Random Thought: If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning.--Catherine Aird >
As I learned the hard way back in high school, if you’re driving a ’70’s era Subaru with a manual transmission, it may behoove you to own a pair of long needle-nosed pliers with a bend in the jaws. A lack of this tool turns replacing a clutch cable from a 30-minute task to a 2-hour task. That’s 2 hours of lying on the back of your neck upside-down in the driver’s footwell trying to remove and replace a cotter pin by reaching a pair of straight needle-nose pliers through a hole in the actual clutch arm… yeah, buy the pliers.
If you own a 2009, replacing the #1 spark plug requires a wobbly (“universal joint”) socket extension due to the placement of a pressure sensor solenoid mounting bracket. At least, I think that’s what the device is, I can’t find a specific picture. It’s a block with a half-dozen or so small-diameter pipes sprouting out of it, and it looks like way to big of a pain to remove. A wobbly adapter is useful and only costs $3, so it’s worth the purchase.
The irritating part is that there’s nothing in the owner’s manual about spark plugs save for one small section that says something along the lines of “this should be done at intervals, but it’s difficult, so take it to your dealer”. How about you include pertinent information for those of us who actually have the same skills and don’t feel like buying the dealer repair manual?
Just a couple quick takes on the movies we went to see this weekend. A hugely rare event for us, going to two movies in a weekend is something we never do.
Star Trek: Beyond
This one was on our list from the beginning, and worked it’s way higher after a number of reviews remarked favorably on the lack of stupid visual effects that do nothing for the story. (Take a note here, J.J., we really don’t like the lens flares.)
Overall, a good flick and worth the price of admission. There’s one bit that stood out for both the Wife and I, however as ridiculous in the extreme: at one point, Kirk asks Uhura to open the all-ship address system. A fairly routine request on a starship, you would think – probably happens about twice a day. You’d expect this to be a couple quick taps on one of the square yards’ worth of touch-enabled consoles, right? Nope. Uhura has to reach up over her head with both hands to flip open the safety latches, and then flip a pair of toggle switches to turn on the mic.
Thankfully, this is the most-egregious bit of bad blocking in the movie. They did manage to leave a bit of an open plotline by not definitively nailing down the fate of the bad guy’s right-hand man. (This bothered the Wife more than me, but it’s there.)
This one was on and off our list a number of times due to ‘meh’ reviews and the general handling of the DC universe by Warner Bros. (We still have not seen, nor desire to see, ‘Batman v. Superman’). The final deciding factor for us was Kevin Smith’s review of the movie. Die-hard comic book guy liked it? OK, we’ll watch.
It ended up being better than I thought it would be. I was disappointed with a couple things. It stood out badly that Rick Flag had the scruffy beard and they had him portray the character with a kind of Southern redneck personality that just didn’t work for me. (At one point I swear the guy had a pinch of chewing tobacco in his mouth…) I think Adam Baldwin did a better job in the Justice League animated series.
To the guy suing Warner Bros. for not including enough Joker? I side with the editors on this one, they cut whatever they cut for good reasons. This was not a Joker movie, this was something else. Joker will have more of a presence in that upcoming Harley movie that’s hot in the rumor mill now.
So, if you’re of a mind, either movie will sit well with you I believe. Enjoy!
For all of those who say they have no words, I have a few.
People have died because their country has failed them. The signs were there, but they went unheeded. Many people in the shooter’s life (I won’t name him here, he gave up his name to commit atrocity, he is merely the shooter…) many people have said he was angry, he would go off on angry, homophobic rants and there were mentions of his violence. A co-worker went to their boss and said ‘hey, this guy’s got problems’, but his words were unheard. Family saw his anger and heard his words, yet did not think they were enough reason to force him to seek help or counsel.
Congress has failed to see wisdom, lobbyists have failed to see anything but their paychecks, and people have died. Friends, neighbors, families have all died because this shithead shooter and others like him were legally able to buy assault weapons. Not hunting rifles, not target guns, assault weapons.
Me? I like guns. Guns are good for hunting, for target practice, for just shootin’ tin cans. They’re good for self- and home-defense. I believe people that enjoy these activities should be able to pursue them.
But I also believe that there is no righteous purpose for owning something like an AR-15, or any of the similar weapons out there. These are not hunting rifles, they are not target rifles, they are only good for one thing, and that is terrorizing the humans around you. (Not “your fellow humans”, because if you’re terrorizing them, you have nothing in common with them. You’re just a fucking asshole at that point, not a human.)
Look, I’ve read my history and I understand what was going on when the boys with the pens sat down and argued around a table for weeks penning the Constitution and the Amendments. At that time, and for the years following, the Second Amendment made a great deal of sense – take the arms from the people, and they become subjects, just like they were under the English kings. Those days are looooooong past though. An armed militia to keep the government yoke in check doesn’t work anymore, because the United States military has more guns than whatever God you believe in, our police have militarized themselves, and there’s no fucking way the populace is ever going to mount a successful armed rebellion against the government.
Not. A. Chance. In. Hell. The South ain’t gonna rise again, dickhead, just give it up.
So. What do we do now?
We get off our asses, pull our thumbs out, and make some changes.
You, and you, and yes, you over there in the corner – go outside, knock on your neighbor’s doors, and talk to them. Get to know them. Try to understand them. I know meeting people is scary, but these are the people that will be closest to you when the zombie apocalypse finally lands, so get to know your team. Find out if they need help, or counsel, or just a damn shoulder to cry on over a beer.
Congress: it’s time to stop taking money from the gun lobbyists that are allowing the people around you to arm themselves with assault weapons and make a stand for sanity. Ban assault weapons. Require sane background checks for all gun purchases. All of them. Gifts too – nobody gets a gun without a check. Come up with something similarly sane for the purchase of ammunition, because really, you don’t need 4000 rounds of 9mm. For those that want to carry a sidearm in public, first you have to pass a psych evaluation, and there needs to be a yearly checkup. This includes police, FBI, DHS, and all the other T.L.A.’s out there.
Manufacturers: First, stop selling assault weapons to civilians. Then build a safe gun. This is the 21st fucking century here, why isn’t there a smart gun yet? The idea is out there, the tech was put forth at one time, and some paranoid assholes shot it down. Trot that sucker on back out here, and let’s make it work. Embeddable RFID chips are easy and safe to use, and can’t be taken away from someone easily or lost. Use this as the basis for your system, and then make it rock-solid. Put a camera in every gun as well so you take a picture every time you fire – instant evidence to support your case for self-defense or defense of others.
Most importantly, and this applies to everyone on this rock: anything or anyone that tries to convince you that killing people that aren’t trying to kill you first is wrong. And I mean actively, fundamentally, 100%, no-two-ways-about-it fucking WRONG.
Stop and think.
So you spend weeks and weeks trying to be productive, constantly worrying about how much work you’re producing and complaining about how you don’t get any time for hobbies.
Finally, you get a break in the schedule and plan a vacation, thinking about how many hobby projects you’ll be able to work on.
Then the vacation time rolls around, and you spend hardly any time at all on the things you had planned, and instead devote most of that time to basically fucking off.
In 6 days away from work, I have spent about 3 hours on hobby projects. Am I a slacking slacker, or was the time really better spent just goofing on the web and playing video games?
Hard to tell.
Since we’ve moved to the smaller apartment, Trouble has been missing having a racetrack, and Wasabi, well, he’s just got energy to burn, so we took a recent windfall and splurged on a One Fast Cat exercise wheel. They get good reviews, and people say their cats are happier, so it was worth looking into.
Zoe hasn’t been gone long, but there has definitely been a cat-sized hole in our lives ever since, and Trouble has been especially mopey, since he’s here all alone for most of the day while we’re out at work. I also happened to take this week off from work and would have the rare opportunity to just hang around the house with a new cat and get in some bonding time. So, we took a trip down to Sherwood and met with CAT – the Cat Adoption Team. (@CATAdopt for you twitterers.)
We met with a happy and helpful lot who kindly introduced us to a grey, almost-spotted medium-hair kitten. The family he fostered with checked off all the boxes on his personality form that we were looking for, and well, he’s just so darn cute we couldn’t resist.
Allow me to introduce you to Wasabi Six-toes:
Yes, he’s polydactyl!
He’s also everywhere! I swear the little guy has a nuclear battery pack, he runs at about mach 4.
Trouble seems to be warming up to the idea of having a rambunctious fluffball running around the house – he spends about 15 minutes every evening trying to pin Wasabi down to groom him. Wasabi thinks it’s a wrestling match and breaks away to scramble up onto the chair and then jump on Trouble in full Death-from-Above style.
(I almost named him Robin after our lost Mr. Williams, voice of “the un-containable Genie… of… The Laaaaaaamp”.)
I should probably go try to distract him with something before he knocks over a bookshelf…
Shortly after The EMC and I moved into our first solo apartment after getting hitched, she surprised me with the gift of a little black ball of fluff – an American Longhair cat that we christened Zoe The Monster (because she was fluffy like Sesame Street ‘monsters’ – it made sense to me…). I don’t have any digitized pictures of her from before 2009 – primarily because most of her pictures look like a pair of eyes floating in a puddle of darkness, as seen here in the Xmas 2009 album:
This picture is about the best one I have as far as getting any visual detail is concerned: Read the rest of this entry »
I did the full write-up over on my leatherworking site – here’s the link:
And a teaser:
So, we’re all moved in to the new apartment now, and I’d forgotten so much about apartment living in the years spent at the last place.
We’re on the first floor, so I have upstairs neighbors – and of course they have a small child. A stompy child. (Not that the parents are any better, mind you…) Thankfully, they’ve figured out they should keep it down after 9pm, so it’s just during the day that it drives me nuts.
My assigned parking place is of course next to an un-assigned one, and the most-frequent denizen of that space had a habit of parking way too far to one side of the space making it hard for me to get in the car. Last time he did that he out-and-out parked over the line and I had to leave a polite note on his windshield. He’s been good since then, but he’s still pissing me off because the car is a rust-bucket with expired Washington tags and I want it towed.
Bitch! Whine!! Moan!!! getoffmylawn!!1!
Okay, rant over.
On the good news side of things, I talked to the maintenance guy and there’s no rule against some light wood working on the patio, so I don’t have to drag my desk all over town to find someplace to do rebuild it as a leatherworking bench.
I bought all the materials last weekend and had them cut to size, so all I have to do now is glue and screw it together. Mounting the monitor on the spring rod will be a bit more challenging since I have to make some custom brackets, but nothing I can’t manage.
I think the hardest part is going to be dragging the needed tools out of storage.