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Archive for the category “Vitriol”

At the Peak of Our Development, are We  Starting to Devolve?

Ramblings

January 31, 2018

The Sum of All Fears

Being a voracious reader on a limited budget, I read a lot of e-books these days.  The current state of English grammar – or the lack thereof – is troubling to me.  The occasional usage error, misspelling, or misplaced comma doesn’t bother me that much.  But . . .  I’m currently reading a very good space opera wherein it is very apparent that proofreading was skipped on several chapters.  In most chapters the prose is faultless. But, in those other chapters, the text will flow well for a while only to be interrupted. By sentence fragments. Strung together with periods. And sentence capitalizations. Like a grammar checker. Went mad.  It’s kind of like. Listening to William Shatner. As Captain James T. Kirk.

In my careers in police work and computer systems there was one hard & fast rule for writing:

Always have someone else read and critique what you have written before you consider it done.

Trust me, I’m not innocent of the very sins I’m accusing this young author of committing.  Being an ADDer, I often think – and write – in choppy fragments.  I also have usage issues, and often transpose so badly you’d swear that I never learned to spell at all.

If you absolutely have no one who can proofread your work for you, take a break, go for a walk — or something.  Just put your project down for an hour, or two.  Do something that will take your mind off of your writing project for a while.  Then, sit down and proofread it yourself.  You’ll be looking at it with fresh eyes.

Having over 30 years in the Information Technology industry, I sometimes wonder at how beneficial the technology I’ve been evangelizing for decades really is.  Have we acolytes of the realms digital done our fellow humans a grave disservice?   Texting, tweeting, e-mailing, Facebooking, and what-have-you appear to be killing the English language.

What’s the cure?  Write. Do a blog. Join an online writing group.  Take a writing class.  Do anything that involves writing other than e-mail, Facebook, tweeting, texting, or IM’ing.

Oh, yeah.  Get yourself some paper and a pen and write by hand, as well. You’d be surprised how quickly your handwriting will suffer if you don’t use it regularly.

Just my rambling thoughts on the state of the written language.

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A Season of (Dis)Repair

Workbench

The van popped its timing belt on US-101.  Good news is that the 3.3L V-6 used in that model is a non-interference engine — which means that when the belt went, the pistons did not bash into the valves, destroying the pistons, the valves, the heads and pretty much the whole engine.  Being a mini-van, it’s going to be a enough of a challenge to change the timing belt.

  • Also needs:
    • Two new tires
    • Front brakes
    • New muffler
    • New serpentine belt
    • A tune up
    • Don’t need, don’t need, done, done &  done!
    • Not bad – considering it’s on the high side of 220,000 miles.

UPDATE:

The van is out of the shop.  Tires and brakes were not as bad as we thought – we’re good for thousands of miles yet on both.  She runs like a dream, and Omer changed out the top and bottom main seals which will take care of the (slight) engine oil leaks while he had the engine apart to replace the timing belt.   The spark plug electrodes and the distributor contacts were so eroded that it’s a wonder that she ran at all.  He also says that the compression is good on all six cylinders — so, we ought to get a lot more miles out of this engine.  🙂

Unfortunately, there’s bad news to got with the good — there’s some body damage from a wind storm that occurred while it was waiting to go into the shop.   Omer is going to see what he can do about popping the fender out when we take it back to have the vent window motors replaced.

Truck needs:

  • Oil change & lube job
    • Done!  Also had the differential flushed.  Much happier little truck, now.
  • Need to take it to a detail shop so they can determine which body drain is clogged and flooding the cab before any *more* electronics die.
    • <rant removed>
    • My lovely bride applied a thin bead of caulk to the rear window seal, as an experiment, and the leak issue is now solved. =:)
  • Remember to thank God (and our neighbor, Jo) for the truck.
    • Otherwise — I’d be walking to work. 24+ miles, each way, uphill – both directions – in the rain, most days. <humble><blessed><thankful><happy>
    • This is an ongoing exercise, and one that I need.  I too suffer from the American malady of always wanting more & better.  That little truck fills the bill in that it’s paid for, it gets me from Point A to Point B and back again — reliably, it can haul what we need hauled, and it’s fairly economical.

House & Yard

  • Need to replace the toilet in the front bathroom with one that will actually flush – and, hopefully – do it without overflowing. #EWWW
  • Need to get the fan replaced in our bathroom.
    • Done!  So nice to be able to shower in our own bathroom again. =:)
  • Need to replace the fence gate that’s being held up by prayer, the trash & recycle cans, and a short chunk of re-bar.  (The neighbors will be thrilled – it needed to be replaced when we moved in — a decade ago.) #ItsAboutFlippinTime
  • Really need to tear the deck off the play house and re-do it.  Before someone falls all the way through it.
    • Need to replace the door on the playhouse.
    • And at least the portion of the floor where the @#*! squirrels chewed through it to give themselves an escape hatch to evade the dogs.
      • Consider using cold-rolled 1/4″ steel plate.  Yeah, it’s hard on drill bits — but, it ought to slow down the squirrels, somewhat.
    • Probably should also install hardware cloth at the eves, so they can’t get in that way.
    • Do a thorough post-rodent clean-up.
    • (Find out if it’s legal to squirrel hunt with a flamethrower.) #GoodCleanFun

Workshop

  • Repair the drawer that was broken in the package on the cabinetmaker’s bench
  • Support the bottom shelf so you can actually set something on it without it falling out of the dados and hitting the floor.
  • Build an assembly table.
  • Build some decent & useful sawhorses.
  • Build a shaving horse to make oars, masts, sprits, etc.

And, oh yeah:

The dryer died last night . . .

Ed, Brenda & I tag-teamed that puppy.  Field-stripped it, (You have to tear dryers down to the bones to do anything.), replaced the broken belt, the thermostat and the breaker.  Then, we put it all back together. It dries! =:o)

Good thing we got our taxes done.

Like The Man Said:

  • Be thankful for needing car repairs.
    • It means that you haven’t had to walk everywhere.
  • Be thankful for home repairs.
    • They mean you haven’t been living out in the weather.
  • Be thankful in all things.
    • For God has been taking care of you — all of your life.
      • Whether you’ve been paying attention, or not.

 

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