Long dark tea-time of the soul

Well, perhaps not as poetic as the title, but it has been a strange trip. My job search appears to be resolved, I’m supposed to get briefed on Monday and back in the vault. I’ve been on the payroll already, which has made my wife a lot less anxious, but we won’t really be relaxed until I’m comfortable in the vault with my new work and the paychecks have been running for a while. I actually got two offers and had a third company say they were going to make one (but couldn’t react in time), which was lovely, but there was still a long period of depression when nothing was going on. I do hope we are able to actually focus and put a year or two of savings away before we go off our austerity, but the past doesn’t provide a lot of reason for optimism.

So, this post was prompted by a Dilbert comic I just read. Only the one panel does it for me, so I cut it out (click on the image to go to the Washington Post full panel):

People are just fish plus time

I like the simplicity of the statement and it really sums up evolution in an excellent way.

As always seems to be the case, we have more expensive problems. We were driving home from Shenandoah on Sunday when the transmission on our Odyssey (almost) literally burned up! We kept smelling smoke and were trying to figure out if it was us or someone else when Eliz finally looked in the rear view mirror and saw smoke billowing out from behind our car. After pulling over I carefully popped the hood (leaning back in case it burst into flames) and there was smoke from the back of the engine compartment. Fortunately it didn’t burst into flames, but I was worried for a while as the smoke actually got worse for a minute or two. An expensive tow home, our AAA membership only covers the first three miles, but it wasn’t too bad.

We have a backup car: a 1988 Ford Escort POS with 45K original miles on it. We got it ‘free’ from Eliz’ aunt who was the original owner. It starts and runs fine, but it is a 1980s American POS after all, complete with the idiotic self buckling seat belts. I hate the damn thing, but we need a spare for when events like the above happen. However, when Eliz started it up to make sure the battery was still good, the damn thing started pissing gasoline all over the driveway. That fix ‘only’ cost $150 (the transmission is supposed to cost $2,200; we only paid $3,500 for the damn thing!), because the service station is less than 3 miles the tow truck didn’t charge us extra.

My car has this strange vibration that happens only at highway speeds and only when pressing the gas. Meaning, if going down hill at the same speeds, there are no vibrations, but when going up hill the vibrations are rather disturbing. I at first thought it was tires, but I’ve replaced the two on the front (the mechanic said the two on the back are fine). Now, after some research, I think it has something to do with one of the drive shafts. Because I haven’t been working I haven’t taken it to the shop, but now, with the other two costing money, I might have to put it off for a couple of paychecks (which only come once a month). I sure wish I could win the lottery and drive a brand new car!

Speaking of the lottery, I am getting some movement on my long-term digital storage idea (I haven’t blogged on this topic before and this is the extent of the ‘technical’ description I’m going to offer), something I feel might be worth even more than the DNA sequencing idea. I already have the proof-of-concept (it cost me less than $10 and took less than an hour), so it is already ahead of the game as far as the DNA sequencer is concerned. I have some people interested in paying for the working prototype (which I think I can do for less than $30K) and my patent lawyer said his firm might be willing to cover the patent labor in exchange for some equity. Early days yet, but reasons to get excited.

The DNA idea has been showing brief signs of life. I contacted a consultant about some electron beam lithography work and somehow we got to talking about my DNA concept and the government lab where he works sometimes does research ‘pro bono’ as long as they can publish the results. That, also, is still in preliminary talks, but it would be exciting to know if my idea actually works. Plus, publishing positive results might get me the sort of attention I would need to sell the IP to at least pay back what has gone into it.

Despite having all this time off, I have been too lazy to update the web site with the construction pictures. At first I was rather depressed about my sluggish job search, now I actually have a task: learn about mobile phone technology. It has been an interesting learning experience, it seems that in the world of telephony they have never turned their backs on any protocols and everything ever invented is still in use somewhere. What a mess! Still, learning new things helps keep the brain active.

Sadly, it seems my man Bernie has come up short. Though the outcome was in doubt for quite a while, there is now no realistic path for him to get the nomination. That means it will be Clinton and almost certainly Trump, I just don’t see this Cruz/Kasich last-ditch effort having the slightest impact on Trump’s momentum. I really don’t see that the GOP cigar chompers having any choice but to nominate Trump, to do anything else I feel sure will not only cost them the general election but the House and Senate as well. They may detest him, but I don’t see the party being able to recover from such a debacle for a generation. There is no way any Trump supporter would vote for Cruz or Kasich, so they would either stay home or vote for Hillary out of spite.

Personally, I think Trump will eat Hillary alive during the general election. As I’ve pointed out to several friends, Trump has been taken out of context numerous times, but hasn’t bothered to attempt to correct the record. That’s because it plays into the thoughts and minds of the base, the voters necessary to win the primary. Once in the general election, he will go back to all those supposedly inflammatory statements and ‘correct’ the record and blame it all on the press. Since the voters, as a species, are credulous morons, he will easily convince well over half the nation that he really isn’t the frothing mad man that we all know and love to hate today, but is actually a reasonable and centrist guy who will make Hillary look like a frothing lunatic. This, btw, is exactly what Scott Adams has been promulgating since the very beginning, so I can’t take any credit for the idea.

So, will President Trump be good for the country? At this point, since Bernie is effectively out of the running, I have to say I think he is better than the alternative, that being Hillary. Whether he would be better than Bernie, that I can’t imagine one way or another, but I am quite sure he will be better than Cruz or Kasich (who makes himself out as a centrist, but his only difference is he isn’t full of bombast, he wants all the usual things ultra conservative right wing nut jobs want). At least, with Trump in the White House, there is a chance things will get shaken up and we can perhaps break out from the strangle hold special interests have on our government. Something I don’t see as possible with Hillary.