July 11th, 2012

#3475: Wednesday, and I'm stuck in first gear.

I've got so much inertia, just finding a first sentence for this post is taking longer than it should. My arms feel like my bones have been replaced with depleted uranium.

That's the thing I detest most: when I wake up with my skeleton aching with fatigue. Especially my arms--the bones in my forearms just hurt in a highly nonspecific fashion, as if I'd been doing manual labor all night.

Not the muscles; the bones. WTF. The rest of my body feels the same way, but it's the arms that hurt the most.

But the pain isn't strong enough to warrant painkillers and it's too diffuse to be from anything in particular. It just makes me feel miserable and exhausted.

So I end up wondering: is this fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue? Is it low thyroid hormone? Is it something else? Am I just getting old?

...but I've had this issue for a long time, so it's probably not aging. It's just getting worse as I get older.


* * *

Brian Dunbar urges us to vote for Gary Johnson. That's how I'm leaning.

It's not going to make a difference to anyone but me, but at least I can say that I didn't vote for the Same Old Shit Sandwich.

* * *

A century's worth of socialized education has resulted in people needing translations of English words because they're "too hard".

I tried to read that quote and was stumbling, too--not over the hard words but the completely unnecessary modern translations. "Completely unnecessary" for me, at least, because I know most of the words he used. "Votaries" was new to me, but I was able to pick up the meaning from the context provided by the rest of the sentence before I read the "[faithful]" right after it.

Problem the first: "whole-word reading". Yes it is true that proficient readers generally read whole words at a time. No you cannot teach someone to read well without first teaching them phonic reading. Reading whole words comes with practice, but you need to start by looking at the letters and sounding them out, because by doing that you are equipped to read words you've never seen before. When a proficient reader who learned to read via phonics then encounters a word he's never seen before, generally he'll be able to sound it out and figure out some meaning from context.

Otherwise? Here's how the quote turns out if you're a "whole-word" reader and you don't have translations: "How dreadful are the curses which HEKABBOSYVW lays on its GDCUNEWR! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as EICPFEJNBABGI in a dog,..."

One day a friend and I were going somewhere and he was telling me about another friend of his, younger than us. He tried giving said friend a book we'd both enjoyed--and the third party was unable to read the book despite being of average intelligence and having attended a predominantly white suburban school in a relatively wealthy area.

Reason: "I can't figure out who's talking!"

...because the author didn't include a dialogue tag with each sentence indicating who was speaking. Apparently his reading skills could only cope with dialogue written thus:
"X," said A.

"Y," said B.

"Z," said A.

"AA," said B.
...which basically puts that kid forever outside the realm of reading fiction, because no one writes fiction for adults like that. In fact, no one writes fiction for juveniles that way; that kind of tagging is done in primary readers but you don't see much of it past third grade or so.

Phonics doesn't just let you sound out strange words; it also equips you to figure out what words mean based on what they're made of. The process of learning phonetic reading teaches you to identify structures in words and match them to things you already know. So if you've learned "promote" but have never seen "demote", you can generally figure out what the new word means from the context of the sentence. "Oh, 'promote' means to get a higher position, so it looks like 'demote' means to get a lower one." The definition may not be 100% congruent with the dictionary's, but it's enough for the reader to understand what's going on--and in the truly proficient (phonic) reader this happens automatically, without conscious thought.

Contrast that with the whole-word reader, who can only treat words as indivisible blocks. He knows "promote" but--upon seeing "demote"--can only read it as GOKIWO, a bunch of unintelligible letters. He must go to a dictionary for meaning and pronunciation.

Then we wonder why so many kids graduate as functional illiterates.

Well, it's not just the schools' fault; it's the parents', too. My parents started teaching me to read when I was old enough to be interested in looking at the pictures in books, and by the tiem I was in kindergarten I was reading just fine.

My kindergarten teacher seemed offended that I could read and write. The more I think about her the more I realize how bad she was at teaching. There was this time she was talking about colors and asked us, "What are your favorite colors?" I raised my hand and said, "Blue!"

Her reply: "I don't like blue. It's such a depressing color!"


* * *

Nice work if you can get it. The power company from the areas hit by those big storms that knocked out power for a week or more is now charging its customers a surcharge for the time it couldn't deliver power.

Imagine that you are totally incapacitated for a week and cannot work. (You're an hourly employee in this instance, BTW, with no sick time or vacation pay.) When you return to work, you give your boss an invoice expecting him to pay you for the time you couldn't work.

He'd laugh his ass off, and if you were lucky he'd only chew you out and not fire you for being such a moron.

Yet this power company is doing something similar. During the week that so many of their customers were without power, their revenue suffered, so they're tacking a surcharge onto peoples' bills to make up the lost revenue.

Perfectly legal under the state law, yes. But it's asinine.

* * *

Vox Day has a post up about Joe Farah of WND saying that we all have to vote for Romney lest Obama win.


A vote for either Romney or Obama is a vote for Obama; it's just a question of "how much" Obama we get. We either get "Obama Lite" or we get "Obama Classic", and either way it's a bunch of big government bullshit. Obama and Romney are exactly the same but for minor details.

So my plan is to vote for Gary Johnson, who is not going to win but is at least neither Obama nor Obama Lite.

* * *

We live in the future! Today's other Michael Flynn link is about a paragraph which reads like it comes from an SF book. You know, one of those things where the writer includes news stories to give a feel of being in the future; two examples which read like they're from today and the third full of buzzwords and jargon which are incomprehensible to us but perfectly sensible to the reader in the story.

Here's how it reads to someone from 1992; terms which weren't invented in 1992 are rendered as nonsense and words with new meanings are italicized:
We learned this week that a EWFDSE user, named Lompolo, had discovered rogue ESWE bearing DroidDream onto pre-Gingerbread Android platforms - viral BEJASE QWIRQA that exports handset ID and other sensitive data, enabling a remote server, via known exploits bypassing security controls, to install code partly beyond the reach of UEIEFW's remote kill switch, which it was anyway hesitating to launch pending reference to the Android Police.
Now, why don't we go back to 1982 and try this again?
We learned this week that a FERYTIO user, named Lompolo, had discovered rogue SDCF bearing DroidDream onto pre-Gingerbread Android platforms - viral HURGLE JMNAEFEWQ that exports handset ID and other sensitive data, enabling a remote server, via known exploits bypassing security controls, to install code partly beyond the reach of JUIEFE's remote kill switch, which it was anyway hesitating to launch pending reference to the Android Police.
It gets more and more nonsensical the farther back in time you go. Words are invented or repurposed to mean new things, and someone from 1982 wouldn't even understand that the writer is talking about something related to computers and communications. He'd probably need a bunch of explanation in order to be able to get any meaning from that paragraph.

"Who are the Android Police?" In 1982 that would conjure up visions not unlike Robocop. "Gingerbread androids?" Robot cookies? "'DroidDream'--is that like electric sheep or something?"

* * *

Another neat XKCD today:

* * *

Speaking of the "stopped clock illusion", I'm starting to wonder when the hell Kodomo no Jikan is going to update. It hasn't done so since May.

A week or so after I moved Sketchbook into the stagnant folder--since it hasn't updated since November--it updates. Maybe I should move KnJ into "Stagnant" so it'll update.

That trick never works.

#3476: I just got a lot done.

Two on-line applications completed and submitted, and the bills are paid. (Except for the medical insurance, which is due on the 28th and which requires that I move money from savings to pay.)

Next up: bed repairs!

I say "a lot" but the remaining to-do list remains impressive, so "a lot" is really a relative measure. In no particular order:
1) grocery shopping
2) find out where to take the new cylinder for the dirt bike for boring and honing 0.5mm oversize, then take it there
3) research tires/parts/etc for the road bike. Time to make something happen, damn it.
4) figure out WTMFH I'm gonna do about the Fiero, and do it. Also time to make something happen.
5) Work on building a new taillight bracket for dirt bike.
6) Fix bed (on list because I haven't started yet)
7) Call the potential employer I visited on 6/18 to ask WTH is going on.
8) Write a short essay explaining why I'm fit to own firearms, and forward it to my lawyer.
9) Put the Celeron back together and put it away now that my Carmageddon addiction has been slaked.
10) Continue watching anime LDs.
11) Watch fansubs and get current with them
12) Finish backing up fansubs
13) Take ripped envelope to post office to enquire whether or not they can find my goddamned kick start lever.
14) ...and so on
I don't know how the hell I can justify playing WoW so much when there are all these things on my to-do list. WTF.

* * *

Of course I still haven't found the Gorilla Glue, and it's past 8 PM. $5 says I either can't find it, or else it'll be no good, which means postponing the task another day. Argh etc.

Well--with two trolley jacks holding up the thing, it's stable as the Rock of Gibraltar. I just want to fix it so I can take them out of my room again; it's not right and I want it to be right.

* * *

Hardly any of this even touches on my quest for employment, which has been kicked into high gear because it's about fucking time I got a job and all.

Lemonzen took my resume and edited it severely, and sent it back yesterday; I would have liked to have opened the file but unfortunately her version of Word at work doesn't output a file that my version of Word here can read. I've got Word 2000 here; I don't know what version she's using at work but apparently it's new enough that its files give Word 2000 the screaming clammydamps.

So she had to cut-and-paste it into an e-mail, and then I had to cut-and-paste from the e-mail into Word, and edit appropriately. The revised resume fits on one page and hopefully will be most attractive to prospective employers. (Lemonzen is a pointy-haired boss where she works, so she ought to know. But at least she's the technically savvy pointy-haired boss, who knows how to use a computer.)

(Her hair is not pointy, though. I suspect she has a pointy-haired wig that she wears in order to fit in with management at #MAJORTELECOMMUNICATIONSCORPORATION.)

I'll reserve the two-page wonder for major-league jobs (like something in robotics or the like) and use the shorter one for unskilled jobs. This should do nicely.

So I fixed my resume, slogged through the on-line application process at two companies, and paid my bills. My reward is to go searching for Gorilla Glue, and if I find it, fixing my bed tonight. *sigh*

So happy I could just shit...if I hadn't done that before posting this.

#3477: This is starting to piss me off.

I can't find the Gorilla Glue. Considering that the last time I needed it was 2010, that isn't terribly surprising; so tomorrow I'll be going to the hardware store to buy some.

But that's not what's pissing me off; no.

No, what's pissing me off is the leaky rear tire on the road bike. See, once I'd ascertained that the Gorilla Glue is nowhere to be found, I decided I'd sit down with the spray bottle of soapy water and try to figure out how bad the rear tire leak is, and where it's coming from. I expected to find a massive rim leak since it leaked down from full pressure (ca 24 PSI) in a handful of hours.

"Rim leak" makes sense if the inner tube has developed a leak but not due to foreign object intrusion (ie a tire puncture). Still, I sprayed the tread first, thinking that if there were an embedded object I might not have seen it the last time I inspected the tire. (Whenever that may have been; I don't seem to have blogged it, but I did check it for FOD after it went flat on me, before the 4th, and found nothing wrong.)

Well, there aren't any leaks in the tread! Let's check the rim now!

Left side: nothing.

Right side: nothing.

...went inside and made the soap solution stronger, so it would really bubble if there were a leak, and repeated the above.



How the motherfucking hell is the damn tire leaking down from 24 PSI in a few hours when THERE ISN'T ANY AIR COMING OUT OF IT??????

I mean, where the hell is it going?

Several times I thought I'd identified a rim leak, but when I sprayed fresh solution onto it? Nothing. The bubbles were apparently from when I spritzed it the first time.

And anyway, if the damn tire is going dead flat in a few hours it for damn sure ought to be doing more than putting out an almost undetectable stream of bubbles. That's why you use soapy water; it makes the leak obvious even if it's not very big.

And I've got a pretty big f-ing leak here if it's going flat in 4-5 hours.

So I pumped the tire up to 30 PSI, and put it away; and if that damn tire still has 30 PSI in it tomorrow then I guess I'll just have to stop leaving the bike parked outside. *sigh*