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User Journal

Journal Journal: Cruz won't even worry about truth this early 12

Did Ted Cruz gin up Iowa voter histories?
That is actually one of the kinder reviews of the campaign mailers that the Cruz campaign sent out. One of my favorite bits so far on this is that apparently the campaign arbitrarily picked either "55%", "65%", or "75%" as a voting "score" for the people they mailed these out to (some say this may have been in part because the state voting records don't have enough information to calculate this number).

The reply from Cruz himself is interesting:

Cruz himself said in Iowa: "I will apologize to no one for using every tool we can to encourage Iowa voters to come out and vote."

User Journal

Journal Journal: The Muse 1

If this is mangled, go here.
        I received a strange note, made of cut up magazines pasted to paper and slipped under my door. It read âoeYour muse has been kidnapped. If you want her back, meet under the Facebook Street Bridge after dark. Bring your wallet, passport, and an umbrella.â
        Crap, my muse was gone? I looked, and sure enough it was missing. It's really important to me, so I got my passport, made sure my wallet was in my pocket, and took an umbrella, even though the weatherman said there was no chance of rain. I went to the bridge around sunset and waited.
        The weatherman was wrong. As I waited under the bridge it started pouring. A little after dark a black limousine pulled up, and the rear door opened. âoeGet in,â a woman's voice said. I did.
        A mean looking short haired blonde in the front passenger seat was pointing a very large black handgun at me. âoeYou're not Neo,â the skinny dark haired girl in the back said accusingly.
        âoeMe?â I replied, scared to death. Or scared of death, maybe. âoeNo, I'm mcgrew, I don't know any Neo. I'm missing some property and someone said to wait under this bridge and I could get it back.â
        âoeOh,â said the blonde, putting the gun away. âoeMorpheus said to give you this,â and handed my muse to me!
        I put my muse in my jacket and started to open the door. The blonde had her gun out again. âoeFifty bucks, asshole!â
        I gave her two twenties and a ten. âoeWhy was I told to bring a passport?â I asked. The dark haired skinny girl laughed. âoeMorpheous was just fucking with you. Now get out!â
        I still can't figure out what that was all about...

User Journal

Journal Journal: GOP operatives celebrating their own stupidity 15

Republican Operatives Try to Help Bernie Sanders

Apparently some of the GOP brass have drank enough Jesus Juice that they believe they can beat Sanders, in spite of

An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll finds him leading Trump nationally by 15 points, while Clinton leads Trump by 10 points.

The GOP fail spin is indeed quite amusing to watch. It's unclear how they will ever make it back out of the woods a second time. If Sanders won the nomination, the GOP would need more than their usual strategy of voter obstruction to keep him out of the white house. If he won the white house, they would only make themselves look even more ridiculous and hypocritical to keep with their strategy of congressional obstruction as a platform.


Journal Journal: Nope, the GOP has no problem getting women in to the tent... 2

Report: Cranston seniors director resigned after having man dress as woman for press conference

Cranston's director of senior services stepped down last week after she had a male bus driver for the Cranston Senior Enrichment Center masquerade as a woman to improve visuals at a press conference.

The man was wearing a dress, earrings, lipstick, and a wig, according to the report.

Stenhouse's last public appearance (the one featuring the man dressed up in drag for the conference)?

an initiative that Stenhouse had put together: the creation of a student snow-shoveling brigade to help poor and infirm older people. Students receive high school community service credits for their efforts.

There was an announcement at the Cranston Senior Enrichment Center, in which some students gleefully shoveled snow from a pile Stenhouse arranged despite the lack of snowfall.

But, of course, Republicans wouldn't waste money like this, would they?

Stenhouse, 56, of Warwick, is a former Republican member of the Warwick City Council and a current member of the Warwick Planning Board. She was the unsuccessful Republican candidate for Rhode Island secretary of state in 2006 and was an aide to Donald L. Carcieri when he was governor.

Ooops, scratch that one.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Wierd Planet

I doubt the magazines will want this and I haven't given you guys any new stories for months. Since slashdot won't fix its text mangler I've posted it here.

The Almighty Buck

Journal Journal: Macy's to Close 40 Stores nationwide 4

This week a list of 40 stores that Macy's will close in 2016 was announced :
  • Irvine Spectrum, Irvine, Calif.
  • Country Club Plaza, Sacramento, Calif.
  • Westfield Century City, Los Angeles (This store will be closed in January 2016 and replaced with a new, larger store to open in this same shopping center in spring 2017)
  • Enfield Square main store, Enfield, Conn.
  • Enfield Square furniture/home/men's store, Enfield, Conn.
  • North DeKalb Mall, Decatur, Ga.
  • Kailua, Hawaii
  • Palouse Mall, Moscow, Idaho
  • Northwoods Mall, Peoria, Ill.
  • Cortana Mall, Baton Rouge, La.
  • Valley Mall, Hagerstown, Md.
  • Berkshire Mall, Lanesborough, Mass.
  • Eastfield Mall, Springfield, Mass.
  • The Shoppes at Stadium, Columbia, Mo.
  • Middlesex Mall, South Plainfield, N.J.
  • McKinley Mall main store, Buffalo, N.Y.
  • McKinley Mall home store, Buffalo, N.Y.
  • Arnot Mall, Horsehead, N.Y.
  • Hudson Valley Mall, Kingston, N.Y.
  • Eastern Hills Mall, Williamsville, N.Y.
  • Cary Towne Center, Cary, N.C.
  • Chapel Hill Mall, Akron, Ohio
  • Midway Mall, Elyria, Ohio
  • Quail Springs Mall, Oklahoma City, Okla.
  • Pony Village Mall, North Bend, Ore.
  • Roseburg Valley Mall, Roseburg, Ore.
  • Suburban Square, Ardmore, Pa.
  • Century III Mall, West Mifflin, Pa.
  • Ridgmar Mall, Ft. Worth, Texas
  • Chesapeake Square, Chesapeake, Va.
  • Virginia Center Commons, Glen Allen, Va.
  • Peninsula Town Center, Hampton, Va.
  • Military Circle Mall, Norfolk, Va.
  • Regency Square main store, Richmond, Va.
  • Regency Square furniture/home/men's store, Richmond, Va.
  • Downtown Spokane, Spokane, Wash.

This little snippet is interesting as well:

Macy's also announced Wednesday that it has engaged Eastdil Secured in conjunction with Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs to approach potential interested parties to form joint ventures to utilize the company's mall-based properties as well as its flagship real estate in Manhattan, San Francisco, Chicago and Minneapolis.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Is slashdot mangling underscores in user names now?

It's entirely possible that I didn't notice this before. What I see today is odd, though. If we look at my friend smitty we see that for some reason the underscores in his name are no longer recognized. I say no longer as my browser still remembers looking at his JEs or comments with underscores (ie, smitty_one_each) even though if I try to do that now it comes up telling me that user does not exist.

Equally peculiar, the underscore in my user name still works. Is it something with the fact that his name has two underscores, and mine only one? Was this part of the "fix" to the login problems we were having over the past two (or so) weeks?

Journal Journal: I see I'm not the only one with login problems here... 1

Back on Monday I mentioned a problem with the comment system , which I'm pretty sure is actually coming from the login system more specifically. Interestingly others are also bringing it up in the front page story on predictions for 2016 .

For as much as makes no difference, my prediction is that this site won't make it to Dec 31 of 2016. Leadership is gone, there is no sign that any actual programmers still work here, the editors have been phoning it in for years, and the site has been up for sale for some time now. New bugs keep popping up, and old ones just remain.

If you haven't had the bug yet - and in my case it comes up in both firefox and chrome - it works like this. When you first load the page, you find that it doesn't show you being logged in. Then you hit F5, and you are logged in. Then you go to a front page story, and you are logged in. However you try to post a comment or reply in that story, and suddenly you are no longer logged in.

One new feature with this one is now when I try to post a comment (even though it will only allow me to do that as AC) the submit and preview buttons are eventually not rendered. This makes it particularly difficult to finish posting the comment.

Whoever leaves last, I hope you remember to turn out the lights. It would be a shame to keep wasting all that electricity.
User Journal

Journal Journal: Fifteen: The Final Chapter 4

It's that time of year again. The time of year when everyone and their dog waxes nostalgic about all the shit nobody cares about from the year past, and stupidly predicts the next year in the grim knowledge that when the next New Year comes along nobody will remember that the dumbass predicted a bunch of foolish shit that turned out to be complete and utter balderdash. I might as well, too. Just like I did last year (yes, a lot of this was pasted from last year's final chapter).

I've lost the URL to my slashdot "messages", damn it!

Some of these links go to S/N since they don't have slashdot's patented text mangler. Stories and articles meant to ultimately be published in a printed book have smart quotes, and slashdot isn't smart enough for smart quotes.

As usual, first: the yearly index. Articles and stories slashdot has mangled the text in are at S/N without the mangling. Slashdot should be ashamed!

the Paxil Diaries

2015 articles:
Where's my damned tablet?
Are printed books' days numbered?
A suggestion to mobile browser makers and the W3C
"My God! It's full of fail!" -David Bowman
Where's my fridge??
1950s TV
What a mess!

Mars, Ho!
Yesterday's Tomorrows
Stupid Tourist!
Voyage to Earth
Plutus' Revenge

There are six more stories finished and one started, but I'm giving the magazines first crack at them. They are:

Dewey's War
The Exhibit
The Naked Truth
Weird Planet
Trouble on Ceres
The Prisoner

All except The Prisoner are finished or in final edit except The Prisoner. That one has me stuck, and it may never be finished.

Last years' stupid predictions:
I got one wrong; Random Scribblings didn't come out. I could have published it this year, but since the subtitle is "Junk I've Littered the Internet With for Two Decades" I decided to add this years scribblings and a little of next year's to it.

This year's predictions: same as last year's, with one addition. I'm not going to predict publication of Voyage to Earth and Other Stories because chances are it won't be done. As I write this the stories finished so far make up 36,000 words, which is halfway there at least. But I will predict:

Someone will die. Not necessarily anybody I know...
SETI will find no sign of intelligent life. Not even on Earth.
The Pirate Party won't make inroads in the US. I hope I'm wrong about that one.
US politicians will continue to be wholly owned by the corporations.
I'll still be a nerd.
You'll still be a nerd.
technophobic fashionista jocks will troll slashdot.
Slashdot will be rife with dupes.
Many FPs will be poorly edited.
Slashdot still won't have fixed its patented text mangler.
Microsoft will still suck

Happy New Year! Ready for another trip around the sun?


Journal Journal: Anyone else having problems with the comment system? 5

Not sure if there is something wrong with my browser or what, but I've had a few times where I've gone to send a comment and found that slashdot has mysteriously logged me out in the process. Then I start a new tab and things are OK again. A few times the main page has shown me not logged in as well, only to refresh and find myself logged in. It seems that stories are still be posted as usual right now, so the whole system doesn't seem to be down as it was last time...

Journal Journal: Conservative tactic of the day: Anger Wherever you Can 35

I was reading through google news when I came upon a Reuters article about Ted Cruz claiming the media is "taking aim" at this children . It was mentioned that the cartoon he is up in arms over was in the Washington Post, but had been removed, so I looked briefly for it.

The first hit for it in a google images search came from Breitbart , pretty well guaranteeing the least-favorable depiction possible of the cartoon.

The response from the cartoonist is that indeed they were depicting Cruz's kids as being manipulated by him for his campaign. I will say, though, that before seeing it I didn't even know he had two kids. Had I seen it before the outrage I would have thought it was saying he was manipulating the GOP electorate as if they were a couple of small monkeys.
The Matrix

Journal Journal: Why conspiracies won't be detracted by their certain failure 120

In the matter of the array of anti-Obama conspiracies, the simple fact at this point is that January 20 2017 is less than 400 days away. The glass-half-full side of the conspiracy buffs should be celebrating at this point as it means they are that much closer to the end of the administration. Naturally, the glass-half-empty side of the same group is angry because they realize they cannot reduce that number any quicker through action than through waiting out the clock.

The fact of the matter though is that the conspiracy crowd wins either way. When President Lawnchair leaves office the conspiracy buffs will tell us about all the conspiracies that were not "investigated" and how they are indication of terrible things that could have happened.

Journal Journal: Healthcare.gov has nothing on hp.com 4

A lot of politicians - and people who want to become politicians - like to claim that healthcare.gov was a disaster. They like to claim that it demonstrates any of a number of evils associated with the Lawnchair Administration.

Yet by my experience it is far from the worst major web site out there. Healthcare.gov can't possibly be as useless as hp.com. If I was inclined to endorse conspiracy I would suggest that hp.com is actually intentionally misleading and designed to drive customers away.

That is a pretty lofty accusation but based on what I just went through I think an argument along those lines could be made.

I have a multifunction printer/scanner/copier/fax/deep-fryer that we purchased back in July of 2014. It is almost certainly out of warranty on its own but that is not the full story. I went to hp.com because the ink cartridges have dried up ahead of time, to see what they could do about that (a lot of people don't know this but the cartridges often have "ink warranty" on them). So I went ahead and tried to see if I could make their web page useful as I don't have a phone number to call.

That was a rather awful mistake.

I started at their support page. I entered my model and serial numbers. It helpfully told me my warranty ended in June of 2013. Yes, hp.com claims my warranty ended over a year before I bought the product. They helpfully have a link you can click to start a warranty dispute (perhaps I'm not the first to run into these absurd problems?). Except tonight that link doesn't work.

I know with a different HP device I had, I was able to get to a chat session with an HP employee. But not this time. Since I can't get it to accept that my printer indeed wasn't even made before they claim the warranty ended, it won't let me get there.

They keep wanting me to go read forums, as if they will magically produce working ink cartridges for me.

Did I mention these cartridges are reporting basically empty after only printing 28 pages - the vast majority of which were printer status reports, cartridge cleanings, and print head alignments?

Well, at least the scanner works pretty well and it makes decent onion rings.
User Journal

Journal Journal: What a mess! 2

I was watching the morning news the other day, and opened the computer to record KSHE's "Lone Klassic"... and it was in Linux. What the hell? Apparently I should have shut it off the night before, because Microsoft had apparently installed an update and then rudely and maliciously rebooted the computer. It was in Linux because kubuntu is the default OS in GRUB. So I rebooted again, selected Windows, and the little thing came up and... just sat there. Ten minutes later I still had a black screen.

I pulled the battery and tried again. Ten minutes later and I still had a black screen. So when I'd yanked the battery again and restarted it, I selected "Windows Recovery" from GRUB. An Acer screen came up with selections for reinstalling Windows. The first wiped the hard drive, the second kept your files. I picked that one; there was data on the hard drive I hadn't backed up in a few days, including a new story I'd started the night before and was on a roll with.

Twenty minutes later the first progress bar said "1%".

I'd decided a long time ago to get a DVD burner for the old Dell, until about three weeks ago when I'd taken it apart to install the video card and hard drive from the old HP that had computed its last. There were no slots that would fit the card (older computer than I thought, I guess) and the drive ribbon was a single drive ribbon. I probably have a spare double drive ribbon in the basement, but since the card wouldn't work in the Dell, there really wasn't any point. I'd decided then to get an old laptop that already had a DVD burner. So this was the time, because I had writing to do and the install was going to take all day and half the night.

I drove to the pawn shop and bought an HP laptop with Windows 7 and a DVD burner. It's a lot bigger than I like a laptop to be, but the smaller, cheaper one with a DVD burner ran Window 8, and I didn't want to deal with that garbage. Windows 7 is still the least annoying and least problematic of all of MS's OSes.

Of course I had to download Windows Defender and Firefox with IE, install Firefox, uninstall Norton and McAfee and Bing Bar and all the other effluent that comes with a new computer, reconfigure everything, and download and install Open Office and all the other programs I need.

Meanwhile, the Windows reinstall on the Acer had hung. Damn, I was going to lose everything I'd written the day before, since Windows had surely overwritten GRUB. I got lucky; it hadn't. So I went into Linux to copy everything to thumb drives, since I still can't get it on my network (time to try a new distro). I even found some movies I thought I'd permanently deleted by mistake months ago!

After I saved the data on thumb drives I rebooted again, went back into Windows restore and let it wipe the drive. That was the next morning, and it took all day. By then I had the new laptop running pretty smoothly and was writing again. The next day was mostly spent getting the old Acer back to normal. I was amazed and pleased that it had destroyed neither Grub nor Linux.

I'd lost a few passwords and haven't yet reset them all, and lost all my bookmarks.

That new computer is too big, but it's a lot faster than the Acer.

So I turn the TV on this morning and it wouldn't pick up channel 49. Flipped through the stations, and all of them had really screwy colors. I have my fingers crossed that it's the converter and not the TV, since the converter had fallen off the shelf last night. I hope it is, because they're not expensive and TVs are. I'll find out when I play a DVD.

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"There are things that are so serious that you can only joke about them" - Heisenberg