January 18th, 2011

#2496: You know you're otaku when....

...you dream about anime characters.

But this one was awesome.

Actually, they're all awesome in their own way. The characters look either realistic or anime-style (but it never bothers me, either way) and for a little while I get to visit with characters I like in a setting that's not controlled by anyone but my own subconscious. But for the most part, the anime dreams I've had have only been relatively awesome; last night's was the exception.

You see, last night I got Osaka to be my girlfriend. I beat out a whole bunch of other guys to do it, too.

I was younger than I am, and Osaka was older than she ever appears in Azumanga Daioh. I think we were in our early 20s. Anyway, it was a "real mode" dream, so Osaka looked like an actual person rather than an anime character; she had the same hairstyle and voice as the anime but spoke English without an accent.

It was really only a short segment of a much larger dream, but it was really cool. All the other guys who dug Osaka really hated me because of it, but I didn't care--in fact, not only was I proud of it; I was smug about it. Half the reason they hated me was because I'd had the balls to actually ask her to be my girlfriend when they hadn't.

"Real mode" Osaka, aged twenty-something, was awesome anyway. She was more together than in her high school days, but it was still clearly Ayumu "Osaka" Kasuga whose affections I secured.

We didn't even kiss in the dream, but it was clearly going to go that way someday--just not right then.

That's just so awesome.

* * *

So Arnold Schwartzeneggar does understand the concept of "opportunity cost" after all and just doesn't know how to apply it to things like taxation and environmental regulation.

When it's his own bottom line, though, he gets it: he understands that by being governator, he couldn't star in movies, and that kept him from adding $200 million to his net worth.

Where he falls down, of course, is in understanding that if you make businesses pay higher taxes (especially to truncate their carbon emissions), they then don't have that money to use on hiring people.

* * *

This is pretty stupid. It's a yacht that looks like a chunk of Monaco.

It's not even a big yacht: it's got room for 16 guests and 70 crew. That's only 86 people, and that's freakin' four crew per guest.

"It is basically a floating city," says the designer. No! No, it isn't! It's a floating mall.

I don't care about the price tag and I don't give a rat's ass how rich people spend their money; but I think it's stupid.

I want to see real "floating cities": seagoing arcologies. There are a couple people who have ideas along those lines but this kind of idea takes time.

In 2000, when I was rewriting the canon for my SF universe into something that made sense, one of the focal points of my efforts was a water world which had only recently been opened for development and colonization; and it was home to just such a seagoing arcology. It was meant to be a resort, though the interstellar war that began shortly after the place opened ended up making it a shore leave destination for military ships: the planet's oceans had a higher concentration of deuterium than is normally found*, and the military used it as a refueling stop for whatever ships might be in the region.

(*Yes I had a rational and reasonable explanation for that. No I'm not going to discuss it here.)

* * *

The headline of this AP piece reads: "Obama wants to shed rules that hurt job growth".

But in fact, Obama "...planned to sign an executive order Tuesday telling federal agencies to look for rules that place an unreasonable burden on businesses."

Who decides what "unreasonable" is? That's the crux of the matter: a particular business or industry may think that a 200% tax on its products is unreasonable, but that doesn't mean that the federal organization in charge of regulating it thinks so.

I mean, if I'm in the business of generating power, I may think that federal regulations limiting my carbon output are "unreasonable"...but if the EPA doesn't think so, the regulation stays, doesn't it?

This isn't Obama wanting to "shed rules that hurt job growth". Oh, no. This is Obama wanting to give the appearance of trying to help business.

Besides, by the quote I used above, it seems that Obama just wants them to look for such rules, not to do anything about them. And in fact, if you read on, it turns out that Obama wants to strengthen federal control.

This isn't about deregulation to foster job growth. And when I clicked on the link, I already knew that.

Michelle Malkin writes about this today.

* * *

If James Hansen prefers a Chinese dictatorship over our representative republic, perhaps he should move there.

The best part of this, of course, is that this asshole admires China for its dictatorship while it's surpassed the United States in carbon emissions. This dickhead's entire raison d'etre is anthropogenic global warming, yet he's admiring China for its "foresight" even while it's dumping more pollution and more crap into the air than any other country in the world.

It just goes to show that if you scratch an environmentalist--especially a warmista--you find a communist dictator wannabe underneath.

* * *

You're not supposed to say this kind of thing, I know, but Africa's problems are entirely cultural--and Alan Caruba makes that point quite nicely.

* * *

Let me join Vox Day in wishing:
...Steve Jobs all the best and sincerely hope he makes a full recovery in order to come back and subject a new generation of Macintossers to imprisonment in his beautifully landscaped, walled-in, fascist, techno-utopian garden.

* * *

My friend Marilyn, in Iowa, plays the bagpipes; and she has been called to do funerals.

I dedicate this link to her.

* * *

Sultan Knish points out that the Democrats have rediscovered bipartisanship--their brand of it.

* * *

Advice Goddess talks about a professor at Roosevelt University in Chicago who was fired for making a silly joke about Arizona immigration law.
One student that filed a complaint, Cristina Solis, has spoken out, describing the outcome as fair and saying that she does not regret her decision to complain.

"If that is what it took to give him a reality check, and to make sure that no other student has to go through that, maybe it's for the best," she said.

She believes the remarks were inappropriate for "a school like Roosevelt University, which is based on social justice."
Here's some "social justice" for you, bitch: someday when you have a job, maybe you will get fired because some teenaged asshat was "offended" by a joke you made...and then you'll learn what it's like to lose your job because of someone's pathetically thin skin.

"Freedom of expression" does not include the right not to be offended.

As a white Christian man, I am expected to put up with a lot of insulting bullshit from a lot of people--many of them people like little miss Cristina Solis--who can't take the kind of horseshit they dish out, and will sue if you make a single comment they don't like.

On the plus side, the fired prof has legal standing to sue, and I hope he gets a lot of money out of those shitheads.

* * *

Well, tomorrow is my interview, and I've got a lot of stuff to do to get ready for it. I didn't get squat done yesterday; I slept a lot, though, and was up this morning at 8 AM after that awesome dream about Osaka.

After getting the paper and feeding the cats, I made myself a farm breakfast, and sat down here to eat and blog. And now it's time to get moving...and I don't want to.


On the plus side, today there is no schedule: I can do what needs doing in whatever order and time frame I want; as long as I pick my suit up after 3 or 4 PM, I'm golden.

Every place I want to go except the tailor's is open until 8 PM.

Still, I don't want to procrastinate too much. Right now I'm trying to decide if I want to go pick up a four-pack of pecanbons today or not; I'd also be stopping at Harbor Freight to pick up a 12' HDMI cable if I went.

But the way I feel right now, I'm not sure I want to. Here's my list of today's chores:
Grocery shopping
Measure neck
Buy dress shirts
Prepare Jeep for travel (check tires and fluids)
Type up list of references and former employers (name, address, phone)
Make notes of questions I want to ask
Find my copies of my manuals and decide on a way to carry them--briefcase or messenger bag?
Pick up suit
Find another alarm clock and set it for 6 AM
Make mexican lasagna for dinner
As you can see, I have enough to do without driving to freakin' Merrilville for cinnamon rolls.


I guess I'd better get to it.

#2497: The moral of the story: don't let me go.

Half of the businesses that employed me (since 1990) are gone.

Only the biggest remain--Target, for example, and Rockwell-Collins--but the small businesses are all gone.

Because I don't know what kind of work history they're going to want tomorrow, I took a few minutes to type up my history going back to 1990, just to be on the safe side. Some places don't give a rat's ass; others want to know every job you've ever done.

The first three companies which employed me for computer tech jobs are all out of business. Heck, Sears Business Centers was the first, and they're gone, and they were part of the Sears group which--at least--still exists.

I have to admit to just a little bit of schadenfreude at the discovery, today, that old Kangaroo Computer Services apparently has gone by the wayside. I worked for KCS for five years, enduring bounced paychecks and some other asininity; the first time I took any kind of real vacation in a couple of years was in 1997...and when I got back from my vacation it was to a pink slip.

That wasn't the only surprise I got; see, the guy who'd been our office manager--a guy named Larry who had been a pretty decent guy--had been replaced with the owner's father; and the first thing the owner's father did was to eliminate my position...and I later heard that the guy was a terrible boss.

I had a friend who still worked there after I was let go, and he said that the guy would holler at technicians for his own mistakes. Wrong part ordered? Tech's fault. Parts not ordered, which was the office manager's job? Tech's fault. Tech told to go to the wrong customer, making the right customer angry that tech was late? Tech's fault.

By losing me, they lost a crapton of expertise, of course. The worst part for them was that I worked part-time (four days a week); they offered health insurance to full-time employees, and didn't have to pay it in my case. I worked cheap and knew how to do everything. I was their only *nix guy, and since I'd been their primary computer technician as long as they'd been servicing computers, I'd been the guy to establish a lot of their procedures. Okay: in 1995 the owner had begun taking steps so that I'd be in the office most of the time, so other techs could call me if they had problems. That's how good I was.

To this day I think the guy let me go entirely because I once gave him advice that he followed to the letter and didn't like the outcome. He'd called me up (when he worked for another company) wanting me to solve his problem for free, and I told him to basically delete and reinstall Windows (this was version 3.11). Then he was angry that he had to reinstall all the applications, too, and called me up to complain about it; I guess eliminating my position was his revenge.

I have no idea WTF he thought would happen if he deleted everything in the Windows directory. WTF, the guy was supposed to be a computer expert in his own right--he was the freaking IT manager at the company he was working for!--but his experience was all in minicomputer stuff, like AS400 and System 36, not micro stuff like DOS and Windows 3.11. But the kind of problem he was having, there was no other way to fix; I wouldn't have told him to do it if I'd thought there was another way.

Anyway, I tried to make sure I had the right address and phone number for the place...and my web searches came up dry. The old domain is now used by someone in Japan; I searched on the owner's name, and his father's name, and discovered they work for different companies now, and apparently have since 2005.

Guess the old KCS has bit the dust. They only lasted eight years after letting me go, which is the longest of any of them; but they're gone just the same.

(I won't hold my breath waiting for Target or R-C to go under.)

#2498: STFU and go the hell away

Got a call from the Chicago Tribune today, trying to sell me a subscription.

Both Chicago newspapers are liberal rags. They have always been liberal rags. When the Sun-Times got bought by some slightly less left-wing guy than the previous owner, Mike Royko abandoned ship for the Tribune rather than lower himself to work for a paper whose editorial policy might become slightly less lefty-liberal than the Communist Party.

But the Sun-Times remained a liberal rag. Royko could have stayed, but I'd wager he got a nice fat raise from the Tribune and his "statement" was probably 99% self-enrichment and 1% actual protest. That's the way those guys work; think he would have quit if the Tribune couldn't match or better what he got from the Sun-Times? Somehow I doubt it.

Anyway, the Tribune has been calling here two or three times per week for a while, and today they called while I was sitting in the rocking chair and thinking, taking a little break between chores. I answered the call mainly so I could tell them not to call me any more.

So I listened to the opening bit, and then said, "I'm not interested in subscribing to a newspaper. Thank you," and prepared to hang up. I had thought--during the opening spiel--to tell her I get my news from the Internet, but I realized that would just sparked a needless debate about the "validity" of Internet news sources. But she wouldn't take "no" for an answer; she proceeded to tell me all the wonderful benefits of the Sunday edition ("including hundreds of dollars worth of coupons"--WTF is that shit?) and then asked me for my name as part of the next stage of the sell.

"I'm not interested in telling you my name, the same way I'm not interested in subscribing to your paper," I said crisply. "Goodbye," I added, and hung up on her.

I don't normally do that to telemarketers. WTF, they're just folks who are trying to do an annoying and stupid job. But at the same time, I absolutely refuse to let them seize the high ground and I am not going to spend one second--or one iota of politeness!--more than is necessary or reasonable on telling them that I am not interested.

If you're not going to listen to me when I say it the first time, then you're going to get hung up on. And, by the way, this kind of "hard sell" horseshit just convinces me that the last thing I want or need is a subscription to the Chicago Tribune. Even if I weren't already receiving the Chicago Sun-Times because Mom subscribed to it, and the subscription hasn't run out yet, I still wouldn't be interested in a Tribune subscription. Fuck those guys.

If they call again, my only words will be, "I want you to stop calling me."

* * *

As for the chores, I got everything done which needed doing. Seeing as it was getting so late, I decided on a gyro for dinner rather than making mexican lasagna. I can do that tomorrow.

It took me an hour to go get my suit, because of all the idiots. Damn it, I wish there was a tailor closer to home that looked like it was any good; but the only places I could find in the Yellow Pages were either big box haberdashers (like "BIG AND MEATY MENSWEAR!") (fictional example) or even farther away than was the place I found.

In all probability I could have taken it to a seamstress here in town and gotten it done, but I wasn't thinking that at the time. I was thinking about the kind of place where some old jewish guy comes out with a tape measure and a piece of chalk and talks to you about sports while he measures your inseam and stuff, and then says, "I'll have it done for you next Tuesday, and it'll cost you thirty bucks. No! Twenty-five, and I'm robbing myself!" The place my Dad had his tailoring done was like that--and it was a ten-minute drive from here--but it's apparently gone out of business. (Problem with old jewish guys: they die, just like everyone else.)

Anyway, this place advertised itself as a tailor's, laundromat, and tuxedo rental; the suit needed cleaning (besides needing to be let out to accommodate an expanding Fungus) so it was two birds, one stone.

I hit Kohl's first; and God did I get sticker shock: the first shirt I found that looked like it would fit me was $55. Jesus! For $55, I want that old jewish guy telling me, "This will fit! Don't you worry! You'll look like a million bucks. No! Seven hundred and fifty thousand, and I'm robbing myself!" I'd pay that guy the $55 for the shirt, because he's a clothing expert and knows what works and what doesn't. I'd probably let him pick the color and pattern, too.

I managed to find some slightly less expensive shirts in the same size; and then I found a boxed shirt on clearance for $10 which has a 19" neck. I bought three shirts, for a total of $70; there was a "buy one, get a second at half off" sale and the first two were $38 apiece.

The clearance shirt has a pattern on it, but I think it'll work with the suit; and if it does, I'll take the other two back on Thursday. If it doesn't, I'll keep it and wear one of the others, and take the remaining one back on Thursday. (But I think it'll be fine.)

I got out of the grocery store for $100, which ain't bad.

I found my manuals, I got my notes typed up and printed; the only remaining thing is to dig out my briefcase, clean it up, and stuff it with the manuals and notes. Also, trim my facial hair; I'll shave tomorrow morning.


I really hope I can sleep tonight. I'm taking Xanax at 9 PM, which ought to help; also I've been up since 8 AM. We'll see. But WTF; all I have to do is to be "on" for the interview and I can be "meh" the entire rest of the day.

And then I get to chew my nails while they chew over the results of their interviews with the candidates for the position.

* * *

I can't think of a clever way to end this post. Sorry.