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Vanity Plates February 13, 2013

Posted by Mitchell in Science & Technology, Science Fiction & Fantasy.
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So, a new car deserves vanity plates right? Of course it does. Here in Las Vegas they’re particularly popular for some reason. One of the…odder ones I’ve seen around town is IAMGOD. God drives a white caddy. Just so you know. Anyhoodledoodle, I’ve been trying to come up with something good. Given my current obsession with crochet stuff CROCHET would be nice but of course it’s already taken. CROCH3T is available though so that’s an option. Or I could go a different direction – a trip over to the dork side, if you will. Frank Herbert’s Dune series is one of my all time SciFi favorites. There’s a rich vein of possible plates. Holy crap! MAUDDIB is available! I would have sworn I tried it last week and it wasn’t. Hmm. USUL is also available. Or perhaps I could go with something more me-centric. MTCHMBL is available. I dunno, I read that as MITCH MOBILE but perhaps a most people won’t. How about MSTER M? If anybody has any suggestions you can try them out here NV DMV license plate tester and see if they’re available.

Oh, I tried another crochet-themed one: HAPHUKR (Happy Hooker) but…yeah, I don’t think they would have gone for that one.

Adventures in Advanced Yorling – Car Buying Edition January 11, 2013

Posted by Mitchell in Never Give Up, Never Surrender!, Science & Technology, Yorling.
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So. Over the holiday weekend I brought my car in for long overdue servicing. The front brakes were shot, wheels all sorts of out of alignment and other whatnots. Total cost was in the neighborhood of 900 bucks. Then not too long after I notice steam or smoke coming out from under the hood. Service guy poked around and said, oh yeah – radiator is shot. And of course it some sort of special “dual-core” radiator that’s extra expen$ive. Basically it was going to be around another 800 bucks. Mmmf. This car is a 2001 Toyota RAV 4 with something north of 120,000 miles. It’s time to consider trading it in. I looked at another RAV 4 on the lot as I drove off and noted the MSRP. It’s a starting place to run some numbers and see what I can reasonably afford.

And so it begins. I really like the RAV 4 car design and I’m seriously considering another. This time I think I will buy brand-new instead of used.

Crass Christmas Commercialism November 18, 2012

Posted by Mitchell in Home, Politics, Science & Technology, Yorling, Zen Magnets.
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Well, it’s that time coming round again. I love to find & give those those neato gifts that are a bit different that the usual stuff. Check out this find at the Renaissance Fair last month:

This is a door harp. You put it on a door and the little balls plonk up and down against the strings and play a little tune when you open and close the door. Very cool! Renaissance fairs are very commercialized anymore and most of the stuff you find at them are junk. This guy actually makes his own stuff and it’s good quality. He makes actual harps and other stringed musical items too. You can order one here Dreamsinger Harps. One nice feature of these things is that they’re attached to the door with super sticky pads on the back. You don’t have to drill a hole in your door!

Magnet spheres update: Buckyballs has given up and will discontinue making them. As of now you can only get them from Zen Magnets. How long I don’t know. I just bought some more and I noticed they come with a new, prominent warning:

Warning: DO NOT SWALLOW MAGNETS

How old do you have to be to play with these? Dunno. 14 years old in the US for a strong magnetic toy, unless it’s not a toy, then no age limit, but they’re fun magnet spheres, aren’t they a toy? Unless it’s a “science kit” then the government age recommendation is 8+. But really, it’s whatever age at which a person stops swallowing non-foods. Strong magnets can cause fatal intestinal pinching. Place swallowing magnets on your don’t do list along with breathing water, drinking poison, and running into traffic. Call poison control if more than one is swallowed. And keep these away from kids(and pets) who don’t understand these dangers. Btw, this product is a “science kit” for sure.

Isn’t it so very sad isn’t it that it’s come to this? This is your U.S. Federal Government hard at work, destroying successful businesses for no other reason than it can. Oh sure, they say it’s “for the children” of course but since there’s only been 12 incidents in all the years these things have been around I can’t help but wonder what the real motivation is.

Anyway, I HIGHLY recommend giving these out for Christmas to people who know not to eat magnets. Frankly, they are better than buckyballs anyway. I also recommend getting the gift packaged set for those that are new to these things, you get some nifty extras with it. Shipping is always prompt and I’ve never had any problems with them. Oh, and if you want to go all out, there’s the Mandala Set with 1,728 magnets. These things are insanely fun and hard to put down when you start playing with them. Does 1,728 magnets sound like a lot? Well, go see what someone with a SERIOUS magnet ball collection can do: COCOAUB.

More crass Christmas commercialism gift ideas as I come across them.

#SaveOurBalls August 2, 2012

Posted by Mitchell in Bad Times Ahead, Destined for the Gulags, Home, Politics, Science & Technology, Zen Magnets.
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Hopefully that title will convert to a twitter hashtag.  If not it will be changed.

Recently the Consumer Product Safety Commission decided to shut down companies that make and distribute spherical magnets. This isn’t directed only the Big Guys like Buckyballs but also smaller outfits that I buy from like Zen Magnets. This is yet another trumped up  “product safety” non-issue that out of control governmental agencies LOVE to meddle in. Why? For no other reason than that they can I guess. Or more likely a personal vendetta from someone with clout in the agency. Whatever the reason it is a real threat. Amazon, ThinkGeek and other retailers have already yanked these products. These companies aren’t really all that big. They will die before they ever manage any “appeal” process.

It’s tempting to attach this to the general anti-business practices of the Obama administration, but this specific instance isn’t really that. This is just the Standard General Leviathan Roll. These huge & largely arbitrary governmental standard bodies aren’t really accountable to anybody and they rule at whim regardless of who is supposedly “in charge”.  Somebody goosed this particular mindless piece of million pound of federal flesh to move and it crushed. That’s what it does.

That’s not to say that “We” can’t “Do Something” (see recent developments re: Chik-Fil-A). Government agencies will pull back given enough public pressure, but only IF the public knows about it. So far few people know or care about this. It’s getting some notice here and there though, somebody from Buckyballs was on Rush’s show the other day as well as a link from Drudge. Hopefully we’ll get some steam going behind another push back.

Been Busy February 9, 2012

Posted by Mitchell in Bad Times Ahead, Science & Technology, Strange & Unusual.
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Doing…stuff.

 

XBox Bling November 23, 2011

Posted by Mitchell in Science & Technology, Yorling.
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Headset Baby!

This here is the Turtle Beach Ear Force X41 (XBOX LIVE Chat + Wireless Digital RF Game Audio with Dolby Headphone 7.1 Surround Sound) headset that Amazon kindly delivered to me yesterday:

Setup was a breeze and it sounds great! Now I just need somebody to play with :-(  I haven’t been on Xbox Live for very long since before I got my router it was a huge pain in the butt to switch the internet connection from the pc to the xbox. But everything is up and running now. I don’t have many multiplayer games yet but I did get Halo Reach as a download with the new xbox and that does have multiplayer capability. I also have Halo 3. I suck at first person shooter but I’m trying to get better.

So, any other xbox live folks out there? My gamertag is Poolsnark. Look me up!

Back On The Diet Train September 16, 2011

Posted by Mitchell in Health, Science & Technology, Shrinking, Strange & Unusual.
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Longtime readers know I developed type 2 diabeetus a while back and had to start doing all the stuff necessary to deal with that – medicine, blood-monitoring, diet, exercise, blah blah blah. I was actually doing very well and got my blood sugar levels firmly under control and dropped a significant chunk o’ me over the course of a year. I even something something number in my last blood test into the normal range. Which meant that the diabeetus was gone. I even stopped taking the medication. Then I went on vacation and gave myself permission to indulge and to skip exercise as a reward. Yeah. That was…unwise. I never re-established those healthy things and in the year since I regained almost all the weight. Interestingly my blood sugar levels still kept in the normal range though and I have none of the symptoms of diabeetus. I chalk that up to staying mostly away from the really bad stuff like sugary soda-pop and the like, but obviously I”m not doing well in other areas. Like fast food. It’s time to get back to doing healthy things again…but with a twist.

NO WHEAT

Yesterday Instaheh linked to this book on Amazon: Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health. It’s 10 bucks on the Kindle so I went ahead and grabbed a copy. I started reading it yesterday. Currently I’m 30% of the way through. It’s written by a medical doctor and he’s convinced that modern wheat gluten is some of the worst stuff you can possibly eat and that epidemic obesity and diabeetus is closely related to vast increase in consumption of wheat products as promoted by the official USDA guidelines of eating less fat & meat and eating “lots of healthy grains”. He’s making a persuasive case that wheat is a whole system messer upper.

Why Wheat, Why Now?

There’s been kind of a building noise around gluten for a while. Lots of products are touting themselves as “gluten free”. There’s a whole aisle devoted to the stuff at Whole Foods I noticed. Mr Ace O’Spades asked a question a while back about this stuff along the lines of “Humans have been eating wheat products for thousands of years. Wouldn’t we have noticed a problem with wheat a long time ago?” Well, yes and no. Actually societies that turned to a largely grain-based diet did indeed start developing diseases and problems that they didn’t have before. But obviously not to the extent we’ve seen more recently. Previously people exercised a lot more than we do now just in the course of their everyday lives. That alone can mitigate a lot of things. But the real culprit (according to this guy anyway) is the advent of modern wheat strains that are almost in complete prevalence today. He’s saying that the genetic structure of modern dwarf wheat is very, very different from what our ancestors ate, and that the gluten from this stuff breaks down in the digestive system into compounds that humans were never designed to handle. And many of us are in fact NOT handling them very well.

Oh, and apparently you shouldn’t try to switch to stuff like breads and crackers that advertise themselves as “gluten-free” because they’re based on other starch-flours, which while not as bad they’re still doing bad blood sugar stuff.  I’ve still yet to get to how to identify all sources of wheat products in commercially produced food. Like is maltodextrin derived from wheat? Eh, it can be apparently, though that article says it’s gluten-free. The point remains that they use wheat-derived products in lots of stuff that don’t necessarily make themselves immediately apparent.

I’ll let you know how things go.

A FLYING CAR!!! June 4, 2011

Posted by Mitchell in Science & Technology, Strange & Unusual.
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A FLYING CAR!!

A. Flying. Car.

HT to Kevin Sorbo’s tweet

Comets, Hopis & Mayans Oh MY! May 18, 2011

Posted by Mitchell in Bad Times Ahead, Science & Technology, Strange & Unusual.
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Repent For The End Is At Hand!

Apparently we’re gonna get our planetary shit all jacked up by the comet Elenin. Or perhaps Honda. It seems we’re gonna get buzzed by two of these suckers at almost the same time around September or October this year. This is a new scenario I hadn’t heard of previously. The writer of that article also ties it to the whole Mayan calendar deal as well as a Hopi End of Days thing. I know what you’re thinking: wasn’t that Mayan calendar thingy supposed to happen in December 2012? Yes, well it seems that between the Romans & Popes screwing around with the modern calendars that calculation is a bit off. So adjust your schedules accordingly. Obviously the writer of that article has only a vague understanding of various astronomic phenomena he or she is describing and starts throwing around some sciency gobbledygook, but it’s an entertaining read otherwise. Of course your mileage may vary.

And then there’s that whole May 21st thing that’s just around the corner. It looks like that is when The Shit starts going down and the comet/brown dwarf/planet thing is perhaps the Grand Finale?  Hey, look at that – the two end times match up! Nifty. I guess we’ll know for sure if a whole buncha people don’t show up for church next Sunday and/or Aggie Sith stops posting at H&B eh?

***Update!*** Here’s a cool video to show how that’s going to go down:

In other weirdness – funky atmospheric phenomenon often reported proceeding major tectonic events. Scientists are maybe starting to get a glimpse at what’s going on. What does this have to do with the stuff above? Nothing. I just thought was interesting. Then again, perhaps it has everything to do with it.

And if that isn’t enough World Endy stuff for you, I also have Iranian missile bases being constructed in Venezuela, for those folks who like their Apocalypse to be more locally based instead of outsourced. Want more? How about The Black Death kicking off its comeback tour in New Mexico? And while they’re not quite a plague of locusts, we got a bumper crop of these noisy fuckers coming to drive us all nuts this summer.

All snark aside, between the economic stuff here and in Europe, the eternal wars in the Middle East and the very real prospect of it expanding to Israel should members of a Certain Religion of Peace get their way, earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, etc, etc, etc I’m getting extremely uneasy. I think 2011 is going to go down as a Very Bad Year. How about you?

***Update*** Oh, and Nice Deb has more on the Tucson School Board thing. Basically the Mexican version of the KKK (aka “La Raza”) owns that school board now.

At least we have a decent theme song for all this. Hit it boys!

Buying A Motorcycle April 9, 2011

Posted by Mitchell in Science & Technology, Yorling.
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Get Your Motor Runnin’

In about a week or so I turn 41 and I’ve decided to get myself something nice this year. Back in the early 90′s I had a Honda Rebel and it was really fun to ride. Oh it was in terrible shape and laid down a couple times judging by the dent in the gas can and the fact that the rear turn signal lights were scraped off. That last fact I hadn’t noticed for at least a couple months. But I was poor and it was only $500. I eventually got rid of it after realizing that repairs were costing me more than the bike was worth but still I recall it fondly. The funny thing about that particular model was that it generally resembled a Harley-Davidson Lowrider and it fooled people from time to time. Once while I was getting gas a kid nearby suddenly exclaimed “Woah! Nice bike!” Then he looked a little closer and his lip curled into a sneer and said, “Oh, it’s Honda” and turned away. Ah, screw you kid.

Anyway. I didn’t know much about motorcycles then and I still don’t know much about them now, but that don’t make no nevermind. I can also afford something a bit nicer than that one certainly. The question now is, which one? The last week or so I’ve been talking to a couple guys at work who have owned bikes in the past and one of whom just recently bought a brand new Harley-Davidson trike and he made a few suggestions. One thing he warned me off of was any kind of chopper with the big extension on the front wheel. He said that they’re often uncomfortable to ride and somewhat more difficult to control. One suggestion he had was to look into Honda Shadows. I looked. And I liked. Check a couple out:


This here is the Shadow Spirit. Nice eh? Below is it’s sibling the Shadow Aero:

There are a couple more variants in the shadow line but I don’t like the looks as much. The engine size on these things is 745 cc. Currently my price range is four to five grand and I can just pay that outright without needing to finance anything. And it just turns out that there are quite a few of these in the general area with fairly low miles for that price range. Cool! Of course…five grand would make a pretty nice down payment on something a bit nicer though wouldn’t it? Hell, brand new these things are at the seven grand base price. Honda makes a few others in the Cruiser category that look pretty nice too. This is more the style I’m interested in. I’m not going to go off-road with a bike and I’m not interested in the crotch-rocket types either.

Of course, when looking at motorcycles one inevitably starts looking at the Harleys. I’m resistant to them for a couple reasons: first is the expense, second is the reliability (not a good reputation frankly), thirdly is the sound – they are just too freaking loud. Still, I went and prowled around their website for a while yesterday and I was surprised at the prices as a lot of them aren’t really all that expensive. And if I finance with 5k down for three years I can get one of these with monthly payments around $326:


Folks, meet the Harley Davidson Wide Glide. Wide Glide, meet The Folks. Hmm. This is actually do-able people. Of course with a Harley you’re buying into a whole culture / lifestyle thing that goes with it. I’m not entirely certain if that’s a net positive or negative. Any motorcycle comes with that to some degree sure, but H-D is definitely more so. So. Decisions, decisions.

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