June 6th, 2010

#2102: You do your job and let me do mine.

I queued Frexxed for a random and ended up in Deadmines. The first tank had to quit halfway through so we got another tank.

The first tank understood that the guy doing heals (me) wanted to keep his mana bar fairly high; and there were a few situations where it was good that I did: a couple of times the mob went to shit and I had to heal everyone (AND ran out of mana before healing myself).

The second tank was of the "I'm gonna pull everything and ignore the healer" type. When I finally yelled "I AM OUT OF MANA" he started arguing with me about it: "I can see your mana" and "You can still cast a couple heals."

After a bit of this, I finally said, "Fine. You heal it," and quit the group.

My only regret is that I should have said, "Fine. If you're such an expert, YOU heal it," instead.

Look: I understand that warriors and feral druids run on "rage", and that rage decreases with inactivity. But the decay rate is not very high, and I was asking for twenty seconds, not an hour. Not even a minute.

Besides, the only reason I had as much mana as I did was that I had quaffed a mana potion in order to heal his stupid ass after I had already requested a mana break twice.

And who do you think would be bitching the loudest if I ran out mana, couldn't heal him, and he died?

It really comes down to this: don't tell me how to do my job. I need mana to heal and I want to top up any time my mana bar drops below 50%. If we finish a fight and I've got less than 25% mana, to me that says "RELOAD NOW," especially when the tank has already demonstrated that he's not paying attention to anything but the neon sign in his brain that flahses "KILL KILL KILL" every 30 seconds.

I wonder how long they had to wait for another healer.

* * *

Scott Angell predicts more economic doom-and-gloom. There's no wishful thinking or pie-in-the-sky here; it's all sound reasoning.

Who would wish for a bad economy? Other than Democrats during a Republican administration, I mean?

* * *

The people of Arizona have finally figured out that John McCain is a country-club Republican. McCain is doing his best to run as far right as he can, but I don't know how many people are fooled by this.

It would be wonderful if this were the year we got rid of as many RINOs as possible. I don't know how we'll do in November, but hopefully we elect a strong conservative majority, rather than a tepid "Democrat-lite" majority like we had 2001-2006.

...as long as we're using the beer analogy, tepid and flat.

* * *

Wanting something a little different from the Chinese place, I got sesame chicken last night. It's basically the same dish as General Tao's chicken, only with a different sauce.

It is just as delicious as GTc is. I ate too much.

* * *

...speaking of eating too much, something strange has happened: I have more energy.

My Dad--back when he was a few years older than I am now--ate big meals and invariably got acid indigestion when he went to bed. I remember him always having Alka-Seltzer around, back when it came as a stack of about 40 tablets in a glass vial with a screw lid.

Then his doctor told him to lose weight, and he started dieting. He wasn't eating as much at meals, cut out excess calories, and stopped eating before he felt full...and the acid indigestion vanished.

Yesterday morning there were no leftovers which interested me and I didn't want McDonald's, so I cooked a farm breakfast. But only one potato rather than two, and I swabbed nearly all of the bacon grease from the pan before starting the potatos.

Though halfway through eating I realized adding a potato means I should have only one egg (I'd cooked two) I ate the whole thing...and still felt hungry afterwards, though the hunger subsided after a little while.

I had breakfast expecting to feel sleepy and want to go to bed...but I wasn't tired. Before eating I felt as I normally do after an all-night computer session, and figured, "Once I eat, it's 'lights out'. As usual." But that's not how it worked out; I was up and doing stuff (mostly reading) until after noon. I hit the bank and the grocery store, running a couple minor errands, and then putzed around for four hours before I went to bed (and I still wasn't feeling hungry).

It seems counter-intuitive to me, that less food should lead to more energy, but when you eat a big meal your body has to digest it, and that means the blood is routed more towards the digestive organs, which makes you feel sleepy.

It's the best theory I've got. Nothing else explains it.

It's not just that; it's how well I've been sleeping over the past few days. I've woken up feeling good. I don't know how or why this is happening, but if it's at all related to my attempt to limit my intake, then it's the best and timliest positive reinforcement I've ever gotten for anything.

...I should shut up.

* * *

Friday when I took Mom to the doctor's office, I hit the bookstore. I had a coupon for 30% off one book, plus $5 worth of "Borders bucks", so after buying three books my total was $21.08. Not bad. I got:
The Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya
Spice and Wolf
Ichigo 100%
I had been looking for the Haruhi book every other time I went to the bookstore and had not seen it. My error was in looking for "The Sigh of" next to "The Melancholy of".

I'm a fool! Here I thought two books by the same author in the same series would logically be shelved next to each other, but of course everything must be shelved in perfect alphabetical order!


(pun intended)

..."Sigh of" was in the "S" section and "Melancholy of" was (of course) in the "M" section. I believe these are the only two in current release here (and if I'm wrong, kindly tell me).

I briefly considered buying two volumes of Ichigo 100% but once I saw the Haruhi book I put #9 back and grabbed "Sigh". (It's released as Strawberry 100% here, which is why it's in the "S" section rather than the "I" section. That, at least, makes sense.)

That probably means I have not yet given up on Ichigo 100%. This one's not as hard for me to read as some of them were. My biggest irritation with the story is Junpei's inability to choose from the women surrounding him, and there's nothing else to the story.

Tenchi Muyo! and Ranma 1/2 remain on my top-five favorites list because they are good stories with great characters. TM! is a science fantasy story wrapped in a layer of harem comedy; Ranma is a martial arts comedy wrapped in a layer of harem comedy. The "harem" part is not the sole focus of the stories being told; it's an element.

The problem with Ichigo 100% is that it is 100% harem story. There's not enough humor in the harem situation to call it a "comedy" and Junpei is surrounded by really pretty girls who all love him--and he refuses to choose any of them, inadvertently stringing them all along. Yet the story is a comedy.

What it most puts me in mind of is I"s, to be honest. It has that feel; it's much the same kind of story, in fact. (That was a really good story, though the ending was a disaster. When you watch the OVA and say, "Geeze, that ending was a 'Gainax train wreck'!" and then discover to your dismay that's how the manga ended...argh.) At least I"s didn't try to make the harem aspect funny; it was a source of drama.

Ichigo 100% was done by the same artist who gave us Hatsukoi Limited, which was good. But that wasn't a harem story.

I guess I haven't completely figured Ichigo 100% out. I'm still sporadically buying the books, so I still have some interest in the story and characters. If I were rating it on the "four-star" system I'd give it a solid "2.5" just because of that; the art is solid and the characters are likable. It just needs some more pizazz.

(Points taken off for weird-looking characters. One of Junpei's friends--I can never remember the guy's name and I just call him "Heat Miser" because of his spiky orange hair. Can't stand that character design one little bitty bit. It doesn't help that the guy's a moron.)

* * *

Last night we had some severe weather. Well--we did not; nearly all of it hit farther south. There was a tornaodo down somewhere in (I think) Kankakee county.

Then, about 1 AM, I checked the weather site and noticed that the temperature was near 60° and the dewpoint was 57°, so I checked outside and it was cool and dry, and the air was from the north.

Feeling like an idiot with too much access to technology--checking the temperature outside by using the Internet first, instead of just sticking my fool head out the door!--I shut the AC off and opened windows...and proceeded to sleep pretty well despite cats jumping into the windows and the fan making the occasional "my bearings are going bad" squeak.

The typical box fan you buy at Wal-Mart for eleven bucks uses sintered bronze bearings in the motor. The bearings are greased and then installed, and they have a decently long run life without being heavy-duty or prohibitively expensive. (How long do you expect a $11 fan to last?)

But the motor shaft is steel, and steel wears out the bronze bearing, sooner or later.

...only recently have I awakened to the cornucopia of stuff you can buy at the The Ace hardware store near here. The need to buy various fasteners, over the past couple of years, has led me to realize that down the fastener aisle, with its arcane stacks of tiny drawers, there is just about everything you need to fix anything. Every time I need something I spend just a few moments looking at the lables on the boxes, and I've found all manner of things I wouldn't expect to be sold by the piece anywhere but specialty stores or jobbers.

Including, I might add, sintered bronze bearings. I might be able to put new bearings in and extend the life of this otherwise-excellent fan a few more years.

...if I had the ability to machine metal, I could buy bearings from the hardware store, machine them to work with my rocking chair, and replace squeaking bearings whenever I need to. They have the right type, but they're not tapped for the bolts nor are the sides fluted. Otherwise they're perfect.

I could build about 90% of a seriously kick-ass go-kart using only materials bought there. A few things I'd have to go elsewhere for (seat, steering wheel, pedals, steering gear, etc) but the frame, engine mount, rear axle, wheels and tires--most of the thing could be built using materials from that store. I lack only money and will.

* * *

Yesterday, on the way back from errands, I saw something so funny that it's a good thing I was already slowing the car down. I might have caused a wreck otherwise.

I saw some small animal run at full speed into the roadway with something fluttering behind it. "What the hell...?" I wondered. It took me a moment; then I realized that what I was seeing was a squirrel being chased by a sparrow.

The squirrel's tail was straight up as it ran, and the bird was harassing the thing. The squirrel paused and the bird landed on him; then he ran again and the bird hopped off as the rodent accelerated out from under it. The bird collected himself and lit out after the squirrel again, which ran under a parked car and hid.

I don't know what the hell that squirrel did to that sparrow, but man was that bird mad.

...I had started laughing as soon as I realized what was going on, the kind of laugh where you can't do anything else. Fortunately I had to wait for some traffic, because that gave me time to calm down a bit before I had to move the car. And I was still laughing hard as I parked the car in the driveway at home.

O Lord was that funny.

#2103: The old machines are still alive.

This Fiero forum thread starts off with a post about the company using the Commodore and making computers.

They offer all-in-one machines, with your choice of OSes (including Ubuntu or Win 7). "Phoenix"--how appropriate.

Look at all the machines you can use to run a C-64 emulator!

Look at all the stuff you can get for the old Atari systems!

...if I were still into that level of tinkering with computers I'd probably be all over it.

* * *

The White House has battled back, releasing a timeline of events showing that Obama was briefed--and deploying the Coast Guard--within 24 hours of the Deepwater Horizon blowout.

What has not been previously disclosed: The president was not only briefed on the real-time events of the spill, but also on just how bad it would be—and how hard it would be to plug the hole.
So Obama knew.

Ms Scalia goes on to say:
Hey, America, I knew it was hopeless, and I couldn’t change anything, so I couldn’t see the point of accepting the help of 17 nations offering their technology and their expertise in attempting to contain the damage as much as possible; no point in even attempting to use supertankers to try to remove as much oil from the surface as possible, even if they have to do it for months.

Hey, America, I knew it was bad, so there was no sense in telling you anything, or in helping Governor Jindal try to protect the marshlands and coasts of Louisiana.
Yeah. I could link the things Ms. Scalia links; but rather I'll just say go read. I can wait.

But if Obama fucks off and does nothing about it, then the Democrats have a massive ecological crisis and can tell the American people: "See? See? This is what happens when you drill for oil offshore! Do you want this to happen again and again?"

The ecological disaster gives them all kinds of pictures and video footage of ecological damage to show whenever anyone says they want to start drilling for oil. "Look at what happened in the Gulf of Mexico because we were drilling for oil! We simply cannot tolerate this kind of ecological damage!"

You think they won't? Price of energy, the functioning of the economy be damned--this spill was tailor-made for Democrat energy policy and they're going to milk it for everything it's worth. The worse the spill is, the better it is for Democrats.

The press sure as hell doesn't give a rat's ass about the ecological damage which is occurring precisely because Obama is purposely sitting on his hands. They're going to do their damnedest to insure Obama is insulated from the issue because he is their guy.

* * *

But I have to comment about one of her links: "Obama fails the test of leadership."
Obama’s detached performance with respect to this massive and growing crisis — the ripple effects of which could still be with us on Election Day 2012 — is generally portrayed as a PR meltdown and a simple failure to step up by an understandably beleaguered Obama.

“It’s impossible not to feel sorry for President Obama,” writes Maureen Dowd in The New York Times, “pummeled by the cascading disasters, at home and abroad.”

Well, it’s possible.

Obama’s failure to convey any hint of genuine emotion, to rouse the American people to turn their hearts toward the Gulf and to assure them that their world — still built on the plentiful supply of fossil fuels — is not falling apart, is a profound failure of leadership.

Instead of offering reassurance, the president is using the crisis to promote his political agenda, hankering for alternative energy and climate change legislation in Congress — though there won’t be any significant replacement of carbon-based power sources for years to come.
"Understandably beleaguered"? What's he "beleaguered" with? Jughead took a vacation right in the middle of the damn crisis we're talking about.

I don't feel sorry for Obama. He's got the job he wanted, and guess what? It's not a freakin' bowl of cherries. The President has long hours and a lot of responsibility (at least, when he doesn't shirk it as Obama did this past Memorial Day!) and half of the perks he's got are there merely because his time is invaluable.

* * *

Considering that my first name is "Edward" this wouldn't bother me at all. I do take umbrage with my name being co-opted for a faggy pseudo-vampire pedophile, though.

* * *

Another "Failbook" post, and this one is just sad. "I just found out that one of the guys I had sex with over Christmas break is HIV positive."

SO: you had sex with more than one partner in, what, a 2-week period? Judging by the use of the term "hooked up" you had casual sex with these partners? AND judging by the freakout, you had unprotected sex with them?


And you're surprised that you were exposed to an STD?

Oh, yeah, sex education really works well, doesn't it? I mean this girl was clearly well-equipped to understand the risks of promiscuous and unprotected sex, wasn't she?

(I know, I know: just because someone is taught something doesn't mean it sinks in.)

The real tragedy of this is how preventable it is. Condoms, bitch!

Do you know why our culture used to frown on extra-marital sex? Why so many cultures have that custom, at least to begin with? Because these policies prevent unwanted pregnancies and the spread of disease, that's why. It's not perfect, but no system is; and it certainly worked well enough to persist for centuries.

The most tragic thing about the sexual revolution is that it has ruined more lives than it has enhanced.

* * *

It's amazing how quiet it is when you don't have two 20" box fans running at full speed.

This house is a ranch house, and was originally designed with a full basement. The problem was, the roof was designed with a "modern" (1960s' modern) twist: the crest sloped from front to back. The peak of the roof was higher in front than in back.

Dad didn't like that element--everything else was fine--and since the house was being built to suit, he had it changed. (Which is good, because that would have looked like utter ass.) The expense of having an architect alter the plans meant something had to go; and that "something" ended up being the full basement. There is a core area which is basement; but under the bedrooms and dining and living rooms is crawl space.

The problem is, the ventilation of this room suffered because of it. With the furnace blower running, you get a whisper of a breeze from the vent.

I don't know how or why this is. There's got to be a problem with the routing or something, but I've never been in the crawlspaces. I don't feel like mapping out how the ducts are arranged. And even if I did know, there would be approximately bupkis I could do about it. But no matter what you do--no matter how many other vents you close--this room gets only a little of the HVAC system's output.

In winter it's not such a problem. It's cooler in here than the rest of the house, but I just put on sweatpants and a sweater and I'm fine, most of the time. (During really cold snaps I may wear a hat.)

In summer it's a problem if I'm on the computer. And guess where I spend my free time?

...so I have a fan in the hallway blowing cool air into the room and the fan by my bed, both running, when it's hot and the AC is on. It keeps it livable in here but Lord is it noisy.

The other option is to take a smaller box fan and put it over the register; that helps draw air through the duct and into the room. But a 20" fan won't fit there because of how the furniture is arranged, and you can't get smaller box fans any more. (Except tiny 8" ones. I had one; its motor died after serving in that role last year. *sigh*)

The fan noise is white noise and it's easy enough to ignore, at least consciously...but oh boy when I can shut them off, I feel relieved.

* * *

Of course, then my cat's incredibly loud grooming gets on my nerves. This cat makes more noise grooming herself than any cat I've ever encountered. Cripes.