29 June 2015

Technology

Something that drove me a little nuts way back when I was playing Twilight: 2000 using the actual GDW rules was the scale of the maps.

I went to some effort to obtain genuine USGI Defense Mapping Agency maps of Poland in and around the areas depicted in the published adventures.

Those maps were lost... somewhere.

Because GURPS deals with real units and has stats for real guns, it's super easy to convert the setting from one set of rules to the other.

But I was back to the GDW maps.

The players never seemed to mind, happily.

I was bopping along today and remembered Google Maps...

Street View of Kalisz!

I can't say I am the first to notice how Google simplifies the mapping.

Anglave ran a Korean War with Magic campaign and he used Google Earth to good effect.  You could actually see why Task Force: Smith made their stand at that location.  It's the best ground for miles and with Google Earth you can get down to eye level and see the contours!

It figures that such advances happen as I no longer have much opportunity to game.

Dang it all!

360° Experience | Fighter Jet | Patrouille Suisse

Trip Trivia

Starting and ending in my driveway, I travelled 2,464.4 miles total.


For some stupid reason the trip odometers display a max of 2,000.


This counts the near hours in rush-hour Atlanta traffic going less than 5 mph because the rubber-neckers were gawking at a wreck that happened in the lanes going the opposite direction, about 400 miles of local driving in and around Indy, twenty minutes creeping just north of Chattanooga because someone had apparently jumped off an overpass and the entirety of Atlanta on the way home at about 30 mph because of the torrential rains.


Not bad for a 436 hp hatch-back!  When it was pure interstate mileage it was about 30.2 mpg.  All the stops and goes that lowered the average speed also lowered the average mileage.

Doubt

The original thought was sparked by reading about the recent Supreme Court decisions.

Notice that there was never any doubt about how the liberal judges were going to rule?  Notice there was lots of doubt, and articles written about that doubt concerning the position of the "conservative" judges?

Now expand that.

There are several things that Republican presidents and congressgrifters have done that displease me and I make note of them and try to remember at voting time.

I was recounting several of them recently for my host in Indiana.

It just occurred to me that I've never heard her or another liberally bent friend ever express a similar list for Democrats.

They sure are critical of Republicans, but nary a word about the other party's faults.

It's what we call a "tell".

28 June 2015

STEM

After my dalliance with psych, I had yet to tap into my Voc Rehab offer from the VA.

I accepted and got them to pay for a degree in Mechanical Drafting and Machine Design, an associates program at the local community college.

I love the work and I liked working with engineers.

I also heard some flabbergasting stories about how they came to get their degrees.

Something that came up over and over is something I experienced myself.  Before I decided on going into psych, I was planning on going Aerospace Engineering.

Why the change of major, especially when I was spending my own hard earned on tuition and living with my mom to save money?

Cut classes.

Simply put they are classes intended to cull the herd of prospects advancing farther into the programs.

The first such gateway class at Iowa State University was Engineering Calculus.  It's the same math that math majors were learning across the hall, but graded very differently.  On a curve so steep that calling it logarithmic is an insult to exponential (or vice versa).

It was also taught by a TA whose first language was not English, nor was his second or third.  It's more an act of defiance and perseverance to keep taking the class until you blow the curve and pass than an actual accomplishment in learning.  Couple this with the likelihood of never actually manually doing these calculations again and you start to think you're wasting your time.

I took it twice before I passed on the third try.  And it burned me out harder than I've ever burned out before.

I took a semester off to consider my options.  Then two.  Then the rest of they year.  I got a shitty job delivering pizzas.  Got a girlfriend.

Then I changed my major.

With my Business Admin degree now under my belt I see something striking about the cut class.  The university gets paid whether you pass or fail.  The bar for failure is higher for intendants going on one track than it is for any other.  They get paid and also don't have to expand the engineering college to accommodate more students!  The people who fail out or give up don't impact the number of successful engineering graduates.  They have no incentive to make it make more sense!

So next time you wonder why there's less interest in STEM, the gate keepers have set up a system where the smartest people can see it's a scam and say fuck it.  And people like me too.

Government?

We don't have a Constitutional Republic any more.

It's become like a giant home owners association.

Far more concerned that people are doing what they want without asking than living like YOU would like them to, and forcing them.

$18 Trillion National Debt?

Relax, I got this!


I'll be wanting to see some change too!

Vacation National Corvette Museum

The NCM is Mecca for Corvette owners.

Not much changes from year to year, but the differences are often worth catching.

They had the concept cars that led (or not) to various generations of Corvette on display.


This is not a 2011 Grand Sport!


The big news since the last time I was up there was the sink hole.

This is the '62 that'd fallen in...

That'll Zaino right out!
The dome is almost fixed.



They have special parking reserved for Corvettes by the main entrance.  I had a sad when I was the only Vette parked there.  When I was leaving I'd been joined by a C7 and a C5 towing a trailer.  I didn't take a picture of that because a trailer hitch on a 'Vette is abomination.


Vacation Downtown Indy

Over three days I visited several places around Indy.

Everything is below the cut just to keep this manageable.


The Corps Is Mother, The Corps Is Father!



Apparently, Indiana is the birthplace of The Psi Corps.

They're not even hiding it!

Vacation IMS

Also hit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Forgot my Canon, so ended up using the Motox2g.

More Bugatti!




There are people who say there's no such thing as an SS Corvette.  There is one.

Maserati



To me, this is a fascinating study in packaging.


Because Harvey is a Harley Chick.


1903 Premier Special.


All about its engine.  That thing has a hemi in it!

Something is missing though...

Can't put my finger on it...
Oh yeah!  Where's the crankcase!?!?

Since everyone used a total loss oiling system anyways, having no crankcase isn't as bad as it seems.  If you click the link above you'll learn that it's missing the oiling lines.  The mechanic/co-driver worked a hand pump to move oil from a large tank to the moving surfaces.  Lots of steam ship engines were lubricated in a similar fashion, actually.


Chain driven rear axle.  You can kind of see the oil-pump in the mechanic's seat almost hidden behind the steering shaft.  You can imagine how covered in oil everyone must have been after the race, and the time period kind of dictates it's castor oil too.  Yummy!

Pics of the track from outside the museum.


Mini-Cooper on the track, The Precious in the parking lot.


Exiting the track.

Vacation IMA

I wandered up to Indy to see what there was to see.

Went to the Indianapolis Museum of Art to see the Bugatti.

1935 Bugatti Aerolithe

The really impressive part of this recreation of the car is they welded strips of the magnesium alloy together to make the complex curves because the original art of the forming was lost.

The no-flash photography rule did challenge my meager photographic skills.

More under the break!

26 June 2015

Why My Conservative Panties Are In A Bunch

The Supreme Court made another wrong decision.

It's happened before (Dredd Scott, Slaughterhouse), it will happen again.

With ACA the main reason I am upset that the cheater's technicality didn't kill it with the Supremes is two-fold.

First, they really had to do some circumlocutions to arrive at the decision.  If the law doesn't mean what it says, how the hell am I to abide by it as a citizen?  If the laws meaning can only be determined after a lengthy battle through the courts, that is not "rule of law" that's "rule of man" and it's unamerican.

Second.  They're clearly telling us citizens to get off our asses and elect a congress with a mandate for repeal and a president who'll sign it.

I am coming to believe that even if we do elect such, they will ignore the mandates of the people and continue on as before.  They don't even have the balls to stand up to a star chamber trade deal.

The staggering weight of "we're not voting ourselves out of this" suddenly crushes all of the hope and optimism I've ever had.

Fuck it, we're doomed.

I pray death will find me before the endgame really hits and hard.

Way back when I learned of how our government is supposed to work I thought that Americans would never become peasants and that we'd never be subjects to a ruling aristocracy.

I was wrong.

23 June 2015

Docking, Berthing And Mooring

Erin presented me with an idea for detailing the costs for berthing, docking and mooring based on ship's size.

The little black books were over simplistic, a ship is a ship, a berth is a berth.

GURPS: Traveller: Far Trader p. 66 has everything she was talking about, in detail.

SJ Games has already dropped the mic and walked off the stage.

C'est la vie.

22 June 2015

Hanging Out In Indy

I'm here for a few days and missed Tam by mere hours

Sad faces...

Did the Indy Museum of Art.  Saw the Bugati.  Saw lots more, fun place!

Today was the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  Must be white trash tourist day.

Hanging and having a couple of brews at Sun King Brewing.

Just paying so that people would celebrate my demise

��!

18 June 2015

Again

I would like to point out, again, that it was not me who murdered anyone.

Because it was not me, again, nothing I owned was used to murder anyone.

Yet, for some reason I am being blamed, again, as if I had murdered someone.

Because am being blamed, an attempt will be made to punish me; again.

I Had It

Then I lost it.

The strands of a really good post just flew apart.

16 June 2015

Religious Idiots

If football (or any other sport really) were legally made a religion, would the fans behave any differently?

I am fed up with paying for the mechanism that's hurting so many children beginning in middle school.

I am fed up with the best paid public employee in the state being a college football coach.

I am fed up with the constant proselytizing of the faithful and their needing to know if I attended or watched services the game.

I am fed up with the knee-jerk defense of their Faith sport when you complain about the money it siphons away from higher education.

I am fed up with the malfeasance and fraud associated with college sports to give the appearance that they are not a drain on scarce university resources.

I am doubly fed up with the Faithful fans who believe the shell-game accounting methods that hide the parasitical nature of their religion sport.  Accounting methodology that'd get your ass sent to jail if you used them outside of government.

When I make the mistake of comparing their religion fan interest with more conventional religions I nearly always get the "well we all pay for churches because they're tax exempt."  Really?  I'm pretty sure that fallacy had a name in one of my econ books.

Because when you try to nail the jello of that argument to the wall you're going to find that the "tax supported" services are nearly all public utilities.  As if the church didn't pay directly for utilities used, just like you do.  It's an especially weak argument where I live because only the sewers are government owned.

And at any rate I can opt out of paying for a conventionally recognized religion, I simply don't put anything in the collection plate when I don't attend services.  Show me where I can opt out of paying for the football team of my local middle and high schools.

15 June 2015

Resonance

It might just be me, but I don't think it is...

One line from Zero Dark Thirty that scares the shit out of me.

"When you lie to me, I hurt you."

It was a real, "where are we heading here?" moment for me in that film.

Three Hours North Of Indy

I think I can do that.

Wednesday the 24th works best.

14 June 2015

Whom I Have Wronged

Someone I used to know searched their name and found themselves looking at their name on my blog.

They asked if I could change that.

Done!

The only thing I asked was if they had a preference for a name to replace theirs in the post.

It's good they had a nom de Thagsblog because I'm not very imaginative about such things when I'm not angry at the person.

That's why the Shitheel family has very creative names and others don't...

Their contact also gave me a chance to say I was sorry about how the friendship ended.

It started by my trying to make a joke in the comments to their blog.

It ended with comments from many people at several places going off on each other and a "please never contact me again," issued to me.

While I was upset and sad, I didn't try to contact them until they sent this request.  Nor will I make further attempts should they not wish me to.

I did not comport myself to the highest values of the regiment that day.  I wanted, more than to be right, more than to be their friend; I wanted to win the argument that fell from my lame joke.

Gods that was stupid.

My first (sadly not last) lesson that in a pissing contest, everyone gets covered in piss so it doesn't really matter who wins.  Also that I should shut my stupid pie hole before I stuff my size-tens in there.  Especially since there were likely more civil and intelligent ways to express my opinion once the fight had begun.

Not The Second

The NOAA assigned the A storm name (Ana) to a storm that formed before June 1st.

If the blob in The Gulf of Mexico forms up and is named Bill, while it will be the second named storm of the year, it will be the first named storm of the season.

That's because Hurricane Season runs from June 1st to November 30th.

I sometimes think they're overeager to assign names to get the global-warmering-increased-hurricane-activity-count higher.

Bad, Good and Great

The bad and good are detailed here.

The great is the pin they sent arrived yesterday.


As you can see the one that came with the gun is a bit short.

It was not broken off, as a couple of people have speculated.



Which pin is the short one?  Why ever the bad pin was too short, it was turned to this length.  My guess is that it was the end of the rod stock.


Ready to go shooting, assuming he ever gets something he can lock to keep it in.  Not that I mind him paying my extortionate storage fees....  BWAH HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

A Pattern

Remember back in November when I mentioned that The Lovely Harvey's car had been broken into and her carry piece stolen?

Turns out that several of her co-workers have experienced the same sort of theft from their cars at their homes.

We've updated the po-po on it, not sure what happens when the crimes are tied by everyone working in the same place but living across three different counties.  Prolly some sort of interdepartmental deal is already in place since our area is very intertwined.

Narrow View

Today while reading blogs on my laptop...

Crispy is a refurbed Lenovo T420s with a 1600 x 900 display.

My phone is a Motorola Moto X 2nd gen with a 1920 x 1080 display.

I held my phone up to what I was reading and noticed that the 5.2" display on my phone readily covered the portion of the blog I was actually reading on a 14" display...

Most of the left and right margins are wasted space on many blogs and chock full of ads on most commercial sites.

I sometimes wonder if the content is still living in SVGA with 800 x 600.

13 June 2015

Ten Years Man!

Ten years ago, today, I made my first post to Livejournal.

That's a long time to babble incoherently.

Plenty of time to pick up readers and alienate them too!

I hope I've done more of the former than the latter.

I've moved a lot of my posts from my Livejournal account to this one, go check the archives and marvel at how the writing gets worse over time and less articulate.

Too Cynical

Rob Bishop (R-UT) has introduced HR 2710.

It's about removing ATF's discretion over the meaning of sporting purposes, which has apparently never been defined by law.

I think I have officially been paying attention to politics too long.

All I can think is, "this is just to score some NRA A-rating cred for 2016 because it's sure to be vetoed, assuming the Senate passes it too."

Representative Bishop could be a staunch, constant, and unwavering supporter of gun rights for all I know, I've never looked into him.  But there's doubtlessly going to be support for this bill that's going to be given because they expect it to die in committee in the Senate or be vetoed.

12 June 2015

Not Black

The plastic on my M&P isn't actually black.

It's very dark gray.

Weird.

WTF Fox

It is not unusual for television shows, even sitcoms to have larger story arcs.

What that means is some episodes have a proper sequence.

I've noticed a trend at Fox and their parade of one-season shows.

Firefly is probably most famous.

Enlisted was struck the same way.

Here's the corrected viewing order.



Episode # 1 Pilot (aired as episode 1)

Episode # 2 Rear D Day (aired as episode 5)

Episode # 3 Pete’s Airstream (aired as episode 3)

Episode # 4 Parade Duty (aired as episode 7)

Episode # 5 Brother and Sister (aired as episode 6)

Episode # 6 Randy Get Your Gun (aired as episode 2)

Episode # 7 Vets (aired as episode 8)

Episode # 8 Prank War (aired as episode 10)

Episode # 9 Homecoming (aired as episode 4)

Episode # 10 Paint Cart 5000 vs. The Mondo Spider (aired as episode 9)

Episode # 11 The General Inspection (aired as episode 11)

Episode # 12 Army Men (aired as episode 12)

Episode # 13 Alive Day (aired as episode 13)

If you bought the series on iTunes, as I did, then right click on the episode, select "Gef Info", then change the "episode number" in the video tab from the aired order to the corrected order.

Suddenly several things make more sense, and really improve the flow of the show.

If you haven't seen Enlisted yet, make a point of it.  It's funny.

Also, it's not a documentary or a drama...  Try to keep that in mind when, "but the Army doesn't/isn't" bubbles up.

APA Style

A long time ago.  At a university far, far away...

I was a psychology major.

I did well in my classes, and was within three classes of graduating with a bachelor's of science in psych.

Three classes of English that I never completed because I took my internship and discovered that I would have loathed the career of being a psychologist despite how interesting the classes were.

So I dropped out.

One scar that remains from those three years is the American Psychological Association Citation and Format Style.

Because psych is all about publish or perish and brutally defending even the smallest original thought from poaching by others.

I physically twitch when I see something I wrote quoted without being cited.

The funny thing is I don't actually care for getting credit.  If I give you a great line, it's yours to use with or without telling anyone where it came from.

Yet I still twitch when someone actually uses the line.

Indoctrination is worthy of further study.  If I'd finished that degree I could get a grant, I'll bet!

I keep thinking I should see if my credits from the now-defunct Corinthians College I got my BBA from transfer to ISU to get those final English credits and get a sheepskin from them as well.  Prolly the wrong accreditation.

11 June 2015

Blunt Apology

Lemme try to rephrase the "apology" that keeps getting made when people get caught offending someone.

What we ask for:
"I am sorry that I used an inappropriate word to describe my opponent and I hope that they will forgive me for using it."
and
"This behavior of an employee is unacceptable and disciplinary action for this behavior will be taken."
What we get:
"I'm sorry the shit heel is pissed off I called them a nigger."
and
"My employee is only a racist on their own time, not on company time."

Even when you unintentionally offend someone, you still have to apologize!

Moar Leverage

Marv's KSG's magazine selector was floppy.

It'd fall into the center, magazine-cut-off, position with depressing regularity.

Hoping to fix the problem with parts, he ordered an extended magazine selector.

Installation was super simple, just remove the screw holding the old one on, remove (being careful to not lose the detent and spring) then...

Wait, lose what?


That looks like a detent, but it doesn't move.


Stuck down flush with the receiver.

What appears to have happened is Marv's gun was made on Free Loctite Day at the Kel-Tec plant.  The screw was generously coated.  The brass bushing (that's supposed to move independently from the selector) was glued to the selector.  The spring and detent were glued into their hole.

Some PB Blaster and a whack with a punch freed it up and some picking at it with the end of a small screwdriver got it so it'd pop out like it's supposed.

Installation of the new selector was a breeze!


The instructions from Hi Tech CC don't mention it, but it's a ton easier to get at the screw with the butt pad and trigger group removed.

10 June 2015

Death To 41P

Some potential good news about NFA trusts.

HR 2578 passed 242-183.

Congress' web page on the bill.

Good And Bad

First the bad.

Actually, first a story...  A friend bought a 10/22 from another friend.  He's storing it here because he doesn't have a child-proof means of storing it yet.  While I was moving his gun out of the way to get to one of my guns I heard a rattling sound from his gun.

Oh crap!  What did I break?

So I take it apart as far as the manual says you can.

The bolt stop is way too short.  One end can dangle loose inside when the other end is flush with the side of the receiver.  That's what was causing the rattle.

Now the good.

I called Ruger and asked how long the bolt stop pin is supposed to be.  The nice person on the phone says it should be flush with the outside of receiver on both sides.

I tell her it is not and she immediately says, "Do not continue to operate the firearm," then she took my personal information and a new pin should be winging it's way here.

Huzzah! on you Ruger!

Although I had the serial number ready, as instructed by the call system, I didn't need it.

Now to decide what extortionate price I shall level on my friend for fixing his gun!  BWAH HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Thag, that was out loud, NOT your internal monologue.

Well son of a bi...

Analogy

Our present means of dealing with so many things is like fixing a flat by pumping more air in.

For small leaks this will work, but it doesn't mean the leak is gone.

For larger leaks you're just wasting the air unless you fix the hole.

On Game Of Thrones

He ravished her?

I don't think I'd rate it more than surprised.

Tone

I finally figured out why I want the Freedom From Religion Foundation to die in a fire.

FFRF is just like an HOA!

They like their lawn a certain way and their house a particular choice of color and not only think you should too, they demand it.

This demand is backed by force whenever they possibly can.

I'm getting a lot fed up with people who aren't paying me anything telling me how I aught to behave.

Self Righteous

Sure seems to be a lot of sanctimonious _I_ paid off _MY_ student loans because _I'M_ an _ADULT_ stories and posts of late.

Good on you for being able to pay them off early.

Fuck you for thinking that the only reason someone cannot pay a debt is because they're stupid.

I hope you are spared the misfortune that leaves you standing at the foot of a mountain of debt that was manageable yesterday but is today untenable.

That you never have your household income cut by 2/3 and have to make the choice between the mortgage and the loans.  Or electricity and the mortgage.

It takes years of being an adult to recover from that.  Years and years.

But, hey, I am happy for you that you didn't have to make the hard choices because being an adult means misfortune never strikes you.