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Atomic Fungus
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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in atomic_fungus' LiveJournal:

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Wednesday, October 16th, 2019
7:20 pm
#6885: I actually closed more than a couple tickets today
I think I closed five. For once I was able to work, instead of having to push against lack of access or nonfunctional software or-or-or; and when I can actually do things, mirabile visu I get them done.

Got two machines returned to the network and fully functional. Got power to a wireless access point. Verified that a couple computers were still being used and didn't need to be taken off the network. Fixed a guy's inability to connect to the network. Verified that a person wasn't on legal hold status and started imaging her new laptop, and further I ran a couple errands for my boss that involved me going to the server room and measuring for cables. Very busy day today.

I don't mind at all.

Yesterday I ordered a headphone adaptor for the iPhone. $10 from Amazon, and with my Prime membership it was basically free overnight shipping. Of course I ordered the wrong damned one; I'd come home from work hoping to be able to listen to Pandora while cutting the east 40, but that was a no-go.

The cable I bought is still (probably) useful, though, so I don't think I'll send it back.

So I ordered the right cable just a little bit ago; I should have it in my hands about this time tomorrow. Whee.

* * *

The Soviet Union, China, none of the communist nations could have invented the smart phone. The meme calls it a "space phone" which is not far wrong.

Want to know something interesting? The actual useful range of a cell phone is much greater than a couple of miles, at least if you're talking "straight up". So what if you had a constellation of satellites in low Earth orbit, and these satellites pretended to be cell towers?

Someone's actually researching this, believe it or not, and it works seamlessly with existing phones. Which is to say, the cellular satellites ignore certain information from the cell phones and just chat away with them as if they were ground stations. The cell phones don't know the difference, either...and the result is that suddenly your average everyday smartphone becomes usable anywhere in the world that you can get satellite reception.

Without special hardware. Without special service. And there's no reason it can't work the other way, too--which is to say, someday soon a NASA astronaut could make the first cellular phone call from ISS.

But it's not China that's doing this. It's not any of the totalitarianist socialist countries that did anything to invent any of the technology used to make this happen. It all came from the free world.

* * *

When a big corporation goes belly-up, everyone suffers. The bigwigs on the board of directors actually suffer least in those circumstances.

The first duty of a corporation is not to go bankrupt. The second duty is to provide dividends for its stockholders. A lot of businesses are losing sight of those two painfully simple and vitally important rules.

* * *

The conviction of Alger Hiss was why the left hated Richard Nixon so much. But Hiss was a communist spy.

* * *

I know this headline is incorrect. I'd bet money that Trump was not the one who had the meltdown. Why? Because Pelosi was the one who stormed out of the office, that's why.


And notice please that an actual impeachment vote has been taken off the table yet again?

The Democrats--at least, the old guard--know they can't impeach President Trump. They know they don't have anything, and that all that impeachment would end up doing for them is to hand the GOP a huge fricking nail-studded Louisville Slugger with which to hit them, over and over again, until candy came out. Impeachment would be a disaster for Democrats, because then the GOP would subpoena all kinds of people--people whom the Democrats absolutely cannot allow to be questioned under oath--and there's only so much "Arkancide" that can happen before even the FBI's willful blindness must fail.

* * *

The would-be tyrants do not understand the consequences of the policies they advocate. Robert Francis "Beto" O'Rourke is not going to be President, thank all that's holy.

* * *

LeBron James is a communist asshat. Enough said about that.

* * *

The only truly useful class I took in high school was typing. Literally.

Today I touch-type and my handwriting is horrible. *sigh*

* * *

Wow. I mean, even Iowans who don't ride bicycles talk about RAGBRAI every year.

This is indeed so: "America to the Media: You're fired."


* * *

"It must have been a fake gun, because the CTA has all those signs up that don't allow guns."

* * *

"...Since they still don’t have a final cut, there is no way in hell the CGI will be ready in time." The Rise of Skywalker sounds like it'll be pretty bad even without discussing whatever problems may plague the CGI.

* * *

There is a very easy explanation for this. It comes in two parts.

1) The government is very heavily subsidizing the "green economy". Hundreds of billions of dollars are being funneled into it. Of course it's going to grow.

2) The "fossil fuel industry" is a mature market--which is to say, no matter how many cars you may own, you can only drive one at a time. The same thing goes for every other avenue where fossil fuels are used. Power plants: you're not going to build a new power plant next to an old one; you'll replace the old one with a new one that's more efficient.

Like that.

* * *

Made chili for dinner last night and it came out perfect, so we're having it again tonight.

Got home from work and cut the east 40, so that's done for at least another week.

* * *

One of the neat things you can do with the iPhone 8 is to take time-lapse movies. I set the phone on the windowsill in the spare room and let it run for about 20 minutes while the sun set, and the result is interesting, but I can't get it onto Floristica to look at it.

Not sure if it's Mrs. Fungus' lightning cable that's the problem, or the computer's front USB ports, or what. I'll see if I can do it at work tomorrow with a Windows 10 machine.


Anyway, it also can do slow-motion, and I captured about 10 seconds' (real time) worth of the ceiling fan spinning and the clock ticking. It's neat to see the fan blades turn slowly and the clock pendulum crawl back and forth.

Maybe this weekend I'll try lighting some kind of firework and film it in slow motion....
Tuesday, October 15th, 2019
6:55 pm
#6884: It was nice of them to use specific hardware
Fixed a server problem that has been going on for weeks. Basically, tape backup drive was off-line. Today I found that the data cables for the thing had been unplugged for some dumb reason, and plugged them in. I was able to do that because there was literally only one place in the entire server rack that those ends of those cables could plug in. If it had been the other end that was unplugged, I wouldn't have been able to do it without guidance.

Mirabile visu tape drive is back on-line and the server guys are happy. Whee.

...just feeling sleepy all damn day with no good reason for it--except that I woke up last night around 3:30-ish and was up past 4 AM eating a PBJ and trying not to think too much. Argh etc.

Probably just as well, then, that it rained today. I had intended to cut the east 40 but I can't do that when it's wet.

I still find it suspicious that I started feeling this way the instant I got the job offer from my current employer. Like, "Okay, now I can relax!" only I didn't actually get to relax.

Oh well.

* * *

...but because I'm feeling tired, I don't really have much to say.

Oh--continued work on the inventory project today, making very little progress because the last couple of guys were slobs. And in the middle of that, I discovered that one machine was pending deletion because its power supply had failed, not because it was meant to be taken off-line. So what I need to do now is to fix the computer (one way or another) and get it back on-line.

But I was flailing around with recalcitrant software all day, and it doesn't feel like I got all that much done. *sigh*

Still, it's a process. The journey is the point. I'm learning, and fast, and that's fantastic.

* * *

Tomorrow is Wednesday, which is a very nice thing for it to be. Maybe tomorrow I can cut the east 40.
Monday, October 14th, 2019
7:24 pm
#6883: For the love of--
Got to work a couple minutes late, and then had 50,000 things to juggle. Guy came to swap out routers in the server room--replacing an obsolete one--and once he left I got a call from Mrs. Fungus saying that her car wouldn't move.

Left work and came home, stopping on the way to buy transmission fluid (because a good samaritan stopped and looked at the transmission fluid dipstick and said there was nothing there). Got home, got a funnel, went to where the car was--it was not far--and checked the fluid level myself. Sure enough, the barest bit of fluid on the tip of the dipstick...and a fair puddle of the stuff laying atop the splash shield at the bottom of the engine compartment.

Her car blew a fucking transmission hose.

...during our initial phone call she had demanded to know why I hadn't checked the transmission fluid when I changed her oil a couple weeks ago, and I didn't have an answer for her then. But now that I knew what had happened, I knew it wasn't something we could put off fixing. But I don't have any PTO yet--this is only my third fricking week!--and I can't take a day off to do anything anyway, unless it's a dire emergency, because I'm in my first sixty days.

We took it to the corner mechanic, the place that's been there since time immemorial. It's the place that fixed the Jeep's rear shock back in 2012. They were able to fix it, all right--to the tune of $195--but it's fixed and I don't have to fuck with it.

The Jeep's alternator, that's something I knew I could fix pretty easily. But transmission cooling lines on a Toyota--I've never replaced them, have no idea what kind of pressure they might be under, had absolutely no time to figure it out--so I erred on the side of making it someone else's problem and took it to the pros. The repair was a bit costlier than the estimates I saw on-line from the comfort of my office, after I'd made the decision, but it cost considerably less than I'd feared when I made the decision. And all told it was cheaper than having the thing crap out again up north, an hour's drive from the bunker, so it was good to get it fixed today. And of course I have been socking back money specifically for emergencies like this one.

We're coming down to a decision point on Mrs. Fungus' car, though. I need to bleed the brakes and get the rear brakes adjusted correctly. Once that's done, the front struts need to be replaced and a 4-wheel alignment done. The spark plugs still have not been replaced in the car, because I tried to loosen one, found it "gronchy", and did not want to risk stripping the threads out of the aluminum cylinder head.

But it's close to 200k on the clock. Might be time to trade it in....

* * *

Do you mean to tell me that the solar panel systems being sold to people don't store electricity at all? What the point?

Apparently the solar power systems that are being touted all over the country aren't connected to batteries. You pay--I don't know, $20,000?--a shitton of money to have your house's roof festooned with solar panels, and you get some kind of break on the cost of electricity because when the sun is shining you make power and sell it to the power company.

...but if the power company cuts the power to prevent forest fires, well, "most panels are designed to supply power to the grid--not directly to houses," which means even if your roof is one big solar panel and the sun is out, you're sitting there without electricity.

That has got to be the stupidest thing I've heard in a long time.

Of course the battery system isn't covered by the subsidy. Adding that battery system to your solar roof makes you independent of the power company, most days, and people who go all-in on home solar power rapidly figure out how to keep their need for external power to a minimum. It's expensive, though, without the subsidy.

And you know...I kind of figured that would be the case. I kind of figured that the solar power systems being touted by all and sundry were scams, one way or another, and it turns out I was right. It's not about making people independent of the power companies; it's about making them into suppliers of electricity so the power company doesn't have to build and maintain its own solar plants. And of course the power companies set what they're going to pay for power, naturally.

Scam. I knew it.

* * *

Francis Porretto tells you where you can stuff your cries of "racism".

It's either this, or closing the store in which case you'll start screaming about "food deserts".

* * *

In the second image down I sincerely hope that is a temporary tattoo and not a real one.

* * *

Stupid, stupid business decisions are why reform is sorely needed.

* * *

But of course Cuomo isn't going to the one freezing his ass off when the gas pressure goes too low and furnaces start to shut down. Neither are any of the politicians in the state capital.

But you know what? Kim du Toit is right:
If the people of New York are going to continue to vote assholes like Cuomo into power year after year, decade after decade, I fail to see why I should have any sympathy when said assholes' idiotic policies turn round and start biting the very people who voted them into power.
They voted for this shit, so let them enjoy it.

* * *

So, after work, stopped and picked up my wife's car, and paid the bill, and then got her so she could drive me back to get the Jeep.

After that, cut the grass.

Started this post.

Washed the dishes while cooking dinner.

...now I'm going to eat dinner and play WoW.
Sunday, October 13th, 2019
1:52 pm
Went to the store for a few sundries. Walked through the snack aisle, saw two bags of All Dressed Ruffles, and grabbed both of them.

I don't know why Walt's has them, nor do I care. It's got something to do with hockey, I guess. Regardless, I have two bags of All Dressed goodness. Woohoo!

* * *

For a long time, elements 103 and 104 had no names. It seemed like a long time, anyway. Or was it 102 and 103? It was so long ago I can't even remember that much.

All of a sudden, I look at a periodic table and see that it's gone to element 118, FFS.

I suppose the rise of computers has something to do with it. Up at that end of the periodic table, the nuclei are so full of protons that they physically cannot stay together very long. There's too much positive charge in too small a space, and the weird property of the strong force that holds the nucleus together against the mutual repulsion of the protons is too weak.

(Until a few years ago, I thought the strong force was what held protons and neutrons together, and the weak force was what bound nucleons into nuclei. But no! Strong force all the way.)

And so we get to a point--experimenting with particle colliders--that atoms form which are simply too heavy to remain for long. Number 118--Oganesson, according to Wikipedia--has a half-life of either 181 milliseconds (for Og-295) or 69 microseconds (for Og-294).

There's a theory that there is a point at which heavier atoms become stable again. It'd be interesting to see that.

As for the linked article, it talks about Copernicium, which has a half-life of 29 seconds and which is apparently a liquid at room temperature.

The thing that really makes my brain ache is when it starts talking about relativistic effects in electron orbitals. The bigger the atom, the faster the electrons move around them, and in heavy elements the inner electron shells experience relativistic effects from being so close to lightspeed!
Relativistic quantum effects are also the reason for gold being yellow and for lead-acid batteries being able to work at all (since we were discussing batteries around here the other day!) No one makes batteries out of tin, and that's what lead would be like, electrochemically, if it weren’t for the relativistic changes.
Sorry, your head asplode.

That's about all I can do, now.

* * *

Enjoy the new rules.

Look: the facile and easy mouthing of platitudes has been exemplified as the way to behave by all the SJW/NPC jerkwads. You are "woke", they tell us, if you say the right things. There is no further need to walk the walk as long as you talk the talk correctly. And we see this everywhere: the defense of Bill Clinton against Juanita Broadderick et al, the globe-trotting celebrities who speak out against human carbon emissions, the leftists who decry "islamophobia"--do I need to go on? I've said it and said it, that hypocrisy is an essential characteristic of being a leftist.

So, corporations are behaving exactly the way SJWs do. They mouth the platitudes and make the overt displays and talk the talk.

In any case, the left doesn't actually care about LBGMTEARGBBQ rights, and it doesn't care about free speech, and it doesn't give a rat's ass about "civil rights". China is what they want for the whole world. That's why they don't speak out about the things China has done to its people. That's why they don't condemn islam for the horrors its perpetrated on the world.

* * *

I replaced the nicely decorative clear-glass exposed filament LED light bulbs that lit the bathroom. Three of them failed, leaving one working, so I went to Ace and bought globe-style bulbs and put them in. We'll see how long these last.

...they worked fine for what, about a year? Then one of them started to flicker: one filament, then two, then all of them alternately lighting and going dark, glowing at half-brightness, randomly. Eventually, they go dark entirely. They're not particularly old, either, which annoys the hell out of me. As I said, about a year, maybe a little more--and these weren't cheap, bulbs, either.

What I want to do now is to salvage the LED filaments. The electronics in the bulb base are what failed. It'd be neat to figure out why, but in general the power supply is very tiny and difficult to extract without breaking it.

"WTF," you may think. "These are LEDs. LEDs are diodes. Why does a light bulb need a power supply?" The basic answer is "flicker". The power supply in the base of the bulb is there to smooth out the voltage, so that the LEDs don't flicker. But that power supply is complicated enough that it can fail easily, especially considering that these bulbs are made to a price point.

They're great at saving electricity, but they cost more than incandescent bulbs do. The reliability needs to better reflect that.

* * *

The weather today is "crisp and clear". Severe clear, 60 outside.

My task today is to hang curtains; after that, if I am feeling particularly plucky, I might cut the grass.

But first, curtains!
Saturday, October 12th, 2019
12:20 pm
#6881: HAGIBIS??
The typhoon hitting Toji Beach is named "Hagibis" and it's a pretty strong one.

...the video feed went down, of course, because I expect the power has failed. But when I look at the map in that post, I can see that if the thing hadn't turned it would have made landfall right where that beach is. Toji Beach is not so very far from Toyko--a way west and a bit south--and even though the storm's eye appears not to have made landfall, Toji Beach and the town that sits on it were probably subjected to the full brunt of the storm, the place near the eyewall where the winds and rain are strongest.

Watching it last night...I'm not sure how far the beach is, from the road to the waterline, but it's got to be close to a hundred meters. Between the road and the beach itself there's a three-foot-high concrete barrier. And when I was watching last night--it would have been maybe 2 or 3 PM Japan local time--waves were dashing against those barriers. A heck of a storm surge: the road's got to be a good ten feet higher than sea level, judging by the slope of the beach.

But typhoons are nothing new to the Japanese and they build their homes and businesses to handle them, unlike Americans in Florida and other coastal cities. There will inevitably be damage and some flooding but it's nothing they can't handle.

* * *

Please. You guys have been trying to sell this line of shit for fifty years. Longer, actually; doomsaying is like the third-oldest profession (behind "prostitute" and "farmer", no particular order).

But we've been listening to these people foretell of mass starvation and so forth since 1968, and they've been claiming it was because of human overpopulation and pollution and blah blah blah. In the 1970s it was a new ice age brought on by man-made particulate emissions. Later it was runaway global warming brought on by human carbon emissions. The predictions always include famine and ruin.

THEY HAVE BEEN WRONG EVERY SINGLE LAST TIME. They have been completely, utterly wrong; there has never been a prediction issued by any of these nitwits which has been even slightly correct. For the last fifty years we have been not more than fifteen years away--usually less--from ecological ruin and catastrophe and resource starvation and "billions dead."

Longer. Since Malthus. Since before Malthus, but he was the first one to be "scientific" about it.

So, no--I don't believe it.

* * *

I don't care who you are. Someone touching you on the arm is not sexual assault. But the British legal system sure seems intent on putting a guy in jail because he touched a woman on the arm and she felt "threatened" by it.

There's a twittle in that post where a woman says, "Dear every man in America, I'm sitting at the bar by myself because I want to. Please be self-aware enough to know when we are simply not interested in carrying on conversation. Sincerely, all women".

Translation: "Dear men: Why aren't you able to read minds yet?"

The people who need to be "self-aware" are the women who expect men to automatically know what they want. When it seems as if, half the time, they don't even know themselves.

* * *

Seasonal temperatures today, and clear. We need to go buy curtains for the spare room. *sigh* Well, I need to get a case for my work phone, anyway, so I guess that's okay.
Friday, October 11th, 2019
11:28 pm
#6880: Whoa, a typhoon!
My favorite livecam from Japan is Toji Beach in Izu. A very nice beach, it is, and I've been visiting that live cam, a few times a week, for a couple of years, now.

Apparently that part of Japan is in the path of a typhoon. And the waves are epic.

I often watch that video and imagine being on that beach. Not sure I'd want to be there today!

* * *

So, more stuff in the "humans are the biggest badasses in the galaxy" train of thought.

Why Federation starships are always having technical difficulties.

This is a GREAT short story in that same vein.

"It's called 'hysterical strength'." Heh.

* * *

Okay, you're a ninja. She wrote an essay for a history class using invisible ink. Got top marks for it, too.

* * *

So, blizzards have struck the great plains. A foot of snow in the Dakotas. Here, it's going to get down to freezing, with a wind chill of 20 F.

Well, it's October. What do you expect?
6:47 pm
#6879: iPhone 8!
Finally got my frigging phone today. I ordered it on Sep 30 FFS.

iPhone 8, space grey, 64 MB. Chose that over a Samsung Galaxy 9 because I have an Android phone, and with a whole bunch of people at that company itching to get themselves iPhones now that they've been approved by corporate, I figured it'd be better to have one so I could configure it and work with it and know its foibles, since the iPhone 8 will be the "standard model" for a couple years at least.

Anyway, it was delivered yesterday but got lost in the bowels of Receiving; today they tracked it down and I finally got the thing about 3:30 PM.

My work was otherwise done for the day, so I started in on it. Of course there's a configuration tool that I don't have access to; having been given access to it I was still unable to add my phone to the "allowed" list because my name wasn't on the right list for that. My supervisor added it for me but it had not percolated through the system by 5 PM so I said, "Hell with it," and came home. I can futz around with this nonsense on Monday.

It's smaller than my LG Stylo 2V, weighs more, and came with the second-worst pair of earbuds I've tried. They don't stay in my ears; I can get them wedged in so they sound good, but the slightet movement of my head and they pop out enough that the bass is lost and it sounds like an old pocket AM radio.

"Apple earpods", they're called--they're the wired kind--and they're crappy and uncomfortable and cost $30. My $20 set of Skullcandy Ink'd earbuds from 2009 are more comfortable, fit better, and sound much better than these do.

Anyway, I'll get an adaptor for that, so I can use GOOD earbuds with the thing, and I'm going to get a good strong protective case for it as well. Tomorrow.

* * *

Saw a picture of the new Ford Bronco. Nice looking truck, but for one detail: the grille. Ford, I'm saying this as a friend: LOSE THAT SHIT NOW.

It looks like ass. Big block letters spelling out FORD--it makes it look like a toy built for a three-year-old.

What's wrong with some plain vertical or horizontal bars?

* * *

Of course the taxpayers that can leave Illinois are doing so. Why wouldn't they? The Democrat machine is dead set on wrecking the state economy.

* * *

This is why they started saying "climate change" instead of "global warming".

* * *

The lesson here is "don't be a frigging douchebag."

I don't feel any sympathy for the guy, either. You know why? Because that's what he and his kind want to happen to right-wingers. SJWs want right-wingers to be incandescently, radioactively unemployable.

* * *

Today I actually did things--useful things--and accomplished tasks. Fixed a couple of things, too, and experienced a moment of joy while I worked.

Thursday, October 10th, 2019
11:04 pm
#6878: Fire season means California becomes a third-world country
Utterly amazing. Not in a good way, though.

Understand, that if your transmission lines and power poles are properly maintained, the only reason they will stop working is if something hits them. A tree branch falls and strikes a wire hard enough, it pops loose from whatever it's connected to, and then you have a live wire laying on the ground, electricity arcing and starting fires.

The solution to this is to cut away the branches that could reasonably be expected to fall on the wires and to do other maintenance to the areas where power lines run. You keep your poles in good shape, you make sure the wires are secure, and--in general--maintain the network and ensure nothing interferes with it.

In California, however, they are not allowed to do that.

They're not allowed to prune branches away from wires. They're not allowed to clear underbrush from around power poles. And--to make matters worse--the electric company is not maintaining its infrastructure. They repair things when they break, but they don't replace things that are wearing out--and yes, telephone poles can wear out!--and so, when the winds rise in late summer and early autumn, and it stops raining, then any failure in the system, just about anywhere, can cause a fire.

The solution, then, that is being employed in California is not to fix the infrastructure or to prune branches or any of that other stuff, but to shut the power off.

This is happening, by the way, in the same state which is mandating a huge shift to electric vehicles. But if the electricity is not on, the cars won't charge.

Gas has hit $5 a gallon in Los Angeles.

* * *

So, communism--

American leftists are no better than any other leftists in world history. Give the left unlimited power and the mass executions will start happening. Take everyone's guns away in America and there will be real concentration camps, gulags, and mass graves.

"Marxists are trash, who in a just world would be treated like Nazis, their moral equivalents." They are not better than Nazis; they're worse, in fact. Because the other socialist countries killed close to twenty times the number of people that were murdered by Nazi Germany.

Speaking of socialism, Bernie Sanders got treatment for his heart attack the same day that he suffered it. Kim du Toit is referring to a Daniel Greenfield article, and in that article Greenfield keeps talking about how long Bernie Sanders would wait in other countries for the treatment he received in one day in America. He is both right and wrong.

He is right because if we were talking about "average guy Berny Sanders" in Canada, he would have waited 11 weeks for angioplasty. "Average Joe" Bernard Sanders of London would have waited at least two months for his angioplasty. But that's better than NHS' maximum wait time of 18 weeks--four and a half months--and considerably better than the wait time suffered by some 16% of patients who wait three months.

Greenfield goes on:
In Norway, he would have waited 39 days.

In Finland, which Bernie has also cited as an inspiration for his socialist program, he would have waited 22 days. In Sweden, another favorite of American socialists, Bernie would have waited 42 days.
IF, that is to say, he was an average citizen. If he was one of the great unwashed, the hoi polloi, just some guy who lives in one of those countries, then yes he would experience the true proletariat-hating joys of socialized medicine.

But you see, the dirty secret of all of those places is that if it were "Bernie Sanders, important politician"--as he is here--then he'd get immediate care exactly as he did in the United States. No waiting. Every single one of the socialized medical systems that the American left holds up as an example of fairness works that way: if you are rich and powerful, you go to the head of the line and don't wait. And there's no "death panel" looking over your doctor's shoulder and saying, "All right, that's enough spent on this one! Palliative care only from now on."

But in all those systems, if you are an average, everyday citizen, then you wait...and maybe you end up waiting too long. In the eyes of the death panels, the problem thus solves itself.

Bernie Sanders wants socialized medicine for America because that puts an enormous amount of money and power in the hands of the federal government. And also because he knows that as President, he would not be subject to any of it, ever. Even as Senator Bernie Sanders he will never have to suffer under any socialized medical system that is foisted on the rest of us; he will always get top-notch, immediate care and never, never, ever have to wait so much as a day for treatment.

Because, as Greenfield himself says, "Socialist leaders don’t live by the same rules they make for everyone else."

* * *

It's often referred to as, simply, "the System" for a reason. Once your kids are taken from you by the CFS or DCFS stormtroopers, it's very difficult to get them back, and there is no due process.

The girl--12 years old--exaggerated when she told a teacher about an argument she had with her father. Based on those exaggerations, CFS took her away from him and put her in the foster child system. The girl has since explained to all and sundry that she had not told the truth, but the same people who believed her when she exaggerated now refuse to believe her when she's claiming otherwise.

Here's the thing about the System: it is funded based on how many peoples' lives it ruins. There is every incentive to bring children into it, and to keep them there; there are no incentives to release them from it.

* * *

With one simple announcement, the biggest knitting site on the Internet ruined itself. They lost 3,000 ranks in 90 days. And now it's nothing but SJW/NPC types, and the long knives are out as they compete to see who is the "most woke". The losers are, of course, excommunicated.

Way to go, asshats.

* * *

Although I didn't bother to do any research into the actual numbers, I figured that this was approximately the case.

Understand, the Amazon jungle is five and a half MILLION square kilometers. Okay, just for comparison's sake, the land area of the "lower 48" United States is 7.6 million square kilometers.

That excludes Alaska, which--by itself--is about 1.5 million square kilometers.

The "Western United States" encompass some 4.5 million square kilometers.

Okay? Are we all on the same page with regards to how freaking huge the Amazon jungle is? I was just going to compare it to "the entire United States west of the Mississippi" but I wanted to check the numbers; and that wild-ass guess doesn't look far wrong, as long as you exclude Texas and Alaska. If it were square, it would be a square some 2,345 miles on a side. Huge.

So they tell us that an area of about 0.0108 square kilometers of jungle are being cleared every minute. At that average rate, how long will it take to clear the entire jungle?

Well, 5,500,000/0.0108 is 509 million minutes. After you do the math, that works out to about 969 years. Let's be totally pessimistic and assume they started cutting it at that rate 69 years ago, in
1950; that leaves us just 900 years before the Amazon jungle is all gone.

But! We are further told that about a third of the clearcut area ends up reverting to jungle, either because it grows back naturally or because people plant trees. So let's reduce our depletion figure by 0.3333 and see where that leaves us.

5,500,000/0.007236 is 760 million minutes. That's a mere 1,446 years before the Amazon jungle is gone.

When all the screeching started last month (or whenever it was) about the Amazon, I knew all of this in a qualitative way; I knew that the Amazon jungle is huge and the human impact on it was miniscule by comparison.

Could we do it, if we wanted to? I expect we could--but it would be very difficult and there'd be no way to pay for it. We use trees for a lot of things, but clear-cutting the Amazon would drop the price of wood into the bedrock, so doing the thing would take big government financing. There's quite literally not enough money in the world; that means clear-cutting the Amazon jungle is economically impossible. And in fact it's also not economically viable, meaning there's no way to make a profit on it. In just about every case, taking on a project like this, sooner or later the companies (or the governments paying them) go broke.

The work stops, the jungle reclaims what was cleared, and we're more-or-less right back where we started.

The Amazon jungle isn't in any danger, people. It's just not.

* * *

These kinds of articles always depress me because they're right.

Just remember, it took five years to build Hoover Dam.

* * *

Winter is coming.

Of late I have begun to notice that ZeroHedge loves it some doomsaying. It was probaby ever thus, but I've only just begun to notice it.

Still, we're in the deepest solar minimum in a very long time, and I guess it's to be expected. They're saying our winter will be cold and damp; I guess we'll find out.

Anyway, freezing temps predicted for Friday night. That doesn't seem early, nor does it seem late. But I wonder how long the trees will keep their leaves this year?

* * *

Gun-free zones may as well call themselves "free fire zones" because those signs all but guarantee that someone intent on mayhem will find himself presented with a soft target.

* * *

So, today was "Safety Day" at the plant. Had to be there half an hour early for it.

Instead of IT work I attended training sessions. I got a couple of t-shirts out of it, a nice LED lantern, and a set of bits for an impact driver like the one my wife bought me for my birthday. The latter, and one of the t-shirts, were raffle prizes.

There were so many raffle prizes, they went through all the raffle tickets, twice. "Luck" was being called early enough to get your pick of prizes; there was a pair of nice Craftsman toolkits I would not have minded grabbing one of, but they were gone before I was called. Various lunch boxes and coolers and packs; USB battery packs for phones etc; a slew of gift cards, etcetera.

But the bit set is something I can use, as is the t-shirt (day-glow yellow) and it was a very informative and fun day.

Still--during the day some of my access issues got fixed, so now I can go through all the "mystery machines" and correct their entries in the database and get my inventory right. I met a bunch of people from both my plant and the other locations I service.

And FedEx alleges that my work phone was delivered.

No one could find it, of course; after something like that is delivered it's supposed to go in one of two places, but the person who handles the receiving end of things didn't see it.

Lunch had only been half an hour and I'd gotten to work, as I said, half an hour early; by the time the festivities were over I was fain to exhausted. I went home after ensuring I'd been there for a full eight hours.

Hit the can, lay on the bed intending to do a jigsaw puzzle on my phone...and found myself falling asleep, so I shut the phone off and went with it.

Mrs. Fungus got pulled over, and ticketed, because her car's taillights were out. When she got home I had a gander, and saw that somehow both bulbs had blown out. I stepped on the brake pedal and the driver's side rear brake light went on but when I pulled the bulb, it was blown--WTF?--and the right side had no filaments in it at all.

New bulbs, lights check out, we're good. Fine is $50 and we're just going to pay it rather than screw around with it, because who has time to go to court? We both work for a living; going to court will take at least half a day, and neither of us wants to waste our precious PTO time on that. It actually ends up costing us less just to pay the fine. Isn't that a heck of a thing?
Tuesday, October 8th, 2019
6:45 pm
#6877: Now I am very irritated.
It's nothing major. Just--

Today I went to lunch, as usual, but not as usual I went to Schoop's. There's one not too far from work and I didn't want any of the usual fast food.

Ordered a double cheeseburger and fries. Came in a clamshell carry-out tray, the kind all sorts of restaurants use. Took it back to work, sat at my desk, and started eating; only when I picked up the burger I had to stop and gape incredulously at it.

This thing was gigantic. The frigging burger was 6" across FFS. And two patties, two slices of cheese, condiments, etc. All right, if I spread my hand and lay it atop the burger, my fingers would extend about 1" past the circumference of the bun on all sides. Huge.

To my surprise, I ate it all, and 90% of the fries. I was confident that there was absolutely no way I'd be hungry for the rest of the day, though, because that was a lot of food, even for me.

Lunch got interrupted by a meeting I had to attend, virtually. Resumed lunch break at 1:35 and was back on the clock at 2. Then quitting time came and I headed home. Sat down here and started doing the pre-blog surf...and caught myself thinking, Damn, what have I got to snack on?


Okay, yeah, I finished that burger at 12:30 and it's now 6:30, but for friggin' my snack, how much food do I need in one day?


Anyway, that's it.

* * *

Come to think of it, this is correct. If indeed "the science is settled!" then why do we need to keep funding research? I mean, if we've figured something out, there's no point to doing more work on it; it won't get more proven, after all. Right?

Right! So, let's cut all climate research, since we already know how it works.

* * *

So, apparently Yale has more sexual assaults on campus than Detroit has within its city limits. That's right: the Yale campus is more dangerous than Detroit is.

* * *

Let a blockquote tell the tale.
I'll tell you, as a man, the idea of a gender-neutral bathroom terrifies me because I am afraid of the potential to be falsely accused of spying on a woman in the toilet. Imagine being a boss and seeing a female subordinate you just reprimanded go into the stall next to yours.
Or, even worse, imagine being a woman, trying to use the toilet, having some creep standing on the toilet and leering over the divider at you.

They're doing this stupid crap for the sake of a vanishingly small minority (half a percent of the population at most).

* * *

So, let's talk about atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Below about 150 parts per million, all plant life on Earth dies. Do you understand that? I don't mean "it gets hard to grow food"; I mean IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO GROW FOOD because ALL THE PLANTS ASPHYXIATE.

Plants need carbon dioxide the same way you and I need oxygen. They cannot--CAN NOT--survive without a certain percentage of the atmosphere being carbon dioxide.

180 PPM is considered "natural, pre-industrial" levels of CO2. When the planet gets cold, as in an ice age, carbon dioxide is pulled from the atmosphere faster than it's created. Absent human carbon emissions, the next ice age likely would have caused the eventual extinction of all life on Earth, as the plants died off and the animals followed suit.

We need more CO2.

* * *

By the way, coral reefs are "marvelously resilient" and can live through bad climate conditions.

* * *

Sunday I realized that Floristica was sounding like a 747 on takeoff, so I shut it down and cleaned it. There was a cat's worth of cat fluff all over the intake grille and the processor heat sink. Again.

With all that stuff cleaned off, she's quiet again.
Monday, October 7th, 2019
6:19 pm
#6876: Monday, done
And not a minute too soon. I still don't have admin access, so the things I can do are limited at best, but at least I was able to give one guy a docking station and loan out a PC for use on "Safety Day", tomorrow and Thursday.

Progress is slow but steady. We'll get there.

* * *

Speaking of which, scientists have identified a common protein used by all common cold viruses. Figure out a way to neutralize that one specific protein, and the cold just...goes away.

An actual cure for the common cold.

* * *

I agree, SpaceX's Starship booster looks like something out of a forties' scifi serial. Please note that this is not a bad thing.

* * *

Trump pulls troops out of Syria and I think that's a good thing, too. America needs to stop acting like the world's policeman. If those assholes want to fight, let them fight.

* * *

I am tired, though.

The pain in my lower abdomen has receded to discomfort, mostly low-level which I can ignore. I do still get a couple of twinges from time to time. Still, it's vastly better than it was even yesterday evening, and I have a feeling that sometime over the next couple of days there'll be a blowdown that ends this nonsense, at least for the time being.

* * *

I did manage to get all my scheduled weekend chores done. Changed the oil in Mrs. Fungus' car, drained the pool, got the dishes washed. I call that a "win" considering how much pain I was in on Friday.
Sunday, October 6th, 2019
11:45 am
#6875: Wait--is it Sunday?
Yesterday was spent in a chaotic haze of random sleep and WoW. I have no idea how much time I spent on either activity, but I know I slept a lot yesterday.

The pain in my ribs turned out to be an epic flareup of IBS, because early Saturday morning (around 1-ish) I noticed that it had moved. Obviously I ate something that disagreed with me in spectacular fashion, but I have no idea what it could have been. And maybe it's just the stress of the trip to Houston and then starting a new job.


* * *

Socialism always fails, regardless of who is doing it, and of what scale it's being tried. Panera's experiment with it (their dumb "pay what you can for what you need" stores) turned out exactly the same way it always turns out.

Anyone who thinks socialism can work has never been educated in basic economic concepts. "Tragedy of the Commons" and "the free rider problem" are discussions they have never had with anyone.

* * *

STFU Jeb Bush. You're a moron.

* * *

Another take on the Horseteeth vs. LaRouche plant "eat the babies!" story. Heh.

* * *

The Chicago Teachers' Union is unhappy that Chicago wants to give them "only" a 16% raise this year. CTU is communist to the core until it comes time to the value of their labor; then they're not so hot on "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need". At contract time, it's all about maximizing their income, and screw the kids.

* * *

This is some interesting information about the so-called "impeachment" proceedings.

During the week, while going out for lunch, for laughs I put on Rush Limbaugh. He was talking about how the impeachment was being done via the Intelligence committee in order to keep it off the record, but the above article includes some much-needed context for that claim.

Yes the Democrats are trying to do this on the sly, and them wanting to keep stuff out of the public eye is typical (they hate oversight) but the other side of that coin is that the last thing they want is formal impeachment proceedings.

Here's the thing: every time they have tried to pin something on Trump--every last time--it has backfired on them, sometimes badly. Nothing has moved the needle the way they thought it would.

With this issue, they think (hope) they have something they can use to oust him, but they have a huge problem in that there are plenty of ways for this to come back on them because--as was the case with every other scandal they've tried to pin on Trump--the Democrats are the ones who've acted badly.

In actual impeachment proceedings, both sides get subpoena powers, which means the GOP could require that certain parties produce evidence which would show exactly how far they'd gone in trying to gin up the "russian collusion" story.

Understand, this would hurt the Democrats very, very badly.

This is why Nancy Pelosi doesn't want there to be any formal impeachment; it would allow the GOP carte blanche to dig up all the skeletons from the 2016 elections and quite possibly lead to the exhuming of the Obama administrations' skeletons. With all of the evidence out in the open and entered into the congressional record, the FBI would no longer be able to politely pretend that nothing was amiss; and when the smoke cleared from that bloodbath the current Democrat majority would be a thing of the past, and would remain so for many terms to come.

The wise thing for the Democrat party to do at this point is simply to stop doing anything and ride out Trump's term, but they're not going to do that; their core constituency has Trump Derangement Syndrome so badly they can't take a step back and do the "inhale, exhale" thing and try to think calmly. Forget going to eleven; one mention of the man's name and they're immediately pegged at twelve, flying into a frothing rage. They want Trump impeached; nothing else will do.

But there's nothing to impeach him for.

Understand, every single charge that's been leveled at Trump has turned out to be nothing more than wishful thinking at best and projection at worst. The most recent kerfluffle turned out to be based on hearsay, and flopped, but they're doubling down on it. Meanwhile the general electorate is becoming increasingly fatigued with the ever-present cycle of imagined scandal after imagined scandal.

At some point the Democrats have to put up or shut up. In order to impeach Trump, there have to be articles of impeachment; and once there are, the GOP gets subpoena power just like the Democrats do. The Democrats can't afford that.

And they know it.

* * *

As for me, abdomen is still painful--though much better--so I think I'll go lay down.
Saturday, October 5th, 2019
12:09 pm
#6874: Never mind
I was going to post, but decided not to. The pain in my ribs has gone away, Mrs. Fungus is still in bed, and I don't feel like doing anything.

So, this'll have to do as today's post, I guess.
Friday, October 4th, 2019
11:23 pm
It has to be the change in my sleep schedule. After all that time where I didn't have to get up until 1 PM, now I get up six hours earlier, and it's just not all that easy to change.

On top of that, there's all the physical labor I did on Monday, and that's got my freaking rib cage hurting like a bitch. Right across the diaphragm, and it hurts whenever I move my arms or lay down. Naturally the hypochondriac in me is coming up with several thousand disaster scenarios where I have this or that fatal malady, but the real problem is that I'm 52 years old and out of shape and I spent four hours wrenching on the truck after I'd spent a good six hours lifting and moving and carrying stuff to clean my office. Something got strained, and strained muscles hurt.

Yesterday and today, I came home from work and flopped out. Today I could barely keep my eyes open on the way home from work.

Well, I've got the weekend to rest up. Monday comes soon enough.

* * *

There they are, trying to sell "nuclear winter" again. Nuclear winter was this horseshit cooked up by anti-American scientists who wanted the US to unilaterally disarm and give in to the USSR, but they couldn't say that, so instead they came up with cockamamie schemes like "nuclear winter" in order to scare as many people as they possibly could into being anti-nuclear.

As is the case with man-made global warming, the case for nuclear winter makes a whole ton of assumptions about how effective certain climate forcings are.
With estimates of fire extent and the amount of combustible material in those areas, the researchers ran climate-model simulations of what the soot--16 to 36 million metric tons of it--would do in the atmosphere. They actually used the same model that recently produced a simulation of the Chicxulub impact at the end-Cretaceous mass extinction.

Simply put, soot would block about 20% to 30% of the Sun's light, globally. That's a decrease of about 30W to 60W per square meter of the Earth's surface. For comparison, the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo caused a decrease of 4W per square meter. The result would be a 2°C to 5°C (about 4°F to 9°F) global cooling. Temperatures would reach their lowest after about three years and maintain that level for another four years. Getting back to previous temperatures would take over a decade.
So, here's the thing. According to NASA--who fall on the warmista side of the "climate change" question--Pinatubo's 1992 eruption emitted some 20 million tons of particulates into the atmosphere. The Arse Technica article doesn't say so, but that one eruption cooled the planet by 0.5 degrees.

So how can a full-on nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan, generating about 26 million tons (the average of 16 and 36 million) of soot, have a result ten times greater than that of Pinatubo's eruption? Or even four times greater?

Why would 26 million tons of man-made stuff reduce solar insolation 15 times as much as 20 million tons of similar stuff from a volcano? Let alone 7.5 times as much?

Furthermore, the Earth averages somewhere around 1,000 watts of solar insolation per square meter at sea level. 30% of 1,000 is three hundred watts, not sixty. Sixty watts is six percent of the average, not thirty.

None of these numbers add up, which comes as absolutely no surprise to me at all, whatsoever. They don't add up because if you do the math correctly there's no case for "nuclear winter".

* * *

The Democrats have felt this way for a long time, but only recently has it become possible for them to say so, openly and in so many words. And with the emotion they feel when they realize that personal ownership of firearms is standing between them and the power they crave.

* * *

The only people surprised by this are the media and the left. Those of us who support Trump, we know who the "Never Trump" asshats are; we know their politics. We know them because they have consistently acted to thwart the expressed will of the people and to concentrate power over the country in Washington, D.C.

* * *

Related: Opportunistic "moderate" Republicans want to try to oust Trump with primaries. Romney is probably the Platonic ideal of "Republican In Name Only", for crying out loud.

Go ahead and waste your time and money, assholes, on a doomed prospect, so the people can see just how useless you are.

* * *

Woman starts screaming about how we need to eat babies to stop global warming, and Representative Horseteeth doesn't even issue a minor reproof. Something like, "No, we do not need to start eating babies, you lunatic!"

* * *

Why are you surprised? They did this in Aurora, too. Planned Parenthood knows that people don't want abortion mills in their neighborhoods, so of course they do it in secret and use shell companies to buy the land etc. That way, no one learns of what the place is until it's too late to do anything about it.

Just imagine what the outcry would be like if someone were to build a refinery or a nuclear power plant using a scheme like that....

* * *

Oh, don't be so hard on the reporters here. Their story is technically accurate and they only left out one little detail!

Yes, the black man was put in jail for being late to jury duty. Yes, the judge is white. These facts are all true! Why are you focusing on one little thing that's mostly irrelevant?

Okay, okay, yes. It is true that the guy basically didn't show up for jury duty after he'd been selected as a juror, thus making himself several days late. And it's also true that he ignored court summons requiring his presence. But I think that in citing all those details, you're missing the real point here, that WHITE JUDGE IS RACISS!!!!!!

* * *

Speaking of editorial dishonesty take a look at the transcript of the phone call over which the Democrats want to impeach Trump. All the text that has been red-lined, that's text that the major news media in the US simply omitted. Just replaced it with an ellipsis ("...") and carried on.

Then they get all shocked and butthurt when people stop listening to them. *rolleyes*

* * *

Tell me that Robert De Niro does not habitually wear those f-ing stupid-looking platform shoes. Tell me that was while he was shooting a movie. Please.

* * *

This is the kind of thing which forces them to justify their cognitive dissonances and that's why the left hates it.

"ISLAM IS RIGHT ABOUT WOMEN," said the signs, and the left fell all over itself denouncing the stunt. Heh.
I think the source of the objection is as follows: "I thought we had all agreed to pretend not to have any negative opinions about Islam. But this statement forces me either to agree with it, which I don't, or disagree with it, which I'm not allowed to."
I notice that if, like me, you don't pretend not to have any negative opinions about islam, the signs become humorously subversive.

* * *

Yes, Chicago was built on a swamp. An interesting bit of history.

* * *

Philip K. Dick and Robert Heinlein. If there was anything Heinlein had, it was civility, and he was polite to people. Courtesy was one of his things. I can no more imagine Heinlein yelling at someone for having the wrong opinion than I can fail to imagine Gordon Ramsay not yelling at someone for trying to serve undercooked chicken.

* * *

This morning, I turned the heat on. WTF, it's October, and it was 66 in the house.

It's also past time to drain the pool, so I'll get that started this weekend, and I've got to change the oil in Mrs. Fungus' car. It's supposed to be rainy, though, so I'll focus on that, and worry about the grass later.

Meloxicam is a non-steroidal-anti-inflammatory drug, and my doctor prescribed it for me the last time I had this stupid pain in my lower rib cage; and like then, it works. I went from groaning in pain whenever I moved to a quite tolerable soreness within an hour of taking it.

Still wouldn't say "no" to Vicodin if he'd prescribe it for me, though.

But! It's now been a week since my "adventure" in Houston. This time seven days ago I was just about getting to the hotel room. How time flies!
Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019
6:50 pm
#6872: I don't really understand what was going on
My wife and I had an argument in the middle of the night while we were both at least 3/4 of the way asleep. I'm not sure if I was making noise and keeping her awake, or if she was having a bout of insomnia and her complaints of being unable to sleep were what kept waking me up. Either way, the only solution to the problem seemed to be for me to go sleep on the sofa, so I started to do so, but then she started crying and begging me not to leave her.

Did I mention that we were both better than half asleep? I don't think the situation would have made sense to anyone, so I don't feel bad about not understanding what was going on. In any case, after that we slept like logs, anyway.

File this one under "silly things that happen when you're married", I guess. Heh.

* * *

Autoplay warning: Left-wing police chief goes and shows us how much class the left really has. Which is to say absolutely none.

* * *

Okay, if the subject is "math" but you're talking about oppression and racism, you've strayed rather far from the topic.

* * *

A dwarf planet with a ring system. Space is not only weirder than we imagine, but weirder than we can imagine.

* * *

Someday I'd like to have a Model T. They look like fun.

* * *

Third day!

Despite getting up late and not getting out the door before 7:45, I got to work on time. It also took me 15 minutes to get home.

As a bonus, because it's cooled off outside, it was cooler in my office as well, and I didn't sweat through my clothing today.

Lunch was Culver's, but the Culver's in Monee is not as good as the one in the Fungal Vale. The diet Pepsi tasted wrong and the condiments on the burger were uneven, such that the last few bites were bland.

Had more training today, and it was dead boring stuff. It did not help that the presenter had a grating voice and was too loud to boot. But I handled some tickets and made some phone calls and did some work on some things, and now I've officially "gone live" and the site's been told about their new Deskside Support technician.

I don't know if it was before or after the email went out, but I had my first walk-in today, too.

I support three sites, meaning there will be times when I have to drive to other places to get things done, but that's not a problem. They're not too far away, and being able to get out of the office is a great way to avoid a monotonous routine.

I really like my office, especially now that it's clean. The NW corner has a couple of spare printers sitting in it--they are literally spares, so that if those specific printers break the downtime will be minimal--and there's a small pile of stuff atop them that I can't find anyplace else for. And a few empty boxes which I'm keeping in case I need to ship something. The only thing remaining on the floor now is that spare UPS battery; I have no idea what to do with it.

Thursday of next week is "Safety Day", and it looks like I'll be doing that all day. The infrastructure coordinator will be in town either next week or the following one, and we'll end up doing a whirlwind tour of the three sites I support. Whee!

And the company pays up to 8 hours of travel time, so my paycheck for last week came to 40 hours across 4 days. Whee!

The schedule is doable. It's going to take a bit for me to get used to getting up at 7, but not very much, and because I'm at work by 8, when noon hits the day is already half over, and I get home early enough that I can do things if I'm so inclined. (Like replacing the Jeep's alternator, Monday night. *sigh*)


* * *

Last night it was like freaking Houston outside, as if the weather had followed me north. Tonight it's much cooler, and drier, which is good because it's freaking October.
Tuesday, October 1st, 2019
9:00 pm
#6871: You'd feel like crap, too, damn it
Yesterday was one big long bout of physical labor. First I spent 6+ hours cleaning out my office and trying to make sense of the crap left there by its previous occupant; and then, when I got home, I spent four more hours replacing the alternator in the Jeep.

Slept well enough, but this morning my entire body just ached with fatigue and it was a struggle to get myself to do anything useful. Still, I managed to get through the rest of the mystery machines in my office, and cleaned up a little more, and found places for stuff, such that the only things remaining on the floor of my office are two monitors and a UPS battery. A big one, a bit smaller than a car battery.

Had some more training meetings today, and this time I actually went and got lunch, so it was a major improvement in that respect. Took a fan with me so I wasn't constantly sweltering, wore jeans and sneakers (because that's what just about everyone wears there) and put a picture of my wife on my desk.

This afternoon, then, I was sitting in my chair and waiting for a mystery machine to boot, and it hit me: I have my own office, and it has a window. And in the afternoon, the sun shining through the leaves on the tree outside makes a lovely pattern.

Soon I'll be watching it snow through that window.

* * *

...not long after writing that, I realized I could not keep my eyes open, and went and laid down in bed. Next thing I knew my wife was waking me up, an hour and a half later.

Me, tired? Naw!
Monday, September 30th, 2019
10:25 pm
#6870: But it's done
Ordered the wrong belt, had to take it back and exchange it, and of course the correct belt was $11 more...but once home with it, I got it put on, and tensioned correctly. Jeep starts and runs just like it ought to.

Not too bad considering I did it entirely by headlamp. No other lights. That little Ray-o-Vac LED headlamp I bought myself in December of 2017 really has helped me get some things done.

...looking at the service log, I've only just realized it's been a year since I last changed the oil in the Jeep. No, it can't have been that long--I just forgot to note it, is all. Right? Right??

I'm not going to pore over the blog posts to see when I might have done it, though.

* * *

The stainless steel rocket ship. Wow.

* * *

Anyway, fixing the Jeep consumed the entirety of my evening. I need to go to bed, and before I can do that I need to clean the cat box and get a shower, because both of us are perilously stinky.

Here's hoping tomorrow is easier.
6:56 pm
#6869: Of COURSE it did!!!
Got up at 7, had plenty of time to shave and everything and get out the door by 7:30. Actually, I think it was about 7:35, but since New Job is only about a 15-minute drive from the bunker, that was fine.

Got into the Jeep. She cranked a little slow, but started...and the belt was squealing. That's okay, it does that; when it's rained a hell of a lot or the temperatures have changed greatly, condensation forms on the pulleys and the belt squeals. A few revs of the engine and it quiets down.

Only it didn't. It kept going, and going, and soon I could see a thin pall of smoke in the cabin. Revved it again, and it went away, so I put 'er in reverse and...why the hell is the steering so hard?

Stopped halfway down the driveway, shut it off, popped the hood--and the belt was protruding from where it should have been. I grabbed it and it pulled right out of the engine compartment. BROKEN!!! WHAT THE FUCK!

Thought about the spare, realized I did not have time to put it in, so I went inside and got Mrs. Fungus up. With her riding along, I drove to work and--as I'd anticipated--had a bit of trouble finding the plant entrance. I had time for that--would have, that is, if the Jeep hadn't malfed--with the result that I found the entrance and was able to walk into the door exactly at 8 AM. (She was then, of course, able to get on with her day.)

Tried to sign in with the automated system but the guy I was reporting to doesn't actually work at that location. Tried calling both the computer and the server rooms (there was a directory handy) but no answer in either place. Finally another guy was coming in, a contractor, and he told the woman who came to get him, and it turned out she was able to help me as well. Later she gave me my safety training; meanwhile she let me into my office and showed me where the restroom was.

The office was a mess but I'd expected that. I dug in, sorting and stacking and cleaning; the woman (Lisa) came back and gave me my safety training and then left me alone again. I continued working it was almost 1, at which point I dialed into a teleconference for new employees and sat through that. Once that was done, I continued my work.

Sometime in there an HR person came down to get me a proper badge, but her camera was dead, so she gave me a temp one until the camera could be charged. She called me in the middle of the teleconference, and further my immediate supervisor sent me emails asking me to join the group chats, so I was listening to the teleconference and joining chats and answering my phone to talk to the HR lady (Rhonda) and all the while sweating my ass off because the AC in that part of the building isn't working. Of course.

Once that was all done I went up and got my picture taken, and then repaired to my lair for more work. A few minutes after that Rhonda came down with my badge, and looked incredulously at the office--specifically, how much cleaner it was.

A little while later, a woman who works a couple doors down from me observed that I'd gotten it cleaner in six hours than the previous tech had in six months.

Well, I can't work with all kinds of crap scattered all over the place. Boxes of random cables on the floor, laptops piled haphazardly, four monitors on the desk, two connected to the laptop (which is showing a "FAN ERROR PRESS F1 TO CONTINUE" boot error) and some kind of weird fountain thing.

I didn't even eat lunch. Lisa showed me where the break room was, and I was able to get diet Pepsi and Fritos there, so I ate chips and drank Pepsi and worked and sweated.

After that, I started going through the stacks of laptops, trying to sort out what was to be done with them. By quitting time I had gotten through about 2/3 of them, and sorted them into "End of Life", "Further Investigation Required", and "not started" stacks.

Being bereft of transport, I put the Uber app on my phone and used that service. Got driven home in pretty decent time, and after taking a much-needed dump, I hit the driveway.

First thing to do is to figure out what made the belt break. I thought I'd check the pulleys to see if anything was stuck, because there's no way the belt should have broken just from being wet; AC compressor okay (note to self: get system evacuated and charged), idler okay, water pump okay, power steering okay, altern--oof. Is that the alternator pulley? Yep, and it is definitely not turning. It should turn very easily, but it won't turn at all, not even if I grab it and try to twist it with everything I've got.

Looks like I'm replacing the alternator tonight, I thought.

Sighing with resignation, I started disassembly. It was pretty obvious that the AC compressor had to come out, but that's four bolts. That gave me some room, but then I realized that the AC compressor bracket also has to come out in order for the alternator to have a place to come out through. Thought it was three bolts holding it on, but it was four; got them all out and that came out easily enough.

Top bolt on the alternator naturally had a nut on the other side, so I needed two wrenches. With that bolt out, there was one other, under the thing. Put the wrench on it and tried to loosen it, actually going GRAAARRCH! loud enough to echo, but it didn't move.

Got the 24" breaker bar out, said, "I am not asking," and popped that bolt loose, easy-peasy.

Still could not get the alternator out.

Last thing: steel bracket that goes in front of the alternator, held on by some bolts; took off those bolts and then was able to maneuver the alternator free, disconnect it from the wiring harness, and get it out of the truck.

And yes, it's f-ing seized. I banged the pulley on the concrete but that didn't free it up. This thing is rusted solid.

...and it did it in six days. I last drove the truck on Tuesday the 24th; today is the 30th--six days from "working fine!" to "never turning again without hand grenades."

This truck is beginning to develop a very bad habit of breaking down when I start a new job.

But you know what? I can afford the parts. It did this in my driveway rather than somewhere else. I had the capacity and the wherewithal both to get to, and from, work. And I got the bad part out of the truck with nothing more than typical effort. I went online and ordered the parts, and they are now waiting for me to pick them up; and I need only for my wife to get home for me to be able to do that.

So I'm grateful. I'm grateful that it was something easy to fix, something I could repair in an evening, something that I can afford to do. Exactly the same way I was the last time this happened, as noted at that link, I have merely been inconvenienced.

And I'll say the same thing I said in that last post: "Thank you Lord; thank you Jesus."
Sunday, September 29th, 2019
3:56 pm
#6868: Isn't that what you'd expect, though?
One coal- and gas-fired plant produces as much electricity as 1,100 windmills.

This is why I don't like or trust "renewable" energy. As long as the wind is blowing you're okay; but if there's no wind? Where does the electricity come from? Because of this, the article makes plain that to replace this one fossil fuel plant, the state of Michigan would actually need to install 2,200 additional windmills.

I'm not so sure how that works out mathematically. What I do know is that the actual output of a windmill is 20% of its rated capacity. The article doesn't go into that; it says this:
According to a recent report from the state Public Service Commission, regulated utilities and their vendors operate 1,107 industrial wind turbines in Michigan. These can produce 1,925.3 megawatts of electricity, but only when the wind is blowing.

Compare that to the Dan E. Karn generation plant in Bay County, which Consumers Energy plans shut down by 2032. Its four coal and two natural gas burners can produce up to 1,946.3 megawatts regardless of wind or weather.

Because the wind only blows intermittently, wind turbines in Michigan have a 36% capacity factor. That is, they can produce 1,925.3 megawatts of electricity just 36% of the time, on average. This means that, theoretically, it would require building another 2,162 wind turbines to replace the Karn coal plant.
The most damning quote in the entire article is this one simple sentence: "Renewable sources provided 8% [of Michigan's net electricity generation in 2018], with more than half of that coming from wind turbines."

Be generous and assume that "more than half" of that 8% means 5%, and you must conclude that 1,100 wind turbines provide 5% of the state's electricity. (I say "generous" because it's probably closer to 4.1 or 4.2% or something like that. 6% would be "three-quarters", after all.) The state government wants 90% of the the state's power to come from "renewable" resources by 2040.


Sorry! So, that one plant approximates 5% of the state's power. Replacing it requires an additional 2,200 windmills. Going 90% "renewable" therefore means installing...

...19,800 windmills, or whatever combination of solar and wind and WTF-ever get you there. Never mind, my somewhat involuntary reaction stands: a derisive laugh followed by sarcastic well wishes.

* * *

So the guy who drove his SUV through Woodfield Mall has been charged with "terrorism". No other details given.

* * *

Robert Forward didn't think negative mass was impossible. Robert Forward's book Indistinquishable From Magic is a must-read for anyone who wants to have a gander at the fringes of hard science fiction. In that book he introduces a concept (like negative mass) and then has a short story exploring some of the results of the concept. It's a pretty easy read and it's chock-full of exotic physics.

The important thing to understand, though, is that everything in that book is 100% theoretically possible with physics as we understand it right now. There is nothing in there that required any new physics, no PDOOMA ideas, no technology beyond what we could do at the moment the book went to print. (There might have been use of fusion power in some stories, but we're pretty close to that, and in reality the big problems with fusion power are largely engineering ones, anyway.)

In general I don't like the Alcubierre theory very much, but if it works I don't have to like it.

* * *

Meanwhile, SpaceX is continuing to work on building reusable spacecraft.

One of the little gripes I have about my business trip to Texas is that I really didn't have time to do anything other than learn, sleep, and travel. That's the nature of a business trip, of course, which is why it's a little gripe. Going to Houston and not getting to at least drive by NASA--well, it was 45 miles from the airport to there, and who has time for that? To get a picture of a Saturn V lawn ornament?

Brownsville is about a 3-hour drive from Houston, maybe 2 hours from San Antonio, so getting a glimpse of SpaceX's operations out there was simply out of the question.

* * *

Some goofball keeps blasting an air horn. I wonder why? If it has anything to do with politics I expect I'll find out sooner or later.

* * *

Of course the elite are clueless. The entire point of being elite is to be insulated from the kinds of problems that the hoi polloi must (are expected to) endure with stoicism.

Can you imagine Oprah Winfrey getting stranded in Houston, Texas, and arriving at her next destination 20 hours late? Can you imagine her maintaining a cheerful disposition and being polite to the people who told her about it? Of course not; the elites don't have to. "You find a solution, now," would be the order, and the flack who failed would lose his job.

So when they glibly toss off a bit about how personally-owned automobiles are a scourge to the Earth, they naturally don't understand what the hell they're saying. They don't consider cars necessary because they don't drive; they pay other people to drive them. They're too important to waste their time on conveyance, so they have chauffeurs and cars, pilots and helicopters and planes, to get them where they need to go. They have secretaries and assistants to handle everything other than the business they themselves must handle. Do you think Warren Buffet has to schlep his own carry-on across an airport to get to his departure gate? When was the last time he had to fly commercial?

And these people aren't even politicians; they're just rich. A lot of hay was made about George HW Bush not understanding how a supermarket scanner worked, but when was the last time he'd had to shop for groceries? People at that level pay other people to shop for supplies and to cook and clean for them. The same thing goes for Hillary Clinton not having a driver's license; when would she need one?

Marie Antoinette famously said, "Let them eat cake." We know what happened to her.

The elites have not suffered in the last two or three decades the way the general populace has. At their level, they have been completely isolated from worry or want, and when anything happens that inconveniences them, little people are made to pay for it regardless of whose fault it is. And so, like the French aristocracy in the colonial era, they're surprised and offended when the "little people" get angry.

As Vox Day points out, a semester of college went from about $500 to $15,000, and wages have not similarly increased, and these people don't understand what's wrong with that picture. A thirty-fold increase in the cost of something like that doesn't matter to the elites. For Al Gore, $15-per-gallon gasoline simply would not matter, because he's rich beyond dreams of avarice; but he doesn't understand that even a modest increase in the price of energy can mean the difference between comfort and starvation for a very broad sector of the country.

I give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he doesn't understand that; because if he does understand it and does not care, it's a lot worse.

* * *

If that were to be their experience, then I'd be confident that their final judgement had already been reached. Hell is full of irony.

* * *

This is pretty interesting. It explains the brain chemistry of liberalism, which explains how it arises from the herd instincts of the human animal.

Combine that with this post on Had Enough Therapy? the other day. It talks about how sometimes bullies will attempt--much later in life--to apologize to their victims, and asks whether or not the victim should accept it.

The first link puts childhood bullying in perspective. Children are unable to control their impulses very well (which is part of what makes them children) and generally speaking they operate under the condition of "if it feels good, do it." (Which is why they need adult supervision.)

But together, it all becomes pretty clear: SJWs assaulting Trump supporters is exactly the same thing as childhood bullying. It comes from the same source, occurs for the same reason.

Don't expect an apology.

* * *

Speaking of which, I liked the first commentor's response at the second link. If someone who abused you in your past apologizes, say flatly, "Feel better?" and then walk away.

I suppose it's all well and good that you feel so bad about it that you feel as if you need to apologize for it, but guess what? It's not all about you. Your apology doesn't magically make it all better. You know, maybe if your regret keeps you from sleeping at night, fills your days with anxiety and dread, gives you the habit of looking over your shoulder whenever you're outdoors, makes you feel isolated and alone all the time, eliminates any chance you have at a social life for years on end--maybe then, after all that, we can talk about how you feel about things. But a mere "sorry" and a handshake don't erase any of that for the target of your abuse, regardless of whether or not he's gotten over it and put it behind him. He can forgive, and should--but he most certainly should not forget...and neither should you.

* * *

Anti-racist event chock-full of racism. White people are not allowed to ask questions, because this is an event against racism.


* * *

Kolchak was great. It was a rare treat for me to get to watch it. Always liked Darren McGavin as a result, too.

* * *

I can't seem to think of any way to end this blog post that doesn't sound ominous, in one way or another. To be honest, I had a bad feeling about my business travel, and naturally my anxiety disorder assumed the worst--but of course statistically speaking air travel is the safest way to go. It's interesting that the return trip was such a clusterfuck, and if there was anything at all to my premonition of disaster I'd expect that the cancelled flight was it.

Friday was a shitshow; and because I didn't get home until 6 PM last night I'm bewildered to find that it's suddenly Sunday afternoon. It's not a nice feeling, losing about 40% of your weekend to a work-related cause that no one has any control over, and knowing you won't get paid for it. As I told Mrs. Fungus Friday night, I wouldn't mind so much if I were getting paid something for my travel time. I'm still hourly but I know I don't get paid for that. I'm going to have to ask an HR person how to enter my time for Wed-Fri; do I enter 8 hours for each day, or the actual time I spent in training?

If I were allowed to include travel time, Wednesday would be 3:30 AM to 5 PM, which is 13.5 hours. Friday would be 8 AM through 11:30 PM, 15.5 hours. Just 8 hours on Thursday. So those three days would have been 37 hours. Then, 7:30a to 6p Saturday would add another 10.5 hours, for a grand total of 47.5 hours. Whee!

There's an email somewhere telling me when my first payday is, but I don't remember it offhand and I refuse to look it up now. It's mid-October, in any case. And that paycheck will be bigger than my last one.

Overall, then--business as usual, just more of it, and I can cope. That'll do.
Saturday, September 28th, 2019
7:58 pm
#6867: Only twenty hours late!
Just got back from Houston, Texas, around 6 PM.

I said, in a prior post, that the training I was undergoing was "off-site". It was: in Houston. Wednesday was my first day on the job; I got up at 2:45 AM in order to get a car to O'Hare in order to get there at 4:30 AM, in order to have plenty of time to check in for my flight to Houston that left at 6 AM.

Because I had to be there by 4:30, I could not go the route I usually would and take a shuttle bus. I had to hire a limo. It was worth every penny. I didn't have to pay attention or drive or even remain conscious.

Got maybe five hours of sleep, went to Texas, then spent about five hours in training. Me and another guy, Tony, who's from Nashville. The rental car was in his name, so he did all the driving. Wednesday, at our lunch break, first we checked into our hotel. I spent forty-five seconds laying on the bed in my room before going back down, and we went to lunch.

To my surprise, after training ended for the day, I didn't immediately flop. Ordered room service, had dinner, and in general relaxed for a bit--still ended up going to bed earlier than I normally would. That early bedtime almost made up for the fact that I did not sleep very well because I was in a strange place.

Thursday was a little better, though. We started really digging into the material, though we couldn't image any computers because that server was down. I was given the Latitude 7480 to use as my work computer.

Friday we finished the material we had to go through and imaged laptops, Latitude 7490s, so I ended up bringing one of those home with me. "Latest and greatest" iteration of the lineup. Woohoo! I'm also, as I said, going to get a company phone, and I think it'll be an iPhone since I need to be able to support iPhone users as well as Android.

We finished up a bit after noon on Friday. Tony's flight was at 4 so he needed to be at the airport by 2; and since he had the car--well, I got there four hours before my 6 PM flight.

But that's where the real adventure begins, because some really bad weather was hitting Chicago. So bad that flights were being delayed and canceled. So the plane that was supposed to take me back to Chicago was not able to leave Chicago on time, because of the weather, and it arrived in Houston an hour late. They did their best and got us onto the plane as quickly as they could, but I'd be getting to O'Hare at something like 10 PM instead of the originally-scheduled 9 PM. I called the guy from the limo service twice to keep him updated on when I'd be in.

Then the pilot comes on and tells us that O'Hare is doing a ground hold, and therefore inbound flights also had to hold, and that he was shutting the engines off to save fuel. They got a service truck out there to keep the AC running, which is good, because Houston--even in late September--"enjoys" a tropical climate.

Called the limo guy again and let him know the new ETA was about 11 PM.

Meanwhile, I'm crammed into an economy-class seat next to the window. Those seats are 17.5 inches wide and there's thirty inches of legroom.

Pilot comes on again and says that because the hold had been extended, the plane would return to the gate. Translation: the airport didn't want a loaded 737 blocking a taxiway, waiting--for what might be hours--for a ground hold to clear. Anyway, by the time the plane got back to the gate United had decided to cancel the flight.

After getting off the plane I'm standing there in the terminal in line with about 300 other people trying to get my flight rescheduled, upset and frustrated and sweating like a pig. There was an email from United saying they'd booked a new flight for me, one that got me to O'Hare at 5:08 PM on Saturday, and I figured that was horseshit. Anyway, this United rep--a guy in a suit--comes up and tells us, "Everyone from about here on back, go to the customer service counter near gate E2. There are three agents there and no line."

So the indicated group, self included, headed for E terminal, which was almost literally on the other side of Texas from where I was standing. And there we found three highly overwhelmed customer service agents trying to deal with a line of about fifty people.

By now it was nearly 10 PM. The hike from C terminal had only made me hotter, so now I stood there with sweat soaking through my shirt and jeans. I joined the line. It moved very slowly. Eventually I got onto the carpet, at which point another United employee (this one in a polo shirt) comes out and starts making announcements. "Call 1-800-United1," he said, "because those people will be able to help you the same way these folks at the counter can."

I dialed the number. "Due to unusually high call volume, your wait time is greater than sixty minutes," the computer voice told me. Judging by the speed that the line had been moving, I had about an hour's wait time where I was, so I hung up.

The lady tried to help me. I think. I suggested that if she could get me to Indianapolis or Champaign or somewhere like that I could rent a car and drive from there. She came up with this cockamamie scheme where I'd fly to Denver the next morning, then to Madison, Wisconsin...and end up getting home about the same time I'd get home with the default plan and have to drive the last 120 miles myself. No, the idea was to get me home sooner, so I sighed with resignation and told her just to leave it alone. She did, and gave me a coupon for a hotel discount.

I started my hike towards the ground transportation doors but apparently United was having its terminal people ferry folks from the customer service counters. Saved me a long walk, that did.

Tried calling the number on the voucher. Every 30 seconds: "Your call is important to us. Please stay on the line...." Hung up, hauled out the laptop and tried using it to access their web site, but their web site couldn't do anything for me and referred me to the phone number. Called the phone number and let it sit there on speaker.

I'm sure I presented a woeful sight, the bedraggled guy with his phone and a pen and paper and two bags sitting in the baggage claim area on hold--

Dug the laptop out again, but this time pointed it at Travelocity, and within five minutes I'd located and reserved a hotel room a scant three miles from where I sat. Hung up on the assholes and got a taxi to the hotel.

The AC was not turned on in the room, so it was sweltering in there. Set it on MAX and then took all my clothes off and took a cool shower. Dressed in shorts, a shirt, and flip-flops, I hit the gas station next door for some Pepsi, and then returned to the room. It was still too hot to sleep, so I lay atop the sheets in my underwear listening to my MP3 player until I relaxed enough. Set the alarm in my phone for 6:30, took off my glasses, shut off the MP3 player, and slept.

Got up at 6:32, showered and caught the shuttle to the airport. This time I checked my roller case, even though United charges $30, because I was too fcuking tired to schlep that damned thing through three f-ing airports.

Yeah: first flight left around 9:30A and went to San Antonio, arriving there around 10:30A. Three-hour layover, then a flight to Chicago, arriving at 5:08P. And how was your Saturday?

...three-hour layover when you're just f-ing done and want only to lay in bed for the next year or so. It's physically painful to have to sit in a chair when all you want is to lie down, and it occurred to me that if someone were to put a capsule hotel into an airport he could make a mint.

Boarding that flight went smooth and fast. There was naturally someone sitting in my seat. But she had reserved the aisle seat and mine was the middle; she explained that she and her husband reserve the window and aisle seats in the hope that no one will reserve the one between them. That meant she got to sit next to her husband, and I got to sit in the aisle seat, though, so I assured them that I didn't mind the substitution at all. They had a little girl with them (maybe 1? 2?) but she was pretty well-behaved.

That plane had a DirecTV system aboard, and one of the channels showed the plane's approximate position, its speed, and altitude. And I learned something very, very important about myself.

Every time I've flown, I've noticed myself gasping for air. Nothing serious; just, I'd be sitting there minding my own business, and suddenly I'd have to take a couple huge lungfuls of air. It's not normally very bad, but today's travel led me to realize that when I fly twice in one day it happens a lot more on the second flight.

And so, today, I realized that I'm a friggin' groundhog! I can't take altitude. I'm not sure what altitude commercial aircraft are pressurized to, but I'd thought it was 8,000 feet. (Yep.) Even so, the air is considerably thinner at 8,000 feet than it is at the sub-1000-foot level I live at. The plane was flying at its service ceiling (39,900-odd feet) where the ambient pressure is about 4 PSI.

So here's what happens: the first time I fly, my body doesn't really register the lowered pressure, but occasionally my blood oxygen level falls and I get "out of breath". This has happened all my life; even when I was in much better physical condition than I am now, I'd have these "out of breath" moments when flying. And today I realized that I have them to some extent when flying nonstop, but when I have a second flight the same day I not only get many more of those moments, but I also feel a bit headachy and sick.

Altitude sickness. *sigh*

...so the only way I can go to space is in a "shirtsleeve" environment, where the habitat is pressurized to sea level--because otherwise I'll get altitude sickness.

Anyway: got to O'Hare a bit ahead of schedule, got picked up by the limo company, made it home safe and sound. A mere 20 hours late.

I am so very glad to be home!
1:03 pm
#6866: There is a reason for all this
I'm going to be writing an in-depth post on Sunday to explain everything that's been going on. Right now I'm too tired to make any sense but I need to do something besides sit and try not to fall asleep. I tried watching Haruhi season 2, picking up where I left off last month when I finished "Endless Eight", but it's just not holding my interest at all.

So, let me have a little bit of a gander around the tubzorz .

* * *

Apparently the whistleblower whose testimony prompted the latest Democrat push to impeach, that guy heard the story seconhand, making it hearsay. But that's okay, because just prior to that, the CIA decided to accept hearsay instead of insisting on first-hand evidence.

"Well, guys, if you've heard anything, let us know."

"Oh! Oh! Ohh!! My cousin's wife's brother's friend's sister heard that someone saw Ferris pass out at 31 flavors last night. Guess it's pretty serious."

"Thank you, Simone! That's just what we need to get him!!!"


Meanwhile, marriage rates are falling because there is a dearth of "economically attractive men". You know what that means, don't you?

It means there aren't enough rich guys to go around.

* * *

Funny thing: the other day I was reading one of my stalled rewrite projects, the one with the big flashback section. I got to the flashback but had to stop reading it--got busy with some other things--and a couple days later I was thinking about it and realized that I'd figured out how to get going from where I'd been stuck. Great!

...couple days after that I continued reading it, got to the end of the extant flashback sequence, and found that I had used exactly that technique to continue the story.

Well, at least I'm consistent.

Really do need to finish AV and get some of this other stuff out the door, too.

* * *

Friday night was amazingly stormy. Rain, lightning, thunder, tornado watch, the whole nine yards.

Further bulletins as events warrant.
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