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sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets

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(no subject) [May. 4th, 2016|08:08 am]
sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets
Here's something interesting, that came up in a talk with acelightning
We've had Pirate the Rabbit for over 12 years. I think about 12 1/2.
The previous owners had him for a year and a half, about.
He wasn't a baby when they got him.
The Guinness Book Of Records says the oldest rabbit in the world was 14 when it died.

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(no subject) [May. 1st, 2016|08:46 pm]
sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets
We met up with our Ingress frenemies who live down the street, and had buckets of belgian fries while talking about everything. For the first half, the two of us owned the portals, and for the second, we threw them over to them, and the two of them owned them -- but the portals were quite generous either way.
The lady of the couple has multiple sclerosis and has a lot of trouble with keeping her hands steady when she's stressed. That makes playing Ingress significantly more difficult.
Ice cream at Scrumptious, then we headed off in our own directions.
Zombie hunting licenses on a car in front of Manniken Frites.
Buttons on the counter at Scrumptious

It snowed for almost three days straight, which put a big crimp in my plans to cut down the dead 2/3 of the apple tree with a chainsaw. Finally, somewhat after noon, it stopped snowing.
Of course my stupid chainsaw didn't work. There's a blockage in the fuel line between the tank and the carb and I have to completely disassemble it to get to that, including taking apart the pull-start mechanism, and those are invariably a huge hassle to reassemble and get working correctly.
But my 60 year old bowsaw went right through the dead apple tree, albeit with a lot more work on my part.
Much of the inside of the dead section was hollow. It had been dead for a long time. I chopped it to fireplace length on the chopsaw, then split a 3/4 meter wide chunk of stump that had been sitting out back drying through repeated whacks with the maul. We should have enough firewood to last for the rest of spring.

I have a fussy little milling project I'm working on, that needs a cutter 1/16" in diameter. I have a bunch of them. Usually I hold milling cutters in a holder that's fairly burly and has a screw on one side that bears against a flat on the side of the cutter, so everything is constrained solidly. The little 1/16" cutters, though, have a much smaller diameter than any holder I have, so I have to use a collet: a tapered sleeve that is a similar size to the cutter diameter, and is pulled tight by a threaded rod. The problem with this is that my mill is so small, the cutters are long enough that if I position them low enough for the collet to grab them securely, they stick so far out that they bend and break.
So I cut one in half.
Now I have these little stubby milling bits.
They work _great_.
I wish I'd thought of this a long time ago.
This is what happens when you need a 6x6x8mm chunk of brass and what you have is several times that.

I collect brass shavings as if they're precious metal. I now have a 50ml beaker filled with them. Some day soon I'll fire up the oxypropane torch outside and melt them into a solid chunk that I can use.
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argh [May. 1st, 2016|10:59 am]
sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets
I haven't ever spent the time to set up/debug sleep mode on my laptop. As such, when I close the lid and open it back up, it just sits there, blankly, until I drop into a shell and reboot.
Last night I thought I'd be clever and from the shell fire up xwindows.
That made things so much worse. Then it would open the login window, I'd attempt to login, and it would hiccup and bring up the login screen.

This is why I keep two bootable partitions on my system. I divide the hard drive in half, install on one, use it, then when a new release shows up I install that on the other half, and gradually move stuff over until it's my primary, and wait for the next release.

So I logged in over on that side and did some reading and found out that some .config file was borked, went and moved all my .config files into a backup directory, and now I can log in again. Hooray!

But now all my saved passwords are off in some subdirectory in the backup directory and I'm having trouble figuring everything out again. Gah.

I should probably just go with a mainstream window manager.
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wacky hijinx ensued [Apr. 30th, 2016|01:54 pm]
sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets
I was making pancakes with my right hand and recharging portals with my left hand.
That requires a bit of explanation.
When you're playing Ingress, there are virtual artifacts called portals associated with real items of cultural significance: churches, artwork, what have you. In order to interact with the virtual artifacts you need to be within 15 meters of them, more or less. However, once you've done that, usually the portal gives you a key, which allows you to do a limited amount of remote interaction. One of the things you can do is recharge it -- essentially, heal it from damage accumulated through age or being attacked by enemy agents.
So typically if I'm doing something that doesn't take a lot of thinking, I am at the same time repairing portals. While so doing, I also can look at how strong the portal is -- a reflection of how many other players of my team have visited it recently.

We generally keep a statistical sample of keys from a bunch of local clusters, to rapidly assess what's going on, who is doing what, whether somewhere is vulnerable or whether somewhere needs to be attacked to deny the enemy resources. So even though I haven't been in the little downtown area nearby for a while, I keep a couple of keys just to have a rapid way to check it out.
I run across one in my collection and realize it's a level 8 portal -- the biggest thing there is. So is an adjacent one. What this means is that at least eight members of my team went over there and took the whole place over en masse (and didn't invite us.)
I'm all Hey manintheboat we're going to take Lily out for walkies downtown!" because portals that strong are valuable suppliers of resources.
She takes a look and says "nope, Shogun is already down there blowing it up." Shogun lives down the street from us and is a lovely guy aside from being our enemy.
We watch briefly and it's obvious that either he, his wife, and their kid, are having lunch at the place with the amazing Belgian fries or they're at some kids' function at the library, because they've stopped blowing everything up and left one pocket of awesome over in one corner of the downtown area. Hence, we drive down there and start grabbing stuff as fast as we can.
That works until our friend Troiken shows up and blows up all the stuff Shogun didn't, at which point we shrug and drive up to the post office to send socks to a friend.
Well, there's a portal at the post office. It was in pretty sweet shape when we showed up and I can do some stuff with it. So I lean against a brick wall inside the building and fire up Ingress and select the portal.
It's all ratty and tattered and sad-looking.
It wasn't just a moment ago.
Someone else here is trying to capture it.
I look around. I'm leaning against a brick wall inside the building. Leaning against the same wall, on the outside of the building, literally back-to-back with me, is Shogun. He's busily capturing the portal.
So now I know he's there, but he doesn't know I'm there.
Between attacking a portal and capturing it, you have to change screens, so there's a pause in activity. Having played both sides of this many times, I know the greatest humor value is when I wait until he's finished attacking it, rather than trying to defend it while it's still ours. He knocks it over, and changes over to capturing it.
By which time I've already captured it and thrown a bunch of stuff on there.
While I'm peeking around the wall, through the window, watching him.
So I can see him visibly startle when he realizes someone else is here, click again, realize WHO is here, then look around in the parking lot for my car, then look around behind him, where he sees my head sticking out from behind a column looking at him with a particularly coprophagic grin.
He laughs out loud, we hug, make a date to go out to lunch tomorrow, and I get back in line with manintheboat while he and his wife drive off.
Directly to our house where they knock off our two nearest portals since we're not there to defend them. SRS SHENANIGANS.

This game can be many things but around here it has a strong Spy.vs.Spy aspect to it.
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(no subject) [Apr. 28th, 2016|08:03 pm]
sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets
Traditionally, whenever either of us stands up, Lily quickly scoots over and curls up there. Today I walked into the living room and stepped on one of her toys, which let out a sad squeak, and she jumped down to see what was going on. I ran over and sat where she'd been curled up. She gave me a look that would make a saint blanch.

Dinner for tonight: pizza dough, topped with mushroom pasta sauce, cheddar cheese, bell pepper, roasted hatch chili that the guy down the street invariably claims is mild and sometimes is telling the truth, topped with just a bit more cheddar cheese.

I blew up one of my racing wheels on a hard ride yesterday. It made an interesting noise when the hub flange fell apart and the spoke started whacking against everything within range.
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sleeping dreams [Apr. 25th, 2016|08:35 am]
sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets
I dreamed that rigel_p posted about needing a semi truck. I was all no problem, coz there are multiple semi tractor dealerships around here, so I went and bought one and parked it in the driveway, but then couldn't get in touch with Rigel to say "hey you now have a semi tractor!" and was getting considerably stressed out that someone else would do the same and I'd be stuck with an extra semi.

This was in the midst of trying to register for classes for a master's degree, during which time I ran across a bunch of people playing D&D in the registration office and got into a conversation with them about transiently cursed weapons -- rather than just reducing your effectiveness the whole time you're fighting, they'd be legitimately excellent 90% of the time and then totally miss or stick to your opponent or even heal your opponent the other 10%. We had a long discussion about whether having them invert the die roll -- a perfect hit is a 1 rather than a 20 -- made any difference and came to the conclusion it didn't.
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(no subject) [Apr. 17th, 2016|11:33 am]
sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets
The rain started Friday afternoon, turned to snow overnight, and the snow has continued nonstop for the last two days. Not much has accumulated, though: a week of 70-80F days means the ground is pretty warm. The trees are unhappy, though.

I've been fixing things.
fixing stuff
The wooden thing is a Welcome sign, in Marathi, I believe, that a coworker values. In a Boulder windstorm, it got torn off the side of his house and broken into several pieces, so I spent some time with a razor and got the whole works to fit tightly together again, then glued and clamped it.

The brown bit to the upper right is the faux wooden plastic surround that attaches to the boot on my car's gear shifter, and attaches the boot to the car's center console. The boot used to attach by a bunch of plastic pegs. They all broke off over time, so I used the 1890 wood chisel ("Stormbringer") to flatten the points where the pegs had broken off, drilled a tiny hole in the center of each land, tapped it for a 4-40 screw, then epoxied screws into all six holes, that the boot could snap to instead. I hope that'll last the life of the car. Somehow I managed to use the wood chisel without cutting myself, this time. Maybe it's asleep.
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(no subject) [Apr. 15th, 2016|08:57 pm]
sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets
From elsewhere: "Someone pointed out the other day that 'Oh my god, Becky, look at her butt!' passes the Bechdel test, and I haven't stopped laughing since."
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(no subject) [Apr. 14th, 2016|07:42 pm]
sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets
For several years I've been having an issue that if I ate dry bread, a lot of rice, dry cereal, sometimes it would feel like some of it got stuck in my throat, I'd start hiccuping, and have to take a big drink of water, which would make something move and the problem would go away.
This happened today, and I drank a bunch of water... and I couldn't swallow. At all. I ended up doing something like a combination hiccup, cough, and retch, mostly into a wastebasket.
Now my throat hurts, a lot. Not like it's ruptured, but, a lot. I'm having trouble swallowing.
I suspect this is a hiatal hernia, or the beginnings of one. But other people I've known who had this happen, did not end up (that I know of) hurting a bunch after something went awry.
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(no subject) [Apr. 11th, 2016|10:33 pm]
sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets
Frankfort, KY, was funny. We had a good time at the bourbon distillery tour, although we had to wander considerably from the official tour in order to get to all the Ingress portals we were trying to hit. N approved of the bourbon. I approved of the old buildings full of weird equipment. They had a track system running throughout the whole complex, but the tracks were for rolling barrels rather than for moving wheeled vehicles. Neat, though: switching complexes, turntable-like setups, for getting 200 kg containers moved to their destinations.
I'm thinking about ways to make watertight wooden containers that are a little bit smaller.

Nashville is a pretty neat place. I was hoping to get a chance to meet up with backordered but we have different schedules. However, whilst out playing a bit of Ingress we saw some work done by someone we know from Denver, found out he was in town, and got together for drinks and chatting in an odd little british-themed pub (that as it turns out is one of three pubs in town where smoking at the bar is legal, so now I'm coughing quite a bit.) Generally, Nashville seems pretty nice, and they have some great local art.
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