Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Oh, NRA Board...

     So, the NRA Board elected a new President.  You might expect they would choose a real Boy or Girl Scout type, squeaky clean and inoffensive; after all, the group's many opponents would start digging just as soon as the name came out. 

     At that level, the likely candidates are going to be civically and politically active; that's normal.  NRA's Board runs to conservative people, and that's normal, too.  We just had Oliver North as President and....  His was not an untarnished reputation.

     With the ongoing issues with Ackerman McQueen and the investigation launched by the hostile New York Attorney General Letitia James, you'd expect the Board to proceed with caution.  Indeed, new NRA President Carolyn Meadows is active in her state's Republican Party and on the board of the American Conservative Union, which hosts CPAC.  Unfortunately, as Media Matters gleefully points out, she's also the chairperson of the Stone Mountain Memorial Association -- yes, the great, big nationally-divisive carving of Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Jefferson Davis on the side of Stone Mountain in Georgia.

     I am not interested in refighting the Late Civil Unpleasantness Between The States on my blog.  It ended a long time ago and as a nation, we have been coping with the aftermath ever since.  Part of that aftermath is that people have heated, divergent -- and often unrealistic -- opinions about it.  Northerner, Southerner, conservative, liberal, no matter where you are on those lines (and many others), there are plenty of people who disagree with your fool notions and will yell at you about it all day long.  It's a third rail and the NRA Board has apparently decided to bite down on it.

     Oh, it may not matter; they could have elected a saintly aesthete with no political ties and an entirely bland personal history, and Mother Jones and The Trace would still run multi-part articles about that person kicking dogs, jaywalking and buying caviar from a babushka with a suspicious accent.  Still, is this they best they could come up with?

     Man, they'd better get shut of Ack-Mac and set their finances in order in a genuine New York minute, and perhaps President Meadows, retired from a fiscally-responsible position with the Lockheed-Martin employee store, is just the woman for the job.  I sure hope so.

Monday, April 29, 2019

NRAAM 2019: Impressions And Afterthoughts

     "It's all over but the shouting," is just about literally true of the 2019 NRAAM: there's a Board meeting today, which will likely include some serious discussion of finances, NRA's relationship with their long-term PR firm and the ongoing State of New York fishing expedition investigation into the organization.  Oliver North's departure is a symptom, not a cause; the name to watch for is the PR firm, Ackerman McQueen.  Information from the Board meeting will likely be slow-developing, but it's the real news of the NRAAM.

     The exhibit hall was briskly busy Sunday and the only protestors reported outside yesterday were protesting, of all things, circumcision. Maybe they had confused NRA and AMA?  Whatever, several friends and friends-of-friends reported run-ins with them.

     Inside, several technical developments caught my eye:
  • An affordable (under $1000), electric, automated AR-15 magazine loader, literally rounds into a hopper, magazine seated at the bottom, push the button and step back!  
  •  A fully (and I do mean fully) configurable, mostly-aluminum Glock clone: grip, frontstrap, backstrap, magazine well, dustcover and slide all changeable, with the "serialized part" a little sliver of frame -- and you can buy the whole kit.  Zro Delta makes it.
  •  A semi-auto handgun with a whole new take on toggle-locking.  Tam's looking into that.  Bore axis is low and the barrel doesn't move much as it cycles, both of which may do very good things to felt recoil.
  • Trijicon's SRO red dot sight is exceptionally nice in person.  I became a fan of red dot optics about five shots after getting the inexpensive and fairly early red dot on my Ruger Mk. III .22 pistol sighted in: they work, and with my middle-aged eyesight they work far better than iron sights.  The SRO's big ring is more "sight-like" than the long tube on my Ruger and should the three-year battery life run out on you, you're still okay: at most practical handgun distances, if it's in the ring, you will be able to hit it.  (If not, more range time might be a good idea.)
     I have photos of a few things but I've got an appointment this morning and there's not time to post them.  Maybe tomorrow -- and perhaps by then, we'll be starting to find out what went on at the Board meeting.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Downtown Patachou!

      Patachou On The Park, within spitting distance of our State Capitol building — not that you should.  Endless coffee and wonderful food!

The Last Camel Died At Noon

     ...But the press room wi-fi seems to have lived on.  I have multiple photos to edit and post and have seen amazing things and met amazing people.  Lunch next, I think.

     No actual camels were harmed during this event.

NRA 2019, At Last

     Ollie North is out and I’m in....  In the press room.  I made a beeline for the coffee, Tam made a beeline for the show floor (wrong, food court: no breakfast today) and I am headed to the big hall next.

     May liveblog if I can — the press room shuts down early.  I don’t know if they’re taking their wi-fi when they lock the door.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Annnd I'm Sick

     No hamfest or NRA today.  Scooter battery?  Maybe.  If the room stops spinning.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Idiots, Misinformation

     IMPD or reporter error?  Either way, a local media outlet is misstating Indiana firearms carry laws:

     "Individuals must have an Indiana license to carry a handgun in public."

     Nope!  Indiana recognizes your carry permit from anywhere.  Any state, any country: if they trust you to carry, the government of Indiana trusts you to carry.

NRA, Reaching Out

     Seems some of the demographic outreach of Gun Culture 2.0 is even registering with the mainstream media!

     Of course, the article also mentions the possibility of "hundreds" of protesters on Hudnut Plaza across the street from the convention center (oooh, clowns for the kids!).  That's against the 87,000-plus attendees at the 2018 NRAAM, or 75,000-plus when NRA was last in Indy in 2014.  It's the United States, after all, and there's plenty of room for everyone to make their opinions known -- even if those opinions are risible.

     Today is a work day for me and I am hoping to dodge the road closures associated with Executive Branch visits.  It should all be well south of the Skunkworks where I toil.  --Should be.  I don't know how far north they have welded the manhole covers* and occupied the rooftops, and I don't suppose I want to know.
* Embarrassingly, our local power company's transformer pits occasionally blow their tops, sending manhole covers skywards.  What happens if the cover's been welded down?  I don't want to know that, either, and neither do they.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Working Press! Comin' Through!

     Tam and I headed downtown about 1:30 p.m. to pick up our press credentials.  We just got in under the wire at one of the nearby parking garages -- $10 for the first hour, though the rates ramp down significantly after that.  The garage was under renovation, with a couple of floors propped up by a dense and unnerving grid of scaffolding and girders.

     NRA's press room is in the same place as last time they were in town, off the north side of northernmost hallway, about three-quarters of the way west from the entrance.  They've got good wi-fi but alas, the iPad Mini isn't signed into my blog.

     So here's what I wrote:
     Here we are, in the exciting (and well-provisioned) Press room for NRA 2019!  Even though the exhibitor hall is not open until Friday (some booths are still frantically setting up), there are already a lot of people in the Convention Center; the NRA Store is up and running (and looked to be doing a brisk business), as are the food concessions.  Tam wants to keep moving, so off we go; next stop, the camera store.
 *  *  *
     As it turned out, the people in the camera store were anticipating seeing plenty of "NRA people" over the weekend.  The event is definitely photographer-heavy, so that's hardly a surprise.

Heard About The Buggy Windows Update?

     I heard about Microsoft fouling up people's Win10 machines with the most recent update, but thought I'd dodged that bullet.

     Guess not.  Firefox (another source of bugginess but I'm fond of it) started getting weird last night and this morning, it was far worse.  Well, okay, thinks I, Edge will work--

     Edge wasn't much better.  Looking at local TV station sites for a short article on the foolishness of fretting over "an influx of people carrying guns" in a county with one of the highest proportion of firearms carry permit holders in the entire United States, Edge started to flake out badly.

     Malwarebytes just finished scanning and gives the machine a clean bill of health; I did a restart and it seems to be hung up.

     So I'm writing this on my "toy computer," a Raspberry Pi running Raspberian, their Linux variant.  Chromium (essentially a port of Google's snoopy Chrome browser) comes with the operating system and works perfectly well.

     What is it the high speed/low drag types say, "One is none and two is one?"  Yeah.  "Have a backup" applies in plenty of situations.

     And that Windows desktop is still trying to restart.  It may be time to push the developer switch.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

NRA Convention

     The doors open tomorrow on the 2019 NRA convention here in Indianapolis!

     All the big names will be there, as will the protestors across the street.  I was amused when a announcement of and open invitation to the protest gathering on the "Next Door" forum for my neighborhood tuned into virtue-signalling for and against, until a moderator shut it down.  Look, this is the United States of America, where you can peacefully protest any darned thing you want and just as peacefully cheer it on, and when either happens, it's better to look at the issues and the optics than impugn the character and/or the intelligence of the people waving signs.

     Some of the people opposing causes you support are indeed fools or thugs, or worse; others are sincere.  And the same on your side.  This tells us nothing about the legal or moral aspects of the issue at hand.

     But sometimes, people play dirty -- one or more of the anti-gun groups is encouraging businesses to put up "No Guns" signs during the convention that are phrased in such a way as to legally deny entry under Indiana law; this gives them more leverage to have the police come and throw you out, should you happen to mistakenly wander in while visibly armed.  Here's the skinny: in Indiana, you can carry a gun with a carry permit from anywhere, but property-owners (and, IIRC, leaseholders) can ask you to leave -- and if you refuse to leave, that's trespassing and they can call the police.  The wording on the signs amounts to a preemptive request to GTHO.  Don't be a test case; take your money to a business that wants it instead.

     Me, I'll be at the convention Thursday and possibly Saturday and/or Sunday.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019


     When a meme supporting or criticizing the President uses the word "insalubrious" when referring to blighted neighborhoods?  That's either Russia's FSB or a plain old nitwit and you'd better fact-check the claims it makes.

     Effective political memes use plain language.  Effective advertising uses plain language.  Who'd perambulate well over a kilometer for an even-toed ungulate with a distinctive fatty hump on its back?

Monday, April 22, 2019

Busy Morning

     Not much time to post this morning.  Last night, I found out my out-of-pocket costs for the cardiac stress test are a couple of orders of magnitude greater than expected.  So that's going to be...interesting. 

Sunday, April 21, 2019

It Would Seem

     That I posted nothing today.  Kinda emblematic of the day, though I did reattach vinyl siding to the garage where the wind had peeled it off.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Paged In

     I was thinking about staying home and housecleaning.  Work had other ideas; I had to go in and fix something.  Tried to talk the guys through it over the phone but I didn't explain well enough.

     So I drove to work and fixed it.  Tam hitched a ride and I dropped her off at a camera store a few blocks away.  After I was done and she'd finished shopping, we had lunch on Mass. Ave. (at Bru Burger) and I wrote a little, moving the point of view in a story from first-person to "third person close." We returned home in the chilly drizzle, and have done nothing since.

     And now I'm headed for bed.  Oh, the excitement!

Friday, April 19, 2019

The Mueller Reports

     As near as I can tell from the news coverage, the Mueller Report says whatever you were wanting it to say, managing somehow to find the President (and/or his campaign) both did not collude with the Russians and yet was up to something skullduggerous that Congress must make up their own minds about after a full and complete study of the 400-page report and related evidence followed by thoughtful reflection -- which, of course, various Congressbeings did, fully fifteen minutes after they were given a copy to read.

     Don't you wish you were as clever and as capable of absorbing written information as rapidly as a U. S. Congressthing?

     Yeah, right--  What I'm noticing is that the dance hasn't changed; here we are, a day after the report was released and nobody, nobody has changed their opinion -- not a single member of the House or Senate, not a single TV expert, no pundit, no polemicist, zip, zilch,  none.  And there's all the information I need.

     Politics is what we do instead of sticking one another with swords.  The Mueller Report is an épée with a tip at each end and no grip, which sets off the scoring light and buzzer at the least jostle -- and boy, are the politicians and commentators jostling!

     Same old, same old.  The Russians are still getting what they wanted: chaos.  We're all helping, aren't we?

Thursday, April 18, 2019

I Had A Blog Subject All Picked Out

     It would have taken only a little research and been interesting.  I remember that much. 

     Darned if I can remember what the topic was; I was distracted by one of the more dimwitted aspects of the Culture Wars: people making up childish variations on the names of candidates and politicians, complete with semi-obscene speculation on their personal habits.

     Look, I have no doubt this kind of thing goes way back; read the graffiti at Pompeii and Herculaneum to remove any doubt, or look up some of things people from Pharaohs to workaday scribes wrote about enemies from the guy next door to foreign invaders in the various Egyptian kingdoms.  If we could read cave paintings, we'd probably find more of the same.

     Grow up: either politics is serious business, worth the intelligent attention of mature adults, or it's a tribalist exercise in playground-level name-calling.  You can't have it both ways; there's no calling the politician you don't like "Mr./Ms. Poopyhead" and claiming the intellectual high ground.

     I'll give you one or two; even Buckley and Vidal resorted to name-calling and threats of fisticuffs when they first crossed swords.  But for all they disagreed and loathed one another, they managed to figure out that scuffling like schoolkids meant they both lost the debate together.  --All right, Gore and William F. were indeed unusually smart.  But it shouldn't take a self-styled intellectual to figure out (after a mulligan or two) that names like "Drumpf" and "Fauxahontas" don't add anything to our understanding of the issues involved -- or even of the personalities.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Beneficence: That $339 Million?

     One of the more common criticism of libertarianism, minarchism and anarchism is, "Nothing requiring public funding could ever be accomplished."

     As a counter-example, let me point to Notre Dame, where the first day's $339 million has now swelled to a billion dollars.  Even by Washington, D.C. standards, that's serious money.  No government shook them down for it; the Pope isn't handing out extra next-life goodies to the donors.

     If a big project is sufficiently important to enough people, it will be funded.

*  *  *
     An interesting aside to this is, who owns that famous building?  Nope, it's not the Catholic Church -- it's the very secular French government!  But the Church occupies it rent-free and maintains and staffs the place.  This is perhaps another example of "the French do things their own way," and much like French engineering, it works for them even if it's not how you'd expect it to be set up.

     In a larger (and more figurative) sense, Notre Dame belongs to the world, in much the same way as the Taj Mahal or the Empire State Building.  And that's how "the world," everyone from business moguls to academic institutions to schoolkids, responded to the fire damage.   

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Notre Dame: What's With That Roof?

     It was the roof "frame" and the structure of the spire that burned.  They were covered in lead, great stuff for the job from the 1100s (when the building was underway) through the 19th century (the last major restoration): it's waterproof, doesn't burn, and sheets of it are easily joined together.  Hundreds of tons of lead -- and the environmental laws and rules in the EU aren't any softer on lead contamination than the ones in, say, California.  Expect to hear more about that in coming weeks.

     The trusses themselves were a "queen-post" design, fairly strong for their weight and with an open space in the center, allowing for access (as seen in this CNN article).  The roof mainly keeps water away from stone arches (six-part rib vaults) below it, arches that carry compressive force from the buttresses on each side.  When news articles talk about the danger of interior collapse, damage to those limestone arches is a big part of the worry; while I snarked on Facebook about the kind of idiocy that manages to set a stone building on fire, the heat of structure fires is a great danger to limestone architecture.

     I'm not finding a lot on the interior structure under the spire in a quick search.  The dramatic interior photograph that has shown up everywhere seems to show a great lump of debris right under the crossing and it could be very bad.

     At the base of the spire was a group of statues: the twelve Apostles, in four groups of three, each group preceded by one the animals symbolizing the four evangelists, and all of them -- all but one -- facing out towards Paris.  The lone exception?  St. Thomas, patron saint of architects. He was looking up at the spire -- with the face of Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, mastermind of the extensive 19th-century restoration.  All of the statues had been removed only days before the fire; no doubt both the saint and whatever records Viollet-le-Duc left are going to be getting a lot of attention in coming months and years.

     This isn't the first time Notre Dame has been badly damaged; the 19th-Century work largely addressed damage caused during and in the aftermath of the French Revolution.  Nor is it the first time the modern world has had to address this kind of disaster: Reims Cathedral was reduced to ruins in a very similar manner during World War One.  Restoration started immediately after the war and the cathedral re-opened twenty years later.

     As of this morning, over $339 million had been pledged by private donors to rebuild the cathedral of Notre Dame.  During the fire, brave firefighters rescued irreplaceable artifacts.  As dreadful as things look, it is not lost.  It will be rebuilt.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Wait A Minute...

     It's a totally unbelievable premise for a science fiction story: it's 2019, and most people buy their books, clothes and household goods from a bald billionaire with an army of robots and his own private space program?  Come on -- no one's going to find that plausible. 

     How about one where the world is polluted, overcrowded and so short on food that they're turning corpses into kibble?  And we'll set it in 2022.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

New Eyeglasses, New Battery, Half-Done

     At least I got my glasses!  Nearly a decade ago, when I still wore contacts daily,* I bought a pair of Julbo "Vermont Classic" sunglasses from the discount/overstock section of Campmor.  If you're light-sensitive they're wonderful, big, round lenses with side and center shields so no unfiltered light gets in.  I liked the look of them.  They're solidly-made and priced accordingly. 

     I thought about having prescription sunglasses made from a pair, but I could never find more.  I thought they'd been discontinued.  Then a few months ago, a targeted-marketing discounter  (Massdrop, who specialize in a number of specific geek interests) offered the exact model of sunglasses at well below retail prices.  I bought a pair and set them back, thinking maybe next time I got glasses, I'd find out-- 

     Yes, they can fit my lenses to them, in a fair match to the tint; they're not as dark as the darkest Julbos, but there aren't a lot of glaciers to climb around here, either.  And they're certainly not the usual sort of thing!

*  *  *
     The new battery for my scooter didn't go as well.  There's no sealed battery in the right physical and electrical size (really, really small), so it's got to be conventional lead-acid.  I should have had the parts store fill it.

     The process never works right for me, no matter how slowly I pour: the cells don't fill, don't fill -- then they're suddenly too full.  It's sitting in the garage right now, and as of last night, the two end ones are too full and the middle four have hardly any acid to judge from the front.  Looking in the top, at least two more looked plenty full.  I'm going to have to go buy a hydrometer or something to reduce the level of the over-full ones.

     Had to move the whole set-up so Tam could run to the five and dime, and managed to lose one of the cell caps!  I've borrowed one from the old battery for now.

     The online tutorials always show the cells of these little batteries obviously filling right up, no time lapse tricks, you can see it through the translucent case.  I have never had that happen; there's a huge lag between pouring and seeing results and sometimes it never does show. 

*  *  *
     The probable kidney stone is making me tire easily.  Yesterday, Tam and I went up to "downtown" Broad Ripple about noon, got my glasses and had a little lunch.  Back home, I worked on the battery and then bicycled to the grocer's while she wrote.  I came home, put groceries away, had a very light dinner and watched a little TV, and realized I was exhausted.  Went to bed by nine p.m. and other than feeding the cats at six this morning, I was not out of bed for more than a few minutes until Meet The Press came on at ten a.m.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

New Eyeglasses?

      If I can get to the optometrist's in time, I can pick up my new eyeglasses!

Friday, April 12, 2019

Politics, Schmolotics

     I was going to write about it, but--  It's not worth it.  Go read your favorite news outlet; go read the news outlet you like least.  Noodle around, get a feel for who's saying what and make up your own mind.

     Newsflash: Congressbeings of opposing parties don't much like one another.  There's even some dissent among members of the same parties!  Representatives are especially outspoken, Senators more subtle.  These aren't bugs, they're features!  That's how it's supposed to work. Those people are the distilled essence of our opinions (Senators were supposed to be the distilled essence of our States' opinions but the 17th Amendment undid that, alas) and -- when necessary -- they're supposed to find some resolution we'll all dislike in roughly equal measure.

     Politics isn't about what's best, it's about what works.  As Winston Churchill pointed out, representaive democracies* are terrible -- almost as bad as every system that's been tried or proposed. "Almost" is the important caveat: it's the best we've got, with the best chance of correcting the things it does wrong, sometimes before it gets entirely out of hand.  It's inherently imperfect, just as we are, but like the best of us, it aspires to be better than it is.
* Yeah, yeah, ours is "A republic, if [we] can keep it," but as a general thing, it's Western Democracy, so we're going with the easy term.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Worrying About Rannie Wu

     The real-life Random Numbers Wu is a very old tortie cat.  She wasn't feeling at all well yesterday -- and to make things worse, Huck, my yellow-striped tomcat, was pestering her.  So they got assigned different parts of the house.

     Rannie slept on my office chair and may be feeling better this morning.  Alas, Huck decided to be very swashbuckling and playful and upset her -- and she won't swat or bite him, she just wants to get away and swears at him in a very human-sounding manner.  So Huck's spending some quality time with Tamara while she watches the news, and Rannie and I are doing the same in the office.

     Meanwhile, my own back pain is localized enough that I'm pretty sure it's the early stages of a kidney stone.  Not looking forward to it.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Better, I Hope

     Slept off and on all day yesterday, and all night last night.  This  seems to have put an end to the lingering sore throat and fatigue.  I think my back feels better, too.

     Here's hoping!

Tuesday, April 09, 2019


     "Headache!"  It's what workers yell if they drop something while working overhead.

     I wish someone had yelled it at me.

     Did my usual morning stuff - coffee, breakfast, Internet -- stood up to get ready and realized I wasn't so well.  Whacked with a one-sided headache, the dizzying kind with visual distortions and a kind of numb spot on my face.  I'm pretty sure the numb spot is just a muscle spasm but it's unnerving.

     Update: Things got much worse, rapidly.  I called in sick and went back to bed, where I slept for more than a couple of hours.  Up now and still nowhere near okay, but at least my face stopped being numb.

Monday, April 08, 2019

Writer's Group

     The writer's-group meeting yesterday was interesting. 

     There was a little confusion at the restaurant, which had apparently misplaced our reservation, but it got sorted out and we had our own meeting room, with electrical outlets and everything.  My computers don't much like the wi-fi, but since I do my critiques from hardcopy, that wasn't a problem.

     An effectively infinite supply of potables was nice to have; several of us enjoyed beer in moderation, I had all the coffee I could want, and there was iced tea and soft drinks for the others.  Appetizers and a light meal didn't get in the way at all -- and our waitress was outstanding!  Finding appropriate gaps in the discussions of workshopping writers to take orders, deliver food and refill drinks is something of an art.

     We didn't make great use of the table; I should have been more proactive in who sat where, to ensure everyone had enough room for papers and laptops/iPads.  But it was an excellent room, adequately quiet and with good acoustics.

     This first on-our-own meeting was less structured and more social, without a firm time limit for each critique; it worked okay and we probably needed that informality to get re-acquainted, but next time we'll want to be a little more aware of the clock.

     I think we got a lot done.  The weekly classes called for 2000 to 5000 words of new material; our new meetings, more or less monthly, have an upper limit of roughly 7500 words and several people pushed the limit.  It allows for a little more of a narrative to develop, and proved to not be overwhelming to read and critique (Word and compatible word-processors have great commenting/tracked editing tools) in the weeks leading up to the class.

     We plan to continue.

     And yes, readers, I'm still working on the same novella (or whatever).

Sunday, April 07, 2019


     Yesterday, I knew I was still recovering from the week of early shifts, but I'd slept a lot and I figured it wasn't much.  I managed to get several things done that I'd put off, like paying my taxes and picking up a package waiting at the Post Office (a Pelikan green highlighter fountain pen -- I have a yellow one but their yellow ink is a little pale).

     Got caught up on laundry -- the first casualty of weird shifts the laundry.  I ordered a battery for my scooter and paper and ink for my color printer, and picked them up an hour later.  Grilled a steak for supper, worked on critiques for my writer's group and hey, it was getting on towards ten p.m., time to think about sleeping.  I knew I was getting a bit mentally fuzzy.

     But first, what about a sign for the writer's group?  We gave it a new name to reflect the reduced membership, and it lends itself well to visual representation.*  I was looking at some writerly props and realized one of my better fountain pens was a little dry.  No problem, I'd already grabbed a bottle of water to set on my nightstand.  Open that up, dip in a fingertip, apply a drop of water to the nib, hey presto!

     Set the water aside and went back to looking at props.  Bumped something, kept looking, thinking--

     Holy cow, what's that glugging sound?  I hadn't put the lid back on the water bottle and I'd knocked it over!  On my keyboard, the nice round-keys Azio retrokeyboard.  Stood the bottle up, stood up, reached over my desktop computer and started groping at back of it to unplug the keyboard -- and failed to notice I had knocked the water bottle over again, this time on my desk.  Water was running across the desktop and dripping onto the chairmat.

     My computer sits on top of a small two-drawer gadget that holds envelopes, well above the desk, but the desktop is very cluttered with pens, gadgets and papers.  I stood the bottle back up, turned the computer off at the power switch, grabbed the office roll of paper towel and started mopping.  Eventually, I was able to wipe off the keyboard and turn it over on a mat of paper toweling; I got the desktop unloaded as best I could, and dried off mousepad, mouse, wrist rest....  I kept finding little pools and puddles.

     I think I got it all.  The Azio keyboard proved tricky to open up, so I dried it more and will let it set.  After an hour's work, I was extremely ready for bed.

     This morning, I had another check for water, got out a backup keyboard (Qwerkywriter S -- the latest version has a wired-connection mode), put the now dry mousepad, mouse and wrist rest back in place and started up the computer.  Let's not tempt the Fates but at least I have got this far.
* I'd tell you, but it's a secret.  As R. Buckminster Fuller said, "Never show unfinished work," and ours is as unfinished as cheap furniture.

Saturday, April 06, 2019

Okay, Now...

     Now I'm back on days, at least for the weekend and Monday (I checked).  The weather today is supposed to be remarkably nice, so I'm hoping to charge up the scooter battery, or find out if I need to buy another one.  Also maybe get a few things done in the yard - there is a scattering of leaves to be raked up, twigs and small branches to be gathered, and I might even do some weeding and add a layer of dirt to the raised flowerbed out front.

     It's going to be nice to get some sunlight.

* * *
     Meanwhile, out in the wide world, India has tested a satellite killer and created an ugly scattering of orbital debris.  Why?  To show that they can.

     I think that's every member of the Space Club having demonstrated some version of antisatellite capability except the EU's ESA, and they still remember WW II (and sat through Moonraker five times).  So could they all please stop now?  There's are people up there, and phone calls,  and the Internet and your pocket navigation system; there's a future up there, if we will only reach for it.  So don't screw it up.

     Also, if you want to see Russia and the U.S. suddenly find common ground, hit the ISS with some damaging debris that injures the crew and see how long it takes for Donald and Vlad to let you know you don't have a space program any more, both cheered on by their domestic opposition and backed up by anti-antisatellite systems that'll leave the rubble bouncing.

Friday, April 05, 2019

One Week On The Early Shift

     It was difficult.  I used to have trouble adjusting to working the early shift when it was five a.m. to one p.m.; it was moved to a three a.m. start some years back and has been trouble for me every time I have to fill in for the techs who usually work it.

     Even using the weekend to gradually change my hours didn't help much.  I was muzzy when I woke, staggered through getting ready, managed to be fairly alert for the trip in and for about the first hour and a half of my shift, then I'd just run out of energy.  More than once, I woke up face-down on my desk, just slumped forward in my chair.  Yesterday, it was a struggle to stay awake while walking.

     Need to do a better job moving my body clock the next time I work this shift.  I've slacked off on the vitamin B and some of that might have helped, too.

Thursday, April 04, 2019

On The Other Hand

     Two or three hours into my shift yesterday, I looked down and realized I was wearing mismatched shoes.

     Yes, I'd been that out of it while getting ready.  I prefer a particular make and style of show for work -- Merrill "Moab 2" hikers -- and buy them in different colors.  Mine were in two hues.

     The previous night (my night, that is), I'd awakened after about three hours and then spent at least two hours trying to get back to sleep.  Spent my lunch break with my head down on my desk, dozing.  I was still pretty muzzy all that day.

     When I got home, I had a light meal and took one of Tam's melatonin pills, and that knocked me out pretty well -- with the addition of the radio version of Dragnet playing on my Kindle!

     It's not that Jack Webb is boring; I'd found the programs while looking for a script as an example of how he used simple, straightforward sentences in natural-sounding language without becoming dull.  He did it very well; even the TV version of Dragnet got away with a lot more straight exposition than usual, thanks to Joe Friday's matter-of-fact voiceovers.

     That calm speech pattern comes very close to my childhood memories of falling asleep while my parents and occasional visitors spoke quietly in the living room down the hall.  Couldn't even make out the words, just the soft ebb and flow of conversation. Jack Webb's character even sounds a little like my father did.  So the radio shows are a win-win: an interesting story if I'm awake enough to follow it, a soothing background when I'm sleepy.

     Speaking of sleepy, I just realized I didn't pick up my coffee mug, but one of Tam's with a similar design and colors! 

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

This Shift Has Drawbacks. It Has Compensations, Too

     I'm coming to dislike going to bed with an idea for a post, or waking up with an idea, and then by the time I'm sitting at the computer, it has fled.

     Yesterday did have a nice side.  Tam and I had a nice lunch at Brugge, the nice Belgian restaurant in Broad Ripple.  We went with simple fare, hanger steak and eggs over frites, that Belgian dish you know as French Fries.  They've got a huge selection of dipping sauces for the frites and the meal comes with a choice of two; I picked pesto and horseradish while Tam had pesto and curry, which pairs nicely with the steak and eggs, too.

     Tam pointed out a sign: just upstairs from Brugge is Txuleta, a Basque cider house!  It's a fairly recent addition, open in the evenings.  In Basque country, cider houses are a seasonal treat, serving hard cider and hearty dishes, and "discovered" by gastronomes a few years back.  Our local version appears to be offering the foodie take on this tradition and it makes my mouth water -- have a look at their menu and gallery at the link!  We'l be finding out what that's about.

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

So, Then

     Really, just another placeholder -- and a reminder, politicians are scum; your neighbor who votes for them is just a nitwit.  The distinction is important; we can get along with nitwits.  And they can get along with us.

Monday, April 01, 2019

Civics, Who Needs It?

     Not Indiana high school graduates, I guess.  The state legislature had considered adding the test required of prospective U. S. citizens as a requirement to graduate high school, but decided not to because it would be too much of a burden on the schools.

     That's right, turning out graduates with the basic knowledge required to become a naturalized U. S. citizen is too much to ask of our high schools.

     And yes, they'll be voting.