Mandelbulb 3D, Un-Retouched

Or better known as the Aztec God of Death.  I was being completely random in my creation of this fractal.  All numbers ending in 5; be it .25, .025 and so on.  When the face showed up — and so close to Halloween — I figured it was time to render.

Happy Samhain!  I’m off to fight demons and what not in a story or two while the kids in the neighborhood trick-or-treat.

Inspirational Music during the moment:  Squirrel Nut Zippers – Hell, Fun Boys Three – The Lunatics (Have Taken Over the Asylum)  & Matthew Sweet – Evangeline

Cirriped Jetty

Cirriped Jetty

Mandelbulb 3D, Un-Retouched

Welcome to the distraction of my mind as I’ve been working on a bit of journaling advice for a friend.  It’s as weird and asymmetrical as my writing style at the moment.

Final Update

Entry 10/28/2014 09:00:00 AM – Mentat 775

Getting up to my mother’s house a bit earlier than expected because the visiting nurse happened to have been earlier than scheduled, I was greeted by my mother proclaiming to the visiting nurse that the results for her biopsy from last week had come in (not sure whether it was last night or this morning after we finished our weekly laundry)…

**Drum roll**

It’s benign.   So now that’s out of the way the next thing on her wellness agenda is continuing to heal up from the ankle…  Which seems to be going well… slow…  but well.

Tomorrow. it’s artwork and curtain ironing & hanging…  Oh the joys of a house controlled by the seasons…  At least it’s not mine.  I couldn’t care less.  Curtains are curtains…  Doesn’t matter to me if it’s summer or winter.  They block sun, I’m happy they’re hanging.

Until the next time.

That Good Old (half-)Frenchman Magic

Entry 10/24/2014 05:44:16 PM – Mentat 771

…Or “Hello Gas Company? I would like a heaping side of drama with your free service.

Thursday night, when the weather was gloomy and the temperatures in the mid 50s F (10s C) with the weekend looking more and more like the sort of thing we see frost in the morning, I had decided to tackle getting the space heater in the apartment re-lit. I had turned it off and the end of last winter because unlike the old gas-on-gas which was a pain in the ass to find the pilot, this one was clearly and easily spotted on the other side of the door. Of course, that door is also on the right side of the heater and can only be reached when I move the stove away to be able to reach it and reach around to the control valve. I know it’s an old space heater as I can barely read the tag on the backside of it and if the water heater in the basement is an indication of the age of things in the house; the space heater is as old if not older than I am.

All right not older than me. It has a pilot primer (press down the knob/valve in order to light the pilot), it’s an early stage of this safety feature as you press and hold it down for 30 seconds, then you light the pilot and the voila, it’s lit. I can tell it’s up there in age…

It took a little of a struggle, a pen light held in my mouth all cat burglar-style, ensure I can reach both inside the door to the pilot and reach around to the valve controls, try to light it and all that… In about 20 minutes of grunting, swearing and taking breaks, it was lit and a quick test of turning up the thermostat proved to me it was working properly.

Later on in the evening when I was hankering down to sleep, I wandered over to the sink in the pantry area and could have sworn I was smelling the faint odor of natural gas. Getting a bit paranoid I sniffed around the space heater which was where I thought I had smelled it and sure enough there a little there. Turning up the thermostat on the space heater to ensure the pilot didn’t blow out when I shut the heat off earlier, I heard it kick on and stay lit after several attempts of turning it on and off.

Shrugging it off to my inherent paranoia and coupled with the possibility it was a bit of lingering gas from the struggle I went through, I opened one of the windows in the kitchen to air the house out and get some sleep.

The next morning, after shutting the window and confirming I couldn’t smell any gas from the space heater, I had to rush over to my mother’s house because I missed the call that the visiting nurse was over early, and thought she was still there at 9:20 as my uncle was supposed to be coming over to pick her up for her biopsy appointment at 9:30. Fortunately for me, the visiting nurse was long since gone and my mother let her in by throwing the keys out the window to open the door on the street. Helping my mother downstairs and into uncle’s truck, she was off to the hospital for her biopsy, leaving me there for a couple of hours while I watched her Monster Child…

The day went as expected. I took care of her needs while she sat down, ran a couple of errands (bank and Walgreen’s to pick up her prescription). Realizing I didn’t have my wind breaker, I headed back to the house to pick it up and realized that I smelled the faint odor of gas again as I walked in the door to my apartment.

I did the errands, came back to my mother’s house, told her about it and then called the gas company (here in Rhode Island, Gas & Electricity are the same company). I spoke with James in customer service and asked him about the free service when gas is being turned on at an apartment. I remembered when I moved into my apartment in the Valley, during the visit the Service man check the various equipment: Water Heater, Stove, Space Heater/Heating service if it’s gas and ensure there’s no leaks. I asked him whether it’s a free service for someone hat already has their service up and running.

He told me it was free and asked why. I explained to him that since turning on the space heater and lighting the pilot there was a faint odor of gas and I thought that perhaps there might be a problem.

He started the speech not turning any of the lights or electrical appliances and getting out of the house immediately not to re-enter until the service man was there.

I told him I’m aware of this, but assured him that it wasn’t that bad, as my computer had been running the entire time and re-affirmed the odor in the house was faint, not overpowering. I explained I’ve been in a house where a gas feed had broken and knew the difference between a potential calamity and a small issue. This was the small issue.

He told me that someone from the gas company would be there in half hour.

I told him that there’s no way for who they’re sending to ring doorbells to gain entry (there are none on the doors to the house) and gave him a number to call as I was across the street taking care of my mother and could be out there when they arrive. I stressed again it wasn’t an emergency, as it’s only a faint odor.

And what follows is the result of that call…

I’m sitting there at my mother’s seeing that the clock reading was close to the time the gas company is supposed to show up. I also heard the sounds of sirens as they’re screaming up the street and seeming to stop near to where I am at my mother’s. Looking out the window I see this big-assed paramedic’s truck blocking up Piedmont St. I then look around outside and saw several firemen in full gear including oxygen tanks walking around outside of my house.

“Jesus, the whole of the fire department is here and at my house. Something’s up. I’ll check what’s going on and walk Jack when I get back.”

“We’ll be here,” my mother says to me as I’m putting a windbreaker and hat on and rushing down the stairs.”

I get outside and halfway to the door to my apartment, I say loudly, “Is there something I can help you with, Gentlemen?”

Someone dressed as the Fire Marshall says, “the gas company called us of a report of a gas leak at this house, did you report it?”

“I did! Though I assure you it’s not as bad as needing the whole of your firehouse here on my front door step. If one or two of you gentlemen will please follow me, I’ll lead you up and explain the situation to you while you check what’s wrong.”

Four come up — the Captain (he had the bars to prove it) and three of his men with various gas detection equipment in hand. One of them was complaining about the obstructions with the cleaning supplies on the first floor landing… Yeah, good luck getting those moved, I mumbled.

This is the only apartment with closets, the others had been boarded up years ago and the only reason why I have them is because the last tenant ripped those boards out gashing the frames and the floor in the process. My first floor neighbor not having the luxury of strength or help doesn’t and has had whatever can’t fit in a closet out in the hallway for longer than I’ve been living in the apartment.

I stressed to them this wasn’t that big an emergency as it was a light odor and only happened after six and a half hours while I was over my mother’s house caring for her.

A minute after that there were 8 men in the house.

Soon after that there was all 12 loitering in my 15′ x 15′ kitchen firing various questions at me scatter shot. There’s two trucks and the paramedic van all blocking most of Atwells Ave and mouth of Piedmont St to Atwells and only the Fire Marshall outside standing by car at Piedmont and Adams Sts. And of course, the rubberneckers wondering what’s going on…

“Can you verify that there are two active gas meters?” One of the last to come into my house asked. Yes, just me and my downstairs neighbor live in this house, the rest is unoccupied. The other apartments haven’t been occupied in more than 10 years.

“When did you notice the smell?” At first last night when I lit the space heater, but after that, only when I came back to the house to pick up a windbreaker to walk the dog a short time ago. The apartment has been unoccupied the last six and a half hours.

“The pilots on this stove aren’t lit,” the Captain said like he suddenly discovered the problem. No, they never worked. This stove was kludged in a way that the stove top and oven only light when turned on and a match is set to them. You know like a camper (propane) stove…

“We’re going to check the downstairs (with the first floor neighbor).” Gentlemen, I guarantee you, she smokes like a chimney and if the leak was from downstairs she’d know about it. We all would, in fact.”

There was a lot of repeat questions, and a lot more repeat answers. Apparently I was Speaking in Tongues or my experience in living in apartments for more than 30 years meant nothing.

No I’ve been here 8 months and while I thought I smelled it toward the end of last winter, I didn’t run the heat much since the end of February and shut off the space heater in the middle of March.

No, the stove has never given me problems in the 8 months I’ve been living here.

Yes, the stove is lit by match and later on with a barbecue lighter (showing them as it rests on the fireplace mantel in the kitchen). If you look carefully you’ll see this oven is kludged having a secondary gas level for the oven under the stove top. Pulled up the stove top to point it out to the Captain.

Yes, I’ve worked with ovens from the very modern with induction technology to the old kerosene ovens of the early 20s and can pretty much know the difference between a proper working stove and one that’s kludged together to make it work. If you think this one’s bad, you should have seen the beat up piece of shit at my apartment on Tuxedo Ave.

No, I never smelled gas from the spring through summer up until lighting the space heater for the coming winter last night. In fact, having been here 8 months I don’t recall there ever being a gas smell when the windows had been closed or the air conditioner was running during those times. It only seemed to have happened within the last 24 hours and even then it’s just mildly annoying.

There were a couple of other questions, all of which I stated it only started when I re-lit the pilot on the space heater last night.

When they were done asking me questions, I asked, “So gentlemen did any of those meters you brought with you find anything?”

“No. We did smell something when we came into the house, but the meters show nothing.”

I was about to open the window in the kitchen when the Captain said, “keep that window closed.”

Keeping the window shut, I turned on the captain and said with a smile, “Oh I should listen like when I asked you for one or two men to check this all out instead of all of the firehouse in my kitchen?” I looked around everyone in a mildly accusing manner loitering in my kitchen. Pointing to bedroom and office, I continued, “Besides, two windows are already open and have been since I left to care for my mother this morning. One there and the other there.”

At this point they had check everywhere they could when the Captain said, “Where’s the Gas Company?” Actually I think he said, “where the hell is the Gas Company?”

Almost on cue he comes up the stairs and hearing that said, “my GPS sent me to Cranston instead of here.” I saw him at my open doorway coming in.

So I explained everything once again to the Utility man. The Captain said a couple of things to him as well, but I didn’t really listen to him at this point. Why should I? He wasn’t like he was listening to me.

As it turns out five minutes into the examination the service man’s equipment did find a leak. It was coming from the (right) pilot on the stove. Also a small leak from the regulator underneath the stove top.

While the Service Man double was checking the feeds into the apartment I remember him saying something about thinking he’d be in trouble with the Fire Department. I explained to him if anyone’s going to be in trouble, it should be the person that took the call (at National Grid). I told him repeatedly that this wasn’t an emergency and that all I was asking for was someone to use the equipment they have access to, to double check there was nothing wrong with the space heater. I reinforced that having lived at this place for 8 months, if I had smelled it sooner, I would have assuredly called someone to check it out (then and there). The fact that it only happened now indicated something was different than the end of February/beginning of March and it involved the space heater.

Looking out the window, I saw all the trucks and the Fire Marshall were long gone. “Oh and besides, they’re all gone, I think you’re safe.” I told him.

Yeah, they left 10 minutes after the utility company showed up without so much as a “bye” or “is everything good?”.

After checking the feeds and everything else, the final conclusion based on my discussion with the service man was with the space heater being turned back on, it increased the pressure for the gas feed and in doing so it was enough to cause the pilots to partially leak from the stove… It had to do with need and pressure to service that need. According to what I saw on the service man’s detection meter over his shoulder was that it was just hitting 1.

While the service man said it wasn’t enough to be a hazard, it was enough to smell up the place and only would be dangerous if the apartment was empty for longer than a day at a time. As a temporary fix he told me I need to shut off the gas main to the stove when I’m not using it. Basically one more lever to throw when I want to cook something.

He even got a smile out of it for the over-compensation of it all, given that he saw my computer (and network) was up and running through the entire thing..

After the gas man was finished here, I then went downstairs to my neighbor’s apartment to apologize for the intrusion from the fire department. That’s when I ran into her my neighbor’s daughter coming over to check her mother. I told her the whole sordid story about simply calling the utility company to check the gas stove.

She’s telling me that one of the neighbors called her to tell her the fire department was on the street at her mother’s place and when she got here to Piedmont there was no way for her drive into the driveway of her house across the street.

We all got a bit of a laugh out of it approaching the whole incident like Yankees would in “…it’s better to be safe than sorry.” She talked with her mother and told her of she needed anything to just go across the street to her place.

I walked my mother’s Monster Child (Jack) and when I came back, then came the real fun explaining it to my landlord Anthony as he came home toward the tail end of it.

Don’t get me wrong, he’s an understanding albeit old-world Italian man who looks like he’s one step away from being homeless, but my family knows he’s got a lot of money and owns a lot more property on Federal Hill than he appears to.

After bringing my mother’s dog up to her, Anthony and I came up to the apartment and instead of trying to pantomime, use a bit of sign language and talking really slow (because he’s hard of hearing) to explain what happened, I decided writing the whole thing out in big, block-printed letters because it would be faster for the two of us. So about 45 minutes later, everything was explained as best as it could be. Well that and he explained what the gas service man already reinforced for the time being.

Of course during my explaining it to my landlord, there was the minor scare as the landlord was trying to prove the leak by using an open flame against the regulator and the pilot lights and then most of the pipes underneath the stove top. While I knew the leaks weren’t much and certainly weren’t enough to cause rogue flames from erupting, that didn’t stop me from having a moment or three of my life flashing before my eyes thinking about gas leaks and open flames… and explosions… or my death (and my landlord’s) caused by a man, hard of hearing, older than my mother.

So for right now, I’ve shut the main off to the stove, left the space heater on and will only turn on the main when I was going to cook something. Basically it’s very much like using a camp stove on a hitch trailer or an RV. I’ll have to do this, until such time I can get a repair man in or get the stove replaced. Whichever comes first.

Later on, I found myself laughing at the drama of it all during my afternoon walk (and making me look like a goofy madman to anyone walking by) as such a little problem turned into this insane — just on the safe side — over-done mess. It makes me wish there was some small utility store to come in and check it without charging outrageously for something done in less than 5 minutes. Or the Utility Company not being a bunch of over-compensating drama queens because of the general stupidity of people. Well that and the overall litigious nature of the American Public.

And that’s about it. I’m going to wander. Until the next time.

Tidal Forces on Planet Amaranthine

Tidal Forces on Planet Amarenthine

Mandelbulb 3D, Post Gamma Correction & Saturation

More box and more wave.  Originally I was going to process this piece more to the left, but when I saw the line through the center of it and seeing I’ve done something similar before, I decided to move off of center.

If you want to see what it looked like, the code is in the Special Instructions section of the IPTC info.

Updates and what not…

Entry 10/23/2014 06:01:47 AM – Mentat 770

So last night was the first night since I’ve been here that I had to shut the windows in the house.  I think it’s safe now to open a couple of windows as last night there was a hell of a lot of wind and rain.  Surprisingly also there was thunder & lightning.  It’s been a long while since we’ve had thunderstorms in the autumn.  And… Opening the windows right now, there’s still a hell of a lot of wind out there.  Sure it comes and it goes, but when it’s here it’s pretty damned gusty.  Hopefully it won’t be raining as it was last night and through the morning.  Because I don’t want to have to rush over here to shut the windows again.

I talked with my mother last night as she got home a bit later than I expected and during my usual exercise routine — namely the 2 mile (3.21 km) walk.  I saw the lights on in the house and no car in the driveway so I ventured up to make sure it wasn’t as worse as my imagination can be.  She was there, hobbling around the house.  She told me that the PICC line was removed and the clot that they found during yesterday’s visits and to the hospital were the cause of the clotting around the area of the PICC line in her arm…

She said she was fine and that tomorrow (today) I need to be over at around 8 AM so that we can get around to doing my favorite part of her fall cleaning spree:  ironing and hanging up the curtains around the house.  Yay….  fun times and all that.  At least I did the vacuuming yesterday while she was at her first appointment.  So that’s pretty much out of the way.   Well, until the Monster Child sheds himself another Chihuahua…  Or my mother sees a rogue lint ball rolling around the house and she thinks the whole house is positively filthy.  Whichever comes first.

[Last Edited: 10/23/2014 10:05:07 AM]

Getting over here for 8 in the morning and according to what she’s telling me, the punch biopsy (at least that’s what she calls it) that they were supposed to do to determine the mass in her right breast has been canceled because she’s currently on some sort of oral immunosuppressant that will interfere with the biopsy results.  So right now she’s woken up and going through the various calls to doctors, clinics and hospitals that she has appointments with to cancel and reschedule…  Heh, the funny part of this is that this is absolutely normal on my mother’s side of the family.  Routine doctor’s appointments until retirement and then it’s the metric shit-tons of them shortly after that for the gaggle of problems that crop up for being old.  And yes, this is something I definitely look forward to.  Joys, eh?

At least the good thing is that I don’t have to worry about starting the fall curtain change.  That’s going to wait until the weather and the wind calm down.  After all, it’s more than a little difficult to be cleaning the windows while we have strong gusts and the occasional rains.  And given that the NOAA reports severe wind advisories through to 11 PM, it looks like it’s going to be here for a while even if looking out the window at the moment it seems relatively calm.

Heh, sitting here at the moment she really hasn’t stopped.  The biopsy appointment got rescheduled again for the morning tomorrow (at a slightly respectable time) which means she’ll be there for a couple of hours.  Though during it her husband began working her nerves with his anger.  Of course the reason for his anger is because the man’s having problems processing all this scares with the blood clot, the endless batteries of visits and runs to the hospital,  the scare of the biopsy and the possibility the mass might be malignant.

In a way I’ve been fortunate.  On the one side I’ve spent a lot of time in and out of hospitals when I was a child and again later on after the car accident that such visits don’t always end in terrible news and worst case scenarios.  More often times than naught, the doctors and staff often approach things with the attitude of a worst case while trying to prove there’s nothing to worry about.  On the other side, having spent so much time in the mid-80s through mid-90s and watching so many of my friends and supporting friends with their lovers in the hospitals succumbing to complications to AIDS I’ve learned to simply accept and support with compassion, understanding and sometimes even just listening.   After all, what’s the point of anger, rage or frustration?  It’s not going to change the inevitability of the situation.   I believe that’s the closest to Divine Apathy that I can come.

So I reaffirmed with her the reason for his anger and frustration and told her I could have a word with him about this anger issue of this…  Of course,  she vehemently forbade knowing that my words would be more forceful than she would want.  And they would be rather forceful because of the unfinished business from almost a month ago.  But I’ll abide for a while longer as the rancor’s not bad — and I’ve found that I don’t obsess about it half as much as I might have more than 18 months ago.

And that’s about it for the time being.  I decided on posting this because of the potential for bomb dropping from yesterday’s entry.  Off to take care of things with my mother and getting the Monster Child for the morning walk.  Until the next time.

My Usual Disgust with the Entertainment Industry

Entry 10/22/2014 06:43:43 AM – Mentat 769

The interesting thing about starting the slow cooker the first thing in the morning is that there’s no casualties or catastrophes while I cook.  Everything gets down without too much mess, spill and most of all: bloodshed. I seem to take my time, get everything prepared and of course Moe loves it as he tends to run around the house more than getting up under me curious as to what it is I’m doing.  I did this last week when I made the Sausage Stew and while I only began shedding tears after cooking (because I did the stupid thing of rubbing my eyes after preparing and didn’t wash my hands), there again was no scares from Moe and no bloodshed.  All in all, I’m definitely going to keep to this schedule for the safety of it all.

This is going to be an early morning for me.  My mother’s off to the doctor’s early this morning and now I need to get ready to watch the Monster Child until she gets home.

Heh, I get my cuppa in this morning and instead of finding myself happy, chipper and percolated — I find myself crotchety, curmudgeonly and just brimming with vitriol.   I admit it’s because of the shows that I had been watching last night during quiet time with Moe in the crook of my arm.  I mean I know I went into the shows that I was watching fully knowing that they had an entertainment half-life…  Hell most of the shows that I’ve been watching have been touched by who I like to call the Abrams’ Ass-Licking Crack Monkeys:  Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman…  So really, I should know what I’m in for given my experience with them having their hand on shows like Alias, Fringe, Lost (though truth be told, I avoided that one like the plague because it just wasn’t my cuppa from start to finish)…  Yet here I am feeling like the older ‘man’ in the YouTube video EA in a Nutshell exclaiming “why does this keep happening?!”  I mean sure, on the one side it’s not as though I’ve actually invested the time; I binged on one, and the other I gave the first five episode to get a feeling of it.

Sitting here thinking about it, I can only attribute it to the shock to just how unoriginal the episodes turned out to be.  With Scorpion I now know what it feels like to be either a doctor or nurse watching shows like Bones or Grey’s Anatomy in that the medical jargon is just over-glorified technobabble.   In this case the whole part of the “enabled” or otherwise known as the ultra-intelligent…  Only problem with this is that the actors and the writers aren’t that intelligent and are trying too hard to work with the stereotypes of that intelligence.  Basically they’re the nerd kids that had always been picked on in the schoolyard and keep to that mentality even as adults.  That and they hobbled the characters way too much — leaving even the one with the ability to read people through body language and nuance — a bunch of dysfunctional messes that can only be held together by Walter O’Brien.  What’s so uninspiring about this is also that it’s supposed to be based on the true-life person Walter O’Brien leaving the show feeling like a fantasy world much like Temperance Brennan in Bones.

In The Blacklist nothing like getting slammed in the brains with a MacGuffin while watching the recent episode called The Front that comes right out of the J.J. Abrams play book from a 2001 episode of Alias.  400 year old manufactured virus that was created by opposing forces for germ warfare…  ugh, I couldn’t listen and watch anymore after that.  Hell, I’m giving up on the show after horrendously over-used plot device…

People wonder why I haven’t owned a television since 2004.  This is why.  It’s easier to watch it in binge without commercials and give up the show when it’s reached the end of its entertainment value.  Treat it like a mindless diversion when Moe has decided that I had been away from the house long enough and with the colder weather on it’s way in, sitting with me in quiet contentment.  Heh, I love my cat, though it’s not possible that I can do much else with him when he’s sitting in the crook of my arm between me and the keyboard.

On the other hand, I know that there are no original stories, plots or writing ideas left in the world,  yet why is it with television recycles and regurgitates them  faster than you can say, “*sigh* really?”  It raises the questions, 1. are producers that scared of taking chances?  and 2. are they truly the uninspired and unoriginal hacks that everyone in the entertainment industry accuse them of being?

I understand time constraints…  You’re running a series on network (or even cable) television that spans 22 – 26 episodes a season (year) hoping it to be some sort of breakaway hit that will last 5 – 7 seasons (and sometimes even more).   I know that there are also certain constraints about what can and can’t be shown on television (which I see is still eroding slowly) as well as the routine requirement for one (or more) PSA-like episodes…  But do these writers and producers need to stick to the same predictable plots and performing the same things over and over not entirely unlike the old travelling swindler selling snake oil to cure everything one ails from?

It makes me wonder whether or not certain cable television shows as well as the BBC have it right in that (other than perhaps soap operas), they cut down the the season to 8 – 13 episodes instead of the full year.  I’m not even going to waste my time trying to figure out or even offer advice or suggestions on how to handle all the schmoozing (or what I’m more prone to call ass-kissing or ass-licking depending on the veracity of it) that seems to go on within Hollywood.  I see enough of this in my local politics and there it needs to definitely stop.

Ultimately I know the only possible way of controlling such entertainment is to vote with my remote:  change the channel, stop watching it, sometimes even writing the network if necessary…  And while I’ve done that, it makes me misanthropic wondering how my peers and others that watch television can put up with watching such shite and call it entertaining?    I’m going to chalk it up to one of those mysteries of the universe I might never truly fathom (even if I sometimes understand).

In other news, I just received a call from my mother after her doctor’s visit and then the hospital for another mammogram and now she’s off to Miriam Hospital for some sort of emergency surgery because of a blood clot.  I didn’t ask the details, though I suspect it might have to do with the occasional swelling she had in her left arm from the PICC line.  So I wished her good luck and will check with her again later on after the surgery when she’s conscious and talking to find out the details.

And that’s about it for the time being.  As the Monster Child went out early, I’m sure that the excitement he’s currently demonstrating is because he’s both bored and the fact that he had gone out earlier than usual this morning.  I’m off for that, have lunch and continue to watch the dog.  Until the next time.


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