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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in scrottie's LiveJournal:

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Thursday, May 5th, 2016
7:38 am
Finding Vivian Maier
RM (or was it R?) joked it should have been "Exposing Vivian Maier", both for the pun, and how they not only exposed her work but her troubled life (spoilers ahead; watch the film first then come back).

The film talked about whether she knew her work was good (she did) and whether she was confident enough to have it displayed (she tended to get up in people's business and didn't give much thought to social orders, so probably). I see the problem more as just her not seeing any plan that would work that fits her vision. She could have been a photographer for a paper, using her work as a job interview, but I suspect she knew she'd have conflicts of priority, and she valued her freedom more. In that sense, being a nanny is almost the perfect job... "she had a strong opinion about kids and where they should be, and that's outside, walking, with her". She probably knew that she'd conflict with any gallery owner and it's harder to get contemporary work displayed. She didn't want to display it casually in cafes because, as in the words of Launcelot, she has to do it in her own particular idiom, and that just isn't fitting to her vision, and visions tend to diverge from reality when not tested and integrated on an ongoing basis, and reality is harsh, as she seems to be aware. She considered working with French photolab people she knew and trusted but apparently never sent that letter? I think even if you're extremely independent, you still worry about rejection when it comes to your single passion, and she was not psychologically capable of finding a safe space for herself.

That's what stood out in that biography -- a person unable to connect with people to create a safe space. This is something I've seen friends struggle with, and sometimes completely fail at. It feels close to home for me. When your tolerance for other people is limited, it's hard to imagine that they can be tolerant of you, and it's hard to be forgiving of yourself. Feelings of failure do factor in but people feeling socially vulnerable hard an even harder time of talking about their private vulnerabilities.

I think there's value for people who struggle with that to work to develop their own humanity and humility, and something similar to a monastery is the right setting. Aside from that, those personalities seem to do best in rural places, or at least to retreat to somewhere rural later in life when they've become too crabby. That avoids a lot of the aggravation of being in middle of tight social structures but not fitting in but offers no quality reflection and personal improvement. Monasteries at least have a flavor of private meditation centered on spirituality and humanity. "I had to sit there for a really long time... years... before she would even acknowledge me."
Thursday, April 28th, 2016
3:51 pm
Log: Stuff
Right now, I have shelves on both sides of the 5x9 unit, leaving a narrow squeeze-way that's not conducive to accessing things, and some more bicycles, rims, etc should get crammed in there yet. I'm thinking of upgrading from the 5x9 $109/month unit to the 5x13 $160/month or 5x15 $170/month unit. I'm not eager to spend the money, but I do want stuff somewhat accessible. It's annoying that the 5x15 storage unit costs half of what rent for a bedroom in a house in Tempe did.

I see a lot of services such as CafePress and cloud hosting being, in some cases, responses to people having less space than they used to. In some ways, this is too bad, because building a home server rack or otherwise messing with hardware is fun, rewarding, and educational. Same for screen printing. I enjoy hands-on hobbies such as gardening as a break from too much computering. I really don't want to see more stuff go virtual-digital. I could download PDFs of the books I have queued to read, but that sounds terrible.

Moving is powerful motivation for finishing projects (heck, even getting ready to travel makes me go without sleep).

I need to build one good DEC3100. Right now, I have two and a spare motherboard but lack the means of getting one to run (setting up old Unix hardware can be tricky, and these use non-standard serial console). My best bet is probably to beg someone on the NetBSD pmax list to send me a HD with install already on it, and get keyboard/video going. Hell, I'd like to pick up a DEC5000, the faster but very similar later relative. The 3100 is one of the very original MIPS machines.

Realistically though, I'm not going to get to play with computing hardware or game system hardware for a while, but I'll hate myself a lot if I get rid of hard-to-replace things and give up on the prospect of being able to in the future.

Keeping silk screen supplies, which only constitutes one small box right now, would be easier justified if I learned to screen print. rebeccmeister previously pawned the hardware off on me. No one can describe anything in anything but vague platitudes ("a bright light... close distance... few minutes") and that just ain't working, so I need to take a college class or something. Just as with computer stuff, people seldom *test* documentation -- except in the case of recipes, where cookbooks have long hired chefs to independently test recipes. I guess StackOverflow lets people rate answers and provides a sort of test feedback mechanism that way, which explains its success.

There are things like auto tools I don't want to get rid of because I've found that I've repeatedly re-purchased them in my life.

Bike parts are very often handy, and I gave a few good rims to BikeSaviours. This is tricky because I wind up with wobbly wheels but can't get the hang of fixing them myself. A truing stand would help I'm told. Maybe that should go into the workshop. It took me a long time in Tempe to figure out who was a good wheel builder (had a friend in MN who does it well). I'm also getting ready to turn one bike back in to parts. I'd like a few sets of road bike wheels so I can swap them around, but beyond that, some of the rims are probably good and can be given away.

The spare crank shaft should be mailed to whoever wants it, as much fun as it would be to leave a crank shaft laying around on the floor to murder whoever tries to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

All of this just dredges up feelings about lack of time and space to dabble in hobbies. I gave up on trying to share a kitchen and for a while gave up on real coffee, instead drinking canned coffee, energy drinks, or instant coffee. That was not only unpleasant, but depressing. The smart thing to do would be to give up caffeine... as in that case, I'm reluctant to do the smart thing. Some of my impractical things have become extremely difficult to justify, though.

I could really go for some Nintendo right about now...
Friday, April 22nd, 2016
4:04 pm
Log
Trailhead had another employee suffer a brain injury, this time due to a drive by shooting: https://www.gofundme.com/qwzger84

Last time I tried to register Princess TinyCar, I was told I didn't need an emissions test, but I did need the car for an inspection, so when State Farm came through today and immediately emailed me temp insurance, I drove up there (happy Earth Day) only to be told no, I need emissions tested. Emissions tests failed. Hydrocarbons are fine (as one would expect from an engine with good pistons, rings, and valves) but carbon monoxide was a bit too high, consistent with an engine running too hot. Arriving at the emissions test thingie on Washington Ave, it was reading 380f on the hot cylinder which is a touch high. At home, 418, which was 40 degrees higher than the other one. I think I have the plugs torqued down enough that that's not blowby so I'm not sure what's going wrong. Spark plug blowby also cause it actually run hot, at least not in a mild case, only to read hot a the cylinder head temp sensor.

In Arizona, I'm told, cars are exempt if they're model 1969 or older. I assume that they actually mean 47 or so years old and the actual number changes every year but perhaps not. California apparently exempts smog checks for 25 year old cars.

Obviously, I want to fix the hotness issue regardless, but I'm trying to figure out if I should store it here or haul it there. Not legally being able to use a tow dolly makes hauling it less attractive, and having mechanical tune issues still also makes it less attractive. At this point, I'm keen to reduce things I'm paying for and dealing with though I think L would get a kick out of her and she might be handy for those occasional motor errands (in style!) that don't call for a truck.

That ate up most of the day. But hey, I did some pointless high MPG driving around on Earth Day.
Wednesday, April 20th, 2016
2:29 am
Log
As some of you may have noticed, this election is bothering me. I had given it basically zero thought until noticing a newspaper headline in Meadowlark reading "BUSH vs CLINTON". Jeb Bush has since dropped out. My immediate reaction, and many other people's, and the one they were pandering for was basically "oh noes".

I can completely understand why people choose to ignore this unpleasant business. Bush Jr rode to the presidency on a trail of anonymous poll results powered by voting machines computer scientists cannot rationalize any other way than that they were designed to be insecure, and have steadfastly stayed so. One of the programmers came forward and testified that he was asked to figure out how to undetectably flip votes. The president of Diebold, at a fundraisor, promised to deliver the election to Bush. The design calls for unsecured ftp of poll mdb results to a political consultant 3rd party vendor. Then they refused inspection of the memory cards. This, for absolutely no good reason at all, puts all of the result data in the hands of a few people to tamper with as they see fit. Digital signing and public key cryptography were designed exactly for cases like this where 3rd parties should not be trusted. A voice in my head whispered, "only really bad people would do something like this, and they want the office for a reason; there's going to be another war". When the Iraq invasion happened (later revealed by the Downing St Memo to be premeditated), I felt sick. All of this is to say that I have a sickening foreboding about this election as well. Powerful forces are at work, and they are not forces of peace.
Monday, April 18th, 2016
6:18 pm
Log
Still toying with the idea of getting PTC registered in AZ, I took the valve cover off, re-adjusted the valves, tried to tighten a few bolts that were lose and discovered that they were stripped (the previous owner wasn't careful with torques and 70's aluminium is soft as butter) (didn't get around loctiting the exhaust stud bolts), and then decided to take a spin around the neighborhood. Backing out into the yard, I observed that the brakes were completely totally gone. The brake lever did nothing. I spent the next two hours bleeding the brakes and running brake fluid through them after cleaning out the completely empty reservoir (when did that happen?) with q-tips. The brakes now feel great. I was noticing before that they were a bit squishy and was thinking I'd have to have the booster rebuilt (common problem) so that's actually good news.

Bleeding brakes is fun. Three different points (one of the two rear wheels is on the end of a single circuit) gets bleeder valves loosened and then brake fluid pumped through the system, forcing the air out as you gently pump the limp brake pedal. Nasty old dirty strangely colored brake fluid from 40 years ago comes out. Then you stop that brake up again and do another until they're done.

I also got two coats of rattlecan on the under side of the floor pan. It looks a lot less gnarly now but only a whole-body acid bath and some welding then primer and auto paint is a complete long term fix.

Oil leaks on air cooled engines are annoying because the oil rapidly bakes into a hard crust on the outside of the hotter engine which in turn makes the engine hotter as they insulate the block. I can see why people use gasket maker instead of paper gaskets. Pros: no leaks. Cons: easy to plug your oil channels and ruin your engine if you don't know exactly where all of them are, and you have to get your material exactly the right thinness. I put a lot of work into cleaning off caked on oil. I don't want that bugbear back again so soon.

One cylinder is registering 30 degrees hotter than the other but they're both operating in a reasonable range. It was enough to make me want to make sure that the exhaust port wasn't being help slightly open, hence valve adjustment. Potential blow-by from the spark plug and the loose exhaust header could also be implicated in this. I got some (thankfully quite inexpensive) cylinder head temperature digital gauges and I'm very much appreciating the early warning of problems. Without those, anything would go quite unnoticed.

I got that 1099 I decided wasn't going to be filed. I think legally those have to have been sent a while ago, but now I have it, after I filed my taxes, so I get to file revised taxes. For relatively small dollar amounts, I don't want to nark on a client for not having filed it. Legally, I am supposed to nark on them, but I can completely understand not wanting to do the paperwork, and narking on clients seems wrong. Hmm, the IRS recreated the Prisoner's Dilemma.

I should have just made that tax-computing spreadsheet (yes, there are some out there, but I have a unique combination of forms I have to fill because I'm weird, though maybe I could start adapting someone else's if it isn't too weird).

I ordered coffee but had to pick it up today because I ran myself. Nephew-gift was also there, having successfully traversed Canadian customs twice (doner gets its PROMs changed out and a new label put on).

Logging work hours too mixed in. Day time competes for errands, quiet time, work, and running around the house without being cornered or blocked. I guess car stuff was the running-around-without-being-cornered-or-blocked activity though I meant it to be DMV-erranding. Ran yesterday. Definitely missing the bike-ped path being right there. Lake path is slightly long walk and I could bike+run but there's no good bike route. Shower, burrito, and coffee shop now I guess.
Saturday, April 16th, 2016
5:02 pm
Log
I ran the Z600 a bit and discovered it was spitting oil in the exhaust. I also discovered that exhaust manifold bolts were loose as were ones on the timing housing. I should have used loctite everywhere instead of that anti-corrosive stuff that one engine rebuild thing recommended. Ordered new valve guides and I need to check the cylinder head studs. It's possible that my budget torque wrench is way off. This came about because I was thinking that it would be nice to get it licensed so that I could tow it on a carrier instead of trying to load it or do a much more expensive car trailer. I might chicken out and go back to my previous idea of storing it in AZ. I'm figuring spots here will be a lot cheaper than CA. This last wind storm managed to blow the heavy canvas tarpoline clean off of it, so, note to self: bungie that thing down good.

I tried to clean off the residue of the rust dissolver and then hit the underside with the rattlecan. There's plenty more rust on the suspension, bottom of the body above the floor pan, gas tank, etc.

As I write this, I get the "how much do you want for your car?" knock on the door.

Probably trying to do too much, but I took the motorcycle into the shop today. The ballpark estimate I got was about what I expected. I wanted to know how taxes come out before doing that but I really should have just done it a month ago. I'm waiting to hear more from them depending on what's involved in the procedure for this particular engine (does the engine have to come out entirely for the cylinder head to come off?) and if parts are even available ('93 is two years out from legally being considered a classic in AZ).
Wednesday, April 13th, 2016
4:45 pm
Log
Cygwin (a Unix-like environment on top of Windows, with much stuff ported, sort of like MacPorts) apps on the dev machine randomly fail in two different ways. Sometimes the command just aborts without doing anything. I'll type for example "git commit ..." or "vi ...", hit enter, and then a second or two later, I'm back at the prompt, leaving me miffed. Many years of experience with Unix have strongly programmed me to expect deterministic responses from the shell, so this hurts my brain. The other failure mode is that it completely locks up, and I have to tell screen to kill that session, losing all of the jobs (vi sessions usually mostly) in that shell. That too I'm under prepared for.

Errands today: bank, other post office (mailing out books I'm giving away). Status reports, good or bad, generate discussion. HeavyMetalKidsBike continues to make friends (her, not me). You haven't really arrived somewhere without a properly spectacular dismount. I wish I could do a bike building class with ASU or a local highschool but alas I'm already fucking up the one life I'm leading.

I dug up the apple and put it back into the same blue thing that it was in. The soil in the back is loose urban fill that just crumbled so a large rootball was out of the question. I wound up brushing a lot of dirt off of the roots until I had a small rootball with lots of naked roots, just so that it didn't fall apart when I picked it up. The apple had definitely taken over the entire area. I'd really rather that I was confident it would be cared for and could just occupy the space. As it is, it hasn't gone into terrible shock yet, knocking on wood. This time at least the soil in the blue thing is deeper.

The fig was in a more clay soil which held together better, but the fig lost it as soon I started cutting up its poor roots.

UoPeople and UCB have made an alliance: http://www.uopeople.edu/about/partners/academic-partnerships/uc-berkeley/

I haven't read about what "finishing at UCB" entails, but trying to transfer credits into UMNC unleashed a showstopping Reagonian nightmare of amnesia. I can only imagine that that would work better. So far, I have credits spread between MN community college, UMN, UMNC, and UoPeople. Why stop there? Maybe that's the real reason I've rebelled against touch screens -- between highschool and community college, I've been forced to take touch typing twice. Really, it's a wonder I never took anything at ASU. If I'd stayed a little longer, I'd probably mount a minor transportation planning department invasion.

That reminds me that part of the plan for PrincessTinyHouse was to park her in Crookston, MN until I'm able to get that resolved. I know from experience that the third time that you show up in a University office after being punted somewhere else, people start to get creative on your behalf.
12:02 am
Log
Z is out of town, so B has been staying up until the wee hours. The other night, that was somewhere north of 2am. The occasional banging around (staying up till 2am seemed to mostly involved the kitchen) isn't as bad as the anticipation of large amounts of violent banging.

Trunk Space's anniversary is this weekend. They like to just have a whole shitton of bands play when they do that, and they're closing. I'm fantacizing about parking PTH in the lot and groupie-ing the show. Flagstaff also had snow last weekend and somewhat recently claimed to still be open for a tiny bit longer. And then there's taxes and work spilling over all over the place.

I managed to hit my first self-set milestone this afternoon on paid-project of having things sync over the QuickBooks WebConnector. That involved a lot of tracing through layers of data transformations, building most of the infrastructure, enough of the webservice endpoint, logic to keep state in the newly stateless design, and getting the QBXML messages right. The last item there, I was hung up on for a few days. The QuickBooks WebConnector gives a generic failed-to-parse-XML message without any details unless it gets what it expects, and the docs are weak on details. Various tags are documented in an ad hoc fashion. I mostly gave up on that and logged the conversations the VisualBasic utility had (which luckily was also conducted with the same XML protocol) and then tried to emulate that except for a few really cargo culty bits I didn't want to cargo cult further (partially because of the time it would have taken versus establishing more direct routes were adequate).

So, I went and caught up the tail end of half of one of the many Tuesday night ride fragments, drank a few 75 cent PBRs, chatted with a few people I knew, then started to feel like I was just kind of sitting there when the (pretty awesome) skateboarding video on TV started repeating while people were talking to SOs and their phones (even more intimate) which is fine except I "forgot" my laptop at home for some reason. Heavy Metal Kids Bike keeps making friends.

I hit up the post office today too. Line was too long and slow to mail off give-away books and my nephew's final present bit isn't in yet. Trying to clean burnt on oil off of the motorcycle engine (it builds up slowly, like a frog in bleah bleah), I scrubbed some of the anodizing off the aluminium. I hate that. It looks way better than it did, but I hate permanent damage like that, when I cause it.
Saturday, April 9th, 2016
9:46 pm
More tinycarlog
Stolen photos this time. These are from the 36th Annual Southwest Unique Little Car Show (as are the cars photographed in the last post).













8:30 pm
Thursday, April 7th, 2016
1:43 pm
Log-gistics
Welp, eBay said FedEx hadn't scanned the ramps yet but they showed up already. Sometimes it takes a few weeks for things to ship, but they're here.

Logistics aren't my idea of fun.

Some todo items:

Taxes
Ski
Top-end job on the motorcycle engine
Z600's bottom washed off and rattlecanned
License and registration for the Z600 maybe? But steering and brakes really need attention.
Weld the banana seat onto the tallbike -- the current seat hardware is shot
Microcar show this weekend (should invite Taylor, CargoNick, etc)
Visit Wendy Nelly -- it sounds like maybe this might have gotten complicated
Mason Jar
sour orange marmalade?

I guess my plan is to crunch until work is in kind of okay shape (is that even possible?) and then reserve the truck and then try to multiplex things until the truck pick-up date.
Wednesday, April 6th, 2016
1:38 am
Log
Forced myself to run this afternoon, trying to break out of bad cycles, and immediately, the headphones started cutting out in one ear with the break apparently at the solder joint from the previous repair. I know where the solder iron is. I might have a spare set of earbuds too... but nothing is especially easy to get to any more.

Glamping: http://imgur.com/r/pics/Oi0GMEa

GoldBar was loud. Some ASU student was doing the Cartel thing, where she omg'd loudly and at great length about how she's been sooo busy with school, while not doing any schoolwork nor showing any sign of actually getting ready to. Outside was nice. I ran into CargoNick on the way over in Sprouts where I had stopped to get some carrots and apples (food cravings). He said he saw the tallbike out front and invited me to come brew with the RedHatchet gang (gah, want to, can't, FML). Leaving GoldBar, someone was yelling at me from behind, then CargoNick overtook me and I chased him until he turned near Apache.
Tuesday, April 5th, 2016
12:37 am
Log
The chocolate cake they've had at GoldBar the last two days has been to die for.

You might suspect the cake I had today was a slice from yesterday's cake, but you would be wrong. Today had a whole new enormous and delicious and identical chocolate cake, and yesterday's got devoured.

I'm realizing that I haven't been giving GoldBar love because it's nearly an hour walk there, and McClintock *just* got bike lanes, but it didn't register that that was now connected. It was unconnected enough that it felt like it was in another part of town, and somewhere I'd visit if I happened to be rolling through there.

No photos because the phone camera sucks. Relatedly, as part of discussing FirefoxOS on Twitter, I learned that there's a high end FirefoxOS 2.0 phone that was released right before Firefox discontinued FirefoxOS that's now being liquidated cheap. Not wanting to have anything to do with Android any time soon, I'm sorely tempted. Material possessions, come to me! I summon thee! My existing FirefoxOS phone is 1.3. 1.4 kinda didn't really happen but it looks like they were going to go to 2.0 at the same time they carried on the 1.x line, for some reason. And then they decided not to do it at all and instead focus on refrigerators with web browsers in them because people don't already have phones in front of their faces all of the time.

After I got there this evening, I got an email that I'm having a hard time with, and rather soured my stint there this evening:

So, before you returned, you had said that you planned on moving out about a week or two after your return. What are your plans?


Which doesn't jive with what I had written in email:

I booked Amtrak into town and should be back Tues the 15 noonish. I'm
not sure how long I'll stay in town, but my plan is to move stuff out
on that trip (and do small business taxes... ick).


Or the discussion I had before I went travelling, where I had agreed that I probably shouldn't renew my lease.

So, I'm annoying them more than they're annoying me, by quietly hiding away in the room. Also, they thought that after living in Arizona for 15 years, I'd just pack up all of my stuff in one week and just leave. Saying good bye to friends is loitering?

I haven't even said anything mean in several months.

What the fuck...?

My lease isn't even up for two months still (but I was figuring people would be happier if I were out well before then).

My brain, trying to fit the pieces together, came to the horrific realization that my lease is up at the same time this code project is due.

Which saint should a person in this situation be praying to...? Is there a patron saint of cognitive loads?
Thursday, March 31st, 2016
8:54 pm
Log
I tend to terrorize people with responses longer than their original post. That is, when you can get me to talk at all. I'm not sure what this means.

I decided that a large part of the problem with loading the Z600 in the back of a moving truck is trying to drive it up a steep incline with a manual transmission and somewhat narrow ramps. Longer ramps that handle the same weight rapidly get a lot more expensive. The other major part of the problem is the 16' moving truck is 16' long, and the Z600 is 10' long. The 10' U-Haul is $279. The 12' or 16' Budget truck is $163. I'm estimating that stuff half way fills a 10' truck, so maybe I am on track for fitting into the 6' left of a 16' truck.

Driving it up the ramps, I burned a lot of clutch, but also had to rev the engine and just bloody go, far more than I'd like to have, so I decided to change that up a bit and try to winch it up instead of driving it up. A "come-along" with a 10' cable (this should be interesting; again, that's how long the Z600 is, so I'm basically putting its front onto the ramp, winching it up until the nose is safely in the truck, and then doing something else) was pretty inexpensive. If this plan works, it should at least allow me to go up more slowly, in a more controlled fashioned, requiring less faith.

I'm reminded that last time I moved, I got rid of most of my computers, including the G3 MacPPC machine that powered slowass.net for years. The Alpha Multia was my firewall/router for a long time and was pretty adorable. My gosh the time I've spent/wasted installing BSD on various RISC machines. I also got rid of most of my ORA books then, but then since bought probably the same amount more. (Anyone need a Flash programmer...?) A got a few more computers since then as well.

I have a few choices here. I could try to license the Z600 in Arizona where it's probably easier than CA (especially with my license and other info still pointing here), or haul it to CA and eventually maybe try to do that. If I did manage that in AZ, the tow dolly might work. I think if something is unregistered, it can't be in contact with the ground. The trailer's registration allows it to touch the ground.

Plus I need to sort out engine work on the CB750.
12:02 pm
Extreme Misc
I swam yesterday. That felt good. I think my body decides it is winter and it is going into hibernation if it doesn't get exercise, which is counter intuitive to me because when it actually was winter, it still got exercise (running, swimming, biking), so "it's winter, time to hibernate" never really sat in as a result of it being winter. Hibernation as I'm declaring it feels like being groggy on a multi-day, multi-week scale. Bleah. So, when I manage exercise, it will likely continue to be big news on my stupid blog, and I'm apparently not the only one.

In my packing shuffling, my meager in-room pantry wound up in a bucket, so I guess I have a food bucket. I also obtained some more groceries, finally making it to Sprouts, so I have PB&J on the menu, and got tortilla foodstuffs going from Food City, using a big tin of canned refried beans as a base, which I'm eating cold.

The Z600 got jacked up after I exhausted (largely due to evaporation) this batch of rust dissolver. It looks like I could have done a better job of pumping it into the holes in the floor pan, but it also did a fantastic job where I did get it. I didn't get it above the bottom of the floor pan, so I'm spending some time with naval jelly under there as well, even though that does not accomplish the same thing as pumping rust dissolver into the holes. I'll have to come back to that. The rust dissolver gelled on to a lot of the metal, as the navel jelly also strongly tends to do. I wonder if I should try to use water to get it off, or if I should go for a solution of ether, gasoline, ammonia, and chlorine. I wouldn't be so reluctant about cleaning off the rust dissolver with water if it weren't for those damn holes that go to a rust-land in the middle of the metal sandwich. I want to wash off the gelled on rust dissolver so I can rattlecan it.

Lincoln had ~$300/month workshop/garage space with running water that you're actually allowed to occupy during the day. Something like that would be fantastic for me in CA. That doesn't even buy a desk in a shared space in CA. Computer projects and automotive projects and bicycle projects definitely occupy the same sort of workshop space.
11:44 am
Stuff
"This professor would never pay more than $35 for a bottle, and then at the same time he would be extremely reluctant to part with a bottle for anything less than $100. What could explain this huge gap between his buying and selling prices?"

The endowment effect is a new concept to me, and I can see where it would come in. I think in some of these examples, other effects might be in play as well.

"raised the hypothesis that natural selection may favor individuals whose preferences embody an endowment effect given that it may improve one's bargaining position in bilateral trades" from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endowment_effect comes closest to the Lemon Law, where buyers tend to undervalue things because they have less information about an item (or service). Sellers may be attempting to game the buyer by hiding defects or damage. Honest sellers are thus penalized, removing incentive for them to sell, creating a feedback looping lowering the price of goods, further removing incentive for owners of non-defective examples to sell. This mostly applies to used or speciality items such as cars, not things like mugs. The owner of a Datsun 280Z that's in perfect mechanical and physical condition has little incentive to sell. Trying to do so would be an enormous effort, of dealing with buyers not prepared its value and attempting to prove the condition of the vehicle. In the case of cars, high end auto auctions found a niche there, offloading the work of assessing and communicating value. That service adds a large premium. If this professor bought good bottles of wine for $35, part of the value of those bottles of wine is the research into finding good wine at that price and getting it while its available. That's a non-trivial amount of research and hunting around.

I would argue that there's a cultural component to the Endowment Effect as well. I think it is often learned, and might exist more or less in a culture depending on what that culture accepts and the environment the culture matured in.

There's a cognitive load in acquiring things. Establishing that they're yours in a tribal/evolutionary development setting is a cognitive load on everyone around you. That creates a disincentive to acquire and then immediately sell, and reminds me of when I had a "NOT FOR SALE" sign on the motorcycle, which only encouraged people to knock on the door more demanding to know "how much". Owning something means remembering to change its filters or oil, to not accidentally abandon it, to remember that you have it if you need it, etc. Inserting this memory into your brain with the correct connections takes some amount of energy. It's a lot easier to keep track of what bottles of wine you own when you're mostly just buying them and not selling them.

That's about the end of where I can generalize. For me (a pretty non-representative example, I think), I feel responsible for things I've acquired (but far less so for things from Axeman or Goodwill). I'm far more likely to send something to the Goodwill if I think that someone else will enjoy it. Digging through bins at Diggers (where Goodwill stuff in MN goes to if not purchased from the Goodwill stores itself, before it gets shipped back to China for sorting and potential recycling or disposal), I was keenly interested in what types of things don't get purchased. (Clothing is a huge part of it.) Goodwill started selling books on half.com; a good number that I get from there come from there, so I feel fairly good about donating books there. Maybe I punish myself by keeping things I purchased that there isn't a lot of interesting in re-use of. This may have been trained in by Minnesota's strict recycling laws that generally result in people having to pay to recycle things, and the trash collectors inspecting your trash and leave you warnings and then citations if you fail. You cannot just put a CRT in the trash and expect it to vanish. This leads one to think ahead when buying things. Maybe semi-counter-productively, I spend too much time thinking about what I do want to purchase, and then hoarding in cases when I discover supply is vanishing (Biopace, Campy 8 speed, etc).

"The crux of the argument is that human biases towards valuing exclusivity and authenticity undermine principles of recycling and reuse. I think you can probably see how this whole line of reasoning might also be related to the endowment effect, described at the beginning." -- it's amazing the degree companies like Coach manipulate these perceptions, first establishing in people's mind that a new handbag has immense value, and then very soon afterwards, that it has zero value and you need a new one. Looking at these effects in general though, I think they can be manipulated either way, with policy decisions like recycling fees. Handbags are probably the hardest thing to manage here. That reminds me of the bit in the HHGttG where an archaeologist they run in to is digging through the shoe strata.

Most people buy stuff from Walmart because it is cheap -- likely cheaper than buying (often much nicer) things at Goodwill or an upscale used store. Our economic policies fuel consumerism. If used costs more than new, then new isn't taxed heavily enough on import. Hipsters did a great job of reusing clothing, but, as too often, people in the suburbs are disconnected from any culture besides commercial consumerism. Buying new with its return policy is a cognitively cheap way to feel reasonably confident about a minimum level of quality of something, which avoids problems. It's interesting to watch people searching out the electrical outlets in Goodwill to test items. Used stores lack the ability to carefully optimize floor space and selection to create a comprehensive, crafted shopping experience appealing to the one stop shopper.

I think instincts are kind of half way working okay except for the fact that the current system of incentives/disincentives favors buying things new. Goodwill expanding many of their stores to be much larger was a big step in improving that.

Urbanites have a shifted, much healthier, relationship with stuff, because of lack of space. Emphasis on social relationships also argues for less stuff and a nicer space (less cluttered) to enjoy those relationships in. There might be a shark-in-a-fishbowl effect. Given acres of land, there's little reason not to collect lumber scraps and eventually build an out building. Then there's the move towards digital, where more consumerism is digital -- Netflix subscriptions, iTunes music, in-app purchases, etc. It seems like the newer generation has come to terms with the idea of spending money for something non-physical (I'm still appalled by DRM, personally, and why the hell people playing streaming music on the sound system in coffee shops don't pay to get rid of the ads I cannot fathom). When you have few things, the endowment effect can be healthy. If all you have is a MacBook, an iPhone, a few good shirts and pairs of pants, and so on, and you value those things with a sense of ownership, you're probably happy with them.

I can see myself strongly subscribing to the Endowment Effect. Finding my grate aunt's egg beater in the dishwasher, and then finding it again taken from storage and all of the "this is mine, don't touch" blue stickers peeled off of it really pissed me off. I could get by just fine with a whisk, but now that I have the egg beater, I feel responsible for it, and satisfaction in owning and using it.
Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016
7:45 pm
Extreme Misc, Pt 2
The Android phone (why do I even touch the thing?) had powered itself on again (I turn it off; every time I find it, it's either on or dead) and was waiting for permission to install a firmware update. Since I had previously wasted half a day successfully rooting it (and previous days unsuccessfully trying to), and since it automatically selects whatever default item is up when it detects that it is being shaken (ie, I'm walking), I was horrified. Having it rooted is my pathway to eventually getting tethering going again.

I spent hours Googling for how to disable automatic updates, finding asinine replies, none of which were reproducible on my phone and didn't indicate what version of the OS they were for, saying that you can't turn them off, suggesting different apps for removing apks that I tried and failed to find the apks with, long posts from 2011 detailing how to edit something that looks a lot like a Windows registry (they really did re-create the worst parts of Windows with Android), using the shell the root crack installed trying to find the apk but lacking enough command line tools for the shell to be remotely casually useful, etc.

I pulled the battery out and tried to wedge it in the wrong way so that it was in but not making contact. No dice. Turn it back around. It powers on, but I cracked the screen which is apparently not really protected at all from the battery compartment. Recycle bin. Goodbye, time vampire. You took good photos and ran the USFed banking app and Shazam. I was a shitty owner and don't deserve an Android phone. It blows that everything like Shazam is only for mobile devices. Skype doesn't do three way video calling so that was a no-go for this contract but hey you ran Skype. I should have wedged a post-it note in there instead of trying to stuff the battery in the wrong way. I hate myself for wrecking it instead of giving up and donating it and I knew I would (eventually wreck it and hate myself).

Yeah, today has been really super f'n productive.
7:17 pm
Extreme Misc: Voting Edition
Polling place was a community center just a mile east I had never been to but had looked at. It has a pool, but the pool is only open a few months a year and with poor hours, so I decided to ignore it. It's a very nice community center, though. When I got there, I walked in the wrong door (by virtue of walking over, instead of getting off of the freeway) and there was zero sign of any voting on. A hippie-girl in a VW bus hauling things to the attached community garden (I swear, I'm not making this up) yelled "that way!" from across the pjorking lot and pointed.

I was in line from 10:30am or so until 11:30am. Part of the process is someone with a Windows tablet computer and a few accessors in a huge case with foam padding on the inside enters your voter ID number and swipes your drivers license, and then sits there waiting for the information system to confirm you -- no forged IDs accepted here, no sir! Then they tell you to walk over to the other table and tell them what ballot you were approved for, and that the infallible record checking computer said you could have a ballot, psssst, pass it on. This in a huge tangled crowd.

During the process of that, people were repeatedly trying to usher me the wrong direction, and when I got to the table with all of the blank ballots piled high on top of it, I repeated what I was told to tell them, kicking off a whose-on-firstian rap session with a few old ladies with questions like "wait, she [one of the other ladies sitting at the label] said that you said that they [the people at the first table] you wanted a Democrat ballot, but you said that you wanted a Green ballot, right?" No... Perhaps passive aggressively wanting to see how high the madness cold be taken, I actually answer the questions, only stopping twice to repeat what I was told to tell them. This exchange provided me key information about something I had been wondering about, specifically why isn't this durn line moving.

The little old lady operating the scantron machine smiled and fluttered her eyelids at me as I walked up with the completed thing. As I got close, she said, "well, put it in!". I giggled. She gave me a sticker.
Monday, March 14th, 2016
12:33 pm
Extreme Misc
Green Bianchi is getting the California luxury spa treatment after getting the Califronia gale force rain brevet treatment.

I mailed City of Tempe to let them know that we're way behind on volunteer recruitment. I also took myself off of the Basecamp.

Amtrak had another derailment yesterday. If I had left for Lincoln and left a day earlier, I could have caught it. An evil part of me wants to be in an derailment so that I can weasel Amtrak out of life time free rides even though it probably doesn't work that way and I really don't want to take advantage of Amtrak anyway.

It was fun to watch R and S use my Scrabble server (which I've named "Scabble"). R was pleading for mercy.

Emma slept long enough on Sunday that we began to suspect that she escaped again. Her hatred of other cats is only matched by her love of vomiting up grass.

Riding in El Cerrito is much nicer than in Tempe but brevets out side of town are far inferior, traffic-wise. I have a renewed respect for ADOT's commitment to put shoulders on all state highways (eventually). Michael Sanders has accomplished much at ADOT. CA should step up. A few really good state bicycle routes would get a metric fuckton of use.
Wednesday, February 17th, 2016
6:04 pm
Pics


On the road into UMN St. Paul (ag) campus. It's unclear if they're talking about entering campus entirely or the fields next to the road.



Accidental Axman selfie.








Axman Surplus.




Amtrak, being pulled in by a BNSF engine. Not sure what purpose the cowboy serves, and it looks like the train still had the two Amtrak engines even though reportedly one had a problem. The whole thing moved slower than Amtrak usually does. Reportedly, the BNSF engine doesn't have the same top speed, and the Amtrak engines will do north of 100 if they're allowed to, which small town crossing prevent.



Post AZ brevet.



I was giddily awaiting the new Java in a Nutshell to see if it broke the 2000 page mark, but alas, they dropped the API reference from it in favor of cookbook style how-tos, making it smaller again.



Getting on Amtrak again. I'm going to die.



Amtrak stopped while some CA missile base fires a missile. I'm going to die.



OpenBSD is crashing a lot. Boot screen, since its hard-locking, I don't have a panic message.



I have past tax returns saved, but no records of statements of accounts. So I ordered them.



Cats are assholes.
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