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Ferrocene's Fare for Far-Flung Friends

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Let it fall from my hands Mar. 8th, 2013 @ 11:31 am
After Teresa died, almost seven years ago now, I consoled myself by listening to Neutral Milk Hotel's album "In the Aeroplane over the Sea". Now, I'm listening to VNV Nation, mostly their songs about lost love. It helps me dwell on my problems. As if....

Joe broke up with me a month ago. At least officially. It started years before that, but I was too blind, deaf, dumb and hard-headed to notice.

I really doubt that I'll find contentment until I have a new husband with a relationship that is truly what I imagined the last one to be. The big problem is that I doubt I have the motivation to do anything until that happens. Any eating, sleeping, activity or enjoyment of life I have right now is at the prodding of others. Who in their right mind would want a relationship with such a person?

I'm sure that my position is not impossible, and it's certainly not rare.

Check back in six months.
Current Mood: discontentdiscontent

Hello, anyone? Jul. 9th, 2012 @ 03:24 pm
Perhaps I should return to LJ. Facebook is turning real life into television: it's much too easy to sit back and watch other people's lives stream by. Sure, I occasionally post something about my day. Too often, when I post someone else's political opinions.

So how about it, LJ friends? Are we still here? Anyone want to write long-form posts and engage in meaningful exchange of ideas and activities with me?
Current Mood: hopefulhopeful

Over a year since Jun. 1st, 2012 @ 02:02 pm
It's been over a year since my last posting here. All of the fun stuff happens on Facebook, it seems. Well, all of the fun stuff except spam postings. I get lots of those here.

So, are any of my friends still here? Anyone?

Stilla livean dkicking May. 16th, 2011 @ 07:06 pm
Yes, folks, it's true. I'm still alive.

The good folks at LJ just debited my credit card for a few rubles. I figure I might as well get my money's worth from this thing and post something.

• There are many, many birds in my yard.
• I hate Facebook, but I use it anyway.
• I'm getting old, a fact evidenced by the number of doctors I see.
• I love you all, dearly. Yes, even you.
Current Mood: confusedconfused

Bored of education? Mar. 18th, 2010 @ 03:42 pm
Pardon me for reposting someone else's blog, but it's a quick introduction to the FAIL that is the Texas Board of Education. While such behavior is not new for the TBoE, the excision of Thomas Jefferson from the curriculum (preferring, in his stead, John Calvin) has made international headlines.

Texas Board of Education cuts Thomas Jefferson out of its textbooks.

The Texas Board of Education has been meeting this week to revise its social studies curriculum. During the past three days, “the board’s far-right faction wielded their power to shape lessons on the civil rights movement, the U.S. free enterprise system and hundreds of other topics”:

  • To avoid exposing students to “transvestites, transsexuals and who knows what else,” the Board struck the curriculum’s reference to “sex and gender as social constructs.”
  • The Board removed Thomas Jefferson from the Texas curriculum, “replacing him with religious right icon John Calvin.”

  • The Board refused to require that “students learn that the Constitution prevents the U.S. government from promoting one religion over all others.”

  • The Board struck the word “democratic” from the description of the U.S. government, instead terming it a “constitutional republic.”

As the nation’s second-largest textbook market, Texas has enormous leverage over publishers, who often “craft their standard textbooks based on the specs of the biggest buyers.” Indeed, as The Washington Monthly has reported, “when it comes to textbooks, what happens in Texas rarely stays in Texas.”

—DJ Carella

Update: Following repeated failed attempts to add figures in Hispanic history to the textbooks, one board member, Mary Helen Berlanga, stormed "out of the meeting late Thursday night, saying, 'They can just pretend this is a white America and Hispanics don’t exist.'"
Current Mood: annoyedannoyed
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Dead PowerMac :( Feb. 5th, 2010 @ 04:08 pm
My cat jumped up on my desk. My old PowerMac G4 was perched precariously there. The weight of the cat moved the center of weight of the cat-mac system to a position unsupported by the desk. This induced a torque, with the edge of the desk as fulcrum. Gravity accelerated both downward, but the cat dynamically changed its shape, propelling itself away from the mac, adding further torque to the mac. The mac made impact with the floor, coming to rest essentially coplanar with the floor, except that random protuberances from the floor (detritus from daily living) focused the force resulting from deceleration of the mac onto two small regions of the lid. The forces deformed the aluminum frame of the lid, causing protrusions of the lid onto the rear surface of the display device, in this case a backlit glass LCD screen. This screen has very low plasticity, resulting in brittle fracture.

I purchased a gently-used 1.67 GHz PowerBook G4 on eBay for $399.00. Relief is on the way. :-)
Current Mood: aggravatedaggravated

Bump Oct. 15th, 2009 @ 03:00 pm
Still alive & kicking!

S**********s Productions is almost a reality. Paperwork is coming together. Website, sort of.
Formal operations set to begin on January 1, but we are still recording our guinea pig band. They're so patient with us (and we with them).

Exciting times. Hangin' with young guys, listening to live music in my house, staying up late, drinking gallons of coffee.

I need to make some money on this!

Still alive & rockin' Sep. 5th, 2009 @ 05:33 pm
What have I been up to?


Sxxxxxxxxxxs Recording

(The name is not final.)

This will likely be the name of my recording studio. I'm the high roller. Joe's the artistic director, and our friend, Tony is the producer. (Titles are meaningless & subject to change.)

A large swath of our house has been turned into a recording studio, complete with vocal booth, live room, control room, equipment racks, amps, keyboards, computers, booms, guitars-a-plenty, mics by the dozen & cables by the score.

Bastrop, Texas, it seems, has quite a music scene. Overflow from Austin, perhaps? What it doesn't have too many of yet is studios.

That's where we come in.

What else?

Converting the boring incandescent rope light in my living room's ceiling into computer-controlled (and iPhone controlled) RGB LED light show.

Working on a secret project with the Robot Group of Austin.

And lots of other, boring stuff.
Current Mood: accomplished

Libreticist & Opera composer needed Jun. 22nd, 2009 @ 05:04 pm
For some months, I've been wanting someone to compose an opera based on the events surrounding the tragic death of Major League Baseball pitcher Nick Adenhart.

Why does this drunk driving death rise to the level of an operatic tragedy?

Triumph, Hubris, Foolishness, Tragedy, Death

  • Nick was a rising star, killed just after a brilliant performance in his first big-league baseball game.

  • He and his friends were killed (allegedly) by an everyman.

  • Every man in America NEEDS a car. NEEDS to drive. Public transportation in this country is mostly crap. This Everyman's life, if he is convicted, will be crap.

  • Public transportation in this country is mostly crap because of the hubris of corporations, such as General Motors, and the men who hide behind them.

  • General Motors has collapsed, in no small part because of its epic hubris.

  • The United States of America and its economy is collapsing, in no small part because of General Motors.

The one opera composer I know IRL isn't interested. I guess he thinks the idea isn't worthy of Verdi? Still, it is a tragedy of our times, involving The Big Show, warriors, presidents, greed, vanity, sloth, gluttony, outrageous fortune, random dumb luck and Everyman.

Coming soon to an opera house near you! (I hope.) I'll be happy to consult with anyone who would care to try.
Current Mood: artistic

Bird Geek Jun. 22nd, 2009 @ 04:57 pm
I've built a remote bird detector, attached it to my backyard bird feeder. I'm now snapping hundreds of pics of the same birds over and over.

To do this, I've built Arduino-based microcontroller circuits with XBee wireless.

Instructions, circuits & code available. Plz ask.
Current Mood: geeky
Tags: ,

Calling out the BACN Jun. 2nd, 2009 @ 09:52 pm
I've been subscribed to a BACN newsletter, Net-Temps Crossroads. It's about how to become a good little employee.

Today's message (linked above) is called "Interview Questions: Are You Manageable?"
Knowing the technical aspects of your job isn’t enough to convince an interviewer you are the best person for the job. Interviewers evaluate your candidacy in a broader sense. They assess who you are as a person and whether you are manageable—that is, whether you have the traits that make you an easygoing and effective team member.

To make this determination, interviewers ask questions geared to your manageability. Below are a few questions that may be asked of you during an interview, along with a sample response for each.

Q. Give me a recent example of when you needed the assistance of your manager. The interviewer wants to know if you handle issues that arise on your own and....

I read it. Something inside of me snapped.

There's no way to respond directly, so I found the "Feedback" link. I responded thusly:
RE: Interview Questions: Are You Manageable?

I don't blame the author for the content, simply stating facts, I suppose.

BUT, this sort of garbage is why I have removed myself from the technical workforce. Oh, occasionally, I do some consulting, but I can't make a living at it.

Companies, it seems, want a manageable workforce, capable of absorbing what passes for ethics & good ideas in the corporate world

Thinking like this is why the Governments of the US & China now own General Motors. Thinking like this is why much of the rest of the corporate world is following suit.

I've been a plant manager. I sought out the unmanageable, but highly intelligent applicants. They were responsible for great productivity gains. But, in the end, neither I nor the profits generated could protect their (and my) unmanageably from Corporate HQ, and my whole plant was sold for scrap.

I hope the poor, young souls who take this author's advice find something in life to give them a sense of purpose. It sure as heck won't be their jobs.

--David R. Treadwell, Ph.D.

I can hear you cringe. "Just get through the interview, dude!" "Chill! Get the job, then do what they say."

"No." says I. We need new ways to earn livings in this country. Our old system has been broken for a long time. We're just beginning to believe it now. Why? Money is now arbitrary. It is a poor metric for wealth and value. I wish I knew what to replace it with. The Marxists don't have any better idea than the Capitalists. And the Fascists? They just don't understand the meaning of life. Heck, none of us do.

This ingrained belief in the system (whomever you are) has led us to believe that we can survive as a super-specialized piece in a global society. We can't feed, clothe or house ourselves. Even if we got help from everyone we know, we couldn't do it. Maybe the Amish could, on second thought.

On third thought, maybe founding an Amish-style community wouldn't be such a bad idea. Except I want to use buttons. And someone else can slaughter the hogs to make the bacon.
Current Mood: discontentdiscontent

MakerBot Apr. 29th, 2009 @ 03:47 am
I am building a MakerBot, which is a variant of the RepRap 3-D printer.

The build process is not without its snags, but a good time is being had by all.

Where am I? Mar. 10th, 2009 @ 12:19 am
I don't know why I stay away from LJ. Really, I haven't fallen out of love with the long-form post.

It's just that I love my iPhone MORE, and therefore I twitter & facebook more.

What am I doing these days? Learning to build computerized stuff with Arduino. Building a formal garden in my back yard, getting the yard landscaped. Ignoring important commitments.

You know, the usual.

Where's weirdo? Jan. 14th, 2009 @ 01:11 am

In case you're wondering where I've been, I've been on Facebook. Quick little tweets. Long blog posts are soooo 5 minutes ago.

Got a new Vizio 47" 1080p 120Hz TV & an AppleTV, hacked with Boxee.

Finally set up my lathe. Now, if I could find the oil can and several attachments, I could use it.

My A2 house almost was shown. Too much snow forces a cancellation. :(

Joe & I had out 2-year anniversary.

My baby sister turned 40. :(

That's about it for now. Come visit!!!


Progress machine Dec. 30th, 2008 @ 01:56 am

Quick update: after 4 months, I'm making progress in the house.
• The lathe is being set up in the garage.
• By the end of the year, I might actually be able to park my car in the garage, too.
• I actually talked to helpful customer service reps from AT&T. I will soon have DSL here and not in Michigan.

Sorry I have been absent from LJ; I'm more often on Facebook.

Rest Ye Merry in the New Year!

Current Location: By my heart

Bonn Beethovenmas Dec. 15th, 2008 @ 08:09 pm

It's that special night of the year, when the Great Beethoven rises in the concert hall he judges to be the most sincere.

May all the good boys & girls out there get all of the music & concert tickets they want.

Me? I just want peace on earth. Oh, and a decent recording of The Great Beethoven's symphony cycle. Are there any good ones out there, or did Herbert von Karajan ruin then for all time?

Anyway, Bonn Beethovenmas to all, and to all good music.


It's official: Blech. Dec. 1st, 2008 @ 06:07 pm
That's how I feel. I'm sick yet again. This time, it's a common cold, most likely caught last week while I was giving a series of guest lectures. I have neither then energy nor the enthusiasm to post full stories about the following:

  1. Attending the funeral of my dear high-school friend, Ann.
  2. Giving a series of guest lectures at a local middle school on the Periodic Table. I brought samples of each element in my collection. A good time was had by all.
  3. Preparing a Thanksgiving feast for Joe, my sisters, nephews, brother-in-law & father. It's a shame we didn't all get together to eat, but that's yet another story.

I'd like to think that I'll get around to writing these entries, but it probably won't happen. Feel free to ask.
Current Mood: sicksick

I'll tap that Nov. 15th, 2008 @ 10:29 pm
My new house is new; built in 2006. It seems to be rather energy-efficient, but I've had to replace almost every light bulb with a compact fluorescent light bulb. Not every fixture can accept the larger size of some CFL bulbs.

Down to Home Depot I trudged to buy replacement outdoor triple flood light fixtures. Simple, right? Well, no.

Each socket assembly comes with a self-tapping grounding screw. Except that it doesn't self-tap. I needed a real tap. 12 sockets * 2 minutes per socket = 24 minutes; + 30 minutes to buy a new tap after I broke off one in a socket. Cutting & affixing a ground wire to each socket. 12 sockets * 0.5 minutes per socket = 6 minutes. Wimpy threading on angle adjustment stripped on four of the sockets. Simple fix with a new, larger bolt, plus tapping. 4 sockets * 4 minutes per socket = 16 minutes. One socket came with wires that had been crimped & the insulation cut at the angle adjustment point; these had to be insulated with heat-shrink tubing. Time: 5 minutes. Cross-threaded or poorly threaded mounting threads on two sockets. 2 sockets * 5 minutes per socket = 10 minutes.

Total time for repair of shoddy or incomplete workmanship: 91 minutes

Time to assemble socket assemblies after this work was done: 4 socket assemblies * 5 minutes per assembly = 20 minutes. Time to install assemblies: 4 assemblies * 5 minutes per assembly = 20 minutes; + 5 minutes set-up + 5 minutes clean-up = 50 minutes.

Total job time: 141 minutes, 182% longer than it should have been.

The sockets were manufactured by an American company, but assembled in Mexico. I'm not blaming the workers, but far too many manufacturers use Free Trade as an excuse to build shoddy merchandise. There's no reason for the ground screw hole to not be tapped, no reason for the adjustment screw threads to strip. No reason for poorly-formed threads. No excuse for the cut wires.

How many customers will take the time to assemble these correctly?
Current Mood: puzzled
Current Music: Puccini: Turandot; Sutherland, Pavarotti, Mehta

Desk Nov. 8th, 2008 @ 09:14 pm
I still haven't bought my next round of Ikea furniture. I've been a bit under-the-weather lately.

As such, my desk is busy & cluttered. The state of it amused Joe so much he snapped this pic:

Current Mood: creative

I've got the Willhees Nov. 4th, 2008 @ 11:03 pm
Ok, so he won. Good. <insert fanfare here>

  • Will he dismantle the Military-Industrial Complex?

  • Will he dismantle the War On Drugs?

  • Will he give back the power the Presidency took from the Congress in the name of the War On Terror?

  • Will he give us back our Civil Liberties?

  • If not, nothing has changed.
Current Mood: amusedamused

I'm Back! More Glorious News! Oct. 27th, 2008 @ 04:36 pm
Back from Texas. Ann Arbor house still not done. This week? I hope so. It had best be on the market soon; by then end of next week, it'll be six-feet deep in snow drifts. Such are the winters in Ann Arbor. Well, almost.

Greeting me in today's news, courtesy of Computer World was a report from the U.S. Army's 304th Military Intelligence Battalion, posted on the Federation of American Scientists website. The Inteli-types see Twitter, and similar microblogging services, as severe security threats. Terrorists, you know. They're everywhere.

The most prominent example provided was that of a non-violent protest of the Republican National Convention earlier this fall, "Activist Use of Twitter for Law Enforcement Counter
Surveillance and Movement Coordination at the most recent Republican National Convention (RNc)". Terrorists, you know. They're everywhere.

As of today, a PDF of the public bits of the report ("FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY") can be found here. Have a read. It's a hoot.

Anybody want to bet that there's already dynamite placed at the entrance to Twitter Tunnel and Blogging Bridge? When the Balloon Goes Up, don't count on public communications services. My advice: for a time, walkie-talkie-like devices should still work. Buy some, and buy a solar battery charger, too.
Current Mood: aggravatedaggravated

Feel Safer Yet? Oct. 23rd, 2008 @ 12:35 am
Homeland Security to Change Airline Boarding Process

Fliers Will Have to Give More Info. to Airlines
A long-delayed U.S. government program designed to more accurately prescreen the names of airline passengers against terror watch lists is expected to start early next year.

By Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 22, 2008; 5:32 PM

The Department of Homeland Security will take responsibility from airlines for checking passenger names against watch lists beginning in January and will require all commercial passengers for the first time to provide their full name, date of birth and gender as a condition of boarding a flight, U.S. officials said today.

The changes will be phased in next year for the 2 million passengers each day aboard domestic and international flights to, from or over the United States. It marks the Bush administration's long-delayed fulfillment of a top aviation security priority identified after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, an effort that has long spurred privacy concerns.

Speaking at Reagan National Airport, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Transportation Security Administration chief Kip Hawley said that by gathering more personal information from passengers, the government will dramatically cut down on instances of mistaken identity that have wrongly delayed travelers or kept them off flights.

Over the years, countless travelers have faced difficulties because their names are similar to those on the agency's no-fly list or a second list of "selectees" identified for added questioning. They include infants and toddlers, Sen. Edward M. "Ted" Kennedy (D-Mass.), and the wife of Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), Catherine, whose name is similar to Cat Stevens, the former name of the watch-listed pop singer who converted to Islam.
Current Mood: worriedworried

Make Way! Oct. 14th, 2008 @ 12:50 am
The Maker Faire is this weekend! It is the cultural highlight of the year for geeks!

Come with me! I want company!!!

Current Mood: excitedexcited
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