Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I spoke too soon...

The pens quit working again, except for the one with the green ink that I'd bought for the dragon pen.  Since that one works as well as it does, and the others all had a different brand/type of ink, I got suspicious.

It wasn't the pens.  It was the ink.  I found Dr. Ph Martin's Bombay Ink in 1 oz bottles at our local Hobby Lobby for $5/bottle, so I bought three. 

It clogs.  It dries into clots in the nibs. The nibs have since been thoroughly cleaned in Windex and hot water.  One of the nibs had the entire feeder channel filled with a clot, which came out looking like a blue worm.  Another had so much clotted into it that it took soaking in five different cups of clean water--after the Windex--to get the rinse water to come out clear.

I've since tested them with the Waterman ink...and they work fine.  So I've ordered three more colors: a standard blue, one described by reviewers as turquoise, and a red. 

(And, as a side note, a Chinese medium nib is about the same as an American fine nib.  Which happens to be my personal preference.)

So, the Hobby Lobby ink will be reserved for when I have the time (and lack of chaos elements under my elbows) and inclination to use my dip pen to create calligraphy.  Because the ink colors?  Yeah, they're really, really pretty, and work perfect with that dip pen (which hadn't worked at all for me with a different type of ink). 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Overheard in the living room...

So, I was fussing with the DVD player (cheap pos that barely acknowledges its remote), trying to get the stupid thing to do what I was telling it to do, and the imp nearly cracked me up.

Me: What the bloody...?

Imp: It's a bloody TV, is what it is.

Keep in mind, he'll be six in October. 

I thought I was going to choke, trying not to laugh at that.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Further pen review...

My dragon pen's nib came apart at the wrong place.  I went to add ink to the reservoir, and had the nib come apart above the metal ring where it joins the pen, instead of having the metal ring unscrew.

Made a mess, it did.

It's a beautiful pen, and I have since completed repairs*, but it is not at all a practical piece. 

So, Odysseus got me a set of four Jinhao pens for practical, everyday carry and use.  These four (Jinhao model 250):

I have blue ink in the black pen and the silver pen, green ink in the pen with red marbling, and purple ink in the burgundy pen.

There was a minor problem with the pens, though: the ink wasn't flowing well in two of the four--the silver one and the burgundy one. 

So, I started searching online to see if I could figure out how to fix the pens.  They're quite comfortable to write with, considering that they're heavier than plastic, and a nice bit chunkier, making it less hard on my poor, sore knuckles to write with.  Nice pens.  I'd hate for something that could be fixed to cause me to set them up as display pieces only.

Turns out...the fix was simple.  The problem was that the ink wasn't feeding.  I searched that problem online, and found this site.  The metal part of the nib fit too tightly against the plastic part, which is what feeds the ink.  Easy fix: I just gently laid the metal part against a pad of paper, and pressed down to separate the nib from the feeder, just a bit. 

And now...all of the pens work.  And work well. 

And I am happy.

*The fix for the dragon pen was simple: I took a frozen bottle of water and held it against the metal ring the nib wasn't supposed to come off of,  and it came right off.  After I cleaned up the spilled ink, I applied a bit of super glue to the threads of the gold metal ring that the nib screwed onto, and put the pieces together.  That shouldn't happen again. 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Random ramblings

The imp got to spend a couple of nights with Grandma and Grandpa, this past week.  Grandma asked me to pack his swimsuit, and I've heard tales of going to their local town's swimming pool.  Lots and lots of tales of such. 

He's greatly looking forward to kindergarten.  I'm very glad of that, because it's only a few weeks away.  I haven't been able to do much with working on reading, unfortunately--I have been, until recently, far too sick. 

He's starting to really get a firm grasp on base 10.  Odysseus helped him count to fifty, yesterday, and he did it with little trouble (naming the tens), and only a very little prompting.  I'm deeply impressed with my boy.

The pixie has found her other new dress that her grandparents found on their last trip (a bus tour of the national parks in the Southwest).  It's way, way too big for her--goes down to her ankles--but she's worn it for three days, now.

I've noted a cue for when she's getting tired and ready for bed (nap or sleep): she starts putting her baby dolls down for sleep.  And her stuffed animals.

I'm feeling a lot better than I was.  There's still some lingering congestion, but not much, and I can do some housework without having a coughing fit that steals my breath. Odysseus is almost completely recovered. 

The weather has been so hot the past couple of days (and is projected to be at least as bad today, if not worse) that I've gone out and gotten the dog around lunch time and brought her in until supper (or later).  She has not been a happy dog.  She hates being inside so badly that she does things* that she thinks will get her booted out--unfortunately for her, when it's this hot, all it gets her is booted to her crate until it's cool enough to go back out.

The cats have been cats.  Shadow gets in odd places and odd positions to sleep, or else takes over the top of my table and pushes everything else off onto the floor.  Cricket is completely spastic, and acts affection starved--but doesn't seem to realize that all she'd need to do was actually crawl into someone's lap to get the affection she's so crazy for.  Instead, she walks all over people, yowling and headbutting them.  She does it to the kids (who giggle), Odysseus, TinCan Assassin when he's over here, and me (upon whom she drools, because she's so happy she purrs with her mouth hanging open). 

Speaking of the cats, we really need to put more flea stuff on them.  We were too damn sick the day it was supposed to be done.

Classes start back up for me on 8/18.  My class site will be built on Monday, so I'll need to spend some time customizing it for my classes.  I'll also need to email the admin for the course sites to request both of my classes be placed in one shell. 

Last, but not least...I've finally felt good enough to pick back up on the writing.  I've written two chapters for Fire and Forge in the past week, and aim to try for another one tonight.  Word count is up from 15,000 to 21,500.  The chapters are an average of 3,000 words each (and the published version in the size I use has around 300 words per page).  We'll see what I can do about finishing a first draft before mid-August. 

*Dog hates being inside, so she'll piss or shit on the carpet, eat the kids' toys or clothes, chase the cats, or chase the kids.  There have been a few times that she's done all of the above.

Friday, July 25, 2014

FFOT: *cough, choke, cough*

I'm better, but this lingering bit of chest congestion can fuck the fucking fuck off.  With knobs.  And cheese.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Something interesting from yesterday...

I pay cash at the doctor's office.  I pay cash, because our insurance doesn't cover them--not that it would pay before the deductible anyway, but hey.  I like them. 

The billing specialist for the office was the one that dealt with me checking out and paying for services yesterday.  She was really surprised that we continued to use their office, despite paying for it out of pocket, and asked if we had insurance.  And then asked why we hadn't changed healthcare providers.  I mentioned that we liked them, preferred to save them the trouble of billing an insurance that won't pay them, and that health care was a line item in the family budget.

She frowned--more confused and befuddled than anything else--and said, "Huh.  Weird.  I don't think I've ever even heard of that.  In your budget?  Wow."

And, as she'd rambling on in this vein, I'm thinking, "And that's why we got saddled with the 'Affordable' Care Act."

The worse I feel, the less I complain.

I have been, and still am, feeling terrible.  Complaining takes energy, and I don't have any to spare. 

Yes, I have gone to the doctor.  It is, at worst, just bronchitis.  The NP thought that it was viral, and gave me a sample inhaler of Albuterol, and a hard copy 'scrip of antibiotics that she doesn't want me to fill unless I'm feeling no better within three days (or if I feel worse, or if I start running a fever). 

I'm feeling slightly worse today than I did yesterday.  Too much energy expended, not enough rest.  And we need to go to Sam's Club today, so...yeah. 

I'll be back when I feel better.  Just wanted to let y'all know that I was (for the most part) okay. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Food for thought...

One of my students from last semester posted something interesting on Facebook:

"If a jet is shot down, then how can they consider it a plane crash?"

Good question.  The answer is both simple, and complex.

The simple answer: language shapes perception.  If they keep calling it a crash on the news channels and evening news, then people will eventually forget that a jet carrying passengers--including American civilians--on the way to an AIDS conference was purposely shot down by a ground-to-air missile.

The complex answer is to the unstated, but assumed, question of why are they doing this?

Why, indeed. 

Language does control perception.  "Plane crash" is much less threatening than "jet shot down."  Plane crashes happen all the time: it's an accident.  A tragedy.  Pilot error, or mechanical stress.  A missile hitting a passenger jet, on the other hand, is a deliberate act of war. 

And it's a war we're not capable of starting, much less fighting and winning. 

Part of that is because of the way spending has tipped.  Since Vietnam and Johnson's tenure as POTUS, national spending has gone from being majority what was listed in the U.S. Constitution as federal responsibilities (infrastructure and defense) to more than half being spent on welfare programs, both corporate and individual.  Without a major shift in mentality from "gimme, gimme, gimme" to "Oh shit, we all gonna die," we will not be able to free up the funding to pay for what's needed to stomp those fuckers flat. 

So, our illustrious leaders tell the media to shift perceptions.  "Plane crash," indeed.

The other issue is with the "stomp the fuckers flat." 

We haven't done that since August of 1945.  There has not been a single use of overwhelming force going in and making the other side concede that they have been decisively defeated since we fucked Japan with a sandpaper condom without lube.  There is no political will to win, and honestly hasn't been since then.

Not even after 9/11/01.  Otherwise, we would have gone in with overwhelming force and destroyed any semblance of culture and/or government everywhere in every Islamofascist-controlled country, and taken over for the next ten generations.  Since we didn't do that, we have lost.  And they're forcing us to bleed ourselves to death.

We are overextended.  Thanks to the policies put in place by Truman (full credit, here: I understand why he didn't want to push too hard, and have to use nukes again) that prevented full victory in Korea.  That set the precedent for the flat-out loss in Vietnam.  And for what's going on in the Middle East, now that the POTUS has decided that the job there is done (it isn't, and won't be, until every Muslim over the age of two is dead). 

With the lack of funding for the military (which is mandated by the U.S. Constitution) because of the welfare funding for everything else (which is forbidden by the U.S. Constitution), we cannot simply field more units.  Without the political will to win, we can't stomp the old fuckers flat before we move on to stomp these new fuckers flat. 

And so...we have the media working their asses off to slant our perceptions, and cover the asses of their political masters.