April 23rd, 2012

#3319: Monday morning, again

Well, though I've been freaking out over the impending musical since Saturday, last night I rehearsed along with the CD while referring to the script as little as possible, and did not do too horribly bad. I'm still going to make my prop/prompter binder, but I'm hoping I won't need to rely on it too much.

My biggest problem right now is my character's two (brief) monologues. If I keep at it, I think--I hope--I ought to be okay on Saturday and Sunday.

* * *

Germany ain't happy about bailing out the PIIGS.
Professor Hans-Werner Sinn, head of Germany's IFO Institute, said German taxpayers are facing a dangerous rise in credit risk from a plethora of bail-out schemes. "The euro-system is near explosion," he told Austria's Economics Academy on Thursday.

Dr Sinn said Germany is on the hook for much of the €2.1 trillion (£1.72 trillion) in rescue measures for EMU debtors - often by the back-door - that will saddle Germans with ruinous losses one day.
And let me tell you: "one day" does not mean the year 2525. If it's as far away as 2025 it'd be a real verifiable miracle that would get someone beatified.

* * *

Karl Denninger says that Europe Ain't Over.

* * *

Obamanomics is a complete failure.

* * *

There are a lot of problems with the media narrative of the Zimmerman/Martin shooting case.

* * *

Advice Goddess has more on Leon Pannetta's profligate waste of taxpayer money. She quotes the Wall Street Journal: "Mr. Panetta has reimbursed the government about $630 per round trip, or about 2% of the $30,000 cost to taxpayers per trip."

Well, that's big of him, isn't it?

"'He doesn't get much rest in California, based on the number of times I am in contact with him,' [Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff] said."

Then why the hell does he need to go to CA every weekend?

* * *

Same source: The rule used to be, "finicky people go hungry." That's how it was in my house; my parents provided meals and if I didn't want to eat them, I didn't have to...but if I didn't eat what was put in front of me, I went hungry that night.

This notion that it is somehow "child abuse" not to make food your kids want to eat--to make them eat what the rest of the family is eating--is horseshit.

Absent, it must be said, medical reasons. Okay, if you have a kid who's unable to eat fish because of an allergy and you decide that dinner's going to be fish sticks, you can't expect him to eat that; you've got to make something he can eat. But if the kid can eat anything but will only eat pizza? Sorry, kid: you either eat what's put in front of you, or go hungry.

Or make yourself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for dinner. No, I'm not going to make it for you.

* * *

Apparently the myth that "if you're anti-gay it means you're a homosexual" is a retread from the 1970s. I'm not surprised.

* * *

And two screencaps from the world of MMORPG beta tests:

Finally got the WoW "Mists of Pandaria" beta to work, though I'm not sure how, and came across this quest right before the client got the screaming clammydamps and kickbanned me:

That, my friend, is a reference to the ancient Chinese training ground Jusenkyo, "Cursed Springs". "There more than one thousand springs here, and each one have own tragedy happen there!"

Ranma 1/2--a reference which is inevitable when you've got martial arts pandas running around.

Image 2:

The Tera open beta ends tonight, and I wanted to check out how the Elin (lolitastic!) character race worked. So, I made Teegii, the Elin berserker.

It's hilarious. As you can see, she's got a big 2-handed axe for a weapon, and its handle is nearly as long as she is tall. Okay, sure--a berserker with a bigass weapon is about right, isn't it?

...the handle gets longer when she's actually using it. That is to say, some kind of accommodation magic renders the axe small enough for her to carry it when she's not using it, but once she takes it off her back the handle gets twice as long, making it look more like a polearm than an axe--and in the hands of an Elin, it's ludicrously big.

But man does she lay down the bitchsmack with that thing.

The more I play this game, the more I like it. This screencap gives a better idea of how nicely done the landscape is, though I don't have any real major vista for a background.

It looks as if any race can be any class, which is nice. I had not expected that; it's a departure for most computer RPGs.

I'll have to keep an eye on this game, I guess.

* * *

That reminds me, though, of one of the things that annoyed me about D&D version 4.

Apparently humans don't make good fighters.

...and I said, "What? What the hell kind of bullshit is that?" Oh no; no, if you want to run a fighter you need to be half-dragon or something weird like that, because humans don't have the constitution--

I stopped reading at that point.

Look: in the original game--before "Advanced Dungeons and Dragons" let Gary Gygax cut the co-creator of D&D out of further profits--humans were best suited to the fighter character class. Other races were better for other things; elves were good thieves, for example, because of their dexterity bonus, and so on.

In AD&D, then, that changed a bit. There were racial character class restrictions and stat bonuses; a human could be anything but wasn't particularly good at any one class, while other races had bonuses that let them be good at certain classes but which precluded them being others. I don't remember the exact restrictions, but I do remember that dwarves couldn't be magic users. (Mages. Wizards. Never really understood "magic user" as a name for a character class. Oh well.) Dwarves made better fighters than humans did--but not dramatically better.

Point is, humans could achieve nominal competence in any character class; a given human might not be the best possible [whatever] at level X, but he wouldn't be facing any penalties. If you pitted dwarf and human fighters against each other, all else being equal, it would be a 50-50 proposition who would win the fight. The dwarf might have a 19 constitution to the human's 18, but it would quite literally come down to the luck of the dice as to who would win the fight.

Not so in D&D 4: no, a human would be--this is what I remember the discussion saying--the human would be outclassed by the whatever-it-was he was fighting.

So this is pretty much why I didn't bother looking at D&D 4.

* * *

Well, I went to bed last night at around midnight--after I finished rehearsing--and slept for almost four hours. I've been up since 4 AM, and guess what?

My damn sleep clock is all f-ed up, that's what.

Well, it's still cold outside. The projected high for today is 55-ish, and 61 tomorrow. After some rain midweek it's gonna be in the mid-40s. This is approximately seasonal weather for April in northeastern Illinois.

...actually it's a bit on the cold side, now that I think of it. We had such a mild winter--and that 10-day stretch of summer-like temperatures--which I think made everyone assume it was going to be a lot warmer than this, by now. I warned everyone we were due for another snowstorm; I doubt we'll get one, now, but it's still (barely) possible.

* * *

The trunk for the motorcycle is supposed to be delivered this afternoon. We'll see how that goes; if it is, I can install it and get a pic or two up this evening.

#3320: Trunk arrived, installed, and cool.

Yep, I just finished putting it on:

It took me about 20 minutes to put it on, because placing the fasteners that hold it to the luggage rack is a finicky process and I wanted the thing to be lined up correctly. Also, nylock nuts are both good and bad: good because they hold once tightened; bad because you can only get the threads started before you need tools to tighten them, and you have to tighten them all the way with the tools.

I used the air ratchet and saved my wrists, BTW.

Motorcycle Superstore sent my order in two boxes, and I'm not sure why. The box that the trunk came in was big enough to hold four of these trunks.

Now I'll be able to carry a hat in the trunk, and when I go to a store or something swap helmet for hat and not have to carry the helmet around the store so people will understand that my hair's messy because I'm riding a motorcycle.

I like to say that I'm not vain, but I am, in little ways at least. Heh.

(By the way, look at that seat. You'd never know the cover had been off it, would you?)

* * *

Mark Steyn lays down some serious snark bitchsmack on the SS for HookerGate.

"HookerGate". Heh.
It turns out U.S. Secret Service agents are the only men who can walk into a Colombian nightclub and not spot the professionals. Are they really the guys you want protecting the president?

Congress is not happy about this. “It was totally wrong to take a foreign national back to a hotel when the president is about to arrive,” said Representative King.
That's right? What if she's a Baka-hooker? You could be giving Al Qaeda the "in" it needs to assassinate the President! Then we'd have President Joe Biden!

Quoth Berkely Breathed in Bloom County, after they discover that cat sweat is the ultimate hair-growth lotion. They have trouble making Bill the Cat sweat, so someone says to him, "President Quayle!" and Bill the cat begins to sweat. Someone else says, "He's sweating!" And Milo replies, "I'm sweating."

Want to make a cat sweat? "President Joe Biden!" And I'm sweating, now.

...long way to go for the joke, dude. *sigh*

And the worst part is, I lost the flow. Oh well! On to the next item.

* * *

Hyperbolic Chamber writes about the job market:
The interviews were on a Tuesday afternoon, and early Thursday morning I get a letter telling I am not good enough. There I was, 29 years old, 34 inch waist, bench pressing 250 pounds (I whipped myself into shape with an eye to reenlistment now the draw-down was stabilizing when the mill came a calling), drug free, no criminal record, Army veteran, college grad, hammer the entrance exam like it’s child’s play. And still not good enough for a well paying job.
The thing that's most interesting about that is how you always hear about industrial jobs going begging for workers.

My brother-in-law in Louisiana told me that if I were to learn how to weld, I could get a job in a shipyard down there tomorrow because they're a in such a world of hurt for workers who don't drink and can pass a drug test on the spot that jobs are going begging.

Yet eminently qualified people get bypassed, and HR departments are unwilling to say why.

I'm kind of in the same boat, myself. I apply for skilled jobs and am turned down due to lack of experience or training; I apply for unskilled jobs and am turned down because I'm "overqualified". WTF is this shit?

* * *

Hyperbolic Chamber also has a post up about the re-relase of Titanic for Imax.
I don’t see where this is such a great romantic movie, either. This couple comes on board only to have some douche hit on her like a ton of bricks, and the fiancé, who rightfully gets upset, is the bad guy, while the player is the good guy, and the woman who’s in such a hurry to have a cruise hook-up with some random dude, the women are supposed to identify with her? Now how often is a man who openly philanders with some random chick, under the nose of his fiancé, sympathetically played? I usually see him made out to be a dog.
Ah, but you see, it's so romantic that she has two men fighting over her, and her fiancee is just being a neanderthal by insisting that she, you know, actually remain faithful to him when she's agreed to marry him.

(No, I haven't seen the movie. No, I don't care to. Yes, it's possible that the fiancee is actually a bad guy. No, I don't care.)

Here's a news flash for you women out there: if you think it's romantic to have a fling with another man when you're already in a committed relationship, you are a whore.

Hate to break it to you, but that is exactly how men will look at you. If you do that shit enough and word gets around, you'll have all kinds of guys lining up to do you; but none of them will want to commit to you because if you cheat on one man you'll cheat on another just as willingly. And so you'll end up alone and whining about how "there are no good men".

If Leonardo DiCaprio had survived and they'd gotten married, Kate Winslet would eventually have cheated on him because the leopard does not change its spots, and once you've gotten away with cheating the next time becomes easier for you to rationalize away.

This is one of the reasons it was highly beneficial for our culture to instill in girls the idea that women should be very careful about who they sleep with and when.

* * *

An opinion piece which breaks no new ground on why conservatism is better-argued than liberalism. And I liked this:
Ancient military strategist Sun Tzu taught the importance to victory of first understanding one's opponent. But then, he never had to face an enemy so loathsome that it expected grown men and women to pony up and pay for their own birth control.
In Neal Stephenson's The Big U, the president of American Megaversity--S.S. Krupp--is giving a talk on philosophy; the man is quite learned on the subject. But the campus leftist organizations are there to protest, and one is there to throw a banana cream pie at him.

Meanwhile, this one woman gets up to ask a question and naturally it's about AMU policies, not the lecture Krupp is giving. "That means that, last year, American Megaversity spent...four hundred million dollars on union-busting fees alone! How can you justify that, when in this very city women have to pay for their own abortions?" (Her math, by the way, is defective--she multiplied instead of dividing, and it's bleeding obvious--but I don't know where either of my two copies of the book are, and I can't remember the exact quote.)

But it's the same thing, isn't it? Basically?

* * *

Things worse than nuclear power is a blog that shows us the ways in which nuclear power is superior to fossil fuels or "renewable" energy systems.

This particular post is 95% right.

20 tons is about right for the load of fuel used in a nuclear reactor, but it's not all used up in a day. 20 tons of reactor fuel is good for months. So in fact, each car in the graphic in that post represents an entire trainload of coal. Take a look at that image; it takes a trainload of that many cars to fuel a coal plant for one day.

182 cars of coal.

Now, if each car represents one traiload of fuel, that's about the number of trainloads of fuel that a single 20-ton load of nuclear fuel replaces.

Understand that a typical coal hopper carries about 100 tons of coal. 182 carloads is 18,200 tons of coal. 182 trains of 182 carloads each is 3.3 million tons of coal.

Now: when you burn coal, you have all kinds of coal ash and junk left over. A lot of crud goes up the smokestack, but not all, and the ash that's left behind is toxic shit...and you have a hell of a lot more of that than you do spent nuclear fuel at the end of six months!

Also: their math is wrong. 20 tons is 1/5th of a rail car, or 20%, or 0.2. (Not 0.005 or 0.5%.) This error doesn't invalidate their point, but anti-nukers will assume it's a lie told to strengthen their case. But that's totally unnecessary, because any swinging dick can look at the difference between 20 tons and 18,200 tons and conclude that the latter is smaller.

...perhaps they meant that the amount of total fuel load used is 0.005 of a rail car; that much makes sense since about 95% of the fuel load is reusable and recyclable. This means that 1%--one ton--of the fuel is used up after the power plant is operating for months. (But 0.005 of a rail car is half a ton. The numbers simply do not work.)

Then there's this:
The final kicker? Used nuclear fuel still contains an immense amount of energy--over 95% of the potential energy contained in that small amount of material is not even used. Advanced reactors will one day be routinely used to recycle this waste.
We don't need the advanced reactors. All we need to do is reprocess our waste and remove the neutron poisons; we can store that shit on-site and reuse the fuel over and over and over again! Sure, it's fine to have "advanced reactors" to use up the neutron poisons; I have no objection to this whatsoever because the more fissionables we can use, the more energy we extract from a given mass. But we don't need it. All we need is a sensible energy policy.

If carbon dioxide is your big bugaboo, you should be pushing for nuclear power, because nothing else makes sense.

* * *

Unless, that, is, you're a total fucking moron. Take a look at the guy in the picture, there. He's smoking a cigarette.

That cigarette is orders of magnitude more dangerous to him and his health than nuclear power is. He wants "safe clean energy" (which nuclear power is!) and he's walking around smoking something that is a proven risk factor for all kinds of health-destroying diseases.

A bigger risk factor than living within 50 miles of a nuclear plant. Even Three Mile Island or Fukushima.