atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#2084: I really, really hope he's right.

Alan Caruba writes a good post comparing Iran 2010 with Germany 1938, and it's hard to fault his comparison.

This is the part I really hope he's right about:
An extraordinary flotilla of U.S. war ships has been building up in the Persian Gulf and there no doubt there are other preparations for war occurring. One can only hope that overt U.S. policy towards Israel is a gigantic deception to make the Iranians think the U.S. will stay out of the fight.
I don't know what would be served by such a deception, but I really, really, DESPERATELY hope this is what's going on.

'Cause if it's not, we're in a heap of trouble.

* * *

Added to blogroll: Non-Original Rants.

Why? Well, among other reasons:

A bit on the Taliban destruction of priceless Buddhist statuary.

Follow-up on the teachers in Rhode Island who were fired. No one talked about what happened after the firing; I'm glad I saw this.

* * *

As promised, it was hot today; and as promised, I turned on the A/C at the first sign of it.

Result: I'm sitting here in my room at a comfortable temperature, not sweating my ass off.

I fell asleep early this afternoon, not waking until it was after five, and it turns out Mom did the same. Well, it was a good day to stay indoors and nap, especially since the back yard is still squelching after the rains of the past couple days.

* * *

So, okay: YES Danica! Patrick!'s car can be made of ass and suck a lot, and yes, it's no reflection on her skills as a driver, but she still needs to learn how not to be a douchebag.

I don't see how someone can get a highly specialized car costing millions of dollars and not return it to the manufacturer if the damn thing can't be adjusted such that it doesn't suck when piloted by a competent driver within its designed operational envelope. Certainly if I bought some high-dollar item like that and it could not be made to perform to specification, I would have manufacturer techs out there explaining to me why not...or else I'd cancel the supply contract and buy a car from someone who cared about getting my money. This isn't some schlomo buying a used Hyundai and racing it in a LeMons race; this is freakin' professional racing. If the guy managing the team continues to let the driver have a shitty car, he's a moron.

Every time I see that woman talk, or hear about her talking, what comes across is poor sport and sense of entitlement and prima donna. None of it seems justified, as she's won one race in her career; she may never finish or qualify outside the top ten but lots of people can say that. It's not the same as winning.

She's not as good a driver as she thinks she is--for a professional racer, she's average--and that arrogance shows in how she interacts with just about everyone. If she were a man with the same record, all else being equal, everyone would dismiss him as a self-important prick.

About halfway down this Fiero forum thread they start talking about the Indy stuff:
I wonder if Danica might not be jumping the shark at this point.

She is no longer an unknown. She ran those few Nascar races earlier in the year, and really was not impressive at all. She has 86 starts in Indy Car now, and just 1 win to show for it. This year in Indy Car, she is 16th in the points standings, with her best finish being 12th.

When she burst on the scene, she was supposed to be the first female driver that was really a top talent, and would be able to win races and compete for wins with the top drivers of the sport. It's looking like she isn't anymore since it hasn't happened.

Maybe the folks at Indy just thought that throwing her team under the bus for what is looking like her own shortcomings as a driver wasn't appropriate.
Nothing new there, except that she finally blurted out on the IRL / IMS PA system the same crap she's been whining over race control comm at every track I've listened to her at.
Add this to the fact that she is INCAPABLE of describing in accurate and precise detail *what* is wrong with the car, (if indeed anything actually is).
It's VERY "entertaining" listening to her complain over the radio for an entire race.
Like I've said before "Panica" takes some of the biggest sponsor money in the game, the best equipment money can buy and the best technical and race support in the business and consistantly runs middle of the pack.
Simply a media phenomenon.
So I'm not the only one.

* * *

Something else that bothers me about Doctor Who is the butthurt boyfriend meme they keep using.

Okay: Doc brings chick along for the ride. They pop back to England for this or that and chick's boyfriend learns about the Doc and his TARDIS etc. Boyfriend gets taken along for the ride, and is a 'fraidy cat, and hates everything.

They did this in the first season of the new series, with Rose Tyler, and they're doing it again.

Okay: doing it once was fine. It was tedious and annoying to hear Rose's boyfriend worrying about being "a tin dog", but it was tolerable because, WTF, not everyone enjoys running for his life.

But they're shaping up to do it again with Amy and Rory, and I don't like it. There won't be a new ep broadcast until the 5th of June, so I've got a bit less than two weeks to stew over it before I see the next ep.

Why is Captain Jack the only guy in the DW universe (other than the Doctor himself) who has any courage? Why do the Doctor's companions' boyfriends never have any cojones?

Thinking about it, I realized that the Doctor is essentially immortal: if he gets mortally injured, he'll just regenerate. You'd have to vaporize him to kill him; if you took his head off (one way or another) that would probably do it, too. But falling from a great height didn't kill him (see the end of "Logopolis", when Tom Baker gave way to Peter Davison) and he's taken a bunch of other mortal injuries which led to his regeneration.

That's kind of the point; that's why the Time Lords modified themselves to do it. (I seem to recall that the Time Lords modified their genes a lot. I could be wrong.)

So, sure, the Doctor can be an ad hoc troubleshooter, bouncing randomly around time and space and fixing stuff that's going wrong without worrying too much about there being a Doctor tomorrow because--absent the odd beheading or vaporization--there will be. It's relatively easy for him to be brave, knowing that his existence isn't quite as fragile as that of his companions.

Humans are a lot less durable (and all of his companions are human of one stripe or another) yet his female companions are the only other people who relish the danger and the excitement? His (rare) male companions don't? Was Harry Sullivan (from the 1970s Tom Baker episodes) the last of the Doctor's male companions who didn't pitch a bitch whenever things got too scary?

Turlow? Turlow was not bad, I suppose, but he got a bit shrill here and there. Don't even mention Adric, as he was incredibly whiny and annoying at all times, and the best episode chronicling his entire miserable existence was the one in which he got killed.

(...the next time I see that episode I'm going to play Sousa marches during the end credits. Originally they're silent, with the credits rolling over his broken gold star on a black background. I think "Stars and Stripes Forever" would go well with it.)

* * *

Well, I won't have to worry about FlashForward next season, as it's been cancelled.

* * *

Apparently you can get a video camera about the size of a stick of gum for around $20-$30 or so. It stores video to an SD card and is light enough to launch in a model rocket. Where the hell was this when I was into model rocketry?

Yeah yeah, "not invented yet", not practical either since no one had done any serious work on portable devices. Power consumption, I mean: in 1995 you were lucky to get a couple hours out of a portable CD player running on four AA batteries; in 2008 I bought a cheapo MP3 player for $20 that plays a good long time on one AAA battery.

Battery technology and low-power IC technology are better today than they were 15 years ago. Lithium ion batteries pack enough power that they're dangerous if short-circuited, and even cheap electronics can be acceptably miserly with power because all the heavy lifting has been done. I'm thinking, "What would/could I use that for?"

* * *

It was hot today; and we're left with a muggy summer-like night. What I want to do is to move the Escort out of the way, get the MGB out of the garage, and go for a nice drive. But there are four reasons why I can't:

1) Invalid plate. The license plate has not been renewed since 2004, which was the last time the car was drivable.

2) No insurance. We have "just in case" liability on it, but it's restricted to being in storage.

3) Engine needs work. It's in dire need of a complete tune up; at the moment it doesn't make enough power to get out of its own way. I'm thinking timing and a carb rebuild at the minimum.

4) Tires! The damn tires on the thing were old when Dad bought it in 1987. It has needed tires for 23 years.

Failing that, I would like to take the Fiero out for a drive. I can't drive the Fiero, either:

1) No insurance

2) No plate

3) Rear brakes really need some work to function properly.

The brakes in the car work, but the pedal moves awful far before they do. The rear brakes, which are supposed to be self-adjusting, need manual adjustment according to a procedure outlined by the famous Ogre on the Fiero forum. And the entire emergency brake cable system needs rebuilding again; because of the way Pontiac designed the freakin' thing, they tend to rust to death rather quickly. (I replaced all of them in 2002. They died in 2006.)

Gadzooks I need a job. If I had income, I could do some of this stuff.

* * *

I can't believe how I lose track of time when I'm at the computer. I mean, I got up from an afternoon nap and had dinner around 7-ish. It was a rather low-fat meal, as all meals prepared by Mom tend to be, since she's been on a low-fat diet for decades. So I began feeling hungry and slighly hypoglycemic around 10-ish, and I was getting annoyed because "it hasn't been that damn long since dinner"--but it was, after all, three hours after a meal with a fat content in the single digits of grams, so in actuality I did pretty good.

Leftover pork chop, a Marconi's roll, and some Heinz 57--pork chop sandwich, very tasty, and I'm not hypoglycemic anymore. Now I probably have a couple of hours before I have to eat something.

I didn't even start WoW yesterday. I watched Haruhi and read and did other things. Bravo was running reruns of House, MD and I hadn't seen a couple of them, so I watched that, and Doctor Who; and then suddenly it was 3 AM and long past time for bed.

* * *

Having reread it again, now I'm wondering how long it'll be before the next Yotsuba&! book comes out. I realized that Azuma could pull the "Yotsuba's birth mother/parents/father turns up and wants Yotsuba back" thing, which would be total dicks to throw into the middle of such a fun and light-hearted series.

I've been wondering when/if we'd see animation of it--but if the manga is still being produced, Azuma is wise not to let them animate it. It helps to avoid the inevitable train wreck which occurs whenever anime production outstrips the extant manga.

* * *

Here I sit at my desk, doing computer things, with a fan blowing on me and no shirt on, in summer. This is a pattern which hearkens back to 1982.

In 1982 I had only just learned BASIC and was into programming. I'd sit at my desk in my room writing--longhand--programs I wanted to try, and then go to a friend's house on weekends and hack around on his Apple ][+ while he sat nearby, bored to tears. In 1983 I got my own computer and stopped doing that; but the pattern remained.

In 1982 the desk was a child's desk I'd gotten at a garage sale, made of plywood with a formica top; and that desk served me well for years, later getting a slot chopped out of the back so I could feed printer paper through it. It was used as a printer stand for several years before I finally got sick of it taking up so much room.

After I got the C-64, the desk was a conventional desk Dad got from somewhere--work or his father's house or what, I don't recall--and that did nicely for quite a while, until Mom got a printer stand from where she worked.

The printer stand was high enough to use as a computer desk, and had enough surface real estate for monitor and keyboard. All-in-ones like the C-64 and the Atari 520 ST worked fine too; I had a monitor stand, homemade, vintage 1983 which I'd made for the C-64, so the cables could be run unimpeded beneath the monitor. It was wide enough for the 520, too.

This persisted a good long while. After getting the NEC Multispeed laptop in 1990, and getting it working, I was able to delve into the PC-compatible world, and while the NEC wasn't state-of-the-art it was nonetheless fast enough to keep up with 90% of the software I wanted to run. (Exception: Ultima VII.) It was an XT clone with a 20 MB parallel-port hard drive I'd bought as an add-on, but it worked nicely for me.

I worked my way up from there: In 1992 I built an AT from cast-off parts I got from work; then upgraded the motherboard to a 396-25 with 2 MB of RAM I got at a sidewalk sale for $100. I made the switch to VGA later that year. The motherboard used SIPP modules for RAM, which were hard to find. I never did upgrade the memory on the thing. (That's probably why it was for sale so cheap: you couldn't upgrade it past 2 MB because of the memory type.)

Then in 1993, I got a 386 motherboard with a Cyrix processor which fit a 386 socket but ran like a 486-SX, and it was a pretty good machine for the time. (Not as good as a full 486 DX, but good.) At least I was finally able to have 4 MB of RAM!

I had a Pentium by 1996, but I can't remember the clock speed. Probably 90 MHz.

...somewhere along the line, after I moved to Iowa, I got a full tower with gobs of drive bays, and that thing ended up with a Celeron 333 which was overclocked to 500 right out of the box. Since it seemed to work fine I never bothered to correct it.

In 2000, I got the computer desk I'm currently using. It was nice to have a real computer desk, at last! Though the tower didn't fit under it, there was all this space for the monitor and keyboard and manuals and software, and I could even safely put anime models on it.

In 2001, I bought the Gateway P3-1000; it was the first computer I'd bought in a long time that I hadn't had to assemble and configure myself. I moved back to Illinois at the end of 2003, and set this desk up where it sits now. And in 2007, I got this machine, a Gateway with a Pentium D dual-core processor running at 3 GHz.

...and I'm still sitting without a shirt on in the small hours of the morning, hacking away and wishing it was cooler in here. But I'd better not dwell on this too much, because I'll probably just get depressed.

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