October 16th, 2017

#5912: Tediousness of paint prep on a poorly-maintained wall

So, here's what I'm doing today: I'm spackling and cleaning the south wall of the computer room. I just stopped to have something to eat.

"Spackling" has gone swimmingly. The wall is now covered with a myriad of white patches where I filled this or that surface defect with the stuff. That has to dry overnight before I can do anything else with it, but that's fine.


I mentioned, the other day, that I had removed nine mirror tiles from that wall, which had been affixed to it with 1/2"x1" pieces of double-sided foam tape. This is what is making this task tedious: a hair-thin layer of adhesive still stuck to the paint.

Why, yes, thanks for asking, I did indeed try using Goof Off to remove it. I did indeed manage to remove the residue; I also removed a very nice neat circle of paint around the residue, leaving a little yellow rectangle surrounded by darker yellow, apparently the previous shade the room was painted. I don't know how this is going to look once the room is painted.

So, you know what this means, don't you? It means I need to scrape off all 36 of these little blots of tedium, using razor blade, putty knife, thumbnail, whichever tool works best on a particular part of the job.


But what I'm going to do first is leave them, until it's time to sand the spackling; I'll see if they mind 150 grit. They'd better, because I do not fancy the idea of manually scraping each one of those damned things off. (And no, I can't just paint over them, either. I'm trying to do this job right.)

* * *

WPA2 has been cracked. Which means it's now possible to intercept WiFi communications in real time even if your target isn't using the highly insecure WEP protocol.

* * *

"One side has 8 trillion bullets. The other doesn't know which bathroom to use." Heh.

More seriously, Afghanis wage war against the US military and do quite well. A sufficiently motivated US insurgency could do as well, or better.
Who exactly do you think has stymied the U.S. in Afghanistan for 16 years? The Taliban is made up of Afghan Bubbas. The Taliban doesn’t need to defeat nuclear weapons, though they are humiliating a nuclear power for the second time in history. They use a mix of Kalashnikovs and WWII-era bolt-action rifles. Determined insurgencies are really difficult to fight, even if they are only armed with Enfield rifles and you can target them with a TOW missiles system that can spot a cat in the dark from two miles away. In Iraq, expensive tanks were destroyed with simple improvised explosives.
It's the stark truth. You're insane if you want there to be an insurgency and a civil war in the US, but it's not impossible for an insurgency to win.

* * *

I suspected he was talking about Friday as soon as he said Heinlein had written two books with slaves as protagonists. Citizen of the Galaxy was the first; when he said there was a second, Friday was my guess.

It's an excellent discussion of the issue of slavery and how it is viewed--and used--by the civil rights apparatus in the US.
There was the skeleton found some years ago during the remodeling of an old house in New England, which appeared to be of an indigent teen girl who as far as they could trace had been brought from England as a sort of chattel/slave and who had died or been killed and buried between the floors of the house, without anyone asking or caring about her. She might not have been bought or sold officially (though it wouldn’t be strange if her “indenture” was traded back and forth), but she was in no more control of her life, nor treated more as a real human being, than any slave. It’s a semantic distinction without a difference.

But to the people who hope to profit from enslaving the minds of others, it’s very important to keep those whose ancestors were enslaved in the Americas believing that their fate was uniquely bad and that it was racially motivated.
I've said it before, that even as far back as my primary school years, history lessons de-emphasized indentured servitude, making it sound like it was a walk in the park compared to being a slave--but as long as your contract endured you WERE a slave. The only difference between chattel slavery and indentured servitude is the time you're enslaved; one has an end date prior to your death--at least, on paper--and the other does not.

("At least, on paper": I'm sure many contracts were extended for this or that reason, with or without the consent of the servant in question. "Well, John, when you got sick, I had to pay the doctor to get you well, and paying that debt is going to add another six months to your contract...." Read Heinlein's Logic of Empire.)

* * *

Demonstrating astrophysics. Neutron star collision detected with gravity wave detector, also seen with telescopes; so they've got evidence suggesting that heavy elements come from neutron star collisions, and so do gamma ray bursts. Interesting.

* * *

"Socially and demographically, California is one big melted chunk of plastic cancer." I don't care if California leaves the union, either...as long as there is a high wall with snipers and a mine field preventing people from entering the US illegally from it, and stiff STIFF environmental arbitrage tariffs on electricity we sell to them.

* * *

Okay, food is eaten and it's time to get back to work.

#5913: Partying like it's 2002!!!

So, besides spackling, I took my desk apart.

My desk is--was--the biggest piece of furniture in the computer room.

Once I was finished with spackling what I could spackle, I got after the computer desk. I needed to get it taken apart and out of here, because I need to be able to access the walls in order to paint them. Weird, eh?

It took me a couple of hours to accomplish that. Because stuff all over the place and WTF KIND OF SCREW IS THIS and-and-and. Look: I last moved this desk a bit less than five years ago--from my old bedroom into here--but I didn't need to take it down this far to do it. This time it was going to the garage for the duration, so I took it down to smaller parts.

Man what a lot of work that was!

But I did it, and in its place I brought in the old printer stand which served as my battlestation for many years in the late '80s and through the 1990s, until 1999 at least. But I took that desk down and stored it when I got a roommate in March of 2002, and used the printer stand in its stead in my bedroom in the old place in Cedar Rapids. I didn't have my computer desk set up again until early 2004, after I was back in Illinois.

...dang, that computer desk is old, isn't it? Maybe I should think about getting a new one. Someday.

Anyway: I kept the printer stand, despite its excessive age and deterioration, because I knew it would come in handy for something, and you never know when you're going to need a computer desk that will fit in a relatively small area...and I'm pleased to see that I was right. It breaks down to four pieces--two legs, the top, and a back panel--and stores pretty compactly, so it's not a big problem like keeping the old kid's desk was that I tossed earlier this year.

Could be worse, right?

Anyway, my new minimalist battle station has keyboard, mouse, and speakers on it, with little room for anything else, but it works and is easily moved.

$5 says my wife says, "You should leave it like that!" *sigh*

Well, I could do that...but I'd need a lot of shelves on the wall to accommodate my desk stuff then. Just sayin'.


Well, Mrs. Fungus didn't say I should leave it like that, but she did say that I look like a baby. Because I'm sitting at a tiny little desk.