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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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Thursday, March 9th, 2017
5:21 pm
#5484: Well, that's just spiffy.
So, let's recap the last 28 hours.

Multiple power failures yesterday due to the high winds. No problem there.

While outside having a gander at the power lines, to see which fuses were blown, I noticed that one bole on the maple tree out front was looking mighty dead, and thought, "That's going to have to come down before it breaks off and causes havoc."

So: yesterday Mrs. Fungus and I went to see a production of Sweeny Todd, and it was an excellent show. Not having time for a sit-down meal, or to cook, we hit White Castle for burgers on the way home, because it's what she wanted.

I ordered 15, shouldn't have ordered more than 6, and ate 9. She went to bed at 12:30, and I stayed up in a futile attempt to write something. Ended up going to bed about 3, and then she kicked me out of bed at 5 because my snoring had become stentorian. After that, I was awake until after 8, because I didn't want to disturb her sleep, could not get comfortable on the sofa, and I'd begun to get some pretty bad gas pains. There is a reason I only have White Castle once in a very long while. (It's been at least 3 years. I'm good for another 2 or 3 at least.)

I flopped after her alarm went off, and ended up sleeping until after 2, waking up from this bizarre nightmare where I was about 12 and working with some friends on a plan to win the local science fair by blowing up the Moon...only my father had this evil henchman who was bound and determined to make sure I was well-disciplined and didn't get out of line, and when I beat him at some kind of mech combat game that enraged him enough that he was going to torture me so I'd know who's boss.

It was pretty weird.

Anyway, woke up from that with my tonsils hurting and my mouth feeling dry as Mars, because I'd apparently been breathing through my mouth the entire time. After a trip to the pharmacy to get my wife's RXes, my tonsils still hurt, and I wonder if I'm coming down with a cold.

Long story short: happened to look up at that tree on my way into the house, and saw that the bole I'd been worried about was now broken off and looming dangerously over the house.

Me: motherfucker.

I looked it over, from as many angles as seemed safe--they call those things "widowmakers" for a reason--and determined that while I probably could get a rope around the thing and drag it down, it looked very likely that when I broke the bottom end loose, it would kick out and go right through the west wall of the master bedroom. And if I broke the top end loose, it would swing down and smash itself into the roof, likely causing some kind of damage there.

This log is at least 8" in diameter. I am not going to risk leaving it there.

So, I looked up the number of the tree service which took the other trees out of the front yard lo these many years ago, and asked them to send someone. I hope it doesn't cost too much.


* * *

To get $1 of new GDP we must now issue $4 of new debt. Financing GDP expansion by running the printing presses has reached the point of diminishing returns; in fact it hit that point several years ago. Plus side, we're still at a net positive even if it is vanishingly small. There will come a point at which issuing debt destroys GDP. $5 says the D.C. elites will want to continue spending money we don't have even after we hit that point.

* * *

When I call a group "a bunch of communists" I am not joking, nor am I engaging in hyperbole. Look at this line from a blockquote about how YOU! can support "International Womens' Day": "Wear RED in solidarity with A Day Without A Woman". As the post dryly observes, "What a perfect color for this year's International Womens' Day: red. The color of the revolution."

But hey: This photo looks like it came right out of 1974. Anyone who supports this day is a communist, though, so that's not surprising, and the femnists find it necessary to tell men not to "mansplain" or anything, because sexism.

Just remember, these people consider themselves to be a hell of a lot smarter than you are even as they're saying amazingly inane and fatuous things like "women birth half the population". Where does the other half come from? Abiogenesis? Clone tanks? Binary fission?

I mean, I get that my understanding of biology predates the postmodern period, so I have been taught to believe that the female half of the species bears all young. Perhaps this is in error. Maybe, sometime in the last two or three decades, someone discovered that no, the human female is not the sole source of babies. Maybe we have vast farms of human babies or something, churning out kids, freeing feminists from the tyranny of their wombs.

Well, just to make sure, I looked up "where to babies come from" on Googe and I don't see any mention of any new science on the matter. Looks like human babies still come out of human females. There's no abiogenesis or binary fission or cloning or anything else; we're stuck with the old sperm fertilizing egg making zygote thing. Which means that women birth the entire population, not just half of it.

Then again, you can't be a useful idiot if you're not an idiot.

* * *

Yet another check mark in the "bring back DDT NOW" column. "On the heels of Zika comes its deadlier relative yellow fever", goes the headline. Yeah.

Zika, yellow fever, malaria--there's quite a list of mosquito-borne illnesses and DDT keeps the mosquito population down. You do the math.

* * *

Fred Reed is usually pretty good, but here he misses the mark.

I don't identify as "alt-Right", but where Fred makes his mistake here is equating it with white supremacy, which it is not. The alt-Right is nationalist, to the extent that it believes that diversity plus proximity equals war: whenever you comingle ethnicities that have no interest in forming a common culture, you will have conflict. Witness how bitter the infighting is among the racially-similar sects of islam.

But the alt-Right does contend that there are racial differences in IQ, something Fred is not denying, either, as he points out that asians are, on average, smarter than whites. And most members of the alt-Right will agree with that, because it's a scientific fact.

...that's the part which is okay; what's not politically correct is when you start saying that whites are smarter than other races, like blacks. That gets you in trouble. Even though it's got just as much scientific weight behind it as the "asians smarter than white" thing does.

Well, that's how it goes, I suppose.

* * *

Secondhand smoke isn't as bad as the fearmongers suggest. Which is what folks like me have been saying all along; there's just no way a whiff of smoke can possibly be as bad for you as actually smoking the tobacco, and that's what some of these lunatics have been contending.

* * *

We have an EPA chief who actually knows the difference between what we know and what we think we know. Awesome.

* * *

Being able to fix stuff is a useful skill. Like Karl Denninger, I fix my own stuff wherever I possibly can, and it saves a ton of money.

* * *

Oh truth is so important to the New York Times but they still haven't repudiated their coverup of the Holodomor, for which one of their reporters won a Pulitzer in 1932. Hey, Times, if you want to get even the remotest beginning of the truth, you must first stop lying.

* * *

"Saves a ton of money"--that branch will cost $475 to have a tree service take it down. Well, can't do it myself without risking severe damage to the house. *sigh*
Wednesday, March 8th, 2017
12:02 pm
#5483: Normally the power goes OUT when a pole fuse blows.
So, Wednesday morning, very windy day--power goes out sometime between 10:30 and 11. Battery backups in computer room start screeching; I wait five minutes and then go shut everything down. Back to bed--but noises outside lead me to go have a gander, and while I'm standing on the back patio I hear something go POW out front; and a few moments later I jump when there's an even louder POW! closer to the bunker.

Go out front: sure enough, fuse has blown up on the power pole. Different one than the one that usually goes. Took a brief walk down the street to see where the other blown fuse is, but didn't see anything conclusive.

Shrugging, I went back inside, to find the power on.

Now, I understand how that can be; power is transmitted in three phases, 120° apart. A typical dwelling is served by two phases at most (so you can run appliances that require 240v, like an electric stove or dryer). And as I said, the line that blew is one that rarely does, and that particular line is a phase that does not serve the bunker.

Still, it seems counterintuitive, that power would go back on after the fuse blows. Again, though, I get it. There are all kinds of automatic systems in place for situations like this and I'll bet this is what happened: one phase on the stub gets shorted and the system cuts power to all three of them. When the power is applied again, the shorted phase blows a fuse, but the other two continue to operate normally.

I feel sorry for people to whom electricity is something which appears in the wall socket by magic.

Anyway, the ComEd trucks are on the scene, and have been driving back and forth along the street; I expect they've fixed the short and now they're going to replace the blown fuse.

* * *

Going to have to do something about the tree in the front yard, though. It's got a sizable bole which is dead, and I don't want that chunk of wood coming down in an uncontrolled fashion.

* * *

People train themselves to be bedwetters. There's a lot to what Ace says here.
There's no great mystery to what's going on. People who train themselves to be cool and clear of mind will find themselves becoming more cool and clear of mind.

People who train themselves to go to pieces over every damn thing will find themselves getting better and better at going to pieces over every damn thing.

When you valorize a mental disorder and turn it into a virtue to be cultivated, guess what you're gonna get? More mental disorders.
He's right.

* * *

I just don't know what to add to this.
Tuesday, March 7th, 2017
7:12 pm
#5482: Try reading the Constitution, idiot.
Just remember, idiots: you oust Trump, you get PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE. You may want to think about this, just a little bit. Because you ain't gonna like President Pence any more than you like President Trump, I can assure you of that.

* * *

No more Mirriam-Webster dictionaries for me, I guess.

* * *

I did kind of think it was cool the way Trump went after Obama with this whole wiretapping thing. I like having a President who isn't a weenie.

* * *

"National Day Without Women"? Really? Proving what, exactly?

* * *

Malls are doing poorly because the recession hasn't ended, because it's a depression.

* * *

CIA can take over your Smart TV and make it spy on you. Yet another reason not to buy one.

We really, really need to rein in the CIA and NSA, guys.

* * *

Nothing else to report.
Monday, March 6th, 2017
1:51 pm
#5481: No title, no unifying theme, just stuff I'm saying today.
JayG dusts off his non-work blog and raises a point about the usual media double standard.
Interesting that it's brought up after the election, given that Hillary Clinton not only didn't serve, but by being female, she didn't even have to worry about the draft. Or, is it possible that there are only certain times and circumstances that military service means anything? Like, say, depending on the political affiliation of the person in question.
Nah! You're crazy!

* * *

Like Francis Porretto, I have been saying this for years. The left doesn't have facts on its side. All it has is lies and insults, propaganda and histrionics, violence and bullying.

That's all it's had for a very, very long time.

* * *

Clock has now been ticky for more than 18 hours without missing a tick, and Mrs. Fungus was charmed by the chiming it makes. It's quiet enough that it doesn't resound through the house.

* * *

Working on job hunting. It's been three weeks since I lost my job. What a pain in the ass.

Still, I'm finding some good-looking positions, things which could conceivably use all my skills, rather than a small handful of them. Applying, of course. Trying to average about three per day; though I don't always hit that number every day I have some days where I'll do 4 or 5, which offset the days where I do 1 or 2. But I press on, knowing that one of them is going to score me a job, but I won't find anything if I don't keep applying.

Thus, we flourish.

* * *

Dreary day today. Warm (lower sixties) but cloudy, looking like rain--they say there's a possibility of thunderstorms this evening. We'll see.

Same weather report says 3-5 inches of snow this weekend. Again, we'll see.

* * *

While cleaning junk out of my old bedroom I found my old Dustbot. I haven't dug out any C-cells to see how well the old Hired Girl wannabe works, but as I recall it was marginally effective at cleaning glitter off a tabletop without falling off.

(Watch the video at the first link. Reminds me of Blingtron 5000 from WoW: if two Blingtron 5000s are placed within a certain distance of each other, they'll get into a fight.)

I was going to take some pics and toss it, but Mrs. Fungus said it was "cute" and wanted to keep it. Well, it doesn't take up much room, anyway.

Only reason I bought it? Heinlein's Door Into Summer and the Hired Girl robot the main character built. A robot for cleaning floors! It's a robotic vacuum cleaner!

Sunday, March 5th, 2017
5:10 pm
#5480: Oh, so THAT'S how it works!
And that's why it started working yesterday!
The clock is battery driven, but indirectly (by modern standards), the chiming mechanism winds a main-spring in addition to moving the chime striker. The main-spring operates what appears to be a pretty standard pendulum clock mechanism.
That explains how the movement is powered and it explains why the clock abruptly started working yesterday. Recall from the last post, I said, "The chime mechanism works, because somehow while fiddling with the thing yesterday I triggered it; the motor ran and everything worked correctly."

When the motor ran, it wound the clock; but because it's not chiming on the hour and half hour the mainspring unwound, and that's why the clock stopped.

So: just have to fix the chime mechanism, and then we'll be good to go!


So, took it all apart again, and had a gander. The main problem is that the motor for striking the chime connects to the negative terminal (ground) through the movement frame, and although the ground lug was in contact with the frame it was not good contact. Moved a washer from one place where it was totally f-ing useless (I think someone besides me had this thing apart) and put it there, and now it makes a good connection and it will chime when the time is right. And it's happily ticking away again.

It really helps to know how something works, you know? But we'll see if it's actually fixed for good and all, or if there's something else I'm overlooking.

Only--pun intended--time will tell.
12:18 pm
#5479: No ticky?
Clock ran flawlessly for 9.5 hours and then stopped. Restarting it, it runs for 10-15 minutes, then stops. I suspect it has something to do with the chime mechanism not chiming. So I'll dig into the clock and figure out what's wrong, and attempt to fix it. Whee!

The chime mechanism works, because somehow while fiddling with the thing yesterday I triggered it; the motor ran and everything worked correctly. So, just a matter of figuring out why it's not working now.

* * *

So, there are rumblings that the Obama administration wiretapped Trump Tower, Trump's campaign headquarters, both during the campaign, and after the election. "...[T]he Obama administration almost certainly misbehaved if it even attempted to get a FISA warrant to spy on a presidential candidate."

Difference between this and Watergate: Obama administration allegedly got a warrant issued by falsifying the reason for the wiretaps. Watergate had no veneer of legal sanction such as a wiretap warrant.
This bring us to Watergate-on-Steroids, or #ObamaGate. Here are the problematic aspects of the Obama surveillance on Trump's team, and on Trump himself. First, it is not apparent FISA could ever be invoked. Second, it is possible Obama's team may have perjured themselves before the FISA court by withholding material information essential to the FISA court's willingness to permit the government surveillance. Third, it could be that Obama's team illegally disseminated and disclosed FISA information in direct violation of the statute precisely prohibiting such dissemination and disclosure. FISA prohibits, under criminal penalty, Obama's team from doing any of the three.
I think a quote from the Watergate scandal is appropriate: "What did [Obama] know, and when did he know it?"

Heap bad juju if it turns out to be true.

* * *

High speed fail is fail. Trump's transportation secretary halted funding for the California high speed fail project, because it's seven years behind schedule and almost $4 billion over budget.

California would do well to examine the example given by Florida. The article makes the point that I've made all along: if passenger rail were economically necessary, we would already have it.

* * *

TSA taking a cue from the biggest Trump campaign kerfluffle: now they'll grab 'em by the pussy. Wrong lesson to take, TSA. In fact, why haven't we done away with this horseshit? C'mon, Trump!

* * *

Scroll down a bit and you find out how far Colin Kaepernick's principled stand against American racism goes.

He's become a free agent, and coincidentally! has abandoned his need to not stand for the national anthem.

I figured as much. As soon as he finds that his "protest" may have a deleterious effect on his marketability, suddenly he "....no longer wants his method of protest to detract from the positive change he believes has been created."

Words fail me, and I therefore must fall back on invective: what an asshole.

* * *

So, today is Sunday. Yes, Sunday.

Ah. Well, then.
Saturday, March 4th, 2017
6:58 pm
#5478: Tick-tick-tick-tick
So one task I did today: hang the clock from Dad's basement.

It's a nice electonic clock, made by Bulova, purchase date sometime in 1975. The last battery put into it was a Duracell and it died the death of super-discharged alkaline batteries, so first step was to clean the battery terminals with vinegar to get rid of the alkalai salts.

New battery, hung on wall in computer room...no ticky. It would ticky for a bit, then start acting like the pendelum was hitting something and stall.

Disassembled clock. Verified function of mechanism. Found that pendelum hanger had gotten jammed in wrong position, corrected that; put it back together, now ticky quite nicely. Started running at 1 PM, has not missed a beat since then, and has kept time just fine.

The chime mechanism isn't working now. No idea why not, but that's something I'll dig into another time.

I also hung the mirror we got from Dad's house at the end of the hallway. Took down the framed congratulatory certificate my Dad had gotten in 1976 for working at Montgomery Wards' paint factory for 25 years and hung the mirror in its place.

Look: Dad has been dead for ten years. I love my dad, I miss him, but keeping that picture hanging in the hallway isn't going to bring him back, and it's commemorating an achievement which happened four decades ago at a company which is no longer in business. Dad doesn't live here any more; I still do--why not redecorate to suit myself? At least change the artwork?

...and I'm amazed at how much that mirror livens up that hallway. It makes it a much more attractive space. It just feels better.

In the front hall, I took down the My Neighbor Totoro wall scroll and hung another picture from Dad's house in its place.

Looked over the bulletin board in the computer room, and realized that I had absolutely no connection to any of the things Mom had tacked up on it, so they all came down and went into the trash can. Heck, it's been six years and some months since Mom died. She doesn't need any of that nonsense, and it's not doing me any good, either. Again, why keep any of it?

A lot of this stuff is just habit. Changing it feels good. Makes me want to hang more pictures and stuff...but I'd better wait for my wife's input.

11:09 am
#5477: Everything hurts.
Every time I go to that house, the next day I am a wreck. This is so because I go there to work; even though my main job yesterday was to direct the efforts of others, I can't just stand around doing nothing, so I did some odd jobs (part of the cleanup effort) rather than be idle.

The last few things I needed to get out of the house consisted of a dorm fridge, a very nice stepladder, Dad's toolbox, and some sundry items. I also got the old console TV out of the basement and into the garage, so when it's time to recycle it I don't have to move it as far. The TV was the heaviest thing I moved, though I didn't need to lift it to move it; I just scooted it along the floor.

Also took down the curtains. The curtains in the living room were shot; anyway they matched the ugly "goldenrod" shag that was too badly stained to be cleaned, even before all this.

...but the result is that I'm aching all over. It's not just the work yesterday; it's the work Wednesday, and the work I did on Thursday, cleaning out the truck for Friday's load, and other miscellanious chores around the house that required moving and bending and reaching and-and-and.

The only things left at the house now are, as I said, groundskeeping tools, and the two TV sets that need recyling. (Glass bulbs; they're not worth anything.) The TVs will go sometime before the house hits the market. The tools will stay to help with upkeep, and won't make a Jeep-load when it's time to get them out.

Some other time, though. Not today.

* * *

Got up about ten minutes before Mrs. Fungus' alarm went off to hit the can; saw that it snowed last night. It melted perhaps half an hour later. They're predicting snow at the end of next week, but not much. We had a rather peculiar winter this year.

* * *

On my way home yesterday I was thinking that the stepladder was a decided improvement over the stepladders we have here in the bunker. I have two wooden stepladders which do not seem as sturdy as they ought to be, and I compared this one (fiberglas) to the wooden ones; the phrase "nice-ass ladder" came to mind, and then I was reminded of how horribly wrong a phrase can go if you misplace a hyphen. It's a nice-ass ladder, not a nice ass-ladder.

"What the hell is an 'ass-ladder' anyway?" I wondered aloud.

In any case, this nice-ass ladder will obviate the other two not-nice-ass wooden ones, which means they can go out with next week's trash.

Sometime in the coming week I'll be making a trip to Salvation Army with a load of stuff for donation, too. Got to get out in front of that garage; it's a mess.

* * *

I saved a stack of Christmas records, one of them being a disk titled Disco Noel. I have about ten months to get a working turntable so we can boogie it down this Christmas. Heh.

Worst case I can always grab the turntable from my old stereo, vintage 1981. The turntable is not the greatest but it will play records, and I've previously used it as a standalone turntable; it's just a matter of dismounting it, hacking together a power cord, and building some kind of case to contain it. Previously it was in a shallow box I cobbled together out of a piece of plywood and some scrap 1x2 lumber we had laying around, but I threw that away years ago; anyway it doesn't need something made by a professional cabinetmaker and with a little planning ahead I can probably do better than my prior effort. For one thing, I have better tools now.

* * *

And, chores to do today, as well. Not a problem. Minor ones, around the house, here, nothing really strenuous or time-consuming.

Suppose I may as well get after 'em.
Friday, March 3rd, 2017
4:02 pm
#5476: Well, that's done.
The house has been cleared out. Nothing remains in it but two TV sets which we'll have to recycle, a lawn mower, and some garden tools. End of list.

Next up: cleaning the place and getting it listed.

* * *

I hate robocalls enough that I want the FCC to out-and-out ban the damned things. But the proposed rules would help a lot.

* * *

Only one season of Schwarzeneggar terminating people on Celebrity Apprentice because Trump or something. Oh well.

* * *

Man, it's nothing but turtles all the way down.
Thursday, March 2nd, 2017
8:59 pm
#5475: Being able to fix stuff is cool.
Computer speakers, vintage 1998. "VOLCANO," said the box I tossed sometime in the last couple of years. Cylindrical, and they sound pretty damned good to boot...but the right-side speaker was flaky. I could never get sound to come out of it until after twisting and turning and jiggling the cord to it.

Tonight I set out to rectify that.

First up, plug speaker into an audio source and jiggle the cable to see if it's the connector or the cable. Worked beautifully, meaning it's the actual jack on the amp.

Fine. Figure out how to disassemble the thing and pull it apart. (And it it was made to come apart, mirabile visu!) Check jack for bad solder joints; no go, it's solid as the Rock of Gibraltar. Closer inspection revealed the issue: while the shield (outside) of the RCA connector made solid contact with the jack, the pin (center) was not, because somehow the center of the jack had gotten bent out of shape.

Replace it? I went downstairs to see if there was anything in my old electronics kit from school, or in my junk box, that would do; but there wasn't, not even something I could cannibalize. Well, I reasoned, I have to go to Dad's house tomorrow, and that's a hop, skip, and jump from Fry's; but then I reasoned that if I could just bend the pin socket back towards the center, it would work fine. Just needed to remove the heat sink from the amplifier IC, so I did that, and used a dental pick to move metal around. Tested fine, reassembled fine, now it's all spiffy again. Total cost: about half an hour's time, no parts needed.

That is cool. And so much better than the set of speakers I had that came with [PRIOR COMPUTER NAME], which died and were not at all repairable.

I don't make a habit of keeping computer speakers, but I have three pairs which are worth keeping. The set that I use on the desk downstairs, which I bought in 1994-ish; the VOLCANO! set I just fixed, and the digital Boston Acoustics set which goes with Jurai, the P3-1000 I bought in 2001. That computer has a sound card with a digital output, and when I tried setting it up for analog output it sounded terrible--a lot of noise--so I just went back to the digital speakers.

Speaking of which, it probably wouldn't hurt to set up that stuff again and see if it still works....
12:14 pm
#5474: They just f--king LOVE science, but they don't know anything about it.
Yes, corporations on the Moon will drop rocks on Earth because EVIL CORPORATIONS. Or, "Democrat opens mouth and removes all doubt."

The post answers the Democrat's idiocy with actual science.

Short form:

Can a rock, placed on a trajectory that intersects with the Earth's surface, totally fuck shit up? YES. There's no question about this.

Is it a trivial exercise to do that? NO. The rock needs to be large, it needs to have a significant amount of kinetic enerty imparted to it to get it onto that trajectory.

Does it have to be a very large rock? YES. Post says it needs to be about 105,000 long tons to have the predicted impact energy (equivalent to "hundreds" of nuclear weapons), and at a typical density for lunar rock of something like 2800 kilograms per cubic meter, we're looking at a cubical boulder some twelve feet on a side, for an impact energy of a hundred Fat Man bombs, about 1.5 megatons.

We don't have any way to accelerate any rock, even one in orbit, of that size, to place it on an Earth-crossing trajectory or even move it off of one. We do not have a rocket booster or motor or anything which could significantly alter the trajectory of a rock that size. Just boosting such a rock from the Moon's surface would be a massive undertaking, requiring dozens of launches from Earth to get the required men and materiel to the Moon.

"Ms. Wu blamed criticism of her on sexism: 'that’s the danger of being a woman on the internet!' she exclaimed."

No, that's the danger of being a complete fucking idiot on the Internet, you dumbass.
11:50 am
#5472: What I hate about job hunting
When you get up in the morning and check your e-mail, and see "Request for interview" in the Subject line...then clicking into the body of the e-mail and finding that it's about selling life insurance.


Look: if I wanted to sell insurance for a living I'd already be doing it. But I don't, for a variety of reasons (one being that I am a lousy salesman) and my lack of interest in a sales career is complete.

Of course, since this isn't my first time at this rodeo I already know what I'm clicking when I click it, and am merely making sure it's not something else with an unfortunate choice of title--but my sensors are pretty finely calibrated and I'm not wrong.

ADDENDUM: Oh, and add "Mystery Shopper" spam to that list. Argh etc. END ADDENDUM

* * *

So: unemployment people never called yesterday. I had my phone next to me the entire afternoon, no one ever called. Imagine my shock when I called them at 4 PM I was told that my file was notated to the effect that they had called me and got no answer.

Government. *rolleyes*

Plus side: the rep I spoke to told me that the agent tasked with conducting the interview also reviewed my file and determined that no interview was needed as I'd given enough information on my initial request for unemployment, and approved it, so I'll be receiving money shortly. Which is good because--as noted yesterday--I'm just about bust.

But a miracle happened yesterday. After talking to my insurance folks and getting the Jeep insurance reinstated (and having to pay most of what I had left in my checking account to do it) I was sitting here all freaked out over having no money, and worried about saying the wrong thing in the interview, and getting anxious and upset. Then I reminded myself that all this month's bills are paid. There's a remaining balance on the gas bill, but electricity is paid in full; all the various insurance policies I have are paid up; the rent on the storage locker is paid; there's gas in the Jeep's tank and I have a few sheckels left for more when I need it. My last paycheck included a $370 bonus from December, because I'd processed enough upgrade orders that I got $20 for each of them--yeah, my performance just stinks, doesn't it?--and that extra-large paycheck was enough to handle everything that needed handling in the past couple of weeks plus let me correct for my insurance oversight and pay the early March bills on time. No bills left to pay until much later this month, after I've started getting unemployment.

...reminding myself of this took away all the anxiety, and I suddenly relaxed and felt happy. It's true, you know: expressing gratitude for what you have makes you a hell of a lot happier than worrying about what you don't have.

Just another reminder that God loves you and wants you to be happy.
Wednesday, March 1st, 2017
11:50 am
#5471: Well, spiffy!
Thank God I didn't have a wreck or anything.


Car insurance bill came due Dec 21. Payday was Dec 23, the Friday before a very busy holiday weekend where I would have to work and try to cram in what celebration I could around it; I intended to sit down on Tue, Dec 27 and pay bills.

Sun, Dec 25, of course, I got the call that Dad had died...and the rest of 2016 was a mad scramble. And paying the car insurance got lost in the shuffle.

SO: last night I go online to pay the house insurance, and can't find anything about my car insurance. Only homeowner's and motorcycle show up. WTF?

...then I look at the PDF of the bill, and OH, SHIT I've been driving without car insurance for how long?...

Plus side, just called the insurance agency, and they were able to reinstate the policy--I had until the 5th to do that--so no worries. All is well.

Still, WTF, man. Holy crap.

* * *

Wow, this is breathtakingly stupid. It's wrong to refer to a child who cannot speak as "he" or "she" because the child can't say what his "preferred gender" is, so we should refer to the child as "babyself" or "toddlerself" until the kid can identify his "preferred gender". Otherwise you run the risk of mis-gendering the kid, you nazi!

If it were meant as a joke, it would be hilarious, but this dickhead is serious with this horseshit.

* * *

Apple charges for Mac OS updates? WTF.

* * *

Well: my bills are paid until the end of the month, which is good, because I have no money left. Need to get that unemployment insurance coming in ASAP. Two hours until they call. Whee!
Tuesday, February 28th, 2017
9:50 pm
#5470: So, that's another day done with.
Today, Mrs. Fungus and I had to meet the cleanout crew at Dad's house. They filled a box van with junk. The basement is now entirely bereft of things. They're going to have to come back to get the rest of the upstairs, but that won't be a whole-day thing. Pretty damned awesome job.

We saved out a Jeep-ful of things, but didn't unload the truck upon arriving home why? Because we're having lots and lots of thunderstorms rolling through the area tonight, some severe. Traffic on the way home was slow because of monsoon-like rain and hail and-and-and. Holy crap.

Anyway, after finishing at Dad's but before coming home, Mrs. Fungus decided she wanted to see a movie, so we went to the Ipic theater over that way. Holy crap what a way to watch a movie! We paid a little extra for premium seats, which included free popcorn, pillows, and blankets; we had dinner there in the theater--brought to us by a waiter--while we watched A Cure For Wellness which is, by the way, a cracking good movie. The seats were recliners, more than big enough and comfortable, so I spent the whole movie with my feet up and shoes off, under a blanket.

So not only was the movie really good, but I felt refreshed after watching it. It only costs a little more to go first class, Dad always said, and that was a first-class way to see a movie!

I could get very used to that.

* * *

Comedians these days are usually not at all funny. The ones who work on SNL, doubly so. While waiting to watch our movie there was a "preview" thing about improv clubs, and Mrs. Fungus predicted that it would be totally unfunny...and she was right. The guy they featured simply was not even remotely humorous.

In this case:
"I want to be in love, I want to do that, but it’s 2017, and we got a pig in office. The world is about to end."

...You see. It's funny...laugh.
Here is the salient difference between people on the left and people on the right. People on the right (like me) don't give a rat's ass who is President; we go right on living our lives. I met the right woman, fell in love, and got married even though President Jugears was in office.

If you put your personal life on hold because you don't like the sitting President, you are an idiot.

But the fact is, she isn't having trouble finding love because she's afraid of the world ending due to Trump. She's having trouble finding love because of her personality. Evidence:
The 49-year-old actress also found the time to rip on dog lovers during her set. In a bit about rescue dogs and their holier-than-thou owners who say things like: "Did I rescue the dog, or did the dog rescue me?"

To that, Jones replied "How about both of y'all get caught in a fire, and neither one of y'all get rescued?"
Wishing horrible death on someone who is hoity-toity--that's hate, right there.

* * *

I have seen some of this myself. Awful lot of cars piling up out there. Almost as if a bubble was popping....

* * *

NASA does not want anyone horning in on its bailiwick. I think that's why NASA is expressing frustration over SpaceX's announcement that they're going to send a couple of people out past the Moon and back.

This is where things will get dicey for any private organization that sends people into space. NASA won't approve of it, and will take steps to prevent it. Mark my words.

* * *

Well, the weather amusement continues. Just got a tornado watch alarm from the weather radio, in effect until 4 AM. Well, that's neat. IT'S FRICKING FEBRUARY WTF


I thought La Nina was supposed to make it a cold, snowy winter. Instead we've had a moderate, rainy winter. WTF.

Well, could be worse.
Monday, February 27th, 2017
1:40 pm
#5469: No one cares.
Best Picture went to a movie no one saw anyway. A couple of celebrities read the wrong card and said it was awarded to the wrong film--another movie no one saw--and there's a big to-do about it among people who don't have anything better to do with their time.

No one cares.

* * *

Mexico threatening to end NAFTA talks if import tarriffs are proposed. Oh, please, please do, Mexico. We don't mind paying a bit more for avocados. We do mind exporting all our manufacturing jobs.

* * *

Proof that Democrats want vote fraud. Because when it comes to the integrity of their internal elections, where all voters are already Democrats, then they require a photo ID and paper ballots.

* * *

Even if it's not real, it's schadenböneriffic! Quoth one of the 200 leftists jailed for felony rioting: "It's not fair! It's not fucking fair! We're not fascists like you fucks. We're the good guys."

As the post concludes, "If you can't do the time, don't do the crime, cupcake."

This kind of thing needs to happen every time there is a riot. We're not doing anything special, here, but merely enforcing laws already on the books. Okay? It's already illegal to riot. It's illegal to loot. It's illegal to vandalize things. None of this requires any new law; it ought to go without saying that this is not political as it applies to anyone who engages in felony riot. (But which side of the aisle riots, and which doesn't?) It merely requires the will to enforce the law.

Which, until now, has been sadly lacking. There's been entirely too much forebearance towards the kind of horseshit the leftists have perpetrated. Which is why it continues.

* * *

Today's Dilbert is pretty good. "He makes me too sad and angry to work!" Correct response here is for Pointy-haired Boss to say, "Well, I'm sure your next job will include coworkers whose opinions you like better."

...because no one cares about your opinions, snowflake.
Sunday, February 26th, 2017
1:07 pm
#5468: Soiling the bed
Brad Torgerson has some sage advice for the American left: chill out.
Take it from this tinnitus sufferer: constant noises will quickly get tuned out. For the sake of sanity. Right now, the anti-Trump din is getting itself tuned out. There is no modulation happening. It's a 24/7 four-alarm event. People beyond the concrete silo of the "movement" can't be bothered to listen to the endless echo chamber of hatred against Trump, combined with calls for bloody revolution. Especially since nobody calling for revolution has the faintest idea what (s)he is actually trying to incite. Most of the guns and ammunition, as well as military experience, are decidedly on the Trump side. The only reason the Resistance isn't already a bloody smear on the sidewalk, is because the people on the other side of the fence are too polite and law-abiding to call the Resistance on its bluff.
The American left will not heed this advice, though. Instead, they return to the tactics and strategies which they used in the 1960s, thinking somehow that will fix everything, not realizing that the 1968 Democrat convention riots gave them Richard Nixon, and in fact similar idiocy (eg "Black Lives Matter") helped them get Donald Trump.

The Democrat party doubles down on what got them Trump. And the nicest thing about it is, it's splitting the party as the hard leftists decide to take their toys and go home. It means a more prominent Green party and a less prominent Democrat party; since they're splitting approximately 50% of the vote, though, it ought to mean irrelevance for both of them for several election cycles to come. (Though it should be noted that when a party has a major split like that, one fragment withers on the vine as the other emerges stronger. Whig Party, anyone?)

And like Obama, Hillary has promised she'll be there "every step of the way". That's good news for Trump because the kind of campaign Hillary ran is eminently beatable, and the woman herself is the exemplar of everything that's wrong with the Democrat party.

That link concludes by telling us that playing the "No Mention of Trump" drinking game with Oscar winners will leave you at 100% Monday morning, no hangover or anything. When I was listening to Limbaugh last week, he was talking about the fact that the general populace is getting tired of all the anti-Trump hysteria. Torgerson touches on that issue, as well, and it's inevitable that sort of thing would happen with the constant triphammer we've seen from the left.

And man, I never would have predicted this level of insanity, even from leftists. Every week--every day is a new crisis for them, and they just go nuts. "Shitting the bed" is putting it nicely; what we've seen from the left this year has been rocket-propelled, explosive diarrhea of a kind not seen in the US since the 1960s, nothing more than a clear and obvious temper tantrum that their gal didn't win the election. Like the incessant cries of "racism!" from the Democrats, it's losing its effectiveness from overuse. It just isn't working.

Democrat response is to double down on it. The calls for "war" and "resistance" and so on are a bluff, propaganda meant to scare people...but it's not working. People aren't scared. They're bored, fed up with the lefty horseshit. And anyone with a brain knows what will happen if leftists really try to have a revolution or a civil war over the election of Donald Trump: they will lose, badly.

It would be a marvelous thing for California to secede from the US, because it's a pustule on our backside, but it won't happen. California won't vote to secede, because then they must become wholly responsible for themselves, and no Uncle Sam to bail them out when there's a problem. The Independent Republic of California would no longer be able to spend money on social projects at the rate it currently does, and dollars to donuts the little country would build a wall higher than Trump's wall to prevent further influx of immigrants. They wouldn't be able to afford it.

"California sends more money to D.C. than it gets back! It's one of a few states like that!" Yet Governor Brown asked D.C. for money to help with the Oroville Dam problem.

I don't think secession is likely. If it were to happen, some other states would also secede, though (Texas) and it would be a big mess. I don't know how a modern President would react to secession; the only example we have is Lincoln and he was effectively a (mostly) benign tyrant. (There's a screed in there somewhere: Democrats enjoy being treated like a bitch, because they revere a Republican President who bitchslapped their secessionist asses back in line, and ignored half the Bill of Rights in the process. Maybe someday I'll have occasion to revisit that line of thought.)

TL;DR: most people sick and tired of Democrat temper tantrums over Trump's Presidency.

* * *

Sending men back to the Moon, but not to land because we don't have anything that can land there. It would certainly be better than just putting people in low Earth orbit to visit the ISS Boondoggle, of course, but it's risky. What was NASA's preferred "loss of crew" risk, under 1 in 270? What's the risk for this kind of mission? How does it compare to any ride on the Space Shuttle, which carried a de facto risk of 1 in 50?

Still, I do think NASA should not be in the business of developing rockets. They should just buy launches, because comapnies like SpaceX can do it cheaper, faster, better, and safer than they can.

* * *

It's very difficult to feel sorry for dead terrorists. Okay, Egypt used poison gas on some Hamas operatives who were trying to repair a tunnel which was used to smuggle weapons and terrorists into Gaza from the Sinai Peninsula. I don't see why this is "uncivilized". The terrorists are using the tunnels to commit acts of war.

We use poison gas to get rid of moles which aren't even as pesky as islamic terrorists are. I fail to see why it's okay to gas out rodents which are just doing their thing according to the laws of nature, but it's not okay to gas out rodents which are...oh, wait. Not okay to gas out people who act like rode-- Damn it.

Not okay to gas out islamic savages who perpetrate terrorist attacks on unarmed people? Why?

* * *

This cat doesn't look very happy. Covered in styrofoam pellets. Heh.

About like that, yeah.
Saturday, February 25th, 2017
5:18 pm
#5467: Well, did Trump turn into a newt last night?
Somehow, I doubt it. I recall seeing, somewhere, a very long time ago, someone complaining that she had cast numerous spells in an attempt to be turned into a mermaid, and it hadn't happened; she wondered what part she'd gotten wrong.

Fiver says the would-be witches involved in last night's five-frog curse are scratching their heads this morning, wondering the same.


* * *

Speaking of feckless idiots apparently Occupy Democrats don't have any more access to Google than neo nazis do.

Except that in the latter case, it was a feckless idiot seeing nazis in her own shadow; in this case, it's...actually, it's kind of the same, really.

Earth to Occupy Democrats: the USSR built the Berlin Wall. The USSR built the Berlin Wall because they didn't want their people to leave the socialist paradise. And that happened rather a bit after Hitler was dead.

You see, Hitler didn't need to put a wall across Berlin, because Berlin was all part of the same country, and not split in half. That split didn't happen until after WW2 ended. (Which, not to put too fine a point on it, coincided approximately with the death of Hitler.) Or, in words you might understand, Hitler didn't build that.

You guys might want to check your history before opening your mouths and removing all doubt.

* * *

No errands today, no need to leave the house. Bro-in-law didn't need any help with anything, so I stayed home--which was fine by me considering what a busy week it's been. Seems like I've averaged two trips a week to Dad's house since losing my job. WTF.

Did have some chores, but they're done. Some were tasks which were postponed because I was simply too busy to do them. Today I disassembled the train set and vaccumed the living room, to get up the pine needles from the Christmas tree. (Incidentally, that Frasier Fir we got? Gonna do that from now on, I think. Short needles, and they're soft and not sharp, so I don't end up itching after bringing the tree in or taking it out. And the needles vacuumed up quite nicely with the regular vacuum cleaner, without clogging it; no need for the shop vac.) Cleaned out the fireplace, and moved some of the stuff from Dad's house around. I foresee a trip to the storage unit in my near future!

Weather turned cold; snow flurries today. Don't expect to see much in the way of snow this year. Suits.
Friday, February 24th, 2017
7:23 pm



...because I was laughing too hard to type "fatuous and risible" in the title bar.

Witches are going to cast a spell on Donald Trump! Did you hear that? They're going to cast a spell! on Trump!! CAST. A. SPELL.

Apparently this has been a thing since before the election; various pagans and heretics have attempted to curse Trump with various maladies, such that the first thing I saw when I Googed an image search with the terms "wiccans curse trump" was this stupidity.

A bunch of fat bastards who took Harry Potter too seriously are going to CAST A SPELL to curse Trump. It's the great attack of the batshit insane!

* * *

If you don't agree with my self-definition, you're a bigot. That's what this whole "transgender" horseshit boils down to. If a fat, middle-aged, bald man decides he's a woman, and identifies as such, you're not allowed to tell him he's a lunatic because that makes you wrong and a bigot.

The people who "fucking love science" are telling us this. Even though science states rather unequivocally that sex is a biological fact.
If we can subvert the reality of not only ourselves, but demand everyone else conform to our version of reality, where exactly is the line? If you can declare your sex to be whatever you'd like, why not age? Why not height? Can reality be subverted for just biological identity or social status?
It's lunacy.

* * *

In fact, I would like to identify as a disgraced former congressman, please. Because my former congresscritter, the not-so-honorable Jesse Jackson Junior, collects one hundred and thirty eight thousand dollars a year to sit on his ass.

* * *

The White House press corps is screaming and crying because fake news outlets are barred. The nicest thing about this is that it doesn't matter how much they kvetch, because Trump's supporters are all cheering. It's about time we saw the President treat the press like the bitch it is.

* * *

Oh, and people allegedly engaged in felony rioting on inauguration day are unhappy that they face jail time.
"Black bloc" protest tactics, which have been used by some protesters for decades, include dressing in black or dark colored clothing while concealing one's face using scarves, masks and sunglasses. Some of the protesters brought with them hammers, crowbars, bricks, rocks, flares and firecrackers.
These are the people who are facing felony convictions: the people who were there not to protest but to turn protest into riot.

And those assholes should face jail time. You don't bring a hammer or a crowbar to a "peaceful protest". You don't need to obscure or hide your identity if you intend only to protest peacefully. These are the earmarks of someone who is there to commit violence and destroy property, and we need to stop tolerating that horseshit.

* * *

...post turned from hilarity to schadenfreude there at the end, but I can't help it. Like many people in this country I am sick and tired of rule of law being turned on its ear. I'm sick of leftists getting away with this kind of crap. I am not alone.

* * *

Mrs. Fungus bought The Arrival on a recent foray to Target. Can't wait to watch that one again.
2:01 pm
#5465: Errands and stuff, part 389.9824
Gotta go pick up brother-in-law from airport in a couple hours. Probably need to leave here around 3-ish to get there by 4, but no information on when his flight gets in or anything else. I only know I have to be there around 4.

Then it'll be a day spent at Dad's house, helping B-I-L with what he's loading into Dad's Honda and taking home with him. B-I-L's family is taking the car, a 1997 Civic, as a first car for their oldest son. 20 years old, it's got under 60k on it, and because Dad was a car guy you know it was cared for correctly. Still going to advise B-I-L to change (or have changed) the timing belt. 60k is where that needs to be done, most cars, and given the age of this one I would do that sooner rather than later, good maintenance or not. And Hondas are almost exclusively interference engines, so breaking the timing belt would result in an awfully spendy fix.

So, that's my big plan for the day.

* * *

State of Illinois has sent me a prepaid credit card for unemployment benefits. They scheduled a phone interview (because I was terminated "for cause") but the fact that they sent me the card indicates to me it's probably mere formality. That's on the first; no idea when the actual benefits themselves kick in.

Not yet because--holy crap--it's barely been eleven days since I lost my job. Seems like it's been a lot longer than that! But it's been a very busy eleven days.

I lost half of yesterday to depression; I ran my errands but didn't get anything else done at all, too blue to do anything other than sit at the computer in a funk. Eventually I took a nap, which didn't really help matters any. Well, it's to be expected; losing a job is one of the big stress-causing "life changes" and--especially under these kinds of circumstances--it's not easy to bounce right back up to your feet. Still, I've managed all right, getting a few resumes out here and there, and doing what business needs doing.

Hey, on Monster.com, I see that the National Guard needs a 13B Cannon crewmember! Think of the benefits! *sigh* But besides that, I found three other jobs that are likely winners. Job hunting and blogging at the same time! I can multitask! And maybe one of them will call me. (And if you need to ask why I'm depressed....)

* * *

In my depression, yesterday, I finally gave up trying to do anything constructive and sat in front of the TV and watched Kimi ni Todoke. It's still just as charming as it ever was, though I noticed something which bothered me.

The scene where Ayane and Chizuru confront Kurumi takes place in a kind of side yard, a strip of grass a few meters wide with the occasional small tree, alongside the school. The other side is fenced in with chain-link fence, and I couldn't help but notice that the fence was drawn wrong.

Chain-link fence is installed so that it's stretched horizontally:

But nearly all the scenes set at this location showed it stretched vertically:

And I have never seen chain-link fencing installed that way. Ever.

But then, watching the show, suddenly in one scene it's installed correctly! Just in that one scene; and thereafter it's wrong again. Kind of like this:

So--for the sake of continuity--the one scene in this entire act that shows the fence installed correctly ought to have shown it installed wrong, because then that would be setting rather than some kind of mistake.

...all of which proves that otaku gonna otaku. *sigh*
Thursday, February 23rd, 2017
12:54 pm
#5464: Stupid, incompetent, or evil?
More about that stupid, confiscatory soda tax.
...the city is relying on the soda tax to fund its schools. They had planned on $7.6 million per month in tax revenues for that purpose, but only drew in $2.3 million the first month. So, once again good job: linking childhood education to a tax scheme that you had to know would be a disastrous failure.
Here's the thing: the tax has been placed at the wholesale level, apparently on the theory that retailers would eat the cost rather than pass it on to the consumer. But because this tax was emplaced by takers (people who have never produced anything of value) it was emplaced without knowledge of how things work in retail.

Running a grocery store is a balancing act. You need to keep your average profit above a certain level. You do this by rotating what's on sale, and sometimes those discounts are quite steep, just to get people in the store. Most people don't want to do their shopping at three or four different stores, but would rather just go one place and get it done, so the "loss leader" strategy works fairly well.

But it also means that while the individual margins on products are reasonable, typically the products sell much closer to wholesale. People will wait until something goes on sale and buy it then, and stock up; if it's something they need now they'll buy the minimum amount necessary to tide them over until it does go on sale. (Example: store-brand butter is on sale at my local store for $3 a pound. The box was empty. Right next to it, a full box of butter at $3.50 a pound.)

So--in practical terms--there isn't that much margin to cut. The tax is 1.5 cents per ounce; on a 16 oz bottle of Pepsi it's a quarter. On a 6-pack, it's $1.50. On a case of 12 oz cans, it's $4.32. Typical sale price for a case is $5; this tax doubles the price, and there isn't enough margin in the cost of the product for anyone in the supply chain to absorb it. The wholesaler certainly cannot; at the typical supermarket markup of 150% of wholesale cost, there isn't nearly enough margin there to absorb it, either.

And not to put too fine a point on it, all participants in the supply chain are not doing this for their health, but to make money.

Meanwhile, the lunatics in the Philadelphia city government seem to live in a marxist dreamland, blaming "greedy" suppliers for not being good socialists and taking it up the ass in the name of the chawdren.

* * *

An explanation of why the leftist violence cannot lead to revolution. It's true enough: you put the idiots rioting up against real soldiers and they'll buckle. Soldiers have discipline and training; the rioters are a barely-organized mob.

Which is not to say that it's impossible for a revolution to take place. But it's not going to be the idiots in the streets doing it; they're a rabble with no unit cohesion or discipline under fire. It's going to require a lot more than that to pose a credible threat to the nation.

Of course, there's always terrorism, which suits the left just fine. Take a look at the sixties, all the bombings perpetrated by leftists--though I'm not sure how well they'd fare today, when the feds have had fifty years to perfect their techniques for sniffing out and preventing terrorist activity.
The little black-clad Bitch Posse feels brave when pepper-spraying women who thought they were going to a lecture, and ganging up 40-to-1 on unarmed middle-aged guys.

They will, by contrast, squirt their shorts full the first time they start catching facefuls of .30 caliber incoming, in a manner that will trigger the activation of their organ donation cards, and all their chicken-shit posturing has done is get a sizable cross-section of the right to salivating on the prospect of the smackdown we're inching closer to, with each one of these infantile street tantrums.
I don't relish the possibility, but if the radical American left gets the actual war they claim they want, they may find it's not to their liking, after all.

* * *

Man, today is probably already a lost cause. I have to run some errands, and I don't want to, but they won't get done if I don't do them. Argh etc.
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