atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#2210: Useful tip for immgrants

Step one: learn Spanish.

Step two: claim to be Mexican.

Step three: ...

Step four: Profit!

WHy do I say this?

Because if you're from any other country in the world the INS will hold you to the very letter of the immigration law.

Especially when your American spouse writes a letter to the President asking for help.

Now, if this guy had claimed to be from Mexico (rather than Cameroon) and went to work as a day laborer instead of learning to be an engineer--and his wife had not alerted the federal government to his presence here--he could stay here ad infinitium because the INS isn't interested in enforcing the immigration laws with respect to Mexican illegals. They break just about all the immigration laws just by coming here and being here--and flout federal labor laws in the bargain--but the federal government just doesn't give a rip. You don't pay income tax, you get free health care (sometimes better than the free health care that citizens get!) and in general you have nothing to worry about.

But if you try to follow the rules of the immigration process, even just at the start, you are going to be treated like a criminal and a terrorist if you so much as fill out a form incorrectly.

Jerry Pournelle calls this condition "anarcho-tyranny": it's a state wherein government enforces the rules only when it is convenient for government to do so. If enforcement is difficult to accomplish or politically unpopular, the rules are not enforced; but if a situation arises in which enforcement is politically desirable or materially easy to accomplish, then the police drop on the offendor like a ton of bricks.

Yeah, that pesky little concept of "equal protection under the law", that's for the plebes in flyover country. It doesn't apply to Washington, D.C.

* * *

This morning I slept in, on purpose, with malice aforethought. Yesterday was tiring, and the previous two weeks were tiring, and I needed it.

In the big Jeep Fan Shroud Saga I didn't mention that--getting the shroud out of the donor vehicle--I broke one of the mounting tabs off it. I didn't mention it because it's not really all that big a deal; there's this fantastic 5-minute epoxy which is made specifically to "weld" plastic together, even the kind of plastic found under the hood of a car or truck, the kind which laughs in the face of cyanoacrylates.

This epoxy has a denaturant in it--to deter glue-sniffers--which delivers a flying roundhouse scissor kick to my olfactory bulb, giving me a headache, but it's worth it. I mixed up a bit of it, applied it, let it set; it made a good bond. Then, just to make sure it would never come apart, I reinforced the joint with a fillet of JB Weld.

I was able to do all this indoors (the denaturant ain't that bad) and--after I had dinner and played WoW for a while--I took the repaired shroud out to insert it into the Jeep.


There are three basic problems: the first is that the Cherokee was originally designed for a V6 or an I4, not an I6. With the fan mounted there is a bit more than one inch between it and the radiator.

The second is that the shroud is meant to cover the fan blades, so that if you're doing something in the engine compartment while the engine is running you don't need to worry about your fingers/arms/necktie/intestines being shredded by the fan.

Third, all the 1/2 inch wrenches I have are less than seven inches long.

I'm a big guy and I've got big hands. There is not quite enough room for me to get my hands (even one of them) into the space between the front of the engine and the fan, particularly with the shroud in place. I had to block the fan up with a sanding sponge to hold it in place while I went around to the passenger side so I could stick my hand down into the shroud to get the mounting nuts started.

Since all I've got are typical short wrenches (as differentiated from stubby wrenches) I then had to stand in front of the Jeep to use the wrench on the nuts this: I had to wiggle hand and wrench into the tight space, apply wrench to nut, turn 1/6-1/3 turn; remove wrench, wiggle hand into tight space, apply wrench...repeat. (Top was hard to get hand into; bottom was not.) So I'd go to the side, start a nut, then move to the front and tighten it. Repeat. Eventually--it took a damn long time--I got three nuts on. Then I had to loosen the serpentine belt in order to rotate the fan far enough to get at the last one.

Once I had all the nuts snug, then I tightened the serpentine belt and repeated the process. I had to tighten and loosen the belt a number of times to get this done, because bumping the starter just flat-out refused to turn the fan less than about 3/4 turn at a time.

Eventually it got to the point that the nuts were so snug that trying to tighten them further just turned the crank. Since I had been able to loosen them without turning the crank, I judged they were tight enough and called it done.

Then I finally bolted down the shroud, because--yes!--all of this was done with the shroud loose in order to grant me a maximum of freedom of movement.

It's typical of cars these days that the fan and shroud are meant to be removed at the same time: to remove the shroud you must remove the fan, and vice-versa. This is because of space constraints, and also because the fan works better if ducted. I understand and accept this.

I am surprised, though, that I didn't bitch to myself about it while doing it. Normally I complain about the idiotic design and the lack of space and the freakin' wrench is too freakin' short and...!

This time I just did it. Mind you, I prefer it this way; it really is better just to accept that this is how the thing is, and it's got to get done, so you might as well do it and try to enjoy the challenge rather than complain about the stupidity of engineers.

I am, however, going to invest in a set of long wrenches sometime soon.

* * *

Thursday I ran errands: I had to get the Jeep's plates renewed, which meant I had to drive to Tinley Freaking Park to get the Jeep smogged; and I barely made it to the bank in time. After that I had to go shopping.

I didn't sleep well Thursday night; Friday I got up at 9:30 AM to get Mom to the doc in Frankfort by 11. Shower, Hot Pocket for breakfast, and drive.


And you know how Friday went. By the time I was done with the Jeep I needed another shower; I'd had to lay in the gravel at the boneyard to get the fan and shroud out of the donor, and the driveway has an oil spot on it thanks to the Escort's leak (grumble) so I was filthy when that job was done. (I tried laying under the Jeep to see if I could get the last nut on the fan from below. No: skid plate. *sigh*)

* * *

So I slept in today; and I got up around 1:30 needing food and pills. Went to Walgreen's for the pills (diruetic refill) and Subway for the food.

At Subway, I saw (as usual) the grape and orange Fanta in the refrigerator, and thought, I want grape pop! But Subway charges $1.75 per bottle; I figured I'd stop at a convenience store and save myself some money.

As my sandwich progressed through production, though, I thought about it: I'd have to drive some extra distance, shut the Jeep off, lock it, go inside, find the grape pop, get a bottle, stand in line, pay for it, get back into the Jeep, start it, drive more--and just decided that the time and effort I'd save was more than worth the premium Subway charges over and above the typical retail price of grape Fanta. So I bought it.

Now my poop will be green.

Gatorade Fierce Grape is one of my favorite flavors of Gatorade, but I don't drink it for exactly that reason; the dye changes color in the gut and it's to a disgusting color. Mainly, though, I forget that I had something colored with bright blue! dye, and then when I see the color I think, "OMGWTFBBQ has gone wrong with my gut NOW??"

Having the spootinous gut I've got, it always takes me a few seconds of gut hypochondria before I remember that I drank that purple crap and that's why.

I don't need the stress. But--having seen the grape Fanta and fondly recalling the flavor of grape pop--I needed it. So I'll just have to remember.

* * *

The other day, Ormus hit 68th level, so I had Amaleni buy a Cold Weather Flight manual and mail it to him. So then Ormus explored Northrend on the back of his trusty golden gryphon. He got the "explorer" tabard but not the "world explorer" achievement, and then I saw that he hadn't explored all of Eastern Kingdoms or Kalimdor--so yesterday I set out to remedy that.

So now Ormus is still "the Noble" but he's got the option of going by "the Explorer". And he's 69th level.

Here's the order of advancement:

Amaleni: 80 Warlock
Scythandra: 77 Death Knight
Ormus: 69 Mage
Gunbunnysmit: 62 Hunter
Calandraxyzz: 51 Warrior
Torgilgrimm: 48 Priest
Bitsychan: 45 Rogue
Frexxed: 43 Paladin
Chenal: 41 Shaman
Emwyn: 34 Druid

Depending on how the spirit moves me, one of the upper 3 who's not already 80 may become 80 before Cataclysm comes out. And then again, they may not.

Oh well.

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