October 26th, 2010

#2369: Fanfic and other nonsense

Well, I just finished writing my way through Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody. Since Jim doesn't travel back in time with Mikuru and Kyon, that cut most of the story right out.

Generally speaking I'm following the story pretty closely and--most of the time--just telling it from Jim's viewpoint. I occasionally have him add comments or wisecracks to the dialogue, but for the most part he's a quiet guy and doesn't interrupt.

That will change in Endless Eight, though, because he's smart enough to think of some things that the others did not.

Example: "Yuki, if we reset again on the 31st and we do it all over again, give me a call on the 17th and tell me what's going on. Maybe if I have a head start I can catch a hint about what we're missing."

Right now I plan to write two (perhaps three) iterations. The first will go about the way the third ep of the second season of anime does. The second iteration will feature the results of Jim having asked Yuki to tell him right away. Depending on how plucky I feel, either this will be the last repetition or it'll showcase the failure of Jim's idea. Probably the latter, because one of the main rules of this fanfic is that Jim's actions don't change the plot; so it'll probably the penultimate iteration, and then I'll give a quick rundown of the end of the loop rather than go through the entire weary story again.

Oh: "Since the story is written in first person, how can Jim tell the story this way?" He writes it down and asks Yuki to remember it.

* * *

Well, I'm kind of annoyed about this: I tried watching the Patlabor movies--torrented from BakaBT--but they don't play correctly. The sound cuts out for several seconds at a time, approximately at random. The video continues to play but the sound just dies, then comes back.

I am reasoning that it's because the files are so damn big. They're 8.3 gig each; that's why I couldn't back them up to the external drive, and I bet there's something wrong with the way Windows is handling the data streams.

I suppose I could try transcoding them to some other format. *sigh* I could also try upgrading the codec pack and see if that helps.

WTF, do they have to be that damn big? Somehow I doubt it.

* * *

So it's October 26th now, it's 12:20 AM, and I'm sitting here without a shirt on because it's hot in here. Both windows wide open, nice breeze blowing, and it's hot in here. WTF.

Ah, but it's nice just to sit here and hear the wind blowing through the leaves.

#2370: 2785

That number is the lowest reading I have ever seen on the old aneroid barometer hanging in the dining room.

High wind warning until 8 PM tomorrow night due to the record low pressure system that passed through the area today.

* * *

Just think of them as botched late-term abortions. All five of 'em. It's easy to forgive a woman for killing five babies when you realize that it was the social stigma of blah blah blah I JUST CAN'T GET MY HEAD AROUND THAT FEMINAZI CLAPTRAP TODAY

* * *

So apparently the electronic voting systems in Nevada auto-vote for Harry Reid regardless of user input.

Isn't that wonderful?

* * *

I'm linking Ace's "open thread" post from last night because of the first item: What Shakespeare's plays sounded like at the time they were written.

I really like the accent of Elizabethan London.

* * *

This post at Arse Technica, the Global Warming Resource contains interesting information about the kind of things that happen in viruses and at the cellular level.

* * *

Michael Flynn reminds us that before global warming, we were being told an ice age was coming. And before the ice age scare, it was global warming; and before that, it was global cooling; and before that....

* * *

Inflation is coming!

The dollar is losing value continuously.

$109 billion in new debt this week alone. Whee!!

* * *

I read the headline of an obituary in the paper today (Chicago Sun-Times) which says the guy who is responsible for the "Community Reinvestment Act" died not long ago.

The CRA is the government program which is the root cause of the current extended recession.

Thanks, anus.

* * *

The weather last night was incredible. It was warm all night. I had both windows wide open and it wasn't even cool in here until after the sun came up.

Of course, that was just the last gasp of indian summer before the temperatures begin the long slide down to winter temperatures.

* * *

Limbaugh is talking about how the GOP leadership wants to give the TEA party "newbies" existing Congressional staffers.

Staffers do all the real work on Capitol Hill. They do the reading and writing of legislation, and they make recommendations on how the politician should vote.

If you give a hard conservative politician a staff which is liberal, that conservative politician will vote liberal--just because the politician is too busy with everything else actually to read the legislation he's voting on. ("Everything else" being the endless meetings that are the main activity of politicians.)

This is how the GOP intends to bring the TEA partiers into line with its country club agenda.

Good Lord, I hope that doesn't work.

* * *

Damn it.

I woke up around 10-ish and--after hitting the can--had a unit of Slim-Fast, intending to go back to bed. But I wanted to check the weather report; and presto, I ended up doing a blog post. Now I'm getting a hypoglycemic episode.

There ain't nothing like being consistent.

On the 17th, when I hit the gun show and range with Og and Partner, I had a can of Slim-Fast right out of bed before jumping in the shower and heading out. It was three or four hours before I got any food, and I was fine. But of course I can never rely on that working, as today shows.

(Nothing else in the stomach; just Slim-Fast. It's not like I was sitting here eating Skittles while I blogged. But if I'd gone back to bed, chances are I'd be fine.)

This is what makes it so damned hard for me to set up a diet and exercise regimen. If I get up and have a big breakfast, I can exercise; but eating a big meal makes the exercise almost entirely useless, at least for weight loss.

If I get up and have a moderate breakfast, chances are I get hypoglycemia; so I either have to eat more or go to bed. Either way, I feel too crappy to exercise, because the high insulin level that leads to the hypoglycemia doesn't go away and the food I eat has to struggle against that to raise my blood glucose.

So a scant 1.5 hours after having a can of Slim-Fast, I need to eat again. So much for "meal replacement".

#2371: McRib is back!

I was last at a McDonald's on Friday, so I know it's a recent development.

...I had intended to get a #13 (black angus bacon cheeseburger) but when I saw that, I immediately--and gleefully--dropped that plan for a couple McRibs.

Man, that tastes good. It tastes better than anything else on McDonald's menu. It's messy as hell, but man does it taste good.

* * *

I was behind a green Subaru something-or-other with a trailer hitch. At first I thought it had been modified, badly, to allow an aftermarket muffler. There was a drop bar around the tailpipe and this one looked like it had a crappy cold weld on one side.

After I gave my order and pulled around, the car's back was in sunlight, and I could see that no, the trailer hitch was so rusty that it was broken. And I thought, "Damn, if that guy ever tries to pull something, that hitch is going to come right off the car." But no one, I reasoned, would actually try to use a hitch in that condition, right?

Then I thought, "Assuming, of course, that the guy actually looks at the hitch before trying to use it."

Looking at the thing, I was imagining what it would look like after the guy hooked it up to a trailer and tried to pull away, and it wasn't pretty. Bent metal, car going sideways, trailer smacking into the back of the car....

If that were my car, I'd rip that damn thing off there at least and probably replace it in the bargain. Then again, I'm a tool-user who actually knows how to fix things, unlike far too many others in this civilization. *sigh*

I understand the thinking behind making hitches that bolt right onto the car and require no modification to the car. The idea is to make the trailer hitch installation painless. But whenever I see a hitch with one of those drop bars for the tailpipe, I always think, There's no way that's as strong as a straight bar would be. Oh, it probably doesn't matter, but I think I'd prefer having to put on a different kind of tailpipe in order to have a straight bar across the back.

* * *

Og lent me a hitch to see if the height was all right; and looking at it, I--again--thought about the forces involved.

It's a plate of 1" steel, about 2.25" wide and perhaps 6" long, bent at a 120° angle. To this, then, a piece of 2" square tubing is welded, and a hole is drilled through the plate for the hitch ball.

That weld bears all the force experienced by that hitch.

I can see why the thing has to be an inch thick: the shaft that the hitch ball is on makes for a single point of contact, and you don't want the plate to flex or break. And the weld around the tubing is a much larger area through which the forces must travel. But it still seems flimsy to me.

Seems like a better design would be to make a plate from 1" steel which extends the length of the entire hitch, and then weld a C-shaped section of 3/8" steel to it, forming the 2" square tubing that fits in the receiver. The weld area would be larger still, and it would be subject to shear force rather than stretch force. Besides, the locking pin would sit in a notch in the steel plate, further securing it against movement.

This would be more expensive, though, because 1" plate doesn't grow on trees; and in fact it's obvious that the common design for a receiver hitch works just fine, because how often do they break? Have you ever heard of one breaking which was in good repair? I haven't.

One ex-friend of mine, who is a real shithead otherwise, said one thing which is correct and wise. ("A stopped clock....") He said, "'Better' isn't 'good'." What he meant was that improving something doesn't necessarily make that particular something useful; or that just because you can improve something does not necessarily mean you have to improve it.

(Example: you have a truck that gets 8 MPG and you do some things to improve its fuel economy, so now it gets 12 MPG. It's better, but it's still not good.)

So, yeah, I can see ways to make hitches stronger...but they don't need the improvement, and the improvement would just increase the cost of manufacture for no real-world benefit.

* * *

No idea WTF is taking them so long with Exchange street.

Okay: a few weeks ago they jackhammered holes in the freshly-laid asphalt to install the manholes they'd covered with asphalt and filled the gaps with concrete. They've finished laying the sidewalk aprons. There is asphalt all the way from Main Street to the old C&EI grade crossing again, lacking only the 2" topcoat.

And nothing, for two weeks.

WTF, did the union bitches go on strike again because their mommies wouldn't tuck 'em in? Is there some other major problem with the construction industry? Is it the oil pipeline that blew out a couple months ago limiting the availability of tar? Why is this road still closed when it's usable?

Argh.