Now Where Did I Put That Tiny Violin?

I won’t dignify the source article with a link, but I just half-read a pretty stupid thing and came here to complain.  Japan executes condemned prisoners by hanging.  Ok fine.  Almost all Japanese support capital punishment.  Ok fine.  The stupid thing is the author of this article goes on and on about how psychologically traumatizing it is, that the condemned are given only a few hours of advance notice before they face the trap door.  The poor, poor, pitiful poor murderers are made to wait for years not knowing when they will face their just desserts.  It can lead to Mental Illness you know, and then those bad-ol’ executioners just carry on and kill the mentally ill death-row loser anyhow.

Excuse me for noticing, but I don’t think most of the people sitting on Japan’s death row will have given the people they MURDERED more than a few hours’ notice, either.  [deleted] you if you think the mental health of a person who deserves a killing is worth consideration while they suck down tax dollars keeping them alive another day.  People mostly* only end up on Death Row because they deserve it.  What happens to them after that, you’ll just have to excuse me for not having too great a concern about what it does to their mental health.

It’s’ PRISON, not a rehab clinic.  When you leave, you are to be DEAD, not a better person.  The world will be better, yes, but you – no.


*In related news, if you really need somewhere to spend your money, the reason I said “mostly” is because the Innocence Project is still a worthy cause.

Crisis Averted, Nothing to See Here

DW called while I was at work and said superhomecomputer was locked up.  This happens from time to time.  When I am there, I can Look Busy working on it, and it always comes up working again . . . over the phone it’s about as much fun as having my nose hairs plucked out.  After a few rounds of back-and-forth I got clarification that it was hanging at boot, showing onscreen the motherboard logo at POST and doing exactly nothing else.  I had her look (no touching!) inside and there was a code which displays when the computer is loading up the hard drives.

oh. kay.  I gave her extremely specific instructions not to do anything to the computer.  Use a laptop instead.  That reminded her there are other computers to use, and she bopped over to one of those to do whatever it was she wanted to do.

So.  superhomecomputer hard down, a week after installing fresh (fully tested) hard drives, with a code related to the hard drives.  Great.  When I got home, I pulled the backup hard drive* as a hopeful least-worst case failure.  No boot.  Pull the main drive, hoping it was just a single boot drive failure.  No boot.  This leaves me with the motherboard or something plugged into the motherboard having gone Tango Uniform.  That would be my year-old out-of-warranty $500 motherboard.  Great.  Well, what’s plugged into the motherboard then?  Video card, optical drive, printer . . . and uh . . .  the USB memory card reader that went in last week also.  Unplug that, and thankyouJesus it boots!

A few hundred pictures and a weeks worth of financial books-balancing were all that was on the line, because fortunately I had done a bare-metal restore from a fresh image a week ago, when I upgraded the drives.  If I didn’t have a recent backup it would all have been lost, right up to the date of my last backup.

Back up your data, people.  And verify the backups!


*you do have a backup hard drive in your computer and at least one out of the computer, right?  Set automatic local backups, and do periodic full backups to an external drive, in case you lose one or both internal hard drives at once.  It happens.  In this case, I had an image made by Macrium Reflect, chosen in no small part because you can verify the files were properly written when the image was made.  This is better than restoring from your image, to discover at the worst possible time that your wedding photos are corrupted and your quickbooks file is just zeros.

Play With Fire, Run In Traffic

Children Seen Playing with Fire, Film at 11:00!
Today we had fire class.  The instructional materials at our house went up in flames!

First, there was a bad setting on the computer printer.  This caused many sheets of ‘scrap’ paper, which was followed by many paper airplanes being thrown at each other.  Yes, pointy ones.  Yes, at each other.  Because boys.  Then it was time for shoes and jackets* and school was in.

Class started with a Google Image Search results page showing houses engulfed in flames, followed by a fire safety lecture.  A 10lbs fire bottle and a lit kerosene lamp, plus a bunch of not-great-fliers paper airplanes went outside.  #2 got a brief P.A.S.S. instruction and then we were off to the races.  I noted that it was a damp day, which was perfect for flaming paper airplane battles – then it started pouring, which is less perfect.  As it turned out, there couldn’t have been any battles anyway because the paper was fire-retardant (!) and the silly things just kept going out.  Fortunately, there is a roof over part of the patio, or this would have been a shorter class than I wanted.

With a heavy emphasis on taking turns, we had practice stamping out small fires that I set for them.  Because children need to do dangerous things, they took turns holding lit paper until they were uncomfortable with the zOMGFIREINMYHAND and tossed it out onto the wet concrete and stomped it out.  A few, we just let burn to see what would happen.  We experimented with different materials.

  • A cardboard sheet that used to have oily pizza on it burns great, and demonstrates that smoke is what burns when the fire catches in the smoke pouring out the unburned end of the cardboard.
  • Dryer filter lint smoulders a little cloud and demonstrates that smoke burns the eyes, and that a ‘dead’ fire can be brought back to life by blowing into it.
  • Small piles of burning stuff demonstrated that even wet stuff that could not be lit from the lamp would eventually dry and burn.

Then there was talk of going in, because the fire was finally dead.  I blew in it until it lit again, which shocked them, and we had a briefing on “sprinkle, stir, sprinkle, stir” to be sure a fire is out before leaving it.  Then, ’cause it was fun watching the ashes run down the patio, a bit of extra “sprinkle”.

Inside, there was a brainstorming session about what to do in various home-on-fire scenarios.  I explained some of the dangers of fire and how fast they can flash over.  They had already learned from somewhere to crawl under smoke.  They already knew just a tiny fire could hurt you and burn the house.  We discussed and demonstrated what to do in several ‘what if’ situations.  Actual shouting was involved.  I showed the little ones how the window lock in their room works.  Then we sat down and I gave them each an opportunity to say what they had learned, and there was more discussion.

Then video games.


*I even put on a hat to keep the smell of smoke off my hair, because DW gets a headache from some smokey smells and I’m a considerate S.O.B.

The Very Best Of Roberta Flack

Feel free to get me this album.  I listened to it on YouTube earlier today while cleaning the house* and it’s good stuff.  Funny thing about a CD is, you can take them where the internet can’t reach, in whatever format floats your boat . . . so I wouldn’t punch you in the nose if you handed me one of these.

*yes, sometimes, I do womens’ work – and make the boys do it as well.  In this case, they wymyn were out of the house and a clean kitchen and living room plus a couple of loads of laundry done were a surprise waiting to greet my Darling Wife when she got home.  And, in case you didn’t know, shaking your booty to music while cleaning is an excellent way to increase your willingness to keep cleaning . . . because cleaning the house rather sucks as a thing to do on a fine day, but dancing doesn’t.

“A Disorderly Breakup”

When Mish speculates on the increasingly-likely breakup of the European Union, he often says the continued failure to address the (obvious but politically inexpedient to mention) problems plaguing the union will cause a “disorderly breakup.”  That’s a nice set of words to say, but perhaps it doesn’t convey the proper meaning of ‘disorderly’.

Disorderly breakup can mean that a bunch of bondholders lose all their money and an economy is thrown into depression for a few years or decades.  It can also mean you end up with a local natural hole in the ground referred to as Dead Man’s Hole and a battle between people who just wanted to leave, and people who thought their side was just – called the Nueces Massacre.

It is arguable that the USA is on the same path to economic ruin as the EU.  When people start talking about a “disorderly breakup” of the USA, remember:  Don’t kid yourself and say “it can’t happen here.”

It already did.

Rumblings from The Med

Italy is trembling a bit.  The people are fed up with it all.  What All is, varies from person to person and group to group.  There were some hopeful signs that the Five Star movement could get some peaceful reforms going, but that hasn’t really panned out after the elections, yet.  They have like 1/3 of the country unemployed and everybody is used to the government ‘helping’ them.

Well the government is broke and the economy sucks.  And the people are rioting in the streets.

No, literally.  And the Police are said to have removed their helmets during recent protests in solidarity with the people.   You know where this leads?  No, you don’t, and nobody else does, either.  It is hoped that the citizens organize behind Five Star or some other anti-Euro party and get the hell out of the union.  They could also carry on in economic misery worse than the Great Depression for a decade or two.  They could also degenerate into general protest to the tune of Somalia and be literally without a government for a few decades, and descend into Mad Max style anarchy.  Come to think of it, Italy as a united nation is a relatively recent innovation.

City-states would quite possibly be much better for the Average Italian than the EU.



Just now (bedtime-plus-two hours) I went to investigate a noise in the boys’ room, and I took my 3D Maglite with me.  Without thinking about it, I used my left index finger to turn off the flashlight when I was through using it . . . and not only did the finger have enough strength to push the button, but it also only hurt a little!

– unlike when anything cold touches the scar, or god-forbid something scratches along the finger.  Neither of those however is like ongoing physical therapy, which hurts rather a lot.

Go to Both These Pages

The first is a visually-stunning news story. In a day when most of the graphics in a story are a single medium shot at the top and maybe a small one inline, the New York Times’ Snow Fall: The Avalance at Tunnel Creek by John Branch should be given an award (if it hasn’t, else more awards). This sort of thing can easily be overdone, for sure. Probably, it was expensive to produce.  But if you have a REALLY big story, this is a REALLY big way of telling it. Trust your instinct to scroll down.

Lookit here, y’all!

Pain In The Rear

. . . of my computer, that is. The Ethernet port on the Superhomeputer up and died over the weekend, or somehow otherwise went stupid. Since then I found out the hard way that 64-bit Windows 7 is *much* more selective than previous Windows versions about the drivers it will let you install. Along the way I also found two USB WiFi dongles I had laying around don’t have the right sort of drivers, that new-and-compatible USB WiFi adapters can be had for $7 shipped on eBay, that my computer ONLY has PCI Express expansion slots, and that the PCI Ethernet cards I had laying around are therefore useless in this box.*

So I had to spend TWO nights troubleshooting but eventually I ended up with the right jumper settings and PCIe Network cards, and I was happy to see Windows automagically install the proper software and connect to my network. Thank you Jesus.


*I was going for run-on sentence of the day. Nailed it!

In The Mist

 photo Gorillas_zps47247d69.jpg
D7000 ISO 250 1/160 f/5 50mm 1.8D

This was much more impressive, and creepy, in person.  “Across the intersection” visibility is no way to drive around.  At least the picture came out. Then the sun as well.

It’s nice to live in these days. Not only do we have magic cameras to take pictures in the dark, we know that fog and mist are just extra-low bits of cloud and such, vs. a hideout for demons and wolves waiting to gobble us up!