Archive for the ‘rants’ Category

i will never forget.

Fascinating that even Fox “News” is willing to shine a little light on the WTC 7 collapse….nearly a decade late, but whatever….

this is my child (#ihadanabortion)

It’s indistinguishable from a salamander, bluefin tuna, wolf or chimpanzee embryo. Its sex is undifferentiated. Yet some religious Bozos still cling to the idea that this grotesque assemblage of tissue is a Human Being.

It is not. It might become one, but now it is something that has no self-awareness, nor soul, nor capability of sustaining itself. If it were to exit the womb under any circumstances, it would immediately die.

I have “killed” three such of my “children.” I do not believe they suffered. I do not believe my decisions (in collaboration with the bearing mothers) were unethical.

I’m looking forward to the newfangled 21st Century Bible, with its high-resolution anatomical diagrams of the soul and its scanning electron microscopy of Hell and Purgatory; with its explanation of why The Rapture ain’t happened yet, and why atrocity after atrocity throughout the centuries in the name of a Bastard Jew was ultimately justifiable because it made damn sure this tiny quasi-reptilian “human infant,” about 10mm long, is worth more than its adult human host.

Dear Religion, please get the fuck off my lawn, and out of my girlfriend’s uterus. I promise not to teach science (or history) in your church.

Inspired by the Twitter hashtag #ihadanabortion

customer service

This is a story about a guy and some toys of his that broke, and how the people who sold these broken toys to him responded.

1st PLACE: ICOM AMERICA – I had a minor problem with my Icom IC-7000 HF/VHF/UHF mobile transciever and, since it was still under warranty, decided to send it in sooner than later. The warranty card said to just send it in with a copy of the original receipt of purchase, showing the date, and a brief description of the problem. That seemed awfully easy, almost too good to be true. So I did. About a week later I called in and was told it had already been repaired and would ship soon. Not only did they fix the problem, but ran a comprehensive test and fixed a few other things, then gave the radio a complete alignment. All I had to do was pay for the shipping back to the service center, about $20 (UPS.) WIN!

2nd PLACE: OUTBACK POWER – I own a lot of Outback stuff; their components are the mainstay of my off-grid power system(s). They’ve always been good about replacing stuff under warranty. When the VFX3648 failed just the other day and I called in about it, the customer rep offered to just send out a complete board replacement kit. That saves us both the hassle of shipping the big, awkward, heavy unit back and forth and saves them a little tech time, and allows me to service my own equipment, which I’m all too happy to do in this case. WIN!

3RD PLACE: T-MOBILE: For the third time now, my G1 phone died. And it’s still under warranty, and insured to the hilt above and beyond that. Nevertheless, I have to submit to being treated like an unwanted visitor on a prison camp before I can get anything done. I have to spend my entire morning negotiating with chatterbots on T-Mobile’s customer-time-wasting phone labyrinth before I finally get the point across that my phone is broken. Then I have to answer a bunch of questions. I feel like I just got pulled over by a cop who doesn’t like men with beards or something, and insists on treating me like a suspect, even though I’m a paying customer. They make me give a lot of information about the phone, which I’m still liable for in case said info is later found to be incorrect. I’m perpetually at their mercy, always on the defensive. I hate it. Once the torture is over, I get an unsolicited call from T-Mobile asking me to participate in a survey about the professionalism of the customer service rep I last spoke to. Guys, your people are doing a great job: it’s your hostile, defensive policy towards customers in need that makes me sick. I wish I had a home version of your phone tree interrogation system, and could make you verify the last four of your Social Security number six times and your mother’s birthplace twice, after making you listen to a minute’s worth of irrelevant drivel while you cling desperately to the line, hoping an actual warm-blooded, sentient being will finally grant you an audience…. Fuck off, I hate you. I can’t wait until my contract with you is over. FAIL.


Of historic note, the Trinity Test took place 65 years ago today. It was followed up shortly by the famous “you lose” mission over Japan. You may criticize our President, and perhaps with good reason, all you like but I, for one, and thrilled that we finally have a Commander in Chief who knows how to pronounce the word NUCLEAR, and probably even knows what the dictionary says it means.

[this post has been brought to you in association with Teiwaz and JetFuel – thanks for the inspiration.]

National “Do It Wrong” Day

Ev’ryone join m’ now in this, by declaration of my pre-10am drunk, *First Ever* DO IT WRONG DAY. Paint your shoes green. Walk around with your pants around your ankles calling for Mommy. Invest half your money in a stock or ETF you fully expect to fail. Listen to a creepy far-right AM talk radio show. Leave the engine running. Pee on the kitchen floor and ask a friend to clean up after you. Eat bacon raw. Overcook the sushi. Shake up a can of warm beer vigorously before drinking it. Call your mom and tell her you’re doing these things. And email me with a report. But don’t hurt anyone and don’t destroy the environment, OK?

fucking Dennis Hopper

fucking DIED the stupid FUCK, Dennis Hopper DEAD at 74, fucking shit, he fucking DIED before I got a chance to meet him, offer him a hit off my spliff and shake his hand. I don’t even smoke pot. Fucking asshole, Dennis Hopper, went and fucking died on me, how fucking rude of him, fuck him, fucking fuck, asswipe, asshat fuckhole Dennis Hopper DEAD at 74, fuck.

T-Mobile, or, Why I Secretly Wish I Were Amish

if you’re not in the mood for a hate rant, go read another blog…

the only family-friendly thing I can say about T-Mobile is they copulate with swine. in no particular order: bogus international call charges, failure to inform me that my broken G1 phone was still under warranty while I desperately combed all of southern CA for a new one (finally a friend doing some scouting for me in the San Diego area met up with an honest dealer who clued us in,) days upon days of non-contactability (as reported by many parties trying to reach me) despite good connectivity; an infuriatingly stoopid customer service phone labyrinth. the only way i’ve found to get through asap to a human is to speak as if i had cerebral palsy. which the system sometimes recognizes as Ebonics with consonants radically omitted.

sometimes I really wish I lived in an Amish community. they are not Luddites per se, as many people mistakenly think – rather, they take a good, long, in-depth, analytical view of any technology offered to them, weighing the pros and cons, impact on their lifestyle, etc. – and reject most of it. they turned down internal combustion engines, power lines, cell phones and television. right on! but some communities were quick to embrace solar power. plus, they make the best junk food in the world.

rainy day blues

when a child is born in the Slabs, it’s not a cause for celebration. two ambulances (one for the mother and one for the baby, who is being taken away) and three police cars. sometimes it’s hard to keep my faith in humanity when so many of those surrounding me are setting each other’s camps on fire, losing their teeth and their organs to methamphetamine, alcohol and bad hygiene. one day a guy in a van with AZ plates starts putting together a nice little camp nearby; next day there are two ambulances out there responding to reports of a stabbing, and the sheriff and an investigator come around asking me questions. there’s a beautiful, noble young woman dying of cancer. an old man who’s been dumped here by his family. the hot spring is being converted by tourists into a creepy, free-for-all hangout. my best friends are, at best, hopeless alcoholics or living with some sort of psychosociological dysfunction. many come out here to die. but i’m here to live, and to thrive; i have drawn my line in the sand, i have pushed all my chips into the middle. there is more entropy and sabi here than is generally considered wholesome. sometimes it gets to me. like today. and they wonder why i keep to myself and keep the guns clean. Slab City is a slippery slope, and at times i feel myself losing my balance.

this month in Suck and Fail….

I generally am not a whiner, but the pile of things going wrong here, most particularly things attributable to incompetence and lack of support on the part of manufacturers, service providers and businesses in general is so stunning as to have actually become entertaining. I am trying to lead a relatively simple life off the grid in the Colorado desert of Southern California. My life is made much more complicated by the compound failures I have experienced so far this month. So, dear reader, put on your caustic rant helmet and get ready for a verbal onslaught, some good clean poo-flinging at companies that are really pissing me off right now…

non-working & unsupported

EXHIBIT A: Bosch 1600A on-demand water heater: Dead out of the box, have troubleshot every possible angle and am still receiving NO SUPPORT and NO WARRANTY RETURN AUTHORIZATION from Bosch. Reason? “Nonstandard installation.” They don’t like their products being used off the grid, apparently, even though I have double- and triple-checked my work against the mfg specs and plumbers have signed off that I did everything right. After about a dozen calls to tech support, I finally threw in the towel and decided to return the damn thing. Oh, no, but the friendly, unhelpful folks at Bosch must authorize the return under warranty. I got an email from the original seller, with notes from Bosch’s various support techs taken during our many conversations, and the thing reads like a chapter from Tobacco Road. If William Faulkner had written it. This is why I still bathe at the hot spring, which is frequented by carneys, nudists, rainbows, and the dead. Only the rainbows worry me.

the little email engine that couldn't

EXHIBIT B: Lorex 8-camera surveillance system: Got this from Costco, thinking it would save me a few weeks’ worth of tinkering. WRONG! Not only is the user interface straight out of the 8-bit stone age, but the alarm email notification does not work, no matter how many known working permutations you program into the thing. Support takes about 45 minutes hold time on the phone, and email takes 2-3 days for a response. And nobody there seems to have the faintest idea about what the fuck they’re talking about. The basic functionality works OK, so it’s not a total Fail, but I am simply going to stop wasting my time expecting any help from them and just roll my own email server that triggers directly off one of the alarm outputs. Merry Christmas, folks, and thanks for absolutely nothing.

see the UPS truck? neither did i.

EXHIBIT C: United Parcel Service: I’m really, really sad to report this one. To me, UPS has, up to this point, been like a shining beacon of reliability and competence. But yesterday, a package I’d already been waiting two weeks for (a solder gun from HRO for working on antennas) got left on the front door, according to the tracking report, only there was no package at my front door, and the surveillance system revealed that no UPS truck had even been near my place that day. Must be a driver not accustomed to this route; the two regular drivers know my place and know me by name. In any case, either this was a misreported delivery or my solder gun is someplace far from where it belongs. None of my neighbors received it. Grumble, grumble…

[Addendum 2009.12.22.1357: I just found the package out in the sculpture garden!! What an odd place to deliver a parcel! Anyway, at least this story comes to a pleasant and happy conclusion, and I can go homebrew that 70cm ground plane… – c]

EXHIBIT D: AAG Electronica & TAPR T238+: Mea culpa, I should have looked a little more closely into this homebrew wx kit before I dove in. The 1-wire anemometer the T238+ kit was designed for is deprecated and has been replaced by a model that for some unknown reason has bright, blinky Mexican disco lights in it that have nothing to do with the measurement of temperature, wind speed or direction. After flying the anemometer for a few days to test it, everything failed except the blinky lights – only I failed to realize that until I had doubted and tested everything else. I thought I had miswired the RJ-11 to RJ-45 adapter, and checked in with the designer of the T238+, who basically confirmed I had done it right, albeit a month later (inquiries to AAG Electronica went unanswered.) Long story short, I’ve been working on this damn kit nearly three months and I still haz no wx. No nothing. The anemometer was returned a couple weeks ago; I expect a new unit some time before 2011. The T238+ is a really cool wx logger/tnc/modem, but STAY AWAY because it’s about to be shelved by the designer in favor of a different wx instrument paradigm…hopefully I can repurpose it as an APRS beacon for the missing alarm notification on the Lorex… Fail + Fail = ??

one of these things is not like the others…

EXHIBIT E: Outback FlexMax80 Maximum Power Point Tracker: This is the third one to fail on me. Luckily it is still under warranty, albeit just barely. The first one smoked, the second one went nutty after its neighbor smoked, and this one just stopped being able to track and now cannot even boot itself. Happened just this morning, right when the days are short, the AGM bank is struggling just to hold a 50% charge, and I have the Monster Batteries in trickle charge mode. Awesome timing. I’ll have the new one probably in like 10 days. I *hate* burning dinosaur bones.

home at last...

home at last, after some long hurdles

EXHIBIT F: Monster Batteries From the Shipyard to East Jesus: First, I had to literally send someone on foot to tug at Jim Mason’s shirt sleeve and ask whether these were still for sale, and for how much. I got a fairly prompt response, and the deal was sealed. I put out a call for bids on, a service I’ve used to fair satisfaction in the past. First winning bidder had no idea what he was doing, dragged his heels for a week, arrived to pick up a day late without notice, and then refused to pick up the load, even though all information regarding the nature of the shipment had been known to him. And he didn’t even bother putting down the crack pipe to notify me. Waste of two weeks. Next shipper accepted the bid, then upon finalization asked, “Wait….are these *used* batteries???” Third shipper, who came up just a few hours later (thanks uShip for the very quick cancellation turnaround) and swore up and down he knew this was hazmat, was hazmat certified, driver was hazmat certified, yadda yadda. He actually got the job done, though it came in a 53′ trailer rather than the van he said was coming, which required Plato’s memorial park to be partially dug up….anyway they’re here now, but The Shipyard sent along a set of connecting bars that don’t fit and I either have to wait for them to return my calls and get this straightened out, presumably after this silly religious holiday nonsense, or spend another $500 or so on rolling my own. Never mind. I’m just having a rough day. No, make that a rough month.

EXHIBIT G: Sore throat and so no singing (my primary form of psychotherapy.)

EHXIBIT H: Another cracked molar.

EXHIBIT I: New bad-apple neighbors screaming at each other past bedtime. I was thankful someone went out, fired three rounds, and shouted, “STFU!” It was quiet after that.

All I want for Christmas is a day without calamity, where nothing breaks and nothing goes wrong. Nothing big, anyway. You know, just as a reminder that such days do come along every once in a while.

The future is work, hard work, and no end to it. — John Cage

i hate Windows because…

…it’s like being forced to go out on a date with someone you really, really can’t stand. sure, you get a meal out of it, but you have to pay, you have to put up with someone you hate who thinks you’re in love and wants you to spend the rest of your life with them, and you resent every second of it.

…it’s like Unix, only with lots of Suck and Stoopid mixed in.

…like mustard or napalm, once you get a little on you, it winds up on everything. you can’t get away from it, ever.

“Let them hate us so long as they keep having to buy our crap.” I wonder what it feels like to be hated by so many on a global scale?

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