Ouch. And almost very ouch.

November 1st, 2016

The HOA is doing some upgrades in my development. Siding is being replaced where necessary, and everything is going to be repainted. One of the things they’re doing is re-roofing.

This morning, as I was crossing the parking lot to my car, I stepped on a nail. It was an inch or so long, with a large enough head to let it point straight up like a caltrop. Luckily for me, I felt it and was able to unweight my foot quickly enough to prevent it penetrating the bottom of my foot. If I hadn’t been so quick, I’d probably have had to remove the nail before I could get my shoe off, and that would have been a problem.

I was wearing shoes with thick rubber soles today, and I had to use a pair of pliers to remove the nail. It would not have been fun to try to get the nail out if it had been embedded half an inch or so into the bottom of my foot.

I’m a little more cautious (paranoid?) crossing the parking lot now – the workmen are likely to be here for another couple of weeks.

Happy Halloween

October 31st, 2016

Click pictures for bigger.

halloween-candy

halloween-liberal

Halloween costumes that are puns.

NSFW Witch after the break.
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Today is National American Beer Day

October 27th, 2016

I was confused and thought that it was National Beer Day, but it isn’t – National Beer Day is April 7th here in the USA, and June 15th in the UK. National Drink Beer Day is September 28th. International Beer Day is August 5th.

However, it is National American Beer Day, which was set up to celebrate American brews.

Good enough. Time for a beer. I usually prefer IPAs, and there’s good news on that front. Got a different one tonight, a Good Juju.

beer-yellowstone

There were giants in those days …

October 25th, 2016

… and Steven Den Beste was one of the greatest. Sadly, he’s now gone. His site, USS Clueless, was one of the first websites that became a daily stop – I set up a bookmark for it, but I went there so often that it actually became faster for me to type the URL. His server, which was in his home, apparently died around the same time he did, but there is an authorized mirror available.

Bill Whittle described USS Clueless as the internet’s Krell Mind Machine, and that was an apt description. His long-form writing was well-researched, well-thought-out, and left you better informed, even if you weren’t actually smarter, for having read it. He was an engineer, and his posts on engineering topics, particularly things like alternative energy, were and are worthwhile references. His posts on politics earned him a position in “the Four Horsemen of the ABlogalypse.”

He retired USS Clueless in 2004, because he suffered from a genetically-caused degenerative disease, and the medications he took to allow him to do the in-depth posts became too much for him to want to handle, not to mention that his emails were filled with attacks and nitpicking, which became discouraging.

He continued blogging, but limited himself to anime, personal topics, and the occasional topical post. Chizumatic was never a regular stop for me, but it was a pleasant diversion on those occasions that I went there.

There are many tributes to him that have been posted already, and I’m sure more will be posted in the next days. There is a roundup post here that covers all the ones I’d found myself, and then some.

Farewell, Steven. I’m sorry you’re gone, and I hope you’re feeling better.

UPDATE: Steven talked about whether he’d made an impact here. Given the responses to his death, I feel confident in saying that he did, even apart from his engineering work.

Found a new blog

October 20th, 2016

Well, it’s new to me, at least. Via Gerard Vanderleun.

Here is his post on why he moved from the political left to the political right. I’ve read several of these from different people, and they’re all interesting. The key paragraph for me was this:

This was the final straw, to see that all of the things that a kind must do in order to continue to persist are exactly what liberalism condemns. That if you have two groups, one of which refuses to do what it must in order to persist through time, and another group which does, the latter will inherit the Earth. In fact, the Earth will always be inherited by those groups who take the effort to persist. These considerations are detailed in “The Ultimate Guide to Cultural Marxist Genocide.” I wrestled with these implications for a long time, for over a year actually. But in the end I could not get over the conclusion that, whatever moral or political theory you prefer, it can’t, like the Shakers, lead to the extinction of those who practice it. Values have survival value. On the other hand, liberal values are “Deathwish Values,” they lead to the extinction of those who live by them, and can not endure through time. If you adopt liberalism, you go extinct (see “The Shakers, Deathwish Values, and Autonomy“). This is what is currently happening to all the ancient people’s of Europe due to their adoption of liberalism. The world will always be inherited by those who live by values that ensure the survival of their kind.

He also has a good post about the push to declare sexual differences to be “social constructs.” He’s responding to someone else who lists a number of abnormal conditions as reasons to discard the normal. Again, there is a paragraph I find key:

The problem is that biology does not work on this essentialist basis; it works on the basis of function/malfunction, normal/abnormal. The real lesson to draw from examples such as those presented by EvoX is that sex is a functional biological norm, and individuals can deviate from this norm in many different ways. “Biologically normal” means working as designed by natural selection, or being in the condition it is supposed to be in, where “design” and “supposed to” means that the item is in the condition its ancestors were in on those occasions where they actually were selected for by natural selection. I will use “design” and “supposed to” since they are more intuitive to grasp and easier than writing out “as happened historically when the mechanism was selected for” each time.

I’m looking forward to spending more time reading what he’s got on the site.

Can’t Sleep, Clowns Will Eat Me

October 19th, 2016

What with all the brouhaha concerning clowns in the news recently, I thought I’d dust off a song I wrote a few years ago and post it. I had run across a graphic showing a young boy crying, with the words, “Can’t sleep. Clowns will eat me.” It’s from a Simpsons episode, apparently, but I didn’t know that. I also started off with a blues joke, because it seems that most of the old-time blues songs start with, “I woke up this morning, and <something bad happened>.”

In any case, the following goes to the tune of “Heartbreak Hotel.”

Well, I didn’t wake up this morning,
‘Cause I never slept last night.
The clowns were coming to eat me
And you know that just ain’t right.

Chorus:
And I’m getting so tired, baby,
So frightened and tired.
I’m getting so tired, I could cry.

Well, they’ve got those big, red noses,
And they wear those floppy shoes,
And the way they paint their faces, Lord,
It just gives me the blues.

Chorus

I saw that little car coming,
With twelve of them inside,
And when they started to pour out
Well, I tried to run and hide.

Chorus

They had loaded up big with weapons –
Cream pies and squirting flowers.
The fighting was hot and heavy
And the cleanup just took hours.

Chorus

So I’m watching for polka-dot jumpsuits,
Balloon animals, as well.
I want you people to know
These clowns are making my life hell.

Chorus

Yesterday, all my troubles …

October 13th, 2016

… were dealt with, but not always well.

I mentioned last week that I had a growth cut off my nose. They finished the biopsy and called me to say that it was a fibrous papule, and benign. More or less what I expected, but still good news.

However, I also dropped my car off at 8am yesterday for a recall service (ignition problems with Saturn Vue). They provided me with a loaner, because they said it would take most of the day. Around 4:30pm, I called to ask if it was ready. They said it was, and that they had left a message with me around 11:30am. Since I’d received no messages, I asked what number they called.

It wasn’t mine.

It was one digit off, which, because I went over my number three times to make certain they had it correctly, was disappointing. The dealership that had to do the service was more-or-less at one point of an equilateral triangle, the other points being my home and my work, and now I had to go through the evening rush to pick up my car.

Oh, well. At least I’ve got the car back now, and everything is working.

I think.

I’ve also been working on an SDCARD interface. It’s worked, at least mostly, a few times, but not reliably. I’d determined that the code was apparently ignoring whatever signals that something is deleted, and reformatting the card seemed to help. Now, it’s looking more like it’s the card itself that’s the problem, or at least contributing to the problems I’m seeing. I’ve been explaining things to the stuffed moa on my desk, but that hasn’t helped me come up with a solution yet.

Saw a Captain Kirk fan this morning

October 7th, 2016

At least, that’s what the indications are. The vehicle had a Star Trek logo on one side of the rear window, a Tardis police box on the other, and a personalized plate with the name, “Tiberius” on it (missing one vowel so that it would fit in seven letters).

Seems pretty obvious to me.

Blood and books

October 6th, 2016

Yesterday, I had a growth cut off my nose. I had thought it was a wen, but I appear to have been wrong. I’d been referred to a dermatologist, because the techs in my doctor’s office felt that they couldn’t deal with it without causing a significant scar.

The appointment was in the middle of the afternoon, so I went back to work afterward. Unfortunately, it bled enough that the bandaid they put over it was useless. When I got home, I pulled it off, which wasn’t hard because the blood had undermined the adhesive. I cleaned my nose and put a new bandaid on.

Tonight, I had dance classes – samba and west coast swing. I perspired so much in class that the new bandaid came off. Not fun. I’ll put another one on before I go to bed, to reduce the chance of bleeding on my pillowcase, but I’m not sure how long I should expect it to last.

Prior to the samba class, the instructor was teasing one of the women about a book she was reading. During class, I asked her about it (we switch off every few minutes, so every man dances with every woman), and she mentioned that it was a story called “The Lottery.” Apparently not the Shirley Jackson story by that name, because she mentioned that one separately. I told her that my favorite Shirley Jackson story was “One Ordinary Day, With Peanuts.” She hadn’t heard of it. I guess she’ll have the fun of reading it for the first time.

It’s too early

October 2nd, 2016

Wednesday evening, I had occasion to visit a nearby mall. I expected to see Halloween decorations in the stores. What I didn’t expect to see was one store that had Halloween decorations and items on sale that was in the process of putting out Christmas decorations and items.

When I was a child, I don’t remember seeing Christmas decorations going up before Thanksgiving. It’s possible that I just didn’t notice, but I doubt that, because I remember the arrival of the Sears and Montgomery Wards Christmas Catalogs being A Big Thing. We’d go page-by-page through the catalogs, trying to put together our wish lists.

A web search tells me that it is popularly known as Christmas Creep, and I had no idea it was getting quite so bad. I knew that one of the forces driving it is the fact that many retailers do most of their business in the lead to Christmas, but how long will it be before Christmas shopping season is a year-round phenomenon?