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hubskier for: 832 days

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AstroFrank  ·  13 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Summer Check In.

You really are a fucking cunt, ain't ye?

You have been doing naught but ride me cock since I came back online. didn't you tell me to, what was it? RECALIBRATE, MOTHER FUCKER? Oh, yea, you did.

Who is it that tells me to come down from the mountain? Oh yea you did.

Rip on me after I called you out for defending money over people? You did that.

You called me out by name implying that "my tin foil hat was on too tight?"

Then, you rode my ass about a report on a city that even you admit you had not been to in a generation, and for some weird as shit reason went on a tangent defending tech bros? Comparing of all things, car costs because demographics is obviously made up bullshit? Dude, Idaho is fully owned by the mormons, those evil shit-heeled traitors you called "Nice" The same people running a multi billion dollar hedge fund built on misogyny and child abuse spearheading hate legislation targeting my friends, attacking women's health, and running OBGYN's out of the state. Mormons are not nice, in any way shape or form. When they are not fully engaged in a culture of child abuse they are trying to kill my friends and overthrow democracy. Traitors is the nicest thing I will say about them and here you are... nice like a boot on the neck, assface. So now I take a step back are assess. Let's look at you, objectively.

1. You are still listed as the moderator of a default reddit community.

2. Crypto, it's own vile cesspool of "best people"

3. You worked in Hollywood, and reality television at that.

4. German sports car.

No wonder you defend tech bros, gotta fight for you tribe and all, I get it. If laughable douche tech cunt had a generic profile, that list above would be a good start. The only thing missing is shoveling mud at your environmental disaster of a tech/drug conference in the Nevada desert. But hey my carbon footprint is 20-30 families negative, so when it all goes sideways on your coastal cities, I'll pretend to be concerned.

Then, it turns out you are going full in on landlording. Now, I get you, gombeen. No landlord is a good person, none. Once you own the place a man lives or works you are a tyrant. Owning a man's home is one step on a very short slide to serfdome. So, let's take a look at the last few years or so.

I come back online because my so called friends made me shake hands with the devil. Since then, you have felt the desire to ride me arse hard for making decisions I needed to make 10 years ago. Hey, I get why. People like you need saps, suckers and fools to do the "good" work your kind won't touch. Can't be selling the trinkets and baubles to the genrty if your hands smell like shite, eh? We've been back and forth over our rearings, and compared notes. Now, however, I think you lived in the la-la land of fiction and made up shite so long and inhaled that aeire so long that I have doubt. If you parents were really working as you say they were, your family was solid middle class. Mine most certainly were not. This means you are either a tourist trying to game both sides of the incoming shit show or you are a class traitor. And holy fucking blazes typing that I miss minimumwage and could use their additional snark right now. Cause us poors and plebs all want a smug shitheeled know it all to dispense life advice.

I mean you come off as a guy trying to be the resident hubski republican/centrist(same thing) but I did not think you'd stoop to elected senator level of "I have always been completely against this successful path and now take full credit for its implementation" shitfuckery.

Recalibrate, Mother fucker.

Looks like both of us did. I chose to focus on my humanity and place of self, you chose something else. Cool, as long as the cunt in the mirror is happy, and nobody else has to pay for your bullshit? sure you do you. But don't come here and pat me on the head like one of your damned projects and gaslight everyone into thinking you are in the right here. If this is how you react to me? no wonder you run everyone off this board. Curses to me for not seeing this shit in the past and calling it out, that sin is on me. Least I can do is stand up and not be yer dancing monkey.

Speaking of bullshit and right side of history, because I can hear the "REEEEEEEE" and feel the warmth of the incoming dumpster fire from all the way out here, I am going to say these words in as plain saxon english as I can. I am not mad. I am not angry. I am not even a bit on the piss. I AM FUCKING LAUGHING ME SHITE ARSE OFF. This shit has me sideways, lad. good job probably the first real good belly laugh I've had in years. This shit is bloody comedy, not good comedy mind ye, but I think its fucking hilarious. The mate who is letting me crash at his place while I prep for winter thought I was off me meds describing why I hate the internet, he laughed as hard as I did over this shit. I hope whatever country club you are pledging is everything you deserve.

Go sell your baubles and trinkets to the wealthy and lick those boots extra hard, they might even let you in their club; those types always seem to want pets around. Better yet? drive that fancy go cart down to the shore line, buy a big barrel of pickled dicks, take them home and choke on the lot. Have a nice day.

AstroFrank  ·  80 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Summer Check In.

Another almost disaster was I slipped and fell and got an interesting bruise that took more than a month to heal. For about a week I just laid in bed and waited to heal with no energy to do anything other than read. When talking to the doctors during my first appointment, there was some chatter about lifestyle choices and all that other rubbish. Then they tested my cardio response, which brings me to my one big win this year. With the weight loss and scrappy look, I decided to take advantage of the situation over the winter. I started, and completed, the 100 pushup challenge, the 100 sit-up challenge and the 100 pull-up challenge. I can now do 60 pushups at a time before needing a rest, and can do three sets in a row. The pull-ups were the demon I was most interested in conquering as I have never, even when young and healthy, been able to do more than about 20 at a time. Sometime in February, I hit 40 pullups per set. The weight loss helps, certainly, the gain in muscle mass even more so. I passed a hospital's cardio stress test this spring for the first time in 18 years. 30 minutes at 95% heart rate and at the end I was barely huffing and puffing. Passed it and then owned it. I have the heart health of a man a decade younger, the muscle mass of a man 15-20 years younger and the treatments for my endocrine malfunctions are working better than before to the point we are talking about what to do when the sweet sweet gubmint money stops paying for my treatments. Last bill I looked at, it costs the taxpayer some $70K every time I walk into a hospital. Thanks, you suckers in the blue states, for paying your federal taxes that go to shit hole states like the one I live in. With the conversations, we talked about diet, and something came up that really made me go "huh, interesting." I don't eat sugar any more. I obviously do not eat at restaurants any more either. Sugar does not really fit in with what I eat on the hillside and I do not keep it on hand. My kidneys are shit thanks to multiple mistakes when I was younger, but they are now sort of working again, there is even evidence they are repairing themselves. The doc asked if I was doing something like Keto, and no I'm not. I eat pasta and rice as it stores well and only needs boiling water to cook. With butter and cheese on hand? Gonna be a rice and pasta Alfredo winter. I only drink coffee and water. I buy processed sausages and eat those as snacks, I'm not doing a retarded "caveman" or "paleo" or whatever podcast diet fad is the rage this week. Meat, veggies, root vegetables, sauces, leafy greens and squash. When I don't feel like cooking, or am unable to cook due to weather or fuel, I eat instant camper dinners that come in those storable tubs at Costco, maybe once or twice a month. In the summer when I am running to town often I eat lots of egg dishes as eggs do not store well over winter. Raising chickens would only feed the predators, but with the freezer I might start eating chicken more to save money. This may be my last summer of expensive medical care. My resting heart rate was 60, my BP at the last visit was 110/60. I've maintained a weight under 80Kg for two years now. I'm healthy and fit to the point where I wonder if my physical presence is why the car buying adventure went so well. I'm still an angry looking ugly cunt, but now not fat and soft looking.

There were a few other near misses and oh shits this winter, and each one just became more of a "this is part of living" instead of a panic. I told a dude-bro driving a truck with texas plates to go fuck himself and laughed at him after he mocked the old truck for being, well, an old truck. I'll call that a win. I had a run in with the local wolf pack looking for a warm place to stay, and was able to discourage them with Gaelic punk blasting out on the porch. Really. I was able to get a huge deal on gravelling the road up the hill, the guys had a bit of work cancel on them so I got my grade and gravel about a third off what I was expecting to pay. Damn that gravel and road work cost a lot of money, Three trucks worth, and rental of heavy equipment to make repairs I needed to make 3-4 years ago. I need to do that roughly every 4-10 years depending on weather, so add that to the expense list. I might have to hire someone with a bulldozer to clean up some edges to make the road last longer, might find someone with bigger rocks to protect the corners and cliff faces. End result is that this fall-spring period I spent more monies than in the last two years combined. That hurts a bit, but I invested for the shit show so I'm still in good shape. To live, I need 25K a year, half of that is taxes and fees for things like road access, insurance, etc. Last year I spent a whopping 8200 on food more like 12K if you count the supplies I needed for the garden.

With a new truck, I drove home and did some thinking about what next. I'm mostly set financially, I'm healthier than I have been this century. Then the final disaster. My parents must have been embarrassed by their church fiends and asked about how I am doing, because they called me. The phone was off grid and they left a voice message that seemed sincere and decent so I called them back when I was in town. This is the first time we talked in over a year. Someone wrote that there is a great tragedy in people where some die at 30, but are not buried until 80. My parents are the embodiment of that thought. They are long lost, and a prime reason why the country, hell the world, is shit. My solar panels are why the weather is messed up because they... something about stealing sun light and making the weather hotter (?!?!?) or some what the fuckery. Trump is still president. The church is not guilty of child abuse it is George Soros trying to steal money from Catholics to fund pedo rings. The vaccines are full of poison and killing people. Fox News went woke, whatever that is supposed to mean? The call was an hour, the questions a normal human would ask like "Are you OK?" "Do you miss us?" "Do you want to visit?" Might have been a five minute prelude to bullshit. It is probably the last time we will talk until we meet at a funeral sometime in the future. Not sure why, but this call fucked with my head. So, I sat down, wrote a letter to them about the stuff I've done and built, and wished them well. It was not a farewell, nor was this a "FUCK YOU" more like a "if we had time on the call this is what we should have talked about" sort of letter. I rewrote the letter to make the tone more 'chipper' I guess, and advised them on my winter routine. Mailed it from the big city while visiting my doctor, just in case they try to track me down; on the phone is one thing, in person is its own ball of hell.

Speaking of melancholy, another astronomer died. He was a freind, had a nice family, and some amazing telescopes. His widow reached out to me, and I now possess his biggest and most wonderful telescope, a rare piece of equipment with a documented history, along with some of his things. He put me in his will, and told his wife "Make sure he takes these things because he deserves this stuff and will use it, don't let him say no." Like I said, decent guy and a real friend that knows me. I took her and thier surviving adult children to dinner, talked about life a bit, they all remarked that I look amazing considering I was obese and way out of sorts the last time we were in person together. I now own three very large telescopes along with a couple of higher end imaging rigs, and have no idea what to do with them. They are all in the observatory I built with my spare time and materials I could get cheap here and there. I have two imaging piers, two full imaging rigs and a large visual telescope ready for use every clear night, of which lately there have not been many. The other two large dobsonians are wrapped and protected from the elements until I figure out what to do with them. Might donate one or two of the nicer setups, might sell them, might bury them, might burn them. I don't need the money I'd have to work for with ads and travel and delivery etc, so right now I'm not sure what to do with this gear. Funny that I finally got the big high end stuff when I fucked off, not when I was active. I looked on the market and big visual telescopes are not selling, if and when they do its at deep discounts and the sales take weeks. I'm probably stuck with them for the time being. Speaking of people dying that will be terribly missed, the author of some of the best astro books I have in my collection died. They are going to name a dark sky reserve after him. Wonderful person, he was a blast to have at a star party. I wrote about a star party that was murdered by the local college, this guy taught astronomy classes at the event several times. He accepted several of my images and sketches which were ultimately not used in his books; he liked what I gave him and encouraged me to help some of the pro people with data for their papers. I'm listed by name in at least 41 separate papers now, three of those are PhD theses where I contributed data. Of the five people that drug me into doing science outreach, four are dead and the fifth fucked off into the aether like I did. I'm proud of him; his kids threw a fit every time he bought something, almost like they were hoping he died faster to inherit his savings. The couple that ran that star party I mentioned? They sold everything, bought an RV and vanished. Again, good on them, they are wonderful people and did not deserve what happened when the whole nonsense went down. They have my contacts, maybe they will come and visit. The "not a star party" they organized after COVID, from what I can gather they bought out a campsite, did not advertise and had a good time with a "small" group of about 100 people. The park rangers were pissed off over this somehow (never got the full story but sounds a lot like butthurt), and nobody will step in to fill that gap of running an official event. From what the local astro club people are saying nobody will volunteer; the organization is most likely going to fold this year or next as they cannot find people that want to run the thing and none of the new people in the astro club that joined over COVID want to volunteer for anything. From what I can see on the website for the park, the two rangers working to make the park a science-y center where they teach everything from geology to botany to conservation to astronomy? Those two rangers are no longer listed on the web site, so I hope they got jobs where they are vauled. Nearly thirty years of good will and free labour, thrown away on a whim... I wonder why the people with time and skills are not stepping up by the hundreds any more, it's a fucking mystery. Nobody wants to work any more, right? Go figure, people don't like being disrespected, and volunteers even less so.

I had to forward existing mail to the new PO box, and I still get scraps of the old life. In the bundle of mail was a trickle of atta-boys and where are you's, a few "Yo, sucker come help us" letters and a few notes from people I helped back when I cared. One kid we helped get into college, long ago it seems now, he is working on Artemis. One of the girl scouts we helped get hooked up with a physics program was granted time on James Webb; this one I am truly proud of, she was one of our "rescues" who needed somewhere to go and a reason to be there so that she was not at home. Not everyone gets a happy childhood. One of the kids got a masters and went to Europe to work at ArianeSpace, another is teaching astrophysics at a mid-tier college overseas. So HOORAH on those two for escaping the American experience. When I die, my name will live on maybe one more generation before it vapourizes into nothingness.

In internet news, I had to research a build process and the top five results in various search engines all lead back to the nazi shit hole that is reddit. Only to find that all the subreddits were in lockdown. Reddit is going to fire mods? how do you fire people that are not paid? This did bring a chuckle, even if I could not get an answer to my question. Reddit is going to go public? the fuck? that dumpster fire? And it looks like Musk bought twitter and now everyone knows he's a piece of shit, not just those of us that have been following his antics for the last decade or so. There was a guy doing solar off grid stuff on Twitter, I tried to get to his account and it looks like Twitter is locked down and you can't see anything unless you have an account. No thanks. Looking at twitter, it looks like a place that sounthingawful did not even dare to dream about. Twitter looks as if 4chan and thedonald collected all the rotten human trash of the last 25 years all in one place, and made that a safe place for nazis and racists. Then gave that swill a legitimized global voice with a drunken frat boy cheer over the downfall of democracy. Sadly, these "people" exist and pollute every forum and place of discourse with more than 100 active members. Forums and small websites for people living off grid are right wing echo bullshit chambers and the DIY spirit is being drowned out by REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. The internet is the worst invention in human history, my point stands again. I got blocked from youtube due to running adblockers, lol. I realize now writting that above, the last time I played a video game was... early 2019, maybe? Maybe summer of 2019? Imagine me saying that to the 30 year old me.

Part 3

The death march continues. Oceanside Photo and Telescope (OPT), one of the premier astronomy vendors in the USA for the last 70ish years is finally dead. It was a viable, profitable, company when the previous owner, Craig, sold and retired back in 2015 after which it was never the same. I stopped recomending them to people by 2017 as their service went to pot. The new owners were flaky, they gave me an "off" vibe, I think the guy that bought the business was a fitness instructor or something before running OPT, the new owner is doing Tedx talks, justifying my original hunches. Craig is awesome; every time I was able to meet him it was like talking to the cool uncle who had all the amazing toys and encouraged everyone around him to be better (and buy more stuff of course). The first telescope I bought with my own money came from the original OPT. Craig dressed like Santa in his ads in the 90's, he is a great character. Orion telescopes is recovering from buying the old stalwart Meade Telescopes, and looks like they are fighting for inventory against Chinese collusion... there are lawsuits all over the place and the whole business looks terrible. If Orion and Meade can survive the next few years I think they will make it. I hope. One of, if not the, authority on telescope eyepieces is retiring this year and closing up shop as well. Two separate companies making mirrors for visual telescopes are going to see their last products ship out this year, then no more. There are a few dedicated astonomy vendors out there, maybe all the other closures will send them enough business to keep going. Two of the few guys left making mirrors for non-professional telescopes are on their last orders and will close up shop this year. The retail storefronts selling astronomy gear are all gone, not exactly a bad thing as niche hobby gear needs people with time and money and access, and all retail looks like it is hurting now. Storefronts are expensive, better to focus on customer support and online sales. Hobbies are in deep trouble due to most people struggling to make rent and/or working two jobs just to feed themselves and/or their families. Hard to find time for anything other than surviving when you live paycheque to paycheque with the rent always due. Coincidently, the European side of the hobby is doing great. Maybe the new American reality should be to make enough money, get enough skills and get the fuck out of here.

This summer makes it four years up here. The person that walked into the realtor office and bought land on a whim is dead, and he is never coming back. I won't let that happen. I'm not angry, I'm not sad, I'm not, well, anything any more. Centered. Maybe that is the right word. I feel more mentally alive and functional than I have in years. Being off the open sewer of the internet has made me a person again. Not working in the computer industry? THAT has made me human, again. I recomend everyone try not working for a living, it's not bad. Without a librarian, and the local bars being terrible, the gossip in town was light, but intereting. Two couples that bought land about the time I did are gone, and a few of the herd of people that bought up here during COVID still own land, but nobody sees them around, most likely they are holding the land they bought for retirement, common up here. The two busineses that seem to be thriving? The very nice lady running the coffee shop with her elderly mother, and the gas station. The local coffee shop is now the gossip HQ. Schools are consolidating due to not enough kids to justify keeping multiple school districs open. Who is making sub-$20/hr and having kids? People in town are talking with a notable hint of panic about what to do once the money of running a school goes elsewhere. Everything else is in that holding pattern before the knives drop and everything dies. The interest rate hikes are going to slaughter a lot of rural businesses that were struggling through the pandemic. Good. Lots of talk about demographics and "kids these days" but missing the context that the boomer generation created a world everyone with a brain is trying to flee. The service companies with shit-level sociopath bosses/owners cannot find people to work for them now that there are options, a sight that makes me cheer a bit on the inside, except for the rot that comes with the death of industry and all. Oh, and pro tip for all the bosses out there? The people you shit on are all connected and talking. Good bosses and good places to work get people, if you start to see a drop in applications? Yea, the people that would apply to your job are doing research and talking to people. Some 1/3 of people in the US under 30 are on mental health drugs according to the signs in the hospitals. The American dream is dead and honestly good riddance. Rent for an apartment in "the city" is unafordable to a single income of $35K a year, and I doubt many younger people are making that here, so they leave. If rent is this out of control in a red state shitwater, I can only imagine how bad it is in a place people should actually want to live. I have no idea how anyone making less that 20/hour is living, much less saving or having kids. The pyramid scam long con MLM that is capitalism needs fresh blood else it collapses, and the ani-immigrant people are not helping. And the US birthrate is the lowest in your history.

Why post? Honestly, not sure. It does not matter at the end of the day, really. Maybe one more fare-thee-well. Maybe a fuck you to people thinking I was an idiot (to be honest I was one of those people). Maybe I am trying to kill that last ember that still wants to care about things. The internet is a personality murdering, self-imprisoning, mental wellbeing killer, dopamine destroyer. The death of the boomers will be the end of television, and I used to think that nothing could be worse of humanity than the TeeVee. Boy, was I stupid and wrong.

For all the worry I had when I left civilization, I am thriving. Each month is another win, each year up here is adding two to my lifespan. The conversations have moved on from ten years left and have a will in place to what do I do if money runs out? I have enough coin to live comfortably until I am in my late 70's when I anticipate social security and disability get cut off, and honestly anyone planning on government retirement funds gets what they deserve. It's only a matter of time before they come after our 401K's now that I think about it. I'll hopefully be dead and all y'all can deal with that. Yet, I'm not very negative at the homestead; things are going well for me at least. I'm doing fine. In probably the first time in my adult life, I am where I am suposed to be, doing that which I need to live. For the first time in a forever, I am home.

AstroFrank  ·  80 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Summer Check In.

In the fall on a whim I applied for an elk tag. These go into a lottery system, you need to be a resident for two years, have a permanent house you pay taxes on and then pay a good chunk of money for a chance. Odds are something like once every 10 years you get a tag. I got a tag on the first try. With this win of the draw, I cannot apply for a tag for three years after winning a draw, so out I go to hunt an elk. They live on the property, and I verified all the regulations on where and when I can kill an animal. With the tag I got, I can shoot something on my property, so bonus. On a trip into town I made connections with the local hunter support industry and fixed the logistics of what it takes to slaughter and prepare a half ton animal. Since I did not want the hide or head for a trophy I got a good price on the meat. These guys pool resources, and the way it works is ingenious. The butcher gets a pre-pay fee from everyone with a tag, does some math on what the average elk will produce. Then, here is the smart part, you can either keep the meat from your animal (example you get a trophy sized elk) or dip into the "pool" and get already processed animal, roughly a 150Kg pallet of frozen meat products. You can even put in a preference if you want, say sausage meat, ground chunks, stew meat etc. You get a discount if you come back at the end of the season so the first elks shot almost always go into the pool. Don't shoot an animal? There is a pot of "leftovers" that they hand out based on payment and how long you have been a customer, so even if you end up empty handed on your hunt, you still get something. Out-of-Towners will often just get the hide and trophy head, leaving the meat and internals for the pool. With this all set, I went hunting. I knew where the big animals have been walking through the area since I bought the land; I had the house placed in a clear area without game trails to avoid running into big, hungry, angry animals. Last summer I lucked into a small side-by-side, basically a glorified dune buggy, that can go up and down mountains. I already had a trailer from previous work, so I hooked everything up and went looking for game trails. My plan was simple. Find an antler-less elk, shoot it, track it and bring it back. With luck, the animal won't fall off a cliff or run for a week, or I miss, or any of the things that can go wrong. After a week, I got my elk. Shot it right through the rib cage, hit the lungs and only had to chase it for about three hours. Getting the thing off the hillside was a comedy of frustration, but finally got it to town. I had it tested for CWD[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronic_wasting_disease] and netted 195Kg of meat. This was my first elk. I've shot and cleaned deer before but this elk was easily twice the size of anything else I've taken myself. I'm glad I paid to get it processed as I would have wasted half the meat not knowing what I was doing as it had been a while since I cleaned a deer, I've been hunting small game animals since I moved here for extra protein, but nothing big. While the animal was being tagged, tested and reported, I sped off to the nearest Costco and got a chest freezer, which thanks to the increased solar farm, I was able to keep running all winter. Some of you may ask why not leave it outside in the -40°C weather? Answer: predators. I'd rather not create an environment welcoming to bears and wolves. And I can start bringing up freezable food like butter and cheeses.

Winter was a lot of stews and pot roasts, assisted with root vegetables from the garden... it was wonderful. I was never hungry or wanting all winter. For the first time up here, I made loaves of sourdough bread in a dutch oven to take advantage of the butter I can now store. I even gained a bit of weight, mostly muscle.

Spring finally came. Our last major snow was late April, and my driveway was mostly impassable until a week of warmer weather the first week of May. Down I go to town and the usual stops. Post office was staffed by all new people, the folks from last year either retired or went part time. Said hellos, grabbed and sorted mail, got some gossip. Exciting stuff. Next stop the bank to sign paperwork. Then a swing by the library. It took me a full 10 minutes to process what I saw, but the emotion was more of "Ah, it happened" than anything else I could have had run through my head. The library is closed, indefinitely. The last librarian got married and the husband got an oil field job so they left. The state could not find anyone that wanted to deal with a rural community library at poverty wages, so they are closed until they can get some people to run the place. Libraries in places like this rarely reopen, so likely gone forever. At least it looks like they are maintaining the building as there are no broken windows or other signs of malfeasance. Maybe some college kid will take the job for the experience before they go to a bigger city, maybe not. Recovering from the shock, I really looked hard at the area this year. Multiple businesses are closed. The open places are on shorter hours. The shelves are stocked, well with what I needed this year at least, the supply chain and shortages seem to be mostly back to normal for household supplies. There are no young people working anywhere in the county. None. Youngest people I see working are maybe mid 30's, more are at least 40. The fast food places are closed or only open during lunch or dinner, and if there is any possible good news in the aftermath of COVID, the end of the fast food era will be its crowning glory. The people running these restaurants are almost always shit humans, the people working there are treated like slaves by managers and customers; if all the fast food places die due to "NOBODY WANTS TO WORK ANYMORE" sorry I mean "NOBODY WANTS TO BE EXPLOITED ANYMORE" then good. I used to joke that fast food managers did not apply, they were picked up after treatment for sociopathy as they walked out of the mental hospitals. I'm not here to argue about the food value of these places, the human and societal cost of working in this terrible industry is enough to condemn it to history. If fast food dies, we are all better off. Interesting to note, small churches are closed but the bigger congregations seem to be holding on. Young people are becoming more and more disgusted with religion, so let's hope COVID kills the faith industry as well. That dream will probably take the Boomer all fucking off to hell first, but a man can dream. In the "big city" I travel to, seeing someone in their 20's working where people in this age bracket typically work is a rarity. Retail and stores are all middle-aged and post-college aged people. The observation fits Census data that any teenager with a brain or ambition runs the fuck away from these rural backwaters; watching census data you can see the median age of the county creep slowly upwards as the olds get older and the young leave. Understaffed restaurants and gas stations have help wanted signs up, offering $10/hr like it is something to brag about. Looking at apartment pricing, good luck getting a place to live at anything under 20/hour. The boys leave for the military, college or the gas fields, the women either get married and stay home, go to college and never come back, or simply leave. It is almost unsettling.

Then, the disasters.

The vehicle was older, diesel, and reliable. But things eventually break down, and the truck died. Fortunately, I was in a city when the truck died and could not get the vehicle started again; If I'd been on the property I would have had a rough time. The Side-By-side could make it into town, but then what? Nearest mechanics are all farmers some 30-45 minutes from where I live. So here I am in a city, at a hospital, with a trailer and a dead truck. I made a few calls, and got the truck towed to a shop, they took a look and told me that the repair would be about 4K. Oof. A bit of horse trading, and a fortunate twist of time in town, and the truck lived! Conversing with the two guys that got me running, I asked them what they would give me for the truck, and we came to a bargain; I got more than I paid for it in 2018! Damn, the used vehicle market is something I have never seen before, and probably won't ever again. Turns out buying new is cheaper than used for anything other than a sedan. Used vehicles that can be used in trades? Nope, not going to happen. So, off I go to look for something new. 0% interest deals like the last time I bought new are a thing of the past. I did the hospital nonsense, and used that time to research what is available, what is worth owning, and more importantly, who has shit in stock? Cause, damn! Three years after the cooties and it's still a fucking toss up if shit is available, worth owning, or not insanely overvalued. Consumer goods recovered, but the big ticket stuff seems to be a gamble. To get a vehicle that fits my needs, and that I want to own, I have to travel. In it current state, the truck won't make it. I have to fly to a big city and drive back. Fuck.

I flew for the first time since 2018. Fortunately I was able to drive the now working truck home, ditch the travel trailer, pack a bag and verify with the bank that I can get a loan with "no income." disability payments do not count as income for loan purposes I find out. Decided instead to pay cash unless a dealer finance package was worth taking. I picked a vehicle with local mechanic support within a 90 minute drive, picked a dealer accessible through the shortest flights I could find, verified stock on hand, and picked a second and third choice. Did some math on the closest dealers and warranty centers as well which limited choices. This was really the first "I live in the fucking sticks" situation I'd been in other than medical care since I moved. Everything packed and set, I drove to the shop, sold the truck, the guys gave me a ride to the DMV to register the vehicle, then they gave me a ride to the airport. Airlines are still shit. Small airports moreso. Ever since 9-11 I have been on a list where they double check me for a long time where I was ALWAYS pulled aside by the TSA. Foreign sounding first name and non-WASPy last name and my family history all most likely. Of course flying one way with a ticket bought the week before, with minimal luggage, rang all the bells. Then I got the joy of being a guest of the TSA for over an hour before I was declared harmless; my attempt to leave the country was a topic of conversation. If you ever try to emigrate and get rejected for a VISA serious looking men with three letters embroidered on the backs of their jackets really want to talk to you turns out. My VISA adventure is now a part of my permanent government record, I should do a FOIA and see exactly what is says, really curious now about the OWS stuff that will show up. After this mess, the next time I want to get on a plane is as a corpse. I did not think flying could suck more, but here we are. I wore a mask in the airport, on the plane and in the cab. I got a few looks, but I was not the only one masked up. In my current state, well within acceptable weight and size limits, airline seating is still uncomfortable. My shoulders are too wide for normal seats and I have never been comfortable in an airline seat at least now I am thin and scrappy enough that only my upper back and shoulders get annoyed, I was not in a good spot the whole, thankfully short, flight. The flight attendants seemed off as well, like they are over worked and sick of dealing with people, but that might just be projection. The gut feel was nobody wanted to be in a small regional airport, go figure.

This is when I discovered that the USA held true to form and won the battle against COVID the same way we fought every war for the last fifty years: The policy got in the way of profits and/or companies found more profitable, exploitable revenue streams, the government regs got too expensive, the public got sick of hearing about the problem, so we declared victory and never mention anything about the last few years ever again.

Of all the things I can whinge on about, the vehicle buying process was almost too easy. I had a vehicle picked out, it had the options I need for my life now, and the price was set when I arrived. Within 90 minutes of arriving at the dealership, I was done and out the door. The bad part of new cars? Nothing is fixable any more. If anything breaks or needs a repair, I need to take it to a shop. The vehicle I chose was mainly due to the skill and certifications of the local mechanics' suggestions on what they can and cannot work on. I'd not have chosen this brand or style of vehicle, but with the home options you have to work with what you are presented. I paid cash as I don't care about credit scores and I was not going to pay above a 2.5% interest rate (they offered 6.9%). Do I like the new truck? It's a tool I use to live my life, asking me that is like asking me if I like a hammer or shovel. It serves it purpose, it can tow the trailers, it can make it down the gravel path to the paved roads, has real 4WD, it does what I need it to do, and I can get it serviced relatively locally. I've never been a car guy, kinda hated them most of my life to be honest. I get better mileage, and it burns diesel better and cleaner. And I can get to where I need to go while towing a camper. I need to buy a shell for it, but that can wait; I asked the local guys to be on the lookout for a shell that pops up, if nothing shows up by spring I'll buy one and have it shipped to them.

    I'd read it, and you write just fine. Don't worry about that.

Won't matter, we lost the fight for the soul of America.

AstroFrank  ·  439 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: July 6, 2022

I live. I am alive.

Winter was interesting. I measured a bit over 8 meters of snow during the nominal winter wet season, and was isolated in the trailer on the hill for a bit over four months. The road up here is not conductive to travel in inclimate weather, something I need to pay more than ten grand to fix. Problem is now that everyone that can spread gravel is making double what they were two years ago and are booked solid up to two or three years out. Fortunately I have a vehicle that can make it up and down the mountain as long as the road is mostly dry. We had a wet spring and it was not until late June that I was able to make a visit to civilization.

There is no internet on the hillside. Anyone offering up Starlink as a solution can go sod off, and keep going to where ever you cunts huddle together, you shitheads. To the hells with that degenerate and his garbage companies. One of the first stops is the library to download books, then a quick look at the news. The librarian that worked here in the fall got a better job paying almost tripple librarian wages somewhere out of state. Good on her for getting the fuck out of here. My brief rundown of news since fall? The heavy snowfall I got this spring looks like it did a proper fuck of Yellowstone and that area. Jame Webb launched, so that was good, was wondering if they were going to make it or be delayed. First image is going to be Stephan's Quintet, one of my favorite visual targets. Looks like Russia is trying to rebuild the CCP, including waving commie flags on the ISS. People are still stupid about Covid. The election this year looks to be a shit show. Corporate profits are so high that they tanked the flow of capital, removed too much cash from the bottom of the economy and shot the stock market in the face. The democrats are exactly what you would expect them to be. Mostly Useless. Oh, and the supreme court says federal agents can kill you in your home and not face consequences. And they fucked over the EPA, along with the ability for government agencies to govern. And as a not off topic, Lake Meade is dying. But hey the liberal states cannot regulate CCW's anymore so FREEDOM! One of the cases not really being talked about is the case that murdered public education, then again education is no longer a priority in protestant murica so I'm not all that shocked. All this and I'm constantly accused of being the doom and gloom asshole needing perspective. OK perspective it is, for you cunts, let's look at the 538 election forecast shall we? Yeap, you're all fucked. Ukraine has until November to win the war else the incoming Treason Congress is going to start arming the Russians. I almost moved to the high desert of southern Utah or Nevada, and man, thank the fucks of my monkey brain for all the smarts of not moving to a desert. Lake Powell and Lake Meade are fucked to the point they have 5-10 years before then are no longer viable. Eat shit Arizona, maybe god will flood you sinners again. Fortunately for me, but bad for all you other suckers, nobody wants to fight the agriculture lobby so I can get all the water I want even if it means murdering the local aquifers. I kinda want to see what I can grow up here to accelerate the aquifer collapse, but I'm not sociopathic to actually do it.

Story time. One of the first places I end up is the closest gas station, about an hour from the paved road turnoff to my place. Here, I had my first real laugh. I figured diesel would go up, and was right but man was not expecting that high. Fortunately, Diesel stores well, much better than gas, so next time down the mountain I'll have to grab an extra 60 gallons for the gear uphill. Nearby is the local post office. I've made arrangements to deal with mail. I was concerned that the same few people in the office last fall would either get smart and flee, get Covid and die, or otherwise move on. All of them are there now. I walk in and immediately, the guy at the counter yells to the people in the back "That NASA guy is here for his mail." This seemed ominous and not a good sign. Turns out all the work I did and submitted to researchers, the citizen science stuff I did with my old gear, and a few other projects I don't care to share on the internet? All that work came to fruition nearly at once. I'm now in almost two dozen scientific papers by name. I got some notes asking for help since I was a sucker once they figure they got me for life now. There were rumors that a few not-for-profits were going to give out some "atta-boys" and I received a couple of those. I chatted with the postal people for about an hour as I tossed the sales and maketing garbage into the recycle bin, chatted about space stuff a bit, and pulled all the tax paperwork I was expecting to the side. One of the people I helped a few years ago got their PhD and sent me a copy of their grad picture and a thank you, so I'll have to send them a congrats. I like to check in with the post office people because for at least a few brief moments, I can forget I live in a budding protestant theocratic shithole. Also in this run of mail was the final word on my journey home. My VISA and travel papers were rejected, again, and in a very final way. If I ever end up in Ireland, it will be in an urn for someone to dump my ashes unless the IRA takes the country back from the bandits. So, yay me.

Speaking of the inevitable march of death, I checked in with the local hospital, gave blood, got weighed in. I now weigh less than at anytime since I was homeless a million years ago. When I wear a normal shirt my hips do not touch the fabric. I'm all arms, chest and legs now... the stretchmarks and saggy flesh from losing so much weight as an old bastard are all but gone. Ribs and hips are visible for the first time in decades. My face has hollowed out a bit and I now look like my relatives in the old pictures from when they escaped to America after being starved by the saxon barbarians in the 1850's. My internal shit is still not working like it should and I still should get treatmentes, and part of me wants to walk from this crap. But then I figured out that every time I walk into a hospital I cost two Gen Z kids and at least one millennial their retirement. So I'm back to bullshit again, timing multi-hour travel, multi-day adventures to go get prodded. The irony is that being off the internet these last few years have done more for my health and well-being than just about anything else I could have done. Turns out, for me at least, checking out of all ye all's bullshit is extending my life. They put me in a machine that should be banned as a war crime; I was able to maintain a 160BPM heart rate for 10 minutes for the first time in, fucking hell, maybe forever. Farm work is not easy, but evidently good for stamina and strength. And the longer I live the more I help implode this shithole country.

While at the library, I looked at real estate prices in the general area. AHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAH And once again I say yer all fucked if people are paying these prices for shit tier land out here. Everything has at least trippled. Rents are unsustainable, which is why every business has help wanted and shortened hours signs. Everyone under 30 with a brain and a tiny bit of ambition has run the ever loving fuck away from places like this. Everyone under 30 without a brain either joined the military or are working on the local farms and living in campers. This is something I did not notice at first, but there are no young people working the typical jobs that demographic would flood. The restaurant employees are all 40's and older. The gas station people are all retirees that came back to work to get out of the home. The post office people have been there since the 90's. The hospital has a contingent of college-age children working for school credit, or are there temporarily to pay off loans. Few if any of the people under 30 are the same when I return. Looking at rents in places people want to live? places even considered livable before the pandemic? Man, I'm glad I own this place. I'd not be able to sod off if I was making that choice now. If you are under 40 my advice is vote Republican cause they'll kill the unions and bail out the landlords and bankers that are keeping you poor and houseless. Seriously, however, it looks like at least one Amazon center unionized. Unions have until January to get their shit together before the traitors take the congress again. If they are not crushed into gravel, or have tanks rolled over them, or killed in no-knock raids, the new rise of unions is the one maybe bit of hope. I suggest reading about the mostly Irish people that unionize the mines and factories in the early 1900's to see what lays in front of you.

The one bright spot in the last few years, if you believe it, has been the local bank. They have handled everything, and I am able to send bills to them for payment. Fortunately, the homestead is paid off, taxes are due in the summer, no water bill, no power bill. Turns out there are a whole community of people with property that don't come down to town regularly, and they have a business model around taking advantage of people like me. The one darker spot? The Sheriff's office. Since I am somewhat isolated, and still an outsider is a VERY rural area, I made the decision to introduce me, explain what I am doing, asked about gun ranges, hunting regs etc, and LARPED as a good, honest productive citizen. The Sheriff office still has Cuntface's picture as the US President, and at least one of the cops has a confederate tattoo. All police are vermin. It takes a special mentality to be a copper any more, stupid, easily let, aggressive, violent, asshole. No encounter with a cop is ever going to be good unless they think you are one of them. After every interaction in this office, I feel dirty and mentally unwell. Sometimes, even now, the correct decision is to eat shit and like it.

I live. I am getting healthier, moving in the right direction. I am also alive. Not being in the center of the coming chaotic shit show, I'm looking forward to the next ten or so years. I've made a whole string of choices to get me to this point. Many of them I doubted. Even more were "wrong" in the sense that I might have been able to choose better. I'm going to be angry about not moving to Ireland when I had the change before the door was slammed in my face, and that mentality will be around forever. It would be nice to live in a first world country again. Still, I am alive. I am in a look of planning for things in the future. I chuckle at every disability check that hits my bank account and salute the sucking at the teat of the national treasury. I've even overcome the guilt of taking the checks since my retirement funds in the stock market are hurting. The only thing I am missing on my road to total nihilism is a MAGA hat and 10 of those big "I'm an uneducated fucking traitor asshole yeehaw" flags on my truck. At least my local gun store does not have confederate flags all over the place like some within driving distance, even if they are associated with the local shit-church with Gun totin' Jesus slogans on the walls.

This post completes my promise to come back on the internet for a year. I've called the people I made this promise toward, told them this is about all I care to do or say online, except maybe a "I FUCKING TOLD YE CUNTS SO EAT SHIT" after the election in november, depending on weather. People like me do not belong in the new online world, and I don't. fucking. miss. this. shit. Yet still, that is not fair for a closing statement. Some of you will read this and think I am talking about a societal collapse. Fallout level desolation. that is not what is coming sooner than you think. What is going to happen is that the wealthy are going to do fine. The not wealthy are going to have to slug through a denser and more disgusting pudding of liquid shit every day. Health care is going to suck more as all the nurses quit. Roads won't get fixed and get worse. Food safety will falter. Air quality will get worse and worse. Fires in the summer will be bigger. But the lights will mostly stay on. Water will mostly be safe. Store shelves will mostly have goods for sale. Wages will be shit, rents will be uncontrolled, and buying a house as a normal person will become a memory fading into the rear view mirror. Retirement funds will be raided more and more. Social security will be allowed to fail because we have two parties that are owned by people pissed that trillions of dollars are out of their reach. Gains in environmental laws are already rolling back, and national parks will be turned into resource extraction zones. the rule of law will only mean anything if you have millions in the bank to defend yourself. But mostly, life will go on. Every step will be a bit deeper in an open sewer that never ends, but you will have the feeling of progress. Spending money and political capital on the policies to make things better will slog in our government halls, and what meager bullshit half measures that DO get passed will be nuked by the courts. America won't outright fail. You will simply continue to not rise to your obligations. Your allies will come to depend on you less and less until one day you put down your phones and take a look around and see nothing but shit. Civilization is a very complex, very fragile, very delicate thing that is currently being held together by cellophane tape, spare wire, hopes, and good feelings. America has two political parties. One fucking evil that wants to take a hammer to everything and sell off the pieces, and a part of wall street bankers afraid to do anything that is going to fuck with stock prices. And both parties are ruled over by old people that should have retired or died decades ago. I'm not going to call you stupid for having hope, but I am going to call you ignorant and not paying attention.

AstroFrank  ·  684 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: August 4, 2021

    There's a whole lot of loss in your life. That's clear. There's a whole lot of loss in your experience.

This, boys and girls, is how a wordsmith comes back at you with the now classic "OMG WHO HURT YOU" retort. Thanks for the chuckle.

Everybody's life sucks. Everybody has a life of loss and pain. Working on the Perot campaign a million years ago my eyes were opened to the reality that even the rich kid's lives had troubles and pressures and pain points. Some of us put up with it till we are dropped in a hole in the ground. Some of us suck on a shotgun. some of us take a long drive into a bridge pylon so it looks like an accident. Some of us WAKE THE FUCK UP and decide to not play the game anymore because life is too short to beat your skull against a wall for people that don't really care if you live or die.

AstroFrank  ·  684 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: What the fuck happened to Boise, Idaho?

Part 3/3

Somewhere about 2-3AM, as I am reading a book, there is a loud pounding at the door of the trailer. The pounding that is only one thing: a cop. He yells to open the door. At this point I've not had any food in 24 hours, no sleep in 36 hours and all my filters are off. One of the things I am reading in the news is that the cops up here are not serious about COVID, not getting the vaccine, and in general are asshole Idaho cops. I open the curtains, turn on the interior light and prepare to give him a bunch of shit. I inhale to give the cop a piece of my mind, when I see him look at me, then look at the note on the door with a number to call verifying that I am a patient and have permission to park, then he looks at me again (and I guess he sees the IV bag). He shoots me a highly disgusted angry look then he storms off. Like stomping his feet like a toddler storms off. This is probably a good thing because I don't want them inside the trailer, don't want them to find my sidearm, and at this point in the treatment cycle the only defense I have is a news story about a cop killing a dying man at the hospital. After he left, I IMMEDIATELY unload the sidearm, put the ammunition in one drawer and hide the pistol in another drawer. If anything is true about cops it is that they are all shit humans; being a piece of shit with psychotic tendencies and low IQ is now a part of the job description. Any decent person becoming a cop eventually either turns to vermin and nightstick wielding garbage or runs the fuck away from the profession. Cops hate it when you threaten their aura of authority. I expect this guy to be back, fortunately over the next few days, no cops, no problems. I did report the incident to the hospital as there are video cameras everywhere. They asked if I wanted to complain to the PD, I said, maybe a bit too loud, "FUCKING HELL NO!" I have out of state license plates, there is no fucking hell of a way I am putting myself on their radar; I'll get shot 6 times in the back as a suicide, then have weed and heroin sprinkled on my corpse as they scream HE HAD A GUN on the news for the next six months. I may be dying but I want to kick around and be a pain in the ass for at least a few more years.

Speaking of being a pain in the ass, I now qualify for disability and have a work restriction on file. So not only am I suckling the government nipple for very expensive health care, I now get to fuck up the Social Security fund. Eat shit, kids.

I recover from treatment, get all paperwork in order, thank the docs and nurses, got my booster shot and flu shot, and prepared to leave. The gun store was what you would expect from a deep Red State 'Murica store. At least this one did not have Nazi gear on display. But hey hey hey! They had ammo in stock, which is something I cannot say about back home. The camping and survivalist rations were hilariously terrible. I mentioned that I was buying 60 days of food at Costco, the stuff that they sell in 5 and 10 gallon seal-able plastic jugs, and he and I shared a bit of a laugh over people willingly eating MRE's. I had serious expectations walking into the place, I'm glad to report that at least this one gun shore is not full Treason. Since I was not feeling like absolute shit, I even asked for a coffee shop not run by a trust fund kid or silicon Valley start up, which generated laughs from everyone in the building and a good recommendation. (The coffee was average but reasonably priced) Next stop was a Costco, where I was the only customer wearing a mask. Stocked up on Mormon Armageddon vittles and some winter gear. Then, heading home. Fortunately there were no incidents, and I barely missed a snow storm on the way back.

I get home, drive to the pole barn I keep the truck and trailer under, and step out of the vehicle. As soon as my feet hit the ground, every fibre of the lizard hind brain kicks in, all my hair stands up on end and my heart starts racing. I AM BEING WATCHED. If you have never been off a paved road, you may not understand how this feels and how your brain reacts. It's an interesting experience when your brain understands you are now in the food chain and one wrong move and you are dinner for something meaner and hungrier than you. I look carefully at the ground; wolf prints. Lots and lots of prints. Old ones, though, and I am used to seeing evidence of wolves on the property. The last time I was at the hospital for 3 days, the wolf pack slept in my patio area. Slowly, I start scanning the grounds. Nothing looks like it got under the house, the porch is creature free, no human evidence, the doors and windows are all closed and locked. I make sure I have my sidearm, loaded, and start to walk slowly around the house and pole barn. Then I saw it out of the corner of my eye. Bears. Two of them, hiding in the treeline watching me some 300 meters or so away. These are the first bears I've seen on my property since I've been up here; winter will be interesting. The thing about bears is that they do not like being around people unless there is food around. Hunger always wins over danger, the way to deal with bears is no trash, no food, nothing edible, no hunting scraps, don't clean a kill anywhere near the house, leave nothing that will make a hungry animal brave. If you have a game cleaning table, keep it at the treeline as far away from your buildings as possible if you don't have access to enough water to scrub the equipment clean. I have a room in the house I made about as air-tight as you can get to store my food in, I have a pit that I burn everything that I generate trash-wise. I also use this pit as a latrine just to poison the potential food source. The food room window is foam sealed, and the door has an air-tight gasket. I also store any packaging that I don't feel like burning in this room until I am ready to do a burn. I live close enough to some of the bad wildfires this summer, so my guess is that the bigger animals are on the move and the house is in a 10 acre clearing that occasionally is host to mule deer and a moose or two. This winter I'll have to watch to make sure that any dead animals are taken care of so I don't attract the big predators. I am also happy that the dark solar panels on the house were clean and generating power; nothing inside the house looks like it froze. When real winter starts I have a pellet stove and a pellet press that I learned how to use this summer, so the stove keeps me warm, cooks my food and makes coffee. A ton of pellets is cheap and lasts several weeks when you are warming up a 700sqare foot well insulated house. I don't fuck with Bears, at all, and neither should you. I sat down and started writing an bear mitigation plan just in case they hang around.

Boise is still a shit hole of a city filled with mostly garbage people. Now, it is attracting the MAGA crowd and becoming even more National Socialist that it was before. Meth and Covid are running rampant in the place, so here is hoping some of the really bad people meet their Karma. Looking at home and rental prices in the area? Wow this market is stupid. And if you are spending 500K for a house in fucking Idaho you are functionally stupid; even for remote work spending 400K and more for a house in fucking Boise is madness. Then again, if we can get 100,000 not-conservatives to move to Idaho those folks will change the dynamics of the electoral make up and maybe the dems can get two more senators, after they get a backbone. And pigs will fly on unicorns shitting rainbows. Like everywhere in this part of the country, there are help wanted signs everywhere. The hospital has a giant MINIMUM WAGE $16/Hr sign in the lobby at a job kiosk. Every fast food place looked closed at 9PM. Digging in behind the facades, you see signs with shortened hours, Out of stock signs everywhere, Help wanted, Now Hiring, No drug test needed! Closed early due to no employees. I did see a few "Nobody wants to work" signs as well. Add on a massive housing shortage, housing costs doubling since the pandemic started, and all the expensive cars rolling around. Also lots and lots of the big 100K RV's parked around town. Since I used to live in such a place myself, I saw a couple of "camping" areas that were obviously make-shift homeless camps. The big money in town... Where is all that money coming from? The city of trucks and 4x4's is now a city of Beemers, Teslas and Range Rovers. Are there really that many people from the coast with that much cash moving inland? And if so, if you could stop at Idaho that would be nice cause I don't want you fucking up my neighborhood. If anyone here is in Idaho, get involved in politics a decade ago cause you are losing your state. And vote against anyone for any office that cannot prove they have been in state for at least 15 years.

AstroFrank  ·  684 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: What the fuck happened to Boise, Idaho?

Part 2

At this point I will describe myself a bit, not enough to dox, but enough to set a scene. Since losing all the weight I've gained some height; the doc has me a 181cm tall. This is about an inch and a half taller than the last time I had my height recorded. I'm wearing steel toed work boots that add about an inch and a half to my height, the old thicker Levis work pants, and a well worn Cardhart jacket that was loose on me when I was fat and now looks slightly comical. (And functional as all hell, this jacket is awesome and they don't make them any more. Work in one of these in -20°C with a 20kt wind and you will never wear anything else in winter ever again.) All the work I've been doing on the property has rebuilt my ams, back and chest so I have muscle again. Fold a normal piece of paper in half, then in half again. My palm covers that square; the length of my middle finger from first knuckle to tip is just under 20cm. With my arms outstretched palm up and horizontal, placing a yard stick on my shoulder joint, I can just barely curl my fingers around the end of the measuring device. I am now underweight for my body build; I've not been this thin as an adult ever, and with the muscle, I do look thin and gaunt but also wiry, not frail and sickly. Picture an older guy with giant gorilla hands, Orangutan arms, shoulders too far apart, and facing a kid that looks like he has never been in a fist fight. And I've joked here before on the other account that I have a resting "murderer" face.

He immediately noticed my sidearm. Back in the day when i lived in "the big city" my every day carry was a well made and well used .380. I love that pistol. The problem is that in my hands it looks like a pop-gun and the deterrence factor is replaced by a "tiny toy gun" visual. With that same .380, however, I could put three rounds inside a 2" circle at 30 meters. My big meat paws absorbed the recoil and kept the pistol pointed at the target. Bears, however, do not respect the report of the .380, so I swapped it out for a .45, hoping that with all the police and military use the ammo would be available and inexpensive. (Narrator voice: LOL nope) I have a CCW, but Idaho is run by nutjob protestant traitors worshiping at an altar made of firearms, so concealed carry and open carry are legal here.

I stand up, my jacket stays in the seat, and the guy at the counter is looking at me with a serious OH SHIT face. I look at the kid, he's taken a step back. I look him in the eye, sigh and say loud enough for the guy at the counter to hear "Kid, I don't want to do paperwork today, go sit down and be quiet, please." The counter guy's face tried to laugh, but to his credit kept it under control. The kid sat down and steamed for a bit. Can't say for sure but I think the counter guy called to accelerate whatever was being done to his car because he was gone in about 15 minutes. Once the kid was gone, I walked over to the counter to apologize, and had a nice converstion with the counter guy and his coworker. They gave me an address of a gun store to go get ammunition and some supplies; they told me to name drop them as one of the guy's dad owned a firing range and was a buddy of the gun store owner. I went to use the restroom and looked in the mirror; holy shit I looked homeless! No wonder the kid tried to start shit with me! I keep myself clean and wash daily, I brush my teeth daily so I'm not dirty, but the image looking back at me from the mirror gave me a pause. My hair and beard were longer than I thought they were as I really don't shave at the house since I don't have running water. There is no way I can go to a medical specialist looking like this. The truck is done, and I ask about a barber shop that can get me cleaned up, they give me an address.

The barber was fantastic. Lads, if you ever want to feel amazing, find an old school barber shop that does a full face hot shave. Hot towel, straigh razor, everything. If you see beauty products, walk out. If you see a shelf or two full of supermarket disposable razors, shave cream and the like, walk out. IF you don't see old paintings, war memorabilia or other indications of "old people work here" go find a place that meets those requirements. The barber happened to be Irish with an accent so we talked a bit about family history and it turns out our families had a similar trajectory. Run from the Brits, chased off the East Coast, relatives fought for Irish Independence. He mentioned all the Californians moving in, I asked questions about what happened here. I commented that it is not the liberals in California and Oregon moving to Boise; its the shitbags, borderline evil tech people that got lucky and wealthy so now they are better than us normal people. Trust fund kids trying to be a big fish in a small pond. "Not best people" moving in. I mentioned all the Teslas and BMW's I see, and it looks like the Trust fund idiots took over. I mentioned the fancy clothing shops that felt out of place. I mentioned that the last time I was here, I don't remember seeing any newer cars, it was mostly 4x4's trucks and construction vans. He told some stories. Turns out his family has been in Idaho since before it was a state, a great-grandfather owned a ton of land and cashed out only for his parents to squander the inheritance. Then he had a front row seat to the massive changes to the state in the last 25 years. All in all it was a great experience, and I came out looking human again. Best $125 I've spent in months.

The doctor was good, and over two days poked, prodded, took samples, asked a ton of annoying questions, gave a full physical, wrote a ton of notes, usual doctor stuff. They are seeing "immunocompromised" individuals in a part of the hospital that is accessed from a single entrance; covid patients enter the other side of the building. I was advised to minimize contact with people and not go into stores and restaurants due to Idaho keeping true to form and being full of morons. (Did I mention the mobile refrigerated trucks they use as morgues due all the shit bags dying of Covid? Yeap, they are real and I walked by them for a few days.)

Day two they hook me up the IV, escort me to my trailer on the roof of the parking garage, and I begin the monthly two day ritual of suck. With the shit they pump into me, I can't sleep, and I am not supposed to eat for the 24 hours they have me medicated. I installed a hook for the IV bags in the trailer, this was mentioned by both the doctor and the nurses that checked on me as I have done five of these now. I sat down to write this post, switching between writing and browsing the internet on the hospital wifi. I'm still a bit grumpy from the idiot at the dealership, and sit down to process what the doctor is telling me.

Then there should be a at least a few articles about rolling construction equipment over Occupy camps, illegal seizure of personal equipment, long term detentions of "leaders," and how the US State Department helped coordinate the global crack down on November 15-17. I won't hold my breath.

The Tea Party won the future. Not Occupy.

AstroFrank  ·  733 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: August 4, 2021

I did not call you inhuman. If that is your takeaway, then I accept the full blame as I am not as good a writer as I should be. The only people I will call inhuman all wear shity red hats made in china while spreading a pandemic Virus and eating livestock dewormer. I tried to say you live in a bubble outside the typical human experience. As do I, and everyone using this website. At this point we are talking past each other. I promised to give the internet six months, maybe I can come up with something not so inflammatory to try to get a point across before my promise is kept and I can go back to dying. Back in the old days when recycling our newspapers, instead of massive wholesale changes to our society, was going to save the world we could live on a minimum wage. barely, poorly, and not in a healthy way, but we could live. Can't do that today, hell people can barely live on $15/hr. The one good thing to come out of this pandemic is the rise in wages due to the labour shortage.

I was raised to fight for people. The Catholic Church I went to in the 70's sent people to fight for civil rights in the South (while ignoring the local KKK and molesting kids, but let's just add that to the list of shit) I was raised to build the community you would be proud to live in. And for 50 plus years the entire world has shit in my face for trying. The emotional reaction I have to my life right now is that every cause I've joined has been destroyed demonized and mocked. Perot was talking about universal health care as a pro-business move, and that college was too expensive and a drain on the US economy in fucking '92 (30 years ago now). Howard Dean would have gone down as one of the best presidents in the 21st century. Even after the DNC let him die after the Fox "dean Scream" edit, he came back with a 50 state strategy that took back Congress... only to be kicked to the curb again and sent back to Vermont. Occupy is its own swirl of shit. Both non-profit education foundations I worked with died because we had to fight kick and scratch for money to keep operating, only to frustrate the people willing to volunteer. And these are just the big fights that maybe some people will recognize.

If you meet an asshole in the morning, well you met an loser. If you meet losers all day long, look in the mirror. It finally took failing health to realize the things I believe in are not only not popular; some even have active well-funded counter movements. And I'm sick of the taste of shit in my mouth. I'm sick, literally in my case, of fighting and losing. It's not been amusing at all to watch the reactions of people to my decision to start saying "NO" and wanting to live at least a few years on my own terms. People I've known for 30 years and more now won't talk to me because I won't give time and money.

    Here's where we differ. You want people to enjoy astronomy your way. I want people to enjoy astronomy.

The disconnect here between you and I, and I take the blame for not conveying my thoughts well enough, is that every hobby should have room for both. Every Hobby NEEDS room for both. I want beginners, even if I don't really "get" the kids these days as I shake my cane at them. But I also want my events of old farts where we can hang out and do our thing. If you walked into your fancy watch event and demanded they make digital watches cool again because the kids these days are all digital, you'd be laughed out of the event and blacklisted. there is an analogy there that I am butchering, hopefully it comes through.

    I bear you no malice and zero ill-will and will happily accept your slag as the cost of doing business.

My fight is not with you. My disgust and anger is with (gestures around at everything with a pissed expression on his face) Your kid is above ground, you gotta fight that battle because otherwise you are a sociopath. I get it. Hell, I even hope you win more than you don't. Long after I'm forgotten, I hope that you and yours are surrounded by grandkids laughing at the idiots thinking shit was falling apart.

    Recalibrate, mutherfucker

I did. The things I like get destroyed so I started saying no more often, stopped trying to roll the boulder to the top of the hill, stopped fighting for people that hate me unless I write checks, started standing up for my personal well-being and stopped participating. When I try to defend the things I enjoy, I end up screaming past people in barely read internet forums. Call me a bitter old man if you want, hell I sort of agree with you. But I keep coming back to the old cliche of inside of every angry old cunt like me is the corpse of an optimist.

    And come down from the mountain more often.


AstroFrank  ·  776 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: August 4, 2021  ·  

The reply to this keeps 502'ing on me so I will drop it here for kleinbl00

    Okay grumpy old man you earned yourself some devil's advocacy.

Your response pissed me the fuck off. Then I sat on top of my hill, and thought about this while watching the smoke from California and Oregon destroying the sky. Since I am camping out in the parking lot of a hospital after my injections, and have wifi access, I'll answer you. I am not nearly as good of a writer as you and I think we talked past each other, so let's see if I can expand our ideas here.

    That means the median visual astronomer was 30 years old when the HST went up, and 37 when WFPC2 went online.

You discount the visual astronomers that have died off in the last 30 years. I bring up people don't like space and you reply with the ultimate example of "pretty space picture nobody knows shit about." Why was this picture taken? What question was being asked? Yea Yea Yea first image with the Hubble Palette, whatever. Even here on Hubski, you and I are the only two people that know what "Hubble Palette" means, and I'll get to that in a moment. I've been in a room with Jeff Hestor http://www.jeff-hester.com/about-dr-hester/ and got to talk to him one on one a long time ago when I still gave a shit. He's a fantastic person, he's fighting the good fight for what it is worth. But the person and the idea behind the image means not-a-fucking-thing. Pretty picture on a college dorm, all that matters. PEOPLE DO NOT LIKE SPACE THEY LIKE PRETTY PICTURES

    That sounds about right - I was lugging a Coulter 10" Dobsonian around in the back of a Buick Skylark in those years where you could still pretend the ground was relevant. That shining period between billion dollar astigmatism and the Pillars of Creation shot. ... 'cuz I'm sorry - all the SBIG in the world will never fucking compete with that. Not ever. I tried a little game before I started writing this: I googled "most famous Hubble photographs" and "most famous Palomar photographs" and you know what? The Palomar shots are of Palomar.

There are five Messier awards in the Astronomical League Observing programs. https://www.astroleague.org/al/obsclubs/AlphabeticObservingClubs.html I have all of them. I have the Hershell 400 and Hershell 400 (2) awards. I have enough awards to start making a run at the Master Observer certificate if I feel like making that effort. I have used remote telescopes to assist with the confirmation of exoplanets to the point my name is on five scientific papers, and used my own gear back home to track two more that are still being worked on and may finally publish this year. I have a NASA placard on my wall thanking me for engaging in outreach to over 50,000 people. I also have a NASA award for organizing a science campaign during the 2017 eclipse where we rounded up 600 boy scouts to do real data collection backing up the pros in aircraft and satellites that is going to be published this year if not already out. Now that we are done comparing prom gowns and all the other girls think we are pretty, let's cut the bullshit and get to the point.

Oh, and Hubble is in the news at least quarterly, and again PRETTY PICTURES; how many people outside of us even know what the hell Palomar is? People do not like space, they like PRETTY PICTURES.

    Ever been to the Griffith Observatory? It's pretty funny reading their plaques trying to justify the place as if it ever did any real science. They pretty much boil down to "we stare at sunspots sometimes." 1.6 million visitors a year, beyotch.

Never been to Griffin, but I've paid for a few nights with the 60" at Mt. Wilson twice. $1500/night for the group. The second evening myself and a few other people used the night to drag some impressive glass up there. I think between the ten of us, we had a combined $25,000 of eyepieces on us. And honestly, I think I had a better view through a 32" Obsession at the star party that got cancelled mentioned above. Of your 1.6 million visitors I wonder how many are there because the Griffin people used to whore themselves out to every movie and TV production they could wedge themselves into. 161 productions according to IMDB. LA is a city of 20 million people, that visitation number is impressive but let's not kid ourselves that the people of Los Angeles give a shit about Griffin, Mt. Wilson or any of these places. What percent of these visitors are out of state tourists?

    I remember star parties out in the desert. We had good sky. The Pleiades are a loose cluster from the Sangre de Cristos, they aren't seven sisters. The Milky Way is a naked eye object from under a streetlamp. Rich fuckers, too, with like 12" Meades'n'shit. And what were things pointed at? ... and maybe some rogue crankiwumpus like you insistent on making people look away from the center of the eyepiece so he could claim he showed them M81.

I have data on the state of astronomy clubs across the nation. Clubs with a combined 2700 members in areas representing 36+ million people in the USA. But some few rich people bought a $5000 coat rack they take out a few times a year means Astronomy is healthy? Are you going to seriously make the argument "rich people most effected" to me? Because if that is your argument fuck you and your fucking high horse. YOU.. FUCKING YOU of all people are better than that and I expect better from you. Note the numbers on those clubs. People in astronomy clubs are not even a rounding error on a statistical blip on the long tail. The older guys who did all the work either got Covid and died or noped out because they don't want to deal with the 40% of America that turns out to get its reality from foreign Facebook bullshit memes and flat earth groups. And fuck you, we don't show people galaxies at outreach we show open clusters and globular clusters like M3, M5, M92, M15, M11, M52 etc because those are easy to train someone to see quickly. You pull a "rich people impacted" argument on me of all people then toss around "elitism hur hur?" eat shit.

    Now - I didn't drag 50lbs of sonotube above the frost line to stare at planets. I did my dark sky shit, and I enjoyed it. Doodled in notebooks by red light and everything. But I did that shit alone and I didn't expect anyone to come with me. The serious hunting? That shit is solitary. And you yourself, homie, spent half your time photographing and the other half processing. I've seen your shots. The social aspect pretty much demands a trophy. Sure maybe you can get some accolades for your dedication if you describe your adventures but the picture's worth a thousand words. And with the amount of post-processing that's been de rigeur in astronomy since Clyde Fucking Tombaugh, that means an equatorial mount or a steppermotored Dobsonian hack. And that means $$$$$.

Done the visual from dark skies, documented it, have the certificates and notebooks to prove it. Even started on the Urban observing programs because work was killing me and I was unable to travel anywhere. You know why visual observers go into astrophotography? I know 'cause I was one, and talked to dozens if not hundreds who did the same. LIGHT POLLUTION. You know how many people in the USA care about light pollution? NONE. Even the AMA cannot get traction on the idea of overlighting residential neighborhoods is increasing breast cancer rates and has a possible link to the rise in autism. Photography lets me at least pretend that I am doing astronomy even if photos are shit for experiencing the world around us. What would you rather have? Someone looking at nothing put pictures of the Grand Canyon, or actually GOING there and experiencing it. Would you rather have people looking a the moon with their own eyes, or relegate everything to flat images on a screen. I made my choice and walked away from the shit show becasue I see where the world is going; I don't want any part of a society that wants pictures but not the experience.

    Try and tell me Stellarvue was selling more than 200 scopes a year ever. I remember when the ex-Soviet Maksutov Cassagrains came out and holy shit you could do planetary astronomy for less than $4k. My family paid $400 a night to go to an astronomy B&B and they couldn't afford a 16" Dobsonian. $22k for a 10" MCT? Hot diggedy damn! You got anything aspirational for little shits like me who saved up half his summer's wages for a cardboard and particle board clunker with a telrad and a $150 Orion focuser?

Six years ago, I got invited to be a part of a focus group, as someone doing outreach and talking to the public. I got to have two days of talks with the folks making beginner telescopes. I think that I am still technically under that NDA, but the telescopes we thought up are now on sale. https://www.celestron.com/products/starsense-explorer-lt-80az They are on mounts that do not suck, the optics are "fine" and just enough tech to make it easy to use. This is what you should be recomending for kids with birthday money, or paper route money etc to get. And no I do not get paid to promote them, never did. Now that Orion owns Meade, I am hoping that the software guys on the Meade side make the Orion stuff better and easier to use. We also promoted the Starblast 4.5" table top reflectors and got some 20 put into the local library system. You almost certainly know that you can get a not-bad beginner telescope for roughly $250 which is a lot of money for someone on minimum income, but doable. You acuse me of eliteism, remember? I'm trying to get people to not buy shitty hobby killing telescopes at Walmart and target, you see to think all there is out there is $10,000 glass.

    Know what kills hobbies? Elitism. That's why vinyl still exists, and why skaters are still listening to Dinosaur Jr. 30 years later. That Icona Pop LP you bought at Whole Foods to play on the Salvation Army Technics you paid too much for because you didn't know any better? That's a gateway. So are those shitty Instagram-class Celestrons.

Hobbies die when the people that have been around for a while stop helping the newcomers. Youtube vids are cool and all, but without someone to look at face to face and say "can you help me" you lose the new blood to the learning curve. Write all the checks you want, build all the shit you think you can get. Hell build public accessible observatories like I have done. No volunteers? You are fucked. Chase away the volunteers? Yer fucked. Have a lot of money but nobdy to do the work needed to keep the hobby/club/organization going? You die. Elitism is a minor problem compared to the lack of suckers and fools like I used to be doing all the work cause Duty, Honor, "the Cause," outreach, whatever. When the old greybeards stop attending gatherings, when the old timers like me walk away, when the apathy kicks in, the hoby dies. Make the rewards for doing an incredible amount of shit work not worth the squeeze, and your hobby dies just as dead as "elitism." Insult and berate the people on the ground doing the work, most of whom do it for the love and not much else, and your organization will die.

    I'll betcha if you threw another one on the University grounds they'd shut up. Yeah you're right - nobody serious could see anything serious seriously. But nobody following Neil DeGrasse Tyson on Twitter is ready to venture an hour into the hinterlands to pretend they can see Neptune anyway. Couple times *hanging out with their normie buddies? Sipping cocoa and schnapps while staring at things they could legit see through binoculars? That's another matter.

The Devil's advocate question is this: Why the fuck would I do that? The college already showed that they would not back us up, after working with them for TWO FUCKING DECADES where their physics students got extra credit for hanging out with people owning better gear than the bloody university did! All that time of working with them to the point where the star party was a 400ish paying customer event twice a year. What in the HELL makes you think they would step in and help and/or support us in a new adventure? When someone shows me their true colours, and shows me exactly what value they place on my efforts, I remember that. My friends got thrown under a bus for a bunch of idiots chasing social media clout, people that would have forgotten the event even took place as soon as the new thing got more likes and upvotes. The people we worked for free to add value to their students, and asked for nothing in return other than the use of their name to help with the Park Service and the Dept. of the Interior were tossed aside without even an afterthought. Fuck ever associating with people like that ever again. The couple that ran the show since the mid 90's are rumored to put together a very private event with no advertising, no door prizes, no sponsors once the Covid shit is mostly over. The University and its students won't be welcome.

The disconnect here, and this idea hit me in the middle of one of my drives into town to deal with society crap, is that you are not Human. Don't get mad, this is compliment, but I need to dig deep and make sure I am saying what I mean to say with that statement. You and I, and the people on this website are not human. Sure we are all homo sapiens with four limbs, 20 digits, forward facing binocular vision etc, but that "sapiens" part of the name? We are outliers looking in on the human experience. My county has a population of roughly 12K people. The county seat has a population of some 2500 people. There is a library in town, and since librarians are bigger gossips than any bartender I try to befriend them. In June of 2021 the total number of checked out books was under 200. Not 200K, TWO HUNDRED. This includes digital rentals as I specifically asked if there was an uptick during the pandemic. TWO HUNDRED BOOKS A MONTH. Between you and I, I bet we hit that in a typical year. Two people read more in a year than an ENTIRE COUNTY OF PEOPLE do in a month. Now, there are no bookstores in the county, I checked, not even a used book store! It is possible that everyone here, a county where 80% of households are below the poverty line, are buying books online or pirating PDF's, but I've met the neighbors and let's say I have doubts. YOU read more than just about anyone else I've even known, online or off. More importantly, you retain the info you ingest, can process it and explain it to others in context. That skill alone puts you in the top 5% of the smart people in this country. If you last name was gates, or bezos, or Boringoldmoneywhitedude the fourth, you'd have gone to an ivy league, made your business connections and almost certainly be running a Fortune 1000 class company by now. You exist on a level that at times I don't think you understand, maybe you do and just feel guilty or whatever and keep that offline. You and I got the shit rolls on the family dice and had to make due with what we were given. Yet somehow we if not thrived as least did not suck on a shotgun or die of a drug overdose or any other multitude of pitfalls that you and I have shared stories about. We are both retired, and let's be brutally honest here, most people in our generation are NOT going to retire until the last two years of their lives when the body and brain break down from over work and their employer can no longer accommodate their needs, so ship them off to die at home on government health care to keep the health insurance costs low for the rest of the drones in the factory. You and I are talking on a website with maybe 30 active users, four of whom have PhDs in the sciences, and this place is run by two guys using STEM cells to help prolong healthy living, a technology that I bet at most 1 out of 500 people even know exists. How many people know this place exists? 2000? Maybe? When you look at where we are, and where everyone else is, you and I are not even a statistical blip on the very end of the very long tail of human existence. How many people here are into what can be roped into pop culture? None of us, I mean I don't know what a Dinosaur Jr was and had to look it up, some meh band from 30 years ago. Talk to most people and all they spit out is tv shows and movies, and not much else. I could sit here for a few hours and list line item after line item that makes not just you and I but most of the people on this website outside the base human experience. We are "human" by the proxy of our biology, but if we walked into a city council meeting or a PTA meeting, how many people there would we be able to connect with?

The problem you and I both have is that we are in a bubble. Might be different bubbles, but each of the bubbles we exist in protect us from the normal shit normal people go through every day. We can read a book, we can listen to a politicial speach and understand the language about the people they are rallying, but we see this all from the outside. We have the Time, money and privilege to be able to do something that in not directly paying the bills. You can watch your neighbors make poor choices about thier house, but talk about it as an academic exercise to explain the housing market to the rest of us outliers. You get to talk to the rich and wealthy, you mentioned you have had relationships working and otherwise with the famous etc. I've talked to people who have space hardware on the surface of other planets. I can pick up my phone right now and call someone working in mission control for the ISS. Kids I met at outreach events 15 years ago are now building Artemis hardware. This puts me in a VASTLY different head space when it comes to space and astronomy that just about anyone but the guy here that launched satellites earlier this year. Your reply to me really pissed me off until I realized you are coming at this as someone looking in from a 50,000 foot level. Do either one of us really remember what it is like to live on minimum wage? I bet neither of us has 50K in student loan debt. We both own where we live. Neither of us is living paycheck to paycheck. I was homeless living in Truck Center Parking lots off the interstates, and now can barely offer advice from that time nearly four decades ago. We both have expensive esoteric hobbies that the average person cannot comprehend the cost to get into. You can drop a few grand on some widgit thing for your watchmaking and not feel the dread of not eating for a month. Everything about you is outside of a normal human living experience in the current world except your family and upbringing. How many humans do you know that can build a $100K plus milling machine just because they want to fuck around a little bit? Hell, I can't do that, then again I have no income either.

Once I calmed down and actually though about what you wrote, I realize you are not being a cunt just to be a pissant, you are just tone deaf and out of the loop of what is going on at the ground level. Congrats, you won the game.

AstroFrank  ·  818 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Starlink is a very big deal

Starlink, and everyone hyped about it, can eat all the covid infested bags of dicks I can get my hands on. I see at lest two trains a night on every moonless evening I am outside. All this shit so they can sell you disposable gear to feed internet ads at gullible elon musk loving cunts.


Let's talk about space junk. Before governments got involved the starlink policy was the same of every other tech company: externalities not related to day to day profits are for the poor people to deal with. In short, FUCK YOU. The goal is to get so big as fast as possible that they cannot be regulated, ie the Uber model.

The ESA had to move a weather tracking satellite because nobody at SpaceX/starlink was available to talk about moving their satellite on a "near pass" orbit. The first couple of launches of starlinks did not have a protocol in mind to avoid collisions. Some 5% of the satellites are already dead and deorbiting, and so many satellite rentries with their chemical make-up is a threat to the ozone hole.


But hey, fuck the poors stuck on earth, WE'ZE GONNA GO TO MERS Y'ALL!

You cannot use a Pihole or adblockers with starlink either, that is buried in the user agreement.

Fuck starlink, fuck spaceX and fuck the fanboys.

AstroFrank  ·  818 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: June 23, 2021  ·  

Astronomy is a hobby for old people, mostly men. It also is a hobby for people with time and disposable income, but that is a separate rant. The median age of an amateur astronomer given by people in marketing is 54. Visual astronomers, like me, are a decade older. And we are dying off. The number of people buying high quality large visual telescopes is numbered in the hundreds per year. AstroPhysics, one such vendor sells under 200 telescopes a year most going to research universities. Stellarvue, another company of high quality gear, sold about 300 telescopes last year. The number of companies building these devices are in the single digits. Two companies building large Dobsonians style telescopes for visual observing see the writing on the wall, took their final orders and are closing forever. The three best mirror makers are no longer taking orders for visual mirrors, focusing instead on equipment for astrophotography and university research institutions as they upgrade decades-old telescopes. Looking at what Celestron offers and has in stock now, you have gear aimed at the instragram astrophoto community (median age 40) and shit-tier beginner garbage.

The pandemic ripped a massive hole in the astronomy community. So many older people either died or won't go to club events or star parties due to the Pandemic risks. We are a tightly knit community of weird people with a weird hobby and any loss of one of us is a massive loss of talent, skill, and knowledge. There is about to be a flood of good, higher end, visual astronomy gear on the market, but no buyers. Visual astronomy is hard, and very few people any more want a hard hobby. In the next few years there is going to be some high end gear that ends up donated to the dying astronomy clubs where it will collect dust until it is thrown out because it is taking up space. I saved one such device, rescued from an estate sale from a man I never met but talked to for years online. The 'scope is in my car outside this library I am using for wifi. I have a pad for it, and once lumber is not worth more by weight than platinum I intend to build a home for the telescope. I need to buy a few car batteries on the way home now that I think about it so I can power my new gear.

I know the argument incoming. But space is popular. No, it is not. Useless celebrity cunts like Neil Tyson are popular. I've met him before he was THE Neil DeGrasse Tyson back at TAM6... geezus that was only 8 years ago?

He was a guy passionate about something he was WAY down the rabbit hole of knowledge and wanted to grab you and scream in your face "THIS IS AWESOME!" Now, he sits on fucking twitter all day. He's gone off the plot, just like every other famous person. The guy behind the "Bad Astronomy" blog/page/books got famous and then became too good for us mortals more than a decade ago as well. People do not like space, they lice celebrity. People like Hubble images. People like hurricane warnings and weather reports but do not understand where those come from. The less said about Elon Musk the better. They don't like SPACE as an industry or technology. Astronaut talks do not sell tickets. The most popular astronomy podcasts get 10-15K views if they are popular; talk about the boring stuff like doing the work and your talk may hit 2K views/listens. A child unboxing toys, to put this number in perspective, gets 100K views a video and makes 10 million USD a year. One of the younger people with a youtube channel gets 30K views... if he talks about his dog and then shows a pretty image at the end of the video. People do not like space, they don't want to put in the work to be good at a hobby, all these people want to do is post results. And stopping part two of the argument here, its not just college kids. The number of older "adults" throwing tantrums that they have to work at something to get good at is makes me glad that my nearest neighbor is 6 miles away.

The last star party I helped run and organize ran afoul of the local college social media religious fanatics because we did not have "women friendly" facilities. At a primitive campground in a national park with no electric, running water or cell service. A place chosen for its off-grid location and lack of lights, electricity, and its isolation from even aircraft overflights. This was a shock to the dozen or so women astronomers that had been attending the event for a decade, the wives that tagged along for the peace and quiet and the two wives of the organizers running the organization since the 80's. We lost the financial and in-kind support from the local college because the lack of conveniences was "exclusionary." When the college pulled out, we lost the park service assistance with permits and the other hundred little things you need assistance with to make an event like this work. The state agency that had been helping us with portable toilets, traffic control, signage etc stopped returning our calls. From what we were able to gather, there was some popularity on social media for astrophotos in 2018-2019 and the group that wanted to participate were pissed they could not upload images to their websites or charge their phones and equipment. They complained to university officials and the state park service about us. There was a demand that we lug in a generator and build showers. The star party no longer exists; the two older couples all but said "fuck this shit" and noped out. They blame the pandemic, but the real reason is that none of the older volunteers feel like dealing with this crap, a lot of work for ungrateful people, no money and all the joy having been sucked out.

I got forced back online to buy gear. Since I am online, I reached out to some people I know in multiple clubs across the country. People bought telescopes during the pandemic, saw the hobby is hard, and dumped that gear on whatever organization showed up when someone googled "local astronomy group." The clubs that saw massive growth in numbers of members are now struggling with the loss of the clubs culture as people that have been around for years are pushed out by the flood of new people. I hope they ride the wave, get tons of new blood, volunteers and cash, but I've seen this before and these types of clubs will rarely last once the old timer volunteers are gone. The death knell of any niche hobby is popularity. If you are into a small hobby with a close community, pray to your deity of choice you never get noticed or popular. Its a shame because with the internet, the 10 people in Idaho into blacksmithing can get together virtually and learn from each other. They can share tips about gear, technique and design, and get better with effort and passion for something they enjoy. Then some big social media celebrity gets a following of people, notices you guys doing your own thing and seemingly enjoying yourselves and now your hobby is shit and you cannot buy equipment, your forums are flooded with new people without a clue drowning out the people with knowledge and those 10 original people all slip away offline and won't talk about their achievents and passions due to the connection with the influx of toxic shit and idiots. This story may be anecdotal fiction, or it may be a second hand account from the guy that moved my trailer to the property and helped me tie it down. Go find a knitting group that has been around 10 or more years if you think this is only a dude-bro issue. Because damn, those poor people got fucked over, hard, by the newcomers with their "bitch and stitch" stores and runs on yarn, thread, canvas and equipment. Back before I moved, a lady into video games and knitting told us all how she was kicked out of her knitting group because her being a 60 year old woman with grandkids and a husband of 40ish years made some of the new people uncomfortable. (The new people kicked her and her two "grandma" friends out of the facebook group and changed the venue on her) I watched cooking groups implode in real time due to the popularity of the terrible cooking channels and youtube famous "chefs." Giant 1000 people LAN parties died the same way, popularity of video games killed them and nobody will volunteer to run them any more. The new people that think they can get famous gaming do nothing but whine and stir shit swamping out the old timers; the culture that made these events fun died.

This rant is not just about a hobby I love dying (in this case literally). Its an old man rant on the state of the world and how social media is evil. Fame is a moral evil and social media feeds off its pursuit. Fame is the death of honor and dignity. Nobody chasing fame is a decent human being in my opinion. The character needed to dig in and get good at something, that mentality of put in the work with a plan to get good at something, that drive, that passion, that "This is fun and I don't give a shit who else cares" attitude is fading. Post a stupid video that hits the right algorithm on social media and the next thing you know you are being flown to be on a talk show and now can sponsor some crap product and cash out for simply existing. I've heard kids say they want to be youtubers, not realizing that those famous people work 100 hour weeks and the only reason they got famous is pure stupid chance. Tell them the work that goes into making a video worth watching, and you can see their face try to process a foreign concept for the first time. Social media is a moral evil that gives the unaware the idea that fame is good and easy. The few good parts of fame are shared and normalized; the bad, the struggles, the work is shoved into a memory hole because it only got three upvotes or likes. Everything worth doing has been converted into an instant gratification treadmill and that is why social media is terrible.

I am not sure anymore if the concept of "happy" exists. I think this idea is something we have a faith-like dedication to, to our detriment as a society. There is an emotion attached to accomplishment, not quite self-esteem, but something along those lines. You want to find a "happy" kid in a school? Find the kid that busted his ass to get a good grade on a test and ask him how he did it. Watch their face light us as they talk about the work they did. Is that happiness? Or is it something else? Find the kid that just completed his first skateboard trick. Find the kid that just built her first 3-D printed model from scratch. Find the guys in whatever shop class still exists and ask them about the stuff they are building. Find the kid that just nailed a guitar riff after 20 hours of trying. Find someone that just baked their first sourdough that does not suck from scratch. Those people will light up like a commercial parking lot if you get them talking about what it took to be successful. Is that "happy?" Or is it something else? Excluding the people with medical issues that need help, I think one of the reasons so many people are down, depressed and unfulfilled is because people are not DOING anything any more. Watching a movie is not DOING something. Consuming products is not DOING something. Merely existing is not DOING.

Hobbies are dying, and go ahead and argue if you want but I've seen the sales numbers. This could just be the ramblings of an old bitter jerk that walked away from a good job to go live in BanjoStan in a 700 square foot off grid trailer to watch the world die as he prepares to dance with the Reaper. Or it could be the observations of someone that first hand saw the decline of union labor, the stagnation of wages, the destruction of the middle class, the implosion of the nuclear family, the housing crisis and rent affordability bomb, all that big picture stuff no longer serving people that need or want to work for a living. If you are working two jobs to pay rent because multi-billion dollar hedge funds are destroying house affordability, you won't have a passion project. And guess what folks, overwork and no down time are not going to make you happy if all you are doing is treading water. One thing I picked up from the pandemic is the number of people that were forced to stay home, then started feeling better. They cooked at home, they worked out a bit, they felt less stress. Now that people are going back to work, I hope they can keep any hobby they picked up and use that to get a sense of accomplishment and feel good about themselves. and it makes me happy as hell that shitty service providers like restaurants and retail are closing because they won't pay their people and treat them with respect. Out here, the local wallmart is cutting hours because even at $18/hour nobody will work for them. Better to make $15 in construction outside and not deal with screaming idiots, mentally ill church people with entitlement complexes, and a management structure that sees you as sub human.

Life is way too short to hate your situation; I'm still angry it took me this long to figure that one out.

AstroFrank  ·  818 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pentagon Report: Some UFO Sightings Can't Be Explained With Current Science

Several "unidentified" have been thoroughly discussed and described.

AstroFrank  ·  818 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Triangle UFO over Shanghai June 22 2021

Its not a shadow, its an obstruction that looks exactly like the triangular building in the image below in this thread. Shanghai is a city of 55 million people, in China, in a city where there are 100 million cell phones all with cameras. If this was a "real" phenomena we would have shitty social media tags, multiple zooms, multiple angles and thousands of eye witness reports. It is hard to get a sense of scale on shitty hand held anything recording, but the object looks bigger, say the size of the top of a massive sky scraper taken from not street level through a marine layer.

In fact, it looks like Tomorrow Square, a thousand foot tall building that is in about the right spot relative to the stills I see of Shanghai in the day time.


Its a fucking building shot by tourists through a marine layer in about the right part of the city to see a 1000 foot tall building peek out through patchy clouds. Come on guys, this one is not even fucking trying.

AstroFrank  ·  832 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: June 9, 2021

I have not earned an income from work since September 2019. I moved out to "Go-Fuckyourself-Stan" since I was unable to emigrate to Ireland after selling and giving away most of my stuff that held no personal value other than an anchor holding me to a city I no longer felt was my home. This process involved selling about 30K worth of astronomy gear. The new homestead is 80 acres, well 160. I had to buy the second lot and hire an atourney to get an easement and access road built. With the pandemic and the shit show that is labour in the rural parts of the USA, the road will get graded and graveled sometime in 2030. My hope is all these cunts buying land up here will realize that living in the reddest of the red states home to naught but protestant traitors will make then leave in a few years. I'm just glad that I was able to get all my living stuff done before the world went to full shit in Q4 2020. The one thing I do have here is damn near perfect skies. Last year, not counting the land purchase and moving a single wide mobile home to the land, I lived on less than 30K including taxes and fees , gas, food etc. I took a look at finances, and thanks to some amazing timing I nearly doubled my net worth due to the pandemic dip and recovery rally. So it is time to relearn to love a hobby again.

I made a call and got hold of a guy I have done business with to the tune of over six figures including referrals over the last 20 or so years. He asked what I have been up to, and told him. I told him I burned all my online presence, that the old job was treating me worse than shite, that I removed myself from astronomy education and noped out to the mountains. My guy then spent an hour calling me every name in the book, insulting everything about me, and telling me that he is so disappointed that I bailed out he will never sell me anything again. He then hung up on me. There are maybe six people on this earth that can talk to me in such a manner... and have me sit and listen, none of whom are family.

A few days later he calls back, calmer and gives me conditions that I need to meet to stay a customer. He explained how the pandemic cratered the astronomy hobby and there is literally no gear worth owning for sale right now. But he was willing to shove me to the front of the line if I did a few things for him. The one demand that almost ended a multi-decade friendship was my guy demanding I get back online again. I asked why. He went silent for a good few minutes then gave me an answer I will not put in public. He made a convincing argument. So here I am, back on the sewer of human failure that is the internet. The internet was a mistake, not one that I think the human race can recover from fast enough to fix our larger institutional issues. When the shit really hits the fan, the French revolution is going to look like a minor disagreement followed by a night of drinking at the pub. I do not have internet at the homestead, I barely have phone service. I explained this, we had a good talk, and so here I am again. At least now that the solar is up I can type stuff on a laptop for the trips into town to see the doctor or brave a Costco. Not watching the fall of western civilization in real time one garbage twitter thread at a time has really helped my mental and physical well being. I've lost enough weight and can almost breathe again due to no allergies to the point that they now think they can drug me correctly and fix my health issues. I'll post once in a while when I can make it to town with time to spare to sit in the library or a coffee shop and get connected. Maybe.

I also realized that 2021 is the 10 year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. I should sit down and write my angry fucking hate-rant on my experience there. I'm not-unconvinced that the US system of representative democracy died with insane panicked over-response by the people in power, but I hope I am wrong. Everyone complaining about police over-responses and use of force that did not raise your voice ten years ago? eat shit.

AstroFrank  ·  832 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: A sober discussion: Aliens on Earth

There are no aliens. Not intelligent ones at least. And so far, every bacteria, virus, fungi etc known to man, even the ones under Antarctic glaciers, in thermal vents at the bottom of the ocean and in caustic chemical pools in Yellowstone all have DNA and RNA pointing towards a common single ancestor that lived as soon as organic chemistry could function on the earth as it cooled, some 4.2 billion years ago.

There are no aliens. Mick West has been debunking this nonsense for at least 15 years on Youtube. He's at the point now where not only can he explain that what you are looking at is a plane, but by figuring out the time stamps on the videos, which plane and contrail you are looking at.

The reason these videos are coming out now is because the problems with the tech that caused the oddities, along with better training are no longer a national security risk to our military. The take away from the "go fast" video, debunk below, is not OH SHIT ALIENS! The take away from these videos should be OH SHIT WE CAN SEE A LARGE BIRD FLAP ITS WINGS FROM A CAMERA TRAVELING SUPERSONIC SPEEDS FROM FIVE MILES AWAY. And now that this video and information is declassified, what can they see and find now? (hint the software is better at finding these glitches and blips and hiding them from the pilots so they can focus on drones and stealth aircraft)

There are no aliens. If there was anything sentient within 250 light years we would be picking up their airport radars by now. There is a subset of people that have been lost in all the chaos of the last 30 years that want a savior but don't go to church, so they invent little green men visitors. There are no aliens, and

There are no aliens. We want there to be because humans are garbage at fixing problems on our own.