Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mr. Booze

My next project.  I've used the Mr. Beer once before, and I was pretty happy with the results.  The fresh beer tasted great and didn't give me near the odd side effects that I can get with 'factory beer' (head aches, congestion, etc.  It's not consistent enough to get me to stop drinking it though).

As well, I've got a line on some excess pears, so I'm going to try and make a batch of hard fruit cider as well.  On one of the sites that I was doing research on, they summed up one of my thoughts I had with the Mr. Beer: there's something magical about opening that tub and realizing that you've made alcohol.  There's something very liberating about making booze that hasn't seen the paw of the alcohol tax man.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Unwelcome Weather

Signs are pointing to a bloodbath in the market.  It may (continue to) be a slow burn off, but it's looking rather unfavorable.

First, Greece is about to blow, and although their economy is not all that big, exporters in Europe (mostly Germany) has been dependent upon the 'paper' growth generated by Greek (and the rest of the PIIGS) debt spending, and that's the good news.  The bad news is that European banks have been suffering through a slow run that might turn into a sprint since their banks are levered to the hilt with bad PIIGS debt.  Adding insult on injury, having not learned their lessons before, several American institutions are rumored to have been writing credit default swaps (insurance that's paid out to bondholders if their bonds, such as from Greece, go bad) that they more than likely can't cover.

Just to pile on, it should be pointed out that one of the drivers for AMG going into government bailout ownership was never even fixed: Credit Default Swaps (CDS) do not have to be written up against an asset.  In other words, I can go to Bank of America (as several people are rumored to have done) and get a CDS against a million dollars in Greek bonds without, in fact, even owning any Greek bonds at all.  This means that the total exposure to the financial sector is well in excess of the monetary size that Greece may default on (and that doesn't even take into account the fact that European banks more than likely lent out at least $50 for every $1 of Greek debt that they held).

Into the mix is the fact that there's no money for another round of bailouts and the fact that the developed nations (and a fair portion of the developing nations) are completely broke.  There's no backstop this time to hold up the old order for a few more years; this Tsunami looks like it's going to go right over the wall.  (Plenty of articles out there, but my current sentiment is based on light reading here and here).

(I should point out that what's aggravating is that even with all the cards stacked against it, the U.S. still has a chance to do well; if the two ton hog that is the government would get off of the economy and let it breathe).

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Ban Me Three Times Babe!

A couple days ago the Plain Dealer posted this story on about a husband who was wanted for killing his wife, stuffing her in a closet and running off.  In the original version one thing was missing from this story, especially a story about a wanted man: a picture of the perp that's being sought.  It being the Plain Dealer, and me being me, I automatically put two and two and together and posted a semi-taunting comment of "No Pictures?".  After checking out a more reputable Cleveland news source which confirmed my suspicions of a black guy killing his white wife, I then posted back to my comment "never mind, I figured out why there aren't any pictures".

Needless to say, both comments were trashed (and now I see that comments are closed, of course).

About a day before the guy was in custody, the PD then decided to post a picture of the perp, but not the victim.  I posted a comment along the lines of "no picture of the victim, but we all know why...". No more comments for that account as the ban hammer came down, again, for the third time.

After telling that story to Mrs. Sandmich, she kept waiting for the punchline.  I think she was thinking that I posted some tirade about how I wanted the whole PD staff to die or something and that was why I was banned.  Even Mrs. Sandmich, who gets tired of my sermonizing rather quickly (thus the blog) was amazed at how thin skinned the Plain Dealer comment control is.  To me though, it's more disturbing than that.

I have a long line of posts bringing up this type of issue with regards to the odious Plain Dealer (thank goodness their content is free because I would never pay for it).  When it's white people committing a crime, they have no issue digging up a photo, hell they even dug up a mugshot of a crime victim for one of their stories.  Their consistent lack of criminal descriptions, casually not posting public photos, and white washing of racially charged events can't be explained away as PC run amok since the actions will generally not have black people's best interest at heart either.  That's because every thought and action at that rag mag is driven by one thought: what is worse for white people.

No, the PD isn't thin skinned, they're a propaganda machine, part of the Jewish media machine that actively has it in for (other?) white people.

Even I found this line of thinking somewhat paranoid until I was discussing with my 'big boss' the love Jews have for Obama and I causally referenced in the third person how 'some people' think that Jews use blacks to get at white people.  I expected an eye roll, but what I got instead was an active agreement and an anecdotal story to back that up: he said that his son related that on the OSU campus that Jews actively choose to hang out with blacks (the Jews no doubt hedging their bets in case the white people who saved them in WWII will get a sudden urge to fire up gas chambers of their own).  Interesting, but I personally find their deliberate actions in the media more persuasive.

Whatever the Jewish elite plan, it's not very well thought out considering how smart they (think they) are, but they certainly don't have the average Americans best interest at heart, no matter what their race.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Dr. Union is in the House

In what is sure to be a failing of common sense in Ohio when Issue 2 passes, government unions will at once spell doom for the state and for themselves in turn.  Rather than sustainable wages and benefits, the extortion will continue until the state and communities run out of money and an extreme haircut is put into place.

Government unions (and most unions for that matter) don't care about the future though, only getting what they can get their filthy hands on right now, as quickly as possible.  This was particularly ripe:

"If our voices are silent, that harms residents," said Brian Dunlap, secretary/treasurer for the firefighters group. "A doctor is an advocate for a patient like we're an advocate for the people in our communities."

Bullshit.  Like when the Cleveland Police Department decided that fewer officers on the street was better because their own unaffordable benefits were more of a benefit to the 'people in their community'?  Give me a break.

Don't pretend that you fight for me you sad sacks, because you don't; you only fight for your own greedy selves.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Mac - First Impressions

Yeah, I'm two grand poorer and all I have to show for it is this giant Cadillac of a computer.
I actually waited years to make this purchase as I couldn't get off the fence.  I couldn't bring myself to spend Mac money, and I couldn't make myself buy another Windows computer because of the two things I could really live without when it comes to Windows:
  1. The Device Manager.  As a computer tech I'm in the ol' device "mangler" several times a week.  With every Windows system that I've owned, it's been a matter of when, not if, I would need to pull up device manager (or it's close cousin, Disk Manager) to give Windows a grope to see what was up.  I'm sick of 'rolling back drivers', and rigging up drivers, and putting up with manufacturers who had abandoned the platform about five minutes after selling it and leaving it to their suppliers to provide driver updates.  The last issue would inevitably lead to weird situations where the audio drivers are three years old, and the network drivers are three weeks old (which doesn't really matter since the network drivers never work right on a Windows system; you might think that they do, but they don't, trust me).
  2. The Registry Editor. The single story I like to relate was on my last PC that was mine, I tried to install a Visual Studio service pack and was met with a ton registry resistance.  After spending more than a day tearing the registry guts out of the system the service pack finally installed, but it doesn't escape the fact that the Windows registry is a horrible joke on the users of the system.  Over the years, Microsoft has taken steps to try and safeguard the system from a total debacle that might be caused by a couple bad bits in the registry, and although it has had some success, it is largely duct tape on a leaky hot air balloon.
Add to those two points that Windows computers have been completely commoditized, i.e., they're cheap shit.  When inspecting Windows laptops, I'd push the 'enter' key, and keys as far away as 'q' would jiggle from the pressure.  Cheap keyboards, cheap mice, cheap screens, cheap power supplies, cheap heat sinks, cheap software, cheap cheap cheap!  I couldn't take it!  Part of my waiting was that I figured that a real Windows system would appear that wasn't an ugly, over clocked gaming PC, but no dice, regular consumer Windows PCs only got cheaper and nastier.  I know other people have used Windows computers for years with no issues, but maybe by the nature of my occupation or something, my last ten years of using Windows PCs has sucked something fierce, and it didn't look to get better if I kept going down that path.
At this time I'll register two surprises that I've had with the Mac, one good, one bad.  On the good side, Safari has really surprised me.  It's really a top notch browser (at least in Lion) and I've haven't missed IE (even IE 9) for one second.  One the bad side, while better than it's Windows version, iTunes still sucks - Windows Media Player on the Mac, only slower and crappier since the idiots who wrote it haven't figured out how to do background library refreshes, or library scans that don't fall over themselves and add duplicates to the list.  I miss Winamp.

On a nerdy note, I downloaded Xcode, Apple's development package.  I ran through the 'Hello World' tutorial on their site and all I have to say is: Visual Studio it ain't.  Whereas Microsoft hides the guts of the XML and whatnot that actually drives a .Net application, Apple leaves it all laying out on the cutting board, 1995 style.  At least that's my impression after having used it for 15 minutes, so maybe I'm missing something.  (As well, the intellisense was busted, but since I've had that happen in Microsoft dev packages on occasion as well, I'll give them an out).

Global Warming

Well that's no fun (from here):
Even during its current life in the main sequence, the Sun is gradually becoming more luminous (about 10% every 1 billion years), and its surface temperature is slowly rising. The Sun used to be fainter in the past, which is possibly the reason life on Earth has only existed for about 1 billion years on land. The increase in solar temperatures is such that in about another billion years the surface of the Earth will likely become too hot for liquid water to exist, ending all terrestrial life.