Log in

Atomic Fungus
[Most Recent Entries] [Calendar View] [Friends]

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

[ << Previous 20 -- Next 20 >> ]
Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015
5:31 pm
#4915: I lived!
Today, I took my first call as a call center rep, and I lived through it.

Of course I did--but you don't feel that way when you've been through five weeks of training and you've imagined the myriad of ways that a call can go bad. No, you're terrified, and worried, and nervous.

...which is why they set you up to take one call--maybe two--the first time you go to the phones. The trainers know what to expect, they know what people are going through, and they do their best to reassure you that everything is going to be fine. It doesn't help, of course, but of course once the call is over and--holy shit!--you find that you're still alive and no one else was injured or killed, you relax and realize that yeah, it's just as the trainers said it would be.

Me, I'm sophisticated enough to have known in advance that this is how it would be, but of course that doesn't help at all, particularly when you're talking about someone who has an anxiety disorder anyway.

But of course all the things I was worried about--which I knew I didn't have to worry about, and about which I was nonetheless worried--did not come to pass, and I handled my first call with aplomb. Once it started I was too busy to be nervous, anyway.

And that suits me just fine.

The nicest part of all this is that handling that call fixed my day; prior to that I wasn't having a very good one, and wanted merely to come home and collapse. What if I can't handle this? What if I'm no good at this job? What do I do if I'm fundamentally unsuited for this job? Despite the fact that my wife--a former call center supervisor--keeps telling me I'll be fantastic at this job.

After the call was done, though, I felt a lot better. Probably 90% of my bad day was anticipating the carnage that would be my first call...even though I knew that it wouldn't be carnage.

Was I perfect? Not by a long shot--but no one's expecting that of me, least of all myself. I did about as well as the rest of my cohort did, and can't complain. I made some mistakes, but I know what mistakes I made and intend not to make them on the next call.

So, go me.

* * *

This kind of thing is why, traditionally, women have been stay-at-home mothers while men were the breadwinners. Of course, in hyper-taxed socialist America, very few families can afford that--and the ones who can typically can also afford nannies, anyway. And governesses. And--

* * *

If you get toxoplasmosis, your treatment is going to be EXPENSIVE. I talked about this one yesterday, the drug that went from $13.50 to $750 per dose after a retired hedge fund crook bought the company.

Hillary Clinton wants to make sure people don't pay more than $250 per month for their medications.

Do you know how she would accomplish that? By emplacing government subsidies, that's how. It wouldn't actually reduce the cost of drugs; in fact it would make them increase. Suddenly, instead of my Paxil costing $4 a month, companies would be able to charge $250 a month for it, or more, because--look!--the government is paying for it!

The thing to do here is to start enforcing the monopoly laws, to make them apply to the medical industry, the same way they apply to every other industry. That will bring down the price of drugs.

* * *

I like this. Francis Porretto lays out the facts on islam. Go, man, go!

* * *

Number of radiation deaths from Fukushima: 0.00...0.

...meaning that Chernobyl--sitting at 57 fatalities some 29 years later--remains the deadliest commercial power reactor incident.

Kanye West says: Yo yo Fukushima I'm real happy for you and Imma let you finish, but Chernobyl was the deadliest commercial reactor accident of all time! OF ALL TIME!!!

There have been deaths from the population that was moved in the wake of the Fukushima incident. These deaths were from the stress of being relocated, not because of the radiation.

Quoth Denninger, minus his emphasis:
Between hospitals that wound up killing people because they had to move folks that really couldn't be moved to suicides from fear of radiation (that was unfounded) and similar, the cost was 1,600 lives. Meanwhile if you stayed put your total dose over a four year period would have been about 70 millisieverts if you happened to be near a localized hot spot -- about the equivalent of a full-body CT scan annually for four years.

The average exposure? About double normal baseline in that area.

What backs up the expectation of no material harm is that the workers at the plant, who would be expected to have taken the largest doses and thus be at the most risk, are not expected to have any detectable cancer risk increase -- and so far, none has appeared.
I said at the time that I was willing to live there, to prove the place was safe, as long as the Japense government would pay me some modest living wage. I'm completely unworried about it. I am more worried living in the south suburbs of Chicago than I would be living near Fukushima; Japan's got a nonzero crime rate but it's nonetheless significantly lower than ours and the additional radiation wouldn't hurt me a bit. Airline pilots get more annual radiation exposure than 70 millisieverts, for crying out loud.

Well, I suppose it's not my problem.

* * *

Well, it's Tuesday, and there are only three days left until the weekend. Whee!
Monday, September 21st, 2015
6:15 pm
#4914: A poor grasp of the basics.
So on my way home from work today I was passed by one of those hopped up sports-car-wannabe SUVs. You know the kind I'm talking about; it's trying really hard to be a hot rod, but one with AWD and ground clearance and so on.

For the most part I don't regard them as anything other than inoffensively stupid, not even when they have low-profile tires and a bunch of other hoopla better reserved for a sports or muscle car. The center-exit exhaust was probably inevitable.

But not on a Jeep.

Understand this: if you have a center-exit exhaust on any vehicle, that precludes installing a trailer hitch. Center-exit exhausts are fine for cars like Corvettes and Porsches and so on; in fact it's not a big deal for one to be on a Camaro or a Mustang (or a Celica GT or a Skyline or a Lancer or-or-or) because those cars are primarily aimed at going fast and handling well, not hauling people and things into the backcountry. And it doesn't even bother me to see such a feature on a Lexus or Cadillac SUV because you know those things ain't ever going off pavement unless some gearhead gets one at an auction for cheap and mods the hell out of it, and they sure as hell aren't going to be towing anything.

But a Jeep? Really?

It just offends me. That's why I want to hang onto my Cherokee as long as I can; that's a truck which can haul stuff yet is comfortable and drives nicely. (Okay, except for the shimmy. I need to disassemble the front end to check the ball joints. Maybe next weekend.) Longtime readers may recall that I got the trailer hitch for a song from a pick-a-part place, and had it bolted on by a welding shop for not a lot of money. The wiring kit was $20 and I installed it myself, and now I can tow things. (I have not, yet, but I will...soon, very soon.)

* * *

This morning as I was outside, topping up the leaky tire, I heard a horned owl hooting from the forest down the road. It's been quite a while since I heard an owl from the front yard of the bunker; last time was January 2004, shortly after I'd moved back to Illinois. That was a barred owl, which is more rare than the horned owl.

Either way, pretty cool. I like owls.

* * *

No it won't. "This total capitulation to Democratic demands will be very hard for House and Senate Republicans to stomach." Not even. The GOP doesn't care. This is just more GOP "failure theater", a kabuki show put on by the GOP in an attempt to fool the rubes in flyover country.

There won't be a shutdown. The GOP leadership will cavail and kvetch and moan and rend their garments and tear their hair, in public, but afterwards they'll all sit around the Capitol Dining Room with their Democrat buddies and have a laugh about it all over brandy and cigars.

Anyway, as commenters point out, the government isn't actually going to shut down. A "government shutdown" means that nonessential personnel get a paid vacation for the duration of the "shutdown", but most of it continues to operate. I mean, do you really think the EPA is going to cease operations during the shutdown? Do you think the welfare checks will stop? Do you think the IRS will stop hounding people for money?

Nope. Instead the government will close parks and memorials and highways, monuments and other attractions. Things that don't get (or cost) votes for politicians. Things that inconvenience the law-abiding, the middle class; not things that would cause riots if they were discontinued, however temporarily.

* * *

Another way to raise the price of cars while convincing people not to buy them. Mandatory breathalyzers in cars, no matter who you are or what your driving history is: you have to pass the "sober" test before the car will start.

No. Just no.

* * *

If you are in the top 10% of income earners, you can afford to buy a house. Otherwise, you can't.

Thanks, Obama! Thanks, Democrats!

* * *

Hey, they only raised the price by 5,555%! Hedge fund guy buys the only manufacturer of a common antiparasitic drug, then hikes the price per tablet from $13.50 to $750. The drug is well past being in patent (62 years old) but no one else manufactures it, so I guess the guy who owns the company can charge whatever the hell he wants to for it. Why $750 per tablet? Why not an even $1,000 per tablet? I don't really know. I mean, it can't be that he thought, "Well, I could charge an even grand for it, but why be greedy?"

* * *

American troops were under orders not to stop islamic pedophiles in Afghanistan. No no, these guys are military commanders ("thugs" and "strong men") and we have to work with them even though they're going back to their tents and raping young boys.

But, yeah, yet another feather in the cap for the religion of peace.

* * *

Today it was easier to get up, because (of course) I got up about forty-five minutes later than I have been.

I got to work at 6:30-ish, which--after leaving the bunker about 5:45-ish--was exactly typical of the commute thus far. Other than one screeching moron who didn't seem to understand that two hundred feet ahead of the barrier is no time to decide to get into the cash lanes rather than the Ipass lanes, commuting both up and down were trouble-free.

The Jeep still wobbles like a sonofabitch at 52 MPH, and of course I was stuck behind a bunch of shitheads who were all taking I-80 and who were, naturally, going exactly 52 MPH. I got to the place where a new right lane opened out from the present one, and I started to go around all the idiots, accelerating, but watching them like a hawk.

Sure enough, the shithead who'd been in front of everyone going slow decided--the barest second before it would have been too late for me to stop--to slow down more while careening across three lanes of traffic in order to get to the cash-only booths. I stood on the brakes and leaned on the horn, but didn't hit him, which is a good thing...because if there'd been a collision, I would be in jail right now for beating the everloving piss out of him.

It's not a surprise that the booth lanes are separated from the Ipass lanes. There are signs about a mile ahead of the booth saying that you need to be in the right lane for cash. But if you--for whatever reason!--can't get into the cash lanes and you miss a toll, you can always go online and pay the missed toll. They let you do that! No one goes to jail!

In fact, if you miss a toll (provided it's just one) and never pay it, they're not going to track you down and murder you in your bed. You have a pretty good chance of getting away with it. (Please note that I AM NOT advising you to skip paying tolls. Pay your tolls every time, people.) You risk getting a ticket in the mail for skipping the toll, and the fine will be much more than the toll was, but it's just possible that the system might not notice you.

That guy was an idiot, but like I said, I was ready for someone in that line of asshats to try to ruin my day.

While we're on the subject, though: it seems that whenever I get behind slow-moving traffic, it is always going 52 MPH. Not faster, not slower--just fast enough that my front end is shaking like a hula dancer's bootay, right at the speed where whatever causes the shimmy is right in resonance with the front end. If I slow down, naturally I get Mr. Impatient Tailgater on my ass, who then attempts to prove that I am Wrong by driving with his left wheels on the line and so close that I can only see the headlight that's shining in my left-hand mirror. I can't speed up, because this always seems to happen less than a mile from my exit, where I have neither time nor room to pass the assholes and get back into the right lane.

It really would be nice if I could figure out what's causing the damned shimmy and fix it.
Sunday, September 20th, 2015
12:35 pm
#4913: Can I still sleep in?
This morning I woke up early and fretted that getting up at 4 AM for the past month had ruined my ability to sleep later. Then I realized that a couple weeks of having to be at work at 1:30 PM will fix that, and went right back to sleep.

* * *

Yesterday was a very pleasant day. Mrs. Fungus slept in, and it's good that she did because she had the on-call phone from her employer and needed to answer it from 6 PM through 8 AM. She took a good half-dozen calls while we were trying to watch Napoleon Dynamite.

I went to bed after midnight. I don't know what time it was when she came to bed, but the phone rang again one more time after that.

She's not going to have to do this again, for which we're both grateful, but it was awful nice for us to have the weekend off together.

* * *

I had not planned to do anything of note this weekend, but the bathtub surround--

My stopgap measure was to tape plastic over the damaged part, to keep water out. It's impossible to get a completely water-tight seal where the plastic met the tub, and water kept getting in regardless, but it reduced infiltration to a minumum. Nonetheless, it would mildew behind the plastic and I'd have to pull it off and clean it and re-cover it.

Yesterday I hit on the idea of taking a piece of lexan (scrap, donated by Og) and screwing it to the wall, then caulking around its periphery. The lexan is completely waterproof, as is the caulk; it fits nicely over the entire affected area and should keep water out even more effectively than the plastic did. The best part was that I was able to use stuff I had on hand.

I had to drill a couple holes through tile to make it work, and to my surprise I was able to do that with a regular drill bit. The tile will all be replaced anyway, so that doesn't matter. And when it comes time to remove this temporary patch, the lexan will be entirely reusable.

Next project is to clean out the shower stall in the other bathroom and figure out how to get that functional again. If we could stop taking showers in the main bathroom that would go a long way towards preventing further decay. The big issue in the other bathroom is the drywall; it's a simple shower stall (uses a liner instead of tile) and replacing the drywall is going to be the hard part. WTF, I need to learn how to tape drywall anyway....

* * *

With the abatement of the summer heat, we've reached the part of September where it's most pleasant. Though last night it was under 50 outside and I had to close the windows, the daytime weather is ridiculously nice.

There are three peppers growing on the pepper plant, and it's flowered more than a dozen times, so there are more tiny things that could be peppers if the weather holds up long enough. Yesterday I saw that the pepper plant was in shade around noon, so I moved the planter. Hopefully not being shaded at the time of most intense sunlight will help the peppers grow.

Another couple weeks of high 80s and humidity would help more, but that's not very likely. Should have gotten these things going about two, three weeks earlier. Well, next year, maybe.
Saturday, September 19th, 2015
5:24 pm
#4912: I don't understand this.
We have a sitting President who campaigned on being anti-war and who promised he'd bring the troops home.

Now we're trying to figure out how best to go to war against Russia if they keep helping Syria fight ISIS.

Seriously, that just makes my brain shut down. I'd ask what he's smoking, but I'm pretty sure I know what Mr. President Fucking Choom Gang is smoking, and it's not tobacco.
1:19 pm
#4911: Weirdly made Chinese food.
What we Americans refer to as Chinese food, anyway.

My wife didn't like my planned menu for Thursday evening, and I was just as happy about it because that was a day where I came home from work and collapsed. I'd planned to make meatballs, and bought a box of fettucini and a jar of Ragu alfredo sauce; I figured fettucini alfredo with meatballs would be a fair dinkum meal.

Mrs. Fungus called around 8-ish, waking me, and said, "No, I'm getting Chinese. What do you want?" That was fine with me because it meant more sack time. In my semi-somnolent state I mumbled something about General Tao's Chicken, so when she got home and woke me up there was a bucket of General Tao's Chicken awaiting my attention. She'd gotten some Mongolian Beef for herself, and a half dozen eggrolls. (I think she ordered 4 and they gave her 2 free.)

The beef in her dish had been breaded and deep-fried, which is not how Mongolian Beef is ordinarily made. The sauce on my dish was sweet and sour sauce with, apparently, Lousiana Hot Sauce added.

Not bad, mind you, not even remotely--I just finished off the leftovers--just not what I was thinking of.

The chicken, on the other hand, was lightly breaded. Unlike the Chinese places around the bunker, it's chicken with a thin layer of breading on it--rather than some weird kind of small croquette or dumpling, of which approximately 1/4 of its volume is actually chicken. I stopped buying General Tao's Chicken from the nearest place--despite the fact that they have the best GTC sauce ever--because of that.

Anyway, I'm going to try this new place's sesame chicken next time Mrs. Fungus decides she wants Chinese.

* * *

Trump knocks it out of the park on the 2nd Amendment. Like Karl Denninger I would love true Constitutional Carry, but Trump's ideas for making CCW permits cross state lines like driver's licenses is long overdue, and one I've not heard from any other contender, ever.

Everyone in the elite is mystified at Trump's success, and they continually try playing everything he does as an abject failure...yet his poll numbers are higher after the debate this past week.

Trump's platform is working because it's tying into the anger of the general electorate. And there's a lot of it out there; Neo-neocon remarks on the illegal alien issue here.

That last: the media spin all these stories one way, apparently thinking that they're setting the tone--when in fact people stubbornly insist on having their own opinions, and no amount of bleeding heart foolishness is going to mitigate that. People are angry that our government refuses to enforce its own laws because they are the ones being hurt most by the non-enforcement.

I'm supposed to feel sorry for an illegal alien who has been arrested for committing felony identity fraud? Why?

The people in comments and elsewhere who are cavailing about "HIPPA" and her "right to privacy" don't seem to understand that when you commit a crime you are liable to be arrested wherever the law finds you. Whether it's the doctor's office, the third port-a-potty in the third row at the county fair, a skybox at Soldiers' Field, your own home, or what, location is irrelevant. You'll find that there is no violation of HIPPA in reporting someone for committing a felony. Because you're not calling the police and saying, "Hey, there's this woman here who has an ovarian cyst and might be pre-diabetic." You're calling the police and saying, "Hey, there's a woman here who has just presented a fake ID." Invoking HIPPA ain't gonna fly, asshats.

Flyover country has just about had enough of this kind of bullshit, too.

* * *

Interesting bit in that last one--the honeybee population is doomed and so are we. The exact same government agency reports an ever-declining population of honeybees even as it reports burgeoning honey harvests. Apparently the bees are automating, or something. *rolleyes*

Then they wonder why we no longer trust government numbers.

* * *

A perfect example of coastal politics in action. All employers required to pay a minimum wage of $15 an hour isn't enough; now they must provide twelve weeks of paid parental leave.

Yeah, that works. Sure.

The idiots who advocate all this claim that it will result in a healthier workforce, and thus save money. This is the kind of thing they've always said about everything they've emplaced, and not once has it been demonstrated to be true.

Twelve weeks is three months, I might add. That sure would be sweet, being able to take three months off without any repercussions, and to get paid for them.

WTF that's the kind of thing they do in France, and that country only has about a 25% unemployment rate....

* * *

This weekend, I have no pressing tasks ahead of me, save one: I must go buy carrots.

What a contrast to last weekend. Last weekend I had hoped to spend resting; instead it was an endless hell of u-joints and other problems. No wonder this past week seemed so long; I didn't really have much of a weekend in which to relax.

Since it rained just about all day yesterday I can't cut the grass this afternoon. What a pity.

Neither I nor Mrs. Fungus has anywhere else to be (other than my trip to the store, which I can make on the bike). It's cool outside so the windows are open and the fans are off. It's quiet and pleasant.

Thank You, Lord.
Friday, September 18th, 2015
4:20 pm
#4910: #2 in the class.
#2, and I got 100% on the final test. I'm going to have to keep my nose clean, because if I can just continue to perform like this I might get noticed, in a good way.

Keep punching, me.

* * *

...another sentence where comma placement is critical, otherwise I would have said, "Keep punching me" and that's just no bloody good at all.

* * *

Actually, what's surprising is that more auto manufacturers don't do this. VW apparently rigged their cars to run differently during EPA tests than they normally do, thus reducing pollutants.

A modern digital powertrain management system can be tweaked to do all kinds of things. They just don't because it costs more than it's worth. That's where the tuner box guys make all their money--selling remapped engine tunes that get more horsepower out of a particular system, but at the expense of making more pollution and/or lowered fuel economy and/or lessened durability.

* * *

If you're in the top 10% of incomes, you experienced an economic recovery. Otherwise, it's a depression. Big surprise.

* * *

I hate to break it to everyone, but regardless of what the de jure law has to say, the de facto law is that Texas cannot legally secede from the union. That question was pretty definitively settled in the Civil War. If Texas actually tried to secede, it would mean another Civil War.

Because the federal government does not take "no" for an answer.

* * *

This week seems to have been far too long. I'm glad it's Friday.

Mrs. Fungus does not drive to work this weekend, so we can spend it together. She's on call both days, but she'll be home, and we are planning to enjoy actually being able to spend time together, for once.
Thursday, September 17th, 2015
4:09 pm
#4909: Well, one day left in the classroom.
Then the real learning begins.

* * *

It's not because the kid is a muslim. Okay? It's because the school faculty called the cops, and the last thing all those government employees want is to look like complete fools, so it's only natural that the police arrested the kid for whatever they could think of, and confiscated the clock.

Look: if they hadn't arrested him, then he might have sued them for this-that-and-the-other. It's pure CYA on the part of government bureaucrats of middlin' intellect, nothing more. Besides, any time a kid shows up in public school with anything outside of that middlin' intellect he has to be taken down a few notches so as not to get any ideas about, you know, achieving anything. We mustn't let the dumbass kids feel intimidated or have their feelings hurt because there's someone smarter than they are.

If he'd been white, the cops probably would have found a reason to hit him with a Taser.

* * *

The Fed is laying the groundwork for negative interest rates. That's where you have to pay the bank to hold your deposits for you. Yeah, because QE worked so well they had to do it three times; let's make money even cheaper!

...which naturally won't do jack shit to fix the economy because Keynesian economics don't work and the world is already suffering under a buttload of debt it can never pay.

* * *

Incidentally, a butt load is a real measurement. It's 147 US gallons of wine. One pipe, or butt, is half a tun. Furthermore, 1/14 of a tun is a firkin, which is about nine gallons.

And, by the way, faggot is also a unit.

* * *


~~⌠~ < I need about tree fitty.

* * *

What did the Nobel Committee expect to happen when they gave Barack Hussein Obama the Peace Prize solely for being elected President of the United States? I honestly don't understand how any of those idiots can feel any regret over awarding the prize to someone who has never done anything noteworthy towards the advancement of world peace. Hell, even Jimmy Carter deserved his Nobel, having brokered the Camp David accords.

Then again, after Yassir Arafat won the stupid thing it lost all meaning and credibility, anyway.

* * *

Steven Den Beste gets it right on what the GOP should do and would if it had a spine, or any interest whatsoever in fighting the Democrat agenda.

But the GOP is just fine with Democrat control of the political process in the US as long as they can be figureheads.

* * *

New York Times has dubbed Trump the GOP frontrunner. There it is.

* * *

Billy Joel is old. Yep. Old. Hopefully he hasn't been using the Force to crush peoples' larynxes, though.

* * *

It was late in 1987 when this happened:

The former Energizer spokesman Mary Lou Retton, Olympic medalist, was gone, replaced with this weird Australian guy no one in America had ever heard of.

A few weeks later the weird Australian guy showed up in a very short-running TV series called The Highwayman, which was approximately The Road Warrior, but suitably detuned for television. It was a bleeding awful show, of course, and got canceled so quickly I think it must've been done while the pilot was still running (perhaps during an Energizer commercial). As far as I know that was Jacko's sum total contribution to American culture, and after that miserable TV show's merciful subsidence, I never saw him anywhere else.

* * *

Incidentally, that ASCII Loch Ness monster is something that came out of my notepad doodles at work. I won't be able to save anything directly, but at least I can replicate a few bits here and there. Heh.
Wednesday, September 16th, 2015
4:10 pm
#4908: I'm starting to worry
This morning, the alarm clock failed to go off again. I tested it yesterday and it worked; what's more, I distinctly remember turning the alarm on before dossing down.

Yet it was off this morning, and if I had not set my cell phone to go off at about the same time, I would have overslept again.

I don't know what's going on, but I don't like it.

* * *

Look at these poll numbers for the GOP Presidential race. The numbers for all the insiders are dwarfed by Trump's.

And Trump scares the shit out of the entrenched interests.

* * *

Because the police have to justify their expenses, that's why they arrested a 14-year-old kid who'd built a home-made clock.

They said it was a "hoax bomb" even though the kid never claimed it was a bomb. Our law enforcement apparatus is shit.

* * *

BNSF says they're going to shut down at the end of the year if they're required to have positive train control operational.

...and then people are going to find out exactly how much of our economy depends on rail traffic. It won't be pretty.

* * *

As for me--I had a good day yesterday, including getting the grass cut. The weather was gorgeous; it was a perfect late summer day and I got the job done about an hour before the sun set. Foolishly I did not go to bed, but stayed awake; and when my wife got home from work it was just in time for the dinner I'd started about an hour earlier.

I ended up getting to bed after 11. *whimper* I nearly fell asleep in training today, some four or five times, and was having a hell of a time staying awake. I was so tired I was getting crosseyed, and I think I actually did fall asleep once or twice, to snap awake a second or two later.

Anyway, it was a good day, and my mood improved considerably over where it had been Saturday night, all day Sunday, and part of Monday.

But now I must go get some f-ing sleep, because otherwise I'm going to get a bad case of qwertyitis.
Tuesday, September 15th, 2015
4:24 pm
#4907: Still have to cut the grass
Today I woke up at 4:59 AM.

Now, to put that in perspective, the alarm clock was set for 4:00 AM, as always. For whatever reason either it did not go off, or else the volume was turned down too far for me to hear it; regardless, I woke up, looked at the time, and bolted out of bed.

I was a bit unhappy.

I was going to hit the shower, but instead I just slicked back my hair and wiped down some of the more disreputable parts of the body with a damp towel. I hit myself with deoderant, then climbed into clean clothes. I had lunch left over from yesterday--I left work early because Mrs. Fungus stayed home from work sick, and begged me to come home because she was feeling so bad, and I left work in the middle of lunch break--and so I grabbed that, added a couple bottles of liquid and a bag of chips, and lit out for work. It was 5:10 AM.

Quarter tank of gas--but I reasoned that I put $20 in yesterday morning, which was about 7 gallons' worth, and there's no way 7 gallons plus what had previously been in the tank was not enough to make the commute on one day and have enough gas to get me there on the next. Seven gallons alone ought to be about 140 miles, for crying out loud, and it's 45 miles to work. 45+45+45 is only 135, and the tank had not been empty when I filled it yesterday. Right? Right!

And it's good I didn't have to stop for gas, because I got to work precisely on time, with absolutely no room for error. I quite literally sat down and logged into my computer and punched in, and had only just made it on time. If I'd stopped for anything at all, I would have been late.

Leaving work early is a no-no, of course. Xerox runs on the point system and leaving halfway through your shift, even with supervisor permission, is half a point--though it's up to your supervisor whether the point is assessed or not. I told my supervisor the scoop, was granted permission to leave early, and then lit out for home.

I was certain that I'd get another quarter point for being late today. That on top of yesterday's half-point--I really sweated the commute in, but when I got to my turnoff and had six minutes remaining and was first in line at the stoplight, I was pretty sure I had it in the bag. And I did.

So when we were released to go on our first break, I asked my supervisor what the penalty had been for my early departure yesterday...and she excused it, she let me have it without penalizing me.

Had a pretty fair dinkum day at work today, too. This is the last week of classroom; next Monday we start with the 7-3 schedule and we're in nesting, which will include taking real calls from real customers. I'm both dreading it and looking forward to it.

* * *

Karl Denninger scoffs at Elon Musk and his discussion of what we could do with Mars. Denninger is almost right with a lot of this stuff.

Mars' problem is, yes, that it doesn't have a magnetic field. It won't retain an atmosphere if we give it one, but that atmosphere will dissipate over eons, so we could give the red planet an atmosphere by hitting it with a comet or four, then seeding it with lichens and extremophiles that could metabolize the water-ammonia-methane-cyanide witches' brew that comets are made from. Mars would get warm fast and it would take a long time for the solar wind to blow away its atmosphere--hundreds of thousands of years--and we could offset that by simply dropping a comet on it every once in a while. Heck, if we can terraform Mars, we can mine comets for water and ammonia and make big snowballs of frozen water, oxygen, and nitrogen specifically to replenish Mars' atmosphere.

Venus' problem is exactly the opposite: it has too much atmosphere. The pressure on Venus' surface approximates the pressure you'd experience under about a kilometer of water, and it's fucking hot to boot--hot enough to melt lead. But if you could put a sunshade between Venus and the sun for a while, its atmosphere would cool and most of the stuff in it would come out as rain. Sulfuric acid rain, because that's what the clouds in Venus' atmosphere are made from. But once it finished raining, I'd bet Venus would be quite pleasant and have an atmosphere with a much more reasonable temperature and pressure.

There isn't any water in Venus' atmosphere because it's too damned hot. Let it rain sulfuric acid for a few thousand years and there will be water on Venus.

What won't work with Mars is simply evaporating its polar ice caps. That will help, but it's only a minor fraction of what's needed.

* * *

Vox Day announces that Trump is a serious candidate. I do like Trump's stance on immigration. I also like the fact that he scares the everloving shit out of the GOP establishment.

DrewM explains how the GOP could kneecap the Trump candidacy, but the first step is to get rid of McConnel and Boehner, and the GOP will never do that. The second step is to assume Trump's stance on immigration, because it's obviously resonating very powerfully with the American people...but again, that's anathema to the GOP, who want the price of labor to be artificially depressed by an oversupply of unskilled hands who will work for peanuts.

So, yeah. Trump FTW.

...especially since Bernie Sanders, that old socialist, wants to spend some $18,000 billion on social programs. We've already spent ourselves into extreme penury but this dork thinks it's not enough. Earth to Bernie: we've already run out of other peoples' money. We can't spend any more.

* * *

Throw away your TSA locks, because any swinging dick can get a master key now. This is the problem with putting back doors in any security product: you cannot guarantee that only authorized people will use them.

* * *

Write novels, get paid. Larry Correia fisks a stupid article disdaining prolific authors.

* * *

Now I have to go buy gas and get the grass cut. Whee!


By the way, I just wanted to mention that Mrs. Fungus and I watched Birdman last night, and it was a godawful boring piece of shit. Nothing happens in this movie. It's billed as a comedy and I got exactly three slight laughs out of it. I have no idea if Michael Keaton's character is supposed to be delusional or what, and they never really explain it, either.

The soundtrack was nothing but a drum solo. WTF.

It's a perfect example of how award-winning movies always blow ass. Gadzooks, avoid it.
Monday, September 14th, 2015
7:09 pm
#4906: The power of prayer.
Had a very rough weekend. Got through it, and everything's better now.

Thanks, everyone. You know who you are.
Sunday, September 13th, 2015
5:37 pm
#4905: Done, though not easily.
Got the u-joint in. Got it in the truck. It works. The "worn bearing" noise I'd been hearing is gone.

Truck still vibrates from 52-58 indicated, of course, but I'm inclined to try pulling the front drive shaft (now that I know how to do it) and see what its u-joints are like. If one of them is bad, it's $10 and eight hours of heartache to fix it. Such a bargain.

Work tomorrow. Thrillsville.
10:56 am
#4904: Well-rested? Before noon? ME?
Today was another of those rare days where neither Mrs. Fungus nor I had to get up, so there was no alarm in the small hours of the morning. I got up around 7 to hit the can, and saw that it was 66 in here, so I switched on the heat. I don't mind 69; that's the temp I keep the place at in winter--but 66 is too friggin' cold, especially when it's not even autumn yet.

Went back to bed after a snack and a brief surf of the comics; slept a couple more hours and woke up a little bit ago feeling strange. It was an odd sensation, not awake exactly, but something--

Oh. Not tired. Merely sleepy. Well-rested.

Today I'm going to have to put the Jeep back together, because it turns out that I can't drive it without a rear driveshaft after all: it'll puke transfer case lube out the back without the driveshaft in place. Argh etc. There's a u-joint at each end of the shaft, but the front one is attached to a slip yoke, and is held in with four clips--no u-bolts or the like--and so it's a royal pain to replace. (The back one is bolted to the yoke on the axle and pressed into the yoke on the shaft.)

I had to pop one of those crimp bands to get the shaft out of the boot, but I can use a radiator clamp to reseal that. My big worry is getting the u-joint into the yoke and working correctly.

...which I'll do after I figure out what the hell I'm going to eat today. We're out of the simple stuff; I have the ingredients for dinner but I have nothing to make breafast or lunch with, other than the components for a PBJ.

Eggs: I don't know if they're reasonably-priced yet, but the last time I looked at them they were FIVE DOLLARS A DOZEN. ("There's no inflation!") Actually, apparently the egg industry suffered from a mass die-off of laying hens after avian flu swept through the population, so the price of eggs rose to reflect the declining supply and constant demand. It takes a few months for chicks to mature into adults, and I have no idea where you get chicks when the hens are all dying, but then again animal husbandry is not one of my skill sets. Presumably some hens survive and are bred (and in fact the ones that do the breeding aren't kept in the same places as the ones that do the laying) and eventually the price of eggs drops back into more reasonable territory.

That's the theory.

Anyway, with the price of eggs approximating $YEECH! I haven't even looked at them the last few times I hit the store for other sundries. I figure I might hop on the bike and head over that way this morning, just to see what kind of vittles I can eke out of my remaining shekels. A man needs to eat.

And once I have something in my stomach, the work begins anew. Such a stimulating life I lead.
Saturday, September 12th, 2015
9:30 pm
#4903: Replacing the U-joint is not fun.
It took a very long time to get the old one out. It looked as if reassembly was going to be pretty simple.

It was not. In fact, six hours later, it's still not together. I put that u-joint into the yoke--

In order:

So I got the Fiero out of the garage and the Jeep into it. Disconnecting the drive shaft at the axle was easy-peasy; I heated the yoke with a propane torch and then hit it with PB Blaster, and the bolts simply unscrewed. They've been in there since the truck was built in 2000, and driven through fourteen Illinois and Indiana winters, but they came out nice and easy.

Too easy, as it turns out.

Getting the old joint out was difficult. It's been in there a long time, and it took time and propane and PB Blaster to get it loose. I did eventually get it out, and spent some time deburring the bearing cup bosses.

When I went to reassemble with the new U-joint, it went together nicely...but I could not get both of the retaining clips in.

Og suggested--via IRC--that I take it apart, because it was possible that one of the needle bearings had fallen out or gotten cocked; and when I took it apart, I found that one of the needle bearings had shifted, and in fact had gotten crushed. It had shattered inside the bearing cup, and I said many bad words; I took the remaining bearings out, cleaned them and the cup, then reassembled with fresh grease and one bearing taken from the old u-joint. (Og says a bit smaller is okay, and it fit fine.)

But the thing would still not go together correctly. It was fine until I drove the cups in far enough to get the retaining clips in; then it would get gronchy and not move freely. I disassembled and reassembled the thing about four times.

Finally Og suggested measuring the width of the yoke. When I did that, I discovered that the yoke was a smidge wider than 3.25 at the outside of the retaining clips. The u-joint itself, with bearing cups, is 3.218 inches. The clips are about 1/16" thick; there's perhaps 3.125" between the inside surfaces of the clips...meaning that the yoke is "sprung".

"Sprung", in this sense, means that the yoke is no longer the correct width. Either overzealous hammering or too much force in the vice; either way, I bent it so that it's a bare tenth of an inch too small.

Og's suggestion was to put the old bearing cups and clips in, with some arrangement to apply a spreading force on the yoke. It took some doing but I took a nut, a bolt, and a small socket, and bodged it together; now it's sitting out there with some pressure on it, and it should spread back apart during the night. Hopefully in the morning or afternoon I can get it all put back together.

The only thing I did wrong--other than hammering the shit out of it--was neglecting to mark the orientation of the drive shaft with respect to the rear yoke. But if that turns out to be wrong, it shouldn't take a great deal of effort to correct; it can only go in two ways, and I've already done the hard part of getting the bolts free of fifteen years' worth of rust. And it'll be obvious if it's wrong, because it'll vibrate.

The squeaking noise was happening at the right frequency to be related to my shimmy, though I don't know how the vibration could get to the front wheels when it's in the rear drive shaft. More likely it's entirely unrelated.

Either way, I now know how to get the front drive shaft off, and can check it at my leisure. As if I had any.
7:57 am
#4902: Looks like the Fiero will be out in the rain for a little bit.
It's raining, it looks like it'll rain on and off all weekend, and I need to replace a U-joint in the Jeep.


The plus side: with the rear driveshaft removed, I can still drive the Jeep; I just have to put it into 4WD and it will, temporarily, become a front-wheel-drive Jeep. That's the advantage of a part-time 4WD system: there's no differential in the transfer case. (Of course, if there were, all I'd have to do is to lock that diff. Jeeps with full-time 4WD have that option.)

It's going to feel weird, of course.

The hard part will be swapping the u-joint in the driveshaft. That's going to take some doing, because I don't have a big vise and that u-joint is probably original equipment. But this isn't something that I dare leave for another day, because it's making noise.

I have never, never, ever had a noisy u-joint in a vehicle. Okay? Never. I drove my old '75 Impala all over creation on its original u-joints, and it had well over 135,000 on it when I stopped driving it. I drove my '77 Impala for most of a year, and while it needed a transmission rebuild (stupid Metric 200 "planned obsolescence" junk) it never needed u-joints. U-joints are an incredibly mature technology, and it's rare for one to fail--and I could probably go another thousand miles on this one--but if it does fail the Jeep pole-vaults over its driveshaft and I'm looking for a new vehicle at a very bad time.

Or I spend five hours replacing a $9 part. Ounce, prevention, pound, cure, etcetera.

* * *

Trump has found the key issue for his campaign and it's enough to convince me that he's a good pick for the job. Curtailing illegal immigration, and ending the parade of amnesty programs, is a great first step towards correcting lots of economic problems (such as unemployment, underemployment, and wage stagnation) which are primarily caused by illegal immigration. Reducing just those three problems would be at least half of what's needed to end the depression.

* * *

How do you know a debate utterly demolishes SJW talking points? When the SJW in question threatens legal action if the video is publicly available.

* * *

Socialism is the greatest evil in the modern world. The article only talks about Soviet socialism, but that's bad enough; if you add Chinese socialism, German socialism (Nazis), southeast Asian socialism (Vietnam, Korea, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand) you can tot up a horrendous butcher's bill: 100,000,000 people murdered in the name of Marx in the 20th century. (The linked article says the number could be twice as large. It very well could be.)

One hundred million people dead...because they didn't think and act the right way. Because some powerful man decided they were a threat to his power, or he needed a scapegoat, or-or-or.

The supporters of socialism don't mind that one bit. They slough off the statistic, ignoring it or otherwise minimizing it. After all, what are 100,000,000 lives next to the grand dream of the workers' paradise? Committed marxists are willing to sacrifice as many people as it takes to bring their idiotic and impossible vision to life, and they'll stop at nothing to be the ones in charge of it once the blood stops flowing. A high school friend of mine who later became an ardent leftist had it right, in high school, when he said, "The workers will control the means of production...and we will control the workers!"

...control them with the iron fist, because no one willingly submits to socialism. People stubbornly continue to have self-interests and insist on being able to think for themselves.

Heinlein said it best; it's a system best suited for insects. But it can never, never, ever work when applied to humans. Anyone who thinks otherwise is delusional.

* * *

It's fifty-friggin'-one degrees outside. WTF. A week ago today--a week ago right now--it was twenty-five degrees warmer outside and so humid you could slice the air and make sandwiches. I'm not kidding; the heat last weekend was murderous.

So what happens? We go from July to October in a couple of days. Now it's raining and cold. Why the hell is the weather never moderate? Why is it always either too hot or too cold?

Especially when there are things that need doing outside?
Friday, September 11th, 2015
4:09 pm
#4901: THAT is definitely a u-joint.
Today, on my way home from work? Squeaking noise that is loudest above 45 MPH, and totally absent when the truck is coasting.

U-joint, rear driveshaft. Has to be the rear driveshaft because the front is unloaded with the transfer case in 2H, and the noise only occurs when torque is applied.


Well, it happened on a Friday afternoon, it shouldn't cost much, and I have all weekend to replace it. Such a stimulating life I lead.

* * *

These two links go together:

Obama wants to import 10,000 Syrians.

And they would be carefully screened to keep out members of ISIS masquerading as refugees, right? Of course they would!


* * *

You can plaster those idiotic "Coexist" stickers all over your car and it still won't change the fact that islam is not at all interested in coexistence. The death cult is about subjugation.

* * *

Borepatch counts the ways in which the GOP is not interested in freedom and liberty.

* * *

This is a good explanation of why public sentiment has begun to trend anti-police. I know my own encounter with the jackbooted thug variety of cop has permanently soured my opinion of police.

* * *

I made it through my abbreviated week to the weekend. I had hoped to spend my weekend convalescing to one extent or another, but with the Jeep needing a u-joint my options have become rather limited. I need to fix that, so that's what I'll do.

But right now I am too tired to do anything, having gotten up (as usual) at 4 AM to get myself to work on time. So Friday night's agenda is "sleep".
Thursday, September 10th, 2015
4:40 pm
#4900: Just 100 left before the next millennium
Can you believe I'm closing in on 5,000 posts? I sure as hell can't. Holy shit.

Probably going to move elsewhere at the 5,000 mark. I'm tired of Googe not indexing my posts. Used to be I could type "site:http://atomic-fungus.livejournal.com/" and then append whatever search terms I wanted, and get a useful result--but that hasn't worked for quite a while now. I don't know why Googe no longer indexes Livejournal, but none of the other search engines do either.

Hoping to use a service that can auto-migrate the legacy Fungus posts to the new domain, but who knows?

* * *

SJWs ruined the GNOME foundation. And I use the word "ruined" advisedly, meaning "financially ruined" as well as the other meanings of the term. "In 2013, the most recently reported year, the GNOME Foundation spent $275,000 of its $600,000 budget (and $512,000 revenue) on Women's Outreach."

If your organization makes $512,000 per year, spends $600,000, and is spending almost half of its budget on useless claptrap that does nothing to further the organization's actual mission, it is going to fail.

This is something like Ford Motor Company selling $135 billion worth of cars in 2014, and spending $67 billion on beekeeping.

* * *

So I heard on the radio today that the US is going to accept Syrian refugees. That's absolutely spiffy.

And this is why.

* * *

Computer Science really isn't. It's pretty useless. People who succeed in computer programming do so in spite of their degree, not because of it--and some of the best don't go to college for CS at all, or drop out when they realize that they don't need the piece of paper to get a fantastic job.

Which is not to say that a CS degree has no value whatsoever. It's just not a reliable indication that its bearer can program computers, is all. Several of my former coworkers at the noise box are CS majors. Do I think they're going to write the next killer app? Probably not; in fact I'd wager most of them aren't even going to be programmers...but they'll probably end up doing reasonably well in whatever capacity they find themselves. It's just not going to be an excessively technical capacity.

I'm stating a fact: that place does not employ people who can fix things. The repair process (that costs $200 if you do a one-time repair) consists mainly of plugging the computer in and running a program that does diagnostics and scans for malware. It takes perhaps 24 hours to complete all the scans and remove the junk. Then the tech runs another program that makes sure everything is updated. A few other programs get run, and then the machine is marked "complete" and put on the shelf.

A monkey could do that job. It is almost entirely automated.

In fact, the "Advanced Repair Agent" is actively discouraged from doing anything other than running those programs. It is very seldom that the ARA does much of anything other than run programs and provide the occasional click of a key or a mouse button. Hardware repairs are limited solely to what you can do with a screwdriver; if you can't replace the hard drive or memory module or video card in about a minute using basic hand tools, the failed machine must be sent to the repair center. Backups are also automated, leaving the ARA only manual tasks like swapping DVD-Rs and writing labels.

This business model works because nine times out of ten a personal computer stops working correctly because it's become all gunked up with malware and OS cruft, and merely needs a good cleaning. If the ARA actually had to think about how to fix most of the problems he faces the Geek Squad would have gone out of business years ago.

* * *

Oklahoma cops are now road agents. That's what they called highway robbers back in the Wild West--road agents--and the cops merely have the cover of law for their banditry.

* * *

Climate science is all about money, and don't you ever forget it. "So the USA owes the world $4 Trillion because SCIENCE™! but the IPCC 'scientific' climate models are mystified as to why it's been almost 20 years with no warming."

* * *

Well, one day left of this week. Seems like yesterday was Monday.

On my way home yesterday I decided to take back roads, because I-80 was looking like it was going to be full of goots and I didn't want to deal with them. As I drove south on 43 in Tinley Park I saw that gas was $2.40 a gallon there.

Figuring that it would be even less closer to the Fungal Vale, I did not stop...and when I got to the Fungal Vale I saw that I had made a mistake, because it was still $2.70 a gallon here. I hoped that it would go down overnight, but it didn't, so this morning I gave in and put $19 into the tank at $2.70 a gallon. Argh etc.

I believe--I hope--I have enough gas left in the Jeep to get me to work and home again tomorrow. It's registering a shade under half a tank, which should be enough to go 90 miles. Then it'll be a tight squeeze until Wednesday of next week, which is when Mrs. Fungus gets paid and I can beg a finski from her to tide me over until Friday. It is looking, however, as if I should not have bought those two MP3 albums after all. *sigh*

Digging out from under the bills is going to take time. I just need to space it out a little better.


In two parts.

Part one: Apparently Steven Colbert is bombing as the successor to David Letterman, and to be honest I'm not even remotely surprised.

I don't know if Colbert is doing his faux neocon schtick for Late Show or not, but that was the only thing he had going for him. Following Jon Stewart's Daily Show, Colbert's act was a caricature of conservatism as seen by progressives and commie-libs, just like Archie Bunker in the 1970s:

His popularity came entirely from that: close proximity to successful show, and doing a schtick which reinforced the prejudices of the target audience of that show.

So, yeah--I'm not surprised that he's not doing well. David Letterman, that old socialist, was also not doing very well in that time slot, and both he and Cobert are of a kind.

* * *

Second thing:

I observed--again--today that people are idiots who forget how to drive when it rains. Holy crap were the idiots out. "Look at me! I'm driving in the middle lane in a 65 zone and I'm almost going 50 MPH!"

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015
5:01 pm
#4899: Stupid!
Apple joins the rest of us in 2015. The new "iPad Pro" will work with the "Apple Stylus" ($99) and have an optional keyboard case ($169) and has performance that "rivals desktop computers".

Oh, you mean, like the Microsoft Surface Pro? Which has all those features and came out years ago?

* * *

Puerto Rico wants to be part of Spain again. Spain, the country with the flagging economy that's somewhere in the same arc that Greece is.

As far as I'm concerned Spain can have Puerto Rico.

* * *

So I was watching this goofball's latest video:

The short form is, he put about 180 PSI into a tire that's meant for perhaps 40 at most, and it naturally underwent spontaneous rapid disassembly, rapid enough that there was significant recoil. Unfortunately his thumb was in the way, and it got broken. We here at the Fungus never wish injury or illness on anyone, and wish Mr. Chris "1puglife" Whitcroft a speedy recovery.

...but that was damned stupid.

* * *

As for me, I'm tired. I was tired last night--we went to bed at 8:40--and somehow managed to sleep with an eyelash stuck in my eye, so that when I got up this morning it was all irritated and red and painful, even after I got the eyelash out; and it did not improve as the day went on. It's a bit better now. Ought to be fine tomorrow, I hope.

Meanwhile, it's finally cooled off outside and it's no longer murderously hot like it was last week. It rained a lot yesterday, which pretty much did for the humidity.

And today's Wednesday, meaning I have but two! days of work left in the week. Could be worse.
Tuesday, September 8th, 2015
5:26 pm
#4898: It's accident avoidance!
Turns out that bicycle helmets prevent injuries by being too much of a pain in the ass to ride a bike. Kids don't want to wear them, which is not surprising considering how dorky and stupid they look. So they don't ride bicycles, and thus their heads don't get injured while riding bicycles!

...of course the reduction in biking head injuries has been offset by a concomitant increase in skateboarding and scooter injuries. Which isn't surprising when you go to YouTube and search on "fail" and watch countless millions of skateboarding, skiiing, snowboarding, unicycle, and scooter injuries.

So, yeah.

* * *

The Democrats know that blacks are a tame voting bloc, which is why they don't care about them. Regardless of what they do the race hucksters will always reliably deliver to them the black vote.

They are aided in this by the complete incuriosity of the press, which isn't about to go blabbing the big secret about illegal immigration and amnesty and the lot...because if the press actually paid attention to the fact that blacks are hardest hit by the consequences of illegal immigration, they might take their votes elsewhere.

But the press and the Democrats (but, of course, I repeat myself) have no interest in doing anything but keeping the blacks on the Democrat plantation in perpetuity.

* * *

Vox Day has a post up about the violence of "refugees" from "Syria", a plurality of whom are actually from eastern Europe--the Balkan islamic shithole--and they're mostly violent, angry young men.

A religion tailor-made by an angry, violent man results in acts of violence perpetrated by mobs of angry young men. Go figure.

* * *

One of the nice things about having a full-time job is that I was able to justify spending a few dollars on music. I bought the MP3 albums Treasure and Sleeping on the Edge of the World by David Helpling, from which I've been hearing songs on my Pandora "Bluetech" channel and liking every last one of them. I think the total outlay was about $18, all told--not much of a "first paycheck splurge", but considering what my bills still look like, I'll take it.

Heck, people in my cohort were talking about going out and getting new tattoos and God knows what else.

Anyway, it's the first money I've spent on anything non-essential since March, so WTH. And it's not like I broke the bank.

* * *

Tonight is chili night. There's a pot simmering on the stove, and it's just about ready.
Monday, September 7th, 2015
8:27 am
#4897: It won't be long before we're charged by the gigabyte.
Karl Denninger talks about the inevitable result of Net Neutrality, and it's not good: bandwidth caps, data throttling, and the whole nine yards.

See, here's the thing: it costs a certain amount of money for an ISP to move a block of data from one place to another. It might be a penny or a nickel or a dollar (depending on how big the block is and what infrastructure they use to move it) but the cost is not zero.

When you want to watch Netflix, you pay Netflix something like $10 a month for unlimited streaming video. You also pay Comcast (say) some $50 or so per month for Internet service. And if you watch one HD movie per night, in a month's time you've streamed some 120 GB worth of data. On one device--while simultaneously Junior streams Pandora in his room while playing Call of Duty and Missy does Facetime with her boyfriend and so on.

It adds up, and it's not free.

Denninger explains it a lot better than I could, and I think his conclusion is sound.

* * *

It's going to be hot and humid again today. I stepped out on the patio to get a look at the pepper plant, and can already tell how it's going to be.

The pepper plant had five flowers on it yesterday, and today they are shiveled. The remains of the first flower is already starting to take shape as a pepper, though I have my doubts about how big it will eventually grow.

...unless I get some clear plastic and some wood and build a greenhouse over the thing. It's going to be twenty degrees cooler next week at this time, and that is the weather to expect for the remainder of late summer, of which only two weeks remain. Autumn is coming, and it's only going to get colder for the rest of the year.

So what have I learned from my first experiment with agriculture? Pepper plants want hot, humid weather, that's what, and they want it all the time, both day and night.

* * *

Last day of the grand 3-day weekend, and I didn't get anything done outside. In my defense it has just been stinking hot for the past week, and this weekend has been no exception whatsoever.

I'm going to try to get the grass cut today, but that doesn't take a huge amount of effort--mostly just driving the tractor around--and if I don't, the grass will still be there tomorrow, or the next day. It hasn't grown much (not enough rain, I guess) so it's mainly just getting shaggy rather than long.

Well, the nice part is, no one cares.
Sunday, September 6th, 2015
12:42 pm
#4896: Gun-free zone!
Every day that I go to work, the door I walk through has a sticker on it which reads, "ABSOLUTELY NO GUNS PAST THIS POINT".

Yeah, that'll do it.

If someone comes to the call center intent on mayhem, that little adhesive piece of vinyl will stop him in his tracks. Seeing that sign, he will abandon all intention of murder. "What was I thinking? I'm not allowed to bring a gun in there!" After that, perhaps he'll end up joining a monastery and retiring to a life of religious service. Perhaps he will go directly to the nearest psychiatric hospital and commit himself. What is certain is that the sticker will prevent gun violence, at least there. Perhaps it has already saved uncounted lives.

Perhaps a winged monkey with next week's winning Powerball ticket will fly out of my ass, smelling like orange blossoms.

Meanwhile, back here in reality, we all know exactly what good that sticker will do against someone who actually intends to shoot and kill people in the call center: jack shit. It is, in fact, counterproductive to the prevention of violence, because the sticker might as well say, "Hey, Mr. Mass Killer, if you're looking for a soft target look no further! Management has decided that no one here will be allowed to defend themselves. Hell, all the security guard can do is call 911, and you know how long that takes! In fact, I bet you could shoot him dead before he got much more than '91' out!"

Like the "gun-free zone" stickers on the military recruiting center that that islamic shithead shot up. The stickers didn't keep bullets from passing through the glass, now did they? And in fact if you look at all the other places where killing sprees took place, a suspiciously high number of them were allegedly gun-free zones, weren't they?

I am confident that in the case of every last mass shooting ever there has been at least one victim who thought, "But they're not allowed to have guns here!"

I am also utterly flabbergasted by the fact that anti-gun nuts cannot seem to grasp the simple fact that if a person intends to kill, a mere law is not going to stop him. Much less a sign or sticker. Laws are speed bumps to criminals, not barriers. Stickers and signs aren't even that.

In fact, the people who are most likely to proclaim that "the death penalty is not a deterrent!" are the same people who are most likely to want stiffer penalties for gun crimes "as a deterrent". Well, shit, if you can't deter first degree murder with the death penalty, how's an extra five years in jail going to deter any lesser crime?

Simple fact is, the stickers don't stop anything. They won't, they can't. They only work on people who are already willing to follow the rules.

Yeah, I feel so much safer.
[ << Previous 20 -- Next 20 >> ]
About LiveJournal.com