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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    Tuesday, May 12th, 2015
    8:50 am
    #4716: Your SJW outrage will fail against Japan.
    Steven Den Beste has a post up about the latest SJW imbroglio. This time the ladies have their panties in a bunch over a game figure with pliable breasts.

    I say "ladies" but I am talking about all SJWs here. Besdies, it doesn't matter what biological sex they are; they're all swooning flowers.

    ...fainting lilies who nonetheless expect everyone to snap to attention and obey their jackbooted thug orders about what is and is not "acceptable".

    The thing is, the SJW crap only works in western culture, mainly western Europe and North America. Japan doesn't give a rat's ass about white guilt or any of the other happy horseshit foisted on us by marxist dickheads; they're going to go right on making the kind of products that make SJW heads all asplody.

    The only thing the SJWs can possibly do here is to make it harder for Americans to get Japanese merchandise. Not "impossible" and not "illegal", and they sure as hell aren't going to shut down any business in Japan that makes or sells this kind of thing. (Go look up "garage kit" on Wikipedia.) The most they can possibly do is to make them more expensive in the US.

    I don't buy figures all that often--the last one I bought was Fuuka, and that was when Mom was still alive--and when I do, they're not like the one under discussion. I certainly don't care if such figures are available for sale, but I'm not interested in them; I just think it's funny that the SJW outrage is pointless and utterly wasted effort.

    * * *

    Other than that nonsense--and it is nonsense--I haven't got anything to say about anything. I think I'm too tired, having had late nights and early mornings since Saturday. Well, today, I can sleep in, and I'm going to do that.
    Monday, May 11th, 2015
    4:18 pm
    #4715: I count EIGHT patches on my street where the water main broke.
    Eight. Eight! Which includes the break that happened yesterday.

    I'm starting to think that the real estate developer who took this particular chunk of farmland and made it into Fungal Vale used tin cans to pipe the water in. WTF.

    The water main is around fifty years old, but that shouldn't matter; lots of places have mains that are older than that and they don't break every six months. WTF.

    * * *

    That's about it for now. Sorry about that.
    Sunday, May 10th, 2015
    5:38 pm
    #4714: Working retail is turning me into a serious misanthrope.
    Because like Greg House I am coming to think PEOPLE ARE IDIOTS.

    Two cell phone ninnies today.

    Ninny #1 claimed her battery was bad. I don't see how that can be when the phone doesn't charge or even turn on when plugged in. Okay, when your phone gets dropped and damaged badly enough that the screen is leaking glass particles, it's just possible that other parts of the phone may have been damaged. In the process of that interaction, I made 1.8 service orders and had to create the rapid exchange order three times because this person was a doofus. WTF.

    Ninny #2 insisted that no one told him the deductible for his phone was $200. I didn't care what he was told; I can't process the exchange without that $200 fee, and if you want to trade in the phone, go right ahead and toddle yourself over to Mobile where they can handle that for you. Have a nice day.

    Two cases of people bringing in televisions which worked just fine on the counter, probably because of failed HDMI cables. Did either of them bring the remote control with? NAW!

    Guy with vintage 2008 Macbook Pro wants a 2 TB drive installed. I told him what it would cost ($330) and he decided that was too expensive. Well, then, have a nice day!

    I don't know what he thinks will happen after he puts in the larger hard drive, anyway. The system is limited to 4 GB of RAM and adding HDD space will only increase what he can store; it won't make the computer any faster. And he had about 160 GB free out of a 320 GB hard drive.

    Then there was the guy with the cracked laptop screen. I plug it into the monitor on the counter and then he starts giving this embarassed laugh. It wasn't until I looked at the screen myself that I understood; it was a very close-up image of a young woman's shaven crotch, the whole thing.

    I changed the background to something generic without asking his permission, because WTF, dude! I'm not one to judge, and what he does with his computer is his own business, but when it's on my counter I'm not going to have something like that in plain view. NO.

    And here I didn't think I'd ever see anything worse than the naked boobs picture one guy had as his login screen. I'm smarter than that, for fuck's sake; I should know better.

    Meanwhile, opposite the entry doors someone set up a table with a placard saying "Gifts for Mom!" One of the suggestions? DVD or BD versions of Fifty Shades of Grey, because who doesn't want to give their mother softcore S&M pron for Mother's Day? "Here ya go, ma! I love ya! And here are the batteries ya wanted!" NO.

    So I somehow manage to get out of work with my sanity intact, and go to Jewel to pick up a few things on my way home. Jewel is, of course, mobbed, and it's full of stupid people who don't know how to navigate or even stay out of the way while contemplating purchases.

    Me, when I'm shopping and I need to think something over, I'll move to one side of the aisle and get as far out of the way as I can. Not these people! They park their carts in the middle of the aisle and stand between it and the shelf, gaping in mute wonder at the panoply of products like a cave man seeing a solar eclipse. Of course this leaves perhaps two feet of room for anyone else to pass by, and when you say, "Excuse me!" they act as if you've just asked them to lop off a limb.

    ...and I don't even need to begin talking about the idiots on the roads. Holy crap.

    * * *

    Last night Mrs. Fungus and I watched X-Men: Days of Future Passed because it has Peter "Tyrion Lannister" Dinklage in it. It was an enjoyable movie. Patrick Stewart is old.

    Mrs. Fungus: "You never read X-Men? Then you don't know what's going on!"

    Me: "Oh, come on. It's not like it's Proust or something; it's a comic book, for crying out loud. It's not that hard to follow."

    It really is not. I know who the basic players are, and there's really not all that much to the background. I'm sure there are all kinds of little easter eggs that someone who'd made a life study out of the X-Men ouerve, but I don't care about that nonsense.

    Truth be told, I never really cared for X-Men all that much, nor any superhero comics. I had friends who did, so I've had basic exposure to the canons for most of the major superheros and their nemises, but I never collected them and I never really gave a rip about the intricacies.

    * * *

    Comment from a video of an arab chasing a camel down the median of a highway:

    Man: Come back, camel, come back! Just the tip, I promise!

    Yeah.

    (About 2:10.)

    * * *

    Apparently the water main on my street broke again. What is that, the sixth time? WTF!
    Saturday, May 9th, 2015
    1:20 pm
    #4713: Gaah, this one's dumb
    I've been watching, here and there, R-15, and so far I've managed to get to ep 4. It is not very good.

    One of the big signs that an anime series isn't going to be very good is when they introduce characters with text cards. "We have a lot of characters to introduce but we're not taking the time for characterization, and all you need to know is that most of them are cute girls with special talents!"

    ...with the result that I don't know--and don't need to know--any of their names, including that of the main character.

    The first episode made it fairly obvious that this wasn't going to be very good, though, by attempting to cram the main character's expositional characterization into the first two minutes in a highly amateurish fashion.

    Okay: the basic story is that the main character--whatever his name is--attends a school which is meant to nurture budding geniuses, whatever their talents may be. His best friend (who, so far, is the only other male in the series except for the school's principal...and he's also gay for the main character) is a mathematical genius. He is otherwise surrounded by genius girls like the shy clarinetist, the programmer, the inventor, the photographer, the singer, and so on. (As I said: you don't need to know their names.)

    He himself is a genius at writing porno. He's already a published author with a legion of fans. Of course this makes him reviled by all the girls, because eww he must be a total pervert. This schtick gets tiresome fast because he's not--he's just an average adolescent boy with a talent for writing--but it has resulted in a few moderately funny jokes.

    One thing that is always the case when you see an anime character who is supposed to be a musical genius: clarinet girl plays one song, ever. Just one; whenever they show her playing the clarinet, that is the song she is playing. As for difficulty, a kid her age in her second year of lessons could probably play that tune, and I'd be willing to give it a crack myself. (The first time I picked up a clarinet, I was able to play most of the This Old House theme on it. I do play the recorder, though, so it was just a bit of finagling.)

    This kind of thing always happens, though. "Hey, so-and-so is a genius at the [instrument]! Listen to him play!" [same song he always plays] It's less than convincing.

    I'm going to watch a few more episodes because there is the slightest germ of a thread of a decent story poking out from all the detritus, but I'm not very optimistic. I may end up dropping this one.

    * * *

    The problem is that the BD player can't cope with certain video formats, of course. I'd rather be watching Shining Hearts but it won't play. Ditto for about half of the other stuff on the external drive.

    Well, that's how it goes, I guess.
    Friday, May 8th, 2015
    6:24 pm
    #4712: Well, I've got the steel for the frame now.
    Turned out Og got home early and had finished cutting his grass, so he cut up the shelves for me. All I had to do was go pick them up, and now they're out of his hair and in mine.

    Looking over the side pieces, I do indeed think I can just use one of them for the basis of the frame--I just need to clean up some welds and do a little stitching on a couple of joints where it's only welded on one side, but once that's done it should be strong enough to handle a hoon or three.

    Next step is to get the garage cleared out so I can set up a work area in which to build the thing. I've got a couple of side projects to get done that will take care of that, though, and then I'll be able to set the frame up on jack stands and start figuring out how to build what I need to build.

    * * *

    This evening I have made nachos like Ruben's does.

    Their nachos supremas can be had with beef, chicken, or pork, and it's a wonderful appetizer for two. I love their nachos: crispy chips, refried beans, meat, and wads of gooey cheese--win. Sometimes I'm tempted to have just that for my meal.

    For Cinco de Mayo Mrs. Fungus and I had tostadas, so I already had all the materials present; and since she's having a girls' night with her best friend S, I'm baching it tonight--why not get rid of some leftovers? So I got out the pizza pan, covered with a square of aluminum foil. Chips, refried beans, taco meat, and then grated the entirety of the leftover queso onto it. About 10-15 minutes under the broiler and voila, nachos supremas!

    The meat is not exactly right, of course, but it's so damned close that it doesn't matter. This is good.
    3:16 pm
    #4711: Well, I got the grass cut, anyway.
    In the time it took me to go get gasoline and then cut the grass, that storm front moved the approximately 114 miles between Peoria and the Fungal Vale. That was an hour and forty minutes, about, so that storm is moving a bit faster than 60 MPH, and it's heading right for us!!! In fact, as I was getting the pusher out, the wind shifted and the clouds began looking ominous, and sure as shootin' as soon as I got inside and checked the weather radar--

    I don't think I'm going to make it over to Og's place today, to get that steel, because I don't fancy operating electrical power tools in the rain. That irritates me, because that steel tubing is going to be the material I use to build the go-kart, and I'd sure like to get started on that project, but first I have to cut apart that shelving unit and haul home the tubing. The next chance I'll have to do that? Sunday afternoon, if Og is amenable. (And available.)

    Overall I'm glad to have gotten the grass cut, though, because it had to be done before we got even more rain, especially since I'm not likely to have time for it before Sunday or Monday at the earliest.

    ...and this is my day off. But there is joy in simple chores, even so, and cutting the grass in eighty degree weather beats hell out of shoveling snow.
    1:19 pm
    #4710: Well, they're not wrong
    High school literature classes always consist of really depressing stories. All through junior and senior high I read a bunch of depressing crap for school, things like My Antonia and Killing Mr. Griffin and a host of others. Contrast all that horseshit with promethian SF--stuff from Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke, and Niven--which was what I read for pleasure.

    I was glad I didn't have to read much Steinbeck or Hemingway or-or-or when I was in high school. And is it any wonder we have trouble getting kids to read when all we push on them is depressing crap that doesn't seem to have any point to it?

    I do agree with Ms. Alkon's thesis about helicopter parents trying to protect their special snowflakes from sad stories--it's stupid--but if the helicopter parents were at all good parents they would have long since taught their kids to read and would have on hand a large supply of entertaining books and encouraged them to learn to enjoy reading.

    Kids being kids, they want to have fun; if you want them to read, you should have fun stories on hand. You don't need to hit them over the head with Proust and Steinbeck and Chaucer and so on; give them something interesting and exciting to read, and if they get interested in the so-called "greats" then they can read those stories, and select classes in school which will expose them to critical technique. If they don't get interested in that stuff, it's no one's loss because they already read a lot anyway.

    Whether kids read is a hell of a lot more important than what they read, damn it.

    * * *

    Last night I had to turn the AC on. It was warm in the bunker and ventilating with outside air simply was not cooling it enough for us to sleep, so I closed the windows and switched on AC. I only had to run it for a couple of hours (if that) to get the temperature and humidity into a comfortable range, but the place remains closed today and probably will until later tonight.

    I have chores I need to get after, and one of them involves getting fuel for the lawn machines. Meanwhile there's heavy weather building out by Peoria, and it looks like it's heading this way quickly enough that I may not get much else done besides the grass.

    But if I don't get that grass cut today, it's going to need a herd of goats before I again have time to get at it.

    This year has been, so far, an amazingly busy one. It seems like I never have time to relax any more, no time just to sit and do nothing; if I'm not at work, then I'm doing chores, or running errands, or a host of other things.

    Well, it could be worse.

    In any case, the grass--so, off I go.
    Thursday, May 7th, 2015
    3:59 pm
    #4709: I'd cut the grass, if I had any money
    But lawn mowers run on gasoline, no one will give me gasoline for free, and payday isn't until tomorrow, so I'm kind of stuck.

    Thought I had to be at work until 4 today, but was pleased when I got there and learned I was only scheduled until 3. As usual I was the only person scheduled to work the counter until 1 PM, and in fact because various other people called off I was alone in the precinct until noon. One coworker--who was scheduled to start today at 11 AM--showed up for work, then left again; I don't know WTF is going on with that nor do I really care, because it's totally not my problem.

    But of course since I had no help it was assholes and elbows for three hours straight, and naturally things tapered off after the other person who was scheduled to work the counter arrived. That's usually how it works when I open: as long as I'm working alone, it's a fucking madhouse, but as soon as help arrives, there's nothing to do.

    Today, among all the phone calls I took, I fielded three calls from people who wanted to know if their computers were done, and in each case I asked, "Did anyone from the store call you?" and all three answered in the negative. The last one was a guy who dropped off his system yesterday; I told him that our turn time is running about 2-4 days. In all cases I checked the status, told them their machines were still in work, and reminded them that we'd call them to let them know when their machines were finished.

    --taking far too many phone calls around all the other stuff I was doing, I might add. "Multitasking" barely covers it; I think I'm into "hyperthreading" territory now. Crimony.

    But work is over until Saturday, and I can relax a bit. Now I just have to worry about all the other work that I have to do, around the house.
    Wednesday, May 6th, 2015
    10:33 pm
    #4708: This isn't even remotely surprising.
    Will County, Illinois, is where the bunker is. And what does it say?
    Will County is extremely bad for income mobility for children in poor families. It is among the worst counties in the U.S.

    Location matters – enormously. If you’re poor and live in the Chicago area, it’s better to be in DuPage County than in Cook County or Will County. Not only that, the younger you are when you move to DuPage, the better you will do on average. Children who move at earlier ages are less likely to become single parents, more likely to go to college and more likely to earn more.

    Every year a poor child spends in DuPage County adds about $200 to his or her annual household income at age 26, compared with a childhood spent in the average American county. Over the course of a full childhood, which is up to age 20 for the purposes of this analysis, the difference adds up to about $3,900, or 15 percent, more in average income as a young adult.
    In fact, in order to get away from the "extremely bad" monicker you need to come from a family that earns in the top 25%, and at that it's still "very bad". Now, the children of the 1%, for them it's about the same.

    In Illinois, the rich don't get richer, but the poor sure get poorer.

    If you need the terms defined, try this:
    For a family with a parent in his or her 40s, the 25th percentile corresponds to an annual income of about $30,000; the 50th percentile to about $60,000; the 75th percentile to about $100,000; and the top 1 percent to more than $500,000. Estimates are based on children born between 1980 and 1986, and their neighborhoods in the 1980s and 1990s. Median rent is for 2000, in 2012 dollars. At the 25th percentile, the margin of error for each of the county estimates is around $1,100.
    So if you earn $500,000 per year, you're in the top 1%--and sad to say that makes you "rich" no matter what you happen to think of it.

    It's a bucketload of dicks, but that's what Democrat rule of Illinois has gotten us.

    * * *

    We're one step closer to asteroid mining! Go, human race!
    10:19 pm
    #4707: Age of Ultron is worth seeing.
    Mrs. Fungus and I hit the cinema this evening to see Avengers: Age of Ultron, and it's a very, very entertaining movie. Mrs. Fungus and I held hands for most of the movie so it was pretty obvious to me when she was feeling the suspense, and there were a lot of very good moments in it. I liked it, she liked it, and we're probably going to see it again. Yeah.

    Besides that, there are a few other movies that look like they'll be worthwhile: Fantastic Four, the latest Terminator outing, and Tomorrowland.

    There wasn't very much last year that was worth seeing, but it looks as if that's going to be different this year.

    * * *

    That was our evening. She got home, then we hied ourselves off to see the movie. We'll be going to bed soon since we both have to be up early tomorrow. Well, that's life when you're an average middle-class workin' stiff!
    4:45 pm
    #4706: It's the wheels! (jig jig jig) It's NOT the wheels!
    So I rotated the Jeep's tires (120?58 mi) because it's been about a year since I got them and I wanted to eliminate the wheels as the cause of the shimmy.

    Theory: I recall that the first time I rotated the Jeep's tires--and this is borne out by what it says in the maintenance log--I got a horrible shimmy at speed. I de-rotated them and it went away, but I did rotate the tires a couple thousand miles before I got the new ones on--same theory, now that I think of it. But WTF, it's been a year, so they're due for rotation anyway, right?

    So I take a test drive, and the first couple of times I hit 55 MPH there's absolutely no shimmy whatsoever. "It's the wheels, and it's fixed!" I thought hopefully.

    This was on back roads between farms that are not the smoothest; once I get on the highway and haul 'er up to 55, though, JIG JIG JIG, right at 55 MPH indicated. If you did a plot of the intensity of the vibration, I'd bet it would make a very nice bell curve with peak amplitude at 55, and rapidly falling off to zero after 5 MPH in either direction: 50 MPH, none, 60 MPH, none. Yeah, I guess that was too much to hope for. *sigh*

    Either A) the former rear pair of tires has exactly the same resonant vibration as the former fronts do, or B) it's not the wheels or tires. Guess which I suspect it is.

    Having checked the ball joints, the tie rods, and the track bar, I'm now down to two suspects: the control arm bushings and the wheel bearings.

    The control arm bushings themselves are not very expensive--$50 a side--but they are a royal bitch and a half to replace, and once done the front end must be aligned. Entire control arm assemblies can be had for about $100 per side, but again once they're replaced it means an alignment, which is about $80.

    This model year Cherokee uses cartridge bearings, which are about $90 a side. No alignment or special tools needed (except maybe for removing the axle nut) but it's two hours for me to get one side apart to check the damned things. On the plus side once the cartridge is out I can also check the axle bearing and the u-joint to see if that's the problem. (If they were open bearings that would be an easy-peasy and cheap fix and I would have repacked the bearings by now and replaced any that were gronchy.)

    Checking the bearings is a project for next week, though.
    3:15 pm
    #4705: Foot binding
    Michael Flynn quotes some socialist idiot who says abolishing families is the way to social justice.

    In our culture we look with horror upon the mutiliation of girls done by other cultures--foot binding, for example, or genital mutiliation--and we denounce these practices as barbaric and unnecessary.

    The people who practiced these things, though, would argue that their way is necessary and good, for this and that and the other reason, and they would be just as sincere as this intellectualist twit is in his quest for "fairness" which is, quite frankly, impossible.

    One of the largest obstacles to total dominance of the State over the people is family. Religion is the other, but of the two family is the most intractable because it's so firmly rooted in instinct. You can convince people to abandon religion, but making parents (as a class) not care about their children is damned near impossible. (Individuals, sure. Some people won't give a rat. Others will die rather than let you take their kids away. There is no way to tell in advance who is who.)

    The only way, therefore, to abolish the family would be at the point of a gun. This is in perfect alignment with every other socialist utopian ideal, of course, because nothing they advocate is congruent with human natur and sooner or later it always comes down to naked government force and "maintenance of terror". (As long as the people are afraid of what the government will do to them, they can be kept in line.)

    The only way to prevent family ties is to take babies away from their mothers and give them to others to raise. Not to put too fine a point on it, but this rather contravenes the entire theory behind abortion rights ("keep your laws off my body!") because women then become brood sows working for the good of the State rather than making their own choices about how and when to start a family. Not to put too fine a point on it, but this can also rather naturally lead to quotas and forced insemination and a whole host of other horrors that are (or ought to be) anathema to anyone who cares about freedom. (And if the State decides birth rates are too low? Say goodbye to "abortion rights" and legal contraceptives. Go ahead and protest, ladies; you can still be walking baby incubators in the gulag. The men won't fare as well.)

    Once you've realized your grand ambition and abolished blood ties, then what? You can't let just anyone raise kids because they might not have the right politics. You need to ensure that only politically reliable people are raising the children, else you're right back with "unfairness" and some children are doing better than others. You end up with a limited pool of parents who are qualified (by your standards) to raise children to the State's specification, and so these people are laden with too many children and the quality of their learning suffers.

    But that's okay; you don't really mind this because 95% of the population are proles, mindless drones who work in the factories and farms. If they're ignorant and don't know how to think they're that much easier to control. And of course the system is designed so that the "right" 5%--children of Party leaders, for example--rise to the top and get all the perks and become part of the ruling class. (Who--it must be said--are allowed to raise their own children because of course they're politically reliable!)

    ...unfairness, in other words, and unequality.

    It doesn't take a genius to know how all this works out, because this is what happens every time socialism gets its grimy mitts into things. It always ends with government control and a select few--those in charge--getting vastly better results than nearly everyone else.

    I started this with a discussion of foot binding because someday historians are going to look back at crap like this and say, What the hell drugs were these people taking that made them think stupid shit like this made sense?
    11:49 am
    #4704: I'd bet money they don't have FOID cards.
    ISIS says they're going to shoot up several states in the US. Illinois is one of the states they named in their threat.

    There's reason to believe that it's not a real threat, but if it is real--well, I don't expect that the islamic thugs are going to dot the I's and cross the T's to get their firearms. Meanwhile, in places like Illinois the law-abiding--who are not planning robbery, murder, or other mayhem--have to get government's permission to exercise their Second Amendment rights.

    * * *

    Last night was a Xanax night, for the first time in quite a while. I was just too wound up--still--from the interview; it's a great opportunity and I'm really anxious about it. At bedtime I took half a tablet of Vitamin X, and still had trouble getting to sleep. Slept soundly once I was, though, and almost slept through the alarm when Mrs. Fungus had to get up; and after she left I was not awake for long.

    Woke up at 10:30, three hours later, with a nascent headache. I've got a lot to do today and don't have time to mess around, but the Xanax hangover has me feeling detached from reality. That dopey feeling is what I hate the most about taking that stuff, because I know I'm not really capable of thinking clearly.

    Today's nice and sunny, so cutting the grass should be on the agenda...except I ran out of gas last time, and payday's not until Friday. *sigh* The mower won't run on clean thoughts and righteous living, so that will have to wait. Argh etc.

    Well, it's not like I'm lacking things which need personal attention, anyway.
    Tuesday, May 5th, 2015
    12:06 pm
    #4703: *whew*
    Well, the interview is over. Now all I want to do is go collapse, which is typical for me after a job interview.

    ...and that's all I've got, because I feel like someone drained all my silver stuff. I'm going to go to bed for a while.
    Monday, May 4th, 2015
    5:43 pm
    #4702: Interview scheduled!
    Tomorrow morning, I get to go interview for a job! Hallelujah!

    * * *

    ISIS claims responsibility for shooting up an exhibition of images of the pedophile prophet.

    Steven Den Beste talks a bit about it, mentioning that the shot terrorists were allowed to "cool" because no one could be sure that they weren't loaded with explosives, and thus a danger to whatever hospital attempted to patch them up.

    Den Beste is an atheist, but he's one of the good ones, and he sums it up nicely:
    Putting a crucifix into a bottle of urine? Art!

    Drawing a cartoon of Mohammed? Hate Speech!

    Bullshit.
    Amen.

    JWF calls the terrorists 'maggots' and they're not wrong.

    * * *

    A more cheerful matter: Like JayG I wave to just about anyone on a motorcycle-like conveyance.

    * * *

    Last night I took a page from Og's book when making dinner: I pan seared two pork chops (thick ones) and then put them into a casserole dish with a cheesy hashbrown potato mix. Baked for half an hour, the result was a fantastic dinner which left both me and Mrs. Fungus well fed.

    Then we watched the first ep of the new season of Penny Dreadful, which was entertaining, and because of a cable box glitch we had to watch that before we caught the Game of Thrones rebroadcast at 10:30.

    Right after that we hit the hay, because we both had to be up early today. The same will be true tomorrow and--hopefully!--from now on during the week. I'm really hoping to get this job because A) full time; B) health insurance; C) much more interesting than trying to sell tech support contracts; D) M-F 9-5. I have a pretty good feeling about this.

    Today, though, I learned something interesting: the entire management staff of our store got to take a trip to Puerto Rico on the company's dime, because apparently the store did pretty well last year. The grunts got pellet points! I'm going to see about converting my pellet points into a gift card so I can buy something (maybe a keyboard or a couple Miyazaki movies or another hard drive for Floristica).

    That's later this week. First I gotta nail that interview tomorrow. Wish me luck and send me prayers, whichever suits you best.
    Sunday, May 3rd, 2015
    11:56 am
    #4701: Good weather
    Yesterday I rode the bike to work. The entirety of both rides was marred only by the last two miles home, which featured a moron behind me who drove with his brights on the entire distance. You can't adjust your mirrors on a bike the way you can in a car or truck, so I had to squint.

    But the ride home wasn't even chilly, and the ride there was pleasant. I had a decent day at work, and once I was home Mrs. Fungus and I had pizza and a Miyazaki double feature: Kiki's Delivery Service and The Wind Rises.

    The latter is about a lead engineer at Mistubishi in the years leading to WW2, against the backdrop of the development of the Zero. There's almost no engineering or technology in the story but it's a neat look at pre-war Japan.

    Today the weather is warmer than yesterday (if cloudier) and there is absolutely nothing that I have to do, so I'm going to enjoy myself.

    * * *

    The economy is doing great! Think of all the jobs that are being saved or created by Obamanomics, not the 6,000 retail stores that are being closed! I mean, if you're going to be a racist then you can go ahead and think about 6,000 stores being closed, but keep that bigoted crap to yourself, Hitler.

    ...340 Dollar Tree and/or Family Dollar stores? How bad do things have to be before dollar stores start closing? WTF. I can understand the closure of the Build-a-Bear stores--there is only so much of a market for luxury goods such as DIY teddy bears--but the dollar store is the modern equivalent of the five-and-dime store, and those only close when things really hit the crapper.

    * * *

    Things like this do not help. Disney is the latest corporation to abuse the H1-B visa program.

    The purpose behind the H1-B visa program is simple: it's meant to make it very easy for companies to legally hire scientists and doctors from other countries, so that if there's an expert in microtopology that Intel really wants to hire but he's Indonesian, they don't have to wait 45 years for his name to come up on the waiting list for visas. It's also meant to help companies fill positions for which they can't find qualified American workers.

    But that's not how it's used--or, rather, abused, as I said above. H1-B has become a way for companies to replace expensive American workers with cheap foreign labor. Alfred costs more to employ than Hajeeb, so like many corporations Disney is hiring Hajeeb, making Alfred train him, and then getting rid of Alfred. This does two things: it depresses the wages that people in Alfred's field are paid, and it leaves Alfred's cohort without jobs.

    Oh, it does one more thing: it gets Disney executives fat bonuses for cost savings.

    * * *

    No crime committed, no charges filed, but a de facto fine of $107,000 taken.

    Guy busts his ass for thirteen years and accumulates $107,000; the IRS swoops in and says, "You deposited that money in increments of less than $10,000 to avoid reporting requirements, so we'll just take that now."

    The IRS is willing to settle with the victim: they've generously offered to give him back half his money.

    Half.

    ...this kind of thing must have the Founding Fathers turning over in their graves. Of course this crap only exists BECAUSE WAR ON DRUGS.

    * * *

    ...so that age-estimating site, the one linked by Steven Den Beste (see yesterday's post) claims that I am various ages: 71, 87, 49, and 61. Mrs. Fungus just had to try it, and the results were approximately what I was expecting: wrong.

    Oh well.
    Saturday, May 2nd, 2015
    1:28 pm
    #4700: I haven't even had breakfast yet!
    ...get up and see the nice temps on the weather site, so I open the doors--well, Critter sheds a lot, because he's a Maine coon and has long, fine fur, and when you get daylight on the carpet it's obvious that some sort of fur-emitting creature lives here.

    Judging by the amount of fur alone, it should be a creature with a coat of fur approximately the size of a Ford Excursion, regardless of the actual size of the animal within the fur. We think it's some kind of wombat or perhaps a previously unknown species of platypus. We're just not sure.

    Anyway, I grabbed the vacuum and ran it all over the house while I was waiting for my breakfast to warm up in the nukerator, and of course I then dumped enough fur from the vacuum to make a cat or something. We keep talking about replacing this odd creature with some normal kind of pet, but then it emits its hypnotic "myehh!" and we go all googly-eyed and forget what we were talking about.

    At least I can now eat my breakfast.

    Mrs. Fungus stopped at a gyro place on her way home yesterday and got these amazing gyros with feta cheese. They're huge; I ate all of mine but for a scrap of pita and needed no more food for the rest of the night. This morning I'm eating the remains of hers, because she said these gyros are too rich for her taste. Oh well!

    * * *

    Steven Den Beste is the very image of the wise and kindly wizard. This is what Gandalf should look like.

    Well, minus the wire frames, though.

    * * *

    Now that I ate all that food, I feel like going back to bed....
    Friday, May 1st, 2015
    9:15 pm
    #4699: A very productive day today
    Six hours of work followed by cutting the grass, even though I ran out of gas halfway through--the mower began chugging and coughing, and I realized I hadn't filled the tank, so.

    Emptied the can into the tank, finished the lawn, and now it can rain for all I care. But I'll need to get more gasoline before I can cut the grass.

    * * *

    Manslaughter charges in the Freddy Gray case...and I can't say they're misplaced.

    * * *

    More UN bullshit. So a senior aid worker in the UN has been suspended because he exposed wrongdoing by UN peacekeepers. The wrongdoing? Child rape.

    * * *

    Tattoos interfere with functioning of Apple watch. Ahh, the sweet, sweet tears of hipsters. Shadenfreudelicious.

    * * *

    We're being social and laughing!
    Thursday, April 30th, 2015
    5:45 pm
    #4698: Well, the economy is still in the crapper
    16 Signs That The Economy Has Stalled Out And The Next Economic Downturn Is Here goes the headline.

    Point #4 is the most telling one:
    #4 According to numbers that were just released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in one out of every five American families nobody has a job. So how in the world can the “unemployment rate” be sitting at “5.5 percent” when everyone is unemployed in 20 percent of all families in the United States? It doesn’t make any sense.
    This assumes, of course, that the unemployment rate is being gamed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to make it more favorable for the federal government. After all, if U3 isn't actually 5.5%, but higher, it means that everything the government has been doing is not working--and that might mean having to stop spending all that money that they don't have.

    Much easier just to fudge the numbers.

    Then these:
    #11 Retail sales in the U.S. have not dropped this rapidly since the last recession.

    #12 Wholesale sales in the U.S. have not dropped this rapidly since the last recession.

    #13 Factory orders in the U.S. have not dropped this rapidly since the last recession.

    #14 Credit requests are being declined at a rate that we haven’t seen since the last recession.

    #15 U.S. export growth has gone negative for the first time since the last recession.
    Which is "the last recession"? I'm assuming they mean 2009, but that was the beginning of the depression we're mired in. The recession never ended. Government just gamed the numbers.

    Meanwhile, in my own personal experience retail has fallen on its face since the beginning of the month. My own performance was pretty good, but I've hardly sold anything in the last two weeks because we've had almost no paying traffic. Plenty of folks with existing tech support or protection plans have been coming in, but most of the rest have not been buying services.

    Today I spent about a third of my shift doing nothing because there were no clients.

    And by the way, how do the "factory orders" and "wholesale sales" bits square with the (anomalous, point #2 at the link) inventory build that saved GDP from being deeply negative?

    There's a lot of contradiction in the economic statistics, and much of that is due to the fact that most of the numbers are complete shit, stuff that's made up to meet political ends rather than reflect reality. Unemployment is not 5.5%, and the economy has been in a depression since 2008 at least.

    This cartoon explains it all.

    Companies like Apple are part of the problem, doing all their fab work in foreign countries. Of course they do that stuff in China because the environmental laws are so lax there; you can't just dump a vat of PCB etchant or ammonium persulfate or used photoresist or whatever else toxic waste your fab generates; it's vastly cheaper to make a circuit board in China than it is to make one in the United States, even when you factor in the shipping costs.

    American industrial policy consists of exactly two things: "NOT IN MY BACK YARD" (NIMBY) and "You'd better employ union labor if you know what's good for you!" The government is extremely hostile to manufacturing, especially if that manufacturing is dirty.

    Well, it's not as if the aristocracy has to worry about little things like employment, because they, after all, have jobs, right?

    * * *

    No one cares about the Palestinians outside of Israel. Nope! If a Palestinian in Gaza starves to death it's a world-shattering tradgedy, but if a Palestinian woman in Syria starves to death, no one cares.

    It's not about the Palestinians, you see; it's about hurting Israel.

    * * *

    Today, when I left for work, I was in pretty fine fettle. I feel a lot better now than I did when I left.

    Looks like I'm not going to get the grass cut today, though. If the forecast holds up I can do it tomorrow, though, and that'll do, I think.
    Wednesday, April 29th, 2015
    3:24 pm
    #4697: THUG THUG THUG THUG THUG THUG THUG THUG
    "Thug" is now apparently synonymous with "nigger" which means whenever black people are rioting and looting you cannot call them "thugs" any more than you can call them "niggers" because YOUR RACISS CRACKER

    Also, it's rape if you hug someone without affirmative and positive consent. In other words:
    "Can I hug you?" "Yes." [hug] NOT RAPE

    "Hi!" [hug] RAPE
    I hope that clears this up for everyone.

    Incidentally, you cannot spell "thug" without "hug". OMG "THUG" HAS "HUG" IN IT WHO KNEW

    FUCK these assholes in the ass with a rusty chainsaw. This shit is getting fucking ridiculous.
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