Sunday, February 17, 2013

Long time since I posted here

It's been a while since I posted anything here. I really need to get back in the habit. I should make it a goal to do at least one post a day on some subject or another.

Things I need to do to the Focus:
  • New brake rotors and pads. The rotors are warped, and I think having them completely replaced will be cheaper than having them machined and definitely better long-term.
  • Have Mr. Lee replace the alternator. It's making noise, and for the long-term mechanical/electrical reliability it'd be better if it were changed out for a known good unit.
  • Have Mr. Lee look at the shocks and struts with an eye towards replacing them if they're worn. They're the original ones, which makes them 5-1/2 years old now. That's old enough that they ought to be due for replacement.
  • Have Mr. Lee look at the latch on the rear lift gate. It's bouncing open again when Tim and Dean close it. Part of that might be it being closed too hard, but at least part's the latch not catching right. Not sure whether it just needs cleaned and lubricrated or needs repair/replacement.
That should put the Focus, mechanically at least, back in near-new condition.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Fiscal responsibility

So, the Republicans keep claiming they're the party of fiscal responsibility, and that the Democrats want to spend spend spend without paying for it. Well, let's look at the Federal deficit, the measure of government spending that isn't paid for in some way (all numbers in millions of dollars):

1977, Carter (D) took office:$62,725
1981, Reagan (R) took office:$90,154
1989, Bush (R) took office:$225,093
1993, Clinton (D) took office:$356,858
2001, Bush (R) took office:$133,285
2009, Obama (D) took office:$1,885,104
2011, last reported:$1,228,717

Change in the deficit (red indicates a reduction, black an increase):

ChangePer year
Carter (D)$27,429$6,857
Reagan (R)$143,939$16,867
Bush (R)$121,765$30,441
Clinton (D)$213,573$26,697
Bush (R)$1,751,819$218,977
Obama (D)$656,387$328,194

So, we see massive increases in the deficit under Republican presidents and decreases under Democratic presidents, which argues that it's the Republicans who want to spend without paying for it and Democrats who want to stay within budget. More damning is the rate of change. Clinton cut the deficit at a rate almost equal to what Bush increased it at, and faster than Reagan was increasing it. Bush increased the deficit at a record rate, while Obama has been cutting it 50% faster than Bush increased it.

Conclusion: if you want to balance the budget, put a Democrat in office. If you want to run up massive unpaid bills, elect a Republican.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

EQ2 DoV/Drunder/WoZ progression

My thoughts on the progression:

On the heroic side, you're expected to start with the PQs, work up through the DoV instances (Tower first, then Velketor's, then Kael), and finally have the gems from Kael to get you into Ry'gorr armor. That'll let you get into the Drunder instances, which'll get you the Drunder crafted armor. You'll also be in a position to run the Tower x2 raid zone, which'll get you good jewelry.

On the raid side, Ry'gorr armor and Tower x2 jewelry is enough to let you start raiding the DoV x4 zones. You're expected to work up through the 3 zones in order of difficulty, and the normal-mode DoV x4 armor and jewelry gives you enough to start on the Drunder x4 zones. The armor and jewelry from those in turn is enough to get you into the Plane of War x4.

There's two crossover points from heroic content into x4 raid content. When you get Ry'gorr armor and Tower x2 jewelry, you can jump to the x4 content at the start of the DoV zones. Once you're in the x4 content, you can go from the end of the DoV x4 zones to the start of the Drunder x4 zones and from those into PoW x4. When you get Drunder armor, you have enough to jump over to start the Drunder x4 zones. The Drunder x2 zone also gives armor that's just a hair below normal-mode DoV x4 armor, so it makes a good alternative to either Drunder crafted armor or normal-mode DoV x4 armor.

Notice here that there's no way to skip progression. If you expect to skip the DoV x4 content and jump directly to the latest Drunder or PoW content, it won't happen. And if you expect to skip directly from SF raid content to DoV, again it won't happen. There were too many complaints about a lack of content, mainly coming from people who skipped over the majority of content going directly from one expansion's raiding to the next. The devs seem to have designed things this time so you can't skip content, you need to work through all of it to gear up (or have a toon already working the higher-end raid zones who can get loot for your alts).

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

No, I'm not dead

I'm still around. I just haven't had the energy to post anything extensive lately. Having my legs messed up (still) also messed up the rest of my life, and I'm thinking I've got a case of depression going on from having had this going on for so long. I'm definitely in a mental state that isn't good, witness the fact that I'm having a hard time mustering the energy and enthusiasm needed to do something about it.

I do go for a physical therapy evaluation in the afternoon. Hopefully I've got enough nerve function back that there's things they can recommend to help me get flexibility, strength and motion back in my feet and ankles. The warm, stable weather's doing wonders for my pain level, that helps a lot too.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Osama bin Laden is dead

It was announced last night that Osama bin Laden is confirmed dead.

Net effect on the national situation: a lot of lobbyists spent a sleepless night and will be laboring today to come up with explanations why this doesn't change anything and the government money flowing to their agencies and companies in the name of national security shouldn't be reduced.

Net effect on the world situation: pretty much zip. The Middle East's already in an uproar, the increased uproar won't even be noticeable. Al Qaeda will rattle some sabers, but if they could hit the US itself with anything they'd've done it before this. Suicide bombings... will continue in the usual places at about the rate they've been for the last few years, because that's all the extremists have left.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Kristine Rusch on publishing royalties, e-book and otherwise

This could be bad for publishers. What she's found is that the major publishers who handle her books are consistently under-reporting sales on her royalty statements, both e-book and print editions. I suspect she's right: technology has changed, but publishers have stuck with old methods that estimate sales and those methods are inaccurate. The big tech change is Bookscan, the system that tracks sales of books at the register. In the 80s and before it didn't exist, so there wasn't any way for an author to double-check the sales figures. When it did start, authors didn't have ready access to it's data so they still had no way to audit the publisher's numbers. But now any author can get Bookscan data. It's not a complete check, since Bookscan only covers about 50-70% of book sales. But it does provide one check: it should be physically impossible for the sales reported on a royalty statement (adjusted for reserves) to be less than what Bookscan reports. If an author's royalty statement shows sales less than what Bookscan reports for a title, the royalty statement is simply incorrect.

If authors start checking sales and demanding audits, things could get very sticky for the major publishers.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

$2000 to clean up a couple drops of blood

So, the kid cuts himself. And happens to drip a few drops of blood on the sidewalk while waiting for the ambulance. The city attorney decides, on his own, to call in a hazmat team from another city to clean it up, and sends the resulting $2000 bill to the kid. Talk about asshattery. Kemp's head's so far up his gastrointestinal tract, he's got to open his mouth to see his own colon. I mean, really. Yeah, it's blood, there's possible contamination issues. A gallon jug of Clorox bleach and a push-brush will deal with that, then wash the sidewalk off with a garden hose. Should take 1 janitor, 15 minutes of time and no more than $50 worth of materials (assuming you've got to buy a new brush, bucket and jug of Clorox).

Monday, April 4, 2011

Neurologist appointment again

On the 18th I've got another appointment with the neurologist, followed by another IVIg session. I've got to set up an appointment with my primary physician, too. The feet are improving, but the improvement means they hurt more. Now it's not the pins-and-needles neurological pain, more and more it's just plain bruised-and-battered physical pain. The pins-and-needles mostly comes from shifts in the weather making things act up.

I need to talk to the doc about 2 things mostly. One is the fact my feet and calves are just stiff. I'm starting to get movement even in the right foot, but everything's so stiff it's not funny. And my toes aren't bending right. I think I need to go back to the physical therapist to have them have a look and see what I can do about this. The other is my weight. Mostly I need to get my primary to stop harping about it. I know it's been going up, and I know it's higher than it should be. Low activity levels do that. I've got the eliptical, I'm working on increasing the workout time as much as my knees will allow, and I'm going to get some light dumbbells and a simple bench ordered soonish to help with the arms, sit-ups and such.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Neurologist results

Went to see the neurologist yesterday. The good news is it's not just my imagination, he's seeing tangible improvement in my feet over last time (before the start of the IVIg therapy). He's going to continue the therapy and have me come back in 3 months to see how we're progressing. I'm hoping the IVIg keeps things improving, because the next step up is immunosuppressant drugs and I really don't want to go there if I don't have to.

Things to look at: more PT, X-rays of my toes to see if they're really dislocated, massage, check on the spa and pool down at the Mission Valley YMCA (their pool's heated, nice when it's too cold for the one in the complex), weight bench and dumbbells to help with strength and exercise in general.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Sleeping, lack thereof

Gah. It's not that I can't sleep, it's just that these days I don't seem to want to. Partly it's just stress. Partly it's frustration with my legs. In large part it's fear.

It's coming up on the 1-year anniversary of my coming out of the induced coma. Though I wouldn't call it a coma, really. I was too aware of things. And I'm finding more and more nights involve flashbacks to that. Why would that make me afraid? Google the product "Dignicare". Warning: NSFW. In fact, probably not safe for your personal comfort in general. And that's not the worst of it. What, you thought just because you were in a coma that your body stopped processing and producing waste products? It doesn't, and hospitals have to have a way of dealing with that in patients with no voluntary motor control. And I remember all that going in and coming out. I... really would rather not, thank you very much, and especially not in extra-vivid Technicolor. Also replays of things like my hallucinations of being parked in an out-of-the-way area by a doctor who had no intentions of asking my consent for anything he wanted to do, nor any compunctions about lying to everyone to keep me isolated. It didn't happen, but that doesn't make the memory less disturbing. And memories of them taking the ventilator out of me, only to have to replace it because I was dying without it. That got mixed up with memories of some of my role-playing characters over the years, all rolled up into a scenario of me being turned into them to save my life. Another one involved my doing a motorcycle tour of the US as a busker at RenFaires, accompanying a couple patently lifted from some locals. That one gradually transformed into a high-tech VR-heavy world where I ended up as a sportscaster (mainly because I could keep track of lots of information streams at once and spot the anomalies, and ESPN was paying well). And then there was the Institute for Advanced Science and Research, which was a thinly-veiled copy of the UCSD hospital right down to people repeatedly asking me if I knew where I was and what date it was. Another part involved research into marine ecology and it's effects on the global economy. Don't ask me where that one came from, I'm not sure I want to know. Scratch that, I'm pretty sure I do not want to know.

If you've managed to stay with me this far, you can understand why having all this shoving it's way through my head on a regular basis, when I know it's all bogus but can't stop it, makes sleep a less than attractive prospect. But I need it anyway, I don't stay sane without it. I'll be happier when it's spring and the sun starts chasing the depression and mental instability away again.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Reasons to mistrust Republicans

Mark Hurlbert is a classic example of why I distrust Republicans, beyond the Religious-Right/Teaparty aspects. He's the District Attorney for the 5th Judicial District in Colorado. He's run for US Senate in his district as a Republican. To quote from his biography on the DA's Web site:

"As an experienced prosecutor, Mark knows it is important not to simply secure convictions, but to seek justice. He makes victims a priority and is dedicated to providing victims a strong voice in the justice system."

To quote from the About Mark section of his Web site (which starts to give hints as to his real positions:):

"It is through his time as the District Attorney that he solidified his belief in a small, efficient government and working with various interests to reach effective solutions."

He's quite happy to charge bicycle racers with fraud when one who was injured lets another one user her registration materials to get into a race.

But what happens when someone rear-ends a bicyclist, leaving them with major and permanent injuries including to the brain and spinal column? Well, apparently they get off with misdemeanor charges instead of felony. The reason? To quote Mr. Hurlbert, "Felony convictions have some pretty serious job implications for someone in Mr. Erzinger's profession, and that entered into it.".

Hence why I distrust Republicans. When push comes to shove, they're quite willing to put business and money above almost everything else.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Prediction about the 2012 elections

I predict that Republican control of the House will, in 2012, produce the same result as it did the last time the Republicans took control of the House under a Democratic President: remind people why they voted the Republicans out.

Fiscal sanity? Yeah, right, remember exactly which party not only initiated handing out billions of dollars to banks to bail them out of their own bad stupid utterly insane lending decisions, but also vehemently opposed attaching any sort of restrictions to those bail-outs on the grounds that those banks, not the government, knew best how to apply the money.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Neurology results

Well, I had my appointment with the neurologist this morning to go over the test results. He called it "profound sensory and motor nerve loss" in the lower legs. No duh. He also said it's got to be more than just atrophy from the ICU stay, that should've shown more improvement by now than it has. Indications are an autoimmune response, basically my immune system got triggered by something during the hospital stay and hasn't backed off, and it's attacking the nerves themselves (eg. CIDP). He's going to recommend IVIG therapy, and see if the insurance will approve it. I'm hoping they do, the side effects there are fairly mild. The alternatives are some fairly nasty drugs like prednisone, whose side-effects give face-huggers nightmares. So, more blood tests next week and we'll see what the insurance says.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Summer still?

Looks like it's trying to still be summer, despite being the end of September. It's in the mid-90s here and looks to be getting a bit warmer this afternoon. We've been on the cool side most of the year, I should've been expecting a late hot spell.