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Friday, June 17th, 2011
12:57 am - Urgh.
Sorry for dropping off the face of the internet, but it's been a fucked up week or so. I learned that a good friend of mine, Keith, died suddenly. My brain pretty much stopped functioning for the next couple days, and then I went down to Maryland for the funeral on Friday. Weirdly enough, I had a pretty good time -- at least, as good of a time as can be had in such circumstances. There's a lot to be said for a roaring, drunken wake.

Puppy's doing well, though she was rather out of it today. She licked a cut end of a milkweed stem, wound up barfing a couple of times on the rug, and was generally out of it for most of the day. She's fine now, though. Here's hoping that aversive learning kicks in and she she doesn't fucking do that again.

I'll probably get around to posting puppy pics on the weekend. Getting motivated to do things is hard.

I think I'm reaching the criticality point where my disgust with facebook and twitter is being overriden by the fact that it's increasingly needed or useful to have in today's society.

I'm slowly gearing up on the electronics-hobby end, and I've spent the last few days trying to wrap my head around transistors and FETs and their use as amplifiers. (Their use as switches is retarded-simple.)

I desperately need an oscilloscope, preferably a dual-trace model. If anyone's got one kicking around, let me know. If it's working, I want it. Hell, even if it's not working, I'll take it so long as it's close to free.

I'm also looking for salvagable electronic parts, particularly inductors of all sorts. If you've got a piece of dead electonics with a lot of those little toroids with wire wrapped around 'em, I want it.

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Monday, March 28th, 2011
8:14 pm - I haz internets
Thanks to Best Buy and a Linksys wireless adapter, I'm finally online again. Tremble, ye mortals, and despair.

current mood: cheerful

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Saturday, March 26th, 2011
4:21 am - Argh.
While I love the fact that I'm moving, the actual act kinda sucks.

Anyone out there who wants to lend a hand tomorrow, let me know. Call me on my cell, or leave a message here before 1pm. (After that, the chances of me breaking down my system rise every hour, and once I'm offline I won't have access again until my cable gets connected at the house, hopefully sometime next week.) I'm not really expecting anyone to be able to show on such short notice, but, hey, what the hell, I don't lose anything by asking.

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Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011
11:53 pm - O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!
So, I finally closed on my new home yesterday. Yesterday was insanity and stress; today was annoyance and waiting as I waited to get the water and power on and fuel delivered. The power was -finally- turned on sometime between 9:00 pm and 11:00 pm, and I just got back from making sure everything was working, the heat was on, etc, etc.

Next up: Cable/internet/phone. Fortunately, that's all one company.

Good lord, what a wait. I signed for this thing in late November. In any case, now I can finally get on with my life. I can already feel the dark clouds dispersing.

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Sunday, January 30th, 2011
10:06 pm - God I Hate Shrink-Wrap Contracts
I really wish I had a lot of money and a good lawyer who was at least a shade Quixotic, 'cause I'm getting really sick of shrink-wrap contracts. At the very least, I'd like to find a way to defend against them automatically, preferably in the same 'automatic' way. At best, I'd like to poison the whole insane system and bring it down.

Why do I say this? 'Cause I went to complain about a product, and in order to submit the feedback, I had to 'agree' to a stupid shrink-wrap license agreement which any lawyer worth his pay should know is unenforceable. Not only was this a shrink-wrap contract, it was a really shitty example of the type. So I wrote in my own little EULA. I wonder if it's as enforceable as theirs is. In any case, I'm hoping that I get some free product coupons and force them to spend a few hundred bucks' worth of one of their staff lawyers' time to review my response.

My feedback to them is below the cut. The EULA can be seen at the included URL.

Read more...Collapse )

current mood: annoyed

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Monday, January 17th, 2011
10:24 pm - Dwarf Fortress
...Has no business being as addictive as it is, particularly given its steep learning curve and old-school interface. And yet ... when your fortress fails and everyone's either on fire or gibbering in a corner, you usually don't feel like you got ripped off*. A game with ASCII graphics shouldn't be able to get my blood pumping. And yet, it does. It's a practically perfect combination of Sim City and Nethack and The Sims and Dungeon Keeper. It's normal for the game's fans to refer to themselves as masochists. And yet it doesn't feel unfair, like many unforgiving games can.

*Except for the carp. I've had entire groups of dwarves eaten at embark by carp. Not fun. Or even Fun(tm) after the first time.

PS: OMG my fortress is drowning in fish. *turns off fishing for everyone while everyone eats the stocks down for a few years*

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Tuesday, December 21st, 2010
4:26 am - PSA
Queen sure as hell can rock.

That is all.

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Friday, December 17th, 2010
12:46 am - I gotta get out of this place // If it's the last thing I ever doooooo
It was a toss-up between that title and "All work and no play and TONS OF FUCKING STRESS make Sev go something something."

I realise that I haven't posted in a while; sorry.

We're officially in contract for a house. Haven't heard back yet when we can close. Could be by the end of this month, could be sometime in March. Who the fuck knows? Stupid banks.

I've been working 3-11:30 PM and will continue to be doing so for the next several weeks. The only time I see people is at work and my mom at home. On the weekends, I just sleep all fucking day and don't want to do anything; I've gotta pry my ass out of bed with a virtual crowbar, and generally can only do that for things that need need need to get done. The change in daylight isn't helping either. I get to see the sun when I drive to work. Ugh.

Please let the garbled message on the answering machine have been my lawyer calling to let me know that he has a closing date. Even if I have to wind up doing some jiggery-pokery with my credit card or beg friends and relatives for cash to make the earliest possible date, I need out.

The worst part about depression like this is that it's self-reinforcing. I can't go on a hedonistic splurge and buy myself sushi or something; I'm socking away every dollar I can manage towards closing. I can't invite people over, because I don't want to subject them to this place. And mustering the energy to go out and do something, particularly during what most people consider to be a reasonable part of the day, can be a monumental task. It doesn't help that I'm tending towards going to sleep at dawn and getting up around dusk.

Ugh. My creative drive is in reverse.

At least things are looking up from here, what with the being-in-contract and the solstice coming up.

current mood: maintaining

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Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010
12:19 am - *sigh*
I hate elections. I hate our politicians. I hate gutless weaklings in power, and the powerful who are corporate shills, sucking the dick of corporate America and fucking the People (except the rich) right up the ass. I hate the fact that a party of lies, vicious ignorance, and utter obliviousness, one of whose central tenants is the embracing of truthisness and the rejection of, y'know, facts, has risen to power, and it is seen as the hope of the people. Christ! I don't want to be one of the People any more. Oh, and I especially hate the democrats, the party in power who managed to ride a massive wave of public support and majorities in the Senate & the House ... absofuckinglutely nowhere, because they were pussies and worshipping the altar of bipartisanism, or because they were corporate shills, and the people in power didn't have the balls to threaten to ruin their legislative careers if they didn't vote for the damned health bill.

(Yes, by and large, with a few exceptions, I think that all of our politicians are worse than worthless. I think the state of the country could be improved by gathering everyone in both houses of Congress and then dropping a very large rock on the thing from orbit. We can then just randomly assign people on the street to office. I am confident that they would do no worse than, and possibly better than, our current selection of popularity-contest schlubs.)

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Thursday, October 28th, 2010
12:06 am - Holy crap do ham radio kitsellers suck
I mean, they appear to be utterly incompetant at the business end of the whole kit-selling thing, no matter how great their designs are. I can't tell you how many pages I've been directed to that're 404'd, or where all the radios for sale are discontinued (including what are argueably better models.) The Softrock guy doesn't do advanced sales so you've gotta watch his page and hope they show up, which they apparently do every few weeks in small amounts, and that you can actually get an order in, since the demand seems to be significantly higher than the supply. (He's also paying $2.30 or so per programmed ATTINY85 from where ever he's getting them from. You can get 'em for $1.82 each, or $1.29 in lots of a hundred, from Mouser, and if this guy can design and build a software defined radio transceiver, he damned well has the know-how to make a retarded-simple programmer and do it himself.)

There's another guy who's selling Softrock 6.3 clones, but the only place with information about it is on a member's-only google group.

What is wrong with these people?

If you're going to sell a product, make it easy to find. Make it easy to order. And goddammit, if you can't keep up with orders, maybe you should think about expanding. Or doing business with one of those maker-support places that'll basically print circuit boards and assemble kits on demand, or in lots, or whatever. And even solder on the SMD devices. Or construct the whole damned thing. And if you're going to discontinue versions, why not supply eagle files (or equivalent.) Or give us the option to buy a PCB. Sheesh.

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Saturday, October 23rd, 2010
3:25 pm - I can now inflict myself upon the WHOLE WORLD!
I just passed my Technician's and General Amateur Radio tests, so in about a week I'll be getting my general-class license in the mail. Apparently I did fairly well on the Extra class exam, but didn't pass -- and didn't expect to, 'cause I hadn't even looked at the test questions for it to see what was covered. However, I can always go back and take it again if/when I feel like it. (Since I'm most interested in the HF bands, I'm glad I passed the General class exam; you can tap-dance all over VHF and UHF with the technician class license, but technicians are limited in the HF bands they can use, and are generally restricted to a small portion of any of those bands.)

Now I 'just' have to build myself a transciever and find a way to put up a useable antenna, heh. The antenna's actually the biggest problem for HF operation, since they need to be relatively long and work best high-up. If I can find a cheap kit, maybe I'll dabble in VHF on 2m after all; I can put a 2m quarter-wave dipole up on the end of a chunk of local bamboo or something.

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Tuesday, October 12th, 2010
9:17 pm - *coughhack*
My record of having my extended holidays fucked up continues. Spent most of this one semi-conscious in bed with a fever, head and chest cold. I'm recovering now, but I'm still short of breath and feelin' crappy. And going on coughing fits every couple minutes.

I got one of the new 3g enabled kindles for my birthday -- a present to myself, whee -- and the thing's neat. It's also, because of what I'd consider a design flaw, very easy to crack the screen in half, which is what I did. Fortunately, Amazon overnighted me a new one, and, at the same time, I bought one of the Amazon leather case things for it. It's a fantastic little bit of tech, and eminently readable, but if you buy one, drop the extra cash on the case.

As far as things on the home front go, we're in a bit of a lull. I've been looking at houses and stuff, though I didn't get anything done this last week or this weekend 'cause I was feeling increasingly shitty.

Ed is apparently pissing his life away. He's drinking agin, and it appears that he hasn't paid, well, any bills except for maybe the mortgage for the last month or two. He's drinking again, and selling pot, so there's been an increasing number of scumbags nosing around the back of the house. (No, they're not scumbags because they're buying pot. They're scumbags because they're skiffy, scumbaggy-lookin'-and-actin' motherfuckers.)

...How you manage to be a drug dealer and not, apparently, make any money at it, I don't know.

...On the other hand, one of the trees in back appears to have taken on a distinct lean towards the screen-house, so there's the small hope that, with every windstorm that comes along, that he'll be crushed to death.

(note: crashed out before posting this, but this was actually written on monday.)

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Monday, September 27th, 2010
8:59 pm - o/~ I gotta get outta this place o/~
It's toxic, living here with that bastard. It is increasingly turning me into a worse person, as I rate things.

I took off tomorrow to hit up realtors. I think I'm also going to rent out a storage space and start moving ancillary crap (like my books) out.

A friend of the family has already stated that we may move into her basement for however long it takes us to get into a new house. (I'm looking to buy something, sub-$175K. Willing to make basic repairs so long as the place is structurally sound. Anyone know of anything? Most likely I'll wind up getting a short sale or something) Anyway, thank god for that; it's a load off my mind.

At some point in the future I'll probably ask for volunteers to help me move the really heavy/bulky crap that I can't do alone reasonably. Participants will, of course, be rewarded with their choices of beer, pizza, and other consumeables, along with the enduring gratitude of both me and my mother.

Also, I'd like to know if anyone local is interested in fostering my 65G saltwater tank until I'm back in a real house. (I can provide salt, food, and other consumeables, and an RODI unit to make water, which is also a fantastic source of filtered drinking water.) I'm also looking to reduce my fish population; I have a naso tang and a radiant wrasse that're really just a bit too much bioload for the tank; leave a message if interested.

I also have my first fish tank set-up, a rather neglected 20 gallon with a 20 gallon fuge, LR, a firefish, and some hardy soft corals that I'm looking to get rid of entirely. It also has a lot of aptasia. Really. JSYK. Comes with crappy iron stand you're better off replacing. $50 takes the lot -- LR, fish, corals, sand, pumps, lights, etc. Everything as-is; while everything's working now, however, the light really should be replaced with something better, and since its last dip in the tank I can't even slide the bottom off to change the bulbs.

*sigh* I'm not in great shape right now. I think I'm gonna take a nap.

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Saturday, September 18th, 2010
2:48 am - Aside from Radio Shack...
...Does anyone know of any retail places that sell electronic components on Long Island? (Y'know, bits and pieces like capacitors and resistors and such.) Every fucking place I can find on google seems to be a distributor or manufacturer and extremely individual-unfriendly.

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Thursday, September 16th, 2010
1:33 am - Why must authors be crazy?

Wherein Elizabeth Moon, previously-well-regarded sci-fi author, goes off a rail about how Muslims are unfit for citizenship. It's really important that you read her comments, too, 'cause she just keeps digging the fucking hole.

So -- anyone in the know want to make sure that Ms. Moon is never invited to I-CON a a guest?

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Saturday, September 11th, 2010
9:26 pm - Dwarf Fortress
This comic sums it up very well. (Image not mine.)

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Sunday, July 4th, 2010
2:55 am - Further hazards of reefkeeping
You know, when I stopped playing Warhammer 40K, I assumed that I would never again wind up with cyanoacrylate glue in my hair.

I was wrong.

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Friday, June 18th, 2010
1:30 am - Oh, yeah.
I picked up an XBox 360 a few days ago. My Xbox Live gamer tag is 'Tropism'. I know little about the whole social tools aspect of the xbox at the moment, and haven't really played with the non-gaming-related parts of the machine, yet.

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Thursday, June 3rd, 2010
7:14 pm - Also:
If you're bent like me, this is hilarious. Warning: contains a horrible encounter between a person, dogs, and possums. Think Dogs In Elk.

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7:08 pm - To my friends --
Sorry I haven't been around, it's been a weird couple months and I've had no energy. It's getting even more annoying due to family strife and the fact that I'm trying to quit smoking, but I'm actually starting to get my turbines back up to speed. If there's something I've forgotten to do or someone I've forgotten to get back to, drop me a line here.

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