At Your Disposal

Well, I finally did it. I pulled the plug. It was time.

My garbage disposal was a decent enough Badger 5. Not pricey, it was a half power workhouse. It had some issues. First, it’d been a leak from the sink flange. I fixed that, twice, vowing the second time, NEVER MORE! Meanwhile, god forbid a lemon seed or popcorn kernel were dropped into it. Either would immediately jammed it, calling out the need for the hex key to unjam it. Lemon and veggies would often rumble around for a few days before finally succumbing to the blades and disappearing.

Then, though, the seals began leaking. After assessing it and confirming it was the seals, I put a bucket under it. I’d monitor and empty the bucket as required.

There’s no-how for you.

Sorry, I mean ‘know-how’, of course.

Finally, though, a day came when the disposal didn’t want to work any more. It made humming sounds but the cogs weren’t jammed. It just didn’t want to play any longer. A new one was required.

That took me into search land, the perfect occupation who tends to overthink stuff. Size, price, horsepower, noise, reputation, issues…over and over I read, compared, and studied. It came down to Waste King and Insinkerator. Love those names, gotta say. They could easily be pro wrestlers or transformers. The Waste King won. I ordered it Wednesday, and it was waiting at the door when I came home from the hospital Friday.

Perfect! The next day, after I came back from writing and walking, I set aside time to tackle the garbage disposal. Getting the old one out was harsh duty. Like a loyal soldier, it didn’t want to leave its post. I’d mentioned that it’d experience some leaking issues. Those led to some rusting issues, which trickled into removal issues. That bear took a sweaty hour to remove it.

Installing the Waste King, though, was a peach. Fifteen minutes, and boom, done. I’m not a handyman, so you know it was a well-engineered product if I installed it in fifteen minutes. Running it for the first time, its volume disappointed me. It’s a one h/p brute, though, and anything put into is liquefied in seconds.

Did I make the right choice? Probably as good as any of them. We’ll see, right.

Meanwhile, anyone need a used garbage disposal? It has no miles on it at all.

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Sunday’s Theme Music

Today’s music came from thinking about the struggles with writing April Showers 1921. During a conference call with the muses, they advised me to trust them and go with instinct. “Everything zen,” I replied.

That introduced the old Bush song, “Everything Zen”. Released almost a quarter century again, it came out the same year that I retired from the military. I enjoyed this song, but the entire album, Sixteen Stone. “Everything Zen” joined my daily commute tape, used in emergencies when I couldn’t find anything on Bay area stations, while the album was put into the CD player’s preferred section.

Thinking over those words, it’s remarkable how technology has changed. Sixteen Stone was on CD. Two CD players served me then and now. One is part of the Bose Command Center, and holds six at a time. The other player is a Sony two hundred disc player, which can be organized as eight sections of twenty-five CDs. I rarely use it now, as music is so readily available via digital sources.

While I know the words to “Everything Zen” and like their play, I wasn’t aware of their references to other songs until recently. Now that it’s all been pointed out, I was dismayed that I didn’t recognize any of that. Songfact explains it well.

Have a great life, whichever day or night it is for you, wherever you reside on this spectrum of existence. Cheers

 

Here We Go Again – A Microsoft Rant

Microsoft has done it again; they’ve “improved” their Word product. 

Three features that I’ve grown used to are suddenly no longer functioning correctly after the latest MS “update”. As a writer, I liked the recently used files, pinned files, and the bookmarker that lets me pick up where I left off the last time that I was in a document. Stupidly of me, I like them so much that I trusted Microsoft to leave them as they are.

No.

I’ve been dealing with Microsoft products for over thirty years. Their updates and improvements regularly ripped up what I’m used to using, slowing me down, wasting time, and adding unnecessary aggravation.

My latest used files, according to MS Word, was in September of 2016. This is from a program that I use every day. The pinned files? All unpinned. Thanks, Microsoft. You’re a fucking peach. 

After finding the files that I used yesterday, the bookmark for where I left off is absent. I know where I was working, etc., but what the hell?

Of course, I must laugh. I must release long, bitter peals of angry laughter because, while Microsoft taketh away and fouls things up, it urges me, “Look! Look at our bright, shiny, NEW stuff. We’re improved, not like the sucky old product that we used to be.”

  1. Why should I look at your new and improved shit when you just removed my normally used shit, Microsoft?
  2. Why can’t I keep using the old, sucky shit.

(And yes, I recognize that the MS Word features that I’d grown accustomed to using were themselves new features, once upon a time. It’s great that they created an provided them. But can’t they see how it builds distrust when they do this sort of crap? It’s like good ol’ Charlie Brown trusting Lucy to hold the bowl. She always pulls it away, and he keeps believing that THIS TIME it’ll be different. Then, Lucy, like Microsoft proves, nope, we fooled you again.)

It’s the world’s way, innit? Don’t know about that, but it sure as hell is the Microsoft way.

GRRR.

Sunday’s Theme Music

With all this Apollo 11 hoopla going on, naturally I thought of moon songs, and ended up streaming The Police and “Walking on the Moon” (1979).

I’ve read many account of Americans who decline to categorically embrace that humans walked on the Moon, despite NASA’s evidence. Ryan Newman, a NASCAR driver, isn’t ready to embrace it; he’s only seen photographs. Photographs, videos, rocks, etc., can all be faked.

I know how he feels. I’ve never met him. I’ve only seen photographs and videos of Ryan Newman. He might not exist outside of CGI. For all I know, he may not have said the words attributed to him. So really, if a fake person who only exists on photographs, videos, magazines, and newspapers claims that another event is faked, does the first cancel the second?

It’ll take some giant steps. If humans ever get to Mars, I wonder how many of them will believe it?

A Bit in the System

I was reflecting on my Air Force command and control past today. 

We’d begun moving into the small computer age back in the early 1980s. The Air Force — and the Defense Department — were being cautious. Locally, we realized that much of the repetitive, manual entries we did on logs, messages, and grease boards, along with the phone calls used to relay information, could be done via computers. We began visualizing and flow-charting the entire process. Military Airlift Command (MAC), which had operational control over us, said, no. Don’t. Stop.

At my next assignment, with Tactical Air Command (TAC), a young major had begun computerizing the mission flows. He was manually doing it himself. Watching him, I began asking questions about why he wasn’t doing this and that, which led to me taking over what he was doing. He and I had a lot of fun working on that. Five years and two assignments later, I was in Europe with a small flying unit. They had begun using computers to do some of the stuff I’d wanted to do. As soon as I saw it, I maneuvered to get involved.

They were happy as hell to let me. Controlled by the J-4 and J-5 Directorates of JCS, with input and oversight from the National Reconnaissance Organization (NRO) and NSA, USAFE didn’t care what I did. Locally, several officers were being advised that small computers were the future and were starting to take computer programming classes, but most weren’t familiar with them, so the commander and DO told me, “Go for it.”

So I did. By the time that I left four years later, other offices in my unit had enlisted my help, as did other units on base, asking me to share all the stuff I’d done with my small computers to automate and correlate information. My trend to incorporate computers continued with my next assignments with Space Command.

This all came to mind via “60 Minutes” and Crucible last night. “60 Minutes” featured a segment on Artificial Intelligent (AI). Crucible, a James Rollins thriller that I’m reading, features Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) as part of the plot. I ended up thinking back to the MAC days and how and what robots could do. With scenes from WarGames flashing through my head, I visualized all those messages, reports, and phone calls associated with mission profiles, aircraft configurations and repairs, and mission execution, and how computers and robots could augment or replace humans.

It’s intriguing to think about. After a twenty years-plus career, I’ve been out of the military for over twenty years. They may have come to grips with many of the ideas I considered and the inherent obstacles.

Somehow, I doubt it. The military has always lagged behind for much of that, preferring to spend their annual funds to modernize weapon systems, if possible. You never know, though; those in charge have now grown up with computers as part of the digital age. My thinking would probably amuse them because they’ve gone so far past that. Oh, to be a bit in the system and overhear what’s going on.

Well, actually, I guess that’s what I was: a bit in the system.

Space Walk

Bored and restless, he left the table in the cafe and walked to stretch his legs. He walked without thought under the trees, sometimes watching the traffic as he went or other pedestrians, but mostly looking inward, until he found himself at one of observation decks. It was empty. He stepped up to look out the windows.

Space seemed as empty as the observation deck. Readouts clicked, whirled, and blinked on panels of information presented in red, blue, green, and amber characters below the window. It all seemed too abstract for consideration. Three things remained concrete to him for now. One, he and his family had made it onto the Ark. Two, they’d left Earth behind. Three, he probably wouldn’t live to see the new world, but his son would.

Right now, those three things were all that mattered.

FNA(Floofino Nucleic Acid)

FNA (Floofino Nucleic Acid) (floofinition) – self-replicating fur initially shed by housepets. FNO is present on almost all clothing, furniture, and food in a home with housepets, and can also be found in hairballs and animal feces. According to reports denied by NASA, FNA was discovered on the Moon during the first manned lunar landing.

In use: “Floofcon 2019 rose to international prominence when an announcement came out that floofologists had created a home FNA (Floofino Nucleic Acid) test kit to determine specifically from which animal hairs, hairballs, and the errant turd that turns up on the floor, originates.”

h/t to Jill Dennison, Floofologist

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