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Antique Desk And Its Dazor Task Lamp

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This just made me unreasonably happy today, so I am gonna have to share it.

A couple of years ago we found an antique drafting table for pretty cheap money at a local shop, I think we maybe paid $200 or so for it. It had been used and taken very good care of for...80 years? Maybe more? It had a Kilroy on it. So we snatched it and replaced Natalie's less beautiful portable drafting table with it. It's a real monster, like 48" x 36", and great shape, well built, though it does have quite a twist to it. It'll last Natalie forever.

Since then, one problem she's had was getting an adequate task light. She had a plastic fluorescent arm-light, but it was nowhere near long enough to cover the new desk. And, you know face it, it looked like junk.

So the other day we were in another local consignment shop and I spotted a monster arm-light for $25. Natalie didn't like the look of the fact that it was fluorescent (will we be able to get bulbs...) and wasn't sure about the mount, since it didn't clamp, it looked like it screws to the desk. As is my way, I needled her for a couple days and let it work on her that she needed to check it out. No one's gonna stop making fluorescent bulbs, and even if they do, so we get an LED adapter, or just rewire it all the way to the plug for LED. Today she went back and grabbed it, and score, it was on sale, now $18.

We hadn't really looked at it, but turns out it's a Dazor from 1950. As we were trying to figure out how this was supposed to attach (none of the hardware was there), I figured we could get a couple of set screws with wingnuts and big ass washers, drill the desk (Natalie was not a fan), and just bolt it in.

So she started measuring up the distance between the screws, and found that they exactly matched the existing holes someone had already drilled in the desk. We were just re-uniting the drafting table with it's long-lost lamp!

The table top had to be turned around so the holes were at the back, so that was an hour well spent, but it all lined up and she dropped right in. Now it's at that point that I thought it was too cool and started writing this post. However, interesting bit of trivia, Dazor was founded by Harry Dazey, of the Dazey Churn and Manufacturing company in St. Louis. We happen to have a good-size collection of Dazey ice crushers, a can opener, and one of what's probably a small handful of portable stands that are left in existence. This makes Natalie super happy, because we've completed the Dazey set finally.

So here we are, desk, lamp, and ice crusher:

The thing that impresses me the most about this is that in the spare parts section on Dazor's site they list all the various switches and ballasts so you can repair your lamps. Not only are ours still fully in stock, but they've only got 7 listed switches and 5 ballasts, which I'm sure cover virtually every product they've ever made. Simplicity and rugged construction = happy customers forever.

Not only were these lamps built to outlive your granddad, and they did, obviously, but you can still get parts for 'em if they ever do let the magic smoke out! Right from the manufacturer. Try that with literally any other product, especially now. Man. I mean, I get that if you make a lamp, and that lamp lasts forever, then you never sell another one to that customer, and your company dies. But the other side of that coin is that you end up the standard in task lighting, forever, with multi-generational product loyalty.

We'll probably end up buying brand new Dazor lamps for spaces like our office workbench once it's built, and I fully expect them to last just as well as this one clearly has.

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Roadside America

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Natalie and I are on a kind of meta-road trip. We're not actually going to see The Thing, but we're seeing the roadside attractions which have sprung up around The Thing to amuse and draw in visitors.

Today we went to Roadside America, which is a massive O gauge model railroad layout. 6000 feet, assembled over 60 years of one Laurence Gieringer's life, from when he was 9 until he died.

Natalie took tons of photos, but I put up 3 short videos covering about 15% or so, along one short edge:

Mine, mountains, farms:

The zoo:

Midcentury Downtown:

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Geoguessr World Tour - Albino Reindeer?

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It's still the holiday week, so here's one I found today, if you want to see it yourself, it's right here. I don't know if white reindeer are a thing, but this one actually does look albino, it's pretty pink:







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Geoguessr World Tour - The Blurry Faced Man

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I'm with you, blurry faced man of Bloomsbury Square:

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My Life Is Going To Suck Without Net Neutrality

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There are so many things I do which are likely to suffer with Net Neutrality's loss.

I run my own mail, web and cloud sharing services on a VPS that I maintain. Owncloud syncs all my devices, I use IMAP and webmail. I also run lots of "consumer" stuff for myself. I own 2500 CDs which I've ripped and share for my own personal use. I have playlists. I can connect with DAAP from my phone, and listen to my own CD collection, music I have paid for, Spotify style. I know people are saying "Spotify will work just fine", but what if I don't want to use Spotify?

This is all encrypted, personal connections. Nothing illegal is happening here. I'm not filesharing or streaming Torrents or any other grey-area services. It's just all my personal stuff, owned and manually copied myself, sharing to myself. No one gets ripped off here.

I can plug my Amazon Fire stick or Raspberry Pi into any TV and use Kodi to stream my own MP3s or movies, etc. I can use it to watch Amazon Prime or Netflix as well. Kodi also has a wealth of plugins to watch content from sources such as the PBS website. We all can watch Nova, or Julia Child, or even Antiques Roadshow over the Internet, for free, legally. This may all suffer when backbone providers and local ISPs can both decide which packets have priority over other traffic. PBS could be QOS'd out of the budgets of millions.

(Note *)I don't own a Nest or any other IOT garbage, but I have toyed with the idea of building my own, running on infrastructure I build. I don't want Google to know what temperature my house is right now. And I don't want some mass hack of 500 Million Nest users or idiot IOT Lightbulbs to let some Romanian turn my furnace off in the middle of February either.

So yeah, losing Net Neutrality could effectively disable all of this. Small hosts like me could be QoS'd off of the Internet entirely, unless we pay extra /at both ends/. Pay my hosting provider to pay their backbone providers to QoS my address at a decent speed. Then pay my consumer ISP to QoS my traffic so I can reach "The Good Internet", like they have do in Portugal.

This is going to cut my lifeline to my own data, hosted by me on my own machines. Am I going to have to pay an additional "Get Decent Internet Access Beyond Google, Spotify, Facebook and Twitter" fee to the Hampton Inn just so we don't get QoS'd away from our own stuff? It's bad enough that the individual hotel can effectively do this already today, but the hotels are at least limited by the fact that they're in competition with each other and if they have ridiculously shitty Internet that you can't check your mail over, well people would notice that. Backbone providers pretty much have no such direct consumer accountability. No one's going to say "well, fuck that I'm not going to route over AT&T anymore", they might say "Hilton has shitty Internet, I'm going to Marriott".

Some of the most demoralizing part of this is that the rule-makers just don't get it. I already know they don't care, but former FCC Chair Michael Powell's statement, which boils down to "You can still use Facebook, (Amazon) Alexa, Google and Instagram, just like you can now" is missing the point either deliberately or purposefully. That most "consumers" will be fine isn't the point. The point is that everyone be equal, and all traffic be routed equally.

* The risk to my information is proportional to the value an attacker places on the information. Could a state actor target my email server and read my mail? Yeah, the Equation Group or Fancy Bear or some Eastern European ID theft ring could probably exploit some flaw in whatever software serves my VPS, or flat out order the ISP to give them access to my stuff, but why? What does the NSA gain by ransacking my mail server? Not much. How about criminal attackers? However they /would/ expose 1.5 Billion Yahoo accounts all at once, and have that entire corpus of mail to search against, plus passwords they could use to try and attack everyone's bank account all at once.

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Ice Cream of Route 3 - Fisher Cats Game

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As my first in a series of posts about ice cream places on NH Route 3, I'm deciding to count stuff which really wouldn't be super obvious, as well as all the multi-generational institutions we all know. Located a block off of Elm St in Manchester, Northeast Delta Dental Stadium counts, because I said it did.

We've been going to sport-thing games since last fall, when we decided we needed a release valve on the wall-to-wall presidential election nonsense and started going to Manchester Monarchs games. Since that nonsense continued straight past the election, we've been going to more and more games, including three Fisher Cats games this summer. The Fisher Cats finished up their season this weekend, so I wanted to make sure and head out there and get some ice cream and put it on the list.

The stadium serves Hood ice cream, soft-serve only from what we've seen, as well as novelties like ice cream sandwiches. This week Natalie and I each got a hot fudge sundae, vanilla & chocolate twist, with everything they'll put on a sundae, which boils down to whipped cream, jimmies and a cherry, I guess it's just easier for them not to even try to have a walnut in the building than to deal with the inevitable nut allergies.

You can get these in mini-helmets, of course. We got a regular cup this time because we did the helmet thing earlier in the season.

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Ice Cream of Route 3

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This summer while we were out driving somewhere I decided that there should be a page for all the ice cream places on NH Route 3. Route 3 runs the entire length of the state from the Canadian border north of Pittsburg to the Massachusetts border at Nashua/Tyngsborough. The road runs through all of the larger cities in the state, and lots of pretty smaller towns. There's a lot of ice cream to be had here. I remember some of these spots from when I was a little kid, usually failing to get my mom to stop. Places like King Kone in Merrimack, and the Brick House in Hooksett.

This is going to take a good deal of time, and there's not really much summer left this year, but I'll be posting them as we can get to them.

So since the idea here is to visit these local institutions which have served generations of kids in this state, of course I'm going to kick it off with the biggest and newest one.

  • Northeast Delta Dental Stadium, home of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.
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    Twin Peaks Was Definitely In The Stargate Universe

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    *** SPOILERS FOR BOTH STARGATE AND TWIN PEAKS (1990) ***

    Natalie and I have watched all of Stargate from the movie through the last episode of SGU, having interleaved where appropriate so we were watching the different shows in the proper order with relation to each other (we did the same thing with all the Star Treks). We're just now watching Twin Peaks for the first time for either of us, because we'd always heard it was good, they're doing a new series, and because this is what we do. See also: Magnum, Miami Vice, Knight Rider, and any number of other 80s series we've gone all the way through.

    Anyway.

    We're on Season 2, Episode 2 and have decided that a joke we've been making for a couple of episodes must be true. Major Briggs is absolutely General Hammond's cover ID.

    Evidence:

    - He's the only "obvious" military personnel in the town, and doesn't work very far away. Any other ranking military would have non-military covers, like O'Neill and Carter have on the show, not to mention Murray. Regular enlisted are not permitted to leave the base, which could well be the case on Stargate. Uniformed military on Stargate is only shown off-base if there's some actual emergency.

    - It's the only thing that makes certain characters make sense. Log lady's messages, etc. The fact that Deputy Andy can't conceptualize how "tape" works, he's clearly either a Goa'uld or is just a straight up alien like a human from Abydos or something.

    - Just started writing this when General Hammond started his talk about the fact that part of his extremely top secret job involves monitoring other galaxies with radio telescopes. Which is both sort of Carter's cover and obviously they do monitor Ori, Pegasus and whatever galaxies the SGU ship has seeded with gates or whatever.

    I can absolutely imagine General Hammond having this talk with some random townie. The Ori could definitely be talking to the Log Lady through her log.

    I've found that other people have had threads on this topic over the years, and I have to say, I love that it took an entire movie + multi-show franchise years after the fact to make sense of Twin Peaks.

    Of course, if The Giant is actually an Arquillian, or Mr Homm, that would make Star Trek or MiB also de-facto Stargate spin-offs, which I can probably defend if I had to. But the Stargate Universe theory fits so, so well it refuses to be ignored.

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    1980s Nightmare Fuel

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    A couple of our friends recently got two 1980s Jill dolls from Goodwill. The dolls spoke and moved, and were controlled by a proprietary multi-track cassette tape. The tape had the audio for the "conversation", and another track that controlled the movement.

    The dolls they got didn't have tapes, but they were able to find one online. Here's the result. I strongly recommend using closed captioning on the first one.

    Talking about a slumber party, remember to bring /your/ PJs too:

    Man this is creepy:
    ...I just knew you would, we always have such a fun time at parties.

    Wait! Cathy says she's going to wear some really wild pajamas (?). By the way, don't forget to bring /your/ PJs. And a teddy bear. We can't have a slumber party without a teddy bear. And bring a jhgfdlhg too. Cathy's not here yet, but I think we should go ahead and change into our pajamas anyhow. Afterall, this is a slumber party, not that we're actually going to sleep or anything. In fact, I think we should try and stay up all night long.

    Was it Suzy or Steven?

    Here's the commercial from back in the day, which I don't remember even a little:

    I definitely wouldn't be able to sleep knowing that doll was in my house. I do wonder how hard it would be to rip out the proprietary tape and replace it with like an Arduino that feeds the audio tracks from WAV files or something. It looks like it has to seek the tape though because it reacts differently if you give a correct or incorrect answer, so that might be the nail in that idea.

    Dave should have the tape drives running in tip-top shape soon enough, though I like the creepiness of these pre-tuneup runs more.

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    Geoguessr - Plenty 'o Wood

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    Plentywood, MT:


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