August 8th, 2011

#2854: The Motorcycle riding course

Well, I got into the 8 AM one. There turn out to be 12 slots in each class and the 8 AM class had seven open slots for nine walk-ins. So all of us walk-ins got a ticket with a number on it.

Mine was something 58. 59 got called; 57; 56, 60-something, others...the very last draw was number 58. So I got in, and that was it. Two guys had to go home; I have no idea if they came back for the noon course or what.

Today's class was entirely within the classroom, which is held in a trailer like those used at construction sites for temporary offices. Power comes from a generator; the restrooms are port-a-johns and there is no running water.

Tomorrow we'll start with the riding portion of the course. An hour of class instruction and three hours of riding instruction, they say, will be the norm from now on.

Whee! I have to go to the web site and register as a walk-in, but that's not such a big deal. I just have to make sure I'm at the training site at 7:45 every morning for the rest of the week. I managed to get to the place in Rantoul on time, even when driving from the bunker, so I can do this.

And if all goes well, next Monday--or even Friday afternoon, come to think of it!--I can go to the DMV and get the "M" added to my list of certifications. That'd also mean going to get plates and insurance on the Suzuki so I could go riding. Whee!

* * *

It looks like someone has been listening to me: there is a new fast-food restaurant of some kind going up on the SE corner of Steger Road and 394. It looks like it might even be a Wendy's!

Ohh, man, please, please let it be a Wendy's....

* * *

But because I've been in a classroom all morning learning about protective gear and motorcycle controls, I haven't seen the news or anything.

Oh dear God. (DJIA ticker at

As I write this sentence we're off 421 points from close-of-business Friday. I went to check some other things, saw that it had gone to -471, and had to edit it to add the italicized word, because it's droppin' like a stone. (And now it's -512. Shit.)

...and there's a link to someone saying, "Hey, the market ought to stabilize at these levels!"

12,750 about three weeks ago, to 10,900 and change now--that's a drop of 1,850. You need to go back to October of 2010 to find a DJIA that low.

Yeah: even if some of the American public was fooled by the "debt limit" crap of the past couple of weeks, S&P was not--and the markets are not.

The usual DOOM! post over at Ace of Spades HQ.

Down 516 as I type this. It was down less than that for a bit.

Google's ticker if you don't like CNBC's, and why would you?

Naturally the Democrats are trying to say the downgrade is the GOP's fault even though the debt ceiling was raised and it was raised before August 2 was over. The Democrats got everything they wanted except tax increases.

Well, the downgrades are the GOP's fault...but not just the GOP. The Democrats had complete control of the government from 1/20/09 until 1/20/11, and had control of the House of Representatives from 1/20/07 until 1/20/11. They are not blameless, no more than the GOP is, and in fact considerably less than the GOP. It was Democrat policies that ballooned federal spending starting in 2008, after all.

* * *

As for me, I finished off the bratwurst and potato salad, and had a Pepsi, and the headache I'd started getting because I went from 7-1 without eating anything is now receding.

I had a bratwurst on a bun with a can of Pepsi Throwback when I got up at 6; I had most of a McSkillet on the way to the class--and that was it; no food to eat and only a jug of semi-sugared lemonade to drink in the meantime. (The way I make it, with one pack of Crystal Lite and one of regular Country Time in a liter bottle.)

Tomorrow I may bring a snack or two with me; and then again I might just do as I did today. WTF, it's not like I starved to death or anything.

* * *

Do I need to remind you all that Warren Buffett is a Democrat?

"'...[I]f I've got a printing press, my debt is good,' says Buffett." Sure it is. You might be paying off that debt with dollars that are worth approximately their weight in toilet paper, but who cares, right?

This is a real bank note from Zimbabwe. You might be able to buy a loaf of bread with that. That's the result of running that printing press: each dollar is worth less, and you can keep going until there isn't room on the bill for all the zeroes you need and you have to invent new ordinals ("one kajillion gazillion trillion googolplex dollars", perhaps).

* * *

Tenth dan? Why, Jigoro Inokuma (Yawara's grandfather) is only sixth seventh eighth dan! You mean to tell me that this woman could beat him?

* * *

What's the deal with the strikeouts? It's a running gag in Yawara! that Jigoro is always correcting people and telling them he's one dan higher than they thought; so someone says, "the fifth-dan Judo master Jigoro Inokuma," he'll interrupt and say, "I'm sixth dan!"

And it keeps on going. So that in a later episode someone said "the seventh-dan Judo master" and all he had to do was hold up eight fingers, and that was enough to make me laugh my ass off.

* * *

I managed to get to bed close to 1 AM and actually slept from perhaps 1:20-ish until just before 6 AM. Ideally I'd like to remain awake and then go to bed this evening, but I don't know how I'll do. As long as I'm at the place tomorrow before 7:45 it's all good, though.

But it means I'm too tired to do anything else right now. I got perhaps 4.5 hours of sleep, which is pretty good, but now I feel like I'm about to go face-down. Argh etc.

Oh well.

#2855: The RJ-45 crimper arrived already

That was pretty fast. That was amazingly fast, in fact, now that I think of it. I ordered it on Thursday.

Anyway, it came with a cable tester, and it's a good thing I've got a functional cable to try it out on because the instructions are in Manglish:
Do not use it beyond usage.
Do not change it on your mind.
"Do not use it beyond usage"? How the hell am I supposed to know when that is? And what happens if I do? And I can't even evaluate "Do not change it on your mind" considering that the sentence isn't even grammatically correct.

The chart for determining whether or not a cable is good doesn't make sense, either. (I'm not going to try to reproduce it here.)

So what I'll have to do is put a battery in it, plug in a known-good cable, see what happens, and hope to GOD I'm not using this thing beyond usage. Okay, if we all end up on Saturn or in the Mesozoic Era or something, don't blame me.

* * *

So the stock market closed six hundred and thirty-five points lower today than it was on Friday. I saw that and said, "Oh, my God." I had expected it to close up from the -500 point; instead it dropped another hundred points.

It dropped 200 points in the first half-hour of trading this morning.

Ace just says "Bad." and means it.

* * *

It wasn't just Hillary saying it! A hell of a lot of us in the right wing said that Obama had no experience whatsoever and that just running his campaign was not even remotely enough to qualify him to be President.

So Obama remorse is finally settling in to the Democrat party as even the most die-hard liberals come to realize that Obama is a terrible, terrible President...something that many of us tried to warn them would be the case.

(Love the comments, by the way. Liberals at know, "best" isn't really the right word when you're talking about this kind of sloppy thinking. How about "most typical"? That'll do.)

* * *

Vox Day posted what looked like a balanced review of a book at another site, and the author of said book has his thong in a wad over the negative things Vox said.

Oh well. The only thing I can do is avoid those books by "Professor Rape!" and I'm glad of Vox Day's review.

* * *

I fell asleep for a couple hours and woke up hungry. I haven't done anything about food yet, though, because I couldn't think of anything that sounded edible. No matter what food I thought of, it sounded horrible.

Now, finally, I'm starting to think that maybe eating something would actually not be nauseating. I guess that means I'm awake now.

#2856: Oh.

As a walk-in for the motorcycle course, I made sure to have a $20 on me, thinking I'd have to pay the $20 registration fee mentioned by the web site. They didn't ask for money this morning; when they handed out the walk-in registration instructions to us, I assumed we'd have to pay the fee at the web site.

...I was nonplussed when I went to the web site, registered, and was not asked for money. Was something wrong? I checked the FAQ:
2) How much does the course cost?

IT'S FREE! We only require a $20 deposit to hold your registration in the course, but it's refundable upon completion of the course.

3) Is this REALLY a FREE course?

Yes it is. Illinois motorcyclists support this course every time they register their motorcycles or renew the motorcycle endorsements on their driver's license.

If I had known about this sooner, I would have long since had my motorcycle certification, and I would have bought a nice street bike by now to boot. The only thing that kept me from getting that "M" on my license was the age-old problem: I couldn't take the test because I didn't have a motorcycle, or access to one, to practice riding; and I wasn't going to buy one until and unless I had the license for it. And the courses (I thought) were expensive. (Well, they are, if you take private courses and not the state ones.)

I guess I can understand why this isn't being broadcast from the tallest mountains; people see "free" and go nuts. But it would have been nice to have known about this a lot sooner.

(Yes, I've had the Suzuki all along. That bike--assuming the DMV would accept it, which is questionable--would get me the "L" classification, which is for bikes under 200 ccs of displacement.)

...and I still haven't gotten dinner, damn it. I'm outa here.