Wednesday, July 30, 2008
A few years back, a coworker sent me a link this site. It is called The Political Compass and attempts to describe political thought according to Cartesian coordinate plane by contrasting fiscal beliefs with moral. This seems to hit the nail on the head, at least for a simpleton such as myself.
Before taking the test, I had presumed I would still end up on the far right. Indeed I did not and was amazed at how "centrist" I really am. Taking this test a few years ago is really when I began questioning my current (at that time) political thoughts and assumptions and started to reevaluate them. Here is my current scoring:
I say all this in light of some conversation I had tonight, in which it was asserted that I am part of the "fringe right" and am company to the "kooks" and "conspiracy theorists" that dwell there. I felt the need to clear my name of such ignorant and presumptuous assertions. That being said, I can understand why some people may have that opinion although I disagree fervently. I am a Bible-thumper. Most of my compadres are right wingers after the typical vein of thought. I come from a military family (my dad was a career Marine Corps officer and an angry coder himself: double anal retentive!) and they are typically strong right wingers. I am idealistic, moralistic and still tend to divide everything into clear lines of black and white. Right, right, right!
But in reality, I am not a right winger! It's only in the last few decades that Bible believers have come to be associated with that. Traditionally, they have been very libertarian minded. After the persecutions of old Europe, they had not love or trust for established government. But the problem with the modern Libertarian party is they have no moral compass at all. There has to be a balance! It is the role of government to force morals on its citizens or else there really is no need for government. But what morals? Where do you draw the line? Murder, stealing, rape, speeding, weeds over 10", sodomy, animal cruelty, truancy, littering... Every law imposes some moral value. I felt the Constitution Party was the most libertarian minded group that still had a moral compass. That is why this is the party I will be supporting in this years presidential election.
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Sunday, July 27, 2008
After watching the movie, I really had an unsettled feeling. This is not a feel-good movie, to be sure. What occured to me later is that the Joker's main intent was really not much different from that of the killer in the movie Seven (actually Se7en). They both were killing people to make a comment on human nature and, in the process, elevated killing to some sick type of art. That killing could be an art, in itself, is a sick and sad commentary on human nature. Oh that it wasn't true! But the legacy of the genocides of the last century- and the current one in Darfur- are too true and even more abominable than any one serial killer could ever be.
Friday, July 25, 2008
Next, remove the horn contact plates from the horn cover. There are several screws that hold this in and, on mine, I also had to remove a little box that houses the cruise control switches. The contact plates can be separated by using pliers to pinch the plastic rivets and push them out. Once that's done, pry the two plates apart. There is a layer of old foam that separates them, and that is what needed replacing.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
I am sold on 1/2" drive sockets. 3/8" drive is just too mousey. There's nothing like the feeling of torquing down on a stubborn bolt with a 24" long, 1/2" drive breaker bar and tilting the entire engine of the car 15^ until you hear the unmistakeable sound of cold forged steel finally succomb to your superiority! Muhahahaha! (cue: "I've got the power!" by Snap)
And the Mitsubishi 48" widescreen projection device was pronounced dead at 11:45AM... My stupid TV is going to cost $450 to fix. It has a bad power circuit, apparently. In honor of this, a haiku:
The jacuzzi bathtub is working out well. However our dog doesn't seem to care for it too much. It takes five people to bathe that beast. He doesn't like water but apparently mud is okay, and he will not spare any plant when in the pursuit of small critters and butterflies... not even the Cilantro plants.
I don't usually do music/artsy stuff but I am going to post the lyrics to Muzzle by The Smashing Pumpkins because: it's a freaking awesome song, the lyrics are way deep and as of late I have been sharing the overall sentiment it conveys. It's probably just the exhaustion kicking in.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
To the left, you can see a quick shot I took of our trainers.
But in the real world, harassment (in all it's many forms) is not funny. It's big business and very boring. I believe it also gives us a gauge to measure the moral decay of our society. We wrapped up our "Harassment Free Workplace" training. The word "harassment" strikes me as funny, too. "He said 'ass'." I digress...
In the past I have always been sensitive to the notion that I am to "accept" gays in an effort to be "tolerant". This year, we all got slapped with some new rules: the word 'homosexual' and phrase 'altnative lifestyle' are now offensive. The discussion on gays was short, but still expansive compared to last time, and now we are to include "cross gender" people. While gays and transgendered people are not (yet) a protected class by the Feds or even the State, the City likes to tout that it has a "higher" standard! WOW! Okay, they can say that in front of God and man with a straight face... evil is good, I suppose.
The next hot button for me is freedom of religious expression. Now the official policy hasn't really changed but the discussion sure has. It used to get a nod- more brief than even the gays. Today they showed us a series if ultra-cheesy videos depicting examples of harassment. All of them revolved around sexual harassment or some type of intimidation. On the last video, they had two guys sitting in an office and one asks the other what's wrong. The other guy starts to open up about his marriage difficulties. The first guys then invites him to a marraige retreat at his church, offers him a pamphlet about the retreat and gives some first person testimony. He wasn't preaching, he didn't quote the Bible or mention the name of Jesus. It could hardly be considered proselytizing or evangelism. But this was held up as an example of harassment and the well intentioned man was now an offender on the same scale as the office ass-slapper, minority hater or gay basher. Had the man been talking about a secular conference, I doubt it would be harassment. But because man #2 "felt" uncomfy, man #1 was wrong. Wow!
The real kicker with that video was that on the finishing shot, they zoomed in slowly on a copy of the Bible that was sitting on the desk and played some ominous, low pitched tones. By which, I presume, they mean to tell us that good is evil.
I am not a very good evangelist. But I do reach out to people, especially when I see opportunity. Now I know even this is forbade by the City in the course of doing my job. I won't go looking for a fight here, and I'll trust the Lord. But in the end, I must obey God rather than man, even if it means getting kicked to the curb.
Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us.
Then Peter and the [other] apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
It would be a great thing to be accused of filling this city with "my" doctrine!
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Other tasks done this weekend include opening the back panel of my Mitsubishi 48" widescreen rear projection TV. I identified all of the surface mounted fuses on the panels (and I was amazed at the complexety of this device!) and tested them for resistance (none being good). All of the fuses were good. I did some more research and conculded that I was way over my head and now is not the time for me to learn the full scope of electronics. Mrs. Angry and I then researched and selected a TV repair shop to come visit us this week.
I completed the install of the combination switch on my 1993 Mazda Protege. I've never removed a steering wheel before and I had quite an ordeal figuring it out. But thanks to my boss, I finally got it together and installed the new switches. They worked great except for one oddity: any time I turned the wheel it would also turn the switch on! Finally I realized that the new switch box was not seating back quite as far as the old one and this was causing a plastic piece, which is responsible for turning off the signals after a turn has been completed, to grab the switch toggle inside the steering assembly and move the toggle. I took this part out and put it on the bench grinder to remove about 1/16th of an inch off the back of it and reinstalled. The whole assembly works like new, now!
I didn't have so much luck working on my weedeater. I replaced the very fouled spark plug, dumped the fuel and mixed a fresh batch of 40:1 (mmmm... home cookin'!), adjusted the carberateur and cleaned the air filter. No dice. It will start but then sputter out. Dare I make a visit to Raytown Feed and Seed? The Unstable Blogger recommends pulling the carb out completely and soaking it in fuel for a day. Might be worth the try, but I just don't have the time. Maybe he'd like to do it, for fun and personal satisfaction?!
Lastly, I got my old 97 Dodge Neon running again. I has sat idle for many months and I have intended to give it to a friend of mine as a work transport. After cleaning the positive terminal with a steel brush and jump starting, it fired right up. I then filled it with fuel and was quite excited to tell my friend it was ready to go. But that night, someone observed that it was leaking fuel on the ground. Unfortunately, I couldn't get to it until after church today and by then, the $40 in gas I put in it had coursed down the gutter and evaporated under the hot summer sky. After removing a guard over the sensors for the gas tank, I observed a vacuum cap on a nipple (plumbing term- not my mine!) which had a lateral crack halfway around it. This was the culprit! A trip to O'Reilly's and a $1.25 later, it was fixed.
My friend came by tonight to pick it up. We check the oil and the radiator fluid and it was waaay low on fluid. I filled up the radiator (with pure H20- the best thermal transfer agent available for cars) and removed the thermostat (cars don't need these in the summer anyhow) for optimal performance and... it still overheated. Grrrrrrr! Time to flush it again, but that will have to wait for the morrow.
I am so tired...
Friday, July 18, 2008
We proceeded into the store where what had just happened finally sunk in. I've already had up to here (about the 5'10" mark) with the degenerates who bandy about this city. I decided I couldn't let this one pass- he almost hit my little girl.
I went out through the doors and met the driver and his friend in the lot and the conversation went thusly:
[I will abbreviate the driver as "AH", because he looked a lot like an Arthur Henderson.)
(me) "Excuse me, sir, you almost hit my little girl."
(AH) "Well if I did it was because she walked into it."
(me) "No sir, you clipped that curb and just about ran into all of us. She had to stop and step back."
(AH) "Then she needs to pay more attention to where she's walking."
(me) "What?! So you're blaming a little girl? It's her fault that your crappy driver?"
[I was already angry, but at this point, I start coming a bit unravelled. Note, this was an older guy and obviously a "good ol' boy". So I press on...)
(me) "Have you ever drove anything that big before?"
(AH)[with smugness] "I've drove eighteen wheelers my whole life!"
(me) "Well you drive like you've never been in anything but a Toyota before."
(AH)[with irritation] "Well you sound like a [indiscernable mumbling]."
(me) "A what? I sound like a what? [pause] I sound like an angry father!!"
[at this point we're in the store and I'm sure that I was visibly and audibly upset]
(AH) "Well what do you want me to do?!"
(me) "Well an apology would be nice!"
(AH) "Okay- I'm sorry. But you need to do a better job of watching your kids."
[mom heard that one, he's lucky to be alive at this point]
(me) "She's alive because we were watching her, jackass! I ought to go get your license plate and call you in for wreckless driving you jerk..."
At that point, my wife grabbed my shoulder and asked what, precisely, I intended to do or had hoped to accomplish from here on out. Good point, so I digressed. It took about 20 min to quit shaking and another 20 or so for the fog to clear out. Adrenaline is such a powerful drug. The thought did cross my mind that it would be "fun" to buy a 20# sledge hammer and, uhm, do some work on his truck. But that was a passing fancy. I knew better.
Had the shoe been on the other foot, I would be thoroughly horrified to know that I even "almost" hit a child. Beware, bikers! If this guy has no compassion for the absolute cutest little girl in the world (sorry, fellow-dads), then what does he think about you?!
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
1. Flaky router - this has been ongoing. It "mostly" works. I have plans to replace it, maybe later this year.
2. #3 cylinder on the Windstar. It shuttered awful bad. Replacing the plugs and cables fixed it.
3. Distributor wire on Protege... this just fell out last Friday on my way to meet a Friend. $65 for the tow, $10 for the diagnostic. And "thanks" to the African Muslim guys who stopped to help!
4. Front driver side tire. Again, on the Protege. It had a visible hematoma for a few weeks but it finally popped on Saturday. Much thanks to Percussivity for his bail out. And Grrrrr...
5. Combination Switch. Again, on the Protege. It's got 190K+ miles so what do you expect? Still gets 29mpg so I can't complain too much. $35 used one is on it's way. When that comes then I'll also fix..
6. Horn contact plate on... go ahead, take a guess! This one has been a nuisance for a while.
7. Brakes on... yep... they were shot, totally, and grinding the disks. I fixed them about 30 days ago but now the emergency brake doesn't work. Getting that looked at tomorrow... oy...
8. 48" 1080i widescreen TV... **sniff**... I can't even talk about this one yet.
9. Weed eater. It just up and quit on me a couple of weeks ago. Grrrrrr!
10. Daughters bike. It's awesome that she learned to ride. The whole family is in on that now. But she learned a valuable lesson in parking: do not park behind the van!!! Front wheel got bent, I had it fixed but then forgot to secure it when loading into the trailer and somehow it popped off. Geeees... mea culpa!
11. Nerf gun. It's not a big deal, but it cost $1.20 for a new spring and took up my precious time. My precious!!!
And that doesn't even cover work! It seems I've spent a lot of time this year just fixing things that used to work but mysteriously don't any more, such as:
12. Our work managment system. It's been suffering from horrendous latency. Noone can figure out why, but it's just hammering the disks. A call with Oracle did nada; a new server has done a little but we can see it coming again.
13. FTP download process. Worked fine before I moved my office and onto a new switch. The IT dept affirms that all switches are configured the same. I move my connection to a different switch on my own (not bad for coder!) and bingo! It works like magic...
14. XML to PDF job. This little app just broke the other day because the local user account password got changed. That was a bear to figure out!
15. ArcGIS install. This went ill the first time because the license file was not adequate. After I got the right now, I decided to get fancy with the install and use non-default options. Even though it lets you do this, it apparently doesn't like it. After a support call with Apoo, I had uninstalled it, removed all directories, users and groups and then reinstalled it. Worked like a charm. Gees I hate other people's bugs.
16. BCL "Easy"PDF SDK. Easy.... riiiiight. Their words, not mine. Sure it's easy to write code to, but try to deploy this thing when it's wrapped in a web service. OMG I never knew there were so many places to set permissions!!!! This one is still open with the vendor. What really stinks is, it was working great just... 30 days... ago... hhhhhhhhhh
It's been a fun 30 days. Lets hope this phase is over!
Knowing that then, when Percussivity had a dumpster last November and offered to let me dispose of rubbish in it, I quickly gutted the majority of the monstrosity. For six long months this room sat with naked studs and flooring. Using MicroStation SE, the last CAD package with which I have professional experience, I began charting out detailed plans. This also involved fervent negotiations with the wife as we tried to reach a unified position for functional requirements and aesthetic details. Then, last spring, when our tax return arrived, the wife and I picked out all of the fixtures and most of the supplies we'd need to finish it (using a 10% off coupon at Home Depot we purchased from eBay.)
So now the project is well under way. The framing that faces the hallway is rebuilt, extending the usable space of the bathroom by about three foot. I also added a hall closet which is sheet rocked. The toilet is in and as of yesterday evening, the two pedastal sinks have been installed and the kids inaugurated them with a good tooth-brushing last night. Tonight I will frame up the structures on both sides of the bathtub and install the drain for the tub. Should providence shine upon my efforts today, I will even run the 3/4" lines up to the tub filler. Maybe- just maybe- we'll get to inaugurate the whirlpool tub tonight!
Pictures will be forthcoming...
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
As if it's not bad enough to know exactly which of my filth ridden coworkers I am sharing germs with, when I approach the sinks afterwards, I noticed that there are no water droplets in any of the basins. I doubt they had evaporated that quickly, so it can mean only one thing.... ewwwwwwwwe! I will not be typing on that persons keyboard ever!
Monday, July 7, 2008
I'd really like to get a hold of a book called How Christianity Changed the World. This book analysis the differences between modern society and the ancient, greco-roman society that prevailed in the time of Chirst and attempts to explain how Christianity got us to where we are. I've read some excerpts and what I read was great. I love taking landscape looks at human history and then delving into details.
I've also wanted to read The Secret History of the Mongols for some time, but the times we've looked for it we haven't found it. It's the only historical document produced by the Mongolian empire and chronicles their rise under Genghis Khan. There's also an indie flick out called Mongol which looks freaking awesome!
Lastly, I noticed that my pastor has a book on the history of race relations in KC. That would be a fascinating read as well.
Ah, this process just wrapped up. That's enough thinking about what I'd "like" to read of have "almost" read.