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I have a slightly unhealthy interest in stickers going back way before TBAG and pushing for communication and outreach through art there. Laptops are caked. It's a way I'll buy people's design and illustration work, and show it off. I'm delighted the laptop sticker thing took off. My Compaq Aero 4/25 laptop from the 90s is now hipster (4=486, 25=25mhz).

Bringing in a bunch of stickers to the TBAG bike count volunteer appreciation party and discovering TBAG ravenous may have clinched it. I got an ex-school Zebra label printer off the feabay (cheap!) after some research.

Label printers are basically universally thermal printers, but the thermal label stock for them is also crazy cheap, per label/foot/whatever. There are desktop models and battery powered portable models. Adding the complexity of a battery is perhaps frivolous but being able to throw a printer into my book bag has some novelty. The oldest generation of Zebra brand printers (there are a few other respectable manufacturers) that works with USB are the QL 220 plus, QL 320 plus, QL 420 plus series. The smallest of the series prints on stock 2" wide, with the 320 printing on 3" stock and the 420 on 4" stock. Linux support is advertised by I've been working from Windows 7 and those drivers are mostly fine.

I should note that I tried and failed to learn screen printing, but keep digging through community education catalogs for classes. Except expired chemicals, I should have what I need.

I tried 2"x2" labels and some narrower, longer labels, but the technology for detecting edges of labels and trying to keep the printer on the labels really doesn't seem to work. I had something of a system down turning off edge detection and just slightly tweaking the "page size" as I went to keep things centered. Then I got continuous label stock and decided just to cut the stickers apart with scissors. That adds to the lofi sticker effect, with a result somewhere between professional glossy vinyl stickers and paste paper stickers.

These things fade and I knew that, but a sticker outdoors for just a few weeks in the Arizona sun is half bleached out, and I don't think I was ready for that. That makes "lots of stickers cheap and quick" kind of at odds with the use case. People don't tend to put crappy stickers on their laptops (I do! I once peeled a "WAFER THIN" thermal label sticker off of a package of pork chops in a grocery store so I could stick it to that Compaq Aero). On the other hand, I have mixed feelings about vinyl stickers outside.

Going up beyond the level of thermal paper labels, you can get polypropylene, including different label printers than what I got that take resin ribbons that are actually recommended for outdoor use. So another iteration of this idea might be a desktop label printer with polypro labels and a resin ribbon. These ribbons are as wide as the label stock, and as long, on thin film. That too feels like a lot of plastic to me. Maybe the laser printer makes the most sense after all.

Label stock that may work in the laser (with some potential for jamming) is readily available, and that would be color and not fade, but gloss A4 stock labels were and are hard to find:

The thermal labels at least wind up being semi-gloss smooth because that's necessary for thermal printing. That avoids the name-tag effect, where the media just screams paper, but the OBEY kid did fine with that so maybe I shouldn't be so snobby.

They do make vinyl A4 sticker stock, but it is crazy expensive, at several dollars a sheet, and not even reflective at that. At that price, having stickers made professional is more cost effective.

If I take thermal semi-gloss paper stock and stick it in the laser, the fuser will turn it solid black, I predict (but why not experiment anyway?).

Yet another option would be feeding these semi-gloss thermal paper labels through a friction feed dot matrix printer. Later model 21 pin printers printed pretty crisp, but they never print a dark shade of black, and it sounds like the world's tiniest machine gun going off while it prints. Especially compared to how this thermal printer just vomits stuff out at up to 3" a second, dot matrix is slow. But technically, that would work. They even started making two color dot matrix printers, where the ribbon has a black top half and a red bottom half and the ribbon shifts up or down to get one or the other under the print head. I could have a whole other color! A vanishing few fancy models, apparently a speciality of Panasonic, added additional colors and wound up with big fat ribbon cartridges to house the colors, peaking at red, blue, yellow, black. I am endlessly fascinated by the pinnacles of obsolete technologies.

Really, I shouldn't have gotten rid of the dot matrix printer I had. I knew I'd miss it. I had CUPS set up so I could send PostScript to CUPS and it would do Epson emulation or whatever with the printer.

Huh. I was thinking of full sized dot matrix printers, but Googling it, it seems like dot matrix tech lives on for receipt and label printers just because it can do multiple colors and thermal can't (though Zebra has a custom made services where different parts of the label print in different colors when they print so you can color code things even though you can't actually mix colors), but those look like they're all 7 pin, low resolution printers and nothing suggests that they know how to do graphics.

The first printer I owned was an Okidata home thermal printer for the Atari 8 bit. I only ever used resin ribbons (in this case, narrow and very long, instead of like the receipt and label printers), never thermal paper. There's one on fleabay right now:

It was fun learning how to do graphics with it, and breaking up graphics into 21 bit wide strips that were sent 7 bits at a time (if I remember this correctly). Color printing worked by way of color resin ribbons that had a page-wide strip of cyan, then magena, then yellow, then black. It printed each line four times, once with a length of ribbon of each color. You did not get very many pages from a ribbon this way, nor was it fast. My print routines started in BASIC and evolved into assembly.

Much later, I had access to a thermal printer that managed colors by keeping a little tape cartridge for each color, and had an honest to goodness little tape robot storage system. It would print the page in one color, go back to the top, shuffle tape cartridges in its little tape library and pick out the next one, print on that color, and repeat. You could even print white on black, or gold or silver, with the right tape carts. That too was a lot of plastic waste for not very many pages, but on gloss paper, the color was fantastic.

Given infinite money and space for toys, the Panasonic four color printer would be nice, but realistically, fucking around at this point will probably be with different label stocks.

The print contrast of the Zebra -- before sun bleaching -- is great, and the resolution is good enough to be interesting. Photos, if not too busy, are recognizable and the effect can be good. The QL 220 does 384 dots across. Fucking around in Gimp is always a pleasant distraction.


May. 10th, 2018 08:37 am
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The YMCA seems to have finally cracked that gay sex nut. No visitors are allowed in rooms, the halls all have cameras, someone sits at a front desk and watches the video feeds for all floors. Rooms are dorm-like. I feel cloistered.

A bit pesticidey. Windows open which was part of the criteria for deciding that this can maybe work so I've just been sleeping with my head by the window. These sorts of antics are stressful to me and anyone else caught up in my dramas but thankfully I'm alone. Got a bottle of spray bleach and misted the baseboards about as soon as I got here.

Which hotels do and don't pesticide always amazes me. I've been at fancy expensive hotels in suburban corporate districts that absolutely destroyed me, and crumbling cheap hotels in New Orleans that were fine.

First day, I was feeling completely wiped out. I attributed that to the sun from a day at Cal Sailing. Second day, I still just could not wake up. Figured it was pesticide but tried some of my emergency coffee (how can anything taste this bad?) and felt a lot better. Berekley Espresso just makes weak ass lattes it turns out, so I've been mostly going off of instant coffee. Everything is a compromise. Larger panniers and a rear rack and I wouldn't have been able to get stuff on the train by myself but I'd have decent coffee. I'll write about Amtrak in another post.

Keel boat lesson the other night; if I can triage work, hoping to teach dinghy again this afternoon; errands and chores to do.


May. 3rd, 2018 11:02 pm
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Shuttle made it to the Amtrak station in 45 minutes instead of an hour, so, in theory, I had an hour fifteen. Resolved to continue to work, I went in to the unoccupied lobby which immediately filled up behind me.

One guy, a maybe late 30s black guy who was setting off my gaydar came in with a folding micro-e-bike thing and a big duffel bag. He complimented my bike and I his. Then, he had a melt down. We briefly discussed cargo and I said I was trying to travel light. He said he was too but he had to make room in his duffel for stuff later and threw away some clothes on the way over. Then he unpacked the duffel and started ripping up papers and throwing them away, and pick and choosing pieces of clothing to throw away, choking back tears. That looked a lot like an unplanned exodus to me. When he was done, I asked him if Arizona didn't really work out. He said his parents are here, at least the people who call themselves that. He was in Hollywood when it was clobbered by an earthquake. He tried to come home from work and his apartment building was condemned. No one could go in to get anything. He stayed in the office for a while then hitchhiked to San Francisco and started over. This wasn't recently, but him telling me this story seemed to be a metaphor. I still don't know what exactly is up, but that's okay.

He and I both barely made on it on to the train because the conductors, who I hadn't seen before, were feeling heavy handed. We both got detained while calls to corporate were made to discuss the details of our folding bike setups. Really, we were trapped in the middle of a bunch of screaming and yelling.

I'm trying not to pay attention, but he's now kitty corner in the lounge apparently doing emotional support for a pseudo-cowboy's failed or failing relationship. And as I write this, it sounds like they're making fast friends. Sounds like they both needed to commizerate a bit.
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Lost my neck pillow. Crud, I liked that neck pillow. It was a good neck pillow.

Motorcycle moved in to storage. She's taking a while to warm up these days and one cylinder in particular sputters for a while but once she gets going, she sounds good.

Miscalculated on hotels. Google Maps started showing prices next to hotels when it shows random businesses in an area. The logical part of my brain decided those *must* be the current prices because what else could possibly make any sense, right? Nope, it pulls data from etc for that property, and Kayak etcs numbers are for a blitz sale for three rooms for one day in the middle of next winter. Just as with videos that automatically play, I really have to remember that we're long past the point where anything automatic is done for your benefit or convenience.

$300 hotel rooms really aren't usually any nicer than $60 ones, but I may also have been affected from staying in Las Vegas penthouse suites. This one however had a retractable clothesline over the bathtub.

I had failed to appreciate that the Emeryville Amtrak station was so close to what must be Emeryville's downtown, and that it is a happening place. Lots of Indian dudes were there which looks a lot like corporate training, reminding me of ex #2. I got a Mickeys tallboy from the gas station and sat in a tub full of cold water, getting in and out to microwave the last of my tortillas and some of my cheese. Went to bed at midnight and got up at 6am hoping to take a swim in the bay but finally checked email and sure enough, stuff was broken.

I'd have wrapped myself in the space blanket and hidden off somewhere except carrying the folded bicycle around in the rain was not conductive to exploring and I was tired and hungry and wasn't sure what the waterfront would look like if I walked down there and I didn't actually have a space blanket with me, a glaring oversight.

That was a long day. I woke up before the sun, stabbed at work a bit, packed hastily, and folded the bicycle in the rain in hopes that the rain would let up. It was still drizzling and raining in patches an hour after the forecast said it was going to stop but I resolved to make the trip anyway. Wind was pushing me around again but not as bad before. It would have been a good day to go sailing.

By the time I'd gotten to storage, it had stopped raining and stayed stopped for hours after it was supposed to start pouring buckets again. The unit they were recommending was in a narrow outdoor hallway in a unit with a small raise leading in to it, and I found that at with a 20 degree angle on the lip, I couldn't make it over it, so I got an outdoor unit in a wider hallway that also had a lip going in to it and put all the stuff and the motorcycle in there. Last box I was moving was on top of the tallest shelf. It fell. It was the bathroom stuff. A bottle of iodine shattered. It looks like a murder scene. No solvent I own will remove it.

By the time I even got around to looking at hotels, after a bus ride from near storage to near Amtrak, it was 10pm and raining again. The folding bike is being abused horribly. You're supposed to cover the S&S couplers if it is wet. I need special covers if I'm going to start doing that. No amount of pipe insulation will protect everything from getting trashed. Only a full case would do that. But transporting the folding bike on the back of the motorcycle worked great. One problem though is if I'm carrying it around, I look like I just stole a big mass of bike parts. I'm lucky the police didn't pay me a visit.

Thanks to the promo pricing at the storage place, storage rent doesn't go up for three months. Yay introductory pricing. It's possible everything will be moved not long after that and I also know that my stuff (aside from boatyboat) fits in a 10x10 area with plenty of room to spare.

Among changes at the marina, I got accosted by security in a golf cart while walking over to do laundry there, and turned away in a none-too-friendly way. Previously, access to that, the pool (tiny and closed for the winter), and other amenities were included, and the staff was very friendly. That made me worry about being towed. At the same time, and especially after this mess, there's no budget for needed work on the motorcycle.


Mar. 10th, 2018 10:18 pm
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Reading about the multi-culture and community fluidity of Native peoples, then seeing the shake-up at the marina (not unlike other marina shake-ups I've heard about, where large numbers of people are sent packing), and seeing stuff like, I find myself mulling over cultural ideas towards communities.

Boat Race

Mar. 10th, 2018 09:26 pm
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Initial word was skipper's meeting was 10:30. Slack tide was 6am and noon and I'm super leery of leaving or entering here with strong tides rushing. You have to be moving faster than the water to have any steerage which in the worst case would mean coming in at a hot 5 mph or so, with really good timing and aim. Leaving, the wind is often blowing you against the docks which is another matter.

So, was hoping to get underway not long after 6. That did not happen, but thankfully I soon got word that the skipper's meeting was now scheduled for noon. I got out just after 11 and made it with 20 minutes to spare. I tried to check the water catcher on my fuel filter, which it supposedly had, but I've decided it is not a real water catcher and spent an awkward minute with my finger stopping the flow of diesel fuel out while trying to figure out how to recover the little plastic doodad that seals it up from inside the diesel dribble jar that was too tall and narrow to stick fingers in to. Then of course since I opened the system accidentally, I had to bleed the fuel lines. Diesel is noxious.

Four skippers with four boats and I grabbed a rando who turned out to be the club commodore who happened to be walking by as crew. I was introduced to him as such before but forgot the face/introduction. It takes me a few times. The topic didn't come up while we were sailing.

Had to motor in to the club (narrow channels, dead headwind) but it was short. We sailed out to the start line.

Course used channel marker buoys upwind and downwind on the channel with both channel marker buoys near the club as the start line.

We made a good start, managing to pass at full speed seconds after the start was called. Leeward mark, all boats were in a bunch and we managed to pass windward holding on to second but gave space cautiously around the mark, losing ground (water) a bit. Winds started to crap out after that, and shift. Everyone was trying to figure the wind out. We had some serious sheer, with winds at the windex level being very different from below, so I trimmed for my sense of the wind and ignored the windex and continued to jockey for second but then started to suffer as winds continued to drop. The oar got employed as a whisker pole to keep the jib out to go wing and wing but that was adjusted a lot as winds shifted.

Tide was reaching max ebb as we were heading for the upstream mark, and all of us were basically stuck for an hour. GPS indicated 0.0mph was the wind and tide exactly cancelled each other out, but then small gusts would shoot us up to 0.4 or 0.6 for just a second. We were a close 3rd around the upstream mark as we headed back, but then sailing in to the wind with a saggy old sail in super light wind, we were forced to make tacks that #3 didn't. #3 was able to point higher in the light wind and made significant ground ahead before the wind died and the race was called and us and them DNF'd.

We didn't make it to the upstream mark until the tide was just about ready to slack again, so we rode that most of the way back at a screaming 2.5mph or so before we ran out of wind and tide to carry us.

Commodore and I motored back to my berth and walked the approximately 1 mile back to the club and had St. Patrick's dinner (didn't realize it was a holiday). I was not wearing green. No one pinched me. I ate a tremendous amount of cabbage, potato, and carrot which was cooked together veg style, yay then had a great variety of deserts and a beer. No one brought Irish Whiskey. I shall have to be more proactive in such matters.

In other news, the entire marina staff was fired very suddenly and the new harbormaster seems to be a bit of an oaf. I don't know the full story, but Kathleen was good to me and the other berthers here. Now there's a big shake-up here while the new management (same owner, new harbormaster) remakes the place in his image. Friendly service is not currently part of that.
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Sheldon Brown wrote about Biopace, and as usual, he's fucking right:

An important detail there is that, before Biopace, people repeatedly re-invented an oval chainring with maximum resistance in middle of the push. He explains, and that's required reading, but, superficially, it seemed like a good idea to make the pedal stroke harder where you have the best leverage. The problem with that is that there is a big lump in middle of the peddle stroke... and unless you're on that lump, there is no resistance and you're just spinning around to hit the lump again. Then you get bouncing in the saddle as people spin around fast, hit the lump so hard that they bounce up, very quickly hit zero resistance again, and repeat... which is precisely what I was doing on this tiny round chainring. Biopace smooths the lump out so you engage the resistance sooner, disengage it later, and the peak is shaved off.

But everyone either assumed that Biopace was the old oval chainring Sheldon Brown picture that made the lump worse or else missed that bit of history and assumed that making the lump worse is what you want to do. Regardless, virtually everyone thinks Biopace is wrong, though for conflicting reasons.

So now every non-round chainring has to try to distinguish itself from Biopace:

"Narrow Wide Oval Single Chainring works to maximise your power output where the most force is applied and minimise resistance where it isn't." ... "32T is equivalent to 30T at dead spot and 34T at the power zone"...

So trying to be the opposite of the thing that's the opposite of the thing that's bad that people think is the same thing as the thing that's bad, it is bad... they're making the lump worse.

There's no need to have a lower effective gear through the dead spot because you're not pushing anything. You're only moving chain. Your pedal rotation accelerations on each downpush (unless there is too much resistance and you bounce instead) and then slows. Even slowing a tiny bit on a round ring, you effectively encounter no resistance. Instead, being a higher gear there and moving more chain through would help keep power engaged.

As Sheldon points out, if you want a higher gear on the downstroke, shift into a higher gear.

A range of competitors have introduced things attempting to do the same basic thing as Biopace:

... but apparently saying "oh no we're the opposite of that" is better marketing than "yes, they were right and ya'll are just ignorant".

Spinning like mad on a tiny round chainring is horrible. Spinning on a round chainring is already bad to start with.

So I have a cankset with 104 BCD and I'm trying to figure out how much would throw the clocking off (when effective gearing changes relative the pedal stroke) or else new bottom bracket again so that I'm actually on an old standard BCD.


Feb. 12th, 2018 11:42 am
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Amtrak's voicemail said they wanted to re-route me, which meant me leaving from Sacramento at 7am. I didn't call them back but changed the ticket to the next day. Apparently the Flagstaff train runs every day, unlike the Southwest Chief.

Last night I dreamed of sailing with friends, then needing help to get BoatyBoat out of the water, as we do at Cal Sailing, but BoatyBoat is much larger, and I'm on top, trying to keep her upright on land with sticks and stuff while yelling at people to please add supports below. So I'm having dry land anxiety I guess. Today is another solid breeze, as was last night and yesterday.


Feb. 10th, 2018 10:36 pm
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Motorcycle to Cal Sailing this morning. Motorcycle-Amtrak worked splendidly before, but I wanted to hit storage, too. I could have set Amtrak up so I had a few hour layover at the Richmond stop and got in 1.5 hours of walking, but I didn't.

Taking the motorcycle reminded me how spazzy Californians are. There was some organized athletic event that included a run, and I watched a driver next to me see a whole bunch of people running into the crosswalk/multiuser path, freak out, gas it, and just manage to cut them off and block the crosswalk, and then be stuck there at a stop sign for ten minutes until cross traffic cleared. I'll leave anecdotes at what I consider the most egregious.

Taught lessons for the better part of the day, swam in the bay, got cornered on the way out of the drink by a very chatty lady with a lot of questions who also wanted to tell me about her swimming. She compared the SF Bay to the Polar Bear Club, but called it the Dolphin Club. I knew what she was talking about and declared the water warm and myself not a Californian.

West Marine and Whale Point were closed by the time I wound up there not yet having hopped on the Interstate, so no more caustic holding tank ooze.

I pulled in to the parking lot of the storage place and drug out the smart-device, turned it, and started looking through photos to find my gate code (most information lives on the computer so this is not an optimized ritual). An SUV pulled up and parked at the code entry thing, but no one got out to enter any code. After an exaggerated period of waiting (done talking to people especially Californians thanks), she got out and tried to get me to enter my code without even bothering with a backstory about why she forgot hers. My reply was not suitable for her purposes, polite as it was. She left. Or maybe she's still circling the block.

Two things in particular were on my list of shopping amongst my own possessions: the SJ4000 Chinese GoPro knock-off, and a road bike rim. The SJ4000 wasn't there, but I found it in the bin of stuff at the boat that I didn't bother to inventory again when I got here. The rims included three front rims in states not closely examined, the 36 spoke "bombproof" rim I did PBP on (I think... I remember wanting it in time for something, and the now defunct bike shop having an older fellow who was infamously clueless who informed the rims weren't in yet, even through tracking said they were, and even as I was standing there and could see the box with my name written on it behind the counter, which of course he refused to turn around and look at), and two rims that had been rear rims that I cut the spokes out of that were only slightly tacoed and may or may or not be passable when properly trued instead of what I was doing to wheels. The 36 spoke "bombproof" rim, the heaviest 700c made by Mavic, with eyelets for the spokes, was cracking around the eyelets and had some stripped spoke nipples (not the same, generally), a sure sign I had been torquing the wrong spoke trying to do something stupid. I fully expect to save large amounts of money on rims now that I own a share of a truing stand. No rims were deemed worth the haul back and in the future, I shall be doing some more recycling.

Bicycle bag was where I thought it might have gotten stuffed -- in the big box full of vaguely outdoors themed items.

Heading to Cal Sailing today was motivated by promises of strong winds. Winds were only moderate while I was there, but on the way back, through the Marin headlands route, keeping the motorcycle upright was challenging. I was seriously considering parking somewhere and getting a ride. Recovering from getting hit by gusts, I'd find myself going straight, more or less, but at a completely different angle of heel.

Buffalo-veggie wings for dinner after grazing on snack foods at Cal Sailing for brunch/tea. Boat's 'a rockin'.

Took my first quiz yesterday in this Native Peoples class:


Feb. 4th, 2018 04:01 pm
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Technically, I made it out here in one day, but it was a very long day and left me still recovering the next day, as well as still needing to get something for groceries.

Forgetting the camp stove reminded me of once I came out and forgot my mouse (and haven't sorted out the touchpad again yet despite efforts) so after a few places wound up at a Walmart and got a Logitech. I'm also reminded because a few short months later, that Logitech mouse is starting to freak out and it isn't the battery. Hmm, the generic AA battery in the mouse outlived the mouse. Thankfully, while I was there, I got two.

Today was mucking with the carbs on the motorcycle so I could muck with the fuel line. I wound up replacing the fuel line with one off the boat (boat fuel lines and filtered got shuffled around). The wee hint of diesel didn't seem to bother the motorcycle. Inside diameter is the same but whoa boy the OD is different. The old one looks positively flimbsy by comparison.

Then some grinding at the boat engine frame to create access to the oil pressure valve until the little "12volt Max" battery pack in the drill (this was one of the purchase objectives of the drill) went dead, which was tragically fast compared to the El Cerrito house 17 (19? I forget) volt drill and pack. Also, if the three lithium cells are 3.7 volts each in series, it would be about 11.1 volts. Way to round up there. Maybe I should have gone beefier or maybe this will be okay. Corded drills are a completely different beast (this drill is not a beast).

I also put some holes in a disposable propane cylinder that I failed to reuse when it blew its pressure release immediately after I refilled it. I forced the pin back in so as not to vent propane and used it but stored it outside. It seems like it got used up and vented in some combination. I remember reading somewhere that you can't recycle those unless there are clear, obvious holes in them so they know it isn't pressurized with flammable gas.

There was a bit of work-work this morning and paperwork related to vehicle ownership, moving, taxes, insurance, etc. Turns out that CA counties really love to tax boats. I still need to change my address with the DMV and cancel boat tax with Contra Coasta.

I have some yayas.

Hoping to try to catch Amtrak to Cal Sailing in the morning...

Success. Cal Sailing has adopted a tuxedo cat and she's a sweetheart but insists on wet food. Cheese is not acceptable. Light winds for an open house and short lines.


Jan. 30th, 2018 11:14 am
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Bus was a bit late. Mexican time.

All of GotoBus on the West Coast seems to be Tufesa. Getting on the wrong bus and I'd really be on Mexico Time. I'm the only white person. The bus driver is immaculately dressed in a three piece suit and is meaty and when he walked in to the station (actual station, not just a stop), I was wondering if he was security for something important.

Except for the toilet that doesn't flush (holding back on drinking more than a few sips of my coffee), it's a million times better than Greyhound. I'm not sure we're on time for Bakersfield though. Okay, one thing that isn't optimal is movies on the bus screens. That interferes with reading, napping, and basically life.

Patrons are way less anti-social than on Greyhound. Hispanic Americans are used to sharing public spaces; white Americans aren't. Stayed on the same bus instead of changing in LA even though we went through LA. LA was an hour and a half of limping around on surface street traffic. Is the entirety of LA homeless or does it just seem like it? Mad Max has nothing on this city. It's apocalyptic, including cut up vintage hotrods and garbage mods. Bus schedules always seem to be written as if the bus isn't going to spend an hour and a half limping along surface streets but it's probably just my imagination that that's the one thing that makes us go late.

Okay, they decided that the left front tire was broken (looks fine to me but they know way more about this stuff than I do but maybe I'm just snotty because I was on a bus once that had an actual blowout and chunks of tire violently beat against the floorboard the whole rest of the trip) so we waited for a bit to see about having it changed before swapping that bus for an old lady of the fleet. Bye bye power outlets, but also bye bye movies.

Thinking back, it's amazing how often the bus has to turn around or we're switching buses in middle of the Interstate or something. Now we're really not on precise, exact schedule. I changed to the next Amtrak.

Bakersfield... is not ped friendly:

This walk left me repeatedly navigating highway intersections without any ped facilities -- ie, playing Frogger. Other people were just walking along the tracks including over train bridges over highways, but I didn't want to get in trouble. This city seems to be aspiring to be LA by copying the horrible bits. No doubt there's cultural influence there. There's evidence of a city bus system but one of the most horrifying things on Earth is bus stop signs but zero other evidence of bus infrastructure including lack of shelters or pull outs and oh you know say actual buses anywhere.

No city wants to be a fly-over city but for some reason, they're perfectly happy being some other city's cloverleaf. We need different designations for city and toilets along the highway. I love Bakersfield.

Because of all of the Frogger, and being a bit encumbered, the walk took longer than expected. Moving the train 1.75 hours back worked out just right.

My instinct to make sure I was getting on the right train had to be suppressed as the signs at the station didn't indicate when the train was leaving, when it was boarding, which train it was, or anything really, and it just started boarding. I'm rough on my geography, but even in my sleep deprived state, I remembered that only one train goes down there, unlike every other stop I use.

Waiting on the train, it's white people again, mostly from LA, I'm guessing. Almost all of them look like having to wait until just before the departure time is ruining their life. They're probably right -- the urban hustle probably is killing them. One guy got on with nothing but a skateboard and a large stuffed unicorn. He was chill. I wish I were better at chill. I have work hard at it.

Train is out of Mac and Cheese. Might try again to pick out food in a bit here. Supplies are running low.

On the way, I got an email from SACDELBAYDELMRIODELMAR that they changed the bathroom codes again and please stop letting the ransacking armies through the gates so pooping opportunities continue to be limited which is good reasons to eat a proper meal on the train, if I can find one.

This may not be the optimal route... or even more horrifyingly, it might be.


Jan. 18th, 2018 01:17 pm
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R's favorite bridge won Best of the Delta, beating out countless drawbridges, bastilles bridge, and historic wrought iron monster art pieces, none of which have tolls:

I forgot that the coolness of air conditioning is preceded by an odour of wet dust, fiberglass, and mildew. I was very confused about why I was suddenly smelling attic until the cold started to build up and follow.

Interlux two part polyurethane boat paint is available in Matterhorn White, Arctic White, Snow White, and Mediterranean White (which appears to be identical to Snow White), which are all light blue, or else Oyster White, Pearl White, or Cream, which are all tan, the first two being apparently identical. The one part polyurethane is available in (just plain) White which is actually white and matches.


Jan. 17th, 2018 04:13 pm
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Cartel stopped serving beer. That leaves me not sure what to order after morning, not wanting to further facilitate my caffeine habit. Another thing I forget about Cartel is everything is fabricated out of metal and my laptop has a ground fault so if I touch the laptop and the table at the same time (easy to do), I get a tingly 16 volts through my arm which is a fuck of a lot better than whatever the fuck is going wrong between OpenBSD's network stack, my laptop's WiFi card, OpenBSD's support for it, AT&T's 3G, the AT&T reseller, my FirefoxOS device, and its Linux TCP stack and WiFi device and driver. Most of the time that BSD is dead in the Internet water, Windows works fine, except for sometimes when that stops. WiFi password hasn't changed.

Someone has a small keelboat visible from Mill Ave sitting in their yard on a trailer. According the sticker, she hasn't sailed in four years. Perhaps related, the boat has some cracked fiberglass in the hull.

The DeLorean in the hood is still there.

Got a warm reception at the Post Office, including a "he's cool". Wow.
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Today was bicycle to Rio Vista for plumbing (NPT thread) stoppers for the exhaust manifold where I removed the cooling cooling water from going through its water jacket. The water jacket corroded through and the low engine oil pressure may be related to water getting into the cylinders (have two things I need to try first to decide but it requires more grinding power than I have to get access to). So, stop-gap was to bypass the exhaust manifold from the water cooling system, and plugging the water intake and outlet keeps exhaust from leaking through the shot water jacket and out the water intake/outtake. But mostly, I wanted #10 5/8ths stainless machine screws for the portlights because water is destructive (humans are mostly water and look at them). Ace had not 5/8ths screws of basically any sort type or variety. 3/4ths are too long and 1/2 is too short. 3/4ths it is, lopping the tips off.

This is a larger screw than the portlights were secured with, but the larger head lets me get more purchase with the screwdriving (I keep using the impact driver for general screwing because the beefy handle makes a really nice screwdriver), and some of them are stripped and slipped.

Dock lines got upgraded chafe protection too. 3/8ths inch dock line fits nicely in 1/2 ID vinyl tubing. Ace Hardware truly is a rational universe. After a few iterations, I haven't yet gotten this right yet until maybe now.

Forward hatch got better securing hardware to accommodate the power line going through there. In Discovery Bay, where everyone has a fuckton of money, I didn't give that being lose a second thought. Did laundry, prodded the motorcycle and figured out the new fuel leak as the old fuel leak where the fuel line going to the carbs was leaking even though I put a hoseclamp on it and thought I tightened it down enough. Maybe the clamp is coming undone in the vibration. The old girl vibrates a lot more than she used to (which was none) but it baffles me how Harleys hold together at all. I guess I could threadlock the hoseclamp if that happens again.

(Coyotes are hunting... wooooo-eeeeeeeeeee woooo woo-woo-woo yip yip yip awooooooo arrrrowoorrrrow.)

Yesterday, I attempted to kayak to Rio Vista for errands but called it before clearing Brannan Island Recreation Area on Three Mile Slough when I found myself behind schedule. I took a meandering route along the shoreline most of the way out, but figured out the geography enough on the way back to shot towards the next bend at each point, shaving off a lot of miles. I was concerned about getting cold on the way back paddling too long with the sun down and it was looking like I wouldn't have much time in town. That took me past Heidi's Outrigger Marina and Saloon. It's a bit of a dive (didn't stop at the saloon, just sussed out the marina) but would have made for a way shorter bike ride to and from Amtrak. But nooo... I had to be where the tiny houses are. (Hmm, should have taken R to walk around and look at the tinyhouses when she was here.) Next time, I'm stopping for a drink to check the place out. Gotta be honest, it feels a bit like Texas out here. But I did have dinner at the usual bar and restaurant because human contact once a week feels important. I wound up sitting next to the bartender's mother. She's very proud of him and has stories about how kind and helpful he is but only after she showed me pictures of her cat. He went to Europe with her and helped her when she got lost.

Bike ride is about an hour each way; kayak, not quite making it there, was about two hours each way -- slower and more distance to cover. I'm deeming kayaking do-able unless I figure out that there really is no where to land.

Signed on for an Introduction to the History of Native Americans course with a book on the Ohlone Indians as the non-textbook book.

Morning was a dense fog, again.


Jan. 5th, 2018 08:58 pm
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Not as cold as it was this last visit (de-visit?). Sweater's off after a few days.

For how much journalism I'm reading (politics and computer), I might as well start reading that book I've been avoiding.

I try to always take a spare power adapter with me because, an amazing number of times, they blow when traveling. I had a spare with me, so fuck you power adapter that just died. Headphones, same thing.

There was a bit of sun today and I was feeling computer-cabin-fever so I added that redundancy to the centerboard pendant hose. One hose clamp and not enough purchase to add a second one there was making me nervous/unhappy.

Earlier on, one portlight got re-re-rebedded with some new window glazing (sometimes chemical sealant, sometimes U shaped rubber, in this case U shaped rubbed). That seems to be holding the rain out but the glazing isn't holding out water from the hose sprayed directly at it so I'm not sure. Another portlight got re-rebedded. My butyl rubber technique is evolving. I started with one neat little strip stuck in there and taking the plastic scraper to trim the excess but that didn't work. The scraper pulls out rubber as it isn't sharp enough and I have to just use a knife even though I was originally worried about gouging surfaces. Nope, has to be a knife. And one little strip of butyl isn't enough. Now it's a strip stuck to the cabin, and another strip stuck to the inside of the portlight, with extra anywhere it seems thin. The cabintop curves so extra off to the sides. I didn't want to touch the butyl before and risk getting dirt or oil on it but now I take my thumb and thoroughly stick it to the window or portlight. Then tightening the portlight down, but butyl only has to make a good seal against more butyl. That maybe tentatively seems to be holding. Thar be only one more problem portlight to redo right now.

More bilge scrubbing since rain is finding its way into the bilge from somewhere in the cockpit area (because otherwise I'd see it) and as long as there's water in there, I might as well add the detergent and scrub. And as long as I'm greasy up to my elbows, I might as well pull out the knot meter cable snaking through the bilge that I had Bethel Harbor cut at the thru hull and seal up. All things being equal, a vintage knot meter from the 60s would be great, but fewer thru-hulls is better and this thru-hull was original and the propeller was missing.

Cerro Coso's student account/web system doesn't actually work which is giving me deja vu (though I don't know if it's valid deja vu or something else). IT is outsourced to overseas so it was wee hours before I heard back on the request and the response said that a batch update would fix it, due 24 hours out. Single-sign-on (multiple systems with one login) is often fragile.

I'm super keen to get BoatyBoat not dribbling water and rotting wood (more) before leaving her for any period of time, and likewise on that centerboard pendant.


Jan. 2nd, 2018 07:17 pm
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Welp, went and checked out Isleton. Took the motorcycle (more on that in a minute).

Some small town downtowns have half of the store fronts boarded up. Well, not Isleton. It has 3/4ths of them boarded up. Looks like people stopped even trying with "for rent" signs. One missing slot had a garden in it. No camera was there to witness. Sorry, next time.

People definitely live there, and the streets are full of houses. When the photos show about 30 houses but there are actually hundreds, it's always shocking to me, because I apparently lack imagination or the ability to extrapolate.

I imagined that the town had a good view of the river too but that's actually a little ways over through some non-descript industrial miscellanea and on the other side of the highway. Who builds a town on the island and goes, eh, I don't really like water, let's put the town somewhere where we can't see it. The real estate industry has been struggling, unsuccessfully, to compensate for that blunder ever since.

It's always amazing when you fix three major gas leaks and then the thing is leaking gas again but really it shouldn't be (surprising). Once one bit of rubber is ready to give, the rest are soon to follow. The petcock's diaphragm, fuel line at both ends of the connection, and carb float valves all gave up but now the little rubber seals on the fuel rail between carbs have taken it upon themselves to leak. That means the carbs have to come out again if I'm going to keep riding the motorcycle. For the way back from Isleton and through Rio Vista (which, by contrast, prides itself on a view of the river), I was back to turning the fuel on and off to maintain supply while minimizing leakage.

It's hard to be mad at the motorcycle when problems seem to be mostly related to the useful lifespan of rubber and grease.

Rio Vista has a used book store I haven't checked out yet, but Google really wants me to know that the town has a KFC. I find myself wishing that the Internet had an "opposite of what most people want" option.

The Ranch Market had no fresh roasted peppers or Mexican cheeses or really much of anything, and the other grocery in town (which sports a mess of 1 star Yelp reviews) has a big "no backpack's" sign in the front window (which I assume extends to bicycle panniers and re-usable shopping bags) so let's call that a miss. Meanwhile, the Lira's in Rio Vista stopped carrying Organic Valley half and half. I bet the Walmarts ringing the area have Organic Valley half and half.


Dec. 1st, 2017 12:28 am
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Checked out the ride into Rio Vista, on the other side of the expansive Sacramento river. I figured it's drawbridge would do the same basic thing that the Three Mile Slough one does, where you have to wait for a break in traffic to go around the guard rail onto the bridge sidewalk, and walk. Approaching it, the guard rail slowly funnels the lane down to one narrow lane each way, but once up on the sidewalk, there's a locked gate, so of course I threw my bike over and followed. Locked gates in the middle and the other end followed. My guess that they didn't want people walking on the side where the bridgekeeper couldn't see was validated when on the return trip, at sunset, no gates obstructed the walk.

As soon as I had made land again, I was presented with a very girly women's bike locked up to the end of the bridge. Someone decided that walking across the bridge on the wrong side with a bike wasn't worth it and just hoofed it from there on in, as far as I could tell. I may follow suit next time.

Rio Vista has an Ace Hardware and a Lira's grocery store. Lira's is okay, in a similar vein to Lucky's but smaller and with less stuff but otherwise a similar approach to the assortment. I still haven't checked out Isleton. That route at least avoids highways. Isleton has El Rancho Grande market:,+24+Main+St,+Isleton,+CA+95641/@38.1618075,-121.6065399,19z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x809aad5d43f5215b:0x9df1288c7eef2304 Def want to check that out. And I finally got over to Spindrift's little store (below the restaurant) when it was open, which is dicey on winter hours (as is the restaurant/bar). They're open about 4 hours a day, 4 days a week. They have a bit more of the essentials at a bit better prices than SacDelBayMar. Also not sure what the bike ride to Lodi to the east is like (next larger town than Rio Vista to the west) but once you get there, it's big box stores off of highway which is no bicycle's land.

Yesterday was 'yaking, today (Thurs) was 'cycling.

Ace Hardware supplied locking cables for the yaks and Lira's supplied Eggnog, Lagunitas Imperial Stout, Tillamook, a selection of veggies, and big cans of fat-free refried beans (no lard).
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There is a community pool just down the way. Taken up in college, swimming is a favorite mental break for me, as and upper body exercise. It's exercise not requiring mental vigilance.

It took some trial and error, but I figured out that if it is overcast and rainy, right around 10:30am, I could get into the pool.

Other swimmers did far more work than I did; most of them leave for work late or take off early or other convulsions and swim at the same time on the same day every week, and any new comer pushes the completely booked up pool past the breaking point, in addition to being exceedingly unpleasant for the new comer.

But on rainy days, enough people are tipped over the edge of not swimming, that I can get. Today is overcast. There are effectively not rainy days during summer; this is the best I can do. I went for it.

Screaming children, as I approached. Oh, %&#!. Peered through the fence. Pool not completely full. Realized that all of this time I'd swam there, or attempted and failed to swim, there was a second pool that's been unused and covered; the kids must be there. Maybe it's okay. Screams must be coming from there... oh, and from the locker room. Going for it.

Cashier informs me lap swims ends at 12:30, just over an hour away. Winter, it's open until 2pm usually, but public pools have schedules that change by the minute. Whatevs. Go in. There's a wall of children with no path through. Like a truck on a road full of sheep, I inch through them, trying to make loud "excuse mes" in the hope that some attendant adult with shoo them off or at least not call the police on me for trying to the hell by. Children are completely oblivious.

Approach the locker room. Screams are still coming from the locker room. Approach. Kid blocks the door and starts asking me questions. Try to be nice but also don't want to get in trouble for talking to someone else's kid. Keep it short. Tell the kid I'm going to swim and I'm going to change and gesture to go in. Kid is oblivious. Panic. Move to run him over. He moves. Inside, father is screaming for that kid to come back, two more are running around. Go to change in one of the changing booths I don't normally use but quickly discover all three are occupied. As soon as father has the first three children under control, he goes over to the changing booth and starts screaming at the booths which are full of children who are playing and apparently have been playing and refusing to exit the booths since before I approached the complex. Stand there dumbfounded for a few minutes clothes half off staring at the wall of lockers while screaming children chase each other around and try to interact with each new adult who comes in. Eventually father coaxes one kid out of the changing booths while two others just go running off into the pool area.

Swim. It's lovely. As it gets close to closing time, I have the lane to myself. Then boom! I crash into someone. Someone entered my lane without alerting me first. Convention, everywhere I've swam, is you stick a limb or something in to get the attention of a person swimming alone then ask "mind if I join?" and they say yes and then they know that they're splitting or circle swimming or whatever you figure out. You don't establish circle swimming or lane splitting by jumping in and going for it. Stop, gawk, dumbfounded again, mumble something, decide I should have fled along time ago and promptly jump out of the pool and run for the locker rooms.

Shower, quickly. Man enters and starts trying to talk to me. Doesn't notice I'm not responding. Keeps talking to me. Go to change after drying my hair; family with kids came in and he left his shower on and left and the shower area and is walking around the locker room naked which is normally not a big deal. Trying to put clothes on; completely swarmed; get my pants on shirt on then grab everything else from the middle of the cluster of children and flee the locker room; fuckit, I'll put stuff in my bag and put my shoes on in the parking lot. Naked guy is peeing naked and making inappropriate loud noises.

I'm guessing lap swim hours are reduced during summer when the kiddie pool is open because no one in their right mind will attempt the locker room unless they have their own chaos entourage.

Swing by 7-11 for a tallboy to calm my nerves. Cashier attempts to short change me a $10.

California is a lot of fucking work.


Jun. 20th, 2017 02:03 pm
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Rebeccmeister posted this in other channels:

Some random comments:

Other things written about WWII efforts support the basic idea. Fatigue sets in and errors multiply and labor becomes counterproductive at a point.

Clients who "don't know what they want but know when they want it by" run directly against this... and then eventually you become desensitized to the constant state of emergency. Progress and success vanish from the realm of things that exist.

Double-shifts at the movie theater are far easier than double-shifts programming. Problem solving requires a sort of adaptive learning that destabilizes given too many scenarios and networks. The article seems to assume a certain sort of problem-solving-oriented work.

Writing about outside approaches to creativity always reminds me of Pirsig, who recently passed.
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Every site I blog on seems to die. is doing fine for now but imploded like before it. I vaguely recall that there were several others I was trying to use. Text should really just go on, with everything I can salvage from elsewhere there.

I peaked early. has been blogging for me so I don't have to.

Feeling pretty private after a lot of difficult social interaction that I threw myself in to in the non-profit realm. Regardless of whether I was fucked over repeatedly by a revolving cast that my socially inept brain couldn't keep up with, I'm feeling fucked over and lied to by a revolving cast, so basically not telling anyone about anything going on in my life is a safety blanket.

I can't really talk shit about anything or anyone until I wrap up the Kickstarter. I'm in moral limbo.

I want to publish research results, not just opinions. Among them is ambitions with the Tempe Bike Count data and GIS data. Similarly, I want to talk about things I've learned from doing things, like finishing my Atari 2600 game. People in CA have graciously taken me in, and they're nice and cool people, but quiet spaces are virtually non-existant, and I'm having concentration/interruption PTSD from Tempe then here. Interruptions always seem to scale in proportion with my resolve to get things done. The other morning, I woke up at 4am with my brain busy with shit I really, really needed to get done. Yesterday was a holiday. Slightly earlier, client shit was seriously on fire, like potential massive critical data loss on fire, but I was essentially in middle of party. Trying to go to a coffee shop in CA, quite often I find that there are no seats in multiple coffee shops. It's easy to spend all of your time in CA just walking around. Going across the bay is far worse. People guard the restrooms in coffee shops to make sure you have a recent receipt or you're not allowed to pee. If you're there too long without buying something, you're asked to leave. I was told that programmers in coffee shops in SF got recruited but everything I've seen suggests a hostility quite opposite of that. Programming is time consuming and concentration dependent. Merely 9 hours in the day with normal holidays enforced is too little time. Other programmer on project was probably doing 14 hour days with fewer forced vacations. Then I wind up in a battle to even hold on to a project to pay the bills but I can't really blog about (with a few "Microsoft SQLServer needs to burn in hell" Tweets lobbed out anyway), nevermind doing other things. Lack of quiet means not getting interesting things done so I have nothing to talk about. I think other programmer on project is likely the major bread winner, but CA costs more, and I'd have to have those 14 hours a day to move into major breadwinner role, so there's a chicken and egg problem there. Cowork spaces in Tempe were all hijacked by an individual who went there to have a captive audience to narrate the banalities of their life to at high volume. I don't know what they're like here, but the libraries blow and the cowork spaces cost a heck of a lot more.

In Tempe, towards the end, I was sleeping opportunistically when it was loud; it was easier to sleep through an impromptu party that formed at 3:30pm than to try to code through it. So I'd more or less stay up all night and take advantage of the lack of quiet after TV and yelling stopped at night, nap a bit in the morning, then wing sleep and work during the day. That let me grind on classes, work, and non-profit stuff, but if you don't hang out and do nothing enough with your roommates, you're not building that social goodwill.

I've been trying to reserve judgement on California, but I've decided that everyone here is just all tweaked out. LA is worse, but a lot of that spilled over to the Bay. There's a contractor working on a house across the street who comforts himself by setting off his car alarm repeatedly during the day. His car is right by the house he's working on, yet he keeps setting the alarm off, opening the car door, looking satisfied as it goes off, fucking around with his car for a bit, sitting in it, getting out a minute or ten later, then turning it off. Or looking over lovingly at his beat up old Honda while he's working, reaching in to his pocket, pulling out his car keys, and hitting the panic button, then turning it off. Maybe there's some developmental disability there, but it reminds me of taking Amtrak through LA, where everyone has to have their phone's message alert on max volume even though they barely set it down for even a second. The lonely disconnectedness of living in a place with so many people where it's so hard to connect with other human beings pushes people into a bizarre peacocking behavior. Californians can't cope with silence.

Unrelated, but everything is full here, too. The BART train system is at capacity, but Californias are so used to things being at capacity that they don't even wonder what life would be like if there was enough capacity. Being full is normal. The state and national parks here are full. Roads and parking is full. Grocery stores pack in so there's no room to move. No one reads labels on things; you'd get annihilated. You have to get into a slow moving current of people and grab things you recognize as they go past. So people generally stay in and watch TV rather than going out to bars that are physically at capacity and have insanely expensive beers anyway. I wrote a long time ago that the LA airport gave me flashbacks to _Stand on Zanzibar_, but Berkeley has shades of it.

The one thing in life that really stresses me out is not really having a plan. I was thinking I'd take classes at UMN online and get a degree -- they have a Health IT thing that looked like a fun mix of biology and CS prereqs I'd already done at UMN TC ages ago. That would potentially make me employable in hospital IT, which I had done before. Hospitals have a special quality of going far out of their way to avoid chemical pesticides. Bolted on fees that far exceeded tuition itself and Tempe ending for me aborted that. Being good enough at a cool enough technology again that I could telecommute is looking unlikely.

Speaking of pesticide, San Francisco has a serious pesticide problem, which is unsurprising given that inequality is driving squalor.

There are certainly a lot of possibilities and opportunities, but with fewer of them viable for me and not being marketable, it's too real of a possibility that nothing viable pans out before I run out of time.

So I guess the last and major reason I'm not blogging about stuff is tech is a big part of it, but I'm not really part of that any more.

I do want to talk about my experience with UoPeople and I'll try to find time for that. Maybe some day I'll talk about seriously harebrained schemes to find quiet.

... that was the last hour odd of my day there before roommates started to coagulate in an exovocally reaction.


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