Why I should not work in a slaughterhouse


Last week I found that I had a mouse. I put out a trap for him. He ate the peanut butter, didn’t trip the trap and left a lot of “souvenirs.” I put up a couple new traps under my sink. I put honey on one of them.

I was watching a movie when I hear some squeals from my kitchen. I looked under there and found the mouse trapped with it’s back broken by the spring trap.

It took me a minute to come to terms with him still being alive. I felt he was frightened and looking at me.

Finally, I told myself that I’d already committed to killing it, so this was just part of the process. After a couple of minutes, I did dispose of the mouse, but I was very hesitant to do that.

If I was working in a slaughterhouse, I would have this internal conversation over and over. Not a good career choice.

Weekend

Three colored hexagonsThis was a pleasant weekend. I got a bunch of things done and felt pretty comfortable.

I worked on some Perl scripts that allow data entry and calculations with my budget information. I could have done it with an Excel spreadsheet, but developing code was more enticing.

I also have been upgrading my laptop. I installed Windows 10 on it. The system is unacceptably sluggish but I can’t justify upgrading to a new laptop. Right now it is synchronizing my 200k+ files in dropbox. That is taking a long time. I’ll have to see how the laptop behaves once dropbox is settled.

I installed Scrivener, Cygwin and ActiveState Perl. Also Office 365 and I built the 4.07.0 OCaml system. The laptop I’m keeping slightly more “stock” by not installing utilities like Avast and possibly also not other browsers like Chrome and Firefox.

I’ve built a couple websites recently. One, http://alphaomegaonline.org has morphing colors. It’s not interactive although clicking flips between different algorithms for the color transformations. I’m designing an update that reacts to mouse clicks by “fracturing” the screen into sub-screens that morph independently.

The other site http://sesquibits.com/planets.html calculates and displays a running summary of the distance between the planets. It also shows relative velocities and acceleration. You can pick any planet as the center point. A future goal for the site is to present interactive graphs of the planetary distances.

Other pleasant escapades in the weekend were visiting friends, going to the Y and reading a couple of books. I ate way too much pizza.

They have compromising videos

Excited Talk
Today I got the 4th email asking me to send a payment to prevent videos of “me having fun” from being released to my friends and coworkers.

Three of the threats had a “from” at outlook.com and one was from a .ru return address. The outlook.com messages appear to have been generated by (automatically?) filling in a lengthy template. The text in the .ru threat was completely different.

The threats are based on my same user name, password and email address. The message subjects are the same. All of them demand that I should pay the money via bitcoin. They all claim to have videos that record me using a pornography service. They give me 48 hours to reply. They all use warped syntax and look like they were created by a non-English speaker.

One message was from July when I first heard of the porn video scam. I received three threats this month.

The user name/password were only used on a livejournal account. It’s a demonstration why using different passwords on different sites is important. If I had had repeated passwords, I wouldn’t know where the theft happened.

It also shows that once information is stolen, it can pop up repeatedly. I assume that I’ll be getting more of these messages.

Button it down

Earlier, the heating unit in my clothes dryer went out. When the workers came to repair it, they took out the dryer drum and scattered dozens of lost buttons across the floor.

I resolved not to lose any more shirt buttons.

My solution is a little labor intensive, but so far it’s been working. I button up all of the shirt buttons and then turn the shirt inside out.

When the shirt is dry, I turn it right side out, unbutton a couple of top buttons and hang it in the closet.

By buttoning all of the buttons, the force on each individual button is reduced. By turning the shirt inside out, the buttons won’t be pulled by the other clothes in the dryer.

A middle step happens when I transfer the clothes from the washer to the dryer.

Instead of throwing all of the clothes, towels and wash clothes into the dryer as a big mass, I take them one at a time and shake them out. It lets me see when there are loose threads and might help them dry a little more evenly.

Resources to find used books


Perhaps this is where to start: BookFinder.com It’s a meta search that searches many of the online vendors. The search results are sorted by price plus shipping which is convenient. If there is ambiguity in the search results, BookFinder presents a list of possible titles.

For example, I searched for Van Gogh and found a book “The Essential Letters.” To verify, I searched the vendors in the list below. Bookfinder’s search results included links to their offerings.

In addition to book finder, here are a few specific used book sellers:
Alibris
AbeBooks
Half price books
Better World Books
Thriftbooks
Biblio.com

Cat-astrophe averted

A padlockI like my cat. She is well behaved and doesn’t make a mess.

I went to my storage unit today. I got out the padlock key. The lock was stuck in the hole so I tried wiggling it. Good enough….

Then, it happened. I dropped the key. It would normally not be a big deal.. lean over and pick it up, right? But to my misfortune, the key fell right into the crack between the unit’s concrete and the concrete along the pavement.

I was not too upset. (For sufficiently high values of “too upset.”)

I tried picking out out with a regular key tag and, of course, dropped the key tag in the slot too. I broke out the big guns and used the temple piece of my glasses to pull out both of them.

It looked like the groove went a lot deeper, but I was fortunate in my misfortune that it didn’t fall that deep.

I got one more box out of the storage unit—the rest of my music collection—so that I could continue making progress toward the goal of closing down the storage unit.

Time to put a bigger key tag on the key’s ring.

And Zorro was happy to see me when I returned home.