July 23rd, 2011

#2828: Rain, flash flood warnings, and cooler weather

Well, that last is only until the sun really gets going. Projected high is 92°, which is why I'm not bothering to open up and ventilate with outside air: the only thing I'd do is bring in humidity, which I don't need, and which the AC would just have to extract from the air again.

But Monday and Tuesday are supposed to be much nicer before the heat comes back in on Wednesday--"average July in northeastern Illinois" heat, that is, not the stinkinous jungle crap we had last week.

I am dreading the arrival of the next electricity bill. Having sent them the entire pound of flesh they demanded--despite not understanding the bill--I am hoping to get one that I can understand without having to call their customer support line run by Vishnu in New Delhi. What I dread is knowing how much I had to run the AC this past week; even at $10 per day (or whatever it costs to operate the AC) it's going to add up quickly.

Alternative: ... Uh, sweltering and being utterly miserable. No.

That was Sailor V's lot this past week: their AC died, and they didn't know it died; the blower was cheerfully blowing basement air into the house so it felt like the thing was working, and just not working well enough. So, the inside air temp was 90°. When they were finally able to get their AC guy out to look at their system, it turned out to be low on refrigerant, and the compressor (as a result) probably wasn't even running. Ack.

If I had known that, I would have delivered my window AC unit to them. It wouldn't keep the house really cool but it would have helped some, anyway. Of course, if they had known the AC was not working at all (rather than, as thought, merely not working well enough) they wouldn't have waited for their regular AC guy, either.

As for the bunker, if the electricity bill for July is too pretendous, I'm going to clear a space in the basement, move some basic furniture down there, set the thermostat above 85...and say to hell with it. I can grab the mattress from the sofabed and take my rocking chair down there; I can read, or surf the web with the laptop, or even play WoW if I feel like it. And only come upstairs for food, bathroom, etc.

But I have faith--for the moment--that the bill won't be outrageous, mainly because I've got the thermostat set much higher than is normal in summer, at least when we've wanted the AC running.

When my Dad was alive, 70° was the rule, or 72° at the outside. Last year, because my head was in an anatomically unlikely orofice, I wasn't thinking about efficiency and Mom didn't care, so we set the thermostat about 72-ish.

...but even so, I sweated my ass off, and I don't understand why I'm not sweating my ass off now even though the thermostat is set six degrees higher. As far as I can remember the fans are not set up differently and there's no real difference in the configuration of the return ducts, either.

The only difference I can come up with is the fact that I got the blab slab, and in fact I've hardly watched anything on it in the past month.

Look: CRTs make heat, and there's nothing you can do about it. LCDs are better than CRTs, because they're more energy-efficient, but it's still not really good. I can feel warmth coming from the slab after it's been on a while, particularly in winter.

The typical CRT with "quick start" technology stays warm all the time. You need to heat up the filaments in the guns to make them emit electrons; and if you start them from cold it takes much longer to get a picture when you turn on the power than if you keep them kind of warm all the time.

And of course, the larger the screen, the more heat the thing gives off. It's not just the electron guns; it's the yoke magnets doing their thing. They're coils of wire, and wire has resistance, and resistance generates heat. You can't avoid it.

(Superconductors, I know. Shut up. No one's going to spend tens of thousands of dollars to have a TV with a superconducting yoke, particularly not now.)

And then there's the thermal mass of all that glass and stuff. The blab slab is a bigger screen but weighs perhaps 1/5th what the 35" glass bulb TV did.

All this means that there's just less heat input in my room this summer compared to last. Not watching much TV, less mass, better airflow, more efficient device--it all adds up.

Besides, since Mom's not around, I leave my door open all the time, which probably has more to do with it than everything else combined.


* * *

I went to bed at about 1:30 AM and slept until 3, when I was awakened by a full-to-bursting bladder. I tried going back to sleep, but couldn't.

How annoying.

I've found that if I take a half-liter pouch of Crystal Light lemonade and mix it with a half-liter pouch of Country Time lemonade in a 1-liter bottle, I end up with lemonade that tastes so good I can't help but drink it all in very short order. Hence the bladder issue.

The Crystal Light is, of course, sweetened with aspartame, which is almost perfect for lemonade; but it has the same problem that all drinks sweetened with aspartame do: the flavor falls flat and has no "finish". The Country Time is regular sugared lemonade, and I've always found regular lemonade mixes to be a bit too sweet. So by mixing them half-and-half, it makes lemonade which is sweet but not too sweet, has half the sugar of regular lemonade, and which has a proper "finish" to its flavor.

Now I've got to work on not slugging back the entire liter in ten minutes. It's always something.

#2829: Color me surprised; the psycho was NOT a muslim

He was a "Marxist hunter" and a "Knight Templar".

Dear God, what do we do when the Masons start snapping?

His truck bomb killed seven people. That's bad enough. But he was able to amble around Utoya for an hour, shooting whoever he felt like shooting.

(Someone remind me what the gun control laws are like in Norway? Unless I'm mistaken, this atrocity is impossible, because guns aren't legal there. Are they?)

Anyway, the psycho left behind a 1,500-page manifesto; that alone is proof of insanity: if your political views require 1,500 pages to explain, there's something wrong with your head.

Anyway, Ace says--and I agree--that he's going to be labeled "right-wing"; also the media wasted no time in calling him a "fundamentalist Christian" even before any of this was known.

* * *

So it's much cooler outside--back to average temperatures for July in the midwest--and as I was going to the store to get my grocery shopping done I saw this huge cloud to the southeast. It's the back side of a thunderstorm over Indiana.

I stopped and stared at it for a bit before going into the store. How could I not?

As usual, I needed Pepsi; this time instead of buying 24 oz bottles I bought a half-case of Throwback in cans. I also picked up half a case of Mountain Dew "White Out", also in cans; then a six-pack of Pepsi Max. *sigh*

* * *

Vox Day on the whole debt ceiling bullshit. I was going to write "nonsense" there. I have a strong preference for not resorting to profanity; I think that profanity weakens the argument you're making. The problem is, like all of Mankind I am a creature with emotions, and sometimes my emotions call for abandoning the cerebral for the visceral--and in that context, profanity works very well.

Everything that is happening in Washington, D.C. right now in regards to the debt ceiling is utter horseshit. None of this matters. Raise it, leave it, hang frickin' Christmas lights on it--it doesn't make a lick of difference. The problem is that the federal government spends too much goddamned money.

It doesn't amount to a hill of beans what they do with the debt limit if we don't stop spending three million dollars a minute, largely on useless crap that does nothing to alleviate the problems it's supposed to solve.

The Democrats desperately need a government shutdown and they're doing their all to make sure one happens. The Republicans are falling all over themselves to cave on the whole issue because they don't like fiscal discipline one whit more than the Democrats do; they're all in the same club and power in Washington, D.C. is determined by how much money you get to spend. The Republicans just have to cave in such a way that it looks like they tried to make a stand, because their base actually cares about fiscal discipline. (Their base is, after all, the people who actually pay taxes, and don't receive government handouts like the poor and the very rich do.) ("Eh?" You ask. "Did you say 'very rich'?" I did. My example: GE. Enough said.)

The Democrats need a government shutdown in order to not be thoroughly shellacked in 2012, and they know it. They've got to have something to motivate their base to get out and vote half a dozen times each for their candidates; Barack Hussein Obama mm-mm-mm is no longer enough, because everybody's seen how he does things.

The Republicans--so far they've talked a good game and failed to deliver on anything. Even if they somehow outmaneuver the Democrats and get their "cap cut balance" thing in place, spending is going to increase; it always increases. There has not been a single year since God-knows-when that the federal budget actually shrank, not even when the GOP was fully in charge of everything. (And perhaps I ought to say especially when....)

So when I see something about the debt ceiling fight, I usually ignore it, because it's nothing but whitewashing the fence in front of a burning house.

* * *

Incidentally, if you went to public school, everything you were taught about the Crusades is wrong. Just thought you should know.

* * *

Reading the last extant volume of the Haruhi Suzumiya light novels, something happened that annoyed me about the quality of the translation.

Well, that's not exactly correct. All along there have been problems with the ones I downloaded, though--WTF--they're free, so why get upset?

The problem is, if you're going to translate the thing and then put it out there for people to read, don't just say [didn't translate this because I'm lazy] in the middle of a conversation and then provide no context whatsoever for what comes next. (Actual quote, by the way.)

Then there's the scene where the girls (Haruhi, Mikuru, Tsuruya-san, and Yuki) play a game where one person cites the first line or couplet of a poem, and someone has to supply the rest. The "translator" didn't bother even trying to translate the poetry at all, leaving a bunch of brackets saying [poem] [more poem] like that.

I hope the person who is doing these translations didn't go to school for, get a degree in, and is seeking a career in Japanese language. WTF.

But that's not the worst of it. No.

...a new character is introduced in the latest volume, one Sasaki, who is a friend of Kyon's from middle school.

I had read some dozen or so pages when finally it was mentioned that Sasaki was a girl. Prior to that, there was no mention of her sex whatsoever; and the way it read, Sasaki sounded like a guy, so I was wondering why Haruhi was getting all freaked out over the notion that Kyon had had a buddy in junior high; then Koizumi finally uses the magical pronoun ("she") and I thought, Oh, Sasaki is a GIRL! That's why! She's jealous! *sigh*

Bad writing, dude.

The story is building up quite a major confrontation, it seems. In the prior volume some antagonists were introduced; in this one, they've all grouped together around Sasaki. Everyone in the SOS Brigade has an opposite number in Sasaki's group. This ought to be quite entertaining.

* * *

Speaking of light novels, I saw over on BakaBT that there's a pending torrent for the entirety of To Aru Majutsu no Index.

It's only 24 books.

I'm with you, Kimura sensei.

That bein' the case, I guess it means there'll be To Aru... anime for as long as it remains popular. Which, you know, can be quite a long time in Japan; recall please how many eps of the variants of Dragon Ball there ended up being. (I think it was 300.) And there were about 200 eps of Urusei Yatsura. And....

* * *

One of my fantasies is about my SF becoming so popular in Japan that it ends up animated. Oh, Lord....