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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 17th, 2018
7:06 pm
#6388: What a lovely day
Not only was the weather ridiculously nice, but we got a couple errands done and had a good time doing it.

After my errands were done we took Mrs. Fungus' car over to the dealership to get an airbag recall done. It had a Takata airbag in it, and we've been bombarded with mailings about it, and today was Der Tag. Now perhaps we can get on with our lives.

We then went to take her to a doctor appointment, and arrived an hour early. This doc was near a local historical museum, so we spent our hour there, looking around. Very pleasant.

Doc done, we had a nice late lunch at a sit-down restaurant, picked up her car, and came home.

Lovely day.

* * *

So, lets start with the transgender insanity, shall we?

So, this:
On Sunday, two women competing in the women's sprint 35-39 age bracket at the 2018 UCI Masters Track Cycling World Championships in Los Angeles wound up finishing second and third, losing to a biologically male Canadian professor who identifies as a woman.
And this is how it will be. Denninger nicely sums up the issue, saying, "You gals like this horsecrap? Fine with me. If you were born with a vagina you'll never win another competitive sporting event."

It's true. The male physique is more athletically capable than the female physique is. Men are stronger, faster, and more able to take physical abuse than women are. That is why men's and women's sports have always been separate.

But if you let "biological men who identify as women" participate in female sporting events, the biological women will lose, every time.


And holy shit this person belongs in an asylum.

This is a "biological woman who identifies as a man", who takes it a step further and identifies as a dog. She's wearing a dog mask in nearly all the pictures, but there are pictures where you can see her breasts, and one where it's obvious that she's wearing a codpiece.

* * *

You know what? I want the culture I was promised when I was growing up, the one where all this lunacy is entirely out of the question and society is still polite. Shit.

* * *

Apparently the Roseanne re-reboot is very meh. Sounds like a real keeper, and YES THAT IS SARCASM.

* * *

All we have to do to eliminate the "problem" of nuclear waste is to recycle the stuff.

* * *

Look at all the NPCs!

* * *

Considering that Democrats are who benefit from vote fraud, this isn't surprising. Which is why Democrats always stand against eliminating it. You need a photo ID to buy Sudafed, but not to vote.

I wish voting had the same requirements as gun ownership.

* * *

Bruce Rauner got a "B" even though Illinois is a shithole. Reason: he tried to reform things, but of course Mike Madigan stopped it.

* * *

Rauner's opponent wants to do away with Illinois' flat tax and replace it with a "progressive" tax system. That's where you're taxed at a higher rate if you make more money. Like the federal system, with tax brackets.

This is, of course, going to hit the middle class the hardest. The super-rich won't notice the difference, and the poor already don't pay taxes, but "...the typical family in Illinois making just over $79,000 would pay an additional $2,500 to $3,500 in income taxes." $79,000 is right smack dab in the middle of the middle class. Right now, the tax rate is something like 4.5%; with Pritzger's scheme, of course it'll be much higher.

Pritzker is the guy who had all the toilets removed from his house so that he could avoid paying property tax on it. And by the way, the guy had plenty of non-union laborers working on renovations to that house, even though--as a Democrat--he naturally schmoozes the unions. After all, when it comes to his own home, it's his own money he's spending, and he doesn't want to pay more just to employ union labor!

Like all Democrats, Pritzker is a hypocrite, so that's not surprising. But his tax scheme will result in the wholesale devastation of the state's finances.

* * *

Anyway, that's a day. Tomorrow's another one. Could be worse.
Tuesday, October 16th, 2018
9:23 pm
#6387: Argh etc
Short version: very first call I took yesterday set off a shitstorm I was not prepared for.

Longer version:

Issue was that a certain function was not available at a warehouse, across all users. According to our procedures etc, if more than five users are affected it's a Severity 1. So considering that the entire "small package" area of a warehouse had an outage, I figured it was S1, and send the email declaring such.

Five minutes later I'm on another call and there are three people I don't know at my desk demanding that I tell them what's going on. I finish the call.

Guy in flannel shirt goes first: "Who's affected?"

Me: Warehouse XXX, the small parcel area, five users.

Guy, disgustedly: It's one warehouse! Five users!

Indian guy: Who did you escalate it to?

...heap big fooraw continued for a good thirty minutes. It developed that it wasn't just one warehouse, but six of them that were having the exact same problem, and my timely decision to declare an S1 saved the company at least half an hour of warehouse staff standing around with their thumbs up their asses. (Which, let me tell you, is going to be more than 30, 40 people at $20 an hour when you figure in all the costs of employing someone, and the overtime that will be needed to make up for the time lost during the outage, and....)

After that, then, it was just a constant drumbeat of call, call, call, email, call call call email email email call call call WILL YOU GIVE ME ONE FRIGGING MINUTE TO BREATHE FOR FUCK'S SAKE all the way until lunchtime at 2. After lunch it was a little easier, but not much.

I begin to suspect that despite the fact that there are 14 people showing as logged in and able to take Corporate calls, none of them actually are taking them, because I seem to be taking an epic number of calls these days.

Somehow, I survived. Mrs. Fungus wasn't hungry when I got home, so I foraged.

* * *

Today, the incredible doofus reared his ugly head again.

Basic setup: guy sends an email with a problem related to the same system that went down yesterday, ironically enough, but entirely unrelated to yesterday's outage. I created a ticket, did some research, and found a specific Knowledge Article (KA, remember me talking about them?) which explained exactly what one did when one had an issue with this system. If it was holding up an order, it went to one team; if it wasn't, it went to another team. Because I had calls coming in and bunch of other nonsense, I accidentally marked it as priority 1 (P1) rather than P2, but assigned it to the correct team.

At least, according to the KA.

Twenty minutes later it came back to me: "[this team] does not handle these issues."

Fair enough, so I put the question to the chat room, explaining everything that I just explained to you. I summarized it: This is the error, this is the KA, this is who I sent it to, this is what they said. Who do I send this to?

So the massive fucking doofus supervisor chimes in:
KA [the exact KA I cited] explains what to do.
If it's holding up an order, it goes [team A]
If it's not, it goes [team B]
So I responded, quite reasonably I think, that I'd read the KA and followed its instructions had been told I was wrong.

I did not point out the BLEEDING OBVIOUS FACT that I had JUST SAID EXACTLY THAT.

His next statement was equally unhelpful, bascially doubling down on what he'd just said. So I said, a little testily, that I had read the KA and followed it.

So he sends me a Skype message. "I'm just trying to help. There's no need for you to take that tone."

I simply responded, "I'm sorry" and closed it, because what I wanted to respond with approximated this:
And while you're at it, stop treating me like I'm some kind of fucking idiot.

* * *

They are all NPCs. They really are. You don't need to think for yourself when you're an NPC, after all.

* * *

antifa NPCs don't know any history so they don't seem to get that their flag is one swastika short of being a Nazi flag. For being anti-fascists, they sure seem to love looking and acting like fascists, don't they?

* * *

Take your anthropogenic global warming and eat it with a nice full bucket of dicks.

* * *

The miracle of socialized medicine means there are four million people waiting for treatment in England.

This is the system Democrats want for us.

* * *

So, YouTube is teh fu><0r3d, so I guess I'm going to play some WoW.
Monday, October 15th, 2018
9:08 pm
#6386: Well, that was a very frustrating day.
Maybe when I'm a lot calmer I'll explain it. But I had a really frustrating day at work today.

* * *

So, SpaceX figures that developing its BFR will cost about $5 billion, which coincidentally enough is what Boeing's cost overruns are on SLS.

As the linked post says, "...[I]t's literally nothing special or new. It should have *easily* flown by now."

Off-the-shelf components, no special technology, entirely disposable. All Boeing has to do is to build a rocket from existing and proven designs that does nothing that the Saturn V did not do--and it's costing $8.1 billion and taking eight years.

Why? "Cost plus", that's why. It's not Boeing's money that's being spent on this nonsense; it's NASA's money. That makes all the difference.

I keep thinking about how Boeing bragged that they'd beat SpaceX to the Moon. I am beginning to suspect that Boeing couldn't even get a pre-built Estes rocket off the ground without slipping the launch schedule and going over budget.

Seriously, Boeing: stick to airplanes. It's what you do best. Leave the rocketry to the missile men.

* * *

Just hating on people right now. Need to chill out. Maybe go whack monsters in Azeroth.
Sunday, October 14th, 2018
10:44 pm
#6385: Little Big has the BEST videos.

I enjoyed this one so much I'm thinking about learning to do the dance.

Pity that Olimpiya left the band, though.

* * *

So, finished emptying the pool and struck it. Put away the summer things. Cut the grass--though not the immediate back yard since it was swampy, especially after dumping the remaining pool water. Changed the oil in Mrs. Fungus' car.

Jeep turned in 296 miles of travel on 14.8 gallons of gas. That comes out to exactly 20 MPG. I did not follow as many trucks this week, which is why it dropped 2 MPG from the last tank. 20 MPG is acceptable.

The thing is, following trucks is a pain unless you hit everything just right. Still, it's a useful trick.

* * *

Sixth Sense was not that scary the second time around, 19 years later.

The scene that got me, the first time I saw it (in the theater when it was released) was when Cole's mother noticed the weird lens flare over Cole's right shoulder in every picture she had of him. That didn't particularly bother me when I saw it, but later that night when I went to bed, laying in my bedroom in my apartment in Cedar Rapids, it scared the shit out of me.

For two weeks after seeing that movie I slept with the lights on.

There was nothing in that movie that got to me except for that one scene, and as I said it was on a time delay; and on my second viewing 19 years later I reclassified it as "supernatural" rather than "horror" because while the entire movie centers on a kid's ability to interact with ghosts, it's really not a horror movie at all.

It is entirely probable that me having to sleep with the lights on was simply the result of an eerie moment in a movie giving my (at the time) undiagnosed anxiety issue something on which to focus.

My impression that it was an extremely good movie did not change. It's a good solid movie, and it withstood a second viewing, even knowing what the big twist is. The only reason I haven't watched it a second time was because--knowing the twist--I didn't place much priority on rewatching it. But it's a damned good movie even when you know what's going on.

I got a kick out of reinterpreting everything with the knowledge that Bruce Willis' character is dead almost from the beginning of the movie. All the scenes which give the appearance of him interacting with people other than Cole are sheer misdirection. The foreshadowing is not laid on too thick; it's just enough--and it works so very well that you don't realize you're being set up.

I haven't seen one movie from Shyamalan that was bad. I thought Signs was the least-good of them (and I haven't seen The Last Airbender) but I really liked Unbreakable. Split was good and I'm really stoked that it's sequel is also a sequel for Unbreakable. Really looking forward to that.

* * *

Saw a woolly bear caterpillar today. One end was black, maybe a quarter of the whole caterpillar; the rest was all brown. According to the folklore that means we should have a reasonably mild winter. We'll see how we do, of course, but the summer was so mild that I doubt winter will be extreme.

When I was a kid and someone would find one, they'd capture it and put it in a jar. Of course, the next time you looked in the jar it'd be in its cocoon. I always thought that was cause and effect: because it had been captured and hemmed in, it went pupate. But I realized that the fact is, you don't see the things until they are ready to cocoon up. When they're looking for a place to pupate, that is when they start going places they can do that.

This little guy is currently hanging out at the top of one of our porch pillars. I have to wonder if he'll make a cocoon there, or go somewhere else to do it.

* * *

Well, tomorrow is October 15th. Keeping my fingers crossed, metaphorically speaking.
3:06 am
#6384: What you hear is MAKI LICKING YOUR CRACKERS
Tonight was chili night. We ate chili, watched Sixth Sense, and had a grand old time.

Moved to the computer room for a blog post. We're both in here on our computers, when Mrs. Fungus hears noises coming from the family room.

"They're eating your chair!"

"Fine by me." But I got up to check; and saw Maki sitting on the coffee table next to the package of crackers Mrs. Fungus had left there, and I told her what was going on: today's post title.


* * *

Do these people not realize that one of the founding principles of their religion is that everything you do comes back at you threefold? If you "put negative energy out there", you will get three times the negative energy back. No tap-backs. I fail to see how you can redirect it.

"Do what thou wilt, an it hurt no one." You know? Putting a curse on someone just seems like a bad idea when you subscribe to the notion that you have the capacity to put a curse on someone, but doing so will result in you being cursed thrice over.

Well, none of that is my problem. And I doubt it's Kavanaugh's problem, either. "Armor of God" trumps that stuff.

* * *

Ernesto "Che" Guevara is one of those people who I cannot have any sympathy for, not even as a Christian. Like Fidel Castro, his death was a good thing for the world. I LOL:
So, for many, the question remains: how did such an incurable doofus, sadist and epic idiot attain such iconic status?
Well, essentially, because all Leftists are moronic shitstains nursing violent revenge fantasies against everyone who is more successful, more talented, more courageous, more intelligent, and more worthwhile human beings generally than they'll ever be.
Basically, that.

* * *

So, thinking about the economy of my SF universe, the one in which AV takes place, because I needed to get some things straightened out.

In my SF universe, most of the advanced worlds have a Universal Basic Income (UBI)--not because I believe in the grand idiocy of socialism, but because I believe that there comes a point in every industrial revolution where stuff starts being too cheap.

The situation we find ourselves in began in the 20th century, when industrial automation began to replace labor with capital. Thanks to lunatics like Jeff Bezos and the labor unions pushing for a ludicrously high minimum wage, the boundaries of what can be automated gets pushed ever forward--until presto, you can walk into a factory or a fast food restaurant where the only humans working there are there to maintain the robots.

This results, in the 2020s, in a massive deflationary spiral. The advent of fusion results in electrical power that's too cheap to meter, and a sudden discovery in how to do AI yields robotic systems that are a lot more robust than anything we can build now. (Not to mention, a few decades down the road, computers which can pass the Turing test.) Unskilled labor is now a thing of the past; you no longer need to pay someone to stock shelves or pick orders when you can pay $50,000 for a robot that can do it. (Yes, industrial robots cost a lot more than that right now. See above, "deflationary spiral", and remember that computers used to cost millions of dollars at a time when a dollar was worth something.)

The upheaval is world-wide, but when it's over, it is possible to provide every person on Earth with the basic necessities--food, water, shelter, clothing, medicine, communications--as a matter of course. In other words, everywhere on Earth, poverty becomes relative. No one starves, no one lives in a shed, no one goes barefoot. Thanks to the timely invention of a broad-spectrum vaccine, one shot does away with about 90% of the worst ailments plaguing Mankind. It turns out that a lot of cancers are caused by virii, and that one vaccination prevents them. There are still diseases and people still die of them, but it's much more common for someone to die in some kind of accident, or of simple old age.

During the upheaval government can't over-regulate, and none of this comes about because of government intervention. It just happens that "too cheap to meter" electricity means a lot of other things get cheaper, and the long-promised benefit of industrialization is finally realized once government and banksters are unable to get in the way.

The UBI is instituted only after things settle down enough that the people again become governable. Once the economy adjusts, people are able to pay taxes again, and do. The UBI comes about in part because the only reasonable way to keep production at some sane level is to tax it, and the revenue that results from that is distributed as a per capita stipend.

Production is cheap due to automation. Food, for example, is almost too cheap to charge for, or would be absent the production tax. And because robots don't ask for raises, there is virtually no inflation. It does not cost more to make 50 widgets instead of 1, and in fact it costs less per unit because it scales with volume. My factory can make a one-off for X, but it can make 500,000 for X+500000y, where Y is some extremely small number, and you can sell them for 1.5y and make scads of money on it.

So say I make one whatsit for $1,000; making half a million of them means $1,000 plus another $50 times 500,000, and then I sell them for $75 each--$25,001,000 is my cost but I make $37,000,000 on selling them, meaning my profit is twelve million dollars. Once my factory is programmed to make whatsits, it can make as many whatsits as you want, at a cost of $50 each, and you can sell them for whatever the market will bear--and there will never be a strike or a plague or anything. And if you saturate the market for whatsits, and want to stop production, then all I have to do is reprogram my factory to make something else. It's not magic; I can't take my whatsit factory and reconfigure it to make jet engines, but I could reconfigure it to make thingamajigs or doohickeys with very little modification.

Example: a factory which makes iPods could be easily reconfigured to make iPhones. A factory which makes sneakers could be reconfigured to make boots. But a factory which makes aluminum cans could not be reconfigured to make socks; it could be reconfigured to make saucepans or something similar.

Now multiply that across the gamut of industry. Industry, post-upheaval, is flexible in a way we can scarcely imagine now, and pumps out everything in such plenty that it's possible, for the first time in history, for everyone to be clothed and fed and treated and so forth without government putting guns to our heads and saying, "Give me 23.5% of what you earned last year, subject to these deductions according to the schedule referred to on line 87 of form 3293."

Under this system, there will still be people who have more than others. You can't escape that. Some people will be content to sit around and watch TV and live off the UBI. Others will go and do things and earn money. But poverty is relative in this society, exactly as it is in the United States in the early 21st century. The poorest man on Earth will live to be two or three centuries old, never miss a meal, and never have to worry about shelter or clothing. His access to the Internet will be unlimited and he never has to choose between medical care and having food--though most of his medical care will be delivered via machine rather than a human, and the food he eats will largely be synthetics (which are, it must be said, virtually indistinguishable from non-synthesized food). And thanks to the Internet access he can learn whatever he's capable of learning, or else he can just watch pron all day.

Entirely up to him.

"But what if he's an alcoholic and just buys booze?" Well, guess what? That's his choice, too. One thing this system has in spades is freedom. As long as you're not hurting anyone else, you can do whatever you want. But if you spend all your UBI money on booze and pot, and you don't have anything left for food? That's your tough luck. There are charities which may help you, but there is no government assistance. UBI is it and the government won't tell you how to spend it. Now, you are paying something for everything you receive; your rent is dirt cheap (as are the other necessities and services) but nothing is free.

In our dollars you might get $1,000 a month for UBI and rent on an efficiency apartment costs maybe $100 for a space that's about four meters on a side. Electricity is $50 for your non-metered subscription, so you can use as much as you like; ditto for your communications service, all handled via your PDA (you might buy a new one every other year for perhaps $200-$300). So after that, you've got $800 per month for everything else: food, medical care (there is no medical insurance; it's not necessary), transportation, and entertainment.

Everyone gets the same amount. It doesn't matter if that's all their income, or if they make $50,000,000 a year; everyone gets a UBI check every month. Further, this figure is per adult, starting at age 18; minors do not receive UBI. But considering the prices of basic necessities in this world, two adults can easily support several children with just their UBI.

But here's the funny thing: this all exerts a negative pressure on population growth. First-world countries don't have the birth rates of third-world countries, and that's partly because in third-world countries, sex is just about the only entertainment that's available. In this world, with all this going on, the popuation of Earth peaks at just under nine billion before it begins to decline, slowly; and after this regime has gone on for a few decades they figure out how to go faster than light, and start colonizing other star systems. That has a negligible direct effect on Earth's population, of course, but it does spread the human race across the cosmos.

Yes, it's a utopia, and yes, I'm deliberately skipping over a lot of the problems that would undoubtedly crop up. But I don't have to make it any more realistic than other SF writers made their utopias.

* * *

Dang, that one did go on. It's after 3. Time for bed. At least I can sleep in; it's Sunday!
Friday, October 12th, 2018
10:29 pm
#6383: ABC realizes how hard life is when you're stupid
"We didn't think it through properly," they bemoan. The replacement for the Roseanne reboot, The Connors, does not look like it's going to do as well as the show it replaces, because DUH.

A fiver says that ABC stockholders are asking, "And why, exactly, did you take so much of our money and wipe your ass with it before setting it on fire?", prompted by this ENTIRELY PREDICTABLE EVENT.

Let's face it: I am not the most promethean thinker out there, and if I can look at something and say, "This will all end in tears and you have only yourself to blame for it," you would think at least one of the high-powered, Ivy League educated, super-rich network executives would be able to say, "Hey--what's going to happen to our numbers if we do this?"

If I were Roseanne Barr, I wouldn't go back to ABC for anything.

* * *

That amounts to about $1.1 billion per month that it was open before they had to start repairs. New terminal opened in August. Two months later they find a crack in the main support beam.

...it took ten years to build the place, and it's coming apart already. Hoover Dam was built in half that time and it's still sound.

* * *

So, we had our brief indian summer this week. In 24 hours we went from AC to heating. Whee!

Today would have been a good day to stay home and hide under the covers, too--cold, dank, wet, dreary. Oh well.

Did a couple more pages on the novel today. Can't complain.
Thursday, October 11th, 2018
11:23 pm
#6382: It's EPIC!!!
Mrs. Fungus and I watched Halloween III last night, because she remembered it as being scary.

I did nothing to dissuade her, even though I knew better, because I figured that it would be good for wisecracks.

See, Halloween III--unlike Halloween and Halloween II--does not include Jason, the hockey-mask-wearing slasher in the slasher pic. No, the big bugaboo here is Silver Shamrock Halloween masks which have little grains of Evil Sacrifice Rock From Stonehenge (TM) in them, in circuits which are designed to react to certain audiovisual cues. When the ESRFS grain is activated, it turns the wearer's head into bugs and snakes.

The characters are all cardboard cutouts. The movie is dead boring. The only really good joke we got out of it was a reference to merkins that my wife came up with. Though at one point I made her laugh:
Female lead: "I'm going to find my father's killer!"
Me: "Sooo...do you think we'll be seeing your boobs in this movie?"

* * *

In order to experience true terror I expect to try watching 6th Sense this Halloween season. $5 says I have the same reaction to it that Mom had to Dracula.

See, she saw Dracula in the theater and was terrified. Then one night it was broadcast on TV, and she was all alone in the apartment (Dad was out and no kids yet) and she watched it...and wondered why she'd thought it was so scary.

Could be worse, though.

* * *

I am now convinced that NASA faked the Moon landings. I mean, it just does not get any more incontrovertible than that. I don't know if Stanley Kubrick, Megamind of the Universe, was involved, but I do know that there link lays out everything, and you just have to agree that it's so.

* * *

The F35. All grounded because of a faulty fuel tube. Standard procedure when an airplane crashes, of course.

* * *

Related: Ever since Boeing bought all its competitors there really isn't much incentive for them to be competitive. Remember that Boeing said they'd get to the Moon before SpaceX? Not at this rate, they won't. Elon Musk will be a corpse, laying on the regolith in a space suit with a gas cylinder tag tied to him*, before Boeing manages to get there. Shit.

* * *

"This is already old news" but I hadn't realized how incredible the story actually was.

This is that woman who broke up with her fiancee and cancelled her wedding and quit all her friendships and threw an enormous shit fit about it on Facebook because no one would pay for her $60,000 wedding.

My wife and I are very, very happy with our small, intimate wedding, done exactly the way we wanted. The only thing we'd change--the only thing--is that we would hire a professional photographer, and we would have had her parents come to it. Other than that? It's our story, it's romantic and charming, and we like it, and we didn't have to pay tens of thousands of dollars for it.

* * *

As usual, the bigotry is 100% fake. Because they can't find that kind of bigotry anywhere--the kind where people make threats and all--they have to invent it. Every time.

* * *

Hillary Clinton does not realize that her statement also applies to her side. I cannot be civil with someone who wants to take away my freedom of speech or right to keep and bear arms.

* * *

So, last night I watched ep 117 of Yawara! and I loved the hell out of it. Three reasons:

1) She stood up Kazamatsuri. Kazamatsuri is a player, a ladies' man. He is engaged to Sayaka Honami, Yawara's extremely rich rival, and that engagement has gotten him his job as president of Honami Travel, one of the biggest travel agencies in Japan. We periodically see him dealing with this or that girlfriend. But of course he really wants to get Yawara, who is entirely innocent of his woman-chasing ways.

2) She realized how she feels about Matsuda. Kousuke Matsuda is the reporter who discovered her, and he's in love with her, and all along she's had a fondness for him--and now she understands what's going on. The latter which being why she decided she'd get back into judo. She actually read the articles he wrote about her matches.

3) This image:

There's a sensation I get from certain scenes in anime, that I can best describe as "tugging at the heartstrings", but that's not exactly it. The thing is, though, that I'll watch anime and suddenly something will come along which is so perfect that I can't help but get pulled into the emotion of the moment. Nothing else does this to me. The last thing on American TV that got me like that, even once, was Joan of Arcadia, and that was fifteen years ago.

The episode built to that moment, and when it hit, it was perfect. Made me bust out into a big old grin and say, "Awww, yeah!" which is my usual reaction to those moments.

Seven eps left. Wahh.

* * *

Phone frustrations:

So, when I had the Jeep at Og's place to work on the axle, I plugged the phone in to the stereo's aux jack and had some music on while I worked. Sounded great. Last Saturday, on my way home, I did that again, and it sounded great.

Tonight, I did it, but about every twenty seconds the audio would break up and get all scratchy and distorted. *sigh*

It has to be something electrical, because unplugging the patch cord and plugging it back in will fix it, temporarily. What I don't understand is why it didn't do it the last two times, and did this time. Nothing was at all different.

Oh well.


* Heinlein, The Man Who Sold the Moon. Look it up.
Wednesday, October 10th, 2018
6:15 pm
#6381: It's consistent!
So, today I filled the Jeep up.

447.6 miles on 20.14 gallons--the short form is, it works out almost exactly to the same 22.3 MPG figure I got last time. It's actually 22.22 MPG, which is so damned close to the ballpark as to be within its parking lot, because the last figure was actually something like 22.28. We're good, there. Very good: that first figure wasn't a fluke.

* * *

Penultimate ep of season 3 of The Expanse is called "Delta V", because of what happens in like the last minute of the episode. When it happened, both Mrs. Fungus and I yelped.

* * *

Chicken tacos for dinner. Time to eat.
11:34 am
#6380: Well, that does for about half my "to-do" list right there
Raining. Looks like it rained most of the morning. The skies are still leaden, and more rain is promised later, which means I won't be cutting the grass or doing any of the outdoor stuff.

The pool does not look like it is emptying, but it is. I checked it last night and it has less than eight inches of water remaining in it. Getting it drained the rest of the way and taken down was to be one of today's chores, but I'm not doing that in the rain.

* * *

Illinois is the worst-run state in the union. Which is not surprising considering it's been Mike Madigan's personal feifdom since 1983.

* * *

Not surprising that Sears is preparing to file for bankruptcy. There are a lot of things wrong with Sears, and have been wrong for a long time, and it's so thoroughly ossified that rejuvenation is impossible.


* * *

Democrats torched his truck because it had a Trump bumper sticker on it. Because they're fascists.

* * *

Yep, that sky's looking like we're going to get more rain. Oh well.
Tuesday, October 9th, 2018
9:22 pm
#6379: You've got to be kidding me.
They're only "different" because it was Bill Clinton doing it. That's the difference. You see, the way the Democrats work is this: anything we do is PERFECTLY FINE. Anything the Republicans do is EVIL. Even if it's EXACTLY THE SAME THING WE DO.

By the standard that the left wishes to apply to Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh, Bill Clinton is a convicted rapist--except, of course, that those standards only apply to Republicans and never, never, ever to Democrats.

* * *

Looks like I need to find another bank. Fuckers.

* * *

Portland police just cede the streets to antifa. Because why not?

Starting to think I need to put some kind of cowcatcher front end on the Jeep, or at least make one and have it ready....

* * *

Monday, October 8th, 2018
9:53 pm
#6378: What in the hell--?
Wife texted me today: "There are wet circles on the ceiling in the fireplace room!"

Me: "Fan fucking tastic."

...because last roof went on maybe 20, 22 years ago, and who knows what's happened since then?

Got home, had dinner, put on my kneepads, and went up in the attic. I couldn't go up the easy way, which is via the garage--Buttercup is parked there--so I had to get the ladder, go up through the hatch in the hallway, and crawl over to that area so I could inspect things.

Dry as a bone. As the Sahara Desert. As something really dry, dried off by something really drier, then left in a vacuum for ten years and bathed in ultraviolet light just to make sure it was extra-extra dry.

There was no evidence I could see that there was any water dripping anywhere. You'd expect to see water stains, you know? Something showing that water had passed that way--and nothing, not even the barest hint. The dust wasn't even disturbed. Dry--and it rained this morning so I'd expect that if something was leaking, there'd be at least some damp patches. That attic is not so well-ventilated that it would dry off in twelve hours when the concrete outside is still damp.

But there were none.

...which leads me to conclude that it's not coming through the roof. What's happening is, the drywall is sucking up moisture, somehow, in just those few spots. The drywall, or maybe the spackling compound I got from Menards that I didn't like--maybe that's what it is. Something is absorbing water from the air, and the paint is porous enough that it just sits there, being all moist and looking like we have a roof problem.

So, at this point, not entirely sure what's to be done about it just yet. Obviously those patches will have to be redone, somehow, to correct the moisture-absorbing-and-retaining property, but I'm not sure what that is. Probably, have to wait for a good long dry spell this winter, and once those patches are 100% dry, slather some kind of sealing paint over them, and then repaint the entire f-ing ceiling. *sigh*

Could be worse. I literally thanked God it was just a drywall problem.

* * *

558 million years old. Possibly an example of the first animal on Earth. Really cool.

* * *

The crawling around in the attic was strenuous enough that I counted that as my exercise for the day. Maybe I'll do 20 minutes on the treadmill Wednesday or Friday. I haven't been, but I need to up my game if I'm going to get in anything approximating half-conditioned.

* * *

Jeep has turned in more high mileage figures. Kept driving the same way; I don't have the money to fill it up so I dumped in five gallons (and managed to hit 5.000 exactly!) and will fill up on payday, which is Wednesday, and simply add five gallons to the denominator of the equation.

But with the gas gauge flirting with having the low fuel light on, Jeep had 352-ish miles on that tankful. It's about 16 gallons to fill up from there; that's a little more than 22 MPG. If it was 17 gallons (which it almost certainly is not) we're a smidge shy of 21 MPG. I made a mistake and drove to work with the defroster on, when it wasn't necessary. Also, variability in when gas pumps shut off. Etc etc.

21 MPG is still 3-4 MPG more than I get when driving to work at 75 MPH and--as previously stated--the time saved by going that fast is a mere five minutes. Doing this, I can get four round trips to work on a tankful, instead of three. So, yeah.

It occurred to me, though: what do I do when I'm driving in a 70 MPH zone?

The speed limit, of course, in the right lane. What else?
Sunday, October 7th, 2018
9:18 pm
#6377: Ah, Sunday
Got up for a while, then went back to bed and slept another four hours. Set dinner to cooking, then washed the dishes, and now I have a few minutes to blog before dinner.

* * *

Mummy with a passport! Aaahh!

Any person, living or dead, leaving the country, must have a passport. Ramses II--although dead a very long time--is still a person, and so when they wanted to take his mummy to France for imaging etc, they issued him a passport.

Probably the envy of the pyramid crowd, wherever they are.

* * *

That this is Mike Pence does not surprise me. Ever since I first saw the "PENCE MUST GO" placards in peoples' front yards in Indiana, I knew he was someone to pay attention to. I expect this guy to run for President after Trump terms out, and I expect him to win.
In an unforgettable coup de grâce, Pence cheerfully waved to the motley crew of unruly leftists as he made his stylish exit.
...which is exactly how you deal with those freakshows: walk past them with a jaunty smile and show them you are 100% unperturbed by their nonsense. It infuriates them, and it shows other people what you think of your opposition, without having to say a word: "This is beneath my notice."

* * *

I could stand to sleep some more. Bedtime approaches, though. Tomorrow, I expect to be really hectic, like last week.

That's fine.
2:15 am
#6376: Need another one of these.
My favorite pic of Clarence Thomas:

Gonna need one of Kavanaugh now. Same wording.

I really am pleased as punch that Kavanaugh was confirmed. Even a couple of days ago I was certain he would not be.

* * *

I was thinking, the other day, about how memory is a funny thing.

In the late 80s or early 90s, a friend of mine (now deceased) made a joke wherein Ernie was showing Bert his latest aquisition:

B: What's that, Ernie?
E: It's a .357 Magnum, Bert!

...and after my friend told his funny tale, I seemed to recall seeing an episode of Sesame Street where Ernie did get a gun, a revolver (though not a .357 Magnum). I could see, in my memory, Ernie turning the thing over in his hands, until pween! there's a ricochet sound (absent the report of the gun going off) and--just as in my friend's joke--Bert's tuft of hair being blown off by the bullet.

To this day I can still see that whole scene in my head, the little humorous drama where Ernie got or found a gun--and even though I know such a scene never appeared on Sesame Street, I can still remember watching that scene. I remember thinking that the gun looked like a toy, but that of course they wouldn't show a muppet handling a real gun.

But Sesame Street would never do that--not even in the 1970s (or maybe "especially not")--because they'd never make light of firearms and wouldn't want to make a joke out of a negligent discharge, not even to show that guns are dangerous. Especially since you don't want kids to get the idea that guns are toys, ever.

If I were not inclined to be skeptical about the reality of this memory, I could easily pass a lie detector test about it. "Yes, I saw Ernie blow Bert's hair off with a negligent discharge."

Just saying.

* * *

By the way--

Recently there was a surge in the usual foo-raw about Bert and Ernie being gay, and I was pleasantly surprised by the response from the producers after one of the writers claimed they were gay.

I would expect, ordinarily, them to wholeheartedly endorse that nonsense. "It's a way for kids to learn that it's okay to be gay!" Bert and Ernie living together as gay men in a monogamous relationship, why, that's the kind of thing kids need to see so they don't grow up as homophobes!

But they didn't do that. They said that Bert and Ernie are friends, and that sex has nothing to do with it. ("...they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation.")

That is exactly 100% correct. There isn't any need for them to be gay. Or straight. Or anything. It's a kid's show, and sex doesn't figure in kids' worlds.

Or shouldn't, at any rate.

* * *

Cloudy and rainy all day. Cloudy now, but cool and dry. Damp weather predicted for the next few days.

Saturday, October 6th, 2018
8:30 pm
#6375: Episode # 111
Finally I got to see the scene I have wanted to see for twenty frigging years.

Back in my college days, and after I got into anime, I used to get Mangajin. That magazine's big deal was teaching Japanese by using comics, and one of the comics they often used was Yawara!

In one issue they were dealing with manners, things like "please" and "thank you" and "I'm sorry", and for one particularly formal apology they used a panel from Yawara! which featured Hanazono apologizing to Fujiko's parents for getting her pregnant.

I did not get to see any Yawara! until years later when I finally twigged to fansubs--at least two or three years after first seeing that panel--but when I got the first four eps of it I was instantly hooked and wanted to see more--and was eagerly anticipating that scene.

So I knew from the very beginning, long before Fujiko was introduced, that Hanazono was going to knock her up.

The saga played out here in the Fungus, where Y! went out of print in the fansub world because Animeigo bought the rights and were going to release all of it--only to fap around for too long, and after a long delay, release just the first forty eps (which I'd already seen as fansubs) and then crap out. Eventually the fansubbers picked it up again, and someone released all 124 eps of the TV series.

I was watching it in 2012, but then I got married and watching anime kind of...faded out. Because if you have a choice between doing something with your new wife, and sitting by yourself watching anime, which would you pick?

But of course, where I work, I have Saturday duty, which is 90% "stand and wait", so I started watching Y! again, starting at eps I didn't remember seeing but had definitely seen...and finally got to eps I hadn't seen before.

But today--today, that scene, with Hanazono bowing low, his forehead to the tatami and everything, thundering Moushiwake ja arimasen! ("There is no excuse"). And in fact I wound it back and watched that scene again, because I finally got to see it!

I ended up watching through ep 116 today, leaving off at the point where Yawara has quit judo and Fujiko and Hanazono got married and had the baby, and Fujiko is now training for the Olympics in Barcelona. I now have eight episodes left in the series.

I'm going to need to dig out my copy of the final movie, which I last watched in 1999 or 2000, because that sums everything up. Of course Yawara gets back into judo and goes to the Olympics.

Loving this series, too. Just loving it.
Thursday, October 4th, 2018
9:23 pm
#6374: Uh, no. Really--no.
This horseshit again.

CERN can't make black holes with their particle collider. There isn't enough energy present for that; we've talked about that one before.

So what about the other ones? The "strangelet" and the "fragile space-time"?

The notion is that a strangelet--a particle made with one or more strange quarks--would, if it contacted ordinary matter, cause it to become strange matter, and then on and on until the entire Earth had become strange matter, hyperdense and uninhabitable.

(Query: everything becomes strange matter. How could we know that hasn't already happened?)

In order for ordinary matter to become strange matter, it would have to give off energy in the process. Nothing happens in cascade like that unless there's a "downhill" to go to. It's not going to be a process that requires energy input, that's for sure. How much energy does it give off? Is it enough to cause the process to stop because the strangelets are now too energetic to remain in contact with normal matter?

I don't see it. The idea that ordinary matter is somehow more energetic than strange matter and can collapse into strange matter just sounds wrong to me. And you'd think it would have done so by now if it could, considering that the age of the observable universe is something like fifteen billion years.

"Fragile space-time"--if supernovae and quasars and all the other high-energy cataclysmic events we see across the universe aren't enough to cause a "four-fold crossrip" and end the universe, our frickin' particle accelerators sure as hell aren't gonna do it. Be your age.

* * *

As for me, tired.
Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018
10:45 pm
#6373: Ah! This!
So, it seems odd, but I have discovered something very important that you all need to know.

"Top sliced" hot dog buns are the way to serve hot dogs.

I don't really understand it all too well, but Mrs. Fungus bought Pepperige Farm top-sliced buns some time ago, and we're getting around to having hot dogs tonight, and this is the way to eat hot dogs.

No dripping condiments. The hot dog stays put in the bun. This really isn't a radical change from how hot dogs are normally served but it just seems to work better.

I mean it. Side-sliced hot dog buns are just wrong, and this way is right.

* * *

Og helped me with the failed U-joint on the Jeep today, for which I must take some of his time in Purgatory.

The funny part is, when I pulled the axle out, it was flopping normally; both axes moved easily. But once Og got it apart, the problem was obvious; one of the bearings had rusted so badly that I could not get the rust off, and the rollers had worn a shoulder into the bearing surface.

Og fretted a bit about the joint only having a two-year warranty. The factory original part lasted some 190,000 miles before failing, and I have my doubts about driving this truck that much farther. But I had to exchange it--the one I picked up the other week was the wrong one--and I think the guy who exchanged it for me just gave me the lifetime part, because this one had a grease fitting and the 2-year part did not. And this one was $17 as opposed to the other, which was $11.

Anyway, there's a task done. Now I just need to do all the other stuff....

* * *

While having a look at the front drive shaft, I happened to spin it and heard a trickling sound inside the transfer case. That worried me: it sounded awful thin, like water. So I grabbed my phone and looked it up; the transfer case uses ATF+4. For grins I checked the fluid level; it's pretty much up to the bottom of the top hole and it was pretty warm, which explains it sounding like water instead of oil.

We'll have to see how things sound tomorrow, I guess. Part of me wants to go through the thing and change all the fluids, at least in the differentials and the transfer case.

...yeah, just add that to the fricking list of shit I want to do to that truck:
Replace spark plugs
Front and rear brake jobs
Front end alignment
Install rearview camera
Repair exhaust system
Redo headliner
AND change lubricants in driveline

* * *

Incidentally, the Jeep got 22.3 MPG on its last tankful.


Amazing what you can do if you just slow the hell down, no?

* * *

Tax cheat. The guy who removed the toilets from his house so he wouldn't have to pay property tax ended up having to pay it back.

If you or I tried to cheat on our property taxes like that, our homes would be condemned and we'd go to jail. Welcome to the Peoples' Demokratik Republik of Illinoistan. "Some animals are more equal than others."
1:50 pm
#6372: Seriously?
Gas jumped from $2.75 to $3.10 in an afternoon because the price of crude oil went up. Story was that there was a big inventory draw that caused it.

Me: "WTF, the United States is the biggest producer of oil in the world. This is crap."

Now we're told that the price of crude oil is dropping because of a "massive surprise" increase in inventory.

The US needs to modernize its petroleum infrastructure so we can refine the stuff we produce. That way, we can withdraw entirely from the world crude market--at least as a buyer--and let those assholes go to hell in their own damned handbasket.

* * *

If you need to know why Illinois is such a shithole, you need look no farther than Mike Madigan. The state has essentially been run as his personal feifdom since 1983. That article explains how.

When I call it the Demokratik Peoples' Republik of Illinoistan, in an homage to how communist nations name themselves, I am not really exaggerating all that much. Because Illinois is not run for the benefit of the voters, but for the benefit of Mike Madigan and the Democrat Party.

...which is why it's on the skids the way it is.

* * *

Modem starts weird bleeping, wife says "We were attacked by China!" because there's a story on her phone.

So I put the TV on and find it's a test of the national alert system, and the "attack" my wife was talking about was when some Chinese skipper decided to bring his ship within 50 yards of a USN ship a few days ago.


As things are right now, China starting a war against the United States makes about as much sense as Canada starting a war with the US. Simple fact is that the prosperity that exists in China comes entirely from selling stuff to the United States, and if they go to war with us, a lot of their exports simply stop happening. Not the least because in a total war scenario even their civilian freighters become fair game.

Because so much of China's economy is built on export, without shipping, China suddenly has no income.

What do the people in "sock city" eat when they cannot even ship out the socks? And ditto for all the other cities that have cropped up around the manufacture of specific commodities? The Chinese government can support things for a little while, even without revenue, but eventually things collapse. And the economic news I hear from China suggests that their "booming economy" is rather hollow.

* * *

Today's job is to get the u-joint in the Jeep done. Og has graciously offered to help with the actual "changing u-joint" part but I need to get my duff over there and get the axle removed from the truck first.

So, off I go.
Tuesday, October 2nd, 2018
9:23 pm
#6371: 360 miles on a tankful
It's actually about 362 miles. Even if the thing takes 18 gallons to fill (it has never taken 18 gallons to fill it) that will still be 20 MPG I've gotten out of it.

And what magic did I do, to get my Jeep to get 20 MPG? Did I install all new spark plugs and change the oil and grease everything and do this and that and the other thing?

Nope. I did one thing only: limited my speed to 65 MPH on 294.

In fact I typically go slower than that; I'll get behind a truck that's going maybe 63 MPH indicated, and just follow him. That's a two-fer: not only do I get the benefit of reduced speed but the truck blasts a hole through the atmosphere for me, making it easier for the Jeep to maintain speed.

This is how I drove for years. I only stopped driving like that because the Jeep's front end would try to tear itself apart between 54 and 62 MPH, and every time I tried to go only 65 there'd be some shithead in front of me going 62 and I'd be right back there shaking like a guy with the DTs while a spot big enough opened up for me to pass the guy and get back up over 65.

It was easier just to get into the left lane and go. But since the death shimmy is gone, now I can go 55 MPH again without my front end coming apart.

Drag goes up as a cube of velocity, so even though the engine is only turning maybe 25% faster at 75 MPH (2500 RPM versus around 2000 RPM at 62-ish) the aerodynamic drag is what's sucking gas out of my tank, because that truck has the aerodynamics of a friggin' brick.

What's really cool is that I started with a hair less than half a tank Monday morning, and made it through two round trip commutes on that, and still have enough to get to a gas station tomorrow. Win.

* * *

Yesterday was insane. The last two hours were literally non-stop. Finish one call, another comes in--for two hours, bam-bam-bam, which never happens there. That was literally the busiest time I ever had in this job. When I got home I was exhausted.

...even so, Monday evening I came home and rested a bit, then washed dishes and got on the treadmill for 20 minutes.

Today was considerably more sedate. Still busy, but not as busy as Monday was.

This week is "customer service appreciation week", and today they fed us. Pretty good, too: antipasto, mostaccoli, italian beef and sausage. I stuffed myself--just one serving of each--and it was enough to keep me going until I got home even though I ate at about 11:30 and I usually don't have lunch until 2 PM.

But I've been adding to AV here and there, and not only did I pass 300 pages but I finally figured out where to split the story between part two and part three. About 186,000 words and counting. Yeesh.

...and part three, we get perhaps 3 or 4 pages in and blammo there's a sudden sneak attack by an unidentified ship. Writing this scene I started to go one way, then stopped, cut it, and redid it. The way it was going was NBG and anticlimactic, and I can't do another anticlimax so soon after the big war I'd set up fizzled out. No--this one's got to start out big, and continue big, and be big. Shit blowing up and people staying alive by the skin of their teeth and heroes doing the hero thing. Good old-fashioned promethean space opera.

That's the way to do it.
Sunday, September 30th, 2018
3:36 pm
#6370: How to know when someone is lying
My question is, does she remember this with the same clarity that she remembers it being Brett Kavanaugh?

Even if the event did take place in 1984, I'm skeptical that her parents spent $4,000 to buy her a cell phone, let alone paid for monthly service that had to cost a packet. Four grand was the price of a really good used car in 1984. (And a new Yugo, in 1985, was about that, and a new Hyundai XL, in 1986, was $5,000.) A cellular telephone was something that a doctor might have, depending on his specialty, and which high-powered executives almost certainly would use. Mobile phones were regarded as luxuries.

By the way, that cellular telephone there? That's the smallest they could make it in 1984.

Again, it is entirely possible that someone got on top of her and grabbed her and did all that other stuff (including, by the way, stopping when asked to) but it simply was not Brett Kavanaugh. I'm a bit skeptical that it happened at all, given that she didn't tell anyone at the time, continued going to parties, forgot completely about it for thirty years, and only remembered it when she realized that such a story could help prevent Brett Kavanaugh from sitting on the Supreme Court.

I think it's entirely possible that--until Mitt Romney's candidacy in 2012 raised the possibility that Kavanaugh would be appointed--if she remembered the event at all, it was in the context of, "Man, remember how nuts our parties were in high school? Ha ha ha! There was that time that guy got all handsy with me and I was all 'uh, hell no'! Remember? Man we got wasted that night."

* * *

Since when, exactly, is the ACLU "non partisan"? I've been calling the ACLU the "American Communist Liberals' Union" since I was fourteen, for fuck's sake. That was based entirely on their refusal to support the Second Amendment, which is one of those civil liberties, and it was obvious even then that they were anti-Christian. (In fact, that was my other, less-used monicker for them: "Anti-Christian Liberals' Union".)

The ACLU opposing Brett Kavanaugh does not surprise me. What surprises me is that they took so long to oppose a Republican nominee.

* * *

One of the things I do, if I have the ingredients, is to make "gol-danged quesadillas" the day after we have tacos for dinner.

Shredded cheese, tortillas, and the leftover taco meat--easy-peasy, tasty, and not too carb-heavy.

* * *

If, indeed, it should please the Crown... Property taxes are insidious and ought to be banned.

* * *

This is one of those "don't get me started" things.

The way we generate computer code these days is God-awful. In 1986 when I contemplated buying a 16-bit computer (eventually settling on the Atari ST) I was aghast that their operating systems were being coded in C. But that was about the time that the rot began to set in.

In the 8-bit era, if you wanted fast code you had to work in assembly; there just wasn't any other way. Typical clock speed for your 8-bit processor was 1 MHz and while you had a crapton more computing power than even a decade earlier, you didn't have anything to throw away, and even a well-written BASIC program was slow if you asked too much of it. (More on that in a moment.) And 8 bits of address space meant exactly 65,536 bytes of memory, and some of that was expended on ROM, and you needed memory for the screen, so under 48k of available RAM was typical.

16 bits gave you 65,536 squared bytes of memory, although only half a meg or a full meg was practical in an era when 32k chips cost two dollars apiece. But clock speeds were around 8 MHz and you had memory to burn compared with the 8-bit machines.

Suddenly it was no longer difficult to write software that ran quickly--because you could use a C compiler to generate a machine code executable. The program wasn't optimized; it essentially took chunks of machine language and pasted them together and made all the bits line up. It was faster than interpreted BASIC but the code it generated was bloaty because of all the stuff that linked in during compiling.

It worked, but a human could still generate machine code that worked faster and better and took up less room.

...and I'm going to stop there because I've got less than two hours before the sun goes down and that grass has got to be cut. Argh.
Saturday, September 29th, 2018
10:57 pm
#6369: Solar minimum
So, check this out.

The upper reaches of the atmosphere are cooling. If the atmosphere under that upper atmosphere were warming, do you think the upper atmosphere could be cooling?

The Laws of Thermodynamics say NO.

* * *

Saw somewhere that Trump's next likely nominee for the Supreme Court is a devout Catholic woman. Kavanaugh would only probably vote down Roe v. Wade, but she certainly would.

I admit to having mixed feelings about this. It's like, part of me wants to see Kavanaugh get borked so that I can watch the left lose its shit over this woman. But then I realize that Ruth Bader "Buzzy" Ginsberg isn't likely to toddle on much longer, and the liklihood that Trump will be replacing her, too, is inversely proportional. So--confirm Kavanaugh, and then wait.


* * *

Ha! Ha!!!


Mrs. Fungus and I love that one.

* * *

Haven't got much else to say tonight. At least today wasn't an exercise in frustration like Friday was.
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