October 31, 2013


Ace has thoughts on the alpha intellects who struggle mightily with the Sisyphean task of dragging us ungrateful fools kicking and screaming into the future of blissful yet responsible nirvana that they have so benevolently chosen to bestow upon those of us, who, due to our profound ignorance, are unaware that we are part of the unworthy, ungrateful and barely sentient hoi polloi, and who, without our better's magnanimous guidance would have long since perished by aspirating our own foetid benightedness.

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Two Questions Have Been Answered

...in the latest episode of RWBY.  For one thing, we now know that at least one of the promo trailers is canon.
'...and then the bastards robbed our train!'

Of course the episode poses more questions than it answers...like what the HELL is going on with "Penny"?

Strange new character is...strange.

There are the usual technical issues with this episode and the voice work seems off (OK,Weiss seems off), but the story is actually pretty interesting and has grown beyond the super hero team/school show it looked to be at first.
The episode itself was not the action fest everyone was expecting. A quiet walk through town brings team RWBY in contact with a couple of wacky characters who engender a discussion that later turns heated. and threatens to break up the team. Along the way our heroes encounter some allusions to previous episodes....the larger plot is coming together. We also get a bit of insight into Weiss's background and why she's such a shrew.

An episode with no physical action, this was, nevertheless, fairly dramatic and interesting.

It looks like next weeks episode...the season climax..will be a quiet conversation over tea.


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Gentle Reader, Let Me Give You Two Useful Pieces of Information

1: Don't screw with the band.

2: Kill la Kill continues to surprise.

The show has been consistently fun. What's surprising is not just the twists of the story. It's that despite being over the top, vulgar and silly, Kill La Kill is turning out to be somewhat thoughtful.

  On top of that the transcendentally bad-ass band provides the show with an awesome score.

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Via Instapundit comes the terrifying news that a bunch of California NIMBYs are conspiring to get the Huy Fong Foods factory shut down.
They make Sriracha.

Looks like I'll have to keep a ready bag of the stuff in the trunk for when I to to pho' shops.

The only good thing about this odious development is that stocking up on these has no downside...I'll have a chilli stockpile which I can use even if the situation improves. This is is stark contrast to what happened when I got burned after that Hostess fiasco and found myself holding a freezerfull of Twinkies I had not unloaded before the underground Twinkie market collapsed when the company reorganized.

Of course commodities speculation is always fraught with peril.

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October 30, 2013

They KNOW!

After looking up the head gasket sealant for the head gasket post.
This is what the Amazon window on Drudge looks like...

Now keep in mind that I did not purchase the sealant, I merely looked it up to get the link for the post. This means that everything I click on...even inadvertently... is going in my "permanent record".


A lengthy search eventually revealed that the cute n' astute naga is by Karbo...who you probably don't want on your permanent record (yikes!)

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Completely Missing the Point

 The Anchoress explores an outburst of both theological and logical fallacy.

Of course hatred rarely follows logic so this message is lost on the haters, but it's these asshats who get all the press. Given the depths of their hate they don't know much about their professed theology either.

She also has kind words for classy behavior.

The server has responded to the incident, saying "The offers to help pay me back are much appreciated, but not at all needed. I’d prefer to let my work ethic and my service do the talking, nothing else.”

That’s a classy response to a rank hatred.

A work ethic and professionalism....we need more of that in this country.

I can't get my head around this kind of thing. This is the exact opposite of proselytizing, witnessing or attempting to persuade. It's just stupid, it's evil and they're missing the point.

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She Floats!

USS Zumwalt, the first of a new class of experimental destroyers has been launched.

This didn't get a lot of coverage here but the Chinese are sure interested.
As per giggle translate of the Mandarin:

  October 28, 2013, the U.S. Navy official website Rui Zhu Mu Woer publicly latest super launching missile destroyer USS DDG1000 whole process photos. Compare Unfortunately, the ship into the water did not organize any ceremony because of the impact of fiscal tightening subject.

In other words, this milestone slipped under the radar due to the vessels inherent stealthiness and  the fact that there was no launch ceremony for a first in class warship....but mostly the latter.

Dude...they had launch ceremonies for sub chasers in WW2. This was just a gesture of contempt.

As to the ship itself there are a lot of criticisms floating around about the design, ranging from its tumblehome hull form (which doesn't have as much reserve buoyancy as the flared hulls of the navies current destroyers). There is also concern about the superstructure, which despite being an advanced carbon and epoxy reinforced assembly is still...balsa wood.  

Although classified as a destroyer the vessel is as big as a Baltimore class heavy cruiser, and seems optimized for shore bombardment. This makes it more of a monitor than anything, meaning it's really a replacement for the battleships. While the vessel doesn't have an armor belt per se its shell plating is 20mm thick and it is reportedly quite strongly built. The propulsion system is an advanced gas turbo-electric system that produces much more available electrical power for the electronics system. This will also make the ship quite quiet. The strange, 19th century looking hullform is designed for maximum stealth.

The ship carries 80 missile tubes as opposed to the 96 of the current destroyers, but these are the Mk 57 launchers which are much larger and can handle bigger future missiles. The ship also has two 155mm (6.1 inch) guns which fire shells weighing 200-225 pounds depending on type. This is as heavy as most 8 inch shells. It can lob guided rounds 100 nautical miles and the 200 pound unguided shells 24 nautical miles. DDG 100 has extensive helicopter facilities aft and a large flex-deck with aft launching for small boats.

The criticisms notwithstanding, this ship and her two sisters are experimental vessels testing out a great many new ideas and weapons systems...the stealthy hull form and composite superstructure need to be tested in real world conditions and if they work out will represent major advances. Additionally this particular program represents one of the vanishingly few DOD programs that is on time and under budget. Given that everything about this ship is experimental except the anchor chains, blankets and urinals, that is no small accomplishment.

May the wind be at her back.

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October 29, 2013

Where the Money Goes

Some months ago I was informed that I was to recieve veterans disability benefits. This caused me some concern as I'm not disabled. Although it was hard to get hold of the proper people to resolve that, once I did it was resolved quickly and hopefully that money is now helping a disabled vet. 

Well, a bit over a week ago I received a check from the VA for a tad less than 900 dollars.

This was...unexpected. I was surprised to find that I was still eligible for any VA benefits. What's more I'm a part time student this semester so that seemed like an excessive amount.

Anyway, I called the VA and after some PEBKAC errors with the phone tree and a 27 minute wait I got an operator. After answering some questions I learned that I was indeed eligible for some educational benefits. I explained that I was a part-time student this semester. The operator confirmed this, told me what courses I was taking and that I should be receiving a check so everything was fine.  I pointed out that the amount she quoted was substantially less than the amount the check was written for. The operator said that this was probably back pay and not to worry about it.


So...I ended up speaking to her supervisor. After some digging It was revealed that the check was not, in fact, vaguely rationalized "back pay" but rather educational benefits for the full course load I took during the summer semester.

This sounded much more in line with the amount the check was written out for and would have resolved the matter if I had, in fact, taken any classes during the summer.

I explained the discrepancy.
I was told that since they had received confirmation of of my enrollment that the check was indeed for the proper amount. I pointed out that it was improper due to the fact that I had not taken the classes. She then asked if I had in fact enrolled in the classes.

I said yes.

She then said that as I had just confirmed what was on the screen the matter was closed. I pointed out that had withdrawn from the classes whereupon I was asked 'WHY I would do that'? I explained that My father had a hernia operation and my mother had back to back gall bladder and foot surgeries at the beginning of the summer and that given my domestic responsibilities it seemed unwise to take the classes.

I ended up talking to her supervisor.

The supervisor implied that if I tore up the check another one would be reissued after a year*. She further explained that the only way to make the check be not officially mine was to go to the VA office at the school, and have them send confirmation of my withdrawal to the VA. At that point I would be mailed a letter containing a kit for the proper disposal of the letter (presumably a SASE).

So I hightailed it through rush hour traffic on a Friday, went to the info desk and talked to the VA rep. He was sympathetic but couldn't do anything right then. You see, in order to process this claim he needed an E-mail from me..which he would forward with the proper information. So I walked down the hall and found a workstation, logged onto my University E-mail account, sent him an E-mail explaining my worrisome windfall and why I'd withdrawn. I walked back down the hall and he verbally confirmed that he'd gotten it and Monday I received E-mail notification from the school that the mater had been resolved.

The matter is still not resolved.

I just received a terse letter from the VA (sans 'kit") informing me that I owed them nearly 900 dollars. There is no return address beyond the PO Box on the letter and I'm antsy about just sending the check out.

I hope to get this matter finally resolved this week.

*I'm uncertain on this particular point.

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October 28, 2013

Thank God for SCIENCE!1!

The head gasket on the Cressida blew.
Now, changing a head gasket has the potential to be upwards of 1500 dollars and on a car as old as mine it can sometimes be impossible. To express my thoughts on the matter would be non-conducive to both stoicism and Arete..so I'll let this imaginary girl do it.

Fortunately, thanks to SCIENCE there now exists Head Gasket Sealant. It doesn't always work...but this time it did.
Of course the oil and coolant had to be flushed, the injectors and spark plugs had to be cleaned and an unrelated bulb needed to be changed but it still was under 300 dollars.

That sucks...but it's not a catastrophic suckasge.

In other news: I work for UPS...not one of the Obamacare contractors...so I'm considering myself pretty lucky at the moment.

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October 27, 2013

Today's Kanji Lesson

These helpful phrases come via this weeks episode of the educational series Outbreak Company which also discussed such useful everyday terms as Pitching, Catching, Furry, Oppai, BL and how to properly set flags.

We also learn that 10 year old dwarf boys have beards.

Given that our heroes have come from another dimension to corrupt the youth of an undeveloped country, it is possible that Kill la Kill is not the most depraved show this season after all.

Despite the downer in the teaser this was a much more lighthearted episode than last weeks. However, like the first three, this had some pretty serious plot points touched on amongst all the wackiness.

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October 24, 2013

Don't Run With Scissors!


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October 22, 2013

Calamity Most Foul

Last night, just after midnight...the downstairs toilet ceased to function properly. Worse it continued to function...but improperly.
Spectacularly so.
Well, as I type this, it is not QUITE right yet but its not functioning backwards.
In any event I just got out of the shower.

I'm tired and can't really think of a good analogy to convey the essence of the day...so here are some bad ones.


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October 21, 2013

It's Astounding

...that a show with as much of an over the top fanboy affirmation premise as Outbreak Company could be the least bit interesting.

The premise:

It seems that a hyperspace portal to the Holy Eldant Empire (a middle earth style fantasy kingdom) was recently discovered within a crevasse deep inside the Aokigahara forest. The Japanese government has decided that instead of water filtration, tractors or composting toilets, Japan's killer app in trading with this wealthy but feudal nation will be Otaku culture and its trappings. They decide to secure permission from the empress to proselytize and proceed get a real flaming Otaku to act as an evangelist for the..."faith".

Our protagonist is Shinich, the recovering Hikikomori and flaming Otaku who answers their want ad. He ends up as Japan's ambassador to a fantasy kingdom, where (woe upon woes) he is gifted a gorgeous maid and must frequently entertain the 16 year old empress.

Yeah...confidence is not high, but as a couple of people have said it has potential I decided to give it a try.

The fact that this actually happens in the show would normally be a warning sign...

...and yet..


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Time is Fleeting

Many however, don't want to believe this.
For them we provide a comforting lie:
"That asshsat that Buzz Aldrin punched didn't know the HALF of it!"

Super secret fresnel tech by S. Zenith Lee

For everyone else, the politics is below the fold...


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October 20, 2013

Madness Takes it's Toll

Steven Den Beste may appear to finally have succumbed to his crippling affliction....engineers disease.

If giraffe's could speak, it would be something of a challenge, don't you think? *

Note though that he has not allowed his handicap to hold him back. Instead, he has leveraged it into a way to further motivate himself to pursue his dream....which I was quite surprised to learn is to become a LUMBERJACK! )

In these trying times it is truly inspiring to see someone who continues to pursue their ambition.

* that's why they type.

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October 19, 2013

The Root Cause of Our Problem

The Anchoress has found something deeply worrisome. It is all the more so because, as someone who spends a fair amount of time on a college campus, I find bonecrushing historical ignorance unnervingly unsurprising....and yet...

... even by the abysmal standards set by today's low expectations, a couple of the answers here are genuinely mortifying.

...For instance, while it would normally be somewhat heartening to hear a College Freshman know the name Franz Ferdinand, the context in which the name was invoked is rather dismaying.

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October 18, 2013


I had not realized that this many of the Babylon 5 cast and crew had passed away.

It was a remarkable series and if you haven't seen it i strongly recommend that you do so.

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An Important Message From the Creators of Kill la Kill

 In the preview for next weeks episode the voice over is something along the lines of..
' If you're up this late watching anime you're going to have issues getting up in the morning, so don't stick around for the previews, go to bed! '

I gather then, that this is a late night show.

Who'd've thunk it?

I found it difficult to choose a screencap that adequately conveys the exuberant depravity of Kill la Kill...that I don't feel ashamed to post...so I'll just pander to a key demographic.

There's context...but it doesn't help.

Similarly, after watching this weeks episode, I find myself at a loss for words.
Don is not so handicapped.

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October 17, 2013

A Question for Our Antipodean Friends

This sign.
Does it warn of venomous octopuses, jellyfish issues or Bunyips?

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"You can Control POLES?!"

...and yet Poland has not been enslaved because Pyrrha is a good person...

...or perhaps Ruby has erred.

Pretty decent 5 minutes. We find out a couple of things...

Also: There was an ad for the RWBY DVD at the end. We're only 2 episodes away from the end of this season which gives the writers about 20 minutes to turn everything to worms.

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