Wednesday, July 20, 2022

That's done.

The kids' well-child visits last week went well...both have grown a lot.  My eleven year old is only a quarter inch shorter than I am (height predictor puts her at 5'5" to 5'8").  That puts her at over three inches of growth in a year...and she's gaining height fast.  And all of it's leg.  

Yes, we fully acknowledge that we don't have enough shotguns.  We know that.  

I spent the rest of last week waiting for a second quote on the carport rebuild.  Never got it.  We've decided to go with the first guy (who actually, ya know, showed up, then sent the damn quote).  

Today, I had my base-line mammogram done.  I'd heard all sorts of stories about how awful they are.  

It wasn't.  The worst part about it?  I was told to not wear deodorant, because the aluminum in the deodorant messes with the x-ray.  I...really need deodorant, this time of year.  In multiple places.  

It wasn't painful.  It wasn't rough.  I'm not bruised.  My kids were rougher when they nursed, and pinched, poked, squashed and bruised me more than either the tech or the machine.  It was relatively fast, too.  And even then, the tech apologized for it taking so long to get me back: "They're measuring all the rooms for the new 3-D imaging machines."  

I was told I'd hear from my doctor's office in about two days (it was actually more like four hours), and would get my results mailed to me within two to four weeks, depending on how long the post office takes to get it to me.  

Everything else?  Yeah, I've got some big checks to write coming up: the kids' tuition is due in a couple of weeks (I'll get that done tomorrow morning), and the carport thing...

Speaking of, I spoke with the guy this morning.  He'd been planning on coming by to get the contract signed, pick up 20%, and get us on the schedule, and...yeah.  He's come down with something, was headed to bed, instead.  I'm good with that.  Either it's allergies and meds will have him back on his feet in a couple of days, or he's got something, and isn't spreading it.  I'm happy he's got enough sense not to risk spreading crap.  Even if it's just a summer cold--those suck. 

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Won't waste my hate

I've been told (by both sides) on Big Social Media that I'm not angry enough for their preferences.  That I don't hate (the other side) enough.  

I haven't had the same experience on MeWe (made up of mostly people disgusted by the Big Social Media mentioned earlier)...which leads me to think that it's all one side telling me I'm not mad enough.  Just...pretending.  

Thing is, I honestly don't hate the left.  It's more mental energy than they're worth to hate.  They're contemptible, at best.  They're too...well, stupid.  They're not evil, they're just...dumb.  Painfully, actively idiotic.  Morons.  Unthinking, and incapbable of it.  

Sub-human.  Because they're hominids, but not sapient, and not capable of being sapient. 

You don't hate that type.  They're not worth it.  They're honestly not worth any more than pity and contempt--and pity only when someone else has caused them harm, rather than their own active stupid.  

I've felt that way for a long, long time, honestly.  Since grad school.  

I debated politics with my classmates...or, rather, I tried to debate politics.  All of these people were supposed to be intellectual equals, since we were in the same program.  So, I did as I was trained by my undergrad professors, and debated.  In the literature classes, in the hallways, and in the offices.  I was looking forward to the discussions.  

It...didn't happen like I was hoping.  Professors in the literature classes...well.  Some of them would cringe when I started to offer my opinions and support for my readings, although I'm not sure if it's because of my opinions, or because of the way the others in the class would shout me down rather than refute my readings with support of their own.  

It...wasn't any better anywhere else.  I shut up fairly fast.  Not because I'd been cowed, but because I don't play chess with pigeons.  

(To be fair, sometimes I got through to people.  Sometimes, the observers would think, and while the pigeon wouldn't realize that shitting on the board wasn't earning it points, the observers did notice.)

Undergrads were worse.  The grad students I was dumped in with had the appearance of being capable of thought...sometimes.  The undergrads?  Not even a little.  And no consideration of others in their activism, and obvious (and oblivious) about it.  

Grad school was in Northern Kansas.  North of I-70 by about fifteen or twenty miles.  It got cold starting in October or so, and steadily colder until March, and didn't start warming until April or May.  From about November on, campus had snow most of the time.  The only clear spots were the sidewalks and roads, and sometimes the sidewalks had ice patches.  

They tried to keep the busiest sections totally clear--there were something like 25K students on campus, trying to get to and from classes mostly on foot.  But campus was huge: something like a mile wide at the narrow end, and two and a half miles long.  And after a certain point in the winter, it got (and stayed) too cold for salt, or even the warming chemical ice melt to work.  

And after a certain point, the snow didn't melt, and just built up.  And by February, it was knee-to-hip deep everywhere not specifically cleared.  

Guess what the campus did every Valentine's Day?  Yep!  Put on the Vagina Monologues.  Complete with making their undergrad theater students (and theater appreciation students) do sidewalk chalk advertising for it.  

I had to get from the office building to the classroom I was teaching in on a cane.  In good weather, when it was warm, it took about five minutes, because I made a point of reminding the classroom assigner that I was handicapped, and needed--not wanted, needed--a close classroom.  In bad weather (which meant, for me, anything below 40 degrees, damp weather, changing get the point), I left early because a five minute walk took ten or fifteen, depending on pain levels and sidewalk conditions.  

So.  Undergrad chalking sidewalks...taking up a lot of the sidewalk by herself, and what she hadn't taken up with herself was taken up with her bag, and her chalks.  I have all of my class stuff on my back, and my cane...and there's a giant ice patch right next to her bag that looked like wet sidewalk.  I didn't know it was ice until my cane slipped and hit the bag, which got her attention.  She looked up at me, and chirped, "My vagina is angry!  Isn't yours?"  

I, of course, popped off with the first smart remark that came to mind: "Well, yeah.  But I'm gonna take it home and feed it, later, and then it won't be angry anymore."  Waited for her to move a little so I could get past her and her shit.  

She had to think about what I said for a couple of minutes, then shrieked "Eww!!!" at me (without realizing that I'd also said she needed to get laid...), but didn't move to let me past.  

I had to get off the sidewalk, and push through knee-deep snow with my bad knee and my cane for around eight or ten feet to get around her and the knot of people watching her draw.  

All of them too oblivious to realize that I really shouldn't have been forced off the sidewalk to get past them.  

Yeah, I wasn't really terribly effective in the classroom, that day.  Not after that.   

Leftists...they don't think.  They emote.  They don't act, they react, and they react emotionally, because they've never learned different.  

They're...stupid.  They're incapable of actual thought.  That makes them less than human.  I can't hate that.  It's not worth my time, and definitely not worth my energy.  

Now.  That said.  While they aren't worthy of hate, the people who deliberately shaped them into being like they are?  The thinking humans who deliberately, and with malice, shaped generations of subhumans to be their tools and catspaws?  

They are absolutely worthy of hate.  They are worthy of summary execution wherever they're found.  

They are also, unfortunately, well aware of that, and either hide what they are, or surround themselves with enough security to make that impossible to actually do.

Monday, July 11, 2022

New pen review: The Pilot Capless fountain pen

Sunday was Odysseus' and my eighteenth anniversary.  Yep, married for eighteen years, as of about seven p.m., Sunday afternoon.  

He woke me up Sunday morning with coffee in bed...then gave me a new fountain pen.  It's one I'd been eyeing for a while: the Pilot Capless,* in blue, with silver trim.  

Like the Platinum Curidas he gave me last year, the Pilot Capless is a retractable nib fountain pen.  Like the Platinum, the nib and section must be removed from the pen entirely to be inked.  

Unlike the Platinum, the Pilot came with a cartridge--the Platinum can't really use one, since there's nothing to keep the cartridge from being damaged by the click mechanism.  The Pilot has a metal sleeve that fits over the back of the cartridge (but doesn't need to be used if there's a converter in place).  The Platinum is a translucent plastic; the Pilot's solid metal.  The clip on the Platinum is removable, while the clip on the Pilot isn't.  So, if you don't hold your pen like this,** you might not like the Pilot, but might like the Platinum.

Pilot Capless Fountain Pen Black -Medium Nib - Smooth Pens

I do hold my pen that way, so it doesn't bother me at all.  

The nib is sold as "special alloy," and is a Japanese fine (call it European EF).  It's buttery smooth, with next to no feedback from writing.  It's a very comfortable size for me--chunky, which doesn't make my hands hurt--and the weight and balance are excellent.   

And Pilot sells nib sections separately.  So, should I have a nib-related catastrophe (it happens--I've dropped pens nib down, and scrunched them before), I can get a new nib section.  Platinum really needs to take a clue from that--I'm always afraid I'm going to FUBAR one of my favorite pens in a way it can't really recover from.   

Really, though, I love both pens.  I use the heck out of the Platinum, and keep it inked with a Noodler's bulletproof ink for use on checks (and have re-inked it...four times?  I think).  I'll likely use the Pilot at least as much, but probably won't use a waterproof ink, since I've just got a cartridge to refill instead of a converter. I really don't want the hassle of trying to clean a waterproof ink out of a narrow plastic tube with a syringe. 

*Pilot sells the same damn pen with a gold nib, and a different name--the Vanishing Point.  

**Not my hand, not my pen.  My pen is blue, and my hand is a lot smaller. 


Well, my brain seems to be coming back online with the work on refining the dose of thyroid's hoping it stays online after the kids go back to school.  

Last week was a busy one--it started out with the holiday Monday, then I had the guy show up to look over the carport and take measurements for a bid on Tuesday.  Thursday, my mom and sister came down--my sister had an appointment that she needed help getting to on the other end of town.  I took her to that, and waited...

...and got smacked with a scene for the current work in progress.  Got two notebook pages written before my hand cramped and froze up.  And it's not the next bit of the story.  So, I'm trying to write the connecting parts before I get that transcribed and continued.

(But that's going to have to wait until the kids go to bed.  Because I get started on working on it, and I have one or the other demanding attention...)

Friday, the fridge started acting up.  Beeping five times in a row every minute or so.  And...warming up.  Ugh.  We've got two refrigerators (the old one we replaced is in the garage, acting as overflow), so Odysseus and I moved everything out of the kitchen into the garage.  And out of the freezer, too.  And we opened everything up to take a good look...and found a slab of ice clogging the thing's guts around the compressor coils.  

So, we unplugged it, and tossed towels down to catch the ice melt.  And we took the kids over and dumped 'em in Grandma's lap because she wanted them overnight.  Then Odysseus and I went out to eat for dinner...because Sunday was our eighteenth anniversary.  

He brought me coffee in bed.  

(The fridge is fine after a total defrost and restart--frost-free my ass.  But it's going to be a while before all of the stuff that needs to be in this fridge/freezer is put back in this fridge/freezer.)

Today, we got his truck taken to the dealership--there's an issue somewhere with his AC, and we've been having a normal, Missouri summer.*  He's got my car for the day.  Tomorrow, the pixie's got a piano lesson (those started back up last week); Wednesday, the kids have a doctor's appointment at 10:00 (annual well-child visit...and I'm pretty sure their doc is going to be shocked silly).  I think Grandma wants them overnight I'll take them over after their visit.  

I should be getting the second bid by email sometime between tomorrow and Friday for the carport.  First bid was...yeah, it made me wish we'd just gone ahead and done it last year when we did the new roof, but we didn't. 

(We are almost certainly going to go with the first bid...because he's not going to be messing with the roof.)

And sometime, this week, I have to squeeze in a visit to the vampires.  So that my endocrinologist can be sure my thyroid meds are in the neighborhood of correct...

Next week, I've got more testing, with the earliest available appointment.  I'm supposed to get to the center by 7:20 for a 7:40 appointment.  

After that, I've got...a couple of weeks with nothing nearly so active.  At least, nothing scheduled.  Life does happen, after all.  And it throws crap at you when you least expect more crap thrown at you. 

*First normal summer we've had in...three years?  four?  Anyway.  Missouri summers are stupidly hot and humid, with a lot of time spent close to--or in--triple digit territory, with 60-80% humidity, and the last several...have barely flirted with the high 90s.  Granted, the humidity was still normal, but the temperatures really weren't. 

Saturday, July 9, 2022


As all of my readers know (all three of you), I have two cats.  They're both female, and ten years old.  

You wouldn't know it by their behavior.  They still play like kittens, frequently during the day, and not always with their toys.  

They love scrunchies.  And hair ties.  And pens.  And pencils.  And anything that skitters on linoleum, tile, or vinyl laminate.  I can never find a scrunchie or hair tie when I need one.  And prices on those damn things are going up like everything else--and have passed what they're actually worth.  

Improvise, adapt, overcome.  Build over, under, around.  

I have a sewing machine, and basic skills.  I can make scrunchies.  

Yesterday was grocery/sundries shopping day.  I took the kids to Walmart with me, and sent the imp (thirteen, now) to the toy section with instructions to stay there.  I took the pixie with me into the small fabric and sewing department (three short aisles of sewing machines, fabric, notions, batting, and stuffing).  She and I picked out seven fat quarters (each of which will make five scrunchies), and I got sixteen yards of quarter inch elastic (which will make a lot more than the three dozen plus scrunchies I've got fabric to make)...all for a bit under $14. 

It would cost...about buy two eight-packs of plain scrunchies.  

I have five scrunchies made from yesterday's fabrics.  One is on the pixie's doorknob.  All of the rest...will be put away until the next time the cats have lost them all more thoroughly than we can find them.  Basically, I took one of the fat quarters, and turned it all into scrunchies, and I don't want any of that pattern. 

The rest of the fabrics, I'll hold two out of.  

Scrunchies are easy enough that there's no real pattern out there, just instructions.  I modified them a bit to suit what I wanted to do, my sewing machine (remember: one stitch only, one direction only, and the motor's prone to overheating when it's hot outside), and my skill level.  And fat quarters made it easier than having a full chunk of a yard or more.  See, the fat quarters?  Are about eighteen or nineteen by about twenty-one or twenty-two inches.  The scrunchie fabric should be cut to about 3.5" by...the full wide measurement of the fabric.  So, 3.5" by 21 or 22."  Hem one end as narrow as you can get it, then fold the thing in half, right sides together, and sew a long seam as close to the edge as you can get it.  Then, turn it right side out, and thread about 6.5" of quarter-inch elastic through the tube, sew the ends of elastic together (far enough from the edge that it won't just unravel and pull apart under stress), and then tuck the raw edge of the tube inside the hemmed edge, and sew it shut.  

Even going slowly to control the seam and doing the non-sewing bits, a scrunchie takes about twenty minutes to make, going from cutting the fabric to trimming the threads after it's fully finished.  

Some of the fat quarters cost a whopping $1.47; others cost $0.97--call it between $0.20 and $0.29 per scrunchie.  The elastic cost $3.97 for sixteen yards* with 6.5" used per scrunchie--about four and a half cents.  Each scrunchie, then, costs about a quarter to make--thirty-one cents at most.  And only about twenty minutes of my time for the entire process.  

Someone with more experience--and a sewing machine where the motor doesn't need actual rest breaks**--could probably turn these out a lot faster than me. 

(And there's a small remnant of each scrunchie that could easily be used for something a braided rag rug, or cat toys to try to keep the cats from stealing the scrunchies...not that that will actually work...)

*Sixteen yards will yield around eighty-eight scrunchies.  So, about seventeen fat quarters' worth of fabric per bundle of elastic...with enough left over for some doll clothes.)

**I am not complaining, and I probably would not use an electric machine much (if at all) if I had one.

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Musings on history...

 Every year, between supper and time for fireworks, we set the kids up on the couch and have them watch 1776.  They're usually really excited for it.  They've watched it every year for the past five or six years.  

Every year, they catch more of the jokes, learn a little bit more that our nation's founders were...very human.  Salacious, sarcastic, petty, vicious, desperately angry and frightened humans.  Every year, they comprehend a little more just how much of a miracle our country's birth actually was.  How close we came to that continental congress being deadlocked...or how close we came to independence not happening.  

Every year, "Mama, Look Sharp" makes me cry.  

Every year, I am reminded how little has actually changed in the American political landscape: we have neo-feudalists, fatalists, and a few (very few) liberty minded that everybody either ignores, makes fun of, or tries to shut up.  

This year, I caught onto something: as Rutledge attempted to shout down a proposed discussion on the idea of independence, there was a pointed reminder from Steven Hopkins, the delegate for Rhode Island (as he was getting more rum), ""Well, I'll tell ya, in all my years, I never seen, heard nor smelled an issue that was so dangerous, it couldn't be talked about. Hell yes, I'm for debating anything!"

Without that pointed reminder, Adams--and the United States as a sovereign nation--would have been cancelled by the forefathers of today's Democrats: a man who insisted that feudalism and slavery was morally correct.  

Unfortunately, by and large, we seem to have more than one John Adams, but we seem to lack both a Ben Franklin and a Stephen Hopkins in either house of government.  And a Rutledge runs both the House and the Senate.

(For now, at least.  We'll see what happens in November.)

And thus...honest debate and discussion are shut down before they can start. 

Friday, July 1, 2022

Things are moving, again.

This is gonna smart.  How much is...something we don't know, just yet.  

About three weeks ago, we had a...well.  An incident.  Our wonderful electrical provider decided in their infinite wisdom, full faith and loving care for the environment, to put in a wind farm a few years back.  And they swore, up down and sideways, that there was no way that was a replacement of any of the current plants...

...only to immediately take one offline, as soon as the wind farm came on line.  

This is not a good part of the country for that.  We do not have steady, stable, constant wind.  Not at all.  We have days where there's nothing, we have days where there's barely any...we have days where the winds are around forty, fifty miles an hour.  And gusts.  Did I mention wind gusts?  Lots of 'em.  Hard ones. 

So.  Three weeks or so ago, we had a power surge, then brown-out, and the heat pump started...acting funny.  And then died.  

We called for repair, they told us it'd be about five days.  They got us in really early--Monday, not Thursday--because a repair job scheduled for a few hours took a few minutes, instead.  Turns out, several fuses in the heat pump unit and the control panel had been fried by the surge.  Control panel was...not cheap to replace.  

When the guy offered to install something to prevent another surge from destroying something else on the heat pump, I took him up on it.  

That smarted.  Almost a thousand dollars because the religion espoused by the hard left fucked us over again (like it has done in the past in the winter).  

That was an unexpected expense.  

We are now moving on an expected one.  We've got one guy that came out and looked at our carport with an eye toward replacement today.  Another one's supposed to come out and do the same on Tuesday.  

We'll get the quotes sometime after the holiday weekend.  

I know this is going to smart, but I also know we've been saving a while, and can get this done, now (even if we had a thousand dollar emergency hit us right before we started moving on this...thanks to the fucking watermelons pushing hard for technology we simply don't, won't, and can't have to replace something that actually works).  What I don't know yet is even ballpark how much it's going to smart...but I do know it'll be actually done right this time.  

Current carport was very clearly built by Cletus and his brother Clyde, and their cousin/half-brother Donnie.  While they were drunk.  And didn't know nearly as much about how to do it as they thought they did. 

Yes, I've got a couple more things on my mental list, but they're way down on the priority scale...for the moment. 

We'll be looking into a whole-house surge protector, first.  Because clearly, the days of not having bloody surges are in the past.