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

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Saturday, April 16th, 2016
1:01 am
#5162: Fifteen minutes
I have that much time before I must get to bed. Here I go.

Four more Avatar movies. Oh dear God no.

"Drudge....shined the spotlight on the cockroaches in Colorado." I hope Don Surber is right.

* * *

Today, a miggim, hereafter named "Mr. Merits". Mr. Merits called in because he had already spent three hours on the phone with various reps trying to weasel as much out of them as he could. He'd already gotten some $92 in credits plus a guarantee of getting a $130 bluetooth speaker for $90, but that wasn't enough. See, he has an employee discount--he consistenly referred to it as his "merits"--and he insisted that "my merits have to be applied" and he was upset that they had not been.

His purchase was not eligible for the employee discount. Some discount packages (they vary by the employer and what their contract with #Major_Telecom is like) give a 25% discount on accessories, like bluetooth speakers...but not every accessory is eligible for that discount. This was one such example, because its list price has very little margin in it. Mr. Merits had already been given $40 off the price of the thing, as a paean to his entitlement; but he was unhappy that his "merits" didn't apply to the price of the accessory, and that he couldn't bill it to his account but had to pay for it with a credit card. The previous rep who had entered the order had not told him these things, he claimed; as our conversation progressed I was willing to bet that one of two things were so: a) she had, but he didn't listen; b) she had not, because he was such a massively festering piece of distended rectum that she just wanted to get off the phone with him. (Third possibility: she had, but he lied about it.)

At the end of all this I realized this useless git had two basic options: 1) accept the order as-is (because I was not going to give him another penny), or 2) I could get the order canceled for him, because the terms were not what he'd been told. I presented them to him.

Naturally he did not like either alternative. Especially because he wanted the bluetooth speaker and expected he was only going to pay $58 for it, no ifs ands or buts. Eventually, he decided he wanted to talk to a supervisor, after realizing he wasn't getting anything from me.

So the supervisor came on, and offered to credit back to him the $22.50 difference that his "merits" would have gotten him. We can't change the order, but we could credit it back to his account, so when he pays for the thing with his credit card he's still getting $22.50 off his bill, so he doesn't have to pay it there. With that $22.50 credit he'd be getting the thing for 52% of MSRP, about $68.

Mr. Merits didn't like that plan. I could only hear what the supervisor was saying, but that was enough for me to reconstruct the conversation; and he was insisting on getting the speaker for $58, which is 48% of MSRP. The supervisor--by this time, herself getting sick of this rectal orofice--simply told him that he had two choices: he could either take the $22.50 credit, or we could cancel the order for him.

He wanted to talk to her boss. "I'm as high as it goes tonight, sir," she said, several times. She offered the $22.50 credit several times. He refused.

...and so after she rang off, she told me to make some extensive and explicit notes, making sure to say that this useless glob of suet had refused the $22.50 and that no further credits were to be issued PER SUPERVISOR. I gleefully made a TON of notes to that effect.

If a rep makes an offer to you, and you refuse it and escalate to a sup, that deal is off the table. If you escalate, and the supervisor makes you an offer, and you reject it, you get zip. That's the rule. You can hold out for more if you want, but you're likely to get nothing.


The other moron tonight was this woman who is playing some idiotic game app and was unhappy because she was no longer able to buy hint packages. So far this month she racked up some $140 worth of these; and as Mrs. Fungus remarked, if you suck that bad at a game you should stop playing it. Shit.

Anyway, she had a past-due balance of $195 on her account, and if your past-due is more than $25, your ability to bill things to your account is turned off until such time as you make a payment.

"Well, who can fix that?"

No one. No one can, no one will. This is policy. You want to buy hundreds of dollars of hints for a stupid game, that's your business, but your past due must be under $25 if you want to bill it to your account.

She escalated too, of course; it was a long wait for a supervisor tonight, so I let her stew. She hung up, so--per policy--I called her back; and she wanted me to call her on another number because she couldn't be on hold on this line all night. (Probably interfering with her stupid game.) I told her I can't do that, for a variety of reasons, but the real reason is that one of our key metrics is transfers...and any time a rep calls out, like when a call drops or some entitled shithead hangs up on you, that counts as a transfer. I'm willing to call you back once, but I won't do it more than that, especially if you're being a tool. Especially since my transfer metric is pretty cruddy so far this month.

Gah! Assholes. And I have another 9-hour day tomorrow, and Sunday; and I bet money that if Monday is not a 10-hour day, Thu, Fri, Sat, and Sun of next week will be.

*sigh* I'd better get to bed. My fifteen minutes were over fifteen minutes ago.
Friday, April 15th, 2016
12:28 am
#5161: Mandatory overtime!
From little or no overtime available, now suddenly it's mandatory that we do 5 hours of it a week, starting tomorrow--and if absenteeism is as bad this weekend as it has been in the past, it'll go to 10 hours of mandatory overtime a week. My team lead expects us to have 10 hours of mandatory overtime going forward, because weekend absenteeism (especially payday weekends, like this one) flirts with 30%, especially when the weather is extra-nice...as it is supposed to be this weekend.

There are going to be some people who are unhappy about this, but I am not upset. I need the money. Ten hours of overtime each week will help, a lot; that's 20 hours of overtime per paycheck.

This is almost like a miraculous response to a prayer; I was thinking the other day that if there was some way I could just get out in front of the bills and stuff, I might be able to do some other things, like get the truck fixed properly. And then I come in to work today to hear this news. It's going to suck having to answer phones for another hour or two per day, but the money....

* * *

Fairy tales are older than anyone really thought they were. Try some of them dating back to the Bronze Age. Dang.

* * *

UFO battle over Nuremburg on April 14th, 1561! That's what it sounds like to me. What we need to do is get a time machine and a bunch of video cameras. Maybe mount them on some helicopters.

...only to find ourselves fighting against other, similarly-equipped tourists, up in the air over Nuremburg, for the best places to record the event.

You see where this is going.

* * *

McCarthy was a hero.
...[E]very single soul accused by McCarthy, Soviet records released to the West now show, was in fact a paid Soviet spy, and McCarthy killed no one, harmed no one, robbed no one. On the other hand Mao killed more people than live in the United Kingdom plus live in Portugal (circa 79 million). The cash value of how much property and labor was extorted by force from the Chinese people under Mao’s reign no historian has calculated.
Socialism always kills, always enslaves. It never, never, ever results in more freedom or more economic opportunity.

* * *

A parody which is perfectly in character:

I can remember when I didn't like Gordon Ramsay. How things change.
Wednesday, April 13th, 2016
8:31 pm
#5160: Well, how nice. It's the greatest adventure!
So, today we had a pretty good day together, Mrs. Fungus and I, and for the first time in quite a while we didn't have our day together while running 450,000 errands. When you're married and you both work the kind of schedules we work, it's hard to have time just to be together, so usually we have to be together while getting our weekend chores done. We usually do not have the luxury of just sitting around all day and doing nothing together.

Instead she stayed home and worked on her homework, while I went to the store, and picked up dinner--I was gone perhaps forty-five minutes--and then we watched The Hobbit (Rankin-Bass animated version, which I found while cleaning the basement) and ate hot wings, then went and got ice cream and finished watching the movie. It's definitely better than the Peter Jackson trilogy-o-bloat.

After the movie ended, I went out to the driveway and finally got the exhaust flange gasket installed and lock nuts put on, so I can finally stop worrying about it all coming apart on me and one of those bolts ending up in a tire. I'm still going to have to tear it apart again sometime soon to have the hanger welded up, but it's not critical and can wait for nicer weather.

Today was pretty nice, though a bit chilly.

Besides that, I had a gander at the Arduino clone kit again. Last week I took the 8x8 display out and fiddled around with it, just seeing how to make the lights go on, but this week I delved a bit into the electronics in the kit to see what's what. There's a loose IC in there, a 24-pin package which turns out to be an LED driver--primarily a 7-segment display driver, it's meant to drive up to 8 7-segment displays, but can also be used to drive the 8x8 matrix display. The ultrasonic range finder appears to be a common part, and works by sending out eight short pulses and then listening for their return; that's going to be kind of nifty to fiddle with.

This kit has some serious possibilities.
3:11 pm
#5159: Noah couldn't find the unicorns.
Did he check Siberia? I don't think he checked Siberia. More of a rhinoceros than a horse, of course, but if we apply the questionable standards of evidence that some science worshippers use whenever a new hominid fossil is discovered, ZOMBWTFBBQ THIS PROVES NOAH EXISTED

...these things roamed the Earth 29,000 years ago, which probably makes its extinction antediluvian.

* * *

A recession is coming! No. What's happening is the Greater Depression is getting worse. We are in a depression which started in 2008 and has continued unabated to this day.

* * *

40,000 Verizon union babies go on strike.
There should be no major difference when you call Verizon Wireless or go into a retail store with questions about your cellphone bill, data usage or upgrading to a new smartphone, for example.
Except what will happen is that instead people trying to get help with wireline services will call VZW hoping that the hapless VZW phone rep can do something to help them, when in fact the VZW pukes (self included) don't even have access to prepaid cell phone accounts let alone FIOS or landline accounts. Not even if you get all your comm services from Verizon.

Down in the comments a union guy starts complaining about Verizon's 1.8 billion in profit, and then says, "Just to keep the current contract that we have now would only cost 1 billion for FIVE fucking years!!!!" So, why is the union doing this if the current contract will do?
The unions say they are trying to improve pension benefits and prevent Verizon from outsourcing jobs to contractors.
The union is trying to improve benefits and the company wants to reduce them. If the union is unwilling simply to settle for status quo, that's going to be at least half the problem and most of the reason they're going on strike.

Corporations exist to make profits, not to employ union workers.

...loving the comments at that post, though. Loving them.

* * *

"You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney one will be provided for you." Miranda warning, second clause. It's a constitutional right.
Judge Hunter concluded his ruling with these words. "The defendants' constitutional rights are not contingent upon budget demands, waiting lists, and the failure of the legislature to adequately fund indigent defense….We are not faced with a fundamental question, not only in New Orleans, but across Louisiana: What kind of criminal justice system do we want? One based on fairness or injustice, equality of prejudice, efficiency or chaos, right or wrong?"
I think judge Hunter is doing exactly the right thing, here. Otherwise, we are looking at show trials and the gulag.

* * *

Are you becoming blactose intolerant? I like this part the best:
You know what’s damned funny about all this? We aren’t the ones with low emotional tolerance for discussing topics of race. SJWs are! Everytime a white man dares to leave his ideological reservation for even a second, he is rabidly denounced, pounced upon by legions of Social Justice Warriors intent on outdoing one another in virtue signalling. I’m not fragile, you are.


The term ["white fragility"] was coined by an idiot shit-for-brains with the IQ of a bag of hammers. If you call somebody a racist, and are then surprised when that person *GASP* defends themselves from the charge, you have no business calling yourself a doctor of anything. Take your PhD and wipe your ass with it after a bout with leftover Taco Bell, because it’s clearly not worth anything.
I was going to write some more stuff here, then go on and blockquote the concluding paragraphs, but I changed my mind. You should go read this. It's all 100% dead on correct.

* * *

Dinner on Monday night was eggs on toast, because it's simple and tasty and filling. I cook bacon, then do the eggs over easy in the bacon grease. I put butter on the toast--I haven't used margarine since Mom died. More and more I conclude that these are the healthiest meals we eat. Except for the bread.

Don't bother prescribing statins, doc; I won't take them. I'll cut carbs out of my diet instead.

* * *

Part 39,345: the H1B visa program must be curtailed. Here's hoping Trump gets elected and guts this shit.
April 22 is the last day of work for nearly 200 American workers at Abbott Laboratories, the pharmaceutical giant founded by Chicago doctor Wallace C. Abbott in 1888. The company sacked some of its most high-skilled workers in February to make way for H-1B and L-1 visa replacements from Indian offshore outsourcing firm Wipro.

One Abbott worker, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation, told me: "We were given an agreement which basically says that in order to get compensation you must sign away your rights to sue or disparage the company. I have 3 small children and a wife to provide for — I have nowhere to go because of the H1-B visa loopholes" that "every major company" is exploiting.
Foreign workers are much cheaper than Americans, and the H1B process is effectively streamlined to allow companies to replace their American cadre en masse without incurring too much expense or legal trouble.

This needs to be stopped.

* * *

Sex is not a matter of opinion, but a biological fact, and the sooner we re-acknowledge that FACT the better off our society will be.

* * *

This is what passes for debate from the anti-gun idiots.
Me: what if fairy tale characters were safe?
Brady campaign: what if they shot themselves in the face?
Because the obvious answer to Hansel and Gretel having firearms is for Alice to shoot herself in the face! Everybody knows that whenever a kid gets his hands on a gun he'll immediately shoot himself with it!


* * *

Last night I added some pages to Tales from the Rufus--about four--and the story has taken a more serious, darker tone as the characters have discovered what sort of fate has truly befallen their friend. I said, last year (or, no, in 2014) that I burned down the Rufus, and although the humor came back for a bit it's now gotten considerably less light as the characters discuss what's to be done. I'm going to have to get back to the breezy tone once they set out on their quest, but for the moment I'm not dissatisfied with how it's developing.

I've got some other serious scenes lined up, too. It develops that the female lead styles herself a warrior maiden, and has been secretly training with sword and shield...and that illusion lasts approximately as long as it takes for her to encounter a real warrior, who--fortunately--is more interested in the contents of her purse than the contents of her pants, wanting to take her money rather than her life. (The male lead is, of course, spectacularly useless in a fight, being a low-level mage.)

Meanwhile, their stricken comrade has shown tht he has a noble side--and it fits perfectly, which doesn't really surprise me.

The entire story continues to be narrated by the cat, of course, in a disdainful tone. Ultimately I do expect it to be a good story, and a fun read; that's what I care about.
1:06 am
#5158: Holy crap, it WAS during the Bush administration.
Quoth Fungus #1138:
Opening ANWR the offshore areas for exploitation, we are repeatedly told by Democrats and the media, won't do anything about the price of oil now, so we're not supposed to try these things.

We're also told by the Democrats that the high price of oil has nothing--nothing!--to do with the law of supply and demand; oh no, it's those evil speculators who are causing this! The speculators are keeping the prices artificially high! If it wasn't for the speculators, oil wouldn't cost so much!

But some say otherwise, that if we opened our deposits to exploitation, it would take the wind right out of the speculators' sails. So even if speculation is the reason oil costs so much--and it's not--opening our deposits is the best way to shut them down. Open the deposits and drive the price of oil futures down.

But Democrats don't understand economics. If they did, they'd understand why tax, tax, tax, spend, spend, spend, and socialized medicine, and big welfare, and the Great Society, don't fix anything.

If oil should cost $60 per barrel, making a move to increse the supply of oil will drive prices toward that figure. Standing in the corner and refusing to allow it--because it'll take a few years for the oil to start flowing, thus benefitting some other politician--sure as hell doesn't fix the problem.
And, rather unexpectedly from a vantage point in mid-2008, drill baby drill (fracking) ended up creating an oil glut, with the result that gas is at least a dollar cheaper per gallon even after six years' worth of serious inflation.

It does, however, demonstrate how much stake the Democrats had (and have?) in keeping energy expensive in the US.
Tuesday, April 12th, 2016
1:17 pm
#5157: Paracetamol will SCREW YOU UP DUDE
Apparently Tylenol can keep you from noticing errors. You see, when you take acetominophen, you really are on the hard stuff.

* * *

Ice ages occur--and end--because of a lack of CO2 in the atmosphere. Keeping CO2 concentrations high is beneficial enough to the environment that a sensible race would make every effort to do so.

* * *

Even people who are active in the GOP are sick of the shenanigans.
Another disgusted Trump supporter Larry Wayne Lindsey from Douglas County had his name removed from the ballot. He posted this video after he was scratched from the ballot without his knowledge after driving to Colorado Springs for the convention.

"I’ve been a lifelong Republican all of my life. And this corrupt bunch of thieves is not even worth fighting for. I’ll find another party that believes more like I do. I’ve had it with them. But Jan Morgan you’re not going to get away with this. I’ll find somebody to listen to me. I’ll find someway to hold you accountable for this."
Colorado was jiggered to keep Trump from winning it, and the only way the GOP could manage that was to take the rank-and-file out of the nominating process entirely.

This is part of a transcript from Limbaugh's show, and the transcript ends with this paragraph:
Now, second ballot, if nobody gets 1,237, that’s where the GOP and Cruz forces will split apart, and Cruz will find out what it’s like to be Trump right now. That would be on the third ballot. Make no mistake, the Republican powers that be do not want Trump, and they don’t want Cruz. They did want Jeb. They wouldn’t mind Kasich. They are drooling over Paul Ryan. And they would take Romney again. So that’s the immediate universe of people that they might be thinking could be their salvation.
It might be, but it also means the end of the Republican party.

The GOP can't do what it looks to be planning; it can't. Or, rather, it certainly may do it, but it'll be a pyrrhic victory when the rank-and-file deserts them en masse and votes Democrat, Libertarian, Old Ones, or what-the-hell-ever. The GOP will stop winning elections--any elections--and in the meantime, another party will rise up to replace it.

Nominating Trump or Cruz and giving the nominee proper backing will guarantee them a win in November, just about, because their opponent is either going to be a dried-up socialist or a dried-up harridan, neither of whom has any charisma. Picking anyone else besides the primary frontrunners will not only guarantee that we get another four years (or eight, or more?) of Obamanomics and the other nonsense, but it will also guarantee the end of the GOP as a serious political party. They'll end up in the same bin as the Whigs.

The GOPe can get its way, make no mistake about it; but it can only do so by ignoring the expressed will of its voters. It's done that for over a decade, now, and the voters are tired of being ignored. If the GOP had worked with the TEA parties rather than undercut and stifle them, we would not be where we are; but the heavy-handed "we know best" bullshit has been the rule of the day since before Obama took office and the GOPe is so entranced by the odor of its own flatus it apparently is incapable of realizing that they're sowing the seeds of their own destruction.

I am astounded by what I see here: apparently the GOPe would rather lose the election than elect someone they didn't pick; and while that's bad enough, what makes it so astonishing is that they don't see what will happen if they subvert the will of the people.

But they've been getting away with that since 2005 (if not longer) and by now they think they're so slick and we're so stupid that they can just do anything they want.

You know, I'm reminded of the 1992 election season, for one reason: in 1988 George H.W. Bush campaigned on, among other things, a signature phrase: "Read my lips: no new taxes." A simple proposition, refusing to sign any budget that increased taxes. Of course, he then subsequently folded in the face of strong Democrat opposition (gee, that sounds familiar) and signed what was, at the time, the largest tax increase in the history of the United States.

...and then, in 1992, all the Clinton campaign had to do was play a five second sound bite: "Read my lips: no new taxes." It was enough to remind everyone--particularly their target audience, which was Republican voters--that Bush had reneged on his promise to stand against tax increases. But they didn't need reminding, and enough Republican voters either voted for Perot or stayed home that Clinton won.

One would think that the GOP would remember that lesson. Our self-styled betters think we can't remember anything longer than a few months at best, and act accordingly; and despite the evidence demonstrating the inherent error of this mode of operation, they continue to do it.

Not too long ago some arrogant GOPe git said that the party nominates the candidate, not the voters. That's true, as far as it goes, but the party cannot continue without the voters. You can nominate whoever you like for any election, but without the support of voters he can't even get on the ballot, let alone win the election. The GOPe apparently thinks that the handful of months between the convention (June is the month I've heard bandied about, but I don't really care) and the election in November is enough time for the voters to forget a monstrous act of voter nullification--but it's not, and if the GOP ignores the expressed will of its voters, it will lose the election on November 8th, and it will cease to be an effective political party...because I can guaran-god-damned-tee it that on November 9th new political parties will start springing up. And by the time of the 2020 election season, those political parties will have accreted into a new conservative party that'll flatten the GOP.

I'm not the only person to make this observation. Except that I think the GOP will be ended by this nonsense, not merely "hurt for years."

* * *

So this is why gas skyrocketed by $0.32 per gallon yesterday. Because of a report from "unidentified sources" saying that Russia and Saudi Arabia might freeze output at current levels.

Not "cut". Not "lower". Not "curtail", "reduce", or "slow", either. Freeze. As in "not increase but not decrease, either."

...there is still just as much oversupply as there was on Sunday, the fundamentals of the oil commodity market have not changed, and Iran still appears bent on increasing production, but because two countries allegedly made an agreement not to increase further their production, the price of oil spikes, and with it the price of gasoline.

The price of oil went up all of $1 per barrel. This was enough to force the price of gasoline up $0.32 per gallon? There are 42 gallons of oil in a barrel, and a typical refinery gets 19 gallons of gas from one barrel (and 12 gallons of diesel). So how the hell does a rise of three cents per gallon of crude translate to a rise of thirty cents per gallon of gasoline? If you're paying $1 more for the raw materials needed to make 19 gallons of gasoline, that only translates to a price increase of six cents per gallon of finished gasoline.

And that ignores the 12 gallons of diesel you get from the same barrel, and the other distillates that are used elsewhere! That's tacking the price increase directly onto the price of refined gasoline and leaving the other prices the same! Double it, and that still only accounts for a third of the price increase!

The United States is sitting atop a massive amount of oil. We could end all this horseshit simply by enacting an energy policy which took into account the simple facts of modern life. Instead, we have a loose patchwork of nonsense which results in us having to buy oil from tin pot dictators and islamic savages, and we generate our electricity using 19th century technology that makes it cost a hell of a lot more than it needs to.

I seem to recall the media talking up "the speculators" as a cause of high oil prices. When was that? 2009? 2010? 1998? 1999? I can't remember; I just remember hearing all about how "the speculators" were why gasoline cost so much; certainly it wasn't the insensate energy policy of whatever Democrat was in charge at the time. I seem to recall it being during the Bush years, but that can't be right, because the media blamed those gas prices on Bush and his oil industry cronies. (Recall my little vignette about Bush and Cheney drinking bloody marys made with the blood of virgins while Bush raised the price of gasoline from the special computer in the Oval Office and they cackled about sticking it to the little people for their own profit.) No, the "speculators" schtick was meant to shield a Democrat from criticism; I just can't remember which Democrat it was.

...only this time it really is the speculators who are driving up the cost of oil. Because the feds don't really regulate the financial "industry" any longer.

* * *

Damn, what an apt metaphor.
In the old days cars had mechanical fuel pumps which ran off the engine's camshaft. If the engine wasn't running, the pump wasn't pumping. If the car had sat a long time, you needed to prime the pump--and the best way was to open up the carb and fill the float bowls with fresh gas, then start the engine. Usually, by the time the float bowls were emptied, the pump was supplying fuel from the gas tank and the engine would stay running. (I've done this myself plenty of times.)

The less-mechanically inclined would crank the engine and crank and crank and crank it, and then go get the starting fluid and spray it down the carb. It does the same thing: gets the engine running, and thus works the fuel pump.

But pump priming can only take you so far. All of this assumes that your fuel pump works and that there's good fuel in the gas tank, that there's not a hole in your fuel line or a plugged filter or-or-or. If there are mechanical problems with the fuel supply system, the engine will sputter to a halt again because it's not getting the fuel it needs. You can spray in more ether or pour in more gas, but this is a stopgap measure and you can't drive the car that way.

The Obama administration and the Democrats (and to a lesser extent the GOP too) have been concentrating on getting the old beater started, arguing over whether they should use more ether or fill the float bowls again, and how long do we have to charge the battery before we can give 'er another crank--and haven't given a lick of thought to why doesn't the damn thing stay running?

The simple fact is, the blue model--socialism, in other words--doesn't work. There is simply not enough money in the world for even a plurality of people to be given a free ride, not in perpetuity. The entitlements have to be curtailed, because--like it or not--we are out of money. It's all downhill from here; our standard of living has reached its peak and from now on, if nothing changes, we're going to find ourselves getting more and more poor. And the Beltway types don't have any incentive to change it, because while we get poorer, they get richer.
That was in July of 2012. And it's still true today. Nothing has changed.

* * *

Today is going to be another day of aggressively doing nothing, because I can, and because if I don't do it today it won't happen. To be honest I don't even know what I'm doing out of bed.
2:17 am
#5156: How does it go up THIRTY-TWO CENTS A GALLON IN ONE DAY??????
This morning, on my way to work, I stopped to put a splash of fuel into the Jeep--$10 worth because that's all I could spare (payday is Friday)--and it cost me $2 a gallon. ($1.999). On my way home, gas had risen to $2.32 ($2.319) per gallon.


No one blew anything up, there's no obvious news from the middle east, and no one has said anything about a refinery going "poit" again.

Bet it's $2 in Indiana, though.


* * *

I'll say it again: if the GOP nominates someone--other than Trump--who actually ran in the primaries and got a plurality of the vote, I'll support him. (By that I mean Cruz since the other ones didn't get enough votes to be elected dog catcher.) If they nominate someone who didn't even run, I will vote Democrat. Because at least the Democrats are honest about ignoring the votes of the little people.

I am not kidding or even exaggerating about this. And I am not alone.

* * *

John F-in' Kerry is a huge idiot and we dodged a bullet when we re-elected Bush rather than elect that ridiculous gigolo. (Damn if that ain't the most apt description I ever heard for Kerry. Who did I steal that from, again?)

"What more can one say about John F. Kerry that even Hillary Clinton was a better Secretary of State?" Seriously, that just takes the cake.

* * *

Wisdom from Jerry Pournelle Start with "There's not a lot to say about the election:..." because prior to that it's all Windows 10 stuff. I want to blockquote the whole thing, it's so good, but instead I'll have you go over there and read it. It's worth the time.

* * *

It's physically impossible, but I really, REALLY want the EM drive to work. I want it to work so bad I can taste it.

Look: the ability to push out thirty kilonewtons of thrust for a kilowatt of power expended--the theoretical specific impulse of an EM drive--means a lot of things, including flying cars even if we don't get Mr. Fusion first. Because you can generate a kilowatt of power with a two horsepower engine, more or less (2 HP is about 1500w) and we routinely build cars with a lot more power than that. It means "cheap access to space" because an airtight box with a single hybrid jet/rocket engine--not for thrust, but connected to a generator to make electricity!--would have enough power to boost stuff into orbit.

Of course, if the EM drive works, it means we have to rewrite a lot of physics. But that's what makes it so exciting.

* * *

I just made Mrs. Fungus laugh out loud by saying, "Mr. Magoo, you're cyclobenzaprine!"
Monday, April 11th, 2016
12:13 am
#5155: Mr. Magoo, you're HAMANAA!!
So Mrs. Fungus and I just finished wathcing Spider-Man 2, the one with Tobey McGuire, which has been sitting on a shelf in its shrinkwrap since I bought it in 2005 or 2006 or whenever the hell I bought it.

So, for about a thousand years, some of the words in that old Spider-Man cartoon theme eluded me. No matter how many times I played the song, no matter how many times I tried to puzzle it out, I couldn't make sense of it. Here's what it sounded like:
Welcome friends!
He's at yours!
Action is his reward
Look out!
Here comes the Spider-Man!
Somewhere along the line I figured out that it was "wealth and fame" rather than "welcome friends", but the next line eluded me completely. So tonight the end credits are playing and some git is singing that theme slow and bluesy and finally I understand:
Wealth and fame
He's ignored!
Action is his reward
Look out!
Here comes the Spider-Man!
He's ignored! That makes perfect sense!

("Why didn't you just Google it?" My dear boy, the last time I thought about this, it was 1991. And I've had other things to worry about since then.)

"So," I told Mrs. Fungus after relating this tale of woe to her, "now about the time I'm on my deathbed I'll finally find out what Mr. Magoo says. 'Mr. Magoo,'" I said, doing my best Jim Backus, "'you're HAMANAA!!'"

And then I had to explain that at the end of the theme song for the Mr. Magoo cartoon, he says "Mr. Magoo, you're [unintelligible]," and repeated web searches have yielded no fruit. (So much for Google.)

Look, we've been up quite a while. I've been up since 7 AM, for crying out loud. And once I'd finished my explanation, we both began this lung-busting bout of laughter which (I was afraid) was not going to stop before dawn.

...the movie, by the way, was pretty good. Mrs. Fungus is of the opinion that I hadn't previously watched it because I was waiting for her to watch it with, and I'm willing to accept that notion because it appeals to me.

Somehow we manage to have a lot of fun together.
Sunday, April 10th, 2016
7:33 pm
#5154: I can't believe I got to go home
So work was from 9-5:30 today, and when I left at 5:30 I couldn't believe my good fortune: I got to leave on time, even though it was only 5:30!

...just a little woozy, still, apparently....

* * *

There is secret, and then there's secret secret.

Stuff in Hillary's e-mails: secret.
Valerie Plame's identity: secret secret.

In the former case no one needs to go to jail because it wasn't like the stuff labeled "top secret" and "eyes only" was really all that secret; it was just labeled that way because, uh, reasons and stuff. In the latter case, of course, it was a major security breach and required that as many Republicans as possible be sent to jail or possibly executed.

You see?

* * *

I knew this would happen eventually. Jim Butcher writes really good stories without so much as a hint of Social Justice Warrior crap in them. Until recently he was unharassed by the SJW crowd, but that is apparently changing now.

Fortunately, Butcher has (as one commentor mentions) achieved the "fuck you" level of success.

* * *

I like sitting in the back row. Back row's the safest place in the plane, no one kicks the back of your seat, and typically you have a little extra legroom. And--at least on "first come first serve" flights--you have a chance of not having someone sitting next to you if the plane's not crammed full of people. So you have to wait a little to get off the plane; so what? You have to wait anyway; people jump out of their seats as soon as the seat belt lights go off, then stand there waiting to move for 5-10 minutes--I'd rather just remain in my seat and relax until things start moving.

What's not to like?

* * *

Electric cars need a better battery and any such battery will end up all over the place, not just in cars. Lithium batteries are expensive and don't pack as much energy into a given volume as these new ones can. A kilowatt-hour per kilogram? Hook me up!

(Well, not literally, as I have a poor tolerance for electric current, but you know what I mean.)

* * *

For a change, work did seem to go rather quickly today, and I had a pretty nice day on top of that. No real idiots, no particular stupidity.

As I was getting to work today I was thinking about how--eighteen years ago--I worked at a job where I did not make a great deal less than I'm making now, and was able to pay all my bills on time and have money left over for fun things. "What the hell happened?" I wondered; and then I remembered what had happened.

Eighteen years' worth of inflation. That's what happened. Everything costs more now than it did then and I'm earning less than I did; if I were only earning as much as I did then it might be a different story, but I don't.


Plus side: I have faith that things are going to improve. They are; all I need to do is keep punching. Today (for example) I scored three positive surveys, because I'm good at my job and take it seriously, and all I need to do is keep on producing like that and good things will happen.

It's hard, but it's not impossible. WTF.
Saturday, April 9th, 2016
1:56 pm
#5153: Where the hell is spring?

I don't know what bug is biting me, but it started biting me yesterday morning. Something told me stay in bed but I nonetheless hauled my ass out of bed and went to work; by the time I got there I was feeling genuinely sick, and as the day progressed I just got worse and worse. At 7 PM the sick headache started--you know, that kind of queasy, burning headache which feels like you've somehow got epic heartburn in your sinuses--and although I immediately took ibuprofen, when my computer abruptly started coughing up dicks at 7:15 I knew it is time to bail out. Talked to my team lead, and went home, where I dropped into a coma that lasted until after Mrs. Fungus got home. Was up for a couple hours after that, but went to bed shortly after midnight and slept more.

Today I did stay home, because although the worst of the headache is gone I still have the cramps, nausea, dizziness, and fatigue that have now plagued me for twenty-four hours. I feel better than I did at 7 PM last night; I do not feel good.


To make things worse, it snowed last night. The weather, generally speaking, has been irredeemably shitty for the past couple of weeks. It's been cold and rainy, or cold and windy, or sleeting, or hailing. (Some would blame my illness on the "up and down weather" we've been having, but somehow that doesn't sit well with me. I don't really spend any time outside.)

Last night, sometime between Mrs. Fungus' arrival home from work and the time I got ready for bed (again) it snowed hard enough to cover the grass and our vehicles. It's all gone now, of course, but for the places which are in shadow, but after calling off this morning and before returning to bed, I got a picture out the front window of the daffodils in snow. WTF, April.
Friday, April 8th, 2016
11:34 pm
#5152: Clickbait
No time for a blog post tonight. Sorry. In lieu of content, links selected entirely by their headlines!

Rein-controlled tractors!

Buran was a copy of the Space Shuttle.

"A Heaping Helping of Hitlers" for your amusement.

An examination of happiness verus Hell...in the Twilight Zone.

Welcome to the Greater Depression which actually started in 2009.

Bruce Springsteen has always been an unremediated shithead.

Go go SpaceX! This time they stuck the landing!
12:46 am
#5151: Why do we still exist?
Proof that God loves us and has infinte mercy towards us: He lets us continue to exist despite the fact that we're utterly wretched people.

Yeah, it was one of those days, the kind of day when I start out with antipathy for the human race which is only reinforced as the day goes on, and I am left wondering why God hasn't already wiped us out and replaced us with something that makes sense.

Infinite mercy is the only possible explanation.

* * *

Outlander is just a bodice-ripper with a little time travel thrown in, nothing more. Neither I nor Mrs. Fungus were at all impressed with it.

* * *

This is a shame. I would love to be able to play WoW as it was when I started playing in 2008, right after Wrath of the Lich King came out; in some ways the recent modifications to the game have dumbed it down, made it too easy. I liked having weapons skills and not being able to see, on my mini-map, where I had to go to find quest targets. I never did manage to get through the entirety of the old, really difficult Sunken Temple, either, and that's a crying shame.

Well, it is what it is, I suppose.

* * *

The other night I had Pandora playing my "Alan Parsons" channel, and on comes ELO's "Turn to Stone". How did Mrs. Fungus hear it?
Tartar sauce!
When you're a gnome!
It's tartar sauce!
And from now on whenever I hear that song....

* * *

I really don't want to go to work tomorrow. Guess where I'm going tomorrow anyway? *sigh*
Wednesday, April 6th, 2016
6:38 pm
#5150: The model number that started it all
This post's number is the model number of the original IBM PC, and the PC-compatible ended up ruling the market and morphing into the "Wintel" computer (Windows and Intel) and finally just into the "Windows" computer we use today.

Old geezers (such as yr obt srvt) still refer to 'em as "PC compatible" when we forget ourselves.

And today is the day when I received my kit of Arduino clone goodies. There it was, stuffed in the mailbox, waiting for me to drag my butt out of bed and get hep to the world around me.

This is gonna be fun. It's got all kinds of stuff in it, sensors and LEDs and a remote control and jumper wires and breadboards. I've got an e-mail in to the seller now to get the schematics and instructions, but who knows how long that'll take.

Regardless, cool.
2:17 pm
#5149: Damn it, who put this thing in? Gilgamesh?
Trying to get the anode out of the water heater--

Mrs. Fungus had an early day today, so right after she finished showering I turned the water heater's thermostat to "pilot", and opened the drain valve, and set it to draining. Came upstairs and opened the taps, realized I hadn't shut off the cold water supply, and went back to do that.

Tank's been draining for almost eight hours. I am getting some backfeed from the cold water at one of the house's faucets, so the bathroom sink has been dribbling continuously, but repeated checking of all of them has yielded no fruit. This did not happen last time.

Anyway, I made a couple attempts at getting the anode out. Approaching the problem from a different angle--literally--I was able to put a considerable amount of torque on the anode bolt, but I can't apply enough to pop it loose; there simply isn't room for me to get enough leverage. Might be time to invest in an electric impact wrench.

Looking at the "spare" anode, the one that I found next to the water heater, I've found that it's probably the original anode for this unit. I figure the plumber that installed the heater exchanged it for a flexible type. At least, I hope that is the case, because otherwise there isn't any way to get this anode out without drilling a hole through the staircase. Which--it apparently must be said--I'm not going to do.


* * *

April showers today.

Thunderstorms last night--not here, to the north of here, but close enough to shake the house--and steady, gloomy rain all day. Weather report was saying 1-3 inches of snow on Friday, but they've since moderated that to "<1 in" and we'll see how we actually do. Daffodils exploded last week, and they're a riot of yellow blooms despite the miserable cold weather we've had since then. I'm glad to see they've survived the 29-26° freezes we've had, but then again the ground has warmed up and it's not the first time ever that it's gotten that cold after the plants have started flowering. They have a routine to deal with that. The tulips, however, are proving a little more reluctant.

* * *

I have nothing else. I am tired. Tomorrow I must work. *sigh*
Tuesday, April 5th, 2016
3:51 pm
#5148: It's a Dr Who retrospective!--wait, no, it's just the Rolling Stones
In the classic episodes of Doctor Who--and I mean before Tom Baker ever put on that humongous scarf--the Doctor was played by old men. OLD. MEN. Which is why the first thing I thought of when I saw those pictures was, "What the hell is this, 'The Four Doctors'?"

What I really want to do is to take those pictures back in time and wave them under the noses of the hippies and the rest of the Boomer dregs, and say, "In 2016, the Stones are old men and they are part of the establishment. And they've been knighted. Stick that in your bong and smoke it. And get a haircut and stop ruining our society while you're at it."

* * *

This is how you make illegals self-deport, too, by the way. If there's no economic incentive for them to come here, they'll stop coming here.

Yep, the paywall will finance the physical wall. And if Mexico doesn't like that, well...what can they do about it?

* * *

California's minimum wage will go to $15 and its unemployment numbers for low-skilled workers will necessarily skyrocket but that's okay with the Democrats because socialism.

* * *

I slept in today. I got up this morning for about an hour, to have a PBJ and hit the can, but once that was done with I went back to bed around 10 AM and slept until after 2. I needed that sleep.

Guess I'll get after those chores tomorrow. *sigh*
3:34 am
#5147: It snowed again today
You had one job, April. ONE JOB. And for Friday they're predicting 1-3 inches. Meanwhile it's below freezing outside again. *sigh*

* * *

It's late on my Friday night (or early on my Saturday) and I should be sleeping, but I'm too excited over my weekend finally being here.

The days seem so long at work lately, a lot longer than they were in October or November. I don't know why. I recall feeling this kind of ennui for a while when I worked at Best Buy, where the days seemed to be an unending series of the same words said over and over and over again. I got over that feeling, though I'm not sure when or how; but after that "hump" was past the job became easy-peasy, second nature, and I exceled at it.

Anyway, this job is loads easier than Best Buy, and better in just about every way. I'd still like to find something even better, that pays more; I haven't heard a word about the Workforce position but it doesn't look as if they've picked a candidate, either. I don't know.

* * *

Tuesday will be "work on the water heater again" day. A conversation with Og over the weekend yielded a few useful bits of information, as such conversations usually do, and I'm now a lot less afraid that the water heater is going to spontaneously spring a leak. The water does, however, smell rather a lot, and I want to correct that as soon as possible. I'm hoping to re-drain the thing tomorrow and get the anode out; once the anode is out I can get a replacement put in, and that should help considerably with the rotten egg smell.

* * *

The other day, while trying to find the Barnes and Nobles gift cards, I finally found my SD cards with the music on them. So that's good. They were right here on my desk all along, in a ziplock bag with all the other SD cards. Of course.

* * *

I'm hoping, this weekend, to get the furniture/luggage pile sorted, downstairs. We'll see if I can get that far; but if I can, it'll go a long way towards making room to work down there.

I've concluded that the big desk I have in the area behind the stairs would make a fantastic workbench, and I've just about conluded that I'll be moving it into the main area; we'll see how that works in practice. Worst case I ditch it and get a workbench kit like the one that I got in 2003 that I still have now, in the garage here at the bunker. It was essentially a box of precut 2x4s and a sheet of assembly instructions, but it's nice and sturdy and works well. Only difference is, for doing electronics stuff I'd likely put a sheet of MDF over the top of it just so I'd have a smooth surface.

But all of this is predicated on me getting the basement clear enough of stuff that I can do this. So first step is still finish cleaning the damned basement.

Good enough.

...and I still need to get an exhaust gasket and some locknuts for the Jeep's exhaust system. So I have two little projects to get after, Tuesday. Whee!
Sunday, April 3rd, 2016
7:42 pm
#5146: TEN YEARS
Can you dig it? It's been ten years since the first post of Atomic Fungus went up.

At 10:22 PM tonight it will have been a decade since April 3, 2006, and my first two posts were an introduction and a longish post on anime.

I just don't know what else to say about all this. But the anniversary post is number 5146, which makes an average of 514.6 posts per year, or 1.41 posts per day. We've had some adventures, some good times, and some bad.

It's a daily habit, one I don't have any particular need to shake; even if no one else reads it, I'm happy to continue to bang the keys and put up posts.

Atomic Fungus got started after I had broadband Internet service again. When I lived in Iowa I'd taken the plunge to get cable TV, and working for a high technology company had gotten me used to having access to a fast Internet connection which was always on. So I got a cable modem and ditched dialup; but when I moved back to Illinois in early 2004 I found myself with no disposable income and no way to pay for broadband, so I went back to dialup using NetZero...and there I stayed for two years, until early 2006, when I received confirmation that my job at Target was indeed permanent rather than seasonal. (It had been permanent all along, but no one had told me.) DSL was cheaper than cable--the bunker already had DirecTV and my parents weren't inclined to switch--so I paid the freight and got DSL...and didn't look back.

It was not long after that that I decided to try my hand at blogging...and here we are. My DSL connection has been supplanted by a cable connection that makes the DSL look like dialup, and I've gone through a couple of generations of computers in the meantime, but it's still me and the basic HTML editor and stream of consciousness.

Here's hoping for another ten or twenty.
7:26 pm
#5145: WTF weather
When I got up this morning it was 29° outside, so I wore my parka to work. When I left work to get lunch at 1 PM, I didn't need my coat at all. Ditto for coming home.

The temperature rose 35 degrees in five hours. Shit.

* * *

173 horsepower in a motorcycle. Understand, my Jeep Cherokee boasts 190 HP, and it weighs about four times as much as this motorcycle does. The motorcycle probably generates that 173 HP at some insane engine speed (10,000 RPM?) but the inline six in the Jeep would melt even if you could somehow get it to turn that fast.

I don't know how something like that keeps the dirty side down without active gyroscopic stabilization.

* * *

"Too much food". How long has starvation been a problem in the world? Now people have more food than ever, so much so that obesity is a real problem. Dang.

* * *

Land of the taxed out the wazoo, more like.

* * *

I laughed at this. It's good.

* * *

Okay, I admit I was fooled by the "reflected tv show" thing, but at least I didn't fall for this one, and for two reasons.

1) Apple wouldn't sell something more powerful than the Raspberry Pi for $50. What they would do is make something almost as powerful as the Raspberry Pi, sell it for $99, and claim they'd invented microcontroller prototyping boards.

2) Apple wouldn't sell anything that could be modified by users. It's not their thing. That's why you can't replace the battery in any iDevice. Hint: "closed ecosystem"; Apple doesn't believe in letting people do their own thing.

I may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer when it comes to radio astronomy, but I do know my computer hardware.
Saturday, April 2nd, 2016
11:53 pm
#5144: I know that's the way to bet, but STILL....
Something in deep space is reflecting our TV signals back to us.

47 year old television signals bouncing back to Earth
Doctor Who
Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico finds television shows lost in space.

While searching deep space for extra-terrestrial signals, scientists at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico have stumbled across signals broadcast from Earth nearly half a century ago.

Radio astronomer Dr. Venn described how he made the historic discovery after analysing a number of signals originating from the same point in space. "I realised the signal was in the VHF Band and slap bang in the middle of 41-68 MHz. It was obviously old terrestrial television broadcasts, but they seemed to be originating from deep space." After boosting and digital enhancement the resulting video signals are remarkably clear.

Responding to questions, Dr Venn was at pains to explain that little green men are not showing repeats of old Earth shows. "They are signals that left the Earth about 50 years ago and have bounced off an object or more likely a field of objects some 25 light years away". Radio signals travel at approximately 300,000 kilometers per second. The distance the vintage signals have traveled in the intervening years is vast and whatever they are bouncing off is too far away to see with even the most advanced optical telescopes. "...we asked NASA if they could point Hubble at the centre of what we've named the 'Bounce Anomaly'. NASA were very keen to help once they had seen our data." However the $3 billion space telescope was unable to produce any clues as to what the signals are bouncing off. One theory is a massive cloud of asteroids is acting like a mirror in space reflecting radio signals from our past, back to us.

A BBC team have been working closely with Dr Venn's team to help recover the signals. BBC Television historian Peter Wells, explained "We now know these are original broadcasts. So far we have recovered about 7 weeks of old television signals from space. Every day in our lab is like traveling back in time. And speaking of which we have just started the digital recovery of signals that contain lost Doctor Who episodes.
Doctor WhoLost Doctor Who episodes recovered from space.

The BBC will be archiving all the recordings recovered from space and there are plans to broadcast some of the highlights later in the year.
Blockquoted the whole thing because the URL is simple and I don't trust it'll still be there later.

...and it'd be neat if some alien civilization thought the best way to let us know they know we're here is to retransmit what they've seen from us.

A cool story, regardless.
Friday, April 1st, 2016
11:58 pm
#5143: I had a good idea for April Fool's Day but didn't use it.
I was going to go on a marvelous tear about how I was going to vote for Hillary, and give all these great logical reasons why...but there are only about 35 minutes left in the day and no one would see it before it was too late.

Oh well.

* * *

Sunday I have to be at work at 9 AM. *sigh*

* * *

UMIBOZU! Umibozu is the name of the Japanese rapper that both Risa Koizumi and Atsushi Otani--the main characters of Lovely Complex--are totally gaga over. So when I saw this reference to Umibozu, I had to link to it, because it finally explains the name of the rapper better than all the translators did.

We love Umibozu!
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