Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Ah,uh,hmm...

At least it's not a chocolate fountain I suppose...

Monday, September 01, 2014

Drunk Blogging 3.1

Hot on the heels of the LA school districts flame out with their iPad program, the local school district has decided to double down and do iPads and MacBook Airs.  Upon mentioning this to my boss she informed me that all the students at the local parochial high school will be getting Google SpyBooks Chrome Books, or whatever they're called.  Ordinarily I am very much against technology in the classroom, seeing it as little more than a gimmick with which to make the school seem 'edgy'.  Upon further thought though, I am of the mind that, perhaps, the time has come where it might work (though not in LA of course).  The issue I see is that by the time many of these kids even hit kindergarten they have now spent their early formative years reading and learning already on tablets.  I can see such children receiving their basket of hard-copy books and wondering "WTF is this?  Fred Flintstone's school?"

The problem is that many schools are a little behind the tech curve and that accepting technology is more disruptive than they may be willing to accept.  It can work, but not within the current paradigm, which since it is on the verge of failure, maybe the time has come where our robot teachers will finally be accepted.
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How about that ISIS?  I can almost care....no, sorry not happening.  The main issue with governance by fundamental Islam is that it's self defeating: even the communists accepted the fact that technology would need to be stolen at the very least.  With Islam it's all or nothing.  It can feed off of the world in which it exists so long as it is not the sole arbiter.  Within any isolated sphere in which it does exist, ignorance reigns and it becomes easy prey for those who, you know, don't have a religious aversion to reading a manual on 'how to drive a tank'.
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I have a very insightful brother, and let me preface this by saying that this isn't like my previous 'sister' drunk blog where I didn't even know the answer when I was quizzed about it later.  This one is pretty obvious.  For the purposes of this post I'll refer to my brother as 'Jimmy'.  Anyway, after a few Knob Creeks I was thinking that I would have made a very poor Jimmy, despite the fact that I received some very light training in that vein.  If everyone was a 'Jimmy' it would probably make for a better world, but then it would make for very poor employment prospects for Jimmy.  Or would it?  Perhaps he would be that much more wise to the world?  Eh, guess it doesn't matter, I'm just that much more thankful for him.  I mean, I guess I can provide...whisky tips if my siblings ask for them, but, you know, if you want real wisdom....

Thursday, August 28, 2014

IT Garbage

At work I occasionally get computer related stuff that has to be junked, so I wonder what URL I should check to dispose of my IT related scrap...
Must be a joy to tell people their e-mail address.

Monday, August 11, 2014

It's On!

This post put it much better than I could:
As if that weren’t enough trouble for the world, the president of Azerbaijan is threatening war with Armenia, the World Health Organization last week declared a global health emergency for the ebola epidemic on the West African coast, all-out war looms between Russia and the Ukraine, Secretary of State John Kerry continues to broker a nuclear deal with Iran, the results of the Afghanistan presidential election remain in flux, Boko Haram continues its terror attacks in Nigeria, a bloody civil war still rages in South Sudan, attempts at a ceasefire continue to break down in the Central African Republic as an Islamic insurgency fuels sectarian clashes that have left thousands dead, and attacks by the Somali terror group Al-Shabaab in Kenya exacerbate deep political divisions.
Although I must point out that he missed the situation in the Ukraine, the ongoing rock disputes in East Asia, the re-bankruptcy of Argentina and the fact that nuclear arms are secured under the failed state of Pakistan.  It should also be pointed out that there's a looming death of the Financial Bubble to End All Financial bubbles.

The news is certainly full of items that are no fun but fear not: in charge of it all we have the worst elites in possibly the history of the world that are going to guide us through these perils.

And on an unrelated note:



Thursday, July 03, 2014

Sooo....

First off, setting up the bomb:
Bockscar, the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima as seen by the Sandmich at Wright-Pat
Ooof, the only thing more difficult than dropping that bomb was getting the picture of that plane out of iPhoto, Ha! ha, um, next...

Secondly:

I wanted to mention the noise about places like Target and Starbucks frowning on people 'open carrying' firearms in their store.  This puts them in the same category as radical companies like, oh, the nearby gun shop.  Open carry has it's place, I suppose, but as a self defense measure it's stupid.  Adherents liken it to having security sign on the front lawn and a big dog in the house.  It's all that, along with a post-it on the sign with the alarm code and a side of bacon to feed the dog.  The effective deterrent of concealed carry is the possible threat but if a criminal can see where the firearm is they can plan how to negate it (or worse, take control of it).  This would get complicated, along with much else, if everyone was open-carrying, but you see what I'm getting at, perhaps....

Lastly, some video game noise:
Devil May Cry 5

Chop-chop!

I was like a lot of other people in that my love of the previous games biased me towards wanting to hate this game.  The previous games were strange ducks in that they were English language games developed by some great minds within Capcom in Japan.  After the last title was (in my mind unfairly) maligned Capcom turned the game over to a British development studio.  I have to say that the results are fairly spectacular.

I'll step back for a second and note that I played this game with a note of sadness in that one day in the not too distant future I will be too old and slow to play a race car of a game like DMC5.  This game has the smoothest combo system of any brawler ever (including the likes of God of War and its many, many clones).  With the exception of a few boss fights there was never a time where an enemy landed a hit on me where I could blame the game.  The developers give the players all the tools that they need to completely control any situation, provided that your reflexes are up to snuff.  Some days are better than others: on one particular replay through a level I played like my hair was on fire and was slicing and crushing enemies like they had something bad about a pizza that I had made and it turned out at the end that I had played through the whole level without being touched.  Unfortunately most of the time I found myself grunting "oof, should'a caught that, perhaps twenty years ago...".  

Anyway, top notch art, music, challenges, and most of all, gameplay; it's not to be missed if you still have the chops to pull it off.

Unfortunately, I do have to shave some points off since the later boss fights feature copious 'unfair' hits and something about the story didn't sit right with me; just a light touch of Bush Derangement Syndrome along with a force play at the end to make sure that the story fit with the Devil May Cry canon.


Remember Me
NeoParis can never hope to be as good as NeoTokyo

Which brings us to the brawler made by a French studio.  The French aren't too dissimilar from the Japanese in that they can't help but bring a whole truckload of their historical baggage to any story-telling experience.  At different times in the story class warfare is played up, along with smugness within the rebel cause, snooty indifference from the ruling hierarchy and, of course, a storming of the NeoBastille.  Unlike DMC5's ultra smooth combo system, the system used here is all French dictate which features a series of button presses which must be pushed in the proper order and timing in order to work.  Where DMC5 rewards button pressing ingenuity and freedom, Remember Me punishes any drifting from the rigid control scheme.  With that being said, this game is gorgeous as some art department poured their heart and soul into this title (rarely has in-game art so closely matched the concept art).  As well, whereas most video games get loose with the story as the game progresses, I thought this one actually tightened up and surprised with an ending that inferred the superiority of individuality over the statist "ends justifies the ends meme" that can crop up at times (Asian games being especially egregious offenders in that department).

Points chopped off for the nasty combo scheme and, ugh, copious 'expository dialog'.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Drunken Airport Blogging

As if there was any other kind of 'airport blogging'.  I recall the famous professional skeptic James Randi remarking about how he never drank because he did not ever want anything clouding his mind.  Now that's some dedication, bordering on mental illness in my mind.

When I was at my departure airport (and not sauced, not good for business to show up drunk despite what Bill Clinton's memories might say) I again thought about my love of the airport.  There's the term 'future shock', and I would think that airports would be a perfect manifestation of that: being able to near-instantly transport to anywhere.  It's a credit to the human race that many people who sit in airports wonder where their stinking 'space ports' are; and if there were space ports, nothing less than trans-dimensional gateways would do!

The view from the Timberline restaurant at DEN
Yes, with airports the fact that I could show up and go anywhere, anytime....
Well almost anywhere.
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Mrs. Sandmich and I used some frequent flier miles to purchase round trip tickets to China for "Sally's" sister's wedding.  After moving miles around, etc. it ended up setting us back $200 for the tickets.  Okay, not bad.  However, what is bad is the $200 per person fee plus four pages of documentation (per person) for a travel visa in order to enter the 'peoples paradise'.  I saw that and thought "why doesn't China just pull the trigger and ban travel outright?".  As documented by The Sandmich, they're already recalcitrant about letting their own people leave, but what does it say to a two week visitor when there is a novella worth of information and a flight-worthy fee just to get in?  Compare this to places like the Dominican Republic which has signs at their airport that basically say "Got money?  Come on in!".  If it wasn't for a friend of the family getting married and the fact that I might be missing out on the biggest party that I'll ever attend in my life I'd tell those ChiComms to screw off.
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On that note, how about some language?

While traveling in Colorado on my latest spell I thought of my hour long travel both ways to my brother's family's place where I stay, to the plant where I work.  I thought that I could stay at a hotel instead and be there in fifteen minutes, and then since I was by myself I could drive up to see my brother's family and drive back that night and...well that doesn't make any sense, best just to stay an hour away.  I can't complain much at all since there's someone who actually works at that plant who makes that drive every day of their lives.  The drive I could do, the $60 a week gas bill I could not though.

Anyway, while driving I feel like I should expand my mind by listening to language classes from iTunes U.  Last time I tried to relearn some Spanish (especially helpful in Colorado), but my mind begged for mercy and a return to A State of Trance.  "No room in the inn" I could hear the gray matter screaming.

Not to be deterred completely, since I scheduled the trip to China I decided to do some Chinese audio lessons.  What a cluster-F of a language.  In the past, while listening to Sally talk to her dad it sounded like she was constantly asking him questions (the tone most typically heard in English when someone says "Really?").  It turns out that is one of four vowel accents used to differentiate vowels and words.  For instance, the words (as pronounced in English) "pa", "pa?" and "pa?!" are three different words (there's a forth that's barely different from the first).

"Okay" I figured, I get it, nothing too bad.  Then I listened to the lesson that taught how to count from zero to ten (which is actually irrelevant when it comes to East Asian languages).  But I remarked to my brother that if I listened to that lesson all week to and from his house that I might be able to count to three.  It's odd since two of the numbers are the same as Japanese.  It's almost as if the Japanese said "nice language you got there Chinamen, we'll take these handful of words and you can keep the rest of that hot mess".
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So I of course purchased the HD version of Final Fantasy X (review forthcoming).  I played it all the time at home.
Back into the...whatever it's called
Also of course, when visiting someplace as scenic and interesting as Colorado I would want to do something more interesting than playing any silly video game...until I learned that my brother who turned me onto the game more than a decade ago was playing it as well.  I'm sure my sister-in-law was amused to no end to see her husband and 'future version of husband' sitting around for hours on end playing a redux of a twelve year old video game that we'd both played already a couple times between us already.
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'Beautiful People'
Just to wrap this back up before I wolf down a steak at the Timberline that isn't past due, I thought I'd make another airport remark.  Most, I would say north of 90% of the people, dress and prepare themselves as if flying is still something special.  I recall a whole article in United's Hemisphere's that detailed how men should properly dress for transportation via air flight.  I can't say as I follow any of the advice (typical jeans-dockers-untucked dress shirt hipster look), but it's nice to know that somewhere in the universe, some level of standard is being maintained.

Thankfully they didn't mention anything about the proper sobriety level as I get ready to stumble to the gate; ready for a three hour flight of illegal bootlegs of amazing BluRay rips of Cowboy Bebop and trips to the bathroom...

Monday, April 28, 2014

Pseudo Cash

 More than a few people know of the cover Johnny Cash did of Nine Inch Nails Hurt.  Recorded late in life, I can recall the DJ who played in when I first heard it remarking that it sounded like Cash poured soul into it and produced a product that was in many ways better than the (already pretty good) original.

Cash had made another somewhat famous cover in the late ninties that I wasn't aware of: Soundgarden's Rusty Cage.  The reason I didn't know of it was because I always thought it was a Cash song from the moment I heard, it having a sound much like his original works (though with the volume turned up).  Likewise, U2 produced a song titled The Wanderer which they commissioned Cash to sing, and also which I thought was a Cash song given it's sound, but was in fact original.

Anyway, I bring this up because Amazon has an album out on sale that has all those and more for a mere $5.  If nothing else, it's worth checking out The Wanderer, perhaps one of the few pieces of modern art that has a mild anti-socialist message to it.

Feigned Outrage

Last week that Bundy character in Nevada made some comments that (very sloppily) equated blacks being on the government welfare cycle to slavery.  This point isn't new by any stretch and it has in fact been made by black people themselves.  The point has already been made that Bundy is not the model case for fighting Federal power (though maybe perhaps for taking issue with it); and it's rather unfair to expect that every American will posses pundit-levels of verbosity and quick thinking when a reporter starts quizzing them.  Never the less, that didn't keep the self righteous prigs who make up the current incarnation of National Review from writing pages long critiques about how outraged ("outraged!") they were at the remarks.


Do they really care?  It's not as if Bundy was positioning himself to be a spokesperson for their cabal.  The best I can figure is that they did it so that when they show up someplace and some high-minded idiot makes mention of it they can then mention their screed that they posted to denounce such an animal; and then they can all be friends.  Heaven forbid they're challenged on this and they say "I...just don't care, sorry".  I guess if you're in the pundit business though, you better have a well formed opinion on everything, and it better be the 'correct' one.


Along those lines is the owner of the Clippers who, I guess, made some very racist remarks.  I haven't listened to them so I'll take their word for it.  Sportscasters are the worst when it comes to speaking to such things though.  Steve Sailer had mentioned in the past that sportscasters work in profession where racial differences are glaringly obvious for all to see, so therefore they have to engage in a never ending kabuki-a-thon where they pretend that racial differences do not exist.  We can now expect years of sports commentators talking about how much they hate 'Jimmy "The Greek"/Richie Incognito/Whoever Owns the Clippers' in order to prove, not how much they hate them, but that they themselves would never be guilty of such crimethink.


That's irritating enough, but what irritates me more is why someone who hates black people so much thought that it would be a great idea to buy an NBA team.

Friday, April 11, 2014

GM

So GM has put two engineers on paid leave, and then named them publicly, because that's what a classy joint does to people who have little to no responsibility for the screwed up nature of their organization.


A little back story first though.  I work for a company that has at times been a third tier (in terms of position, not quality) supplier to the automotive industry.  It's something we generally don't do because the buyer (or I should say, the buying committee) will want everything under the sun; generally yearly price cuts and the ability to shove warranty claims down the chain in a 'guilty until proven innocent' agreement.  Some people were surprised by the word that GM wanted Delphi to eat warranty claims even if the issue was because of GM's design.  However, this is par for the course for the big three especially. 


More to the point however, the rot of government ownership is showing through in GM's production.  Sure they aren't technically owned by the government anymore, but I'm sure there's a feeling that another bailout will be in the offing for when they screw up again.  What would one expect of a government owned car company?  Perhaps dangerous design defects?  That are then covered up?  That are then scapegoated out to a few employees that drew the short straws?  And then without fixing any of the issues that led to the problems to begin with?  It's very difficult to overstate how huge and incompetent the bureaucracies are at these organizations even when they're not involved with the government.


Put a fork in that beast.  A real bankruptcy with a real clearing of the air may (may) have set GM on the road to future success, but there's no where to go but down for a government manufacturing business.  It won't be long before GM cars are (completely) manufactured elsewhere and rebadged under their old brands like the French and British government car makers of old.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Spot the Spam

"It looks odd, but I'm desperate for business so..."

Fober LTR is the most famous manufacturer of paints and wall hung gas boilers from Romanian market.More about us you can find visiting our website"www.fober.ro "
We are interested in purchasing some barrel type commutators for electric forklift's motor.
i'd like to send you a drawing with dimensions of that item, so please send me your email's adress., to contact you directly .
Hopping in your early reply,
Kind Regards,
Purchasing Dept.
eng.Cristina Butnar
FOBER LTD ROMANIA
"Paints and 'wall hung gas boilers'?  What could possibly go wrong?"


[Update: I changed the name of the company, but this message actually turned out to be legit.]