Friday, September 30, 2016

Detour?

     Supposedly the definitive low-budget noir film, Detour is in the public domain -- clicked on a video at the Wikipedia page and instead of the trailer I expected, the entire film started playing.

     Haven't watched it but it looks interesting. 

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Tired Of Name-Calling And Doom

    Really, I'm over it.  It's bad enough the Parties Of Treason are running self-caricatures for the Oval Office; there's no need to add to it with the kind of name-calling that makes third-graders giggle.  If you can't comment here without saying "Drumpf" or "Hitlery," please Go Away.  Both of them have various idiotic polices and positions, both of them say plenty of foolish or terrible things, and you can damned well do your homework and point to that kind of stuff when you want to underscore your distaste.

     Likewise, if you genuinely believe It's All Over if the wrong lizard wins this go-round, why are you even on the computer instead your rooftop -- or an airplane bound for Elsewhere?  Seriously, it's been over; the knee of the curve from "republic" to "empire" was, in my opinion, around 1913.  Empires generally last a long time; it's a smooth, gradual slide and crossing the Rubicon is really barely a bobble.  Short-term, things will waver between "kinda good"and "kinda bad;" long term, there are centuries before wolves and barbarians (but I repeat myself) go howling through the empty streets of the Capitol.  Preachings of Imminent Doom are risible.  Small-scale doom, especially if you happen to live in the wrong neighborhood?  Count on it.  But it's been happening; you just didn't notice as you drove past.

     And as for the assorted morons stealing campaign signs from people's yards, I'm in favor of caning and would not be too horrified at paintballs (even if it was the Worse Lizard's sign).  You don't like the person somebody put up a sign for?  Don't rip it down -- go home and put up two signs for the candidate you prefer!

     Grow up.  Put on your big-boy pants and go wave Hi to the neighbors.  They vote for the wrong lizard, they have no idea of the right hues to paint a house and their groundskeeping is, frankly, inept; but they are indeed your neighbors, breathing the same air, and you're going to have to get along or move out.  Standing there on the sidewalk with your thumbs in your ears going, "Nyah-nyah!" isn't a useful move.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Idle Debate Thoughts

     I watched some of the Presidential debate the other night.  I wasn't impressed; both candidates were their usual selves, only more so, and as near as I can tell, fans and foes of one or the other found their opinions unchanged afterward.

     There have been a shortage of imaginative nicknames for Ms. Clinton; you can find plenty of directly-insulting tags for either candidate, but only Mr. Trump has proven colorful enough to pick up monikers like "Cheeto Jesus."  So I was amused to realize, after watching for several minutes, that Ms. Clinton was indeed The Woman In The Iron Hair.  That stuff remained as immovable as a casting!  Between her Max Headroomesque 'do, Mr. Trump's interesting hair arrangement and Lester Holt's understatedly-sleek looks, a stranger watching without audio might be excused for wondering if this wasn't a pair of hairstyling victims defending their choices before an expert.

     Alas, no.  This match was for Leader Of The Free World and listening with the sound on was depressing.  I am slightly comforted by the thought there'll be a do-over in four years, and by the generally mediocre-to-bad performance of the genuinely bright in the Presidency.  Then I remember how much both of them remind me of Andrew Jackson and I start fretting again.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Low-Rent Cinema -- And The People Who Kept It Afloat

     I was looking for a movie last night, something to entertain me during a light dinner when a woke up after an afternoon nap.  Short staffing in my department meant I worked Monday on the early-early shift and will (probably) be on days the rest of the week, and that left me hungry and with a couple of hours to fill.

     PB&J and beef consumme was ideal for hunger; searching around Amazon Prime Video, I found Up In The Air, a 1940 mystery/comedy set in the studios of a fictional radio network, starring a couple of personable minor players, plucky Frankie Darro and the lovely and talented Marjorie Reynolds (best known from a little duet you might remember dreaming of in Holiday Inn) as an ambitious studio page and a rising young singer, and, third on the bill, Mantan Moreland.

     Who?  --The introduction only deepened the mystery, as an African-American film historian spoke of Moreland's career, a rising arc from vaudeville through film, and lauded Monogram Pictures* treatment of him.   Now I was wondering what I was about to see.

      The titles rolled and it started out as a typical B-movie of the day: workmanlike photography, basic but adequate sets, decent acting, snappy dialog.  Mantan Moreland shows up early, as a stereotyped-appearing porter, Jeff, playing second fiddle to Frankie, rolling eyes and all.

     But there's altogether more to Jeff than meets the eye; he's revealed as a skilled piano player and the voice of caution in Frankie's wild schemes, with plenty of rewind-worthy lines; auditioning for a radio comedy spot opposite Frankie in particularly embarrassing blackface (that scene probably didn't age well even when it was brand-new), he asks in annoyance, "You don't expect me to do dialect, too, do you?" and is visibly relieved to be told, "No, you're the straight man."  The entire bit they audition, a series of interrupted, unfinished sentences, was Moreland's own, and Darro struggles with the timing.  The murder-mystery plays out in 1940s-Hollywood fashion, with Jeff and Frankie tangling with police detectives as they attempt to unravel the mystery, clear Reynolds, and possibly launch their own radio careers.  Despite occasionally hokey dialog, Moreland sneaks in multiple zingers (his comedic timing is really remarkable) and even gets to foil the murderer in the end! 
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* Monogram was one of the "Poverty Row" B-movie studios, of which Republic Pictures is probably the best-known.  Radio fans enjoy pointing out the prevalence of Hallicrafters radios in Republic films and this Monogram work is even more that way -- I think Bill Halligan may have pioneered advertising by means of "product placement." Mantan Moreland was a box-office draw for Monogram and they darned well knew it.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Almost

     Monday, back to work.  After being as sick as I was, I'm almost happy about it.  Still not 100% but I think I can fake it.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Yikes

     Just -- yikes.  I feel like I went trekking past the back of beyond or something.  Beat up.  Tired.  Triumphal.

     I have been sicker.  I have been ill longer.  But I don't think I was that sick for that long since the age of five.  I'm sore and weak but, as Tam pointed out, I am more chipper this morning than I have been in quite some time.

     Oh, yeah -- today is the last day of my vacation.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Say What You Will About "Nipper*"

     Once the Victor Talking Machine Co. hired the iconic image, he stayed with that company and all its successors until the bitter end  -- unlike some spokesbeings I could mention.

     What could have caused this?  Not "search for the woman" -- she's still working for T-Mobile, isn't she?  -- but "chercher l'argent."  Also, the schtick had pretty well run its course.
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* Charmingly, the name "Nipper" came from the little dog's habit of biting visitors on the backs of their calves.  I knew there was something that worried me about Nipper -- but that's not it.

    

Friday, September 23, 2016

Yesterday I Learned

     I learned that Libertarians -- and libertarians -- are evil, right-wing, liberal, short-sighted, exploitative, pot-head schemers who will get the wrong lizard* elected.  No matter who the person saying so thinks is the wrong lizard.

     That's a pretty easy trick when neither of the Two Big Parties managed to run a non-wrong lizard.  Sure, there's plenty of reasons to argue one of them is wronger, but I'm not obliged to choose from just those two and if the one you like least wins, it won't be because of my vote.  Get over it.
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* So what's with all this "lizard" business, anyway?  It comes from Douglas Adams.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

But Of Course

     There was stupidity last night.  Great.

     I'd like to tell you that at least 21st-Century rioting in the U. S. was over something more substantial than chariot racing, but it turns out the riots I was thinking of were, too.

     Go, lemmings, go.  Wotthehell, why leave the Red Chinese anything to build on when they show up to pick up the pieces, anyhow?

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Hey, Look--

     Be nice to one another today, please?  You shouldn't be a doormat, but give people a little room, all right?  Morons are gonna moor but you don't have to sink an anchor next to 'em and croon along.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Enough Princessing About!

     Slept all night with the usual interruptions.  ("Stay hydrated!"  Getting degree-of-difficulty points on that one.)  Got up, fed cats, temperature spiked and I went back to bed, out like a light; woke up a couple hours later, fed myself, got the nasty sweats and became horizontal likewise for a few hours more.  Took the multi-symptom cough syrup instead of the suppressant that makes me dizzy.

     Noon-thirty, I woke again and didn't feel as lousy.  Unloaded/reloaded the dishwasher, felt short of breath and hot, and sat down for a bit.  Rustled a little lunch when I felt better -- microwave tomato soup, crackers and coffee -- and ate it slowly.  Overheated again but not as bad; relaxed 'til I felt chilly and did a major cat-litterbox change to everyone's relief, and yeah, my temperature spiked and I fell to panting, but I slowed down and kept moving and finished.

     I think I'm on the mend.  It's about time.  That frikkin' pea under the mattress is getting on my last nerve.  Don't know if I'll be out of the house any today, Tam may get delivery pizza as a welcome-home dinner and perhaps that would be best anyway, but things are looking up.

Yeah, Well

     Didn't go anywhere or, really, do anything Monday.  I'd feel guilty about that but it appears to have been the right thing to do.

     Meanwhile, the world spun on: nitwit bombs in NYC and NJ, another nitwit with a knife in Minnesota (and shot dead by an off-duty policeman...who happened to be a firearms trainer), another hinky-looking* police shooting in Oklahoma, and so on and so forth.

     It's a violent world.  It has always been a violent world.  There was a time when living in the right neighborhood, having enough money or having made a good choice of grandparents would insulate a person from most kinds of violence.  Then we invented TV and the Internet, and put it right on your desktop; and on the desktop of violent people, some of whom go to the mall with a knife or a gun and ill intent, or make and plant bombs, or set an innocent man's gas station on fire with him inside, or shoot cops, or become bad cops....  You're not insulated.  I'm not insulated. Lots of people never were.

     And there's nothing much to be done, one on one, except to be decent and friendly to everyone you meet and always have a plan to protect yourself if they or circumstances turn ugly.  Smile and memorize the exits.

     Your ancestors knew this, in their bones and their scars and the churchyard graves.  Now it's our turn.  You can't hide from it; the government can't wrap you in cotton batting and make you safe by main force.  It's on you and me.
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* You have some different opinion?  Great, there's all kinds of differing opinions and that's precisely why I call it "hinky."  If eighty percent of the people who saw the recording said it was one way or another, it probably wouldn't have ended up on the news. It'd be fun to pretend there's no problem, and almost as much fun to claim to to know just what the root problem is, let alone how to fix it.  The truth is, "it's complicated" is as close as anyone's got for a general answer.  Erosion of mutual trust?  That's just a symptom and a damned thin reed to hang so many deaths -- black, blue or just-wandered-through -- and so much rioting on.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Monday Already?

     And here I was, just having fun.

     The cold or whatever mostly leaves me weak and a little short of breath.  Coughing is sporadic, though unpleasant and sneezes are rare.  Sunday it seems to have at least stabilized, so I took my scooter over to the donut place for a midmorning snack.

     The scooter didn't want to start at first.  I have let it sit idle through this scorching summer and it shows.  But I got it going.

     There's a whole new pastry place across the street from the Dancing Donut.  I buzzed by it but did not stop in, my heart already set on good old-fashioned sinkers.  Sinkers I had -- their cinnamon-sugared "plain jane," which is just about the platonic ideal of a traditional American donut.

     Riding to the place, I had realized the scooter was about out of gas.  That called for a side trip to fill up (about a gallon and a half), so I did, and made it back home with a stop for groceries on the way.

     I'd planned to ride to the drugstore and the five and dime (oh, okay -- Meijer or Target).  Putting the groceries away, that seemed unwise, so I drove instead, there being critical shortages of a number of items like cat litter and sugar.  Finished all that, took my cough syrup, made a little late lunch and ate it in front of the TV.  Dozed off twice and when I stood up, the room spun.

     The cough syrup, of course.  Cleared away the dishes, fiddled around online for awhile, then went to bed.  Along about 0230, the cough syrup wore off and I was Wide. Awake.  And coughing.  Got over both eventually, slept until alarm time, and now here I am.  Perhaps I won't be going much of anywhere today.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Dear People Inside My TV

     When the newest information you have is four hours old, you first shared it three hours ago, and/or no new information is forthcoming, it might not be "breaking news" any more even though it still merits inclusion in the first portion of each segment.  So what's with the flashy graphic I see over and over?

     You keep sending that kid out to the street with a stack of papers, yelling "Extra!  Extra! Read the very latest" and the ink's not even wet, pretty soon nobody will think you ever have any wet-ink news to offer, just the same old stuff, reheated and passed off as hot off the press.  That's not a good place to be.

     "It's new to you" won't pass muster here.  Breaking news means the dust is still settling and the scene is still being worked.  If all you've got is a dark field behind a reporter who doesn't know anything she didn't know when she arrived on the scene, it's not breaking, it's broken.  You want to break some news?  Dig up some newer news to break!

     Or keep lying loudly to the viewers about how new your news is.  It's not like they'll go plug the basics into a search engine to find a fresher angle, right?  ....Er, won't they?

Saturday, September 17, 2016

They'll Be Nailing Shut The Front Door

     Yep, the doors and windows will get boarded up and red-chalked crosses on 'em to warn off the inquisitive: I'm still sick.

     Felt good enough yesterday to take out the trash and then get to the foot doctor at 0930 -- I may have a metatarsal thing that happens with age, there are a couple of nerve bundles between the bones that get annoyed and go into a feedback loop of pressure causes swelling causes more pressure causes more swelling and so on.  It feels like there's a marble under the center of the ball of both of my feet.  It's been going on for years and any more, I wear only Keen closed-toe sandals, which have a very wide toe box.  Naturally, there's a possibility of expensive orthotic insoles, which I would rather avoid.  For now, steroid shots into each foot and my isn't that an interesting experience?  Um, no.

     So then I had little sticking-plasters on each foot (which I later found to be nifty curved bandaids that pretty well matched the shape of the balls of my feet).  Still feeling okay; went home, regrouped, rested and then on to the dentist for a regular exam and cleaning. I warned 'em about The Plague and they pointed out they've been doing the Universal Precautions drill for a couple of decades: gloves, masks, disposable lab coats, full-coverage goggles and all instruments are either disposable or get autoclaved after use.  All right, then.  Had the usual surprise: there's a tooth wants filled.

     Went home, still didn't feel too bad (both medical specialties involve the patient sitting back in a very comfy chair and relaxing, which I am good at; my dentist and I go back nearly thirty years and we're the same age.  I trust her.*), and decided I could pedal my bike over to Twenty Tap for a nice lunch: Pork Bahn Mi and a simple salad.  After all, I could shift down and use my arches to pedal; the rolling resistance of 80 psi "city" tires is very low.  This was unwise.

     It was a lovely sunny day.  Rain was coming but it was a long way off.  Rode over, had a lovely lunch, succumbed to the lure of chocolate gelato -- one way I can tell I am fighting this viral sinus/lung thing is I'm hungrier than usual -- and got my bill. 
I'd eat another one right now.
     They sat me behind a divider, with my back to the window.  I'd turned and glanced out a few times, checking on my bike, but the frozen treat had taken all my attention: it's really chocolaty and real gelato and I was 110% There Now.

     Which was too bad, because when I gathered my things and looked out, it was hammering down rain.  Not in sheets but in a thick cloud of raindrops, big ones. I had been careful enough to bring a trash bag and a rubber band, which I had used to cover my bike seat on arrival, but there was No Darn Way I was riding in that much rain.  I moved out to their covered sidewalk seating, where a waitress grabbing a quick smoke 8.0000 feet from the door asked, "Is that your bike?"
     "Yep."

     "Going to be a wet ride."

     I just grinned.  Radar on my smartphone said a gap was headed our way (it helps to know the NWS radar lags behind real time by seven minutes: they do a lot of analysis and conversion before handing it out).  As the rain slowed, I unlocked my bike, moved it under the awning and transferred the plastic bag and rubber band from over my seat to over my purse.

     The rain slowed even more; I had my helmet and odd synthetic sweatshirt that lets water through very slowly, so as soon as the light turned, I was out from under the awning and across -- on foot.  There was still too much standing water, and too little time to mount.  Across to the grocery, under their overhang, and then I saddled up and rode home, carefully.

     It was too much walking.  I stowed the bike, limped in, dried off, discovered the interesting curved bandaids by removing them and changed to my nightgown.  Dozed off and on until cat-feeding time, then fell asleep until about 2315; woke up and could not get back to sleep.  Storms came through a couple of times, all flash and boom and waves of rain.  Finally managed around 0400 and slept until eight-thirty.  Temperature up and down.  Coughing.

     Coughing a bit more today.  Did nothing of note except try to keep off my feet.  Weather turned really pretty in the afternoon but did me no good.  Temperature spikes any time I eat.

     Need to get over this.
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* I am very fortunate in that while my childhood dentist experiences were utterly average (not so great), once I was on my own, after six or seven years of not being able to afford dentistry and a lot of problems that culminated in wisdom teeth that came in crooked and/or shattered (yeah, seriously, one was just a cluster of shards that proceeded to come loose randomly), nearly all my adult dental experiences have been very positive.  My parents paid for initially resolving the worst of it in the guise of birthday and Christmas presents (possibly the very best presents I have ever been given) and I have done my best to keep up ever since.  My present job has offered dental insurance from the outset and I leapt at the opportunity.  I can fall asleep in a dentist's chair. 

Friday, September 16, 2016

Overheard In The Office

RX: (Showing off a photorealistic rendering of a digital audio measurement device I want to get for work) "Isn't this kewl?"

Tam: "The buttons and knobs are very skeumorphic."

RX: "That's 'cos they actually do things."

Tam: "I said 'skeumorphic.'"

 RX: "They're real."

Tam: "And...?"

RX: "I mean, they're physical controls.  Mechanical."

Tam:  (With a look that suggests I have admitted my employer uses steam locomotives) "Oh.  Quaint."

She and I live in the future a lot of the time. It's not always the same future.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

I (Still) Aten't Ded

     But I don't feel all that hot, either.  Going back to bed.  Fluids, analgesics and the Tincture of Time.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

And The Verdict Is...

     Viral infection!

     Basically, some version of the common cold, without the free-flowing sinuses but with a double-order of body and joint aches.  (Aches that feel like the joint in question has been jabbed with a needle.  This is especially painful in fingers and toes.)

     Treatment is rest, plenty of fluids, prescription cough syrup as needed, OTC painkillers likewise.  They listened carefully to my lungs and did a chest x-ray, both of which came up clear.

     This would be very comforting indeed, were it not for my co-worker's pneumonia having started the same way.  However, he didn't get rest when told to and "pneumonia" is a condition there are many paths to acquiring rather than a single disease.*  So I am darned well going to do just what the doctor said to do.  I picked up some nice (Panera Bread) drive-through food on the way home, ate it and went to bed, where I have slept for most of the last four and a half hours.

     Up now, enjoying a dish of ice cream and a tall glass of water, then back to bed for awhile.  I still feel like a bad job of embalming but not quite as much like someone has been hitting me and poking me with sharp things.

     A few people have remarked on various backchannels, "You sure get sick a lot."  Yes.  Yes, I do.  I work in a building where about half the employees are travelling all over and interacting with every level of society...and then coming back to the office and using the same coffee machine, copier, washroom, etc. as the rest of us.  I'm kind of susceptible to colds and flu.  Have been all my life; I routinely fell ill on family vacations, usually with some form of strep throat, which is the main reason I despise travel.  I get flu shots every year, and most of the other vaccines old people are supposed to get, and I am careful about handwashing and hygiene or I'd be a lot sicker, a lot more often.  If the current bug is related to what my coworker with pneumonia has, he's generally as healthy as an ox (which is why he kept on working as he felt worse and worse) and it took him right down; I had figured it was just about inevitably going to get me and perhaps it has.
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* "Pneumonia" just describes fluid build-up in the lungs.  Viruses and bacteria can cause that -- getting food down your windpipe too often can, too.  There's a vaccine, which I believe immunizes against the most common bacterial cause, but the others can still get you.

Sick, Oh Dammit, Sick

     And it started as a cough.  Maybe a little lung-rattle.  Now I'm achy and I feel like a bad grade of stop-motion animation.  The drive home last night was a nightmare, shopping for dinner at the store was scary-difficult, and I was barely tracking when I ate.  Slept a couple of hours at a stretch, waking up to cough.

     I do not like this.

     Heading to doc-in-a-box this morning. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

"And When You Come Out Of That Coma, It's A Whole New Day."

     And so it is.  I hit the hay around three yesterday afternoon, then woke in the evening just long enough to make consomm√© and rye toast, and eat it while watching an episode of Orphan Black.*  Did the Facebook thing a little and I was out again until 4:55 this morning, when something in the machinery went "click" and I was awake without much of the usual struggle to the surface.

     14 hours, minus 1.5, maybe two.  Call it twelve hours of heavy sleep.  Yeah, the "sore thumb" shift is a walk in the park -- a park filled with muggers, poison ivy and wasps.

     I'm going to go soak in Epsom-salted bathwater: the sleep didn't do a whole lot for my various aches and pains.
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* I started watching this clone drama a few weeks ago.  It's something of a guilty pleasure, as the "science" is at best dubious and the science-y special effects can border on silly at times, but the acting is good and so is the storytelling.  Lead actress Tatiana Maslany does an impressive job with her roles.  If you are at all inclined to culture wars - from either side! -- this Canadian SF soap opera might not be for you, as caricatures from all sides are in turn heroes and villains.  (I also want to know how Helena manages to maintain a bleached-out perm under the circumstances of her life, but I'm willing to overlook it.) 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Your Monday Is My Tuesday

     Yes, it's my Tuesday -- and the work day starts at 0300.  As in a.m.  And I've got a migraine and my temperature is spiking.

     Have I mentioned we're two techs short?  Yep.  Both out for (unrelated) medical, ETA unknown.  At this point, nobody else can be sick, even if they are.  I gulped some aspirin/acetaminophen combo a little while ago and I'm just waiting for it to kick in.

     Tam returned from gun school late Sunday, as red as a beet or perhaps a well-cooked lobster, and promptly fell asleep on the sofa fully-clothed, hat and shoes included.  I tried a few times (when awake; I was mostly off in my room chasing Zs, but I never manage much at a stretch on this shift) to get her to consider making a little more allowance for comfortable, though less combat-ready, sleep.  Nothing doing; she would kind of float to consciousness and I could see her decide it wasn't urgent without ever quite waking. I pity her alarm clock.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Nine One One

     On this day, I am supposed to wax patriotic, philosophical, grimly determined-- 

     Because a lousy bunch of religious whackos decided to turn Western technology on the West.

     Well, I'm not going to give you the standard Ritual Grimaces.  There are always barbarians at the gates; sometimes we have been lucky enough to live in times when the gates are good long slog from where we are, is all.  Those days are gone; they've been gone since the jetliner displaced the steamship.

     Barbarians of one stripe or another had been after blowing up highly-visible stuff in the States for a good long while -- a Federal building in Oklahoma City, a van-bomb at the World Trade center, and so on back to the 1886 Haymarket bombing in Chicago.  There's no shortage of fools who think blowing up innocent people is a suitable method to effect change.

     It's not.  It's been shown to produce nothing but death, injury and anger.  And we've now got the TSA bringing miniature, audience-participation versions of the Stanford Prison Experiment to every passenger airport in the country.

     Here's what I can tell you: when violent people initiate force against the innocent, more people step up to stop them (Flight 93), to help the victims (police and firefighters at the World Trade Center and Pentagon), and they do not count the personal cost; they step up.  Civilization is stronger than barbarism.  It is not destroyed from the outside.

     So remember the heroes, probably none of whom felt especially heroic in the moment.  Remember the people who do what needs doing.  And don't kid yourself that it won't happen again.

     The television pundits will cry Real Tears today and so will the usual job lot of politicians.  It won't mean anything.  They weren't there.  Some of them think they were -- after all, they saw the smoke from their office window -- but they weren't, and they won't be the next time, either.  It's up to you.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Air Freezeditioning

     Yesterday afternoon Tam and I were busy at various, divergent tasks.  She had been folding laundry in the basement and when she returned to the surface, she told me, "You might want to check that condensation leak all around the furnace...."

     Uh-oh.  The drain line from the drip pan under the A-coil* is ludicrously large for the amount of water: Roseholme Cottage is not a very large house.  "Was there water on the top of the furnace?" I was hoping not.  The furnace sits in a slightly-lower spot. Maybe it was just seepage from recent rain that hadn't evaporated.

     "I think so."

     Drat.  Damme.  Shit-oh-dear..

     Investigation found a little water on top of the furnace, dripping down the outside to the floor; there was condensation on the outside of the section of duct where the A-coil lives.  Frozen up?  Probably.  I killed the cooling, set the fan on continuous run, and used my wet/dry vac to force-drain the condensate line and pan. It's just a PVC pipe run to the the floor drain, so that's easy.  In a few hours, the A-coil enclosure was down to room temperature and I wasn't getting any more water, so I opened up the furnace.

     Either I missed the last filter change or the cats really stepped up their shedding: the filter was pretty well blocked.

     I put in a new filter and ran the system on air-only for as long as Tam and I could stand it -- quite late, really -- then put the cooling back on with a higher set point.  So far, so good, it's producing cool air in some volume, but I'm not going to push it until we get into the week and I can ring up our furnace guys to check refrigerant level.  The forecast is for cooler temperatures and lower humidity, so here's hoping....
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* What's an A-coil and why do they call it that?  It's the inside-cold part of the cooling, where compressed gas from the compressor/heat exchanger outside expands and cools down as it does so, and then cools the air passing through the A-coil.  In a central air-conditioning system, it typically lives in the ductwork at the output of the furnace, downstream of the fan and heating element.  In order to get the maximum surface air to cool the air in the space available, the coil -- like a car radiator -- is usually arranged in two sections that form an inverted V or lambda in cross-section; or, in fact, an A shape.  They can get clogged and do need to be cleaned occasionally, but are fragile and often hard to get to.  They are one reason why your furnace has a filter -- and why you should change that filter more often than I did.  So where's the water come from?  It condenses on the A-coil just as it does on the outside of a cold glass.  It drips off, is caught in the condensate tray, and drains down a pipe (or in case of a window unit, it just drips) -- unless your fan is running too fast, in which case it gets blown off the coil into the output air and you've got trouble.  This stuff isn't as easy as it might look, nor as simple. 

Friday, September 09, 2016

Sunset Yesterday

     A line of heavy rain came through yesterday afternoon and left a lengthy, spectacular sunset in its wake.  I managed a few snapshots on the way home and from the back yard:

     The phone camera is struggling with this -- HDR might've picked up the sky better.
     Could this be kewler?  The Moe & Johnny's building is one of the more unusual survivals along College Avenue.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Commander In What?

     I must admit that I have trouble picturing either Ms. Clinton or Mr. Trump leading an army.  Either one of them at the head of a howling mob, certainly, but an army?  Nope.

     But that's beside the point and last night, service members had a chance to ask them both some questions.  Early polling is mixed but it appears Mr. Trump did a little better at it.

     A larger story -- and a pity that it is -- is NBC's unusual choice to put fuzzy-warm morning show host Matt Lauer in the moderator's* seat.  The network has no shortage of wonks -- Chuck Todd, who gives every sign of living, breathing and probably bathing with Washington and world politics is oen and the network's long-time political reporter Andrea Mitchell is another.  Neither is without biases (and Mr. Trump is anything but a media darling) but they are professionals.  Mr. Lauer, and whoever prepped him for the gig, did not impress.  From "softball" questions to Mr. Trump to an extended (and apparently rambling) discussion of Ms. Clinton's e-mail mess, it was reportedly a suboptimal performance.

     I'd tell you first-hand, but I didn't watch.  Bombastic and snide or evasive and snide?  This is supposedly the choice?  Both contenders look to me to have anger-management problems; and this is the best their parties can find.

     Still voting for Mr. Johnson.  Maybe he can't win but he's still the only one running I can vote for without gagging.   If "shaddup and choke it down" is the flavor of the day, count me out.
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* Since it wasn't really a debate, is the position that or a moderator, or what?  This is quite aside from the ability of the selected talking head to actually fulfill the duties thereof, whatever they were supposed to be.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

So, I Asked Tam

     "Gary Johnson is extremely popular with the troops -- why won't he be in the Commander-in-Chief Q&A thing on TeeVee tonight?"

     "Because he's not going to be President."

     Killjoy.  Also, this is a prime chance for the Giant Meteor of Doom* to do its thing.  But will it?  Probably not.  Oh, L. Neil Smith, they're worse than ever.
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* Yes, yes, I know the kids use a different D-word.  I'm not using that one in a posting that discusses Presidential candidates and uses the phrase "Commander-in-Chief," because we live in a day and age of people with no sense of humor or proportion or even just plain sense and I do not propose to get body-slammed or even interviewed vigorously by witlings on the gummint payroll because I made a funny that sailed over their tiny, tiny heads.  YMMV.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Tuesday? Hmpf.

     Here's the drill: slept insufficiently Sunday-Monday; went into work in the middle of the wee small hours Monday, worked ten hours, came home, stayed up as long as I dared, slept twelve hours -- fitfully at times -- and woke up with my back feeling like a rusted-stiff roller chain that had been stuffed into a microwave oven set on "high."

     Soaked in hot, Epsom-salted water for an hour and I'm better now.  Why, I feel as spry as any centenarian!  Or most of 'em, at least.

Monday, September 05, 2016

Labor Day?

     Every day is Labor Day, unless you're a lazy slug.  But you know why we get the official, gummint-approved Labor Day at the end of summer instead of late Spring?

     It's 'cos we're not commies.  (The Canuckiphalistanians took the same approach, by the way.) And/or because you don't want to get the chaps down at the mill all riled up just as the weather's getting nice; better you should wait until autumn looms, with winter not far behind.  They'll come back to the forge when the snow flies, won't they?

     I guess that worked when we still had forges in this country.  Kind of.

Various Things

     Up early again, enjoying a not-quite-Full-Bobbi breakfast[1] ahead of a ten-hour day[2]: a small steak, a couple slices of pepper bacon[3], home fries (with scallions!)[4], a fried egg, V-8 juice and coffee.  Yum!  So good, Tam had to be given her own small steak (half-filets mignon, cooked in the pepper bacon fat), just so I only had the cats to fight off during breakfast -- Huck believes his ability to stand on the floor and get an entire foreleg on the tabletop entitles him to anything within his reach. He may have lived in a 19th-Century boarding house in a prior life.  Or been a Marine, though their table manners are generally better.

      Speaking of the Marines, a poll back in July that showed Gary Johnson to be the preferred Presidential candidate of  every Service branch but one put him ahead by the widest margin among the USMC, while the Navy only preferred Johnson a bit more than the Army (though of course they really don't like the Army, but that's not what I meant).  The Army liked Mr. Trump a bit better than Mr. Johnson (and presumably way more than the Navy), and Ms. Clinton did not fare so well among serving troops.  I am heartened to learn the Marines are every bit as cross-grained as tradition says they are.
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1. It would require the addition of tomatoes and mushrooms at minimum to qualify as a Full Bobbi.  Possibly toast or such as well.

2. Holidays at my work do not Walk Away From Omelas.[PDF]  Quite the reverse. Most get the day off.  A few get the day.

3. They were out of the wonderful applewood-smoked bacon.  The pepper bacon is a good second choice.
 
4. Note that if you are completely out of hot sauce, a little horseradish, well mixed in, will do.

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Early, Early

     So I'm up enjoying sausage hash with eggs and green onions, which is how I like it, and thanks to Tam for making a grocery run while I was fiddling with my ham antenna Saturday.

     We started the day enjoying breakfast Open Society Public House,* disconcertingly located where my veterinarian's office used to be.
See the brick pillar or chimney in the wall at the left?  That was in an exam room when my vet's office was in this space.  It's about the only recognizable part left after the makeover.
     Tam and I both had the Bisteca, which is what happens when you put down an herb salad and then add layers consisting of a little steak, some crumbled feta cheese, a poached egg, chipotle hollandaise sauce (!) and a couple of strips of very good bacon, with first-rate home fried potatoes and some cherry tomatoes on the side.  Tastes even better than it sounds.

     Bicycled home after that -- I picked up donuts on the way, one for there and then, another for later -- and did laundry, ham antenna work (me), writing and grocery-shopping (Tam), then reconvened to attack the lawn.  I wrestled the electric mower almost everywhere (there's a tiny stretch in the alley that really needs the string trimmer), including the long-overdue back yard, and Tam did all the trim mowing and edging.  So our lawn is civilized for the first time since before the heavy rains.

     That was enough work to leave me tired enough to get some sleep before today's early-early shift.  Enough sleep?  I hope so.
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* Not, in fact, connected to George Soros -- although to the extent he'd concentrate his efforts on keeping governments from creeping around behind closed doors where citizens can't see what's going on, he'd be tolerable.  Alas, he cannot.  Oh, George

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Insight, Hindsight

     Moving pictures were better before they added sound.

     Seriously, think how much that would improve present-day TV news.

Friday, September 02, 2016

Urgh, Blurble, Spam

     Wish I had more for you.  Politicians -- and more so, candidates -- are still insane and/or evil.  I used to think mostly evil, but evil would do a better job of it, get the weirdos running on time and streamline the infrastructure or at least wear interesting uniforms, so I'm increasingly leaning towards insane.  Unmoored from reality and it works for them, so why not impose it on everyone?  Who needs Morlocks and techies and persons from Porelock when lotus-dreams beckon, anyway? Don't the power plants and water treatment centers run themselves?  If you squint, you can see Flint, Michigan from there.

     I sat through a talk awhile back by an "industry leader" and to the extent I even understood what he was talking about, it appeared to be collusion in restraint of trade, a way of mass-negotiating favorable (for the buyer) rates for the actual product my employer sells, yet the big boss appeared to think the speaker was the very greatest thing since individually-wrapped cheese slices.  So either I missed something, or the guy is the best salesman in the entire history of selling, despite being, in fact, a buyer.

     As summer turns to autumn, the weather suddenly couldn't be nicer.  Of course this is wreaking havoc on my sinuses and my face has felt like it might explode for the last several days.  The more salubrious the weather, the worse it feels.

     A closing thought from the from the spam filters:

     I once tried to shave is not the machine, and the blade of the knife, which bought here [deleted URL].

     Go home, Skynet.  You're drunk.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

So, Food?

     Don't wanna blog about political stuff again,  haven't been shooting for a few weeks, so, food:

     Tam's pal Mike dropped off a loaf of artisanal semolina bread yesterday and we were resolved to find out how well it toasted.

     It toasts remarkably well, in fact.  But you can't just have toast; it makes Kafka sad.* So I hard-boiled an egg and sliced a nice tomato.  Butter on the toast, sliced hard-boiled egg atop that with a little salt and pepper, sliced tomato on the side with "Italian seasoning," and there you have as good a breakfast as you can turn out with very little effort.

     Also, if you haven't got a serrated bread knife, get one.  It'll make your life better.
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* Yes, he said it first: "The washing up from breakfast lay on the table; there was so much of it because, for Gregor's father, breakfast was the most important meal of the day and he would stretch it out for several hours as he sat reading a number of different newspapers." The Metamorphosis, emphasis mine.