Wednesday, November 13, 2019

No Shave November 2019

No Shave November is upon us again. I am participating again this year. Since I am going back to Montana in Late December, I may keep it until I come back just for some added warmth.


Saturday, November 2, 2019

Adventures in Manscaping

Okay so most people who know me would probably be a little surprised by me writing about this topic. Lets face it, they would be right. I am almost 56 years old and I have never even tried to do anything about my pubic hair. The only time I came close was when I had a vasectomy and then, all I did was shave my balls, 2 minutes and done. This is just not the sort of thing that a man like me has any interest in doing, ever.

So, what changed you ask. Well, I got out of the shower the other day and glanced at myself in the mirror and noticed the very tangled mess I had down there. I am a hairy old bastard, I pretty much have hair everywhere, I am pretty sure I am descended from Sasquatch and not too many generations at that. Anyway, I decided it was time to do something about it.

I don't know about anyone else, but this is a subject that has never come up between my friends and I, it was also not a part of that "Today you are a man!" talk every teenage boy is supposed to get. Consequently, I had no idea where to start. Considering the condition down there, I figured industrial grade sheep shears would probably be in order. However, after some research on the internet, I found that unless I was planning on becoming a groin hair stylist, I probably just needed an inexpensive body grooming trimmer. Jumping over to Amazon, I found many options ranging from $20-$50, most seemed to get pretty good reviews, so I just went for the $20 version.

Philips Norelco Bodygroom Series 1100

I am not going to give you step by step instructions on how to do this for two reasons, first I found I am terrible at this and second, there are several YouTube videos on this subject and of course WikiHowTo rarely fails to turn something up on any subject. So just go google it, you will find something.

All I am really going to say about the process is, that nothing really prepares you for it. It is weird, it is awkward and you are going to screw it up. Trim with a comb and scissors first and then go to town with the trimmers. Even though, as a general rule, I like my penis and I like touching it, this process was not in anyway masturbatory, I did not get aroused even a little in spite of all the tugging, pulling and other miscellaneous touching I did while attempting this.

Overall, I think this was neither fun or interesting, and I am not sure I am ever going to bother doing it again.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

One of my favorite pictures

I really have no idea where I was going or what I was going to do when I got there, but apparently I was not happy about it.


Saturday, October 26, 2019

The Three-Body Problem (Remembrance of Earth’s Past, #1)The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Going into this book, I had no idea what to expect. It was recommended by a friend, but she gave me basically no information about what exactly it was about, only that she found the parts about the Chinese Cultural Revolution fascinating. Her recommendations have always been solid, so I got the book and and started reading with zero information about the book.

The book started off extremely slowly. The plot burns so slowly I was more than half way through when the actual over arcing plot was actually revealed. If you prefer fast paced action packed adventures, you are not going to like this book. On the other hand, if you like strong character backstories, cultural introspection, thick plots, interesting mysteries and intrigue, you will love this book.

One of the things I absolutely loved about this book was the way science was handled. The book is essentially near future science fiction, but there is no weird techno babble or magic as science hand waving. Even the super advanced alien race can only obtain 10% of the speed of light when traveling between stars. All of the principles used in the book are reasonable extrapolations of current physics theory on how we think the universe works. The author is very clever and amusing in how he uses this understanding to do big things. Having said this, there are some things in the book that are on the surface silly, like the self dehydrating aliens, but I think it adds to the charm of the story.

The story is also very topical, it touches on the current concern for the environment on one side of the political spectrum and the science denial on the other. Interestingly enough, in the story, both are connected to the same conspiracy to hold humanity back from developing. Overall, a really good book with lots of interesting things going on, it is perfect winter read.

View all my reviews

Sunday, October 13, 2019

20th level Commoner - Constable Remmy

Constable Remmy has been the chief law enforcement officer of Freehold for the better part of 20 years. Remmy is a veterans of the last great orc war, but does not really like to talk about it. He is serious about his job, but is a kind hearted man who has been know to give a guy a break every now and again.
This was one of the characters I built while expanding the Commoner Class. He is no match for a proper 20th level character, but he could take a 5th level character and might give a 10th level PC a run for his money.

Expanded Commoner Class


Saturday, October 12, 2019

Commodore 64 Update

Commodore 64 Update. I pulled the PLA from my working C64 and tried it. I still got the black screen. So I dropped in my dead test cart and I started getting memory error codes. I have compatible RAM chips in an old Commodore 128 I scavenged for parts, so I de-soldered 5 of those and started replacing them, I ended up replacing 3 before the memory error codes stopped. Now when I run the dead test, I get normal startup border, but screen full of garbage characters. The tests are running, they are just not displaying properly. At this point, I am thinking it is either the VIC II or the character ROM. My next step is to drop in my VIC II from my other system and see if that makes it work. VIC II's are about $40. If it turns out to be the character ROM, those are only about $10.

Basic Program for making a D&D Character

10 RANDOMIZE TIMER
20 GOSUB 150
30 STRENGTH% = TOTAL%
40 GOSUB 150
50 INTELLIGENCE% = TOTAL%
60 GOSUB 150
70 WISDOM% = TOTAL%
80 GOSUB 150
90 DEXTERITY% = TOTAL%
100 GOSUB 150
110 CONSTITUTION% = TOTAL%
120 GOSUB 150
130 CHARISMA% = TOTAL%
140 GOTO 200
150 DICE1% = INT(RND * 6) + 1
160 DICE2% = INT(RND * 6) + 1
170 DICE3% = INT(RND * 6) + 1
180 TOTAL% = DICE1% + DICE2% + DICE3%
190 RETURN
200 PRINT "STR: "; STRENGTH%
210 PRINT "INT: "; INTELLIGENCE%
220 PRINT "WIS: "; WISDOM%
230 PRINT "DEX: "; DEXTERITY%
240 PRINT "CON: "; CONSTITUTION%
250 PRINT "CHR: "; CHARISMA%
260 PRINT
270 PRINT "Choose your Class:"
280 PRINT " 1 Cleric"
290 PRINT " 2 Fighter"
300 PRINT " 3 Magic-User"
310 PRINT " 4 Thief"
320 INPUT CHOICEC%
330 IF CHOICEC% = 1 THEN CLASS$ = "Cleric"
340 IF CHOICEC% = 2 THEN CLASS$ = "Fighter"
350 IF CHOICEC% = 3 THEN CLASS$ = "Magic-User"
360 IF CHOICEC% = 4 THEN CLASS$ = "Theif"
370 PRINT "Choose your Race:"
380 PRINT " 1 Dwarf"
390 PRINT " 2 Elf"
400 PRINT " 3 Halfling"
410 PRINT " 4 Human"
420 INPUT CHOICER%
430 IF CHOICER% = 1 THEN RACE$ = "Dwarf"
440 IF CHOICER% = 2 THEN RACE$ = "Elf"
450 IF CHOICER% = 3 THEN RACE$ = "Halfling"
460 IF CHOICER% = 4 THEN RACE$ = "Human"
470 IF CHOICEC% = 1 THEN HITPOINTS% = 8
480 IF CHOICEC% = 2 THEN HITPOINTS% = 10
490 IF CHOICEC% = 3 THEN HITPOINTS% = 4
500 IF CHOICEC% = 4 THEN HITPOINTS% = 6
510 IF CHOICER% = 1 THEN STRENGTH% = STRENGTH% + 1
515 IF CHOICER% = 1 THEN CHARISMA% = CHARISMA% - 1
520 IF CHOICER% = 2 THEN DEXTERITY% = DEXTERITY% + 1
525 IF CHOICER% = 2 THEN CONSTITUTION% = CONSTITUTION% - 1
530 IF CHOICER% = 3 THEN DEXTERITY% = DEXTERITY% + 1
535 IF CHOICER% = 3 THEN STRENGTH% = STRENGTH% - 1
540 DICE1% = INT(RND * 4) + 1
550 DICE2% = INT(RND * 4) + 1
560 DICE3% = INT(RND * 4) + 1
570 DICE4% = INT(RND * 4) + 1
580 DICE5% = INT(RND * 4) + 1
590 GOLD% = (DICE1% + DICE2% + DICE3% + DICE4% + DICE5%) * 10
600 PRINT: PRINT "What is your Name"
610 INPUT NAME$
620 PRINT
630 PRINT "D&D Character Sheet 1.0"
635 PRINT "------------------------------": PRINT
640 PRINT "Character Name: "; NAME$
650 PRINT "Character Race: "; RACE$
660 PRINT "Character Class: "; CLASS$
670 PRINT "------------------------------"
680 PRINT
690 PRINT "STR: "; STRENGTH%
700 PRINT "INT: "; INTELLIGENCE%
710 PRINT "WIS: "; WISDOM%
720 PRINT "DEX: "; DEXTERITY%
730 PRINT "CON: "; CONSTITUTION%
740 PRINT "CHR: "; CHARISMA%
750 PRINT
760 PRINT "Hit Points: "; HITPOINTS%
770 PRINT
780 PRINT "Gold: "; GOLD%
790 PRINT "------------------------------"
800 PRINT: PRINT "Save Character?"
810 PRINT "1 Yes"
820 PRINT "2 No"
830 INPUT YN%
840 IF YN% = 2 GOTO 1060
850 OPEN NAME$ + ".TXT" FOR OUTPUT AS #1
860 PRINT #1,
870 PRINT #1, "D&D Character Sheet 1.0"
875 PRINT #1, "------------------------------": PRINT #1,
880 PRINT #1, "Character Name: "; NAME$
890 PRINT #1, "Character Race: "; RACE$
900 PRINT #1, "Character Class: "; CLASS$
910 PRINT #1, "------------------------------"
920 PRINT #1,
930 PRINT #1, "STR: "; STRENGTH%
940 PRINT #1, "INT: "; INTELLIGENCE%
950 PRINT #1, "WIS: "; WISDOM%
960 PRINT #1, "DEX: "; DEXTERITY%
970 PRINT #1, "CON: "; CONSTITUTION%
980 PRINT #1, "CHR: "; CHARISMA%
990 PRINT #1,
1000 PRINT #1, "Hit Points: "; HITPOINTS%
1010 PRINT #1,
1020 PRINT #1, "Gold: "; GOLD%
1030 PRINT #1, "------------------------------": PRINT #1,
1040 PRINT #1, "EQUIPMENT:"
1050 CLOSE #1
1060 END

Retro Battle Stations: The Twins

So at lunch today, I setup both the Mac Plus and the Mac SE on my desk in the bedroom, this is where I plan to work on them, away from cat supervision.

The Plus does power on, but as I was unpacking boxes, I found the floppy for it had been removed, the previous owner said it was bad, so this does not bother me much, although I may put it back in just test it myself. I also found an Apple 300 external CDROM, I plugged it into the Mac SE, it powers on and takes discs, but the system did not see it. All I have is a startup disk rather than the complete operating system. so it may mean I just need drivers for it.


I also found an unopened copy of HyperCard, this was an early attempt at a way to collect and present data, sort of a precursor the the World Wide Web, minus the network support. I do not know if I have the heart to actually open it and try to use it.

Edit: The events described in this post occurred Friday Oct 11th 2019. 

Retro Battle Station: Commodore 64

So I did a slight bit of testing on the Commodore 64 I picked up. When I power it on, the TV gets a signal, but the screen is black. This can be caused by one of three things, the CPU, the PLA (Programmable Logic Array) or the VIC II video chip.

I took my multi meter to the board to make sure I was getting the correct power throughout the board, everything checked out, I seemed to be getting power to all the places power needed to go. I put my dead test cartridge in and still got a black screen. The cart will usually run even if the memory is bad or the VIC II is not working. This kind of narrows it down to the PLA or the CPU, of the two, the PLA is far the most likely to go bad than the CPU. Fortunately there are some cheap replacements out there for around $20 so I have ordered one. In the meantime, there is a key missing, so my plan this weekend is to repair the keyboard, I already have everything I need for that.



In this picture, I have pulled the PLA. Looking at it, I probably need to clean the board as well.

Edit: The events described in this post occurred Wednesday Oct 9th 2019.