Thank the Greeks it’s Friday

A Historical Friday Haiku

The Greeks named today

“Hemera Aphrodites”

Aphrodite’s day.

Monday’s Solar Eclipse

Let me get the Public Service Warnings out of the way:

  • Do not stare at the sun or eclipse with the naked eye. Damage to your vision could result.
  • Do not look at the sun or eclipse through your camera’s viewfinder withiut an approved solar filter on the lens. Damage to your vision could result.
  • Do not take pictures of the sun/eclipse with your camera or smartphone without an approved solar shield. Damage to the electronics could result.

Be aware there are unscrupulous people selling “protective” solar eclipse eyeware that doesn’t protect you from shit. Amazon has been policing the sutuation, but many have already been sold.

That said, I’m really ticked at my ADHD procrastination. I saw solar eclipse glasses for sale at American Science and Surplus back in March when we were buying fun items for our kids’ Easter baskets.

I regret not buying them then because now they’re impossible to find. But then, if I had bought them, I wouldn’t remember where I put them these five months later.

Yesterday, I saw a sheet solar eclipse film for $27 that you could cut to your specifications. I figured I could cut them up so we could wear them on our faces, as well as buy an SLR 58mm empty filter to glue the film to and screw over the SLR camera’s lens.

But when I hit Add to Cart, I kept getting errors. Later, when I finally seaeched again, the price had jumped to $67! I hate the law of supply and demand.

So, I guess we have to go to the old school, tried and true method of putting a pinhole in a cereal box and watching the eclipse’s reflection through that.

Or, I could just go on FB and view the millions of FB Go Live events everyone will be posting.

Well, there’s another total solar eclipse expected on September 14, 2099. Maybe I should buy them Tuesday and out them away.

Fahrvergnügen

You remember the old Volkswagen ads, right? Fahrvergnügen! Which means, “driving pleasure.”

Tomorrow, we (specifically my wife) get to once again enjoy Fahrvergnügen!

We will be picking up our new 2017 VW Jetta SE. I don’t expect much sleeping tonight as we wait in restless anticipation like it’s the night before Christmas.

Our first car as a couple was a Jetta. Great car that we drove into the ground because neither of us are mechanics.

Weird thing was, it had no lap belts. It did have a shoulder belt. The salesman at Ernie Von Schledorn (“Who do you know want’s a car?”) told us that a lap belt was unnecessary because the dash was heavily padded to protect our knees in a crash.

And we believed the asshole.

Anyway, it was still a great car and we were fortunate never to have tested the padded dash.

But we wondered as we test drove and finally decided to welcome this new Jetta into our family, why it took almost 25 years to look at another VW?

My son and I were thinking of naming the Jetta, Jarvis, because that’s a good German name. My wife is leaning toward Jean-Luc, because … Piccard. And really, Star Trek and Patrick Stewart trump a Marvel AI anyday. Sorry, didn’t mean to trigger anyone by saying trump. Dang. Did it again.

And no, I’m not unhappy with my Fiat 500 already. In fact, here’s a

Gina Update

My Fiat 500 is still the most fun car to drive I’ve ever owned or even test drove. I have no idea where all the bad reviews come from. I haven’t experienced any issues at all and still find it an extremely enjoyable ride. In fact, no one shoukd be allowed to enjoy driving this much.

I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Well, maybe for a 500 Abarth, that little scorpion badge is pretty cool. Or maybe a 124 Spider. But that’s several years away.

I am thinking of adding a throaty performamce exhaust at some point though. I think Gina would sound good with a growl.

Weigh-In Friday

Yeah. Sorry. I forgot to weigh myself again. Don’t worry. Wednesday I see my doctor for a regularly scheduled annual checkup and I’m sure his scale will tell me I’m still a fat slug. It always does. No matter what my home scale says, I can always count on his scale to add several pounds. That scale hates me.

Update on Zagg

Last week i ranted about Zagg making hard screen protectors for the Samsung Galaxy S8 that are for shit. They only have glue along the two curved sides, which causes several problems.

One is they create an airgap between the screen and protector which inhibits touch sensitivity, forcing the user to press harder.

The second is they just fall off because there isn’t enough adhesive holding the protector to the glass.

My wife’s just fell off. My son’s didn’t fall off when he dropped it but the Invisible Shield itself cracked.

I invoked their warranty, which is a free replacement whenever you damage it. They send you a replacement screen protector and a prepaid envelope in which to send the damaged shield back. I suppose that prevents people from submitting endless claims, getting a free reolacement, and selling them to others.

The other day I received an email from Zagg. “We received your damaged shield. Thank you. And we charged your credit card on file for $10.99 for shipping and handling.”

That isn’t free! I call that being charged. Bastards.

The Alt-Right

Fuck them. Fuck all of them. Fuck the Nazis. Fuck the neo-Nazis. Fuck Nazi sympathizers. Fuck Nazi apologists. Fuck the KKK. Fuck white nationalists. Fuck white supremacists. Fuck fascists. Fuck racists. Fuck misogynists. Fuck bigots. Fuck homophobes. Fuck Islamiphobes. Fuck anti-semites. Fuck TheRump. Fuck Bannon. Fuck all the fascists in the GOP. Fuck anyone who rationalizes hate, prejudice, or who blames “both sides.”

Because there is no middle ground here. Both sides aren’t to blame nor are the radicals on the right and left cut from the same mold. The responsibility lies solely with the alt-right. They don’t plan “peaceful” protests or rallies. They come armed to intimidate and provoke fear. They come to spread their loathsome message of hate in an attempt to win over new converts who get a hard-on for these primitive chest-pounding threat displays. These are nothing more than recruitment rallies and the more media attention they get, the more successful they are. That’s how bullies work.

And the only way to stop a bully is by standing up to them, refusing to back down, refusing to be intimidated. And by answering with force if need be.

If anyone tries to spread the blame to both sides, if they try to make claims that the alt-left is just as guilty as the alt-right, explain to them there is no alt-left.

There is no alternative to denoucing hate, prejudice, and racist beliefs. In the end it comes down to this: you either support hateful, fascist slime or you stand with the rest of the human race. There is no middle ground.

An Alt-Right Haiku

Ignorant beliefs

Hate, prejudice, racism

We stand against you.

And how about some classic Anti-Nazi songs?

anti-Nazi Songs

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Adventures in ADHD: Learning about cars

One thing about having ADHD (OK, there are dozens of things but I’m trying to focus on one here. Don’t distract me) is that for me, I have this tendency to become hyperinterested in something and for the next few weeks or months I spend all my energy on that interest (and unfortunately, my money as well sometimes).

Until I become burned out and lose interest or a brand new shiny interest shows up.

Past interests have been swords. I wanted to collect them. I read about them. Became an expert on them. Before I knew anything about them I had purchased three wallhangers (swords only good as decoration) and before my interest waned I had acquired two genuine swords and three antique fencing foils.

Silver Age comicbooks. Having grown up in the Silver Age, I still regard this period, into the early Bronze Age, as the greatest period for comic books, specifically Marvel. So I go through periods where I purchase collectable copies of S.A. comics. Usually reader’s, which are the lower grade of comics and the most affordable. 

At one time I was interested in collecting beer steins, and also beer memorabilia, but since I stopped drinking over two years ago, these things are just taking up space and collecting dust. Anyone want a German beer stein that has a naked woman in the bottom that you can only see once you’ve drained the beer and hold it up to a light? 

My latest interest is cars. I’ve never been a car guy. I mean, I grew up during the muscle car era of the ’60s and I still oogle a well-maintained car from that era, but I’ve never had any interest in their mechanics.

Outside of changing the oil on my 1986 Dodge Daytona Turbo Z, the rest of a car’s mechanicals are a mystery to me. As far as I’m concerned when you turn the ignition key, the car starts because of magic.

But now my ADHD has taken a turn toward an interest in cars. Beyond just wanting to change the oil, and wash and wax my vehicles, I want to know what makes them tick, and click, and squeal, and knock and ping.

I want to learn how to work on them and keep them running well. (I’ll simply mention that part of this is because I’m cheap and tired of paying mechanics to do things I should be able to do just as well.)

I’ve been to the library several times and have checked out four books so far on maintenance for beginners. Three out of four of those books were geared toward women and/or written by women. 

I guess the sexist assumption there is women don’t know jack about cars, but men do. Nevertheless, I’m finding them very educational because I probably fit into that level of inexperience. My dad never worked on cars (or my mom). They relied on the corner gas station to keep things running and, I might add, were at the mechanic’s mercy when it came to problems and cost.

I don’t want to be like that any more. Did you know that a car’s internal combustion engine is also called a four-stroke engine because it takes four strokes of the piston  (up and down and up and down) to make the car go? I didn’t. As I said, I thought it was magic. Who knew it involved valves, fuel injectors, combustion chambers, spark plugs, cam shafts and so on? Seriously? Who knew?

I’ll admit, I had a few friends in high school who worked on their cars and I often got roped in to do all the grunt work, but I never understood what they were doing. It was like watching a magician summoning a demon. If you told me it didn’t involve a pact with the devil and blood sacrifices to get that car to run, I wouldn’t have believed you.

How long will this new interest of mine last? Hard to say with ADHD. Could be anywhere from three months to the rest of my life.

All I know is I’m chomping at the bit (shoukd i have used a car analogy?) to change the oil on one of my cars, but they were all recently in for that and I don’t want to just waste oil time and money on something unnecessary. 

In the meantime, I’m actually going to clean the garage, put up shelving, and get everything organized for when I finally do get a chance to work on one of the cars.

The books I’ve read so far (in order of how I read then and coincidently, in order of how I liked them):

  • Clueless About Cars: An easy guide to car maintenance and repair by Lisa Christensen, with Dan Laxer
  • Auto Upkeep: basic car care, maintenance and repair by Michael E. Gray & Linda E. Gray
  • Dare to Repair Your Car! A do-it-herself guide to maintenance, safety, minor fix-its, and talking shop by Julie Sussman & Stephanie Glakas-Tenet
  • The Car Book: Everything you need to know about owning, enjoying and maintaining your car by Steve Rendle

I enjoyed Clueless About Cars and found it to be easy to read and understand. Lisa Christensen is a female auto mechanic. Her experiences made for factual and interesting reading, whereas the women who wrote Dare to Repair are not mechanics and admitted they knew nothing about cars until they started eriting the book. Dare to Repair is a much thicker book, but it’s geared primarily to women who, like me, are complete novices and think cars run by magic. The book is informative but I still think Christensen’s book is much more useful.

The Car Book is last on the list primarily because it was written for a British audience and the differing nomenclature was confusing and I don’t just mean boot and bonnet. Aside from that, by the time I read it, most of its information was just repeating what I had already learned in the previous books. Which is a good thing for me because it means I’m actually learning,  and possibly retaining, this new knowledge.

If you have any suggestions on what car book I should tackle next, I’d be happy to hear it.

Learn something new every day to keep your mind young. Learn a hobby to keep it active.
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