October 18th, 2010

#2357: What's the point of this?

I have three links that are depressing and one which anyone with half a brain predicted:

Vox Day, "Fixing the mortgage fraud."

His blog, with addenda to the above.

Dollar declines for the fifth consecutive week. The fed is trying to take money out of the economy, and it's doing it by buying treasuries, and it's causing inflation. Big surprise.

Multiculturalism fails.

* * *

...but none of these have really inspired me to write a lengthy screed on any of these topics.

The entire issue with mortgage fraud--it's a big problem and it's not going to be dealt with properly. It's not going to be dealt with properly because the consequences to the American economy would be disastrous, and no one wants to preside over that. But despite the best efforts of the establishment to gloss over the fraud and abuse, the chickens are going to come home to roost sooner or later; and the longer they stave off the collapse, the worse it will be.

Blah.

* * *

In 2002, around the time I was getting seriously into Fieros, there was some kind of flame war erupting on the Fiero forum over something or other. And one post--one line of one post--sticks out in my memory because of the non sequitur it represented.

The guy was giving a reasoned, point-by-point response to everything this other guy had said; and when he got to the pewnultimate point, he refuted it...and then finished by adding, "...you fucking ass goblin."

I laughed out loud at that; and "ass goblin" stuck in my head as a marvelous insult. And there's some commercial on WLS-AM that--whenever I hear it--leads me to mentally add "...you fucking ass goblin" to whatever they're saying. I think it's a political ad; so when the election season is over this is likely to stop happening.

But it's pretty funny.

* * *

Maybe I'll check out some of the series Wonderduck is watching. I looked at the list of fall anime and wasn't particularly interested in any of it, save Index II and Arakawa Under the Bridge X Bridge. But Wonderduck makes some of those series sound more interesting than they seemed to me before. We'll see.

* * *

I have no energy or enthusiasm today. Did I use it all up yesterday?

Og invited me to go to the Indianapolis gun show with him and Partner next week; I demurred, because one requirement for attendance was getting to Og's house around 5:30 AM and I've got a busy week this week.

Driving (riding while someone else drives, rather) a total of 4-5 hours to look at guns--when I've got no money--seems a bit much.

Well, it would be nice to socialize and take a day trip, and the company would certainly be good; and I might even have a chance to see Rich's Mustang...but I can't seem to work up any enthusiasm for the idea.

Hell, every year around this time a friend of mine in Iowa has a hell of a Halloween party. I've gone to a couple of them and they're tons of fun, and I couldn't go 2005-2008 because of work. Yet I haven't made the effort to contact the guy and say, "Hey, invite me!" because I don't want to drive all that way. (Last year or this year.) I could stay with another friend, so all I'd have to pay for is gas and food--yet I'm approximately "blah" about it. I could go for several days--even make a four-day weekend of it--and wouldn't have to drive 250 miles twice in as many days. (As was the case with playing D&D every other Saturday in 2004.) Even though I haven't seen any of these people in years, and would really like to, I just don't want to travel.

A-ding-dang-doo.

* * *

The car shows on Saturday--

Extreme 4x4 was the payoff episode for a project I'd like to have seen in its entirety. They took a military "deuce-and-a-half", ditched one axle, converted the remaining rear axle to single tires (rather than dual) and made a pickup bed for the thing. Total cost: about $5,000.

...

I want one.

You want to talk about a truck that can tow just about goddamned anything--they purposely built the truck bed to fit their Suzuki Samurai. So they drive their Samurai onto the back of this truck, lash it down, and off they go.

They put a triangulated 4-link suspension with airbags in back. I think the truck's original suspension had a bogied pair of driving axles (the truck was originally a 6x6) on the back, with a leaf spring suspension; losing one axle required a new rear suspension.

They painted the thing with single-stage paint from an air sprayer. When you're planning to take a truck off-road it doesn't pay to put a lot into your paint job.

On Horsepower TV it was more of the "let's take a bunch of brand new expensive parts and put them together!" stuff. They were taking a prototype kit car chassis and cleaning it up to make it into a SEMA show car, so they put in a brand new Ford Racing 5 liter crate engine (and the Muscle Car guys painted a new body for it). Another one of those things where they took a (basically) brand-new car and threw a lot of money at it.

The hosts of the show weren't even doing any of the work. The most strenuous thing they did was when one of 'em ran their engine dyno. No, they had a bunch of other guys (from the kit car company, from Ford Racing, etc, etc) do the work.

I didn't bother watching Muscle Car because it was about them painting the body for the kit car. But at least they actually did the frickin' work, and didn't have someone else come in to do it.

The main reason I don't watch the shows where they paint stuff comes from the fact that you need a shit ton of expensive equipment to paint cars these days. You can get an acceptable ("20-foot") paint job working in your garage, but that's if you have a clean garage with enough floor space to let you work in. I don't.

And you need a good compressor with a good moisture trap, and you need good spray equipment, and you need to know what the hell you're doing. You can ruin two weeks' worth of prep work in about ten minutes if you don't.

* * *

I suppose I should go see about some food. Later.

#2358: Last or second to last grass cutting of the year.

Not sure which it'll be; that depends on the weather. But it's done, and everyone's happy.

The hearing protectors I use when cutting the grass did yeoman service protecting my hearing at the range yesterday--a better job, in fact, than they did today when I was cutting the grass with my earbuds in as well. WTF.

Well, a firearm gives off one shockwave--bang--and that's it. Even if you do rapid-fire it's still not more than 2-3 shockwaves per second at the most. But a 4-cycle lawnmower engine running at (say) 3,000 RPM is emitting 1,500 shockwaves per second.

Oh well. I have plenty of time to buy new ear protectors for next year. The pair I have will go in my range box and stay there once I've got another pair for yard work.

There was a thing in Reader's Digest about how loud you should have your personal audio player, and how long you can tolerate various settings. It said you could run it at 60% volume all day.

60% would blow my eardrums out. I think I turn my MP3 player up to about 25 or 30%--40% at the most--and that's only when I want it loud; otherwise I've got it like three clicks above "silent". Then again, I've got sensitive ears.

Anyway, the grass is cut. Now on to other things.

* * *

Over the past couple of days I've been working on my first WoW toon, Torgilgrimm's, blacksmithing skill.

...every time I get somewhere, I discover that I need to go out and find 50,000,000,000 more units of iron/mithril/whatev, and it's kind of pissing me off. No wonder I haven't done this before; it's a pain in the ass.

Torg's to the point that he can mine and smelt thorium, but I've just barely gotten him to the point of making stuff from mithril (which is a lower level than thorium) and I haven't accumulated enough materials to do any significant amount of that. So after House, MD is over tonight I think I'm going to go out and start farming mithril and solid stone. *sigh*

It took me some time to figure out how to fight bad guys without him dying. The priest is the squishiest character class in WoW, bar none. (Particularly since Torg's a "holy" priest, which is the healing specification.) I think I have arranged a decent rotation of damage spells, and the vastly decreased cooldown on "power word: shield" helps a ton. You can "bubble" and then attack guys; it lasts for 30 seconds and by the time the bubble goes down you can cast it again. This protects you from physical damage, which helps the priest's survivability a lot.

Without that, man, you'd be pemmican in no time. It doesn't stop magic damage (or not totally) so it's not complete invulnerability, but it helps a lot nonetheless. And as squishy as Torg is, he can still take on a monster 4 levels above him and survive the encounter. (Only one at a time, but he can do it.)

At least I'm having some fun with all this. I wouldn't be doing it if I weren't.

* * *

Of late I've been playing around with an idea for a Haruhi fanfic.

On the first day of school, in the class she and Kyon share, the teacher has everyone introduce himself to the class. When it's her turn, Haruhi stands up and announces, "My name is Haruhi Suzumiya. If there are any aliens, time travelers, sliders, or espers, report to me immediately!" (I know this quotation is not exact. It's close enough for my purposes.) Subsequently she forms the SOS Brigade, and it accumulates members: an alien, a time-traveler, an esper, and Kyon. But no slider.

"Slider", in this context, refers to a person who has come from a parallel universe. As far as I've read there are never any sliders in any of the stories. IF THERE ARE ANY IN STORIES SUBSEQUENT TO Boredeom of Haruhi Suzmiya DO NOT TELL ME!

(...though I have a hunch that Disappearance of... is a "slider" story. NO, DO NOT TELL ME.)

No sliders: and so I started thinking about a version of the entire thing told from the viewpoint of a slider, one who came from a universe in which Haruhi Suzumiya was fiction. I could see him in class on the first day of school, minding his own business, and then Haruhi gets up and he stares at her...and is worried that others will wonder why he's staring, only to realize that everyone else is staring too so it doesn't matter.

I figured I'd avoid the "Mary Sue" (or "Marty Stu") phenomenon by having his memory of events be dependent on whether or not they've happened: he doesn't even think about Haruhi even though he's attending "North High" and sees the pretty girl with the yellow ribbon and the hostile attitude in his class, until she announces her presence. Then: OMGWTFBBQ. He doesn't realize Yuki is an alien until she tells Kyon about it, at which point suddenly he remembers "Oh, yeah!" even though he's not actually present for that scene. (Ditto for Akizuki and Asahina.)

When the thing rolls around to "Endless Eight" he doesn't know how to get them out of the loop any more than the rest of them do; he doesn't know how to fix it until Kyon hits on the solution.

If I actually do write the thing it'll be solely for my own amusement. Whatever I do with this, I'm probably never going to let it see light of day. Oh well. But I probably won't bother, because writing a story using other peoples' characters is kind of annoying.

* * *

My download of Kiss x Sis from Blu-Ray is nearly complete. Hooray for uncensored versions.

#2359: That ought to be interesting!

...House, MD isn't going to have a new ep before November now. (Nov 1?)

Since "Thirteen" left, House and his team have been playing games with hiring a new doctor to replace her. And who's going to be the new doctor to replace "Thirteen"?

Amber Tamblyn!

I know it's not going to be "Joan of Arcadia meets House" but it's good to see her in another role. She's too good an actress to fall into obscurity.