December 4th, 2007

#751: The double-click mouse, and other hazards

My new-in-March mouse has succumbed to the furies of Diablo 2.

D2 is a clickfest; this I know. The previous system--the Gateway P3 system I bought in May of 2001--never needed a replacement. Ever, despite the fact that I played a lot more D2 on that system than I have on this one.

Symptoms? This mouse has abruptly started double-clicking things for me, at random, when I am pretty sure that I am single-clicking them.

So, it looks like I'll have to go get me a new mouse. Which is just as well, because I am not all that enamored of this one anyway.

I could call Gateway and ask them to send me a new one, but I won't, for three reasons:

1) I would get an exact replacement, which I'm not all that thrilled with.
2) I am still waiting for a replacement case fan I asked for in May.
3) Inevitably I would have to go through Tech Support, and the procedure required to convince them that it is actually the mouse that's the problem would be egregiously stupid and painful. ("Okay, I've completely formatted my entire fucking system and the mouse still doesn't work right." "So, all right, let's try upgrading the drivers again." "I am so going to kill you all.")

(The case fan was to solve an intermittent noise issue, so it's not critical. Most of the time it's quiet, and yes, it's working.)

I would use the old mouse, but around the time I got this system it started behaving badly, convincing me that it's no longer usable. Well, it lasted a couple months shy of six years; that's not too bad, considering.

* * *

Dinner tonight--well, Monday night--was a can of Campbells "Oodles of Noodles" chicken noodle soup.

It wouldn't come out of the can.

The can was literally packed full of noodles. I have no idea how the hell they managed to do that and leave room for condensed soup stock. One can of water made soup of about the right consistency, though, and it tasted about right. But damn, they weren't kidding about the "oodles" part.

* * *

If I turn on the water in the tub to just a trickle, my cat Luna will play in it. She'll bat at water drops, and try to catch them, and play and play until her face is wet. Wet! And I bet she'd keep on playing if I didn't shut the water off before leaving the bathroom.

If I take a hot soaking bath, she'll get into the water once it's drained to about 3" or so and wade around in it. When the little funnel whirlpool appears in the drain, she'll bat at it. She'll get out of the tub when the water's gone, legs and feet dripping wet, as if she doesn't have a care in the world.

I think my cat is defective. Or maybe no one ever told her she was not supposed to like water.

* * *

It's supposed to snow today; we should get in the area of two to four inches. We'll see, of course. I won't believe it until I see it; I have a JEEP and a SNOW BLOWER!

The other day--Saturday afternoon--Mom lit a Glade scented candle; and a few minutes later it started snowing. She blew the candle out about 40 minutes later, and the snow turned to sleet.

We are powerful. Fear us.

* * *

I just finished my first can of Vault since Sunday afternoon. Boy did it taste good. Now back to Gatorade.

* * *

I finally got to see the season premiere of Smallville. Of course, having seen other episodes of this season I already knew how things shook out, but it was nice to see Bizzaro in action.

What's interesting about this season of Smallville is that they hint that the points made in Niven's essay Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex are at least partly correct. It is strongly implied that Clark can't have sex with Lana--or anyone who doesn't have Kryptonian powers--because of, well, his super-spooge.

Niven's essay suggests that when Superman ejaculates, it would come out at some appreciable fraction of the speed of sound, possibly multiples thereof. "Lastly, he would blow off the top of her head," was how Niven put it.

When Lana acquires copies of Clark's powers, the first thing they do is run off somewhere and have sex, which causes local earthquakes and other unsettling events. Score one for Niven, I guess.

Clark would have had a hard time hiding his pubescent self-exploration from his parents, I think. "I was playing with myself and shot the dog!" or some such....

Or:
BLAM
"Clark! What was that noise?"
"Uh...nothing..."
"Why is there a hole in the roof over your bed?"
"Uh...I don't know...."

There's a myriad of jokes there.

* * *

I think I'm going to send my niece a copy of Kaze no Stigma once I'm done with it. I get the feeling she'd like it.

I would give copies of this stuff to my other niece, but she shows absolutely zero interest in anime these days.

Niece #1 lives in Maine, on a farm. Niece #2 lives in a very affluent suburb of a major city. #1 likes anime and D&D and fan stuff; #2 is more into--

...

Well, into the stuff that girls from affluent suburbs are usually into. ..?

I don't even know what those things are.

Girl stuff, I guess.

*sigh*

#752: The Pot and the Kettle

Hillary goes after Obama. Problem is, the flaws she points out in him are ones she also has.

"Hillary Rodham Clinton suggested Monday that Barack Obama has too little experience and perhaps too much ambition...."

Clinton: Two-term senator with no prior governing experience. Obama: was a state offical before becoming a US Senator. Tie!

"While her husband Bill was president, she said, 'we created' millions of new jobs during the 1990s."

"We"? "WE?" What did Hillary do?

"...'Entrust our country to someone who is ready on day one ... or to put America in the hands of someone with little national or international experience, who started running for president the day he arrived in the U.S. Senate,' Clinton said."

What "national" and "international" experience does Hillary have?

I know what her theory is: since she and Bill were "co-president"--something which is not supported by the Constitution--she has "experience" that Obama does not.

I don't know who's stupid enough to buy that nonsense. I really hope that Democrats are not stupid enough to accept that crap at face value.

* * *

Drunkard steals plane. To impress his girlfriend. Yeah.

"Look, baby, I can fly a plane!"

Of course, he stole an airplane which was in for repairs, which probably saved his life, because if he was drunk enough to think that stealing an airplane in order to get some sex was a good idea, he was probably too drunk to land the freaking thing.

...he's had so many DUIs that his driving priveleges have been revoked for life, and he drove a car to the airport. (His girlfriend couldn't have driven?)

What an asshat.

* * *

An apology from baby boomers. If only it was more than one of them realizing these things.

Oh well.

#753: Assortment

Abbreviations can be entertaining. At work someone has preserved a box label which informs the reader that the box contained "Barnyard Animal Ass".

Yeah, it was from the toy department. Go figure.

* * *

I can never keep orbital motion with respect to the ground straight in my head. Put a space elevator near the Galapagos Islands, above the equator--more or less--and a proper orbit will keep the Earthside terminal right on the equator.

But if you want to have the terminal at some minor latitude, plus or minus, then what?

It should oscillate with a 24-hour period--+L° to -L°--with a maximum rate-of-change as it passes the equator in either direction. It will "dwell" a bit at the extremes.

I can never keep that straight.

Depending on what you use for a cable, you should be able to park the upper terminal over the equator and tether the bottom end where you want it. That'll cause some side loading, but as long as you're not building the thing at the limit of what your materials science can handle, you should be able to manage it. The side loading would (should) be a minor fraction of the total tension that the cable can handle.

"Where you want it", by the way, is not to exceed about 10° latitude in either direction. Let's not be crazy.

I think you could get away with this by adjusting the height of the upper terminal's orbit--park it a little farther out so its angular velocity matches that of the lower terminal--but I'm not entirely certain. Within a certain range of latitudes it wouldn't really matter.

...that's about all the "big thinking" my still-sick brain can handle today.

* * *

Now it's not supposed to start snowing until evening and the total expected accumulation has risen. I'm still skeptical.

* * *

I got to see Crete's Christmas parade in 2004 and enjoyed it. We've had an assortment of stupidity here but so far they're managing to do "small town Christmas" correctly. Of course, for the antique capitol of the "Chicago Southland" (still hate that term) Christmas is a must; if the politically correct nonsense gets its foot in the door here, a lot of small businesses will be most unhappy.

I guess we're fortunate in that Crete isn't the kind of place the PC crowd likes to hang out. There's no Starbucks here--none, not-a-one, not even a facsimile; Crete doesn't like franchise chains--the McDonald's is 'way out on the edge of town, out by I-394, and didn't exist before 1990 IIRC. The only long-lasting arcade the town had closed because it's at the north end of about a mile of highway with no sidewalks, no way for anyone who can't drive to get there.

There is no night life here. There are two real bars, separated by about a mile of Route 1, plus a "restaurant with bar" across from the police station. There are no trendy hangouts.

No, pretty much anyone who would be likely to complain about Crete having a "Christmas" parade would be bored to tears trying to live here and make life difficult for the rest of us. That would serve 'em right, too.

* * *

Interestingly, I never once thought of Crete as being "boring". I heard people describe Cedar Rapids as boring, too. I guess if you have an active imagination and are able to entertain yourself, no matter what's outside the house, you find things to do with your spare time.

I like living in a boring town. I really do. You want excitement? Go live in Detroit. That'll be exciting enough for anyone. I'll take "boring" any day of the week. At least I can take out the garbage without worrying about getting mugged or something.

* * *

The hunger reflex is back. I want food for dinner, not liquid. We'll see. I've tolerated two peanut butter sandwiches today, so far, and I had cup ramen for breakfast. Gut is still on the unstable side but much of the crampiness has subsided, I think.

* * *

I don't even know what I'm doing out of bed, to be honest. I got up to use the bathroom; then I had a sandwich, and now I'm blogging. WTF.

* * *

LiveJournal went and added "Adult Content" tagging. The three tiers are: "No adult content", "adult concepts", and "Explicit adult content".

When did they add that? Why do I care? If you read the Fungus, you real all the Fungus, baby!

* * *

Somewhere along the line I discovered that many declarative statements made in commercials make perfect sense even if you add "...or we'll kill you!" to the end of them.

Not going anywhere for a while? Try a Snickers. ...or we'll kill you!
Try new Pepcid AC. ...or we'll kill you!
Call [any fricking phone number in any ad ever] today! ...or we'll kill you!

It's almost like they're threatening us. I think something has to be done.

And really you can make any threat work. "...or we'll beat you senseless, rape your cat, and steal your sacred writings!"

* * *

"Ed, WTF? 'Steal your sacred writings'?"

In Mika Waltari's The Egyptian that comes up as a consequence of war or civil strife or something--all kinds of bad stuff plus "their sacred writings were stolen".

In The Untouchables, when Capone gets pissed off at Ness and says he wants Ness dead! he wants his family dead! he wants his house burned to the ground! and he wants to go over there at midnight and piss in the ashes! my friends didn't thing that was good enough.

"I want his dog run over by a car!" One friend said. Then I got into the act: "I want his favorite meal cooked and burned!"

...and then I found the quote from The Egyptian and I added that one to the list: "I want his sacred writings stolen!"

Waltari wrote a total of four books which were kind of an epic about religion, sort-of. It starts with The Egyptian; then there is The Etruscan, The Secret of the Kingdom, and The Roman. Waltari came from a family of clergy; he was the "black sheep".

But they are fascinating reconstructions of the cultures as they were understood in Waltari's time, which probably is not all that inaccurate. I've noticed that present-day discussions of ancient cultures assume that politically correct notions are "proven", but I doubt that's the case.

* * *

...how sad is that? I prefer 50-year-old science to the cutting-edge stuff, just because the cutting-edge stuff has been "informed" by Marx and Engels and a host of goons who think it's more important to minimize the white male's role in the history of western civilization.

I'm not kidding; when you have people talking about physics and mathematics being "racist", there is something seriously broken--and with the people who say that, I mean.

* * *

"All of Western Civilization is just a footnote to Plato." Someone told me that once. Who was Plato? A white male.

* * *

Of course, if our entire culture had instead come from Africa, all else being equal, these idiots would be bitching about how the culture of "dead black males" had enslaved the entire planet, rather than "dead white males". If it had come from China, "dead yellow males". Mars? "Dead green males." It doesn't matter--these are people who are anti, and if everything switched to what they liked tomorrow, the day after they would be bitching about something else.

It has nothing to do with "justice" and everything to do with "sticking it to the man", "questioning authority" and generally trying to remain rebellious adolescents approximately forever.

These are idiots who were brought up in an environment of plenty--who were so spoiled it wasn't even good enough for them when their parents literally got them the Moon!--and who know nothing but criticism and destruction.

* * *

Yeah, I should go back to bed now.