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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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Tuesday, February 20th, 2018
10:08 pm
#6110: NASA, wasting money
Here's how NASA spends money. $234 million to build a launch tower for the Ares rocket, which was cancelled by Obama in 2010. Then in 2011 Obama told NASA they needed a launcher after all, so NASA started work on Space Launch System, and they spent $281 million on modifying that launcher (used once!) to fit the SLS.

So, $500-odd million, and we've launched one rocket from it. But "NASA anticipates spending an additional $396.2 million on the mobile launcher from 2015 through the maiden launch of the SLS, probably in 2020." So now we're pretty close to $900 million for a launcher which has launched one rocket and which furthermore is leaning.
According to a new report in NASASpaceflight.com, the expensive tower is "leaning" and "bending." For now, NASA says, the lean is not sufficient enough to require corrective action, but it is developing contingency plans in case the lean angle becomes steeper.

These defects raise concerns about the longevity of the launch tower and increase the likelihood that NASA will seek additional funding to build a second one. In fact, it is entirely possible that the launch tower may serve only for the maiden flight of the SLS rocket in 2020 and then be cast aside. This would represent a significant waste of resources by the space agency.
Close to a billion dollars if NASA can stay under budget this time, and it'll be used TWICE.

"Moreover, the agency will have required eight years to modify a launch tower it built in two years."

Meanwhile, Falcon Heavy puts a ton in orbit for $2.2 million. It's the cheapest ride on the block; the next-closest heavy-lift vehicle costs $2.7 million a ton but there's a 10% failure rate.

Excluding development costs--which, so far, are stratospheric--SLS would run $6.7 million per ton. If you include development costs, well...forget it.

NASA is a government agency. We should get them out of the business of developing launch systems; let them buy launches instead. It'll save money all around.

* * *

You guys do realize that if the Yellowstone caldera were to erupt, it wouldn't have to be a big one? It's like people forget that sometimes volcanoes just kind of go "burp" and then shut up for another thousand years. Or ten.

Sure, the entire Yellowstone caldera could abruptly head skyward and cover the country with ash. And it could just as easily blast one tiny corner of itself into a charred wasteland, letting off the pressure and preventing a larger disaster.

* * *

I seem to recall predicting that Amazon's new HQ was most likely to end up in or near Washington, D.C. Looking more and more like I was right.

* * *

This should happen every time a rich Democrat gets up and starts talking about how awful it is that there are rich people. Because all Democrat politicians are rich, to one extent or another, and the higher up the food chain you get, the richer they are.

We just need to ask them, loudly and repeatedly: "WHAT IS YOUR NET WORTH?"

* * *

It's rained so much I'm expecting to see animals lining up in pairs. Last night there was flooding all over the bunker's immediate environs, I think because the ground is (was?) still largely frozen and the water couldn't penetrate.

Thunderstorms last night, freezing rain tonight. Oh yeah.

Since Saturday I've done 13.5 pages of Chicory. I managed to get about two done today during my lunch break, and a few yesterday--and I'm loving how the story is developing.

$5 says no new pages until Thursday's lunch break, but that's fine. Chicory languished for quite a long time.

* * *

...and I still need to finish Apocalyptic Visions, too, but I can't write a novel at work. Turns out they get a little cranky if you use a work computer for that sort of thing. They don't get cranky over drawing. So, there's that.
Monday, February 19th, 2018
9:17 pm
#6109: Nope, that's wrong
Kim du Toit needs remedial algebra.
1.) Suppose you have quantities A and B, and suppose they are equal. That is,
A = B

2.) Multiply both sides by A:
A^2 = AB

3.) Now subtract B^2 from both sides:
A^2-B^2 = AB-B^2

4.) Factor both sides:
(A+B)(A-B) = B(A-B)

5.) Divide both sides by the common factor (A-B):
A+B = B

6.) Now, remembering that A=B, we have
B+B=B, or 2B=B

7.) Divide both sides by B:
2=1
Step 3 is where it goes wrong. If a^2=AB, and you subtract B^2 from both sides, you have zero. A^2=AB, therefore B^2=AB, because (as stated at the beginning) A=B. AB-B^2=0.

Furthermore, though, is the fact that while you can add whatever you want to any equation as long as you do it on both sides, it doesn't always make sense to do so. Okay, 2x+b=y, you can make that 2x+b+GOOBER=y+GOOBER if you like--but that doesn't add any information to the equation; it merely makes it easier (theoretically) to manipulate. In this case, it reduces both sides to zero, which is an identity (zero always equals zero). That's not a solution to the equation; that's just proving that both sides are equal, which we already knew.

If you really want to prove that 2=1, you need to get your algebraic manipulations right. But of course if you do the algebra right, you won't get 2=1. Getting a result of 2=1 is a sure sign that you figured wrong.

* * *

(There are cases where an equation has a null solution set, so if you do all the figuring right and still get something like 2=1 the correct answer is {}, ie a null set.)

* * *

The preceding was sponsored by my wife's algebra class!!!

* * *

They did it once. They could do it again.

* * *

There is some doubt about what happened at Kent State, at least in my mind. I recall seeing a report that someone had been shooting at the National Guard, or at least firing a gun in their general vicinity. But the point is valid: the soldiers, "only ones", had firearms there, and they shot unarmed people.

That's what leftists want, though. They want to be able to control you, and to stomp on your face, and they can only do it if citizens aren't allowed to own guns.

* * *

Interesting thing about The Man In The High Castle: I see Nazism presented as a collectivist philosophy, exactly the way it was. There's a funeral scene, and that funeral--stripped of any religion whatsoever--instead becomes a paean to collective service. The dead man's service to his society and the state is what's lionized; there's no discussion of an eternal reward because Nazism was atheist.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but collective service is a big virtue for socialists. It's one of the planks of Kwanzaa, the great socialist-and-fake-african holiday.

And so this series portrays Nazism as it actually was: a socialist political system.

It's horrifying, all right, because there's widespread extermination of "defectives". The point is made that doctors are required by law to report patients who have incurable diseases; they're derided as "useless eaters" and euthanized at the earliest opportunity.

Overall it's an extremely well-done series; the world-building is flawless. Not much is said about what happened to the USSR and China, but at some point we see a map of the world with Japanese and Nazi territories blocked out, and there is a rather slim chunk of Asia which is neither.

Basic premise is that Germany won WW2 because they developed the atom bomb first; they nuked Washington, D.C. in 1947 and the rest was just a mopping-up exercise. Nazi Germany with the Bomb would have walked all over the USSR, and because the rival socialisms hated each other--and because Germany and Russia are very, very old enemies--the USSR would have been flattened. And China didn't turn communist until 1950; with Japan running half of China, that simply would not be allowed. So there's no communism in the world; just National Socialism.

...and we've got two episodes left of it. *sigh*

* * *

Japanese guy doesn't care about being called "racist".

* * *

WTF

* * *

Well, it's Monday; what else can you say about it?
Sunday, February 18th, 2018
9:40 pm
#6108: Now I wish I hadn't dumped the Epson.
So, scanning the new pages of Chicory last night--

Here's what the last page I scanned with the Epson's scanner looks like:



And here's what one of the latest pages looks like:



And that's after I did some image processing with Irfanview.

The main difference here is that the Epson had a scan driver which made its output a lot more customizable. I could adjust the cutoff for dark and light so that the background came out whiter. The Canon's scan driver will let me do that, but it's extrmely cumbersome, and the results are still not very good.

Epson's software made it dead easy: it would present a graph with two movable vertical lines. One was the dark cutoff--anything darker than that color was forced to black--and the other was the light cutoff, where anything lighter would be forced to white. They're different for each page, but it took only a few seconds to set them, and it would vastly improve the quality of the scan. It would present you with a chunk of the image (you could move the sample box wherever you wanted on the image) and it would change that sample in real time as you changed the pointers, so you could dial in the best possible image. Preview, set, scan, done.

Canon? For any image you can adjust the contrast and brightness, but you do it with a sample image that doesn't reflect what you're trying to scan--and it doesn't even reflect your changes in the preview after you click "OK", so you're really gambling.

The best scanner software I've used was what came with my HP flatbed scanner, which I bought before the turn of the century, but that one got recycled since HP decided not to support old hardware after Windows XP. (I'm old enough to remember when HP made stuff that worked.) I couldn't get a driver for that scanner which would work with Vista, and it just sat on a shelf in the basement for eight years.

It is possible to get the quality of the first image out of this scanner by processing the hell out of the image with Irfanview:



But that's a hell of a lot of work to get there, and I shouldn't need to do that. I ought to be able to tell the scanner just to ignore a certain range of colors, like I could with the Epson.

So, what I'm going to have to do is to find a way to try out scanners and their software before buying one, because I want to be able to do scans at least as good as I managed with my now-gone Epson all-in-one which cost me fifty freaking dollars.

*sigh*

Well, it is what it is, I suppose. We'll get there.
4:37 pm
#6107: The annoying thing about Pandora
So, some months ago I added Peter Buffett to my seed. I liked one of his albums--bought it in like 1990--and thought it'd be awful nice to have those songs come up once in a while. Besides, I might like other music by the guy.

I should have known better. A couple years ago I added John Jarvis, and was deluged with piano music until I removed him from the seed. Argh etc.

But this time, the results are simultaneously less and more frustrating. Less, because it hasn't resulted in a sudden wad of music completely outside of what I want to hear from this channel, but more because of what is being suggested.

Buffett himself came out with several albums after whatever-it-was. (The Waiting, it was, and it was his first.) Guess he had to occupy himself with something since his dad, Warren Buffett (that one) wasn't going to let him inherit anything. (But how nauseating.)

Anyway, so here's what happens: Pandora pops up a song from TW and that was kinda okay--it wasn't one of the best ones. Later it pops up another song from a subsequent album and that was kinda okay too. And then--

I had no idea this turkey did vocal albums. Even if this channel didn't have a pretty strict no vocals rule, there's a general rule in that genre of music that if your career started with doing instrumentals do not sing because there is a reason your first albums were successful. All these new-agey instrumentalist guys have approximately the same voice, a reedy tofu-and-sprout-eating motherfucker kind of tenor which sounds like all the bad protest songs you ever heard. Peter Buffett is no better.

And I know this because Pandora keeps putting up new songs from every other album of his. Naturally it's served two or three from the album I added to the seed, but I've rejected every song from his most recent Running Blind and I think I've just about done the same for Spirit Dance.

That is what annoys me: I add an album to the seed, and I get next to nothing from it. I give a thumbs down to half the tracks on another, and they keep coming, and only stop when all the tracks have been rejected.

Pandora has a neat gimmick, in that the software allegedly tunes itself to your preferences--but it needs more work. A lot more work.

* * *

Well, we won't have Barnes and Noble to kick around much longer, it looks like.

The problem is not Amazon, or not entirely. Amazon just accelerated things, providing a massive one-stop shop for just about everything you could want. "Hey, I need a copy of War and Peace, and I suppose I might as well order that blender I've been thinking about, and I sure could use a set of new snow tires...."

For me, the nearest bookstore (a Barnes and Noble) is a good 40-minute drive from home. There is no bookstore closer than that, at least not one which is ever open when I have time to visit it. (There's a used bookstore over in Indiana, a place I've wanted to visit, but every time I go there, it's closed. They keep banker's hours.) There's a Half-Price Books somewhere over in Merrilville, but again that's a long-ass drive from here, time-wise.

So I don't go to the bookstore as often as I'd like; and when I do go, there's little to nothing there that I want to buy. "Oh, great! Here's volume three of a series I might want to read, nothing like starting in the middle! Well, what's the SF section like? Oh, they have every book John Scalzi ever wrote, but what happened to Larry Niven--oh, here he is. Dang, I already have all four of these." It's like that at B&N; the selection at Half-Price is even worse.

The problem is that bookstores are stores, and given the panoply of books out there they cannot serve every taste equally well. But they further suffer from the decline in recreational reading; people don't read as much because there are so many other options. Why read a book when you have a smartphone, on which you can watch a video or play a game? Or, if you really do want to read, you can read it there?

And you don't need a brick-and-mortar store to sell digital copies of books. Or smartphone apps.

I don't like the idea of B&N going under any more than I liked it when the other big book chains went away. I liked Borders a lot. But it's pretty much a fact of life at this point.

* * *

Ah, a calm Sunday. Looks like the Jeep's exhaust isn't getting fixed today, though: we slept until 4. We're not tired or anything from working all week! Why would you think that?
Saturday, February 17th, 2018
8:53 pm
#6106: NOW WHAT
Got to work on time this morning. Logged in and went ready exactly at 10:00 AM.

Waited.

Usually, the instant I go ready, bang there's an e-mail to deal with. Even on Saturdays; there may not be many e-mails waiting, but there are a few. Last week, for example, I had cleared the e-mail queue in about ten minutes. Not today! It was almost an hour before my first interaction of the day.

It proceeded to be an epic slow day. What was it, seventeen interactions, mostly phone, mostly repeats. Twice from a truck driver who didn't understand that a particular warehouse is completely closed on Saturdays. Some four calls about an ongoing warehouse issue which recurs every Saturday. And so on.

On the plus side, I got a few new pages of Chicory laid out. Huzzah etc.

ADDENDUM: Six, to be exact. Holy crap. END ADDENDUM

* * *

So, if you want to stop school shootings like the recent one in Florida the FBI is the place to start. So the FBI was warned five months ago--that would be October--and they did nothing. Too busy trying to bring down Trump to, I don't know, do their freaking job. Besides that, the local police were called to the kid's house more than three dozen times.

This rather neatly removes this case from the "out of the blue" category.

This shooting didn't happen because of easy access to guns or video games or SSRIs; it happened because of law enforcement not doing its fucking job.

* * *

A disarmed populace is very easy to control. You can stomp as many faces as you like if the proles don't have firearms. That's why the left is so anti-gun: not because they give a rat's ass about saving lives, but because they want to control lives.

* * *

The other day I had a nightmare about nuclear war. The following night I had a dream that I was attending a production with a buffet, and the new avant-garde thing was to serve a dish made with human meat. There'd been another show Mrs. Fungus and I had seen where they did that.

Anxiety dreams. Whee!

But it' Saturday night, and tomorrow is Sunday, and I don't have to worry about work until 8 AM Monday morning. Off to Azeroth to hack stuff!
Thursday, February 15th, 2018
9:47 pm
#6105: These are the movies we should have had.
John C. Wright lays out what the two latest Star Wars movies should have been like. *sigh*

* * *

This is excellent. Mentally change "trans woman" to "fake woman" the same way you mentally change "undocumented immigrant" to "illegal alien".

* * *

It is a very hard thing to listen to people espouse on topics about which they know nothing, and yet say nothing to correct them.

Bunch of people at work today blathering about how the Florida school shooting could have been stopped if this or that or the other completely unconstitutional thing was done. "No one needs an AR-15 in Florida!" "That's a big gun! I could see him having a little pistol." "When he posted on Facebook they should have arrested him then." "There should be background checks!"

*sigh*

I simply used the same restraint that keeps me from jumping to my feet and yelling back at TV commercials (most of the time). It was a mighty struggle, but I emerged victorious.

Good sense on why and how these things happen.

* * *

Today when I left for work, I was driving in IFR conditions.

Visibility was virtually nonexistent; I estimate that I had 300 feet of visibility, but that is a generous estimate. It was probably more like 200.

It was so bad I was trying to figure out if it qualified as "severe fog". I don't even know if they classify fog that way, but it was for damn sure the thickest fog I ever drove in.

Having recently seen a video showing a massive pile-up on I-35 in Iowa, I drove carefully until I got to I-80 and things cleared a bit. 45 MPH in the right lane with my hazards on. It was that bad.

The snow is melting very quickly. Not sad about it. I'm just hoping Sunday is reasonably dry so I can fix the Jeep's exhaust system; the parts I ordered Monday came today.

Whee!
Wednesday, February 14th, 2018
1:20 pm
#6104: Uh...gee, and I didn't get you anything....
I don't understand why a girl would give another girl a beef heart for Valentine's Day. Pretty sure it's not a Japan thing--girls give everyone chocolate on Feb 14, and that cow heart is clearly not chocolate, because chocolate doesn't bleed--so I suppose the artist is trying to make some kind of point.

The recipient looks mildly horrified by the gift, which makes sense considering it's all bloody.

What I'm certain of, though, is that it is not a human heart, unless the human in question is a giant. That's from a cow, or a horse, or a bison, or some other very large animal.

That second picture--if that's meant to be a sexbot, it sure as hell doesn't look very cuddly. Too many pinch points.

* * *

Greenland ice melt caused by vulcanism, not global warmenation. Oh well.

But #1 on the list is telling, too:
The total [capacity] for all "renewables" [in Germany] is 83.8 GW -- a figure higher than the peak demand of 83.3 GW. [This sounds good, b]ut, then there's also the fossil fuel and "conventional" capacity of 108.4 GW. That's essentially the same amount you would have if you had no wind or solar capacity at all.¹ To put it another way, despite having built what would seem to be enough wind and solar capacity to supply all the electricity needs of the country, they have not been able to get rid of any of their fossil fuel generation capacity. They need all of it as back-up for when the wind and solar go dead.
Emphasis mine. In other words, Germany's "renewable" power generation has to be backstopped by "conventional" sources of electricity. This ends up raising the cost of power, because instead of having one robust source of power, you have one variable source backstopped by another robust source.

The result being, of course, that chasing the nebulous goal of being "emissions free" ends up instead eliminating no emissions, and costs a crapton more.

Waste of money. Waste of effort.

* * *

Predictably, the left is freaking out over Trump's proposal to give poor people food instead of money to buy food. You know why? Because then people receiving assistance can't go to the grocery store, buy all kinds of junk food, then sell that out of a "store" on their front porch, thus converting it into cash they can use to buy liquor, cell phones, and tattoos.

* * *

The American media is incontinent over its admiration for North Korea. Because the left never met a dictator it didn't like, never saw a dictatorship it didn't want America to emulate.
What is wrong with you people? I look around and I don’t see any concentration camps. All the people criticizing and vilifying the President and Vice President? None of them are being rounded up. None of you are afraid to speak up, and you’re entirely justified in that lack of fear because there are no violent purges happening. There is no Reichstagg Fire. There is no Night of Long Knives. You speak in full confidence that you do so in safety.

And you gush over the North Korean Minister of Propaganda? A regime that does have concentration camps, that does purge political opponents (not even enemies, just opponents), that arrests and imprisons people for wrongspeech, for wrongthought, That tortures a young man to death for stealing a poster?

What. is. wrong. with. you?
What is wrong with the left is that they hate freedom. They love the NK Minister of Propaganda because feminism and marxism, and because they envy her ability to make people do what she wants. Given the power, the left would crush the United States under its heel and make it a gigantic prison camp like North Korea but with better plumbing. (For as long as that lasted.)

Anyone--everyone--on the left cheers that goal onward.

* * *

It sounds lovely, doesn't it? Buy a boat and live aboard it and sail the world! But it's not something you do on a whim, and if you're a novice sailor you really don't do that.

You certainly don't do it in a 50-year-old boat, one that's only 28 feet long, that hasn't been surveyed.

I could write more on this, but errands beckon; and anyway Denninger says it all.
Tuesday, February 13th, 2018
10:05 pm
#6103: It's time to give it a rest
Arse Technica the global warming resource bitching about an old satellite. The satellite in question monitors CO2 in the atmosphere, and has already lasted twice as long as it was meant to. Arse is bitching because Trump's NASA budget axes funding for a replacement.

The thing is, monitoring atmospheric CO2 is only really important if you think that human carbon emissions are causing global warming, as Arse does. If you do not believe that--if you look at the actual real science and realize that CO2 isn't driving climate change--then a satellite to study atmospheric CO2 is a boondoggle and there's no reason for the United States to continue funding one.

It's nothing but a stupid waste of money.

Related: they're claiming that sea level rise is "accelerating" but where is it? The graph shows that sea level has risen 70 millimeters since 1995. What did sea level rise look like before 1995? What is the average sea level rise per year going back to the beginning of the century? The article doesn't say; it does not provide any context for the claimed acceleration even as it admits that the satellite record is extremely brief. It only talks about what is shown in this record, with absolutely no corroboration whatsoever.

I get suspicious when warmistas very, very carefully do not provide any context for their bald assertions. I don't trust them anyway, since it's been demonstrated to my satisfaction that they fake the ozone data and the temperature data; faking sea level rise is just another adjustment to another data set.

* * *

This would be excellent. Instead of giving poor people money, give them food. Even if you were to FedEx the food to them, it would be cheaper than all the waste and fraud you get with the EBT cards--but honestly I think they should have to go stand in line to pick up their rations.

* * *

I am 100% with Kim du Toit on this point. That stupid start/stop nonsense is born of the idiotically high CAFE standards foisted on us by Obama.

* * *

I've seen this done before. Someone photographed a single argon atom, also illuminated with the light of a laser. But no matter how many times you see it, your mind boggles that you're looking at a single atom.

* * *

Well, got to go help the wife with her algebra. Whee!
Monday, February 12th, 2018
11:39 pm
#6102: They always say the same thing.
Yep, the Luddites are coming out. Something as momentous as a giant leap in our ability to explore space is always accompanied by the kind of whining coming from the mewling turd quoted in that post.

I agree with the post's concluding sentence: "Sadly, the English language is simply far too limiting to get across the level of disdain and dislike I have for people who get paid to try to convince the western world to cut itself off at the knees."

* * *

You would think Obama could hire someone who knew basic anatomy. Unless, I don't know, Obama really does have six fingers on his right hand.

I can excuse the invisible thumb--it is just possible that a thumb may not be visible from certain viewing angles--but there is clearly a fifth finger on that hand.
Horrible art, btw, in both style and substance. All sorts of skewed perspectives, a cartoonish (i.e., African) color palette, and that try-hard deep thinker pose. So Fake. Has the Gay Mulatto ever had a facial expression that wasn't marred by a vapid smug affectation? "And unto this, Conan, destined to wear the jeweled crown of Aquilonia upon a troubled brow..." Yeah, no. Barry is not Conan. For one, Conan was less comically vain.
It's an awful painting.

The one of his wife is not any better, especially with the culturally-appropriated hairstyle.

Incidentally, the alleged artist who did this usually paints pictures of black women beheading white women in front of really tacky wallpaper. So, yeah.

* * *

Puerto Rico's electrical grid, neglected for several decades, is still arthritic. Big surprise.
In many cases, power workers are repairing equipment that should have long been replaced but remained online due to the power authority’s yearslong financial crisis. PREPA is worth roughly $4 billion, carries $9 billion in debt and has long been criticized for political patronage and inefficiency. It also struggled with frequent blackouts, including an island-wide outage in September 2016.
If you don't maintain your infrastructure, it costs a lot more to fix it when something gives up the ghost.

* * *

I have an idea: make them stay there. Black people want to get away from white people? Guess what, assholes?

* * *

Yes. Yes. Look, Eddie Van Halen is very good at playing the guitar. He might still be the best guitar player in the world--but that doesn't make him the best musician in the world.

I do love baroque (I think that's baroque).

* * *

Yep, me too.
Musk did this as a private venture and rented the launch pad at Cape Canaveral. This is in stark contrast to NASA's still unlaunched and non-reuseable rocket that was supposed to have launched in 2016 but instead has burned up 20 billion dollars of taxpayer money.
100% true.

* * *

Larry Correia fisks an article by some self-styled champion of the poor. What really gets me is this part:
Cooking is not just a trip to a grocery store. You need a basic set of cookware for starters. I've been on a $70 Tools of the Trade set for more than a decade, and trust me, it really wants to retire. You're going to need some knives for chopping, butterflying, mincing, etc. The low-end of those starts at $20, but they are absolutely essential.
My most-favorite knife cost me $5 in 1998. I bought it at an Oriental grocery store in Cedar Rapids. When I've freshly whetted it, it's razor-freaking-sharp, it holds an edge very well, and I use it for just about all my cooking because I do not have a better knife. When I moved to Cedar Rapids, Mom and Dad gave me a set of Chicago Cutlery knives that probably cost $80, but I never used them after I got this one knife.

Its older brother, bought for the same price, I rarely use because it's square like a meat cleaver, but it too is wicked sharp. When I was taking the knife out of the bag to wash it the first time, I accidentally bumped my thumb against the blade, and cut myself pretty badly.

You don't need to spend a thousand dollars to get a good knife--and generally speaking a good general-purpose knife is worth its weight in gold. Spend $5 or $10 on a good knife and you'll find that you don't need 4-5-6-7 different kinds of knife.

Correia's comments crack me up:
You swap vegetable oil for olive oil, water for stock or broth, table salt for sea salt, etc.

My grandma used to run warm water through a chicken and call it chicken soup. I don't think you've got a real strong grasp on what the word "poverty" means.

All of it in an effort to shave just a few more dollars off the grocery total, and all of it produces a slightly lesser version of what you're hoping for.

Yeah, using table salt instead of sea salt is basically like being water boarded in Gitmo.
LOL.

* * *

Well: during some downtime at work I discovered that the tailpipe bracket on the Jeep is not welded to the pipe, but clamped on. So I can replace the broken hanger back there with an exact replacement costing about $15.

I wasted no time ordering one.

At the same time, I ordered another bracket, something I'd thought was too obvious to exist: a U-clamp with a hanger welded to it. That was $10, but I ordered one, because I should be able to use these two hangers to permanently fix the exhaust problem I've been having. The only thing I really need to do besides that is to get the right gasket for the flange between the muffler and the catalytic convertor, and the right nuts to secure that, and then I'd have a decent exhaust system without spending a shitton of money.

My U-bolt idea was a complete failure, by the way, because the u-bolt I bought was for the wrong diameter pipe; although I modified it to fit, I further could not get the strap over both studs and secured with nuts, and it was getting dark and I was cold and wet and THIS IS INSANE....

My half-assed fix fell apart, naturally, so tonight I wired it up with a piece of coat hanger. Ironically I expect that will hold longer than the metal straps did. The parts are due Thu or Fri, and hopefully I can put them in Sunday.

We'll see, of course, but here's hoping.
Sunday, February 11th, 2018
11:56 am
#6101: We certainly have got a lot of snow.
The sundial is nearly buried.

We got a couple more inches last night. That looks like it'll be the height of the pile; Wed and Thu they're predicting above freezing temperatures and rain.

Meanwhile I need to go get a U-bolt and a few other sundries, but I don't have to do that right now. Soon, but not immediately.

* * *

So, the Mac SE won't be firing up anytime soon. Last night I dug into it again, and found that the hard drive is toast.

It spun up easily enough, but for its first minute of operation it makes this rather loud, rhythmic zee-tick-BUZZZZZ sound. Figuring I had absolutely nothing whatsoever to lose, I opened the drive up and found that the head assembly was stuck in the park position. I freed it up, then reassembled; that changed the behavior only until the heads returned to the park position on power-up, and then it did exactly the same thing. So, the bearings in the head pivot are gummed up, and there is no way to fix that without a clean room and a whole bunch of software I don't have.

People on eBay are smoking crack, putting obsolete 40 MB hard drives in questionable condition up for far too much money. One guy has an exact replacement drive for my machine, and he wants a mere $200 for it. That's the worst example--but we're talking about used hard drives, here. For $100 more I can get a brand new 18 GB Seagate drive.

...which, of course, would not work in the Mac, because Seagate is not Apple. Argh etc. Also, Mac OS 6.x.x wouldn't be able to cope with such a huge hard drive; at the time it was written 1 GB drives were still the domain of minicomputers and up. It's the thought that counts, though.

What I need is a SCSI hard drive, 20+ MB, Apple-branded; and then I need to find my Mac OS disks so I can put an OS on the bleeding thing. Then my Mac will work again.

My other option is to put the thing on eBay myself, as-is, and use the $50 from that for something else.

Oh well.

* * *

Today I took a picture of the bed, because when I woke up I had exactly a pillow's width to sleep in. This is a king-size bed, and I had about 24" of room. The rest was taken up by--in order from the edge of my allotment to the other side--cats, wife's blankets, wife, and at least 20" of empty space.

These are not the things they tell you about when they talk about being married.
Saturday, February 10th, 2018
8:26 pm
#6100: Okay, that was good.
The barest dusting of new snow today. Drive to and from work were not slowed by bad weather.

Work was, as is usual for a Saturday, very briefly busy--until about 10:06, at which point the e-mails dried up. Recall please that I start work at 10 AM. I didn't get my first call until after noon.

But it's fine. I don't mind having slow days at work; what I mind is that horrible exhausted feeling I get, where my entire body aches with the desire to lay down, only I can't because I'm at work, and laying down is frowned upon.

It's still a million times better than the shithole.

I should have brought something to read with me. I don't think IT would help any, because since the last time I talked about it I read perhaps two pages. I just can't get into that massive pile; it's boring. But at the moment I don't have any other books to hand, and the ones that are handy I've read about a zillion times or are dead boring.

* * *

But it's Saturday night now, and tomorrow is Sunday--my regularly-scheduled day off--and I intend to spend it mostly doing what I want to do. I have a couple little chores in the driveway; the Jeep's rear exhaust hanger broke yet again.

I'm going to go buy a longish U-bolt, and use that to secure the tailpipe to the remainder of the hanger in back; and if that breaks, I give up.

Hoping to spend time on the old computers again, though. An hour or two, at least.

* * *

But I used my downtime today to figure out something that bugged me, periodically, for a long time. When I was very young, we had bits and pieces of some kind of slot car track laying around. Nothing like a full set, but some interesting bits, and there was a T intersection bit with a lever that changed which way a car entering the intersection would go, and there was a kind of icy pond thing, and there was a bit of road with a wrecked car on it. Never understood what that was about, but sometimes I'd get it out and piece it together and run my Matchbox cars over it. It all but disappeared after the great water heater disaster.

See, the house's original water heater, one day, just up and blew out, and the first anyone knew of it was when a friend of mine and I were going down into the basement. I stopped dead when I saw the water--at least eight or ten inches of it--then told my friend to go get my dad while I tried to figure out how to get over to the shutoff valve. Dad came before I could, and he shut the water off. (Until the day he died, he insisted that I and my friend were just "playing" in the water and he discovered the issue himself.)

Pretty much anything in the basement on or near the floor was utterly ruined. My late sister had her bedroom down there, so she lost a bunch of stuff to that flood; but then she cleaned up, and she threw away anything that got ruined. Most of that track went, along with a crapton of my toys that I'd left down there. (My Six Million Dollar Man toys, for example, which would probably be worth a few bucks today if they hadn't been ruined.)

So today I started researching it; Googe was no help at all, but when I looked on eBay, that's when I learned the name of the toy.

It turns out that the Ideal toy company produced, in the late 1960s, a line of slot cars and track called "Motorific". The cars ran on AA batteries, and the front wheels were steerable; the slot in the track steered the car around the track. Unless I'm totally wrong, this had been my brother's toy, and the set he'd had was the "Racerific" set. It seems to have all the pieces I remember, like the wrecked car etc.

Very nifty. There's a Racerific set with "most of the pieces" on eBay for a mere $99. No thank you. But at least now I know WTF was going on.

* * *

Recall that I said Kimi ni Todoke had 27 volumes? VOlume 28 came out in January, and volume 29 is due to be released in May. WTF that's a lot of KnT!
Friday, February 9th, 2018
5:24 pm
#6099: Wow, that was a lot of snow
Figure we got at least seven inches, maybe eight. The big snowblower--I think it needs its carb cleaned, because it runs a little weird--bogging down and almost quitting--when I engage the augur or the drive. That's not something I fancy doing, but I could if need be.

Mrs. Fungus and I went out to Culver's for some food, and the roads in the Fungal Vale were abysmal, to the point that I never took the Jeep out of 4WD and stopping distances were protracted. 30 MPH all the way, and it was still dicey when trying to stop.

Overall I believe I made the right choice, staying home today.

The snow continued at least until 5 PM, when the weather forecast had said it should stop around noon.

More snow expected Saturday, but not as much. We'll see how we do.
1:03 pm
#6098: Yeah, I stayed home.
All over the news they were talking about how the highways were moving at 20 MPH, and nearly every school within a 50-mile radius of the bunker is closed, and Mrs. Fungus was arguing strenuously with her boss to close their call center, so I figured that maybe it was better to remain home despite the fact that total accumulation in the Fungal Vale seemed to be about three inches.

Because Mrs. Fungus is a supervisor at her job, she's the one who people call off to; her work phone started ringing at 4:30, and then we were up for a while after that.

...so after our alarm woke us at 8, we called off, went back to bed, and slept more.

Woke up just now with the beginnings of an epic headache, so I grabbed a meatloaf sandwich and a jug of Pepsi. The headache is receding, but looking outside I am very glad I decided to stay home, because since I returned to bed at 9 AM the snow has gotten considerably deeper. I got up at 10 to hit the can, and it looked about the same as it had at 9, but when I got up at 1--well, in the last three hours or so we've gotten a good four inches of the stuff at least. Around 10-ish the snow hadn't risen to the level of the front porch; now it's a few inches over that mark, and it's still coming down.

It was supposed to stop, they said, around noon.

So in a couple of hours I'll fire up the snowblower and get as much off the driveway as I can, in preparation for the snow they've predicted for tomorrow. *sigh*
Thursday, February 8th, 2018
11:23 pm
#6097: We may or may not be snowed in tomorrow.
Right now it's looking like "not", as the weatherman says we're going to be on the low side of the "6-12 inches" scale they set for tonight's "winter storm".

So, I guess we'll see how we do. Friday was supposed to be the big snow day, but the last weather report I saw said the snow will end perhaps around noonish here in the Fungal Vale.

*sigh*

* * *

Today was pretty rough. There was a company-wide meeting thing taking place; they had two sessions of it and for each session half the call center was gone. Of course, for the early session, most of the guys who handle corporate calls went, leaving approximately ME in charge of corporate calls.

I was so f-ing busy--

Things didn't, in fact, calm down until after 5 PM, but then it underwent the good old inverse step function and virtually stopped. By 6 PM I think I was just about the only person left in the center.

The snow had started by then. The drive home was above the speed limit, though, so that wasn't a problem.

* * *

Kitchen sink is draining very slowly again. I suppose if I do stay home Friday, because of the snow, I can make a widget for the snake that'll slice up the goo clogging the pipe, and then handle that nonsense. *sigh*

Could be worse, I suppose.
Wednesday, February 7th, 2018
2:00 pm
#6096: Well, it's on its way now, isn't it?
The test payload launched atop Falcon Heavy yesterday--a red Tesla roadster belonging to the guy writing the checks for the launch--boosted out of Earth orbit and into its new solar orbit, which will take it close to Mars' orbit.

The only thing that marred the launch was, as previously stated, the failure to recover the core booster. Everything else went perfectly, and as failures go the recovery issue was minor--it didn't effect the final disposition of the payload and it didn't injure or kill anyone. Even with recoverable launch components, you expect to lose one once in a while.

That one thing kept the launch from being perfect, but by any reasonable metric, the Falcon Heavy test launch was a stunning success.

* * *

We will force you to go to college. You're no longer allowed to find your own way; government will decide for you.

If you don't know what you want to do with your life at age 18, you shouldn't go to college, but this scheme offers "...exemptions only for students who can demonstrate that they are preparing to enter the military or commit to an internship or apprenticeship."

So--graduating high school and getting a job at Target or McDonald's while you figure things out, that isn't an option. You must submit to college, or a trade union, because you're too stupid to figure things out on your own.

...but of course government always seeks to expand its power.

* * *

"Let me know when those who are fighting against the cis white supremacist patriarchal system of engineering can come up with something like this."

* * *

I remember writing about this last year. The article is the same one I referenced in March.

The solution is simply not to buy John Deere products until and unless they stop doing this horseshit.

It reminds me of a video I saw not long ago. Guy bought a Corvette of recent manufacture at a salvage auction; seems the car had been in a wreck and needed significant repair. Among other things the engine computer needed replacement, but once that was done the car wouldn't start. It wouldn't even crank.

...press "Start" button, gauges cycle, nothing else happens. I really, really do not like the whole "start button" nonsense. I want a hard ignition switch you stick the key into and turn.

Anyway, the fix for this non-crank problem in the latest Corvette is "take car to dealership" or "pay $1500 for special tool", because the problem with the car was that the clutch pedal wasn't calibrated.

You heard me right: the clutch pedal was not calibrated.

You know, I know a lot about cars. I know a handful of people who know more than I do about them. I am not the do-all-be-all of automotive knowledge, and I do not present myself as any kind of expert, but certainly I'm in the top ten percent, knowledge-wise. And no matter how hard I try I cannot think of a single reason the clutch would require a position sensor that would have to be calibrated.

At least, not any reason which makes sense.

The automotive industry has moved into this mode where they're computerizing everything, adding needless, stupid complexity. I'd bet the Corvette has some stupid "drive by wire" clutch, where you step on the clutch in the cabin and some kind of actuator actually disengages it. This lets GM run a wire instead of a cable or a hydraulic pipe and it saves them $1.49 on the cost of each $70,000 penis extension it extrudes. But I can't find any information on-line which would confirm or deny this supposition. I did find a guide for changing the clutch fluid on the thing (here which suggests that the C7 Corvette has a hydraulic clutch.

That being the case, what the everlasting foo-faw is wrong with a simple switch to tell the ECU it's in and it's okay to crank? Why does it need a "clutch position sensor" which further needs calibration?

Because it's the auto industry, though, and people would go berserk if GM (or Ford et alii) tried the horseshit John Deere is trying, you can get a third-party tool for about $100 which is primarily a bit of software and an interface between the car's computer and a typical laptop. The guy used that tool to calibrate the clutch (whimper) and then further perform another calibration which--left undone--limited the engine to 4,000 RPM. That was for the throttle-by-wire accelerator, of course.

This is the reason I am about half-convinced I need to refurbish the Jeep. I know how to fix it, I know how it works, and there's none of this stupid crap festooning it. If I turn the key and nothing happens I don't need a $2,000 diagnostic tool to fix it; I know I need to charge and/or replace the battery. Period.

* * *

This is interesting.
The practical, real-life consequence of existentialism/nihilism isn't bohemian decadence, it's Communism. The old saw goes "if you believe in nothing, you;ll fall for anything," but that's not true. Look around: people who make a big production about believing in nothing always--always--end up going for the biggest, most all-consuming version of collectivism they can find. Have you ever met an atheist who didn't tell you he's an atheist within five minutes of meeting him? Atheists make being-an-atheist their sole purpose in life; their whole identities revolve around it. They're not heroic individualists; they're the most boring, conformist people on the planet.
Yeah, adding Rotten Chestnuts to the blogroll, based on that paragraph alone.

* * *

I think it's vital that representatives live in the districts they represent. Of course Maxine Waters doesn't want to live in the gang-ridden ghetto she represents in Congress, but instead lives in a $5 million home some distance from the murders and the drugs and the hooptys etc. But considering that it's her job to represent those people--that she got rich enough to afford a $5 million house in Los Angeles while doing it--I think she ought to have to live amongst her constituents.

Maybe then she'd be interested in helping them, instead of exploiting their poverty to retain her job.

* * *

It snowed again overnight. We got a bit more than an inch. Right now they're predicting snow all day Friday. Thrillsville! Nothing like a two-hour commute both ways, I always say!

I tried to explain to Mrs. Fungus the other night why the roads were not plowed and salted. The simple fact is, Illinois is broke, and the guys who drive the plows are road crew guys who work 40-hour weeks; the plow-driving thing is overtime for them, and those guys are union, so they get paid a lot of money.

Figure, oh, $30 an hour. That's what starting UAW guys get (used to get, anyway) so we'll use that as a convenient benchmark. It is probably a little more or less than that, but $30's a nice round figure.

Okay. So--first off, guy is working a 40-hour week, but there are all kinds of jobs scheduled to keep those expensive union guys busy. If it snows during the day, you can postpone things and have guys run plows, no problem; it doesn't cost you any more.

Except....

$5 says there's a bonus wage for driving a plow truck. It's an extra duty, something outside your job description, and the union demands that bonus. So let's be generous and say it's $10 an hour for that; now Joe Union is making $40 to run the plow truck.

So quitting time comes at 5 PM. Joe Union keeps on plowing, and that overtime is compensated at 1.5x the hourly rate of $40, so now he's getting paid $60 an hour. But wait! After 8 PM, "shift differential" kicks in, and that's another $10 an hour, so instead of getting $60 an hour now he's getting $75!

Add yet another $15 an hour ($10 differential, at time and a half) if it's a weekend; and it's double time and a half if it's a holiday.

Regular wages for this chump are $1,200 a week. If he gets just five hours of plow time in, on one day, he makes an additional $330, more than a day's wages at his regular rate; if that day happens to be Christmas, it's nearly seven hundred dollars.

For five hours of work.

This is why the plow trucks aren't running the way they ought to be. Illinois can't afford it.

To say nothing, of course, of the fact that road salt costs money, and Illinois is behind on its bills. I'd bet the salt they're spreading this week was bought last year, or even the year before. I sure wouldn't give more product to someone who's got past-due bills. Would you?

But of course, it's much more important to pay the union goons and the illegal aliens and so forth than it is to maintain the infrastructure.

* * *

That's pretty impressive. Pong made from discrete components. Wow.
12:10 am
#6095: WE CAN GO TO THE MOON AGAIN
It just so happened--with weather delays and so forth--I was able to watch the launch of Falcon Heavy at the tail end of my lunch break.

Picture me sitting at my desk, elbows on knees, hands at my jaw, watching in rapt attention, mouth open in wonder.

The money shot, for me, was the two boosters landing simultaneously. It looked like something from a movie. But it was real.

Go to 3:30 in this video for the money shot:



Awesome.

And look at the pictures here. The first picture at that link became the desktop for my work computer.

Understand what this means: today's Falcon Heavy test launch was a complete 100% total success. It was flawless. It takes two Falcon Heavy launches to put up a Moon mission, but today's launch proved that the system works, and the successful recovery of the boosters means it can be done for peanuts compared to what NASA spent.

Although it's going to take time to sort out the details, we just got back our status as an interplanetary species. We can go to other planets again. The capability we foolishly pissed away in the 1970s, we got back today.

* * *

When I was a teenager, I saw a KKK protest march covered on the nightly news. There was a handful of creeps carrying signs, and the newsreaders gushed about how awful it was, blah blah blah, etcetera. It was the perfect example of why hate speech must be protected by the First Amendment: it reveals what total lunatics those people are.

The thing that made me laugh out loud was a sign that said, "RACE MIXING AND COMMUNISM ARE JEWISH". I know what the guy was trying to say, but it read like a mishmash non-sequitur.

Which is how it reads when someone claims that global warming is sexist. Heh.

* * *

He can own the gun, and he can own the magazine, but if he puts them together, he's committing a felony. The law is an ass.

* * *

Notice how incurious the press is about Massachusetts' sudden reversal on being a sanctuary for illegal aliens.
The first curious part of this spin festival is that the Governor is pointing out an inconvenient truth, to borrow a phase from Al Gore. Allowing the cops to hold an illegal alien for ICE was actually their stated policy when Barack Obama was in office. It only became “a bad idea” after Trump was elected. Funny how that works, huh?

But there’s also one awkward fact that the Governor can’t dodge. Last week Boston was presumably on the list of cities which received a rather pointed letter from the Department of Justice asking for proof of whether or not they allowed cooperation with immigration officials in the pursuit of criminal illegal aliens. A failure to comply obviously puts them in line for reduced or eliminated JAG grant money next year. And now we’re being asked to believe that the arrival of the letter and this proposed legislation coming only a week later are completely unrelated.
Funny how that works.

* * *

This makes quantum entanglement a lot more complicated, but it's not terribly surprising. Turns out that quantum entanglement can cross time, not just space. So your photon pair can exist at different times and still effect each other.

Time is just a dimension, so that makes perfect sense, but damn does it make things more complicated.

* * *

In California, your dog can be held for not having papers. But illegal aliens can't. The law is an ass.

* * *

One glitch in an otherwise perfect flight. The core booster crashed, and was not recovered intact. Even so--I don't think it's overstating matters to say that this is the day we turned our feet back towards the stars.

* * *

Apparently I'm not the only one wowed by the sight of two boosters landing, either.

I can't help but wonder about the viability of launching a rocket with four strap-ons instead of two....

* * *

So, it's snowing again. They're predicting that the total accumulation for the week, with all the predicted snow, will be about fourteen inches. Whee!
Monday, February 5th, 2018
11:28 pm
#6094: That's a bit more than 5 inches
They say the snow will end around 11:45, and we already got more than the predicted amount. Whee!

Anyway, took me almost two hours to drive home, because no plows (Illinois is broke) and when I did get home, I paused only to take a leak and then I blew down the driveway.

Driveway will not stay clear, but it'll stay clear enough.

More snow predicted for Tuesday night. Whee!

* * *

"Keeping the world below 2°C of warming needs tech we don't have". Yeah. Like controlling the sun.

* * *

I remember when this was the scheme of the evil industrialist in Batman Returns. Christopher Walken shoved Michelle Pfeiffer out a window because she figured it out.

* * *

This is why the Nunes memo is so important.
If all this is not a scandal--then the following protocols are now considered permissible in American electoral practice and constitutional jurisprudence: An incumbent administration can freely use the FBI and the DOJ to favor one side in a presidential election, by buying its opposition research against the other candidate, using its own prestige to authenticate such a third-party oppositional dossier, and then using it to obtain court-ordered wiretaps on American citizens employed by a candidate's campaign--and do so by deliberately misleading the court about the origins and authors of the dossier that was used to obtain the warrants.
Because that, FBI delenda est.

* * *

Mrs. Fungus took even longer to get home than I did. The roads were horrible which isn't surprising considering how f-ing broke Illinois is.

* * *

So it's Monday night, and tomorrow is Tuesday; and after Tuesday comes Wednesday, my day off. I'm looking forward to it.

I want to do more work on the old computers, of course. I suppose the next step is to dig through everything in search of my Mac disks, in order to find a boot disk. Maybe if I were to find the Zip disk backup of the Mac drive? That would mean taking out the hard drive again and pulling the terminating resistors.... *sigh*

* * *

Believe me: people are noticing how Trump won, and attempting to emulate him. Step one is refusing to play your opponents' game, which this canditate seems to understand rather well. Jeanne Ives may be someone to keep an eye on.

* * *

They're also predicting snow for Friday. Welcome to winter, I guess.
Sunday, February 4th, 2018
10:55 pm
#6093: Finally, old computers
Finally got in some tinker-time in the basement.

First up, the Amiga 500, because it's dead simple and I wanted to start out easy. All I wanted to do with it is to crack it open and get a look at the logic board. I wanted to see if there might just happen to be an IDE interface on it, and also to get a look at the overall condition of the thing. There wasn't a built-in IDE interface, but the board looks fantastic, and the caps all look okay. The only problem I really had with it was the orientation of the floppy power plug, but it turns out to work in either orientation, so that's fine.

Next up, the Macintosh SE.

If memory serves, I bought the Mac in the summer of 1993. At the time it was only just barely obsolete; it was still plenty useful, particularly since the place I worked (Kangaroo Computer Services, now defunct) had only me as its resident DOS, Windows, Mac, Unix, and AS/400 guru. No one else there could do the latter three (though I couldn't do much on the AS/400, let me tell you, beyond starting it up and shutting it down and running diagnostics). I bought my SE because that would let me improve my Mac chops, and also because it had Hypercard.

Hypercard was the reason I wanted a Mac in the first place. My original intention had been to build a Hypercard stack around my SF universe, putting everything on its own card and linking them. It would have been very cool.

But I was working 32 hours a week and attending school as well; I didn't have time, and that nonsense fell by the wayside. I don't know when I last turned the Mac on, but it had been in storage for some time when I moved to Iowa in late July of 1996.

It has not been turned on since.

I had to search for the keyboard and mouse, but found them pretty quickly. Plugged it in, powered it up...got the old "question mark in the floppy drive" icon, which is not-good for a system with a hard drive.

Mrs. Fungus called me upstairs, thinking Gotham had taped, but it was just a teaser for the series resumption on 3/1, so we watched an ep of Electric Dreams on Amazon Prime. Then I went back downstairs.

Back to the Mac--now, I used to have a SCSI ZIP drive, bought as a graduation present for myself in June of 1996. I selected the SCSI version for two reasons: at the time, I'd gone to a great deal of trouble to have a CD-ROM drive, and got one a mere couple of months before IDE CD-ROM drives appeared on the scene. Since I already had a SCSI adapter in my computer, for the CD-ROM, it only made sense to get the SCSI ZIP drive, which would naturally be a crapton faster than the parallel port version which (in June of 1996) was my only other option. And as a bonus, it would connect to my Mac! I only had to crack the case open and remove the terminating resistors from the drive, and the ZIP drive would handle the termination. No problem.

Recalling all this, I worried about what had happened to the terminating resistors for the hard drive in the Mac. It used SIP resistor packs, eight pins in a row, three of them--and God alone knew what had happened to them in the intervening decades.

Oh well; I knew where the ZIP drive was, so I dug it out--only, the DB25 cable wasn't in there. The SCSI-2 cable was, the one that connected to old Escaflowne; but not the one which would connect to the Mac. But, hey, there was a box of cables I put there...and there it was. Plugged it in, fired up Mac, same result, so I powered up the ZIP drive too, to no avail.

Looks like I gotta crack this mother open. I have (used to have) a Torx screwdriver that I bought specifically for Macs, because it was long enough to reach the screws in the handle. That one was nowhere in evidence in my old toolbox; the other two from that set were there. Crap.

The set of precision screwdrivers I bought from Best Buy when I worked there had one, and mirabile visu the extension fit in the screw holes, so I was able to get the case open.

...and when I cracked open the case, it turned out that I had done the smart thing: right after taking them out of the drive, I'd popped them into a Kangaroo Computer Systems envelope, labeled it "SCSI DRIVE TERMINATING RESISTORS", and then folded it in half and put it inside the case of the Mac!

Had a deuce of a time on both disassembly and reassembly from there. This thing was not made to be user-servicable, so you have to pull cables off the motherboard to get it out, only there's maybe an inch or two of room to maneuver in under the CRT neck. Argh. But patience and perserverance won out. I got the drive out, I got the motherboard out so I could retrieve the screw and washer that had dropped onto it.

I reinstalled the resistor packs--the resistors are labeled as to what is pin 1 and so is the drive--but couldn't remember if there were any jumper settings that needed changing, so I came upstairs to do a search. Found the info; the drive just needed the terminating resistors and it was good to go, so off I went back downstairs.

Reassembly was the reverse of disassembly, requiring a lot more patience and perserverance; and I ended up putting the hard drive in three times. First I put it in, then realized it ought to be mounted more securely; put it in again and found the reason it had been mounted the way it was--it hit the back of the CRT--so the third time ended up being the charm.

Struggled to plug the SCSI cable in, but got it on the third try, and then powered it up.

Same thing.

Listened closely to the hard drive; and then I picked up my trusty old red and blue Craftsman philips head screwdriver, which has helped me fix many a computer, and I rapped the side of the drive with its handle. And--sure enough!--wrrrr the drive spun up. Twenty years of inactivity had led to "stiction", where the static friction of the spindle was too high for the spindle motor to overcome. I'd bet I could go down there tomorrow and fire that computer up and have the drive spin right up now that it's been jarred loose.

And no, that doesn't hurt it at all. I hit it gently; I've had drives that I had to hammer with the handle of that screwdriver to get them to turn--and they didn't lose so much a bit of information; I was able to copy all the data off them and onto a new drive without any trouble whatsoever.

...but I'm still left with a computer that won't boot, and I haven't the faintest idea where my Macintosh system disks are. Tossing a diagnostic disk in would let me see if the hard drive's working at all. But facts is facts: that computer has been sitting in that basement for more than two decades, and there's no telling what could be wrong with the hard drive. Heck, for all I know, the hard drive is fine and the computer has died.

As I recall, though, that computer had (like all computers) configuration memory, and after 20 years that configuration memory is going to be blank. The battery didn't die a horrid death and leak everywhere (it's a lithium battery, soldered to the mobo) but after 20 years it's dead. $5 says that because that parameter RAM is cold, that is why the computer can't boot.

In any case, the solution to my problem here is "get an 800k Mac boot disk". I expect I can find one somewhere--somehow--but it's not happening tonight.

The funny thing is, I backed up the entire hard drive to ZIP disk...so if I can find that disk, I might have a way to get her going again. Wouldn't that be a hoot?
11:01 am
#6092: Just about good enough to smear in your hair
So, last night I came home from work with a plan. Today I enjoy the fruits of that plan.

Step one: get the crock pot, and get the remnants of our last ham out of the freezer.

Step two: that 15-bean soup mix...where...? Crap.

Step three: go to store for 15-bean soup mix. Rinse beans well.

Step four: chop up an onion and green pepper and put everything into the crock pot, including the last of the minced garlic, about a heaping tablespoon. No salt--it's ham, it doesn't need salt--but about a teaspoon of black pepper. Enough water to cover.

Step five: set pot on "low" and go about business.

The ham was frozen; that was fine, as I was just going to let it go overnight anyway. Around 4 or 5 AM I got up to hit the can, and gave it a stir, but for the most part I left it entirely unattended.

Woke up a bit before 10 AM, fished the bones out, and served myself up a bowl. It's been cooling during the pre-blog surf (it was bubbling when I got up) though I've been dunking the odd bit of ginzo bread into it.

This really is a no-brain recipe, and all you need is a decent chunk of leftover ham (with bone) and a bag of dried beans. Mom's recipe was meant to be a quick 20-minute meal, using a ham steak and some kind of soup stock (usually turkey) instead of water, but it adapted quite well to the crock pot. It takes longer, but it takes no more work. And the soup is better this way.

Today's result is this rich auburn-colored soup, full of flavor--a hearty meal for a snowy February day. And I'm having it for breakfast because I couldn't stand to wait.

I'll be eating more of it, though. Mrs. Fungus doesn't like it. *sigh*

* * *

Carbs can't raise your blood glucose if you don't eat them. Guy goes from a stunning 300 mg/dl to 90 in the matter of a week simply by cutting carbs from his diet.

Does completely cutting carbs suck? Yes it does. It means no bread, no pasta, no sweets of any kind. It doesn't mean abandoning all good food, but it does mean being a lot more selective about what goes down the hatch.

But it also means he doesn't have to take pills and shots and-and-and, only to still have all the problems that come with diabetes.

* * *

So, more plumbing last night, because the laundry room was soaking wet after Mrs. Fungus did a couple loads of laundry.

Two problems I could identify. First, the lint sock on the washer's discharge hose was full of lint. Exchanged that for a new one. Then had a gander at the sink, which apparently wasn't draining, and found that the drain was blocked with crud. Unblocked it; there was some kind of calcified gunk in the drain, and some linty-hairy gunk; I got it out of there. Then I pulled the trap apart to make sure it wasn't in the pipes (it wasn't) and also to chase down a drip from there. Reassembled.

So now we have a very slow drip from the sink trap which I don't really care about considering it's a bare concrete floor. The drain is clear and water runs out correctly again. The lint trap is new and shouldn't be turning the washer's discharge into a sprinkler.

Eventually I expect that the laundry sink will need to be fixed. The taps are frozen; I can't turn on either hot or cold water. The knob broke off the hot tap for the washing machine, so I must use pliers to turn it. There's some kind of mineral encrustation on the spigot itself.

$5 says the solution will be "learn to sweat-solder copper pipe" and/or install copper-to-PEX adaptors, along with installing a new faucet. The alternative is simply replacing the internal valve bits, which assumes I can get them out without destroying them.

But that's a project for another day.

* * *

It's snowing, and I can actually see snowflakes. As opposed to the last few times it's snowed, where it was coming down in nearly invisible powdery crystals.

Last night I was surprised to see that the ground had turned white. When I left work it was above freezing; when I got home it was still warm, and I expected we'd get rain rather than snow. Well, we got snow, and now it's snowing more. Tuesday is when they expect 3-5 inches of the stuff. If IDOT does its usual stellar job, the commute in will be a frigging nightmare and the commute home will be dreary. *sigh*

* * *

Holy crap was that soup good. If I wasn't full, I'd have another bowl.
Saturday, February 3rd, 2018
9:36 pm
#6091: So, that's pretty bad
Let's presume that Uma Thurman knows how to drive. If you have to "wrestle" with a car to keep it going in the straight line at 40 MPH, that car is a deathtrap.

* * *

Had other stuff to look at, decided not to.

Until 5 PM, today was the slowest Saturday yet. At 5, all hell broke loose because of the failure of one little system that acts as an intermediary between two other systems. We had it contained by 6:30, but one location was looking at three more hours of cleanup in SAP.

I offered to stay, but my efforts weren't needed, so I came home on time.

* * *

Well, they say it'll snow every day for the next three. Believe it when I see it.
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