malada: bass guitar (Default)
Wednesday, October 4th, 2017 08:06 am
Nobody saw it coming.

People who knew him said he wasn't a 'gun guy' yet he owned almost 50 firearms. Because that's 'normal'?

Even the gun shop owner who sold him a couple of guns said he seemed normal... which is like talking to a dope dealer when one of his customers has an overdose.

Thousands of rounds of ammo. Is this normal?

Modified rifles to shoot faster. Is this normal?

All legal.

He had cameras outside his room so he knew when the cops were coming.

He shuffled up nearly 30 weapons - many of them modified semi-automatic rifles - into his room over a period of days. Is this normal?

I don't care about his motives. His methods were clear. He wanted to kill as many people as possible and went about it in a methodical way. He bought lots of high powered guns - guns whose DNA is military - their purpose is to kill people. He modded them to shoot more, shoot faster - and proceeded to do so.

Not shot guns. Not bolt action hunting rifles. Rifles designed to kill. Is this normal?

He found himself a nice sniper's nest, stocked it over a period of days then rained lead down on a country western concert. I know gun nuts, their biggest wet dream is to be there when some lunatic starts shooting and they - the calm, rational man (it's always a man) pulls out his concealed weapon and removes the killer from the scene. Yeah, this time... you would have needed to fire *up* a few dozen stories.

And with silencers... he could have kept on shooting while they tried to figure out where the gunfire was coming from.

His reasons are unknown... but his methods are clear: semi-automatic weapons and lots of them. That he brought so many with him is overkill. And these those puppies don't come cheap either. He had a small fortune (compared to what most people have in the bank) in killing iron in his room and at his home.

They say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. I hope this is an exception.

The means and methods to the mass killings in the past few decades are clear - guns. Lots of them. Time to get rid of them.

Oh... by the way... how many of those over 500 wounded have enough health insurance to cover their wounds? Yeah, go figure *that* into the cost of gun ownership.

malada: bass guitar (Default)
Saturday, September 9th, 2017 10:53 am
I haven't been posting much because y'all have been doing a fine job without my help.

However, with Houston still draining and hurricane Irma getting ready to scrub Florida clean of humanity, I want to mention something I read months ago - how the banks are going to react to the next - now latest - disaster.

Although the banking community gets lots of Slack from the government - all branches really - they will be seriously impacted by the latest disasters. Lax regulations has allowed development of houses and businesses ill prepared to survive a major storm. Add the possible increase of frequency of storms, higher tides and storm surges do to rising sea levels* and Florida starts to resemble a place only good for a houseboat.

Bankers are by nature conservative people. Do you think they're going to gamble on handing out 30 year mortgages on houses that may be *totally destroyed* within that time period? Oh sure, most will go begging to Uncle Sam for relief and possibly rebuild in the same area... but will the banks be willing to continue risking the long term loans where the returns look increasingly sketchy?

Maybe Florida will survive this storm but I expect many places will be wiped out. The equity in their homes and businesses will be gone. They declare bankruptcy and move on, leaving the banks with piles of rubble - in the case of businesses some of them toxic piles of rubble**.

The article I read... I'm sorry, I don't remember where I saw it... suggested that some time soon banks will no longer hand out 30 year mortgages. They may be stuck with what they already have but *new* construction? Forget it!

When cheap, long term mortgages dry up it will be a shock to the hot and relatively unregulated building community. This will be the real wake up call for Florida and other low lying areas that unregulated building is going to get risky. The Great Florida Boom will... as it has before... end. This isn't the first time there was a land boom in Florida that got deflated by economic or natural disasters.

I could be wrong. Uncle Sam may continue to bail out those *stupid* enough to build on a swamp again and again and again, or the banks could continue with handing out the 30 year mortgages - they'll just find some way to dump them onto shell corporations so when the *next* storm blows through they'll they won't be stuck with rubble piles.

In the meantime, I just hope that those caught in the storm's path can escape and the damage will be light.

*global warming will only make the naturally occurring disasters worse. If you're surrounded by semi-tropical waters expect hurricanes

**not to mention the native alligators and the non-native boas and pythons. Giant snakes. Eep.

malada: bass guitar (Default)
Friday, July 21st, 2017 08:29 am
Hey, Jeff Sessions ... civil forfeiture? Let's be honest, we all know it's just a grab at people's cash and belongings. It's a violation of due process and we both know it. It's a government overreach that any conservative should be ashamed of.

That said... I've got a mark for you.

He's a noted swindler. He's got extensive property holdings worth millions... even billions! Think of all the SWAT teams you could afford to equip that that! He has mafia connections galore and recently had a shell out 25 million dollars in cold hard cash to settle a massive fraud suit. Like any drug cartel he has extensive connections with foreign dictators and several of the buildings he owns have been sites of large scale money laundering operations!

Mr. Sessions, it's time for you to stop squandering your efforts on penny ante drug users and step up to the big time - we're not talking a few thousand dollars here, with one fell swoop you could net billions for law enforcement and take out and international crook!

I am referring to .... Donald Trump.

Yeah, I think you're too chicken shit to go after your boss the way you go after poor brown people, Jeffy-poo. You're a coward and a hypocrite.

malada: bass guitar (Default)
Monday, July 17th, 2017 07:55 am
I'm writing again.

Except for role playing in Second Life, my writing dried up and died several years ago. I never finished my last Nanowrimo... it was around the time my mother died so that might have addled my brain. I had to start taking care of my dad then too... so it's no wonder things just stopped for a while.

I had some scattered notes and an outline for a prequel to an early nano... which was actually a resurrection of a much earlier story... but nothing came of it. I pulled it out and started fixing it. Usually I have an idea for a story and work fairly linearly but this was more like a big outline with blobs of dialog and scenes. So, I'm reworking it in bits, rearranging things and filling out the story. I'm jumping around a lot so it's a different work process than what I've done before.

It's a bit of a complex story with political intrigue, necromancy all in a mage college in a fantasy setting. The magic is fairly low key but important. The cast of characters keep expanding and I'm going to have to take extensive notes to keep everyone straight.

Should be fun and it will give me something to do at night while I'm not sleeping.

malada: bass guitar (Default)
Friday, July 14th, 2017 08:37 am
Bastille Day

Music: Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson
Lyrics: Neil Peart

There’s no bread let them eat cake
There’s no end to what they’ll take
Flaunt the fruits of noble birth
Wash the salt into the earth

But they’re marching to Bastille Day
La guillotine will claim her bloody prize
Free the dungeons of the innocent
The king will kneel, and let his kingdom rise

Bloodstained velvet, dirty lace
Naked fear on every face
See them bow their heads to die
As we would bow as they rode by

And we’re marching to Bastille Day
La guillotine will claim her bloody prize
Sing, oh choirs of cacophony
The king has kneeled, to let his kingdom rise.

Lessons taught, but never learned
All around us anger burns
Guide the future by the past
Long ago the mould was cast

For they marched up to Bastille Day
La guillotine – claimed her bloody prize
Hear the echoes of the centuries
Power isn’t all that money buys

malada: bass guitar (Default)
Sunday, June 25th, 2017 11:52 am
I think it was 1971 when me and my brother went to the movies for a double billing: "M*A*S*H" and "Patton". I'm dating myself when I state we were in high school. Before the movie's start there was a trailer for a movie that stuck with me for decades: The Ruling Class.

This British romp starting Peter O'Toole was a drama, a dark comedy and a musical. Briefly, the 13th Earl of Gurney dies and his sole heir believes he's Jesus Christ. The trailer toys with the audience and at several points the audience is left wondering if the mad 14th Earl really is god.

And I said to myself, 'I have to see this movie.'

Every once in a while I'd go looking for the movie on TV and later in the video rental stores, but as the years past I never found it.

Enter the Internet.

It'd been a while since I remembered that trailer and knowing that movies sometimes end up on You Tube I searched for it... and found it. Hello, download to USB stick and plugged it into my Xbox 360.

After watching it I can see why it never really made it across the pond. The movie is languid in it's story telling, opening with the 13rd Earl, his powerful position, his massive hulk of a manor, his snobbish family, his nearly robot manservant, and the fact that he is a few gears short a wristwatch. He dies in a rather embarrassing - and nearly predictable - manner leaving the sole heir the 14th Earl. The heir is *certified* insane believing he is Jesus Christ.

The more 'normal' (i.e. power hungry and sex hungry) members of the family plot to have him permanently committed. Mayhem, music, dance and behind the scenes sex happens. It's a very strong poke at the English nobility and there's plenty of jokes to go around until the end when the movie goes dark.

I know I missed some of the jokes because it's a very British movie, but I caught a lot of the main ones. The British nobility was well skewered during the movie. The message that the madness of those in power get excused and overlooked while everyone else must live in fear and terror resonates to this day.

It was a long wait to see the movie and it wasn't quite as funny as the trailer showed it to be. It was engaging without explosions and special effects.

One final note, the file I got from You Tube did show some occasional dirt marks and scratches you'd get from a copy from an analog original. It also ended with color bars so I wonder if it wasn't lifted from a broadcast station at some point.

malada: bass guitar (Default)
Saturday, May 27th, 2017 06:53 am
For a brief time, Micro Soft was allowing people to download ISO images of Windows 7. Since most computers don't come with a separate disc with back up software, they were allowing people to download the operating system so they could have it. At least, I think that was the reasoning.

I grabbed Windows 7 professional both 32 and 64 bit for the two Win 7 machines in the house.... just in case. Of course you need an activation key to make they work. But since I have them with the machines that's not a problem.

Now there are places on line that will sell you activation codes - usually from systems that have been retired or recycled. Usually. I did find a site that posted a whole pile of codes for 'student use'.

I got two computers with dead hard drives. I used some live Linux distros to check the rest of the hardware so I know they both work okay. One worked surprising well with Linux finding the built in WIFI chip and weird AMD graphics set up.

The question is.. could I replace the hard drives and load up Win7 on them with the disks and codes I found on the Internet?

Short answer? Yes. Long answer? Not really. The result is kinda sketchy because they're not Genuine MS products. If you just use the bare ISOs and sketchy activation codes you get basic Windows 7. It takes hours to load up and then you get the barest of drivers. So then you hunt down the drivers... and reboot after each one is installed. More hours of work. Then there's the many many updates and security patches to Windows to download... best done overnight IF you don't have one that asks you questions (and some do). One of the things about the updates is that some of them are designed to find sketchy installs - like the two I did - and let you know that the software is not genuine, registered software and won't you really like to buy the real thing?

There are ways around these notices... for now. I'm sure MS has a few people working to shut down any sketchy operating systems with the next security patch. The machines do work. Sort of. Usually you need to dig into the Registry to make them function. But even after all the work of getting the operating system, the hardware drivers and dodging the notices that say 'hey, this isn't really registered software' ... you have to download Firefox or Chrome and all the other software that make a computer productive.

So after spending days patching together two sketchy Windows 7 machines... the thought occurs to me: do I really want to deal with sketchy Windows machines?

Nope. They're a pain in the ass and who want's pirated software? I did this more out of curiosity than wanting to own a Windows machine. If I really want a Windows 7 machine I'll buy one second hand.

It's a log of work wasted in a sense, but I'll be wiping the hard drives and installing Xbuntu. The installs won't take is long, the updates are quicker, and they come with all the standard software already installed. Web browsers, graphic viewers, media play back _already installed_. It takes less time, less hassle, you get more and it's all legal and nice!

Oh, did I mention that Linux is both more secure and free?

malada: bass guitar (Default)
Sunday, May 21st, 2017 01:01 pm
Some places in the news are making a big deal about Trump's bow/curtsy when receiving a medal (for what?) from the Saudi royalty. I can't tell much from the camera angles but I have another explanation about his strange posture, his half bow - half curtsy:

Back problems.

Make all the jokes you want about Trump being inflexible... but it appears he couldn't bend his back low enough to receive the medal... so he bent his knees. As someone who has suffered almost all her life with a bad back I sort of have some compassion and understanding if this was the case. Of all the things to bash on Trump about this is the least important thing I can think of.

Selling the Saudi's millions (billions?) of dollars of armaments? That's alarming. The Saudis are in a proxy war in Yemen and I'd hate to think of the bloodshed they're going to cause.

malada: bass guitar (Default)
Friday, May 19th, 2017 08:12 am
So... Trump is going on a trip to visit foreign countries - where he does *not* have a resort.

With his staff in chaos, not a one of them a seasoned foreign affairs expert, does anyone think he's going to come out of this looking good?

Top points! He's visiting the pope! Why? In god's name, why?

He's going to Jerusalem! After outing an Israeli intelligence source to the Russians?

He's going to Saudi Arabia! Is Melania or Ivanka going to cover up?

Yes, he's a huge embarrassment to our country... but at this point I just want to get out the popcorn and watch him get skewered.

malada: bass guitar (Default)
Monday, May 1st, 2017 06:36 pm
Dear congress critter....

I am astonished to find that - once again - Trumpcare is being brought up to replace the Affordable Care Act.

I have a pre-existing condition. I have epilepsy. I had my first seizure when I was a child and remember the moments before consciousness left me vividly. That was many decades ago and with proper medication I have been able to live a fairly normal life.

The prospect of being shunted into a 'high risk' pool due to my pre-existing condition is alarming to me. Being unable to afford health insurance due to higher insurance premiums is a real threat to me and to millions like me.

The American Medical Association is against Trumpcare. The AARP is against it. Even the Chamber of Commerce is against it. I ask you to keep the Affordable Care Act intact and functional and vote against the abomination that is Trumpcare.... because when you run the numbers... President Trump doesn't care.

Thank you.

malada: bass guitar (Default)
Wednesday, April 26th, 2017 07:06 pm
Dear congress critter...

I read with alarm how cozy you were with President Trump and his tax plan. I don't know if you remember any of the previous tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans. I do. They got a whole pile of cash and the deficit blew up.

Let me tell you something about 'trickle down' economics: it doesn't. Whatever money that the wealthy and the corporations - what are mostly owned and run by the wealthy - save by having their taxes cut *never* gets reinvested into the economy. It's used to buy back stock, invest in holding companies and spent on large luxury items for themselves. It *never* expands the economy. History has shown time and time again that giving tax breaks to the wealthy does *nothing* to help the economy grow.

It does help the deficit grow. A lot.

Oh, but you're going to give little people like me a tax cut too? I'll tell you what I told George W. Bush, "You can keep your chump change."

Do your research. History has shown again and again that cutting the taxes to the wealthy does not stimulate the economy. Look at Governor Brownback big tax cuts - now his state in mired in debt.

I hope you will study up on the subject - check your economics history - and learn from the past.

Thank you.
malada: bass guitar (Default)
Friday, April 21st, 2017 05:35 pm
The New York Times - and Glenn Thrush in particular - referred to Ted Nugent as:

" — a guitar demigod, knife-between-the-teeth hunter and conservative provocateur — "

which shows how little they know about rock music.

I've seen Ted Nugent live twice in my life... and BOTH times he was outclassed and out played by the 'warm up' bands.

The first time it was the fat man... and I swear he was the biggest man to ever pick up a guitar... by the name of Leslie West. He had a little group in the 1970s called Mountain. "Mississippi Queen" was the claim to fame. He was there with a drummer and bass guitarist... that's it. He played four songs... and was on stage for 40 minutes... 40 mind bending minutes of awesome guitar work. Ted Nugent and has army of other guitarists was a let down.

The second time the opening act was some new group which had just put out their first album. Their name was "Van Halen". Yeah... THAT Van Halen.

Ted Nugent is no guitar demigod but a washed up has been who I personally saw spiked by a fat old man and a young punk kid.
malada: bass guitar (Default)
Sunday, April 16th, 2017 01:19 pm
I don't know if it's just incompetence, chance or someone in North Korea has a clue.

After a lot of bluster from both the dictator of the USA and the dictator of North Korea... although the gunboats are in place, no shots were fired and no nuclear tests were demonstrated. This weekend.

Although there was a rocket launch by North Korea... which seems to have failed in some manner.

I'm suspecting that the ambitions of the leader are North Korea are well stated, sound, and based on the reality that they're still at war with South Korea and will give up power only after slaughtering millions of people... and they themselves are dead. So... missiles, nuclear weapons and an over sized army are an effective deterrent.

The *technical* reality is that over sized armies are relatively easy, missiles and nuclear weapons... yeah it's rocket science and not easy.

North Korean missile technology has not been shown to be reliable. I'm not surprised by this since this is a country where loyalty matters more than competence. Then there's the simple case of someone on the inside not tightening a few screws or crossing a wire here and there and ooops! There goes another missile test up in flames.

The biggest thing I see is the problem of China. China would much rather North Korea go away and stop causing problems... but it won't... because Face. And because China is the closest think to an ally, if North Korea does get attacked it must retaliate... because Face.

Of course, a united Korea... that faces West... would put a US ally at the border of China. I don't think the South Koreans look very favorably on China. I don't think most North Koreans do either.

We escaped destruction... this time. We escaped more through chance than any great effort by the President of Starving Nation or President of Orange Alert.

No wonder I have trouble sleeping at night.
malada: bass guitar (Default)
Saturday, April 15th, 2017 12:27 pm
With war with Syria (and possibly Russia) looming, and war with North Korea (and possibly China) looming... how about some good news.


Located near lovely (?) Binghamton NY the Animal Adventure Park is home to April the giraffe who's been pregnant for ... well forever. Until this morning.

Sometime Saturday morning... you can go to the news sites to see the archived videos... April gave birth! I scrubbed through it... because from the point of hooves appearing to the final drop was nearly 2 hours. I was amused that the branding switched from Toys R Us to Babies R Us.

So with the threat of global thermonuclear war just on the horizon... enjoy a bit of life before we're all turned into to deep fried people.

malada: bass guitar (Default)
Saturday, April 8th, 2017 03:04 pm
Let's see... Shayrat airbase was hit with 59 cruise missiles.

Estimated cost per missile - 1.2 million for an estimate total cost of 70.8 million dollars for a few hours (?) of bombardment.

Amount of damage done to the Syrian airforce - practically none.

Amount the Corporation for Public Broadcast spent in 2014: 445.5 million dollars. This is for 24/7 365 days worth of programming of public television, radio and web features.

So for about 6% of a year's worth of PBS we get absolutely nada. And remember, this was just a few hours (?) of missile launches. Image what a full scale war would cost... in just equipment, let alone blood.

Tell me again how wonderful Trump is at running things?

Don't be fooled, this is just window dressing. A pretty fireworks display to distract us. Militarily this was a stupid and wasted move that effected nothing on the ground - especially if the Russians and possibly the Syrians themselves were warned.

Stay frosty.

malada: bass guitar (Default)
Friday, April 7th, 2017 08:02 am
I logged into LiveJournal and updated my user pic.... to the one with Putin as a Gay Clown.

You know the one... the one that's illegal to post in Russia?


malada: bass guitar (Default)
Saturday, March 25th, 2017 12:08 pm
With the Republicans in disarray Friday over the AHCA bill - half of them thinking it's going to hurt the people they represent and destroy their re-election chances - and the other half thinking it doesn't hurt people *enough* - the bill was withdrawn.

I'm sure it will be back.

But as I emailed to my representative about this abomination, "In the words of Andy Rooney, 'It costs more, you get less and it's not as good.'"

Meanwhile the popular vote loser is busy making mess out of government leaving positions unfilled, or placing incompetents or people actually hostile to the departments they're heading in charge. He's playing golf while the government burns after he threw gasoline all over and passed out matches to pyromaniacs.

Obamacare stills stand - but those who want to increase Suffering will still work to gum it up and cause it to fail like they want to do with most of the government.

Keep resisting. My congress critter will be hearing more from me. They've got a list... so do I.

I will not forget. I will not forgive. I will not join hands and work with an opposition that actively seeks to harm me. No singing Kumbaya from me.

malada: bass guitar (Default)
Saturday, February 25th, 2017 09:09 pm
I have two odd traits - I'm cheap and I think I'm a fix-it-up wizard. The last one has some basis in fact but it isn't necessarily so.

I want to continue to fix up the SnowBox - if just for appearance sake... but the local Xbox fix it places won't sell me a replacement case. So... I started cruising Ebay. You might see where this is going....

Knowing my own thought glitches I set parameters so I would hopefully get what I wanted - a replacement plastic case - and maybe some other Xboxes to play with within a certain price range.

I ended up buying two Xboxes - labelled complete, in good physical shape, with power brinks and all cables - but don't power up. And one hard drive. With shipping it came just at my price point.

At the same time I ordered a few more tools from Amazon. Yes, I was a bad girl.

The Xboxes arrived with extreme speed! Before the Amazon stuff. After examining the two boxes I realized two things: first, the cases weren't going to work with the SnowBox - they were a different style. Second, they wouldn't power up because they sent the wrong power bricks. Heh.

It's the kind the Snowbox takes. And they were in better shape. Swap time!

A quick trip to the local GameStop taking with me the old brick and I got credit towards the correct one! Take it home, plug it in... one of then boots! Woo hoo! I felt so happy with my note book writing down the serial numbers and the kernel numbers. Just putzing around making notes of all the parameters I could find... pure joy. Can't explain it. Wire it up to the Internet... check networking... it's a BANNED CONSOLE.

Microsoft will ban a console - not an account, but the actual hardware - from XBox Live because it had been hardware hacked. It also seems like if you're a real sh*t they'll ban your hardware and your account. There doesn't seem to be a way to unban a console so I'm not sure where to go with this. I might actually see about chatting up a Microsoft tech about this.

This means I can't use it for XBox Live stuff. I'm not sure if I can download apps for it but game disks still work on it. The hard drive works but DVD drive is sticky. That I can fix. Fans are noisy. That I can fix.

The other has the 3 lights RING OF DEATH. That I might be able to fix when the tools come in from Amazon. So it's too soon to tell.

Now, for the good girl stuff.

I've got enough technical chops to resurrect some computers from the dead. I have a couple of old XP machines that I've done that with... but... what do I do with them? Nobody wants them. Oh, I can come up with some bogus excuse to hang on to them and play with them... in fact, I was considering upgrading the power supply in one because... well... reasons...

Or I could just recycle them and be free of them.

Be free of them.

After ripping out the hard drives they went into the trunk of my car. They accept electronics for recycling at work so they'll end up there Monday. Then I'll be free of them.

malada: bass guitar (Default)
Friday, February 24th, 2017 08:44 pm
For Tolken it was Sauron. For the White Wolf games it was Pentax. You know... an entity or organization set about just to cause pain, suffering and hardship... because... reasons?

So it is with the Republican party. Forget their claims about 'Liberty' and 'Free Markets' - look at what their proposals will cause. Lifting restrictions on gun ownership by insane people? Bathroom police? Taking health insurance away from millions of people? Restrict the flow of critical health information from the Food and Drug Administration? Lifting the restriction that has *fiduciaries* take care of their client's interests first and not ripping them off?

It's like a bad novel where the bad guys like to hurt people because it's EVIL and BAD and they like causing suffering.

Yet... that is where we are at. We have a comic book villain as president surrounded by his toadies. They even look ugly... prime example... Ted Cruise. I wonder if he gets itchy wearing that human suit. I wonder what holds him up - by his on again off again love/hate relationship to Trump proved that he has no spine.

Bannon? There's an alien from outer space.

Unfortunately, this is not a novel or bad B monster flick ... but real life. So we (wo)man the barricades with our helmets of knitted pink yarn and march to meetings with our congress critters.

Raise hell. Resist. Not normal.

malada: bass guitar (Default)
Wednesday, February 15th, 2017 08:05 am
So I'm got this rescued Xbox 360 with a broken outside case. It works but it looks ugly and I need a little screwdriver to turn it out.

Checking Ebay I could get a replacement case... or buy a 'dead' Xbox and swap cases. The only problem with that is the shipping costs.

So... why not check the local gaming stores? They except broken stuff for trade in... maybe they can help me out without the shipping costs.

Well, yes and no. They ship all the junk to the 'warehouse' to be refurbished and they don't sell certain parts to the general public. But... they would give me store credit for the old machine towards a refurbished machine.

So by trading in the Snowbox and paying 25 bucks I'd get a refurbished machine.

Eh, maybe not. The Snowbox works - that's the only important thing.

Ever since I rescued this machine from the garbage I've been feeling a little bad about obtaining somebody's device for 'free'. If I was Awesome and Super Cool I could have tracked down the owner (he didn't wipe the drive so I have his gamer name) and said, 'Dude, I fixed your box. Want it back?' However, cleaning out the dead insects from inside the box made me not want to meet this person. In addition, he could taken the device to GameStop and gotten himself a replacement machine with a small amount of scratch.

So, naw... don't feel bad about it anymore. I could have been an asshole and hijacked his account but I am Awesome and Super Cool. I just cleaned it, wiped it, fixed it and now I'm having fun with it.

Because raising equipment from the dead is what I do.