July 1st, 2013

#3882: Don't be like this guy.

From memory: "...the time I blew out the windows in the barn and started a fire--just a small fire--Mom was distressed but Dad was not. He merely suggested I not manufacture explosives in a frame building."

Attempting to disassemble and modify package fireworks is a dangerous game. If you are trying to make your own, bigger fireworks from package fireworks, you run the risk of blowing yourself up. That's how it goes.

There's one safe-ish way to do that; it's called a "flower pot". IF YOU DO THIS, YOU DO IT AT YOUR OWN RISK. (Besides, suing me is pointless; I'm broke.) What you do is get a short (4-5") hunk of 3" or 4" steel pipe and weld it to a wide, flat steel plate. Drill a hole where the pipe meets the plate. Once it's nice and cold you pour a thin layer of gunpowder onto the plate at the bottom of the pipe--you do not need very much!--then shove some cannon fuse into the drilled hole. Next, you take things like ground bloom flowers, firecrackers, jumping jacks, etcetera, and fill the pipe about 1/2 full. (It is best NOT to put in things which will shoot, like rockets or mortar shells.)

Light fuse and get WELL away. Do not hold in hand or mouth. Observe all safety precautions.

When the fuse burns down, it will ignite the gunpowder, which in turn will light the fuses of the fireworks even as it expels them from the tube, and you will be treated to a spectacle of crackling, spinning, smoking, and whatever else you crammed in there.

I did this once on a small scale, using a Pringles can. I used hardly any gunpowder at all, and I was treated to something disproportionately cool for the amount of fireworks used. I used my model rocket launcher to ignite it from twenty feet away, and if I were going to do it on a larger scale--such as the one I just described--I would want to do it from thirty feet away and probably while wearing a face shield.

Even without the safety precautions, a flower pot is a hell of a lot safer than trying to make big fireworks out of small ones. DO NOT DO IT.

* * *

Same vein: Nanny state New York does not allow the sale of any fireworks, including sparklers. Bloomberg doesn't want Cuomo to legalize sparklers because he knows that's the first chink in the nanny state armor: once you let people have sparklers, then they want smoke bombs, and after that they want dynamite. It's just that simple. "Well, these smoke bombs are pretty cool, but I wanna blow something up. Where's the C-4?"

New York simply cannot set out on this slippery slope. If New York legalizes sparklers, it will lead to a bloody and terrible end, with childrens' body parts littering the streets in smoldering, blood-drenched piles of horror.

* * *

So the NSA spying thing actually extends to foreign countries, and they're unhappy about it. NSA's mandate is to watch foreign signals, not domestic, but--gee!--who could have foreseen that a federal agency would overstep its bounds? *rolleyes*

NSA is actually within its mandate when it's keeping an eye on foreign countries, even friendly ones. Remember the watchword of the intelligence community: "There are no friendly foreign intelligence agencies." Okay, the US and Israel are fast friends, yet every so often you hear about Mossad intelligence operations in the United States. I'd wager we don't hear about the British spies working in the US only because no one on the left has a political axe to grind with MI-5, where (of course) the left sides with Palestine (communist) and intensely dislikes Israel (capitalist).

What's happened here, instead, is that the spying has become public knowledge. Of course a foreign government is going to "deplore" the spying.

(Not to say what the NSA is doing is right, of course. I don't know what to think about a spy agency that does what a spy agency is supposed to do. What I do know is that the NSA watching domestic communications has got to stop.)

* * *

For God's sake, people, stop taking pictures of your genitals. How difficult is this?

* * *

Borepatch teeters on the brink of motorcycle madness.

I fall in the "Doc Holliday" camp, myself: "Nah, I'm not one of those Rich Urban Bikers. I'll ride every day." I think it's a waste of money to buy a motorcycle only to leave it in the garage any day it might get rained on. (Or breathed on wrong.)

If you want to spend an insane amount of money on a motorcycle and leave it parked in your garage 360 days out of a year, that's your business--and your money to waste--but IMNSHO if you're going to own a machine and worry more about keeping it clean than using it you should find some other way to spend your money.

My motorcycle is dirty. I don't keep it spit-shined and polished because I use it as transportation, not a penis extension or ego booster, and if I was that f-ing worried about keeping it showroom clean I'd never ride the damned thing. Why own something you can't use for fear of dirtying it? That's insane.

(There is an exception to this, of course, for collectors. If you have an ultra-rare 1926 Harley racing bike that you painstakingly restored and is worth $200,000, of course you're not going to ride it. I'm talking about machines of recent manufacture without antique value.)

* * *

It looks as if we'll have nice weather for the 4th.

* * *

Well, after about a million attempts, I finally got past that impossible track on that racing game. Then Mrs. Fungus wanted to try the game, and she breezed right past the last three tracks in the stage. *sigh* Now I'm in the next set of tracks, and of course #5 is f-ing impossible. Whee!

* * *

Last night, I actually had to put on sweatpants and a hoodie, I got so cold. Then I looked at the thermometer and saw it was 72 in here. Am I turning into a southerner? Have I adjusted my internal thermostat such that 72° feels cold?

...probably not. I'd bet in actuality that the cold wind blowing through the back door was what did it. This means that when the temperatures hit 90+ later on this summer I'll still be sweltering. I can't win.

#3883: For crying out loud

It's a job application, you know, for a cashier position. I'm not applying for a security clearance or root access to your mainframe!

One of the things that really gripes my wagger about on-line job hunting is the way some employers insist on having multiple security questions. I mean, the average schmoe (self included) is interested only in submitting an application for employment, and will probably use the account one time, so why all the nonsense?

For a certain application I had to pick answers to four security questions. Also, my usual password for job applications--this is the only instance in which I use the same password across multiple accounts--my usual password is not good enough for them, but must include a number and a special character. Because hackers.

Sure, you never know when a hacker might crack my password so he can...apply for a job. On a web site where you can create an account and immediately have access to the application system. Yeah. Bonus points for making me do a CAPTCHA, because of course spammers love to spam job applications.

(Eh? "Identity theft"? Sure. And there are probably easier ways for an identity thief to steal my identity than getting it from a job application site.)

The other thing I dislike is when they have you upload your resume...and then ask you to spend twenty minutes filling out forms which duplicate the information in your resume. I don't mind telling them details like addresses and phone numbers--stuff that's not on the resume--but when they ask me to describe the job duties I invariably blurt, "Why the hell do you need this again?"

Since we live in an overweenified world of HR pukes and bureaucrats, though, I fill out the stupid forms.

And while I'm on the topic, let's talk about the stupidity of starting your "job experience" year spinner in 1950. Okay, it's just possible that someone might apply for a job whose first job was "paperboy" when he was 10 in 1950, but the page explicitly asks for job experience over "the last ten years". 2013 minus 10 equals 2003.

Of course, some guy could have worked for Ford or something since he first got a job there at age 16, in 1950, retired after 63 years on the job...and is now looking for something to fill his time with. That man would only be 79 now. Sure, it's possible, but I don't think it's very likely, you know? (Our hypothetical 1950s paperboy would be 73. Let's have him unload the truck.) (Though, to be honest, there are plenty of 73-year-olds out there who could.)

At least they could start the spinner at the current year, instead of 63 years ago. Sheesh.

Lastly--and this one really annoys me--is how you frequently have to re-enter everything for each application. That is to say, it's a pleasant surprise when you want to apply for multiple jobs on a site and you don't have to go through the entire application process for each one. I mean, the information isn't going to change based on what job I'm applying for; I still have the same work history and resume and availability and-and-and. It's stupid to make someone re-type all that shit.

If this is what I must do to find a job, guess what I'm going to do? But I reserve the right to complain about it....