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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, January 31st, 2017
11:30 am
#5440: Well, what did you expect?
Attorneys General serve at the pleasure of the President. There are a lot of positions in D.C. which work that way; when you occupy one of those offices, the power is not yours but delegated to you by the President.

Which means if you refuse to do what he tells you, he can summarily fire your ass.

I have to admit I am loving this. We have a man of action in the White House, and he doesn't lollygag or float trial balloons. This first week has been an amazing flurry of activity, each new move a delight and a wonder to behold, coming like blows of a triphammer and leaving the Democrats in disarray. My favorite, so far, has been the declaration that agencies must delete two regulations for each new regulation they enact.

I've long been of the opinion that we needed to elect a successful businessman as President if we wanted things to improve. That opinion has, so far, been vindicated.

* * *

Well, well, well. The real goal of black activism at last rears its ugly head.
During an anti-Trump protest in Seattle this weekend, an activist associated with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement took to the megaphone to voice her support for, among other things, "killing people," and "killing the White House."

While she said that, another protester can be heard saying, "Burn it!"

She also says, "White people, give your fucking money, your fucking house, your fucking property, we need it fucking all," as another protester responds "reparations!"
And as Porretto says, "There isn't much else to say about this, except that there will come a point at which the matter will be settled with tanks and machine guns. That was how it went in Detroit, in 1967."

If you want a race war, you can have it...and you will lose, if for no other reason than numbers alone. But the people you want to go to war with are better organized, better equipped, and better trained than you are.

You are not owed any reparations for slavery. You have never been a slave. Neither your parents nor your grandparents were slaves. If your great-great-great grandparents had not been brought here as slaves, in fact, you would have been born in Africa, the poorest and most violent continent on the planet. Instead, you were born free in the freest and most prosperous nation ever to exist.

That is your recompense for the slavery of your ancestors.

And this:
But by all means, keep running that fat yap, Progtard. Let all the world see what you really are, once the micro-thin layer of civilization is scraped off of your filthy, cowardly ass--you, and all the others like you. Your anti-American, totalitarian political party won't even be able to field a candidate within the next ten years, much less hope to win an election of any sort.
That's the really, really nice thing about Trump's election: the left has lost its shit so completely that the thin veneer of civilzation is coming off, showing the savage, murderous totalitarian underneath.

And all that does is confirm to the rest of us that we were right to elect Trump. And give us plenty of fodder for 2020.

Keep it up.
Monday, January 30th, 2017
11:37 pm
#5439: Yeah, get rid of California.
It would be an enormous disaster for California, and a minor inconvenience for the United States. Which is why California won't secede, and the threat can therefore be safely ignored.

* * *

So, Apocalyptic Visions--

I've been giving thought to what has to happen next, and realized that I'm giving away the candy store way too early in the story, so I'm going to make some changes to the extant text and then proceed to a big reveal later on, when it can be more dramatic and cool. Probably right in the middle of a big space battle!

February will, however, be a very busy month. I hope I have some time to write.
Sunday, January 29th, 2017
9:41 pm
#5438: Shut up, and eat your paraboloid!
The conversations we have here.

Background: watching Hell's Kitchen, we sometimes find ourselves wondering about the tables in the restaurant. They frequently have these triangle-shaped things on them, which we thought were some kind of appetizer or something; and so some ep where they had a family night, and there were kids at the tables, and a kid said something about being hungry, I cracked, "Shut up and eat your triangles!" Which became a running gag, because of course Mrs. Fungus' response to that crack was AHHH HA HA HA HA HA HAAAA THAT'S FUNNY, which is usually all it takes.

Tonight, then, Mrs. Fungus asked me to make her a salami sandwich on rye. I reminded her that, as the woman, she's supposed to make the sandwiches, but then I went to the kitchen and made her sandwich for her. (I may be a man, but I'm no bloody fool.) Anyway, as I was preparing to cut her sandwich, she asked, "Are you going to cut it into triangles?"

I regarded the shape of the rye slices and said, "I can't." I cut it on the diagonal, then said, "I did manage to cut it into a semicircle and a...uh...paraboloid."

"'Shut up and eat your triangles!'" She said.

"Shut up and eat your paraboloid!" I snapped back.

Her: "AHHHH HA HA HA HA HA HAA THAT'S FUNNY!!!" And, "That has to be the title of the blog post!"

"It's too late for that," I said. "But that doesn't mean I can't put up a new post."

You're welcome.
9:27 pm
#5437: Well, that's better than I'd feared.
Wednesday, I'm driving to Dad's house to help brother-in-law clean it. At the far end of my journey, Jeep's front end began making ominous banging noises. Turn into the driveway, BANG BANG. Great. I have hours of work here to do, and work tomorrow, so no time to figure out what's wrong.

No noise on the way home. At work the next morning, in parking lot, BANG BANG...BANG. BANG. BANG BANG.

Me: motherfucker.

Got out and bounced the front end a bit, shook the wheels, nothing out of the ordinary. Got home Thursday night and put the Jeep up on a jack and checked for play at the front wheels. Nothing out of the ordinary.

Got to work Friday, same thing in the parking lot; got out and looked under the hood, then happened to look in the left front fender. And there I saw the culprit: the left-hand sway bar end link broke off.

Me: yesssss.

...because while lacking a sway bar end link can make the handling a bit squirrelly, it's not something that's going to break and suddenly leave me without steering and/or suspension, which is what would happen if a tie rod end or a ball joint were to break. It'll make some noise and be a little embarrassing in spots, but it's not really dangerous if I leave it alone until I can get after it. And the part's about $20 with tax. Not bad.

Which is good, because I don't fancy struggling with it when it's below freezing outside.

Og is willing to let me use his hypernifty and ultrakeen heated garage, but that's got to be at a time when he's around, and I work weekends and he doesn't. Yeah. So it'll have to wait, either until spring, or until I have a weekend day off where I don't feel fit only for embalming.


That's not likely very soon. I have so much to do--

* * *

So, that all-in-one printer--

It's a Canon Pixma, and it's a pretty fair dinkum printer. One interesting thing: aligning the print head required using special paper (supplied with the thing) but contrary to my expectations I didn't have to put the special paper on the scanner bed once the special patterns had printed on it, so I have no idea how the hell this thing did it. Some kind of optical sensor in the print head?

Funny thing: I turn it on, and go to print, and the display says, "Please wait momentarily." Perfect Engrish!

* * *

Tomorrow is Monday, which is my Friday, but on my Saturday I have a ton of chores to do so--AGAIN--my weekend is going to be full of work. *sigh* But, what the hey.
Saturday, January 28th, 2017
12:18 am
#5436: Two men, one day, one dumpster
So, Wednesday I hied myself to Dad's house to help my brother-in-law get rid of stuff.

Dumpster was dropped off a little after 2 PM. When I got there at 2:30, brother-in-law had already moved most of the mattresses into it. Then, while brother-in-law worked upstairs on removing carpeting and tile, I went to work in the computer room. The result was--at around 8 PM--a nearly full dumpster.

I hauled about 85% of the crap in the computer room to the dumpster myself. Mostly it was old binders full of obsolete (and probably proprietary) computer source code for mainframes. Most of the actual books were similarly elderly. "Look," I said to myself. "Inside 'Windows Me'! Just what I need!"

Five tall shelving units' worth. Plus all the stuff in the closet, plus all the stuff in the desk, plus more 3.5" floppy disks than I ever saw in one place at one time.

Brother-in-law is a workhorse. At 8 PM I was flat done; in fact, the last load I took to the dumpster, my right knee gave out and I sagged to the ground, beaten but not defeated--but he was still going, working on pulling the bad drywall out of the hallway in the basement.

Even so, I'm pretty proud of my contribution, because I'm woefully out of shape, yet I did a yeoman's job of cleaning that room. If you're really determined to get rid of a bunch of junk, you can do it.

Humorous bit: my brother-in-law took out the kitchen chairs, which were in decidedly poor shape; and in order to maximize what we could get into the dumpster, he disassembled them with an axe. Ditto for the bookcases. He called it "therapy". My wife laughed at that one.
Tuesday, January 24th, 2017
3:09 pm
#5435: Yep: that SS agent needs to be funemployed soonest.
Your job isn't to opine on who holds the office, sweetie. It's to take a bullet for his ass, no matter how repulsive you personally may find it. If you are incapable of doing that, you should quit your job. If you don't have the guts to do that for your political principles, you're just as spineless as every other leftard in this country.

* * *

So: illegal aliens are now "pre-documented immigrants", I guess.

By that logic, people with guns should be considered to have "pre-documented" carry permits.

God bless America, I want to see an end to the libtard horseshit. For fuck's sake, Trump's been in office for a mere four days; Rome wasn't burned in a day and that pendulum has a lot of inertia. It's going to take time, and four years may not be enough. We'll see.

* * *

Don't let the door hit you where the good Lord split you. I think we should let California secede. Then cut 'em off completely: let them generate their own power, grow their own food, and so on. No "foreign aid" for the "Republic of" California.

They'd be begging to be let back into the US within five years. Begging. Without federal money to support all the leftist horseshit, there'd be riots in the streets within a year of secession, and businesses would abandon the state as taxes rose ever higher. It'd be Venezuela all over again. Except the food riots would be held in English.

...or maybe not, considering the prevalence of illegals there, and the state's unwillingness to do anything about them. Actually--come to think of it--within five years of independence, California would probably become part of Mexico. Well, they can have it, as far as I'm concerned.

* * *

Here's hoping Trump will rein in the EPA. See, here's the funny thing about the EPA: although I kvetch and cavail about it, I honestly do understand what its mission is and what it was originally meant to accomplish, and in fact I agree with that original mission 100%.

When Nixon saddled us with the thing, this country was a mess. These days, our air is the cleanest it's been since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. You can eat fish from most major bodies of water now, too, and when you take a walk in the woods you don't have to worry about finding a toxic waste dump.

The typical automobile vintage 2017 is more powerful, more efficient, and incredibly cleaner than the typical automobile vintage 1977. Even if the 2017 car's emissions control system is malfunctioning. The same thing goes for the entire gamut of industry and technology.

But mission accomplished, and for the past twenty-five years the EPA has been expanding its hegemony. The EPA we have now is not the EPA Nixon gave us; it's much bigger, more powerful, and a hell of a lot more intrusive. It seeks to regulate carbon dioxide emissions as well as everything else, trying to make the price of electricity "necessarily skyrocket" in its quest for ever-cleaner power. The problem is that we're past the point of diminishing returns, where we're spending a hell of a lot more money to eke out an additional tenth (or fifty hundredths!) of a percent.

It's a waste. They don't care, since it's government money (and they're the government), but it's having a negative effect on everything else. I saw, the other day, something about the EPA wanting to rush out new CAFE standards for automakers, fixing the average fuel economy at something like 51 MPG. What's the point of that? Oil is cheap and plentiful and the current average is something like 40 MPG; it's time for the EPA to get out of the way and let the market do its thing for a while, so automakers can find ways to build cars that get that kind of fuel economy without costing $45,000 apiece. (Chevy Volt, anyone?)

And this. See, the nice thing about Obama stopping the Keystone XL pipeline with an executive order is that Trump's able to UN-stop the thing with another executive order.

This kind of thing is why the American left is losing its shit over Trump's election. They needed Hillary to be President so that this kind of thing wouldn't happen, figuring that if they could hold out for another four years or so Obamacare would cement the Democrats' hold on power and they'd never have to worry about Obama's executive orders being rescinded. But now they are being rescinded, and not a moment too soon...and that sweet Canadian crude oil coming down from Alberta is going to benefit both countries handsomely.

"It is still unclear," that article ends, "how environmental groups will react to today's executive orders by Trump."

Oh, I know how they'll react:

...which is gonna be awesome.
7:04 am
#5434: The cliche rears its ugly head again.
Well, with Apocalyptic Visions, I've gotten to the point of thinking it's irredeemable trash, and can't be salvaged, and not knowing why I bother trying to write anything since I'm bloody useless and incapable.

I have not, strangely enough, ever regarded myself as the hysterical, histrionic artist type. And I have always thought of that as a stereotype, not realizing that stereotypes do not exist in a vacuum. So imagine my chagrin to learn that I am that stereotype.

So here I sit, with some time to write, unable to write because I'm looking over the extant manuscript thinking about how bloody awful it is, feeling like every word I write is adding turds to an already too-high pile of them, and thinking that I should just give up this whole writing thing for good and all, because I'll never be any good at it, and it's never going to make me any money because no one is ever going to pay to read this horseshit.

Plus side: I don't really believe that; it's just how I feel. The histrionic artist side is balanced by a logical side that can see the fallacy and convince me to keep plugging away.

Ultimately, any artist has to be able to shake off the nagging doubt that he's a hack. He's got to have a certain amount of arrogance to combat it. No one's going to tell a nobody, "Hey, don't quit! Your stuff is good! Keep trying!" If you don't have that inside yourself, you'll give up and do other things.

Getting discouraged is part of the process, I guess. Knowing that doesn't make it any easier.


And, even so, managed to finish the "burn down the library" vignette, and ended up adding a total of about three pages to the story. Not bad for work done before breakfast.

Sunday, January 22nd, 2017
9:36 pm
#5433: The center cannot hold-- (Oh, shut up.)
I may be misremembering, but I do not reall this kind of thing happening before this century. And this makes the second time it's happened within a year.

Actually, more than the second:

In October, United flights were delayed for hours because of a computer problem, causing a social media firestorm. United said it experienced an issue with its weight reporting system that was later resolved.

In September, British Airways suffered a computer problem that caused delays and long lines at airports in the United States and Europe.

In August, Delta was forced to cancel around 2,000 flights after a major system failure. That came only a few weeks after an outage caused more than 1,000 cancellations at Southwest Airlines.
During an idle moment the other day I was considering what "mission critical" actually meant, in terms of doing things like launching satellites into orbit, and it occurred to me that some businesses overuse the term, and others do not. Okay: if the failure of a single piece of hardware can cause your business to come to a screeching halt, there should be multiple redundancies to prevent that.

Example: long ago enough that they still used tubes in transmitters, there was an interruption of the broadcast of a football game because a power tube blew. Transmission cut for perhaps thirty seconds, during which the technicians figured out there was a problem, and rectified it. An executive then came into the engineering booth and demanded to see the part that had just cost the network a qaurter of a million dollars.

Who was it last year? Delta? I don't remember, but United is the second example of this kind of thing happening, and prior to this century I don't recall there ever being system-wide disruptions of air travel because of an "IT glitch".

And, not to put too fine a point on it, it's not a "glitch" if it brings your entire corporation to a screeching halt. Okay, you hit "send" on your e-mail client and for some reason the client crashes after sending the e-mail, that's a "glitch", especially if the problem rarely occurs. Forcing a complete ground stop on several billion dollars' worth of airplanes is a bit bigger than a glitch.


One may assume that the business of moving people and freight around via air is no less important and lucrative than it was two decades ago. Certainly, we know the result of three days' worth of inactivity on the airline industry in 2001: they all had to declare bankruptcy. (And there went my cushy tech writing job.) One may also therefore assume that the airlines care very deeply about not having this kind of thing happen.

The fact that these things have been happening, regardless of the (assumed) desire of the parties involved to avoid it, would seem to indicate that they can't help it. When, formerly, they could.

You do the math.

Certainly infrastructure spending is part of it, but it's not US government infrastructure that's to blame for this kind of thing.

When I do my job, I do it on a typical office computer. I don't do anything graphics intensive, nor do I do anything requiring a lot of processing power. A typical office desktop computer ought to be up to snuff. But no matter which computer I use, no matter what desk I sit at, I wait for things to happen. The machines are old enough that they came either with Windows Vista or Windows 7 on them (look at the stickers on the front of the case) but they feature multicore processors. They're highly locked down so there's no real way to tell, but I'd wager the real problem here is that the machines simply don't have enough RAM in them. Adding a couple of gigabytes would go a long way towards improving the performance of the computers, but of course that would cost money...and apparently someone's decided it's cheaper to have a couple hundred agents wait fifteen seconds every time they click something than it is to upgrade a couple hundred computers to 4 GB of RAM.

So, I'm not sure what the problem is at the airlines. Is it because their stuff is too old? Or is it because it's all too new and they're having trouble getting the bugs out? I know what I suspect...and that's why I'm saying what I'm saying here, which is that infrastructure is vital, yet no one cares about maintaining it. "We can get another few years out of that computer!" can doom you as surely as "This is the latest thing!" can.

* * *

As for me, I sure didn't manage anything today. Got up, called off, went back to bed for another seven hours...got up for a couple hours, flopped around uselessly the entire time, then went back to bed for another four hours. That's at least 16 hours of sleep today.

Since Thursday I have ached all over. My entire skeleton hurts, just aching with fatigue, like you feel when you have the flu. It's worst in my arms; when I went back to bed this morning I was wishing for some Vicodin, and it goes from shoulders to fingertips. It's even in my back, from neck to midsection; and of course on top of that I've had a headache of varying intensity the entire time.

But nothing else. No cold symptoms, no gut symptoms, just the crushing fatigue. The hypochondriac in me has already identified three or four possible fatal diseases which could cause that, but the most likely explanation is a lot simpler: I have the flu, and either the other symptoms haven't hit yet, or else it's highly similar to a strain I've had before and this is my body's response to it.

Regardless, I dragged myself to work Friday and Saturday, but failed my Will save today.

* * *

I got one sentence into the "burn down the library" vignette before I ran out of steam. Here it is in all its glory:
Zoot, Lackey, Stick, and Al were bored.
I am a genius.
Saturday, January 21st, 2017
7:35 pm
#5432: President Trump! Suck it, beyotcheropz!
The Obama Nation has come to an end, and not a minute too soon.

I'm told that within minutes of Trump's inauguration, all mentions of "climate change" were removed from the White House web site. WIN!

* * *

If u ignore ur account will be termination forever. Seems legit.

* * *

So, I had this going through my head at work today, and I advise you strongly not to listen to this if you are even within the same parsec as work, because every other word is banned on TV.

...but it gave me an idea for a "this society is so screwed" vignette for Apocalyptic Visions, where four ne'er-do-well teenagers end up accidentally burning down a library. Because books are inconvenient and don't do anything.

* * *

I am very tired.
Friday, January 20th, 2017
1:19 am
#5431: I wish Dad had lived to see this.
My Dad-in-law. Well, my Dad too.

President Trump. OH yeah.

* * *

And in the spirit of the day:

* * *

Incidentally: I was right about Arnold Schwartzenaggar's catchphrase as the new host of Celebrity Apprentice. I predicted it: "You're terminated." Of course.

ADDENDUM: "I can see this dystopian future as clearly as I can see the monitor in front of me, but I am powerless to stop it." Heh. END ADDENDUM

* * *

I was hoping to get some writing done tonight, but it doesn't look like that will happen.
Wednesday, January 18th, 2017
8:27 pm
#5430: Well, Merry Christmas.
So, my wife's real Christmas present was installed today.

For a few years we've had a joke, based on "The Terrible Secret of Space":

Mrs. Fungus took the line, "Please go stand by the stairs," (about 2:14 in the video) and turned it into "Please bring home a Playstation 4." She did this because Square Enix announced that they were going to rerelease some variant of Final Fantasy for the PS4. For several years we made this joke to each other.

While I was Christmas shopping this year, I discovered that due to the march of technology and the pricing thereof, this year I could actually afford to get her a PS4, so I did.

When it came time for us to put presents under the tree, Mrs. Fungus noticed that there were two boxes of similar size and weight there. And when she pointed it out to me, I had a sinking feeling she was right. So, on Christmas Day, when we opened presents, I said, "It's time for us to acknowledge the elephant in the room. Let's open these at the same time."

...same thing, same exact thing, right down to being the Uncharted 4 bundle from Best Buy. I got her a PS4, and she got me one.

She got me the PS4 because I'd wanted to play No Man's Sky, and I got her the PS4 because she wanted to play Final Fantasy. It was kind of funny.

Anyway, a couple days later I took that PS4 back and got her what she'd really wanted for Christmas: a remote starter for her car. But the auto techs at Best Buy were swamped, and today was the first day this year we could get an appointment. She squealed with delight when the autotech showed her how to work the thing.

Anyway, now she can remotely start her car. I can play No Man's Sky.

And the joke has become, "Please bring home two Playstation Fours."

* * *

That was the big chore to be accomplished today, but we have other things going on. We ran errands for six friggin' hours today. *sigh* On the plus side, we've taken another step forward with the estate, and things are progressing.

Sitting in Dad's front hall closet was a friggin' all-in-one printer, brand new, still in the box. He ordered stuff from Home Shopping Network a lot, so there were also a couple of pressure cookers, with cookbooks, in there. I snagged the printer because it includes fax capability, and this will enable me to fax things without having to do half an hour of driving first. It's going to take the place of my Epson all-in-one, when I get around to it, which hasn't happened yet. The Epson will then probably get recycled, since it would cost more to get new ink for it than I paid for it originally.

We went to a locksmith to get keys made, because the second set from Ace Hardware also failed to work. WTF. I get to try them out tomorrow, after work. *sigh*

* * *

Anyway, time to relax.
Tuesday, January 17th, 2017
2:37 pm
#5429: No, TU fungah!
The minions are taking over. *sigh*

* * *

When I worked there, it was against company policy to go rooting through customer data. And read comment number 7.

* * *

This is why I don't believe polls. The mainstream media is still making up the numbers so they show Trump to be unpopular. They're lying to us.

As usual.

It's like, when I read Arse Technica, and see an article about computer technology, I can be reasonably certain that it's going to be at least mostly accurate. But when they start talking about climatology, I know it's going to be 100% horseshit. It's the same with the media: I trust them to give a weather forecast or local news, but when it comes to anything political, the filters come on and I am immensely skeptical of anything they report as a fact. I no longer watch TV news, because 90% of it is lies, damned lies, and statistics; the remaining 10% isn't usually worth watching for other reasons.

Then they wonder why newspapers are hemorrhaging money and the NYT has to rent out eight floors of its office building to make ends meet. Hmm.

* * *

One story I've seen bandied about indicates that the "Never Trump" idiots are dismayed that their phones aren't ringing now that Trump is a few days from his inauguration. They need jobs too!

Well, you know? Bed made, lie down, etc? I don't have any sympathy; if you--right out of the gate, and in public, making a great deal of it--say you can't support a candidate, don't be surprised when the elected official declines your services. That's a logical consequence of your actions.

I'm reminded of an exchange from Little Fuzzy, someone (I forget who) admonishing Jack Halloway for his treatment of a Zarathustra Corporation bigwig:

"You weren't very nice to Dr. Kellogg. He's a very important man."

"He's not important to me, and I wasn't nice to him at all."

This is how the real world works: you may be important to someone, but that does not give you license to act like a dickhead, and further when you spend your time distancing yourself from someone do not be surprised and butthurt that your opinions and feelings do not matter to him. You made that choice.


Besides that, these fuckers are delusional:
"Before he won, the conversation was, 'We really would love for you to change your mind and join us,'" Peter Feaver, a National Security Council special adviser under President George W. Bush, said of informal talks with Trump aides. Feaver, who signed both letters, added that, "Since he won . . . the conversation is, 'There likely will be a blacklist of people who signed the letters who won’t themselves be eligible for a post.'"
Maybe that was the content of the private discussion, and maybe it wasn't, but the conversation you held in public was that Trump was not your candidate and you would never, never, ever support him in any way. Now that we're a few days from him being sworn in, now suddenly it was a "conversation"? You assholes are so full of shit it's no wonder you can't help spouting it like a broken fire hydrant.


* * *

Speaking of which: it's the 17th, and we have 3 days until inauguration day. Just in case you missed the memo, dissent is now patriotic again, it's okay to insult and oppose and protest everything the President does or says, and as an American it's your duty to find ways to get the incoming President out of power as quickly as possible.

I am not going to miss Boss Tweak, the golfer-in-chief, one bit. And it's going to be amazing fun to watch the lefty heads explode, over and over again, over the next four years. Probably should start a count on public leftist fantasies about presidential assassination.

Just remember, asshats: if you somehow manage to assassinate Trump, you get PENCE as President. Imagine that: President Mike Pence with a majority in both houses of Congress. You might want to think that one over, if the mere mention of the concept hasn't already made you shit your pants.

* * *

The weather, over the past few days, has been unseasonably warm--above freezing--and damp. Most of the time it's been foggy or drizzly or both. Last night, after Mrs. Fungus and I repaired to bed for the evening, we were laying there and FLASH!

Her: What was that?

Me: I don't know; it must've been an emergency vehicle--

Nature: RUMBLE

Me: Oh, it was lightning.

A thunderstorm in January, onoes the global warmenations. *rolleyes*

I don't really mind that it's not snow, because if all the precipitation we've gotten so far this year had fallen as snow, I'd be pricing snow shoes. And one-way tickets to Florida.

Even the lack of sun isn't really bothering me as much as I would have expected it to. Sunny days, in winter, mean cold, because the clouds trap heat. (And water vapor, not CO2, is the primary greenhouse gas in our atmosphere. Compared to the heat retention of water vapor, CO2 is noise.) And I'm glad that it's been above freezing more often than not.

So, yeah--the weather could easily be worse.
Sunday, January 15th, 2017
11:46 pm
#5428: U, cabbit! Jeko tio! FUNGAH!
At work the other day I was trying to write "I CANNOT HELP YOU" to an idiot who didn't seem to understand it when I was trying to explain it to him in nicer words. My fingers were on the keyboard wrong, though, and instead it came out as "U CABBIT JEKO TIO". After seeing it, I punctuated it, added the "FUNGAH!" and laughed my ass off.

The mental image, approximately:


* * *


* * *

Well, today I learned that I am the last remaining person from the team I was on last year, when they switched my weekend schedule to mornings.

The option to work mornings on Sat and Sun was offered. It was put to a vote, and I was one of (I think) two dissenting votes; and since then, everyone else on that team has left. The supervisor isn't even there any more. Now, until recently there was one other person who had been on that team, and who would be there early every Saturday and Sunday just like me; she was the last.

But now there's no one else from that team still working there, except for me, and it is stupid for me to continue to do this idiocy, where I have to come home Friday night and immediately go to bed, get only 5-6 hours of sleep, and then drag my ass all over the place all weekend because I'm not getting any frigging sleep. Today I almost fell asleep while driving both to and from work, and I'm done dealing with that horseshit.

Tomorrow I am talking to the operations manager, pointing out that this is stupid, and requesting to have my schedule adjusted to where it ought to be. I'm tired of this.

* * *

Added a couple more pages to Apocalyptic Visions yesterday. I'm not happy with the lack of progress on the story. I need to write more. Maybe if I can stop having to go to bed super-early on Friday and Saturday I'll have a little more time to bang on the keyboard.

* * *

Not much else to say today. It's bedtime anyway.
Saturday, January 14th, 2017
9:04 pm
#5427: Well, now I've got a case for the phone
What I got today wasn't an actual case so much as a holster for the thing--$13 with tax from Fry's--but at least that will keep me from having to be super-paranoid about the thing until I can get a real case for it.

Had the new phone about a week now, and I'm still convinced that the modern smartphone is an amazing piece of technology. I need to get a picture of my old phone next to my new one. The new phone has 2.4x the screen and half the thickness of the old one. It does everything faster.

It's nice not to have everything STOP when a text message comes in. It's also nice to be able to switch between apps. I can play Freecell solitaire on the thing, switch to the message app to respond to my wife, then go back to solitaire.

I haven't even begun to tap the potential here.

One of the things about my SF universe is that I never really did get around to defining how big a PDA is. I think perhaps this phone is about the size, though; the screen is big enough to be useful without being huge, and the thickness and heft are also about what I'd expect.

The PDA is essentially monolithic, though. There's some kind of dielectric substrate which has a ground plane on one side and various antennae on the other. There's a layer of battery, some kind of solid-state thing that has about the energy density of lithium ion without the nasty tendency to swell or explode. On top of that is the device electronics, the microprocessors, memory, radios, signal processors, and so on; then there's a photovoltaic layer on top of that, then a mostly transparent layer of some kind of LED display, high resolution. Some sort of highly durable coating atop that which also includes the digitizer for the touchscreen. The whole thing is encased in plastic, but for the screen, and done correctly you could have a model which would even float.

The photovoltaic layer would be a visible light rectenna, rather than a solar cell, because I would expect the efficiency of a rectenna to be greater than that of a solar cell. It could charge whenever it was exposed to light and the screen was off; of course the thing would have a charge port but you'd hardly ever need it.

If you drop it, it's not likely to break. If it does break, though, you don't have any trouble moving to a new device. Go buy a new one, log into it, put in a few bits of personal information, and presto! it's configured just like the one you broke. Anything you saved to the broken PDA was uploaded to the cloud, and is still accessible to you; the system is designed so that you can't lose anything without deliberately deleting it three times in a row, and because storage is too cheap to meter, you never have to delete anything. The design is as mature as the pushbutton landline phone; the software does not often need updating and changes are incremental.

We're a far cry from that one. Maybe not as far as we think. I don't know; the US has a rather elderly cellular system and could do with a bit of updating. Besides, I'm told that Americans pay about 2-3x what people in other coutries pay for cellular service. But at least this new phone gives me an idea of what it looks like when this or that character pulls out his PDA and does something with it.

* * *

Time to relax.


Watching today's SpaceX flight I have learned that the name of the recovery barge is Just Read The Instructions. Why did no one tell me this?
12:04 am
#5426: Still around, just swamped.
Not Og-level swamped but I am still really busy. Today I must get to bed as early as I can, since I work 8-5:30 on weekends. Last night I came home, made dinner, and we went to bed shortly thereafter.


* * *

Obama bombs everyone, he's okay, but Trump is a hazard to human rights mainly because "Human Rights Watch" would be more accurately named "Communist Shills".

* * *

"California is Chicago with good weather." Which is why I don't want to live there.

* * *

I didn't watch it but apparently Trump flattened the press at his press conference. Good.

* * *

So, the Note 7 debacle cost Samsung about $10 billion per millimeter. Interesting point, that if the phone had been half a millimeter thicker--to give the battery room to expand--the phone would now not be synonymous with "time bomb".


* * *

Well, I may have time tomorrow to hit the keyboard a few more times. Maybe. Maybe not. I need to go to Fry's just to see if they have a good case for my new cell phone; if not I'll order one from Ebay. I also want to get a wireless charging back for the thing, so I don't have to plug it in--just set it on top of my computer and let it absorb electrons that way. (My computer contains a wireless charge pad. Go figure.)

This 21st century sure is something, though.
Tuesday, January 10th, 2017
12:06 pm
#5425: Learning to fly
You know, when I watch fail videos on YouTube and they include people trying to master parkour, it makes me think of Douglas Adams and his prescription for learning how to fly. He didn't mean with an airplane; he meant just you, floating through the air.

His prescription: throw yourself at the ground as hard as you can, knowing that it will hurt a lot, and hope you miss. Repeat until successful. It usually works best if you're distracted by something mid-fall, so that you forget all about gravity. Paraphrase of what's next: "When you are finally floating, do not listen to anything anyone says to you, as they're going to say 'You can't possibly be flying!' and they will quite suddenly be correct."

So when I see someone jump off a ledge and spin in the air, only to land on his FACE, I figure he must be trying to learn how to fly. Only he didn't miss the ground. Try, try again! Or something.
11:58 am
#5424: Fits and starts
The other night, shortly before bedtime, I managed to bang out a couple pages of the new novel (now given the catchy working title Apocalyptic Visions, given here because I expect to change it when I come up with something less evocative of Ellison's Dangerous Visions anthology from my birth year. I do not like Harlan Ellison and do not seek to emulate him).

As creaky as the process was, it jump-started things. I'd gotten the story to one of those places where the next step is not obvious to me, and couldn't determine where to go; a chance trip to a Red Lobster for dinner on Saturday night fixed that: Mrs. Fungus had a dish which included crab, and that led me to think about how one might transport seafood from one world to another, and the economics of transporting live crabs across interstellar distances. So when I sat at the keyboard, I used that inspiration to add another "this is how fucked up this society is" vignettes, and that led into a vignette which advances the plot. I would have kept going if it hadn't been bedtime. Probably should have, in fact.

Maintaining the momentum is the hardest part.

* * *

Getting closer to being able to regenerate teeth. Still need a veneer of something to cover the dentin, but convincing the dentin to regenerate fully is a big step forward.

* * *

This kind of thing is why the elites lost control of the 2016 elections. If you're going to lie, you should lie in such a way that your lies cannot be immediately and thoroughly exposed as such with only a cursory check of the facts. Make your lie as subjective as possible.

Incorrect: "All Chevrolet Cruze sedans sold in the U.S. are built in GM's assembly plant in Lordstown, Ohio."

Correct: "We sell good cars, some of which are made here."

In this rather simplistic example the "correct" example given above is untrue but so subjective that it's impossible to get a handle on where the untruth is. Of course, the tactic employed by GM relied on a gatekeeper press. Elites don't seem to understand that out here in "flyover country" our attitudes about the press are very different from theirs; so they came out with something blatantly untrue, expecting the press to be entirely uncritical about it.

Their attitude: if the mainstream media isn't saying it, it's inconsequential and can be ignored.

Our attitude: because the mainstream media is saying it, it's likely to be wrong or an outright lie; it's therefore inconsequential and can be ignored.

One need only look at how badly the entire "fake news" thing backfired on them to understand that point. And as long as these idiots continue to behave that way, they're going to lose.

* * *

I don't know which is worse. We had blue skies for about a week, but it was bitter cold outside. Over the course of yesterday the skies clobbered up, but it got warmer, such that when I left work around 10 PM it felt positively balmy outside.

The temperature was thirty degrees warmer than it had been for five days.

Today it's just as dreary as can be, looking more like November or February than January. But the weather site reports that it's 41° outside.

Only a couple of errands to run; otherwise the day is mine. I don't expect to do much.

One errand, though:

Over the new year's weekend, I had to get some keys made, copies of the keys to Dad's house. We had one set and needed three, so I went to the local Ace Hardware to get copies made. It worked out to about twenty dollars' worth of keys, for crying out loud, and it had to be done before the memorial so I could hand a set off to my brother-in-law.

And when the brother-in-law went to the house Wedneday morning, before going to the airport to go home, he found--to my chagrin--that none of them worked. So when Mrs. Fungus and I went to the house Saturday night we took both her set and the originals, and found that out of all the keys we had, only the originals worked.

None of the copies are any good at all.

So today I get to take the copies back to Ace Hardware and get new copies made, which they had better do correctly and free of charge, because if they don't that will be the last time I spend any money at Ace Hardware. I mean, I could understand it if one key didn't work, or even copies of one specific key didn't, but none of them work. And when I look at the copies, I can see how sloppily they were cut; comparing the copy to the original you can see curves where there should be angles. It's just shoddy workmanship, and there's no excuse for it.


* * *

So, thinking about technology--

The modern smartphone is an amazing piece of hardware. Mine's just an entry-level model and it's like magic. It occurred to me today that when I was born, computers were room-sized machines; now they're devices we carry in our hip pockets, and we make phone calls, and take pictures and movies with them. One device replaces phone, camera, movie camera, GPS, and music player; it also allows access to the Internet and provides a platform for entertainment such as videos and games.

Still can't replace a desktop computer, but that'll never happen anyway--there will be some applications for which a desktop is absolutely the only reasonable solution--but we're already seeing the smartphone take over many of the roles for which people formerly needed a computer, simple things like email and such.

In 2000 I watched Apollo 13 in my living room in Cedar Rapids. Jim Lovell told VIPs that they now had a computer which could store "a million pieces of information, yet fit in a single room", and I looked at my 8 megabyte Handspring Vizor Deluxe and laughed.

In 2017 I have a phone--a phone!--with 2,000 times as much storage, and the phone company is essentially giving it to me just to secure my patronage.

Sunday, January 8th, 2017
3:20 pm
#5423: I am in such pain right now
Went to my father-in-law's house yesterday, after work, to make an exhaustive search for vital papers and other things. Did not get home until much, much later than anticipated, hence I am at home today rather than work. When the alarm went off at 6 AM I had gotten, at best, three hours of sleep, and everything hurts a lot.

We did find some of the information we needed. Not all of it. There'll be another trip made, or two, or three, before we find everything we need. I hope they're not all as wearing as that one was. Then again, I was on a ladder a lot, moving heavy boxes around shelves, but that was the only place in the house I should need to do that.

Everything hurts. On to bloggeratin'.

* * *

In case it wasn't already obvious, people who thought Jan 20, 2009 would mean the end of "Bush's war" were idiots. Obama is the first President in US history to be at war for every single day of his eight-year Presidency. That's not happened before.

I remember when Obama was going to bring the troops home and end warns and heal the planet and fix global warming. Strange how none of that happened.

* * *

So, about that shooter in Fort Lauderdale--TSA doesn't work. Imagine that: guy was able to shoot up an airport, even though it's a gun-free zone, and TSA was on the job. But don't profile or anything because raciss, right?

* * *

Good discussion of the Democrats' "Make America SICK again" idiocy.
But the News has been sent. The Republicans want "to make America sick again," even if the signage was inept at making the point. Since Republicans do not actually want to do this, the photo op counts as Fake News.
Indeed it does.

* * *

Nova in 2022! It's expected that two smaller suns will have collided at such a time in history that the light from their collision will reach us in 2022. That ought to be quite a thing to see.

That's five years from now.

* * *

While talking about phones with Og, he sent me this link and I got a good laugh out of it. Esp the comment, "that tuba tried to confess to a murder and we're just laughing at it".
Friday, January 6th, 2017
1:14 pm
#5422: Now, that's a first.
Today I became the owner of a new cell phone. When I say "new" I don't just mean that it's never been used before; I mean that it has not been on the market for more than a year.

There is only one reason I got it, though: it's cheap enough to appeal to my parsimonious nature.

See, Verizon (my wife's carrier) had this deal running through the 4th: certain smartphones, if bought for a new line of service, are approximately free on device payment (DPP). The phone I selected--the LG Stylo 2 V--is nominally $10 per month on DPP, but through the promo I got, Verizon gives a credit of $10/mo, so the phone cost about $25 all told--the sales tax and the activation fee for the new line of service. Of course we still have to pay the line access charge, but that pays for service regardless and that represents about an $8 more per month charge over what I have been paying Tracfone for crummy not-even-3G service on my old phone.

This promotion obviated the only sticking point I had with moving to Verizon: how to get a device? I'd been thinking about using my 3G Tracfone (I ran the IMEI through the device management database at work; the phone is compatible with the network) but hadn't really made any effort. This deal was too good to pass up.

And this thing is huge. It's got a 5.7 inch screen--same size as an iPhone 7 plus--and it comes with a stylus. I haven't started playing with it yet, but it's so thin I'm afraid of breaking it, and I think the first thing I'm going to have to do is to go get some kind of case for it.

But, wow.

My first phone was a Motorola DynaTAC, given to me by a friend who had bought a newer, less brick-like phone for himself. I used it until 1997, when I canceled service, and didn't have another cell phone until November 2002, when I bought my first Tracfone. That was a Nokia something-or-other, with switchable faces, which got wet and needed replacing. And I replaced it with a Motorola phone (next post from that last link). The phone I had after that one was also a Motorola, which lasted until late 2013--at which point I got an LG basic phone with a touchscreen which seemed like black magic next to the Motorola phone it replaced. Then, 2015, the Android phone I've been using, also an LG.


The new phone is very close to the PDA characters in my SF universe use. I've talked about this before, though I can't find the specific post; in 2008 or 2009 or sometime around then Pixy talked about Samsung's new smartphone, and I thought, "That's it!" Only it really isn't, since the typical smartphone in the 21st century lacks some of the basic features of a PDA from my SF world:
* Radiation dosimiter
* Satellite communications
* Indefinite battery life
* Complete interoperability with computers
* 3D display when warranted
* extremely durable
...all for about $20 a month, more or less. It's more if you want to communicate offworld or outsystem, of course. Even so, this phone is perhaps 85% of what I expect a PDA to resemble. The form factor is certainly correct.

So, I'm still a little up in the air about the phone number. I got this phone intending to port my number from the Tracfone to it; but the big problem with this is, I get spam calls on it all the time. So part of me wants just to distribute the new number to family and friends and let the Tracfone number wither on the vine. But of course I've used that number for about a million and a half things--like shopping rewards cards and so on--and I'll forget it if I don't keep using it. I'm leaning towards "port in" but we'll see how we do.

Meanwhile, going to let its battery fully charge before I do any serious fiddling.

* * *

Wednesday night I left a 6-pack of Mountain Dew in the truck overnight, and remembered it only when I left to go to work. Half the bottles were frozen. I put the 6-pack into the fridge. This morning, they're still partly frozen, kind of slushy. Win.
1:00 am
#5421: Well, it's just too early to tell....
Black savages kidnap and torture a white man while saying things like "fuck whites!" but it's "too early to tell" if it's a hate crime.

If white racists kidnapped a black man and tortured him while saying, "fuck blacks!" it would have been labeled a hate crime before they'd even finished, but when it's black racists, well, we just don't really know yet.

Sanity prevailed, though, and it's been labeled a hate crime. Good.

There's a bunch of links to this horseshit all over the place, but they all say about the same thing, so I'm not going to beat a dead horse.

* * *

And here we go! Republicans working on repealing Obamacare, and the Democrats fire up their hyperbole generators: "MAKE AMERICA SICK AGAIN", blares the sign next to the podium, as if Obamacare had actually fixed anything rather than make the cost of health care "necessarily skyrocket" in its wake.

But, Democrats, please go on, and continue to use the same tired tactics which led you to lose big this past November.

* * *

This is really cool. It's a computer which would fit in your wallet.

* * *

Not yet, but someday it will be. Promise.

* * *

So tonight it's extra-friggin'-cold outside. I'm home and warm.

Tuesday was the memorial service for my father-in-law. It was quite nice. My wife had a lot to do, and needed help, so I spent my three bereavement days helping her; today was the first day this year that I went to work, and the first time since Christmas Eve that I worked a full shift.

It was an exhausting weekend. Wednesday, we slept in; I had to run a couple errands but that was done pretty quickly.

Really miss the guy, we do.

* * *

Not a lot else going on. Further bulletins as events warrant.
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