjin containers I've seen in quite a while--a short stack, one row about two or three high, but there.

Not liking what I'm seeing, not in September when lots of those containers should be in use.

* * *

But! It's still Tuesday, and I can relax a bit. That's what I aim to do.
1:21 pm
...it is just possible that we were a bit punchy last night while looking through the free on-demand movies.

First, when I came across the listing for Collision Course and saw Pat Morita and Jay Leno on the cover--well, that's a movie I never saw and had utterly forgotten the existence of, until seeing that listing, and I laughed my ass off. I laughed so hard I was afraid I'd hurt something, and I realized that it's been a very long time since I laughed like that. And for a couple of hours after I saw that, all Mrs. Fungus had to say to get a laugh out of me was, "Jay Leno and Pat Morita!"

(I notice that nearly all of Jay Leno's roles after that movie are where he plays himself. How's that for being a household name?)

Continued to flip through the movies ("Ooh! Dracula's Dog! Can we watch that?" "No.") until we came across a movie that appeared to be titled Hercules versus Karate and I laughed again until I'd busted every gut God gave me.

It was actually Mr. Hercules Against Karate. Good Lord it was a bad movie, one of those movies that's so bad it's great fun to watch with the right company.

* * *

I'm only going to say this about the latest example of islamic savagery: have you noticed that since Obama has been in power, the kinds of piecemeal terror attacks which never used to happen here have begun to happen here? Pipe bombs, mass shootings and/or stabbings? All in the name of allah. Yeah. But "religion of peace" and "we mustn't profile" and "ohnoes the islamophobia!"


* * *

You know, last night there was a commercial on TV, showing a guy carting his pubescent daughter around to participate in various sporting events. Shows them going to generic martial arts practice, her practicing soccer while he changes a flat tire (and being good natured about getting hit with the soccer ball) and this and that and the other thing. The last scene in the commercial shows a football game, centering on a player kicking the ball; and then at the end of the play off comes the helmet revealing that it's his daughter.

I would never let any daughter of mine play tackle football. Escpecially not co-ed.

Figure the girl is 12 or 13--in less than a year boys in her age cohort will start to out-mass and out-muscle her very severely (if they don't already) and any boy likely to be playing intramural football at that age is already going to know how to roughhouse and take the blows of being tackled during a play. But no matter how athletic the girl is, she's just not built to get slammed to the ground by the full mass of a guy her age--and regardless of her team position, in football, she's vulnerable to getting tackled, and that means getting hurt, maybe severely.

* * *

This is what I hate about inkjet printers. You pay through the ass for ink, and there's absolutely nothing guaranteeing that the manufacturer can't decide your ink cartridge is "too old".

This particular instance is not deliberate, though HP did update printer firmware to make it harder to use third-party cartridges in their printers; the problem is that the update has (in some cases) essentially bricked the printer loaded with genuine HP cartridges.

Printer supplies are where the money is, though, not in the hardware itself. This way you can sell the printer at cost and make it up in cartridges, because most of the time the price of a printer is just high enough that buying new cartridges is a bit less expensive.

Or you can do what I do: I print with a $100 laser printer and use my inkjet all-in-one as a scanner, and nothing else. I haven't needed to print in color for years anyway.

* * *

Democrats oppose building pipelines. Now that a major gasoline pipeline has sprung a leak, gasoline is getting more expensive in the southeast US.

Pipes rust and need replacing. Infrastructure must be maintained, and isn't. You do the math.

* * *

Media is really pushing Underground Airline because it's a left-wing wish fulfillment story. (Like the original Red Dawn is supposedly "right-wing wish fulfillment".) But the story of Pogue's Run, under Indianapolis, is interesting when shorn of the connection to the lefty anti-American propaganda.

* * *

Today the rental car is going back and we're getting Mrs. Fungus' car back from the body shop. Whee.

It's just warm enough that we need the AC on. I'm not complaining; soon enough--all too soon, in fact--I will be pining for the warm breezes of summer.
Sunday, September 18th, 2016
9:58 pm
#5331: Well, how entertaining
On my way home from getting a couple of burritos for me and the Mrs--going past one side street I hear some idiot rev his motorcycle--BLAAT!!--and roll my eyes as I drive past.

After I'd gone by there was another BLAAT!! and motion in the rearview mirror caught my eye: the motorcycle, on the pavement, turning a lazy circle. It's dark and I couldn't really see, but it was obvious the motorcycle had dumped its rider. After a few moments police car lights went on and blocked the intersection.

I really hope the rider got up, dusted himself off, and was embarassed as the cop gave him a talking to. But yeah, dumb.

* * *

Today, on my way home from work, I saw an absolutely gorgeous 1975 Impala convertible...with 24 inch spinners. *sigh* But it looked as if it could have been restored to 100% stock.

* * *

Last night, we happened across the classic Doctor Who episode "The Ribos Operation". First in the "Key of Time" series, and fun to watch. Next up, "The Pirate Planet", written by Douglas Adams. I have set the DVR to record it.

* * *

So now you'll forever have a flaming fist with the legend "Bernie Fucking Sanders" on your left arm. At least until you can save up enough money to have it lasered off. Congratulations.

* * *

So, bombing in New York. Both Trump and Hilary say "bomb". CNN helpfully edits out Hillary saying it, and then the press goes on a tear about how Trump said "bomb" prematurely.

Sure the national press is unbiased.

* * *

As for me, I can't wait until this time tomorrow. Then I'll have two days off from the stupidity.
Saturday, September 17th, 2016
6:32 pm
#5330: I just paid as much for a pound of butter as I did for a whole chicken
But there's no inflation!

So just now I hit the store for a few things. Mrs. Fungus has been wanting roast chicken, so I'm going to make a roast chicken dinner with carrots, savory potatos, gravy, and salad.

We had next to none of that (save the carrots) so I went to the store. I selected a nice-looking whole chicken ($1.29 per pound, about three pounds) and picked up some other things we need, then went to check out. The chicken was the first thing on the conveyor.

Now, they have a new system there, and the PIN pad where you swipe your debit or credit card shows a display of what you've bought.

Display: Chicken $0.09

Me: Does that chicken really cost nine cents?

Cashier: What?

Turns out the label was wrong, saying that the chicken weighed in at 0.07 lbs. Any swinging dick could tell that chicken weighs considerably more than 0.07 lbs (that 1.12 ounces) and that price was wrong. Well, they couldn't get the correct price at the register by using the built-in scale and entering the price per pound because new system, so they had to take it back to the meat department to get it weighed. They thanked me for my honesty.

Here's the thing: I'd bet money that section of meat cooler was full of chickens earlier today, and it's not until after 6 PM someone noticed that? Really?? How many chickens went out the door with incorrect weights on them, therefore making them cost under $0.10? How many people decided they'd load up on chickens at that price, justifying it by saying, "They put that price on there. It's not my fault!"

Well, guess what, asshole? It is your fault. You're not stupid; you know what the price ought to be and you know that paying $0.10 for $4 worth of chicken is wrong, and you're rationalizing it by saying to yourself that the store made a mistake and it's not your fault if they don't notice it.

But you ARE stealing.

Myself, I noticed the price on that chicken when I first picked it up; I put it on the conveyor expecting to pay $1.29 per pound for it, figuring the price on the sticker was a glitch and the correct price would ring. When I found that I was wrong, I immediately pointed it out, because I know $0.09 for a whole chicken in 2016 is not right.

So I was not offended that I had to pay $4 for the chicken. I would have liked it if they'd said to me, "We'll give it to you for the price on the label," but they didn't, and I had no reason to expect they would. This store has no policy posted about items that ring up incorrectly and I don't mind paying the correct price for an item.

And yeah: the correct price for the chicken was $4.19. The pound of butter was $4.29. *sigh*
5:30 pm
#5329: If you think building a PC today is hard, you should probably not buy LEGO either.
It's all pretty much plug-and-play now.

I can sum up the linked article in a few succint words: "I paid $2,000 for hardware, and no one would hold my hand and tell me how to connect it together. I had to learn how to do it."

His beefs are about running cables and mounting components, and includes the following paean to Apple:
This is why people buy from Apple. It designs everything from the trackpad to the box the computer comes in, which unfolds neatly to reveal everything you need. Apple reduces friction to the point where even my mom could upgrade the RAM on her iMac, and it can do this because it controls everything that goes in that box.
That's why I recommend Apple products to people who aren't tech savvy. They just work. When I'm pushing a water cooler down on the CPU while twisting its radiator into place and screwing it into place at the same time, it becomes clear that PCs don't just work.
...which is why people are still building PCs to get maximum performance for gaming.

(Admittedly this image is from 2009. Still, most Macs, you still can't put in an aftermarket video card.)

It really isn't that difficult. If you've never put a PC together before, yes, you're going to have to learn how to do it. But all the really hard stuff has been done for you already, and all you need to do is to put the components together the right way.

(If you're going to insist on water cooling? That's on you, pal. That adds a big layer of complexity, one which is not strictly necessary. It's only really necessary if you're intending to overclock; and if you're not proficient at building a PC you've got no business overclocking.)

Building a computer in 2016 is incredibly easy. Let's have a look at the steps required to build a computer in 1991:

1) Install processor in motherboard. Generally this has not changed, and in fact was a little easier back then.

2) Install memory. For the most part, by 1991 computers were no longer using discrete ICs but instead had moved to SIMMs, the 30-pin variety. This was also fairly easy and hasn't changed in difficulty since then. If you had a computer which used SIPP memory (30 pin) you had to line up 30 pins to the socket on the mobo, but still not too hard.

3) Install standoffs in motherboard and case. This also hasn't changed. You needed to make sure that the screw-down standoffs weren't shorting something important on the mobo, though, and not every mobo used the same pattern of plastic and screw-type standoffs. Took a bit of finagling, but not hard, and still something you might have to do today.

4) Configure speed display. Most cases had 7-segment LED displays showing you the clock speed of the motherboard in both normal and "turbo" mode. Yes, many machines had switchable clock speeds, because some software wouldn't work right at higher speeds (like games). If you wanted your LED display to reflect those speeds (in megahertz, MHz) you'd spend ten minutes deciphering a crinkly sheet of jumper settings.

5) Install motherboard. Also about the same as today, you'd plug in the power connector and then get all the fiddly little case wires in place, like for the hard drive light, power light, reset and turbo switches, and so on. If there were configuration switches or jumpers on the motherboard now was the time to set them, too.

But now things start to get difficult.

6) Install interface cards. Motherboards came with a keyboard connector. If you were lucky, the board might also have on-board serial and parallel ports, but it was not very common for clone PCs. Even then, those ports had to be configured in hardware exactly the same way the ports on the cards did. And so what you'd do is you'd decide where in memory, and what hardware interrupts, LPT1 and COM1 and COM2 would occupy. There were standardized settings for them but the cards usually had to be double-checked for the correct settings, and if you tried to put two ports on the same IRQ you'd have a mess on your hands.

All the settings were done with jumpers (if it was a cheap card) or switches (if it was expensive) but the result was the same: manual configuration of everything.

So--assured that the cards were all addressed correctly--your next step was to install the drives, floppies and hard drive. No CD-ROM. No IDE interface, either.

You typically put in both a 5.25" and 3.5" floppy drive. It was up to the customer which would be drive A. When installing the cabling, you had to use an adapter to get power to the 3.5" drive because the standard Molex connector was too big for one. You had to make sure that drive A was on one side of the twist in the cable, and drive B was on the other. Frequently you needed an adapter to plug the floppy cable into the 3.5" drive, too, because it used a header instead of a card-edge connector. The 3.5" required a mounting kit, too, because all the drive bays were 5.25". (At this time, you still ran across floppy drives which required terminating resistors. See the discussion for hard drives on what that was like.)

The hard drive was its own set of problems. As I said, "no IDE interface" (unless this was an expensive machine) so you were running MFM or RLL, and had a separate controller plugged into a card slot. For a single-drive system, two cables (one for commands, one for data) ran from this card to the hard drive. If you had a second hard drive in the system, not only did you have a second data cable running from the controller to the second drive, but you also had to make sure that the hard drives had the correct terminating resistors. The typical hard drive had three 8-pin SIP terminating resistors, and you had to know when to remove them and when to leave them. The drive in the middle of the command cable would be drive 1 and the one on the end would be 0--again, there was a half-twist in some wires between the two connectors--and 1's terminating resistors had to be removed or operation would be "unpredictable".

7) First power-on. So, you finally got all the wires in and switches and terminating resistors configured. The motherboard was set up to recognize the hard drive type (usually with DIP switches) and everything was good to go. With everything was finally configured and plugged in, then it was time to turn on the power.

If you were lucky--or good at building machines, as I was, eventually--the thing would boot up and present you with a power-on self-test (POST) screen, and after it had finished counting RAM and running its other checks the thing would try to boot. DOS in drive A would get you to a A:\ prompt. If it did not go to an A prompt--or, worse, if it just sat there and beeped at you--you got to dig into the hardware again to find what you missed. In these cases you'd find a SIMM not installed right, or that you'd plugged in a 3.5" floppy backward, or-or-or. It rarely was because a hardware part was bad; it usually was because you'd made a mistake.

8) Prepare hard disk for use. Once you got the thing to boot up, you got to format the hard drive. Step one would be to put in the low-level format utility for your brand of hard drive and run the program. You needed to know what the physical parameters of the drive were; and to make things even more entertaining you could only (at that time) make a 32 MB partition, so if you had a Seagate ST-251 hard drive you had the option of splitting it into two 20 MB partitions or one 32 and one 8 MB partition. Furthermore, the drive type table in the motherboard's BIOS only had a handful of drive types available. The ST-251 was usually type 40; if you weren't using a drive that was in that table, God help you, because your job was going to be much harder.

But you had to low-level format the drive first. The program would take the physical parameters of the hard drive (cylinders, heads, sectors per track) and then lay that information down on the hard drive platters which--until just now--were utterly blank. Most drives had a label on them showing which sectors had been marked as defective at the factory; you had to input this information into the low-level formatting program. Then you went off and had a snack while the drive low-leveled.

Drive not in the drive table? You get to use the manufacturer's program to trick the computer into thinking it's a standard type. It added a layer of complexity, and if that little bit of code ever got corrupted, the entire drive became 100% inaccessible. It was a lousy way to do things and I strongly discouraged it whenever possible.

Low-level done, you could do the high-level, which took less time but still wasn't fast. After that was done, you could then reboot the computer and mirabile visu be presented with the C:> prompt.

9) Install OS. Installing the OS meant copying DOS from floppies to the C:\DOS directory. You'd want to set up an autoexec file, too--AUTOEXEC.BAT, which would run whenever the computer was rebooted--something like this:
@echo off
...which told the machine to look in C:\DOS whenever a command was typed. You could add to the path, so (for example) if you wanted to be able to run EVERCRAK.EXE without first typing CD EVERCRAK you could modify your path statement to say something like "path=C:\dos,c:\evercrak". Anywhere you were in the file system, if you wanted to run a command you need only type that command and the computer would dutifully check every entry in the path system variable for that command, and it would run the first example of that command it found. (Let's say you type GOOP to run that program. GOOP 1.0 is in C:\DOS but GOOP 2.0 is in c:\GOOP. If DOS is ahead of GOOP in the path variable you'll get GOOP 1.0 every time, unless you first go to the GOOP directory.)

You also would typically write a CONFIG.SYS file:
You didn't need much.

At this point, then, the computer would be ready for software installation, and you could do what you needed for that. If for any reason you had to use nonstandard parameters for your I/O ports (LPT and COM) you have to tell the software what to use.

Before Windows 95, it got worse, because of the memory management tools for DOS 6 and the addition of multimedia devices; you had to load drivers and put all kinds of things in your configuration files--but fortunately the installation utilities for those devices would usually handle all that.

Compare that, then, with assembling a computer in 2016. All the hardware configuration stuff is automatic. For one thing, nearly all the ports you need are integrated onto the motherboard; you no longer need anything for a standard office PC but a motherboard, a hard drive, and an optical drive. Once you've got the hardware installed in the case, the cables are all plug-and-play (they can only go in one way and it's one signal and one power cable per drive thanks to SATA) and the computer sets all the interrupts and memory locations automatically.

For a computer that needs better video, you plug a video card in. No jumpers, no configuration; the computer knows what to do with it. You can assemble a computer from basic parts in half an hour if you've done it before. Once you've got it booting up you throw an OS disk into the optical drive and then spend an hour clicking options. The hard drive is preformatted at the factory, so you need only run the high-level format (which is good because low-level formatting a terabyte drive would take days). (Slight exaggeration.)

So: are gaming PCs hard to build? Not even remotely. Not compared to the typical office PC circa 1991.

Friday, September 16th, 2016
12:17 am
#5328: This is why I never bought the "9/11 was an inside job" thing.
Fred Reed brings the common sense. Look, the liklihood of a conspiracy being known rises as the square of the people involved in it. An impossible number of people would all have to keep mum about their role in perpetrating 9/11, as Fred points out.

* * *

A jet-propelled shot of B12 is just what Dr. Feelgood ordered!

* * *

"US renewables: Dropping in price, growing in significance"*

*=Thanks to tax subsidies, because otherwise renewables cannot compete with coal and natural gas.

* * *

The etymology of "boondoggle".

* * *

I agree: I think NATO has outlived its usefulness and the US can safely exit from it.

* * *

Trump protests were astroturf. Leaked DNC e-mails say so.

* * *

Ideas continue to congeal. I'm starting to get a handle on the direction of the new story.

Last night, before sleep, I was thinking about some other things that really ought to be in this story--things which are mentioned in #Release_Candidate_One--and I was delighted that I'd be able to write about these things.

Once I actually get going full bore on this thing, it's gonna be fun.
Thursday, September 15th, 2016
2:12 am
#5327: If I can just make it GO--
Turned 3.5 pages into 5.5 pages yesterday (Tuesday) night, but got nothing done today (Wednesday) because of the rental car fiasco; once done with that I was so f-ing tired I was in bed at 9 PM, sleeping like a man drugged.

During our perambulations today, though, I talked with Mrs. Fungus about the story; and before falling asleep Tuesday night I had some thoughts about where to go to start collecting threads into a cohesive whole. 5.5 pages is barely an introduction, but there has to be an obvious direction from the get-go or no one will want to read the thing.

I'm really happy with the very first page. All that has to happen is for someone to get to the end of that page, and if he is possessed of even ordinary curiosity it should have enough of a hook to get him to read the story to find out WTF I meant by the last two sentences on that page.

So far we have five apparently unconnected things, but it's all related. And there are other threads coming, besides; in #Release_Candidate_One the story refers to a band of troubleshooters who do something important during this story; well, I need to assemble that band and get them on Earth and ready to do that, and that's probably going to be about a third of the book done before the big moment comes to pass, and writing about that from everyone's viewpoint will take another third. Once that's done? Then we're all about picking up the pieces; there's at least one interstellar war to write about--a brief one, fortunately--and then the last bits about how things shake out as a long, dark interregnum settles over explored space.

This one's being written full anti-SJW. That much is obvious from how the toady chief executive is being portrayed; in fact, the very next scene he's in contains this line: "How dare you mis-gender me? I just told you that I've recently realized that I'm actually a woman. From now on you'll address me as 'Madame Secretary General.' I'm not 'mister' anything." (Exact wording not guaranteed, but that'll be the gist of it.)

Gonna piss a lot of people off. People whose opinions I do not care about. This guy is a symptom of what has gone wrong with his society, and guess what? When a society starts celebrating the aberrant and the insane, and begins to insist that their oddities be taken seriously, and accommodated, at that point you're looking at a doomed society. This story is not meant to be a cautionary tale--it's meant to be an entertaining yarn that people will enjoy--but I'll be damned if I'm going to write it to suit the delicate sensibilities of idiots who'd never pay to read it anyway. The trigglypuff crowd is not my audience, and as far as I'm concerned they can go scratch.

Well, hopefully tomorrow I can get a few more pages written.

"Why didn't you write some story instead of this post, idiot?"

I don't think I can explain it.

Writing a blog post is very easy; 90% of this stuff is stream-of-consciousness and I don't need to leave this reality. But when I'm writing a story, I have to crowbar myself out of this world and into another one, and I'm out of practice at doing that; it takes effort, and once I'm there it takes effort to get back. (Witness the other night when my brain kept going even after I'd written 3.5 pages.) I frequently use the example of the scene in Amadeus, where he's sitting at the table writing music, lush orchestral themes thundering around him...until his wife calls his name for the second or third time, breaking his concentration, at which point the music stops completely and he's left in ringing silence. Again I must say that I am not comparing myself to Mozart; this is just the best example I can think of for what it's like.

And I need to go to bed. So I'll have to write more later.
Wednesday, September 14th, 2016
7:39 pm
#5326: NO, we did not buy a new car. It's just a rental.
Yesterday we dropped Mrs. Fungus' car off at the body shop to get the damage done to it on July 1 taken care of. Advised that it should be about a week, today we set out to rent a vehicle for her to drive while her own is being repaired.

We had intended to rent a compact of one stripe of another, Toyota preferred. Instead we ended up with a Chevrolet Traverse SUV with AWD and a crapton of modern features which weren't even invented when my Jeep was built. Plus side, we're paying the same price as we'd pay for a compact because this is what they had to rent to us and we'd reserved on-line.

First step was going to the Enterprise rental place in Steger, just outside the Fungal Vale. What a mistake that was--the service was terrible and the people rude, and the price they gave us for a compact was some $100 more than we'd seen on line. So we went home and reserved on-line, got a much better price, having to go a little further afield to get it. We called the place in Steger back, to see if we could get our paperwork from them; after Mrs. Fungus hung up she said tightly, "Bitch, do not fuck with me. I will cut you."


So we went to the Enterprise in Glenwood, and their service was everything that the Steger location's was not. ...and they upgraded us to this thing. Mrs. Fungus wasn't sure she could drive it. Well, she discovered she could, and the only real sticking point was tuning the radio.

On our way home we stopped at Fuddrucker's for today's meal (having had nothing before, and--I expect--we won't need much after since I had a 2/3 lb burger and we split orders of fries and onion rings) and she told me one of my brake lights was out.

Got home, diagnosed the problem--bulb out, sure enough, and the spare was one that I'd previously pulled for turn signal not working but showed continuity on all connections--and set out to buy bulbs, taking the Traverse to the parts store.

Fiddled with the steering wheel controls on the way home and discovered that if you pushed a certain button the computer would ask for a voice command. With some trial and error I discovered how to get the radio to tune to a specific station: press the button, wait for the tone, and say, "tune 95.5 FM" or whatever station you want, and it goes right there.

New bulbs in, everything functional and buttoned up. Mrs. Fungus is ready for her commute tomorrow.

And she wants us to buy one. *whimper*
Tuesday, September 13th, 2016
2:01 pm
#5325: It may not be a good one, but it's a start.
Last night I extruded four rocky pages. It is not high art and I expect it'll be heavily revised, but the ball is rolling. Overcoming inertia is the hard part.

It would have been more, but by then it was after 1:30 AM and I'd been tired before I got home from work; but with the wheels turning, I couldn't just go to sleep. I played Hexiom Connect for a while and tried to slow the brain down a bit.

Got into bed around 3, and still my mind was running at top speed, plot and character and setting and theme and tone tumbling over and over in my mind. This is my sandbox, the one I started building in 1979; going back to it is like getting into a comfortable pair of shoes and it's a little (maybe more than a little) exciting to be working on a new story in it.

"New" is a bit of a misnomer. The basic plot of the story was one I developed in 2000 as a final adventure for a role-playing campaign I'd set in my SF universe (said setting being the entire reason I revisited it in the first place, having decided previously that I could no longer write SF!) but of course the story concept dates back much further, to a time when I was still writing things by hand. (Prior to 1983, then.)

But the thing that stymied me was where to begin? I knew I wanted to begin in the office of the Secretary General of the UN; he's the person who drives the conflict--but he's not really effective enough to be the primary antagonist, being an effete snob with virtually no spine, and he's too much of a toad for me to want to write about him as a focus character. So, I made him a puppet, a figurehead...and anyone who's read my ouerve will probably be able to figure out who the puppeteer is. Especially those who played in the campaign.

And that is the hook, for me: how that character went from being a bad guy to being a good guy. Because he started out pretty damned bad...and his hand in causing the collapse turns out to be for a surprising reason. (Surprising, that is, if you never read #Release_Candidate_One, which shows the aftermath of his tinkering.) But in everything that happens subsequent to this story, this character is arguably more good than evil, and his counterpart ends up being the opposite. It all ties into the central theme of the universe, and things will probably get pretty big before the story ends.

But I only have an inchoate idea of what, exactly, will happen. See, I'm not telling these stories for other people. Though I am hoping other people will find them entertaining enough to give me money for the privilege of reading them, mainly I'm telling these stories to entertain myself. The rest is bonus. And because my creative process works this way, I get to find out what happens at the same time everyone else does.

So, there's that.

But there's so much history and detail, when I write something I need to check it--so I had four windows open to other stories, and was also looking at the campaign materials from that long-lost Alternity campaign, and-and-and--but the result is so much fun, and so exciting, that I don't care.

* * *

Clinton press secretary advises reporter with perfectly reasonable questions about Hillary's health to "get a life".

Here's the thing about pneumonia: if it's so bad that you're collapsing from it, you need to go to a hospital right now. You're not going to repair to a private location and then, two hours later, appear hale and hearty again. It simply does not happen.

Now, if you have some kind of neurological deficit and suffer an "attack" of one kind or another, you can then be all better a couple hours later. Quoth Karl Denninger:
Indeed, if you were believed to actually be suffering from heatstroke and severe dehydration to a degree sufficient to cause you to collapse, especially if you had been diagnosed a few days earlier with pneumonia (which I remind you is a compromise of the lungs and thus your ability to exchange oxygen and CO2) it would quite-arguably be attempted manslaughter to fail to take you directly to the nearest ER. Hillary was not taken to ANY ER; she was taken to Chelsea's apartment. The only rational explanation for that is that her detail and staff knew she was neither dehydrated or suffering heat exhaustion and thus was at no risk of imminent respiratory collapse.
I don't need to amplify that. It's a scathing indictment of the story the Democrat campaign is telling.

I also find it amazing that the press is wholly uncritical of the fact that they're not allowed total coverage of Hillary's campaign. If Donald Trump were to deny them "protective pool coverage", they'd be screaming bloody murder from the mountaintops. "WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO HIDE, MR. TRUMP?"

"Hillary Clinton appears to be incapable of safely operating a motor vehicle," Dennginer continues. If she's too impaired to drive a car, she's for damned sure too impaired to be President.

Perhaps she didn't collapse, but suffered an episode of akinesia where she was unable to step off the curb and had to be dragged into the van, only the press is obediently parroting the party line...because a collapse due to pneumonia is vastly preferable to a diagnosis of advanced Parkinson's disease.
Note how the freeze episode is triggered by the need to step-off a kerb - a classic Parkinsonian symptom of Akinesia - and the subject does not 'stumble' or trip on the kerb, nor did she 'fall' (that is the mass media telling you what you are supposed to see) - but is standing frozen, unable to initiate the movements needed to step-off the kerb, and stiffly resisting moving forwards, having to be dragged bodily and off-balance.
An SS agent opines.
Secret Service procedure for each detail dictates that everyone knows which hospital to go to depending on the event - heart failure, gunshot, you name it. It is very revealing that, whatever is wrong with her, she is being treated by her own private medical specialists in secret and, judging by the ballet-like reaction by her detail, they have dealt with this before.
Meanwhile the spin is that Hillary powered through a grueling hour of standing on her feet, doing nothing else. I know, right? Ever stood in line at an amusement park? I never saw anyone collapsing from standing in line for an hour. Of course, these people were probably all blessed with exceptional fortitude just like Hillary Clinton, who bravely stood up for more than an hour before finally succumbing to the punishing heat and humidity of a pleasant September day in New York.

...the shit they shovel at us is the same shit they'd (correctly) deride as ludicrous if some Republican tried to ladle it out. "Ooh, Hillary is so strong! for being able to stand up for a whole hour. Truly we have never had a politician who could withstand such rigor!"

Teddy Roosevelt got shot and completed a campaign speech but that's peanuts compared to Hillary standing up for sixty minutes straight.

Ronald Reagan got shot, and he went to the hospital, which only goes to show how much of a wimp he was. Hillary wouldn't go to the hospital! She'd go to her daughter's apartment and emerge two hours later, completely healed, because THAT IS JUST HOW FUCKIN' AWESOME SHE IS!!!!!!!!

My command of sarcasm seems insufficient to the task.

* * *

Incidentally, Pneumoia is contagious, yet Hillary hugged a child a couple hours after she collapsed because of pneumonia.
After her little stumble, she was rushed away...not to a hospital, but to her daughter's apartment. About 90 minutes later she emerged, apparently looking fantastically better. Now, I've had "walking pneumonia" and numerous bouts of bronchitis. You know what made me go from stumbling down ill to "I feel great" in 90 minutes? Not a damned thing. The best meds and oxygen bumped me up to "well, I don't feel like immediate death anymore." So I'm left to wonder what miracle of modern chemistry there might be that will perk a sick person right up. Something that, I dunno, could tweak you right up to the semblance of health with all due speed.
I don't know. Cocaine, maybe? ("But cocaine is illegal!" Know what else is illegal? Having classified information on a private server. In fact, that is more illegal than possession of cocaine.)

I've had walking pneumonia, myself. A very mild case of it--the doctor could tell there was fluid way down at the very bottom of my lungs, but I didn't need oxygen--it left me feeling like a dog's breakfast on a continuous basis. It took a couple of weeks' worth of antibiotics before I started feeling human again. I "powered through" that and worked, but then my job consisted of me sitting at a desk and rattling keys, writing service manuals--I didn't need physical stamina to do it. (I could be President!)

* * *

Rob Reiner lives up to the "Meathead" monicker yet again. The phrase "mostly white males who don't have college degrees" is commie-lib code for stupid racist white men. Not having a college degree means you're stupid, you see, and you can't help being racist when you're stupid.

Not long ago someone pointed out that lefties have one insult and one joke: when they don't like someone, he's stupid. When they want to crack a joke about him, they ask, "Hey, isn't so-and-so stupid?" It's all they have.

And once again, Reiner opens his mouth and "removes all doubt".

* * *

Sure, why not? Let's pull all our troops out of the Philippines. All our money, too. See how well they do, then.

* * *

Well, today I get to cut the grass. Thrillsville!
Monday, September 12th, 2016
11:49 pm
#5324: A way in!
I've been thinking about the story I want to write, about the fall of the galactic civilization; and today I hit upon the place to start.

I'm going to try it. Blogging may be light.
Sunday, September 11th, 2016
8:57 pm
#5323: Risible attempt at narrative.
Hillary collapses, and the press tries to spin it positive. "I'm not sure it's right, but there's an argument to be made that this episode will improve Clinton's image.

"It shows her doing her best to grit her teeth and work hard even with pneumonia. And it's humanizing, relatable."

File that one under "grasping at straws".

Is the Democrat party considering replacing Hillary with someone healthy?

Vox Day has some interesting information such as NBC reporting they're not "allowed" to shoot any video of the commemorative ceremony. Hear that? The press is not allowed (by whom??) to take video of something newsworthy.

It's laughable because the Democrats and the media (but I repeat myself) have seized on this sort of infirmity as a sign that Republicans are not fit for office. When it's one of theirs? "Hey, this is evidence that she's got tenacity and grit! Something you don't often see in a politician!"

Denninger thinks it means Hillary's done. Denninger's chief mistake here is in assuming that Democrats are going to look at the facts. Why would they start doing that now? But he's right about one thing:
Hillary's campaign is over, whether you or she wishes to admit it or not. But more to the point, if she does not drop out, given what appears to be a set of very serious health issues, the next two months may literally kill her. I strongly dislike Hillary and emailgate is just a small part of it, but even though I'm a "deplorable" by her view I don't wish her dead. She ought to retire from political life and go home to spend whatever time she has left in peace. She's clearly in no shape whatsoever to serve in any sort of public office capacity and the entire world saw that this morning in an undeniable, in-your-face fashion.

I know Hillary's blind ambition would not allow this sort of honest self-reflection when she had a game-playing chance to win,...
She should just retire and relax and spend her remaining days with her daughter and grandchildren. Like Denninger I have no love for her but I don't wish her dead.

* * *

So, 15 years since 9/11, and I'm working as a call center rep. I drove to work in a funk, thinking about how much today resembled that day fifteen years ago, and about the career the events of that day ruined forever.

Today was a repeat of yesterday, only worse: around 11 AM, we had 216 people waiting for 40 reps. That's a call load of 5.4, 540% of unity, which is IN-F-ING-SANE. It's all about the iPhone 7, of course, which debuts this week. *sigh* The load never went very far below 200%, either.

I hit the bathroom around then, and as I came back it occurred to me that if a terror attack had taken place somewhere there was a call center, that's what would happen first: our call load would spike as the calls got shunted over to us...only then, as the news started talking about it, the call load would crater.

I'm glad it didn't crater. Even though I had an annoying day.

* * *

Watched a couple more eps of the remastered Star Trek last night, and realized that they've fucked with it like George Lucas fucked with Star Wars. "The Obsession" featured an antimatter explosion on a planet's surface, and as the Enterprise broke orbit we saw the crater on the planet--something that was never in the original cut of the episode! There are some other special effects shots which (upon reflection) I realized must have been done using technology which did not exist in 1966.

I don't like that.

Yes clean up the video and make it sharp and vibrant again. No don't change anything, damn it. Star Trek was successful SF in spite of the low-tech special effects. Like Doctor Who it was the writing that made it good, not the glitz and wow stuff. There's no need to add them now.

Well, I suppose it's not really my problem.
Saturday, September 10th, 2016
9:08 pm
#5322: Proud to be deplorable!
Her Parkinsonousness calls Trump supporters "a basket of deplorables".

Steven Den Beste gives us the title for today's post.

Hillary attempted to apologize for it. She needn't bother.

This is not an isolated case.

The "deplorables" that Hillary names are simply the labels commie-libs try to apply to anyone who disagrees with them, anyway, and by now they're so tired that some people love to be called them because they amplify and agree instead of shrinking from them.

* * *

People who have never themselves actually been slaves demand recompense for the sale of their great-great-great grandparents. Compare the life of the average American black with the life of the average African black, and you must conclude that American blacks have benefitted greatly from the bondage of their far-past progenitors. I don't see how they are owed reparations, particularly since no blacks living in America today have ever been slaves.

* * *

If you're over 40, no matter where you are, you have a hell of a time getting a technical job. It's true, and no one can do squat about it. Except maybe stop the entire H-1B visa program in its tracks.

* * *

I propose replacing all the pronouns with "fuckhead", so everyone can be equal. "Fuckhead went to the store, where fuckhead bought a brick of tofu and some kale." Like that. That makes about as much sense as any of the other proposed replacements.

Meanwhile, if you have to have your preferred pronouns listed on your nameplate, you are part of the problem.

* * *

The drop in interest rates since 1980 has resulted in a lot of inflation. We can't afford it. And when all that leverage unwinds--as it surely must--it'll make the 1929 crash look like a birthday party.

* * *

The difference between Tolkien and Martin.

* * *

Today was insane at work. All the Apple-lytes are preordering the iPhone 7, and so at one point we had some 172 calls in queue waiting for 52 reps.

When I consider the queue, I apply a simple formula: the number of waiting calls divided by the number of reps logged in. I call that "call load", and when it's greater than unity (say, 45 calls waiting for 45 reps) I call that "busy".

172/52 is 3.33, for fuck's sake. I've never seen it that busy, not even around Thanksgiving. Call load never dropped below unity all day long, either, and in fact it flirted with that level a couple other times.

This is insane. Is there no traffic-shaping? Are there so many people calling that nothing can be done and every center is flogged with callers?

Anyway, my day went quickly enough, so screw it.

* * *

Last night I happened to tune into BBC America, to find they were running the remastered Star Trek eps from the original series. They looked good--the colors bright, everything sharp and clear; the last time I saw an ep of TOS it looked a lot grungier and fuzzier than that. So I set it to record, just to see what comes up.

The ep that was on? "Devil in the Dark", which I recall being regarded as a not-very-good ep, but I always kind of liked it. Oh well.

* * *

Weather cooled off again, so we're ventilating the bunker with outside air. Hopefully, good sleeping tonight.
Friday, September 9th, 2016
4:53 pm
#5321: Oh, yeah, SURE they will.
Mexico threatens to cancel the treaty that gave us California and Texas if we elect Trump.

This 100% pure posturing with no chance of ever happening. It can't happen, mainly because Mexico will never do it, because:

1) Actual war with the US would mean no money and no tourists crossing the border. All the Mexicans currently in the US sending money south would find themselves unable to send that money. We do not send money to countries we are at war with. Further, tourism would stop as the State department would prohibit travel there. Mexico loves that money, and will do nothing to endanger the flow of it.

2) Mexico depends on the US for defense. It has an army, but against the United States military it might as well be a speed bump. This is because of "network effect": strategically, the US has long considered an invasion of Mexico or Canada the same as an invasion of the US, because we are otherwise isolated from potential hostiles. Both countries have therefore not needed to support a large or robust strategic-level military. One week after commencement of hostilities, Mexico would be defeated.

3) Such a move would engender hostility in the US for Mexico. Although there is plenty of anti-alien sentiment, as things stand now they're pretty good for Mexico. If Mexico rescinds the treaty, though, that could change.

It's nothing but bluster.

* * *

Dell requests 5,000 H-1B visas and fires 3,000 employees. 3,000 Americans out of work, 5,000 requests to bring in foreign workers who will do the jobs for less money.

* * *

"9. Americans owe nothing to non-Americans, except to allow them to go to hell in their own fashion." There's a lot of horseshit taking place elsewhere in the world. None of it is our fault. Why do we have to fix it? The muslims and the sub-Saharan africans enslaved and slaughtered each other by the thousands before the US existed, and nothing can stop it, so why are we trying? Why is it our responsibility to stop it?

I think American responsibility extends as far as Americans themselves, and no farther. If there's ethnic cleansing going on in Europe, maybe Europeans should step up and fix it. If there's a brush war in Indonesia, perhaps Indonesia should put it out. Somali pirates targeting ships? Let them (and task Navy vessels to escort American ships past).

We are vilified when we take action, and we are vilified when we don't. When we don't, at the very least it's not our sons and daughters out there getting maimed or killed, and it's not our tax money being spent on useless interventions that will fix nothing because they cannot.

* * *

Say "no" to statins. Really.

* * *

"Peak Oil" my ass.

* * *

Further bulletins as events warrant.
Thursday, September 8th, 2016
4:07 pm
#5320: I keep saying we're in a depression
We really are.
Apologists for the status quo contend the last eight years couldn't possibly be classified as a depression. The narrative of economic recovery has been peddled by corporate media mouthpieces, feckless politicians, Too Big To Trust Wall Street bankers, Federal Reserve puppets, and government apparatchiks flogging manipulated data as proof of economic advancement. They point to the lack of soup lines as proof we couldn't be experiencing a depression.

First of all, if there were soup lines, the corporate media would just ignore them. If they don't report it, then it isn't happening. Secondly, the soup lines are electronic, as the government downloads the "soup" onto EBT cards so JP Morgan can reap billions in fees to run the SNAP program. Just because there are no pictures of starving downtrodden Americans in shabby clothes waiting in soup lines, doesn’t mean the majority of Americans aren’t experiencing a depression.
The article makes the point much more eloquently than I can.

Are US automakers also cooking the books? The FBI is reportedly "interested" in Fiat Chrylser sales figures: "Investigators are examining whether Fiat Chrysler improperly adjusted monthly numbers to show growth over the prior year,..."

Here's the thing: the economy is in depression. Couple that to automakers who are producing hideously expensive vehicles ($30k MSRP not uncommon) that only approach affordability if purchased with 5-6-7 year loans. The market for such vehicles is becoming saturated, to the point that lending standards for new car loans are edging ever lower, much the way mortgage standards did about eight, ten years ago.

See where this is going?

And if you doubt that we're in depression, recall that the world's seventh largest shipper is in bankruptcy. Hanjin, by itself, accounts for 3.2% of container shipping worldwide. (The article says it's "only" 3.2%, but come on--one company moves 3.2% of the transoceanic container freight in the world and they're bankrupt.)

* * *

Government to people: stop being self-sufficient!

It reminds me of that time I went to the DMV and people were lining up for something, and a bureaucrat told everyone to sit down in the waiting area until called...and then proceeded to call people to line up, with the result that nearly everyone who had been in line was in line again. Made it pretty obvious to all and sundry that it wasn't the line which was the problem; it was the unauthorized self-organization which was the problem.
If we become too self-reliant, then it becomes obvious we don't need them or their ridiculous regulations. This is the greatest fear of those in power: our knowledge of their irrelevance.

And maybe that's the real reason for the complete lack of coverage of the flooding in Louisiana. Not only was the flood a non-story because it doesn't fit the current narrative of Black vs. White. It doesn't fit the narrative that we are helpless and in need of the government to save us.
Nothing I can add there, either.

* * *

If you are capable of bearing children, you're a woman. Sex is not a social construct.

* * *

The older I get, the more difficult I find it to read white text on dark backgrounds. What did older guys do back in the greenscreen days? I suppose they didn't have to switch to black-on-white, so it didn't matter. *sigh*

* * *

Lately I've started thinking about watching Gundam W again.

I've never been interested in mech shows, but GW is a big story and it's pretty well done to boot. Back when I lived in Cedar Rapids, I caught it when it was being run on Cartoon Network, liked what I saw, and started buying the DVDs, which were better because the dub was only so-so. (As I explained to Mrs. Fungus the other day, too many of the male characters sound alike. Not because they reused voices, but because the actors they got had similar voices.)

Well, maybe when I have some time. Which won't be soon. *sigh*
Wednesday, September 7th, 2016
6:39 pm
#5319: Well, what the f--?
So, the license plate sticker that Mrs. Fungus and I vividly remember renewing and putting on her car? Last year's. That's how insanely busy we've been: February of 2015 feels that recent.

I wasn't going to believe the word of a cop writing a ticket on Labor Day weekend ("If I tell her that my system does show she renewed, it's going to mean 'no ticket' and 'lots more paperwork', so I'll just say there no record of it being renewed.") without independent confirmation, especially considering that it was contrary to our own memories.

Human memory is, however, fallible.

Anyway, so we went to the DMV and were told it hadn't been renewed, so we got a new sticker for the license plate (having to pay an extra $20 for being late) and walked out of there shaking our heads in disbelief that she could go six months (not to mention be involved in a motor vehicle collision!) without any cop citing her for expired plates, or even mentioning it to her.

Getting the new sticker wasn't a problem, though the government bureaucrat was put out at having to do a search for the license plate number. I brought the title with me, but forgot that part; and she never even looked at it. Paid the freight and hied ourselves outward. I didn't think it was going to be a major problem (especially as Illinois has decided it would not mail out reminders) and I was right. So the car's legal and Mrs. Fungus is a lot happier than she was when she got home Monday night. I'm also happy because it means I don't have to worry about scrambling to find paperwork.

...so once we were home I set out to cut the grass. Finally. I should have done it last week, but neglected it, and I paid for it today, believe me. And I was half eaten alive by mosquitos in the process. But it's done, and we won't be cited by the code enforcement dick for having uncut grass. Go, me.
12:32 pm
#5318: Horse[dung]
Chicago's chief of police says that the violence in Chicago is because "people are desperate".

That is horseshit.

The violence in Chicago is occurring because people are in gangs and the gangs are the source of most of the violence. The people who are not in gangs are not the ones doing the shooting; for the most part the non-gang populace of Chicago--regardless of color or socio-economic status--do not go around shooting at people.

The violence in Chicago is perpetrated by a very, very tiny fraction of its population. I recall the statistic being something like 100,000 people--or some number around that order of magnitude, at any rate.

The problem is gangs and drugs. Still.

* * *

Leprosy in southern California. Why are all these third-world diseases suddenly cropping up? Does it have anything to do with unlimited immigration?

The good thing is, leprosy is generally not very communicable. Most people are immune to it, and it's treatable with antibiotics.

* * *

Pilot transposes position figures while getting airplane ready for takeoff, and a fiasco ensues.

When I read the description of what happened, I want to recoil in horror at the stupidity on display. Does the airplane not have any mechanical backup instruments at all? Does it have an entirely glass cockpit? Why are there not separate instruments showing heading and attitude?

...so the airplane was left with altitude, airspeed, and vertical speed, and no other instruments. A modern jet airliner was reduced to a couple more working flight instruments than a WWI Sopwith Camel, but was no more instrument capable. All of this was done through human error and the system was not robust enough that recovery was possible while still flying. How the hell is that possible?


* * *

I agree with Denninger. There's no excuse for ransomware that encrypts your hard drive being able to do so. Whenever any program tries to put something malicious into your disk I/O subsystem it should raise all kinds of Cain.

* * *

Well, it's Wednesday, and tomorrow is "back to work day". *sigh* I still have to get the grass cut, and "miles to go" before I can do it. Guess I'd better get moving.
Tuesday, September 6th, 2016
11:42 am
#5317: Parkinson's Disease?
Apparently Parkinson's Disease (PD) fits the bill for all the bizzare symptoms Hillary has been showing.

Look, there's absolutely nothing shameful about contracting something like PD. It's no reflection on her character (her actions are enough to demonstrate that) but it does mean that she's not fit for office. The stress of being President would keep her from functioning.

Besides, the next step in the progression is dementia, and the last thing any country needs is a leader whose grip on reality has begun to slip.

She can't control her coughing. The mainstream media is uncritically parroting the Clinton party line that it's "allergies" but allergies do not make you cough your lungs out. They make you sneeze; they may cause enough postnasal drip that you'll have to clear your throat a lot (ask me how I know) but they don't make you cough.

She needs bed rest more than she needs to be President.

* * *

This salt is 280 million years old, but if it's not used in three years it's no longer fit for consumption. Government in action! It must be regulated, or else PEOPLE WILL DIE!

* * *

Because sex is not a social construct, boys and girls prefer different colors and toys. Your attempt at getting them to use sex-neutral ("gender-neutral") toys will fail because boys and girls like different things. This is entirely natural and normal, and you're an idiot.

* * *

So, had this going through my head for the past few days:

Absolutely no interest in watching the show; the few eps I saw when living in Cedar Rapids convinced me that it wasn't my thing. But I did like the theme song.
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