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Archive for October, 2011

Update #1:  The only reason Europeans went along with the Union and the Euro as a currency is because they loathe the US.   They presumed that by some sort of enforced evolution they could synthesize an analogue to the US.

Now they are dropping the pretense, unwilling to profess undying love and dedication through the shattered remains of their smiling teeth.

 

In Italy, the coalition of premier Silvio Berlusconi was given an ultimatum to submit concrete plans within 48 hours on how to reorganize Italy’s complex society, touching on the neuralgic issues of labour rights (Article 18 of the labour code) and how to treat the elderly.

Nobody tells us what to do retorted a furious Mr Berlusconi, who then gave his first hint of revenge by calling the euro a strange hybrid creation that hasn’t convinced anybody.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans_pritchard/8858604/The-two-halves-of-the-eurozone-are-locked-in-a-broken-marriage.html

Update #2:

Politico’s Jonathan Martin: “And also, what actually happened to these women as well, we want to be sensitive to that, too. It includes both verbal and physical gestures.

“These women felt uncomfortable, and they were unhappy about their treatment, and they complained to both colleagues and senior officials. In one case it involved, I think, inviting a woman up to a hotel room of Cain’s on the road … We’re just not going to get into the details of exactly what happened with these women beside what’s in the story.”  – PoliticoWeasel Jonathan Martin

So… “beside what’s in the story” really means “Cain is a sexual predator”?

Trust us on this, the details are only going to slow the process down, or worse yet, shut it down entirely.  This a demon we’re talking about, after all.

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We carved pumpkins and scooped pumpkin guts tonight.  Fun?

Annnnnd HOW!

Allow me to introduce the brand new Dr. Lemur’s 1200W NoondaySun Pumpkin, just in time for Halloween 2011.

This was formerly known as Project X-Ray but that seemed to me to be too much of a cliché.

No, I’m not an expert on carving pumpkins nor a particularly good layman at carving them (as you can plainly see).  What I care about is that this pumpkin is going to shine.

But what's special here? The fact that this pumpkin is loaded from the rear with four 300W bulbs.

Yes.  Four 300W light bulbs.  Why?  Because I couldn’t get five 500W incandescent bulbs in time and no one sells holders for the 500W halogen ones that burn houses down via torchiere lamps.  Probably just as well since I had been thinking of elaborate cooling methods involving heat exchangers and mineral oil.

Only one friend out of the many I have (six, maybe seven? – 🙂 ) suggested that one ought to do something that flies in the face of sound thinking every once in a while, and I’m glad that he saw potential and nurtured it.

At one point I even thought, “Oh, I know!  Forced air cooling!”  But then I thought, “You idiot, it’s going to take 3000 gazillion cu-ft/min to cool it” – or some big number of cubic feet, and I realized that pumpkins just aren’t designed to be cooled by large quantities of forced air (and therefore pressurized above ambient).  It occurred to me then that pumpkins are ephemeral things with the approximate shelf life of an outdoor cat in a busy neighborhood, and I should stop worrying about the MTBF of the average garden-variety pumpkin.  Instead I shall visually observe the pumpkin every 30-45 seconds and be on the lookout for the smell of caramelization gone bad, where we begin to tread into the caramelized-until-it-burnt smell regime.

See the four holes at the bottom of the pic? Those holes allow the bulb sockets to stick into the pumpkin from the back and the bulbs attach once the sockets are in.

The top six holes around the stem and their matching bottom six circumferential holes?  Those are cooling holes cleverly designed to keep the pumpkin from outright bursting into flame and serve to let the smell of roasting pumpkin waft around the neighborhood.

I figure five minutes on and five minutes off should be safe.

I want this pumpkin to light up like the noonday sun.

I have sad news to report, however… due to this weekend just not working the way it should have, the alternate lighting method that I was going to use – a pumpkin with three road flares shoved up it’s hoo-hoo – was doomed to be a no-starter.  Sadly, I had to accept my limitations (read: seriously, the painkillers weren’t doing a damn thing) and be pleased with the tasks that we accomplished, and go home.

I am satisfied, however.  Pictures will be forthcoming.

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Cruel Wife, meanwhile is doing the Turducken approach to pumpkins – a pumpkin being eaten by a bigger pumpkin being eaten by a monster pumpkin.  It’s in it’s rough stages here.  She has broken two Saf-T-Carve pumpkin knives, an X-acto blade, and is currently using the dullest knife in the house with the logic that if she does slip it won’t cut as deep.

No, she is not doing that.  I am making a joke.  She’s got a post-graduate level degree and knows metallurgy things.  She wouldn’t use a dull knife.  I don’t think she would, anyway.  But I’m not asking because I don’t want to be insulting.

Great fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite 'em,And little fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum.

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Here is what happened to Dr. Lemur’s Pumpkin….

900 Watts of power coursing through this gourd.

1200W pumkin was enough for Cruel Wife to carve pumpkins by.

Lest you feel like you can stare into the pumpkin through the vent holes, I don’t advise it.

A 1200W pumpkin glows with an unnatural fire of eldritch origins.

Within a short amount of time the pumpkin began to smoke.  Next year I am cooling with chilled mineral oil.

Cruel Wife’s tier of pumpkins came out snazzy.

Kind of creepy Halloween places to be over at Cracked.com.

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Pre-Weeny

First off is a steampunk haunted house (Evolve Company and Third Rail Projects).  I love that mask down below there.  It has MOVING PARTS.

I need a cigarette.

Photo by Chad Heird - go check out their stuff

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Next will be my equipment pics for the Pre-Weeny preparations.  Operation NoondaySun Pumpkin.

I won’t reveal much other than it involves 1.2kW and a pumpkin.  I had to scale back from the original 2.5kW I had planned.  I was bummed, but there wasn’t a way to safely do it (that I could get the components for in time).

Pictures to come.

 

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I defy you to tell a tale that rings the belltower of truth quite this sharply.

New York firefighters removed about a dozen gasoline cans and six generators from Zuccotti Park, where Occupy Wall Street protesters have camped for almost six weeks, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

[snip]

The equipment, which helped power computers and mobile phones and keep people warm as temperatures dipped near freezing, are safety hazards and illegal, Bloomberg said. Forecasts call for rain and snow in the metropolitan area tomorrow.

“Our first two concerns are First Amendment and safety, and this was safety,” Bloomberg said. “People were courteous and understanding. The story of this morning is that there was no story.”

[snip]

Mark Bray, a spokesman for the group, said the action was “a pretext to make the protest less sustainable and more difficult for us.” Occupiers have about 14 fire extinguishers, he said.

Is this really so hard to believe?

Here we have a person who is so convinced by his own self-righteousness that he feels that the world owes him the favor of being a disruptive ass. Freedom of speech probably does cover congregating in a particular spot for months on end but not at the expense of others. As long as the protesters congregate in one place it is a higher risk area because of the possibility of a crazy extremist from either side, and the police don’t get to just ignore this – they have to be on alert to protect either the pinko limp-wrist misanthropes or the law-abiding citizens that would like their park back.

The underlying message from the protester is this: If we want to protest you should do everything within your power to make it sustainable and non-difficult. You would think this guy breast-fed until he was seven years old.

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I like cracked.com (do read that link, it’s funny) – it does hit and miss sometimes but mostly is a hit. Check out this link – I mean read the actual link, but don’t click on it. I intentionally put the space in after the “http:” just so the browsers wouldn’t ID that as a link and so click-monkeys wouldn’t click on it reflexively and spoil my point.

http: //www.cracked.com/article_18845_6-secret-monopolies-you-didnt-know-run-world.html

I thought it was irony (yes, that word that I hate to see mangled so often) when I saw this:

Internal Server Error – Read

The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

Reference #3.1d631060.1319840609.16b96974

Proof that They are controlling the world and want you to be clueless! I’d like to think that the Lemurati pulled at least a few strings but alas, they never called me up to see if I was interested in participating in their little club.

I wonder what insights our Russian troll would have on this matter.

Note: I am fully aware that by the time you read this that link may be repaired.

But here’s a few links that are good, at least as of 2 minutes ago.

http://www.cracked.com/article_19220_the-6-most-badass-weapons-ever-improvised-in-battle.html

But on the “I’m a lover, not a fighter” side… it gets creepy.

http://www.cracked.com/blog/the-50-creepiest-pieces-romance-advice-ever-published

Where I come from this next one is lumped in with “stalking”.

A check? No one takes checks anymore. And swiping a debit card for kisses is stupid like socks on a chicken.

Then I read the last one, below, which kind of made me shudder because of the weirdness.

And for grins, who can resist reading an XKCD comic?

Creepy Jealousy

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I’m not as prepped for Halloween as I’d like but that’s the way life goes.  I’ll figure it out.

If you are a gun owner you already know about Hornady Zombie Max Ammunition.  Good, good for you.   You just never know and better safe than sorry, I say.

This brings up an important safety announcement.

  1. Get some Zombie Max Ammo
  2. Shoot for the head, always for the head.  Unless other targets of opportunity make for hilarity and you’re in a safe location
  3. Rent Bubba-hotep
  4. Watch it.
  5. Rent and watch:  Ahhh! Zombies!, Night of the LIving Dead, Shaun of the Dead, Resident Evil (it’s like the weird Uncle Carl of zombie movies but it has Milla Jovovich so it gets a pass), 28 Days (no, it’s not a movie about menstruation),  Pet Sematery.  Watch a few episodes of The Rosie Show on Hulu.  (Just seeing if you were awake.)

No, my unpreparedness is because I did not purchase in time the requisite five 500W halogen light bulbs with which to light up my pumpkin, so I will have to use seventeen 150W bulbs, all shoved into one pumpkin.  Yes, I am going to install a 120V fan on the back of the pumpkin to pump air out of it.  Or I will fill the pumpkin with mineral oil to help with the temperature issue.

Pumpkin #2… you’re going to have to wait to see how he gets lit up.  It will be EPIC.  I hope.

Show up around here on Nov. 1 and see if I have the pics posted yet.

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Hey, kids… want to see something even more scary than Evil Baby Clowns?    (see veeshir’s links in the comments section below, please)

Let’s see what has been uttered by German Chancellor Angela Merkel today…

Nobody should take for granted another 50 years of peace and prosperity in Europe. They are not for granted. That’s why I say: If the euro fails, Europe fails,” Merkel said, followed by a long applause from all political groups.

“We have a historical obligation: To protect by all means Europe’s unification process begun by our forefathers after centuries of hatred and blood spill. None of us can foresee what the consequences would be if we were to fail.”

Maybe I’m just paranoid but that didn’t sound as peaceful to my ears as it could.  It sounded sinister, but swaddled in the cloths of compassion.

She was asking for the parliament’s “political” green light on a negotiation mandate for the EU summit, beginning later today in Brussels. The summit is seeking to increase the firepower of the €440 billion-strong European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) to stop the sovereign debt crisis spreading to countries like Italy and ultimately, France.

The Bundestag approved the measure by a large majority, with 503 members in favour, 89 opposing and four abstaining.

Got that?  Huge agreement – that Germany must do whatever must be done.  Whatever must be done.  For the good of all, of course.

While stressing that Germany’s contribution to the EFSF loan guarantees would continue to be capped at €211 billion, she said she could not exclude there may be “risks” for Germany linked to the EFSF increase of firepower. Her own party colleagues had demanded that she clearly excludes German state assets, such as the central bank’s gold reserves, to be put as collateral for the EFSF lending power.

“Nobody can clearly estimate if there will be such risks. What I can say is that we cannot exclude it,” she said, insisting that the current situation is pushing European leaders into “uncharted territories”.

“Not to take these risks would be irresponsible. There is no better and more sensible alternative. Europe and the world are looking at Germany,” the chancellor said.

Looking ahead to the summit, the chancellor repeated her long-standing stance that “there is no silver bullet, no simple solutions. We will still deal with these topics for years from now.”

She repeated her insistence that the EU treaty had to be changed, in the medium term, to be more strict on countries breaching the euro deficit rules.

“Where does it say that any treaty change has to take 10 years or that there should be no more changes after the Lisbon Treaty,” she asked.

More strict.  Again for the good of all, of course.

EU leaders last Sunday agreed to have an evaluation presented to them in December by council chief Herman Van Rompuy about the possibility for a “limited” treaty change.

On the three euro-countries currently propped by EU-IMF loans, Merkel said Ireland was on “the right path”, Portugal showed it could implement the promised reforms, while Greece was still “at the beginning of a long road.”

For the first time, as opposition MPs noted later on in the debate, Merkel had words of praise for the ordinary Greek citizens feeling the brunt of the austerity measures demanded by international lenders. “People in Greece have to stomach a lot of sacrifices. They deserve our respect and also a sustainable growth perspective in the eurozone.”

According to the latest report of the so-called troika, consisting of experts sent from the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, Greece will need even higher debt restructuring and losses for private lenders compared to what EU leaders had agreed upon on 21 July.

“But debt restructuring alone does not solve the problem. Painful structural reforms have to be made, otherwise even after debt restructuring we’re back to where we are today,” Merkel warned.

Ok, you’ve been softened up.  Here’s that final blow you’ve been unconsciously expecting:

That’s why, she said, Greece would have to be “assisted” for quite some time. “It’s not enough that the troika comes and goes every three months. It would be desirable to have a permanent supervision in Greece,” she said, adding that this issue would be brought up at the summit.

Permanent supervision.   That is one of the more arrogant things you’ll ever hear.  That is saying “Greece is so fundamentally screwed up that they will never be capable of self-policing.”  It is tantamount to making the declaration that an autistic or retarded individual will never be self-sufficient, and for the individual autism sufferer or Down’s Syndrome sufferer, this may indeed be true.  But to place that judgment on a culture speaks of a vast gulf in self-superiority.

Yes, it is true that Greece has some serious freakin’ issues and a total lack of even the basic economic common-sense God gave a gopher.  A lot of Europe isn’t far behind and politicians in the US seem convinced of their brilliance, enough so that they believe we can repeat the actions of the European socialism proponents but without the fatal mis-steps.

The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.  – Margaret Thatcher

I can say “I don’t believe that Haiti will ever get it’s shit together”, and I’ll probably be right.  I could also say of the Middle East that they’ll never be peaceful because their cultures are fundamentally screwed up, and I could very well be right.  But to say “I think we should stay in Haiti forever and override their poor judgment whenever they lapse, because we know they most certainly will” is beyond arrogant.  It is proof that the German superiority issue is still alive and well even today, nearly seven decades after WWII.

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Who says romance is dead?

Sent to me by The Butcher of Lansing.

No idea where it came from originally.

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We were at The Dude and Crazy Cat Lady’s Cat ranch for the Xth annual bonfire and Roman Food Orgy.

20111023-134633.jpg

We ate more than was healthy, and then we ate more than was safe or reasonable.

I am STILL waddling.

Here is how my plate went down…

BBQ pork (shredded), bulkogi beef, corn chips, cheese-distillated (fractionated) product, synthetic onion-flavored sour-cream dip, spaghetti, horseradish, seconds on bulkogi beef, two chocolate-chip cookies, two slices of pumpkin bread, two halloween-style sugar cookies, and a bottle of tonic water.

Lots of kids were there and a number of friends, too. The Dude, ID10T-Killer, Black Lab on Crank, and Tenacious Bulldog.

Prometheus brought fire, too, I guess.

After test driving my iPad briefly (only three hours after I used it 10 minutes following the three hour setup), I heard Cruel Wife go “OOOOOOH” and at that point I knew we were going to go buy her one as well.

I can see how we’ll get our money’s worth already. They keep the kids quiet on car trips – using Angry Birds. I can see how Cut the Rope will be a useful tool as well.

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Wings made of money

My boss told me to get an iPad and submit a reimbursement request.

So I am now blogging from the road on the way to get the kids their flu shots.

So far I love it but I miss the mouse. I bought a Bluetooth keyboard and a MIL-SPEC case for it. More later as we are taking the kids to get flu shots.

But now Cruel Wife MUST have one, too.

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